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The Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists

NEWSLETTER Winter 2012

IAM Winter 2012

The Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists Registered Charity 1054403 Group Web Site:

IAM Web Site:

We are affiliated to The Institute of Advanced Motorists President:

Dr. Timothy Brain, QPM, OBE.

Vice Presidents:

Mr. Anthony Whitehouse, MBE Mrs. Jean Whitehouse

Group Chairman Peter Davies and Chief Observer Email: Secretary:

Rod Harrison Email:


John Seed Email:

COMMITTEE MEMBERS Membership Secretary & Associate Coordinator: Phil Tebble Email: Newsletter Editor:

David Sheppard

Committee Members: Frances Hunter Jean Sheraton Tony Higgs James Thomas


We offer a warm welcome to new members, associates and friends to the Group. We wish you well with your preparation for the Advanced Driving Test. Associate Richard Watling Elizabeth Tempest Steve Clarkson John Caffull Max Evans Matthew Hartley Ruth Pitt Sandra Du Pont Garrett Rod Street Annia Fabian Samantha Pates Jonathan marshall Simon Hemming Karen Skey Tim Williams Mark Skey


Peter Davies Anthony Bishop Rod Harrison Peter Wood Neil Tappin Philip Tebble James Hayward Peter Davies John Kitchen Peter Davies

Congratulations to the following associates who recently passed their Advanced Driving Test and are now full members. Candidate Rachel Abbott Simon Wainwright Virginia Pawlyn Arabella Risbey Susan Edwards Jason Zentner Alaster McGrigor Andrew Siddons Andrew Scriven

Observer John Kitchen John Kitchen Rod Harrison Nigel Garbutt Keith Meikle Peter Davies Peter Davies Peter Davies John Kitchen


Peter Writes Realising how close we are to Christmas and the end of the year I was just about to write that it can’t be twelve months ago that I wished you all a pleasant lead up to Christmas. In fact it is two years ago that I said this and recall that I gave my intentions not to stand for reelection at the Annual General Meeting in February 2011. Thank you for putting up with me as Chairman for yet another year, I promise you won’t be asked to do this again. I definitely intend, come what may, that you will elect a new Chairman on 21 st February next. We should hope for someone experienced in level-headed management, with sensible, reasonable ideas and kind but firm leadership. An IAM Staff Examiner once told me that, before planning anything, be sure it is Safe, Legal, Possible and Convenient. Of course Andy was talking about driving and I am not, except, my wish that the Gloucestershire Group will be accurately driven, navigated and steered on a route to continued success. Of course this should not happen by the Chairman alone. Firstly, that person will require much support, just as I have appreciated yours. I have always liked to regard our Group as a sort of happy, stable, family of people and, if my time with you is regarded with any element of success, then

indeed it is because of your help, for which I thank you with all my heart, and ask you to offer that support to our new Chairman. If you look at, if you have reason to telephone IAM House, which, it is preferred we now call ‘Chiswick’ instead, you will note changes in the structure of IAM management. Different departments, dedicated to quite different matters, to where the customer, enquirer, member, will be directed accordingly. Gone are the days when almost every enquiry was directed to Lyn Frances, and sometimes later to Sandra Worsfold and whatever the subject Lyn or Sandra would be pleased and well able to help. This is not to say that the newer more departmental system is any less helpful. It is that, at Chiswick, things have changed and things are changing. I only hope that IAM, (I am), as it becomes very much


bigger, more powerful, will not lose its long appreciated presentation of a family of like-minded people. I can tell you, however, Sandra and Lyn are still at Chiswick, and only a short while ago, Lyn came to the phone to assist with a matter of insurance and Sandra to advise on another subject, just a few weeks before that. It was a joy to hear their familiar voices and to receive their assistance, as usual, so pleasantly offered. Chiswick has just rolled-out a new membership database in which groups are given the opportunity to participate. I must say, Jagruti Ladwa, (Jags), the lady who is IAM Head of Process and Management Information Development, at Chiswick, who is currently offering front-line assistance with matters related to this new project is just as helpful too. Jags, as she wishes to be called is enthusiastic, a pleasure to talk to, with there being no hint that anything is too much trouble. Group Rules tell us that the publication of the newsletter will be too early for the formal notice of our 21 February AGM. However, I hope you will put the date in your 2013 diaries and those who have been to previous AGMs will be as pleased as I am to know that our President, Doctor Timothy Brain, is preparing the bonus of the evening with an,

