WHY have we created this film ? Good question.
WARNING ☹ If you are short of time, you may want to SKIP this whole section. PREVIEWING our film product is MUCH more important and a better use of your limited time. You can always come back here later if you are so inclined – not everybody will be. ☹ IF you decide to buy, what you will go on to see in the FULL FILM presented here is UNIQUE. And it just MAY save you, and your loved ones, from a trip to A & E, or worse.
This website bears witness to finally getting this UNIQUE collage of driving knowledge out to hopefully a wide UK audience of drivers, drivers of ALL flavours. The young and the not so young. The good, the bad, and yes even the ugly 😊 ANYONE who drives will take significant benefit from the contents found here. And at a stupid Price Point. THE very best purchase you will EVER make. The highest VALUE per pound on the planet.
I claim a UNIQUE status quite loudly, and if YOU think this is an exaggeration, I invite you to present your evidence by getting in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do not believe there is ANYTHING already out there in the public domain that contains anywhere near the volume of RISK CONTENT, and INCIDENT FACTS, spanning almost ALL aspects of driving incidents and scenario RISKS, and the CONSEQUENCES involved when it goes wrong. There ARE many piecemeal driving Products already out there, but IMHO none can compare with THIS product. None. Zilch. Nada. My GAUNTLET is duly LAID DOWN - CHALLENGE THIS CLAIM IF YOU SO WISH. And name your choice of weapons 🙂 and your preferred location for combat. 😊
I do have some
“skin in the game”
and I have seen and been touched by many incidents over 55 years
I passed my test in 1965, and with now 55+ years of driving experience, suffice to say I have seen a lot, and had personal experience of a lot. Consequently it can be said that I have some “skin in the game” and that my product and its content are categorically not just yet another academic exercise. What you will see in this film represents the real world of driving today in 2021, and the associated risks, and consequences, that come with the pleasure and freedom of going wherever the moment takes you. It may help to know a little more about my driving story. Pictured here is my fav car of all my years on the road - a Toyota Supra MK2 1988 model. Together with 2 pals sharing the driving, we joined the 1989 Beaujolais Run as one of 44 cars (including another pal Clutters in his Aston Martin DB5) to and from the vinyards in the south of France. Great 3-day event organised by Solihull Round Table and with business donations for vehicle livery ads to charity. This event helped raise over £90K spread across the numerous charities nominated by the Tablers committee. The event is joined by many dozens of other groups from all across the UK, and many more from Europe including Scandinavia. For that weekend the Beaujolais region is anything but French.
As soon as I was legally allowed, shortly after my 16th birthday in August 1964, I got myself a provisional license for 2 wheels i.e. Motor Bikes, and with a little fiscal help from my parents, I bought my fantastic Vespa GS180, which I used with great pleasure over the next couple of years, adorned with the necessary fur-lined hooded Parka and Chrome Panniers. I think I probably pushed that Vespa for almost as many miles as I rode it – at least at times it seemed like that. My mother died early that following year 1965 aged 58, and my dad 2 years after that aged 63. Meanwhile my new girlfriend Janet was told by her parents she was not allowed to ride pillion on my Vespa. I could not yet afford a car but was able to borrow one occasionally – from my brother-in-law Jack, who had taught me to drive. Jack was/is my hero, and still with us on the planet and still running faster than the reaper and the pandemic. And he's a good pool player as well.
Co-author Janet, RIP December 2018
Janet became my wife in Feb 1969, and we shared a further 50 years together before she passed away in December 2018, after valiantly battling a nasty stomach cancer for 2 years. Janet was beautiful in body and soul, and a smart cookie as well. Janet contributed greatly to the early days of developing this film product that you see on this website. Janet's opinions were called into play when trying to decide which Scenario topics should stay IN, and which should be sidelined or thrown OUT. When this SATD "project" started - it had 30 Scenarios. By completion that had grown to 50 Scenarios that bring RISK to all of us that drive. Janet not only contributed to the extensive content edit tasks in the “studio”, and to validating the content and risk scenarios that are showcased, but also the very many graphical animations and fact sheets seen in the film. What YOU will view in just over ONE HOUR, took many hundreds of hours to research and finally assemble and produce. We shared much of these tasks together, and shared a great many hours together as a result. As Janet entered her final 3 months at St Giles Hospice in Whittington, where angels are trained, I was allowed to set up “FILM HQ” there with all of my/our tech kit, and I was able to share those final weeks with my babe without leaving her side apart from calls of nature. So even in that final journey, Janet was still poking and picking at this film that you now see completed. So it contains our joint labours of blood sweat and tears in equal measure. Time that I will always treasure. Pics here taken in Wales just a few months before Janet was taken, aged 70 going on 24.
I will further comment on Janet’s own history on our roads later in this backstory sequence. Janet personally had 3 serious incidents on our roads, ALL of which involved her being hit from behind. As a consequence, when I first muted creating THIS product about 4 years ago, Janet provided the moral support which made me DO IT. In fact, in those early days of germination for what this film should achieve, she often said “JUST DO IT!!”. An exaltation I have adopted as I approach launch. Back to the beginning. Before reaching the legal driving age of 17, I had been taught to drive by my brother-in-law Jack in his Ford Zephyr, his pride and joy. The tuition took place on empty industrial roads and lorry parks, adjacent to Newmarket Lane, Halton Moor Road, and the Coal Road in and around north Leeds. This was always in the evenings and weekends when there was literally no traffic. I was having such a lesson in Jack’s car, column gear change, on the evening of Friday 23 Nov 1963 at around 6:30pm, when over the car radio came the news from America of JFK’s assassination in Dallas Texas.
15 August 1965
Rewinding a little, from the age of 15, my regular driving tuition sessions with Jack were clearly illegal, although the only ones at any risk were Jack and myself. But it meant that when I turned 17 on 9 August 1965, I was able to take and pass my full driving test within the following week. He didn’t say anything, but as my Examiner checked my provisional license at the beginning of the test, he gave me a very strange and slightly nervous glance. However, I passed without any issues, and I am sure the Examiner was quite relaxed after that first tense 5 minutes of the test. Over the ensuing couple of years, I would often be allowed to borrow Jack’s car(s), especially when he and my sister Angela used to get me to take them and pick them up from their weekend nights out on the town in Leeds.
1969 the great IAM
I was not able to afford a car for a further 4 years, and indeed my very first cars were all Company Cars (a Vauxhall Viva, followed in short order by a Ford Anglia Estate, in turn followed by my very FIRST brand NEW car in the form of a Ford Escort Estate – I still remember the smell of that car as it was delivered to myself and Janet in Roundhay in Leeds). My employer Van den Bergh (now Unilever) took the topic of employee driving seriously, and they paid for company car drivers to be privately coached, and to then take the IAM Advanced Driving Test. So, at age 21, I passed the advanced driving test and became a Member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
My employer received the benefit of reduced Insurance Premiums for drivers that passed the test. The IAM experience at that early age served me well for the rest of my career, and without doubt it allowed me to avoid a large number of road incidents, very often caused by other road users driving inconsiderately, badly, and sometimes outright dangerously. This situation has if anything worsened in the last couple of decades, and witnessing this deterioration has led to me creating this film product that you are seeing here on this website. In the last 40 years of my working life, mostly spent in the IT sector, I have routinely driven 30K to 35K miles per annum, very often with a 2 hours or more road journey outbound AND return, sandwiching a 6-7 hour meeting with Customers/Clients, discussing their deployment of shiny new core IT ERP business management solutions, then returning home. I was never one for staying away at hotels on longer distance trips, always preferring where practical to trek home to my family and my own bed.
