Category Archive: Everything else

Smart Motorways: What They Are & How To Use Them

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From next year, you’ll be allowed to head out on to motorways with your driving instructor and for many of us, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up driving on a ‘smart’ motorway.

But what is one exactly? It refers to a selection of UK motorways that boast congestion-busting features that if ignored, could prove to be life-threatening. But there is a big problem – even seasoned drivers are struggling to comprehend exactly how to use them according to independent watchdog Transport Focus.

To help you understand the all-important rules of smart motorways, this FAQ will prepare you for your maiden journey (and it might be worthwhile forwarding this blog on to your parents/guardians to make sure they know what they’re doing as well!):

“So what is a smart motorway?”

According to Highways England, the government body charged with running them, they use “technology to actively manage the flow of traffic”. In real terms, this means smart motorways are monitored by control centres who can change speed limits (known as ‘variable speed limits’) and lane signs on the overhead gantries in an instant if and when congestion is building up.

Importantly, there are three types of smart motorway – controlled motorways; these have three or more lanes and variable speed limits but the hard shoulder is only used in an emergency.

The next is called all lane running motorways, where drivers can use the hard shoulder as an actual lane unless otherwise directed by the overhead gantry signs. You can find examples on the M25 between junctions 23 and 27, the M1 between junctions 28 and 31, and the M6 between junctions 10a and 13.

The final type are known as dynamic hard shoulder running motorways where the hard shoulder can be used to help ease congestion but only if directed to by the overhead gantry signs. You can find dynamic hard shoulder running schemes on sections of the M1, M6, M4, M5 and M42.

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From the M1, M42 and M6 to the M4 and M5, smart motorways are being rolled out across Britain – so make sure you know their rules to stay safe and legal when driving on them.

“But I thought hard shoulders should only ever be used in an emergency?”

Yes, you’re right but in this era of heavy traffic, queues and other assorted motorway misery, the bright sparks at Highways England realised that the hard shoulder could double up as another lane to help ease the tedium. And according to road experts, it has helped ease congestion, lower journey times and make motorway driving more ‘pleasant’.

“So I can use the hard shoulder all the time, any time?”

Well, not quite – if there is a red ‘X’ displayed in the overhead gantry above the hard shoulder, then you can’t use it. On all-lane running schemes, these will appear if there has been an incident up ahead or if the emergency services need to use the lane exclusively.

If you see the red ‘X’, move back into the main running lanes as soon as you safely can (or risk being fined). 
As for dynamic hard shoulder running schemes, don’t use the hard shoulder if the sign above it is blank or displaying the red ‘X’.

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“Okay – but what do I do if I breakdown or have an accident? There’s no hard shoulder anymore!”

Highways England has this covered too. It’s created Emergency Refuge Areas (ERA) regularly along smart motorways. You can spot them by looking out for blue signs with an orange SOS symbol on them.

Now read the following closely because 52% of UK motorists don’t understand how to actually use an ERA and one in four don’t even know they exist. First, you should pull in and park in the marked designated area before putting your hazard warning lights on.

Wherever possible, step out of the car on the passenger side and step over the crash barrier. You can then use the SOS telephone to contact Highways England. It will assess your problem and advise you on what to do next.

Once your issue has been resolved (and if you are able to), you can head back out on to the motorway – but only after you have called Highways England again. Instead of you struggling to get back out on to the motorway and risk being hit by a fast-moving vehicle, the agency will slow down traffic coming from behind by displaying a red ‘X’ on the nearside running lane to ensure you can pull out safely.

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Having car trouble? Then head to an Emergency Refuge Area to ensure you are safe before contacting Highways England for help.

“That all sounds fine in theory – but what if I can’t make it to an ERA?”

Official advice is to move over to the verge if it’s safe to do so before putting on your hazard lights. If you can, get out of the car on the passenger side (to ensure you’re not hit by, say, a lorry) and step over the safety barrier.

If your car crisis gives you no time to move to the verge, then put your hazards on and call 999 immediately. Highways England will then switch on the red ‘X’ above the lane you’re stuck in to ensure that traffic behind you doesn’t use it.

And that’s it – stick to the rules and you’ll have no problem navigating smart motorways. And after reading this, you can be rest assured that you now know more about them than most UK drivers.

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All images © Highways England

Theory Test Pro’s Guide to Using Your Car’s Hazard Lights

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Discover the right and wrong times to use your vehicle’s hazard warning lights to ensure you always stay on the right side of the Highway Code.

