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Winter-Driving-Snow

Driving In Snow

Before you set out

  • Check tyres for adequate tread. Poor tyres will not grip when driving on snow and ice. If you live in an area where snow is common it might be worth changing to winter tyres with deeper tread
  • Use a good quality screenwash that protects down to at least -35 to prevent the water from freezing. If you don’t, your windscreen wipers could be rendered useless in extreme conditions
  • Allow more time in the morning to clear car windows and mirrors of snow before setting off
  • Use lukewarm water or de-icer to defrost the outside of your vehicle. You should never use hot or boiling water
  • Make sure any auto wiper control is switched off before turning the ignition on as this could blow the wiper control fuse if they are frozen to the screen
  • Be prepared for every eventuality by ensuring that your car is equipped with the following: demisting pad, torch (wind-up so you don’t run out of battery), spare screenwash, de-icer, ice scraper, blanket, shovel, phone charger, map and a square of carpet that you can use to put under your drive wheels should you get stuck in the snow.
  • Remove snow from the top of your car. Otherwise breaking sharply could cause snow to fall onto the windscreen and hamper your vision or another driver’s
  • Do you need to use snow socks?

The following tips should always be followed when driving in the snow

  • When driving in snow its important to accelerate gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible. You may need to move off in second gear as this will help reduce wheel slip
  • You may need to leave as much as 10 times the normal recommended gap between you and the car in front
  • If you do encounter a skid, steer gently into it – for example, if the rear of the car is sliding to the right, steer to the right. Do not take your hands off the steering wheel or stamp your foot on the brakes
  • If the road has not been gritted, be wary of driving in the wheeltracks or other vehicles as compressed snow is likely to be more icy than fresh snow
  • Controls such as the brakes, as well as the steering, accelerator and even gear changing should be operated smoothly and slowly
  • Sunglasses can help to reduce the glare of low winter sun on the snow
  • Keep your speed down and allow more time to stop and steer

De-icing your vehicle

We recommend allowing about 10 minutes to clear your windscreen thoroughly using a scraper and de-icer if necessary. Don’t forget about the other windows and your mirrors as well … they’re just as vital for safe visibility and are often ignored, limiting your vision, especially at junctions.

Don’t be tempted to pull away until the windscreen is fully clear – it can be dangerous and the Highway Code states it is illegal to drive with poor visibility.

Plan ahead to save time in the mornings, either by putting an windsreen cover on the night before or getting up a little earlier so you have plenty of time to de-ice your vehicle.

Never pour hot or boiling water on your windscreen, otherwise you run the risk of cracking the glass and an expensive repair bill. If you don’t have any de-icer, you could use lukewarm water.

It’s also a good idea to carry a lock de-icer with you to clear your lock. If your locks do get frozen, try warming the key or spraying de-icer or an oil-based lubricant into the lock.

Finally, ensure all your vehicle lights, front and rear, are free from frost and/or snow – a thick film of frost on the lens can affect the intensity of the lights, making it difficult for other road users to see you or your signals.

If you use the vehicle’s heater /screen demister, don’t leave your car unattended while you wait for it to defrost as you run the risk of having your vehicle stolen.

RAC Driving in the snow.

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Driving test pass rates continue to rise in the UK with 2013/14 recording the highest level of test passes for seven years, according to Department for Transport (DfT) figures. In total, 47.1 per cent of learner drivers taking their driving test passed, although the total number of tests actually conducted is falling.

The drop off in driving tests taken might be because learning to drive is an expensive business. Those who are determined to learn to drive are under growing pressure to pass first time and as soon as possible to avoid the cost of extra lessons and another test.

So what are your chances of passing your driving test? We’ve analysed the data to find out who, where and when has the best driving test pass rates, plus how much you should expect to pay to get your full driving licence.

How much will learning to drive and passing the test cost?

Prospective motorists have to shell out £50 just to get their provisional licence these days, but that’s just the start.

Driving lessons cost on average £24 per hour and the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reckons the average number of lessons you’ll need to pass is 47.

The theory test will set you back £23, while the practical car test costs £62 (£75 weekend & Bank holidays) 

Add all this together and drivers are forking out more than £1,250 for the privilege of getting behind the wheel.

Where is best to take my practical driving test?

It’s all about location and according to the figures the more rural the better for your chances in the practical driving test. Remote locations in Scotland are your best bet with Gairloch – a small village in the Scottish Highlands – returning a driving test pass rate of 93.8 per cent with just one of the 16 people taking a test last year failing.

Clearly, travelling to remote parts of Scotland isn’t practical so where else is best? Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria has the highest pass rate outside of Scotland – 65.5 percent – followed by Whitby, North Yorkshire – 65.4 per cent.

The test centre where you’re least likely to pass is Belvedere, London where almost 70 per cent go home empty handed. Last year that accounted for 1,131 drivers needing to resit the test.

Is the theory part easier than the practical?

The theory test pass rate has fallen dramatically over the past few years as the DVSA has tightened up on revision guides and questioning. Back in 2007, nearly two-thirds of drivers passed the theory test, but now that’s down to 51 per cent.

That’s better than the practical driving test pass rate, but not significantly. The theory test is certainly less unpredictable than the practical exam, but still requires a degree of practice, both in memorising the relevant signage and learning the Highway Code rules. Then there’s the challenge of applying your road safety knowledge in the recently revamped hazard perception test.

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Are men or women better at passing the driving test?

Women are better at passing the theory test while men are better at the practical according to DfT annual figures. For the past six years there’s been a six percentage point difference between men and women passing the theory test, although numbers for both genders are falling. Last year, 54 per cent of women passed while only 48 per cent of men did so.

This is flipped for the practical exam with the gap, surprisingly, the same. 50 per cent of men passed their test in 2013/14 while just 44 per cent of women did. The split of men and women taking the test was around 50-50 for both the practical and theory tests.

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Many myths and rumors have built up around the practical driving test which simply aren’t true. It’s easy to believe them and this can affect your confidence when it comes to taking your test.

So here, we dispel the myths and puts the facts right about what REALLY happens when you come to take your test.

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“If you stall during your test, you will fail.”

Not entirely true! By the time you’re ready to take the practical driving test, shaky clutch control should be a distant memory but the test seems to do funny things to candidates! Stalling repeatedly in traffic or stalling when entering major junction, affecting other road users, will fail the test. If you stall, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and start over again. Some candidates have even passed tests after stalling twice! Nerves can ruin a test for even the best of drivers so it’s important to not dwell on mistakes as some aren’t as bad as you may think!

“If you get take a wrong turn, the examiner will fail you.”

The driving test is designed to allow the Examiner to assess your driving ability during the course of a 30-35 minute route, taking in various road and traffic conditions. If you are asked to turn right at a junction but turn left in error, you will not incur a driving fault as long as you correctly turn left.  Even on the recently added ‘independent driving’ element of the test, you are not penalised for getting lost during the drive, so If you are not sure where you should be going, ask for help and you will get it! What the Examiner doesn’t want you to do is drive erratically or dangerously because of poor planning and anticipation e.g. not seeing your intended junction until too late, turning across traffic when not safe to do so and causing the flow of traffic to slow unnecessarily. Whatever you do on the test, do it safely and you’ll have a good chance of being successful.

“Driving Examiners are trying to fail candidates.”

The Examiner has less to do if you pass!  When you pass your test, the Examiner issues your test certificate and heads back to his office for quick cuppa before the next test. However, if you have failed your test they return to their office to write a report, detailing the reasons for the fail. Another urban legend I sometimes hear from students is that Examiners have to fail a certain amount of tests each month. While it is true that Examiners are expected to have pass rates that fall within 10% of the local average, there is nothing to suggest that the test results are compromised because of this; in fact in my experience the only person who really affects final decision is the candidate taking the test!

“My mum/dad say they only took a few lessons and passed a few weeks after turning 17.”

This statement may be true, but at a rough estimate most candidate’s parents will have taken their test 20 to 30 years ago in very different times. The volume of traffic on the roads has greatly increased since then, as have the number of complex junctions and road systems in busy urban areas. The DVSA have changed the test on a regular basis over past 30 years to reflect the more challenging situations that drivers face on modern roads, including the recently introduced independent driving element of the test and a greater skill level in hazard awareness and anticipation, needed to deal with today’s busy roads. The DVSA suggest that an average of 45 hours of tuition along with around 20 hours of private practice is required in order to reach the test standard.

“You should check your mirrors every 7 seconds.”

While checking your mirrors every 7 seconds may suit some traffic conditions, it is more important to check your mirrors when appropriate.  If you’re worrying about checking every 7 seconds, you won’t be focused on what’s happening on the road. The test assesses the candidate’s use of mirrors when signalling, before changing speed and before changing direction, all of which demonstrate good awareness and planning. The examiners can easily see when you are looking in your mirrors so you don’t have to make it too obvious. It only needs to be a glance and should not distract you from the road ahead!

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£100 fine and 3 licence points for driving with snow on car roof

 

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Driving with snow on your car roof could land you with a £100 fine and three points on your licence.

And if you find it hard to believe, check rule 229 of the Highway Code

Rule 229 states before you set off

 You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows

 You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible

 Make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly

 Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users

Check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted

Police say motorists could be prosecuted for careless or inconsiderate driving if they are involved in an accident and it is deemed that snow on the roof was a factor.

Motorists could face a £100 fine and three points on their license if snow on the roof of their car contributes to an accident. This could apply if snow falls forward onto a driver’s windscreen, obscuring the view, or backwards causing a hazard for motorists traveling behind them.

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: ‘Many people are not aware of the hazard that snow on their cars can cause. Falling snow can be dangerous for all road users.’

Rule 229 of the Highway Code states, in a section entitled ‘driving in adverse weather conditions’, that snow should be removed from your car.

The full rule says: ‘Before you set off you MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows. You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible, make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly.

‘Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users. Check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.’

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Department for Transport proposals would allow driving instructors to supervise novice drivers on motorways

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Learner drivers could be allowed on motorways for the first time, under government proposals aimed at increasing road safety.

The Department for Transport is considering the move as a way to make sure learners are properly prepared for everyday driving before they pass their tests. Under the plans, they would be allowed to gain experience on motorways under the supervision of an approved driving instructor.

At the moment, learner drivers are not allowed to go on motorways but can do so without having had any practical experience after passing their test.

The possibility of learners on motorways will be explored under a £2m project examining driver education. It will look at whether the current regime gives the best training for learner and novice drivers. Compulsory basic training for learner motorcyclists will also be reviewed.

As part of a package of reforms known as the road safety plan, transport ministers are also planning a £50m grant for better cycling training in schools, and looking at forcing lorries to keep their sideguards to better protect cyclists.

There will also be increased punishments for drivers who use hand-held mobile devices while driving, with an increase from three penalty points to four and the fine rising from £100 to £150. In 2014, mobile phone usage was a contributing factor in 21 fatal road accidents and 84 serious accidents. The penalty for using a mobile while driving larger vehicles such as HGVs will go up from three to six points.

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, said he was putting forward “common sense proposals that balance tougher penalties for dangerous drivers with practical steps to help youngsters and other more vulnerable groups stay safe on our roads”.

The move to let learner drivers have supervised practice on motorways was welcomed by Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation. “One in five young drivers has an accident within six months of passing their test so putting the learning process under the spotlight has to be a good thing,” he said.

“Mile for mile, motorways are our safest roads but can be intimidating places for novice drivers. Exploring ways of letting learners have controlled access to them is welcome. The important thing is the official seal of approval provided by the approved driving instructor who will accompany them down the slip road. This is definitely not the time to have mum or dad in the passenger seat.”

The government is currently considering a number of reforms to driving tests in order to improve the UK’s road safety record. It is already thinking about giving those who pass their driving test first time a refund of part of the cost. The plan is intended to raise the low first-time pass rate, which stands at just 21%.

At one point, the government was also considering banning newly qualified drivers from carrying non-family members under proposals to cut the number of road accidents involving teenagers.

