Posts Tagged ‘driving’
It seems the uncertainty that comes with roads that have no markings, could make things safer. Research is saying that doing this could see average speeds reduced by as much as 13%. Are you thinking this is crazy talk, by any chance?
Either way, there’s some pilot schemes happening, which are being drawn up in Norfolk, which would see that lines on narrow roads being erased. There’s already been trials in Derby and Wiltshire, and lifted lines have not been replaced on three roads in South London.
Transport for London’s experiment said that “removing central white lines resulted in a reduction in vehicle speeds” and that the results displayed a “statistically significant” reduction in vehicle speeds as a result of the removal of central markings. That’s because these lines “can provide a psychological sense of confidence to drivers that no vehicles will encroach on ‘their’ side of the road.”
“There can also be a tendency for some drivers to position their vehicles close to a white line regardless of the traffic conditions, believing it is their ‘right’ to be in this position” they added.
While some are in favour of this, the AA’s head of road policy, while talking to The Times, is not one of them, saying that the white lines saved lives.
So what do you make of this? Do you think a driver’s common sense would see that the roads were largely safe, or indeed, do you not like the idea because you worry about the lack of common sense that some people have?
Are you absolutely pig sick of roadworks? Are they a blight on your very existence? Well, someone’s come up with an idea that councils should be fined £5,000-a-day, if they leave roadworks unmanned. This means that roadworks will be done over the weekends as well, but someone’s clearly thinking of getting rid of needless road jams.
It isn’t just councils – utility companies could also get slapped around with big fines for doing the same thing, leaving road works in place while no-one is actually working on them.
Now, there’s already daily fines of £5,000 in place, for roadworks that overrun, however, this could now extend to those who leave temporary traffic lights somewhere, after a job has been finished, according to the Department for Transport.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “I want to deliver better journeys for drivers. Roadworks can be essential but that doesn’t mean they should be in place any longer than is absolutely necessary.”
“That is why I am looking at proposals to reduce queues and make drivers’ lives easier. These common sense measures will be a welcome relief to those trying to get from A to B on our local roads. Over Christmas we were able to lift a massive number of roadworks on trunk roads, but this package of measures will benefit drivers all the year round.”
Now, drivers will no doubt be thrilled at the prospect of the UK’s roads getting fixed up, and in a more timely manner too – however, while collectively, we’re already paying for the repairs through taxes, if any jobs result in fines, surely we’d collectively end up having those passed on to us as well?
Well, according to one think-tank, what we need to do is get rid of 80% of all traffic lights… and no, it wouldn’t be dangerous, they reckon. Of course, the roads would be unjammed too, which drivers would enjoy, no doubt.
The Institute for Economic Affairs wrote a report which stated that the 40% rise in traffic lights in 20 years “made life a misery”, so they’ve suggested shared spaces that have no lights… or railings… or bollards. Now, this hasn’t been plucked out of thin air – a town in Germany and a town in Holland have done this, and a trial Portishead kicked out the jams.
Of course, this whole idea hinges on drivers respecting each other, or people trusting people not to take liberties on the road and spoil it for everyone.
Either way, Dr Richard Wellings, head of transport at the IEA, thinks this is all a marvellous idea. He said: “For too long policymakers have failed to make a cost-benefit analysis of a range of regulations – including traffic lights, speed cameras and bus lanes – making life a misery from drivers nationwide.”
“It’s quite clear that traffic management has spread far beyond the locations where it might be justified, to the detriment of the economy, environment and road safety.”
“The evidence of shared space schemes shows the transformational benefits of less regulated approach, whilst the removal of a high proportion of traffic lights would deliver substantial economic and social benefits.”
A car park operator, UKPC, are being investigated after they were accused of issuing tickets to drivers, which had been doctored. This is the second time the company have misleading drivers (we’ll stick an ‘allegedly’ in there, to be on the safe side).
After the claims were made about the company tampering with photos, UKPC was given a temporary suspension from using DVLA data to trace the addresses of drivers. This meant that any unpaid fines during that time, could not be followed up.
UKPC, who have said that staff misunderstood an email about all this, are being investigated again, by the British Parking Association. Last September, the BPA started to follow up claims that employees have been changing time stamps on car photos.
