Talk Report: 2016-08-10

Sixty -plus…. Helping you Drive Safer for Longer

Our August talk, which explained the laws of motoring, refreshed our memories and enabled up to feel more confident behind the wheel.

Four representatives of Somerset Road Safety were there to help us but it was Barry, an ex-policeman and Alan, retired from the fire service, who introduced us to a series of images, video clips and facts on driving in the 21st Century.

The video clips brought horrified gasps from the audience because they showed the extreme dangers of trying to change a tyre on a busy highway. This can be fatal, so keep tyres in good condition and, should a tyre fail, get professional help. Another showed a collision because the driver had not looked carefully enough in both directions when entering a main road from a side road. Motorcycles and cyclists pose particular dangers. We were given statistics which showed us the appalling deaths on our roads: each year five people a day, all of whom set off happily from home that morning. Apart from the desperate tragedy, it was calculated that for every fatal accident in 2015 £1.9 million was paid out in road, police, hospital and other charges.

All was not doom and gloom, and our presenters had a light hand in giving us advice and encouragement. Member gave mostly accurate answers to the questions as to signage and speeds, and asked pertinent questions about their own worries. Yes, we should try to drive right around the white lines of mini-roundabouts. No, we need not leave the middle lane on a motorway if we have it in mind to overtake a vehicle that we have in sight. No, we should never go over 70 mph on motorways: national speed limits are the absolute maximum. Yes, we should try to check out oil, water and tyres at least monthly.

We were advised to pull back from a large vehicle when thinking of overtaking to give us better visibility, always to wear seat belts, to have nothing loose in the car (dogs, bags and even something as light as a box of paper tissues) for, were the car were to stop suddenly, these could fly at great and sometimes fatal speed through the air. Our headrests should always be at head level. Do not be tempted to pass a slow agricultural vehicle where there are double white lines along the middle of the road: these can only be crossed legally or safely to avoid a slow road maintenance vehicle, an impediment such as a car broken down or under instructions from the police.

The audience was given the acronym COAST:

Concentration (no mobile phones)

Observation (all the time, all around)

Anticipation, (constant awareness of all road users)

Space (in front…watch the chevrons on motorways and always allow the “2 seconds rule”).

Time (no rush, drive within your capabilities, think before any action.)

A member of the audience mentioned Courtesy, which we all felt helps a great deal on our busy roads!

Copies of the latest Highway Code were handed out and members left the talk feeling not only more informed but hopefully encouraged to re-evaluate their driving habits.

Barry, Sam, Steve and Neill were all warmly thanked for a very interesting morning.