Thursday, 25 September 2014

89-year-old former racer's Porsche pass

Former Yorkshire motocross champion, Philip Green has been praised for his outstanding driving performance after completing one of our IAM driving assessments in his Porsche 911.
Despite having over 50 years' experience in both driving and riding, the spirited 89-year-old undertook the IAM assessment to gain more confidence behind the wheel, in which an IAM approved assessor evaluated his driving performance. While the assessment is designed to give older drivers a trusted second opinion, Philip urged other drivers to take an IAM driving assessment to gain a sense of self-satisfaction.
Assessed across a variety of roads and dual-carriageways IAM examiner, Ross Williams said: "Philip's hazard perception skills are highly commendable. He handled the vehicle very well and demonstrated the ability to make all adjustments in speed smoothly and steadily".
Having owned more than 10 performance cars over the last 30 years, Philip added: "There's a real misconception that not everyone can drive a Porsche, but they're not at all fiery or fast – unless you want them to be. I drive my Porsche every day and it is a safe vehicle".
IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: "We understand the need for mobility and independence at all ages – and how much people want or need to drive. Philip Green is a fine example of what older drivers can do if they don't give up too early. That's why we've developed a number of driving assessments, including a Mature Driver's Assessment – so that the likes of Philip can happily continue driving his Porsche for many more years".

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Don't let the dazzling sun tamper your journey - advice from the IAM

Low sun can impact your driving, making it difficult to see other things or people on the road. With our latest tips, however, you can find the best ways possible to make your journey safe.

When it's low take it slow

Too much bright light can be as effective at stopping you see things as too little – but you must still be able to stop within the distance you can see to be clear.  If low sun is affecting your ability to see clearly then slow down. Don't feel the need to increase your speed if a vehicle is tailgating behind you and slow down as you approach areas like sharp bends or experience changes in light level where others may be harder to see. 

Sunglasses at the ready

A sun visor doesn't necessarily stop low sun from beaming into your windscreen, so wear sunglasses. Keep a pair handy in the car so you can wear them when you need to – but remember to take them off if you go into a darker area, like the shade of trees.

Switch them on

When driving before sunset always switch on your headlights so other drivers can see you. The same applies for driving after sunrise where you should keep your headlights switched on until the light level really gets up.

Dip them low

When the sun is beaming into your car from the rear window, it will often dazzle you via your mirrors. In such cases, be prepared to dip your mirrors and check over your shoulder to see vehicles in your blind spot. 

Wash them clean

Dirt and grime are often highlighted on your windscreen when you are driving in low sun. To ensure this does not obstruct your vision make sure your washer bottle is filled with a good quality screen washer liquid so you can wash away any deposits and clear the streaks.

Avoid direct gazing

Try and avoid looking directly at the sun as this will impact what you can see on the road. Low and sharp sun rays can make your eyes feel blurry and hazy – if you experience this when you are driving then take a break from your journey until you can see clearly again.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The road network in England is to be extended by 900 miles

road paving
The road network in England is to see 900 miles of new carriageways added to it, in what the government has said is the largest road transport investment since the 1970s.

A total of £24 billion is being ploughed into developments on motorways and major A roads, with the aim of creating greater traffic capacity (by a third) in the face of rapidly increasing car ownership.

In total, 60 separate new road schemes have been committed to, which will create 962 miles of new roads, according to roads minister John Hayes. Most are intended to relieve traffic blackspots and bottlenecks in the current network. Possible solutions are expected to be published later this year.

Mr Hayes commented: "This government will oversee more work, more safety, and more improvements on our roads. This will benefit hard-working people and businesses, help ease congestion and create a road network fit for the 21st century and beyond."

Motorists who have suffered damage to their cars as a result of the poor state of roads will be pleased to hear than £6 billion of the total budget has been earmarked to resurface more than 3,000 miles of the network.

The government is claiming to have taken the concerns of green campaigners and environmental groups into account in the planning of this new investment, with the expansion of existing roads, rather than the creation of new ones, key to reducing the scheme's ecological impact.

"We're doing this with great care for our environment. This extra capacity will be achieved mainly by the use of smart motorways and selective widening to minimise the environmental impact," Mr Hayes explained.