“If there’s a repeat of any kind of misbehaviour, that will almost certainly result in expulsion or further suspension,” said BPA head Patrick Troy.
So, if this isn’t out-and-out fraud, what’s going on? Well, the UKPC themselves said that these allegations refer to an “isolated photograph tampering incident” by a “few rogue employees”.
Over 86,000 people have launched appeals against council parking fines since August, using the site set up by Joshua Browder. Around 40% of those who have appealed have been successful in overturning penalties, according to a poll.
£5.2million’s worth of fines were challenged, and it is thought that this has seen £2million’s worth of penalties avoided by motorists (based on an average fine of £60 per person, and that 86,204 had used his DoNotPay.co.uk website to launch appeals).
Browder said: “I am shocked that the site has had such a large impact. When I started DoNotPay, I thought that it would help a small handful of family and friends. I could never have imagined that it would help reclaim millions in parking fines.”
“I am disappointed that the councils are targeting the most vulnerable in our society. The elderly and the disabled are disproportionately receiving unfair tickets. The council has a responsibility to protect these groups rather than target them and it is rewarding to being doing something to work towards that.”
The site is free to use, and allows you to pick one of 12 reasons of defence. You then enter your details and send an appeal created by the website, to the council who issued the fine. The whole process takes less than a minute, apparently, so well worth a look if you want to try and avoid a nonsense fine.
Drivers who use their mobiles while behind the wheel could be looking at heavier fines, up to £150, as part of a new crackdown from the government.
MPs have launched a new road safety initiative, after a number of cyclists were killed by lorries, by drivers who ignore the law. Penalty points for those driving trucks who break the law will no count as double, in a bid to try and prevent these deaths.
As ever, the penalty for riding your bike like an idiot, is severe injury or death in the street.
There’s more. People driving cars and vans who are caught using their mobiles will see penalty points increase from three points to four.
These new rules come after figures showed that, last year, 21 fatal car crashes and 84 ‘serious accidents’ were blamed on a driver using a mobile phone while driving. Of course, these reckless drivers are also a menace to other people in cars, and pedestrians – but will people heed the warning? We’ll have to wait and see.
Oh really? They’re introducing proposals for a ‘cashback’ incentive for the test, which would see you putting a deposit down, which is returned to you if you pass. Great news, provided they don’t make it impossible to pass your test.
What happens if you end up taking multiple tests? Either way, the government are certain that this is all going to make sure that learner drivers are, in their words, “better prepared for taking their test and driving independently”, “less likely to have an accident in the months following the test”, and that learners are only going to take “their test when they are ready and confident of passing”.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We want to make learning to drive safer and more affordable. This change will give those who pass first time some money back and provide an incentive for learners to be more prepared before they take their test. These common sense proposals mean that all learner drivers can feel the benefit.”
The RAC are on board too, with director Steve Gooding saying: “We support measures that will encourage learner drivers to get the experience they need to pass their test first time with flying colours, rather than barely scraping through or failing and having to repeat the process a few months down the road at yet more expense.”
There’s going to be reviews on all fees for services provided by motoring agencies, as well as a shake-up of when driving test times can happen, as well as offering a range of venues of people wanting to take a test.
The government say that they want your views on all this, so if you want to chuck your two pence’s worth at them, have a look here.
Here’s a video to watch
And so, to Lucy Burnford who bought a car, which ended up having a catalogue of problems, which then saw her coming up with something to help other drivers from having the same problems as her.
She’s come up with Automyze, which is being referred to as an online ‘personal assistant for your car’. The AA liked the idea so much that they snapped it up. The idea is that the MOT history of a car is more important than the service history. Instead of knowing what necessary work has been done on a vehicle, instead, you can find out all the maintenance work it has had.
Lucy says: “I developed the idea but not from a tech or auto background but I, and everyone I spoke to, thought it had legs. A full service history is basically a book with a couple of stamps – it does not tell you if the car has had bigger bits of maintenance done. I asked the guy selling my car and he said it had all been done but you have to take someone’s word for it. You can buy service books from eBay and sell them on yourself.”
