Road Hazards

  1. Comments Off on Avoiding driving distractions

    driving distractionsThis subject, driving distractions, comes to the forefront far more as the days become shorter and more of us are driving in the dark.  Aside from the obvious darkness and having to use your lights to see and be seen, also you will tend to tire more quickly and could be dazzled by bright lights.

    While some distractions like dazzling headlights can’t be avoided, others can be. Try to keep your attention focused on the road at all times, do not get distracted by sightseeing, your mobile phone or smoking behind the wheel. Don’t forget to take regular breaks too, if you feel drowsy, stop as soon as it is safe to do so.

    Dazzling drivers

    It is said that you can lose your vision for up to two seconds when you have been been momentarily blinded by an oncoming car.  I’m sure we’ve all had that happen to us, as drivers and passengers.  Some cars, these days, have automatic dip-beam function but it is still a dangerous problem as you can still be blinded by vehicles even when the lights are dipped. The quality of lights and the angle of the beam or beam pattern can also be a factor.  Xenon bulbs are quite popular as they create a brighter light than traditional halogen ones.  They improve the visibility for the driver, but create a strong glow for oncoming motorists.

    Whilst you can not stop other drivers making mistakes, you can make sure you don’t fall into any of these traps and potentially cause a fatal accident.

    Take care as you drive this winter, avoid driving distractions!

  2. Comments Off on The dangers of dehydration

    Did you know that driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving?

    Dangers of dehydrationYou wouldn’t drink drive, but what about driving whilst dehydrated? A recent study has found that even mildly dehydrated drivers can make just as many errors as drink drivers.  I’m sure you will find that surprising, just as we did.  If you are dehydrated then you may make mistakes such as lane drifting, late braking, or crossing over a rumble strip.

    The study used driving simulators with a group of men, once when they were sufficiently hydrated and again when they were slightly dehydrated.  It was done to simulate real-world conditions, such as when you’ve had a particularly busy day and were unable to take breaks for drinks.

    This slight dehydration was enough to significantly skewer their driving abilities. They made twice as many mistakes when dehydrated as when hydrated. This sharp spike in errors that could lead to driving accidents matched what Watson observed in his previous studies, when participants used the same simulator after downing 2.5 ounces of vodka.

    Just like alcohol, “mild dehydration has been shown to reduce concentration, slow reaction times, impair memory recall, and produce negative effects on mood,” says Watson. “All of these factors can impact our ability to safely drive a motor vehicle.”

    So don’t forget to…

    Hydrate before you drive and don’t avoid drinking before a long trip to avoid bathroom stops.

  3. Comments Off on Newly qualified drivers will lose their licence

    Lose your driving licence

    Newly qualified drivers will lose their licence if caught using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel, under tougher penalties that come into force in England, Scotland and Wales today (1st Match 2017).

    The government are bringing in these strong deterrants to prevent serious road accidents.  Penalty points and fines for using a phone while driving will double, to six points and £200.

    Drivers can have their licence revoked if they accrue six points within two years of passing their test. Those caught using their mobile twice, or who accrue 12 points on their licence, will face magistrates’ court, disqualification and fines of up to £1,000.

    Mobile phone epidemic: Twenty-two people were killed and 99 seriously injured in road accidents where drivers were using a mobile phone last year in Britain.

    Do not get distracted by your mobile phone while driving

    It may not seem like too much of a distraction, but it only takes a second.  Holding and using your phone at the wheel can cause serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users.  Your reacts are twice as long for drivers who are texting compared with those who have been drinking.

    Everyone has a part to play in encouraging their family and friends not to use their phones while driving – it is as inexcusable as drink driving.

  4. Comments Off on Crackdown on dangerous drivers

    Caught using a Mobile Phone

    Drivers caught using handheld mobile phones in Britain are to face “much tougher penalties”, with fines and points doubling. Under new rules expected to be set this year, drivers could face fines of £200 and six penalty points.  Newly qualified drivers could be made to retake their test the first time they are caught.   This comes alongside pressure by ministers calling for motorists who cause death while on a mobile phone to face tougher sentences.

    Neil Greig, RoadSmart director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said he “strongly” supported a mobile phone awareness course as an automatic option for first offenders.

    Caught Speeding

    Drivers responsible for the most serious speeding offences are also set to face harsher penalties under new sentencing guidelines for magistrates.  Fines for motorists caught going well above the speed limit will start from 150% of their weekly income rather than the existing level of 100%.

    Drive carefully and abide by the rules!

  5. Comments Off on A Sat Nav Examiner?!

    sat nav examinerHow many of you use a Sat Nav or a phone app to get to your destination?  It might be a very useful gadget, helping you arrive at your important engagement but isn’t it distracting?!  Learning to use a Sat Nav safely is becoming a really important skill in driving.  Then, including it in the driving exam seems a good idea?

