Morning breath tests are catching out late-night revellers as, according to government departmental figures, approaching 6,000 people are stopped by the police and fail breathalyser tests in the UK each year – not, however, because of getting into their cars straight from a night out to go back home, but the morning after while still feeling the effects of their alcohol consumption from the night before.
Almost 750 drink driving-related road incidents occurred in 2013, so it seems that a lot of drivers, while taking great care to not drink and drive on their night out, are far less attentive or concerned when it comes to driving the next day.
These kinds of figures are surprising since Britain has come a long way in changing its attitudes to driving under the influence; a tough stance on drink driving law and a succession of sophisticated government campaigns have done wonders to bring about a cultural shift that has drink driving frowned upon throughout the country, and that has seen a huge fall in the number of alcohol-related road accidents over the last few decades.
In 1979, drink driving-related fatalities totalled 1,640. By 1989, that figure had dropped to 810, then 10 years later in 1999, there were a reported 460 deaths associated with drink driving. Recent years have seen those numbers drop even further, with an average of around 230 deaths each year.
This level of improvement in road safety is a far cry from many other countries, who have entirely failed to stem the tide of drink driving incidents – for example in the US, where, despite drink drive-related fatalities having halved since 1980, there are still in the region of 10,000 drink driving road deaths per year – an alarming statistic, indeed.
However, even among countries who have succeeded in making significant strides towards improved drink driving levels, Britain’s problem with hungover driving is still far from unique. Take Australia, where the Transport Accident Commission has identified Saturday mornings until 8am and Sunday mornings until 10am as “high alcohol times”.
Australia has seen a huge decline in drink driving incidents over the last two decades; close to 130 drivers/riders were killed while over the limit in 1987 compared with just over 40 in 2012. Yet it is noteworthy that still today one in four drivers/riders killed on Australia’s roads die with alcohol levels that register a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05g/100ml. That’s above the current BAC limit in Scotland (also 0.05g/100ml), but lower than the 0.08g/100ml limit in England and Wales.
The reason behind the UK’s continuing issues with morning drink driving could be a case of people not caring, but that would be inconsistent with attitudes generally, so it seems more likely that people are not properly aware of the dangers of driving while still worse for wear. For example, research has shown that a third of UK drivers don’t know that only four pints or big glasses of wine in a single evening could cause you to be over the limit come the morning.
This is because on average the human body takes around an hour to process one unit of alcohol. A pint or large wine each can have around three units, so multiply that by handful of drinks, and suddenly your body could need a lot more than just a few hours to reach safe driving and legal driving levels.
With police continually looking to crack down on drink driving, and with England and Wales considering bringing down limits in the near future so that they are in line with Scotland’s breath alcohol and BAC limits, there is every reason for motorists to start taking greater care and ensure that, if they have been drinking the night before, they seek alternative methods of transport the morning after
Summer may still be a way off, but this doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your holidays! Going abroad might not be for everyone though, as it can get pretty time-consuming and pricey. That’s why driving holidays are a great idea. You can simply get in your car and go, whether it’s for a 2 week driving trip or a weekend getaway. Check out some of our favourite driving destinations from around the UK.
Not only is Cornwall a gorgeous place to visit with plenty going on (such as theatres, gardens and museums), but the beaches are fantastic too. If you do happen to stop by any beaches, make sure you take a quick visit to Watergate Bay and Sennen Cove, as they’re two great spots to park up and go for a bit of surfing!
The Lake District
Looking for a great drive with fantastic views? The Lake District definitely won’t disappoint. With wonderful driving routes and some of the best scenery and visitor attractions in the country, the District offers great days out for the entire family. Routes are 30-50 miles in length, so they can be driven in just a few hours. With plenty of exciting stops on the way, you and the family won’t get bored!
Located in the Scottish Highlands, north of Argyll, Glen Coe was recently made famous as one of the main settings for the James Bond ‘Skyfall’ movie. With volcanic origins and breath-taking views, plenty of people now want to drive around where the Bond movie was filmed, to take in some of the extraordinary scenes and landscapes on offer to tourists.
Finding a drive-in movie or theatre near you is a great opportunity to go for a drive and have some fun one weekend. Drive-in movies work by parking up with other cars in front of a large projection screen. Some of them even serve snacks and have picnic tables or other forms of entertainment. Overall, they’re a great chance to catch the latest film release, cult classic or Shakespeare play.
Want to get out of the country without spending tonnes of cash for a plane ticket? The best way to do this is either by driving to Dover and hopping on a ferry, or by getting aboard the Eurostar. Not only will you get a fun drive down to the coast, but once you’re across the channel, you have the option of driving around some beautiful locations such as Brussels, Lille, Marseille and Paris.
And if you’re looking for a perfect car to take you away on your next driving trip, then you could always lease a car before the holiday season. Zero deposit car leasing is also available, so you can save cash and put it towards your next holiday!
Insurance is a pain, expensive and not the most exciting thing to spend your time or money on! If you want to save, you’ve got to be smart. Car dealership Carspring was keen to share some small trips and tricks with Driving News on how to beat the car insurers. Here are 8 surprisingly easy ways to save your cash for the more exciting things in life.
