Gearing Up!
The Newsletter of the East Lancashire Group of
the Institute of Advanced Motorists
Number 5, November 2001

In this issue

  • Zip Merging and the Global Picture, pg 2
  • Mobile Phone Abuse now "Most Annoying Driver Habit" says IAM survey, pg 3


Hello. Please feel free to submit articles or content ideas for inclusion in future editions. A good place to do this is from the 'Contact Us' page on our web site,

Introduced in this edition of the newsletter is the 'Advanced Tip'. Little snippets of information and observations which you might not have thought of. Advanced driving is all about continually assessing your own driving and finding new ways of

  Bowen, the group's founder says "The purpose of this group is the discussion of all aspects of non-professional motorised vehicle driving including, but not exhaustively, good places for 'fun' drives, driving skills, training and driving organisations such as the IAM, RoSPA & so forth, road safety, road law enforcement, general insurance issues and legal interpretation of driving law"

Good luck to all of our associates on the current course. Remember, there's only a few weeks of the course left and with Christmas approaching, spare time to practise is going to be harder to find.

Happy Driving, Stuart



Sat 1st December 2001
Christmas Dinner & Dance, Coal Clough House, Burnley. 17.50 per person. See Linda Gauton for details.
December 10th onwards
Associates' Tests commence
January 2002
Winter Course Starts


The contents of this newsletter may contain personal views which are not the views of the East Lancashire Advanced Motorists, unless specifically stated.

making it even better. Do you have any tips you want to share with others? Let me know.

People who have access to a PC and the Internet might be interested to learn of a new newsgroup, uk.rec.driving. Iain

The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email:
  Gearing Up! Page 2


Zip Merging and the Global Picture
Stuart Dalby, East Lancs IAM

Zip Merging is the term used to describe a method of combining traffic travelling in the same direction in two lanes, into a single lane.

It is a technique advocated by the IAM and there are many advantages in it's adoption:

1) Vehicles merge better when there is some kind of order and when drivers are not in competition to take advantage or be defensive against other drivers.

2) The road's capacity is maximised since all

  lanes up to the obstruction are used. All the traffic in a single & therefore much longer queue can cause further problems behind. For example if the queue interferes with a junction or traffic lights.

3) Removes the opportunity for a driver to make progress at the expense of others. By zip merging there is no totally empty lane which admittedly is a big magnet for drivers to use.

4) Less road rage, not only whilst merging but also whilst queuing. How often have we seen cars and lorries deliberately obstruct traffic in the outside lane?

So how do you zip merge? When you realise that the lane you are in is blocked, do not switch lanes immediately. Continue towards the blockage. If cars ahead wait to pull into another lane, wait for them to move out of the way and continue in your lane. If you find that you are the first car in your lane before the obstruction but it still some way away, continue in your lane but do not race ahead. Be

  prepared for a car to pull out into your lane. When you are within about 200 yards of the obstruction, slow to a speed which matches traffic to your left and look for a gap to move into. Indicate your intention to move to the left and do so when safe. That's it.

Zip merging is sometimes difficult because of a much bigger problem with the way a lot of people drive today. Aggression and impatience. So many drivers drive in an aggressive way. Examples of this are:


  Don't you just hate having to clear the ice from your windscreen on a cold winters morning? If so, Halfords might have just the thing for you. Night Before De-Icer! Simply apply the night before and stop frost from bonding to the windscreen. Only 2.49 - worth a go!  
The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email:
  Gearing Up! Page 3
1) Driving deliberately close to the car in front to prevent other cars from pulling out into the gap.

2) On a motorway, speeding up to undertake a car which has pulled out to join a queue of overtaking vehicles.

3) Not clearing box junctions.

All of these examples demonstrate situations where an impatient driver mistakenly thinks they can make more progress but the global affect is that it reduces the progress of many more people. Consider the

Advanced Tip

Winter is the time for fog and mist. Expect to see a lot more cars being driving with their rear fog lights on. Don't be so quick to assume the driver has forgotten about them. Patchy fog is very common and it could be that there's poor visibility just a few hundred yards up the road where the car came from. Observation Link: fog lights -> might be reduced visibility ahead.

  concertina effect when one car brakes; The extra care needed to manoeuvre when you have other cars undertaking you; The rush-hour gridlock in city centres.

When driving, remember that you are not in competition with other car drivers. Don't just think about whether you can carry out that manoeuvre. Consider it's likely effect on the cars around you.

Remember. We are advanced drivers. Set an example for the average drivers.

Mobile Phone Abuse now "Most Annoying Driving Habit" says IAM survey

A nation-wide survey by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has revealed that the single worst driving habit on UK roads is steering with one hand while using a hand-held mobile phone.

The survey of IAM UK wide delegates, representing the IAM's 100,000 plus advanced driver members, disclosed the top driving


gripes across the country.

The most common driving fault - at 34 per cent - was using a hand-held mobile phone, followed very closely by "lane hogs" - drivers who refuse to move into the correct lane on motorways and dual carriageways - at 33 per cent.

In third place came "the tailgaters" - drivers who are too close to the vehicle in front - at 21 per cent. A wide selection of other irritants, such as speeding regardless of the conditions and

The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email:
  Gearing Up! Page 4
driving with fog lights in clear conditions, made up the remaining 12 per cent.

"We did this survey two years ago and it is a sad reflection on the attitude of drivers that mobile phone abuse has since moved up the list of driver irritants," said IAM Chief Executive Christopher Bullock.

"Is that phone call so urgent that it's worth risking your life - let alone the lives of others? These 'phoney drivers' are a major irritant and a road safety hazard. We know the police act when they see this offence being committed. But it often seems to the responsible motorists that these one-armed merchants are getting away with it," said Mr Bullock.

"The IAM has until now resisted calls for special legislation to deal with drivers using hand-held phones, arguing that there are already sufficient powers. But we should be gathering hard data about how many crashes are caused by drivers on hand-held phones. STATS 19, the road accident data sheet is

  the place to do this and we would like the police and the DTLR to include these details, where hand-held phones have been a distraction leading to an accident."

Mr Bullock restated the IAM's long standing car phone advice to drivers, pointing out that the IAM is not anti car-phone - but it is anti dangerous driving.

"Never use a hand held phone when you are driving. Even if you have a hands-free system, you should avoid using the phone while driving as it distracts you from the

Call for articles

Members and friends of the East Lancashire Advanced Motorists group are welcome to submit articles or suggest topics for inclusion in future newsletters. Articles should not consist of more than 2000 words and may be edited for publication. Articles should preferably, be emailed to the editor at Alternatively, they may be posted direct to the group's secretary.

  main task. If you receive a call while driving, keep your conversation short and tell the caller that you can't talk at the moment. Then find somewhere legal, safe and convenient to return the call," he said.


Would you pass the theory driving test?

Answers to theory test questions in the last newsletter are 1) c, 2) a, 3) a & e.


  The Sunday Times dated 22nd April 2001 refers to a French study reported in the British Medical Journal as showing that up to 20% of motorway accidents are caused by driver fatigue.  

Please Re-cycle

The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email: