Category Archives: Motoring
The service sign lets you know how far away the next service station is and the area you are in. Service stations can be located every 10 to 20 miles along the Motorway. Here are a few trivia tidbits about service stations that may come in handy for you in the future.
If you are making a long journey using the Motorway, it is recommended that you take a break after two hours (or 140 miles) of driving. The service station is designed to meet all of your required needs for such a stop.
Make sure you have sufficient fuel to complete your journey, it is recommended you fill your tank at a petrol station before you enter the motor way, should you need to fill up at a Motorway service station be aware that the price of EVERYTHING in a motorway service station is usually 20% higher.
Do not drive tired and do not rely on energy drinks such as Red bull or coffee to assist you, if you are tired look for a service station with bed and breakfast, if you cannot afford the cost of a bed and breakfast it is safer to get some sleep in your vehicle than to risk driving tired. For this reason it is always wise to have warm blankets in the boot (trunk) of your vehicle.
If you forget to fill your tank and whilst driving notice your fuel warning light is on, do not panic, all vehicles are manufactured with a reserve of at least 25 miles worth of fuel in the tank, the warning light is an indication you are now using your reserve fuel. It is highly recommended that you never run into your reserve fuel if possible.
In life, there are rules and codes to govern the way you live and the way you behave. For example: I grew up in east London during the 80′s and one of the codes on the streets back then was you don’t run off your mouth to people you didn’t know, unless you really knew how to fight, if you broke this code in my neighbourhood, you were very likely to end up in hospital.
Now very much in the same way, the roads also have a code which if you stick to, you should do well and enjoy your driving, however if you do break the road code, you may very well end up in hospital, or cause someone else to go there.
The reason I have decided to make a blog specifically about the UK highway code is that I actually passed my driving test in North America, and upon returning to the UK, there were a few differences that I had to learn. For example: in Canada and some U.S States, at a red traffic signal, you are allowed to proceed if you are turning right. (the equivalent in the UK would be to turn left on the Red signal). So even though I had been driving many years, I decided to rehash the highway code just to keep myself up to speed.
There are many accidents which could have been avoided, if the rules of the highway code had been observed, but it is not just about knowing the rules, but understanding why these rules exist. Every code has a reason and as I journey through the streets of the UK, it is astounding how many people break these rules on a daily basis and seem to be oblivious to any code whatsoever.
Over the next few days and weeks, I will be posting a section of the highway code but broken down and explained, this will be useful information if you are about to take your theory test or if you just need brushing up altogether. Also if you plan to visit the UK and rent a car to get around out here, then this is also for you.
If you have any specific questions about the UK highway code, feel free to leave a reply and I will do my best to find the correct answer for you.
Now here is my general observation about driving in London.
North London: I find people tend to speed, there are a lot of boy racers and tailgaters. If you need to drive through North London, you may be forced to put your foot down to keep with traffic flow.
West London: Probably the worst drivers in Britain, absolutely no attention to the road traffic laws, and never have I had so many near misses, I seriously question if many west London drivers even have a valid UK Drivers License.
South London: The most congested roads and the most impatient drivers, I believe it is because the London underground does not serve much of South London, therefore the ratio of people commuting via car is much larger than anywhere else in London.
East London: Surprisingly the most sensible place in London to drive, I have concluded that most of the very serious criminals live in East London and most drivers are some kind of gangster, so they drive very cautiously as to not attract the police’s attention. Don’t be fooled by the 70 year old granny in her 1998 Ford Escort, in East London she is probably a gun smuggler. This has been my personal London experience, so feel free to let me know if you have had similar or different experiences with London traffic.
and “NO” I don’t use the congestion charge zone.
If you spend £15k to £25k on a new ride, one of the most annoying things can be encountering lane hoggers when you are trying to enjoy a nice clear run. You know who you are, those little (insert swear word here) who drive at 70 mph in the passing lane when there is absolutely nothing else on the motorway. So just for you I have put together this diagram to explain the rules of the motorway. If you know any lane hoggers, please send them this blog so that they may be educated with the correct discipline for motorway driving in the UK.
