FOR ADVANCED DRIVERS AND RIDERS - WINTER 2016/2017
MEET THE MASTERS
THE IAM ROADSMART DRIVERS AND RIDERS WHO ARE BEST OF THE BEST ON OUR ROADS
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FOR ADVANCED DRIVERS AND RIDERS - WINTER 2016/2017
MEET THE MASTERS
THE IAM ROADSMART DRIVERS AND RIDERS WHO ARE BEST OF THE BEST ON OUR ROADS
Editor-in- Chief: John Blauth Printed by: Southernprint Ltd. 17-21 Factory Road. Upton Ind. Estate. Poole. Dorset. BH16 5SN IAM RoadSmart Patron: HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent President: Nigel Mansell CBE Vice-Presidents: Sir Peter Bottomley MP, George Goldie OBE, David Kenworthy, Steven Norris MAFCIT FILT FIH FIM FIMI, Michael Robotham OBE FCA, Nick Ross, The Rt Hon Lord Redesdale Council of Trustees: Ken Keir OBE (Chairman), Derek McMullan (Vice Chair), Dr PJP Holden MB ChB FIMCRCSEd, Catherine Lloyd, Anna McLaren, Peter Shaw FIMI, Prof W Angus Wallace, Dr Charles Doyle, Elizabeth Coyle-Camp MA, Dr Gina Herridge Chief Executive: Sarah Sillars OBE Registration: England & Wales 562530 Registered Charity Number 249002 (England & Wales), SC041201 (Scotland) Contact us / Registered address: IAM RoadSmart, 1 Albany Place, Hyde Way, Welwyn Garden City AL7 3BT Phone: 0300 303 1134 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.iamroadsmart.com
›››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››› » MEET ROADSMART’S CONTRIBUTORS SIMON STEWART-MILLER
Editorial & content: Immediate Network www.inl.co.uk Phone: 01483 546500 Editor: Sarah Bradley Sub-editor: Gillian Rodgers Writers: Nick Carter, Giles Chapman, Claire Evans, Richard Fleury, Simon Heptinstall, Graham Scott Cover photographer: Ben Wright
SARAH BRADLEY ROADSMART EDITOR
WINTER 2016/2017 Published by: Think Capital House, 25 Chapel Street, London NW1 5DH Art director: Peter Charles Advertising: Michael Coulsey Senior account manager: Kieran Paul Managing director: Polly Arnold
he new-look RoadSmart magazine has received great feedback. You have told us that you love its reworked editorial and design style, as well as the focus on IAM RoadSmart’s members and the organisation’s new image and improved products, services and membership experience. This latest issue delivers more of the same. We look at how the Masters qualification gives you an opportunity to prove you’re the best of the best, while young driver ambassador Eloise PeabodyRolf explains our plans for under-26s. We discuss advanced opportunities for the disabled, and our winter drive through the West Country provides tips on how to put your skills to the test in one of England’s most picturesque regions. Then there’s a report from our first national all-female motorcycle skills day, a drinkdriving debate and an in-depth look at cornering, in the first of our new Advanced Skills series. Plus we round up the latest news on local groups, member benefits and products. There’s plenty more, too; read on and enjoy.
BEN WRIGHT Photographer, A First For Female Bikers
GILES CHAPMAN Writer, Advancing Beyond Disability
Writer, West Country Wonder
Leading automotive photographer Ben is a certified petrolhead, and has worked with many aspects of the industry, from makers and magazines to TV’s Top Gear and The Grand Tour. She’s been in the F1 pitlane, too, shooting Schumacher, Hamilton and Button. Best route? From Crillon le Brave to Mont Ventoux in Provence: “Although I’m just as happy pottering through leafy Sussex lanes in a Series 1 Landy!”
This award-winning writer and commentator on the industry, history and culture of cars has worked across a vast array of media for over 30 years. He appears regularly on TV and radio, and has written more than 40 books. One of them, My Dad Had One of Those, has sold over 180,000 copies. His favourite road is from Bury St Edmunds to Thetford on the B1106, cutting through fantastic forest.
Motoring and travel writer Simon helped launch Top Gear magazine, wrote Jeremy Clarkson’s jokes and edited 1001 Cars to Drive Before You Die. He also set a world record for the number of countries driven to in 24 hours. He’s been shortlisted as UK Travel Writer of the Year, and his favourite drive is along the Welsh border from Llanvihangel Crucorney to Hayon-Wye, through woods, along rivers and over green mountains.
ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 3
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MASTERS OF THE ROAD
“I would highly recommend this driving challenge. It changed my life for the better”
36» SUE BAKER
The renowned motoring journalist and former Top Gear presenter shares her automotive history
INNOVATIONS, TRENDS, AGENDA-SETTING, NEWS
38» THE GREAT DEBATE
Should the drink-drive limit in England and Wales be reduced in line with other countries?
17» VIP COLUMN
Young driver ambassador Eloise Peabody-Rolf on her guiding role
26» DRIVING FEATURE
A picturesque tour of the West Country along the Atlantic Highway
6 WINTER 2016/2017 ROADSMART
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“THERE’LL COME A MOMENT WHEN YOU SAY: ‘THIS IS NO ORDINARY ROAD.’ AND YOU’D BE RIGHT”
40» DISABILITY NO BARRIER We talk to drivers and riders who’ve overcome disability to pass their advanced test with IAM RoadSmart
42» FEMALE BIKERS’ FIRST IAM RoadSmart’s first all-female motorcycle skills day proves a hit
46» TURNING A CORNER In the first part of our new series on Advanced Skills, we look at cornering
59» ASK THE EXPERTS Keeping fuel costs down and a clear view ahead during the winter months
Groups in action
48» GRANTS TO HELP GROUPS ATTRACT YOUNG MEMBERS
IAM RoadSmart groups secure funding for road-safety and training programmes
49» FOOTBALL CLUB RAISES CASH TO AID ROAD SAFETY Northern Irish club joins forces with IAM RoadSmart in fundraising drive
51» SAFETY CAMPAIGN PAYS TRIBUTE TO YOUNG BIKER
Family and friends launch road-safety campaign to raise motorcycle awareness
51» Q&A: KEN KEIR CHAIRMAN, IAM ROADSMART Why working as a volunteer and trustee for IAM RoadSmart is so important in improving road safety
Your membership 53» YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ISSUES FACING ROAD USERS
Why filming while driving should be stopped, and the dangers of dehydration
54» MY NEXT CHALLENGE
Could you help others to become better drivers and riders as an Observer?
56» GETTING TO KNOW YOU: THENUKA MAHENDRARASA
IAM RoadSmart’s social media executive on the key role of online communication
We test and rate the best free route finders available online
66» TECHNICAL DRIVING Middle-lane hoggers: a multi-lane menace or just sensible road users?
63» PRODUCT TEST CONTACT POINTS
www.iamroadsmart.com 0300 303 1134
ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 7
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THE big picture
›››››››››››› The peak of beauty EDALE, PEAK DISTRICT (PHOTO: GETTY)
It’s famous for the Snake Pass and Cat and Fiddle roads, but the Peak District has much more to offer those in the know. Edale Road (pictured) is part of a spectacular seven-mile loop regularly enjoyed by Derbyshire Advanced Motorcyclists for its dramatic hills and hairpins. DAM rides coordinator Gordon Constable suggests starting at the village of Hope and following the road through Edale to Mam Tor, a 500-metre-high Iron Age hill fort and local landmark. The next stretch is the impressive Winnats Pass (Winnats Road on the map) linking Blue John Cavern to Speedwell Cavern. Narrow and rugged, this is “one of the most unknown passes in Derbyshire,” says Gordon. “It’s something different. You could call it a mini-Switzerland.” The route becomes the A6187, passing through Castleton before returning to Hope, where Gordon recommends a pit-stop at the Courtyard Cafe.
> We’d like to see stunning photos of the roads you love – and please tell us how you tackle them behind the wheel, too. See more about our photographic competition in Up To Speed.
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+ AGENDA-SETTING + NEWS
+ INNOVATIONS + TRENDS
UptoSpeed Winter 2016/2017
REAL COST OF ACCIDENTS NEW IAM ROADSMART REPORT HIGHLIGHTS FOUR AREAS OF HIGHEST RISK IAM RoadSmart has published a new report highlighting the fact that cutting the number of deaths on our roads would provide a large saving for the public sector. Evaluating the Costs of Incidents from the Public Sector Perspective is the first report that has taken the overall figure for the cost of road traffic accidents and
broken it down into the four highest-risk categories. In 2015, the total cost to public services for these groups were: young drivers £1.3 billion (£1.1 million per fatality); motorcyclists £1.1bn (£800,000 per fatality); people driving for work £702m (£700,000 per fatality); and older drivers £63m (£10,000 per fatality). The report suggests that if
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
What are your views on cutting road fatalities? @IAMRoadSmart
we could eradicate young driver accidents, it would save the Department for Work and Pensions £227m, and it would cut police and NHS costs by £241m each. The research will be used in discussions with Government departments to help them develop policies based on the savings they could make by prioritising road safety. CE
» Total cost to public services (2015) Road traffic fatalities broken down into the four highest-risk categories
People driving for work
£700,000 PER FATALITY
10 WINTER 2016/2017 ROADSMART
» NEWS IN BRIEF
The annual Safety Culture Index survey has been completed for the second year. Trends that are appearing include drivers being concerned about distractions and the rising problem of traffic congestion. The survey is a long-term project to monitor opinions about driving and riding. For more on the latest results see www.iamroadsmart.com.
›››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››› GREEN LIGHT FOR STUDY ON EVALUATION OF ADVANCED DRIVING
You may have recently taken part in a workshop to help frame the questions for the upcoming Evaluation of Advanced Driving study, or filled in a questionnaire. This exciting new report will be the first direct comparison of the performance of IAM RoadSmart members with non-members. The results should be valuable to local groups, because they will prove the true worth of what we do.
›››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››› FORMER POLICE CHIEF KEVIN DELANEY RETIRES
After a long career, including almost 10 years as head of road safety with IAM RoadSmart, Kevin Delaney is retiring. His most important – and controversial – contribution to road safety was in 1992, when as a chief superintendent with the Met Police he promoted the introduction of the UK’s first speed cameras. We will miss him and thank him for all his hard work.
SAFETY CULTURE INDEX RELEASED
MARY BERRY RISES TO MATURE DRIVER TEST Former Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry was presented with her certificate for completing IAM RoadSmart’s Mature Driver Assessment at the Kop Hill Climb on 17 September. Writer and television presenter Mary, 81, has been an IAM RoadSmart
member since the 1950s, when she took an early version of the Advanced Driver Course. IAM RoadSmart chief executive Sarah Sillars presented Mary with her certificate (above right). Commenting on the benefits of the assessment, Sarah said: “It aims to give
mature drivers the reassurance to continue driving happily into the future, while also ironing out any problem areas the assessor might spot.” CE
Join the fellowship Fellow membership is a new way for IAM RoadSmart members to maintain their advanced driving or riding skills. To become a Fellow member, you have to promise to retake and pass your advanced test every three years, demonstrating your continuing commitment to keeping up and potentially improving the standard of your driving or riding.
One significant benefit of becoming a Fellow member is the potential to gain enhanced insurance premiums. In addition, anyone signing up to Fellow membership will receive free breakdown cover, legal assistance and priority status for events and activities. The cost of Fellow membership is £49 per year, including the re-test, or £135 for three years. CE
To find out more about becoming an IAM RoadSmart Fellow visit www.iamroadsmart.com/fellow or speak to your local IAM group ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 11
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MPG MARATHON MEN CLAIM CLASS PRIZES GIVE MORE WITH GIFTAID
Are you a UK taxpayer? You can increase the value of your IAM RoadSmart subscription by 25 per cent by completing the GiftAid section of your renewal form. GiftAid is an easy way to increase the value of your charitable giving at no additional cost to yourself. It is an equally wonderful way to help IAM RoadSmart to carry on our work to reduce accidents through developing drivers and riders. Help us to help you, your families and friends: complete the GiftAid form, which you can find here: www.iamroadsmart.com/giftaid
Olympic golden girl Dame Mary Peters (above) receives her advanced driver certificate from her observer, Brian McMinn of the Belfast Advanced Motorists group.
