Driving Updates

The Worlds Worst Drivers – By Country

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You are around 15 times more likely to die in a car crash in Dominican Republic than in Iceland – and the British and safer drivers than Americans.

This article looks at car crash rates around the globe.

You will be able to discover how safe (or not!) your own country is compared to the rest of the world.

The image below, from World Health Organisation shows, by country the road traffic death rate per 100,00 people…The Middle East and Africa are of major concern.

Global Car Crash Death Rates 

Death Rates By Country

Everyone Thinks THEY Have The Worst Drivers….EVER!

Ask many people in the UK, and they will often say, regardless of the actual facts – that their town, city or country is full of angry, really dangerous and rude drivers! More alarmingly I suspect these people are often the ones who find it slightly amusing, when taking their two week holiday to Turkey to be thrown around each corner by their speeding taxi or coach driver…..and all they say is

well it’s how they driver over there

I am not a psychologist. However, it fascinates me why people often focus on the negative elements of driving standards in their own town, city or country, yet when away from their familiar habitat are quite happy to “accept” and should I say find it amusing, to be put in a situation, which is probably far more dangerous than what they are used to.

I find it interesting how people make their own judgement from their own experiences, and totally ignore the reality.

Sorry I am ranting a bit! Anyway before we get into detail, you may be interested to learn what country has the most dangerous roads in the world, well here it is:

The Dominican Republic! – Just think about that when your taxi driver is racing you to your All Inclusive resort on the island, whilst you sit back and think how nice it is, being away from all those crazy drivers back home! They have 41.7 driving deaths per 100,000 people per year. Over a lifetime of 70 years this means you have a 1:480  chance of dying in a car crash!

The next ten in descending order are:

Thailand – Venezuela – Iran – Nigeria – South Africa – Iraq – Guinea-Bissau – Oman and Chad.

Many of the deaths in these countries occur on motorbikes, although there is a considerable proportion of cars included too. Many of these accidents are as a result of drink driving.

The country with the lowest death rate is Iceland. This country only has 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 people. Sweden follows closely. The next safest in descending order are Britain, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland. Denmark,

What can the most dangerous countries do?

Follow best practise from the safest probably! Seriously, by working on driver education, and driving standards will help.

Also enforcing drink and drug driving laws more stringently will further help, as will more stringent vehicle testing and checks. Most of the safest countries are wealthy, developed countries who have the money for improving standards etc.

However, although the less developed countries may not have the same funds available, they can make changes if they choose to.

 

Created by Rob Morgan

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Winter Tyres FAQs

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Lots of people are still a little unsure of winter tyres. This uncertainness stems from two possible origins:

1. The UK winters are rarely Siberian whiteouts with constant sub-zero temperatures – are winter tyres really needed when its 12 degrees and raining?

2. The UK motorist feels winter tyres could simply be a marketing drive by tyres manufacturers to increase sales.

Winter tyres are by no means a bad idea, or a waste of money – in fact they are a great addition to road safety. In an ideal world people would simply swap tyres come October and enjoy the benefits of winter tyres until the spring. However, there is one big obstacle – MONEY. Se we have created a few FAQs to help you decide if winter tyres are an investment that is right for you, and to give you a little more information to help you make an informed decision. 

FAQs – Winter Tyres

How are winter tyres different to normal tyres?

Winter tyres have a higher concentration of  natural rubber in the tyre compared to summer tyres. This means they will not harden as much in colder weather, typically below 7 degrees. Softer tyres give improved road holding and general improved grip of the road. 

What are the greatest benefit of winter tyres?

The biggest differences using winter tyres are in braking and traction, and the differences are significant.

According to Continental Tyres, they conducted a test and found that the stopping distance on snow with summer tyres was 43 metres, and on winter tyres, using same vehicle (which they did not disclose) was just 35 metres.

Can I use them in the summer?

Yes, but they will wear out quicker due to them being softer.

Is it worth putting winter tyres on an old car?

This comes down to budget – it may be hard to justify spending £500 on tyres on a car worth £800. But part of this consideration is also what price you like to put on additional safety. 

Do winter tyres make any difference in the rain?

Yes, a big difference. They will improve the braking, traction and overall grip of your car at any temperature below 5-7 degrees C – even in the dry.

