Our Blog

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Congratulations to Lesley Upham

The Institute of Advanced Motorists' (IAM) recently appointed Commercial Director Lesley Upham has won a top automotive award at a well-respected motor industry ceremony at the weekend.

The 19th Annual Bodyshop Event and Awards 2015 (BE2015) took place at the Celtic Manor Hotel in Newport; and featured a day of exhibits, seminars and networking concluded by the glittering black-tie awards dinner.

BE2015 is recognised as the most established independent awards programme, recognising the ambassadors of the automotive accident repair industry.

On presenting the Lifetime Achievement award to Lesley, the judging panel stated: "This special award goes to an individual whose name is recognised throughout the industry for all the right reasons.

"They have been a major driving force in directing, influencing and shaping the increasing professionalism of the industry for a number of years and have played a key role in raising standards throughout. A new challenge now lies ahead for this individual but in our sector, this person's effect has been profound."

Lesley joined the IAM, the UK's biggest independent road safety charity in July. She previously held roles with Thatcham Research.

Lesley is responsible for the IAM's commercial subsidiaries; IAM Drive & Survive, Professional Driver Services (PDS) and IAM Driver Retraining Academy (DRA).

Sarah Sillars, IAM Chief Executive Officer, added: "We'd like to congratulate Lesley on the award, which is thoroughly deserved and marks many years of dedicated service to the industry."

Friday, 25 September 2015

North or south? Blundering worker writes 'Nouth' on road in Stafford

North or south? Blundering worker writes 'Nouth' on road in Stafford
It was a bad spell on the roads for drivers in Stafford town centre hoping to join the M6 north on Thursday.

Drivers were left scratching their heads after a contractor having an off-day painted a road sign directing traffic to the 'M6 Nouth' instead of 'North'.

The error, appearing next to a direction for the M6 South, was made by a utility worker employed by Severn Trent Water following the end of a work programme in the town.

Jonathan Smith, a spokesman for Severn Trent Water, said: "The sign was painted in haste on Tuesday.

"Obviously we're not proud of it. The guys were under a lot of pressure to get it done quickly."

The mistake is now being corrected by the contractor

Thursday, 24 September 2015

IAM calls for strict targets to reverse increasing fatalities

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has called for a raft of measures to reverse the disappointing increase in numbers of people killed and injured on UK roads as announced today by the government.

The Department of Transport's Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2014 Annual Report says there were 1,775 reported road deaths in 2014, an increase of 4% compared with 2013.

It added the number of people seriously injured in reported road traffic accidents increased by 5% to 22,807 in 2014.
A total of 194,477 people were killed or injured in reported road accidents in 2014, the first increase in overall casualties since 1997.

And the most common factor which contributed to accidents in 2014 was drivers failing to look properly.

The IAM is especially concerned that pedestrians accounted for three-quarters of the increase in fatalities between 2013 and 2014. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 12 per cent from 398 in 2013 to 446 in 2014 (all statistics: reference 1)

The IAM urges the government to take radical steps to reverse these worrying figures before they become a long-term epidemic, in particular that pedestrian protection must be made a much higher priority, and the decline in numbers of police traffic officers must be reversed at the earliest opportunity.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: "These figures are very worrying, especially the fact that driver behaviour remains the top cause of crashes.

"We are clear on what needs to be done here. We call again for road safety targets to be reintroduced – they are an internationally recognised way of ensuring reductions are measured and achieved.

"There also must be a greater focus on driver and rider quality and incentives for companies and individuals to continuously develop their skills. 

"There also needs to be a focus on tackling pedestrian deaths, an area which is often ignored. We believe that car technology and design should now shift from occupant protection to protecting the vulnerable outside cars."

Neil suggested manufacturers should pursue developments like pop-up bonnets, pedestrian airbags and detector systems. 

He added: "We also need better pedestrian facilities to segregate traffic and vulnerable users where speeds are high, and campaigns to educate pedestrians themselves as they are most often at fault in crashes."

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A future recruit??

