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The official magazine of Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists and Motorcyclists

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ADVANCE Spring 2012 Contents 1

What’s on? See what are events are planned for the near future Easier access to IAM web site There’s a new portal for IAM members to gain access to the IAM web site.


The Chairman’s comments The thoughts of Graeme McColm Race night 2012 MC Stewart C reports on the 2012 Race Night Motorcycle Chief Observer’s Diary What’s going on inside the Chief’s helmet? On-line version of ADVANCE Our group magazine is available on-line - it’s bigger and all in colour - and you are reading it now! The rise of the app Peter Rodger, IAM chief examiner comments on mobile apps and driving.

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Autolink, keeping the traffic flowing insight into maintenance of the M74: J12 to the Scottish border 6 Real Motorcycle Territory Clint Smith’s views on motorcycling tourism in our region. 8 Changes afoot for observers New observer training is on the cards for the future. 9 Annual General Meeting Info about the AGM - all welcome 13 Tyres - just what do they do? Find out what tyres do (including the obvious) and how tyre wear affects perfprmance. 14 The Secretary Reports Just what it says. 15 Five star cars, three star roads, one star drivers The IAM is renewing its call on the government to make driving on rural A-roads a mandatory part of the driving test. 16 Where, when and why are people killed on rural roads? On an average day, 9 people die on Britain’s roads; 6 of them on rural roads. 17 Motorway services – show them no merci Are you shelling out up to 40% more for everyday items than you would on the high street? 18 OBSERVER’S CORNER - It’s behind you! A look at how to deal with other road users who follow too closely? 20 Times are changing or are they? Time to change the clocks. Road to success Alastair Kean’s thoughts about ‘Skill for Life’ 21 IAM Policy and research Find out what the IAM said at the House of Commons on the subject of road safety. 25 Advertiser’s Wall Find out who supports us and this edition of the magazine. © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


~Air Con ~Diesel Tuning ~Servicing ~Repairs ~Diagnostics ~Exhausts ~Tyres ~Motorhomes ~MOT testing for classes 3,4,5 & 7

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Group Committee Members for 2011/12 This magazine was published Group President: Tommy Jardine Chair, Chief Obs

Graeme McColm

Vice Chair

Jamie Wood


Helen Cameron


Russell Wears

07707 035518

Christine Donaldson


Stewart Cameron


Anne Lind Andy Campbell Neil Martyniuk Andrew Bird Sheena Traill Elaine Paterson Clint Smith

For more details of our activities see our web site at: Contact the Group Secretary:

M/c Coordntr Phil Sayers News Dist.

by the Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists.

Facebook: Dumfries & Galloway IAM (Motorcycles) Group Magazine contributions to:

To get in touch call the Secretary 07707 035518 or use the group e-mail address:

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this magazine are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Editor, Group or the Institute of Advanced Motorists, to which the Group is affiliated. Reg Charity No. SC 023511

What’s on? - check for details & late changes at 16 April *NOTE CHANGED DATE*- Visit to Border Skoda, Heathhall, Dumfries. Time: 6.30 for 6.45. We will be able to see the Skoda/Hyundai/Toyota range with special emphasis on Toyota Hybrids. Tea/ Coffee/ Juice and light refreshments will be available. 14 May - Annual General Meeting - all members & associates welcome. Meetings: Aberdour Hotel, 16 Newall Terr. DG1 1LW, 7:30pm unless otherwise stated

Copy dates 2012 Latest date for submissions of articles for the next issue : 10 August 2012

Easier access to IAM website In response to member feedback the IAM has recently created a new member’s landing page on their web site. The idea is to give easier access to member services including benefits, e-shop and member forums etc. You can also use this area to update your profile and renew your membership. To get there go to © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