1) Add more drivers to your insurance contract
Sounds strange, right? Although it does seem a bit odd, it can actually be a really good way of saving yourself a fortune. If you add a 2nd or 3rd driver, who is deemed to be low risk by the insurance companies, this can bring down the average risk on the vehicle. The insurance companies will assume that this responsible person will be driving the vehicle for at least some of the time, reducing the overall risk and therefore reducing your premium.
2) Pay for annual premiums upfront
This is all about the interest rate that the insurance companies charge you. Signing up to monthly installments when paying your premiums is exactly the same as when you pay monthly for a TV or a phone. You’re basically taking out a loan to cover the upfront cost. You can lower the amount you’re paying by taking out a loan with a lower interest rate and pay your premium in one. Or, alternatively, use the 0% interest period on a credit card, making the cost of borrowing completely free.
Using a 0% interest period on a credit card can save you money…
3) Increase your excess, save on your premiums
There’s no doubt about it, this is a risk. However, it’s a risk that could very easily pay off depending on your circumstances. Although sometimes unexpected claims may come out of the blue, evaluating the risk yourself is key to ensuring you’re getting a good deal. If you don’t think you’re likely to claim, raise your excess. If you don’t claim, the chances are that you’ll save a considerable amount more from lower premiums than you’d have to pay out in an excess.
Are you a careful driver?
4) Save by shopping around, then go direct
This is key. In order to get the best deal, you’ve got to see what the market has to offer. Price comparison websites have completely changed the way we shop for insurance. And, while they’re a good tool for finding the best rates, using them before shopping direct is a sure fire way of saving the most amount of money. This is because these sites often take a cut, or promote results that have been paid for by the insurance companies. Take your time. Do your research. Get the best deal.
5) Optimise your answers
When you’re filling in your insurance application you should think carefully about the way you answer every question. Each small variable can make a big difference when it comes to the way the insurance companies calculate risk. Being meticulous at this point will save you money. For example, lowering your mileage cap could be a good idea – especially if you have two cars and use one more than the other. Another way is picking your job title carefully, as this can also have a big affect on the perceived likelihood of you making a claim. For more information take a look at Money Saving Expert HERE.
What you do for living can make a huge difference to your premium.
6) Save with basic cover
Insurance companies are nearly as good as low budget airlines at up-selling. This is where a little bit of consumer diligence can go a long way. A lot of the time you’ll be able to find a cheaper price on some of the options they offer you elsewhere by going to specialist suppliers in any given area. Think about what you want your insurance to cover and, again, how often you’ve claimed in the past, do you really need what they’re offering?
7) Opt for ‘black box’ cover and save
Fitting a black box to your vehicle is a way for insurance companies to gather accurate metrics about your driving habits, meaning they can give you a quote that’s accurately based on the way you drive. These boxes cost nothing to fit and use telemetrics to see how careful you are and what times of day you drive. If you’re a good driver, you’ll soon see big reductions on your premium. There’s no doubt about it, this is the future..
Driving at the busiest times of day will cost you more…
8) Do everything you can to make your car secure
There are a lot of security steps you can take to reduce the amount you pay on your vehicle. Obvious (and free) steps such parking your car in secure parking, such a driveway or garage, should be your first priority. If this isn’t an option or you want to add that extra bit of security, further measures such as fitting an immobiliser, an alarm, or a tracking device can also reduce your premiums by as a much as 5%.
If your new car is a factory order then there’s every chance you’d like to put your own stamp on it. A factory order gives you the chance to play with the colour, trim, interior styling and an options list as long as your arm.
If you’re buying a new car, chances are, you won’t be ecstatic with the standard inclusions; don’t get us wrong, some new cars are really well equipped as standard but it’s the fact that buying standard means it’ll be the same as everyone else’s.
So, while you’re trawling through the options list, trying to figure out whether to go for a built-in navigation system or metallic paint, take a second to check out this list of the strangest accessories and optional extras available:
In 2009 Holland & Holland added a further touch of class – if that’s even possible – to an Overfinch Range Rover by adding a drinks cabinet to the boot. This wasn’t any old drinks cabinet though, this exquisite cabinetry featured crystal glassware, and “self-replenishing” single malt whiskey, fine gin and other desired adult beverages. Don’t worry though, there’s no hocus pocus going on here, “self-replenishing” merely refers to the fact that during the first twelve months of ownership, you don’t need to worry about running short of your favourite tipple because your stocks will be refilled automatically.
“Why, just why?” is a perfectly acceptable question on this one, but if you’re the person who has everything – including a Bentley – then this could be just the accessory for you. They remain completely level at speeds of 70mph and come in a lovely presentation box. This isn’t just a Bentley offering, it’s a Rolls accessory too, so if driving in style is your thing, you’re in luck!
This one might be strange but some might see it as surprisingly practical. For those of you who can’t be without a strong cup of Joe on your morning commute, then the Fiat 500L has just become the car of your dreams.