A) The HARD SHOULDER: This is not a driving lane or a place to stop and have a picnic. The hard shoulder is separated from the main motorway by a solid white line, if there is no solid white line then you are on the inside lane and not a hard shoulder. The hard shoulder is designed for emergency use only, if your vehicle breaks down, loses power or if a tire should deflate, the hard shoulder is where you must navigate your vehicle to keep from obstructing other fast moving vehicles. Once safely on the hard shoulder, try to stop your vehicle as close to the grass verge and as far away from traffic as possible. Keep your steering on full lock to the left (away from traffic) remembering to engage your hand brake. The purpose of locking the steering to the left is should another vehicle lose control and strike your vehicle from behind, your car will not be pushed into traffic, rather it would be pushed away from traffic. Never remain in your vehicle, always exit from the left hand door making sure your passengers do the same, and sit away from the vehicle. Keep children close to you, but leave pets inside the vehicle.
B) The INSIDE LANE (aka) SLOW LANE: This lane is for slow moving vehicles such as lorries, caravans on tow, and vehicles traveling below 65 mph. As a rule, the minimum speed to travel on the motorway is 50 mph, anything below this becomes dangerous unless specified by roadwork signs and traffic flow signals (note: this is not taking into account the weather). Apart from slow moving vehicles, the inside lane is used for entering and exiting the motorway. A good rule of thumb, if you are in the inside lane and are approaching a motorway entrance where vehicles are joining the motorway, indicate and move over to the center lane to give room to those vehicles trying to get on the motorway. And when leaving the motorway try to maneuver to the outside lane a good mile before you need to exit, this will decrease the possibility of needing to cut across traffic to get off the motorway.
C) The CENTER LANE: The average speed of the center lane is 70 mph. this lane is also used for slow moving vehicles who are overtaking even slower vehicles from the slow lane. A rule of thumb, if you are cruising along in the center lane and notice in your rear view mirror a vehicle rapidly approaching, the polite thing to do is indicate and move to the slow lane and let this vehicle pass. If the slow lane is unavailable, then you are well within your right to stay in your lane at your speed. Please note at this point, the Highway code is not just a set of rules in a book, it is actually a code of honor amongst drivers, to show courtesy to your fellow driver actually makes the roads a safer place and increases the joy of driving for all. So if at all possible, do not hog the center lane, if you do not feel like driving at 70 mph the inside lane is there for you.
D) The OVERTAKING LANE: The purpose of this lane is simple, to overtake, nothing more and nothing less. If you are in the center lane doing 70 mph and a lorry pulls into your lane doing 65 mph because he is overtaking another lorry traveling at 50 mph, you have the outside lane to move to so you may maintain your speed at 70 mph until it is safe to move back to the center lane. The outside lane is NOT just another lane to drive in, and it is very important to leave this lane free specifically for overtaking. It is actually illegal to Undertake a car (that is to pass a vehicle from the left hand side) so by driving slowly in the outside lane, you would be forcing other drivers to break the law, should they wish to pass you. Also you would cause me a great deal of personal distress and create in me the desire to curse and swear. So as a rule of thumb, leave the outside lane clear for fast moving vehicles and emergency vehicles.
E) SERVICE STATIONS: It is very important, when doing long motorway journeys, to know where your next service station is and to take breaks. Always make sure you have enough fuel to reach your destination and make sure all your passengers have emptied their bladders, this will save you having to risk life and limb illegally stopping on the hard shoulder so that somebody can take a pee.
F) EMERGENCY PHONES: Scattered along the motorway are these distinctive emergency phones, which are direct lines to help centers who can send out emergency vehicles to help and assist you. Should your vehicle break down, once you have pulled over to the hard shoulder and followed the steps in (A), these phones are scattered ’1 every mile’ along the motorway.
Remember to always leave a 2 second gap between you and the car in front, never operate a mobile phone whilst driving unless you have a hands free kit, and the bald man in the red sports car filling up your rear view mirror could be me, so please move out of the way.
For the Love of driving, hold to the code…
To some the car is nothing but a means of transportation from A to B, and to others a big toy or a status symbol. Yet to a very few the car is a living breathing machine with a soul and a spirit, this will be very difficult for most to comprehend but there are a few people in this world who understand what it means to become one with their machine.
There are over 30 million cars on the streets of the UK, almost 50 million registered vehicles, there are millions upon millions of people behind the wheel of a potentially lethal weapon. in 2007 there were 247,780 car accidents in the UK from which 2,946 people died. On average eight people die every day in a RTA (Road Traffic Accident) and it is my belief that no matter what type of driver you are, if you pay careful attention to the rules of the road you are less likely to become a statistic.
