As storm Doris approaches Britain, bringing snow and strong winds approaching 80mph, drivers face disruption and additional hazards on the roads. At the time of writing, the Met Office had issued an amber, weather warning for northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, which means people should prepare for the storm conditions, and a yellow warning for other parts of the UK.
This means there are likely to be 80mph gusts of winds, waves of up to 60ft impacting coastal areas, possible damage to trees and structures, interruption of power supplies and disruption to travel.
Such severe weather makes for challenging driving conditions, but short of staying at home, lighting a fire and pouring a cuppa, what practical steps can drivers take to stay safe when they need to get from A to B in strong winds?
If the verge is frosty it’s quite likely the road will be icy too
Icy roads probably aren’t something we think about much. Yet for many of us driving on ice is a regular occurrence during the coldest months of the year. If you have to scrape the ice off your car in the morning, or even perhaps when you leave work in the late afternoon, there may be ice on the road. We explain how to figure out whether the road is likely to be icy and how to drive if it is.
A new Driving Emotion Test has been designed by psychologists to enable drivers to find out how likely they are to get wound up in their car. Using technology that monitored people’s facial reactions, where their eyes were looking, and their heart rate, 1000 drivers were tested. The researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London fed the data into a computer using specially created software.
The result gave each participant an individual score and the results revealed that women drivers tend to get angrier than men. If you dispute this, you can have a go using a version of the Driving Emotion Test on a special website set up by car company Hyundai which commissioned the research.
What did the Driving Emotion Test find?
The tests included drivers being undertaken, honked at, shouted at and having to deal with back-seat drivers or people who failed to indicate. The results showed that women were 12 per cent more likely to react angrily than men. Men, meanwhile, are more comfortable opening up if they’re in a car. Just fewer than a third of men (29 per cent) said they find it easier to have a conversation in a car. And 14 per cent even claim that they drive better if they’re having a chat.
Joe Swash is the first to admit he would benefit from a new driver course. The popular actor and television presenter may have taken the Scenic Route round Scotland but he only passed his driving test in July 2015. And the 34-year old Londoner says he would benefit from further lessons at the wheel.
So for Joe and the thousands of other newly qualified drivers, what courses are available if they want to brush up on their skills at the wheel and clock up more experience under professional guidance?
It’s not just an issue for those drivers who have recently passed their test. Anyone who’s been driving for some time can feel rusty and require a confidence boost in certain situations. If that sounds familiar, the good news is there are all sorts of driving courses across Britain that will put you on the right road. Here are four worth investigating:
Courses for newly qualified drivers: Pass Plus, any driving instructor
Getting points on your licence for offences such as speeding can prove costly
If you have points on your driving licence you could be paying a premium that’s almost double what it would cost you without any points. The most recent government figures show that of the UK’s 46,113,543 licence holders, 2,346,367 have penalty points on their driving licence. And a new survey has revealed that Britain’s drivers are paying £132 million more than they need to in insurance premiums because of those penalty points. Continue reading →