My personal CATALOG of driving related INCIDENTS – reasons to be careful
1967 - Wetherby
Wetherby - 1967 – Aged 19 – my “steady” girlfriend Janet and I did many things socially with two other couples, both of whom had a car, whereas we didn’t, yet. On one Friday night these friends proposed a drive out to a village pub near Wetherby – a drive of about 10-12 miles from Leeds. Both cars were little 2-seaters – I think a Midget and a Frog-Eye Sprite – so Janet and I had to decline joining (Jacks car was not available to borrow). One of the couples did not know the target pub or the village, so they decided to split up their girlfriends so that both cars would have someone who knew the target pub in case the convoy was broken up during the drive out to Wetherby. Quite why the Sprite left the road was never very clear – it was a very wet night and dark (late March) and the road they were on was a narrow twisty winding B road. The Frog-Eye was leading and had got a little way ahead and out of sight of the following Midget. Apparently the Frog-Eye lost control on a bend, went through a hedgeline, and side-on into a tree. The female passenger was killed, the driver survived but was quite badly hurt. Within less than a minute or so, the Midget arrived to find the car off-road, both occupants still in the car. Ambulances arrived very quickly, but it was too late for the Frog-Eye passenger. So, for no apparent reason, the driver was sadly responsible for the death of his friends girlfriend. His fragmented recollection of the incident indicated that suddenly he just “lost” all control, and the next thing he remembered was coming around in the ambulance. The friendships across the group were never the same, understandably. All in the blink of an eye.
1969 - Leeds city centre
Leeds – 1969 – Aged 21 – I was driving my Ford Anglia Estate down Merrion Street a city centre street. Halfway down Merrion Street is a junction with Wade Lane on the left. Access from Wade Lane was a “normal” give-way. As I got to the junction, doing 28-30mph, another vehicle came driving out at probably the same speed, 28-30mph as if the junction didn’t exist. Despite swerving to avoid a collision, and indeed almost hitting another oncoming car coming the other way up Merrion Street, the emerging car smashed straight into my car crushing the passenger door and rear passenger door – a proper T-bone collision. I was badly shaken and bruised but otherwise OK. The driver of the other car was aiming for the rear collection point of Lewis’s department store, which was directly adjacent to the Wade Lane junction, and he was looking at Lewis’s and didn’t even see the give-way.
The Anglia (3 years old) was written off by the vehicle insurers, and the only positive outcome was it was replaced by my employers with a shiny brand new Ford Escort Estate. Scary incident but it had a silver lining outcome. A month or so later I took and passed the IAM Advanced Driving Test, and one of the key learnings was to always assume that, at junctions, the other parties often do not see where YOU have implicit right of way. In the years that followed, I subsequently managed to avoid several potential collision incidents because I anticipated the potential risks earlier than I had, prior to my crash on Merrion Street in central Leeds.
1969 - Newcastle/South Shields - could have missed my wedding
Newcastle/South Shields – 1969 - For about 4 months, I was working in the North-East during the week staying in digs in South Shields, and travelling home to Leeds each weekend. One very wet morning I had been into Newcastle, and was returning to South Shields driving along the A1058 east towards North Shields, a fast dual carriageway linking the two towns. I was doing the limit 70MPH. On a long slightly downhill then uphill stretch with a slight bend to the left, I was suddenly conscious that the steering wheel seemed “light”, and was not responding to the small turn adjustments I was making. I had been trekking along in the inside lane, but I was now shifting uncontrollably into the centre of the road and spanning both lanes, with the central metal barriers looming. No matter which way I corrected the steering wheel, the car (Ford Anglia Estate, with cross-ply tyres as I later found out, did NOT respond at all. Thankfully (because of IAM) I knew NOT to hit the brakes, since this could just cause an even more drastic loss of control. The car was lurching left and right, but there was NO normal response to adjusting the steering wheel.
I was quickly OFF the accelerator pedal. Gradually (in 1 or 2 seconds) as the speed dropped, traction with the tarmac kicked in again, and at that point the car did a complete 180 degree skid, leaving me facing the wrong way back down the dual carriageway, and inches from the nearside metal barrier. Shocked, I was looking down into the rear gardens of the houses that bordered the road at this point. I could very easily have finished up IN one of those gardens, which are about 15FT lower than the road level. Luckily for me there were no other vehicles closeby behind me, and my biggest problem now was getting the car turned around to face the right way.