ONE OF 50 COPIES OF THE LATEST HIGHWAY CODE Simply email your membership number to highwaycode @iam.org.uk (TERMS & CONDITIONS APPLY)
IAM RoadSmart’s Shaun Cronin gained two category wins and a runner-up place in the 2016 MPG Marathon. The regional delivery manager drove a Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC 4WD with BBC transport correspondent Paul Clifton in the 400-mile, two-day challenge. Shaun and Paul came first in both the fourwheel-drive and load-lugging economy champion classes, and achieved second place in the best percentage improvement category. Shaun commented: “Beyond the obvious environmental and cost benefits, a driver with an eye on fuel economy is a safer driver. Due to their enhanced observation, anticipation and planning skills, they are more aware of what’s going on around them, and better able to react effectively.” CE
Remember and be remembered IAM RoadSmart is all about living. We want to significantly reduce the number of fatal and serious road accidents in the UK. We offer to do our bit by improving the skills of drivers and riders, who are safer and enjoy using the road more. You already help us by being a member – and using the GiftAid facility when you join or renew. Can you help us further and remember IAM RoadSmart with a legacy? Your support for our young drivers, riders and road users of the future will help us in our mission to make Britain’s roads safer. “The most thoughtful gift any of us can give is when we leave a legacy in our wills,” says IAM RoadSmart chief executive Sarah Sillars. “The roads belong to us all, and we need your help so that we can keep drivers and riders who use those roads safe through our various programmes. Members
who include a legacy to IAM RoadSmart (registered charity number 249002) help not only individuals but generations of future drivers and road users.” When you leave a legacy to a charity, its value will be deducted from your estate before inheritance tax is calculated. The tax benefit may be subject to your personal circumstances, so if you do decide to leave such a legacy, we advise you to consult a solicitor or professional legal service first. A solicitor will make sure your will is legally valid, reflects your intentions and is kept safe and up to date. If you or your advisor would like to explore the options, we would be more than happy to provide further information by email. Any correspondence will be treated in the strictest confidence. JB
For more information please email: email@example.com
ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 13
NEW PROJECTS UNVEILED AT ANNUAL CONFERENCE
SARAH SILLARS, OBE
CHIEF EXECUTIVE, IAM ROADSMART
After our first new-style magazine, I was really pleased that some members took the time to provide feedback about the magazine and my column. For the avoidance of any doubt, I’d like to state that wanting people to enjoy driving and riding does not go against our absolute commitment to IAM RoadSmart’s core values of improving road safety and reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our roads. The new “WE ARE standards have PROUD TO been rolled out BE THE ONLY five months ROAD-SAFETY ahead of CHARITY ON schedule, and THE MINISTERS’ more than 95 ROAD SAFETY per cent of the FORUM” feedback has been supportive and complimentary about the way we are adapting but not reducing the integrity of our tests. From a road-safety perspective, we have commissioned a report evaluating the costs of road traffic accidents from a public sector perspective (see previous story). We are taking a pro-active stance in getting Government departments to recognise the costs of not investing in road safety. We are proud to be the only road-safety charity on the Ministers’ Road Safety Forum, putting us in a unique position of leading an initiative for a UK-wide cut in road deaths and injuries, despite the Government not setting any formal targets. I am totally committed to improving road safety, but I recognise that to do this we need to reach a wider audience.
IAM RoadSmart’s annual conference in October was a great opportunity to gather the opinions of local groups and to share future plans. The event took place at Aston University’s Great Hall in Birmingham, and featured a series of five workshops. Chief executive Sarah Sillars and chairman Ken Keir began with an update on strategy. Plans include a huge increase in drivers and riders influenced by IAM RoadSmart through new communications, online and on-road training modules and affiliated group sign-off. Innovative ways of reaching a wider audience include more celebrity links and an annual event for people to take part in, such as the Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee Morning. At the Insurance workshop, head of membership Paul Woozley outlined the benefits of the new Fellow membership scheme. Young driver ambassador Eloise Peabody-Rolf collected opinions on useful inclusions for a toolkit she is
Chief executive Sarah Sillars with IAM RoadSmart members at the conference
creating to help local groups attract and retain young drivers and riders. The Policy and Research workshop, hosted by policy and research director Neil Greig, provided an outline of members’ views on priorities for a future IAM RoadSmart Manifesto. Steve Kenward from the Motorcycle Industry Association spoke about how having more motorcyclists on the roads decreased their accident rate, because people were more used to sharing tarmac with them. The new Group Handbook, which will form the franchise guidelines for local groups, was also introduced. CE
TV CAMERAS ON OLDER DRIVERS At IAM RoadSmart, we understand how important driving is for mature motorists. It’s a key factor in maintaining an independent and full life, and we know that mature drivers are one of the safest groups on the roads. We also know that deciding when to hang up the keys is an important and sensitive question for both drivers and their loved ones. Now IAM RoadSmart is working with RDF television to explore the reality behind these stories in a documentary series for ITV. The programmes will follow our new campaign to encourage drivers aged 85 or older to take our bespoke mature drivers’ course. TV producers are keen to feature all sorts of people – from confident drivers who may just want a refresher course, to those who are now seriously considering handing in the keys.
Do you know someone who could benefit from having their driving reviewed? Would you like to show the examiners what you are made of? If so, RDF Television would love to hear from you. For further details call 0207 013 4411 or email drivers@RDFTelevision.com.
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14 WINTER 2016/2017 ROADSMART
›››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››› MEMBER PHOTOS Showing IAM RoadSmart members on the road and in action at group events, and even some of the vehicles you love and cherish, here are a few of our favourite images you’ve taken. Enter our photographic competition sponsored by The RPS (details below) to be in with a chance of winning a branded IAM RoadSmart goodie bag and one year’s free membership with The RPS.
The Royal Photographic Society (The RPS) is a membership organisation founded in 1853. Whether you work in analogue, digital BRAND GUIDELINES photography or video, using an iPhone, compact digital camera or DSLR to capture DOCUMENT your film or pictures, we can help guide Version 1.0 you on your journey as a photographer. Find out more at rps.org.
HOW TO CAPTURE THE MOMENT
This document is updated regularly and the most recent version can be downloaded from www.rps.org
As a motorist, you are in pole position to capture great photographs of the landscape and places through which you drive. Whether you are using a smartphone or the latest DSLR, here are four top tips from The Royal Photographic Society to help you get the best from your camera:
The ‘golden hours’ light before sunset and after sunrise will be better for photography. Even if the weather is poor, storm clouds can add drama and mood.
they are part of the landscape and will add a sense of scale, too.
Use the basic rules of composition, including the ‘rule of thirds’, as your starting point, and then feel free to break them. Use roads to lead the viewer into the scene. Don’t be afraid to include man-made structures and people;
A polarising filter and a graduated neutraldensity filter can be useful on a DSLR to get the best from the scene you are photographing.
Finally, try to include interesting foregrounds or a strong point of interest in your shot. And do make sure you are parked safely when you leave your car!
Be judged by the best: The Royal Photographic Society Do you never take a trip without a camera? We’re running a contest to find the best photographs (not taken while driving) from IAM RoadSmart members. We’d like
to see road trips, commutes, weekend rides or drives… any subject that you think members will find interesting. Send high-resolution pics (at least 300dpi) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The entries will be judged by The Royal Photographic Society, and the winner will get a branded IAM RoadSmart goodie bag and one year's free membership with The RPS.
T&CS APPLY. BY ENTERING THIS COMPETITION, IAM ROADSMART MEMBERS AGREE TO BEING CONTACTED BY THE RPS.
Email images to email@example.com, with ‘RPS competition’ subject line. Info at iamroadsmart.com/rpscompetition
ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 15
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Eloise Peabody-Rolf YOUNG DRIVER AMBASSADOR, IAM ROADSMART
Key to this important role is getting young drivers and riders in touch with IAM RoadSmart and guiding them through those first tricky months on the road
started working as IAM RoadSmart’s young driver ambassador in September 2016. The aim of my gap-year role is to attract and retain young drivers and riders (under-26s). I will be producing a toolkit, which will be given to local groups, that provides advice and guidance on this topic. At IAM RoadSmart’s annual conference, I ran a workshop about young riders and drivers that enabled me to get the local groups’ opinions. I’m also raising awareness of the role that IAM RoadSmart plays in giving advice and guidance by going into local schools and colleges to tell them about this important initiative. I hope to be able to focus on the skills new drivers and riders struggle with and provide local groups with information on these areas so they can best prepare for providing guidance, potentially in a new modular format. There is a focus on young drivers and riders because they are the most vulnerable demographic on our roads. One in five
“In spite of my age – I’m 18 – I have a lot of driving experience and I think this will help me to achieve my goals as a young driver ambassador” new motorists has an accident in their first year of driving, so we want them to be more aware of IAM RoadSmart and the support
and guidance we can give to help keep them safe. The campaign also meets two of IAM RoadSmart’s charitable objectives: to
reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads, and increase the number of people taking their advanced test. As part of the rebranding for our 60th anniversary we’re also aiming to attract a wider demographic to IAM RoadSmart, so my work fits in with this, too. In spite of my age – I’m 18 – I have a lot of driving experience and I think this will help me to achieve my goals as a young driver ambassador. I started driving when I was just 11-and-a-half with the Under 17 Car Club, and since then I’ve driven 347 different vehicles including a bendy bus. I passed my driving test soon after my 17th birthday in September 2015 and took my IAM advanced driving test just eight weeks later. I currently drive a Ford Focus as a company car, so I can get out to spread the word about IAM RoadSmart. However, my favourite car of those I’ve driven so far is a 1950s MG TD and the most exotic is an Aston Martin V12 Vantage S.
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MASTERS OF THE ROAD A few hundred UK civilians have so far gone beyond advanced driving and riding to gain a Masters qualification, making them the best of the best WORDS RICHARD FLEURY PHOTOGRAPHY BEN WRIGHT
18 WINTER 2016/2017 ROADSMART
ntroduced five years ago, the Masters qualification represents IAM RoadSmart’s highest-possible civilian driving and riding standard. Since then, around 700 members have passed, half with Distinctions. Re-testing is mandatory every five years, so the first to qualify will soon be taking the test again. “You have to demonstrate your skills are still at that level,” explains IAM RoadSmart head of membership Paul Woozley. “You’re signing up not only to be the best, but to regularly prove that you are the best. These really are the pinnacle of our members, the top of the pyramid, in terms of their skills.” But Masters training is not for everyone. “Although Masters membership is open to anyone, it has been deliberately designed to require an ongoing commitment. As with a degree or high music grade, it takes a level of dedication to achieve and maintain such a high standard,” says Paul. It takes a particular kind of dedication to hone skills to the exacting, consistent standards the Masters test demands. It’s aimed at those with a degree of natural talent and a determination to keep developing. “It’s very elite,” Paul continues. “We’ve never advertised it. But the day we announced internally that we were creating this product, there was a queue at the door. It will never be a mass-market product, and is not intended to be. It is designed to require a high level of commitment to become a Master.” The highest of the highest is a Distinction: a pass demonstrating superlative thinking and application. “People who don’t get a Distinction often book straight back on and re-test. At that level if you’re in, you’re fully in. You don’t really get half-hearted people starting the Masters and giving up.” To begin Masters training, you first need to pass your advanced test and be a full IAM RoadSmart
“YOU’RE SIGNING UP NOT ONLY TO BE THE BEST, BUT TO REGULARLY PROVE THAT YOU ARE THE BEST. THESE REALLY ARE THE PINNACLE OF OUR MEMBERS, THE TOP OF THE PYRAMID, IN TERMS OF THEIR SKILLS” PAUL WOOZLEY
member. Most will then opt for a complete package including mentoring – normally six two-hour sessions – and the test, for £399. The 90-minute test includes a theory session and an extended drive or ride on unfamiliar roads. There are two levels of award, a Pass and a Distinction. A no-mentoring, test-only option is available for those already at the required standard, such as some professional drivers. Many groups actively encourage promising members to go for their Masters, and those who pass often go on to help others. Tony Mulhall set up Herts and Beds Advanced Motorcyclists’ Masters mentoring team, and has successfully put four candidates through the test in the past nine months, with more ready to follow. “I was the second in my group to pass the Masters test and was approached by a number of people who wanted me to help them,” he says. Tony, 62, is now designing a dedicated Masters training programme and he recently took a small group on a pilot trip to South Wales. He explains: “I like to keep them out on the road until they recognise that their concentration is starting to flag – and it’s surprising how quickly that comes – and what they have to do to build up those levels. “It’s all planning, planning, planning. It just lifts up your ride. You’ve got to ride everywhere cleverly, smartly. You have to change your mindset. When you become a Master, you can’t turn that on and off. Every time I go out with someone as a Master, that ride is a demonstration ride.” With growing interest in the Masters, and groups such as Tony’s gearing up to develop bespoke training, it’s becoming one more way members can improve their skills and do more with IAM RoadSmart. »
ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 19
Debbie Wood A Speed Awareness Course was the unlikely start to Debbie Wood’s Masters journey. “I loved it, and decided there and then to do an advanced driving course,” explains 46-year-old Debbie, now a member of the North East London and Essex Advanced Motorists group. After she passed the advanced test, her observer suggested the Masters. “I had to embrace new skills and techniques while tackling my bad habits; not an easy feat!” she admits. “I was assigned a mentor who, over six sessions, transformed my driving physically and mentally.” Now the proud holder of a Distinction, Debbie believes her Masters experience helped her recent successful application to become a Metropolitan traffic police officer: “I would highly recommend this driving challenge. It changed my life for the better. As a single mum of five, I saw the Masters as a way to inspire my children to become safe road users and more consciously aware of the environment around them, too.”
“THE WHOLE MASTERS PROGRAMME HAS DEFINITELY CHANGED MY RIDING. IT’S MADE A DIFFERENCE TO MY DRIVING, TOO, IN TERMS OF FORWARD PLANNING AND BEING MORE ALERT” MING NAGEL
to how I see things and what I see while driving. It’s more mentally straining but less physical work.”
John Presland Only 15 people have passed both car and motorcycle Masters tests, and retired social services manager John is among them. “People tend to do it on one or the other,” says John, who first passed his advanced test 50 years ago at the age of 19, and re-took it in 2006. A member of Home Counties North Advanced Drivers,
Olly Fullerton At just 23, Olly is the youngest and most qualified member in St Helens and District Group of Advanced Motorists. A professional long-distance lorry driver, he passed his Masters with a Distinction after covering 1,200 miles preparing for his test. “I was over the moon when I was told,” says Olly, an IMI National Observer and soon-to-be examiner. “I loved training for my Masters. I chose Wales to practice, as it had beautiful scenery and very challenging roads.” He continues: “I have a passion for driving. I love getting qualifications for it and it’s nice to be recognised. I did do a lot of hard work, and without blowing my own trumpet, getting a Distinction isn’t easy. I would like to promote other young drivers to try and do it. It’s a good way to keep your skills up and pass them on to other people. It has made a difference
“I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS DRIVING CHALLENGE. IT CHANGED MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER” DEBBIE WOOD 20 WINTER 2016/2017 ROADSMART
level is a bit like mental exercise. It’s good for you – keeps you going!”
