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.

Drink Driving

Figures revealed show that deaths and serious injuries from accidents that have involved drink driving have risen for the first time in a decade. There were 280 fatalities last year compared with 250 in 2010 while serious injuries rose to 1290 from 1250.

The rise in drink drive casualties follows a drop in 2010, when drink drive fatalities were at their lowest in thirty years. The Institute of Advanced Motorists’ chief executive Simon Best said “any rise in drink drive casualties is worrying, with 15% of all road fatalities involving a drink driver there is clearly more to be done to reduce casualties. The problem is many crashes occur the morning after, there needs to be more education on the effects of driving after drinking. A heavy night drinking could leave you over the limit the morning after. The message to all drivers is don’t drink and drive.”

The road safety charity, BRAKE, said “we are calling on the government to take decisive action on this major killer, including a zero tolerance drink drive limit, to send out a clear message that it’s none for the road, and greater priority given to traffic policing, so we have more police carrying out life-saving enforcement.” There is a concern with a zero tolerance limit as a limit of zero alcohol in the blood sounds good, but if you eat any food that ferments, small amounts of alcohol will be found in the blood, so the limit cannot be literally zero.

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs carries an average sentence of 4.35 years. Fines for drink driving are lower in real terms than they were ten years ago. In 2001 the average fine for drink driving was £203, the average £240 fine in 2011 was equivalent to just £178 in 2001 prices which is a 12.3% decrease.

by Geraldine Ashton Green,