The investment will be shaped by the results of the Highways Agency's route strategies – a comprehensive review of all the country's roads, which will determine future roads management priorities.

The Highways Agency itself is also due to be turned into a government-owned company, a move that is hoped will save taxpayers around £2.6 billion over the next ten years.

Black boxes set to become more intrusive

Car insurance premiums fall sharply
In-car black boxes can already monitor your driving habits, but telematics systems could soon start hanging up your phone and turning down your radio, as use of this technology becomes more widespread – and more invasive.

Experts have predicted that every British driver could be monitored by their insurer's spying technology over the next 10 years, reports the Telegraph. Drivers who refuse to have black boxes fitted to their cars could see increased insurance premiums or be refused cover completely.

Many younger drivers are already forced into using black box systems, as premiums rocket if they refuse to have kit fitted to their car to monitor their speed and driving habits. Over 300,000 cars have already been fitted with such devices, which can keep track of drivers' speed, braking, steering inputs and the mileage they cover.

The extent of monitoring technology could even extend to intelligent windscreen wipers to keep tabs on the weather, as insurers try to gather ever more information on the conditions that lead up to a crash. With the development of new technologies, experts are predicting that the number of ways drivers are watched, could increase.

New technology could allow insurers to spy on drivers' mobile phone use and monitor if they send any texts while driving. A spokesperson from price comparison told the Telegraph: "The technology can track literally anything that is in the car – it just depends on what data the insurer wants to analyse. The number of text messages a driver sends while behind the wheel can be monitored, which insurers could use against a driver who frequently texts."

Distraction is one of the main causes of car crashes, and several insurers are believed to be considering developing black boxes which can monitor the sound levels of all devices within the car. A researcher at Thatcham, an insurance research centre has stated that black boxes could potentially disconnect in-car phone calls and turn off sound systems over certain speeds.

Devices which can silence the driver's phone or limit the volume of the radio have already been developed, while others already keep check of the times when the car is used.

Would you use a telematics system that monitored your every move in return for vastly reduced insurance rates? What do you think?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Woman totals brand new Porsche seconds after taking delivery

Crashed Porsche Boxster
It's a well-known fact that a brand new car sheds thousands of pounds in value the minute it's driven off the forecourt. One Chinese motorist, however, lost considerably more than she bargained for after she crashed her brand new Porsche, just seconds after leaving the dealership.

Taking delivery of her Porsche Boxster, which starts from £38,810 in UK dealerships, the lady immediately caused an estimated £150,000 worth of damage after getting the throttle and brake pedals mixed up, as she joined traffic in Shenyang, north east China.

The 27-year-old was spotted accelerating into the back of a queue of cars waiting at a set of traffic lights.

A witness said: "She seemed to be trying to change lanes when without warning she shot forwards.

A Porsche salesman commented: "We were still waving her goodbye when she shot forward and there was a tremendous bang."  "We all ran over and she wasn't hurt but the car was a real mess. We pushed it back to the showroom where it is with the mechanics.  "We'd warned her that it was a very powerful car."

A police spokesman later confirmed that they were not seeking anyone else in connection with the accident, and that she would be held liable for all the damage caused.

The Porsche Boxster is the German brand's most affordable sports car, but will still accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 164mph, thanks to a 261bhp 2.7-litre six-cylinder engine.

Furious motorist fires car off back of tow truck

Motorist drives car off lorry
It's sod's law: you come back to your car the second a parking warden is watching it being loaded onto the back of a lorry. Game over. However, the driver in the clip below wasn't quite ready to watch his Vauxhall Astra being towed into the distance at this stage.

Instead, the furious motorist, who had parked illegally in Walthamstow, east London, clambered onto the back of the lorry, jumped into the driver's seat of his car, revved the engine and launched it off the back of the flatbed. In reverse.

Dropping around three feet to the ground the car lands with a clunk but seems to survive intact, bar a slightly battered exhaust. The driver then reversed off, as the Waltham Forest Council parking attendant who was filming the footage, watched on, no doubt stunned by what they had just seen.

