Congratulations to Rosie

Rosie Peart put in a great performance last Friday and gained a well earned pass in her advanced test. Many congratulations from all at GAM – well done.

Andrew easily makes the grade

Congratulations to Andrew Land who passed his Advanced test this week with a very good standard of driving.  Well done to Andrew from all at Guildford Advanced Motorists.

Hold your horses! How to pass horses safely on the road

You will probably see more horses on the road during the summer months, and more than likely they’ll be on a country lane. Here are IAM RoadSmart’s tips on how best to pass a horse safely on the roads.

Horses are powerful animals and have extremely heightened senses. They are also ‘flight’ animals so if they become scared, they will revert back to their natural instinct.

The British Horse Society has reported that nearly two horses are killed each week on UK roads. In last year alone, 87 horses and four people have been tragically killed.

If you’re approaching a horse from behind:

  • Slow down and hold back. The rider will indicate whether it’s safe to approach and overtake. If they don’t, make sure you stay at least three car lengths behind and be careful to not move into this space. Be prepared to slow down further or even stop to protect yourself and the horse and rider. Avoid any sudden movements and loud noises such as revving the engine and playing your music loudly.
  • Most riders, and occasionally their horses will be in hi-vis so you should see them and be able to slow down in good time. Remember in the countryside they could be around any corner.
  • When passing the horse make sure you give plenty of space. We recommend at least a car’s width, and ensure it’s done slowly. Remember to always pass “slow and wide” and stick to 15mph or under. Take a look at this video explaining it from the British Horse Society:
  • If you’re on a country road and there’s not much room to manoeuvre around the horse, the rider may decide to trot towards the nearest lay by or grass verge. Do not speed up to match their trot; stay back and allow the rider to get to safety before overtaking.
  • Often when you see two riders it is for safety reasons. This could be an inexperienced rider or nervous animal being coached along by a more experienced companion. Give them some consideration.
  • Keep an eye on the rider. They will often give signals asking you to slow down, stop or overtake. They will acknowledge you and assist you to pass, but their main priority is keeping themselves and the horse safe, so they’ll be trying to keep their hands on the reins at all times.
  • Always accelerate gently to pass the horse and when moving away. Both rider and horse may be inexperienced and nervous in traffic; do your bit to keep them safe. 
  • If there are grass verges, many riders will take the option to move themselves up onto them and allow you to pass. Please continue to pass slowly as the noise of your engine can still spook the horse.

If a horse is approaching on the other side of the road:

  • Slow down completely, and if you come to a stop consider putting on your hazard warning lights for anyone that may be behind you. You may need to stop to allow the horse to pass you safely if it is safe to do so.

Horse rider and IAM RoadSmart’s digital content executive Jaimi McIlravey said: “Please continue to be careful when driving close to horses. From personal experience, it’s not always a car that will spook a horse. You may be driving safely with enough gap between yourself and a horse and rider, however, something else may scare them, so be sure to stay alert.”

If you see any incidents involving a horse and rider please contact the police with any information you have.  You’re also able to report an incident through this website:

Elodie is F1rst class

Elodie Fuller is just 18 and has passed her Advanced Test today with a F1rst. Everyone at GAM is tremendously pleased with this result – well done Elodie, you deserved this after all your hard work.

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Toughening up seat-belt penalties is most obvious and direct way of saving lives

IAM RoadSmart has welcomed a possible toughening up of the penalties for not using seatbelts in cars, saying it’s the most obvious and direct way of saving lives in road crashes.

Today (19 July) the Department of Transport announced this as one of 74 measures to tackle road safety in the UK.

Currently, those not wearing seatbelts are given a £100 on-the-spot fine – but now the government is considering issuing penalty points for this offence.

In 2017 27% of car deaths involved people who were not wearing a seatbelt, an increase of 7% on the previous year and a marked increase on the years before it.

IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, has consistently lobbied for these penalties to be made tougher, while also noting that the fear of being caught must be greater to encourage car occupants to belt-up.

An investigation by IAM RoadSmart in February 2018 found that more than a third of police forces were using their mobile safety camera vans to prosecute drivers not wearing seatbelts or using a handheld mobile phone.

The charity made a Freedom of Information request to 44 police forces and found that 16 of those that responded routinely used their safety cameras to identify other motoring offences. Those 16 forces recorded more than 8,000 unbelted drivers between them.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “This is very welcome news. The best way of tackling this ever-present issue is to make people believe there is a high chance of being caught. This could start tomorrow if consistent guidelines on using mobile speed camera vans to enforce seatbelt laws were issued. 

“Currently there is no standard approach on using this high-profile resource across the UK. Making non-wearing of seatbelts an endorsable offence is also a quick win. Not only would it persuade more people to take the offence seriously, but it might benefit them to take a seatbelt awareness course. People avoid using seatbelts for a wide range of individual reasons and these views need to be challenged face-to-face.”

Survey finds over 70% would get the jitters in a car that drives itself.

While the car industry invests billions into the development of self-driving cars, a survey by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has found that drivers have other ideas – with over 70% saying they would not feel safe travelling in one.

IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, asked more than 1,600 visitors to its website if they would feel ‘confident and safe travelling in a fully self-driving vehicle, where there is no driver input.’ Just over 70% would feel ‘unsafe’ or ‘very unsafe’ with only 4% feeling ‘very safe.’

In addition, three-quarters (75%) expressed some level of disagreement with the statement that the vehicle should ‘always be in ultimate control,’ with 40% strongly against it.

There was an overwhelming view that the driver should always be able to take over from a self-driving car should he or she need to. Over 90% of respondents agreed this should be the case.

Those surveyed were also very definite over a future where there is no human involvement in driving. When asked if they agree that ‘all human drivers should be banned from driving on the roads once fully autonomous vehicles are widely available,’ over 82% either ‘disagreed’ or ‘strongly disagreed.’

A future where the car takes over more of the driver functions also didn’t fill those surveyed with joy.

When asked if they were ‘concerned about the progress towards a future where the vehicle takes over more and more functions previously controlled by the driver,’ two-thirds said they were ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned.’

Even current technology in new cars does not fill some of those surveyed with confidence. When asked if they would be ‘comfortable using current technology features on many cars such as adaptive cruise control, lane-assist and self-parking’ more than a quarter (27%) said they would be ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘very uncomfortable.’

However, over 50% were ‘comfortable’ or ‘very comfortable’ with using them.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “It’s clear from the results of our survey that the motor industry has a big job ahead in convincing drivers of the safety virtues of self-driving vehicles. While on paper they offer significant advantages in eliminating human error from collisions, there is a lot of confusion, misinformation and an over-abundance of terminology which has made the public distrustful of it.

“Some 44% of our respondents felt poorly or very poorly informed on autonomous vehicles with only 6% feeling very well informed. There needs to be an industry-standard on the acronyms and product names used, and car companies need to come together, alongside government, to ensure the facts out there are clearer and easy-to-understand.”

IAM RoadSmart is focusing on driverless technology, assisted driving and autonomous vehicles this month. To see our microsite full of information and resources click here: