Posts Tagged ‘driving’

Car insurance for young drivers

Saturday, May 26th, 2012 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

Recently, there has been news coverage regarding the cost of car insurance for young drivers.

Everyone is asking how we can bring down the price for young drivers. Nobody seems to be asking whether the price is legitimately high because that is just how much it costs, but lets ignore that obvious question and assume that the prohibitive costs for young drivers are an issue that needs to be addressed.

If so, one easy way to bring down the cost for young drivers would be to ban insurance companies from discriminating based on age.

What way, everyone would pay the same regardless of how old they were. Of course, insurance companies would still be free to charge people higher premiums based on their driving history – if you’ve had an accident you pay more, if you have no claims you pay less. But it stops the companies charging people more just because of their age alone.

You can argue that it makes sense to make young drivers pay more because they are more likely to have an accident, but this is not a fair system. Why? Because it is entirely unfair to the young drivers who do drive safely. Why should they pay more for other people’s reckless behaviour?

This is almost the same situation as it was with insurance companies discriminating based on gender, and this has now been recognised by the EU and will be illegal from the end of this year. You can’t charge someone more for car insurance because of an arbitrary characteristic, such as gender or race.

People get angry when they think about young drivers costing them more money on their insurance premiums. But this isn’t the case! Young drivers don’t cost you any more money. Only reckless drivers do. A young driver who never crashes and doesn’t claim on their insurance doesn’t cause your premiums to go up. Whereas a 50-year-old who does crash, does cause your premium to go up. To blanket blame an entire demographic because of the actions of a minority is both ludicrous and morally wrong.

The one argument I think might carry some weight is the argument that it is fair to charge young drivers more because we’re all young at one point and then we all get old, so everyone gets the same fair deal in the end. However, I’m not sold on this being a better solution than banning age discrimination altogether, in which everyone gets the same fair deal, all the time.

On your bike

Friday, April 13th, 2012 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

Cyclists on the road have long been a contentious issue for drivers. Many drivers argue that they slow down traffic and don’t pay any road tax. Meanwhile, cyclists argue that not enough care is taken by drivers to maintain safe roads and that they are often the victims of accidents in which they come off much worse.

The issue seems to be that they are very much in limbo. They are road users in many aspects, but then they are also similar to pedestrians in many ways (so in some aspects, pedestrians are road users also).

Traffic lights are a very good example of this. I would say the majority of cyclists I see on the roads, that is to say at least over 50% of them, do not pay attention to traffic lights. They ride straight through them or sometimes mount the pavement in order to avoid them if you would go as far as to describing it as that.

My problem with this is that you can’t expect to be treated as a valid road user, if you’re going to jump red lights.

First of all, it isn’t safe. You can make the argument that it is safe because obviously a cyclist wouldn’t jump a red light when there was someone crossing but if you’re going to make this argument there is no reason why cars should still be restricted to stopping for red lights – after all, we promise to check if there are people on the crossing. Obviously, this would end badly. Why? Because it’s just not safe to let people jump red lights, whoever they are (including emergency vehicles, but there are greater risk of not stopping).

Secondly, it creates a separation between cars and bikes. If we’re going to maintain that cyclists are full road users who deserve just as much respect as drivers, then they need to be held to the same standards as cars and motorbikes – if you say “the law doesn’t apply to me because I don’t have an engine”, you’re unlikely to be granted the respect you are looking for either.

As a society, we need to make the roads safer for cyclists – and that is only going to happen when drivers change their attitude towards cyclists. But, when the majority of cyclists don’t follow the rules of the road, can we really blame drivers for not giving them that respect?


Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 | Travel

Another short drive away was Verona though perhaps not an easy drive – while most of Europe seems pretty sensible on the road, the Italians are very different. Things like coaches overtaking on bends, randomly pulling out and best of all, not being able to get into the other lane so simply pulling out and driving head on down your lane until someone lets them in were common place.

Luckily we eventually made it to Verona alive and found our hotel which was just off the main square and best of all – had a McDonald’s on the ground floor!

Once settled in to what was a nice hotel albeit it not offering wifi in our rooms and even in the lobby at a reasonably heavy price we decided to go for a wander and explore the city.

It was very nice – the pavements looked new and well maintained and all the shops were beautiful – it was basically an entire city which looked like the Victoria Quarter in Leeds. Of course, we couldn’t afford to shop in any of them.

