Gearing Up!
The Newsletter of the East Lancashire Group of
the Institute of Advanced Motorists
Number 6, March 2002

In this issue

  • Good and Bad Courtesy, pg 1
  • If you came across a flooded road..., pg 3
  • Ten things you didn't know about speed on the road, pg 4


Welcome to the group's first newsletter of 2002, my third newsletter as editor and also my last. After a year in the post of newsletter editor I have found the pressure and formality of it all just too much and have decided to quit whilst I still have my health.

No, seriously, I am moving house to the other side of the Pennines and will therefore be leaving the group after this course. I would just like to thank


Advanced Tip

Traffic Lights at Pelican crossings usually incorporate a delay so that after they have been used by a pedestrian, if another pedestrian presses the button again, they do not start changing to red again straight away. However, if you have observed a pelican crossing showing green to traffic for some time and you see a pedestrian walking up to press the button you can expect the lights to start changing straight away.


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



April 8th onwards
Associates' Tests commence
Sunday 21st April
Spring Course Starts
Sunday 11th August
Towneley Classic Car Show


Good and Bad Courtesy
Stuart Dalby, East Lancs IAM

Advanced drivers all know that courtesy is a good thing don't they? But is there such a thing as bad courtesy? Can we demonstrate Advanced Courtesy? I believe we can.

First of all, what is

the group for making an advanced driver out of me - a skill I value greatly and one which I shall endeavour to maintain for as long as possible.

Happy Driving, Stuart.

The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email:
  Gearing Up! Page 2
courtesy? Courtesy is about being considerate to other road users and not impairing their progress if we have an opportunity to help. For example, not queuing across the end of a side-street so that a waiting car can turn in to or out from it. Or slowing down to let a pedestrian cross at a Zebra Crossing.

So what is the proper way to give courtesy? The first and most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings. After spotting an opportunity to be courteous, consider your speed, the road and weather conditions and


the road users around you. You must decide if it safe and appropriate for you to be courteous. If you decide that it is safe, you will usually have to do little more than to reduce your speed by use of acceleration sense. A little braking may also be necessary. In adjusting your speed you are trying to create enough of a gap ahead of you so that the other road user recognises an opportunity for them to perform their manoeuvre whilst at the same time not hindering your progress too much.   Usually, the other road user will recognise that you are being courteous, will take the opportunity and may also acknowledge your generosity. Well done! But how could that have been done badly?

Firstly, you flash your headlights or gesture to the other road user to signal your courtesy. Whilst the flashing of headlights to indicate courtesy is common, it is not a recognised signal and should not be used in this manner. Neither should gesturing that it is

  safe for the other road user to perform their manoeuvre because you are not in a position to be 100% sure that it is safe. You must leave it up to them to decide. Imagine the possible legal position of you inviting a pedestrian to cross at a zebra crossing and them then getting knocked over by another car. Would you be partly to blame?

Secondly, bad courtesy is misplaced courtesy. Misplaced courtesy would be to slow down and invite a car to

The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email:
  Gearing Up! Page 3
pull out from a side street in front of you when you are not making maximum progress and there are a number of vehicles following you. Whilst you may have chosen not to make maximum progress, they might not have! Also, you should always consider whether you are the only obstacle to the other road user performing their manoeuvre. Even if you were courteous, would there be other hazards which would prevent them from performing their manoeuvre? For example, consider a car waiting to turn right out from a side street on your near side. You might be in a position to be courteous but if there are other cars approaching in the opposite direction, you being courteous may cause i) the other road user to assume it is clear and pull out into the other cars, ii) cause your path and that of those behind you to be blocked whilst the other car waits for a gap to complete their manoeuvre, or iii) it results in one of the approaching cars being bullied into allowing the other car to pull out. Hardly the ideal situation.   Thirdly, bad courtesy is unexpected courtesy. Unexpected courtesy would be for you, the last car in a string of cars, to start slowing down when there is absolutely nothing behind you. The other road user will usually be the mind-set of waiting for you to pass so that they can pull out behind you. If you start slowing down, you may actually confuse the other road user.

Finally, don't be disappointed if your courtesy is not accepted. As mentioned before, we are only one of the road users which the other road user has to consider. They may have seen a hazard which is not apparent to us or they may lack the confidence to accept your opportunity without an additional signal from you (they are waiting for you to flash your headlights!). If this is the case, let the opportunity to be courteous go and just continue on your way (keeping your eye on the other car just in case they change their mind). Do you really want such a nervous and unconfident driver in front of you?


Advanced Tip

When following another car up a slip road leading onto a busy motorway, leave a good gap from the car in front to help merging.


If you come across a flooded road...
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

[Editor: Because of all the rain we've had lately I thought the following was topical advice]

  • Drive slowly in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch - this will stop you from stalling
  • Avoid the deepest water which is usually near the kerb
  • Don't attempt to cross if the water seems too deep
  • Remember - test your brakes when you are through the flood before you drive at normal speed
The East Lancashire Advanced Motorists
114 Lower Manor Lane, Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 0EF
Telephone: 01282 702161 Email:
  Gearing Up! Page 4
Ten Things you didn't know about speed on the road
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

1. In 1997 3,599 people were killed and 32,3945 injured (42,967 seriously) in road traffic accidents.

2. By far the biggest single cause was driving too fast for the conditions.

3. When asked what drivers can do to avoid accidents, 70% of survey respondents say drive more slowly.

4. When asked what they personally could do, only 30% admit they could drive more slowly themselves.

5. Two thirds of all accidents in which people are injured happen in urban roads with a maximum speed limit of 30mph.

6. 70% of people break the speed limit on these roads.

  7. The difference between 30mph and 35mph is an extra stopping distance of six and a half metres, longer than two Minis.

8. If a car is dropped nose down from the height of a two storey building, it will be travelling at around 30mph when it hits the ground.

9.The impact of a vehicle travelling at 35mph is 36% harder.

10. At 35mph you are twice as likely to kill someone as you are at 30mph.

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.



Advanced Tip

Frost starts to form on roads when air temperatures fall below 3C.

Frost is most likely at low spots in a road. Whilst along much of the length of a road might be at 5C, in a dip, the temperature may be 1C and frost has formed.

Courtesy of Accident Black Spot, Friday 11th January 2002, Channel 4.

Please Re-cycle

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