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driving L L A T I A W U YO . . . S U B A R O F Y A D SUMMER 2013


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WELCOME

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SUMMER IS HERE

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...AND THEN 20 COME ALONG AT ONCE It’s quite sobering to realise that the number of deaths on UK roads each year add to 20 double-decker buses’ worth of people. As shadow transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick MP pointed out to the Driving Instructor Association’s annual spring conference: ‘If people had been dying in these numbers on any other mode of transport there would be an outcry.’ So while it’s great that someone is looking at these issues (the government is shortly to publish its green paper on young drivers), Howard Redwood looks at whether the options should be wider than just young people...

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GOING SOMEWHERE NICE? Driving abroad can be a daunting prospect for many, but it needn’t be so scary if you prepare in advance and show consideration to local drivers, says Mike Frisby. The Foreign Office recently announced a new website for British drivers travelling abroad to try and cut down on the numbers of deaths. After death from natural causes, road accidents are the next highest cause of fatalities among travellers and expats. Visit fcowidget.com for more details. Meanwhile, enjoy your summer holiday driving...

EDITOR Sam Burnett editor@driving.org

DESIGNER Matt Russell design@driving.org

The summer issue of Driving magazine, that is. We’re not sure we can rely too much on the sunshine hanging around for too long. Of course, if you’re planning to exploit the sunshine somewhere else in the world, make sure you do your research and keep yourself as safe possible on what are often dangerous roads. Check out p10. The government’s green paper on young drivers has everyone talking, but there are wider issues at stake, and Howard Redwood (p6) doesn’t want us to miss the opportunity. I’m inclined to agree...

Sam Burnett editor

NEW CARS TO SUIT ALL BUDGETS Only four generations of Range Rover since the first car was launched in 1970... So a new model is a big event in the automotive world then –and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. The car has become a major player in the luxury market. Read our verdict on p14. Another brand that would love to be a major luxury player is Lexus. Sadly it’s not making the same progress as Land Rover. Be the cause image or badge snobbery, the product itself is pretty good. Look at the new GS450h, for instance. In complete contrast, we’ve driven the UK’s cheapest car too.

ADVERTISING Mary O’Brien mary.obrien@redactive.co.uk

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DIAMOND CHIEF EXAMINER Mike Frisby mikefrisby@driving.org

Driving is published by Driving Magazine Ltd Copyright © DIA (Int.) Ltd 2013 Driving magazine, Leon House, 233 High Street, Croydon CR0 9XT The views contained may not be the views of the publishers. Publication of an advertisement does not imply approval for the goods or services offered. Reproduction by any means, electronically or otherwise, in whole or part, of any material appearing in this magazine is forbidden without the express prior permission of the publishers.

summer 2013 | driving


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DIAMOND The most likely outcome of being in a lane where you hold up another driver is causing them frustration

Muddle of the road A SEEMINGLY SIMPLE IDEA THAT GETS EVERYONE CONFUSED. MIKE FRISBY LOOKS AT LANES ith recent news of police being given more power to deal with middle-lane hoggers we need to look at why it’s necessary. Most drivers complain about them and yet so many drivers do it. Is it not just a simple case of saying keep to the left lane? After all, if we shouldn’t be there then why is there even a lane? The problem, as usual, is a result of poor driving ability and decision making, and a lack of consideration or awareness of other road users. Drivers with a good driving plan will have assessed the risk of moving into the centre, or right lane, before ever going there. A well-planned overtake or creating space for merging vehicles to join the carriageway is sensible and considered driving, as is moving over to the right in anticipation of drivers bunching around junctions and consequently making reactive decisions putting you at risk when they move into your path at the last minute. Having completed an overtake, decisions also have to be made about the correct time to move back to the left and rushing back for fear of getting a fine could increase risk. The following scenario makes

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the decision less than black and white: You have completed your manoeuvre and need to move back to the left, but there is another vehicle some distance ahead travelling slower than you in the left lane. We know there is risk involved in changing lanes and therefore don’t want to do so unnecessarily. So ask yourself the following: is there traffic behind that you will hold up by staying where you are? If so move over and let it pass. Is the road behind you clear and you will reach the slower vehicle without holding anyone up? If so there is little point in changing lanes. The most likely outcome of being in a lane where you hold up another driver is causing frustration to that driver, the result being they make a poor decision to move past you, either on the left or right side which increases everyone’s risk. Once again, this comes down to managing your space correctly and dealing with other drivers courteously. When the road is busy, we also need to be aware of drivers who are courteous and have moved over. If you are on their right and see them closing in on the vehicle in front of them, allow them space to overtake rather than blocking them in. It may cost you a couple of seconds but it will be less stressful and lower everyone’s risk of getting it wrong.