I began a blog in 2011 called The Highway Code and I am about to re introduce this blog because it seems there are more and more drivers sharing our roads that have bought their drivers licence or have forgotten everything that they learned during their Learner days. The streets of UK do not really “belong” to anyone, so drivers who drive like they own the road are doing nothing more than causing ill tempers among other drivers.
Now I love driving, I passed my test in 1987 (before a lot of you were born) but began driving illegally aged 14 when I use to “borrow” my mums Ford Capri during the summer holidays. Almost 25 years later and I still love driving as much as I did back then. I have estimated I have driven more than 12,960 hours and more than 520,000 miles. I consider myself to be a very good, correction, an excellent driver, if I don’t say so myself, I have been paid the highest complements from drivers that are equally skilled and have only ever been criticised by novices who 1) had no driving experience or 2) understood nothing about the highway code.
There is a huge driving culture of people who love the art of driving, take pride in their vehicles and pride themselves on their ability to control a car, movies like “The Fast & The Furious” are based on such communities, unfortunately there are also the “want to be boy racers” who know nothing about the code and ethics of real drivers and all they do is add to the carnage on the streets and drive everyones insurance premiums up.
Because I love driving so much and spend so much time on the road it is my aim to make these UK streets that I love so much a safer place by reminding any of you who are serious about driving the do’s and don’t's of the road. Nothing here will contradict the official Highway Code, but I will cover situations you may find yourself in which the highway code does not cover.
Remember the golden rule in driving, treat other drivers the way you would like other drivers to treat you.
After almost 2 years since I last posted any kind of motoring article, I can safely say that I am back and with vengeance. The motivation began last year, I was driving in my little Mk 5 Ford Escort about to make a right turn onto a duel carriageway, I noticed across the intersection on my left a Lancer Evolution and a Subaru Impreza at the lights revving as if ready to race. I made my turn and kept one eye in my rear view with interest, As I continued along the carriageway I could see the lights turn green and what sounded like the Heavens opening as the roar of engines revved to the max and tires screamed with pleasure, then in a few seconds these magnificent machines were alongside me, now going as slowly as me as if to allow me the privilege to see and hear the symphony of man and machine in perfect harmony, in my mirrors (now filled with dozens of head lights) I could see fast approaching Porsches, BMW’s, a world of modified cars all slowing down as they passed me, as if to show off their magnificent beasts of vehicles.
Alas it was not me they were slowing down for but the speed camera just up ahead, as each vehicle got out of range of the radar the beautiful “trumpet sounds” burst from the exhausts of the hot air blowing from manifold to muffler as the high powered modified cars disappeared into the night. But although they had vanished from my sight, with my window down I could still hear the trumpet call from their exhausts pipes as they accelerated to the horizon.
I have seen “Fast and the Furious”, but those few second surrounded by the real thing paled the movie into insignificance, it would be like comparing a picture of a burger to the experience of the pleasure of eating it. From that very moment in time I began fantasising about creating a show for ICU Online based on the real thing.
This summer PGM Express & Team Scorpio team up to take you into the underground world of street racing, modified cars and beautiful girls, plus more. There is a culture, a code, a lifestyle emulated in the Hollywood Movies but lived out day to day by real people. But just as Knights of ancient times had a code of honour, so to, do our modern day Knights, and The Kudo Knights are the best of the best on the road after midnight.
The Chinese Grand Prix has never been won more than once by any one driver, but this season Rubens Barrichello (winning in 2004), Fernando Alonso (05), Michael Schumacher (06), Lewis Hamilton (08), Sebastian Vettel (09) and Jenson Button (10) have a chance to change that fact this weekend. The only driver missing from this list is Kimi Raikkonen who won in 2007 but has since retired from F1.
For the first time in history six F1 Shanghai GP winners will go head to head to see who will be the first to claim a second win in China, the Shanghai International Circuit features one of the longest main straights on the F1 calendar and our bet is the cars with the best KERS and DRS packages will be able to take full advantage of this long strait…
KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is a device which stores up energy under braking and at the push of a button releases this energy as a boost to acceleration adding at least an extra 60-80 bhp. The driver then has to wait until the KERS is charged again before he can deploy it. For the two races won by vettel for Red Bull his KERS “apparently” was not working, however if Red Bull Racing want to make it three victories in a row they will definitely need to address their KERS situation.