And so, wanting all the documents for a car in one place, she hit on an idea: “I really wanted to create a digital hub and a portal where you could see if the car has had any major things go wrong and been serviced correctly.”
Lucy and her team came up with Motoriety, which eventually became Automyze. Drivers set up an account, and then you can call up information on MOT, tax, vehicle servicing, repairs, insurance, and all that stuff. Within the next 12 months, it is predicted that there’ll be half a million cars registered on the service.
Even though this is a joint venture with The AA, you don’t have to be a member to use it. If you want to have a look at it, click here.
Double yellow lines, on the UK’s roads, mean that there’s restricted parking at most times of the day. Parking on them, is not advised. You imagine that this is for a myriad of safety reasons, unless of course, you live in Devon, where you’ll soon be able to buy a permit where you can park on double yellows for £5.
That’s cheaper than parking in most car parks.
These passes will be available to business owners, landlords and contractors, and of course, they’ll probably be hired out or sold on the black market for a tidy little profit. If there’s a related accident, there’ll probably be a bunch of court cases too.
Until then, Devon County Council are letting permit holders park almost anywhere.
A Devon County Council spokesman said: “The usage of the dispensation permits, as with all permits issued by the county council, are monitored by our civil enforcement officers. All dispensation permits require the display of contact telephone numbers and our team will make contact with the permit holder should there be an issue or concerns over their use.”
Every time we write about petrol, we’re either talking about someone taking 1p off the price, or complaining about drivers getting ripped off at the pumps.
Well, now, we’re talking about an old lady who made a spectacular two-wheeled exit from a petrol station in Wales. Hurray!
The lady’s wheelie was captured by the station’s CCTV, where she clips the kerb and ends up driving like she’s The Fall Guy or something. Mercifully, she was safe and everything was fine and she was on all four wheels in no time.
Footage was uploaded online by Sian Jones, who said: “She wasn’t fazed at all. She was going on to the main road to re-approach the forecourt to be the right side for petrol.”
Now, killjoys, feel free to complain about old people being unsafe on the road, and how road safety is no laughing matter, in the comments.
Most drivers are pretty aware of what they’re doing, hence the reason why you can go for entire months without seeing a bad crash. Drivers, contrary to popular belief, are not stupid because crashing your car is a) Expensive and b) Might mangle you up.
So with that, one driver was stuck in a traffic jam and thought they’d have a bite of a banana. Sounds innocent enough? Well, she was astonished to find that a policeman in an unmarked car was pulling her over and doling out a fine of £100.
Elsa Harris from Dorset said the banana was already half-peeled before she set off to work, and thought she’d have a bite while her car was stationary. The police pulled her over and then accused of momentarily not being in control of her vehicle and was given a fine and the option of three penalty points or paying for a driver awareness course.
She said: “I was dumbfounded. I was horrified that he gave me a ticket – it’s the most expensive banana I’ve ever had in my life. I had already peeled it and started driving. Then when I stopped at a roundabout I pulled down a little bit of banana skin momentarily and carried on eating and driving. Unbeknown to me, there was an unmarked police car that followed me all the way down the dual carriageway and then pulled in front of me and slammed its brakes on. It caused confusion with other drivers and people were beeping.”
“I wondered what on earth was going on and wondered if it was something coming along and he was warning me. When the officer got out he was really angry from the offset, but I was still completely unaware I had done anything wrong. The officer said I was driving without my hands on the wheel and that I was a danger to other drivers.”
“I couldn’t believe it. He put me in the back of his car like a criminal and told me what a danger I was. He gave me a docket and fined me £100 and treated me in a very dismissive and rude fashion. Understandably, it is illegal to take both hands off the wheel but I don’t think I was a danger to anybody. I have never been in trouble with the police before and a warning should have sufficed.”
“You get drink drivers, people texting and eating while they speed along. Surely, me eating a banana in a traffic jam is not that important.”
The driver in question, was stopped by West Yorkshire police, was nicked after persistently driving in the central lane and not budging on the busy M62. The police said that a number of drivers had to brake and swerve to overtake.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court noted that the driver had a lot of opportunities to get into the inside lane, but didn’t. As an aside, the driver didn’t turn up to court, was fined £500 in absence and has to pay £400 in costs with a £40 victim surcharge.