“Address from the President”. If you don’t already know, this is the best, most sensible, most rewarding reason to be with us on that evening. Enclosed will be Nomination Forms for the Business Meeting and Group Membership Subscription Returns for 2013. Please feel free to use the Nomination Forms as you see fit and please renew your membership for the New Year indicating your wish to stay with our Happy Family of like-minded members and friends. Have a pleasant Christmas preparation period leading to a peaceful Christmas and New Year, one full of joy the other full of great expectation. With best wishes, Peter. 5

New Committee member Tony Higgs writes..... Most of my working life I have worked for the Church of England. It was at the Cathedral in Gloucester that I first met Peter, but that is towards the end of the story. Having left a College of Further Education with suitable ‘O’Levels, I was taken on as an apprentice technical engineer with a machine tool manufacturer, Jones and Shipman, in Leicester. On completing my apprenticeship I became a service engineer. After one year of marriage, I was accepted for training to become a priest in the Church of England. However, I later decided the priesthood was not for me. Back home I secured a job with the Diocese of Leicester as the stewardship adviser. This was a job I was also to do in the dioceses of Hereford and Worcester. I rose to the position of Assistant Diocesan Secretary in Worcester responsible for the parsonage houses, the diocesan glebe and the committee which oversees the repair of churches. The last ten years of my working life were spent at Gloucester cathedral as Chapter Steward which is when I met Peter. I have been retired for nearly six years. Three grandchildren and trips in our motor caravan have kept Barbara and me occupied together with three years helping organize the Highnam Spring Fair.

Like so many, it seems I always had an interest in IAM. I even had a short drive with an observer at an event I attended. (Cannot even remember where it was.) The one thing he told me, which I do remember is I did not need to signal when there was no-one to see my signal. I did not follow this up until 2010. I saw Peter’s picture in the Citizen advertising a Saturday course, and Barbara and I attended. Like most people, I found Mike’s talk inspiring. I joined as a Friend and then became an Associate, taking and passing my test in 2012. I offered to join the committee when it appeared that there was a shortage of volunteers. Like so many, I thought I was a good driver, but having been observed I realized there was considerable room for improvement. It is a process from which I think all drivers can benefit.


The Group Website Our Group website is now regularly updated and always shows information on our meetings and events. There are sections on motoring advice; a feed of the latest IAM research information, not to mention a list of new members and the latest test passes. A section entitled Latest group News is the one to watch for news of your committee’s activities and Group event reports. You can also follow us on Twitter @glosiam. Keep up to date with us online. Webmaster: Rod Harrison

Some more useful websites, sent in by Phil

The following website compares the official fuel consumption of many modern cars with the actual mpg reported by owners Many owners of cars where the manufacture’s mpg figure is in the mid-60s are actually obtaining 10mpg less; 15mpg less in some cases. On-line full Highway Code. G_070202 Smart Driving. This gives lots of information about driving and motoring in general.


The Chief Observer Chiswick will soon roll-out a new national scheme for observer training. The new system of preparation, training and qualification has been piloted for a period with two other regions and we have been promised introduction to all other regions, including our own Region 1, in early 2013. I am in the process of meeting with the Gloucestershire Group Observer and Trainee Observers to check or confirm certain existing levels of Observing and to part with the information I have regarding future training and qualification. If there are any members who would like to be included in the new training system, even if not currently an Observer with the Group, I will be very pleased to hear from them so that we can arrange to meet for a discussion. We are in need of new Observers, particularly young Observers, and I would like to see the present imbalance of more male Observers than female Observers changed. Having said that, I declare, no one will be refused because of gender or age. As ever, I am most grateful for the services offered by all of our Observers, I speak on behalf of the Group and Chiswick as well as myself. Well-done all of you, please keep up the good work and, as

my Observer the late John Morgan often said, kindly and in some jest, “keep taking the tablets!” During a driving assessment with a lady who was a sort of motoring correspondent, she, being duly impressed with my use of various terms “Tyres on Tarmac”, “Car Sympathy”, “Performance of the Limit Point of Observation”, repeatedly said, “I really must write that one down for future use”. However I was eventually compelled to ask her to leave the notebook and pen on the back seat, suggesting that she might like to write these things down after she had stopped driving! Keep taking the tablets. Peter.