The Chairman’s comments - Graeme McColm Welcome to the Spring edition of Advance, our magazine. Firstly let me congratulate everybody who has passed their test since our last issue. We had a good turnout at the annual Race Night in February despite some members having commitments elsewhere. I would like to thank MC Stewart, and Helen Cameron for all their hard work and also everybody else who helped out on the night. These events can only run if we get support from everybody, please attend events as often as possible and bring along friends and family to support us. You can check the Group web site and our Facebook pages for up to date information about events. If you have any ideas for events or fund-raisers please get involved and give us your ideas. May sees the Group AGM. I’m asking members to come along please because the AGM is important to the running of the Group. Like most clubs there is a danger that the same few people represent the group year on year. Whilst we have a great group of people on the committee I am aware that there are other members who could join us and help make a difference. So to be clear we not only welcome new people joining the committee but also we want to hear from those of you with ideas even if you don’t feel committee membership is for you. Talk to a committee member or call Helen Cameron who also has Nomination Forms available - see the AGM Notice on page 11. Advanced driving and riding is for all. Irrespective of age or ability a ‘Skill for Life’ course is a must. Please remember if you are looking for an alternative gift you can’t beat giving someone a ‘Skill for Life’ see centre page advert. Now Spring has arrived I hope everybody will be able to get out and about either in the car or by motorbike, but please remember to stay safe.

Race night 2012 The Race Night held at the Aberdour Hotel for the second year running was a financial success. We raised in the region of £400 for Group funds. All horses and races were sponsored in advance of the evening, a first and hopefully not a last, which makes the job of the organiser a great deal easier. © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


Disappointingly only about 40 people attended the evening although around 50 had indicated they would be coming. Despite this everyone enjoyed the event and I have to thank all the punters for putting their hands in their pockets to make the event a fun evening. As well as the racing a super buffet was laid on by the hotel.

One happy punter!

The Race Night has been one of the main fund raisers for the last few years and it may be that a different or additional event should be considered going forward to freshen up the interest of the members of the group. Any suggestions would be most welcome and should be conveyed to the Committee for their deliberation.

Motorcycle Chief Observer’s Diary - Graeme McColm First of all well done to all those associates who ventured out in the winter and continued to prepare for their advanced test, thanks also go to the observers. There is not a lot to report since we last went to print, the weather has been mild and there has been a small group of observers and members who have been enjoying the Sunday mornings, weather permitting. Those members who have been enjoying the Sunday runs throughout the winter welcome being joined by more of you. As the nights get lighter and the weather warmer we look forward to the events planned for the coming months. Our annual Toy Run took place again in December and was a success. The toys donated were handed over to the Social Work Department for local children of our region. The Easter Egg run is being held this year on Saturday 31 March. Check our Facebook pages for further details (see page 1). The next ride out has been scheduled for Sunday 1 April. They are planned to continue on the first Sunday in the month until the autumn. Any suggestions as to destinations would be gratefully received. As mentioned several events are being planned; as we go to print a Curry Night has been organised by the observers and Slow Manoeuvrability events are being discussed - these are very popular and well attended. Other events in our are being worked on - you can check the group web site or our Facebook pages for details. The national IAM web site will give you details of events outwith the region. Motorcycle observers are now meeting regularly to organise these events and to discuss ideas on promoting the motorcycle side of our group. If you have any good ideas please don’t hesitate to tell us. New associates have been signed up already this year but if you know of anybody who would benefit from a ‘Skill for Life’ course please get in touch. © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists 3

Advanced driving and riding is for all and no matter age or ability a ‘Skill for Life’ course is a must. So get signed up or recommend us to friends and family. Hopefully the weather will now pick up and we’ll have spring sunshine to enjoy and many more skills will be handed down by our experienced observers. Remember to keep safe.

On-line version of ADVANCE Our group magazine is available on-line - it’s bigger and all in colour. If you have not received e-mail notification about the publishing of this issue it may be that we do not have a valid e-mail address for you. Please let Christine Donaldson ( know your e-mail address and she’ll make sure you know when the magazine is published and also keep you up to date about events.

