Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Quiz Night

Our annual Christmas quiz night got a underway last Tuesday evening with 14 teams from Mid Kent and East Kent groups competing to take the title of champions.  The quiz was under the faithful command of Val and Max Power who do their very best to keep a bunch of Advanced Motorists in check. Tricky questions this year too, with Max not giving too many clues away.  

Max and Val Power, Quiz Masters for the evening
Halfway through the evening after four rounds the group on table 4 from The East Kent Group we're in the lead with 34 points.

Food was carefully prepared by Christine, Helen, Brenda and Sharon with Christmas cheeses and ham followed by  wonderful Christmas cake and delicious Home Made Mince Pies. 

The evening continued with another 4 more rounds, each team giving it their best short at answering the eight questions in each round.  Who’d known that the VW beetle was the best selling car of the 20th century? 

'Concentration by some
members was 'intense'
After eight rounds of questions, third place was handed to table 13 - ‘Unlucky’.  Second place to the untitled table 4, who was just beaten by one point by this years winners, from the East Kent Group, ’Short Planks’    Well Done!

Some were doing better then others.
Chairman Linda Davies rounded the evening off with thanks to the quiz masters, Val and Max and to the ladies who provided yet again the best Mince Pies ever and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a very happy and safe new year. 


Sharon, Brenda Christine and Helen presented with flowers of thanks
for providing the food and drink for the evening.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Fantastic, misty fogs

Fog is arguably one of the most difficult conditions to drive in. Decreased visibility has an obvious impact on the way you drive your vehicle. That's why it's important to make sure you are prepared so that you can carry out your journey safely, and allow lots of extra time for the trip.

Before setting off, clean your windows and windscreen inside and out. This will clear off any residue or moisture which may affect your visibility. Ensure all your lights are working. 

When you're ready to leave, switch on the dipped headlights. Use front and rear fog lights if visibility is less than 100 metres, but don't remember to switch them off when visibility improves – leaving fog lights on when headlights would be adequate is an offence. It can also dazzle and confuse other road users – so it's important to be considerate and switch off the fog lights in good time.

Use your windscreen wipers on an intermittent setting to clear moisture. Keep your windscreen washer topped up with screen wash. In freezing fog pure water will freeze on contact with the screen.

Switch the heater or air conditioning on and leave it running to keep the inside of the glass clear.

Slow down and keep enough distance between yourself and the vehicle in front - make sure you can stop safely within the distance you can see to be clear. Following a larger vehicle like a bus or a lorry can be beneficial as they are easier to see and will generally have better visibility than you do, but don't follow too closely. You still need to concentrate on what's going on around you. And be aware that fog is not the same density all the time – it may get thicker, so slow down if it does.

Fog is not the same density all the time – it may get thicker, slow down if it does.

Brake gently but earlier than usual so your brake lights warn drivers behind.

Be aware that other vehicles may be travelling without their lights on, so extra care and attention is needed. At junctions, wind the window down and listen for traffic.

Straining to see through thick fog will quickly make you tired – take regular breaks.

If you can't see well at a junction, wind the window down and listen out for the traffic before pulling out.

Take high-viz clothing in case you have to leave the car.

Don't underestimate the effect fog has on your visibility. Adjusting your driving to the weather conditions will help you to become a safer and more confident driver through the winter months.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Van driver on phone fails to notice police van

Idiot van driver

As if yet more proof were needed that talking on a mobile while behind the wheel impairs your concentration, this hilarious image has emerged, showing a van driver chatting away on the phone, completely oblivious to a vehicle full of police in front of him.
Despite the van displaying full police livery and the officers inside clearly visible thanks to their fluorescent jackets, the driver remains in his own little world, happily chatting away.

It wasn't until the astonished policeman at the rear of the van tapped loudly on his window, that the van driver realised his foolishness and sheepishly put his phone down.

The image was captured by construction worker Dave Wood, who was sat in the passenger seat of an adjacent van as a queue formed at traffic lights near Heathrow airport.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: "I couldn't believe it. We stopped at lights near this police van full of officers in high-vis jackets when this guy pulled up next to us.

"He was chatting away on his phone, completely oblivious to the fact he was sat behind a minivan full of cops.

"When he finally noticed he had been spotted, one of the officers tapped on the back window and indicated that he pull over."

