Dates For Your Diary
Friday 22nd January
Annual Christmas meal at the Village Inn in Liddington. See below for the menu and booking details.
No monthly meeting in January.
Monday 8th February 7:30
Meeting: Martin Evans – Bloodhound ambassador, will give us an update on the record-breaking car's progress toward its goal.
Monday 8th March 7:30
Meeting: Clive Jones - former head of South Wales Police driving school, will give a presentation.
Remember that monthly Bike Ride-Outs take place on the 3rd Saturday of every month.
Monthly meetings are all held at Liddington Village Hall opposite the church.
Do you have a topic you would like discussed, or know of an interesting speaker? Please contact Monica!
Welcome to the following members who have all recently joined the group:
Congratulations to the following members who have all recently passed their tests:
Craig Morris – Silver (Bike). Tutor Stephen Izatt.
Congratulations also to David Pooke and Ed Deacon, who recently qualified as Approved Tutors (car section) for the Group.
|Don’t forget that we have a range of clothing available to purchase. We also offer a range of books, such as Roadcraft, Motorcycle Roadcraft and the Highway Code, and these are available at discounted prices.
For more information visit the Merchandise page of our web site at www.wiltshireroadar.co.uk.
We are always looking for more articles, ideas and news for the newsletter. Have you been somewhere interesting recently that would make a good story? If you attend any group events then take a camera and send us your pictures!
Please forward all contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org
We're now on
Eddie Ruskin: An Insight to Stroke and Driving
Eddie Ruskin, a member of our group who suffered a stroke at the end of 2014, joined us at our December Meeting to tell us about his experiences as a stroke patient and the story of how his illness inspired him to pass his advanced driving test. The following report summarises his story:
Eddie Ruskin is a car lover. He runs a business restoring fibre glass race and kit cars, and has spent many hours at racing circuits, attending track days and motorsport events. He regularly attends Under 17 Car Club meetings with his daughter, teaching her to drive. He also acts as a volunteer response driver for Severn Ambulance.
On November 10th 2014, at the age of 45, Eddie suffered a serious stroke that would turn his life upside down.
That day, he had been attending a track day at Pembrey race circuit in Wales and had been suffering from headaches which he had earlier consulted the doctor about. On his way back to his workshop, and still feeling ill, he dropped into a hardware store to pick up some reflectors. At this point he felt he was experiencing migraine-like symptoms such as a marbling pattern to his vision. On returning to work, he parked his Mitsubishi truck, got out and entered the workshop. Without noticing a loss of feeling in his hand, he dropped the reflectors and they fell to the floor. He was alone. No-one else was around. He grabbed his mobile phone, but then he dropped that too. His knowledge gained from Severn Ambulance started to kick in and he realised that something was seriously wrong. Picking up his phone, he tried to call for help. However, he found it impossible to co-ordinate his thumbs and was unable to use the touch-pad keys of his smart phone to summon help. It was dark and cold, below freezing. Anxiety started to kick in. He realised that he couldn’t stay where he was. There was a risk of hypothermia due to the cold weather. His workshop is based on a trading estate, hidden away so, even if he managed to call for help, an ambulance would have difficulty finding him. He managed to return to his truck, feeling exhausted and terrible. Trying to climb into the vehicle, he collapsed to the floor, hitting his head against the driver’s door in the process. At this point, bizarrely, the car-lover in him started to win through, and, picking himself up, he found time to check the door for any damage! Somehow, he managed to climb into the driver’s seat.
Eddie fully acknowledges that what he did next is not advisable but, in the circumstances, is perfectly understandable…
Still feeling dreadful, Eddie managed to start the truck. However, he couldn’t get his left hand to operate the gear stick. His left leg was also not keen to operate the clutch. He was feeling a loss of control to his body, and started to feel very angry. He found himself unable to do what he wanted to do. After sitting for some time, gradually, he started to get a little feeling back. He managed to drive away but then found he couldn’t steer. He became more frustrated and angry. Strangely, he felt that the angrier he became, the more the feeling came back. Somehow he managed to drive out of the estate, back to the main road. The lights of other vehicles were dazzling and causing pain. Taking it slowly, he managed to use his peripheral vision to follow the cars in front, as looking directly at other vehicles was impossible. The fact that it was rush hour and the traffic was heavy helped as other vehicles were moving slowly.