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Not just a young man’s game THE GOVERNMENT’S PROPOSED GREEN PAPER ON YOUNG DRIVERS HAS ALREADY ATTRACTED MUCH DEBATE AND DISCUSSION, BUT HOWARD REDWOOD ASKS WHETHER THE FOCUS ON YOUNG DRIVERS IS MISSING THE POINT he loss of life and serious injury on our roads is a subject that needs to be looked at carefully and sensitively – and certainly from the proper perspective. The media spotlight on individual incidents is particularly harsh, and so much policy is made up on the hoof in order to quell public anger or concern. These kneejerk reactions come about because political figures rely on their popularity for continued survival. No one takes the chance to look holistically at incidents, so very often the wrong interventions are made to minimise the risk of an accident happening again. The isolated incident probably doesn’t involve huge numbers, so at the time it’s not considered to its full extent. But when we look at the overall sums of money being spent on road traffic collisions you can see the wider implications of policy decisions and the accidents themselves. In the case of driver education, we have to consider the socioeconomic, as well as the socio-academic influences that play a part in driver behaviour. The ONS reports the cost of every road death as £1.74m. Why that figure? Well, it’s only an average, but with serious incidents there are often large sums involved in care

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driving | summer 2013

for life-changing injuries, compensation to third parties, clearing up, repairing the roads and infrastructure, calling out the emergency services, cleaning up water-courses, etc. The RAC Foundation reports that the safest age group in the UK in terms of deaths per million population is those between 50 and 74. There are several reasons for this: 50-somethings have reached the point that they are established in their career, using their experience to train others. They are wise older figures, with an advisory role, and less mileage and exposure to risk. The highfliers are probably semi-retired and live a more leisurely life. Those in their 70s usually drive at the best time of day to suit themselves and are far less attracted to night-driving and their mileage tends to be lower. We haven’t yet mentioned experience. In the past this has been regarded as the main reason for older people’s safety records, but car technology is progressing rapidly, and the older generations have cause for concern when upgrading vehicles because ‘traditional’ methods of driving are being challenged. At 70, we have to renew the driving licence – simply a declaration to say that you do not know of any medical reason to prevent you from continuing to drive – clearly not a robust system of monitoring. But think of


FEATURE There are approximately 251,000 miles of roads throughout the UK That’s 149 vehicles per road mile.

Heavy trucks 1.4% Buses 0.5% Small vehicles 3.59%

Bikes 1.91%

Cars 92.6%

The UK has in excess of 35m vehicles on the roads

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Reported accidents (day and night) Built-up roads, 2011 All built-up roads 20, 30, 40mph speed limit

Daylight conditions Darkness – active street lights Darkness – no street lights Lighting not reported Accidents – day and night combined

84,356 25,916 1,839 1,275 113,386

All non-built-up roads 50, 60, 70mph speed limit

Daylight conditions Darkness – active street lights Darkness – no Street lights Lighting not reported Accidents – day and night combined

