P plates (usually a white ‘P’ on a green background) are purely optional. They are intended to indicate to drivers that the driver has passed their driving test in the last couple of years. The idea of the ‘P’ plates was introduced to encourage road safely and an awareness of the needs of new drivers.
AFTER THE TEST – ‘P’ Plates
Drivers in their first 2 years of driving are more likely to be involved in a road accident than after this period.
P plates (usually a white ‘P’ on a green background) are purely optional. They are intended to indicate to drivers that the driver has passed their driving test in the last couple of years. The idea of the ‘P’ plates was introduced to encourage road safely and an awareness of the needs of new drivers. It is hoped that other drivers will allow the new driver more space on the road and be more patient when the new driver is manoeuvring.
Buying A New Car
When buying a new car there are a number of factors which merit careful consideration. The sheer volume of choice available to the UK buyer means it’s worth making sure that you go for the car that suits you best and still fits your budget
AFTER THE TEST – Buying a new car
When buying a new car there are a number of factors which merit careful consideration. The sheer volume of choice available to the UK buyer means it’s worth making sure that you go for the car that suits you best and still fits your budget.
As to the definitive choice, you may base this decision on absolute practicality. Try asking yourself a couple of simple questions like:
What kind of journeys do you typically need to make by car?
Smaller vehicles will be great for parking in town, but are likely to be less comfortable on long motorway hauls.
How many people do you need to transport regularly? A quick family headcount may suffice – why run a larger, thirstier car than you really need?
Who is to drive the car? Insuring a young driver on a high performance car may be very expensive – get an insurance quote before you write that cheque.
Which ‘Designer label’ do you want to be seen in and makes you look and feel like a million dollars?
The quickest way to carry out initial research is on the internet.
Firstly, think of the body type or types that meet your needs, e.g.: saloon, estate, etc. If you drive a very high annual mileage, you may favour a diesel engine which tends to be more economical and if you do a lot of city driving then an automatic may be a sensible option.
Price is of course a major factor, but don’t forget to haggle since a discount can sometimes bring the unaffordable within your reach. Consider resale values which are very important unless you intend to keep your car for a long time. Choosing unpopular makes and unusual colours will not help when the time comes to sell your pride and joy.
If you still think you cannot quite afford the model you really want, consider one of the many finance arrangements available. Some dealers can offer 0% finance though this will very likely negate any discount you might otherwise negotiate. Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) can also be an excellent method of financing a new car with manageable fixed monthly payments. Why not get a loan quote to explore your options.
Do your research well and arm yourself with detailed information on a shortlist of cars then you can use this as a bargaining tool with the sales staff when you actually brave the dealerships. You will often find that they don’t know the competition’s cars nearly as well as you do, so bargain hard and walk away if the deal doesn’t sound quite right.
If you have a vehicle to trade in, this may hamper you in getting the best deal possible so why not try and sell it in advance.
If you still find the idea of visiting a dealer a daunting prospect, give it a miss altogether by visiting one of the online providers which will allow you to carry out the whole transaction without leaving the comfort of your home.
Buying A Used Car
Buying a second hand car is a potential minefield. Recent surveys show that up to one in four second hand cars bought has a major problem within its first month. These problems can range from major mechanical failure to discovery of illegal sale
AFTER THE TEST – Buying a used car
Buying a second hand car is a potential minefield. Recent surveys show that up to one in four second hand cars bought has a major problem within its first month. These problems can range from major mechanical failure to discovery of illegal sale.
To help you avoid this minefield, the Driving School Register has prepared some helpful advice on buying second hand cars.
First and most important, always check the car’s log book or registration document to validate ownership, accuracy of age and mileage. Whether you’re buying from a dealer, through a private sale or at an auction, don’t rely on the MOT as evidence of a car’s condition.
You should always consider commissioning a vehicle history check from a reputable data source in order to check on previous owners, and possible insurance claims.
First impressions count! Ask yourself the following questions:
Does the car appear genuine? If you feel pressured into a buy on a car that is a good deal (on price) anyway, there could be a hidden reason for the salesman trying to move the car faster.
Does the model badge match the specification on the registration documents? Adding a plastic letter to the model badge is a cheap way of pushing up the asking price.
Are the body panels consistent and is there any evidence of repaired accident damage?
Does the colour and texture of the paintwork match all over?
Check the bodywork with a magnet to show up any dents touched up with body filler.
Check for paint bubbles and rust particularly on the sills, wheel arches, seams, door bottoms and suspension mountings. Check beneath the bonnet or under the boot for bad welds, untidy seams or any other evidence of accident repairs. Whilst you are looking for rust, look for vehicle identification marks. These are a unique code that is embossed into the metal chassis, engine and windows of the vehicle. If you can’t see them immediately, ask to be shown them. Look for signs of tampering, and check that they are the same as the identification codes in the driver’s manual and on the rest of the vehicle.
Check headlights, dashboard warning lights and other electrical equipment. Electric window and central locking repairs can be expensive. Check the obvious things, such as the hazard lights, windscreen wipers and the horn. If there is a stereo fitted make sure it is included in the sale and that it works. If the stereo is loose or can be removed check it’s wiring and fitting.
Look for oil leaks, defective or damaged hoses and drive belts. The general condition of the engine can reveal the degree of care and attention the car has received.
Check oil and coolants for low levels or any sign of contamination. If the engine is reconditioned, ask for evidence; a bill or preferably a warranty. If the engine does not have a matching identification mark, ask why. Ask for evidence; a bill or preferably a warranty for the new engine. New engines are generally only fitted as a result of excessive mileage on the vehicle or major damage to the old engine. If the mileage on the vehicle is low, ask how it came to have a new engine.
Make sure the seatbelts show no sign of damage or wear. Check for loose buckles and faulty mountings. Badly worn seats, pedals, gear stick and steering wheel can suggest high mileage more accurately than an odometer reading, especially if there is no service history available. If the mileage is low, and the driving controls are badly worn, ask if the odometer has been ‘max-clocked’ i.e., reached its maximum, then returned to zero. Ask if the mileage is correct (it is an offence to alter the mileage of a vehicle). Check door, window and sunroof seals for any sign of leaking. Damp patches in the carpet could mean a rusting floor panel.
Always take a drive that is long enough to test the car properly. Try a route involving a variety of road conditions: hills, stop-start urban driving and open roads. On the drive listen out for any odd noises that could indicate problems. Make sure you are comfortable in the car! This may seem like a simple thing, but you are going to be spending time in the car. If you can’t adjust the seat to a comfortable driving position, you are not going to enjoy your purchase. Make the most of the opportunity to test the priorities: steering, brakes and clutch. At the end, let the engine idle and check under the bonnet for oil or water leaks. Listen to the engine! It speaks volumes about the car. Whirrs, clicks, bumps and squeals all point to things that you might not be able to see when you look under the bonnet.
Check all tyres including the spare for tread depth and damage. The grooves of the tread pattern must be at least 1.6mm. Under-inflation not only shortens the life of the tyres, it can also mean higher fuel consumption, longer braking distances and a noisier ride. Check for any bulges or cuts in the tyre walls which could lead to a blow-out at speed.
Hints and Tips
Determine how much you wish to spend prior to going to buy a car – do not exceed this amount. Decide which questions you will ask prior to going to buy the car – record the answers to these questions on paper and ask the seller to sign and date the document. Ask whether the vehicle has been involved in an accident or whether it is imported. Check engine numbers/chassis numbers match the documentation provided with the vehicle. Ask to test drive the car, but ensure that appropriate insurance is obtained.
When buying a second hand car, your consumer rights vary, depending on whether you purchase your vehicle from a private individual or a dealer. As a rule, you have more rights to recompense if you purchase from a dealer, and later find the vehicle to be at fault. If you are considering a claim, consider the time involved from your purchase and conditions experienced by your vehicle. The closer to your time of purchase, the more validity you claim has.
If your vehicle was bought from a dealer, you have rights under basic consumer law. Firstly, as with all goods purchased from a merchant, you have basic consumer protection. A second-hand vehicle must match its description, be fit for its purpose and be of satisfactory quality. However, the standard for meeting the requirement that the vehicle is of satisfactory quality will be lower than that for a brand new vehicle because it is second-hand. A second-hand vehicle should be in reasonable condition and work properly. When deciding whether a second-hand vehicle is in reasonable condition it is important to consider the vehicle’s age and make, the past history of the vehicle and how much you paid for it. If a second-hand vehicle needs more extensive repairs than seemed necessary at the time it was bought, this does not necessarily mean that the vehicle is not of satisfactory quality. A second-hand vehicle can be of satisfactory quality if it is in a useable condition, even if not perfect. If you have a complaint about the vehicle, it will have to be established that the defects were present when you bought it.
Breach of Contract
In addition to the sale of the vehicle, you and the dealer may have agreed other terms and conditions, for example, that certain repairs would be done before delivery or that delivery would be by a certain date. If the dealer does not keep to these agreed terms they will have broken the contract.
Criminal Offence Committed By The Dealer
The dealer may have committed a criminal offence by giving a false description of the vehicle, or by selling an un-roadworthy vehicle unless it is made clear to you that the vehicle is only suitable for breaking up or needs major repairs. An MOT certificate does not mean that the vehicle is roadworthy. It is also an offence to sell a vehicle with an altered mileage. If you believe that the dealer has committed a criminal offence, you should report them immediately to a trading standards office, giving as much detail as possible.
You may find that your rights are enhanced if you have entered into an additional agreement such as credit or extended warranty with a 3rd party. However, these extensions of your rights do not usually cover the vehicle itself, other than indemnifying you against further payment.
Basic consumer law covering goods purchased from a merchant do not apply to private sales. The only laws which apply are those regarding description and roadworthiness. Specifically, that the vehicle is correctly described is roadworthy and that the seller has good title (this means that they are the legal owner of the vehicle).
If you can show that the vehicle did not meet its description the seller will be liable under consumer law, even if the seller believed the description to be true. It will strengthen your claim if you have written proof of the false statement, for example, an advertisement. Verbal false statements are harder to prove, unless someone else was present who can act as a witness. If the seller fails to do something they specifically agreed to, for example, that certain faults would be fixed or that the vehicle would have an MOT, they will have breached the contract.
Dealers sometimes pretend to be private sellers, by using the small ads and a private address and telephone number. It is a criminal offence to do this. If you suspect that the person who sold the vehicle was a dealer posing as a private seller, you should contact the local trading standards office who will investigate.
If the seller was a dealer it does not invalidate the purchase, but it does mean that you have the same protection under the law as if the vehicle were bought from a dealer in the normal way.
It is a legal requirement that all drivers must possess valid insurance for the vehicle they are driving that at least covers third party. Please ensure that you have adequate cover before driving
AFTER THE TEST – Insurance
It is a legal requirement that all drivers must possess valid insurance for the vehicle they are driving that at least covers third party. Please ensure that you have adequate cover before driving.
There are 3 main types of motor insurance: third party, third party with fire and theft, fully comprehensive. Third party insurance covers any damage done to anything else (i.e. not you or your car) in the event of an accident. Third party with fire and theft also covers your vehicle in case it catches fire or is stolen. Fully comprehensive includes all of the above plus cover for you and your vehicle in the event of an accident.
Whilst insurance may seem expensive, especially for young or new drivers there are a number of things you might consider to reduce the cost of your insurance.
Drive a smaller car.
Use off-street parking if possible and tell your insurers that you do so.
Fit a vehicle alarm or immobiliser.
Increase your insurance excess; this is the amount of money that you pay when making an insurance claim.
Declare your mileage, if you don’t drive often this can reduce costs.
Keep an eye on your no claims bonus and consider (there are often drawbacks) a “Bonus Accelerator” if offered by your insurer.