Bedfordshire-based John passed his Masters car test in November 2015. “To my amazement, I got a Distinction,” he says. “I thoroughly enjoyed it. You take your driving up another notch. I got more out of my car as I worked towards the Masters.” He explains that the Masters represented a unique chance to take his driving further: “There’s never really been an opportunity for civilians to take their driving formally past the initial test before.” John returned to motorcycling when he bought a bike at 62, and joined IAM RoadSmart to stay safe on busy modern roads. He trained with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Advanced Motorcyclists, and passed his motorcycle Masters last September. He says: “I obviously benefited from having done it in the car, but I always knew I wasn’t as good a bike rider. You need to hunt out roads you don’t know so well to test your planning and observation, and also to build up your concentration. It’s hard work and makes you sweat a bit, but it’s an opportunity to keep developing.” John is currently working towards a re-test and a Distinction. “I’m 69, and working at this
Few people go from complete novice to the ultimate civilian motorcycling qualification in under two years, but that’s Ming’s story. On a trip to a bike dealer with motorcyclist partner Jon, Ming “fell in love with a Triumph Bonneville” and decided to learn to ride. “Once I started riding, I loved it more than I expected,” says the 43-year-old independent social worker and musician. After passing her CBT and motorcycle tests in short order in 2014, Ming took the advanced test with Leicester and District Advanced Motorcyclists, then became only the club’s second member to hold a Masters qualification, gaining a Distinction last July. “I tend to say yes to most challenges,” explains Ming. “I felt like there were things I could still work on and going through the Masters really helped push me. The whole programme has definitely changed my riding. I feel much more confident. It’s made a difference to my driving, too, »
“YOU TAKE YOUR DRIVING UP ANOTHER NOTCH. I GOT MORE OUT OF MY CAR AS I WORKED TOWARDS THE MASTERS” JOHN PRESLAND ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 21
IAM Motorcyclists We’ve got you covered on public roads. 1
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Medical expenses Up to £10,000,000 cover.
Multi trip worldwide cover There is no limit on the amount of trips taken and trips over 31 days can be added if needed. 2
www.iamtravelinsurance.com 1. Provided you wear a safety helmet and possess a licence which would allow you to ride an equivalent motorcycle in your home country. No racing or off road. Quad biking can be covered upon payment of an additional premium. 2. Extensions on 31 day maximum period are available on request to a maximum of 60 days. An additional charge will be made. 3. Max £250 per item or pair owned and maximum £150 per item or pair hired. 4. Prices from £94 for customers aged under 64. Terms & conditions apply. IAM Surety is a trading brand of Cornmarket Insurance Services. Cornmarket Insurance Services is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (Reg No 308099). Cornmarket Insurance Services, 1st Floor Boucher Plaza, 4-6 Boucher Road, Belfast, BT12 6HR. Acceptance criteria, minimum premiums and terms and conditions apply. Calls may be recorded for our mutual protection.
Thanks to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon. For more information see: www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk
“PASSING MY MASTERS WAS A HUGE MOMENT OF PRIDE FOR ME. IT BROUGHT BACK A SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT AND SELF-BELIEF” STEPHEN CARR
in terms of forward planning and being more alert.” Ming and Jon remain active members of LADAM, and now even host their own internet radio show on bikerfm.uk.
Stephen Carr For former military policeman Stephen, 44, the Masters test played an important part in his recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “It gave me a sense of achievement, which was missing in my life, and a reason to believe in myself more. It was the turning point,” says
Stephen, who served in Northern Ireland, Africa and Iraq. With Help for Heroes supporting his motorcycle Masters training, Stephen passed with a Distinction in 2013. Asked to chair Derbyshire Advanced Motorcyclists that year, he’s since led the group from strength to strength. “I’m a stickler for detail, and the knowledge side of it gave me something to focus on,” he says. “The practical element was more challenging. I had to work hard on my riding to be consistent. I feel I’m smoother and more dispassionate now, so I’m more able to forgive the errors of other motorists. It just becomes part of the riding plan.” Stephen continues: “Passing my Masters was a huge moment of pride for me and all those who’ve helped me to recover. It brought back a sense of achievement and self-belief. I’ve been able to pass on my learning to other members of my club and beyond. Gaining a Distinction was the cherry on the cake.” » ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 23
WHAT OTHER MASTERS HAVE TO SAY
“I was very, very nervous, but the examiner was really honest and positively critical. It was a very good experience. One of the toughest parts is using your concentration to plan and ride. I came away feeling more confident. My goal is to always ride to the best of my abilities, so if there’s a way to improve, I’m at the front of the queue!” STEPHANIE EVANS, Herts and Beds Advanced Motorcyclists
“As a chauffeur looking after a CEO and VIPs, I’ve done many driving courses. Yet I wanted the icing on the cake and I passed my Masters test with a Distinction this year. Driving can be a pleasure even when you’re working. It’s about looking at what’s around you, being alert and expecting the unexpected.” GARY BYRNE
“I joined IAM RoadSmart because I wanted to be a Blood Biker, to give something back to society after my late wife lost her battle with cancer. An ex-police bike instructor encouraged and coached me to Masters level. The style of riding is much more fluid and dynamic, and I’d encourage other riders to take the challenge and improve.” RUSSELL BLOWER, Shropshire Advanced Motorists and Motorcyclists
“The greatest moment in my life was in December 2015 when I passed the Masters. That can’t be beaten. I’m also now a Masters mentor. I’ve never had a bad moment with IAM RoadSmart.” TERRY GODBERT, Blackpool And Fylde Advanced Motorists
“It’s the toughest thing I’ve undertaken in motorcycling, but the discipline has given me a new set of rules to ride by. I enjoy my biking more, I’m safer and I pass down the principles I’ve learned to observers and associates within the club.” STEVE DYSON, Sheffield IAM
“I saved £1 coins to pay for the full, mentored Masters – then got impatient and signed up with only half saved. I took the test in January 2016, and was having an almost textbook drive through South Wales when, correctly, I was failed. As my examiner said: ‘I was enjoying that until you went through the red light!’ Deterred only briefly, I re-took the test last April and passed with Distinction. I’ve since qualified as a National Observer and intend to go on to become an examiner.” DAVID PALMER, Gwent Group of Advanced Motorists
“The test is tough, but fairly assessed and rewarding. I’d commend anyone thinking of taking it to seek mentoring assistance from their local group; I wouldn’t have passed without it.” LES SELBY, Ipswich and Suffolk Advanced Motorists
“Now aged 85, I recently undertook the Masters largely because I was tired of the opinion that older drivers are a danger on the road. It took me 15 months to pass all the course segments and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. The instructors were helpful and informative, and I’m now a better and more considerate driver.” LEN HILBORNE
“To me, passing the Masters with a Distinction is how I would imagine passing out of Miramar – Top Gun – to be. I’ve found coaching others up to the Masters standard to be very rewarding and challenging. My coach said to me: ‘You know, not everyone can do this’, and his words have proved true in my own coaching experience. However, it’s still difficult to have an aspiring Masters student accept that to be the case.” GEORGE BROOKES, East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
Our most challenging qualification. Takes advanced skills onto an even higher level. www.iamroadsmart.com/ masters
ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 25
DRIVING ON THE EDGE
The Atlantic Highway
Dramatic coastlines, fairytale villages and beautiful countryside make a trip along the A39 a treat at any time of the year WORDS: SIMON HEPTINSTALL
t could be the moment you drive over the crest of a heather-covered Exmoor hill to see the sequence of cliffs trailing away towards the horizon. Or it could be as you pass over the elegant Torridge Bridge near Bideford, high above bobbing yachts and pastel-painted fishermen’s cottages in the picturesque estuary below. Wherever it is, there’ll come a moment when you say: “This is no ordinary road.” And you’d be right. For it’s the sheer quantity and variety of memorable landscapes that makes the A39 one of the greatest driving roads in Britain, summer or winter. This meandering route runs for 204 miles from Bath to Falmouth, providing a motorway-free
PHOTOGRAPHY: JED LEICESTER
corridor to the west that crosses highlights such as the Somerset Levels, Quantock Hills, Exmoor, the Taw and Torridge Estuaries, Bodmin Moor and the Fal Estuary. There’s so much of it that we’ve concentrated on just the finest stretch, from Bridgwater to Bude. This takes you from the M5 on the Somerset floodplain along the north coast of the West Country peninsular to meet the Atlantic in North Cornwall. That’s why they call this section the Atlantic Highway. From the busy town of Bridgwater, you’ll leave the Somerset Levels and climb into the Quantock Hills. These rolling uplands aren’t as famous as neighbours such as Exmoor and Dartmoor, but cover a wide area of beautiful moorland »
The National Trust-owned Holnicote Estate offers stunning views across the West Country
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“THE QUANTITY AND VARIETY OF MEMORABLE LANDSCAPES MAKE THE A39 ONE OF THE GREATEST DRIVING ROADS IN BRITAIN”
TURN OVER FOR: 1 Driving on steep, narrow roads 2 Best West Country stop-overs
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DRIVING ON THE EDGE
The Atlantic Highway
“AROUND 200 YEARS AGO THE ENGLISH ROMANTIC POETS SETTLED HERE AND WROTE MANY OF THEIR BEST WORKS” » DRIVING TIPS
When we called, Martin Boler, membership secretary for Devon Advanced Motorcyclists, was just back from a ride along the A39, which he calls: “A superb road, one of the best in the country.” Martin came up with some expert local tips for drivers and riders along the Atlantic Highway.
Watch out on the narrow and twisting stretch leaving Lynmouth along the river. Traffic often approaches in the middle of the road, and a lot of the corners are blind, tight, narrow and steep.
The high road between Porlock and Lynmouth is sweeping and quick, but beware tourists who don’t know where they are going. It’s more fun out of season; a winter drive beckons.
HIGH OR LOW?
Going up or down Porlock Hill is a challenge. It’s the UK’s steepest A-road, but worth the effort with its hairpins and steep turns. As an alternative, the toll road is a gentler ride.
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and forest, much of it protected by the National Trust. If you find yourself mumbling a few lyrical descriptions as you drive along, don’t worry. The Quantocks have a long history of inspiring poets. Around 200 years ago the English Romantics, including Wordsworth and Coleridge, settled here and wrote many of their best works. A few yards from the A39 you can visit Coleridge’s home, a humble National Trust cottage in the pretty village of Nether Stowey. Wordsworth and his sister lived in the next village along the A39, Holford. A short detour to the north is the little waterfront town of Watchet. You’ll spot the statue commemorating Coleridge’s Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, which was partly written in a pub by the harbour. As the road winds up into the Quantocks, there are more and more views to the right, across the water to South Wales. You’ll also spot the cubes of Hinkley Point nuclear power station on the Somerset shoreline below. Best of all are glimpses of Britain’s longest steam line. The West Somerset Railway runs alongside the A39 between Minehead and Williton. You’ll often spot the smoke of its engines in the trees to the north of the road.
Left: Countisbury Hill includes a steep descent into the coastal town of Lynmouth. Above: The Quantocks inspired England’s Romantic poets
From Lynmouth, consider making a diversion on the minor coast road to the west to the Valley of the Rocks. It’s worth it to see spectacular rock formations and the wild goats that live there.
Winter or summer, Lynmouth is a great stop-off point for cream teas, icecreams, pasties or the best fish and chips in North Devon (down at the far end just before the funicular railway).
Meanwhile, the villages seem to get more and more interesting. At Carhampton, it’s hard to resist stopping for a browse at Chris’s Crackers, an enormous antique and salvage yard right alongside the A39. Then comes Dunster, one of England’s most ridiculously pretty villages. This National Trust location looks like the set of a BBC period drama, with rows of fairytale cottages beneath a red stone castle on a wooded hill. Stop for a wander past teashops and fudge-makers to find » ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 29
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ROADSMART Winter 2017_260 x 200 AUSTIN KAYE 20/12/2016 15:00 Page 1
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DRIVING ON THE EDGE
The Atlantic Highway
“THIS NATIONAL TRUST VILLAGE LOOKS LIKE THE SET OF A BBC PERIOD DRAMA” the ancient covered yarn market, a tiny bridge for packhorses and a working watermill. A couple of miles further on, Minehead is a more traditional seaside resort. Even in the winter, it’s a good place for ice-creams – or hot chocolate – and walks into the steep woods to the west. Then the landscape really takes off. You’ll drive into the broad valley
of yet another National Trust area, the Holnicote Estate. See how the gorgeous thatched cottages are all painted in the estate’s matching ochre wash. The cottages among trees and trickling streams in Bossington and Selworthy look like something Hobbits would call home. To the south you’ll see the peak of Dunkery Beacon, the highest point of Exmoor and Somerset. It’s a wonderful spot for a walk because you’ll be rewarded with huge coastal panoramas from the summit. The road twists down into the likeable town of Porlock, where you’ll squeeze through a narrow
The Atlantic Highway Lynton and Lynmouth
main street. It’s quaint but the pavements are narrow or nonexistent, so watch for pedestrians.
