The MOT Scheme

The MOT scheme is primarily a road safety measure designed to ensure as far as possible that all cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles more than 3 years old in mainland Britainand 4 years old in Northern Ireland

+ are properly maintained and;

+ at least once a year are examined at an authorised MOT test station to make sure that they comply with certain important requirements of the law

the test certificate relates only to the condition of the testable items at the time of the test and should not be regarded as evidence of their condition at any other time; nor should it be accepted as evidence of the general mechanical condition of the vehicle.

Women in the driving seat

No longer content with sitting in the passenger seat, map in hand and checking their looks in the wing mirror, the modern woman prefers to see herself as one of those Thelma and Louise style Peugeot chicks on the road to nowhere or the wild woman who throws her man's belongings out the window for having the cheek to drive her beloved Fiat Punto. Either that or they believe that "size matters" like Renault with their nifty Clio.

Well the facts speak for themselves ladies. With women forking out 12 billion pounds in the motor market each year, women now buy 50 per cent of all new and used cars. And it seems our numbers on the road can only increase.

At the moment there are five women learning to drive for every three men and, already, one major city, Edinburgh, has got into gear with its female only driving school, the Ladies School of Motoring. So the next time your bloke sniggers at stories of women taking half an hour to get into a car parking space you could fit a bus in, just tell him that "size matters".


Blinded by Science

Fed up of being bamboozled by a mechanic in greasy overalls blinding you with car jargon? Well, you're not alone. More than half of British women think they get worse treatment than men at garages and 90 per cent admit to not knowing their fuse box from their battery, according to the 1999 Lex Report on Motoring.

It found that most women don't feel confident about doing even the simplest maintenance jobs, such as checking tyre pressure, topping up oil or changing the battery. This may be why garages find it so easy to rip you off.

Remember you're the customer and it's your money they're after. If you feel you're being patronised go elsewhere. Always shop around for a better deal and don't be pressured into spending money on the spot.

Steering clear of road rage

The best way for a woman to avoid road rage is to flash a winning smile at the angry motorist.

A survey by Green Flag, the car breakdown company, said a waved apology to the wronged driver was the ideal way to defuse a confrontation.

While road rage incidents occur less than you think, it is best to be prepared, said a Green Flag spokesman. The survey suggests keeping stress levels low by being polite and courteous, even when other drivers are not.

Whatever you do, don't allow yourself to be provoked or answer back.

If you are followed, drive to the nearest police station or busy place such as a garage forecourt and call for help. Drive with your door locked at night in busy urban areas and keep the sunroof closed in areas where you feel uncomfortable.

Passing the buck

Young men are twice as likely as women to be involved in an accident when they are overtaking, according to an AA road safety report. However, the difference diminishes as age increases.

Did you know?

79 per cent of women say that if they and their partner are in the car together during the day it's him that drives.

Appeals & Queries

What if you disagree with a Test Result? Do not carry out any repairs to your vehicle.

+ If you think it has wrongly failed; you must complete an appeal form (VT17) obtainable from any MOT test station or the Inspectorate and return it to one of our offices within 14 working days of the test along with a full test fee. We will then offer an appointment within five days to recheck your vehicle. If your appeal is successful some or all of the test fee will be refunded to you.

+ has wrongly passed; you must let us know as soon as possible. We will then offer an appointment within 5 working days to recheck your vehicle (without charge) provided not more than 3 months has elapsed since the time of the test for a corrosion defect; or (The address of your local VI office is displayed in the MOT test station and can be found here under HGV and PSV Annual Tests) Is there a problem with your certificate? Please ring VIs MOT Hotline number on 0845 600 5977. Calls are charged at local rate. If you have lost or damaged your test certificate:- A duplicate or replacement certificate can be obtained from the MOT station where it was issued. If the MOT station is no longer in business your local VI office may be able to help provided you have details of where and when it was issued.

The Highway Code

The Highway Code applies to all road users: pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists, as well as motorcyclists and drivers. Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, the breach of which may mean that you have committed a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving and in the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Although failure to comply with the Code will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Road Traffic Acts to establish liability.

Knowing and applying the rules contained in The Highway Code could significantly reduce road accident casualties thereby cutting the number of deaths and injuries that occur on our roads every day. View the Highway Code online at the Department of Environment, Transport

Other problems

If your vehicle

+pulls to one side when braking, it is most likely to be a brake fault or incorrectly inflated tyres. Consult a garage or mechanic immediately

+continues to bounce after pushing down on the front or rear, its shock absorbers are worn. Worn shock absorbers can seriously affect the operation of a vehicle and should be replaced

+smells of anything unusual such as burning rubber, petrol or electrical; investigate immediately. Do not risk a fire.

Overheated engines or fire
Most engines are water cooled. If your engine overheats you should wait until it has cooled naturally. Only then remove the coolant filler cap and add water or other coolant. If your vehicle catches fire, get the occupants out of the vehicle quickly and to a safe place. Do not attempt to extinguish a fire in the engine compartment, as opening the bonnet will make the fire flare. Call the fire brigade.

Petrol Stations

Never smoke or use a mobile phone on the forecourt of petrol stations as this is a major fire risk and could cause an explosion.

Vehicle security

When you leave your vehicle you should remove the ignition key and engage the steering lock lock the car, even if you only leave it for a few minutes close the windows completely never leave children or pets in an unventilated car take all contents with you, or lock them in the boot. Remember, for all a thief knows a carrier bag may contain valuables. Never leave vehicle documents in the car.

For extra security
Fit an anti-theft device such as an alarm or immobiliser. If you are buying a new car it is a good idea to check the level of built-in security features. Consider having your registration number etched on all your car windows. This is a cheap and effective deterrent to professional thieves.

First aid on the road
In the event of an accident, you can do a number of things to help, even if you have had no training.

1. Deal with danger Further collisions and fire are the main dangers following an accident. Approach any vehicle involved with care. Switch off all engines and, if possible, warn other traffic. Stop anyone from smoking.

2.Get help Try to get the assistance of bystanders. Get someone to call the appropriate emergency services as soon as possible. They will need to know the exact location of the accident and the number of vehicles involved.

3. Help those involved DO NOT move casualties still in vehicles unless further danger is threatened. DO NOT remove a motorcyclist's helmet unless it is essential. DO NOT give the casualty anything to eat or drink. DO try to make them comfortable and prevent them from getting cold, but avoid unnecessary movement. DO give reassurance confidently to the casualty. They may be shocked but prompt treatment will minimise this.

4. Provide emergency care Follow the ABC of First aid A is for Airway - check for and relieve any obstruction to breathing. Remove any obvious obstruction in the mouth. Breathing may begin and colour improve. B is for Breathing - if breathing does not begin when the airway has been cleared, lift the chin and tilt the head very gently backwards. Pinch the casualty's nostrils and blow into the mouth until the chest rises; withdraw, then repeat regularly once every four seconds until the casualty can breathe unaided. C is for Circulation - prevent blood loss to maintain circulation. If bleeding is present apply firm hand pressure over the wound, preferably using some clean material, without pressing on any foreign body in the wound. Secure a pad with a bandage or length of cloth. Raise the limb to lessen the bleeding, provided it is not broken.

5. Be prepared Always carry a first aid kit. You could save a life by learning emergency aid and first aid from a qualified organisation, such as the local ambulance services, the St John Ambulance Association and Brigade, St Andrew's Ambulance Association, the British Red Cross or any suitable qualified body.

The Computerised MOT scheme<
+ You can use the site to confirm the authenticity of an MOT Certificate issued using MOT Computerisation or check on the status of a recent test conducted on a vehicle or request the MOT Test history of a vehicle. You will receive the response to this request 'on-line' via your Internet terminal.

+ An MOT Certificate issued using MOT Computerisation is usually computer generated but may be handwritten under exceptional circumstances.

+ You may also have been issued with an 'Emergency Test MOT Certificate'.

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