See what’s on our shelves

There are over 20 back issues available on-line, just look for the links on our group web site or go to:

The rise of the app The prevalence of new technology means millions of drivers now have access to Apple’s new voice-controlled SIRI service but is it safe for drivers to use it behind the wheel? ‘’ recently asked Peter Rodger, IAM chief examiner if SIRI, or other new mobile-phone technology, poses any road-safety risks. His view is that hands-free technology like SIRI is not the problem, it’s the driver’s attitude. “If taking hands away from the steering wheel were the problem then manual gearboxes would have been made illegal and we’d all be driving automatics. It’s what you’re doing with your brain that’s the problem,” he says. “There’s a distraction involved with mobile phones because they take away the visual element. You always see people walking about with their phone, they tend not to sit and have a conversation and there must be a reason for that, because they’re distracted.” © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


Despite new technology sparking road safety fears Rodger says the current law in the UK is sufficient: “The law already exists and actually is very good. But all sorts of laws need better enforcement. Most of us abide by the law but we need to see action being taken against those that don’t.” “It doesn’t matter what they invent people will find a way to use it to suit them so it’s very difficult to keep up with.” Source:

Autolink, keeping the traffic flowing The November meeting provided an interesting insight into maintenance of the M74: J12 to the Scottish border. Rob McLennan, General Manager at Autolink Concessionaires spoke about the day to day duties of its contract to look after this 90 km section of road.

Work encompasses everything from winter gritting through maintaining boundary fences and crash barriers, litter picking, cleaning drains to cutting the grass. In addition sections of the carriageway require reconstruction from time to time and they are responsible for carrying out these works along with the traffic management. It has to monitor the condition of everything between the boundary fences and so have to carry out regular condition surveys of not just the road surface but signs, structures, drains and even ditches. Autolink, as part of its remit, is responsible for dealing with emergencies such as accidents and all following aspects aimed at getting the road back up and running. Its performance is monitored by regular audits and a significant element of the payment made for its services is calculated as a result of the recorded traffic flow through its section of the M74. © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


Real Motorcycle Territory - Clint Smith I got to thinking the other day about what constitutes good motorcycle riding, what makes riding pleasurable and what to look for to make a better riding experience. Is it the people, is it the roads, the bike, the weather, or is it the culture? It is probably all of these things and more. Something special, vibrant, the exhilaration that makes you feel alive and free. That special feeling when you know that you’ve hit the Enjoying what our Region has to offer sweet spot on a bend or just ridden that perfect line. That weird thing that happens when you ride in the rain and still have a smile from ear to ear. That instant camaraderie amongst fellow riders. That good feeling that comes along when you have avoided a potential mishap by being alert, aware and responsive. I suppose everyone has their own ideas of what makes riding so different and so special. My deliberations made me think that perfect riding and indeed pleasurable riding means different things to all of us at different times. It is a given that good riding skills are crucial and will enhance any riding experience as will the resultant confidence in the bike. On the other hand what I do know, is that Dumfries & Galloway has some of the most perfect riding territory, comparable to some of the best in the world. Wide open spaces, twisties, ups and downs, valleys, mountain ranges, passes and hundreds of miles of quiet roads. Nirvana! You bet. It is no surprise that our region is growing in popularity to bikers throughout Europe. Check out any motorcycle (touring) forum and it won’t be long before you come across a mention of our area. Three or four years ago a number of riders chose to stop at this region rather than travel further north, they discovered the motorCamaraderie at the Beef Tub cycle bounty and have shared this through the Internet. Result! We have seen motorcycle tourism growth here virtually doubling every year. Articles can now be found in many European publications extolling the virtues of this region for the motorcyclist. This is almost certain to increase in the years to come. We have been found out. Exposed! We can no longer keep this to ourselves. The very quietness of our region in general tourism terms is our strength in motorcycle tourist terms. Without doubt the motorcycle tourism product will become richer and fuller as © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


