Drink driving


The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone.
Rule 95

Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities.

In England and Wales you MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 80 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

In Scotland the legal limits are lower. You MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 22 microgrammes/100 millilitres of breath or a blood alcohol level of more than 50 milligrammes/100 millilitres of blood.

Alcohol will

  • give a false sense of confidence
  • reduce co-ordination and slow down reactions
  • affect judgement of speed, distance and risk
  • reduce your driving ability, even if you’re below the legal limit
  • take time to leave your body; you may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening.

The best solution is not to drink at all when planning to drive because any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely. If you are going to drink, arrange another means of transport.

Check out this drug-driving film

Pet poison of the week – Clematis

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Common signs to watch for:
• Drooling
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
This popular vine has a beautiful, colorful flower, and grows in bright sunlight. Clematis contains an irritating glycosides, and when ingested by pets, can cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. Thankfully, this plant has a very bitter taste, which deters most pets from consuming large amounts.
Poison type: Plants




Coping with the loss of a dog

Whether you know it is coming, or your dog passes away unexpectedly the feeling of devastation when you lose your faithful friend is natural. Unless you are a dog owner it is impossible to understand the sense of loss experienced by a dog bereavement.

The grief is very real with many asking “Is the way I am coping with the loss of a dog normal?” Everyone is different when it comes to dealing with grief and it can be something we find very difficult to come to terms with

Continue reading “Coping with the loss of a dog”

Bark and Read

Helping dogs to help children develop a passion for reading

Did you know dogs love books too?

Reading to dogs helps children develop their reading skills, encourages positive behaviour and helps build confidence and self-esteem. Reading to dogs inspires children to have fun and enjoy the experience of reading.

All over the country, children are learning to love reading with the support of these amazing doggy companions.

BarkandRead 2017.2

Continue reading “Bark and Read”

Pets poisoned on dog walks –

I can’t think of a worse subject to talk about, but it’s happening, even in the most remote areas of our country, what can we do to stop this serious issue with our pets. In fact barely a week goes by, when you don’t hear or see someone reporting this on social media, however do report it to the people, together maybe we can help prevent.

Dog walkers, be extra vigilance when walking in public dog walking areas.

  • Don’t allow anyone feed your dog
  • Do not let your dog disappear out of your sight
  • Be aware of what your dog is eating at all times
  • Don’t give dog treats to anybody else pet
  • Report anything unusual

You dog has been poisoned

  • Get your dog to the vet ASAP
  • Your dog may become sick very quickly and may become very thirsty
  • Try and find what poisoned your dog, take this to the vet with you
  • Report to the police, and let other dog walkers in the area know, use social media


Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis can be as uncomfortable for our dogs as it is in humans, but there are ways of managing the disease to ease your pet’s pain.

Firstly! What is arthritis?

Arthritis simply means ‘inflammation of the joints’ and is a common problem for many dogs. Inside a dog’s joints, bone surfaces are normally covered with a thin layer of a very smooth cartilage, lubricated with a small amount of joint fluid that allows the two surfaces to glide freely over one another with minimum friction. In dogs with arthritis, cartilage within the joint undergoes change or damage, c=becoming less smooth and resulting in the bone surfaces rubbing together. This causes discomfort to your dog, as well as further dame to cartilage. As a direct result of this increased friction, new bone starts to form around the joint making the joint stiffer, which limits its movement even more – a condition known as degenerative joint disease.

Continue reading “Arthritis in Dogs”

Is your dog vaccinated?

Vaccination is one of the most notable modern medical advances: it’s also one of the most common procedures undertaken in both cats and dogs.

There is no question of its importance in preventing and controlling infectious diseases.

Ourselves and pets absorb daily toxins such as polluted air, polluted food and water sources, even our homes are full of possible health stressors like chemicals Did you know over use of flea treatments and chemical sprays, wormers, over medication and over vaccination are also considered as ‘toxic stressors’ that can pose a risk to the health of your pet.

A vaccine is a biological preparation of either modified live or killed pathogens (viruses, bacteria or parasites) that is introduced into the body in order to promote immunity to a particular disease.

