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The Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists

NEWSLETTER Spring 2014

IAM Spring 2014

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

We are affiliated to The Institute of Advanced Motorists

Group President

Dr. Timothy Brain, OBE, QPM,

Vice Presidents

Mr. Anthony Whitehouse, MBE Mrs. Jean Whitehouse Mr Peter Davies

Group Chairman

Tony Higgs


Rod Harrison


Tony Higgs

Chief Observer

James Hayward

COMMITTEE MEMBERS Membership Secretary & Associate Coordinator Phil Tebble Newsletter Editor

David Sheppard


James Thomas

Committee Members

Frances Hunter Jean Sheraton

Chairman’s notes I was sorry to miss the AGM but must thank those who did attend for re-electing me as Chairman. I would like also to thank Rod Harrison for stepping into the breach and chairing the meeting. I was able to attend the first Advanced Driving Course held on 25th January. There was a reasonable number there but I would like to remind members that it is an excellent way of refreshing the principles of advanced driving. You can meet Mike Addis again and probably join with other members and those starting or thinking about starting their advanced driving journey. It might even spur you to have an assessment which is a way of testing where you are with your driving. (You might even consider trying for a F1rst pass.) I think it is something all members should build into their calendars at least every three years. Why not make it a new year’s resolution. It is not too late. The more of us that use the courses helps those starting out on the journey but also Mike Addis who gives his time to deliver these courses. I would like to record my congratulations to Rod Harrison on achieving a F1rst on his reassessment. I would not normally mention individuals since everyone who passes does extremely well. However, I mention Rod as he has done what I am talking about, he has been retested. It would be great if all Members decided to be retested or assessed at regular intervals as it helps us to maintain our standards of driving.

We have a varied programme of speakers at our meetings this year and I hope you will come along and bring friend[s]. They will be most welcome. We will also be attending various events to promote advanced driving throughout the year and it would be great if you would consider offering some time to help staff our stall at some of these events. Another thing that could be available again this year is the half day Landrover Experience at Ledbury. If anyone is interested in going, please let Rod know. I went last year and it is a wonderful experience and I felt well worth the cost. You get to drive vehicles you might never have the chance to drive over some exciting terrain. A date for your diaries is 31st May 2014. On this day the new regional group to which we belong, Central West, which is part of the overall region Central England and Wales (this is the final name for our new region!), is organising a skills day. We have volunteered our gazebo to promote IAM to members of the public but there will be activities for everyone including Associates and members alike. More details will be sent out as they emerge. There is one other person I would like to congratulate, James Haywood. On 19th February James took his National Observer Test and passed. He did this with Mike Lovelock our Staff

Examiner. I am delighted to say that James is now our Chief Observer. Welcome James to this new role. We all look forward to working with you. Tony Higgs


Congratulations to the following associates who recently passed their Advanced Driving Test and are now full members. Candidate


Kevin Lewis

Peter Davies

Paul Brown

Angus Watson

Nicholas Spencer

James Hayward

Barry Vicary

Peter Davies

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. The following have recently joined as members Gillian Donegan

Emma Britchford

Alwyn Williams

Terry Norton

Rob Grant

Christopher Ogden

Amanda Davy

Russell Empsall

Michael Neal

Jamie Radford

Remember that details of all our social events, Advanced Skills days and other items can all be found on the final page of the newsletter. Further details can also be found on our website;


As Tony has mentioned the AGM in his notes, a few lines outlining what happened at this important event would seem appropriate here. At the AGM, we were addressed by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Mr. Martin Surl. He began his address by thanking the IAM for its contribution to road safety. He outlined his own police background, both locally and in London, in plain clothes as well as uniform. Mr. Surl then gave some details of the post he holds, based at the police HQ in Quedgeley, and the fact that it is a non political position, despite often working in a political surroundings including working in the E.U., advising on how to reduce crime. He emphasised the point that he is not a Chief Constable, or indeed its equivalent, but he does set the ‘direction’ of policing in Gloucestershire. He said that he enjoys good relationship with the Chief Constable (‘Harmony’ he called it) despite the fact that he holds the police to account in all aspects of police work. His manifesto, the ‘Police and Crime plan of action outlines the following priorities; 1. 2. 3. 4.

