Posts Tagged ‘journey’

Real Life Road Safety: An Office on Wheels

Posted on January 13th, 2012 by James Luckhurst

Real Life Road Safety: An Office on WheelsNo matter how good a driver you believe yourself to be, road safety should be observed by all. In this series of articles, motoring journalist James Luckhurst, will be looking at real life cases of drivers who are inadvertently putting themselves and others in danger on our busy motorways.

MARTIN WILCOX, 34, was stopped by police on a British motorway when he veered suddenly from the third to the fourth lane, in front of the unmarked police car, causing the police driver to brake heavily to avoid a collision. Martin pulled back into the third lane and, as the officer drove past, he saw him holding a styrofoam cup of coffee in his left hand. He was driving a two-year-old, 2.5-litre company car.

Martin told the officer he was driving from Twickenham in south-west London, with a colleague, to a client meeting in Liverpool. He drives about 500 miles per week, some of this as part of his work. He has nine points on his licence, all from camera-recorded speeding offences. He has also collected two parking tickets in the past three years. He occasionally makes and receives calls from a hands-free mobile phone when driving. He admits to having once fallen asleep at the wheel, though it was a momentary lapse with no catastrophic consequences. His employer imposes no limits as to the hours or mileage he drives, and does not operate a road safety policy. Martin has never been offered a driver training course and there are no company guidelines on mobile phone use while driving.

Driver training expert Graham Griffiths pointed to a lack of perception by Martin that his actions were unsafe. “Martin is not your typical high-mileage businessman, but when he is on the road he treats his car as a mobile office, restaurant – or padded cell,” he said. “The real problem is that driving is just the nuisance factor that goes with his need to do his job. Quite possibly this view is confirmed by his employer, and exacerbated by the trials of actually getting from A to B. He is unlikely to recognise his behaviour as unsafe.

“A coffee cup in one hand limits Martin’s ability to take any avoiding action if someone messes up. On this occasion, he was lucky that the avoiding action was taken by the policeman. It’s no surprise that getting on for two-thirds of all company-owned vehicles are involved in an accident – and insurance claim – each year. Here, neither the individual nor the company appreciates the risk to which they expose themselves. His car is either his desk on wheels, or his restaurant.”

No excuse to be bored

Posted on August 1st, 2011 by James Luckhurst

No excuse to be boredAfter a nationwide search to find the country’s favourite family car games, car maker Saab has revealed ‘Backseat Face Snap’ as the winner. Submitted by Renée Smith and her family from Merseyside, the fun-filled game requires backseat passengers to decide on four facial expressions. The players then face each other and cover their faces, revealing their expressions and if they’re the same, they shout ‘Snap!’

Other games that came top in Saab’s competition to find the most fun and innovative games that can be played on the move include: I Like Bananas, Island Shipwreck, Traffic Bingo, a themed Alphabet Game and Guess Upon a Rainbow.

Saab launched the national campaign earlier this year to bring back quality family time when in the car. The campaign encouraged parents to look at more interactive ways of keeping their children entertained when travelling as a family.

So here’s how to play a few ultimate backseat car games:

Backseat Face Snap

Decide on four faces, such as happy, sad, pull tongues and funny face. Next, face your challenger and cover your face with both hands in front. Count together 1, 2, 3…the reveal!
Are you the same? Shout “SNAP!” or let’s try again!

I Like Bananas!

When you see a car, say “I like…” followed by something of that colour. For example, if you see a red car, shout “I like tomatoes!” or for a green car, you might say “I like apples!” Take it in turns as a family, and the winner of the round is the first to spot a yellow car and say “I like bananas!”. It’s simple and a great game for even the youngest of children.

Island Shipwreck

You and your group of passengers are stranded on an island with sea surrounding you and all you have are trees, plants, a fresh water stream and your beach wear.

When you come across a lorry on your journey, choose one item for your island. For example, if you see a supermarket lorry, you could choose a case of vegetables, or if you see a van with DIY on it, you could choose some tools to build a house. The idea is to write down all of the provisions you are collecting that you are going to need to survive on the island!

Want to make it harder or be more creative? You could choose items to create your very own paradise island or draw your island at the end of your journey. It’s amazing what lorries will pass you by!