    How would a Sat Nav Examiner work?

    For around 20 minutes of the driving test you will be asked to follow directions given to you from a Sat Nav.  This is being done to make the test more realistic.  The Sat Nav will be provided and the examiner will always be ready to step in and direct should the Sat Nav have any problems.

    Why would the DVSA introduce the Sat Nav?

    Sat Navs are now being commonly used so the DVSA have said that it would better replicate a normal driving situation.  The learner would be tested on their ability to familiarise themselves with the potential distractions of using a Sat Nav.  It would also give the learner more responsibility to make their own decisions.

    Struggle to follow a Sat Nav

    The learner driver will not be tested on their ability to follow a Sat Nav but their standard of driving whilst doing so.  It will not matter if the learner driver deviates from the route recommended on the Sat Nav.

  6. Comments Off on 5 Reasons For Failing The Driving Test

    Driving lessons in ExeterThose of you who’ve been taking Road Masters driving lessons in Exeter will undoubtedly be keen to pass the practical and theory tests first time around. However, the Department For Transport have revealed that a mere 47.1% of learner drivers successfully complete these challenging examinations. Some people fail because of extreme nervousness on the big day. Others are unprepared for encountering major motoring hazards. We’ll explain some common and obscure reasons for failure…

    1. Junction Observations

      The Road Masters instructors take time to highlight the importance of approaching junctions with caution and looking in both directions before turning in the road. However, a high proportion of learner drivers are deemed to have made the major error of inadequate observation. Many fail to identify significant hazards on the left side of the road.

    2. Reversing Round Corners

      Learner drivers are prone to worrying about the performance of maneuvers. Some become so anxious that they forget to carry out blind spot checks and maintain appropriately low speeds while reversing around corners. The driving examiners also keep a watchful eye for use of the side mirrors. However, young drivers can maximise the chances of success by remaining calm, acting with due caution and practicing the principle of thorough observation.

    3. Unexpected Distractions

      Complete concentration is essential for driving test success. However, there have been some instances of young drivers being marked down as a result of unexpected distractions. One young lady was unable to resist the temptation of veering towards a hunky motorcyclist. Cats, dogs and squirrels have also played a part in driving test failure.

    4. Steering Errors

      Extreme nervousness often results in over-steering during the driving test. There have even been instances of young drivers colliding with the kerb and moving dangerously towards oncoming traffic. Thankfully there are various ways of overcoming the stress. It might be worth trying some relaxation techniques and waiting until you have complete confidence behind the wheel before registering for the test.

    5. Bumping into Pedestrians

      The driving examiners are usually able to take control and avoid collisions with unsuspecting pedestrians during the driving test. However, there was one reported instance of a learner driver who crept forward and bumped into a seemingly carefree shopper at a zebra crossing. Apparently the pedestrian had been camouflaged as they were wearing striped clothing. However, the examiner wasn’t entirely convinced!!

    Don’t fail your driving test – get your lessons with Road Masters! Contact us now!

  7. Comments Off on Maneuvering Your Way To Driving Test Success

    passedIt is quite usual for learner drivers to worry about the challenge of performing manoeuvres during the driving test. This is quite understandable, given that the confident completion of an emergency stop or turn in the road may make the difference between success and failure. However, those of you who enjoy the benefit of Road Masters driving lessons will develop essential skills for the execution of such tricky maneuvers. We’ve even produced this handy guide to calm your nerves before the big day.

    Choice Of Maneuvers

    It’s worth remembering that the driving examiner will ask you to complete one out of a possible four maneuvers. You may be required to perform a turn in the road, reverse to the left, reverse into a parking space or safely position the vehicle in a bay. You should also be alert to the possibility of having to make an emergency stop. It is essential to remain calm and listen carefully to any instructions given during the test.

    Safe Parking

    You will be expected to make appropriate use of the interior and side mirrors while carrying out parking maneuvers. A sensible speed should be maintained and you should consider the potentially erratic behaviour of other motorists and pedestrians. It is quite possible that you will be asked to park in a relatively quiet urban area. However, you should position the car safely, away from any junctions and bends.

    Round The Bend

    Caution should be exercised if you are asked to perform a reverse to the left. You should keep an appropriate distance from the kerb and pay due regard to all other road users. The examiner will expect you to maintain controlled use of the clutch and reverse slowly. You should park a good distance from the kerb and wait for examiner to give you the all clear for resumption of the driving test.

    Three Point Turn

    You’ll probably be hoping to avoid the dreaded three point turn during the driving test. However, there will be no reason for concern if you heed the advice given during driving lessons in Exeter. You should check that the road is clear and maintain a low speed. Focal points should be used to ensure that you adopt an appropriate position in the road. The examiner will also expect you to perform a check for fellow road users before making the final turn.

