Posts Tagged ‘driving’
And the AA Driving School has created a list of some of the more peculiar rituals for getting luck on test day, which are way beyond wearing lucky socks and such.
One student got her mother to crack an egg on each tyre before they took their test, which another complete lunatic spent the last lesson parking up and standing on drain covers every time they spotted them in pairs.
In the case of the latter, you might think they failed their test for being a complete nuisance on the road, but alas, both eggy wheels and drain coverist both passed their tests. Feel free to complain about the quality of driving these days, compared specifically to when you got your licence.
Learner driver Will Law, aged 17, is hoping it is his skill behind the wheel that gets him his licence: ”I’m not superstitious at all. I have never been. I could see why people would do those little things before their test because it’s quite nerve-wracking and intense I guess for many people.”
While Will Law sounds completely sane, his driving instructor believes in magic, specifically the kind of luck that is brought from a monkey toy. Mr Martin said: ”Monkey always sits in the back, and I always tell them monkey knows that they can pass and he is waiting for them to pass.”
“Other rituals I have is I always get them to book their test for the morning … usually 9.07am, sometimes 10.14am – whatever they feel comfortable with. If it works, it’s safe and you drive to the right specification to pass the test then you will pass whether it’s Friday the 13th, first thing on a Monday or last thing on a Friday.”
Other people have done things like wave at magpies while driving, while one lady insisted on wearing a t-shirt she wore when she gave birth to her daughter – hopefully it was washed.
So there you have it – Britain is filled with people who crack raw eggs on wheels, wear placenta covered t-shirts and believe in the power of toy monkeys. No wonder we’re doomed.
If you’re going to text and drive at the same time, you may as well open a bottle of Jim Beam and down it at the lights. Yes, using your phone while driving poses more of a challenge to your concentration and judgment than drinking, according to a study by the Transport Research Laboratory.
The study found that texting while driving slowed down reaction time by a whopping 37%. Even if you’re so out of your head on sweet Mary Jane that you think you’re a giant green floating trumpet, you’ll have a better reaction time – cannabis slows it by only 21%. And if you drink to the legal limit, your reactions will have slowed by 13%.
But it’s talking on a handheld phone that drains all your concentration faster than a knackered iPhone battery. When you’re chatting about what you’re going to have for tea, reaction times are slowed down by 46%.
The research has led campaigners to demand that phones are banned completely at the wheel. At the moment, using your phone carries a fine of £100 and three points on your licence, but the Alliance of British Drivers are calling for phone use to carry the same penalty as drinking – an automatic year’s ban.
What do you think? Or are you too busy texting and crashing into the back of a lorry?
Sales of petrol fell to a record low in March, as drivers abandoned their cars to do other things, like pay energy bills, feed their children and buy scratch cards in the vain hope that they’ll win £2.
Government figures showed that 1.367 billion litres of petrol were bought in March – a fall in demand of 24.7%. The only similar low figure in recent years was 1.376 bn litres last March. Back then, though, you could see the reason – March 2013 was freezing cold with petrol prices at a sky high £1.40 a litre. But this year was warm, with prices at a steady £1.30 a litre.
So what’s causing us to ditch the car? Well, AA boss Edmund King blames our boilers. He said (well, to be honest, he waffled):
‘Either the fear or reality of gas and electricity price surges has triggered an avoid-the-petrol-pump backlash to balance family spending, or the trauma of speculator-driven road fuel price spikes over more than three years has seared into the psyche of the UK driving consumer.’
We may find out in the next couple of months as the boilers and heaters are turned off – and drivers look forward to summer motoring and trips out.’
Ah, yes, summer motoring….with the hood down and a flagon of ginger beer in the picnic hamper.
Marvellous. (Oh, wait, we can’t do that, because the bailiffs repossessed the car. Oops.)
Ok, so you haven’t put in any screenwash for a while, and you’ve got a Blackpool Pleasure Beach sticker on the windscreen, and you haven’t washed it since Christmas. So what? There’s no way your otherwise perfectly good vehicle would fail its MOT for THAT, right?
WRONG. Whatcar.com has found that test centres are regularly failing cars for very simple and avoidable faults. Out of 285,000 MOT fails, 4649 of them were because people hadn’t topped up screenwash. And 2852 drivers failed their MOTs because their cars were filthy and full of old KFC boxes and empty coffee cups.
Usually cars fail their MOTs for balding tyres, wrongly aimed headlights and worn down brake pads. But drivers regularly throw away the £45 MOT charge by not cleaning their cars before they head to the garage. Emma Butcher from whatcar.com said:
‘There are some really simple things that every motorist can do to help a three-year-old car pass its first MOT test, but it’s amazing how many people don’t do them. Many people probably don’t even realise that MOT testers can refuse to test your car if it’s too dirty or full of clutter.’
Time to take that dirty pair of knickers off the gear stick and buy yourselves a Magic Tree, you skanks.