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Benefits of Buying a Car Camera

With more and more UK motorists begining to reap the benifits of installing an in-car camera, sales of these small, purpose built video devices, are increasing daily. Fitting your car camera is easy, they simply attach to your vehicles windscreen via a suction cup or adhesive mount, this enables you to record video footage of the road ahead and gives you your very own ‘eyewitness’. If you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in any kind of collision, they offer complete peace of mind that you’ll have detailed footage of the whole incident. This could help prove your innocence and offers irrefutable video evidence when it comes to settling an insurance claim. The follwing list offers a few more reasons why installing a car camera could be the best thing you ever do…

Protection against Crash for Cash and Insurance fraud

Crash for cash, is without doubt, one of the largest vehicle based crimes an innocent motorist may have to deal with, and the bad news is it’s still on the increase. According to the Insurance Fraud Bureau, organised Crash for Cash scams are costing the UK insurance companies around £392 million every single year, and with 1 in 7 personal injury claims being linked to one, it is netting huge amounts of money for the criminals involved in it. Crash for Cash is a huge problem right now and vehicle insurance fraud is not a victimless crime; it is the honest policy holder that will ultimately pick up the bill with an extra £40-£50 being added to their insurance premiums every single year. Gangs of highly organised criminals will usually stage or induce an ‘accident’ by causing an innocent motorist to crash into the rear of the fraudster’s car. The simplest scenario is where the gang members car may pull directly in front of yours and then by suddenly hitting the brakes they leave  you little or no chance to avoid a rear-end collision. This now gives the criminals the ideal opportunity to make as much money as possible by submitting exaggerated insurance claims for vehicle damage, ‘loss of earnings’ and personal injury, the drivers not only claim this for themselves but sometimes for passengers who weren’t even travelling in the car! By simply installing a car camera in every vehicle that you drive, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that you will be protecting yourself with HD video evidence that will fully show the circumstances leading up to, and including the collision itself. This will give the insurance company any proof it needs if they suspect the claim to be a fraudulent one.

Protect your insurance premiums

Often, when making a claim to your insurance company the claimant will always have to pay an increased cost on their next renewal. This is because most of the time, after an accident each party denies responsibility for it; the result is the insurance companies have to assume equal responsibility for both parties. On some occasions the outcome is even worse and the innocent party is wholly blamed for the collision. Installing a car camera will help ensure that the actions and driving behaviour of those who caused the incident are 100% indisputable. The insurers will be able to get a complete understanding of the circumstances leading up to an accident and this will mean that only the guilty parties’ insurance company will have to pay damages. Thus, in-car video evidence goes a long way to protecting your premiums and your no-claims bonus.

Cheaper car insurance

As car cameras or dash cams become increasingly popular on UK roads, some insurance companies are recognising the benefits of having them fitted and discounts are already being offered for drivers who install and use their cameras regularly. Having high-quality video evidence also means that insurers can spend less time and money investigating suspicious or fraudulent claims and therefore can pass this saving on to the motorist. In a nutshell the car camera will actually pay for itself before there has even been an accident! Still can’t decide whether or not to purchase an in-car camera? For most of us, just the fact it could save us a small fortune on our insurance premiums is enough to make it a “no-brainer”.

Deter, record or report dangerous and unsociable drivers

With the car camera market expanding by the day, drivers will eventually start to become more aware that there are quite a number of vehicles on UK roads that already have an on board video camera mounted inside them. This, we are sure, will eventually start to make every motorist drive with a lot more courtesy and patience for others. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, we are still a long way away from this. With speeding motorists wanting to under-take or push in front of us, angry tailgaters who insist on driving a few inches away from our rear bumper or selfish drivers who chat away on their mobile phones, these are all examples of incidents that are happening on a daily basis and are making our roads as dangerous as ever. So how can we combat this? Simple, by using an in-car camera system you’ll have the ability to capture any dangerous or reckless driving on video. This can then be reported to the local authorities and in many cases these drivers will be prosecuted solely on car camera evidence.