Traffic Bingo Game

Give every passenger boards with small pictures or words on of things that you might find on your journey, such as speed limit signs, post boxes, and petrol stations (or perhaps you might want to make it harder with suggestions like windmills, cows and public telephones?). As you go along, tick off the boxes when you see the items on your board. The winner is the first one who has marked off the most boxes by the end of the journey.

Themed Alphabet Game

It’s simple! Pick a theme, such as countries, fruit, movie stars, football clubs – anything that comes to mind! Work your way through the alphabet, taking it in turns to name something that belongs to your chosen theme. Can you find a word for those tricky letters such as Q, X and Z? Give it a go and see!

Guess Upon a Rainbow

Give passengers a wipe-clean piece of card or board, which has all the colours of the rainbow on: red, yellow, pick, green, orange, purple and blue. It could be coloured spots, squares or lines or you could even create the board in the shape of a rainbow. You each have to spot something red on your journey that begins with R, then something yellow that begins with Y, something pink that begins with P and so on, working your way through the colours of the rainbow.

Once you’ve found items for every colour, to win, you must find something that has two of the colours of the rainbow on it. Want to make it more challenging? The item you find must begin with any letter of the word RAINBOW!

Nutrition on a journey

Posted on July 22nd, 2011 by James Luckhurst

Nutrition on a journeyIt’s well known that fatigue can affect driving safety. One key factor to help us maximise our alertness on journeys is proper nourishment. We sent nutritionist Susie Kearley to her local motorway service area, on the M40 near Oxford, where she sampled a range of dishes on offer – and passed judgement on just how suitable they were for drivers on long journeys…



Brie, Cranberry and Mushroom Wellington

This was the vegetarian option of the day – sautéed mushrooms, spinach, hazelnut, cranberries and porcini, topped with French brie, encased in puffed pastry, and served with potato and peas. Delicious.

Good points: lots of nutritious vegetables providing antioxidants, cheese for protein and vitamin B12.

Bad points: refined flour and mushrooms cooked in oil which usually (depending on the oil used) creates trans fatty acids which contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Price: £6.99. Susie’s verdict: 8/10


Rotisserie Chicken

Half a rotisserie Chicken served with chips and peas – a fresh slice of orange drizzling juice on top for a mild kick of sweet flavour. Very tasty.

Good points: white meat is low in fat and provides B12 which improves concentration and memory. Vegetables supply nutrients and antioxidants.

Bad points: chips are high in bad fats which damage the arteries. The huge serving of meat will take a long time to digest (protein takes longer and uses more energy to digest). It could make a driver sleepy if he/she was getting tired anyway.

Price: £7.99 Susie’s verdict: 6/10


Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower cooked in a cheesy sauce, baked in the oven, and served as a side dish. Taste-wise this was disappointing: not very cheesy.

Good points: cauliflowers are high in vitamin C a potent antioxidant, as well as providing good amounts of vitamin K and folic acid. They contain phytoestrogens which protect against some cancers, and even contain some omega 3. The cheesy topping provides some B12 and protein.

Bad points: it is hard to criticise this dish except to say it’s a bit small as a main meal and would be more balanced if combined with other foods and vegetables for a wider range of nutrients.

Price: 99p Susie’s verdict: 9/10


Cappuccino coffee

Milky cappuccino with chocolate on top. Delicious! It’s not going to get top marks for nutritional value though, since caffeine is a stimulant which provides a peak in energy which then falls off, leaving you more tired than before.

Good points: Milk provides vitamin B12 which helps you concentrate.

Bad points: Don’t think this cuppa will keep you driving safely all afternoon. You need some carbohydrates in your diet to keep your blood sugar levels stable, and keep you safe and alert on the road.

Price: £2.65 Susie’s verdict: 1/10 as a meal replacement

Fish and chips

The batter is made from refined flour, and would be healthier made from wholemeal. Oily fish such as tuna or mackerel are healthierNutrition on a journey alternatives to cod or haddock. However, this meal gives you the protein and carbohydrate to keep you going on the road – but it’s a fatty choice which could make you feel groggy and drowsy.

Good points: The fish is fairly healthy – containing protein and vitamin B12.

Bad points: The chips and batter are deep fried, making them a health hazard for your heart!

Price: £6.99 Susie’s verdict: 4/10

If Susie’s motorway food review has caught your attention, then make sure you don’t miss her investigation into nutrition, alertness and driver fatigue in the forthcoming edition of Good Motoring magazine.