Nov 15

Driving in Fog

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Winter is here and it brings with it long nights, snow, wind and perhaps worse of all – fog. Of all the challenges winter can present to the driver, fog is perhaps the most unnerving. However there are steps you can take to make driving in fog safer and less unnerving for you and other road users this winter.

Clean your Windscreen

The weather conditions that create fog are also the exact conditions that cause your windows to mist up. If you haven’t cleaned your windows since the summer, the moisture will cling to the dirt making your windows increasingly susceptible to clouding up. Keeping your windows clean will help prevent this from happening.

Use your Lights

In misty and foggy conditions you should always use dipped headlights. You should avoid using full beam in foggy conditions as the bright light reflecting off the fog actually obscures your view. You should only use your fog lamps when visibility drops to below 100 metres but don’t forget to turn them off again when visibility improves.

Top up your Windscreen Washer

Fog can create the ideal conditions to make dirt and other grim stick to your windscreen. You should ensure that your car is topped up with windscreen washer fluid so that you can rinse off any debris from the road surface or other passing vehicles, as the last thing you want is to discover you have no means of cleaning your windows when out on the road in fog. Set your wipers to an intermittent setting to keep up visibility levels. You should never use your windscreen wash in freezing fog as the water will turn to ice instantly, further blocking your view.

Be vigilant

It may seem obvious, but in fog it pays to be extra vigilant of other road users. Not only can you not rely on other drivers to use their lights correctly but you should also pay extra attention for pedestrians and cyclist. You should reduce your speed in built up areas to give yourself more time to spot and react to other road users.

Be patient

A steady flow of traffic can help disperse fog on the road, so if you are following a line of cars resist the urge to overtake in an effort to get to the front. In all likelihood the car at the front of the queue will have a thicker wall of fog to deal with when compared to those following further behind and so will need to reduce its speed.

Keep Your Speed Consistent

Keeping to a consistent speed will enable you to slow down and brake in time to avoid hazards. If the vehicle behind is a little too close for comfort you should make sure you are able to slow down or stop in a reasonable manner. Avoid any sudden change in speed will make sure the driver behind you has enough time to react and avoid running into your rear. Fog can also be very patchy, with different levels of thickness. You should only increase your speed again when you are completely sure that the fog has cleared.

Nov 15

Fuel Prices to be Displayed on Motorway

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With many road users keeping an keen eye on the price at different forecourts in order to find the cheapest deal, if there is one topic that is bound to get drivers talking it is fuel prices. However, one place you are unlikely to find cheap fuel is at a motorway service station and while many drivers resent having to pay inflated prices for fuel during long motorway trips – the truth is that many are left with little option as they watch the fuel dial move ever closer to the red.

Motorway Sign Trial

However, this might be about to change as from next year motorway drivers will be able to identify the cheapest place to fill up their tanks – thanks to a trial involving new signs which display petrol prices at motorway service stations.

The electronic roadside signs will inform drivers about the price of petrol as they approach service stations. It is hoped that this will save drivers money by encouraging petrol stations to cut their prices. The signs will initially be trailed on a section of the M5 motorway between Bristol and Exeter and could be rolled out nationwide if they prove to be a success.

This initial trial will run for 18 months from the beginning of next year and will involve Highways England monitoring the impact the signs have on fuel prices and if there are any safety issues, such as drivers avoiding filling up and running out of fuel.

Mike Wilson, chief engineer for Highways England said, “We want road users to be more informed and in better control of their journeys. This means they’ll be better prepared, more inclined to plan breaks and have a positive driving experience.”

However, he went on to warn, “It’s still very important for motorists to properly plan their journeys and ensure they have sufficient fuel. Running out of fuel on motorways can be hazardous to yourself and other drivers.”

Anger at Petrol Prices

The trial comes amid anger from motorist following a claim by the RAC that motorway service stations where holding drivers to ransom by charging up to 16p per litre more for fuel than other petrol stations just a few miles away.

The study conducted by Experian Capital, showed that average prices on motorways in Britain were 8p above the national average for petrol and 10p higher for diesel. At the services on the M4 at Reading, BP was charging 16p more for a litre of petrol and 13p more for a litre of diesel when compared to an Esso petrol station in nearby Shinfield.

It is calculated that an extra 15p per litre adds around £8 to the cost of a full tank of an average family car. Roads minister Andrew Jones said that the trial showed that the government “is on the side of the honest motorists who have raised concerns for too long about petrol prices at motorway service stations”.

While the trial is clearly good news for motorist, we will have to wait and see what impact this actually has at the pump.

Nov 15

Are there “Targets” For Driving Test Pass Rates?

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We hear a lot about learner drivers being more likely to pass their practical test depending on where they live, and even what gender they are. But it now seems that even more is being done to manipulate the number of people who pass their driving test. And it’s all down to the computer.

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Nov 15

VW Scandal: Be Careful What You Buy!

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There can’t be a driver on the planet that hasn’t noticed there is something very wrong with Volkswagen at the moment. The ‘Emissions Scandal’ is said to have affected nearly 11 million cars around the world so far. So we thought it was time to give you the facts and make sure you are fully aware of what to do next.

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