Thursday 5 December 2013

A Quick Driving Lesson

Class is in session.

Today I would like to talk about car stats, the ones you see when you’re shopping for a car. Specifically, I would like to talk about power, top speed and acceleration time. It doesn't matter if you are buying a Ferrari Enzo or a Fiat Uno, you will be faced with these figures. Does anybody know why? Raise your hand. None of you people know? Ok, well, many people think it is for bragging rights and, whilst this may be true of a Ferrari, no one at the golf club is going to be impressed with your Fiat's nought-to-sixty time.

The real reason you are given these figures is for safety. It is so you can take a reasonable guess at when and where you can safely overtake other cars.

 Any questions?

Yes you there, in the front row with the beard and the glasses. What is your name? Nice to meet you Mr Pedantic. What’s that you say? Why is it your Ford Mondeo has a top speed of 118 and the National Speed Limit is only seventy? Well, Mr Pedantic that is because the law bends when you need to overtake something.

Let us assume that you are driving your Mondeo on the Queen's highway and you come up behind a car that is doing 45mph. You are entitled to overtake this car and carry on your journey at 60mph just as they are entitled to carry on their journey at 45. However, the law does not require you to pass this car at a maximum of 60mph. The law requires you to pass this car safely and, as doing so requires you to drive in a lane for on-coming traffic, safely will mean executing the manoeuvre quickly. If this means you stray above the 60mph limit then so be it, providing you return to the limit after you have performed the manoeuvre.

Let’s take it from the top. You are closing on the car in front. You check your mirror. You check there is nothing in the right hand lane and that there is enough straight road and visibility to pass. You pull into the right hand lane. You accelerate past the car. You check your mirror and pull back to the left when it is safe to do so.

Any more questions?

Yes Mrs Lanehogger? No, Motorways and Dual Carriageways are not different. You should be in the LEFT HAND LANE and the manoeuvre is exactly the same. Mirror, indicate, accelerate, mirror, MOVE BACK TO THE LEFT! Overtake quickly and safely. Driving in the middle or outside lane while NOT overtaking is an offence. Holding up another driver who wishes to pass you is an offence.

No, Mr Pedantic, it doesn't matter how fast the other driver wants to go. If he wishes to break the speed limit then it is down to the Police to stop him, not you. Stopping a driver from overtaking you is an offence.

       Next on the agenda, as Christmas and its associated weather is fast approaching, let us deal with the Auxiliary Driving Lamp or, as most people like to call it, “the fog light”.

The fog light is a high intensity rear light that will shine through adverse weather conditions.

The fog light is not there for you to inform other drivers that it is foggy. They know it is foggy for the same reason you know it is foggy. They can see the fog.

If you can see the car behind you in your mirror, it is safe to assume that it’s driver can see you. If you think this is too much of a generalisation, then look at the car in front of you. Use how well you can see the car in front of you as a guide to how well the driver behind can see your car. When you think they are close enough to see your car, you can turn your fog light off. It is no longer serving its purpose, it is just irritating the driver behind you.   

The light should be turned on when there is NOTHING behind you. This way, if a driver is approaching you from behind at a greater speed than you are travelling, your fog light will inform the driver of your whereabouts long before they can see your vehicle. When you are sure they can see your vehicle, you can turn it off.

Now for your homework this week, I want you to try to apply common sense and the Highway Code to your driving.

Class dismissed. 

***All the crap you see written here is Kelvin's opinion and not that of his associates, race team or marketing partners.***

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