    Expert Advice

    You can expect comprehensive training in each of the driving maneuvers during driving lessons with Road Masters. We’ll take the time to address your concerns and deal with any problems which may arise during the driving test. You’ll develop the confidence to deal with various scenarios which may be encountered when you’re a fully fledged driver.

  8. Comments Off on Top Winter Driving Tips

    winter driving, snow ice coldThere are a wide variety of driving hazards that should be taken into account during the winter months. The roads may be covered in snow or ice, visibility may be significantly reduced and particularly irresponsible drivers may be tempted to take to the wheel after drinking. Those of you who’ve only just started taking driving lessons may be particularly concerned about the risks at this time of year. However, the Road Masters instructors have come up with the following tips to ensure that you are properly prepared.

    Spend Less Time On The Road

    We appreciate that you’re probably quite keen to take additional driving lessons with experienced friends and family members. However, it’s advisable to avoid the roads during particularly bad weather spells. If you’re in any doubt then it would be worth listening to the road traffic reports and practicing in quiet residential areas.

    Maintain A Safe Distance

    The Road Masters instructors will highlight the importance of maintaining reasonable speeds and risks of tailgating during driving lessons in Exeter and Exmouth. The advice is particularly pertinent during the winter months, given the effect that water, ice and snow will have upon stopping distances. Extra care should be taken, both for your safety and that of other road users.

    Ensure Complete Visibility

    A large number of crashes could be avoided if drivers took the necessary steps to ensure complete visibility when bad weather strikes. It is absolutely imperative that you remove ice, snow and mist from all of your car windows before driving. You should also fit new windscreen wipers every 6-12 months and top up the washing fluids with anti-freeze when necessary.

    Perform Routine Maintenance Tasks

    If you want to minimise the risk of winter breakdowns then it is essential to carry out comprehensive car maintenance. You should replace old car batteries, maintain the appropriate tyre pressure and make sure that your car lights are functioning properly. If you’d like further winter driving guidance then please go ahead and contact the knowledgeable Road Masters team.

  9. Comments Off on How To Deal With Driving Distractions

    distracted driving mobileResearch by different motoring organisations has revealed that distracted drivers are particularly likely to be involved in serious accidents. However, the chances of maintaining concentration are diminishing as people become increasingly attrached to mobile phones, sat navs and other technological devices. Young drivers who are particularly concerned about this safety issue should follow the advice outlined in this helpful blog.

    Driving Under The Influence

    People who take to the wheel after consuming alcohol and drugs will experience a reduction in focus and alertness. They may start daydreaming and perform dangerously irrational driving manouveres. It would be far more sensible to arrange lifts with sobre and responsible friends or parents. Alternatively there’s the option of using public transport.

    Chatting On Phones

    There have been a number of media reports and road safety advertisements regarding the dangers of using mobile phones while driving. It’s been revealed that the risks associated with hand-held and hands-free devices are roughly the same. However, motorists who text and use social media pose the greatest liability on the roads. The best advice is to switch mobile devices off before making road journeys.

    Listening To Music

    Many drivers enjoy the exhilleration of cruising the roads while listening to pumping rock tracks. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that certain types of music cause distraction and increased aggression. The levels of concentration will also decrease when changing radio stations and adjusting multimedia devices. Safety conscious drivers will pull over before making such changes.

    Using Satnavs

    Many people have chosen satnavs in favour of traditional maps during recent years. These smart devices have gained recognition as essential navigational guides. However, satnav users must remember the importance of keeping their eyes on the road and resisting the temptation of attempting to beat the estimated arrival times.

    Driving With Friends

    The leading motoring organisations have revealed that young drivers are in particular danger of accidents when friends are in the car. This may be due to the difficulty of maintaining concentration during conversations or the inclination to act irresponsibly. If the distraction becomes too great then it would be advisable to pull over and remind friends of the potential dangers.

    Expert Advice

    If you’re keen to find out more about the various driving distractions then it would be worth having a word with your instructor during driving lessons in Exeter. We’ll highlight alternative means of minimising distraction when driving.

  10. Comments Off on 7 Essential Facts For Learner Drivers

    Learner Drivers who have just started driving lessons in Exeter or Exmouth may be a little overwhelmed by the amount of information regarding the rules of the road. You might have trouble remembering the steps that should be taken during specific manoeuvres. You may also be daunted by the prospect of having to prepare for different elements of the theory test. However, the Road Masters team have produced this helpful list of facts for your consideration.

    1. Hazard Perception Is Essential

    You might believe that the safest drivers are those with impeccable vehicle-handling skills. However, hazard perception is the key skill with regards to safety behind the wheel. It is important to closely monitor the road and identify potentially dangerous situations in advance.