23,598 2,305 6,067 299 32,269

yourself at 70 – when was the last time your driving was monitored? It’s fairly likely to have been your driving test (given the compulsory driving test was introduced in 1935, we’ve only just reached the point where all drivers on the road have been tested) – a long time ago. And so we only ask people to self-certify their fitness to drive. The apparent safety of this upper age group could be hindering road safety, generating a false sense of security. When I go to a party and I am asked what I do for a living, I tell people I’m a driver trainer. The next thing I hear is invariably: ‘If I had to take my driving test again, I know I would never pass it.’ It’s not the words that annoy me – it’s the laughter while they’re being said! I find it hard to think charitably towards those people, who drive on the roads knowing you don’t meet the standards that some kids are doing all they can to strive for. The problem is compounded by the fact that in a politician’s eyes, road safety is not a sexy vote winner. Between the nonchalant attitudes of cavalier drivers on the one hand and technology that’s flummoxing the elderly on the other, it’s clear to me that there’s a problem: the time has come for periodic monitoring. So we know that the government is working on a green paper on young drivers. There are all sorts of complications with the current system, but a lot of them to do with influences and interferences from previous generations. There has been nothing to restrain the laissez faire driving mindset that has been allowed to develop for so long. The Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013 says that around 1.24m people are killed on the world’s roads each year: the eighth-leading cause of death. By 2030 this could rise to the fifth-leading cause of death, due to the increasing level of motorisation in less well-developed countries. A further 50m people sustain non-fatal injuries every year. So for every person who dies in an accident, at least 20 sustain non-fatal injuries – and one in five of those result in amputation, or permanent disability through head or

driving | summer 2013

Killed – 1,760 (enough to fill 20 doubledecker buses)


FEATURE Male 74%

Female 26%

Breakdown of fatalities between male and female

Cost of every road death – £1.74m

One of the problems for us humans is that we have always travelled at relatively slow speeds spinal trauma. In the UK, a consequence of improved safety technology in cars will be an increase in these injuries. One of the problems for us humans is that we have always travelled at relatively slow speeds. When hunting, our reactions were primed for ground-level skills, using our highly primed senses to make us stealthy. Chasing our prey through foliage, fallen trees and low branches in mediums of uneven and mixed terrain, in any weather condition, we’d reach heady speeds of 1011mph. Miscalculation could result in injury – a broken bone, say – and prevent further hunting, leading to starvation. This was the way for 1,000s of years and our reflexes were suited to those conditions: the motor car has only been in existence for 130 years, travelling at speeds far faster than the hunter, requiring our senses and reflexes to respond in a way that our bodies have not yet caught up with. Could this be the reason why 1.24m people are killed each year, and 95% of responses to safety critical situations are inappropriate? The ability to look at things is a familiar part of the process of seeing. Looking is achieved by orienting the eyes, that is to say, directing their visual axes to point to a

new location. The brain commands sent to the eye muscles result in the eyes making a rapid step-like rotation, following which the eyes remain stationary at their new position. These step movements are known as saccades or saccadic eye movements. In normal viewing, several saccades are made each second and their destinations are selected by cognitive brain processes without any awareness on our part. Vision is dependent upon the information taken in during fixation pauses between saccades: no useful visual information is taken in while the eyes are making a saccadic movement – hence ‘looked, but failed to see’, or in the case of motorcycle collisions, ‘Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You’! (SMIDSY). The reason our vision behaves in this way is because it is still set for hunting where the hunter would have been moving as stealthily as possible, fixing his gaze on the prey. Clearly the young driver problem has more behind it than youthful bravado, but it’s also clear that we have to start re-educating everyone on our roads and from a solid, apolitical standpoint. Forecasts suggest that we’ll have 40m vehicles on UK roads by 2025: nothing stealthy about the problem.

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WE’RE ALL GOING ON A

SUMMER HOLIDAY THOUSANDS OF BRITS WILL BE GETTING BEHIND THE WHEEL ABROAD THIS SUMMER AS THE ANNUAL EXODUS BEGINS. MIKE FRISBY HAS SOME TIPS.


FEATURE Driving abroad is something you either love or hate or just get on with

riving abroad is something you either love or hate or just get on with. Some steer clear at any cost, others can’t be doing with the stress of it all. Perhaps driving is one of the things they go on holiday to get away from anyway. The rest think it is simply too scary. So, what are the issues with driving abroad? The main difference between the UK and most other countries is that they drive on the wrong side of the road! This immediately creates a barrier for many drivers, who worry that vehicles will appear from places they don’t expect. Having to drive a left-handdrive car is also a concern for many drivers, even those who have many years of driving experience.