We ended up on a square where we decided to have dinner paying what I think was a record of €7 for a beer and being served by a crazy waiter who when I asked for a white wine soon reappeared with a glass of red insisting I would prefer this one. Mental.

Still the food was very nice and on the way home we stopped by Juliet’s balcony, which was unfortunately closed. It’s also a bit of a joke, it’s not even made of the same colour stone as the rest of the building, it’s not even like they have pretended it was originally there – not that you really can for a fictional character.

Laptop steering wheel desk

Thursday, November 19th, 2009 | Reviews, Thoughts

Richard Wisemen tweeted about this Amazon product listing recently, it’s a little travel desk which hucks onto your steering wheel so you can use your laptop while driving.

Richard was most impressed by the customer images that users have taken the time to upload but I personally think it’s the quality reviews that people have written to really let us know how effective the product is that is the real gem of the page.

Wow is this thing great! I use it as a “mini-bar” when the friends and I go out to the bars. I can quickly fix multiple shots of tequila for myself and the friends as we drive from one bar to the next. We also discovered that if you place a pillow on top of it and turn on the cruise control you can catch quick naps on the interstate. If you swerve to the left or right the rumble strips on the road wake you up in plenty of time before you get into trouble. I can now take longer trips without being tired!

Also, i am now dating a midget and she fits nicely on the steering wheel desk which allows us to experiment sexually while driving. This thing is like WD-40 or duct tape, it is a million and one uses!

This has been a total lifesaver. It allows me to prop my sheet music against the wheel, allowing me to play the guitar with both hands while driving.

It is also great for holding your food if you decide you want a full meal (but you can’t check facebook on your steak), rolling illegal products in clear view of officers, and it makes a GREAT holder for your 6 pack of beer so you don’t even have to reach in the backseat to get another (reaching behind you while driving is dangerous)

This desk leaves just enough room to control the wheel with my knee so my shoulder is free for my phone and I can type with one hand and eat my lunch with the other. Best invention EVER.

I had hoped to find a low-cost/safer alternative to a car seat for my 21-month old. I was certain this would work well–even allowing me to see her clearly while driving (I am a freak about child safety!). Imagine my utter shock when she careened into my head while backing out of the driveway. And the darn “child seat” turned over too–seemingly it moves with the streering wheel—WTF? Luckily, I slammed on the brakes, and we have sustained only mild-to-severe concussions

Do you have any idea how hard it is to read Braille books while driving? Every time I’d hit something my book would slide off my lap onto the floor and I’d lose my place. Problem solved…Thanks Laptop Steering Wheel Desk.

Definitely one for the Christmas list.

I love Chrismukkah

Monday, December 22nd, 2008 | Life

15 minute commute to work!

With schools out for the holidays and a lot of people having finished work last Friday too the roads are a dream to drive on. My commute to work normally takes almost twice as long, I could live with this all year.

Petrol prices

Monday, October 20th, 2008 | Life

Last night, I filled up for less than £1 a litre!

While many of you will probably remember the days back when it was like £0.90 a litre (and the really old of you may remember when it was like half what it is now – along with the switching on off BBC2, the second world war, etc 😉 ), this is the first time I have been able to get petrol for under £1 since I started paying for it.

I wonder if all the companies that put their prices up due to “fuel price increases” will be dropping them back down again, lol.

The Rileys

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 | Life

Seriously, who are Circle Theatre Tricks? Because I’ve never heard of them. Yet they have the best publicity on campus. Apparently.

Still, Friday night saw us hit Fruity. It was quite good to work the stress out after having driven down the M1, had a job interview and driven back on the M1. How do people not die on that road?

The readjustment phase

Sunday, April 27th, 2008 | Life

You wouldn’t think having not driven for a week except having spent an entire week driving a van would make you feel so different when getting back into a car, but you would be wrong.

I got back into my Mondeo yesterday having not driven anything for three weeks except for the Rationalist Week van and it was a mightily strange experience.

First of all, you feel so low on the ground. The van is up high, you tower over other cars. Secondly having been sat upright in the van I now feel like I am almost lying backwards. The two factors coupled together almost make you feel like you are driving a formula one racing car.

It’s weird readjusting too. The biting point is different, I have a petrol engine that actually needs revving to get any power once again and I can actually see out of the back of the vehicle. It’s mad.