businesses understand the requirements of the motorcycling tourist and more importantly when they understand the profile of today’s motorcyclist. The public, in general, need to be enlightened as to the profile of the motorcyclist. Too many people out of ignorance and recent history still believe in the days when all motorcyclists were gangsters or gangsters in waiting. They are often intimidated by their very leather clad presence in the streets. This does all of us a great disservice which needs to be addressed. The enlightened are aware of the transformation that has occurred in motorcycling over the past 10 to 15 years, and we need to share that knowledge at every turn. It was only a very short three years ago that I recall popping into an hotel in all my motorcycle finery to be told that they were full, whilst a very good friend of mine walked into the hotel 10 minutes later (in civvies) and booked us four rooms. We were the only guests in the hotel that night. We have all had that or similar experiences. Whilst we have come a very long way in a very short time, I am concerned that large numbers of motorcyclists walking down the streets in leathers carrying helmets are still an intimidating sight for those not in the know. Motorcycle Tourism will be fantastic for this region and we need to ensure that our General Population is ready and dare I say “prepared” for it. The friendliness of our region, the great roads (hundreds of miles of them), the beautiful, magnificent and diverse scenery, the wide open spaces, the clean air and great craic. I think that is what makes riding great. That is what we can share with fellow riders and with the public in general. Dumfries and Galloway needs a hook, something special, something that makes people want to come here and stopover, something to put a halt to the tourist travelling through the region without stopping over. Could motorcycle tourism be that something? I believe that motorcycle tourism is something that we in Dumfries & Galloway can get a firm grip of. So, enough deliberations let’s get riding! © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


Changes afoot for observers Late last year your group took part in a consultation on the future of observer qualifications. It is thought, by the IAM, that the time has come to revise and update the system for qualifying observers. The new system’s aims are: ~To create an opportunity for those who have acquired the skills involved in observing to obtain a qualification acknowledged outside the IAM ~To create a more positive image of the IAM as a whole, reflecting the reality better externally. ~To allow us to better explain the capabilities of observers, who are sometimes seen as “only amateurs” . The IAM centrally (as opposed to the groups) will pay the fee to the awarding body for the qualification of your observers under this new scheme, removing the existing £30 fee for the Senior Observer Test once the new scheme is in place. The proposal is two levels of observer qualification, which will replace the existing two levels (Group Qualified and Senior Observers). There is a proposal to develop a further, higher level in the future – and there is also a need to recognise that there are group members who are under training to qualify as observers. The new qualifications are written in the style of competency statements. Those familiar with NNQ/SVQ style qualifications will recognise the style; for those not familiar with the format, the qualifications contain a series of statements each of which the candidate must be successfully assessed against. One area will trial the new system this year to iron out any problems.

Scotspeed offer IAM Members 10% discount on many items at their Dumfries shop. This offer does not apply to sale items, special offers, workshop servicing or bike sales. See the advert inside the back cover for more information. © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


Annual General Meeting NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by order of the Group Committee that the Annual General Meeting of “Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists” will be held at 19:30 on Monday 14 May 2012 at the Aberdour Hotel, Dumfries, to enable the Trustees of the Group (Registered Charity No. SC 023511) to present their Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2012 for approval by the Group Members and to conduct an election. Issued by: Secretary: Helen Cameron; Contact: 07707 035518; Group No 6071; e-mail: - 09 March 2012. All Members, Associates and Friends are invited to attend but only Fully Paid Up Members of the IAM and of the Group may vote. A Member entitled to vote at the General Meeting may appoint a proxy to vote in his stead. A proxy need not be a Full Member of the Group. CURRENT OFFICERS: All Officers retire annually but offer themselves for re-election. (Group Rule 3.4) Chair: Graeme McColm - Offering to stand for re election Vice Chair: Jamie Wood - Offering to stand for re election Secretary: Helen Cameron - Offering to stand for re election -unless anyone wishes to do it!


Russell Wears - Offering to stand for re election

COMMITTEE MEMBERS: One third of the Committee (excluding Officers) must retire annually and may offer themselves for re-election. (Group Rule 3.4) A. RETIRING BY ROTATION AND STANDING FOR RE-ELECTION: Christine Donaldson and Andrew Bird B. RETIRING BY ROTATION AND NOT STANDING FOR RE-ELECTION: Maureen Hewitt C. COMMITTEE MEMBERS NOT RETIRING & NUMBER OF YEARS REMAINING: Elaine Marshall (1 yr), Sheena Traill (1 yr), Andy Campbell (1 yr), Phil sayers (2 yrs) Clint Smith (2 yrs), Stewart Cameron (2 yrs) and Anne Lind (2 yrs). NOTE: The total number of Committee Members including the Officers must not exceed twenty. See the Nomination Form (available from the Secretary) for details, which must be returned by 9 am 2 May 2012. Group Rules and the Minutes of the May 2011 AGM are available on the Group web site or may be requested, from the Secretary, at least seven days in advance of the date for the AGM. IMPORTANT The Group belongs to its Members and it will benefit from your input at the AGM and/or your participation on the committee, if you are able to help. Any full Member of the group wishing to help the group by volunteering to be a member of the committee should let the Secretary know in advance of the date for return of nomination papers so that a Nomination Form can be raised. 9

