Car ownership

Drug driving increase prompts calls for dope testing after crashes

Drug driving

Increasing numbers of drivers are being caught drug driving

Drug driving is increasing with more than half the drivers suspected of being under the influence of illegal substances testing positive. Now some road safety campaigners are calling for all drivers involved in accidents to face drug tests.

Figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) reveal there’s been a startling increase in drivers taking banned substances such as cocaine and cannabis. Of 2022 people stopped in June 2017, 1084 had illegal drugs in their blood. That’s 53.6 per cent compared with 39 per cent when a similar check was conducted in 2016.

Why are there so many drug drivers now?

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Vous êtes nicked! British drivers face hefty fines for speeding abroad

Speeding abroad

If that’s a speeding ticket he’s writing, it could blow the holiday budget

More than four out of five British drivers are oblivious to tough new fines for speeding abroad. Just weeks after UK speeding fines changed in April 2017, the EU increased the penalty for breaking the limit on the Continent. That means drivers could be fined up to £640. Other motoring offences, such as not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel, are covered by the law change too.

When UK drivers were asked by Green Flag about their driving habits , the largest proportion (45 per cent) said they broke the speed limit abroad by mistake. And more than a third (38 per cent) claimed they find themselves speeding abroad because they don’t know the limits.

Driving abroad: what are the speed limits?

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Life savers: safety features drivers should pick for their next car

Life savers: optional safety features drivers should choose for their next car

Car firms can now fit even the most modest motors with an astonishing array of safety equipment. It’s kit that’s designed to assist drivers and prevent crashes happening. But according to a study by What Car?, four times as many drivers prioritise connectivity, fancy audio units, navigation systems and alloy wheels over advanced systems that can help keep them, their passengers and other road users safe.

Many road safety experts believe this is because drivers don’t fully understand what the systems do, and how they can help. Here we investigate some of the most significant safety systems available on used and new cars.

Automatic braking systems

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How to save money on car servicing

car servicing

Be smart about car servicing and you can cut how much he’ll cost

Car servicing costs could escalate by as much as 10 per cent after Brexit. A new report conducted for car industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warns that if tariffs and other trade barriers come into force when the UK leaves the European Union, prices could rise. It claims the average annual cost of car servicing would then increase to £777.

According to the SMMT, 80 per cent of car spares are imported. Almost three quarters of those come from EU-based suppliers. The SMMT is concerned that if no new trading relationship with the EU is secured, tariffs and customs barriers will hike the prices of these parts.

Last year, every UK car owner spent an average £707 on car maintenance. Tyres, lubricants and filters were the most commonly replaced items. However, demand is rising quickly for telematics devices and tyre pressure monitoring sensors. Read our five top tips on how to save money on car servicing.

What does servicing entail?

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What drivers should know about the Audi and Mercedes diesel recalls

UK to ban diesel and petrol cars from sale by 2040

Mercedes has announced a recall of three million diesel cars worldwide. And Audi said it will carry out repairs to nearly a million of its diesel models. The moves come as the German car makers scramble to reduce levels of harmful toxic emissions and restore drivers’ faith in diesel engines.

In 2015, the Volkswagen Group confessed to cheating at US environmental tests. It has subsequently been forced to carry out fixes to around 11m cars worldwide.

Yesterday the European Commission confirmed that it is conducting an investigation into German car makers over allegations of a cartel that colluded over technology.

With one bad news story after another, here’s what drivers need to know about the latest Mercedes recall.

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Connected cars coming to a road near you soon

Connected car

Weather conditions, the state of traffic, and engine software updates will be handled automatically by connected cars. (Picture © Continental)

If you’re lucky enough to drive a car that has its own mobile internet network, you’re ahead of the curve. You’re driving what’s known as a connected car. As time passes, these vehicles will become fundamental to everything we do on the road. They’ll revolutionise how we think of transport and spend time in our cars. They’ll speed up the likelihood of full self-driving cars. And they’ll cut the number of crashes, one day maybe even making road deaths history. Here’s all you need to know about the connected car.

The beginnings of the connected car

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Diesel car sales fall but new tech could make it cleaner and greener

Diesel cars

Diesel cars are blamed for poor air quality courtesy of their exhaust emissions

Diesel car sales are falling as drivers turn their back on it because of health concerns. But diesel power is about to hit back with new technology designed to reduce harmful exhaust emissions.

Official figures show that sales of diesel cars were down in the UK by a fifth in May 2017 and by 15 per cent in June. That’s compared with the same period in the previous year. The slump is believed to have been caused by various factors. The high-profile Volkswagen diesel cheat device case raised people’s awareness of the harm of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants diesel produces. But people are also concerned that diesel cars may be slapped with hefty taxes.

However, we can reveal that diesel is hitting back. Automotive technology giant Continental has worked out how to make a much cleaner diesel car.

Why do we need diesel?

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Car insurance premiums: why you’re paying more than ever for cover

Car insurance rises to record high average cost

Drivers of all ages are paying record amounts in car insurance premiums. And the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned there is no end in sight for the high cost of cover.

The reason for these spiralling prices is a cocktail of external factors. Here we look at why the cost of cover is going up, show where premiums are spent, and point the way to how drivers can save money on their motor insurance.

What’s the average price of UK car insurance?

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Expert advice: what to do with an overheating car

Overheating

Overheating cars used to be a familiar sight, stopped at the road side, bonnet up, steam pouring from the engine. Thankfully it’s not so common now as cars in general have become more robust.

But overheating – when the engine’s water literally boils – does occur. Here we look at why, what you can do if your car does overheat, and offer some tips on how to prevent it.

Why do cars need water?

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GAP insurance: what is it and do you need it?

gap insurance

The last thing you want is to have a car crash and then be left out of pocket

Having a car stolen or written off can be hugely stressful. For a start, you suddenly no longer have a car. There’s the fall-out from the incident itself. And then there’s the possibility that you’ll be out of pocket. That’s where GAP insurance comes in.

Guaranteed Asset Protection insurance, otherwise known as GAP, should ensure car owners aren’t left counting the cost of an unforeseen occurrence. You might now ask if that isn’t what regular motor insurance is for. The answer to that is yes… and no. But it’s worth taking the time to work out whether it might be worth protecting your investment with GAP.

Where GAP and comprehensive insurance differ

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