He added: "The driver was completely oblivious. It was hilarious really.

"He was behind the police van at the lights for about a minute before he noticed. What a fool."

Despite being illegal for a decade, thousands of motorists are still caught each year talking into hand-held mobile phones, and face a fine and three penalty points.

However, it is not known what punishment, if any, this dozy van driver received

Friday, 6 December 2013

Driving home for Christmas

Chris Rea's Driving Home for Christmas is a song that resonates with many at this time of the year. While it's the time to spend with family and friends, many of us will be embarking on a car journey home before we enjoy the festive cheer.

But before you make that journey home, it's important to do a few checks to the car.

Start off by preparing your vehicle. Check tyre pressure, top up your washer fluid and make sure all your lights are working. This is important to ensure you don't have any unexpected issues during your journey.

Plan your drive home by checking the weather conditions both for where you're travelling from, and your destination. Check updates on the radio during your journey, and take a map so you can re-route if you need to.

If you're not driving home alone, try to share the driving, especially on long journeys.

Take regular breaks. It's advised that you take a break every two hours, to maintain concentration while driving. Stop off at a service station, if only to stretch your legs and use the facilities.

If you're going to have some passengers, especially children, it's always a good idea to pack enough food, books and games to keep them occupied.

Just in case you have any issues along the way, let someone at home know when you plan to arrive.

Take it easy and enjoy the trip home. But be careful and watch out for other road users and give them plenty of room and consideration. It's the time of year to be especially forgiving and considerate to one another.

 In case the worst happens, ensure that you have plenty of fuel. Pack an emergency kit of spare clothes, a shovel, water and food, ice scraper, reflective jacket and fully charged mobile phone with your breakdown provider's details programmed in. It is also a good idea to carry with you any regular medication you take – your journey may take longer than planned.

So what's your favourite Christmas song to listen to in the car? Or do you prefer to listen to anything but Christmas songs? Let us know at

Monday, 2 December 2013

Police offer cash rewards to drink/drug driving informants

Breath test

West Midlands Police and the Central Motorway Police Group are offering up to £200 to anyone who informs on motorists who are driving under the influence of drink and drugs.

The initiative forms part of the forces' annual Christmas crackdown on intoxicated drivers, with the threat of a public naming and shaming to anyone found guilty.

Members of the public are being urged to contact police on a freephone number – 0800 555 111 – if they see any driving erratic driving behaviour. If their information leads to the arrest and prosecution of an intoxicated driver, they will receive a cash reward.

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, national lead for road policing, said: "Those who think they are fit to take the risk of driving while intoxicated are amongst the most selfish in our society – they spare no thought for themselves and, even more gravely, they spare no thought for the lives that they are capable of irreparably destroying in the blink of an eye," reported the Metro.

"I am encouraging forces to put a face to the names of those who would so recklessly endanger lives by, where possible, releasing the photos of those convicted of drink and drug-driving.

"It's important we do all we can to deter people from making the choice to drink or drug-drive and pursue them to the extent of the law if they do."

Inspector Greg Jennings added: "Via the charity Crimestoppers, we are asking anyone who is aware of people breaking the law to pick up the phone and report selfish individuals who think it's OK to drink or take drugs and drive."

Drivers are being warned to take particular care not to drink-drive over the festive period, and to be wary that they may still be over the limit the morning after a night of celebrating

Cruise Control - Driving in the rain

A 36 year old female had an accident last year.  It was raining, though not excessively when her car suddenly began to hydro-plane.  She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence!  When she explained to the Police Officer what had happened, he told her something that every driver should know:
She thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe consistent speed in the rain...But the Police Officer told her that if the cruise control is on, your car will begin to hydro-plane when the tyres lose contact with the road, and your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making you take off like an aeroplane. She told the Officer that was exactly what had occurred.
In addition to the information given in the incident account, is the issue that if hydroplaning does occur it can get worse due to the maintenance of speed of the cruise control further worsening the situation. What also isn't mentioned is that to disable the cruise control normally you need to press the control paddle (lever) or brakes and most people will hit the brakes.  In a hydroplane or skid situation braking is exactly what you don't want to do (especially in a vehicle without ABS or anti lock brakes). The safest situation here is to disengage cruise control using the paddle and actually to take your foot off the accelerator and slow the car counteracting the skid and regaining traction.