If there’s one thing on the road that all drivers are happy to make room for, it’s an emergency vehicle. But many of Britain’s motorists are unaware that by clearing the road for the blue flashing lights and wailing siren of an ambulance, fire engine or police car, they could be breaking the law.
From bus lane penalties to yellow box junction fines, there are plenty of mistakes that drivers may make when being passed by an emergency vehicle. The Highway Code (rule 219) says: “Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs.”
To help keep everyone on the right side of the law, we’ve flagged up the five most common mishaps.
Five fails when letting an emergency vehicle pass
The number of drivers banned from the road for dangerous driving rocketed last year. Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) figures show that 5179 drivers lost their licence for driving dangerously in 2016. The figure was up by nearly a third (29 per cent) compared with the year before.
The stats show that young adults between the ages of 26 and 35 are the most likely to be disqualified. The Highway Code states: “In the case of serious offences, such as dangerous driving and drink-driving, the court must order disqualification.” The ban is for 12 months. Drivers can also be slapped with an endorsement on their licence of between three and 11 points. But how long will those points stay there after their ban is over? Here’s all you need to know.
How long are points valid?
It might not just be bent metal at the scene of a road crash
Either having or witnessing a road crash is most people’s worst nightmare. But as bystanders there is plenty we can do if we’re involved in, or come across, a road crash. According to the Red Cross, around half the deaths from road accidents occur before the emergency services arrive. But the vast majority of those fatalities could be prevented if first aid is administered in that time.
Carry a first aid kit
Road safety experts urge drivers to carry a first aid kit. And although these can be vital in an emergency, they’re also pretty handy to have in the car, just in case of the unexpected. After all, you never know when your child is going to fall over and scrape their knee or you’re going cut your finger changing a wheel. Continue reading
It’s one of the few books that never leaves the bestseller list, but ever since the Highway Code was first published, in 1931, few readers would admit to finding it a gripping page-turner.
However, the Highway Code has contributed to saving thousands of lives over the years. When launched, there were just 2.3 million cars on Britain’s roads, yet more than 7000 people were killed in road accidents each year. Today, there are more than 27 million cars on UK roads, but there are fewer than 2000 fatalities.
The driving standards book originally had just 24 pages of guidelines, with a single paragraph on how pedestrians should cross a road. Today, a whole chapter is dedicated to educating both pedestrians and drivers on safely reaching the other side of the road.
It also goes on to cover areas of digital technology, such as smartphones, which increasingly fight for a driver’s attention when they’re at the wheel.
To see how well you know the latest rules and regulations of the road, take this snapshot quiz and test your knowledge of the Highway Code. Continue reading
Our proud nation produces more than its fair share of proud drivers: car owners who like to think they’re handy behind the wheel and know it all when it comes to the rules of the road. But how many of us really know the true meaning of the huge number of British road signs that we have to identify to stay safe?
After all, it may be decades since you took your driving test, and years since you last looked at the Highway Code.
So why not step up to the challenge and try identifying these 10 common British road signs?
Snow can make for the most hazardous driving conditions (Picture © Renault)
Driving in snow presents car owners with one of their biggest challenges at the wheel. And with an arctic blast prompting forecasters to predict snow for the rest of the week, and some reports suggesting we’ve got a month of icy weather to look forward to, it’s time to be prepared for driving on slippery surfaces.
Research by tyre maker Goodyear showed that less than half of drivers, 48 per cent, ready their car for freezing conditions. Here are some simple steps to prepare for and then actually drive in snow. Continue reading
Fog can cause drivers big problems. (Picture © IAM)
Being on the road in the winter can mean driving in fog which is responsible for some of the most treacherous conditions car owners face. Hardly surprising that it’s believed a large number of crashes every year are caused by poor visibility. In 2013, 60 drivers were injured (35 of them hospitalised) when 130 vehicles were involved in a series of accidents in heavy fog on the Sheppey Crossing in Kent. Here’s all you need to know about driving in fog and the steps you can take to avoid something similar happening to you. Continue reading