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We have helped hundreds of people hone their abilities to make their driving or riding more skillful, more enjoyable and safer. Our passion is to help you improve your driving and riding standards leaving you with the ability to make good progress whilst maintaining the highest standards of skill, safety and responsibility... it really is a ‘skill for life’. Interested in improving your skills? Get in touch, find out more. Visit our web site, e-mail or call us on 07707 035518 - see page 1 for our contact details. Registered Charity in Scotland No. SC 023511


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Tyres - just what do they do? Tyres have four primary functions which have a direct impact on vehicle performance and safety, they are: 1) To contain pressurised air. This affects most aspects of tyre performance cornering, braking, acceleration, comfort, service life, noise and rolling resistance. 2) Transmission of braking and traction forces - the tyres are the only contact points with the ground and they enable you to go and slow. 3) Tyres provide directional stability letting you keep in a straight line or meet the driver’s expectations when turning a corner. 4) Tyres when correctly inflated supplement the suspension system and should act in harmony with the suspension. Tyres are air filled springs. Tyres have to provide the driver with fast steering response, grip on a variety of road surfaces and operate efficiently in all weather conditions. That’s a tall order and some tyres are better at some aspects of performance than others. Of course many elements of tyre performance are related to maintenance and driving style. Manufacturers cannot design a tyre which will perform equally well for factors outside their control e.g. when poorly inflated or when subject to overloading. As advanced drivers we can ensure a vehicle is correctly maintained and operate it within safe limits so allowing the tyre to maximise its performance. In the past few years the British Rubber Manufacturers Association have commissioned the Motor Industry Research Association to carry out tests on the performance of tyres in a variety of situations and conditions to determine the effect tyre wear has on the performance of tyres. These tests included braking and cornering on various surfaces in both wet and dry conditions. The results of such tyres tests can never be totally definitive because there is a difference in performance of a particular tread pattern dependant on tyre size and the type of vehicle it is fitted to. What however is more easily measured is the reduction in performance, as a tyre wears, for any particular vehicle. Interestingly stopping distance increased significantly more, in percentage terms, for higher performance vehicles than say a family hatchback. Throughout the tests it was clear that below 3.5mm of remaining tread depth the rate of deterioration in tyre performance accelerates noticeably. Š Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


Ultimately there is no easy way of determining what would be considered a safe or unsafe tread depth as it will differ according to driving style, road conditions, driver ability, tyre size and vehicle performance characteristics. However what the tests revealed was that in wet conditions, at the legal limit of 1.6mm, the average performance of a tyre is only in the order of 55% of that of a new tyre. At 3mm the average performance is in the order of 75%. So once your tyres get down to 3mm you might want to consider replacing them or at the very least drive in the knowledge that their performance will be significantly reduced and getting worse as they further wear.

Tread depth v Tyre Performance

New - 100% performance

4.0mm - 88% performance

Sources: Continental Tyre Group / MIRA report – ‘An Investigation into the Effects of Tyre Tread Depth on Wet Road Braking and Cornering Performance'

3.0mm - 75% performance

1.6mm - 55% performance

The Secretary Reports - Helen Cameron Another year has flown by and we are now entering the busy period for new members and associates. Recently our group numbers have fallen slightly and it is greatly appreciated that we have a good core of dedicated members to help keep the group afloat. We have had a busy events winter with good speakers. Unfortunately the numbers at meetings could be higher. We had another successful race night, thanks to all who supported it, both before the event and on the night. My horse is still running! Hopefully you will get this magazine in time to see the details of the garage visit in April, the date of which has been moved to avoid Easter. Remember you can always check the web site for the latest details. We continue to process Drive Checks for young people referred to us by the Procurator Fiscal, some of whom have gone on to take ‘Skill for Life’ courses. These Drive Checks attract a fee which we are using to refund ‘Skill for Life’ fees for the under 25s once they have passed the advanced test. We hope to be able to continue this scheme whilst funds remain available. © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


We have had a quiet observing spell over the winter only coaching a few candidates. I would like to congratulate the following new members who have passed the IAM test - Amelia Wears (Obs: Helen Cameron), Gordon Smith (Obs: Peter Dodds), Alastair Kean (Obs: Graham W), Karen Court (M/c team).

