February 2014
Dates For Your Diary

Monday 10th March
7:15pm for 7:45
Meeting: Steven Watts from Bridgestone Tyres UK will be our speaker.

Monday 14th April
7:15pm for 7:45

Meeting: Speaker TBA

Monday 12th May
7:15pm for 7:45

Meeting: Julie Garbutt from the British Horse Society will be speaking.

Monday 9th June
7:15pm for 7:45

Meeting: Start McMillan, RoADAR's Chief Examiner will be our speaker. 

Monthly Ride-Outs
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 joined the group recently:

Susan Hibbard
Gian Falcone (car)
Paul Booth (bike)
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 newsletter@wiltshireroadar.co.uk
Chief Examiner Visit
Please make a note in your diaries!  On Monday 9th June Stuart McMillan, RoADAR's Chief Examiner will be visiting us at our monthly meeting. We know that many of you will have questions and other things to discuss with Stuart so make sure that you come along.
Automatic Lights
We will all remember the huge accident on the Sheppey crossing in Kent, back in September, where more than 130 vehicles collided in very foggy conditions on the 1.3 mile bridge. Reports indicate that many drivers were driving too fast, and too close for the conditions, as always seems to be the case, but another issue seems to have been drivers without their lights on. In these days of automatic everything, perhaps some of them were making assumptions about the way their cars worked. Lights with an 'auto' setting may have been to blame in some cases.

Remember that lights with an 'auto' setting are just driven by an ambient light sensor, and may not react in the way a human eye does. Visibility in fog may be very poor, almost impenetrable to human sight, but the ambient light level may still not be low enough to trigger the lights. The same applies to rain, hail, falling snow, etc. Remember also that the important thing in conditions of reduced visibility is to BE SEEN, as much as it is for you to see in front. It may seem to you that headlamps do not assist much in fog, and that may be true, but they are helping others see you, and more importantly, so are your rear lights. You may also need to use fog lamps, in conditions of severely reduced visibility (less than 100m - the distance between marker posts on the motorway). All of these will require you to override any automatic systems, so be alert to changing conditions, and consider whether you can make better decisions than the electronics.

If your car is fitted with DRLs (Daylight Running Lights - compulsory on new cars since February 2011), don't forget these only display a light to the front of the vehicle, and the same applies as in the previous paragraph. You are still in charge of the car and responsible for your safety and that of those around you. Don't rely on automatic systems, be master of your own destiny. Familiarise yourself with the systems and know when it is appropriate for the driver to override them.

Safe driving!

Nick Carrington
We are still looking for more volunteers to help us during our monthly meetings. Some assistance with tasks such as serving refreshments, selling raffle tickets, selling merchandise, etc. would be appreciated. Remember that the meetings can only operate smoothly with your help.
At the recent AGM of AIRSO, (the Association of Industrial Road Safety Officers), held at the Oxford Hotel, Oxford, two of our RoADAR Members, Chris Gleed, who is an Advanced Tutor, and Mike Newman, who is an Approved Tutor, both received the acclamation of being made ‘Fellows’ of the Association in recognition of their services and long term membership of over 12 years. The photo shows Chris receiving his Certificate from Vice Chairman, Alan Brown. Mike unfortunately was unable to collect his Certificate due to his Shift Working Pattern with Royal Mail but was pleased to be recognised for his efforts over the years. Chris Gleed AIRSO
February Meeting Report: Chris Ellis, RoADAR Examiner
Chris Ellis attended our February meeting to talk about examining and tutoring with a 'twist'.

The 'twist' that Chris put into his conversation was all around new technology: how examiners view it, how tutors should approach it, and how associates should be aware of and deal with it when learning The System. Chris also stressed the need to maintain standards on every drive a tutor undertakes and pointed out that, at higher levels in the RoSPA organisation, assessment is less rigorous so the individual has a responsibility to maintain their standards on a regular basis.

Chris shared the essential tools he carries on an assessment drive with him: a digital tyre pressure and tyre depth gauge, a manual pressure/depth gauge, dust caps (for the parsimonious - collected at garage air filling points!) and of course a copy of Roadcraft and The Highway Code.