Eventually, Eddie reached his home. Amazingly, he managed to park the vehicle perfectly within the narrow car port, a fact that he is still unable to explain today. His wife called the ambulance and he was taken to hospital in the rapid response vehicle, as his condition was deemed too serious to wait for an ambulance. At hospital, he was initially misdiagnosed with headaches and therefore did not receive the recommended clot busting drugs within the recommended four hour time period. Eventually he awoke, having been transferred to the stroke ward and was told that he had suffered two strokes at the same time, which is extremely rare. Whilst on the stroke ward, he suffered a further brain haemorrhage. Eddie’s stroke has resulted in a loss of control to the left side of his body. His left arm is not mobile and his left leg does not work properly. He walks with the aid of a stick. He has learned that recovering from a stroke is an uphill battle. There is very little known of how to recover. The main questions that people who have suffered a stroke want answers to are ‘How much will I recover?’ and ‘How long will it take?’ but there are no answers. The mental effects of reduced movement are, for many people, too much to overcome.
One hundred and fifty thousand people suffer a stroke each year and one in four stroke victims will die as a result of their stroke. It should also be said that stroke is not just an older person’s illness. There have been reports of children as young as three suffering from a stroke. Yet just £26 per stroke patient is spent on stroke research, and this compares with around £200 for cancer patients. Sadly, around twelve weeks after leaving hospital, the physiotherapy and other support services provided to stroke patients stop and patients are on their own.
The literature that Eddie was given whilst in hospital suggested a 50:50 chance of ever being able to drive again. Since then, he has learned that the reality is more like 60-70% will never drive again. As a victim who loves driving, these figures were very depressing…
As Eddie’s recovery progressed, he felt he needed to be able to get back behind the wheel. A Returning to Driving Assessment must be taken by stroke patients before they are allowed to drive again. This comprises comprehensive medical tests, as well as a 45 minute driving assessment. Having satisfied the medical requirements, Eddie took the driving assessment, using a steering ball with built-in electronic control panel, attached to the steering wheel to allow him to drive an automatic Mitsubishi Mirage using only his right hand. During the drive, a vehicle started to pull out in front of him but Eddie anticipated this and started to take evasive action before the examiner even noticed what was going on. This prompted the examiner to ask if Eddie was an advanced driver, to which Eddie had to reply ‘No’.
Eddie passed the assessment so was then allowed to drive once more. Understandably, this was a moment of great joy, allowing him to return to work and start to resume life as normal. It also allowed him to return to the Under 17 Car Club with his daughter, which he did in Spring 2015.
The question posed by the examiner though, continued to play on his mind, and he got talking to our Membership Secretary, Monica Graham, at the Under 17 Car Club. He had dabbled a little with advanced driving before, but had never got as far as taking an advanced test. Monica, however, offered to tutor him to prepare him for his RoSPA Advanced driving test despite his disabilities, and this was an offer that he was delighted to accept. He joined Wiltshire RoADAR and started his training. This went very well and, after some drives with Monica, he met up with Training Officer, Nick Carrington, for his mock test and more advice. He was then ready to apply for his test for real. Eddie took his test on 6th November 2015 – a little under a year since his stroke – and passed with a Gold grade.
Eddie is rightfully very proud of his achievements. He says that he feels lucky that he can still drive and he can still work. He hopes to develop his skills further and gain more advanced driving qualifications. He continues to train youngsters at the Under 17 Car Club, and offers them an insight into his world by getting them to drive one-handed using his mobility aids in order to encourage more understanding and help them to be better drivers. To ensure that he can continue to do this, he has even bought his car and mobility kit outright so that they can’t be taken away from him if his mobility allowances were to stop should his condition improve sufficiently so that he no longer qualifies for them. He hopes to see more members of Wiltshire RoADAR attend the Under 17 Car Club meetings and is very grateful to Monica for all the help she has given him. He says that he would love to be able to take other disabled drivers out and train them to be advanced drivers.
In Eddie’s own words he says “Slowly, I am winning!”