    2. Speed Kills

    It has been estimated that 300 lives would be saved if all of the UK’s drivers were to reduce their speed by 1mph. You can do your bit by maintaining appropriate speeds when navigating different types of roads.

    3. Local Roads Aren’t Necessarily Safe

    You may be surprised to hear that a relatively high proportion of accidents happen within five miles of driver’s homes. This may be due to increased relaxation and lack of concentration in familiar areas. Thankfully you can reduce the risks by maintaining focussed until you’ve successfully parked your vehicle.

    4. Stalling Doesn’t Always Result In Failure

    The driving examiners are aware that novice drivers typically experience high levels of anxiety in test conditions. They allow a certain amount of leeway with regards to minor errors. Stalling when pulling away or completing challenging manoeuvres won’t necessarily result in failure.

    5. The Driving Examiner Doesn’t Have Anything Against You

    The professional role of the driving examiner would be far less stressful if all of the candidates were fully prepared for the variety of driving challenges. They wouldn’t have to fill in forms detailing the reasons for test failure. However, the examiners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of all road users.

    6. You May Be Accompanied By A Friend Or Instructor In The Exam

    The vast majority of learner drivers pluck up the courage to take the driving test independently. However, a trusted friend or driving instructor may join you for moral support if so desired. Foreign test takers are entitled to enlist the help of professional translators.

    7. 20% Of Drivers Crash Within A Year Of Passing

    Novice driver’s typically feel a mixture of relief and excitement upon successful completion of the driving test. However, some are very quick to discard the essential rules and act irresponsibly behind the wheel. They stand a relatively high chance of involvement in serious accidents.

  11. Comments Off on Safety Tips For Wet Weather Driving

    Wet weather drivingThose of you learning to drive with Road Masters may be alarmed to hear that rain is one of the most common causes of road accidents. The reasons include reduced visibility and vehicle control. However, our instructors consider it a priority to prepare you for torrential downpours during driving lessons in Exeter and Exmouth. We offer the following tips to ensure that you enjoy safe and stress-free motoring experiences.

    Take Time To Prepare

    It’s absolutely essential to ensure that your vehicle is optimised to deal with rainy conditions. You should fit high quality wiper blades and purchase windscreen washer for the removal of stains and smears. It would be sensible to check the weather reports and delay unimportant journeys until the rain has ceased. If you really have to hit the road then tell friends and family about your intended journey. You should also carry a mobile phone in case of accidents and vehicle failures.

    Drive Sensibly

    You should remember the importance of altering your driving behaviour in accordance with the road conditions. If the rain is pouring then you should maintain reduced speeds. It is also important to keep a good distance from other vehicles due to the increased stopping distances on wet roads. Headlights should be dipped to ensure good visibility. You are also advised to increase the windscreen wiper speed to minimise the effect of spray generated by larger vehicles.

    Consider The Dangers

    There will be an increased risk of breakdowns during rainy days. Rain water which enters the engine air intake chamber may significant damage. Your vehicle might lose contact with the road surface and aquaplane in the event of floods. However, the risks will be minimal as long as you drive at low speeds. You should also check your breaks and call upon roadside assistance in the event of significant mechanical problems.

  12. Comments Off on Summer Safety Tips For Learner Drivers

    So, we’re only a few weeks away from the official start of summer. You might be looking forward to daytime beach visits and barbecues under the summer sun. If you’re in the process of learning to drive then you might be excited about the prospect of ditching your L plates and heading out on summer road trips with your friends. However, it is absolutely essential that you follow the summer safety tips outlined in this helpful blog.

    Take Precautions In Case Of Hayfever

    You might not think that the symptoms of hayfever will impair your driving ability. However, a simple sneeze could cause you to lose concentration at an inopportune moment. Thankfully you have the option of taking hayfever medicine to minimise the negative effects. It may also be worth fitting pollen air filters and investing in protective sunglasses.

    Perform Essential Vehicle Maintenance

    The Road Masters driving instructors will highlight the importance of vehicle maintenance during driving lessons in Exeter and Exmouth. It would be sensible to heed the advice and schedule routine checks during the summer. You should pay particular attention to the tyre pressure and fluid levels of your vehicle.

    Consider The Road Hazards

    Loose chippings are sometimes applied in an attempt to maintain the condition of the road and minimise the risk of skidding. However, it is important that you keep to the recommended speed limits and drive a good distance from other motorists to limit the chance of damages. You should take particular care when driving in close proximity of farm vehicles.

    Prepare For Summer Breakdowns

    If you follow the tips outlined in this article then there’s every chance that you’ll enjoy a hassle-free motoring experience this summer. However, it is worth taking precautions in case of unexpected breakdowns. You should keep a first aid kit and supplies in your vehicle at all times. It would also be advisable to register with a roadside assistance company.