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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Winners announced for 2019 Christmas Card and Calendar Competition

For the fifth year, we have invited people living with a brain injury to submit a piece of creative work to be used in our 2019 calendar which is distributed to hospital, clinics and groups that deliver vital services to those with acquired brain injury. A separate piece was also chosen for our 2018 Christmas card.

We were stunned to receive over 150 entries from 20 brain injury groups across Scotland. It made it extremely difficult for our judges to choose which 12 pieces would be part of the 2019 calendar.

These well deserved winners were given a certificate and £50 gift voucher, as well as a cheque for £200 being donated to their local support group, at an awards ceremony on Tuesday 11th December at the DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central.

Winners of the 2019 Calendar and Christmas Card competition.

Full details of the winning entries are below.

Christmas Card – Issy Robertson, Headway Dundee and Angus

Front Cover – Charlene Wood, Headway East Lothian

Calendar cover by Charlene Wood from Headway East Lothian

January – Brian Duncan, Brain Injury Grampian (B.I.G.) Group

February – Suzanne MacKenzie, Headway Highland

March – Stuart Shaw, Headway Falkirk

April – Eddie Malone, Headway Ayrshire

Picture for April by Eddie Malone from Headway Ayrshire

May – Laurance Coll, Quarriers Sunshine Club and Irene Burns, Compass BISL

June – Colin Fortune, Edinburgh Headway Group

July – Kirsty Lockhart, Headway Glasgow and Scott Rhodie, Headway Glasgow

August – Una coombs, Astley Ainslie Hospital

September – Hartley Neal, Centre for Brain Injury Rehabilitation

October – Elinor Mather, Headway South Lanarkshire

November – Samantha Ward, BIEN Group

December – Grace Porter, Headway East Lothian

Picture for December by Grace Porter from Headway East Lothian

Kirsten Smith, CSR Manager at Digby Brown said: "For many individuals who have suffered a brain injury, the activities and social contact they get from their local group is a life-line with art often playing its part as a therapeutic activity.

"We are proud to co-ordinate an event that encourages those with brain injuries to express themselves through art and celebrate their incredible talents."

Monday, December 10, 2018

Staying safe when driving in bad weather

The weather in Scotland can be unpredictable at the best of times. On a bad day, there is always the chance that you could experience all four seasons in just one day. But when you are behind the wheel of a car you need to be prepared whatever the weather to ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and other road users.

By taking some simple steps you can make your journey safer and less stressful during severe weather.

How to drive safely through snow and ice

Driving in snow and ice increases normal stopping distances by ten times.

With this in mind, it is important to drive at a slow speed in a high gear, instead of braking suddenly which can cause your wheels to lock and the car to skid, use your gears to slow your car down.

Icy roads are not always noticeable so look for indicators such as icy pavements, ice on your windscreen, or the temperature gauge in your car telling you the temperature outside is freezing.

If you have any snow on the roof of your vehicle make sure that you remove it before setting off, as you don’t want the snow to slide down your windscreen and obstruct your view.

To read more tips on driving in winter weather you can read our blogs Winter is coming – Driving safety tips and Tips for driving in snow and icy road conditions.

How to drive safely in the darker evenings and mornings

At this time of year the darker mornings and evenings mean that most of us are spending some, if not all, of our commute in darkness.

We recommend that you use dipped headlights lights as soon as it begins to get dark and use full beam lights on more rural roads but remember to dip them for oncoming vehicles.

Pedestrians can be particularly difficult to spot in the dark, so be extra vigilant, especially when driving in residential areas or near schools.

How to drive safely in the rain

As with snow and ice, rain impacts on normal stopping distances, increasing it two fold. Make sure you slow down and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

Heavy rain effects visibility too, making hazards harder to spot. Make sure your windscreen wipers are working properly and if not, replace them as soon as possible.

Heavy rain can also lead to surface water, which if deep enough can cause a car to aquaplane. This is when the front tyres lose contact with the road surface and can feel like there is no control over the car.

If you experience this, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down, avoid steering or braking as it could cause the car to skid.

How to drive safely in flood conditions

It might sound obvious but try and avoid driving through deep water as this could flood the engine of a car.

