Increase in Road Deaths

Increase in Road Deaths

Stay Safe!

New data from the Department for Transport (DfT), shows there has been a sharp rise in the number of road deaths in Britain.

However, these statistics are more in line with the figures that were released in 2019 – before the covid-19 pandemic, so it could just be the world returning to the office after years of working from home.

The Highway Code was changed in January to try to make the road safer for vulnerable road users. Sadly this hasn’t translated to a drop in road fatalities. Is it possible that the changes weren’t communicated very well to everyone.

Road Statistics

Sadly the number of motorists killed on the roads this year was 354, 44 more than last year. pedestrian deaths were also up by 15 to 376, and e-scooter deaths were up 2 to 12. Cyclists were the only people bucking this trend, with 26 fewer fatalities than the previous year. Sadly more cyclists were seriously injured than last year, so there isn’t really anything to be celebrated here. The rates are still down on 2019 levels, so it depends whether you’re measuring against the last year or pre-pandemic levels, but any road deaths are a tragedy.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “We welcome a continued decrease in road casualties compared with 2019 levels, and work tirelessly to improve road safety for all, including through our Think! campaign, updating the Highway Code to protect the most vulnerable road users, and recent funding of £47.5 million towards improving the 27 most dangerous roads in England through the Safer Roads Fund.”

As the young are more at risk of having a serious accident we feel instead of being gloomy about these figures we should be motivated to do everything we can. Learners need to be taught to drive safely, to obey speed limits and be made aware of road safety. If we can create good drivers for tomorrow we can help to avoid road traffic accidents.

If you want to learn to drive there’s no need to be nervous, we’ll teach you to drive safely!

 

Environment or road safety?

Environment or road safety?

No Mow May

Banish your lawnmower to the shed this May and take part in No Mow May. Watch beautiful flowers come into bloom and help pollinators such as bees, butterflies and beetles.
With two Bank Holidays in the UK this May, the traditional sound of lawnmowers buzzing is fading away as more gardeners prefer the sound of silence, in support of No Mow May.

Since the 1930s, nearly 7.5 million acres of flower-rich meadows and pastures have been lost. This has a cascade effect on our wildlife, with fewer pollinators and fewer insect-eating birds.
However, you can help – by doing nothing! Take a break from your regular lawn mowing schedule, and help your local wildlife at the same time.

What is No Mow May?

Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity, started the No Mow May campaign in 2019 to encourage garden owners to put their mower away during May and let wildflowers grow. In the UK we have lost 97 per cent of British wildflower meadows since the 1930s, which has removed a vital source of food for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
No Mow May is a national campaign to encourage people not to mow their lawns until the end of May in order to boost the flowers, and nectar, available to pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies and moths. This is a great idea in gardens and parks!

Road Verges

It was then suggested that local councils did the same on the road sides, verges & more.

We love to see wildflowers in the grass verges, but it has to be properly managed. If you spend a lot of time on the road you might find that long grass on verges can block lines of sight. If you can’t see properly at junctions and roundabouts it could cause accidents, and it will make it harder for less experienced drivers and learners. Where do you stand on this debate? Would you rather see wildflowers and long grass verges? Or do you find it’s having a bad impact on road safety? 

Retaking your driving test? Pass next time!

Retaking your driving test? Pass next time!

Pass With Us!

We aim to get our learners through their practical driving test first time, but sometimes we all make mistakes. If you’ve just failed your driving test don’t worry! It can make you feel like you will never pass, but you will get through it and pass with a bit of extra practice and support. The first thing to do is not give up! You’re allowed to book your next test 10 working days away from your last test (this generally works out to 2 weeks unless it’s over Christmas or Easter). As there is always great demand for driving tests you may have to wait a bit longer for your re-test.

Positive Change

So what should you do to make this new test turn out better than your last? It will help to identify what made you fail last time. Don’t beat yourself up about your mistakes, but identifying the reason for your failure will help you to avoid making the same mistake again.

Was it a problem with one of your manoeuvres? Maybe you just struggled to park, this can be easily rectified. You should ask for more practice at the manoeuvres that you find difficult, so the next time you face them in your test you’ll be able to do it without problems. Knowing you’ve got this well practiced will increase your confidence and help with the rest of the test.

Confidence

The problem could just be your driving confidence, so you need to ask for more general driving practice. If you have a parent or friend that will let you practice in their car this could be a good way to get enough practice to make you more confident next time. Maybe your problem isn’t the driving at all, it could be that you’re nervous and struggle with all exams. In this case more driving practice is still helpful, but you also need to find ways to cope with exam stress. This could be breathing techniques to keep you calm, or practicing taking the test so you have a chance to think through every part of it. Sometimes knowing that you’ve done it well before will help to keep you calm. If you feel it’s your nerves stopping you from passing talk to your driving instructor, as well as other people in your life such as your teachers, family and friends. Everyone will want to help you to overcome this hurdle, and they might have useful techniques to help. You might find a lot of people you know also struggle to pass tests, and you’re not alone. At Always Pass we’re experts in driving, and also in supporting people to learn to be great drivers and pass their test.