The Under 17 Car Club have recently awarded Eddie and his family the David Purley Memorial Bowl which is presented to the member or family who have demonstrated the qualities of enjoyment and honest endeavour. The Under 17 Car Club thought the Ruskin family certainly deserved the award this year. This was a very inspiring talk. Many thanks to Eddie for coming and, on behalf of everyone who attended, I wish him all the best in his recovery.
During the winter, advanced drivers take care not to be caught out by conditions or their vehicle maintenance. Monica recently put together the text below for a local (non-driving) group who wanted some tips about driving at this time of year. You may find it useful either in your own driving, or to pass on to others (local focus groups, publications, etc.) Thanks to Monica for compiling this list.
Walk around your car and check tyres for any lumps or if any of them are flat.
Do you know your tyre pressures, or where to find them in your car? Most cars have a sticker either on the driver’s door jamb, or under the fuel filler cap.
Depth of tyre tread - the legal requirement is 1.6mm. In the UK, car tyres MUST have a tread depth of at least 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the tread and around the entire circumference of the tyre. It’s the law.
To check your tyre tread depth by using a 20p coin:
You can see if your tyres are close to the 1.6mm legal tread depth by using a 20p coin. Stand the coin in a groove in the tyre tread. If you can see the outer rim of the coin, then the tyre is approaching the legal minimum tread depth and you should consider replacing it. You need as much grip as possible particularly in the winter with wet roads, possible slippery surfaces from oil spills, ice and snow.
Clean all your windows and mirrors from heavy dew, daily if necessary. On dull misty days you need to gain as much vision as possible of other vehicles. Don’t forget to clear snow from the roof of your vehicle too. You should not let movement let it fall off in the road behind you.
Have you checked how clean your headlights are, and other lights on your car? Not only do you need to see, but be seen by other road users. Do this daily in winter. When roads are wet, a lot of dirt and muck gets thrown up from the vehicle in front of you or passing lorries. If you have Daylight Running Lights (DRLs), remember they are only on the front of the car, not the rear. Think about putting on dipped head lights as very often on dull/murky days, cars merge into the surrounding hedgerow, and you need to be seen from the rear.
Make sure that ALL your lights are working. You can check them with someone else, or on your own, using reflections in a garage door or neighbour's window or another car. Then reverse and do the same for rear lights. Dipped headlights, headlights, indicators (back and front) reversing light(s) and fog lights.
Remember at the end of a journey, before you switch the engine off, switch all lights off.
Driving in fog
Fog lights don't need to be switched on at 09:00, if fog is forecast for later in the day, or the evening, as so many people do at this time of year. They should be used as you would use wipers in the rain, i.e. if the fog clears (or visibility is greater than 100 m or 325ft) you should turn them off. They can be switched back on when the next dense patch of fog is reached.
Wiltshire RoADAR on Swindon105.5 FM
Swindon 105.5FM – The RoADAR hour
Wiltshire RoADAR continues to be represented on this programme. Peter Genet is planning the next 105.5 fm broadcast for January 19th.
We are looking for one or two volunteers to come long and take part in that.
It is based around the topic of Cornering.
Are there any car drivers out there who would like to come along for an hour to help with this?
If so, please let either Peter email@example.com or Mary know and we will fill you in on the details.
Re-tests and membership subscriptions
Don't forget that all members are welcome to have further training drives/rides with a Tutor before taking their three-yearly re-test. Please contact Monica if you would like to arrange this. Please can you also let Monica know when you take your re-test so that the Group's records can be kept up to date.
On a similar note, a reminder about membership subscriptions. Depending on your status, you will be liable for different fees:
Associate member (not taken an advanced test) - you pay a subscription to the Wiltshire Group only. When ready for test, you pay a test fee to RoADAR HQ, usually via our Group Treasurer.
Full member (passed an advanced test) - you pay a subscription to the RoADAR national organisation (currently £23 per annum). This pays for your triennial retests. If you elect to remain a member of Wiltshire Group, you also pay a subscription (currently £17 per annum) to us. This covers our monthly meetings, hire of premises, tutor training, this newsletter, etc.
We are hoping to arrange another Trip to A1 Lorry Driving Experience at Netherhampton near Salisbury
, in the Spring 2016. This was excellent value and all those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the day. If interested, please let Mary or Monica know soon.