This is thought to be the first time someone’s been done for lane hogging, since the law was changed in 2013.
PC Nigel Fawcett-Jones from the Road Policing Unit of West Yorkshire said of people not budging from the central lane: “It reduces the capacity of roads and motorways, and can lead to dangerous situations where other drivers ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front to try and get the lane hogger to move over.”
“Members of the public regularly tell the Road Policing Unit that lane hogging and tailgating are real problems on our roads and this conviction shows that the police and the courts understand the public’s concerns and take this offence seriously.”
So there you go. You’ve been warned. Or, indeed, you’re someone who hates this driving behaviour, so replace the warning for punching the air.
The Financial Ombudsman Service says that they’ve seen a spike in complaints about policies being stopped without any warning and that, in the worst instances, motorists only find out about it when they’ve been pulled over for driving with no insurance.
The Ombudsman says that those who allow their insurer to renew their policies automatically, but don’t realise that they must declare any change in circumstances since first purchasing the cover, are the people most at risk.
Basically, if your insurer thinks that things are different, they may cancel your policy and there’s a chance they won’t tell you. It seems that motorists who have benefited from reduced premiums for having a no-claims discount are also at risk from getting their policy cancelled without being told.
And this is not to be sniffed at, as the penalty for driving without insurance is six points on your licence and a £300 fine. The Financial Ombudsman says: “These types of communication breakdowns can have very serious consequences for the people affected.”
So if your car insurance automatically renews, it is worth contacting your insurer and seeing if you can change that option or, indeed, ask them to provide you with clear correspondence of any changes in your policy.
Drivers in Britain, collectively, are costing themselves £700m a year thanks to their lousy driving habits. That’s £84 per year, because you haven’t turned off your engine when your car is stationary or because you’ve been driving in the wrong gear.
Research is showing that over 636 million litres of petrol are being wasted each year in the UK, thanks to drivers failing to adopt eco-friendly driving techniques. Like what? You should be using your handbrake when you’re waiting a traffic lights, as well as making sure you’re in the right gear (that’d be the gears that propel your car, rather than drivers needing to wear leather stringback driving gloves and a monocle).
The Barclaycard Fuel study claims that younger drivers are, on-the-whole, better at driving efficiently, with 17-24 year-olds getting a gold star from the teacher, while half of those over 65 are in detention.
John Bostock, Account Development Director at Barclaycard, said: “With such a huge amount of money wasted on fuel, we would benefit massively as a nation if we were more mindful when it comes to driving in a more eco-friendly way. We keep a close eye on our grocery spending, so shouldn’t we do the same here when it’s apparent how much we could save just by driving more efficiently?”
Here are 10 ways you can drive more efficiently
- Make sure you’re driving in the correct gear
- Remove roof racks and roof boxes when they not needed
- Always be sure that you’ve checked your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure
- Use the handbrake when waiting at traffic lights and in traffic jams, rather than using the clutch and accelerator
- Use up-to-date map tools to plot the most fuel-effective route
- Try not to use the air conditioning or heating
- Try to keep the sun roof and windows closed
- Use cruise control where appropriate
- Don’t accelerate up to lights or traffic when you know you’re going to have to brake
- Drive along roads with speed bumps smoothly to avoid unnecessary acceleration and declaration
After the General Election, Labour have vowed to paint these things bright yellow so drivers can spot them more easily. The Tories meanwhile, are looking at scrapping them if their current review decides they’re a bad thing.
Roads minister John Hayes, who commissioned the Highways England review, will get the report back in the summer. He’s shown concern about ‘stealth cameras’ and said that it is important that drivers know about the whereabouts of these grey menaces.
With almost 113,000 drivers getting speeding fines last year, the figure has shot up from 89,000 in 2013 and around 55,000 in 2010. These hidden cameras have been one of the reasons that there’s been a spike. And we all know that someone is making a pretty penny out of the whole thing.
So, if one of the big two parties wins the General Election, it is looking like the days of the hidden speed camera could be numbered. With £100 fines and points on licences being added for each offence, this is good news for motorists indeed.
That is, of course, if politicians manage to keep their promises.