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Wherever you are in the world, driving is to all intents and purposes the same now, because there are so many ‘foreign’ drivers in every country. Like many other things, it is becoming more international. There are differences from country to country, but internet access makes it easy to find out about those differences before you travel. Generally the rules of the road are very similar worldwide, as are the road signs. Knowing the differences before you travel is important as it will give you an idea of what to expect. Like anything we do, knowing the rules matters: it could be argued that rugby league is the same as rugby union and for someone who has never watched either game, if you showed them a brief television clip of both they could be forgiven for not noticing the difference. Driving is no different; it is the

same game, played to slightly different rules in different places, so read the rule book first. Worrying about drivers who might pull out or come from somewhere unexpectedly, or might be driving to a completely different highway code (whether it’s published or not) is something we have to deal with whenever or wherever we drive. As is often reported, the most familiar roads are where many drivers crash. The reason for this is simply a lack of concentration or thought that goes into the task of driving. While traveling somewhere unfamiliar in your own country, your levels of concentration increase as the surroundings are less familiar, and applying that same level of concentration when driving abroad will minimise the risks you face. If you get the basic

summer 2013 | driving

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FEATURE

The same courtesy should be displayed by all drivers to all other road users driving skills right it really doesn’t matter where you are. The main skill a driver requires is space management. This requires good observation and planning. Unfortunately, trying to combine a nice driving holiday abroad with plenty of sightseeing just won’t work – not for the driver anyway. If that’s what you want from the trip then driving is probably not the way to go. As for the car, the majority of controls are in the same place. When you sit in the driving seat the steering wheel is in front of you and the pedals are on the floor – all in the same order and performing the same job – and the indicators are in the same place too. Two things that differ are the gearstick and interior mirror. I have to admit that I’m not hugely intelligent, but looking at a mirror in front of me to the right instead of the left is not something that would take much learning. The door mirrors are still where I’m used to as well.

Since I’m only using the gearstick after I’ve planned everything else, I’ve got plenty of time to work out how to get from gear to gear. We face similar difficulties every time we drive a new or unfamiliar vehicle: the feel of the clutch, the size of the car and the view (or lack of it) are all things we have to adapt to when we drive a different vehicle. Certainly for some time after getting in your concentration levels have to be higher while you familiarise yourself with the vehicle. In many cases you are actually unaware of the extra effort it takes and you just take it for granted. A greater danger is taking a right-handdrive vehicle abroad and driving on the right. In this case, the view you get is very different, and restricted, as you are sitting on the wrong side of the vehicle (near the kerb). This more stressful scenario is probably the memory that most drivers have of driving abroad, what with it being so easy to take the car across the

Channel. It’s also probably why many have bad memories and a subsequent dread of driving abroad. Driving is challenging wherever it is done and different driving conditions form part of the challenge. These challenges can come in the form of busy traffic, poor weather, unfamiliar roads, or driving on the wrong side of the road with drivers who all meet the same challenge that we do. Think of how you behave when you meet a car with a foreign number plate in the UK – do you hold back and give them space, are you prepared for them to do something unexpected? Most safe and responsible drivers probably do. The same courtesy should be displayed by all drivers to all other road users when they meet. When driving abroad, you just have to remember this for all the other drivers, and they will probably be doing it for you too. Bonnes vacances… summer 2013 | driving

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Heavyweight THE IMPERIOUS NEW RANGE ROVER TRIES ITS BEST TO OVERCOME THE LAWS OF PHYSICS, BUT HAS FINALLY GIVEN IN TO THE LAWS OF TASTE, SAYS SAM BURNETT

he Range Rover has become a Great British Success Story since its introduction in 1970. Like James Bond, Twinings Earl Grey and BSE it has become a high-profile export, bound up in the world’s eyes with its British heritage. Astonishingly, despite this year marking 43 years since the Range Rover was launched, this brand new model is only the fourth generation. Each iteration has become a stalwart in its own right, but has worked out its own subtle interpretation of what the Range Rover thing is all about. The first-generation car was about landowners having something plusher to gad about their land in, but the 4x4 has evolved into something much sleeker and urbane. A Range Rover is desirable in a way that a Mercedes or BMW can’t quite match at the moment, and thanks to the brand’s associations with Mrs Beckham, tied up nicely with the fashion world. One hot trend in the automotive sector at the moment is weight saving, which the Land Rover designers have really bought into. The new car saves around 450kg on the last-generation model: that’s not so much going on a diet as having a limb chopped off. The thing still mashes the scales at over two tonnes, but this kind of commitment to self-improvement is not to be sniffed at. It’s come about through judicious use of aluminium construction, thanks to years of plodding away with the troublesome material by Jaguar. The 3.0-litre V8 diesel model manages a heady 37.7mpg on the official combined cycle (don’t even ask about the 5.0-litre petrol, you’ll have to remortgage the house. On the other hand, think of the Nectar points), a remarkable feat in such a brisk behemoth. The Range Rover is absolutely stuffed with technology and fancy gadgets – this one-time mud-plugging SUV has become a genuine player in

