Posts Tagged ‘driving’
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?
As it stands, drivers outside London pay a maximum of £70 for a parking fine, but that’s being reviewed by Transport Secretary Norman Baker. This means that drivers could now be slapped with a £130 ticket in the future.
Baker said Londoners have faced escalating fines after Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnston increased the cap while the rest of the country remained static. He said: “It can be argued that if the cost of legitimate parking rises to such a degree that the penalty no longer becomes a deterrent then that should be looked at.”
Edmund King, President of the AA, spat: “Our concern would be that local authorities become reliant on the fines as income.”
The British Parking Association support the increases, saying: “There is an urgent need to change these penalty charges since they often fail to act as a deter rent and sometimes encourage non-compliance with traffic management and parking rules. This is costly and unfair on council tax payers who will be subsidising parking enforcement and undermines effectiveness of local transport policies.”
Naturally, the idea that it could be lowered in London to come in line with the rest of the country never crossed anyone’s mind. Increases in fines would probably deter drivers from going to city centres, where the high street needs all the help it can get.
Police will also be able to penalise drivers who refuse to give way at junctions, force their way into a queue of traffic or use the wrong lane at roundabouts. Anyone doing handbrake turns and the like will also get similar punishments.
There’ll also be increases in fines for not wearing a seat belt or for using your mobile while driving.
“Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk,” said Stephen Hammond, transport minister. “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.”
Until now, these crimes were tied up in bureaucracy, the driver had to be stopped by a police officer, summons had to be issued and evidence presented in court. Now, punishments can be much swifter.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “An increase in the standard motoring fixed penalty fine will help deter those who commit motoring offences including mobile phone use. We are also pleased to see that at long last new powers and fines will be given to the police to tackle the top three pet hates of drivers – tailgaters, mobile phone abusers and middle lane hogs.”
A former Liberal Democrat – now defected to Labour – is now trying to sell his personalised number plate, LI6 DEM. Obviously, you can’t be a Labour MP and drive around promoting the Lib Dems. Indeed, having a personalised plate like that only ensures that your car can be targeted by eggs much easier.
Anyway, Andrew Duffield paid £250 for his plate nearly twenty years ago, and now he wants to sell it for £500 ”for obvious reasons”.
What with the Liberal Democrats being some of the most unpopular people in Britain currently, he’s not been able to find a buyer.
You might think he could sell it to Nick Clegg, but he’s still trying to shift his that says ‘CL0S3T T0RY’.
Old people, driving their cars, are ace. They wear leather stringback driving gloves, have pristine chamois leather cleaners in the glove box, tartan blankets on the back seat and, best of all, have cateracts so they can’t see where they’re going.
Concerning the latter, some drivers don’t like pensioners on the road. They think they’re a menace, reaching top speeds of 8 mph.
In fact, three-in-five motorists think older drivers should be forced to retake the driving test when they reach 66, according to a survey.
The opinion of the majority of 17 to 24-year-olds, with their trance music and steroids, is that granddad should be retaking his test at the even younger age of 63, according to the findings of Auto Trader.
The poll of 3763 motorists also revealed that 73% felt worried or concerned when they found themselves driving behind an older motorist, while 26% felt unsafe when being driven by someone over the age of 65.
How about a Logan’s Run style future for drivers?
Commuting for drivers is a pain in the rump, but who is worst off? Well, if you’re looking at the world, then the poor buggers in Moscow have the grimmest traffic jams in the world where their journeys are 66% longer than they need to be, according to findings from TomTom.
In second place, Istanbul closely followed by Warsaw in third. However, where is the worst place in Britain?
Surprisingly, it isn’t London, but rather, Belfast that comes out on top, with Bristol in second place. Birmingham, Leeds and Nottingham all show signs of growing congestion levels and, oddly, Tuesday and Thursday are the worst days for traffic jams.
In Belfast, journeys are 32.1% longer than they need to be, just pipping Bristol where journeys by car are 32% longer. In London, journeys are 27.5% too long and Manchester has a figure of 24.2%.
Still, it isn’t all bad news as Marseille, Palermo, Paris, Rome, Stuttgart, Sydney and Los Angeles all have higher congestion levels than the UK. You can have a look at TomTom’s findings via this link. You’ll have to mess about downloading PDF files, so you probably shouldn’t bother.
In other driving news, official figures have noted that petrol sales have crashed with retailers selling 5.4 billion fewer litres than five years ago, with drivers opting for diesel instead.
The AA say: ”Soaring pump prices have taken a huge toll on petrol sales more recently – during the 10p-a-litre price surges last March and October, pump sales of petrol fell by up to 5%. The trouble is that, with global economic recovery, the stock market will predict greater oil and fuel demand and push up commodity values accordingly.”
If you live in Belfast, expect fuel to be more expensive, which you’ll waste in traffic jams.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office have launched a new app which is designed to stop Brits from crashing when they’re overseas. Believe it or not, foreign countries have different laws to those you’ll find in the UK.
As well as different road laws, the conditions of the roads and driving standards are wildly varied around the world. Driving your car in Thailand is nothing like driving a car through Britain.
In Thailand there were 68,852 traffic incidents resulting in 9,205 deaths while in the UK, there were a mere 1,901 people killed on the roads. See what we’re dealing with here?
“Accidents do occur and not all tragedies are avoidable, but the outcome could be very different with many lives being saved and critical injuries reduced if people adopted the same safety precautions abroad that they would naturally take at home.”
So, a load of information is being made available all under one umbrella, so now, there’s no excuse for you not knowing that, for example, in France, drivers are required to carry their own breathalyser or that in Belarus it is illegal to drive a dirty car.
Have a look at the information here and for god’s sake, don’t die.