Motorway driving may seem daunting at first but motorways are actually some of the safest roads in the UK. As motorway driving is not part of the driving test you may feel uncomfortable with driving on the motorway, if this is the case you might consider taking further lessons with an instructor on motorway driving
AFTER THE TEST – Motorway Driving
Motorway driving may seem daunting at first but motorways are actually some of the safest roads in the UK. As motorway driving is not part of the driving test you may feel uncomfortable with driving on the motorway, if this is the case you might consider taking further lessons with an instructor on motorway driving. Here are some tips for safe motorway driving.
Ensure the car is well maintained, has sufficient fuel and oil, has correct tyre pressures and tyres are in good condition (including spare).
Plan your route in advance; never look at maps whilst driving.
Take special care when joining a motorway. You must give way to motorway traffic. Beware of the ‘blind spot’ factor.
Observe the speed limits and motorway signals. These warn of dangers ahead, for example an accident, broken down vehicle, poor weather conditions, flooding, slippery road surface etc.
Always be aware of the cars around you, be prepared for unexpected movement. Concentration and frequent use of mirrors are doubly important on motorways because of higher traffic volumes.
Use your mirrors and observe lane discipline. Always use the left hand lane where possible, the other lanes are overtaking lanes and should be used as such. Overtake only on the right unless in a queue and always indicate when changing lanes.
Take extra care when approaching intersections where traffic is joining the motorway and around roadworks.
Always ensure that there is at least two seconds between you and the car in front. Leave at least four seconds in bad weather. Take care in foggy conditions; slow down and use your lights.
Take regular breaks at service areas, but never on the hard shoulder – if you feel sleepy, get off the motorway at the first opportunity.
Pull onto the hard shoulder and put on warning lights. Leave your vehicle from a left hand door. Call for help from an emergency phone and wait on the verge.
If you break down on the motorway indicate left or use the hazard lights, manoeuvre onto the hard shoulder when safe to do so. Turn on your hazard lights to warn traffic. Lock the doors and exit the vehicle using the passenger-side door. Phone for assistance from the free emergency telephones, these are places at roughly 1 mile intervals and the direction of the nearest phone is signposted. After you have made the emergency call return to the vehicle and wait on the verge to avoid hazards from passing traffic. When leaving the hard shoulder, always increase your speed to that of passing vehicles and wait for a long safe gap in the traffic.
If you are alone in your vehicle and an unidentified vehicle pulls up, immediately get into your car and lock the passenger door. It is illegal for anyone to stop on the motorway and offer assistance. Ask anyone that stops to offer assistance to contact the appropriate emergency service, rather than assist personally.
Road rage is the term used to describe extreme anger and in some cases violence that arises when driving as a result of another’s perceived dangerous or erratic road use
AFTER THE TEST -Nervous Drivers
Everyone feels nervous to some degree, but if you are concerned that your nerves will impede your performance, there are different measures to take to try and help you relax, have confidence, and pass your driving test smoothly
Passing Your Test
It is natural to feel nervous about taking your driving test. Everyone feels nervous to some degree, but if you are concerned that your nerves will impede your performance, there are different measures to take to try and help you relax, have confidence, and pass your driving test smoothly. Taking your lessons with an instructor who specialises in helping nervous driver is advisable, as they can work with you to calm your nerves from day one right up to the test.
A little nervousness can kick start your adrenalin and help you stay focused and aware. When driving, you should always be more alert than during normal activity. Excessive nerves however can demonstrate themselves as:
Increased Breathing and Heartbeat
Feeling Sick or Stomach Ache
General Feelings of Panic
Nerves are a way for your body to prepare itself; you just have to stop them taking over and instead make them work for you. Remember, there is nothing wrong in feeling nervous. The examiner will understand and try to put you at ease. After all, they were once a learner too.
Don’t take your driving test until you are ready. Rushing it so that you can get a car or avoid paying for any more lessons will only be counter-productive. Ensure that you are well prepared and have had plenty of practice so that you feel more confident when it comes to the test.