The adventures of intrepid motorcyclist Peter Wood continue... In the last issue of the newsletter, we left Woody bemoaning the state of Nepalese roads, vehicles, driver attitudes etc. His story continues in India... Given that we were travelling on 1st January 2012 during the start of Rajasthan's Road Safety week we saw many accidents. Some were fatal including lethal truck head-on, others involving multiple motorbikes, a car and yet another truck. Unusually it had rained during the early morning and this, linked with very poor tyres and hang-overs from New Year celebrations meant that Road Safety week did not get off to a flying start.

Many cities and towns now have some carriageway dualling along the main drags. Appropriate one way flow of traffic along these dualled carriageways is (just as Top Gear recently reported) only voluntary, not even really encouraged. 9

Enforced or policed would be putting it far too strongly. Roundabouts are popping up everywhere like blemishes on the already pock marked skin that are the roads in India. Absolutely no priority appears to exist at these roundabouts, compounded by the fact that there is neither a complete nor consistent consensus as to directional rotation - so all tactics are applied concurrently on a "try not to be hit' basis rather than, 'try not to hit anything’. Just like in the UK, overtaking is one of the more hazardous manoeuvres. That's where any similarity ends though. Copious use of the horn is mandatory although no set pattern or strategy exists simply put, ‘more horn is better’. I have noticed at night that many Indian bikes have an extra bulb in the horn button. This shows the importance that Indians place on their horn.

Group, multiple concurrent overtaking attempts are popular on country roads but I couldn't see the value, nor really the necessity myself. Overtaking apart, the Indians are a patient people - watch out Sebastian Vettel - put a Delhi taxi driver into a Force India F1 car and watch him go ! More than once we witnessed evidence of the carnage when two trucks meet head on after a failed both way group overtaking attempt that did not succeed. It's a good example of what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. As an example of gross stupidity, we saw two up on a small 100cc motorbike carrying a full size oxy-acetylene set, complete with gauges, pipes and burner set, wedged across the width of the motorbike, sandwiched between rider and pillion passenger. Just imagine the explosion and/or fireball that would have happened if they had an "off", or an overtaking vehicle had clipped the gauges or fittings of off the high pressure cylinders. Multiples or groups of between 3 and 6 sleeping policemen or road bumps abound. ‘Traffic calming’ is not really an appropriate term that can apply in India. The term and sign "Speed Breaker" is used at all railway level crossings. Axle breaker seems more accurate.


Raj, our driver in Rajasthan, does a nice line in overtaking on the sleeping policemen bumps. Our long wheelbase, built like a tank, Tata Ambassador, takes the bumps much better than smaller, lighter and faster cars. Hence, using the Hare and Tortoise approach, coupled with the bumps, our big old car more than held it’s own. To be continued........ 11

The following item was sent in my GlosIAM member Nick Lane It was a pleasure to me, to pass my Advanced Driving Test this year, in a motor car. I passed my advanced motorcycle test, back in June 1978. My examiner was a police motorcyclist, who admonished me during the test, for untidy discipline. “Get your feet promptly on the foot pegs, when you pull away from a ‘Stop’! I’ve never forgotten that. Why the long gap between tests, you might ask? Well, there are a number of reasons. Back in 1978, there became a powerful need for self-preservation (which remains to this day, on a motorcycle) and a further need when I was a young man, for cheaper insurance, so I continue to focus on trying to maintain a high standard of riding. Finally, it occurred to me that I ought to focus equally on improving my standard of driving, acknowledging that many areas could be improved. This I hope I have achieved with the excellent and patient support from Peter Davies, to whom I owe many thanks. On a lighter note, he reduced my levels of anxiety on my final observed drive by diverting us to the banks of the river Severn in order to witness a quite spectacular ‘Bore’. I should point out that Mike Addis was also very supportive when he examined my driving. At the time of the test, my wife was in hospital and Mike offered to re-arrange the appointment. I declined his kind offer and decided to carry on. You can only imagine how I was feeling, starting from Sainsbury’s car park at noon on a Saturday. Happily, I managed to focus on the matter at hand and two hours fled by. One comment I would also like to make, is that I think it is quite important to provide a running commentary whilst driving, when being observed or examined. I was not entirely successful with this