What manufactures make winter tyres?

All the premium tyre manufacturers make winter tyres such as Goodyear, Yokohama, Continental, Michelin etc..Below are a few popular winter tyres produced by a few premium tyre manufacturers:

Goodyear UltraGrip 8
Yokohama Advan Winter
Michelin Alpin A4

How much do winter tyres cost?

About the same as summer tyres, depending on size, style and make.

If you have any specific questions about a certain winter tyre it is worth talking with the tyre manufacturer directly. But hopefully this article has given you a little more information about winter tyres, and if they are right for you. 

Learn more about driving in the snow

5 Essential Car Safety Checks Anyone Can Do (But Usually Don’t Bother)

Some safety related items on cars need specialist attention – such as checking thickness of a brake disc, or brake pad. However, there are lots anyone can check – knowing nothing about cars is no excuse either! Below are the top 5 safety checks anyone can do, but amazingly few actually bother!

 

1. Windscreen Wipers – It only take less than one minute to check the condition of your wiper blades. You should look for any cuts where the wiper to windscreen rubber is starting to rip. It is also a good idea to check the fitment is right and not lose or insecure in anyway. Check for smearing and clean if needed.

 

2. Windscreen Wash – Refer to your service book, but you will be able to identify the windscreen washer bottle as it will have a screen wash image on (mostly) a blue cap as show below. This is usually found to the left or right of an engine compartment. Refer to the screen wash to get the right concentration. Some screen wash is already premixed, others require water – typically a 30% wash 70% water is fine for UK weather. However, in very cold weather this should be nearer 50%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Lights – Applying all the lights and taking the time to walk around the car (including hazard warning lights) is an easy way to check their operation. For brake lights and reverse lights ask a friend to check as you operate the brake pedal/reverse light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Tyres – It does not take long to check the condition of tyres. To check if the tyres are legal you will need a tyre tread depth gauge. However, if you don’t have one that is no excuse not to check them. A visual inspection can quickly show any damage in the tyre and sidewall. Check for cuts and bulges on the side, and of course the tread itself for excessive wear. The minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm (about the thickness of a 2p coin).

5. Suspension – A quick bump test can indicate if you have worm shocks. Simply push repeatedly down hard on the side of car over each wheel 4 to 6 times. When you stop, the bouncing movement should stop almost immediately. If it continues to oscillate you may have worn shocks, which will not only reduce the cars handling ability, it will also increase braking distances and stability under braking.

5 Easy Tips How Fleets Can Save Fuel


With rising fuel prices, fleet managers across the country would love to employ highly fuel efficient, conscientious and careful drivers that are passionate about reducing company fuel bills.

This sadly does not always happen. Mainly for the following reasons:

 

1. They don’t have to pay for the fuel (most of the time!)
2. Their driving style – sometimes too “foot heavy” and not always planning!
3. Poor car maintenance (we explain more below)

Below are 5 tips (for fleet managers) to encourage fleet drivers to save fuel.

1. Select a fuel efficient vehicle – Incentivise drivers to opt for a greener car, by rewarding them either financially, or by other means, which would work well with your particular fleet.

2. Reduce Loads – Make a point of ensuring fleet drivers do not carry around heavy equipment in their car or van when they are not needed. Extra weight in a vehicle reduces economy, and can also impact on handling and stopping distances.

3. Check Tyres – Ensure all drivers check tyre pressures on a regular basis. If your fleet drivers need to perform various vehicle checks on a regular basis, ensure checking tyre pressures is one of them. Low tyre pressures not only impact on fuel economy, they also contribute to a decline in handing and braking ability of the vehicle.

4. Driver Training – Well we had to say this being a driver training business! But driver training is a great way to improve fuel economy. By focusing on more effective car control, and better observation and planning, a driver can reduce fuel costs by up to 20%. Across a large fleet, this adds up to a huge cost saving.

5. Competition Time – Many fleet drivers are in sales, salesmen and women are naturally competitive people. So why not play on this and create a “This Months Road Hero!” or similar, where all drivers average MPG is worked out on a month by month basis. You can create a league table with an annual winner being rewarded a prize.