Rural drivers have been getting stiffed on petrol prices for a while now. If you consider how much everyone gets done over on fuel costs, you’ve really got to feel for those out in the sticks. They can’t even afford the petrol to move out of the countryside.
With petrol priced differently depending on where you live, there’s been something of a postcode lottery when it comes to what you pay at the pumps.
However, that appears to be changing, thanks to a shortening of the price gap.
The difference in prices in country districts compared with urban areas has narrowed from roughly 5p a litre to as low as 2p, according to the AA.
This drop in rural prices has contributed to a general nationwide dip in price, which now averages 129.63p a litre compared with 130.46p in mid-January. The AA deduces that the strengthening of the pound against the dollar had accounted for much of the fall in pump prices.
Yorkshire and Humberside has the cheapest petrol with an average of 129.2p a litre.
AA president Edmund King said: “Across whole towns, for months if not years, drivers and businesses have been charged 4p to 6p a litre more for petrol compared to what retailers charged for the same fuel in neighbouring towns. Drivers don’t know whether to rejoice or get very angry that supermarkets and other fuel markets can actually trade at 2p to 3p a litre above prices in cheaper areas.”
Most of us might not risk drinking or driving, but it turns out that over half of us are not averse to stuffing our faces at the wheel – putting ourselves and everyone else at risk of Krispy Kreme related car accidents.
That’s according to a survey by road charity Brake and Direct Line, who found that three in five drivers have admitted to driving while scoffing some form of tasty service station treat. And 2% of us have actually almost caused an accident while trying open a Big Bag of beefy Hula Hoops.
Experts contend that eating at the wheel is just as distracting as using a mobile phone, which of course, is illegal.
But it turns out that we don’t just use our car as a banqueting hall. 15% of the 1000 drivers surveyed also admitted to personal grooming while driving.
Deputy chief executive of Brake, Julie Townsend said:
‘Driving is the most complicated and risky thing most of us do on a regular basis, so it is vital we give it our full and undivided attention. We can’t afford to treat our cars as an extension of our kitchen or bathroom.’
(You mean we can’t shave, have a bath, do the washing or make a stir fry? BORING).
However Edmund King, president of the AA, rather amusingly said that the problem wasn’t that bad, and that people needed to take the results of survey ‘with a pinch of salt.’
On top of a KFC chicken bucket that you’re eating with a knife and fork in the fast lane of the M6.
Ok, so if you park on a double yellow and nip to the shop to get fags, and a traffic warden catches you, it’s a fair cop, guv. But if you’re WAITING IN A QUEUE OF TRAFFIC AT A RED LIGHT, then you don’t expect a ticket, do you?
Well that’s what happened to poor Victor Hankins, who was idling next to a bus stop waiting for the lights to change when a traffic enforcement vehicle mistakenly pinpointed him for a parking violation.
When he received the ticket Mr Hankins, from Bradford, said it was ‘an absolute joke’ and immediately appealed against the ludicrous decision.
It doesn’t sound like the council was particularly friendly at this point, because after checking the highway code, Hanky got serious on their ass, and said:
‘I told them that I would be removing the appeal and I’d be seeing them in court and I wanted the camera operative in the court with me. At that point they overturned everything, apologised and the attitude couldn’t have been more helpful and totally the opposite (from before).’
Bradford Council backtracked and did more groveling to Mr Hankins, saying: ‘All images are checked before a Penalty Charge Notice is issued. In this case a mistake was made. When we find out that we have issued a penalty notice in error we cancel it and refund as appropriate.’
(Which makes it sound like it happens all the time.)
Today, England’s first motorway service station pub opens, which will inevitably cause a huge kerfuffle as people assume that drivers won’t be able to resist the temptation of getting bladdered behind the wheel, despite the fact millions of drivers successfully scoot past pubs every day without ending up swilling pints in their cars.
The pub is called the Hope and Champion and is two storeys of boozy goodness. You can find it at the services on the M40, next to junction 2 near Beaconsfield which is in Buckinghamshire.
The pub opens at 4am and closes at 1am. They’ll serve beer from 9am.
Wetherspoon’s are planning more of these motorway boozers and point out that it isn’t just a pub as they’ll be selling a range of non-alcoholic drinks, tea and coffee (with free refills) on top of the usual local real ales, wine, spirits and beers. They’re probably going to sell food too, so if you’re in need of a fry-up while driving, they’ll be on it, going toe-to-toe with the Little Chefs of the road.
A spokesman for Wetherspoon’s said they think most of their profits will come from passengers buying a pint or people on coach trips, adding: “We are not naive. We know that giving drivers the chance to have a pint off the motorway is an unusual offer. But equally we do not live in a nanny state. We expect drivers to act responsibly.”
The motorway pubs will have the national Drink Drive Awareness logos on… well, everything. As well as that, soft drinks will be much cheaper than they usually are in pubs and elsewhere in the service station.