but how can you expect it to be known that you have observed a hazard or risk, unless you mention it?

The above photograph of my late father was taken in 1954. Yes, that’s me, peeking out of the side-car rear window. The motorcycle was a Norton and we were going on holiday. My mother took the photograph with a ‘Box Brownie’. Dad with flat cap and goggles, tweed jacket, collar and tie. My goodness, how times have changed. Nick Lane

As there are a number of Motorcycle related items in this issue, Peter Wood, senior Motorcycle Observer for Severn Advanced Motorcyclists group has made the following offer; If there are any GlosIAM Glos Car Group members who are also motorcyclists, I can offer a free Observed ride. Just email me on or text or call me on 07966 552897 Thanks Peter.


The ‘Motorcycling’ theme continues. On September 17th, Peter Wood, spoke to Group members at Churchdown Community centre on ‘Skill for Life on two wheels’ He began by asking ‘did we know what a full driving licence entitles holders to do on two wheels? The audience was quite surprised to learn that those with full Group P entitlement are allowed to ride, carry a pillion passenger AND tow whilst riding the type of MOPED pictured in his powerpoint illustration. He continued by outlining the similarities and differences between Advanced Driving and Advanced Riding. These ranged from I.P.S.G.A. being the same, through many other issues, to the proximity of Observer and Associate on observed drives obviously being very different. He described how observed drives are conducted, navigation methods, communication, lack of opportunity to do a commentary, manoeuvres, clothing/helmet etc. Ultimately, of course, the objectives are the same:

   

Skill for Life Safer riding Reduction in RTCs Reduction in deaths  More enjoyable use of the roads. This was a most enjoyable and informative lecture. Those in the audience who were already motorcyclists gained a lot from it, as did others (such as myself) who really don’t know one end of a motorcycle from the other. If there is anyone else who attended Peter’s lecture and would like to comment, please drop me a line ready for the next issue. Ed. Thanks Peter, for a splendid evening.


NOTES FROM THE IAM NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2012 This year’s IAM National Conference was held at Warwick University on 6th and 7th October. Rod Harrison (Secretary) and Tony Higgs (Committee member) attended the event and each attended 4 different workshops. The following notes summarise the meetings. INTRODUCTION

Road deaths in England have been increasing since 2010 The Masters programme will be launched this month (Oct 12). This will be the highest driving or riding award achievable in UK. A modular teaching program will be introduced shortly. Clients will be able to apply for modules such as Motorway Driving; Winter Driving; Night driving. These modules will be offered by Groups. IAM is joining the Driver and Rider Speed Awareness programs in the country. Immediately after the meeting it was announced that IAM had acquired Professional Driver Services(PDS) based in the Vale of Glamorgan. A new offshoot will be set up entitled IAM Driver Retraining Academy Ltd Membership Decline In most regions membership is declining 3-7% per year. There were 250 less SFL courses less this year, compared to last. Corporate Brand – The emphasis should be placed on “IAM” rather than “Institute of Advanced Motorists”. This is an effort to move away from the “Institute” style of address. The Momentum programme for young drivers is yielding a 40% conversion rate to SFL. Of the current membership only 23,000 of the 100,000 odd members get involved in some way with groups. 15