Defending champion Sebastian Vettel starts from pole for Red Bull on Sunday’s Grand Prix, he snatched pole position from McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton by just 0.174s right at the end of qualifying. Hamilton had set what looked like an unbeatable time at 1:35:000, Hamilton then beat his own time with a 1:34:974 but Vettel piped his time with a 1:34.870. This is the second race of the season and the second race with Vettel and Hamilton on the front row.
Webber and Button fill the second row, and on the third row a disappointed Fernando Alonso could only coax 1m 35.802s out of his Ferrari, as Nick Heidfeld jumped up to sixth for Renault with 1m 36.124s. Massa is down at seventh place, on 1m 36.251s, while Vitaly Petrov took eighth in the other Renault on 1m 36.324s ahead of Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes on 1m 36.809s, and Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber on 1m 36.820s.
Blog Central are hoping for a Lewis Hamilton win, Webber in second, Button in third, vettel in fourth, and the little Spaniard holding onto fifth.
After practice 1 and 2 in Malaysia it looks like Red Bull will still be leading the pack this weekend, only with Mark Webber at the helm.
Webber set the fastest time of practice 1 and practice 2 with Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button in the two McLaren’s right behind him. Only 0.214 second behind but in fourth position Sebastian Vettel will be looking for more pace to challenge for pole position tomorrow.
A surprising lack of pace have the Ferrari’s in 6th and 9th with Alonso struggling to get more out his prancing horse sitting in 9th, this is not the start to the season we were expecting. Tomorrows 3rd and Final practice before qualifying should give us a more realistic indication of what Ferrari are bringing to the table this weekend.
Things looked promising for Michael Schummacher, the 3rd fastest in practice 1 and the 5th fastest in practice 2, could this be the beginning of seeing old Schumy fighting for position at the front of the field?
Blog Central Prediction Mark Webber on Pole, Vettel in second on grid, Hamilton 3rd on grid, Button 4th on grid, Massa 5th on grid and may be a surprise from Schummacher getting the 6th spot. No only kidding Alonso on 6th
Race prediction: 1st Hamilton, 2nd Webber, 3rd Vettel.
Yesterday I received a video in my inbox of an horrific crash in which a young woman enters a Motor way in the wrong direction and is involved in a head on collision with a tractor trailer. The question with the video was how could this happen? so with the aid of Google maps I was able to retrace the woman’s journey and I must admit I am horrified by what I have found.
In image 001 we are traveling at 40 mph. Restricted to 40 mph because of road works, the normal speed of traffic along this road would be between 50 – 70mph. Now keep this in mind, the UK is a part of Europe and it is not uncommon for drivers from Germany, France or Spain to be in the UK in a rental car taking a trip through our beautiful UK countryside. For 10 years I lived in America and became accustom to driving on the right hand side of the road and changing gears with my right hand. There have been a few moments when I have arrived at an intersection and have to think very hard about my lane because my “instinct” is persuading me to take the lane on the right, (As I had done for over a decade in the US).
In image 002, on the left hand side of the carriageway is a clear road sign, left lane A90 south right lane A90 North to Aberdeen. Road signs and markings do play a vital role in road safety and traffic flow. It is very important as a driver you make sure you are very aware of what road signs mean and that you know exactly what to do once you see a sign.
In image 003, just in case you miss the sign on the side of the road, painted on the tarmac in front of you is the destination of each lane. Also in the triangle a sign that two lanes merge into one in 100 yards and the national speed limit sign. In this case that national speed limit should be 50 mph as we are about to enter a dual carriageway entrance, however the majority of drivers will use the black stripe as an excuse to hit 70 mph.
In image 004 we reach the point of no return. In image oo1, 002 and 003 there have been ample indications as to which lane you should be in depending upon whether your destination is North or South. Sometimes I have seen a driver realize at the last moment they are in the wrong lane and cut across the white lines to maneuver into the correct lane.
Now lets take a closer look at the situation in 004, you have just been on a two lane dual carriageway driving at 40 mph, if you are just a little tired and you do not see on coming traffic you may not realize the “two lane merge into one” sign ahead has already happened. In this picture you can see a lorry approaching from the opposite direction, this is your clear indication you are in a single lane situation. It is possible in this situation (if there is no oncoming traffic and you are unfamiliar with the road) to mistakenly think you are still on a two lane dual carriageway. It just takes a split second laps in concentration with no on coming traffic for a driver to NOT realize the two lanes they were traveling on are now one single lane in either direction. This being the case a driver will need to rely on road signs being in key areas to alert them to danger.