Retaking your driving test
Retaking your driving test
Retaking your driving test

Let Us Help

If you feel you’re ready to try again, or maybe you’d like to try a new approach, get in touch and find out how we can help you pass your test.

De-ice your car

De-ice your car

Winter Weather

Despite the winter bringing snow and ice to our shores every year we still get caught out by the winter weather. I know I’m probably guilty of hoping that this winter won’t be too cold, maybe we’re all just ignoring the approach of the winter in the hope that it all goes away! Sadly this never works, and the weather this week has bought plenty of snow and ice. If you’re a driver you’ll have to de-ice your car before you set off to work in the morning. This could be something new for you – if your parents have been giving you a lift until now they’ve probably had to warm the car up before setting off. So what’s the best way to de-ice your car so it’s safe and ready to go quickly?

Most people these days know you shouldn’t pour hot (or even boiling!) water on their windscreens. You don’t need a cracked windscreen, and the shock of hot water is very likely to crack the glass. The water will freeze on the road or driveway, so you’re just causing a problem for another day, even if your windscreen survived. There are lots of ‘life hacks’ on the internet about rubbing all sorts of things (including a potato) on the inside of the windscreen to stop it from steaming up. We wouldn’t recommend adding anything to the glass, as it could obscure your view, and cause you trouble when you’re driving.

De-ice your car
De-ice your car

De-ice

The best way of getting rid of ice on the outside of the windscreen is turn the car on, and the heater on full, ensuring the heat is directed to the screen. Turn the air-con on as well, this will help to keep the inside of the car dry. Make sure the windscreen wipers are turned off before you have cleared the ice away, as it’ll damage the blades of the wipers. You then need to use a scraper and/or liquid de-icer to completely clear the outside of the windscreen and the other windows and mirrors.

Using the air-con and heaters should also help to clear the inside of the windscreen. Something else that can help is to keep the humidity levels down in your car. You can get car dehumidifiers, these will absorb some of the moisture in the car to avoid some of the fog that collects on the windscreen. If you find you have a problem with the inside of your windscreen just use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the glass to make sure it’s clear and you can see properly before you set off. I know de-icing the car isn’t anyone’s favourite job, but if you’re a new driver you can think how much better it is in your nice warm car than having to walk!

Learn with us!

Do you want to learn to drive? No more cold bus journeys! We’d love to teach you, just get in touch and we can arrange some lessons for you.

Speed Cameras

Speed Cameras

Watch Your Speed

Did you know that just because a speed camera is installed it might not actually be turned on? Dash cam manufacturer Road Angel has commissioned research into the UK’s speed cameras. The findings are very surprising, the number of cameras that are operational depends on the region you’re in. Dyfed-Powys in Wales, and Suffolk and the West Midlands in England had the highest number of working speed cameras, most (at least 95%) of their cameras worked. At the other end of the scale is Leicestershire, there they had 78% of cameras inactive, with only 4 actually working. You can take a look at all of their findings here.

This, of course is no excuse for speeding. We don’t watch our speed just because we might get a fine. You are more likely to have an accident if you’re going too fast, and if you do hit a cyclist or pedestrian small increases in speed can lead to life changing injuries or fatalities. This is a great reason to learn good practices when you’re learning to drive.

Learn Safely

Most learners will recognise that we need to use the appropriate speed for the road and conditions. For a learner to pass their theory test they will have learnt what a speed limit sign looks like (that is limit not the speed you have to travel at!) Learners also need to know stopping distances, and these eloquently show the faster you’re travelling the longer distance it will take you to stop.

You have to wonder why the speed cameras are there if they’re not turned on. Some people think they will slow traffic down, as drivers don’t know if it’s turned off. This probably works if the camera is very visible, and if it’s slowing the traffic, then it’s doing a good job. Other drivers might feel that if a camera has been out of action for a long time it should be removed. They could be a distraction when driving, and as we should be aware of our speed at all times any unwanted distractions should be removed. Whichever side of the debate you’re on, we’re all better drivers if we’re aware of our speed.

Get in Touch

If you’d like to learn to drive safely get in touch. We’re experienced driving instructors, and will help you to become a great driver.

