Winter Driving Checklist For Car Maintenance And Safety – An infographic by the team at
The Highways Agency has published some good advice for getting your car and yourself prepared for the Winter. Their ‘POWERDY’ checklist includes:
- petrol (or diesel) – don’t run out of fuel
- oil – check levels once a month
- water – check radiator and screenwash once a month
- damage – check wipers, lights etc for signs of wear and tear or damage
- electrics – check lights, indicators and controls are working properly
- rubber – are your tyres well inflated, legal, with good tread and free from damage?
- yourself – are you fit to drive? Have you slept well? Are you taking any medication(s) that could make it unsafe for you to drive?
They also cover the essential items you should keep in your car whilst travelling during the Winter season:
- an ice scraper and de-icer
- a torch and spare batteries – or a wind-up torch
- warm clothes and blankets – for you and all passengers
- first aid kit
- jump leads
- a shovel
- road atlas
- sunglasses (the low winter sun and glare off snow can be dazzling)
There is also more sound advice on the web page so be sure to read the full article and don’t get caught out this Winter!
As you are doubtless aware, the Government have recently introduced new measures to enable the Police to crack down on drivers who are lane hogging and tailgating on our motorways. From years of study though it appears that there are also psychological behaviours that can affect our driving standards despite how technically accomplished we are at the task:
These areas are amplified in the following article:
This initiative draws attention to a fascinating branch of science called traffic psychology, which studies the human and environmental factors that influence our driving behaviour. Decades of research in traffic psychology suggests that poor driving is shaped by far more than carelessness or a subset of “problem drivers”. Even the most skilled road users are subject to loss of social awareness, intuitive biases, contradictory beliefs, and limits in cognitive capacity.
Be honest with yourself, have you ever been guilty of any of the above!?
1000 UK reported road casualties happened with a drunk driver.
50 people were killed in drink driving accidents.
80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath
107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine
- gender (men normally process alcohol faster than women)
- current stress levels
- eaten recently
- age (younger people normally process alcohol more slowly)
Banned from driving for at least 12 months
Fine up to £5,000
Could be sent to prison for up to 6 months
More than 1 conviction in 10 years – At least a 3 year ban
Arrange a designated driver.
Use public transport
Always keep couple of taxi numbers.
Drink zero alcohol beers, mocktails or standard soft drinks.
Don’t Drink and Drive!
When it comes to the time to book your driving theory test, most are likely to use a search engine to find the correct web page/site to make an online booking or to obtain contact details to make a telephone booking.
Beware! There are a number of websites that you can use to book a theory test with the DSA but these are third parties and they will charge you an additional fee in addition to the standard fee for the test.
Here is a story that has highlighted the problem – the website referred to has been fined £85,000 by the premium rate phoneline regulator PhonepayPlus:
Here’s a horribly sneaky way to rip off people booking their driving theory test online.
The website book-theory-test-online.co.uk offered a “Pass Protection Guarantee Scheme”. This was supposed to cover the cost of a re-take if you failed the theory test the first time round.
“With our pass protection guarantee you don’t need to worry – we’ll pay for a second test if you fail the first one!” it crowed.
When you want to book your theory test, do so directly on the Governments official website. You will then only pay the standard fee and should you need to make a telephone call, you will not be charged exorbitant prices:
In a recent survey undertaken by Admiral car insurance, only 22% of learner drivers believed their parents were of a satisfactory standard to learn from. However, I think this is missing the point.
I have always encouraged my pupils to gain additional driving experience from private practice as the more hours you can spend in a car, the more your confidence and skills are improved.
These sessions should be regarded as an extension to formal driving lessons and not just a ‘sunday drive’ or an opportunity for the parents to ‘teach’. The latter may well contradict what the professionsal driving instructor has taught and may well serve to confuse the pupil.
It is imperative that the pupil applies what the ADI has taught them and not ‘as Dad says’ as bad habits can be quickly learnt but often takes a lot longer to break them.
“More parents are passing on bad habits when giving their children driving lessons, a survey shows. Fifty-two per cent take out sons and daughters with L-plates – double the number who were themselves taught by their parents. But 45 per cent fear their …”
Remember that a parent accompanying a learner driver can be a very stressful situation for them. They are not used to being a passenger to a novice driver and they do not have the comfort of dual controls! It is the pupils role to make Mum or Dad ‘comfortable’ in the passengers seat as otherwise you may not get much private practice at all!
They may ask you to ‘brake’, ‘slow down’ etc. as they do not know what you are thinking or if you have spotted other traffic, pedestrians, changing lights etc. One of the best ways to gain their confidence in you is to talk through what you are seeing and what you are doing e.g. “There is a petrol station on the left, ahead. Traffic may emerge from there so I am aware of that, expecting that and covering the brake” or “pedestrian crossing ahead – looking for pedestrians that may be approaching – I am prepared to stop / slow down”.
You should talk to your parents ahead of any private practice and clarify that their role is a supervisory one for safety and legal reasons. Your driving instructor will always be happy to talk to parents about their role.
It is all over the news that the police will soon be given the powers to provide on the spot fines for middle lane hogging on motorways. Whilst it remains to be seen whether there will be enough police ‘on the spot’ to deliver these fines remains to be seen.
There is also ongoing discussion as to whether or not learner drivers should be allowed to train on our motorways so it now may be a good time to refresh yourself on what is required whilst driving on our fastest, but statistically the safest, roads. Here is a good article that may help you:
“Motorway driving tips: 5 ways to avoid fines, accidents and delays. Our guide to staying safe, legal and courteous on the UK motorway system. Wednesday 5 …www.arnoldclark.com/…/158-motorway-driving-tips-5-ways-t…”
Simply, if you always drive in the left lane unless you intend to overtake slower moving traffic then all should be well. Don’t forget to move back in again once your manouevre is complete and there is no longer slower moving traffic in the left lane.
There is really nothing more frustrating than having to move out two lanes to pass a ‘middle lane hogger’ and then to move back another two lanes!
Whilst your driving instructor will/would have talked to you about the safe way to react to emergency vehicles, unless you are lucky, it is unlikely that you will have experienced this in your actual driving lessons. If you have have, I would expect that you would have been talked through or manually helped during the situation.
There is nothing like experience to gain understanding but in these situations, you do not really want to excercise trial and error! The ‘Blue Light Aware’ video sets out how you should cope with these situations.
“The video (accessible free of charge via www.bluelightaware.org.uk) has received the endorsement of RoSPA, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Driving Standards Agency and the Institute of Advanced Motorists, as well as many other safety …Fleet World”
Take heed of the advice here and the next time you experience an ‘emergency vehicle’ situation, you should be better prepared, more relaxed and react in a proper manner.