The new Observer qualification pilot program is proceeding well in Regions 2 and 6, and is expected to be rolled out nationally in early 2013. The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) standards have been applied to ensure that the new system has a nationally recognised professional qualification. Observers will be classified as LOCAL (Equivalent to Group level) or NATIONAL (Similar to Senior level). Each category will need to be renewed after 5 years. The qualification criteria have been produced to provide a clear route to the standards required in terms of Objectives and level. A National training team has been established and each region will have a professional quality manager. Observer training will need to take on a more formal approach. The whole programme will take about 5 years to requalify all existing observers. More information will be posted on the Groups section of the IAM website shortly. TEST REQUIREMENTS

All Examiners will shortly have been standardised in their approach to the following test standards: The manual to be used for Associates is: How to Be a Better Driver (HTBBD). Observers only are expected to have a working knowledge of “ROADCRAFT” Road Signs Current knowledge of Road Signs is variable. Speed Limits Exceeding the Speed limit at any time will be a Fail. This includes exceeding the speed limit during an overtake manoeuvre. Progress Drivers should progress at the speed limit or best speed for the conditions when safe to do so. An ‘overtake manoeuvre’ is not essential, and should only be done when a safe opportunity presents itself. 16

Never sacrifice safety for any other advantage (e.g. road positioning) Drivers must not cross the centreline of the road during road positioning at any time. Cruise Control Use it, but not continuously. The examiner will want to see that the associate can maintain a speed himself. Automatic Parking Not accepted during test. Automatic Gearbox There is now a big variation in types of automatic gearbox. The associate must be able to demonstrate that he understands the capabilities of the gearbox, and demonstrate its use during the drive. In other words, if an associate merely sticks it in “Drive” and nothing else, he will fail. Overall the examiner will look for a “Safe, Systematic and Legal drive with some Sparkle” The current pass rate is 85%. SOCIAL MEDIA

IAM is targeting youngsters who post that they have passed their driving test, with a follow up message. Follow: Gloucestershire Group is now on Twitter at @GlosIAM. Please follow it. A Facebook page will follow.

CAR FORUM A new Car Forum is being established to address specific motoring issues within IAM. A Motorbike Forum was established a while ago which has been very successful. IAM communications such as “Insight” and the “Group News” are currently sent to the Chairman and Secretary. However, there is an intention now to send these out to all Committee members. Note: Insight is posted on the GlosIAM website. Group News will also be posted in the future.

MARKETING AND CLOSING A SALE The simple message was that we should not wait for people to come to us but be proactive and approach people in a positive way. 17

POLICY AND RESEARCH It has been shown that the use of mobile phones while driving can have worse effects than drink and drugs! 17-24 year olds are twice as likely to be involved in a drink/drive accident. Over half drivers killed after 10pm are over the drink drive limit Road safety is one of the areas that is receiving the biggest funding cuts at local authority level. An evaluation of Skill for Life was undertaken among 2,500 members and the feed-back was largely positive. There is a greater acceptance of speed cameras since 2007 and a high proportion of those questioned (72%) thought speed awareness courses were a good idea. .The three things contributing to accidents are failed to look properly, (the worst) the next loss of control, and then careless, reckless or in a hurry. IAM will shortly refresh the website making it easier for us to find out what IAM thinks about any particular subject.

MODULAR ROUTES TO MEMBERSHIP IAM has found that the drop out of Skill for Life is higher among those who get it free. IAM is evaluating its approach since many are put off by the idea of a test, but would welcome help with their driving on areas such as driving on motorways; speed awareness; night driving; or new parents who want to improve their skills because they are driving their baby about. The issues to be addressed are; what status should these courses have and whether individual courses should be linked to give a higher qualification over time? There is no doubt that those who have passed the Skill For Life should remain the elite. Can the Groups cope in providing these modules? 18

THE IAM IN 3 YEARS TIME In this session we were asked to address this issue. We were split into two groups with one group looking at it from an IAM prospective and the other from the Group’s. The thing that came out top in the latter was the need for more working with other groups. The National Conference is an excellent venue to meet other group representatives and of course, the IAM senior staff. The discussions were a valuable interchange of information. The IAM executive presented a buoyant view of the organisation as it moves ahead into a new realm that will provide a modern, focused and professional contribution to Road Safety in UK Rod Harrison. Secretary Thanks Rod and Tony for that comprehensive report. It leads nicely on to an item from Tony regarding communication between the Committee, our members and the public at large; an issue that was touched upon in the above report.