That button featuring a red triangle on your dashboard has the potential to save your life; once pressed, it offers other drivers ample warning that something is amiss up ahead and gives them time to react accordingly.

But there’s a problem. Even experienced motorists aren’t always sure when to actually use their hazard warning lights, often reaching for the red triangle to highlight an issue on the road when they shouldn’t be.

In some circumstances, turning on all your blinkers can even be dangerous and could see you being penalised.

What the Highway Code Says

The Code states that you can use your hazard warning lights “when your vehicle is stationary, to warn that it is temporarily obstructing traffic”; the reasons for your stoppage can vary from being involved in an accident, having to stop because of an obstruction or even running out of fuel.

The Code also states that the lights can be deployed if “you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead”.

Remember though that hazard lights should only be used briefly in such a situation – think 3-5 seconds – which should be “long enough to ensure that your warning has been observed”.

And of course, if you are pulled up on a motorway hard shoulder, hazard lights should also be switched on; according to the AA, “more than 800 people killed or injured each year on hard shoulders and lay-bys” so exercise extreme caution.

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Common Misconceptions

The above may  sound perfectly logical but the devil is inevitably in the detail. The Highway Code states that you mustn’t use your hazards while driving or being towed unless it’s on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and there is a hazard or obstruction ahead.

That may seem strange as you may be tempted to use your hazards in other circumstances such as driving slowly because, say, you’re looking for a turning. The issue though?

It renders your indicators useless if you are planning on changing lanes or turning down another road; there is now no way of letting other vehicles know that you’re about to make a manoeuvre because all your indicators are currently on.

Parking Problems

The Highway Code also states that hazard lights should never be used as “an excuse for dangerous or illegal parking”. Not that the rule is adhered to by many UK drivers. It’s a common sight to see motorists pulled up in an illegal place or double parked alongside another vehicle with hazard lights on to warn other drivers or as a half-hearted attempt to appease roaming traffic wardens.

In either case, such parking remains illegal and potentially dangerous so don’t expect any leniency from the authorities.

Even parked up safely at the side of a street with your hazards flashing on and off is potentially dangerous. For instance, if parked on the left, your use of the hazards could suggest that you’re about to pull out if your lefthand side indicators are blocked from view to passing traffic.

It means motorists coming up from behind will slow down, only to realise that you have your hazard lights on as they drive past, leading to potential congestion, confusion and frustration; none of which are ideal for a safe driving environment.

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Be Safe, Not ‘Polite’

When out on the road, you will also often see drivers using their hazard lights to briefly thank other motorists, say, for letting them into a lane. This again is an incorrect use of hazard lights because, well, the clue’s in the name – hazard warning lights.

Finally, while there is no specific law regarding the inappropriate use of hazard lights, the circumstances within which they are used – such as double parking – could lead to a penalty being issued.

By learning how to use the lights appropriately now, not only will you become a safer, better driver, you’ll also protect your hard-won licence from the threat of penalty points – and your bank balance from hefty fines.

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Mini Indicator © Henner Zeller

Van Parked © Sam Saunders

7 Things To Do (& Not To Do) If You Fail Your Driving Test

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You’ve failed your practical driving test and it feels like the end of the world – but it needn’t be if you follow this seven-step guide to making a winning comeback.

The first thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Research shows that over half of learners fail on their first attempt. The real issue is what are you going to do about the fail to ensure you make the grade on the second attempt? To find out what steps must be taken, use this seven-point guide to get yourself back on the road to success:

1. Don’t give up

You failed and feel terrible about it – but don’t get angry or give yourself a hard time. The fail could be for any number of reasons on the day; from a simple cock-up that scuppered your chances to nerves getting the better of you. But there is an upside; you’ve now been through the process so you know what to expect the next time whether it be how the test centre operates to the realisation that examiners aren’t out to ‘get’ you.

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2. Do listen to your examiner

Don’t walk away feeling like it’s all over; the examiner will always tell you clearly and openly why you failed plus you should be provided with a copy of your driving test report as well. It’s essential you discuss the reason (or reasons) for your fail with your driving instructor as soon as possible. It means any potentially serious problems with your driving ability can be dealt with straight away in lessons.

3. Don’t stop driving

The worst thing you can do after a fail is to stop driving because your confidence has taken an inevitable knock. Instead, head out on to the roads with your instructor, family member or friend as soon as you can to start rebuilding your confidence.

Also remember that research has shown that those who pass their test the second time round are statistically more likely to be safer, better drivers once they qualify.