Now here is the reason for me taking the time to write this post, below the bridge you can see the A90 north to Aberdeen, the average speed on most dual carriageways is approximately 70 mph. Therefor most collisions at this speed will be fatal, it should be a priority therefore that every precaution is taken to ensure that no fatal error could be made by a driver who may be tired, who may laps in concentration for a split second or who may be from Europe and is accustomed to driving on the other side of the road. Unfortunately at this stage there are still no warning signs for our unobservant driver who may by now be moving over to the right hand lane thinking they are still on a dual carriageway.
I have been driving for 25 years, I passed my test in 1986 as a teenager and I have driven for 10 years in North America and 15 years in the UK. There are times when a driver has other things on their mind, and there are times when road signs and markings are essential, for instance if a driver has been day dreaming while driving (and it does happen, especially on long journeys) and becomes alert with the image in 006 there is a possibility the driver is unaware of previous signs, at this precise moment there are no signs to remind the driver this is two way traffic. There is not a single solid line on this bend to indicate no overtaking. For a driver who has lapsed in concentration at this moment in time traveling approximately 40 – 50 mph there is not much time to gather ones bearings. It has happened to me after many hours behind the wheel I have stopped at a set of traffic lights and have to remind myself of my destination, I run two businesses, am in a broken marriage, have legal cases ongoing, have driven for so long everything about driving is second nature, “where was I headed again”? this is where street signs and road markings play a vital role, to remind the driver of where they are and what they should be doing.
There are times when our saving grace are other vehicles on the road, on coming traffic for instance will confirm you are in a single lane, in image 007 there are still no warning signs to serve as a reminder that you are in a single lane of traffic and the central line is not solid as an indication to not overtake or not to cross.
Now here lies the problem and the reason I must write this article, here are two lanes, one leads to the A90 to join in with traffic flow, the other into on coming traffic. If you have passed your driving test anywhere in Europe and are use to driving on the other side of the road, and have now moved to the UK you need to be aware of this very serious situation. If you lapse in concentration for just a split second and are desperately trying to regain your bearings, your instinct my kick in, this road configuration anywhere else in the continent would mean you get into the right lane to join traffic flow, everything in your memory and subconsciousness would urge you go right, only a driver trained in the UK would instinctively turn left by second nature in a moment of doubt. Look at picture 008 for a while, what indication is there that there is fatal danger if you turn right?
I have recreated image 008 in Photoshop, the question I have to ask is this, if these road markings were in place would the accident in the below video have happened? considering we are now very much integrated with Europe and we have many drivers on our UK roads who are accustomed to driving on “the other side” should we not make more of an effort to see to it that roads are marked more clearly?
In image oo9 our driver has made a fatal error and is now accelerating up to 70 mph to join traffic flow, but unbeknown to our driver she is now fatally traveling in the wrong direction.
It is only at this point that our driver will become aware she is traveling in the wrong direction, if she is lucky she may be able to pull up on the hard shoulder and call for help. But to end up this close to fatality could have been avoided if in image 008 there were clear signs not to enter.
‘A lorry driver emerged miraculously unscathed when a woman ploughed into him – while driving in the wrong direction along a dual carriageway.
‘The terrifying accident was caught on the lorry’s on-board camera. It shows a white Vauxhall Corsa emerging from a slip road in the wrong direction, before hitting the lorry head on. The impact caused the lorry to tip onto its side, and tore the front end from the Corsa. Both drivers emerged with only minor injuries.
The accident happened on the A90 in Aberdeen on March 22, and the road had to be closed for six hours while police cleared up the debris. The lorry threw out its entire cargo of cement bags.
Police have confirmed that the driver, a 20-year-old woman, has been charged with dangerous driving.
The Roadhawk GPS camera system was installed in the lorry to capture exactly this type of incident. It constantly records the lorry’s movements and tracks them using satellite signals.’
(taken from yahoo news)
This very near fatal accident could have been avoided if there were more clearer signs on approaching danger.
Make sure you know your UK highway code, and if you intend to drive abroad make sure know the highway code and road laws of your destination.
Saubers disqualified over technical infringement:
Sauber’s Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi have lost their seventh and eighth places in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix after both were disqualified for technical infringements on their cars.
