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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Driving Tips from the IAM

This week's tips from the IAM's director of standards, Mark Lewis, are looking at how you can safely drive around crowded shopping areas this Christmas. Keep up-to-date with our latest advice to ensure your journey is as safe as possible. 

• Keep an eye out for pedestrians who will be leaving Christmas parties and shopping centres in the dark. Remember, they may be distracted or drunk so make sure that your dipped headlights are switched on and that you are prepared to slow down if necessary.
• If you're the designated driver dropping friends back home, make a note of their address details before they have a drink – or you may risk agreeing to take them home when they are not sober enough to tell you where they need to go!
• When driving with other people, make sure their behaviour doesn't distract you. Stay focussed on the road ahead and make sure all passengers have their seatbelts fastened.
• You are more likely to feel tired when travelling in the dark and for a long period of time. Make sure you are prepared for this by drinking some coffee or drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and alert.
• The more people in your car, the quicker the windows will mist up. Make sure you understand how to demist your car internally to help dry out the air and keep visibility clear. 

Mark said: "As the designated driver don't feel tempted to consume any alcohol – one drink can be too much. Enjoy the run up to Christmas, but make sure you make it a safe one for yourself, your passengers and all other road users. So long as you reflect these tips in your driving, you can make the festive season a merry one."

Monday, 7 December 2015

Weekend Test Passes

Congratulations to David Cooke, Amy Hatton, Adam Brett and Alfred Hambly who were presented with their Skill for Life pass certificates over the weekend by our Chairman Linda Davis. Adam shared with our new associates how relaxed the examiners are and not to fear them in the test saying "the examiner was really nice and made me feel relaxed"

Congratulations from all of us at the Kent Group of Advanced Motorists. 

Also over the weekend observers David Cobham and Neil Lakeland received pass certificates for passing their National Observers test. All our observers go through re-training every few years to keep up the standard of advanced motoring and observer skills. Both Neil and David have opted to become National Observers. Neil explained that re-testing and being part of the observer team keeps his skills fresh and relevant and recommends becoming an observer after passing the Advanced Motoring course. 

Congratulations to Neil and David for passing their National Observers test. 

If you wish to take up the challenge and become an Advanced Motorists why not check out our website here for further details

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Don't let winter car preps give you the chills

With the weather turning colder the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is offering its best advice to making sure the cold weather doesn't catch you unaware.

Here the IAM's director of standards Mark Lewis shares his wisdom with you.

•    Ensure your lights are working and keep a spare set of bulbs handy in the car

•    Check your washer bottle is filled with screenwash and that your windscreen wiper blades are working properly; they should not leave lines or smear the screen

•    Ensure all fluids are at the correct level and have them checked by a mechanic if you are unsure

•    Check the condition of your tyres regularly – the legal minimum for car tyre tread is 1.6 mm but you should consider replacing them before that for safety

•    Always carry a winter driving kit including an ice scraper, de-icer, blanket, torch, shovel, and a fully charged mobile phone.

Mark Lewis said: "Thinking ahead is the key to winter preparation. Driving in winter brings its unique challenges, leaving earlier to allow more time for ice on both the road and your car means you won't be rushing in adverse conditions and will have more time to enjoy the drive."

Is the Driving Test fit for purpose?

Half of experienced drivers would fail their driving test if they were asked to take it again – if the results of an experiment by Auto Express and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) are anything to go by.

The industry-leading magazine and website (autoexpress.co.uk) magazine joined forces with the Britain's biggest independent road safety charity in an exercise to see if the UK's driving test, which marks its 80th anniversary this year, still meets its objective in allowing only the most competent drivers onto the road.

The IAM found 12 experienced drivers who were prepared to undertake a mini-driving test again and discover if they would pass their test if they had to take it in today's conditions.

Going by the criteria of the IAM's qualified assessors on the day, just 50% (six of the 12 who took part) would pass if they took it again today.

Auto Express revealed that 46 million people have taken their driving test since it was introduced in 1935. Back at the start the pass rate was 63% - today it has fallen to just 47%.

At the same time as the pass rate falling, the volume of vehicles has risen sharply over the years – currently there are 35 million cars registered for use on UK roads.

Failing to use mirrors enough, overspeeding and underuse of signals were typical of bad habits picked up by the IAM's volunteers on the day of the experiment.

Of the 12 volunteers, seven had undergone advanced driver training with the IAM. Of those, six passed the mini test. And of the five who had had no advanced tuition, just one passed.

Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of Auto Express, said: "Driving standards has always been a hot topic and the result of our tests shows that too many people just aren't as good at driving as they think they are.

"Although technology is making driving safer than ever, the attitude and ability of the person behind the wheel is the most important element. We always encourage people to take pride in their driving and take additional training if necessary."

Added Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer: "The results of our joint experiment were very interesting. It shows that keeping your skills topped up and knowledge of the Highway Code current is crucial in making safer drivers and riders.

"Road skills cannot be allowed to lapse. Keeping your skills current through advanced tuition and other proven methods can only be a benefit to everyone who uses our roads."

The online version of Auto Express' feature can be read here: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/first-cars/93439/would-you-pass-your-driving-test-now