Show Me Tell Me

Show Me Tell Me

Driving Test

If you passed your driving test before 2017 you won’t have had to pass the ‘Show me tell me’ questions. These were introduced after the theory test in 1996, as a more practical part of driving theory. You have to be able to answer one ‘tell me’ question at the start of your test. This question is asking how you’d carry out a safety task before you start driving. The ‘show me’ question is asked during the test, and you will be asked to show how you’d carry out a safety task.

Whilst you may think these questions are not very important, as you’ll only get one driving fault (a minor) if you get them both wrong, you could fail the test if your driving is dangerous while you answer the show me question. These questions are less of an academic exercise and more designed to help you to deal with driving in the real world. Anything that keeps you safer has to be a good thing, It’s easy to get ready for this part of the driving test, as the questions that will be asked are part of a list published by the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency,  Let’s take a look at the tell me questions, we will tackle the show me questions in our next article.

‘Tell Me’ Questions

Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

Well it’s obvious why they might want to know that new drivers can check their brakes. No-one wants cars on the road that don’t have working brakes! That’s dangerous for everyone, not just drivers…So how do you answer the question? (and more importantly how do you stay safe?!) You should test your brakes as you set off. They shouldn’t feel spongy or slack. When you’re driving slowly brake and the car shouldn’t pull to one side when under braking.

Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.

Tyre pressures can affect braking and fuel economy, so it is important for new drivers to understand how to check them. This is a simple and important part of owning a car.

To answer the question correctly you’d find the information in the manufactures guide. To check use a reliable pressure gauge to check the tyres when they’re cold. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre, and refit all of the valve caps.

Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.

It is important to have well-adjusted head rests, as if you had a bump it would help to protect your neck from serious injury. This one is nice and easy to answer, it should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head rest is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the head to be comfortable. Some cars don’t have adjustable head restraints.

brakes
tyres
head rests

Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.

We all have to take care of our tyres, they’re one of the parts of your car that will need replacing every so often. It’s good to learn when you need to get new tyres.

The answer to this one is there should be no visible cuts or bulges on the tyre. You need 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.

Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

A nice simple question to answer! As it’s a tell me question you’re not expected to get out of the car, just explain you’d turn the lights on (you may need to turn the ignition on) and walk around the car to check the lights are on.

Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

If you hadn’t heard the answer for this one it might be tricky, but actually the answer is quite simple. You will see a warning light on the dashboard if there’s a fault with the anti-lock braking system.

Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

This one is just like how you’d check the headlights, again not such a tricky question to answer. You just need to explain how to turn the indicators on and walk around to check the lights are working.

Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.

This might seem trickier than the other lights to check, as you can’t leave them on and walk around to check, but the answer is actually quite simple. If you have a friend with you, just ask them to check the lights whilst you operate the brake pedal. If you’re on your own you can still check your brake lights. Just park with the rear of the car opposite a window or door that has a reflective surface. You can then see the reflection of the brake lights to check they work.

Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

Unless you’ve ever driven an older car that doesn’t have power steering you won’t realise how much difference the power steering makes!

If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, 2 simple checks can be made.

Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog lights and explain when you’d use them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

You need to show where the fog lights switch is in your car, and operate the switch. Don’t forget to use front and rear fog lights. Fog lights should only be used in fog, which is when visiblity is less than 100 metres (328 feet) which is roughly the length of a football pitch. When you exit the fog you must remember to turn them off again.

Tell me questions
Tell me questions

Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.

You need to show where the headlights switch is, the picture shows full beam and dipped lights. If your main beam is on you should have a light on your dashboard. It’s important that you know the difference, as your main beam lights will shine a lot further down the road, and might blind oncoming traffic. Dipped lights should be used around town, full beam is for very rural areas without street lighting. If you see another car coming  you must dip your lights to avoid blinding them.

Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.

For this one you’ll need to open the bonnet (make sure you know how to do this in your car). Tell the examiner how you’d check the oil. The dipstick to check the oil can be found by unscrewing the oil filler cap, this usually has a picture of an oil can on it (and is sometimes yellow). You would need to explain how to remove the dipstick, clean it by wiping on a rag then dip fully into the oil and remove. The level of oil should be between the max and min markers on the dipstick.

Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.

It’s important to have had a look under the bonnet before you get to the tell me questions, so you can identify where the coolant would go. In most cars it’s clearly marked coolant. You would need to explain it should be filled to between the high and low level markers. This should be filled with coolant, or anti freeze not water.

Tell me questions

Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

For this question you need to open the bonnet and show where the brake fluid goes, this is identified by this picture. Explain you need to check that the level is between the high and low markings.

That’s the whole list of questions! You’ll only be asked one of them, it only takes a little preparation and you will be able to face them with confidence. We always fully prepare our learners for their driving test, we love it when people pass first time!

If you’d like to learn with us, we’d love to teach you. Just get in touch with the form below.