Following post-race checks, the Melbourne stewards decided that both Sauber C30s were in breach of technical rules 3.10.1* and 3.10.2**, in relation to their rear wings. The team plan to appeal the decision.
“This is a very surprising and disappointing result,” commented James Key, Saubers technical director. “It appears that there is a question over the top surface of the uppermost rear wing element, this area is not the working surface of the component and therefore relatively unimportant to its function.
The final standing therefore has been altered giving Filipe Massa, Sebastian Buemi, Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta two extra positions and increasing their points.
Information Source: Formula1.com
Sebastian Vettel dominated qualifying yesterday and dominated the first gradn prix o fthe season in Melbourne Australia this morning. He started on pole and lead the race from start to finish, only relinquishing the lead to Hamilton briefly to pit stop.
Lewis Hamilton drove a magnificent race to finish 2nd even though for the last third of the race he was driving with a damage car. The under tray of the car (skid plank) seemed to work loose and began scraping along the floor causing the car to loose down force, nevertheless Hamilton was able to keep pace with Vettel on easing up for the last few laps.
Jenson Button had a frustrating race for McLaren, he was unable to get by Felipe Massa in the opening stages and eventually got by the Ferrari on Lap 11 after having to run off the track as Massa squeezed him into the corner, the race rules that Button needed to give the place back to Massa but Alonso (who was right behind button) slipped ahead of Massa. Then Ferrari Pitted Massa meaning Button could not give the place back even if he wanted to. The race stewards later gave the 2009 champion a 10 second drive-through penalty for going outside the track limits.
Vitaly Petrov became the first Russian ever to stand on the podium after an excellent race. He benefited from a great start when Button kept Alonso out wide going into Turn One. Webber was the first from the five contenders to pit for tires and Petrov moved into the third place and maintained that position through to the finish.
Speaking of tires, Perrelli really have delivered a good mix of tires this season, and during the race it became obvious that pit stop strategy will play a very crucial role this season, these tire are purposely not designed to go the distance forcing teams to pit at least twice to use up both soft and hard compounds as specified in the new rules of F1.
Sauber’s Sergio Perez drove a stunning race. The young Mexican depute race saw him pit only once (up to four stops had been predicted) and beat his team mate Kamui Kobayashi for seventh place.
Overall RedBull seem to be continuing from where they left of last season, they are the team to beat and vettel looks very comfortable out in front. Webber was of the pace only finishing 5th, considering he has the same machine as vettel, but this is only the first race and Webber will be hungry to prove himself in Malaysia next race.
McLaren look very promising considering just 2 weeks ago they did not have a package which looked competitive. The engineers worked day and night to get this craft ready for todays race and they did not disappoint. Hamilton was able to match vettel lap times throughout the race even though Hamilton was driving a damaged car. When asked if he felt Red Bull are beatable? he replied “Yes, I think they are. They definitely have a gap at the moment but I am sure that we are able to close that gap”.
Ferrari definitely have some work to do if they plan to pose a serious challenge this season, although they looked strong in practice and qualifying, Alonso never posed much of a threat and was out paced by Petrov’s Renault.
Both Mercedes did not finish, first Schumacher received a right rear puncture, the tire was completely gone which cause suspension damage, so he retired, then on lap Rubens Barrichello attempted to pass Roseburg on the inside in what looked like a desperate lunge, there was no way Berichello could fit and he collided with Roseburgs Mercedes causing enough damage that Roseburg had to retire.
This is the season that a lot of people are expecting to see Schumacher come into his own, he needs to first outshine his team mate, and then begin to challenge for the podium. Many critics believe he has lost his edge, and many believe he just needs the right machinery.
Any auto race carries an inherent risk of injury or death, but the following races have established a grim reputation as the deadliest car races in the world:
Formerly known as the Paris to Dakar Rally, this off-road race took place in Europe and Africa from its inaugural running in 1979 through 2007. After the 2008 race was cancelled because of security concerns, the event moved to South America and currently takes place in Argentina and Chile. The race typically takes place in a hectic atmosphere due in part to the variety of vehicles competing, which includes cars, dirt bikes, trucks and sport-utility vehicles. At least 49 people have been killed as a direct result of the race since its inception.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans
An endurance race that has taken place in France each year since its inception in 1923, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is conducted on a series of closed public roads. It aims to test the durability of the cars as well as the skill and stamina of the drivers. The race is noteworthy for cars in various classes competing at vastly differing paces at the same time. The race was the site of a horrific crash in 1955 in which driver Pierre Levegh’s car careened over a retaining wall and into the crowd of spectators, killing 84 people and injuring more than 100.
