Some time ago I applied to drive for an excellent company, Unicorn Courtesy Cars. One stipulation was that I take the Advanced Motorist test. The IAM Organisation offers advanced training to motorists and motorcyclists.
In the South Dorset area we have meetings available twice a year to show prospective candidates what is involved and what would be expected. These meetings are in spring and autumn and dates can be checked with the Dorset IAM website.
ANY young driver should take this test, it’s well worth it. In fact ALL drivers SHOULD take the test.
There are MANY advantages and none more so than learning to drive well with consequent potential savings of fuel, learning to “read the road / traffic”, learning to anticipate what other can do, and a real bonus for me….a LOT less stress with consequent increase of confidence and ability behind the wheel. Other advantages could be lower insurance and various offers in different shopping areas. Enquiries would need to be made by individuals. I would suggest that we ALL think we drive well….we can ALL learn more and these tips could save lives and injuries.
Two things in particular help in a huge way, but they are relatively simple to get into a habit with. They BOTH refer to more “space”, and, in consequence, time to react to a situation that might develop…..
The one thing that is really dangerous and is responsible for so many serious accidents that can be avoided: Tailgating or simply driving FAR TOO CLOSE to the car in front.
I recently drove three passengers in from Heathrow, back down to Dorset, M25, M3 and on. It was pouring rain and spray was terrible.
The number of vehicles in the fast lane tight behind the cars in front was just, well, frightening. With passengers aboard I have a responsibility to get them to their destination safely and the ONLY way was to stay over in the “slow lane” and take whatever time it took…
1. What is the two second rule?
The rule to follow at ALL times is the two second rule. In wet weather a minimum of 4 seconds should be the order of the day.
“Only a fool breaks the two second rule.” The time to say that phrase is around two seconds.
The example diagram to the right shows the “red car” passing a (strange coloured!) sign; the blue car behind is you. As you see the red car pass the sign start saying the phrase and see where YOU are on passing the sign…..yes it’s a rough and ready method but it works.
If you pass the sign before you finish saying the phrase; PULL BACK, SLOW DOWN! It could save your life and that of others and believe ME, it reduces stress when driving.
Be VERY aware that the stopping distance is a minimum of twice the distance in wet weather and double the distance.
2. PULL BACK at the Lights
When you pull up at ANY junction, queue, or hold up on the road, leave space between you and the car in front.
The distance needs to be sufficient to allow:
- the car in front to roll back (by mistake!?) without hitting you.
- It allows space should there be a need to pull out or get out of the way of any incident.
- relieves stress yet again!
- as an added help for other motorists and emergency services – leave space at junctions / gateways to allow traffic to move in and out of the said junction or gateway.
LEAVE A SPACE when pulling up behind someone at a junction.
The distance is totally up to you, but you SHOULD be able to see the bottom of the wheels in front as a minimum. I was told by a police driver: Two Tyres and a Metre of Tarmac….that’s NOT a bad suggestion!
These tips reduce stress and help to save fuel, but it DOES mean a little more discipline of mind!!
Be sure to make a start on any journey just that bit earlier to be sure to allow the marginally longer journey time. I say marginally because the better driving and forward thinking can actually SAVE you time!
But just BE prepared because you can NEVER be sure what the next person is going to do on any roads.
Review the points?
Decide to make a difference – join the IAM (there are many driver benefits available as well as better driving)
Plan your journeys better
Use the two second rule – make it AT LEAST four seconds in wet and difficult conditions…you might be surprised how FAR that actually is! If someone jumps in the space in front, PULL BACK, it could save you a LOT…
When queueing – LEAVE A SENSIBLE SPACE between you and the car in front: Two Tyres and a Metre of Tarmac
Click here to see the IAM Organisation website and look for your local group
Decide to make a difference…….yes – repeated, it COULD save a life!