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If you happen to live miles up a rocky escarpment, you’re in luck driving | winter 2012

the luxury market. Fit and finish is impeccable and the cabin is whisper quiet. It’s very impressive, and the Range Rover would be just as serviceable as a chauffeur car as ferrying a family about the place. The engines are a minor triumph too. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel is torquey in all the right places, offering decent economy and just enough urge not to disgrace the car. The 4.4-litre V8 diesel is a little more frivolous, with surges of torque available that complement the Range Rover’s imperious stance. The 5.0-litre V8 petrol is positively indecent, a nod to the company’s Middle Eastern buyers. The only available gearbox option is an eight-speed automatic. On paper it seems like so many cogs is overegging the pudding somewhat, but it changes through them smoothly and occasionally even imperceptibly. If you happen to live three miles up a rocky escarpment well away from any paved roads, then you’re in even more luck. The Range Rover retains the peerless off-road scrambling that it and its siblings are renowned for. It’s incredible not just that Land Rover can engineer this sort of ability into a luxury car, but that it even would. On- or off-road, the adjustable air suspension makes for a delightful ride, and the car has a new dynamic response system that keeps any pitching and heaving in check around corners. It doesn’t eradicate roll completely: you do feel the car’s heft, but it’s as if it’s trying to show off its impeccable control. The body leans ever-so-slightly into a corner and then the electronics gather it all up, no fuss. The Range Rover is no sports car, but it’s fun to swan through corners and it’s easily placeable on the road thanks to the high riding position and upright stance. This car is imperious – in fact, we might even go so far as to say it’s the perfect allrounder. Now, who’s got £70,000 we can borrow?

RANGE ROVER PRICE £78,120 (4.4 TDV8 Vogue) TOP SPEED 135mph 0-60mph 6.5sec ECONOMY 32.5mpg CO2 229g/km ENGINE TYPE, CC 4,367cc turbodiesel POWER 339bhp TORQUE 516lb ft GEARBOX Eight-speed automatic

Verdict 10/10


REVIEWS Cheap thrills

DACIA SANDERO PRICE

FRENCH-ROMANIAN SUPERMINI ENTICES WITH LOW PRICE

TOP SPEED

£5,995 (Access 1.2) 97mph 0-62mph 14.5sec

ECONOMY 47.9mpg CO2 137g/km

ENGINE TYPE, CC 1,149cc petrol

POWER 75bhp

TORQUE t can be a bit awkward when you’re faced with a car that has upmarket (or even mainstream) pretensions but turns out to be cheap and nasty. Sweaty, shiny plastics and bits that come off in your hand. Exposed screws, wobbly suspension and tinny-sounding stereos. Eurgh. There must be some irony in the fact that Renault-owned Dacia has come along with a resolutely budget range of cars that are cheap… and yet solidly put together. The Sandero has the honour of being the UK’s lowest-priced new car at £5,995 – that’s the model that comes in solid white, with plastic bumpers, steel wheels and no radio – but once you’ve had a go in one it wins you over with its basic charm.

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It’s surprisingly roomy inside, with plenty of space up front and in the back. Lower down the range you’ll find it’s incredibly basic, with no adjustment to the steering wheel and the driver’s seat limited to forwards, backwards and where you’d like the seatback. On the road, the Sandero feels really light and chuckable – it’s a flyweight at 941kg. The suspension is not sophisticated, and you won’t relish longer journeys, but the whole experience takes you right back to your first car. The whole affair is very basic and cheap, but that’s exactly the Sandero’s schtick. If you’re buying one, you’ll need to be disciplined and not raid the options list though – as soon as you do that, you’d be as well buying something proper.