Try and get an early morning appointment for your test. You will feel more alert and fresh, and the roads may be clearer. It also means that you won’t spend all day worrying about it and getting in a panic.
Check your dates. Try not to book the test at the same time as anything else that might cause stress, i.e. exams or moving house.
Getting the right location can be equally helpful. If you are used to driving in a certain area it will help your confidence if you can book your test there. Obviously you should be able to drive on any UK road, but to take pressure off your exam nerves it is best to stick to what you know.
Once booked, don’t tell everyone. However helpful they may try to be, discussing it with friends and even family can make you nervous and feel pressured to live up to expectations.
Calming Your Nerves
Ignore the horror stories of other people’s tests and instructors. Anecdotes are usually exaggerated in some way, and anyway, you should be focussing on the test ahead, not those in people’s past. Keep a clear head and ask friends to keep their thoughts to themselves until after the test.
Don’t take pills for your nerves as these will slow your reactions. Also avoid stimulants like caffeine as it can provoke an anxiety response.
On your approach to the test centre, start to try and control your breathing. Count your breaths in and out, taking slightly longer on the out breath.
Take a walk around the test centre a little. This may help you relax and focus, as well as waking your whole body up. Instead of pacing and worrying, focus on why you are taking the test and what you are going to achieve.
During the test, don’t panic if you make a mistake. If you start worrying about whether they noticed or how serious it was it will distract you and can lead to further mistakes. Keep a cool head and concentrate on the current situation. Form a running commentary in your head if necessary to keep you focussed on the immediate surroundings.
Above all, think positively. You are more likely to achieve something if you really believe that you can do it.
Be a Confident Driver
The RAC Foundation has conducted research across the 10 million of UK drivers who suffer “Driving Anxiety Disorder”. This is an extreme reaction to the stresses of driving, causing unease and anxiety in the driver resulting in symptoms like:
This reaction to driving can be caused by the daily build up of general driving stresses, by getting lost or having a bad day’s driving. It can be a more obvious trigger as the result of an accident or a road rage incident. Sometimes there is no obvious specific cause, but could be sparked by general low confidence and pressure. In any case, the stressful feelings it causes means that the affected driver may avoid certain driving situations, or avoid it altogether.
Particular stimulants for driving anxiety are motorways, busy city centres, and bad weather or the night time darkness. For both men and women, tailgating is the main cause of anxiety on motorways. A large proportion of women also fear breaking down on the motorway, while around a quarter added that trucks and lorries overtaking make them feel nervous.
According to the RAC Foundation’s research, younger and older females are the most prone to driving anxiety.
The research conducted by the RAC Foundation identified three basic categories of anxious drivers:
These find driving extremely stressful, but still continue all their driving activities. Getting lost, tailgated, abuse, breaking down or hit makes them stressed and prone to emotion whilst driving. However, they do not change their routine or their plans.
As the name suggests, they will try and avoid driving situations that trigger anxiety by any means necessary. For example, a fifth of UK women drivers avoid motorways altogether.
Having developed a full phobia of driving as a response to the stresses that arise during everyday road travel or due to a particular occurrence, Phobic Forsakers give up driving altogether. In some cases it may be that they will no longer drive a certain route or drive at a certain time of the day.
When drivers begin to feel anxious, the situation is worsened as the panicky feelings cause them to make mistakes. This makes a bad journey worse, and can put them off from driving that particular way. However, as they feel anxious and make mistakes on other journeys the driver is left with fewer and fewer places they can drive and are forced to rely on other people or means to transport them.
Try to remain calm and not get emotional when driving. Look at it as a necessary task to get you from A to B, and try not to take to take it personally when other drivers behave irresponsibly around you. If someone starts driving close behind you, control your breathing and let them pass. On the motorway stay in the left hand lane except when you are overtaking slower cars. When changing lanes, stay focussed and change in good time.
Bad Weather Conditions
The diverse weather of the British seasons makes for an unpredictable driving experience. Even on the calmest, clearest day, bad weather can strike and force you to reconsider your travel plans
AFTER THE TEST – Driving in Bad Weather
The diverse weather of the British seasons makes for an unpredictable driving experience. Even on the calmest, clearest day, bad weather can strike and force you to reconsider your travel plans. The best advice when bad weather conditions of any kind occur is not to drive at all. However, if you must drive, you should be fully prepared.
Is your journey really necessary? If it is a visit to a friend or the supermarket that you can leave till tomorrow, then do so. If you must go, plan for the extra time it will take, as well as the extra stress and concentration. Worrying about being late will only have a worse effect on your driving. Tell whoever is expecting you what time you should arrive, taking into account the extra time so that they will not worry unduly, but will also be able to call for help if you have not arrived.
Listen to weather forecasts on the TV and radio to assess the situation and find out any danger spots. Put warm clothes, boots, food, drink and a torch in the car. If it is snowing, take a spade. Make sure your windows and mirrors are clear and remember to pack your de-icer.
Drive with extra care and attention. Snow, rain, hail, and fog all reduce visibility. Use dipped headlights and leave additional space between your car and the car in front.
The Car – It is particularly important that you check that your car is fully functional and well maintained during the winter. Ensure that your battery is charged and that your tyres have the correct pressure and tread. Keep the windows, mirrors and lights clear of ice and snow, and make sure that the lights and wipers work well. Add some anti-freeze to the radiator as an extra measure.
In Ice & Snow – On an icy road, always drive slowly. It can take ten times longer to stop than on a dry road. Using a higher gear will help avoid wheel avoid spin.
Carry out manoeuvres gently with no harsh use of the brakes or acceleration. Stamping on the brake can cause it to lock and lose control. If the car has rear wheel drive and you skid, braking may cause it to continue skidding in a straight line. Braking in a skid with front wheel drive could cause the car to spin.
To avoid skidding, apply gentle but consistent pressure to the accelerator and slow your speed at corners and lane changes. If you do skid, release some pressure on the accelerator and steer a little into the skid, straightening up as you gain control.
To minimise the risk of losing control, don’t make abrupt manoeuvres, and try to drive in the tracks that the car before you has created.
As well as the weather itself, also beware of the road maintenance measures in place to help you overcome it. Salting vehicles spread salt to dissolve ice over all lanes of the motorway. They drive at around 40 mph, and they should not be overtaken. Keep a good distance behind to avoid salt spray. Snow ploughs can cause irregular snow piles as they travel, so drive well them also.
In Fog – Drive very slowly in fog, and keep headlights dipped. Remember that fog drifts and is patchy, so don’t speed up quickly even if it looks like it is clearing; you may find yourself right back in the thick of it. Don’t just rely on following the car lights in front; you could end up driving too close.
If the fog seriously impedes visibility, turn on the fog lights. Switch them off as soon as it has lifted though. Rolling down the windows may help in that you could hear other cars before you can see them.
In Rain – It takes longer to stop on wet weather roads than dry roads due to the lack of grip by your tyres. If you feel that the steering is not responding, slow down the car gradually.
Hydroplaning is what happens when the tyres lose grip on the road and slide up along water build up between the road and tyre. If this occurs, steer straight and take your foot off the accelerator. As it slows, the car will engage with the road again.
Keep a good distance between you and the car in front. This allows for the greater stopping distance and will stop your visibility being hindered by spray. Also bear in mind that while splashing in puddles may be fun, they can also disguise potholes and other obstacles.
In Flooded Roads – If the water is deep, do not attempt to cross it. If it is manageable, drive slowly through it in first gear. Try to steer away from the kerb if possible, as this is where the deepest water usually lies. Once you are through, test your brakes first before driving away.
In A Storm – In lightening storms, it is safest to stay in your car. Do not park under trees and be watchful for any debris that falls onto the road.
