Can you see where you are going??

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone.
Rule 92

Vision. You MUST be able to read a vehicle number plate, in good daylight, from a distance of 20 metres (or 20.5 metres where the old style number plate is used).

If you need to wear glasses (or contact lenses) to do this, youMUST wear them at all times while driving.

The police have the power to require a driver to undertake an eyesight test.


The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales. It’s essential reading for everyone. Here’s a reminder about breakdowns.
Rule 274
If your vehicle breaks down, think first of all other road users and:

• get your vehicle off the road if possible

• warn other traffic by using your hazard warning lights if your vehicle is causing an obstruction.

• help other road users see you by wearing light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in daylight and reflective clothing at night or in poor visibility.

• put a warning triangle on the road at least 45 metres (147 feet) behind your broken-down vehicle on the same side of the road, or use other permitted warning devices if you have them. Always take great care when placing or retrieving them, but never use them on motorways.

• if possible, keep your sidelights on if it is dark or visibility is poor.

• do not stand (or let anybody else stand) between your vehicle and oncoming traffic.

• at night or in poor visibility do not stand where you will prevent other road users seeing your lights.

STAY SAFE. It’s a jungle out there.

Even cyclists have rules

Rules for cyclists
The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales. It’s essential reading for everyone. Here’s a reminder about rules for cyclists.
You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.

Rule 64

If you like Top Gear…….

Last Wednesday on BBC2 at 9 pm was a great programme which I would recommend anybody with or without a licence should watch. The programme is called How Safe Are Britain’s Roads.  It was brilliantly well presented and not at all patronising. There were many statistics regarding crashes on the road and where these collisions took place. Interestingly they are mainly on the urban roads and at speeds of less than 20 mph.

There are also very interesting demonstrations on Electronic Stability Control and also some crazy thing that stops the car before you hit a pedestrian! Totally well worth a watch so try and catch it on I-Player before it disappears.

This Wednesday, BBC2 are showing the second part to this programme which is focussed at the driver. They will explore the danger surrounding the use of mobile phones whilst driving and they will also be testing a vehicle that drives itself. I wonder what a driving examiner would make of that!

I hope many of you will watch these programmes and enjoy them as much as I did. If you like Top Gear you will like these.

Wet leaves!

Hello everybody. This is the time of year when train travellers get frustrated by delays on the networks caused by wet leaves. Every year the leaves fall from the trees and every year it’s as if it’s a surprise to the railway bosses. Road users face problems too.

Driving in Sevenoaks you will now be coming across these same leaves. They are extremely slippery and seem to gather in the most awkward places. Apart from gathering at the side of the road they also like to do sneaky stuff like laying right across the road at a junction. This is particularly true when driving on the lanes in villages such as Ightham, Kemsing, Otford, Shoreham etc. Be extra cautious approaching a T-junction where there are leaves about.

Stopping quickly on wet leaves simply does not happen; it’s like stopping on ice. Apart from realising the effects it has on your ability to stop safely, it is vital that you consider how difficult it is for others. It’s hard enough for those with 4 wheels but for those with 2 wheels it can very dangerous indeed. So, please be sure to be aware of the changing road surfaces and give the 2-wheelers a bit of extra room.

Autumn leaves on the trees are absolutely stunning but when they fall they are treacherous so take care out there.


Look after your valuables

Most weeks, the local newspaper, The Chronicle (Sevenoaks, Malling etc) reports theft from vehicles. Read this article below and take steps now to look after your stuff. There is something I would add which is the advice given; if you use a sucker to stick your satnav to the window, take the time to rub away any circular marks left behind and take the satnav with you.

The British Crime Survey has revealed, by category, the top ten items stolen from vehicles. The most commonly targeted in England and Wales is ‘Exterior Fittings’, according to this Home Office Victim Study. This includes items such as windscreen wiper blades, badges, and trim. As such, the estimated figure for 2010/11 suggests this category was favoured during 41% of break-ins. This represents a 5% increase compared to the confirmed figures of 2007/08 – the first comparable period. That brings us to position two… ‘Valuables’. This includes items such as jewellery, cash, and clothing as targeted by 15% of villains in 2010/11. That is consistent with 2007/08. However, the figure for ‘Electrical Equipment’ – which finishes third and includes computers/sat-navs – increased by 1%, from 12% to 13%.