Less crime, more peace and good order Background to our work The Constabulary Monitoring police performance

He then distributed pamphlets detailing his Police and Crime plan. Copies of this leaflet are available.

All in all, a very interesting and enjoyable address. Elections were held at the AGM for various posts within the Committee and the results of these votes are as follows. Firstly the postholders within the Committee



Proposer Seconder Result

Chairman Tony Higgs

Rod Harrison

John Seed


Secretary Rod Harrison

Tony Higgs

Phil Tebble


Treasurer Tony Higgs

Rod Harrison

Phil Tebble


then other Committee members up for re-election






Committee Phil Tebble Member

Rod Harrison

John Seed

Membership Sec & Associate Coordinator

Committee David Member Sheppard

Tony Higgs

Phil Tebble

Newsletter Editor

And a reminder from Phil........ GROUP SUBSCRIPTION The yearly subscription to the Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists is currently £12. The Group subscription is entirely separate from the subscription to the national IAM which is collected directly by the IAM. The £12 group subscription for 2014 was due on 1st January. The current state of your group subscription for 2014 is shown on the front cover of your copy of the newsletter by: GREEN - your 2014 subscription has been paid. Thankyou for your support. RED - a reminder that your 2014 subscription has not yet been received. In order to control costs it is regretted that the group will be unable to send future newsletters to members whose subscription remains unpaid. A subscription form is included with this newsletter. We do hope that you will continue to support our efforts to promote additional driver training as a way of improving the safety on the roads in Gloucestershire. If your payment was sent in the last few days it may not yet be recorded. If you are not a member of the national IAM you can support the Gloucestershire Group by becoming a Friend of the Group

for the same £12 subscription (Friends cannot vote at the AGM or become members of the committee). NO GREEN or RED on the cover of your newsletter? – we haven’t forgotten you. It just means that no subscription is due for 2014, probably because you are an Associate, an Honorary Member or a Member who passed the IAM Advanced Test after 1st January 2014. Phil Tebble Membership Secretary 01453 885779 Phil can be contacted at GIFT AID Gift Aid is a valued extra income for the group at no cost to its members. For each £12 subscription the group can claim back an additional £3 from HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs). However, HMRC have decreed that all previous Gift Aid forms were to be declared void and new forms must be submitted to the group before the Gift Aid benefit can be claimed. If you have not yet paid your subscription then there is a new Gift Aid form printed on the reverse of the Subscription Form enclosed with this newsletter.

If you have already paid your subscription but did not complete the Gift Aid form, please contact the Membership Secretary for the requisite form at the email address above. ******************************** We rarely have an edition of the Newsletter that does not include an item to do with Motor Insurance. This issue is no exception. Thanks go to Rod for supplying the following. ‘Insurance Documents No Longer Needed To Tax Cars’ Motorists are no longer required to have their insurance documents inspected before receiving a tax disc. Why not? Because this occasional check has been replaced by the Continuous Enforcement Scheme. This enables the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency to check for compliance regularly by cross referencing the Registered Keeper Database with the Motor Insurance Database. If a car is uninsured, its keeper receives a reminder in the post. This is the chance to comply without penalty. However, if no action is taken the offender receives a one hundred pound fixed penalty notice. This, in turn, can be followed by clamping, impounding and/or prosecution. Court penalties include points on the license, a fine and disqualification. Furthermore, the Continuous Enforcement Scheme minimises the benefit of a popular scam. This requires the motorist to purchase motor insurance so that he/she receives official documents through the post/online.

The crook then cancels the policy, claims a refund and retains the paperwork that – until now – could be used to tax a vehicle. So, whereas this documentation still has merit, it is of far less value to those with unscrupulous intentions. The Continuous Enforcement Scheme is part of a package to remove red tape. Let us consider the other elements. Motorists who own vehicles that are not in use must – as has been the case for years – complete a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). However, this is now a one-off rather than an annual process. Vehicles simply remain legally off the road until taxed, sold or scrapped. Furthermore, the paper tax disc for windscreens will be consigned to history from October 2014. But this will not be the end of Vehicle Excise Duty, so motorists will continue to pay to keep cars on the road. This initiative will come into effect for two reasons. Firstly, the paper disc is simply a receipt that can be checked by the police to ensure vehicles are taxed. This paper trail, however, is superfluous as vehicles are monitored by a camera system that determines – via registration plates – whether the tax has been paid. The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency complements such checks via a monthly scan of its database then sends fines to non-compliers. Furthermore, the government has confirmed that drivers will soon be able to pay road tax by direct debit which should make life simpler for millions of people. *************************

I was delighted to receive the following item from Committee member Jean Sheraton. She writes...

Aussie Rules! We are talking driving, not football here! Just after we were married, John’s first job took us to Australia where we stayed for nearly 30 years. We will be visiting there in January in order to celebrate a significant birthday with our many friends. I had an interesting ‘phone conversation with my friend in Canberra. She said her grandson had just applied for his driving licence. ‘How come?’ I said, as I was sure he wasn't 17. The rules over there are interesting, taking into account that many kids, especially those who live in the bush, drive Dad's car around the paddocks from the time they can reach the pedals. You can apply for a provisional licence at 15 years and 9 months. That takes a month or so to arrive. At 16 you can drive as a learner driver, with L-plates, accompanied by a licensed driver. You can't take your test until you are 17 so that gives you a year's practice on as many types of road and conditions as you like. Once you pass your test, you drive with red P-plates for a year and green P-plates for a further year. Any infringements or accidents attributed to you, and you go back to square one and re-take the test. As all friends of the same age carry P-

plates there is no big deal attached to them, but peer pressure almost ensures that they try to behave themselves on the road so that they get rid of those P-plates asap. Whilst on red P-plates you can't drive with under 18's after dusk or drive at night without a licensed driver. I have only a grandmother's account so the actual rules may be slightly different but this is pretty close. I’m sure it can be checked online by the more computer literate amongst you. I can see merit in having a long learner period to gain experience and also in the restrictions during a novice driver period after passing their test. By the time drivers are considered fully licensed drivers they will be a bit more mature and hopefully less impulsive on the roads. No guarantee but at least it’s a step in the right direction. It would be interesting to know what Mike Addis thinks about it. Of course, that is Australia and England will find its own rules for younger drivers. Anything which reduces the high accident and fatality rate among younger drivers must be of great expedience. Thanks Jean. What do readers think of the Aussie system? Would a similar system work here in the U.K? Do let me know your opinions on this and any other driving issue. *************************

The Landrover Experience. On the morning of 21st November six of us arrived at Eastnor Castle the home of the local Landrover Experience. The half day experience had been made possible by Roger Whitley who is one of our members and now works for Landrover Experience. One member of the party, Patrick Ward was Roger’s Observer so they were able to catch up.

The intrepid six! Sylvia Martin, Gareth Zimmerman, (Cirencester Group) Patrick Ward, Tony Higgs, Keith Meikle and Chris Jones. After we had signed in we split onto two groups of three and joined our instructors in the two vehicles we all had a drive in, a Defender and a Discovery. The Discovery had all the bells and whistles while Defender was the more basic of the two. We each drove around a set course which included rough terrain, water and a steep incline before being directed onto longer circuit with more varied terrain through woods and up

and down steep muddy slopes. The following pictures give a flavour of what we experienced.

An all together great half day was had by each of us. It could be you next time. If you are interested speak to Rod Harrison. ************************************ Tanvir Nandra is Communications Officer for IAM. In this capacity, he has sent us the following items which make interesting reading. Firstly, Eco-driving In the tough economic climate, we are all looking for ways to save money where possible, but with price rises appearing left, right and centre, it’s easy to lose hope. You could cut your fuel costs by up to 15 per cent, as well as lowering your emissions, by becoming a little greener behind the wheel. One key principle of the Advanced Driving technique is to plan as far ahead as possible – a method which is also integral to