Your views are important At one of its last meetings the Committee reviewed the public response to the stand we ran at the Gloucestershire Motor Show. The stand attracted quite a bit of interest but it could have been better. One suggestion made was that people like to have something to do to attract them onto a stand. It was also suggested that you members might be able to help with suggestions. What sort of thing do you think would attract people to the stand so that we can talk to them about Skill for Life and advanced driving generally? What would attract you? What have you seen at Fairs and the like that has drawn you to a stand? Would you like to support the group at events yourself? 19

While you are thinking about this sort of thing, are there topics you would like to hear about at our meetings? Do please email or write to Rod Harrison, the Secretary, or to David, the Newsletter editor with your suggestions in answer to the above questions. We are all keen to spread the word and make our roads safer and if we can enjoy ourselves at our meetings as well even better. We look forward to hearing what you think. Tony Higgs

Rod had the following sent to him from IAM press office. It is difficult to comprehend the attitude some people have to their own safety whilst behind the wheel. Death wish of ‘driving seat tweeters’ As many as eight per cent of drivers are using smartphones at the wheel and some are even announcing it proudly on twitter, according to the IAM. This is equivalent to 3.5 million licence holders. The IAM’s six of the worst dangerous driving tweets: @bellyki Here lies Isobel. She perished while simultaneously eating a whole packet of Percy Pigs, driving down the M3 and tweeting about it. @sacksy1 If I'm ever in an accident while driving and tweeting and you're the first person to arrive on the scene, grab my phone and press "Send."


@GSpace7 Multi-tasking: Driving, Tweeting & Brushing my hair. I do it. If I die remember me like John Lennon. @A_Ishaq who said guys can't multi-task..tweeting,@ watching match n driving wow lol @tchudson Im driving, tweeting, smoking, talking and listening to @BBCR1 Ill listen to it via the #beats when I stop breaking the law. Safe! @Beckstah You wouldn't think I was actually driving on the motorway the amount I've been tweeting. Better concentrate on the road. Good day, twitter IAM research shows that using smartphones for social networking while driving is even more dangerous than drink driving or being high on cannabis. It slows reaction times by up to 37 per cent. Despite the dangers, eight per cent of drivers admit to using smartphones for email and social networking while driving. Twentyfour per cent of 17-24 year old drivers – a group already at higher risk of being in a crash – admit to using smartphones for email and social networking while driving. IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “That someone should risk their life on the motorway to announce to the world that they are eating percy pigs is simply staggering. The government must take the lead and make sure that motorists understand the dangers of using smartphones. Phone manufacturers and social network operators can also help reinforce the safety message.”


Brief report by Jean Sheraton about the IAM Regional Forum meeting held at The George Albert Hotel, Evershot, Dorchester. Saturday, 19th May 2012 Peter made me feel like the Queen by driving me to Dorchester (being driven is a rare experience for me) and we arrived early enough to have a reviving coffee and meet the other delegates. IAM examiners had their own meeting separately and the bikers had an afternoon meeting. The day commenced with the AGM. Reports were received from the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. The Lona Williams Trophy was presented to Jane Percy, the Secretary. National Regional Groups (NRG) matters were discussed by Norman Dadd. For other business it was decided to increase the Groups’ annual subscription to £15 to cover regional officers’ expenses. Any surplus will be used for training purposes. Full Minutes of the AGM will be sent to groups. Following a break for coffee, Pat Doughty from Chiswick gave an update of the changes within IAM management and procedures. Some things have worked well, others not so well. They see the need to get out and connect with the groups. Regions 2 & 6 are being used to trial the IMI Centre Accreditation for Observers. Other areas are to continue as they are for the time being. Various Managers and a Quality Manager have been appointed. There was discussion about Chiswick’s plan to increase membership by targeting those who purchase Skill for Life but do not wish to take the test. Many Associates drop out for varying reasons and are lost to the organisation. Chiswick hopes to maintain contact and provide a product which appeals to those who only wish to improve their driving/riding skills.