Second time passers appear to fare better, especially when it comes to driving safely and considerately. Perhaps this is down to concentrating more and taking into account different road conditions and other drivers. First time passers know how to handle a car but some might be over-confident and that can quickly lead to recklessness.”

– Guy Frobisher, Director of Safety, Continental Tyres

4. Do rebook your driving test

Consider rebooking your driving test as soon as possible if you and your ADI feel that the fail was down to a mistake that can be sorted easily with a little more practise. If you delay booking a fresh test, worry and nerves can fester making the challenge of taking another test seem insurmountable.

(5. Don’t forget the small print!)

Remember that your new test can only be booked a minimum of 10 working days after the last one. If you do book a test that you feel is far off, use the official ‘Change your driving test appointment’ to see if you can snare yourself a slot that has been cancelled at the last moment.

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6. Don’t fear the second test

It is actually healthy to be a little nervous about a test. It can mean you’re fully focused on the big day – but too many nerves can be distracting and detrimental. Use our guide to dealing with driving test nerves to achieve the right balance. Some of us also fret that the examiner will be waiting to pounce on us if we make the same mistake again during the second test.

That couldn’t be further from the truth; examiners don’t actually have a record of what happened in your previous test and even if it is the same examiner, they carry out seven tests on average a day up to six days a week so there’s a very good chance they aren’t going to remember you in the first place.

7. Do use Theory Test Pro

While learners typically obsess over the practical driving test, don’t forget the theory test! If you should fail, there is inevitably one simple reason – you haven’t been practising enough.

It’s why we created Theory Test Pro to offer learners the best way to study the Highway Code and practise the Hazard Perception Test. Best of all, the software allows your instructor to keep an eye on how you are progressing and can take you through any areas where you might be struggling.

Oh, and one final thought to cheer you up – according to research, if you fail your practical driving test the first time, it means you are more intelligent than those who do manage a pass on their first attempt. No, really.

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Watch: 2 Videos Explaining Critical Part of New Driving Test

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With only three months to go before the revised driving test is introduced on December 4th, the Driving and Vehicles Standards Agency has released two new videos that explain a key element of the incoming test.

As well as a host of new features including revised manoeuvres and a sat nav-led driving section, the new test will also introduce a new format for the ‘show me’ questions.

As part of the current test, examiners ask you two questions based on ‘show me’ and ‘tell me’ before letting you set off. For the ‘tell me’ question, the examiner asks one of potentially 14 questions; for example, “tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working.”

You are then expected to explain how you’d operate the indicator switch (turning on ignition if necessary), and then explain how you would walk round the car to carry out the check. For the ‘show me’ question, you are asked, say, to physically show how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil.

What the Changes Are
While the ‘tell me’ question will remain at the beginning of test as before, for the new test, the examiner will ask the ‘show me’ questions while the learner is actually driving instead. Questions you will be expected to answer safely while on the move include:

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?”

• “When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?”

Why The Change?
According to the DVSA, the change reflects the skills that are needed every day when out on the road and learners must show they are able to carry them out safely. Bear in mind that if you should lose control of the car during the ‘show me’ question, it will result in a serious or dangerous fault, leading to a fail. If you get answers to both the ‘show me’ and ‘tell me’ questions wrong, then a driving fault will be recorded.

To help fully understand the new format, the DVSA has produced two short videos to explain the change – we strongly recommend that you watch them to ensure you’re ready on the big day:

Practical Driving Test ‘Show Me’ Video

Practical Driving Test ‘Tell Me’ Video

 

With less than 3 months to go until the driving test changes, it’s important that learner drivers work with their driving instructor to make sure they can operate the in car-controls safely whilst they’re driving. Combined with practice with an instructor, these new official videos will help you learn the skills you need to do these tasks.”

– DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Lesley Young.

For those of you who’ll be doing your practical driving test before the new test arrives in December, we’ve put together an extensive guide so you’ll know exactly what to expect when you arrive at the test centre – check it out here.

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How To Avoid Choosing A Dodgy Driving Instructor

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Avoid falling foul of dire driving instructors by using powerful online search services including the DVSA and Theory Test Pro’s directories to locate the best in your area.

Finding an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) can be intimidating for any new learner. There are many questions that must be asked from whether the instructor has the right teaching style for you to if they are even fully qualified in the first place. It’s why Driving & Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) has updated its ‘find driving schools, lessons and instructors’ service that allows learners to search through the 26,000 ADIs across the UK.