After about 5 mins of watching the traffic go by giving me confused looks, I saw a chance to do a very quick 2-point turn (yes – 2 point, where you REVERSE first, and then swing the car on full steering lock, then quickly into 1st gear and go forward). I sighed with complete relief when I completed that about turn, and I was back on my way to South Shields. The experience SHOOK me – I had lost control of a hunk of metal at 70MPH, and was lucky to walk away and very lucky that I didn’t kill someone else. My FIRST but not my last aquaplane. I did have more experiences of aquaplaning, but I did not ever lose control, after that first shave with the devil. Maybe I was LUCKY to have learned without getting any scratches.
1984 - Monk Fryston
Monk Fryston, Selby – A63 – 1984 – recently passed away a couple of years ago, my elder sister Margaret (Mag or Maggie) lived at the time in Selby, Yorkshire. Mag was always an independent lady, and nothing made her happier than jumping into her car and going – somewhere - indeed anywhere. She would regularly travel the country north and south to see family and friends, and that included driving trips to Ireland and Scotland. Ireland was a particularly favourite trip. After all she was Irish, as am I. Maggie was driving from her home in Selby to Leeds, a journey she did so often she could do it with her eyes closed. Maggies driving could best be described as “plodding” – never driving fast, just wanting to get from A to B in one piece.
She used the A63, a major A road although mostly single carriageway. She passed through Monk Fryston village, and navigated a roundabout just outside the village, heading then straight onwards towards Garforth on track for Leeds. It is a fast road stretch. There is a long bend in the road. A 4x4 car travelling fast came towards her around the bend on the wrong side of the road. In trying to avoid a complete head on Maggie could only swerve off the road and into a deep ditch, with a heavy crash into the roadside vegetation. She was badly injured generally, and specifically had a badly broken arm. The other driver did not stop, but was subsequently traced by the police and was a resident of Monk Fryston. The outcome was many weeks in hospital, then many months of hospitals visits and rehab. On a lighter note, a vehicle recovery service was given the task of getting Maggies car out of the ditch and hedges. The recovery driver had been told there had been a nasty head-on incident. When he arrived to collect the vehicle, the driver opened the boot to check for any personal belongings. He instantly fainted by the roadside, and had to be brought around by his colleague. The first thing he saw in the boot was Maggies bushy black wig which she wore often. He apparantly thought it was someone’s head. Margaret was in considerable discomfort for many years thereafter. RIP sis.
1991 - Luton M1
M1 just north of Luton – March 1991 – our son Andrew, then aged 14, had spent a weekend with his cousin in Lamberhurst, Kent. I travelled down to pick him up, and set off back about 8:30 PM. The roads were quiet. Navigating the M25 around to the M1 then heading north. Just past Luton, there was just one car ahead of me, I was travelling a little faster than he was, so I had pulled out into the central lane to overtake. As I closed on the car, I noticed it was a little erratic and held back from the overtake. After just a few more seconds, the car literally flew sharp right across all three lanes, colliding heavily with the central reservation then rebounding back over to the left side of the carriageway coming to a rest on the hard shoulder.
By now I had slowed considerably and travelled past the crashed car and I parked on the hard shoulder about 50 meters ahead of the car. I was concerned to see if anyone was hurt. I opened my car door to get out, and the strangest thing happened. Before I could actually get my leg out of the car door, a whole wheel and tyre slowly rolled past me up the M1 in the centre of the road !!! Stunned, I ran up the M1 following the wheel, and got it off the road, and onto the hard shoulder. I then went back to the crashed car – as yet no one had emerged. As I got there the two occupants got out and thankfully there appeared to be no injuries and they were on their feet, moving freely and OK. The driver was dazed, and had no idea what had happened. I pointed to his missing wheel, and then pointed up the road to where his wheel now resided. His rear wheel had just come completely off the car in one piece, which is what must have been what caused the erratic twitching that I had seen as I approached to overtake. I had never seen anything like that. Yes I have seen several incidents where a tyre has come off the rim, usually following a blowout, but never a whole wheel intact. This event shook all of us involved, and I hate to think what might have happened if I had continued to overtake, as I had intended to. This incident was to prove prescient. See the description of what happened to myself and my wife Janet in 2016 as we trekked this time to Hull to see my sister Margaret (who had relocated from Selby) and who had been in and out of hospital for various illnesses. YES - our rear wheel came OFF, intact !!
