Tag Archive | "traffic"

Your Driving Week

Cars are great but what is not so great is, that to be able to afford them, we have to go to work. Going to work means getting up early whatever the weather and heading off into the rush hour traffic.

Rush hour is when the most vulnerable road users are about. Children are walking or cycling to school – sometimes in poor light and adults are doing the same thing on their way to the workplace. They need to be seen and the careful driver needs to be aware of sudden changes in their behaviour. Crossing the road suddenly is a prime example.

During your evening commute, there will be children on their way home or out playing after school. It’s interesting that when people say – and they do – that they ‘know this road like the back of my hand’, it is also probably true that they have become complacent about it. Familiar routes are the ones we get most careless about so it makes sense to keep your attention on the road no matter how well you know it.

At work people are expected to conform to the rules and regulations as they go about their job. It’s about standards. Well, it pays to be as professional about the journey as you are about your work. Commuting is a problem because everyone travels at the same time. People get tired and frustrated and can behave impulsively so it is doubly vital to be ready for and mindful of the actions of road users around you.

If a regular drive is a regularly frustrating experience then how about learning an alternative route or two. This is also helpful in the case of an accident or road closure, for example. Listening to the traffic updates on the radio can help keep you in control of your journey and your patience.

Check the weather before you travel; heavy rain usually slows traffic up, so leave a few minutes earlier, or allow for being a little later getting home. Remember too that using your car to commute to work means you are especially reliant on it being reliable. Regularly check your tyre pressures and condition, washer fluid, lights, oil and so on.

Always leave enough time to get to work so you’re not rushing unnecessarily. Traffic is bad every day – being late on those grounds isn’t an excuse. If you do get held up in traffic on the way to work, don’t rush. Pull over if you need to let anybody know. Remember – better late than never!

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The Domino Effect

No, not a new thriller starring a handsome windblown driver but rather an everyday effect that we have all experienced from time to time – the motorway tailback. Traditionally these occur at the most inconvenient time, when haste is of the essence and the clock is ticking.

There is that sinking feeling as you look up ahead and see brake lights behind a massive queue of almost stationary cars. The really annoying thing is that it always happens just as you’ve passed a convenient exit, and the really, really annoying thing is that there is no obvious reason for it.

Of course, there is always a reason and it is called the Domino Effect. This is usually caused by a phenomenon known as brake tapping. It happens when motorists bunch up and drive too close together because, as often happens on motorways, attention has been lost and everyone is on autopilot.

One of the classic tips is to always watch the road ahead and not just the back end of the car in front. The driver in front taps his brakes so the driver behind has to and it has a knock-on effect to the cars behind. The result is that all the drivers are brake tapping and slowing down until it reaches the point when someone has to stop.

Although you might think you are above such things, you are probably wrong. It is quite conceivable that most of us have caused a domino effect at some point, even if only as a minor incident caused by slowing down to look at something in passing or, heaven forbid, gawping at an accident.

The key to good motorway driving is to stay alert and yes, it is easier to say than do. Lack of attention could mean a driver is in the wrong lane or has been inadvertently easing up on the throttle, resulting in variable speeds. Always allow a bit of space and indicate intentions to other road users so that they too keep their distance. As previously mentioned, keeping an eye on the road far ahead will help pre-empt problems.

The thing is that motorway users are all part of a team keeping the major arteries of our nation flowing. Be patient with each other even as the commercial vehicle in front of you pulls out to overtake an even slower vehicle (which is seriously irritating it must be said).

Slower drivers who feel they have to use the outside lane will slow down the fast boys coming up who will then tap their brakes, ultimately causing you know what. They may also give you a crash course in basic Anglo-Saxon expletives and gestures and just like the domino effect, nobody wants that.

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Congestion? What Congestion?

Anyone who has ever driven around the otherwise delightful city of Palermo in Sicily and lived to tell the tale (your intrepid correspondent has done it twice!) will confidently state that it is the worst place in Europe to drive.

Well, new statistics show that Palermo is, by comparison, a veritable oasis of calm compared to elsewhere. It scores only a weak fourth in the horror list, beaten to the third place by Marseilles. This of course is unsurprisingly as it is well known that the French are a very excitable race. Meanwhile, over in Poland, Warsaw has developed its traffic chaos to a fine art and is now the second worst place to drive.

“What’s the worst place then”, we hear you shout, “it’s London isn’t it?”

Sadly, we have to advise you that you are entirely wrong! Many of us have driven around London on many occasions and come to the conclusion that using a sat-nav is pointless because the maps go hopelessly out of date during the course of a single trip. It will therefore come as a shock to learn that our capital city doesn’t even enter the top ten!

The Number One destination for driving terror turns out to be Istanbul (pictured), at least according to the research. The Turkish capital has the most congested streets in greater Europe and is 57% busier at peak times than non-peak. Even in Paris, where drivers actually try to maim any pedestrians who are not wearing a beret or carrying a baguette, that figure is only 34%; a number shared with the driving denizens of Rome.

If you think about it here in the UK, congestion charges and exorbitant fuel prices were always bound to affect drivers in London and elsewhere, long term; so we’re bound to fall short in the maniacal motorist department. Nevertheless, even here London is not the primary location. It is in fact the Leeds/Bradford conurbation yet even this area can only manage a puny seventeenth in the European list. The worrying thing is that last year this city would not have made it into the top twenty.

There are as yet unsubstantiated rumours that the European Union Government – that bastion of frugal living and common sense – are to encourage a massive increase in production of the electric fairground dodgem that will, over time they believe, be seen as the only viable alternative to the present carnage. The overhead power cables might be a bit of a problem but hey, they’ll find a tax to pay for that!

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Power Has Its Drawbacks

At Motor Blogger we are actively at the forefront of automotive science and investigation. We have discovered for example, that the sort of road and traffic hazards and problems that every motorist faces is exactly and inversely proportional to the car he or she drives. It’s a proven scientific fact.

Your investigator has compared data across the various cars owned over the last five years. The facts show quite clearly that the more powerful and desirable the car the more obstacles are thrown in its way. Comparisons were made using precisely the same stretch of road between two towns. A road that is noted for its driving desirability, incidentally.

The statistics show that a sports car will encounter more tractors and caravans than a standard saloon or hatchback. A hot hatch enrages farm machinery – ensuring that they will never ever pull over into a handy lay-by to allow traffic through – as do cars purchased for their beauty and style like Alfa Romeo‘s for example. Meanwhile, a city car – perceived by many as A Good Thing – will happily hurtle along completely unimpeded. This must tell you something.

Call us paranoid but this smells like a plot. It can’t be the government because they want to squeeze as much money out of motorists as is humanly possible. It certainly isn’t the car manufacturers because they are on our side and want us to have nice cars. So what’s going on? Who is behind it all?

The answer is clear. Over the years the population of Britain has polarised its collective opinion either vehemently for or against cars. There is no longer any middle ground. Those who hate cars are in the ascendant and clearly in cahoots with caravan converts and the farming community. The fact that ’vans have to be towed is irrelevant to the owners and are just seen a necessary evil to promote their dastardly plan. It’s a conspiracy and – just like our seeming inability to rid ourselves of meddlesome transport and exchequer ministers – there is nothing to be done about it. Real motoring may be lost to us forever.

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