Vaccination has undoubtedly saved more animals lives than any other medical advance. It has significantly reduced canine distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus as well as eliminating rabies in Europe. As the UK is rabies free, the only time we need to vaccinate against rabies is when the travelling abroad under the PETS passport scheme.

For more information, talk to your vet and make sure you pets vaccines are up-to-date.

Brain games with your dog

Consider what to do if something happed with your pet

Dogs will be dogs, and with this special status comes a world of play, activity and fun. Sometimes, however, sprains, breaks and even more serious accidents can befall a dog, or sudden serious health conditions can arise. Your responsibility as his human companion is to try to prevent problems while being prepared for every eventuality.
Your immediate actions can mean the difference between life and death for your pet. First aid, as its name implies, is the initial treatment your dog will receive after the incident, to stabilize or comfort him. Usually your goal is to get him to the vet as quickly as possible, or at least to speak to a vet for advice. Post the numbers of your vet and the nearest 24-hour emergency clinic in a handy spot, and also make sure you have the number of an animal poison control center. Keep a well-stocked first-aid kit in an easily accessible place. Have an ice pack and extra bandages on hand, as well as larger items such as a board or blanket or towel that can double for a stretcher.
Consider taking a course in canine first-aid and CPR to prepare yourself; CPR should only be administered if you know exactly what you’re doing

Continue reading “Brain games with your dog”

Winter Weather Preparation


In winter check the local weather forecast for warnings of icy or snowy weather. DO NOT drive in these conditions unless your journey is essential. If it is, take great care and allow more time for your journey. Take an emergency kit of de-icer and ice scraper, torch, warm clothing and boots, first aid kit, jump leads and a shovel, together with a warm drink and emergency food in case you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down.

Before you set off

  • you MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows
  • you MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
  • make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly
  • remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users
  • check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.
  • Tyres – Check the tread depth and pattern. Are there any cuts, damage or signs of cord visible at the side wall.
  • Brakes – It’s essential that the brakes are operating correctly. This is especially important on wet, icy or snow-covered roads. Any imbalance could cause a skid in the brakes are applied on a slippery surface.
  • Oil and Fuel – Use the correct grades of fuel and oil in every hot or very cold weather.


In windy conditions, be alert for places where the road is shielded, ie by hedges or banks. When there’s a break in this shielding, the sudden effect of high winds may mean your steering could become more difficult, and your vehicle might be blown off course.


Be aware of the effects of strong crosswinds on other road users.

In particular, watch out for these effects

  • after passing motorway bridges
  • on high, exposed sections of the road
  • when passing vehicles towing caravans, horse boxes, etc

Avoid known problem areas such as viaducts and high suspension bridges, if possible. Be aware that some may be closed to certain vehicles under high wind conditions. On high bridges, one lane is sometimes kept free of other traffic. This is also known as a buffer lane and is used to prevent vehicles being blown into the path of other road users in the next lane.

If you must travel under conditions of high winds, it may be useful to plan an alternative route before you set off, just in case. Continue reading “Winter Weather Preparation”

Driver Distraction

There has been much attention about driver distraction due to the use of mobile phones in vehicles, but increasingly research is also revealing the dangers of other forms of driver multi-tasking, and its contribution to road accidents.

What is Distraction?

A driver is distracted when they pay attention to a second activity while driving. People cannot always safely multi-task in this way, especially if the second activity is time consuming or complex.

The second activity puts extra demands on the driver, which may reduce his or her driving standard. For example, it may cause the driver to become less observant or to make worse decisions about how to control the vehicle safely. This lower standard of driving means that a driver is more likely to fail to anticipate hazards, and means accidents can occur due to the distraction.

In theory, there are as many potential causes of distraction as there are things to which drivers could pay attention. In reality, however, drivers tend to prioritise information so that they pay the most attention to information or activities needed for driving.

Distraction can be either initiated (where the driver starts carrying out a distracting activity) or non-driver initiated (the unpredictable actions of something or someone else).

Objects, events or activities both inside and outside the vehicle can cause distraction. In vehicle distractions can be caused by technology, or by other sources inside the vehicle such as passengers. External distractions may be when a driver concentrates on unimportant events or objects, or when another person does something unusual.