This is not just a car, it’s a car that essentially comes with your own barista because perched between your two front seats is your very own Lavazza coffee machine. Fair enough, you need to pour it yourself, but come on, it doesn’t get much better does it.
The cost of extras
Optional extras and accessories always sound brilliant but quite often they can bump up the price of a new car by quite a lot. There are ways to ensure you get the car of your dreams for an affordable price though. Car leasing for example, is a really simple and affordable way to get yourself a brand new car. You get to choose the colour, trim and extras you want but because you’re only paying the depreciation on the car, the monthly payments are much cheaper – it’s a win, win situation really.
Safe driving ought to be a consideration at all times, but it should be a priority at this time of year. It hasn’t been as cold or snowy as previous winters, but there has been record levels of rainfall. This guide will help you stay safer on the wet or icy roads this winter.
Driving in wet conditions
In wet conditions, some cars have engine problems, either from the damp in the air or from driving through deep puddles. As such, breakdown call-outs increase significantly during periods of heavy rain. Slow down if you’re driving in very wet conditions and avoid the deepest puddles at the side of the road. It is also a good idea to try to avoid driving in really wet weather altogether. Ask yourself if the is trip essential: can it wait?
If you do choose to drive, reduce your speed and drive with dipped headlights to ensure that other drivers on the road can see you. Don’t use your rear fog lights, however, as they can mask your brake lights and confuse people driving behind you. Watch out for large or fast-moving vehicles as the spray they create can drastically reduce visibility.
Beware of aquaplaning (sometimes called hydroplaning). This occurs when a car hits a puddle at such speed that the wheels are lifted off the road and onto the surface of the water. Aquaplaning occurs only when hitting puddles at high speeds, so reducing your speed will reduce the risk. You’ll know if your car is aquaplaning if your steering suddenly feels light — a little like when you drive over ice. Do not break in this instance, or jerk your steering wheel. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator and allow your car to slow down. When it is slow enough, it will make contact with the road.
For more advice about driving during heavy rain, check out this RAC resource.
Driving in snowy and icy conditions
Safe winter driving tips
Britons are often ill-prepared for snow—probably because we don’t get as much of it as much of Northern Europe or North America.
The first and most straightforward piece of advice is to abstain from driving. Avoid making any trips in snow or ice unless absolutely necessary. It might help to ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t go.
Consider the idea that you need a new car to deal with your local area’s weather. Not all parts of the UK are the same and rural areas tend to suffer the most from snow, ice and rain. Avoid the dealerships and local salesmen by selling your car online to a company like We Buy Cars For More. It’s quicker and you’ll probably receive a higher price than at a local used car dealer. Then it’s just a matter of finding the right car for you and your area’s weather — which should be a whole article in its own right.
It’s a great idea to pack yourself a little survival kit in case you end up stranded somewhere. Include a torch, blankets, a fully charged backup phone, food, water, an ice scraper and something to help get you out of a slippery situation, such as sand, grit or even cat litter. You may also want to pack a spare set of warm clothing and some jump leads. If you’re unsure how to use jump leads, then read this guide from The AA and perhaps print it out and stash it in your glove compartment. Hopefully you won’t need to use this kit, but it’s better to have it and not use it than the alternative.
Ensure that your car’s fuel tank is relatively full, in case you get caught in a traffic jam. Planning your route and sticking to the major roads will give you the best chance of getting to your destination, as they’re much more likely to have been gritted. If you do find yourself stuck in a traffic jam with a lot of snow, get out to check that your exhaust pipe hasn’t filled with snow as this can cause carbon monoxide to backup into the car.
Do the rest of the big checks on your car before setting off: fluid levels, tyre treads, etc. And it’s a good idea to figure out if your car’s heating system has any special features you’ve perhaps never needed to use, such as heated screens. Check that your wipers haven’t frozen to the windscreen as this could result in the blades being pulled off when you turn them on.
Driving in snow
Use your headlights if it’s snowing. Although many cars have automatic headlights, make sure that your headlights are working by manually switching them on instead of relying on the automatic setting. Headlights will improve your own visibility and it will make it easier for other cars to see you. For the same reason as when it’s raining, avoid using your fog lights.
Drive smoothly, keeping your grip on the road, being careful never to press on the accelerator to hard or change gear too suddenly. Change up your gears early, keeping your revs down, as this causes less torque and reduces the chance of your wheels spinning.
Leave a lot of room between yourself and the driver in front as it can take as much as ten times longer to stop in icy conditions. With this in mind, try to leave about a 20-second gap, as this will give you enough time to slow down should the car in front suddenly stop. If someone is too close behind you, try not to get angry or panic: simply pull over as soon as safely possible to allow them to move past you.
If your car skids, take your foot off the accelerator and let the car slow down on its own. Using your brakes will make the skidding even worse. If your car starts to turn as you’re skidding, make sure you turn your steering wheel in the same direction as the way you’re turning in order to right your direction.
Adhering to the advice in this article should keep you as safe as possible on the roads this winter, but remember that not everyone is as sensible as you, so watch out for reckless drivers, giving them a very wide berth. Stay happy and drive safely.