Driving challenge Then take a deep breath and head west up one of Britain’s most notorious road stretches. Porlock Hill was a major challenge for drivers in the days before synchromesh made it easy to change down to first on a 1-in-4 hairpin bend. Even today, it pays to prepare yourself for this extremely steep section, particularly in winter’s often extreme conditions. Porlock Hill climbs 1,300ft (400m) up onto Exmoor in less than two miles. An alternative exists for drivers and bikers of a nervous disposition. » Top from left: winding streets in Porlock; the challenging Porlock Hill;
wild ponies on Exmoor; the going can be tricky along Countisbury Hill
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028 9033 2111 www.IAMSURETY.com 1. Included with RSA policies, but available to purchase with other insurers. 2.Cover available on all standard home insurance products. 3. Applicable with policies sold with RSA. IAM Surety is a trading brand of Cornmarket Insurance Services. Cornmarket Insurance Services is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (Reg No 308099). Cornmarket Insurance Services, 1st Floor Boucher Plaza, 4-6 Boucher Road, Belfast, BT12 6HR. Acceptance criteria, minimum premiums and terms & conditions apply. Calls may be recorded for our mutual protection.
DRIVING ON THE EDGE
The Atlantic Highway
Clockwise from left: Lynmouth is nestled among steep wooded gorges; nearby Lynton’s waterpowered cliff railway; below at Lynmouth the harbour sits at the bottom of the cliffs
A very scenic private road branches off to the right, opposite the Ship Inn. It rises at a much more sedate pace. Halfway along a chap emerges from a cottage to collect the £2.50 toll. As the A39 sweeps across the top of Exmoor, don’t be distracted by views over the water to Wales and across the moor into the legendary Doone Valley. Wandering sheep and wild ponies are a constant risk here. After you pass from Somerset into Devon, Countisbury Hill drops down into Lynmouth at almost the same precipitous rate as Porlock Hill. And this time you must maintain focus, because there are extraordinary views ahead. But you’ll also see
“YOU MUST MAINTAIN FOCUS – THERE ARE EXTRAORDINARY VIEWS AHEAD” emergency escape lanes to the left, demonstrating that there are real dangers here, especially on icy roads. The road drops to sea level where Lynmouth stands at the mouth of rivers rushing down steep wooded gorges from the moor, while its wonderfully Victorian neighbour Lynton perches on the cliffs above. It’s a good stopover. Try the legchallenging cliff path or the ingenious water-powered cliff railway.
The A39 loops inland through classic rolling English countryside to reach bustling Barnstaple and historic Bideford and their two muchphotographed estuaries, the Taw and the Torridge. It’s another memorable stretch of coastline, featuring cute waterfront villages such as Appledore and Instow, and fabulous beaches like Saunton Sands and Westward Ho! If you haven’t time to stop and explore, the best view comes from the A39, crossing the new Torridge Bridge. The Atlantic Highway now skirts the wildest, least developed part of the West Country coast. This northwest corner of Devon has no beaches but a series of bracing cliffs »
» GETTING THERE
JOINING THE HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN To enjoy the full glory of the A39, pick it up heading southwest from Bath via the cathedral city of Wells and historic centre of Glastonbury. A quicker option is to head south on the M5 and turn off at Junction 23 to find the start of our Atlantic Highway route. Alternatively catch a coach or train to Bridgwater and take the journey by hire car. The Atlantic Highway route ends in North Cornwall but the A39 carries on, with some interruptions, to the South Cornwall coast at Falmouth. ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 33
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of members get a
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1. 93% - based on new car insurance quotes given by Cornmarket Insurance Services to UK IAM Members in December 2016, for those who met acceptance criteria. IAM Surety is a trading brand of Cornmarket Insurance Services. Cornmarket Insurance Services is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (Reg No 308099). Cornmarket Insurance Services, 1st Floor Boucher Plaza, 4-6 Boucher Road, Belfast, BT12 6HR. Acceptance criteria, minimum premiums and terms & conditions apply. Calls may be recorded for our mutual protection. Consumer Intelligence is a research agency which has specialised in the insurance and banking sectors for the past 12 years. IAM Surety placed in three categories; Most Trusted, Most Recommended and Best Service 2016.
DRIVING ON THE EDGE
The Atlantic Highway » WHERE TO STAY
Luttrell Arms Hotel, Dunster Double B&B and dinner from £110
This immaculate 500-year-old redstone coaching inn doesn’t seem out of place among the fairytale cottages at the heart of Dunster. You’ll find a maze of old rooms with creaking boards, sofas and stirring views of the castle. The food is highly acclaimed, too, and prominently features local ingredients. You’ll find the open fire in the back bar offers a welcoming, warming break from a winter’s drive but, if the sun’s shining, sit in the charming rear courtyard. If you stay here, you can choose between bedrooms
Millers, Porlock Weir Double B&B from £88
Turn off the A39 at Porlock village and drive two miles along a twisty lane to the waterside at Porlock Weir. Millers is
The Red Lion, Clovelly Double B&B from £156
Staying at this unique spot is one of the memorable experiences of tackling the Atlantic Highway. Just a mile from the A39, you’ll plunge down a steep drive through thick woods to park on a pebble beach next to this quayside hotel. Eat fresh seafood overlooking bobbing fishing boats and wake to the sound of the waves outside. If the seas are heavy, the waves spray the bedroom windows. Choose the Rous bedroom for its small balcony, or Room 12A for a separate stone stairway into a converted fishing loft. Whichever room you go for, expect your stay
with four-posters, private terraces or original medieval hammerbeam ceilings. At the time of writing, 463 of 519 TripAdvisor reviews rated the Luttrell as excellent or very good. www.luttrellarms.co.uk an 18th-century harbourside boutique hotel. It’s owned by a family that produce antique dealers’ price guides and, not surprisingly, it is stuffed with ancient oddities such as oil paintings, classical statues and piles of leatherbound books. The restaurant is sumptuously decorated and dishes vary from pizzas to fine cuisine. There are also film showings in the hotel’s tiny cinema. The bedrooms overlook fishing boats, yachts and the wide bay, while a coast path runs through the back garden. On TripAdvisor, at the time of writing, Millers had 470 reviews, of which 388 were excellent or very good. www.millersuk.com/anchor
to be quirky, old-fashioned and unforgettable. Out of 430 TripAdvisor reviews at the time of writing, 337 rated the Red Lion as being excellent or very good. www.stayatclovelly.co.uk/red-lion
Just west of Lynton is more dramatic scenery in an area known as the Valley of the Rocks
and steep valleys leading down to rough rocky shores. Your options include the impossibly cute village of Clovelly, where whitewashed cottages line a steep cobbled path down to a tiny harbour, or the rugged rocks at Hartland Quay, for centuries a graveyard for passing sailing ships. Then the A39 turns south into Cornwall and the coast facing west. At last, you’ve reached the Atlantic. You’ll be able to stop at big sandy beaches such as Bude and Widemouth, and visit picturesque spots like Boscastle and Tintagel. But you’ll also notice there are no more views across to Wales. Looking out to the west, you’ll see only the sea. That’s because now there’s nothing but the Atlantic Ocean between you and Newfoundland. Thanks to FIAT UK for providing the Tipo featured. For more information contact: fiat.co.uk/Tipo For offers from Fiat and our other partners, see page 57.
Luttrell Arms Hotel is offering 25% off any stay of two nights or more between either January and April 2017, or October and November 2017. To book, please call 01643 821555 or email enquiry @luttrellarms.co.uk quoting ‘RoadSmart’.
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Still in top gear Sue Baker, former Top Gear presenter and renowned freelance motoring journalist and broadcaster, test drives around 150 cars a year – and is a proud IAM RoadSmart member WORDS: CLAIRE EVANS
When did you pass your test?
When did you first become interested in cars? From an early age I was fascinated by how things work. Cars intrigued me, but I decided to become a journalist, not thinking that the two could be combined. I trained with a local newspaper group with the Brands Hatch circuit in its catchment area, and started covering motor races, deputising for the motoring correspondent. That led to an offer to work at the circuit running a motor-racing news service, and my next move was to Fleet Street as a general news reporter on the London Evening News. After two years I became the motoring correspondent. My subsequent career has included 13 years as motoring editor
In 1964, a few months after my 17th birthday. I first drove our family car, a Hillman Minx, aged 15 on Pendine Sands in south Wales on a family holiday. My dad traced a huge figure-of-eight in the sand and coached me in driving around it. I was also allowed to drive along the seven-mile beach; it was so thrilling, I was hooked. I had my first official driving lesson on my 17th birthday, and passed the test first time.
Erik Carlsson to David Coulthard; that’s taught me a lot about car control and balance. I was once lucky enough to share a car in Monaco and southern France with Sir Stirling Moss, when he was writing a motoring column for a magazine. On days like those, you watch and learn.
Have you done any advanced training? Yes. I am passionate about the need to keep on improving and re-assessing your driving skills. As a very young motoring correspondent – the youngest in Fleet Street, aged 24 – to
of The Observer, three years as motoring reporter on BBC TV Breakfast Time, and 11 years as a presenter on the old BBC Top Gear in the 1980s and early ’90s. I now write as a specialist motoring freelance journalist for a variety of magazines and websites.
How did you enhance your driving post-test? Working as a motoring writer has given me lots of opportunities to hone my skills on defensive driving courses, track coaching and advanced tuition. I’ve always grabbed any chance to learn more. During my career I’ve been a passenger beside some amazingly talented drivers, from Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill and
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“The Bugatti Type 35C was so amazingly tactile it felt alive”
Sue rates the Applecross Road in western Scotland as being among her favourite drives
demonstrate my commitment I took my first IAM advanced test in the 1970s. Since then I have passed another advanced test and also repeated the IAM test. I am proud to have been an IAM RoadSmart member for 40 years.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a driver? I am good at taking a responsible attitude on the road, continually assessing what I am doing and striving to maintain a high standard. I try to be a considerate driver.
I am sometimes tempted to stray over the speed limit.
What would you say is your favourite drive? A long-distance trip through great scenery on twisty country roads. Favourites include local lanes in Kent, the wonderfully dynamic roads of north Wales around the ‘Evo Triangle’ and the fabulous Applecross Road on a peninsula in western Scotland. But every drive is a favourite, because I’m always in different cars, experiencing roads with a fresh perspective.
Have you had any accidents? Fortunately I have a pretty clean record, although I once drove under a railway bridge and met a huge lorry full of prams filling the road because that was the only way he had height room. We collided, and the front wing and headlight of my Citroen Maserati test car were impaled on the front of the truck.
Of the vehicles you’ve had, what was your favourite? Memorable cars I’ve driven include a Bugatti Type 35C that was so amazingly tactile it felt alive, a Jaguar XJ220 that was thrilling around the Austrian Grand Prix circuit and a Formula Ford that was exhilarating because it was the first open-wheeled car I’d ever tried. I also have fond memories of an early Volkswagen Golf GTI Convertible I owned, because it was quick and a drop-top, and I was young. I drive around 150 different cars a year and have done so for more than 40 years, so I reckon I’ve driven around 6,500 in total.
What car would you buy if money were no object? An early Jaguar E-Type because it’s the most fabulously sexy car ever made, although they’re silly money now. For a modern alternative, I’d go for an Audi R8 V10. » IAM ROADSMART TRACK
And any embarrassing driving experiences?
Left: As a motoring correspondent for the London Evening News, Sue learned about F1 machinery from world
champion John Surtees. Above: Perched on her own Lotus Elan talking cars with fellow Evening News reporter Tony Frost
Driving an unwieldy dune buggy on a West Country estate during my time on Top Gear and almost running over the cameraman, who had to jump out of the way! Then, when we were filming in Japan, I took a wrong turn and drove for miles hopelessly lost in a rural part of the country with no signs in any recognisable (to me) language. That took some unravelling.
Our circuit-based Skills Days are an additional place to learn skills that you can put into practice while driving your car or riding your motorcycle on the road. Circuits offer a controlled environment without the hazards faced on our roads, which enables the participant to concentrate on the skills being taught. To find out more see www.iamroadsmart.com/ skillsdays.
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THE GREAT DEBATE CHAIRED BY GRAHAM SCOTT
Testing the limit There is strong support for a move to reduce the drink-drive limit in England and Wales, following the example of other countries. But will it make a real difference?
hould you drink and then drive? Clearly, the only answer is no – you should be in full control of your vehicle. With drink-drive limits, managing this ability becomes a complex situation (even more complex when we consider the issue of drug-driving). So how much alcohol could you have in your system yet be legally deemed as still safe to drive? Since 1965, the limit in the UK has been 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, or the equivalent in breath or urine. The number of deaths and injuries caused by drink-driving has fallen steadily since that time, but the numbers have stayed the same since 2010. This is the catalyst to suggest the limit be brought down to 50mg rather than 80mg. Scotland introduced this lower limit in 2014, and many European and Commonwealth countries stipulate the same or even a zero-tolerance policy. Should England and Wales now follow suit? The answer lies in a fog of statistics and data, employed by both sides to further their argument, but here’s one fact: 70 per cent of IAM members want the limit reduced. And here’s another. IAM RoadSmart runs the Drink-drive Rehabilitation Course (DDRC) for drivers convicted of drink-driving. Training and driver education manager Sarah Fisk told us that many convicted drivers say they just didn’t know how much alcohol they could drink and still drive legally. It’s a confusing situation, which is why the DDRC recommends ‘none for the road’. Since a zero-tolerance approach is not on the horizon, should the limit stay the same or should it be lowered? Here, we present both sides of the argument to help you make up your mind.
