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November 2019

Nine ways to avoid Autumnal road hazards

Drivers are being offered advice on how to avoid the dangers low sun, rain showers and sudden fog can bring to UK roads this autumn
The motoring experts at have revealed their top tips for coping with autumnal hazards on the roads.
From carrying a pair of sunglasses to stocking up on de-icer, advice for driving in weather conditions including low sun, rain, chilly mornings and sudden fog have all been covered. 
They’ve also looked at other potential hazards, like driving in the dark and avoiding animals which are more active in autumn.
Tim Alcock from said; “A change in seasons always means a change in driving conditions and we should always prepare ourselves for the chilly, wet weather and the dangers these bring on the roads.

 “We’ve put together advice for the different hazards, but the most important thing motorists need to remember is to slow down and leave plenty of room between them and the car in front.
“It’s also important to make sure your vehicle is in top condition too. Checking the wiper blades, bulbs and anti-freeze regularly is a must.”
Here are tips for driving in autumnal conditions.
1. Dazzle
Low sun can cause a problem at this time of year making it difficult to see.  Make sure you carry a pair of sunglasses in the car, use the sun visors and keep the windscreen clean. A grimy windscreen can make the glare worse. If you are being dazzled, slow down.
2. Wet weather
A quick shower can be just as dangerous on the roads as a heavy downpour, especially if it’s been dry for a while. Rainwater mixing with the oil, dirt and grime on the roads can make then slick and slippery. Slow down and make sure you have enough stopping distance should you need to break suddenly.
3. Driving in the dark
Being ready for night time driving is essential. Check the bulbs in your headlights and taillights and when you’re on the road, slow down and keep an eye out for pedestrians.
4. Wet leaves
A patch of wet leaves can be just as dangerous as a big puddle. Reduce your speed before driving onto them, and remember, they may be hiding a pot hole or other road hazard.
5. Check your wiper blades
After a summer of sunshine, it’s time to check your wiper blades. If they squeak as they wipe, then it’s probably worth replacing them.
6. Chilly mornings
The onset of autumn and winter means a dip in temperatures. Make sure your anti-freeze has been checked and you have everything you need to scrape the windscreen.
7. Icy roads
More of a problem during winter months, but some autumnal mornings can be icy. Try not to break suddenly or take corners too quickly. Be gentle with your acceleration and manoeuvres.
8. Fog
Fog can be a sudden hazard and it’s best to avoid driving if it’s too heavy. If you are caught out by quick falling fog, keep your speed low, use dipped lights and fog lights rather than full beamed lights and allow plenty of room for the car in front.
9. Animals
Deer are most active during the autumn months, October in particular, and are known to dart out into the road. If you see a deer, slow down and continue as usual. 

“These figures are staggering” – drug driving convictions quadruple in less than 2 years

The number of motorists convicted for driving under the influence of drugs has increased fourfold since 2017

DVLA figures show around 20,000 motorists have been convicted after using substances in the last 12 months. That’s around 60 people per working day of the year. The figure was 17 people every working day in 2017. The police caught 40 teenagers aged between 15 and 16 driving under the influence of drugs, while the oldest driver banned was a 74-year-old woman.
The most common age for disqualification is 25 and most offenders are men. There were 18,175 men banned from January 2018 to March 2019, compared with 1,440 women.
West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said: “These figures are staggering. The reality is drug driving is a hidden epidemic. A lot of people think they can get away with it because so few police are on the roads and the likelihood of being stopped is really low. What we need is tougher enforcement.”
The recently published statistics reflect an 
increase in enforcement and may include those motorists convicted for driving under the influence of prescription drugs.
A spokesman for road safety charity Brake said: “These shocking figures reveal just how prevalent drug driving is on our roads. It is vital that both the law and our enforcement ability is effective in catching, punishing and deterring this dangerous behaviour.

“The Government must prioritise the type-approval of roadside screening devices that can detect all banned drugs and step up roads policing levels to deter offending.
“We also need to see the law used to its fullest extent with tougher penalties handed out, making clear that drug driving will not be tolerated.”
Driving under the influence of drugs carries a one-year minimum ban, unlimited fine and up to six months in prison. The details appear on your licence for 11 years.
Currently, if police suspect a motorist of driving under the influence of drugs they can carry out a ‘field impairment assessment’ and use a roadside kit that screens for cannabis and cocaine.[SC1]
It’s illegal to drive in Scotland, England and Wales with legal drugs in your body if it impairs your driving.
Ask your doctor whether you should drive if you’ve been prescribed any of the following:

  • amphetamine, for example dexamphetamine or selegiline
  • clonazepam
  • diazepam
  • flunitrazepam
  • lorazepam
  • methadone
  • morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, for example codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
  • oxazepam
  • temazepam
Failing to inform the DVLA of a medical condition and a prescription that can affect your driving can see you fined as much as £1000.
Find more news from the
RAC here

Government to ‘tighten up’ mobile phone laws

The Government has confirmed it will close a legal loophole which has allowed drivers who use mobile phones to film or take photographs to escape prosecution

Published on November 1, 2019

At present, the law prevents drivers from using a hand-held mobile phone to call or text.
However, people caught filming or taking photos while driving have escaped punishment as lawyers have successfully argued this activity does not fit into the ‘interactive communication’ currently outlawed by the legislation.
On 1 November, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced he will 
urgently take forward a review to tighten up the existing law, with further proposals expected to be in place by next spring.
The revised legislation will mean any driver caught texting, taking photos, browsing the internet or scrolling through a playlist while behind the wheel will be prosecuted.
It has been announced in response to a Transport Committee report, 
published in August, which called on the Government to consider tougher restrictions on driving while using a mobile phone, as well as stricter enforcement of the law.
The report also recommended the Government explores options for extending the ban on hand-held devices to hands-free phones.

While the Government acknowledges the risks associated with the use of hands-free mobile phones while driving, it says there are no plans to introduce a ban.
Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said: “We recognise that staying in touch with the world while travelling is an essential part of modern day life but we are also committed to making our roads safe.
“Drivers who use a hand-held mobile phone are hindering their ability to spot hazards and react in time – putting people’s lives at risk.
“We welcome the Transport Select Committee’s report, and share their drive to make our roads even safer which is why this review will look to tighten up the existing law to bring it into the 21st century, preventing reckless driving and reduce accidents on our roads.”
Tightening the offence ‘only as powerful as the level of enforcement’ Road safety stakeholders have welcomed the Government announcement, but have stressed the importance of enforcement.
Nick Lloyd, head of road safety at RoSPA said: “Drivers who use their phones are up to four times more likely to crash.

“RoSPA highlighted this loophole in the summer and is delighted that such prompt action is being taken to ensure that all hand-held mobile phone use is to be prohibited, making our roads safer for all.
“This action comes alongside further measures to tackle phone use while driving, including a review of road traffic policing and wider traffic enforcement to look at how roads policing currently works, its effectiveness, and where improvements could be made.”
Simon Williams, RAC road safety spokesperson, said: “
We welcome the Government’s decision to review the offence with a view to closing the existing loophole.
“It seems very wrong that prosecutions can currently only be made if drivers are using a handheld phone for the purposes of communication when there are so many other ways of using a smartphone, such as taking pictures, filming or selecting music, which put the lives of other road users at risk.
“It should also be said that tightening the offence, along with increasing the penalty two years ago, is only as powerful as the level of enforcement.
“In the absence of technology being used to catch offenders, the decline in the number of roads police officers means there is a much lesser chance of being caught in person today than there was 10 years ago.”
For more news and information from Road Safety GB, please visit them