Become A Safer Driver Course. Unit 5: On the road

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1 Become A Safer Driver Course Unit 5: On the road 1

2 Unit 5: On the road We are going to consider speed awareness, hazard perception and your rights as a passenger in a car. We will also be considering the importance of something which many drivers will not have even thought about since they learned to drive; the highway code. Speed awareness It will come as no surprise that many crashes and injuries are caused by inappropriate or excessive speed. Remember that speed limits indicate the maximum speed for a road and that traffic density, weather conditions and the vehicle you are driving all need to be taken into account; possibly requiring a lower speed. For example did you know that your braking distance can double in the wet, but be up to 10 times longer when the roads are icy? Excessive speed considerably increases your driving risk and you may be surprised how little time is saved on a journey by increasing your speed. The few minutes you may save are often no justification for the additional risk to yourself and others on the road but also consider the unnecessary wear and tear on the vehicle, the additional fuel consumption and the stress to both drivers and passengers. Reflect & discuss What are the things that make you want to put your foot down? Have you, or anyone you know, been on a speed awareness course? Has this change your/their perspectives on speeding? Weather effect Everyone knows that driving in winter is more difficult than any other season. It inevitably means driving in the dark, and bad weather such as heavy wind & rain, snow, ice, and fog. This can be rather stressful for most drivers, but this can be helped if you follow a few simple rules before setting out on your journey. Poor road conditions mean that traveling may be rather slow going, and can lead to a build-up in traffic. No one likes being late, so by leaving ten minutes early, you should be avoiding a whole lot of stress. 2 Become a Safer Driver Course Unit 5: On the road

3 Once temperatures drop below 7oc (45of) the performance of the rubber compound on standard all weather tyres reduces; whereas the softer compound of winter tyres will continue to perform well at lower temperatures. If you do a lot of winter miles then you might consider buying a full set of winter tyres. The number one cause of breakdowns is caused by a faulty battery. Driving in winter means you often have the lights, heater, windscreen wipers and the radio all on at once. This will quickly run down the battery, so it s important that you have your battery checked to make sure it ll see you through until the spring. Hazard perception The ability to identify a real or potential hazard in plenty of time to react to the situation is an essential driving skill and even the most experienced driver can make a conscious effort to continue developing and honing their skill level. New drivers have to take a written theory test as well as a computerised hazard perception test. Reflect & discuss Have you ever been driven by a colleague and felt uncomfortable/nervous/ scared? What caused this their speed, aggression, inattention, use of mobile phone, etc? What could/should you do if you find yourself in this situation in the future? Highway code Most drivers study the highway code when learning to drive in order to pass their driving test and for many that is the last time they will look at the code. The contents are in fact regularly updated as new regulations come into force and other information and advice may be changed. For example are you up to date with the regulations governing the carriage of children in a car? Even if you do not have young children of your own you may wish to carry other peoples youngsters in your car and putting children in the wrong seats or inappropriate restraints may result in a fine even worse you may be putting the children at risk in the event of a collision. Another example could be the newer toucan, puffin and equestrian crossings. Do you know the difference in light sequence compared with the more traditional pelican crossing? 3 Become a Safer Driver Course Unit 5: On the road

4 Have a go! There are four road signs below, all taken from the current highway code, can you jot down in the boxes what you think each of them means? (Answers below) Highway Code Description Remember that ignorance of the law is no defence. In checks carried out at motorway service areas many drivers struggled to correctly identify common road signs let alone new regulations. If this has raised some questions in your mind there is an online version of the Highway Code which you can access at: Alternatively you could buy a current copy of the code and keep it in your car. 4 Become a Safer Driver Course Unit 5: On the road

5 Passenger rights Finally, most of us have at some time felt uncomfortable as a passenger in a car or other vehicle due to way it is being driven. It seems to have become a taboo to challenge the driver s behaviour even though they may be putting us at risk; most people seem to accept this situation and say or do nothing. You should never be in a position where you do not feel that you can legitimately ask the driver to do things differently to make you feel more comfortable. Traffic signs quiz - answers Highway Code Description [ANSWER: Traffic Merging from the left ahead] [ANSWER: Level crossing with barrier or gate ahead] [ANSWER: National speed limit applies] [ANSWER: Minimum speed] 5 Become a Safer Driver Course Unit 5: On the road

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