Known as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indy 500 draws hundreds of thousands of racing enthusiasts to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana every Memorial Day weekend. A highly competitive race that has transcended the sport to become a cultural touchstone as well, more than 40 people have died in the Indy 500 since it began in 1911. The death toll includes drivers, members of the driving teams and spectators.
Macau Grand Prix
A street-circuit race established in 1954 and held annually in Macau in southeast Asia, theMacau Grand Prix has earned a reputation as one of the most challenging and difficult coursesin the sport of auto racing. The most infamous tragedy on the Macau Grand Prix course occurred in the 1967 race, when Arsenio “Dodjie” Laurel, who won the race in 1962 and 1963, was killed in a crash while attempting to reach his third victory in the event.
An off-road race that is held each November on the Baja California peninsula in western Mexico, the Baja 1000 includes cars as well as buggies, all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles. The dangerous course includes hairpin turns, nearly inaccessible roadways and booby traps, which have caused multiple deaths of competitors, team members and fans.
A) The center line is there to separate vehicles traveling in opposite directions along the same stretch of road. There are a few variations of the center line, a solid center line without any breaks means “do not overtake” you will usually see these line on bends hump bridges or chicanes where on coming traffic may not be visible, also on stretches of motor way entrances or exits with steep corners and the solid line that separates the motorway from the hard shoulder.
First here is a useful list of countries that travel on the left hand side of the centre line. Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bophuthatswana, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cayman Islands, Channel Islands, Ciskei, Cyprus, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, India Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua, New, Guinea, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Seychelles, Sikkim, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Helena, St. Lucia, Surinam, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, US Virgin Islands, Venda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Trivia 1: The accelerator, brake and clutch pedals are all in the same order (Right foot accelerate, left foot clutch and middle pedal brake) no mater what side of the car the steering wheel is on.
Trivia2: A great rule of thumb when driving in a foreign country who use the opposite side of the road, if you are renting a vehicle, the central line is always on the drivers side of the vehicle, and the passengers side is nearest the curb, meaning if you find you are nearest the curb and your passenger is nearest the central line, YOU ARE DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! However if you take a foreign vehicle to a foreign country which has opposite steering (come on you know what I mean) then we wish you the very best of luck.
We will start by looking at the Signs you will see on the motorway and and in later blogs we will work our way out to city signs. Firstly you will notice all signs concerning the Motorway have a blue background and white writing. These signs will be situated overhead across the motorway or to the left of the hard shoulder.
Image 001 gives you the name of the motorway you are now on. The names beneath the motorway are the next town or cities distance, in this case Sheffield is 32 miles away and Leeds is 59 miles away.
Image 002 lets you know the motorway you are now on has come to an end, at this point you should be reducing your speed from the national speed limit to the speed limit if you do not see a sign between 40 – 50 mph is a good rule of thumb.
Image 003 Count down markers to let you know how close your exit is. The first marker with 3 stripes is approximately 300 yards from the exit. Each bar represents 100 yards. You should already be in the left hand lane by the time you reach the first marker, note: 300 yards travelling at 70 mph takes approximately 8.8 seconds, in other words by the time you see the first three stripe marker your exit is less than 10 seconds away. Note if you are not in your correct lane at this time the safest option is to indicate left safely manoeuvre into the left lane and if you are unable to do this within time to exit, remain in your lane and take the next exit, return to the motor way from the next exit and come back to your correct exit. A very high percentage of fatal motorway accidents occurs when a driver sees that he/she is about to miss their exit and attempts to quickly change lanes causing other drivers to brake suddenly. It is much wiser to miss your exit and return from the other direction than to attempt a drastic lane change at 70 mph.
The Junction Box is a yellow diamond shaped grid usually found at major intersection, the rule of this junction box is “do not block this area”, or “no stopping at anytime”.
The Junction box is designed to make sure intersections do not get blocked, however if left to me at every intersection would be National guards with Rocket launchers to blow away the annoying (blanks) who block the intersection, a 10 second warning to get your vehicle out of the intersection or flee your vehicle and bull dozers to clear the wrecks. The National Guard would get a bonus for every direct hit, and I would only hire trained marksmen. That pretty much sums up how I feel about people who block these intersections.
