There are some people who are naturally good drivers and there are some who aren’t. There are even those people who loathe driving or are terrified of it, but view it as a necessity. It is probably not ideal to have drivers who feel they are not in full control of their car on the road. Then there is also the problem of drivers who come from countries with less stringent driving tests, where road safety simply isn’t as large a priority as it is in the UK.
While it would undoubtedly be expensive, there is no doubt that introducing a stricter test for all new drivers would help, along with raising the minimum age for testing.
Current criticism of the driving test is based on the perceived notion that instructors teach new drivers basic pointers on how to pass their test, without necessarily imparting enough information on real-world driving per se.
And, as I discussed earlier in the week, there are schemes that aim to educate young and inexperienced drivers about the dangers of inconsiderate driving, either by themselves to by a friend or family member, such as Deadly Mates, set up by Diane and Graham Matheson after their son was killed by a drunken friend who had no driving license.
The vast majority of car crashes are caused by inconsiderate or incompetent driving, but keeping a wary eye on vehicles can also cut crash-related injury and death.
Every private vehicle must pass an MOT (short for Ministry of Transport) test after its third anniversary of registration from new, and each year thereafter. The line can be blurred if for some reason the car was never registered, even if it’s many years old (as part of a private collection, perhaps) or if it is imported from another country outside the UK.
The MOT certifies that a car is considered to, at the point of testing, meet the minimum criteria for road safety. A certificate lasts for a year but this is no guarantee that it will be roadworthy for that period of time. It is still up to the car’s keeper to ensure that it is legal for that period of time.
The MOT checks items such as the operation of the lights, the brakes, seatbelts and horn and the condition of the tyres, the suspension and the bodywork, among other things.
It is not an indication of the mechanical condition of some of the car’s more important components.
…which is why you should also ensure that your car is maintained properly. Not only will it save you money in the long run, as major, costly problems are less likely to develop.
A service will usually include items that can contribute to road safety – like a change of brake fluid or brake materials.
The more you pay for your tyres, the longer they will last and the better the grip they offer. Cheap tyres can be a false economy. They are made from cheaper rubber which degrades more quickly and their tread patterns will not function as well as their more expensive equivalents and repelling water. Cheap tyres increase your chances of skidding and having an accident.
Date Published: October 28, 2010
Author: David Brown