The main body of the talk consisted of Chris answering questions that had been submitted by the audience. This occupied the majority of the evening and stimulated great conversation. Road signs and lines were covered in detail. The primary point to come out here was that the ONLY exemption to not going round a mini-roundabout is if the vehicle you are in is physically too large to negotiate the hazard. Otherwise, you need to treat the painted or central island as a no-go area. As for double white lines – the terminology is that a car must not 'cross or straddle' them.

Automatic gearboxes were covered next. Chris said that you shouldn’t drive an auto gearbox as if it was a manual but the selector should be used to control the vehicle when appropriate – for example in slow traffic, or while descending, or to allow control and response when negotiating a bend. This gives the driver flexibility and response. As with a manual gearbox, anticipation is the key. 'Flappy paddles' need to be used with caution – they are generally only used for temporary gear changes and the auto logic then kicks in as it sees fit, unless the selector is used.

Cruise control was also discussed. This is a DRIVER AID and should be used to AID the DRIVER – not control them. A gotcha concerning Adaptive Cruise Control was mentioned – effective observation ahead for vehicles that may pull into the 'protected space' is essential to avoid an automatically invoked emergency stop in the wrong place!

Parking sensors and rear-view cameras do not replace the need to use the Mark One eyeball affixed to the object at the top of the neck. If a driver hits something that could have been spotted by eye but the cameras and sensors missed, it would still be a test fail...

Given the current parlous state of the UK’s roads, positioning for comfort versus advantage was covered next. The main point of discussion covered was that an associate should describe in their commentary the reasons why any specific position has been adopted.

Brake/gear overlap (a bugbear of mine) covered several minutes of the discussion. Newer cars, especially turbo diesels, need to have the clutch brought in earlier and perhaps a block gear change could be considered. Perhaps also a preparatory lower gear some way back may be of use to bring the engine RPM into a range suitable for the anticipated speed?

Start stop technology was also mentioned – but given that Chris could achieve 62mpg in his vehicle compared to a manufacturer figure closer to 55mpg simply by using advanced driving techniques, is it really needed?

Unbroken, broken, and hatched white lines came next. The exemptions for crossing unbroken lines are for passing stationary vehicles, overtaking horses, bicycles and road maintenance vehicles travelling at 10mph or less, and for turning right into a side road. Chris also said it was acceptable to pass very slow vehicles (e.g. tractors hedge-cutting) if they  cause you an inconvenience. Central hatched areas may contain lots of debris so are best avoided.

Who remembers the five types of pedestrian crossing? Zebra crossings need priority only when stepped onto – although proper observation and anticipation should lead to a courteous preparatory deceleration well beforehand.  Pelican crossings flash, but the other types (Puffin, Toucan and Pegasus/Equestrian) all follow traffic light sequences as they have passive infrared detectors to let them know when the crossing is clear.

The last two points covered dealing with emergency vehicles ('DON’T PANIC') and the use of open and closed questioning when tutoring.

My two biggest take away points from the evening were firstly that all the in-car technology in the world doesn’t absolve the driver from using their brain. Secondly if the car ends up in the right position, at the right speed, in the right gear, then the Information has been correctly collated and used, and the Acceleration phase is a given.

Overall I came away with a much greater sense that instead of asking “how should I deal with this specific situation” a driver should run through all phases of the system for EVERY hazard and adapt to the situation at hand, and that as advanced drivers, we should really be able to quote the Highway Code and Roadcraft almost verbatim. Exactly which edition of Roadcraft is left as an exercise to the reader!

Dave Venman

It was good to see so many people attend the February meeting. We also welcomed members from the Gloucester Group. Many thanks to all who attended. Monica
Turning 70
Most people know that when you turn 70, you have to apply to renew your licence. However, did you know that you may lose some of your entitlements? Assuming you passed your test before 1 January 1997 you will automatically have had category C1 entitlement on your licence, allowing you to drive vehicles up to 7,500kg. However, when you turn 70 and renew using the standard renewal procedure you will lose your C1 entitlement. To avoid this, you have to ask your GP to fill in a medical report form (who may charge you to do this).  My father recently got caught out by this, and now has to wait longer to take delivery of his new motorhome!

Kevin Hugo
Secretary: Mrs. Monica Graham, 114 Marines Drive, Faringdon, Oxon. SN7 7UG. Tel: 01367 242377
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