Five star cars, three star roads, one star drivers - IAM The IAM is renewing its call on the government to make driving on rural A-roads a mandatory part of the driving test. IAM research shows that 82 per cent of rural fatal and serious casualties are on single carriageway roads compared with just 18 per cent on motorways and dual carriageway roads*. However the current driving test fails to take this into account. While good instructors understand that experience on a wide variety of roads in different conditions gives young people the best chance of survival, all too many merely educate up to the existing test standard. Knowledge of parking, emergency stops and low speed manoeuvres is important but dealing with high speed corners, bad weather, and overtaking are far more vital skills. The recent report from the IAM The fast and the curious*1, found that new drivers themselves felt unprepared for real life scenarios and would welcome extra help. The IAM has written to the road safety minister to outline its views on how it believes the government should tackle deaths and accidents of the highest risk group on our roads, young drivers. This starts with improving the driving test to include training on our most dangerous roads – single-carriageway rural A-roads. IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “More than half the cars on our roads are rated as four or the maximum five star in European safety tests, and the figure is even higher for new cars. Our roads are also getting safer in design. “But the roads where drivers, especially young drivers, are most frequently killed and injured are still not consistently part of the driving test. The minister

Group Members and Associates can get a free basic car wash, or two jet wash tokens when you fill up. Just show your membership card, or for Associates your IAM confirmation letter. Let the staff know you would like the free bike/car wash before you pay for your fuel. This offer may be withdrawn at any time. © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


recently announced young drivers would be allowed to use motorways when accompanied by an instructor, but it is single carriageway A-roads where the real problem lies. “Driver and rider error is a contributory factor in two thirds of accidents*3. We can only improve our cars and roads so far. The challenge now is to improve the humans that drive them, to continue our outstanding record of road safety.”

Where, when and why are people killed on rural roads? On an average day, nine people die on Britain’s roads; six of them are killed on rural roads. But why are roads in the countryside the biggest killers; what are the ingredients in those crashes that make them more dangerous than roads in towns and cities; what are the common factors that point to the causes? The IAM Motoring Trust asked road safety researcher Jean Hopkin to find out by looking at the official data of over a quarter of a million fatal and serious injury crashes over the six years, between 2000 and 2005. Her extensive analysis compares all the relevant factors of crashes on rural roads in England, Wales and Scotland. Two-thirds of fatal and serious casualties on rural roads happen on 60 or 70 mph speed limit non-motorway roads. No matter how skilled and conscientious the driver, the determinants of death, serious or slight injuries on these roads are the impact speed, the EuroNCAP “star rating” of the car, and what the car hits. Car manufacturers have invested heavily in crash protection so that today new cars are driven out of the showroom with 4 or 5– star crash protection ratings. But not even a 5-star car can protect its occupants in a crash on a 1-star rural road; most are sub-standard in safety and crash protection making them potentially lethal when things go wrong. © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists 16

But that is now changing. The new science and engineering of “road protection” can make roads more forgiving when a crash happens. The road authority safety engineers in England, Wales and Scotland have the skills to transform the safety of Britain’s rural roads. Without political support and the resources they can’t do it, but with them hundreds of lives and ten times as many disabling injuries would be saved every year. The IAM Motoring Trust welcomes a debate on the facts and the issues that Jean Hopkin’s analysis presents. Please let us know what you think should be done to reduce deaths and injuries on Britain’s rural roads.

