Nearly half of all UK drivers don’t conduct an annual inspection to make sure that their vehicle is ready for winter, according to Highways England. Such a lapse in preparation can be dangerous and costly—especially this year. The Met Office is predicting record-breaking rainfall beginning in October and running through March 2018. (more…)
When your offspring are ready to take to the roads, you have plenty of options to keep them covered. But which is best value?
Nothing quite makes you realise your little ones are fully grown like watching them get behind the wheel for the first time.
But drivers in Britain typically need 40 to 50 hours of lessons before passing their test, and the average learner requires 20 hours of additional practice outside of their driving lessons, according to the RAC.
With pricey lessons tending to tot up, any extra experience on the road can be invaluable. Letting them practice in your car can make all the difference, if you’re willing to chaperone. But how best to tackle the issue of provisional driver insurance? (more…)
As summer rolls into autumn, you should be aware of the most common causes for breakdowns before you hop behind the wheel.
- Gearbox failure
- Tyre puncture (with no spare tyre by design)
- Clutch failure
- Loss of power
Courts in England and Wales are now enacting tougher penalties for drivers violating the rules of the road. In 2015, 244 people were killed in crashes involving speeding in Britain—highlighting the need for greater road safety.
The courts hope these new regulations, which apply to all drivers sentenced on or after 24th April 2017, more accurately reflect the consequences of speeding. The following are the most common road offences affected by these updated regulations: (more…)
Your car can quickly become a host to germs if not frequently cleaned. In fact, according to research, the average car contains more bacteria than a smartphone screen. Keep your car germ-free by practicing these five tips:
- Avoid eating in your car. Fifty-one per cent of drivers drop food in their cars, according to research. When cars left in warm environments start to heat up, the bacteria from food multiplies, causing mould to grow. If you must eat in your car, remember to immediately clean up any crumbs with wet wipes. Then, vacuum your car to remove any food crumbs stuck in tight spaces.
- Disinfect surfaces. Keep disinfecting wipes in the glove box, and make sure to wipe down the steering wheel, gear stick, door handles and dashboard once a week. This prevents bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, from growing in areas frequently touched.
- Cleanse the air conditioning units. Bacteria and dirt that build up in air conditioning units and vents can spread germs around your car. Dust the vents with a feather duster and have the air conditioning system checked every two years to prevent microbe build-up.
- Monitor kids and pets. Cars that transport kids and pets tend to contain a multitude of germs. In fact, research found that child car seats contain 200 times more germs than a supermarket trolley. Use seat covers when transporting pets to reduce the number of germs they carry into your car.
- Guard groceries. Loading groceries into a germ-ridden boot, then putting these groceries onto a kitchen worktop can spread germs from your car to your home. Make sure to frequently vacuum the boot, and use a protective cover when transporting groceries.
Recent government statistics suggest that half of the faults found in MOT tests can be prevented by performing simple car maintenance.
The most common cause of MOT failure is lighting and signalling issues, such as blown bulbs, which cause almost 19 per cent of all MOT failures. Suspension (13 per cent) and brake (10 per cent) problems are a close second and third.
Taking the time to periodically perform these safety checks saves you time and money when your car’s MOT is due.
- Check your lights. Inspect lights for loose or damaged parts, and ensure light colours are correct and matching.
- Examine your tyres. Check for at least 1.6mm tread, and for cuts, bulges and inflation.
- Analyse your brakes. Make sure brakes work efficiently and don’t pull the vehicle to one side.
- Test your windscreen wipers and washers. Confirm proper functionality and visibility.
- Clear obstructions from your view of the road. Remove distractions, such as sat navs, air fresheners and mobiles, from blocking your view.
Motor insurance premiums have risen by an average of £110 within the last year, according to recent industry research. In fact, the average comprehensive policy
premium of £781 could pass £1,000 by 2018.
These changes stem from an adjustment to the Ogden rate, the upcoming rise to the Insurance Premium Tax from 10 to 12 per cent and more expensive technology in vehicles.
For the last 16 years, the Ogden rate, the rate used to calculate personal injury claim payouts, has been set at 2.5 per cent. Now, after a ruling by the Minister of Justice, the Ogden rate has been reduced to -0.75 per cent, resulting in more money for injury victims, but a higher bill for insurers. (more…)
On 1st March, the penalties for using a mobile while driving doubled. Now, if you are caught using your mobile while behind the wheel, you will receive six points and a £200 fine. For new drivers that have been driving for less than two years, this means that their licences will be revoked and that they must retake their practical and theory.
The significant penalty increase is in response to the large number of people that are killed and seriously injured every year as a result of a driver using a mobile—in 2015, such accidents killed 22 people and seriously injured 99.
When Can I Use My Mobile Behind the Wheel?
Review the following guidance to ensure you follow the rules and avoid the consequences.
- Cannot: You are not allowed to check social media or texts if you are queuing in traffic or stopped at traffic lights.
- Cannot: You are not allowed to answer your mobile while driving. However, if your mobile is connected by Bluetooth, you can answer the call, but you should keep the conversation brief.
- Can: You can listen to music or podcasts on your mobile as long as it is in a hands-free holder or connected by Bluetooth.
- Can: You can use sat nav on your mobile as long as it is mounted in a hands-free holder.
- Can: You can pull over to check your mobile as long as you are safely parked with the engine switched off in a lay-by.
In 2016, UK drivers submitted a claim for pothole damage every 17 minutes, which amounted to more than 31,500 claims, according to research collected by the Royal Automobile Club Foundation for Motoring. Potholes can be a particularly dangerous hazard for drivers, as they can cause buckled wheels, cracked tyres and alloys, and knock out the tracking and wheel balancing. These potential damages are costly as well, since the average value of a claim was £432.
Unfortunately, councils paid out only 26.9 per cent of claims—leaving a majority of motorists to pay out of pocket for the damages. Your chances of a successful pothole claim increase dramatically if somebody has already reported the pothole, as councils are only liable for defects if they knew they were there. (more…)
Instead of scouring your area looking for the cheapest petrol and diesel prices, follow these five simple steps to help you save on fuel costs year round:
- Remove the roof racks and boxes. Without any roof racks or boxes to slow it down, your car becomes more aerodynamic, which can save you as much as 20 per cent annually on fuel.
- Slow down. Depending on how fast you are driving, slowing down by even 10mph could save you anywhere from 10 to 25 per cent.
- Service your car. Be sure to have your car regularly serviced in order to ensure that the engine along with the car’s other mechanical parts continue to run efficiently.
- Drive sensibly. Remain aware of other drivers, the road conditions and the surrounding environment. By doing so, you can reduce how often you accelerate and how hard you break—both of which can help reduce the amount of fuel used.
- Clean out your car. A lighter car uses less fuel, so be sure to clean out any unnecessary items in your boot.