FAQs

1. I have been caught speeding and have received a ticket.  I don't understand the process, where can I find out more?

2. I’m worried about driving in the winter, what do you suggest?

3. How do I control a skid?

4. How often should I take a break from driving?

5. What should I remember when driving in windy conditions?

6. What’s the two second rule?

7. I’m confused about the law and seatbelts – HELP!

8. How often should I check my tyres?

 

Answers:

1. I have been caught speeding and have received a ticket.  I don't understand the process, where can I find out more?

This process is explained on this page.  Click here.

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2. I’m worried about driving in the winter, what do you suggest?

Reduced visibility and slippery road surfaces make winter driving particularly hazardous. No matter what the other conditions, if you can't see the road clearly, you will need to reduce your speed so that you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear. This is a simple and fundamental principle.
Isolated patches and certain gradients of road surface will remain icy when the other parts have thawed - and you need to be on the lookout for these areas.

Always reduce your speed smoothly and in plenty of time on slippery surfaces. Avoid harsh braking and acceleration, or sudden harsh steering. Slow down in plenty of time for bends and corners. Black ice, caused when rain freezes on the road surface, will make your steering feel light. Respond by easing off the accelerator, do not brake and  by being delicate with your steering movements.

To brake on ice and snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use your brakes gently. In icy conditions, increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front. You may need to allow up to TEN TIMES the normal distance for braking.
Remember always de-ice completely (windscreen, all side windows, rear window and mirrors) before starting your journey.

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3. How do I control a skid?

A skid occurs when the tyres loose grip.  This is generally due to the response of the driver to the road or weather conditions.   Skid correction is a complex subject, full coverage of which is beyond the scope of this web page. However, the first requirement in all skids is to identify the cause, this could be that you

  • are  accelerating too quickly,
  • you are braking too hard
  • you are steering roughly

Remove it i.e. take your foot off the accelerator, the brake or turn the steering wheel more slowly and smoothly.
The appropriate response after doing this will then depend upon the type of skid and car type (front wheel, rear wheel or 4-wheel drive, engine position front, mid, rear etc).

It is better to avoid skidding rather than hope you can control a skid when it happens.
Ensure that you check your tyre tread depth and pressures regularly and that your brakes are effective.

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4. How often should I take a break from driving?

Driving can be stressful and tiring. Experts recommend a break every two hours, for fresh air and hot drinks - but no alcohol. This is just a general guide - the important thing is that you stop before fatigue sets in, irrespective of how far you have travelled or how long you have been on the road. Keep your vehicle well ventilated. The car heater full on can quickly make you drowsy. Remember – tiredness kills.

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5. What should I remember when driving in windy conditions?

Remember that the speed of wind is not constant and you need to be prepared for gusts especially when passing bridges, gaps in hedges or building.  Keep a firm grip of the steering wheel in both hands.
Beware that motorcyclists, cyclists, buildings high sided vehicles get affected by winds more than cars and they may swerve so give them plenty of room when overtaking.
Also driving in wind may make you tired so ensure you take a break.

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6. What’s the two second rule?

In traffic, keep a safe distance by ensuring you are at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front. This is known as the two-second rule. You can use the following steps to check if you are obeying the rule:

  • On a dry road, choose a point like a lamp post or road sign.
  • When the vehicle in front passes that point, say out loud "Only a fool breaks the two-second rule".
  • Check your position in relation to your chosen point as you finish saying this. If you have already passed the point, you are driving too close to the vehicle in front and need to pull back.
  • In wet weather, double the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you by saying "Only a fool breaks the two-second rule" twice.
  • In icy conditions or snow the safe distance increases by ten fold

Use a fixed point to help measure the gap.

You must keep your vehicle to a speed that allows you to stop , safely in a controlled way, on the correct side of the road, within the distance that you can see to be clear, and without risk or harm to you, your passengers and/or any other users of the road.

REMEMBER Never drive closer than indicated by the two-second rule. If you drive too close to the vehicle in front (tailgating) and it brakes suddenly, you may not have enough time to react. If you run into the vehicle, you will be liable for any damage caused.

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7. I’m confused about the law and seatbelts – HELP!

You are twice as likely to die in a vehicle crash if you are not wearing a seatbelt.
Seatbelts are the simplest and yet the most effective means of preventing serious injury and death in car accidents. Since their invention in 1958, millions of lives have been saved.
There are cases where exemption is possible from the wearing of seat belts and these are medical grounds, where a GP has provided an in-date certificate proving the passengers exemption. These cases of exemption are few and far between and usually only last for a few months.

From 18 September 2006 in cars, vans and goods vehicles


 

Front seat

Rear seat

Who is responsible

Driver

Seat belt MUST be worn if available.


 

Driver

Child up to 3 years*

Correct child restraint MUST be used*.

Correct child restraint MUST be used*. If one is not available in a taxi, may travel unrestrained.

Driver

Child from 3rd birthday up to 135cms in height (approx 4'5") (or 12th birthday whichever they reach first)**

Correct child restraint MUST be used***.

Where seat belts fitted, correct child restraint MUST be used.

Must use adult belt if the correct child restraint is not available:
- in a licensed taxi/private hire vehicle; or
- for a short distance for reason of unexpected necessity; or
- two occupied child restraints prevent fitment of a third.

A child 3 and over may travel unrestrained in the rear seat of a vehicle if seat belts are not available.

Driver

Child over 1.35 metres (approx 4ft 5ins in height) or 12 or 13 years

Seat belt MUST be worn if available.

Seat belt MUST be worn if available.

Driver

Adult passengers (ie 14 years and over)

Seat belt MUST be worn if available.

Seat belt MUST be worn if available.

Passenger

In addition, rear-facing baby seats MUST NOT be used in a seat protected by a frontal air-bag unless the air-bag has been deactivated manually or automatically.

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8. How often should I check my tyres?

You should check your tyres at least once a week after all they are your only point of contact with the road
Check the tread depth, more tread means more grip in the wet. Check your tread depth with either a dedicated tread gauge or using the built-in tread wear indicator (wear bar) on your tyres. For cars, light vans and light trailers the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the breath of the tread and around the entire circumference but anything under 3mm (or 4mm for winter tyres) can seriously undermine both performance and safety. Make sure you check all five tyres (don’t forget the spare) in each main groove and at least 2 points along the groove.
Motor cycles, large vehicles and passenger carrying vehicles (eg bus, coach, mini bus) must have at least 1mm of tread across the central three quarters of the breath of the tread and in a continuous band around the entire circumference.
Check the pressures. Use a good quality pressure gauge and check before you start your journey when the tyres are cold. Warm or hot tyres will give a misleading reading. You’ll find the correct pressure for your vehicle in your operating manual and in most cases either under your fuel cap, on the inside of your door or in your glove compartment. Adjust your tyre pressures if you are carrying heavier than normal loads. E.g. luggage when you go on holiday.
Check for damage or irregular wear. Also look for any sharp objects or small stones lodged in the tread and any cuts, tears, cracks or bulges. Check both side walls of the tyre and your wheel rims for damage that may damage your tyres.  Look after your tyres and they will look after you.

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