The motorway in darkness

Driving at night can be quite dangerous as it is, but the Highways Agency has said that to cut costs the Department of Transport is turning off the lights on sections of some motorways late at night.

For example, the M1 will be plunged into darkness from midnight to 5am between junctions 10 and 13.

The Highways Agency director explained, “Since 2009 we've switched lighting off between the hours of midnight and 5am on 14 carefully-selected stretches of motorways and evidence so far indicates that switching off the lights hasn't had an impact on safety.

“In March this year we also began permanently switching off motorway lights at three sites.

"This is not about wishing to remove all lights from the motorway network. It's about carefully identifying the locations where, under the revised guidelines, we would no longer install lighting.

“The money saved could then be used for other measures on the strategic road network where it would have a more significant safety benefit and potentially save more lives.”

Still, a lot of people are worried that there are many safety issues with turning off the lights on these roads which contain fast-moving traffic.

If you have to go on the motorway when part of its lights have been turned off, just be prudent, and keep driving safely and considerately, and all should be well.

Photo © simongreenuk via Flickr, under Creative Common Licence

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Here’s a scenario Indiana Jones wouldn’t have enjoyed one bit!

While travelling along an American highway at 65mph, a family from Memphis, Tennessee, were shocked to see a snake emerge from the windscreen wiper vents on the bonnet of their car before looping itself round one of the wing-mirrors and dropping itself onto the road.

The family were stunned – so naturally they videoed the whole event and uploaded it on YouTube. As you do.

It’s had more than 120,000 views since the family put it on the site last week.

Would you like to add to that number? Well, we’ve embedded the video for your entertainment.

Mostly you can just hear the mother screaming and saying “Oh, my God, Oh, my God”, the young son singing “Snaky, snaky, snaky”, and the dad having a good laugh.

The family think that their reptilian hitchhiker must have been enjoying the heat under their car bonnet, and was disturbed by the vehicle’s movement.

We just hope that the snake made it across the tarmac to safety – because despite how scary they can appear and the father’s short chant of “kill it” at the end of the footage, snakes are largely misunderstood animals who’d rather be left alone than go around biting people.

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Driving licence and organ donation

Reportedly there are around 8,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the UK, and around 1,000 people die each year (three every day) while waiting to receive an organ.

However, despite the desperate need for organs less than a third of us British folk are on the donation list, so the government is trying to get more people to register by starting up a new pilot scheme.

The government’s thinking it that many more people would join the list if the possibility of doing it was directly presented to them.

"There's a variety of reasons why they don't put their name on the organ donor register,” the clinical director for transplantation at the Department of Health states, “but by far the most common is they just don't get round to it."

For a while now, people applying for their driving licence have been asked if they would like to join, but they had the option of completely ignoring the request. Now their options will be to join the list, explain that they are already on the list, or answer the question at another time.

This way, the people who do not wish to answer immediately will be confronted with it again at a later date.

The hope is that this will double the number of people who join the list, and as a result save many more lives.

Have you been thinking about joining the organ donation list, but just never got round to it? Have a look at the UK transplant website.

Photo © dmxxx_2006 via photobucket

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GPS racers

Sat-navs are meant to be helpful in-car accessories which lower the chance of us getting horribly lost somewhere, while at the same time estimating how long it will be before we reach our destination.

However, new research by a leading supermarket, which also offers its customers car insurance, shows that 7.2 million UK drivers are playing a potentially deadly game with their GPS system.

According to the survey, some motorists are trying to get to their destination in less time than is estimated by the sat-nav.

This dangerous game is being called sat-nav racing, and could result in a car accident and cause people severe injuries or even death.

Apparently, more than 144,000 of these racers admitted to being involved in a road traffic accident or hitting a parked car in the past year.

A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake stated, “Any craze or "game" that encourages speeding is irresponsible and potentially lethal.

“It is putting lives at risk. Anyone who is behind the wheel of a car has a responsibility towards other road users. Beating the sat-nav should not be their first concern.

“It is irresponsible and offensive to people who have already lost their lives in accidents. It is putting even more lives at risk.”

We agree. Getting from ‘A’ to ‘B’ safely is much more important than getting there quickly.

Photo © anemoneprojectors via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

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