Protect against road rage incidents

Road rage attacks are becoming ever more common in the UK. In most cases this involves nothing more than some choice words or possibly some offensive hand gestures.  That said, there are a number of drivers who are reportedly finding themselves as a target of actual physical violence. If you have a car camera fitted, try to make sure you always position yourself in front of it whilst you’re exchanging details; this ensures that any offensive behaviour or threats will be caught on camera. Another way to diffuse a potentially violent situation is to inform the other driver that the event is being monitored and recorded, this can be a useful tool, helping to diffuse a volatile situation. Many attackers will be far more likely to back down once they know their actions being filmed by your ‘eyewitness’.

Protection in car parks 

G-shock technology sensors are tiny motion sensors that are built in to most modern day car cameras. This enables the camera to instantly start recording the moment it detects either, movement around the car, or a sudden bump or jolt to the vehicle itself. This will be an enormous benefit to you if you happen to return to your parked car to find it scratched or damaged in some way. The saved file from your in-car camera can be viewed once you’re back at home, or with some car cameras, the footage can be watched there and then on your smartphone using a Wi-Fi connection. It gives you extra peace of mind that you may have caught the culprits face on camera or in the case of the damage being caused by another vehicle; you’ll not only have video images of the incident taking place but also the vehicles registration plate. This gives you the advantage of bringing any guilty party to justice and once again saves you from having to make a claim on your own insurance.

Record commercial and fleet driver’s activity

With the advances in car camera technology it is now possible to start protecting your entire workforce whilst they’re out on the road. Fleet owners now also have the ability to monitor every one of their vehicles and driver’s activity. Using Google maps they can check whether a driver has adhered to the correct pre-planned route, not broken the speed limit and more importantly not been driving without due care and attention. At the same time many drivers now enjoy the peace of mind that having a camera installed brings. Commercial drivers are often the target of crash for cash scams, this is because the gangs know that a commercial vehicle will undoubtedly have insurance, when a larger van or lorry is blamed for being at fault in an accident, irrefutable video evidence can immediately prove the drivers innocence, therefore not only protecting the fleet owner’s insurance costs but also helping to protect the employees driving licence and ultimately, their job.

Taxi and Private hire protection

If you drive a black cab for a living or you’re always on the road as a private hire driver the chances are, at some point, you’ve ended up either having a near miss with another vehicle or maybe found yourself in a vulnerable situation with one of your passengers. With Taxi and private hire insurance premiums being at an all-time high, there’s never been a better time to install your very own ‘eyewitness’ protection. These days you’ll find CCTV everywhere you go so why should your cab or minibus be any different? There are numerous problems that can arise whilst driving, these include damage to the outside of your cab from other road users, verbal and sometimes physical abuse and of course those customers who have decided not to pay their fair at all! Having the knowledge that you have a reliable camera system in place will go a long way to improving safety for both the driver and passengers alike.

Young and novice driver protection

The cost of insurance premiums for young or novice drivers has increased dramatically over the past few years; some of these premiums can range anywhere from £3,000 to £7,000 a year! This is largely because younger and less experienced drivers are more likely to be involved in an incident or accident in their first few years on the road. To combat some of these issues insurance companies will only offer them a policy if they then agree to have a ‘black box’ fitted in their car. This then tells the insurer their locality, what time of day or night it was and more importantly what speed they were travelling. Now imagine installing a car camera into their vehicle to back this up, it would not only give their insurance company a visual image of how they were driving, but could potentially prove their innocence should they ever be involved in a collision with another motorist. Worth thinking about, isn’t it?

Protect your vehicle against misuse and abuse

When you have to leave your vehicle with a stranger, it can sometimes be a real worry. Without an in-car camera installed you have no idea how others are treating your property. How many times have you left your vehicle at a garage for repair, service or M.O.T or maybe had to leave it with a valet parking company at an airport? Once it’s out of your sight, what really goes on? Having a car camera installed enables you to see (and sometimes hear) exactly what happens once you’ve dropped it off and handed over your keys. Viewing the camera footage back will enable you to know exactly where your vehicle was and how it was treated. If you have a car camera with built-in GPS you’ll also be able to see the route it was driven, how fast it was travelling and where abouts it was left parked up.

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