When approaching an intersection which has a junction box here are your rules of thumb
1. Make sure you can clearly see the far side of the junction box; this is the end of the box furthest away from you.
2. Make sure there is ample room between the far side of the junction box and the rear of the vehicle in front, the logic of this is that if there is only a little space between the end of the junction box and the car in front, the tail end of your vehicle may still block the intersection.
3. Make sure that you are clear to cross the box without stopping, if a vehicle has stopped on the junction box, then do not enter the junction.
4. When you are sure about rules 1, 2 & 3 considering you have the right of way you may proceed across the junction box.
If for any reason you have to stop on the junction box you have failed. Just know and accept you are a rubbish driver, and the bald man in the Black BMW blowing his horn at you to get out of his way has every right.
Who needs steering wheels, anyway? Engineers at the Free University of Berlin have come up with a system that might one day send the wheel the way of reins. Science Daily explains.
“The computer scientists have developed a system making it possible to steer a car with your thoughts. Using new commercially available sensors to measure brain waves… the scientists were able to distinguish the bioelectrical wave patterns for control commands such as ‘left,’ ‘right,’ ‘accelerate’ or ‘brake’ in a test subject.”
That’s right, cars that can read your mind. Of course, not every car is psychic. The one they used is nearly autonomous, but now it has electrical ESP. This video from AutoNOMOS Labs shows the psychic car in action.
“The car’s equipped with video cameras, radars, and laser sensors that provide the car with a full 3-dimensional view of its surroundings. The car drives automatically to the corner. At the intersection, the test subject orders the car to take a right. … After a small delay, the car turns around the corner as you can see.”
The mind-reading tech is just a proof of concept right now and isn’t going to be on the road for some time. But a writer for Spectrum Magazine notes the potential uses are huge for people who can’t operate cars the conventional way.
“This type of non-invasive brain interface could also allow disabled and paralyzed people to gain more mobility in the future, similarly to what is already happening in applications such as robotic exoskeletons and advanced prosthetics.”
The same lab has been exploring alternative ways to operate cars for a while.
Over the past few years, they’ve used iPhone apps to drive cars remotely and followed that up by using eye-movement scanners to steer. The goal? Fully autonomous cars that can easily interact with their human passengers. (Video source: AutoNOMOS Labs)
Of course, there are still plenty of technological hurdles. Not every car has radar, for instance. But a writer for Jalopnik points out the most problematic part of using your brain to interface with your car might be — you.
“We can see a downside; it’s not always so easy to control our thoughts. What happens when someone gets Dave Matthews singing ‘Crash Into Me’ stuck in their heads?”
So are you looking forward to thinking at your car or would you rather chat with it like KITT from Knight Rider? Share your thoughts on motorized mediums in our comments section.
From lean…to mean…to the greenest machine — the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE, has released its rankings of the world’s greenest vehicles. The natural gas powered Honda Civic GX takes the green gold…for the eighth year in a row.
The Nissan Leaf came in second and seven gas-powered cars beat out the Chevy Volt to round out the top 13. The Volt’s ranking was lower because of its weight- according to CNN Money.
“Weight accounted for roughly 40 [percent] of the Volt’s overall score… ‘I find it kind of laughable,’ said GM spokesman Rob Peterson when told of [the] ranking and rationale behind it.”
The ACEEE report is just one scorecard for “green” cars — but plugincars.com calls it the bible of environmental rankings.
Still, sales remain low, with 647 Volts and 106 Leaf’s sold….total. The problem seems to be with supply, with 50,000 people on their waiting lists.
In Obama’s State of the Union Address, he set a goal of one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. But Fox News says — the demand isn’t there.
“…the consumer demand is just not there. What follows that is the manufacturers are just not going to be producing that many of them… It’s getting to the point of absurdity for the government trying to create demand for these vehicles. My personal opinion is that its not the function of government. We should not be subsidizing these vehicles, they should stand on their own.”
In an article for Mother Nature Network – Jim Motavalli disagrees. He says green cars are a good deal for America and generally earn bipartisan support.
“Americans are united in wanting to get off foreign oil… and it isn’t clear how we could possibly do that without greening the transportation fleet.”
So take a look at the rankings and let us know if one of these “green” cars is on your wish list.