Qualified and Approved
Using the service, learners can locate ADIs who are committed to developing their skills every year and follow the code of practise laid down by the DVSA. They must also have been checked to ensure they don’t have a criminal record and that their teaching ability has been fully assessed  by the DVSA. The updated service offers genuine reassurance for students – and parents – that they are in the safest pair of hands possible.

Critically, ADIs can now link their websites to their DVSA directory entry, enabling them to display prices, the make and model of the car they teach pupils in and pictures of themselves so pupils know that the person turning up in that driving school car is who they say they are.

It’s vital to choose the best approved driving instructor for you. They’ll help you learn the essential skills, knowledge and understanding you need to drive safely once you’ve passed your driving test. Making sure learner drivers have access to information that helps them choose the best instructor for their needs is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.”

– Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive

Finally, also check out Theory Test Pro’s directory service, which offers an extensive list of approved driving instructors with links to their websites. Simply enter your postcode and you will be presented with ADIs in your area who not only offer an excellent service but also use Theory Test Pro as part of their teaching method.

• For more information on how to choose the right instructor, check out our beginner’s guide to learning to drive here.

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Image © Tom Graham

Revealed: The best time of day to take your test

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According to new research, there is a time of day which will give you the best possible chance of passing your practical driving test – but it’s not the time experts have previously said is ideal.

In the past, pundits have proclaimed that booking your test in an early slot is the best option as it’s when you’re at your most alert; over the course of a day, your ‘cognitive function’ slowly decreases as you become gradually more tired. But research by Dayinsure has uncovered that the optimum time is in fact the exact opposite – the true sweet spot is apparently between 7pm and 9pm.

It’s Official
That’s based on official data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that revealed the 7pm-9pm slot sees 65% of students passing. Now compare that to the worst performing time slot – between 11am and 1pm – with a pass rate of 48% while the traditional 7am to 9am slot comes in at 50%.

The results are even more intriguing if you consider that the 11am-1pm slot is often seen as an ideal time to take test as well because there is no rush hour or school traffic to contend with plus you’ll still be feeling relatively fresh. In fact, the second best slot to take your test is 9am to 11am with a 52% pass rate, a slot where you can still expect some rush hour and school traffic. But whatever the time, the evening slot still wins out by a big margin.

Analysing the results, Tim Shallcross at IAM Roadsmart told the Sun newspaper that “the much greater success rate for tests taken in the evening is interesting – the most obvious difference is no daytime or rush hour traffic. Quieter roads and most drivers in less of a hurry may well make the test less stressed and nerves are the most common reason for failing.”

The Cost of Success
There is a catch though; the cost of an evening test is more expensive than one taken during the day with learners expected to fork out £75 instead of the standard £62 – but some may argue that the extra cash could well be worth it if it boosts the chances of passing.

While we all want to be in the best possible position to pass our test, Theory Test Pro believes that learners shouldn’t obsess over time slots. Instead, students should rely on their driving instructor to tell them when they are ready to take the test, no matter what the time slot is. If pupils feel they need to rely on an optimum time to gain a pass, it suggests they’re not 100% ready to take the test in the first place.

Here is full rundown of the time slot pass rates:

7am-9am: 50% • 9am-11am: 52% • 11am–1pm: 48% • 1pm-3pm: 50% • 3pm–5pm: 49% • 5pm-7pm: 49% • 7pm-9pm: 65%.

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New Practical Test Is “Dangerous” Claim Driving Instructors

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Big changes to the driving test touch down in December – but some instructors are not happy with the new manoeuvres while many drivers believe the new test doesn’t go far enough.

When the new test was confirmed in April, the change that dominated headlines was the introduction of sat navs. The move was met with thumbs up across the board but on closer inspection of all the changes to the practical test, one is now causing serious concern among instructors.

While the ‘reversing round a corner’ and ‘performing a three-point turn’ manoeuvres have both been retired (because they apparently don’t reflect modern driving), one of the replacement manoeuvres has raised the heckles of ADIs: “Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road and reversing two car lengths”.

In a nutshell, learners taking the test will be expected to cross over to the other side of the road into the path of oncoming traffic before reversing for the required distance. From there, they will then invariably need to pull out safely, again into the flow of oncoming traffic.

ADIs Demand Changes to New Driving Test

Its inclusion has infuriated instructors so much that one, Anthony Cove, has even started an online petition to have the manoeuvre removed. On the petition, Anthony states: “This is an unnecessary and dangerous exercise which also goes against the Highway Code (rule 239). Another proposed new part of the test is driving into a parking space and reversing out. Again I was always told to reverse in then drive out as it’s easier to look for pedestrians.”

