Welcome to Total Drive Industry Round-Up, the place for any need-to-know industry news. Our updates are aimed directly at you, the driving instructors of Britain, and are full of all the things you should know. Here’s what has been going on recently:
The Dangers of Tailgating: 43% of Motorists Have Been Involved in Rear-end Collisions
A study by BookMyGarage.com has found that almost half (43%) of UK motorists have been involved in a rear-end collision.
The survey by the MOT and servicing price comparison site found that 26% of motorists had been in a rear-end collision as a driver of one of the vehicles involved, while a further 17% had been involved as a passenger.
The findings follow recent research by BookMyGarage.com that revealed tailgating is a significant problem on UK roads and likely a major factor behind the high number of rear-end collisions. One-in-three motorists admitted they have tailgated other vehicles, while 86% said they believe tailgating is a common problem.
Young drivers are significantly more likely to tailgate, with 63% of 18-to-24-year-olds admitting to doing so compared to just 19% of over 65-year-olds.
The practice of tailgating is illegal and classed as a careless driving offence which could land drivers with a fine of £100 and three penalty points on their licence. However, the consequences could be more drastic if the tailgating results in a serious accident, including driving bans or even imprisonment.
Read more: DIA
A DRIVING instructor has revealed the three road rules that drivers most commonly forget.
Given the variety of roads in the UK, it’s easy for motorists to forget certain things. Here we go through some rules to refresh your memory…
Box junctions and the turning right rule
Most drivers know that they must not enter the yellow box until the exit road or lane is clear. Similarly, at signalled roundabouts, drivers cannot enter the box unless they are able to cross over it without stopping.
While most drivers are familiar with these rules, there is a lesser-known exception that people tend to forget: drivers are allowed to enter the box and wait there when their only obstruction to completing the turn is due to oncoming traffic.
Junctions controlled by traffic lights
Unsurprisingly, and in line with general traffic light guidance, it is only okay to continue past a white ‘stop’ line (a solid white line, wider than other road markings) if the light is green. Once the amber light appears, a driver should stop at the line and not proceed, unless stopping suddenly would cause a collision. The best advice is, as a driver approaches a green light, they should keep checking their mirror and anticipate that it is likely to change, therefore be ready to stop.
Similarly, drivers should not move forward over the white line whilst a red light is showing, even if attempting to create a route for an ambulance or other blue light responder to work through. Instead, drivers should stay where they are and allow the specially trained driver to calculate the best route around.
Drivers can only go forward when the traffic lights are green if there is room to clear the junction safely or if they are taking up a position to turn right.
Indicative of its name, a bus lane is a lane generally restricted to buses on certain days and times, though on some routes, bus lanes may also be used by taxis, cycles and even motorcycles. Bus lanes are generally used to speed up public transport that would be otherwise held up by traffic congestion.
Due to this, unless otherwise indicated, you should not drive in a bus lane during its period of operation and are fined if found doing so with the typical penalty for driving in a bus lane at £160 in London and as much as £70 outside the capital.
Most bus lanes will have signs which indicate the times that the bus lane is in operation, however if there are no times indicated, then drivers should assume that the lane is in operation 24 hours a day and will incur a fine if used by an unauthorised vehicle.
While a fine will occur, drivers will not receive any points on their license if they drive in one by mistake.
Credit: The Sun
How to lessen the impact of yet more fuel price rises
Motorists should take steps to ensure their vehicles are as efficient as possible in the face of rising fuel prices, the head of a leading greentech company said today.
The AA said fuel prices hit a new record high at the pump across the UK, tightening the squeeze on UK consumers.
Over the weekend petrol reached 148.02p a litre, while diesel hit a new record high of 151.57p a litre last Thursday.
Fuel previously hit a record in November, before wholesale and retail prices fell back.
“The cost of living crisis has been ratcheted up yet another notch,” said Luke Bosdet of the AA. The RAC’s fuel spokesman Simon Williams said the price of filling a 55-litre family car was now an “eye-watering” £81.41.
Ben Richardson, Chief Executive of SulNOx Group Plc, said that in the face of such rises, there were immediate steps motorists could take to help ensure they were getting the most out of their tank of fuel.
SulNOx Group PLC specialises in natural, biodegradable fuel products which offer a new and sustainable route to significantly increasing fuel efficiencies across widely used hydrocarbon liquid fuels including diesel, petrol and biofuels.
Ben said: “In recent years, drivers have been hit hard in the pocket and companies have seen their fuel costs rise significantly. It is easy to resign yourself to that fact and think there is nothing that can be done, but that is not the case.
“While fuel prices are likely to remain high, drivers can get more miles per gallon by looking into ways to improve combustion. Our revolutionary SulNOxEco™ Fuel Conditioners improve the combustion of light fuels including gasoline and diesel. In tests, they have been shown to reduce fuel consumption by up to 8%.”