79lb ft

GEARBOX Five-speed manual

Verdict 7/10

LEXUS GS450H PRICE

Silent running

SHARP NEW STYLING COULD CHANGE THINGS FOR LEXUS

£50,995 (450h F Sport)

TOP SPEED 155mph 0-62mph 5.9sec

ECONOMY 45.6mpg

CO2 145g/km

ENGINE TYPE, CC 3,456 V6 petrol with hybrid powertrain

POWER n paper a hybrid setup would be perfect for a sportier sort of car, what with all of that extra oomph on demand, but a purist sports car driver would never settle for the lack of rumbly exhaust. In fact, they positively enjoy pumping out clouds of barely combusted hydrocarbons into the atmosphere. No, the real allure of the part-electric layout lies in relaxed luxury cars, and Lexus has really carved out a niche here in the last 10 years or so. Point proven if you drive the aggressively styled new GS fast: you’ll only anger the continuously variable transmission, which roars at the top of its voice when you press the accelerator too hard. Keep it gentle and nobody gets hurt. Silent running

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in EV mode is where it’s at, and you still get a smug thrill even as the technology gets more widespread. It’s very relaxing to sit in the back of the GS, what with all the reclining and the carefully placed padding and the supple leather, but you’ll find it rather snug trying to wedge your feet underneath the seat in front. The fuzzy felt roof lining is a particularly nice touch. It still has quite an old-fashioned dashboard and centre-stack layout, which is a shame. You’d expect gizmos and touchscreens galore in something of this calibre, but it seems the Japanese still have half an eye on European luxo-barges of the mid-1990s. BMW does this sort of thing much better. It’s all easy enough to get used to though, and that’s the main thing.

286bhp

TORQUE 254lb ft

GEARBOX Continuously variable automatic

Verdict 8/10

summer 2013 | driving

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D N O DIAM K S E D HELP

GOT A PROBLEM? LET US HELP YOU WITH YOUR DRIVING QUERIES

Daytrip to France I am going to France for the day soon. What do I need to take with me?

In order to both comply with French law and ensure you have everything you might need when driving in a foreign country, you will need the following: Your passport; booking confirmation for the boat or train; driving licence (both parts if it’s a new-style licence); your car’s V5 document; proof of insurance; MOT (if your car requires one); a spare pair of glasses if you wear those for driving; a fire extinguisher; a warning triangle; hi-vis vests for each person in the vehicle (these need to be kept inside the cabin of the car in case of breakdown); a GB sticker if your number plate does not state the country of origin (the number plate must say GB and not England). You need to use dipped headlights during the daytime in poor visibility as you do here,

Pedestrian crossings What do I do when I am approaching a pedestrian crossing where the pedestrians have crossed to the centre island but have not pressed the button? Do I stop, or do I keep going?

and fit headlight deflectors – right-hand-drive vehicles’ headlights point to the left and away from oncoming traffic to the right. In France and other countries where you drive on the right, the headlight beam will point towards oncoming traffic. Do also carry a spare set of bulbs for your vehicle, the necessary tools to replace a bulb and a basic first aid kit. Since July 2012 drivers have been required to carry a breathalyser in their car in France, with enforcement fines of €11 originally planned for November 2012, but these were postponed to March of this year and now postponed indefinitely. You are still required to carry a breathalyser when driving in the country but there is no current legislation demanding a fine for non-compliance.

There is no legal obligation to stop here, unless the pedestrians have already stepped into the road. Your actions here depend on a few things. You need to consider the traffic behind you might not be able to see the pedestrians at the crossing, and may only be able to see the green light – if you stop, you could end up creating more problems as drivers behind may not anticipate this. Something else you need to think

about is what the pedestrian is looking like they are going to do. Have they seen you? Have you made eye contact? Do they look like they are going to wait or do they look like they might run across in front of you? If they look like they are in a hurry and you anticipate them running out in front of you, by checking behind you and braking gently to show early brake lights to the traffic behind, you can reduce the risk of a pile-up due to sudden braking.

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Driving - Summer 2013