If there is no other option and you do have to drive through a flood, drive slowly in first gear, keep moving forward to avoid stalling and keep the engine revving at a high rate. Please be aware that the deepest water is near the kerb. 

Once you are through flooded water make sure you remember to test your brakes to ensure they are still working correctly.

How to drive safely in windy weather

We tend to think of high-sided vehicles when there is a weather warning about strong winds. Yet wind affects all sizes of vehicle.

A sudden gust of wind can cause smaller vehicles and motorcyclists to veer of course, so be aware of vehicles travelling around you. 

As a driver you should also be aware of any debris that may unexpectedly be blown into your pathway. Be ready to react to keep safe.

How to drive safely in fog

Drive slowly using dipped headlights to enable other drivers to see you. However, if your visibility is less than 100m then you must put your fog lights and rear high intensity lights on. When visibility improves then you must switch your fog lights back off.

Make sure you keep a safe distance from any vehicles travelling in front of you. Whilst it may give you a feeling of comfort to stay close to the tail-lights ahead, the fog could distort how close you are actually driving to the vehicle and you could be driving far too close. Not to mention it could make the driver in front nervous. Remember you need to give yourself enough distance from the vehicle in front to allow yourself time to react.

Fog tends to be patchy. As visibility improves don’t hare off trying to make up for lost time as you could find yourself right back in another patch of fog.

How to deal with low sun

Even in the winter you can be caught out by low sun while driving. Sun glare can be very dangerous and make it almost impossible to see what is coming up ahead.

Always keep a pair of sunglasses in the car to avoid sun glare and keep your windscreen clear.

Be prepared

If you have to travel in bad weather, it is essential that you are prepared.

Before setting out make sure there are no police travel warnings which may impact your journey, details for these as well as any up to date disruptions can be found at trafficscotland.org.

Ensure that the weather forecast and the predicted conditions for your journey are safe before setting off.

Make sure, particularly in winter, that your car is safe for the journey ahead. More details on this can be read in our blog Winter is coming – but is your car ready for winter?.

And if you do get stuck, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car like a warm blanket and some food and water.

And finally, if the weather is bad and you do need to travel consider if you need to travel right now? Or is there an alternative route you could take that would be safer?

Monday, December 03, 2018

Police Scotland launch festive Drink Driving Campaign

Police Scotland launched a festive drink driving campaign which commenced on Saturday 1st December.

Drivers are being warned of the serious consequences of drink driving. Last year, 567 drivers failed breath tests across the festive season.

New research has shown that Scottish people considered the top three repercussions of being convicted of drink-driving were:

  1. Losing your licence (81%)
  2. Getting a criminal record (80%)
  3. Getting points on your licence (80%)

People did not seem to consider the possibility of receiving a prison sentence (64%), having your car taken away (47%) or losing your job (50%) were as likely.

Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham, Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams launched the campaign in Edinburgh on 28th November to stress both the criminal and personal repercussions of being found guilty of drink-driving.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC has teamed up with the police and ministers stating:

“My message is very clear: you can expect to be caught and when you are, you will face the full force of the law”.

"Not only could you lose your vehicle but you will receive an automatic ban of at least 12 months, a criminal record and a potentially unlimited fine. It is absolutely not worth taking the risk."

On top of this of course, there is the very risk to human life to consider. We often see families torn apart because a drunk driver killed or seriously injured their loved one, changing all of their lives forever.

Every month, over 20,000 Scottish drivers are stopped by the police and the focus on drink driving will only heighten in the run-up to Christmas, making it more likely that those driving after a drink will be caught.

In 2014, the drink driving limit in Scotland was lowered from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood. Many people still don’t know whether or not they can legally have one drink and drive but the truth is there is no blanket answer for this. One alcoholic drink will impact on people differently depending on a number of factors such as what they ate that day, how fast their metabolism is and what age they are to name just a few.

The safest option is to simply not drink and drive and this is very much the message of the campaign. Even those found slightly over the drink driving limit will be deemed a drunk driver according to the law.

The lifelong consequences from drink driving are not worth the risk to you – or others.

Learn more about the drink driving limit in Scotland.

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