Accident Statistics

There have been a range of estimations about the number of accidents that are caused by, or contributed to, by driver distraction. It is hard to make an accurate estimate as accident databases are generally constructed from reports following an accident and it is probable that not every driver admits to being distracted or inattentive at the time of the accident.


Types of Driver Distraction

  • Visual
  • Cognitive
  • Biomechanical
  • Auditory

An activity can create multiple types of distraction – for example, using a hand-held mobile phone while driving creates a biomechanical, auditory and cognitive distraction.

Visual distraction occurs when a driver sees objects or events and this impairs the driver’s observations of the road environment.

Concern about visual distraction is not new  – when windscreen wipers were first introduced, there was concern over their potentially hypnotic effect.

The way that a driver observes the area around the vehicle depends on how complex it is, and in complex environments, drivers can find it more difficult to identify the main hazards.

In undemanding situations, driver’s attention tends to wander towards objects or scenery that are not part of the driving task. Estimates how much time drivers spend doing this varies from between 20% and 50%.

Cognitive distraction occurs when a driver is thinking about something not related to driving the vehicle.

This means that drivers who are cognitively impaired will spend less time checking mirrors or looking around for hazards.

Biomechanical distraction is caused when a driver is doing something physical that is not related to driving, for example, reaching for something and be out of the driving position, or holding an item.

Auditory distraction is caused when sounds prevent drivers from making the best use of their hearing, because their attention has been drawn to whatever caused the sound.

Effects of Distraction

Cognitive distraction causes drivers to look at their mirrors, instrument panels and what’s happening in the environment around them much less; instead they concentrate their observations straight ahead, and so are more likely to detect hazards later than they would otherwise have done.

Worryingly, distracted drivers underestimate the effects that distraction has on them, and do not perceive their reduced awareness or their ability to spot hazards. This may be because they are still looking at the road straight ahead and are not gathering the whole picture of the road around the vehicle.

Drivers who are distracted also have difficulty controlling their speed and their distance from the vehicle in front, and their lane position can vary drastically.

The more complex or involved a driver becomes with a distraction, the more detrimental the distraction is on their ability to make observations and control the vehicle safely.

The Law

There are general laws that require drivers to be attentive and not engage in distracting activities. Distracted drivers could be charged with a range of offences, Dangerous Driving, Careless and Inconsiderate Driving, Failure to Be In Proper Control of the Vehicle, or Driving Without Due Care and Attention depending on how badly the distraction affected their driving.

The Construction and Use Regulations prevent the use of certain types of technology in vehicles – for example, hand held mobile phones, and it is illegal to use certain types of televisions in vehicles.

When a driver is at work, their employer also has a responsibility towards the safety of their employees, and the people they share the road with, and need to be put in place all ‘reasonably practicable’ safety measures on work related journeys.

This includes making sure that drivers are aware of the dangers of distraction, are trained to deal with it, and are trained in the safe use of any in vehicle technology which may cause a distraction.

Dealing With Distraction

Distraction is a difficult risk to manage. On the one hand, some level of distraction is unavoidable, but drivers can take some simple steps to avoid becoming distracted.

If you need to something distracting, find a safe place to pull over.

Concentrate on your driving

This is easier said than done, especially in uninteresting environments. However, attention to thought can reduce the quality of the observations that you make. It may be difficult to stop yourself becoming distracted but if you find yourself engaged in thought or distracted by other means, then it is important to focus on your driving as soon as you realise.

Make sure that you are ready to drive before setting off for a journey. If you are about to drive after an emotional event, then it is best to allow yourself time to cool down.

Use technology sensibly

In-Vehicle technology can be distracting, especially if there are several systems in the same vehicle. Never put too many different devices in a vehicle. If you can change the settings on the technology, then find ways of using it that is less distracting.

Plan your route in advance

All drivers dedicate a certain amount of time to navigating, this is unavoidable, but there are things you can do to reduce the time you spend navigating. By planning your route in advance and making sure you have a good idea of the directions, you may be able to reduce the time you spend looking for signs and road markings, and plan manoeuvres earlier.

Take refresher of further driver training

We all pick up bad habits over the years, several of which may be a result or cause of distraction. Refresher of further driver training can help drivers to build on the skills they have to prioritise events around a vehicle, predict hazards, and decide the safest course of action on the road.