A passerby said "'There was an almighty crash as he dropped about three feet to the ground - I would think that whatever money he saved on the parking ticket, he'll have to pay to get his exhaust repaired."

The parking firm reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police though the police have said the matter is a "civil dispute". Waltham Forest Council has since been unable to trace the driver.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Proportion of women caught drink-driving nearly doubles

Drink-drive survey
The number of women convicted for drink-driving almost doubled over a 14-year period, a survey has revealed. This research has discovered that 17 per cent of those who were caught drink-driving were women in 2012, compared with just nine per cent of the total back in 1998

The survey carried found that 17 per cent of female drivers also believed that they had driven while over the drink-driving limit within the last year.

Six out of 10 of the women surveyed admitted that they were unaware of the legal limit for drink-driving. Furthermore, nearly all of the respondents claimed that they were able to drink more alcohol than the "average woman" before being over the legal limit.

Of those who admitted to drink-driving, the most common justification – cited by 59 per cent of respondents – was that they felt "okay" to drive. Meanwhile, 31 per cent thought that they'd be safe if they drove carefully and 17 per cent didn't feel they had any alternative – often because of "family emergencies".

Surprisingly, 14 per cent also said that they were happy to drive while over the limit as they didn't think there was much chance of being caught.  it was a "common scenario for a woman to be designated the driver after a dinner party and to underestimate the effects of alcohol they've consumed",

Minister for road safety Robert Goodwill said: "Drink-driving wrecks lives, and the personal consequences of a drink-drive conviction can be devastating. In 2013, 803 women failed a breathalyser test after an accident and that is 803 too many.

"That is why we are cracking down on the minority who drink and drive by introducing a new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving and closing loopholes in the law to make it easier for police to prosecute drink-drivers."

Recent Test Passes

Congratulations to Alice Kerr who recently passed her Advanced Motorists test. Vice Chairman Max Power had the honour of presenting Alice with her certificate last weekend.

Alice pictured here with her proud family. 

Congratulations Alice from all at Mid-Kent Group of Advanced Motorists.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Police resort to empty cop car to deter criminals

empty police car

Police in Dundee have come up with an unusually lazy way of fighting crime, by parking an empty police car on a street for a day in the hope that it would deter ne'er-do-wells.

The fully marked Vauxhall Zafira was left parked on double yellow lines on Dens Road, near the city centre, for around 20 hours. Its appearance at around midnight on Monday confused locals, as there were no police officers to be seen in the area.

One local resident said: "It has been there since at least midnight, but I've not seen any cops.

A force spokesman later confirmed that the car had been left there for the purposes of crime prevention.

City councilor Kevin Keenan, who sits on the committee overseeing police activity in the area, criticised the exercise: "I think there's no substitute for people seeing the police walking along the streets - that's what the general public wants to see.

"I suppose it's still good to have a visible police presence and I think it could work for an hour or so, but when it's parked as long as almost 24 hours, then people will think it's either broken down, or it's just been dumped there. It's certainly not perfect and it seems a strange tactic to use and I'd like to find out the full explanation for its use.

"Perhaps there's a surplus of police cars and I did hear the number of officers leaving the force had risen, so maybe there's a shortage of staff?"

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland, Tayside Division, said: "Police Scotland continues to provide a visible presence in the communities of Tayside, whether officers are on patrol or by the use of marked police vehicles, in order to deter, disrupt and detect criminality and keep people safe."

Men more likely to commit wrong fuel blunder

Fuel panic buying garage closed
Filling your car up with the wrong type of fuel is an embarrassing (and frankly moronic) blunder, that can cost up to £200 to put right, but it's a situation that occurs with frightening regularity on the nation's forecourts.

In fact, according to new research by the RAC, the total annual bill for associated repairs is estimated to be around £40million.

However, the research revealed that men were more likely to make the error than women, with 61 per cent of people making the mistake being blokes.

Running out of fuel also seems to be a common problem for British motorists, with some 23 per cent of drivers having admitted to running out at least once.

Men are also least likely to learn from their mistakes, with six per cent admitting to running out of fuel more than once, compared to just four per cent of women.

76 per cent of drivers, however, claim to have never been caught out – though this didn't stop the RAC attending more than 22,000 stricken motorists