Pat Doughty explained that there will be different tiers of membership.

Modules geared to specific needs by potential members could be used, with points being awarded for each module. Membership would be granted when sufficient points have been gained. There was some concern that membership was being de-valued by admitting those who have not taken the test. Pat explained that the chief aim was to get people motivated to improve their driving/riding. Following lunch Sandra Worsfold and Nicole Considine demonstrated the Driver Training & Examination (DTE) computer module being developed. Our area is to be used for the pilot study so that any feedback can be included and the system becomes more userfriendly. The idea was to link Associates’ details direct to Chiswick. Eventually this can be extended to include full members. It was suggested that initially a single group member be allowed to log in to the system. When up and running others can also be given log in status. Delegates had many ideas and suggestions to be added and security and adherence to the Data Protection Act was discussed. Groups are to nominate a log-in person, and lists of Associates should be sent to Chiswick for input. When completed it should be possible for groups to access any Associate – change details as necessary, check their progress in the Skill for Life course, see who is their Observer, check their payments and see if group expenses have been sent or are being processed by Chiswick. Groups need to send as much information as possible so that the package may be a useful tool. In years to come it is expected that a paperless system will be in place once the computer module is fully developed and sent to all areas. I would like to thank Peter and the group for giving me the opportunity to see how the wider organisation operates. 23

An evening with Kevan Blackadder.....

The latest speaker to come and entertain (and educate) members was Kevan Blackadder, the editor of the Gloucestershire Echo. A healthy audience of 22 Glos IAM members and friends met on Thursday 15 th November at Churchdown Community Centre. After being warmly welcomed and introduced by Peter, Kevan began by explaining how the newspaper industry copes in the 21 st century, particularly since the introduction of the internet. He explained how the whole newspaper industry has developed alongside constantly updating technology. For instance, he told us that as members of the public are often on the scene of an incident quicker than a local reporter or photographer, newspapers have sometimes used photos taken by members of the public who happened to capture the incident ‘as it happened’ on their ipads etc. He then showed us a past copy of the Gloucestershire Echo and asked us to guess its publication date from the layout of the front page. Guesses ranged from 1947 to the 1960s. In fact it was from 1985. We were more than a little surprised at how ‘old fashioned’ it looked! Kevan went on to say that they now publish around 15,000 copies per day, reaching about 55% of readers in their catchment area. All in all, a thoroughly entertaining and informative evening. I had been told beforehand that Mr Blackadder was a splendid speaker and that I should look forward to hearing him. I was not disappointed! The Q&A session at the end ranged from a discussion on the type of pencil needed to fill the crossword puzzle effectively to a constructive critique on the editorship of our newsletter. (I should have known better than to ask him. Ed) Thanks also go to Joan Hedworth for preparing all the refreshments. 24

As Christmas approaches, how many of us have asked Santa to bring us a Satnav? Here is a cautionary tale.... (and as we are approaching Christmas, you might try singing it to the tune of O Little Town of Bethlehem!) I have a little SatNav It sits there in my car A Satnav is a driver's friend It tells you where you are I have a little Satnav I've had it all my life It's better than the normal ones My Satnav is my wife It gives me full instructions Especially how to drive "It's thirty miles an hour", it says "You're doing thirty five" It tells me when to stop and start And when to use the brake And tells me that it's never ever Safe to overtake It tells me when a light is red And when it goes to green It seems to know instinctively Just when to intervene It lists the vehicles just in front And all those to the rear And taking this into account It specifies my gear.


I'm sure no other driver Has so helpful a device For when we leave and lock the car It still gives its advice It fills me up with counselling Each journey's pretty fraught So why don't I exchange it And get a quieter sort? Ah well, you see, it cleans the house, Makes sure I'm properly fed, It washes all my shirts and things And - keeps me warm in bed Despite all these advantages And my tendency to scoff, I do wish that once in a while I could turn the damned thing off. Many thanks to Phil Tebble (and Mrs Tebble?) for the above contribution. .