eco-driving. By extending your observation, you can plan your actions sooner and avoid harsh braking. When approaching a roundabout, junction, queue or red traffic lights, ease off the accelerator and slow down sooner – driving at a constant speed is far more fuel-efficient than accelerating and braking. If you get stuck in a queue of traffic during rush hour or following a collision, bear in mind that you may be waiting there for some time. If it is safe to do so, switch off your engine, but remain alert and prepare for the flow of traffic to resume. As well as a legal obligation, sticking to the speed limit also brings with it a fuel-saving incentive. Driving smoothly at the speed limit can not only lower your fuel costs by reducing consumption by up to 25 per cent, but can also avoid the fines incurred when you get caught speeding. Rather than working your way through your gears one-by-one, block changing can save on fuel – e.g. going from 2nd to 4th gear when accelerating, or from 5th to 2nd gear when decelerating. This will also limit the time which you spend with only one hand on the steering wheel. Try to make reversing into parking spaces common practice. If you do all of the manoeuvring before you leave your vehicle, when you return you can drive straight out, allowing the engine to warm up more quickly, as well as improving visibility. We should all give our cars a quick once over each week, although this task often fails to take priority. Checking your car, and in particular your tyres, becomes even more important when thinking green. Tyre tread depth and pressure should be checked regularly to ensure that you are not

burning excess fuel. Tyre pressure should be checked when the wheels are cold to get a true reading. Although it is advisable to carry an emergency kit in your car in preparation for a breakdown, it is important to balance this with the minimisation of excess weight in your vehicle, as heavy unnecessary items can act as a hindrance to your green intentions. Roof racks should be removed, as they add weight to the vehicle and increase wind resistance, both of which increase fuel consumption. All good advice. He followed this up with the following item on............. Staying alert 9-5 Do you ever arrive at work and realise you can’t remember anything about your drive there? Driving on auto pilot is a dangerous thing, but there are plenty of things you can do to make your daily commute safer. Keep the car maintained. You may be driving with the low sun in your eyes, so make sure your windscreen washer fluid is topped up and that your windscreen and windows are clean. Check and adjust your tyre pressure regularly, and keep an eye on tread depth – this must be at least 1.6 millimetres – and their condition. You should also keep the oil at the right level and check all of your lights work. The biggest problem with commuting is that everyone travels at the same time. People get frustrated and tired and will be inclined to behave unpredictably.

Watch out for people changing lanes suddenly as they try and get ahead of traffic. Be wary and anticipate the actions of road users around you. Stay calm. Being stuck in traffic and late for work is stressful, so allow a lot more time than you’re likely to need for the journey. I recently spent two hours on the M4 and only covered three miles. If you’re going to be late and need to let a colleague know, pull over into a safe place not obstructing other traffic, switch the engine off and make the call before carrying on. Avoid rushing the rest of the journey to make up time. Better late than never, especially where your life’s concerned. And please, don’t be tempted to use your smartphone to check your work emails while you drive. Check the weather forecast before you travel, especially when making a long journey. Heavy rain always slows traffic down, and in very severe weather conditions you need to consider if it’s safe to travel. When you are on the road, listen out for traffic updates on the radio in case your route is affected, but never look for updates on your mobile phone or satnav while on the move. The Highways Agency has a useful app with up to date traffic information for incidents on its roads, but remember you are breaking the law if you access it on a hand-held device, while moving. Knowing an alternative route in case of an accident or road closures is also useful. Does your insurance cover you? Many policies will include commuting, but make sure they do, and if you start a job which involves commuting further remember to increase the mileage on your insurance premium.

If you are expected to drive for work, you need to make sure your insurer covers you for business mileage too. If you have an accident driving for work, you won’t be covered if you don’t have this. Many employers will have driver risk assessment schemes in place, and company insurance, but they are not legally obliged to do so, so don’t leave this to chance. If you have teenagers who are interested in driving but are not old enough to take their driving test, do please point them towards the item on the website ( regarding the Under 17 Club. It is well worth a visit. ************************** Mobile phones in cars This is not an article regarding the illegal use of mobile phones when driving because none of us would do so – would we? Rather it is concerning their potential usefulness in the event of a RTC (road traffic collision). I was prompted to write this article by my daughter having an accident on black ice during the winter months. Like many of us she placed her mobile phone on the central console of her car. The end result of the accident was the car being upside in a ditch. My daughter was uninjured apart from some bruising but could not find her mobile phone and so was unable to call for assistance until another car came along. The accident had dislodged the phone which was eventually found wedged between the rear seat and a rear door. So your mobile phone needs to be placed in the car in a location where it will not be thrown around the car as the result of an impact. In the glove-box? My car has a