1994 - Selby A19 towards York
Selby to York – A19 – 1994 – two of my sisters live in Selby and Tadcaster, near York, respectively. Janet and I had been visiting my sister Margaret in Selby, stayed overnight in a hotel in Selby, and were heading north to Tadcaster the following day. There was a heavy snow fall overnight. As we set off for York after breakfast at around 9AM, the main roads were pretty clear, but plenty of snow still around on the paths and fields. We took the A19 out of Selby, and this road at this point is a fast single carriageway although quite wide and with occasional dual carriageway sections allowing a bit of progress. As I have said the main roads were clear of snow, and traffic was moderate to heavy and travelling normally, at normal speeds up the A19. Not very far out of Selby, the A19 has a long straight stretch, but there is a point where it RISES very gently – probably to accommodate the river Ouse floodplain area - and then the road DROPS away slowly. Traffic was BUSY, and the traffic was pretty full of HGV’s. They were doing mid 50-60MPH, I was overtaking them regularly, and with no problems. I was doing 60-65MPH. Nicely clear road with NO SNOW, and a nice bright sun burning off the fields. BUT the sun was still LOW in the sky. As we trekked to the high point of the gentle rise in the road, the forward view NOW showed LOTS of snow was still lingering on the CENTRAL aspects on both sides of the central point of the carriageway.
The ANGLE of the low sun had simply not yet had chance to burn away the area IN SHADOW. Note that this was NOT the usual hump-backed bridge scenario. This is a VERY LEVEL fast and wide carriageway. But on my inside was a blockade of HGV’s. travelling elephant-like with tiny gaps between each lorry. I had fast traffic too close behind, but I have NOWHERE to go except straight ahead, and within just a few seconds I am arriving at the snow line, but ONLY with my offside wheels. My nearside wheels are still running on clear tarmac. The next 20 seconds scared the proverbial out of both myself and my wife. Traction on the left is great, traction on the right in the snow line has gone, and despite lowering my speed, the car was twitching left and right and close to losing control. The chap up my tail behind was clearly having the same issues, and he must have hit the brakes too hard, because his car mounted the kerb around a central pedestrian reservation with his offside wheels before dropping uncontrollably back onto the road, twitching all the way. I could see all of this going on in my mirror. Meanwhile I am trying to wrestle back control, and all I can see to my nearside is the 4ft high wheels of the HGV running parallel to me, and still doing his max allowed speed of 56MPH. My wife let out a noise I hadn’t heard before. But thankfully and quite quickly the jiggling motions stopped, and the car was back in total control. All of this happened over probably 200 mtrs. By now we are out of the “shadow” of the small “bridge”, and there is magically no more snow in the road. We got safely and without incident to Tadcaster, but for just a few brief seconds, we were very close to being eaten by the wheels of a 30 tonner. Once again, in the blink of an eye, circumstances changed. In my minds eye I can still see that stretch of road just a couple of miles or so north of Selby, and it still causes me to twitch on how close we came to losing it.
2002 - Solihull - Warwick A4177
Solihull to Warwick - A4177 – 2002 – Ann and her 14 year old daughter Hollie were travelling home one evening, from Ann’s office in Solihull to their family home in Hatton, near Warwick. Janet and I are Hollie’s godparents, and have been family friends for many years, since we first met in 1978 indeed. It was early evening about 5:30 when they left Ann’s offices in Solihull for a routine drive home to Hatton down the A4141 and then A4177. It was a typical spring evening, it had been raining, but the rain and the skies had mostly cleared. About half-way home, as Ann emerged from a roundabout, and building speed as normal, after about 200 meters, she was involved in a head-on crash with another vehicle coming the other way. Witness statements suggested Ann was observed to have drifted across the road, and that the other driver involved had no way to avoid the collision. Why this occurred remains a mystery. No mechanical faults were found with Ann’s vehicle. Hollie had no memories of the moments prior to the collision.