A Day with Mike Addis. Our most recent ‘Day’ was held on Saturday November 3rd in front of an audience of 16 members, observers, associates, friends and newcomers etc. Those who have attended Mike’s lecture in the past will be familiar with his delivery of very important messages through anecdote, humour and light hearted banter. This occasion was no exception. There was great interaction with the audience who took on board all the messages which promote safer and better driving. There were some new graphics and new stories to illustrate points as well as little throwaway quips which should not be thrown away lightly


e.g. where there’s a van, there’s a man! and when doing observation ...... ‘looking is done with the eyes, seeing is done with the brain! Also on the topic of observation ‘looking at something for more than 2 seconds is staring’. All good stuff, easy to remember when we are behind the wheel. Mike also converted some travelling speeds into other ‘currencies’ for good effect. E.g. 60mph approximates to 90 feet per second. 70 mph approximates to 105 feet per second. That is roughly travelling the length of a football pitch in 3 seconds. (If only West Ham could do that! Ed.) There was, of course, lots of other excellent advice given during the day, including how associates should exploit the knowledge and expertise of their observers. Ask them awkward questions, pick their brains and get them to do a demonstration drive.

Thanks once again to Mike for an excellent day.

The Committee would like to thank former Committee member Hazel Wrighton who has agreed to take on the task of handling membership renewals. The address for renewal of membership is on the form which should accompany this newsletter. Thanks Hazel.


Group Membership Renewal With regard to the enclosed Group Membership Renewal Form; if your address details on the envelope, in which this and your newsletter was delivered, is correct, all you need to fill in on the Form is your name and IAM membership number, which will be on your IAM membership card. If you are a Group Friend just write “Group Friend” in place of a number. If, for any reason, you do not intend to renew your Group membership we will be sorry about this, but it would be helpful to us if you state that on the form and send it to Hazel using her address details accordingly. It would also be helpful if you would mention the reason for this.

Gift Aid Like most registered charities we have the opportunity to receive the benefit of Gift Aid. However, it is interesting that many people are unaware of what Gift Aid is, and some people are nervous that there may be some hidden catch and they may be charged as a result of giving their permission for a charity to gain from this system. If you are a tax payer and if you tick the box on a Gift Aided Form, such as The Gloucestershire Group Membership Renewal Form, the charity you have donated to, though their own returns to the Charity Commission, will recover some of the tax you have already paid. This may sound complicated but, in reality, it isn’t. It will not cost you anything more and you don’t need to do anything more. However, that charitable group or society will be paid 25% extra of the amount you are paying. For instance, your £10 membership donation to us will become £12.50, at no extra cost to you. If you have ticked the Gift Aid box in previous years you do not need to tick this again. You should, of course, let us know if you wish your previous agreement for this permission to change. Thank you Peter. 28

Dates for your 2013 diary Social Meetings: 21st February (AGM) 21st March 30th May 27th September (Friday!) 21st November all at Churchdown Community Centre commencing at 7.30pm.

A Day with Mike Addis: 26th January 7th September

27th April 2nd November

The theory course days are at Churchown Community Centre. Parton Road, (tel 01452 712553) starting at 10am, there will be a midmorning break for coffee, tea and cakes and lunch break is between 1pm and 2pm. We normally close between 3.30 and 4pm. Entry is FREE. Why not come along and bring a friend or friends! Directions to the Community Centre: (For Sat-Nav users the postcode is GL3 2JH.) From Cheltenham take the B4063, Cheltenham Road, turn left at traffic lights after Staverton Airfield and the factories into Parton Road. Follow the road for about half a mile where the Centre will be on the right. Churchdown can also be approached from the A46 by turning into Badgeworth Lane at Shurdington. After that, follow the road signs to Churchdown. From Gloucester take the B4063 at Elbridge Court roundabout, turn right at the second set of lights into Parton Road and follow the road for about half a mile where the Centre will be on the right. Many thanks to all contributors to this issue. Please continue to send any thoughts, ideas, photographs, suggestions, opinions, or other items to David at Please mark them ‘for publication’

A Merry Christmas and a prosperous and safe New Year to all our readers. David. 29

Winter 2012  

Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists - Winter 2012 Newsletter

Winter 2012  

Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists - Winter 2012 Newsletter