Congratulations to 'new dad' Guy Pettit, one of our National Observers, 
from us all at the KGAM seen here holding Samuel Edward Pettit born
6lbs 10ozs on Wednesday 16th September at 4.21am.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Avoid tunnel vision with the IAM

This week's tips from the IAM's head of driving standards, Peter Rodger are about how motorists can drive through a tunnel in the safest way. Whatever the length of the tunnel, you need to be aware that road conditions can be very different – here's what you can do to stay safe.
  • Always pre-plan your journey, know which route you will be taking and fill up the car with fuel beforehand – you don't want to face the risk of running out of fuel in a tunnel.
  • If you know there are roadworks, try and avoid them by taking a longer route if you can. Keep up-to-date with the latest traffic news so you avoid getting stuck in a tunnel.
  • Take off your sunglasses when you're travelling through a tunnel – they hinder your eyesight in dim lighting conditions.
  • Use dipped headlights to help improve your vision, but never use the full beam as this will dazzle other motorists.
  • Never speed through a tunnel as you cannot predict where there will be a sudden bend. Keep to the given speed limit and slow down if you can't see clearly.
  • Avoid tailgating – leaving plenty of room between yourself and the car in front of you at all times. 
  • Do not change lanes unless instructed to do so – keep an eye out for traffic signs that tell you which lane you need to get into and stay in that lane. If you're travelling through a two-way tunnel, keep to the nearside kerb.
  • If stationary in a tunnel for any length of time, turn off your engine. The ventilation system usually relies on traffic movement to vent toxic fumes from the tunnel. Keep windows closed during this time if possible.
  • If you breakdown in a tunnel, switch on your hazard lights immediately and try to coast to a breakdown lay-by or the nearside kerb. Make sure you evacuate the vehicle and wait on the pedestrian walkway. By this point you should be wearing a high-visibility jacket and will have called your breakdown recovery provider.
  • If you are advised to vacate your vehicle and the tunnel, follow signs along the tunnel wall which show you which way you should walk to the nearest exit, provided your safety is not at any risk.
  • When using an emergency exit inside a tunnel be careful how you exit through the doors. Some emergency exists open onto the active carriageway of the opposite tunnel bore which may mean you walk out into the path of fast-moving traffic.

Peter said: "Drivers and passengers must be aware that road conditions can be very different in a tunnel. They can be more slippery, and bends harder to judge. Drivers must allow for this, and if they do there is nothing to fear."

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Well done Andrew Coley

Congratulations go to Andrew Coley for passing his advanced test pictured
below with his proud parents.  Well done Andrew!!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Congratulations to Michael Walkey who last weekend was presented with his 'Skill for Life F1rst' pass certificate from our Chairman Linda Davies.  
Michael explained how he enjoyed the course and video presentations during our lectures each month. He also said how he enjoyed some of the talks we have during our members social evenings - going on to say how funny and entertaining examiner Lestor Parson is but also with a serious message hidden within his humour.  

Once again congratulations to Michael Walkey from all of us at the Kent Group of Advanced Motorists.

If you wish to join Michael and many others and become an Advanced Motorists visit our website.   

Monday, 7 September 2015

Elvis's 1972 Cadillac for sale

It's not every day you have the opportunity to purchase a piece of a star's past. But the hefty wagon once owned by the King of Rock 'n' Roll himself is now parked up on a forecourt awaiting a new owner.

We all remember Presley's infamous quote – "Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine" – and truer words have never been spoken. In his lifetime, Presley was also known as the King of Cadillac when, by 1977, the then 42-year-old singer had purchased more than 100 models.

Presley's impressive collection included his iconic pink Fleetwood and the infamous gold El Darado, which inspired Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. However, Presley's favourite car was a little more modest.
Nearing the end of his life, Presley's wheels of choice belonged to this 1972 Cadillac DeVille Longroof, which was custom made to the rock star's taste. If you hadn't noticed, this wagon sits on 24k gold wheels.
Only two examples were ever made by Caddy, with its twin belonging to Dean Martin. Sadly, Martin's is now lost in history, leaving Presley's model to inherit the 'one of a kind' status.

This particular car was modified to ferry the star's friends around, not forgetting his luggage, and he drove it cross-country from Las Vegas to his Graceland mansion in 1977. Little did he know that would be the last road trip he would embark upon.