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“ROAD SAFETY WOULD BE FAR BETTER SERVED BY THE STRICT ENFORCEMENT OF CURRENT LIMITS”
“IF THE 50MG LIMIT WAS BROUGHT IN, IT WOULD SAVE 24 DEATHS AND 95 SERIOUS INJURIES A YEAR”
The current limit has been proven for more than 40 years, and nearly all accidents related to alcohol consumption involve people well over the current limit. Road safety would be far better served by strict enforcement of the existing limits rather than tinkering with an already successful policy. The Borkenstein study was the basis for setting the limit at 80mg BAC (blood alcohol content). This shows an almost flat line for accident risk associated with BAC to around 95mg BAC, and then it begins to rise sharply from there. This is and should be about road safety and the well-being of society in general. As the vast majority of alcohol-related accidents involve people well over the current limit, I see no real benefit in making changes that will do untold damage to the very many businesses that rely on trade from those able to travel. The evidence from Scotland suggests very little change in terms of accident reduction, but a significant downturn in business for the leisure industry. The Herald Scotland reported in February 2015 that alcohol sales in Scottish pubs had fallen by up to 60 per cent since the introduction of the lower limit, while the Independent reporting in September 2015 showed that recorded offences related to drinkdriving for the first three months of the change showed virtually no reduction. This would suggest most drivers were adhering to a sensible limit before the new ruling and that the biggest casualties are businesses relying on out-of-town trade.
Government statistics show that drivers who drink up to the 80mg limit are six times more likely to die in a traffic accident than a driver who hasn’t drunk alcohol. At 50mg the risk is three times. We are looking at 240 deaths a year and 8,000 casualties, and that figure hasn’t moved since 2010. Department of Transport figures show that 60 per cent of those casualties aren’t even the driver who has drunk over the limit. They are passengers, pedestrians; innocent victims. Enforcement is an issue. We know that the number of people breathalysed has fallen over recent years. The aim of the policy is to act as a deterrent, not to bring increased prosecutions, and if the new lower limit was brought in, the Government would have a duty to inform the public, giving the sort of campaigning on drinkdriving that we haven’t seen much of in recent years. Data shows that if the 50mg limit was brought in, it would save 24 fatalities and 95 serious injuries a year. It will save lives and money – and all the emergency services support it, as it would free them up for other emergencies. It shouldn’t have a significant effect on business levels for rural pubs, but this is about saving lives, money and resources. There is widespread support for reducing the limit, from both town and country – 77 per cent of city people support this, as do 75 per cent of rural people. It also crosses the political divide with all-party support, from 81 per cent of Labour voters to 71 per cent of UKIP voters.
UKIP MEP, SPOKESMAN FOR TRANSPORT
DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE OF ALCOHOL STUDIES
> IAM ROADSMART’S DRINK-DRIVE
REHABILITATION COURSES have been developed to help rehabilitate those who have been convicted of drink-driving. Go to iamdra.org.uk for more information. JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION AT: Twitter @iamroadsmart Facebook iamroadsmart
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Advancing beyond disability There’s nothing to stop a disabled person from taking their advanced driving or riding test – and achieving a sense of empowerment in the process WORDS: GILES CHAPMAN
ife, it seemed, had delivered a cruel blow to the ardent petrolhead within Edward Ruskin. A lifelong motoring enthusiast, he was building kit cars and running a business expertly modifying glassfibre automotive parts. Along the way he’d passed both his driving and motorbike tests with flying colours when, in November 2014, he started to feel unwell and soon afterwards collapsed on his workshop floor. The stroke that was unfolding put him in hospital for two months, where a brain haemorrhage added to the crushing feeling that, at 45, his motoring passion could only ever be a fond memory. Fortunately, Eddie started to walk once more, albeit with a stick. Using a mobility scooter proved that his spatial awareness was still sound, and solid work in the gym brought some movement back to his partly paralysed left side. Despite the odds being stacked against him, Eddie began to believe he could drive again. Once deemed fit enough, he was assessed as ready to go, and he coped so well that he was asked whether he was an advanced driver. That pretty much set his next goal.
A new challenge “I had a first-class trainer in Alister Andrews from the Bath group that I belong to,” says Eddie. “He took me through the training and on to my first-level pass in only eight weeks.” Indeed, and despite misgivings about the fact Eddie’s practically a one-handed driver, he took and passed his Masters advanced test. “I’m still working hard to overcome the effects of the stroke, but if I can achieve this level of driving with only one side of my body working, many others can as well.” It’s a sentiment shared by Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards: “We are
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an all-inclusive organisation, and make no distinction between ablebodied and disabled drivers. If you have a licence, then you can do it. We teach safety and clarity of thought process; ask yourself, for example, when you last considered the driving itself and not just the destination?” Joe Hennessey, chairman of the Joint Committee on Mobility for Disabled People, adds: “Mobility is the key to independence for those who are unable or virtually unable to walk, and whether it is for further education, employment or other daily living activities, driving is the means of gaining and maintaining that mobility. For many disabled people, driving is not a choice but a necessity, and doing so safely and considerately is essential.” And nor should disabled bike riders be deterred, according to the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD). Several of its members have taken the advanced test and all are encouraged to do so. “People joining us have often had a reminder of their own mortality,” says NABD chairman Rick Hulse. “Even for bikers injured when in a car, you realise you’re soft and vulnerable. Then they tend to give more thought towards their riding, to up their game a bit.” The charity Spinal Research has recruited celebrity biker Guy Martin to help it raise both funds and awareness. “We have targeted the motorcycling community because
“I’M STILL WORKING HARD TO OVERCOME THE EFFECTS OF THE STROKE, BUT IF I CAN ACHIEVE THIS LEVEL OF DRIVING WITH ONLY ONE SIDE OF MY BODY WORKING, MANY OTHERS CAN AS WELL”
“WE DON’T MAKE ANY DISTINCTION BETWEEN ABLE-BODIED AND DISABLED DRIVERS. IF YOU HAVE A DRIVING LICENCE, THEN YOU CAN DO IT” RICHARD GLADMAN, IAM ROADSMART
there are a lot accidents there,” says the charity’s Alison Wadley. “Very few people outside this world can really understand what it is like to learn to cope alternatively.” Other organisations give a cautious welcome to the opportunity for advanced driver training. “We wouldn’t encourage people to do it but nor would we discourage them – it is a personal choice,” says Jackie Smith, grant solutions manager at Motability. “We always give familiarisation lessons to anyone receiving a highly adapted car for the first time. But some people don’t like official tests. They can be put on edge, worry that they might fail.”
Leading by example And yet examples abound of people with severe physical disadvantages who have found taking the advanced test an empowering experience. Wheelchair user Andrew Murley felt quietly confident that a pass was within his grasp, despite not being able to use foot pedals. ”As per any test, it’s down to preparation and mindset,” he asserts. “Hand controls enable me to control a car with equal aplomb as someone using foot pedals. Chesterfield IAM group instructor Selwyn Gough was superb in his approach. The conversation about hand controls lasted five minutes; then all the focus was on imparting the training he’d give to any student. Since
passing, my driving skills have improved immeasurably.” Gordon Cruickshank has been a high-level tetraplegic, paralysed from the chest down with limited use of his fingers, since a car crash (he was a passenger) in 1989. He’s also editorat-large of Motor Sport magazine. He passed the advanced test before his accident, and intends to repeat it. “I passed the IAM RoadSmart advanced driving test in my modified car a while ago, but I want to see if my driving is up to scratch still; I want to check my hazard perception… and any bad habits!” Gordon has competed in classic rallying in his converted Jaguar Mk2. “There’s no reason why you can’t be as good a driver as anyone else,” he says. “After all, in the driving seat is the one place where you’re on a par with everyone else.” Richard Gladman concurs fully: “There’s nothing to stop you reaching that goal. Observe, anticipate, plan – it works perfectly well for everybody. Ninety per cent of the test is taking in information around you – only 10 per cent is using the controls.” » IAM ROADSMART DRIVING
AND RIDING COURSES
Interested in improving your driving or riding skills? We can help, whatever your needs. Please contact us on 0300 303 1134 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options.
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A f irst for female bikers IAM RoadSmart’s first-ever national motorcycle skills day for female riders proved a resounding success – with a call for more to follow WORDS SARAH BRADLEY PHOTOGRAPHY BEN WRIGHT
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WOMEN’S MOTORCYCLE SKILLS DAY
hat a fabulous day and, by all accounts, very successful. The feedback was great and I think the ladies enjoyed the learning experience. Well done – great job!” That comment from instructor Fiona Robertson was just one of many glowing reports from IAM RoadSmart’s first-ever national all-female motorcycle skills day, held last autumn at Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire. “Brilliant!” added Amanda Pratley. “I loved it.” Learner rider Elana Cain commented: “I had a fantastic time. I was a bit worried when I realised my 125 was dwarfed by every other bike, but I was made to feel so welcome. I was hugely inspired by all the amazing women riders.” The riding skills day was arranged by popular request, as it had become clear there was substantial demand among IAM RoadSmart members for a female-only event. Many lady motorcyclists had said they felt under too much pressure on mixedsex skills days, while the success of several, more locally organised women’s events had provided excellent inspiration. Although Thruxton is the UK’s fastest race circuit, the emphasis would not be on outright speed, but on education and enjoyment in a controlled environment, while developing new skills to help deal with the many hazards on our roads. The ultimate aim would be to give riders more machine control through corners and extra flexibility on the road – improving their safety and fun. The skills day started with a group briefing, during which the ladies »
On-track sessions at the womenonly motorcycle skills day were followed by a chance to chat
and reflect on what had been learned. A relaxed atmosphere made it an enjoyable event for all
Jane Neal, Triumph Tiger “I’m enjoying the nurturing feel of this event. Rather than it being a head-down, openthrottle track day, it’s good to be able to start slowly. You can get comfortable before you’re encouraged to go faster. Sometimes it’s easy to be put off when there are a lot of guys, but it’s less intimidating when it’s all ladies. “There’s plenty of space on the track, and I’d rather learn and make mistakes here than on the road. It’s good to be shown the exact lines through corners. It’s also about the braking, making sure I’m in the right gear – and the realisation that I can carry my speed round a corner. I’ve been trying different gearchanges and sorting out my braking.”
“I LOVE THAT WE’VE HAD SUCH PERSONAL FEEDBACK TODAY. THE MARSHALS DON’T MISS ANYTHING AND DON’T PRESSURISE YOU”
Susana Mota, Suzuki SV650 “I’m quite excited about today. I’m mainly hoping to learn confidence in corners. I think it’s really important to know how to read and take them properly, how and when to lean. After all, corners are where most motorcycle accidents happen. “I’d been commuting in London for a few years on a 125 and thought nothing of it, but when I joined the London Motorcycle Riders Club and started getting out of town on fast B-roads, I thought: ‘Oh my
God, I need to learn how to do this!’ The Suzuki is my first big bike, and now that I’ve done some advanced training I’ll put in for my IAM RoadSmart test soon. It doesn’t matter what experience level you’re at or how many years you’ve been riding, we all get into bad habits. “I love that we’ve had such personal feedback today. The marshals don’t miss anything and don’t pressurise you. They’ll even give you some one-to-one instruction if you need it. I’ve come to Thruxton with a few other LMRC ladies, and we can’t wait to get together at the end of the day and chat and exchange experiences. Today’s been wonderful, and I’d recommend everyone to do something similar.”
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WOMEN’S MOTORCYCLE SKILLS DAY
Helen Compton, BMW F800S
Thruxton might be the UK’s fastest race circuit, but the emphasis at the
skills day was on education and enjoyment, rather than outright speed
“Once you’ve passed your advanced test, unless you do something like this it can be hard to keep up your skills. I decided now was the right time – and the fact this is a women-only day is a big plus. “I’ve also recently made some changes to my bike, adding progressive front forks, flatter bars and a modified gearlever. I want to get more experience of the differences that’s made without having to do it on the road. I’ve lowered the BMW’s
suspension, too; with today’s taller motorcycles, the height issue can really affect your confidence. Even just pushing a bike around can be difficult; I prefer to paddle it. Ultimately, I’m hoping to gain a greater sense of control today.”
››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››› Sarah Ostler, Ducati Scrambler “I took my bike test only 18 months ago, encouraged by my other half and my son. The Scrambler is my first big bike and I want to learn any extra skills I can. Today has been really good – exactly what I was expecting. The fact that it’s a ladies-only event really appeals; there’s not all that testosterone flying around! Our instructor has really looked after us and I’m hoping to go home with much more confidence.”
– both IAM RoadSmart members and non-members – were told: “Today is not about proving things; it’s about improving things.” Then the 50 participants were split into several groups with dedicated instructors, and settled into an hourly itinerary consisting of 20-minute segments. The first would be in the classroom discussing theory on such topics as safety, reading the track, using visual reference points, positioning, gear selection, braking, weight distribution, throttle control, positive steering, acceleration and overtaking. This was followed by 20 minutes on track, in several sub-groups of four
“THE THE SCRAMBLER IS MY FIRST BIG BIKE AND I WANT TO LEARN ANY EXTRA SKILLS I CAN. TODAY HAS BEEN REALLY GOOD”
››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››› Sergeant Emma Poston, Ducati Multistrada Sergeant Emma Poston came along to help out for the day, too. Riding her liveried Ducati, she was representing the Metropolitan Police’s popular BikeSafe courses (www.bikesafe.co.uk).
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Aila Peacock, Yamaha Diversion “To me, advanced driving and riding means getting the best out of yourself, as well as the best out of whatever vehicle you’re in or on. I passed my advanced driving test at 17, back in 1970. I’d been encouraged by my dad and two older brothers, all of whom had also done their IAM test. I’ve been riding motorcycles for eight years, and wanted to ride at Thruxton as I’d already done a skills day here in my car. “More women than ever
before are getting into bikes, perhaps having already ridden pillion with their partner and deciding they want to join in. I think many ladies follow instructions well and like to take things one step at a time, which means they learn more. Also, women ask questions – which is one thing perhaps some men aren’t as comfortable doing.”
››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››› Di Woodcock, Yamaha Fazer 1000 “I’m a National Observer, and today is good for getting information to help me help the associates when I take them out. I’m learning different ways of explaining things. It’s raining right now, but in a way that’s good because it can help riders to gain confidence when there’s less grip. “I want to keep polishing my own skills as well. In addition to my IAM RoadSmart work, I volunteer with the Blood Bikes charity, whose advanced riders deliver emergency medical essentials around the UK. I do rider assessments; it’s good to do something useful with the qualification after you’ve earned it.”
››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››››› Tina Underwood Kawasaki Z1000SX Tina Underwood brought her Kawasaki Z1000SX to Thruxton to help at the ladies’ skills day. She’s been riding for six years, and has passed both her IAM RoadSmart and RoSPA advanced tests as well as her Masters.
“THE ATMOSPHERE WAS ONE OF RELAXATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT, ACCOMPANIED BY PLENTY OF LAUGHTER” or five, and 20 minutes’ discussion, reflection and refreshment. The atmosphere was one of relaxation and encouragement, accompanied by plenty of laughter and an overwhelming sense of camaraderie. Despite the track receiving a drenching in the latter half of the day, the participants’ enthusiasm and good spirits were infectious. As IAM RoadSmart chief executive Sarah Sillars later said: “It was an event we shall repeat – the feedback was superb. No matter what their skill level, the advice, support and coaching were tailored to everyone’s ability. Not only a confidence and skillbuilding day, but one enjoyed by all.” The event closed with a final summing-up – and as the ladies cheered a vote of thanks and approval to all the IAM RoadSmart staff and volunteers involved in organising the skills day, there was only one question on everybody’s lips: “When’s the next one?”
> Find out more: Whatever your gender, age or ability, there’s a IAM RoadSmart trackbased skills day especially for you. If you’re looking to improve your riding or driving, go to iamroadsmart.com/skillsdays for forthcoming dates. ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 45
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Turning a Corner By applying enough road sense and planning, any driver or rider can soon master the ‘dark art’ of cornering
WORDS: RICHARD FLEURY
ornering is sometimes described as a ‘dark art’, but get it just right and it’s one of the most satisfying parts of driving or riding. The IPSGA system – Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Acceleration – is the foundation for negotiating any bend safely. However, flexibility is important too, says IAM RoadSmart area service delivery manager Pete Doherty. “Consider the stages of IPSGA in sequence, but dip in and out,” explains the former Met Police instructor of 11 years. “Make your plan, but if something comes into view that changes your plan, be prepared to change it. Don’t stick doggedly to it. What we’ve got to do is not paint by numbers.” Safety trumps every other factor, continues Pete: “This is paramount. A lot of people position their vehicle for vision, but we need to position for safety. Vision is a by-product. “If we have to sacrifice our position, we need to sacrifice our speed. It might be your right of way, but when it goes wrong it stings – and there’s no point in having that conversation in hospital.” The approach to any bend begins with the information stage. IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman,
explains: “The crucial element is having information that allows you to go around a bend safely, so that you can always stop safely in the distance you can see to be clear on your own side of the road. In a righthand bend, a position towards the nearside, and in a left-hand bend, towards the offside of our lane will help our vision. We don’t practice offside of the paint purely because it’s quite complicated to teach, fraught with going wrong and of little value at normal road speeds.” Great cornering requires a sound grasp of limit points, and watching online videos can help visualise the concept. “What people sometimes don’t understand is that when you get to that point where vision improves sufficiently to allow you to progress around the bend, you must be doing a speed that allows you to stop,” says Richard. For Pete, good vision scans with
“MOST PEOPLE LOOK THREE CAR LENGTHS UP THE ROAD. BUT WE’RE TALKING 50, 60 CAR LENGTHS OR MORE, AS FAR AS VISION WILL ALLOW” PETE DOHERTY
“eyes on full beam not dipped beam” are crucial for information gathering. “Is it a right-hand bend? Is there a junction to the left? Could traffic you haven’t seen shoot across in front of you? That’s going to limit your position and entry speed. Read the road surface. Is there debris? Are there manholes? Is it pitted? The camber as well. On a right-hand bend, the camber is running right to left, which is going to throw you off course.” Successful cornering is all about planning well in advance. The sooner information is spotted, the sooner the rider or driver can position their vehicle. “Essentially, it’s setting up, but much sooner than you would do normally. Most people look three car lengths up the road. But we’re talking 50, 60 car lengths or more, as far as vision will allow,” says Pete. “On a one-mile straight with a righthand bend, at the half-mile marker I would be planning my entry speed to that bend. Get your position right, your speed right and invariably you won’t need the brakes.” “This is where people usually fall foul,” he explains. “They go in really late, and tend to land on a corner in the wrong gear and wobble through it. That’s usually down to going too fast in the straights. Not illegally fast,
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» A GUIDE TO CORNERING
5 You’re 150 metres from the corner and the ‘Limit Point of Vision’ (LPOV) is getting closer than the distance you can safely stop in. Slow down.
Remember, you should apply the ‘Limit Point of Vision’ technique to junctions and hill crests as well as bends. The same applies to all hazards.
3 YOUR VEHICLE
but just not planning. They’re not getting the pleasure they could out of being on the right part of the road, at the right speed in the right gear, and then pulling all the way through. If you work on it and get it right, it’s so satisfying.” Leicester and District Advanced Motorcyclists’ Ming Nagel, who progressed from total novice to a motorcycle Masters with Distinction in under two years (see our IAM Masters programme story), agrees: “Cornering is one of the things I enjoy most about riding a motorcycle, because it feels much more like playing a sport I enjoy. I rarely have to brake now, and that’s nice because it makes me feel more in control. I like anticipating and riding on roads I don’t know, and just having fun with it.”
You’re 50 metres from the bend. You’ve slowed down to an appropriate speed and the LPOV is static relative to you. Maintain your speed.
A motorcycle’s vulnerability means riders should pay more attention to the road surface. ` But they also have the advantage of being able to position within their lane. On narrow country lanes, however, Pete Doherty recommends doubling stopping distances in case of something fast approaching. “You’ve got to be safe, car or bike. But the bottom line is you’ve got to get out and have fun – or you might as well lock up the garage and get on the bus,” he says. “There are so many good roads where everybody lives, so get on Google Maps, find a road, find a cafe and wind your way to it!”
> Read more at: www.iamroadsmart.com/tips
You’re now 40 metres from the bend, and the LPOV is still static relative to you. You are at the correct speed to negotiate the corner. Hold your speed.
You’re in the bend now. The LPOV is starting to move away from you and the bend is opening up. You can consider accelerating at this point.
Exiting the bend, the LPOV moves away. If there are no hazards, accelerate as the road opens out and plan for the next bend.
ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 47
Groups in action GETTY
CASH GRANTS HELP GROUPS ATTRACT YOUNGER MEMBERS Three IAM RoadSmart groups have secured significant grants to help with their road-safety and drivertraining programmes. Carmarthen and West Wales Advanced Motorists has been handed £4,000 by the Police and Crime Commissioners Fund, which it is using to help entice younger drivers and riders into enrolling in the advanced testing scheme. CWWAM will be offering a £50 refund to under-25s who successfully complete their advanced driving or riding course and become a full IAM RoadSmart member. Candidates must have held a driving/riding licence for at least three months and reside
within the Dyfed Powys police area. The North Wales Group of Advanced Motorists has been supported by the Gwynt Y Mor community fund to enable it to recruit, train and test 60 under-25s living in Conwy, Flintshire and Denbighshire counties. When the driver completes their training and undertakes the advanced driving test, they will be refunded their £149. Bournemouth and Wessex Advanced Motorcyclists has received £8,000 from Dorset Police and the National Lottery, which it will use to attract more women riders and under-30s via road shows and events, as incentives for new members, publicity, observer training and equipment and other initiatives.
COULD YOUR GROUP USE AN INJECTION OF GRANT MONEY? For information about the grants available and how to apply, contact your area service delivery manager
Double F1RST for Nigel as he adds car accolade to long-held bike prize More than 15 years after he passed his advanced bike test with Peterborough Advanced Motorists, Nigel Bean decided it was time to brush up on his car skills and see if he couldn’t gain a F1RST on four wheels as well as two. The result, achieved with Boston Advanced Motorists, was just what he had hoped for. Said Nigel: “I’ve been re-tested several times on the bike, so I felt the need to challenge myself by going for a re-test in the car, secretly thinking it would be nice to get a second F1RST. David Gerard, my examiner, was very thorough and, just like the test 15 years earlier, took me over a variety of challenging and interesting roads. I was satisfied with my result, and remembered that there is no such thing as a perfect drive.”
ONE OF 50 COPIES OF THE LATEST HIGHWAY CODE Simply email your membership number to highwaycode @iam.org.uk (TERMS & CONDITIONS APPLY)
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EDITED BY NICK CARTER
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CLUB RAISES CHARITY CASH TO AID ROADSAFETY CAUSE
ORMSKIRK MOTORFEST DRAWS BIG CROWD
More than 30,000 people flocked to the annual Ormskirk Motorfest this year, the event’s biggest attendance. That was excellent news for Sefton Advanced Motorists, which attended to help spread the IAM RoadSmart word and netted the contact details of a large number of new members.
YOUNG DRIVER F1RSTs
Under 17 Car Club members Mark Hall and Daryl Head were awarded F1RSTs by IAM RoadSmart examiner Andy Poulton (below). “It’s always a pleasure to assess enthusiastic young drivers who have been trained to a high standard over very challenging roads,” said Andy. If you would like to learn more about the U17CC, contact Eloise Peabody-Rolf, young driver ambassador, at eloise.peabody-rolf @iam.org.uk
WHAT A PAIR...
Gillian and Colin Bassett were presented with husband-and-wife advanced test honours at a meeting of Home Counties North Advanced Drivers Group. Gillian passed her advanced test in February 2014, but held off from receiving her certificate until Colin could join her in the spotlight. The pair were coached
by group observers Alan Battson and Terry Winch.
St John’s Gaelic football club and the Advanced Motorists of Northern Ireland have joined forces to improve road safety
Tony Barber (above), Observer for Wirral Advanced Motorcyclists, has obtained the group’s first Masters pass. “This has been an aim of mine since joining IAM RoadSmart,” he said. “It would’ve been hard without the support of WAM and my Masters mentor, Howard Sidery.”
Jake Stockade, 21, has passed his advanced rider test with a F1RST with Wilts and Bath Advanced Motorcyclists. Examiner Keiron Parsons said: “This lad was riding a restricted Honda CBS500. It is uncommon to find men of this age coming forward.”
It’s all been kicking off in Northern Ireland this year for IAM RoadSmart, with the St John’s Gaelic football club in Castlewellan, County Down, adopting us as its charity partner for the year. The club secured funding to promote road safety, part of which was used to raise awareness of the charity through an advertising campaign and by offering driver checks to club members, their friends and families. Members of the Advanced Motorists of Northern Ireland (AMNI) and the Northern
Ireland National Training Team helped to organise events. St John’s showed the appreciation of members by presenting AMNI with a framed example of its club shirt, complete with the IAM RoadSmart logo. Rory McMullan, St John’s chairman, presented the shirt to Angela Bell, regional groups co-ordinator for Northern Ireland. Also pictured are David McLellan, chair of Mid Ulster Advanced Motorists; David Harcourt, chair of North Down Advanced Motorists; and Gareth Hughes, regional secretary.
Does your group have affiliations with sporting clubs in your area? It’s a great way to attract publicity and new members
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GROUPS IN ACTION
Safety campaign pays tribute to young biker A road-safety campaign is not only helping to save lives but also commemorate a young IAM RoadSmart member who lost his life in a motorcycle crash. Jack Bellis, 19, was the innocent victim of a collision just a year after passing his advanced bike test with Warrington Advanced Motorists. Now, WAM is helping to support the Jack Bellis Double Take Campaign (above), set up by family and friends to keep his memory alive and promote awareness by placing small stickers on a vehicle’s rear-view mirrors to prompt drivers to do a ‘double take’ before carrying out a manoeuvre. Family friend Tony Rich raised cash for Jack’s fund with a Land’s End to John O’Groats bike ride, which is being used to subsidise the fees for under-30s who sign up for the advanced course.
FOR MORE ON THE CAMPAIGN go to www.jackbellisdoubletake.uk
CLASSICAL ATTRACTION FOR SOMERSET GROUP Taunton Group of Advanced Motorists’ annual classic car and barbecue evening featured a display of 30 vehicles, including a 1966 Aston Martin DB5, Triumph Stags and a lovingly restored Austin A40 belonging to David Gough of the Weston Group. Ninety members and visitors enjoyed the barbecue. Later, the group participated in the Watchet Fete and West Somerset Steam Rally, with both events
helping to generate a lot of public interest in the aims and exploits of IAM RoadSmart.