compartment in the central console with a latching lid and I use this as a location for my phone. Perhaps a phone cradle may be suitable but not all hold the phone securely enough to prevent displacement in the event of an accident. Looking on the even gloomier side; do you know about ICE (In Case of Emergency)? The emergency services are trained to look on your mobile phone for a contact in the event of an emergency. They will first look for a number stored as ICE. My mobile phone has ICE1 (my wife), ICE2 (elder daughter), ICE3 (younger daughter), ICE4 (brother). So why not find your mobile phone NOW and input into its contacts book those vital contact numbers as ICE. It is also worth considering placing a paper copy of such contact details in a wallet or purse. All excellent advice, Phil! Thanks. ******************************** Are we there yet??????? Forget changing the channel on the radio or eyeing up the talent on the pavement, kids in the car make it all too easy to take your eyes off the road. If you’ve got a getaway planned for Easter, plan ahead so you keep the little ‘uns quiet and contented - especially on long journeys. The trick is to keep them occupied as much as possible and to keep your attention on the road.

A second adult to look after the children makes a huge difference, leaving the driver to drive. This also may allow you the opportunity to share the driving if you’re heading somewhere far away from home. However tempting, don’t turn round to deal with fighting kids. Find somewhere to stop first. If anyone needs to pick up a child, make sure you stop and don’t let any adults travel with a child on their lap. Portable games consoles or in-car DVD players will keep kids occupied for hours. But add some headphones – the soundtrack on the monitors can be just as distracting as the kids. You might like the Spongebob Squarepants tune now, but after a few plays in the car it’ll really get on your nerves. If you are planning a long journey, make sure you’re organised, remembering to pack plenty of food and drink. Have a plastic bag (without any holes) at hand for travel sickness. Play games that promote and reward quiet behaviour without needing the driver’s direct involvement. Always leave a gap of at least two seconds between you and the car in front. Following too close cuts the time you’ll have to react should something happen. You’ll be more able to spot hazards and keep your kids safe. Allow extra stops. Find somewhere for them to let off steam such as a playground. Don’t forget that child seats or restraint must be used. Check the rules but, depending on their age, some sort of seat or restraint should be used until a child reaches the age of 12 or 1.35 metres in height. Never put a

rearward-facing baby seat in the front if there is a passenger airbag. More excellent advice! And finally‌‌..a plea

As members of the IAM we should recognise the value of the qualification we have gained, and help spread the word to other road users. Your recommendation and encouragement to other drivers is one of the most important ways in which IAM can recruit new members. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. You can personally help to improve Road Safety in Gloucestershire. Your Group committee members spend a lot of time seeking ways to spread the IAM message. This year we have already set up displays at the following places: 15 March

Tesco Quedgley In association with Cheltenham and Cotswold Bike Group.

14 June

Asda Cheltenham

17 August

Tewkesbury Classic Car Show


EDF Health & Safety Days

We hope to also repeat a display at Waitrose in Cheltenham, and there will probably be more opportunities including the

Pathfinders and Under 17 Car Club events. We are also seeking relationships with car manufacturers and agencies. Showing a presence in public places brings awareness of our existence and allows us to advertise Skill for Life and the new Modular courses that IAM want us to offer. It is always encouraging when people come up to our display and ask what we can do for their driving. Can you help us? Would you like to join the Committee? If not, can you spare a morning or afternoon to help man our stand at one of these events? Do you know of other venues that would be good to exhibit at, or would you ask your local store, pub, garage or surgery to display our posters. We need to get more people to our “Introduction to Advanced Motoring� courses. The next one is on 10th May and will probably be at Hartpury College. See our website to keep up with the latest news on our events. We really would appreciate your help. Call the Secretary now on 01451 821605 or email: Dates for your diary; 22nd May; Evening talk on Car Valeting, (with demonstration) given by Christian James 14th June th

GlosIAM exhibit at Asda, Cheltenham

17 July Evening talk on Road Safety, given by the Gloucestershire Highways.

Details of these and other events can be found on our website Directions to Churchdown; All meetings take place at Churchdown Community Centre, Parton Road, Churchdown GL3 2JH. Advanced Skills days run from 10am to 4pm. All other meetings start at 7.30pm. Meetings are free. Visitors are always welcome. Refreshments are provided. Thanks to all contributors to this issue. Please keep your items, adventures, pictures etc coming. Send them to me at

Keep safe on the roads. See you next time! David.

Spring 2014  

Gloucestershire Group of Advanced Motorists - Spring 2014 Newsletter