The other day I was sent the usual funny emails that go around and this one made me laugh.

Sitting in his marked BMW on the side of the motorway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a Police officer sees a car puttering along at 25mph. He says to himself, “This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!”

So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over. Approaching the car, he notices that the passengers are four old ladies – all staring wide eyed and white as ghosts.

The driver, a fifth old lady, obviously confused, says to him “Officer, I don’t understand, I was driving at exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?”

“Madam,” the officer replies, “you weren’t speeding, but you should know that driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.”

“Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly. Twenty-five miles per hour!” the old woman says proudly.

The police officer, trying to contain a chuckle explains to her that 25 was the motorway number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.

“But before I let you go, Madam, I have to ask if everyone in the car is OK? Your passengers seem awfully shaken and they haven’t said a word this whole time,” the officer asks.

“Oh, they’ll be all right in a minute officer. We just got off the A127.”

Although funny there is a serious side to this. How many drivers don’t understand road signs and markings? My 20-plus years experience in driver education has unfortunately, told me far too many drivers don’t keep up to date.

Every day we get emails from drivers using our online driver risk assessment system asking questions such as: “Why does the system ask about the different colours of the cats-eyes on a motorway, I am a driver not a road engineer?” Well if this driver found himself on a motorway in dense fog, I only hope he doesn’t find the amber cats-eyes on the nearside of his vehicle, as he will be on the central reservation. If the visibility is that bad he should exit only where he sees green cats-eyes, crossing red will result in a crash. This is just one example where using an online driver risk assessment, such as E-Training World’s system, will allow training to be targeted to individuals needs.

It is unbelievable that there are still companies who use the ‘sheep dip’ approach when it comes to driver training; this is not only ineffective but is a waste of money! If we take the example above (the driver who didn’t understand why different colour cats-eyes are used at different locations on the road) the company that employed this driver used the results from the online system and found that this particular driver’s main weakness was his knowledge. To address the issue the driver was asked to complete the E-Training World interactive e-driver training programme. The result was the company got a more knowledgeable driver at a fraction of the cost of on road training. This particular driver has since completed a driver assessor’s course and is now imparting his newfound knowledge and enthusiasm to his colleagues.

So how good is your knowledge? See if you can answer the following, you can check your answers by reading the Highway Code, which you can find online, just Google it.

Q1. On matrix signs, red lights flash side to side or top to bottom?

Q2. What shape are Stop and Give Way signs and why are they a different shape to all other signs?

Q3. Before a solid white line in the centre of the road, you will see how many arrows painted on the road surface?

Q4. Apart from HGV’s and PCV’s, what other vehicles are forbidden to use the outside lane of a motorway?

Q5. What is the difference between a Pelican and a Puffin crossing?

If you have struggled to answer any of the above questions, you have to ask is it time to update your knowledge?

We all have a duty to keep up to date with anything to do with driving and learning can be in many different styles. Employers looking after the safety of their staff by providing driver training would do well to think about this old Chinese proverb: “Tell me and I will know, show me and I will understand, involve me and I will comprehend.”

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