If You Get Stuck:
Getting stuck or breaking down in bad weather conditions on the motorway can put you in a precarious position. Just stay calm and don’t put yourself in any more danger. On a motorway, using the emergency phone rather than your mobile is advisable, unless you know exactly where you are. Numbers on the marker posts on the hard shoulder will help recovery services locate you.
Once you have called the recovery service, return to your vehicle not only to stay warm, but also as abandoned cars may impede the passage of rescue vehicles, snowploughs, or salting vehicles. When leaving your car at any time, try to stay well clear of the road and make sure that other drivers can see you.
Finally, the most important piece of advice for when you must drive in bad weather is to pull over if you need to. Driving in heavy rain, snow, hail or fog requires great concentration, so if you find yourself getting tired you may be putting yourself and any passengers in danger. Pull completely off the road in safe spot and rest, especially if the weather is terrible. It will be better to be a bit late and wait out the bad spell rather than drive tired and confused, and possibly cause an accident.
Drink driving is an accident waiting to happen and don’t think it wont happen to you! If you value your life and the lives of others, stay off alcohol or stay off the road
AFTER THE TEST – Drink Driving
Drink driving is a serious issue and a growing problem once again amongst UK drivers. Many drivers fail to realise the effect that alcohol has on their judgment, and how long alcohol resides in their system before it is safe again to drive. Consuming any amount of alcohol is damaging to a driver’s reactions and co-ordination which puts yourself, passengers, other cars and pedestrians at risk.
The legal alcohol limit is:
- 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath
- 80 milligrams per 100 milliliters of blood
- 107 milligrams per 100 milliliters of urine
There is no definitive way for someone to work out whether they are over the limit or decide how much it will be safe for them to drink. How much alcohol one can safely consume depends on:
How much you have eaten
Type of alcohol drunk
Due to the numerous calculations and measurements that would be required to work out your ability to drink a little and drive, the safest option is not to drink at all, and never offer a drink to someone else who you know to be driving.
What happens when you Drink and Drive?
It can only take one drink for a driver’s judgment of speed and distance to become impaired, and for their reaction and anticipation to worsen. Alcohol can give a false confidence boost which causes the driver to make risky and dangerous decisions.
The consequences of drink driving are such that if you are 50% above the legal limit, you become five times more likely than a sober person of being involved in a fatal or serious road accident. If you are twice the limit, your chances of causing death or injury increase to twenty times.
10 people die every week as a direct result of drink driving. Think you could live with someone’s death on your conscience? You may not live at all. 60% of deaths in drink drive incidents are of the actual drunk driver.
Men in their twenties are the highest risk category, being four times more likely to cause a drink drive accident.
According to the 2003 statistics, 2170 people in total were killed or seriously injured in accidents caused by drink driving. 19% of drivers and riders killed on the roads were over the legal limit.
Many drivers seem to think that because they have been to sleep, the alcohol that they have drunk has somehow left their system. Morning motorists may still be over the limit without realising it until it’s too late. If you must drive after a night’s drinking, allow at least an hour for every half pint that you have drunk. It is always wiser however not to drive at all that day.
After having four drinks on a night, most people who drive the next morning would still be over the limit. It can take up to 12 hours for a driver to be safe having drunk one bottle of wine or four pints continental strength lager.
Ignorance is not an excuse. You will face the same penalties if you are over the limit in the morning as you would if it had been the night before.
Penalties for Drink Driving
A driver can be stopped by the police and asked to give a breath test under the following conditions:
If the police have reasonable cause to suspect the driver has committed or is committing a driving offence
If the police have reasonable cause to suspect that the driver has consumed alcohol
If the police have reasonable cause to suspect that the driver was involved in an accident
If you are convicted of drink driving you will:
Lose your driving license for at least 12 months (potentially leading to job loss)
Have a criminal record
Face a fine of up to £5000
Face up to 6 months in prison
Have to pay for more car insurance
Causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink (or drugs) = maximum 10 years in prison, driving ban of a minimum of 2 years and an unlimited fine.
Being incharge of a vehicle above the legal limit or unfit through drink = maximum 3 months in prison,£2500 fine and a ban.