Car ownership

Smart motorways: fines or re-training for those who break the rules

Smart motorways

The government is investigating fining more drivers who ignore lane closures on smart motorways. Highways England, which manages the motorway network, is currently trialling cameras designed to automatically snap cars driving in lanes marked with a red cross.

Drivers caught illegally using the closed lanes could then be hit with a £100 fine. And police chiefs are now looking at retraining for offenders – the equivalent of a speed awareness course – to ensure drivers don’t break the law again. These changes could be brought in as quickly as March 2018. Read on to find out more.

How do smart motorways work?

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Driver tips for staying safe as snow falls and winter weather worsens

Driver tips

Cold weather isn’t just tough on drivers, it can play havoc with cars too. The heavy hail and snow showers that are hitting parts of the UK in mid-January 2018 are already causing chaos. Green Flag is warning that an astonishing 12 breakdowns every minute will take place this week.

Head of news for Green Flag Simon Henrick said: “After a variable but relatively mild winter period over Christmas, the changing weather conditions may take some drivers by surprise this week.

“By thoroughly checking their cars before leaving home, approaching the roads with caution and keeping plenty of distance between themselves and the vehicle in front, drivers will decrease the risk of encountering a problem while on the roads.” Read on to see how you can stay safe in the snow.

Health and safety

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Expert advice: are faulty glow plugs the reason your car won’t start?

Glow plugs

When is a flat battery not a flat battery? When it’s a problem with glow plugs. OK, that’s a bit simplistic but frequently people breakdown with what they think is a battery problem, only for it to turn out to be the glow plugs that are at fault.

The reason is that diesel engines use these heaters to help them start. In warmer weather they’re not as necessary. However, when the weather gets cold, glow plugs are vital. That’s why in November 2017, the number of call outs Green Flag attended for glow plug problems rose by 112 per cent. Read on to find out what the problem is and how you can diagnose it.

What are glow plugs?

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The medical conditions that might make you unsafe to drive

Medical conditions

Thousands of car owners could be driving with medical conditions that make it illegal for them to be in charge of a car. The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) lists almost 200 complaints that sufferers should inform it about before taking to the road. These range from the obvious such as epilepsy and blackouts to slightly less evident such as snoring, eating disorders and depression.

One in four drivers is said to suffer from a notifiable condition. However, research suggests 10 per cent of those don’t report their ailment. Anyone who drives with one of the highlighted conditions without informing the DVLA could face a fine of up to £1000. They also risk having any insurance claims refused. Here are the more common, less obvious complaints drivers should be aware of.

Snoring

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Car owners’ New Year’s resolutions: how we aim to be better drivers

New Year's resolutions

Drivers are vowing to do a lot less of this in 2018

The majority of us make New Year’s resolutions. For many these might involve joining a gym, quitting smoking, drinking less, eating more healthily or stopping swearing. But for some of us, resolving to change and be better human beings might include something to do with motoring.

Some new research conducted by pre-17-year old driving school Young Driver found that older motorists still think they’ve got plenty to learn. Although one in five (18 per cent) confidently claimed to be perfect drivers, plenty of others felt they had work to do. Read on to find out what the most popular New Year’s resolutions for drivers are.

Performing regular car checks

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Quiz: how well do drivers remember the big stories of 2017?

The sun might be setting on another year of motoring, but how much of it do you remember? In many respects it was quite a momentous 12 months. There have been changes to the MOT, driving test, road tax and mobile phone fines. Car makers have launched their own scrappage scheme. And accident-prone TV presenter Richard Hammond had – you guessed it – another headline-grabbing crash. But how much of the detail do you remember?

Take the Green Flag quiz 2017

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Expert advice: why fuel flooding is a problem for drivers

Fuel flooding

If a car starts, then refuses to start again almost immediately afterwards, it could be flooded with fuel

How do you start your car in the morning? Many of us have the same routine. And for some drivers, that could be the cause of a potentially inconvenient breakdown.

I love cars but my job as vehicle and customer data insight manager is all about figures and statistics. It involves analysing numbers and seeing how people – our customers ‑ use their vehicles on a daily basis. The results can be fascinating. Read on to see how the way you start your motor could leave you stranded at the roadside.

The mystery breakdown

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Expert advice: drivers rely too much on TPMS tyre pressure monitoring

Tyre pressure monitoring

If your car is registered after 2012, it will probably be fitted with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). But I have concerns that drivers are relying too much on the technology and not performing regular tyre checks themselves.

My fears are that drivers could be putting themselves in danger by thinking TPMS is doing a job it is neither designed for nor capable of. Here’s how TPMS may not be the all-encompassing safety net many drivers think it is.

TPMS MOT failures rise dramatically

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Christmas 2017 driving: roadworks embargo to make getting about easier

Christmas 2017

If you’re planning to drive anywhere this Christmas, the government has given you an early present. It has said that from December 22, all roadworks on major routes in the UK will be suspended. Here’s all you need to know if you’re planning to drive (or train, coach or fly) home for Christmas.

The Roadworks embargo

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The best smartphone navigation apps for drivers

Britain has roughly the same number of cars registered for the road as there are in France. That’s around 37 million, despite Britain having less than half the space of its continental neighbour. Unsurprisingly, it makes for crowded roads. Populated areas and main roads frequently grind to a halt and the UK has the dubious title of having the most congested roads in Europe.

As a consequence, more drivers than ever are turning to their smartphone to help navigate our congested roads. Apps that guide users from A to B, responding to live traffic conditions along the way, are replacing portable sat nav units. Because of this, it would no longer sell sat navs in its stores. More damning still, they were labelled ‘left behind’ in its annual retail report. To help drivers choose the best smartphone navigation app, here are five highly rated examples.

Free navigation apps for drivers

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