These are just a few ideas that can help companies save money by incentivising and educating drivers. If you are interested in any of the above (especially point 4!) please get in contact with us. We will be pleased to help.

 

The Future of Fleet Driver Training

Since the introduction of various legislation (for example The 2007 Corporate Manslaughter Act) more companies have invested in fleet driver training. However, not all companies investing in such are doing so due to legislation pressure. Below is a list of other reasons why we find companies deciding to invest in training, without being “pushed” by the law:

  • Company Policy – Many companies  take a committed approach to H&S in the workplace, which includes ensuring their drivers are safe at work.
  • Reduce Costs – Many companies are drawn to driver training to help drive down costs such as fuel, insurance and repairs. Companies have seen a reduction of up to 20% by investing in the right driver training.
  • Improved Company Image – Creating the right company image is sometimes the key motivator for some companies.
  • Motivating The Workforce – Advanced driver training is a great way to motivate the workforce. Training sessions are often a great bonding experience if it’s done in small groups!

The future of fleet driver training:

It has been suggested that within the next 5 to 7 years, fleet driver training may become compulsory for all businesses that employ people who drive a company vehicle. Whether it be for employees who drive for a living, or those who have access to a company vehicle.

Being a driver training business, we would be delighted to see such legislation. However, we feel that although there will be more compliance towards occupational road risk, we doubt all drivers will need to complete driver training.

What we expect to see, is that there will be more incentives for businesses to provide driver training, and more pressure to provide training for those who do a considerable distance each year (such as company car drivers that do over 25,000 miles a year).

We also expect to see fleet driver training refresher courses to become common place. Providing driver training will no longer be a one-off task.

Finally we expect to see companies taking a more holistic view to driver training, and want to make their drivers safer as part of their continued development, without necessarily the need of government pressure.

As a conclusion we feel fleet driver training will continue to grow in popularity over the coming years, with more and more companies deciding to invest in such – and not just for the cost saving benefits, but also for the greater good of road safety.

Advanced Driving Reports

 
All our advanced driving courses come complete with a full driving report for each driver completed after the course. Not all driver training companies offer this. Some have no post course report, others have a simple tick box style report – both have their reasons for doing what they do, so we are not going to start saying otherwise!

However, we like to differentiate ourselves from other businesses in the advanced driver training market by offering a full driving report for each driver. Although it takes a little more of our tutors time we feel producing a report is essential for the following reasons:

1. It’s Proof! – Having completed  an advanced driving course is one thing, but having actual proof of having done one, and what was covered on the day is something else. Many corporate clients find this very useful when training company car drivers, as it is something that can go in to their HR file and also records their overall road risk.

2. It’s Motivating –  People like to have something tangible after receiving something non-tangible such as training. The report also places extra emphasis on all the positive elements of the training and driving, along with all the points which need further work on.

3. It’s a Benchmark – Having a written report is also a good benchmark. They can refer back to the report, and use it to remind themselves of the areas they need to work harder on.

What does our advanced driving reports cover?

We have a set format for all reports, although the tutors reporting style changes slightly depending on the nature of the training and the individual driver. Below are the key elements of the report:

1. Notes on the initial observed drive:

With our courses we allows around 30 minutes to start, for the driver to relax and to drive in a way they normally do, this is where we make notes on how they drive. This forms our platform for the training.

2. Vehicle Controls:

Covers steering, indicators and foot pedals

3. Awareness & Anticipation:

This looks at their levels of awareness and how they anticipate in a range of driving situations.

4. Attitude & Confidence:

This focuses on how they respond to different stresses in a range of driving situations.

5. Car Control & Technical Ability:

This looks at how they physically deal with driving the car, this is usually most accurately assessed when driving on demanding roads like fast B roads in rural locations.

6. Understanding of Law/Rules:

This not only looks at their knowledge of the rules and law, but also their attitude and adherence to them.

7. General Overview:

This gives the tutor the opportunity to give a final overview of the training, along with any areas for further improvement.

For an example of a full driving report, and more information about our courses please email rob@driversdomainuk.com – To learn more about our courses click here.

 

3 Tips for Safe Driving This Christmas Period

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The road safety message is particularly important during the Christmas period.

The main reasons are obvious ones such as icy weather etc, but there are also less obvious ones, such as an increased accident rate from having other things on your mind (i.e. have you really done all your Christmas shopping?), drunk drivers and also an increased number of drivers on the road making journeys to visit friends and family – often travelling long distances.

With these in mind I have created my Top 3 Safe Driving Tips for Christmas:

Tip 1: Avoid Drink Driving/ers – The message here is clear, never drink and drive. This is specially true for the morning after. It may be worth buying a breathalyser if you are not sure. A friend of mine did exactly that after a heavy night out one Christmas. He was over the drink drive limit at 3pm the following day!!

Being aware of drink drivers is also important. It’s difficult to give exact tips here – as you ever know where or when a drink driver could “strike” – quite literally.

You just need to be aware, pay specific attention at traffic lights (in a car, on a bike or on foot), be careful when cycling, and when driving keep alert to any erratic driving, and keep your distance.

If someone is tailgating you or driving in a strange way, pull over and let them past. A drunk driver has severely impaired reactions, and the last thing you want is whiplash over the Christmas period along with a damaged car.

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Tip 2: Get a Car Winter Check – It’s advisable to have at least a winter check before the cold weather sets in.

During the Christmas period the rescue services like RAC and The AA are under extra pressure with more motorists on the road, so try and be proactive and ensure your car is ready to face winter.

A winter check will look at things like lights, tyres, wipers and battery charge. A vast majority of breakdowns during the Christmas are for things which can be avoided.

RAC’s List of Most Common Breakdowns:

Source: rac.co.uk

 

Tip 3: Plan Your Trip – If you are making a journey to friends and relatives this Christmas, make sure you plan.

Specifically check the weather forecast, ensure you know your route, if not – take time to plan and allow for delays if the weather is bad.

If you have a sat nav, make sure it is working fine and is fully charged, also make sure your car’s cigarette lighter works and can charge it without any problems! This is one of the main reasons that people with sat navs often get lost!

The key to safe driving this Christmas period is very simple – plan, be aware and be prepared. If you have any specific questions do please email me at rob@driversdomainuk.com and I will be more than pleased to help you.

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Top 6 Easy Car Safety Checks

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Most people do not realise how easy basic checks on their car can be. Car checks before a long journey, or simply as a routine check should be done from time to time. With modern day cars, it is often a scary prospect to think of even lifting the bonnet.

However, regardless of how old or new your car is, below are 5 top things you can and should check yourself.

1. Tyres – This not only refers to tyre pressures that you can check at the petrol station, but also the condition.

Remember, you need at least 1.6mm of tread depth to keep inside the law. Although your tyres should be checked when you have your car serviced and of course, when MOT’d, they can run below the legal limit in-between these service periods – so you have an obligation to ensure you stay safe and legal! Checking tyres can be made simple by investing in a tyre tread depth gauge. When you check tyres, you should also look for any cuts and bulges in the tread and also the sideways – anything suspect, get a professional opinion from a mechanic.

2. Screen wash – Screen wash is not only useful in the summer, but also in the winter to help clear grime and salt. It is essential to ensure you include a screen wash solution to the water. Sometimes they are premixed, others need water adding.

You can buy screen wash from your local supermarket or Halfords and other motoring outlets. Refer to your car manual if you are unsure as to where the screen wash reservoir is on your car – or simply Google “where is the screen wash reservoir on my (add make and model here)

3. Wipers – Cheap, basic, and often forgotten about, but essential for yours and everyone else’s safety on the road.  Wipers are a major service item you can easily check. When inspecting look for any cracks, perishing and ripping of the rubber, also wipers get dirty – cleaning with vinegar can help, although if they are still smearing after cleaning, it maybe advisable to replace.

Fitting wipers can be easy, although with some cars they can be very tricky, if your car is the latter or you simply don’t want to risk taking them off, Halfords will fit your new wipers (assuming you buy them from their store!). When it comes to wipers Halfords own brand are as good as the premium, well know brands, in our opinion.

4. Lights – Although fitting new bulbs can be really fiddly (don’t worry, Halfords can fit for you!) they can be checked with minimal of ease. Ensure your car is off the public highway and first of all switch your hazard warning lights on, and walk around the vehicle to check the indicators, switch your lights on dipped and main beam, and check both by walking in front of the car.