It is possible that Ann was blinded momentarily by the setting spring sun, very bright and very low in the sky, and directly ahead of Ann’s car, possibly dazzling her without warning. Police and ambulances attended quickly. Both Ann and daughter Hollie were both visibly in bad shape. The medics quickly decided Ann should be taken immediately to Warwick hospital by ambulance, but sadly upon arrival at the hospital Ann was declared deceased. Hollie’s injuries, including suspected head injuries, dictated she should be taken to Birmingham Selly Oak hospital, a specialist unit. Once the emergency services teams were able to extract her from the crumpled vehicle, she was airlifted to Selly Oak by helicopter. Hollie incurred severe head and brain injuries, as well as damaging bones in her chest, legs and hips. Hollie’s return to good health took several years, led by a fabulous specialist rehab centre in Chelford, Cheshire. Today at 33 Hollie is a beautiful, smart and fun lady, full of life, and is actively “evaluating” a lovely man called Chris. But on that spring day, her own life and her family’s lives were radically changed in the blink of an eye.
1989 - Atlanta USA
Atlanta City USA 1989 – my lovely niece Elizabeth was killed aged 19 when the vehicle she was travelling in (a classic edition VW Beetle) was hit from behind at speed by a large 4x4 pickup. Elizabeth was in the rear seats. Notably, that Beetle edition had no rear seat belts. She died at the scene. Her sister Sarah and two friends were with her in the car, which was being driven by one of their friends. They were heading out for the evening to celebrate Sarah’s 18th birthday. Ironically, the family were shortly expecting a relocation back to the UK planned to happen just 4 weeks after the incident. Her father, my brother Ollie, was at the time working out of Antwerp in Belgium, and with US-EU time-zone differences, it took many hours to locate him to give him the terrible news about his eldest child. Suffice to say the family scars following this incident have never healed, probably will never heal, leaving a hole that can never be filled. Elizabeth’s star was destined to shine bright, and it was snuffed out in just the blink of an eye, on a day that was supposed to be a happy coming-of-age family occasion.
Once, twice, three times a LADY (a lucky lady)
VARIOUS dates and VARIOUS locations - my late wife Janet and her driving HAT TRICK. Janet was late to driving, leaving it until she was into her 30’s to take her test, which she passed on the first go. I had taught her to drive, she had NO formal lessons, and all her tuition was in MY car, so NO dual controls. Which proved interesting when she took her test. Examiners REALLY don’t like to carry out tests with no dual controls. She went on to be a very good driver, indeed better than most drivers I suggest. Don’t tell her I said so.
Just to paint the picture, I will list just s few of Janet’s cars. Her first OWN car – a Hillman Imp. Then a very fast Fiat Strada Abarth. Then a Mk1 Toyota Supra (stolen after 8 months). A lovely white classic MGB GT. A BMW 635CSI. A Ford Granada Estate. A Ford Explorer 4x4. Finally a Lexus GS300 (pictured above - the left hand one) was her final drive before she passed away aged 70. And along the journey, Janet also routinely drove all of my cars, which I won’t list here. But you get the point – she could get into any vehicle and get from A to B safely, well mostly. And of course she enjoyed her driving, and her escape from our loud household tribe with her favourite music filling the car. She would think nothing of jumping in her car and driving from B'ham region to Leeds to visit her mother and our wider family. Despite all of these accolades, Janet had THREE serious driving incidents whilst driving alone (without me but maybe with our kids). In ALL THREE incidents, Janet was hit from behind by someone else’s reckless driving. And THAT’S the message of this FILM and the information contained herein.
Janet’s Fiat Strada Abarth
ABOVE Janets’s MGB GT and son Andrew who was in the rear seat when the MG was written off in Erdington, Birmingham. And daughter Deb was in the front seat.
Janet’s Ford Granada Estate
which boasted TWIN sunroofs 🙂