Other instructors have also spoken out with ADI Ann Moyes writing that “I’ve always disagreed with these two particular introductions to the new test. But they don’t listen to the folks who are out there trying to actually teach people why they now have to contravene the Highway code to pass their test. All my students when I explain think it’s stupid and dangerous.”

And the very people charged with conducting the new test don’t appear to be happy either as retired examiner William Young explains: “It is bad enough at times getting a candidate to move off after a normal stop, never mind moving off on the wrong side of the road. Another example of people in the Ivory Tower making decisions that affect the lives of others… Why don’t they consult examiners before they make these ludicrous decisions.”

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Set up by instructor Anthony Cove, the Change.org petition is demanding the removal of what some ADIs believe are two dangerous manoeuvres that are to be used in the new driving test.

Drivers Want the New Test To Go Further

According to a recent survey conducted by Confused.com, motorists aren’t enamoured of the manoeuvre either with 43% questioning the wisdom of asking drivers to pull over into incoming traffic. But their concerns don’t end there with 33% believing that the new test won’t reduce the number of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads.

Ultimately, motorists believe that the new test doesn’t go far enough with 66% stating that night driving should feature and 73% saying motorway driving must be included. But the biggest demand from motorists is for ‘driving etiquette’ to be taught in lessons including the risks of middle-lane hogging, tailgating, phone use and other bad habits that are rampant on UK roads.

Confused.com’s motoring editor, Amanda Stretton, says: “To help improve the quality of driving on our roads, there is a valid argument that new drivers should be taught general road etiquette and how to treat fellow drivers. This could help to minimise stress levels, road rage, and the risk of accidents, providing all drivers an easy ride.”

What Motorists Want Included in New Driving Test

Here are the full results of Confused.com‘s survey into what motorists want to see introduced to the new practical driving test:

Motorway driving – 73%

Night time driving – 66%

Tailgating – 65%

Middle lane hogging – 52%

Indicating etiquette – 52%

Improved cyclist awareness – 49%

All weather driving – 47%

Selfish parking – 36%

Thank you wave – 20%

Financial knowledge – 18%

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UK Drivers Say Learners Should Be Allowed Onto Motorways

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Last year the government launched a consultation on whether learner drivers should be allowed to practise on motorways – but a recent survey reveals that British motorists are already giving the potential move two thumbs up.

The government’s proposals would see learners allowed to head out onto a motorway before their test as long as they are accompanied by a professional instructor and are in a car fitted with dual-controls.

While we wait for the consultation’s outcome, the RAC has revealed in a survey of 2,000 motorists that 79% of respondents thought learners should be allowed onto motorways with 78% stating that learner driving standards would be driven up as a result. Nearly a fifth of those surveyed thought that introducing motorway driving would make no difference – and only a tiny 3% thought it might actually drive down safety standards.

Perhaps such a positive reaction from the public shouldn’t come as a surprise – after all, only 14% of those surveyed felt that they themselves were ready for driving on Britain’s fastest roads once they’d passed their own practical and theory tests.

Revealing what is potentially a serious driver education issue, half of the motorists said that neither test had prepared them for driving on the motorway with 40% stating that they only felt partially prepared. As a result, nearly 60% of those surveyed revealed that they were either somewhat or very nervous when heading out onto a motorway for the first time.

Tragically, 1% of respondents were so scared at the idea that they have never been on a motorway since qualifying to drive – this despite the fact that motorways are Britain’s safest roads.

While the RAC thinks it’s an “apt time” to introduce the policy, the organisation was at pains to point out that it should be up to approved driving instructors to decide if a pupil is actually ready and able to have a lesson on a motorway – and that the Government must provide clear guidance on how ADIs should assess whether a learner is ready for a motorway-based lesson.

“Many learner drivers do not live in an area which has access to the motorway network. In addition, those drivers that live regions furthest away from a motorway are less likely to drive on one on a regular basis. Such high speeds can make a driver who has recently passed test feel nervous and more vulnerable the first time they venture on to these types of roads.”
– Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman

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Image © Jo

The iPhone Set To Stop Drivers Texting At The Wheel

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With drivers still continuing to use their mobiles while at the wheel, the maker of the iPhone, Apple, has decided to introduce a mode that could cull the killer practise overnight.

We all know that using our phones while driving is bad news – you are four times more likely to have a crash according to the British Medical Journal plus 60% of car accidents in the UK were caused by phone use in 2016.