SulNOx Group Plc supplies Scottish bus company EM Horsburgh’s 100-strong fleet, with SulNOxEco™ Fuel Conditioners.
“After recording fuel usage data before and after using SulNOxEco™ Fuel Conditioners, coach company EM Horsburgh saw a remarkable increase in fuel economy of 9%”, Ben said.
“This consolidates other examples including a haulage firm showing 8% savings across a fleet that includes 27 new Euro 6 trucks, operated over 12 months and covering 1.2 million miles, and so provides extensive data.
“This shows that even with the most modern engine and exhaust technologies available, we can vastly increase efficiencies by improving the burn profile of fuels, enabling more complete combustion.
Ben said that as well as saving the motorist money, SulNOxEco™ Fuel Conditioners could also have a significant impact on reducing harmful CO2 emissions.
“The introduction of E10 petrol in the UK was designed to reduce CO2 emissions and is estimated to remove 750,000 tonnes of CO2 annually – the equivalent of 350,000 cars – from UK Roads. However, our existing technologies, if similarly integrated throughout fuel stations for petrol and diesel, could potentially remove the equivalent of over 5 million cars from UK roads and reduce CO2 equivalent by 10 million metric tons, clearly much more impactful.
“Given our products comply with current UK fuel standards, there are no technical barriers to prevent this being implemented.”
What the driving test eyesight check might be like in the future
DVSA has released the following to update drivers on the future of the eyesight check.
DVSA are consulting on a number of proposals to encourage learner drivers to be better prepared to take their driving test. One of those is changing the law so that it can carry out driving test eyesight checks in any level of light, not just good daylight.
This post explains how you and your pupils could benefit from these changes.
Increasing test availability
Drivers and pupils have expressed frustration by the current long waiting times for a driving test. Unfortunately, DVSA are restricted on when we can carry out tests – the law says it can only test someone’s eyesight as part of the driving test in good daylight.
This means DVSA are unable to carry out tests before sunrise or after sunset and it sometimes has to cancel tests at short notice due to poor light caused by the weather. The proposed change would allow DVSA to carry out tests at any time and not just rely on candidates having to read from a car number plate.
It wants to use different methods to test someone’s eyesight, such as a tablet, and are working with the Secretary of State for Transport’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Driving and Visual Disorders to assess and review this new approach.
Better preparing your pupils for safer driving for life
The changes would allow DVSA greater flexibility to offer tests in lower light conditions. This will help encourage learner drivers to practise driving more at night before their test. DVSA recognise night-time driving lessons are an important part of the training that you offer to your pupils.
However, 1 in 4 newly qualified drivers said they wished they had spent more time driving in the dark during their lessons in a recent survey. More worryingly, 1 in 10 new drivers said they had actively avoided driving in the dark since passing their test. This means around 47,000 drivers who passed their test in the last year might not be regularly driving at night.
This is a real concern, especially when around a third of all road accidents involve young drivers at night. It’s important that the driving test reflects real-life driving conditions, and DVSA believes this should include driving in all types of light. Some of the skills required for driving in the dark are different from those needed for driving in daylight.
Things like spotting hazards in reduced visibility and overtaking at night are skills that your pupils should be practising with a professional, before doing it independently.
All drivers must be able to drive safely in the dark, so this proposal will better prepare your pupils for this important driving skill.
Read more: DIA
Three quarters of drivers refuse to use leftmost lane on smart motorways over concerns about there being no hard shoulder, poll reveals
Three quarters of drivers say they avoid using the leftmost lane on smart motorways without hard shoulders, which potentially nullifies the claimed biggest advantage they offer over traditional motorways.
Two types of smart motorways can operate without a hard shoulder: all-lane running motorways don’t have one at all while dynamic hard shoulder versions turn the emergency lane into a live lane when there is heavy congestion. Their overall aim is to improve traffic flow and reduce journey times, especially on busy routes.
However, a survey of 2,000 drivers found that 73 per cent steer clear of the left-hand lane at all times when there is no hard shoulder available, with the most common reason being concerns that another vehicle has broken down ahead.
The results of the study highlight that smart motorways are likely failing to cut journey times if motorists are refusing to make use of the entire carriageway.
The poll was conducted by Kwik Fit this year and found that the majority of motorists don’t use the left-most lane for ‘precautionary measures’.
This ultimately impacts congestions levels, with motorists not feeling comfortable using every lane available to them.
When motorists were last polled 2,000 on the subject in 2019, 56 per cent said they avoided the leftmost lane on smart motorways, suggesting that recent reports of deaths – and the risk they pose if you breakdown in a live lane – have had an impact on driver attitude towards them.
Read more: This Is Money