Motorway services – show them no merci - IAM Drivers continue to part with more cash for everyday items at motorway service areas, shelling out up to 40 per cent more for everyday items than they would on the high street. A large Snickers bar costs 90 pence from a motorway service area compared to 68 pence from a high street branch – 32 per cent more – while a regular coffee costs 16 per cent more on the motorway. A packet of McCoys crisps was almost 45 per cent more expensive than a shop on the high street, and a packet of Walkers crisps was marked up by 36 per cent. With petrol prices averaging about ten pence per litre more than at off-motorway forecourts the IAM is calling for a complete review of motorway prices, together with filling stations being forced to advertise their and their competitors’ fuel prices, as is the case in France. IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “We must end this motorway madness. Everything from sweets to petrol have an outrageous mark up. “Our advice for tired motorists is always to take your rest break and have a coffee to help you freshen up. The danger is that rip-off prices will discourage people from getting the rest they need. Parking fines for drivers who sleep for longer than two hours put people off taking rest breaks.” Product

High St Price

Motorway Service


Regular cafe Americano




Regular hot chocolate




Walkers cheese & onion




© Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


It’s behind you! One question observers are often asked is how to deal with other road users who follow too closely? It may well be that as a driver progresses through their advanced driving course he or she starts to hone their observation skills, becomes more aware of speed limits, their speed and the actions of others. Maybe before they started the course they were happy with an occasional glance in the mirror but now with a more systematic mirror regime they are more aware of drivers who follow too closely. There could be two aspects to the identification of a vehicle following too closely behind; firstly the psychological effects on you and secondly the practical course of action you can take to deal safely with the situation. Whilst many people’s reaction might be to hold their speed and line and not give way to bullying tactics, sometimes it might be best to do just that - would you rather have the errant driver in front or behind you? In all probability the following driver is just unwise, inattentive and not anticipating what could happen and hence does not bear a personal grudge against you. If from watching their demeanour this appears not to be the case then it might be time to consider pulling off and letting the other driver pass - even if you do ‘lose your rightful place’. Don’t be tempted to build up your speed, you never know where a speed check or camera might be in action, if there is then the following driver would probably be grateful to you for showing restraint! © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists 18

On a practical front, if necessary, you could gently ease off the speed to increase the gap in front of you because you now have to think and plan for both yourself and the driver behind. Try not to fall into the trap of concentrating mainly on the vehicle behind but ensure good forward observation (up and out) is maintained. When you anticipate the need to slow you could start earlier than normal. Perhaps you might also consider starting with very gentle application of pressure on the brake pedal (so displaying brake lights as a warning) but without, at first, actually slowing significantly. When you do need to brake start early and very gently, so giving the following driver the maximum amount of time and distance to react. You should avoid the natural temptation to sharply dab on the brakes or use unofficial hand signals since this may cause upset and aggravate the driver behind.

If the actions and/or the demeanour of the following driver really concerns you then when possible why not move aside - after all isn’t the space between two vehicles shared safety space? On a motorway or dual carriageway you might be able to move over quite easily and anyway who wants to be travelling at 70mph, in lane 3, with a car just a couple of metres behind? On a single carriageway, depending on the circumstance, you might be able pull over to facilitate the following vehicle to overtake or maybe you could turn off. In rare circumstances you might have a high level of concern about the following driver in which case you might consider choosing to pull off into a busy road or place such as a fuel station or supermarket. The bottom line is that it is up to you to assess each situation. In most cases the following driver probably does not recognise the potential consequences of their actions. After all if there are never any consequences to driving too close there might be little incentive to change their manner of driving. Š Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


Times are changing or are they? - Ed It’s that time of the year again when the tedious bi-annual business of changing the clocks takes place. How long will it be before you manage to work out how to change the clock in your car, or do you just leave it at the same time throughout the year? Maybe you don’t need to take any action at all because magically your car clock is now correct having been 1 hour out for the previous 6 months! Surely car designers could make changing clocks a little easier? Invariably it is not a simple job and requires perhaps pressing a series of buttons then over-shooting the required time and having to go through the process once again or just accepting that it will be a few minutes out! I don’t know about you but usually when getting in the car it tends to be for the purpose of going from A to B. Do you really have time to ponder on the inner workings of the dashboard or get out the handbook just to change the clock? It is all too easy to put the job off until later and anyway does it really matter if the clock is 1 hour out for half the year?

