Blood runners needed

SERV S&SL are looking to recruit local car drivers for our fixed supply run each evening for our fellow SERV regions, Kent and Sussex. This is so that SERV SSL can release other resources to continue the reliable and regular service to our own hospitals. This is an ideal opportunity for those who may have considered joining us in the past but who could not commit to being on duty all through the night. The nightly exchange run will entail the following:

  • Collection of products from NHS Blood & Transplant, Tooting – this may be multiple boxes of blood, platelets and plasma.
  • Exchange at our handover point with representatives from Kent and/or Sussex.
  • Possible exchange of Medical Samples to return to NHS Blood & Transplant, Tooting (if no return run then you will head home from the handover point).

Once trained, you will be assigned (with your agreement) one night a fortnight to cover this duty (more if you wish). There is an expectation of commitment and, if you cannot make your rostered duty for any reason, as much advance notice as possible is required, together with effort to swap the shift with another volunteer.

On your duty night you will call in and be assigned tasks for the night by the duty controller. Some nights, we may not have received any requests from Kent or Sussex and you may be stood down. Other nights, you’ll take products to our handover point and then take samples back to Tooting. That’s the luck of the draw!

Please note that no expenses are paid; like the rest of our volunteers, you donate your time and fuel to a good cause and the get the pleasure of knowing that you probably saved a life or two tonight.

The handover point is a comfortable 30 minute drive from Tooting using our tested route, so your duty should not take longer than 2 hours, including travelling time to and from home, on the worst night.

If you are still interested in joining us as a committed and dedicated car driving blood runner, or you have any further questions, please get in touch with our Recruitment Secretary on 07432 221981 or recruit@servssl.org.uk

A smooth drive into spring: tips from IAM RoadSmart

It’s time to get your car hale, hearty and ‘beach body ready’ in preparation for the spring. This week’s tips give advice on getting your car ready for the warmer weather, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.

  • Lose weight; clear out those coats, boots, scarves and bags that took up permanent residence during the winter months. They add weight as well as taking up space, and surplus weight means wasted fuel
  • Cut down on the salt; modern cars are much less prone to rust than their forbearers, but corrosion-causing salt from gritted roads can build up under the wheel arches and the suspension. Use a hose pipe to flush the wheel arches clean; if you have a pressure washer, even better. If not, try washing the arches after driving on wet roads – the mud and grit will have softened. The neighbours might think you’re peculiar but you’ll reduce the risk of expensive repairs
  • Test your vision; the demister puts a film of grime from traffic fumes on the inside of the windscreen which can spread bright sunshine into a blinding glare. Get the screen squeaky clean with water and detergent, dry with a microfibre cloth and crystal clear vision will be restored. Don’t forget the other windows; clean screens rarely mist up so you’ll need the heated rear window far less – another fuel saver
  • Keep hay fever at bay; most cars have pollen filters, but they need changing periodically to remain efficient. Look in your handbook to find out how to get to the filter and if it looks bad, change it now. Some very good after-market filters are available online, often with a charcoal layer to filter out pollutants as well as pollen
  • Don’t get hot and bothered; air conditioning is a boon as the temperature rises, but it contains a special gas which can slowly leak away. If it gets too low, the air-con will blow warm instead of cold. Test it by turning the heater control to minimum, the heater fan to maximum and make sure the air-con is turned on (i.e., not in “eco” mode). If you don’t feel an icy blast after a couple of minutes, the system may need “re-gassing”; a simple job which most garages have the equipment to do.

Richard said: “In conjunction with other spring cleaning treat your car, the efforts to wash and polish it will last a bit longer now the winter salt has gone. Now is a good time to spend a therapeutic Sunday morning tinkering.”

Do you want to find out more ways to stay safe on the road? Try our Advanced Driving Course and get the best out of yourself and your car.

Class of 2018

On Thursday 10th January, Guildford Advanced Motorists hosted its first annual prize giving event celebrating the success of our Class of 2018.

Not only did some new Members who passed in 2018 attend, but Examiners, Observers and representatives of IAM RoadSmart also joined us for this inaugural celebration.

Well done Class of 2018!

Thanks to Steven McCormick for taking photographs.

What to do when you see blue

Blue, red and green lights are used by the emergency services along with sirens as additional signals to alert us of their presence. The list of emergency services entitled to use them is too long to list completely here, but day-to-day we see police, ambulance and fire services on the road, however we could also see bomb disposal, mountain rescue and even HM Revenue and Customs using flashing lights!

Note that the rest of this article assumes that the blue lights aren’t because a police car is wanting you to stop. You’re and advanced driver, why would they?

We often see the lights and hear the sirens of emergency vehicles around us, but do we know the best way to react?  The Highway Code has a few comments to make on this topic and I hope that this article will expand on this advice.

The first thing to do is put yourself in the position of the driver of the emergency vehicle and ask yourself “what are they trying to achieve?”

The answer to this question is typically progress. They will be on a call and are trying to get from A to B as quickly and safely as possible. The next consideration is how can you best help them make progress?

Ask yourself, will they be able to keep their momentum passing?  When slowing/stopping, are you positioning your vehicle such that they can smoothly and efficiently pass, or are you creating an obstacle, requiring them to slow down?

If the answer to the questions above are no, you may be better off keeping going with them behind you. They are highly trained so will be aware that in this circumstance that you’re actually helping them rather than hindering (in such cases they will probably turn the siren off).

It is also worth looking at any other signals they are giving, including their vehicle’s body language, do you think they may be turning soon, in which case, just keeping on going may be the best help.

Also consider what oncoming traffic is doing? If two of you stop close together, you may block the carriageway altogether.

When you do decide to pull over and stop, do not forget to signal clearly in advance so the driver of the emergency vehicle knows your intent.

One last point to note is emergency vehicles with blue and red lights have certain exemptions to the traffic laws to help them respond quicker, whereas vehicles with green lights do not.

Never forget that as a civilian, you do not have any such exemptions to break any traffic laws in an attempt to help the driver of an emergency vehicle.  Therefore, do not exceed the speed limit, do not cross red traffic lights, do not drive in a bus lane, the list goes on…

Stay safe and if you see blue, think: “am I helping or hindering the driver of the emergency vehicle?”