Maintaining a safe gap between you and the car ahead is clearly important, but how do we judge it?
At speeds generally above 40 MPH pick a marker well ahead, such as a road sign. When the vehicle ahead passes the marker count to 2 (remember to start at zero NOT one, or you will be too close). If you reach the marker before you count to 2 you are too close. This should be a minimum distance in the dry, be aware that the car in front only has to ease off the gas and you will be inside of 2 seconds. Double the distance in the wet.
What's the risk here?
If you zoom in on this photo you will see a triangular warning sign stating that the main road which we are on goes sharp left. However, it would be easy not to see the sign and follow the road ahead which means we would be crossing the path of vehicles coming from the left which could result in a nasty accident.
Look out for warning signs and take heed of what they say.
Where the road surface drops away so you can't see all the tarmac in front of you is know as "Dead Ground" or "Hidden Dips". The risk is there is someone or something in the dip that you can't see so you don't know what you are driving into. Don't even consider overtaking until you can see all the road. Know what's behind you in case you need to stop and adjust your speed as necessary.
Should I Use Sun Cream When Driving
Lytes Driving School ask, “Should I use sun cream when driving?” We know we ought to protect ourselves from the sun when out and about, but does the car provide adequate protection?Research shows that more skin problems and cancers occur on the face and arms on the right side of the driver (the other side in countries who think its correct to drive on the wrong side of the road). Also, more advanced ageing occurs on that side. This effect builds up over time.UV rays are graded as to wavelength. UVC is blocked by the atmosphere and is very damaging. UVA and UVB both do damage in different ways.Some car windows do have a degree of UV protection built in, but how much?I guess they vary and this is probably a technical field on its own. However, as regular road users we need some basic advice.It seems that windscreens provide more protection than the side windows because they are laminated. This means they have a sheet of plastic sandwiched in the glass. Plastic is dramatically affected by UV so protection is built in. The side windows are not always laminated so may not have this protection built in. Therefore, your car is not necessarily protecting you.However, this protection is not primarily there for our good health but to shield the laminate from sun damage and will not usually block out all harmful rays. The manual of your car or the manufacturer will be able to guide you further. So to answer our question “Should I use sun cream when driving” The answer is a big YES.
Our advice is 1 Use a sun cream of at least factor 30. 2 Wear long sleeves. 3 Keep the windows up. 4 Wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection 5 Wear a hat.
Driving from Bright sun into Shade
It's great when the weather is warm and sunny but it brings with it signficant risks when driving. The bright sun can make visability poor due to heat haze and reflections. We have all witnessed the "mirage of water" on the road. In the desert it might fool you into thinking that a cool drink is nearby. However, when driving, it restricts your view of the road ahead.
The sun reflecting on your dashboard can mean that you just see a reflection of the dashboard on the inside of your windscreen and not the road ahead. This can be a "Wee Bit" dangerous, I'm sure you agree.
Driving from bright sunshine into the shadow created by overhanging trees can be like driving into an un-lit tunnel not knowing what is in front of you. For all you know there could be a herd of Wilderbeast grazing ahead. OK, that's unlikely but you get the point.
Recognised the risk, adjust your speed accordingly and be prepared to stop.
One important aspect of becoming a good driver is to recognised when others coming towards you will have a poor view. For example, you may be emerging from the "Tunnel of Trees" and see someone coming towards you. You could anticipate that they may have a poor view of you. Or you may have the sun behind you, meaning they are looking directly into the sun.
Learners Allowed on Motorways
Driving on Gravel
When driving on gravel your abs (anti-lock braking system) could actually make your car take longer to stop.
This is because without abs if the brakes lock up it will build up a wedge of gravel in front of the tyre, this acts as a ramp and will help stop the car. However, with abs fitted the system won't allow the wheels to lock, so no wedge of gravel is built up. The abs will just cut in and chatter away, but the car may continue to move forwards.
Changes to the MOT test May 2018
So, you have passed your driving test, congratulations. Although, you no longer have to pay for driving lessons you now have the pleasure of funding a car instead and the bad news is it's not free.
When a car is 3 years old, and every year after, it has to have an MOT test.
If your car passes happy days. However, if it fails you have to have it repaired (Boo) at your expense.
Your car is tested for safety and roadworthyness (if that's a word), the test takes about an hour.
The test officially costs about £50 but many test centres charge less, so shop around.
You can take your car in 1 month before it's due date. Before you take your car check the lights, horn, wipers, tyres and setbelts.
Or, if you are rich get your Chauffeur to take it for you.
Driving in Fog
Lytes Driving School-Driving in Fog
When driving in fog visibility is dramatically reduced. Always use your dipped headlights.
The Highway Code states you should use fog lights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally below 100 metres.
Be careful if your car is equipped with automatic headlights. In daytime fog it is not usually dark enough to trigger the auto lights.
Make use of your Sat Nav to show upcoming bends.
Travel at a speed that you can stop the car in the distance you can see to be clear.
At junctions open your window, you may hear cars before you see them.
Turn your foglights off when conditions improve.
It's not much fun sitting in traffic getting a faceful of fog lights.
If you look in your mirror when stationary in town and think "the man behind has a really red face" then turn your fog lights off!
Driving in the Rain
Driving in rain. Driving in the rain brings many hazards, lack of grip, poor vision and car steaming up are just a few. Ensure your wipers are in good condition. Worn or split wipers can actually make visability worse. Check your tyres for suitable tread. The minimum amount of tread is 1.6 mm in the centre three quarters of the tyre. However, most tyres are well beyond their best by then. The road can be very greasy after long dry periods. Make sure your car is not steamed up. Use your air conditioning. This acts as an air dryer and will prevent the car from misting up. Make sure your screenwash is topped up. When the rain stops larger vehicles still spray a lot of dirty water which can obliterate your view. Use dipped headlights.
There is no doubt that driving in winter can be challenging and potentially hazardous. However, with a little preparation you can reduce the risks dramatically. We hope you will find some of the advice below of help.
The Highway Codes states that you must defrost and demist all windows before setting off. Clearing just a brick sized view hole in the windscreen is dangerous (I’m sure we have all seen someone do it).
A word of caution, If you leave your vehicle running and un-attended whilst demisting and it is stolen, your insurance company may not pay out as it may not be considered reasonable care of the vehicle.
Ensure you vehicles engine anti-freeze is up to the job. It needs changing periodically. Your local garage can easily test its effectiveness.
Ensure that you have sufficient high quality screen-wash in your washer bottle. You need to ensure this is capable of not freezing until -15 degrees Centigrade or below. The pipes that deliver the screen-wash to the nozzles are very thin and the screen-wash can easily freeze inside rendering the facility useless. I only use a concentrated screen-wash not the ready mixed type. That way I can control the mixture strength. In summer I may only have a 20% mix but in winter I may go up to 100%. Obviously follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the screen-wash and your vehicle.
Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained.
Consider buying winter tyres. Standard tyres are far less effective in low temperatures. Winter tyres are designed to work in temperatures below about +8 degrees Centigrade. Yes it’s more expense but it’s cheaper than an accident.
Make sure that the windscreen wipers are switched off before turning the ignition on. If the wipers are stuck to the screen the load could cause the fuse to blow or damage the linkage.
Check that all lights are working, clean and clear of snow.
Only ever use cold or tepid water to defrost the windscreen. Hot water may cause thermal shock and crack the screen.
Consider carrying a winter kit. Extra clothes in case of breakdown, a torch, shovel, towrope, sunglasses, mobile phone and 12v mobile phone charger, and maybe some old carpet or car mats to put under the wheels if you get stuck. Take out vehicle breakdown cover. Take a drink and a snack.
Listen to weather forecasts and try to make your journey before the bad weather sets in if possible. In slippery conditions consider using 2nd gear to move away as it may afford greater traction.
Change up to a higher gear but keep the revs and your speed down. Remember stopping distances can be up to 10 times longer on ice (much longer if downhill)
Switching off the vehicles traction control allows the wheels to spin. This sometimes helps moving away as the friction can melt the ice. But remember to switch it back on again as soon as you have moved away.
Keep your speed down.
Fresh snow offers more grip than compacted snow or ice.
Read your vehicle’s manual and understand how its Anti-lock Braking System works (ABS). ABS is NOT there to reduce braking distance. Its purpose is to stop the wheels from locking up so that you can still steer. You cannot switch ABS off.
Plan well ahead and operate all the controls gently and smoothly.
Should the car skid ease off the gas pedal and steer towards the skid.
If you ever get the chance practice skid control in a quiet car park.