Monday, 12 December 2011

To drive or not to drive?

My name is Samantha Bullen. I am an Approved Driving Instructor. Many people feel it is my responsibility to get you to pass your test. In actual fact, it is my responsibility to teach you a skill. A skill that you can do many things with. It is not only my job to teach you the practical side of this exciting skill, I also make sure that my students have the theory behind them as well. Many people nowadays only want to learn enough to pass their test. They memorise the theory and push for their practical.
Can you honestly say that if you went into a skid you can get yourself out of it with little damage done to your vehicle, yourself and others? When skidding remember your tyres are not touching the road surface, so handbrakes, footbrakes and gas are of no help to you. Turn yourself into the skid (turning your wheel the way your nose is going), hold your wheel with both hands (full control) and leave both feet planted firmly on the floor not your pedals! This way when your tyres re-grip you know that your car will not jerk, speed or swerve.

One thing many people don't think about when they are driving in the colder weather is what to do when you break down or faced with road closures beyond your control. Spending 20 years in Canada has taught me to be prepared in the winter. In the boot of your car you should keep a winter box including; blankets, non-perishable food items that do not require a can opener (chocolate is always good, same as seeds and nuts), a torch, emergency flares, spare batteries (for torch and car), warm clothing, flask to melt snow in for water and a phone charger. When going on a journey in the colder weather make sure; your front and rear demisters work, all your lights work and your tyres are in a driveable state (click here for more info). Before you leave tell somebody where you are going and give them your route plan and approx how long it will take to get there. It may seem a bit excessive but until you have been in these situations you don't know.

We are all in festive moods this time of year and it never seems to end. Remember driving when tired, full of cold or had a few drinks all have the same reaction and concentration time. I am serious, even driving with a cold is the equivalent to somebody who has blown over double the allowed alcohol limit when it comes to reaction and concentration. Many cold and flu remedies have the same effects as some illegal drugs as well, always read the labels.

The best advice I can give you over the next few months is this, If the radio, TV or police say don't go out unless you have to, then don't. These warnings are there for a reason. Even when you’re learning, if you feel under the weather, think twice. Your responsibility as a driver doesn’t stop at you, you are also responsible for other road users. It's not you that you need to be careful of, it's everybody else.

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