If you see a news item that you think may be of benefit to your IAM RoadSmart group, then please get in touch with that group to find out more. We are keen to encourage our groups to share best practice and successful initiatives with each other. You can find group contact details at www.iamroadsmart.com/joinagroup
KEN KEIR, OBE
CHAIRMAN, IAM ROADSMART
Why is working for IAM RoadSmart as a trustee and volunteer so important to you? My career has been in the motor industry, so I have seen the development of cars over the years, and I’ve also seen the massive impact that IAM RoadSmart has had on road safety. When I sat my driving test we were still using hand signals – things have moved on so much since then. Car and motorbike safety has developed at a great pace, but you can’t just rely on technology to keep you safe. We have to develop driving and riding skills in a new way. There’s a huge opportunity for IAM RoadSmart to improve road safety, and I love the challenge of being involved in all this. We are making a genuine contribution to society – more than 1,700 people die on our roads each year and that costs society millions of pounds, and we’re working to cut those figures. One thing I’m fed up with is the current fashionable view that driving is boring. There’s an opportunity here for us to help put the joy back into the art of driving. You must pass the advanced driving test to become a trustee. I was surprised to discover that since passing the test I enjoy driving much more, because it is now a far more conscious act. I’m looking forward to helping other people feel this way. ROADSMART WINTER 2016/2017 51
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TO CONTACT US ROADSMART MAGAZINE, 1 Albany Place, Hyde Way, Welwyn Garden City AL7 3BT
Your thoughts on the issues facing today’s road users
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Cataract op was key for me
Parking that was applauded On a recent early Sunday morning, I visited the National Trust village of Lacock in Wiltshire, which is often used for film and TV settings. Cars were parked boot against kerb, bonnet facing the road. There was a space opposite the village shop, so I drove slightly past it and reversed in. As I opened my door, the elderly gentleman parked to my left lowered his window. I thought he was going to ask me something. However, he said: “That was a very impressive bit of parking, madam.” I smiled and frivolously said: “I’m an advanced motorist.” He responded: “And a good example, too.” We both laughed. I was so thrilled, and it made my day. The inner child came to the fore and I felt as chuffed as when I won the examination prize at prep school many years ago. The thrill of praise never dies. Wendy Dedicott
Caught on camera I have long held the view that TV companies, news reporters and presenters should not conduct interviews while driving. I have even seen the driver turn to face the camera, which was held by a cameraman in the back seat. I was appalled when a national reporter gave details of the proposed new penalties for using a mobile phone behind the wheel, while the reporter himself was driving. If, in law, this is not seen as a distraction, then the law needs changing. Peter Koch-Osborne
» STAR LETTER The winner of our Star Letter will receive a watch courtesy of Elliot Brown..
“THESE DRIVING AIDS ARE TAKEN FOR GRANTED AS THE BE-ALL AND END-ALL” AM Ball
Technology that ends in tears? Recently I went through a ford some four inches deep. When I put my left foot on the brake pedal to keep the brakes free of water, the electronics told the throttle to shut off. The most worrying thing to me is that these driving aids are taken for granted as the be-all and end-all, when in fact they may lead to untold problems. I have little faith in any vehicle that can take it upon itself to apply or even slam on the brakes, and feel that this slide into accepting technology over good old-fashioned responsibility will only end in tears. AM Ball
» SOCIAL MEDIA
As an octogenarian, I read your article about ‘the older driver’ (Spring 2016) with interest, particularly regarding cataracts. My oculist said I might benefit from having my cataracts removed, even though my eyes were within the DVLA requirements for driving. I had them done – the result was dramatic. I don’t need to wear glasses when driving any more. Not everyone is the same, but I’d recommend seeing your oculist. Pat Rayner
Don’t drive dehydrated RoadSmart has many gems of advice on the analysis and decision aspects of driving, but I’ve yet to see mention of the dangers of dehydration and its effect on decision-making and speed of thinking. For more than 25 years, glider pilots have recognised that even the slightest degree of dehydration affects the brain’s ability to quickly and continuously perform complex thought. The rule ‘Don’t drink and drive’ is well known, but it should be ‘Don’t drink and drive, but never drive without drinking’. Ralph Bowsfield
Q: We asked Twitter: What are your views on reducing the drink-drive limit in England and Wales? Bob Fudge: 50mg sounds good; my preference is zero tolerance. Mark Griffin: No justification for reducing limit, but stricter enforcement is required including random stop-checks. Alpha Executive Cars: Not sure it would help. Drink-drivers seem to be two-three times the limit, so are set on drinking, then driving! John Lomax: Drop it to 50. Would
prefer zero, because people will still ask, “so what can I drink?” Shropshire Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists: Jackie Stewart used to say, “Being a little bit drunk is like being a little bit pregnant” – if you’re impaired, you’re a risk. Steve Leyland: Alcohol is the most readily available legal impairment substance, and is a danger if driving. I’d prefer zero tolerance.
STAY IN TOUCH Follow IAM RoadSmart on Twitter and Facebook
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My next challenge
INTRODUCING OUR MEMBERSHIP TIERS
Awarded for outstanding score in our Advanced test. www.iamroadsmart.com/first
Our newest membership level. You re-test every three years as a Fellow. www.iamroadsmart.com/fellow
Our most challenging qualification. Takes advanced skills onto an even higher level. www.iamroadsmart.com/masters
Awarded for outstanding performance in a Masters test. www.iamroadsmart.com/masters
BECOME A F1RST MEMBER More than 2,000 people have now achieved F1RST status thanks to taking the advanced test for car, motorcycle or commercial vehicle and achieving a score of 1 in every category. The IAM RoadSmart F1RST Register recognises excellence with a special certificate complete with the F1RST logo, and your name is also entered into the F1RST register. Existing members can take a voluntary retest and those who score the required marks will be awarded a F1RST membership. MORE INFO AT: iamroadsmart.com/first
My next challenge Make the most of your membership Being an IAM RoadSmart member opens up a host of exciting and fulfilling opportunities for you to further develop your road skills, and to help others to do the same. To find out more about these opportunities, simply log in to the iamroadsmart. com website and take a look at the ‘My next challenge’ dashboard. Log in at www.iamroadsmart.com to access your dashboards
Come to one of our circuit-based Skills Days Always wanted to try out your skills on the track? IAM RoadSmart can help. Our track-based Skills Days enable members to develop new skills and knowledge with expert tuition in a safe, closed-road environment. These are not race days but rather skills-development days that help you to understand and develop the capability and performance of yourself and your machine. BOOK at iamroadsmart.com/skillsdays
54 WINTER 2016/2017 ROADSMART
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit iamroadsmart.com to get more details about any of these challenges
Take a voluntary retest to make sure that your skills are still at advanced level
Inspire others as an Observer
Are you still driving or riding to advanced standard? You can find out by having your road skills reassessed against our advanced test standard. It’s a voluntary check, and the results won’t affect your membership. You get a comprehensive report and personal feedback session at the end of the assessment.
Ask any IAM RoadSmart member who has progressed from passing their advanced test to becoming involved with a local group – the more you put into your membership, the more you will get out.
Get involved with IAM RoadSmart and help us help others to become better drivers and riders
A ‘golden moment’ to cherish Members who become Observers tell us that the greatest buzz of all is to see a driver or rider they have mentored go on to pass their advanced test. It’s the ‘golden moment’ that all Observers cherish. Do you recall how helpful your Observers were when you were attempting to pass the advanced test? Could you fill their shoes? You’ll need to be someone who can inspire others to strive to improve their car driving or bike riding, and gets a buzz from helping others to achieve. IAM RoadSmart is looking for people with excellent driving or riding skills who can encourage associates to develop their own skills in a positive environment. We are in particular need of under-30s to volunteer for Observer training.
A qualification for life
TAKE ANOTHER COURSE Passing an advanced course is just the start of the opportunities available to members. Perhaps you’re an advanced rider and you’d like to test your car skills, or a commercial vehicle member looking to try a two-wheel course? BOOK by going to iamroadsmart.com/courses
There is commitment required, of course – your own road skills will be assessed and there will be written and practical tests. Once qualified, our Observers typically give between three and 12 hours of their time every month. You will be required to provide one-to-one observed drives or rides as part of a local IAM group. These take place at regular times to fit in with your other commitments.
“MEMBERS WHO BECOME OBSERVERS TELL US THAT THE GREATEST BUZZ IS TO SEE A DRIVER OR RIDER PASS THEIR ADVANCED TEST” Becoming an IAM RoadSmart Observer will also provide you with a recognised skill and qualification for life – all Observers hold an Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)-accredited IAM Local or National Observer qualification. We fund all the costs associated with gaining this.
Get involved with a local group Perhaps you don’t have the time to commit to the training required? There are still dozens of ways you can help your local group. It might be giving up a couple of hours to help out at a club event, or perhaps joining the committee, helping with the newsletter or the membership database... Everyone has skills and knowledge gained in everyday life that can be put to excellent use by an IAM RoadSmart local group.
MORE INFO: If you would like to find out more, start here: iamroadsmart.com/localgroups
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Getting to know you THENUKA MAHENDRARASA
IAM ROADSMART SOCIAL MEDIA EXECUTIVE
ocial media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are playing an increasingly important role, not only in how we stay in touch with one another, but also how we receive and digest news from organisations we’re interested in. Little wonder, then, that the new IAM RoadSmart social media executive, Thenuka Mahendrarasa, is keen to spread the message...
What does a social media executive do and how long have you been doing it? I’ve only been here since July, but IAM RoadSmart has had someone in my role for four years now. It might sound like the ideal job for a young person, yet there is a lot more to it than spending my whole day monitoring Facebook and Twitter. There is research and planning on upcoming campaigns, supporting the team in other areas and putting content onto the IAM RoadSmart website.
Why does IAM RoadSmart use social media? Because it is a great way to get our
“THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO GET OUR MESSAGE ACROSS IN A FUN AND FRIENDLY FASHION” message across in a fun and friendly fashion. It’s brilliant for getting to know members – it’s quite personal, and popular with people who enjoy their volunteering and are passionate about driving and riding. They like to share what they’ve been doing, and it’s a quick way of appreciating everyone’s input and bringing all their work together to the notice of others.
Can social media help to produce better drivers? Yes, because you can get serious messages out there in a less severe way: snappy messages that people can digest easily. They can scroll through their phone and gain that extra knowledge, or news of a course or event. Social media is an important part of how IAM RoadSmart launches a campaign. We work hard to prepare for a launch, in particular creating unique
images to help support it. With social media it’s important to grab a reader’s attention with a striking image.
What recent work are you proud of? The work we have done at events, like September’s all-female motorcycle skills day – that had a lot of promotion and media content, and the people involved were 100 per cent positive.
What future plans are there for social media? While social media is a good way to reach audiences, it’s an excellent way of tapping into young people. We are working with Eloise Peabody-Rolf, our new young driver ambassador, on attracting a younger audience and getting them further interested.
What about older members? Facebook in particular is not just for the younger generation; people of all ages are getting a lot from it. If any member is struggling to get to grips with social media I would urge them to get in touch – I can advise on how to get started. It’s a brilliant way of staying in touch with friends, family and, of course, with IAM RoadSmart.
> GET SOCIAL WITH IAM ROADSMART
Check out IAM RoadSmart on Twitter (@IAMRoadSmart) and Facebook (facebook.com/IAMRoadSmart) and enter our competition to submit your best moments from your time with IAM RoadSmart. This could cover anything related to group sessions, events or anything else that holds value to you. Photos are welcome but not compulsory. Write on our Facebook wall or Tweet us your memorable moment using the hashtag #IAMRSmemories.
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MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MEMBERSHIP
As an IAM RoadSmart member, you can benefit from this range of attractive offers from our partners. Log in at www.iamroadsmart.com to get full details and see the very latest offers.
» INTRODUCING OUR BENEFIT MARKETPLACE
Great discounts on the full range of Suzuki models.
Save on new Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, Jeep and Fiat Professional models. 15% off motorcycle clothing and accessories online or in store.
Exclusive member savings on 90 series models.
Our new online Benefit Marketplace showcases all the member benefits available to you. Here are some of the latest offers, but log in at www.iamroadsmart.com to see the full range, as new benefits are being added regularly.
10% OFF UK WEEKEND BREAKS WITH SUPERBREAK
SIX ‘MEMBERS-ONLY’ INSURANCE SERVICES FROM IAM SURETY
20% SAVING ON THE VISORCAT MOTORCYCLE VISION SYSTEM
SAVE ON AIRPORT PARKING AND HOTELS WITH APH
10% SAVING ON CAR SERVICING FROM PRESTIGE
CAR HIRE SAVINGS FROM FLEXIBLE AUTOS
Enjoy 17.5% off tyres and accessories at National Tyres and Autocare National Tyres and Autocare is the largest independent fast-fit operation in the UK. National is offering IAM RoadSmart members 17.5% off its normal branch pricing on tyres, exhausts, batteries, brakes, steering and suspension, plus oil and filter changes, and 50% off MoTs (at participating branches). Simply quote ‘cash sale account number 001989’ at the branch. You may be asked to show your IAM membership card, too.
OUR PARTNERS ALL PROMISE GREAT SERVICE AND SAVINGS FOR IAM ROADSMART MEMBERS. They support us and we recommend their services to you. See the very latest offers by logging in at www.iamroadsmart.com TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY. THE OFFERS ARE FOR THE BENEFIT OF IAM ROADSMART MEMBERS ONLY, WHICH IS WHY THE FULL DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE ON OUR ‘MEMBERS-ONLY’ WEBSITE AREA.
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ASK THE EXPERTS
Your questions answered
ASK THE EXPERTS > Some road signs are less easy to understand than those they’ve replaced. For instance, a double-bend sign with a plate underneath has replaced the old series of bends sign, and a round sign with a black border has replaced the rectangular advisory speed limit sign. Is there any logic behind this?