But motorists don’t seem to be getting the message; even with new laws that could see new drivers losing their licence instantly if caught, over 200 drivers were caught each and every day in March using their mobiles. Perhaps then it is unsurprising that mobile phone makers are now stepping up to help us keep our eyes off our mobiles and on the road.

Enter Apple who announced this week that it is introducing a powerful new feature on the next version of the iPhone’s operating system (iOS 11): ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’. When the mode is enabled, the iPhone detects when you may be driving and darkens the screen so any incoming notifications won’t distract you.

To ensure your contacts aren’t left in the dark as well, the mode can automatically send notifications to those trying to contact you, telling them that you can’t respond because you’re behind the wheel and won’t be available until you’ve reached your destination. If you should still be tempted to reach for your phone though, the screen will remain locked while you are moving, stopping you from accessing distracting apps.

Thankfully, passengers wanting to use their phones need not fret – they can choose to opt out of the system and resume their WhatsApping unimpeded. While drivers can simply not enable the mode, we nevertheless feel that the feature is an important one for encouraging drivers to help themselves – and to keep their licences and driving safe.

– iOS 11 will be available to download in the autumn.

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Revealed: 6 of Britain’s Most Unknown Driving Laws

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Use our quick guide to brush up on these more unknown motoring laws so you don’t end up paying in fines and points once you pass your test.

Even the most diligent learner might fall foul of these following laws – so make sure you know your Highway Code inside and out to avoid being fined or penalised once you’ve got your hands on your hard-won licence:

1. “Aww, ain’t that cute!”
It’s a lovely image; the cute mutt poking its head out of the passenger window, tongue out, ears flapping in the wind as the car cruises along. Alas, it’s also highly illegal – you could be fined as the Highway Code expects motorists to suitably restrain their animals in a car so they are unable to distract you or cause an injury to you (or it) if an emergency stop is required.

Failing to adhere to the law can not only see you punished for driving without due care and attention – but an unrestrained animal could also see your car insurance invalidated in the event of an accident.

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2. “Check out my block-rocking beats!”
It is a common-held belief among some drivers that playing your favourite music really loud while behind the wheel is seriously cool; that all the other motorists, say, stuck in traffic with you will love those thumping, rolling beats and be secretly thanking and admiring you for it. In reality though, the tinnitus-bating driver looks more like a total tool than seriously cool.

And you could also be breaking the law if the volume of your music is judged to be alarming, distressing or annoying by those around you. Expect to be given a verbal warning by the police and if you ignore it, your car to be seized. Rockin’.

3. “Oh heck, I’ve drunk too much – I’ll just sleep it off in my car. Hic.”
The interior of your car might seem like the perfect mobile sleeping bag if you’ve just rolled out of the pub or a party a little drunk but can’t face the long walk/taxi drive home. But if the police find you asleep in your vehicle, the onus will be on you to prove that you had no intention of driving – or face 10 points on your licence and an epic fine. Good luck.

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4. “Why, you lousy, stupid, idiotic #@?$@!!!!“
We all get ‘flustered’ from time to time when at the wheel – after all, other drivers can do the most stupid of things from being too busy preening themselves to notice the lights have changed or cutting you up.

But the answer is not to get sweary or use ‘provocative’ gestures to signal your displeasure – if you’re caught cursing or flipping the finger at drivers, you can be done for ‘disorderly behaviour’ and should expect a fine that is equal to 75% of your weekly pay.

5. “I’ll just keep an eye on Google Maps by leaving the phone on my lap”
The urge to glance down at your mobile’s sat nav to check your route is tempting when behind the wheel – but it’s also against the law. If you are going to use your mobile’s sat nav abilities, you are not allowed to have it ‘loose’, i.e., on your lap or precariously placed in a cup holder.

Instead, it must be mounted on a stand on the dashboard at all times – just like you would with a dedicated sat nav – and your route entered before you start the car and head off on your journey. A failure to do so could lead to a £200 fine and six points on your licence. Hello retest!

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6. “Walkies!”
Another pet-related law to remember – if you should breakdown at the side of the road, most of us know that you should exit the vehicle and wait well away from it. But the same rule doesn’t apply to your pet sadly.

Instead, you must leave it in the car because if said critters should break free or become stressed once outside the vehicle, you run the risk of the animal shooting out into the road and causing an accident. The only exception to the rule is if the vehicle needs to be vacated quickly due to an emergency.

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