The rear lights and reverse lights can be checked if you can reverse up to a large shop window (not always safe or practical!) in which case get a friend to stand behind the car as you brake, select reverse gear, and also check the fog light…Not at all the same time mind!

5. Oil – The lifeblood of your engine. Make sure your engine has been switched off for at last 20 minutes, is on a level surface then locate the dip stick and check the oil level. Check the level on the stick with what your car manual advises, and top up if needed. Cars can and do burn oil. High performance engines that run at a higher compression do burn oil – don’t always rely on the oil warning light either!

6. Coolant – Without coolant your engine will overheat in no time and cause catastrophic engine failure! Locate the coolant reservoir and when the engine is cool check the level – there is usually markers on the side of the reservoir. It should be no lower than MIN and no higher MAX. Refer to your car manual for the optimum level.

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Car Adverts – the 80s vs Today!

.I am in my mid-thirties now, and so naturally I reminisce about cars of the 80’s and 90’s…Cars I used to look at and think WOW…..Although I still love cars, the naivety I had back in those days simply cant be matched.

I didn’t pass my driving test until 1995 – June to be exact, and so until then I had no real concept of owning and driving my very own car. Maybe its me looking back on things with rose-tinted spectacles, but weren’t cars then (the 80’s and maybe early 90’s) so much more fun? I don’t know why I am asking this as I couldn’t drive back then as we have established.

But I am wondering if we have all become too politically correct, and has the Health and Safety culture turned fun into something a little clinical? Don’t get me wrong, Health and Safety, car safety, driver training (of course!) etc has helped saved lives – which is great.

But I cant help thinking have we lost something along the way in our quest for goodness and the eternal preservation for life – which brings me on to how cars were advertised and how they are now. 205 GTI Lets looks at a car advert of the 80’s – Left is an ad from circa 1987 for the Peugeot 205 GTI, one of the best hot hatches ever built (in my opinion the best ever built!).

The advertising tells you exactly what the car is about – FUN! Yet in doing so it explicitly denotes danger, and rebelling against convention. Would this advert be acceptable nowadays?

I very much doubt it would get past the tight rules and regulations regarding advertising, although personally I think it is a rather cool piece of advertising – as would the rest of the 205 GTI target market. 208 gti advert

Lets compare it to the advert for the Peugeot 208 GTI (left) some 26 years on. After the 206 GTI and 207 GTI failed to live up to the expectations of the 205 GTI they had to come up with something special.

Have they? I guess only time will tell. However, notice how different the advert is. No ever so slightly insulting words mocking the more conservative motorist. No imminent risk of death by crashing off the side of a cliff. However, what is interesting is the wording – GTI is back. Clearly making a direct link back to the 205 GTI.

Maybe this is Peugeots way of winning back the former GTI glory which they enjoyed with the 205, but done so in a way that lets people know what the car is all about, whilst taking into account the modern day rules and regulations surrounding what is acceptable.

Created by Rob Morgan

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Advanced Driving Course Cost

We tend to get many enquiries asking about our advanced driving course costs. Unlike other advanced driving course providers, we have two simple pricing packages, designed to be simple and cost effective for you:

2:1 Format – (£270 + vat = £135 a driver) This is where two drivers will go out with one tutor. This tends to be the most popular training format, as the employee spends less time away from his or her duties (if they opt for the one in the morning and one in the afternoon format). However, most opt for the two drivers spending the day together and take it in turns to drive.

Not only is this much cheaper, it also makes for a fun learning experience, as apart from learning when you are driving, you also learn when you take the back seat. The 2:1 format can also be ideal for drivers who may feel too pressurised in a 1:1 format, and may prefer the idea of doing the course will a friend or colleague.

1:1 Format (£250 + vat each) This works out more expensive per head than the 2:1 course for obvious reasons.This tends to be popular when there is only one driver who needs to do the training, or if they require specialist attention.

On rare occasions we can do a 3:1 format. However, this is not ideal. From our experience a driver needs more than 3 hours behind the wheel to benefit as much as possible from the training.

We pay our tutors by the day, so our advanced driving course costs vary greatly depending on the numbers.

If you wish to enquire about our driving courses please contact us