» OUR EXPERTS
Head of driving and riding standards, IAM RoadSmart
When the series of bends sign was introduced, it was similar to the current sign but with the symbol as a letter ‘Z’. The current double-bend sign is more of an ‘N’. The series of bends sign was phased out in 1975; the only sign now is the double-bend sign with two vertical lines terminating in an arrowhead at the top. To warn drivers of a series of bends, there should be a plate giving distance. The rectangular advisory speed sign has been replaced by the modern round advisory speed sign. To distinguish it from a regularity sign, it has a black border. You may also see a ‘Reduce speed now’ sign. RA
Head of driver behaviour, IAM RoadSmart
Customer service manager, IAM Surety
> CONTACT THE TEAM:
Email us at roadsmart@ iam.org.uk or Tweet us @IAMRoadSmart
Head of technical policy, IAM RoadSmart
Our team of experts answers your questions on all kinds of technical, insurance and driving and riding issues
> Is there any foolproof way to stop my helmet visor misting in the cold weather? A number of inserts are available that fit inside your visor to keep it mist-free during cold weather. They do have limitations, though, and aren’t recommended for use at night as they may increase glare or distortion from approaching headlamps. If you ride a lot at night, you can buy an anti-mist spray that’ll do the same thing but without increasing glare. For a cheap option, try rubbing washingup liquid on the inside of the visor and polishing it off. This works, but will require regular re-application. RG
> Why does my car seem to use more fuel in cold weather? In cold weather, the engine takes longer to warm up, and it cools down quickly once turned off. Engines are much less efficient until they warm up, so spending longer below the optimum temperature will use extra fuel. One especially fuel-guzzling habit is to start the engine and let it warm up while you scrape frost off the windows. Getting into a pre-warmed car feels cosier, but it does cost a surprising amount in fuel. Once the engine has warmed up, you are more likely to have the heater motor blowing, the lights on and maybe the heated rear window, all of which use a lot of energy, which in turn increases fuel consumption. Tyres are also stiffer in cold weather, which increases their rolling resistance and uses more fuel to keep the car moving. TS
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ASK THE EXPERTS
> In the previous issue’s Your Membership section, Howard Brayton asked whether matrix signs are mandatory or for information only. What is IAM RoadSmart’s answer? The signs on overhead gantries are mandatory, and the red X is used to depict a closed lane. Proceeding beyond it is an offence and potentially dangerous. The signs are generally owned and managed by the local Highways Agency control room in conjunction with the police. Some issues arise out of incorrect or out-of-date information being displayed, but this is not always the control room’s fault. I’ve experienced it from the other end when the sign would not cancel. RA
Your questions answered > Do harmful exhaust fumes get into my car in traffic jams – and, if so, how can I reduce the impact?
The main exhaust pollutants that damage health are oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and soot, called particulate matter. The emissions-control equipment on modern cars gets rid of most of the NOx and the Diesel Particulate Filter does the same for soot. Cars today have a separate filter for the air that enters the cabin through the heater or air-conditioning, and on many cars this is a pollen filter, which is fine enough to filter out soot particles as well as pollen. They also contain charcoal granules, which absorb noxious gases such as ASK A QUESTION NOx, so the filter protects occupants Is there something from this as well. The filter should you’d like to know? be changed regularly as specified Email: roadsmart @iam.org.uk by the car maker – usually every year or every 15,000 miles. TS
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Silicon Valley, Silicon Roundabout... and a small town in Cumbria?
s this small coastal town the next in a list of places that have changed how we use technology?
Silicon Valley in California has brought us some amazing technology. Silicon Roundabout in London is also developing tomorrow’s breakthroughs. Not to mention places like Bletchley Park, where much of the original work behind computers was done. But there’s a small town in Cumbria that might be next on the list. It isn’t home to Google, Facebook or Apple. There’s no University or research institute. Instead, there’s a little publishing company, tucked away not far from the beach in Millom. Tim Wakeling, the founder, tells the story: “Apple, Samsung and the other big companies make some fantastic equipment, no doubt about it.” he said “But the problem is, they’re all techies themselves. They don’t stop to think about what it’ll be like to use their iPads
night we were video calling each other so my two little boys could say hello and show off their latest Lego creation.” Tim is quick to point out he’s not offering to sit down with every single reader to show them how to use their tablet!
But since then he’s written books in plain simple English explaining how to use a tablet for people like his Mum and Dad. People who want to use it to browse the web, do online shopping or keep in touch with family and friends. “Make using your tablet easier” Or even simply play the odd game. And now over 50,000 people have used and tablets and so on if you really aren’t one of his guides to get to grips with their own tablet, quickly and easily. a techie.” “I remember showing my Mum and Dad how to use their tablet. Explaining how to use it, what it can do and how it helps them keep in touch with family and friends. At first, there were times I thought it might go out of the window... but now it’s a different story. Only last
After all, as Tim says, there’s no point having a tablet if you can’t do all the things you’d like to with it... or if it makes you tear your hair out! For more information about the books (including how to get them), call 01229 777606 and ask for a free info pack.
Calling all iPad or Android Tablet owners... If you ever find your tablet frustrating, aren’t quite sure how to do things or just think you might not be getting all you should from it, read on...
assumes you already know how to use the device! That’s why I’ve written these books: iPads One Step at a Time & Android Tablets One Step at a Time (ideal for all Android tablets) Plain English - that's not all... They explain how to use the device, in plain simple language, with pictures of the screen showing exactly where to tap or slide your fingers. No jargon! Only Half the Story... That’s only half the story, but I don’t have room to explain it all here. So I’ve put together full info on the books - who they’re for, what they cover and so on. What’s more, the books also come with a small free gift – no room to explain that here, either! “Better than WHSmith’s Best”? What do other people say? Well... “Thank you for producing such a superb book – it is really helping me. I had bought one (a book) in W H Smiths a short while ago &
couldn't get on with it at all!” - J.S. your free gift that comes with them. and “I am delighted with the new (And don’t worry, we won't pass your book on tablets, so many things I address to anyone else.) didn’t understand before, being of Call, email or post the coupon the 'retired brigade' it’s a great Ring Emma, Simone, Jess or Michelle help.” – Doreen Wadsworth on 01229 777606 or send the coupon Don't buy now, do this instead below to 13B Devonshire Road Anyway, don't buy now. Instead, Estate, Millom, Cumbria, LA18 4JS. Or email your name and address to you can find out the full details about what's covered, who they're email@example.com ideal for and what you might be The infopack will even help you tell missing out , on then decide. Just what type of tablet you have. ask for a free information pack. There’s no obligation, no cost. You Quick and Easy to Get Yours have nothing to lose so why not do it Why not ring or write off for the full now, while you think of it? Best not information now? There’s no risk losing the details, reply to ask for obligation. Discover what the your free infopack today. books will do for you and about Only available direct from the publisher. Best send for info now Yes, please send me a free info-pack about iPads One Step at a Time and Android Tablets One Step at a Time. It's free & there's no obligation.
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ablets are becoming hugely popular. And no wonder they’re lighter and easier to carry around than a PC. You can sit in an armchair & browse the web or video call your family around the world. They can be easier to use than PCs , too. But there’s a catch. In fact, two. Catch number 1: They’re different from PCs. So if you already know how to use a PC, you have to start again. Catch number 2 (the big one!): There are lots of important features that are “hidden”. There’s no button for them, saying “click here”. And you simply can’t work it out. You need to know to slide the screen from the left, or drag the thingy-mebob to the right. Someone needs to tell you these things – otherwise you wouldn’t even know they’re there! If I ran the world... these devices would come with a proper manual. Most of the time, though, it's barely a few pages. Even then, it usually
Online route finders
ONLINE ROUTE FINDERS WHICH FREE SAT-NAV ALTERNATIVE IS BEST FOR PLANNING A ROUTE IN ADVANCE?
An online route finder can be a useful alternative to the distractions of a sat-nav
Not everyone trusts a sat-nav to direct them to a location, while some people find the screen and audio directions a distraction. That’s where a good oldfashioned printed list of step-by-step instructions has always succeeded. Online route finders can be great for drawing up a map, allowing you to pre-plan a journey, incorporating stops and judging traffic hold-ups in
advance. Having the option of pulling off the road and referring to a printed route can also be vital should you drive somewhere that doesn’t have the required satellite or phone signal to power your portable device or app. All the online route finders tested here are free to use, so they’re a great alternative to expensive sat-nav units or smartphone apps.
COPYRIGHT: DENNIS PUBLISHING LTD, 2017
HOW WE TESTED THEM With any route finder, the priority is accuracy. We tested each website with a familiar journey from south-west London to the Midlands, as well as a route that took us out of central London to Kent. We entered locations by postcode and points of interest, to check ease of use. Those sites that scored best provided multiple route options with accurate timings based on live traffic alerts. Ability to print directions and an intuitive interface were rewarded, with bonus points given for extras such as a companion app, car parking functions or fuel calculators.
Rating: Website: maps.google.co.uk For the best way to plan a journey, look no further than Google. It’s easy to input locations and it provides a route based on current traffic, flagging up congestion with a colourcoded section. There are multiple route choices and you can print directions to refer to when stationary en route. There’s also satellite imagery and StreetView, which are handy when navigating by landmarks.
AA ROUTE PLANNER
Rating: Website: theaa.com/ route-planner
RECOMMENDED For simple
directions from A to B, the AA’s Route Planner is great. The site is easy to use and made searching for desired routes a breeze. You can add traffic alerts and find nearby parking. The turn-by-turn directions were the best, with images of junction signposts and landmarks. However, there’s no offer of alternative routes and a few annoying adverts on the page.
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Online route finders
“Intuitive to use, the TomTom Mydrive’s layout and buttons are similar to the firm’s sat-nav units” mydrive.tomtom.com
RAC ROUTE PLANNER
Rating: Website: mydrive.tomtom.com
Rating: Website: waze.com/livemap
Rating: Website: rac.co.uk/route-planner
RECOMMENDED TomTom has some of
The Waze mobile app provides accurate traffic info and sat-nav guidance, and the route-planning website is also great. Both use ‘community-powered’ info to track traffic for good real-time results. Finding a destination is easy and routing couldn’t be faulted. There are various options, based on live traffic, plus you can plan for future journeys. However, there are no turn-by-turn instructions.
The RAC’s option loses out to its rivals due to the cluttered page and vast number of intrusive adverts. However, our routes were accurate and there are multiple options to explore if you would rather avoid certain areas. Traffic information is also available with turn-by-turn directions, and a handy fuel calculator is included.
the best mapping software available, so this is a strong performer. Intuitive to use, the layout and buttons are similar to the firm’s sat-nav units. Live traffic info is great, with map icons showing problems. You can’t print directions but you can send them to TomTom devices. There’s only one route choice, yet the truck or scenic ‘thrill’ routes are good.
COPYRIGHT: DENNIS PUBLISHING LTD, 2017
Rating: Website: viamichelin.co.uk/web/routes
Rating: Website: openstreetmap.org
Rating: Website: greenflag.com/route-planner
Via Michelin offers many functions, but the layout lets it down – and that transfers to the mapping, too. Multiple routes were suggested, but the cluttered design makes it hard to use – it also suggested a route that we wouldn’t consider.
This is an interesting website that’s an open-source mapping project, constantly growing and improving. It’s basic without any fancy graphics, but it will route you accurately. The maps have been curated by experts, so directions were good with different options.
Green Flag’s route planner is powered by Google, so you can be assured of accuracy and ease of use. Beyond that, there’s little to say. It’ll show you various ways to complete the journey, yet there aren’t any other benefits, with no turnby-turn options and no live traffic.
Google Maps is by far the best all-round performer. The AA’s product is a great alternative, while the TomTom MyDrive is an interesting package, especially if you own one of the brand’s portable devices.
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1. GOOGLE MAPS 2. AA ROUTE PLANNER 3. TOMTOM MYDRIVE
ONE OF 50 COPIES OF THE LATEST HIGHWAY CODE Simply email your membership number to highwaycode @iam.org.uk (TERMS & CONDITIONS APPLY)
Try the middle ground Middle-lane hogging – multi-lane menace or sensible option? RICHARD GLADMAN, HEAD OF DRIVING AND RIDING STANDARDS, IAM ROADSMART
ILLUSTRATION: RUSSELL COBB
ogging the middle lane on a motorway isn’t a criminal offence in its own right, but it can be used as supporting evidence for convictions of careless driving or driving without consideration. Many drivers think that being a middle-lane hogger is not pulling into lane one every time there’s a tiny gap there. However, if lane one is full of HGVs doing 60mph, then pulling into that lane isn’t good driving practice. Advanced driving advice says you should not pull into another lane unless the minimum gap ahead in that lane is the full 70mph stopping distance of 96 metres. So in the above scenario, staying in lane two is the sensible option. Moving into lane one at every opportunity would magnify the problems and dangers of driving for everyone around you. Lorries are limited to a top speed of 56mph, and coaches to 62mph, and their speed limiters can be calibrated slightly differently. This is why
“Why choose to drive alongside the overtaking lorry and have 38 tonnes of HGV on one side and the Armco barrier on the other?” you often get one HGV taking an inordinately long time to overtake another up a steep hill – between them they could have a speed differential of just 2mph.
If you come across this situation, don’t drive right up behind the lorry in lane two – that’s tailgating, which is also part of the offence of careless driving.
Instead, hold back. You won’t be driving any slower, but you will be in a safer position. Why choose to drive alongside the overtaking lorry and have 38 tonnes of HGV on one side and the Armco barrier on the other? I’d want to be far enough behind the overtaking lorry so I’m not in its blindspot and it can see me in its side mirror. Remember, too, that a trailer will track across the lane to the right on a right-hand bend. And if there is a car accelerating past you in the nearside lane, don’t get stressed about it or try to stop it from cutting in front of you. Why not increase the gap and let it in? It’s all down to common sense. If you are in the middle lane doing a similar speed to the cars in front and behind you, you’re not hogging that lane. But if lane one is empty, or has enough space for you to pull into it safely, you should do so. Aim to strike the right balance between hogging the centre lane and using it sensibly.
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03/01/2017 15:55 15/12/2016 10:07
Published on Jan 31, 2017
The new-look RoadSmart magazine has received great feedback. You have told us that you love its reworked editorial and design style, as well...