Various charities and pressure groups are not happy, picturing our motorways ablaze with car-wrecks thanks to drink driving. However, service stations aren’t exactly paragons of virtue as it is. Their original purpose was to provide rest spots and toilets for people on long journeys, but rather than a bit of piece of quiet, service stations are more like a mini Vegas, filled with gamblers and video games.
If Wetherspoon’s undercut the ridiculously high prices we find in service stations already, we’re all onto a winner until some berk spoils it for everyone by getting battered on cheap ale and driving into traffic. Play nice. Don’t spoil it for everyone.
A report commissioned by the government has suggested raising the age of driving to 18. In an attempt to cut road accidents and Fast and Furious races in pimped Vauxhall Novas, it also suggests a 12 month ‘Learner Stage’ which will involve 100 hours of driving practice during the day and 20 hours at night.
The report, from the Transport Research Laboratory, even recommended a curfew for young drivers between 10am and 5pm, unless they have an adult over 30 in the car with them (or their Mum, gripping the dashboard and wiping her sweaty brow with a vanilla Magic Tree.)
Statistically, teenage drivers cause 20% of accidents on UK roads, and young men aged between 17 and 20 are seven times more at risk of causing an accident than male drivers in other age brackets. Stephen Glaister from the RAC welcomed the proposals, saying:
‘Young people are four times more likely to die in a road accident than as a result of drink or drugs. Circumstances conspire against young drivers. Their youth and lack of experience create a deadly mix which means one in five will have an accident within the first six months of passing their test.’
But are teenage drivers any less stupid at 18 than they are at 17?
Cardiff topped the survey for driver behaviour and scored 97% for politeness with Birmingham and Sheffield in second and Coventry and Glasgow completing the top five.
Factors taken into account were a driver’s likeliness to thank other drivers, stop for pedestrians at crossings and giving way at junctions.
The worst drivers were found in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, with Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh also scoring low because they’re all filled with impotent rage and the men have small penises.
With that, the survey found that woman drivers were more polite than their male counterparts and, unsurprisingly, drivers of small and medium cars were much better behaved than van drivers.
Here’s the league table:
Many things cause car crashes – stupidity, texting, not paying attention, – but it would appear that the worst offender of all is…flip flops.
Yes, not only are flip flops are vile, but they’ve been proved to reduce braking times, and could be responsible for over 1.4 million accidents in the UK alone. In a poll carried out by Sheila’s Wheels, 1 in 3 people said they had driven wearing flip flops, and 27% of drivers admitted they’d got their foot caught under pedals or had near misses as a result.
More than half the 1055 motorists who took part in the survey also said they’d like to see tougher guidelines about the kind of footwear that’s suitable to drive in. And the worst driving shoes were (in order of danger): Flip flops, bare feet, wedge heels, espadrilles and sandals.
Of course, some surveys are dodgier than others, and guess what? Sheila’s Wheels have developed a special shoe cover with extra foot support which you can keep in your glove compartment and attach to the bottom of your flip flop before you drive. They’re calling it ‘the ultimate summer car accessory.’
Hmmm. How about (as it’s nearly autumn, anyway), you just bin your stinky £3 Asda flip flops and wear another pair of shoes that don’t cause you to mow down pedestrians and die?
Just a thought.
Motorists hogging the middle lane or tailgating will get three points on their licence and a £100 on-the-spot fine, while driving without a seatbelt and using a mobile at the wheel will end up in a £100 fine, up from the old £60 penalty.
Anyone driving with no insurance will now face a £300 penalty. If you do all of the above at the same time, you’re buggered.
Police have also been given powers to issue on-the-spot fines to drivers found using the wrong lane on a roundabout or not giving way at a T-junction.
The Government are hoping these plans will stop careless or dangerous driving, provided of course, there’s enough police to call upon to patrol and enforce these new rules, which come in as of today.
Road safety minister Stephen Hammond said: “Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk. That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.”
“We are also increasing penalties for a range of driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences.”
Road safety charity Brake, along with DVLA and insurance company RSA, reckon that regular eye tests for drivers could cut the number of casualties on UK roads by around 3,000.
A survey of 1,000 drivers found 26% have not had an eye test in the last two years and that more than one million drivers have never had one, aside from a driving instructor asking them to read a licence plate when they were doing their lessons.
Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: “Being able to see properly is fundamental to being a good driver. Your eyesight can deteriorate rapidly without you noticing, and at the wheel that can be lethal.”
This campaign comes on the back of the death of Cassie McCord who was killed in Colchester when an elderly driver mounted a pavement and hit her in February 2011. The driver had failed a police eye test, but officers were unable to persuade him to hand over his licence.
Cassie’s mother Jackie told Sky News: “They spent two hours coercing him, trying to get him to surrender his licence voluntarily, but he refused. He got in the car three days later and killed Cassie.”
The subsequent campaign resulted in “Cassie’s Law” which now enables the police to remove someone’s licence from someone within minutes, rather than the old process that took days. The upshot of this could now result in drivers needing to take some personal responsibility and get regular tests.
What do you think?