The ‘Car Radio’ category sits in position four. The percentage of crime relating to this halved, to 8%, between 2007/08 and 2010/11. Why? Because new stereos tend to be fully integrated and therefore of limited value on the black market. However, crime relating to ‘Other Vehicle Parts’ increased from 6% to 8%. That places it fifth overall. The ‘Tools’ category sits in position six, at 6%, which is consistent with 2007/08. However, the ‘CD/ Tape/Video/DVD’ category has been targeted less in recent years, falling from 9% to 5%. That places it seventh, which indicates that the online world is overtaking traditional media. The ‘Glasses/Sunglasses/Spectacles’ category finishes in position eight, with an increase from 2% to 3%. ‘Mobile Phones’ were targeted during 3% of motor break-ins in 2010/11 1% less than 2007/08. Position ten is ‘Wheels’ at 2%, rather than its previous 1%.

Fortunately, motorists can minimise the risk of becoming victims. Step one is to park in properly lit areas monitored by CCTV. Step two is to hide everything from view – even small items of limited value. This is tedious but worthwhile. Step three… cross your fingers.


1. Exterior fittings Included wiper blades / badges / trim
2. Valuables Jewellery / cash / handbags / briefcase / purse / wallet / Cheque book /credit cards / clothing
3. Electrical Equipment Sat nav /tv / mp3 / pc / computer equipment
4. Car Radio
5. Other vehicle parts Dashboard / Seats / Steering wheel / parcel shelf
6. Tools
7. Entertainment CD / tapes / video tapes / DVDs
8. Glasses/sunglasses
9. Mobile phones
10. Wheels
By Stephen Turvil,
Thu, 04 Oct 2012

Autumn has arrived

Well, it’s the 1st October and Autumn seems to have arrived. Last week’s deluges of rain were tricky to deal with but here is some advice as we approach changing weather patterns.

Always check that your light lenses are clean allowing your lights to be seen clearly.
Regularly check that your lights are all working.
Allow time to demist your windows thoroughly before you start your journey.
Be aware that others may not have demisted sufficiently and may have limited vision.
Keep your washer bottle topped up. Spray from wet roads is dirty and you will use more water at this time of year.
Stopping distances double in wet weather so keep extra space between yourself and the vehicle in front.
Be prepared to slow down if your visibility is impaired.
Test your brakes (when it is safe to do so) after driving through a flooded road.
Remember that motorbike riders don’t have washers and wipers!
Look out for debris on the road particularly after windy weather.
Avoid braking harshly on wet leaves; it’s like braking on ice.
Pedestrians will be harder to see in poor weather owing to poor light and often because they are wearing dark, winter clothes.
The low sun at this time of year can be particularly awkward. It always seems to shine straight in your face leaving visors fairly ineffective. When the sun shines strongly on wet roads, the line markings can all but disappear; hard for you and even harder for motorcyclists.

Actually this list is almost endless. The bottom line is that driving at this time of year can be particularly dangerous so we must take even greater care of ourselves and others on the road.

Got a shiny new phone?

So you have a lovely new phone and talking or texting is easier than ever. Loads of people are seen to be  talking on their mobile or texting whilst driving so why not you too?

Well, Which magazine have done a study and the results are on a video, the link to which is below. When I am teaching driving lessons in Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Kemsing or……actually wherever I am because this problem is everywhere, I am constantly seeing people driving erratically because they are using a mobile phone. It’s extremely irritating to witness but, much more than that, it is life threatening. Don’t believe me? Watch the video and hear what the researchers who performed the tests felt about the results.

It’s seriously scary when you discover that you are far more likely to crash the car whilst using the phone than whilst driving at the legal alcohol limit.