Thursday, 20 December 2012

Drink Driving - Be Aware Of The Limit

Recent studies have suggested that young drivers are still taking risks with drink-driving. Unfortunately this can lead to accidents that result in serious injuries, fatalities and loss of driving licence if you're caught.

However, a recent study by RED driving school has revealed that many young drivers simply are not aware of the legal drink drive limit. This suggests that the issue is more of a lack of education / understanding than it is attitude. For more information on this please read "Young Drivers Unaware Of Drink Drive Limit."

So what is the drink drive limit? Well in the UK the legal drink drive limit is:

• 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath; or
• 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood; or
• 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

Unfortunately to the average person on the street this probably doesn't make a lot of sense - especially since this information cannot be safely converted into alcohol units.

But why is this the case? 

Well a number of factors can affect how much alcohol is found in the breath, blood or urine, including:

• Metabolism - i.e. how quickly your body absorbs the alcohol into the blood stream

• Body Mass - i.e. someone with a smaller body mass will probably absorb the alcohol quicker than a larger person.

• Gender – whilst this may sound sexist it is a fact that women tend to be more affected by drinking alcohol than men due to the fact that they tend to have a higher proportion of body fat than men. Since fat cannot absorb alcohol, it is concentrated at higher levels in the blood.

• How much you've eaten - if you've eaten little prior to having a drink the alcohol gets absorbed quicker - possibly resulting in feeling the effects faster.

So what is the message? How much can you drink?

Our advice – if you’re planning on driving then don’t drink since it’s really not worth the risk. However, we recognise that decision is ultimately down to you – but ask yourself these questions before you do:

Can I afford to lose my driving licence?

Do I want to put myself and others at risk?


Friday, 14 December 2012

Drink-Driving Over Christmas - Don't Risk It

News is coming in from all over the UK - from Lincolnshire to South Wales with reports that regional police forces are clamping down hard on drink-driving over the Christmas period.

Only today I read that 25 out of 600 drivers tested in North Lincolnshire were found to be over the limit in 2011. According to police reports this is up on the year before.

So is drink-driving back on the increase? The 2% of the 27,000+ motorists tested in Wales last year alone suggests that it could be.

Whilst these numbers may look relatively small in the grand-scheme of things, the behaviour of these irresponsible drivers could lead to fatal accidents - injuring and killing innocents as well as themselves.

Christmas is a time for spending with loved ones and for celebrating. It’s a time for festivity, fun and even a few drinks. But if you do plan on drinking - make sure you don't drive.

To find out more about how alcohol and drugs can affect your driving please check out these guides:


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Keep Your Windscreens Clear This Winter

There's been a bit of talk in recent months of young drivers tackling the job of de-icing their car with a wide range of household goods... anything other than a de-icer apparently!

A recent study conducted by Autoglym showed that many people are using spatulas, boiling water, alcohol and credit cards to de-frost their vehicles.

Commenting on the survey Autoglym’s CEO said:

"Using anything other than a good quality de-icing solution and ice scraper will not effectively remove the ice, and makeshift substitutes can damage the car's glass and rubber seals.”

He added:

“Instead of attacking the windscreen with boiling water and a credit card, I'd urge motorists to prepare themselves with the correct equipment for the job.” 

Now I'll be the first to admit that I fill a container with water to clear the windscreen... but not with boiling water! Funnily enough cold water does a pretty good job of clearing it - usually because even water from the cold tap is warmer than the ice on your window.

Did you know that if you use boiling water to de-ice your car you could risk shattering your windscreen due to the sudden extreme change in temperature?

Personally I don't like the idea of forking out a lot of money to replace an entire windscreen and I can't imagine many of us could afford that kind of cost...

So - young drivers - do yourselves a favour this winter - shell out for an ice-scraper and even a can of de-icer.

Alternatively, if like me you’re pretty tight or on a shoestring, then use cold water – it’s remarkably effective!


Simulated Driving Could Save Lives

Here at iKube we're always on the lookout for exciting new gadgets and apps that are built specifically to help learner drivers pass their driving test.

Whilst trawling the web I came across a piece on a driving simulator that helps learners to experience a range of driving conditions, including driving in snow, wet weather and other extreme conditions, without putting themselves at risk.

Afsim, a South African based company has partnered with Coega Development Corporation (CDC) to produce the simulators to help learner drivers.

Commenting on behalf of CDC, Ayanda Vilakazi sand that the initiative was launched to "save costs, improve safety, help drivers to use their controls more effectively and provide a wider range of exposure to hazardous driving conditions."

She added:

“Learner drivers, nervous or not, are constantly in danger of accidents on the road as they have never sat behind a steering wheel. It is essential that these individuals spend time on simulators to gain confidence before they drive on a public road.”

The company hopes that the simulator will help to cut the costs of learning to drive as it will mean learners will be able practice more without having to fork out more for extra driving lessons.

The group aims to distribute the simulator throughout South Africa, unfortunately there are no plans to ship it abroad - to the UK, for example, where many learner drivers would benefit from learning more technical driving in a safe environment.

iKube would be very interested to hear other's opinions on learning in a driving simulator before practising on the road. Please feel free to leave a comment below.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Driving – A Few Thoughts For The Learners On The Road

A feature about driving in the New Zealand press caught my eye today.

Ok - it's not the UK but what the article did was highlight the issues that young drivers all over the world have - namely putting up with other aggressive motorists.

The writer in question is actually a learner driver who was driving in bad weather - heavier rain than usual. In this kind of circumstance it makes sense to reduce your speed as visibility tends to be poorer and the wet weather can lead to skidding.

This is exactly what he did - he reduced his speed from 100kph to around 90kph and consequently he was subjected to a lot of abuse from drivers behind him. In fact some actually overtook him, slammed on their brakes once in front and then took off at speed. A rather childish attitude and certainly not something you would expect from experienced motorists.

Now this is probably an extreme example as I've never personally experienced this in the UK but the underlying message is pretty clear. Everyone has been a learner driver at some stage in their lives and not everyone is a natural behind the wheel (especially not in the first few lessons).

So if you're an experienced driver reading this - put yourself in the shoes of the learner before subjecting them to your angry impatience. If you didn’t give yourself enough time before leaving for work or that all important meeting then surely that’s your own fault… not theirs?

If you're a learner or an inexperienced driver reading this - it's ok to drive safely. In fact it's encouraged - if you're facing bad weather, especially over the winter months; slow down and drive carefully. To find out more about driving in bad weather check out iKube's range of driving guides.