Road to success - Alastair Kean When I first set off on this Advanced Driving course, I thought that my fifty years driving experience without accident or prosecution, both on motorcycle and motor car, would make the course pointless, but I very quickly realised my skills were lacking to a great extent. After the first observed drive I was left feeling disappointed with myself - but with the Observer's perseverance, patience and knowledge, eventually after some months I started to GET THE HANG OF IT - leading on to the passing of my test of 17 November 2011. On the day of the test I was nervous but quite confident that I could carry out the drive to the standard to which I had been coached. The Examiner started with an eye test, carried out so thoroughly that I thought the test was going to start and end at Cuckoo Bridge! However we got underway and the drive resulted in test success. My thoughts since the test are that the course has raised my powers of observation and has assisted me in anticipating the actions of other drivers. It © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


has also led me to have a better working knowledge of the Highway Code and road signs and road markings. Importantly now when faced with a hazard I have the tools to more effectively do something about it. I would recommend an advanced driving course to anyone who wishes to improve their skills and who wants to ensure that the actions they take whilst driving are the ones best suited to the circumstances!! Every time that I get into my car the memory of the course coaching is constantly with me and hopefully contributes to a safer standard of driving on my part.

IAM Policy and research Check out the Policy and Research section of the IAM web site if you want to know how the IAM get involved in road safety at a national level. The House of Commons Transport Committee (it is charged with scrutiny of the Department for Transport and its policies) has been taking evidence from road user groups and road safety campaigners as part of an inquiry into the Government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety. The IAM has been involved and you can see what was said by viewing the video on the IAM’s web site at: The video is quite long but a transcript can be found

Are We New To You? If you are reading this magazine for the first time you may be a new member of the Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists and Motorcyclists (DGGAMM) or you may know nothing about us. We are a local group affiliated to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). DGGAMM is a charity devoted to promoting road safety through its advanced driving and riding courses. We are a regional organisation with qualified Advanced Driving and Riding Observers who provide guidance to assist drivers and riders to improve their skills on the road. We also work with and receive support from other road safety organisations and local businesses. Our aim is to help drivers and riders improve their skills on the road and so help reduce collisions, injuries and deaths on our roads. We promote the IAM ‘Skill for Life’ courses throughout the year and you can find out what is entailed by visiting our web site. Well over ninety percent of people who sit the © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


Advanced Test with us are successful. Once a candidate has passed the IAM Advanced Test, we offer further driving and riding courses leading to qualifications as Observers. The Group run social nights most months of the year at the Dalston House Hotel, Dumfries or other nearby locations. These meetings are free to members and open to anyone who wants to come along and find out more about what we do. At these meetings we often invite guest speakers to talk on a general theme often related to driving or riding and the like. Details of ‘What’s on’ can be found on our web site or on page 1 of this magazine. We are a non-profit making organisation, run entirely by volunteers who give their time freely to help achieve our aims. To find out more contact the Group Secretary or visit our web site - see page 1 for details.

About the IAM 1. The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) directly influences the driving and riding of around 100,000 full members in the UK and Ireland. Established in 1956, the IAM is today best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving course, which is available to car, motorcycle and commercial licence holders. The IAM has grown to become the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to raising driving standards, engaging with the road-using public and influencing road safety policy. The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive. 2. The IAM is supported by over 200 affiliated volunteer groups around the country, that help to provide valuable advanced driver and rider coaching in preparation for the Advanced Test. They also provide a strong local voice to promote road safety. 3. A 2010 report from Nottingham University found that IAM trained motorcyclists adopted safer road positions, but still maintained faster progress through bends than non-IAM trained riders. 4. A 2006 report by Brunel University, following an 18-month study, concluded that “advanced driver training produces safer drivers and lower accident involvement”, with measurable improvements in knowledge, skills and attitude. 5. The IAM now embrace cyclists and has a cycling membership category alongside those of motorists and motorcyclists. In 2010, the IAM introduced a cycle training programme including a new guide “How to be a Better Cyclist”. © Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists


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ADVANCE Spring 2012  

The Official Magazine of the Dumfries & Galloway Group of Advanced Motorists & Motorcyclists