Since his death, the Caddy has been stored at the Elvis Presley Museum (which the car is still titled to). But now, the Longroof can be found in the parking lot of its original home in Southern California, and is listed on Hemmings for $1,500,000 (£98,2736).

Long live the King!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Superbike star Jenny backs IAM free sessions

The Institute of Advanced Motorists' (IAM) campaign to encourage bikers to take advantage of free one hour advanced riding assessments have won the backing of none other than Honda British Superbike star Jenny Tinmouth.

The offer entitles any UK riding licence holder to a free one hour advanced riding taster session with an IAM expert, who will give an informal insight into advanced riding techniques as well as pointers on the rider's strengths and weaknesses.

The free tasters (normally worth £45) must be booked by the end of September, and can be easily done by visiting the IAM's special web page: www.iam.org.uk/bikemoments

Jenny has broken many boundaries for women in reaching the British Superbike Championship with Honda Racing.

She is the current female Isle of Man TT lap record holder, and was the first female to enter and qualify to race in the British 125GP championship, the British Supersport and Supersport Cup Championships and the British Championship. Many of her achievements have won her Guinness world records.

Jenny said of the IAM's free assessment campaign: "Improving your riding skills will not only make you a safer rider, but also help you enjoy the experience of riding much more. The IAM is offering this opportunity for free if you book by the end of September; it's a great opportunity and you can only gain by taking it up."

In addition the IAM has also created a special Facebook web page, where riders can talk about their favourite #BikeMoments and share riding tips. Each week the IAM will be giving away unique prizes including autographed Honda Racing memorabilia and tickets to Motorcycle Live at the NEC in Birmingham which runs from 28 November to 6 December. The page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/IAM.BikeMoments

Last week 1992 Formula 1 World Champion and IAM President Nigel Mansell CBE gave an endorsement to the IAM's equivalent free assessment programme for car drivers, saying: "Everyone can benefit from advice on how to drive better. The IAM is offering an amazing free opportunity to give every driver out there a chance to be a safer, more efficient motorist.

"Each and every one of us has a responsibility to look out for each other on the roads."

A free driving assessment can be booked by visiting http://www.iam.org.uk/lovedriving

Back to school driving tips

This week the IAM's head of driving standards, Peter Rodger is offering advice to parents who will be driving their children back to school across England and Wales. Here's how drivers can ensure their children and themselves stay extra safe on our busy roads. 

•    Make sure your children's school bags and lunches are prepared in advance so you are not leaving in a hurry in the morning. Being rushed will only reduce your concentration at the wheel and will make you drive erratically. A little preparation can go a long way.

•    Never stop on the zig-zags by the school gate; it's dangerous and you may be given a penalty notice. Once parked in a safe place ensure you let your passengers out on the pavement side.

•    Be prepared for children trying to get out the car in a rush especially when approaching the school gate. Use the child lock feature and ensure they are wearing their seatbelts so they are secure for the length of the journey.

•    Try to arrange for a car pool with other parents. The fewer vehicles around the school gate the better.

•    Roads surrounding schools are sometimes 20mph so it is essential that you keep to the limit and keep an eye out for children crossing the road and emerging from between parked vehicles as they may not be paying attention.

•    New starters attending reception class are unlikely to understand the dangers of the road. Bear this in mind when driving nearby and keep your eyes peeled for children wandering into the road alone. If you're dropping off young children, always get out of the car and walk them to the front gate.

•    Do keep in mind many youngsters in the autumn are walking to school for the first time, especially those going to secondary school. So don't assume because the children are older they will be more aware of what's going on around them. The casualty figures show us this age group is the most likely to be involved in an accident and this time of year is the most likely for it to happen, so take extra care.

•    Keep in mind that the key time for youngsters going to and coming back from school are from 7.30am and from 3pm. Be aware that bus stops around housing estates will most likely be busy with youngsters getting off and getting on coaches and buses.

•    If your children are walking to school you should still make them aware of potential hazards on the road. Make sure they look both ways before crossing and encourage them to use a pedestrian crossing if there is one.

Peter said:  "Road safety is often the last thing on the minds of parents and children on a busy school morning. But this is the busiest time of the day on our roads – and chances of an accident occurring are much greater. Make sure you teach your children the lessons of road safety when the pressure is off, and they are likely to remember them when it counts."