Green Flag

Telematics: How new Alert Me is helping to make cars clever

Green Flag Alert Me

Breaking down could become a thing of the past with telematics

Technology that only a few years ago would have seemed like a dream is now coming to a car near you. The latest can predict if your car is going to break down. It’s estimated it could save British drivers 38,000 hours waiting for roadside rescue with their conked-out car.

Green Flag Alert Me plugs into the car’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port. From there, the matchbox-sized device monitors the car’s battery and electronic brain. This enables it to record changes such as the battery failing to hold its charge before the driver would ordinarily notice them. If it does see changes, Alert Me reports it to Green Flag over the mobile phone network. Green Flag then notifies the driver via a smartphone app or text message. Continue reading

Scenic Route prize draw: Win a Scottish Highland Safari for four

Taking the Scenic Route is a celebration of going places and doing things by car that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to get to. Such as a Scottish Highland Safari. As actor and TV presenter Joe Swash discovered, driving off-road takes a bit of getting used to.

Along with Highland Safaris, we’re offering you and three friends the chance to have your own 4×4 driver for the day. To win, you simply follow @GreenFlagUK and retweet our ‘RT to win’ tweet. Whoever is successful in the prize draw will have the adventure of a lifetime by Land Rover across some of the most breathtakingly beautiful and inhospitable terrain in the country.

The experience will start with fully paid-for travel and transfers to the Fisher’s Hotel in Pitlochry. Following an overnight stay in the stylish and sumptuous hotel and a hearty breakfast, you’ll transfer to the Highland Safaris HQ in Aberfeldy, Perthshire. There you and your three guests will enjoy a full day of 4×4 driving with your very own kilted off-road driving expert.  Continue reading

Quiz: Guess the Green Flag tools and beat Joe Swash’s score

Guess the Green Flag tool

Joe Swash has been on a road trip of a lifetime, touring the Scottish Highlands in a vintage Land Rover as part of Green Flag’s Scenic Route series of inspiring drives. But when a car is almost as old as its driver, things will inevitably go wrong under the bonnet.

When cars breakdown, getting to the root of the cause is half the battle to swiftly getting it back on the road. That’s why every Green Flag breakdown van carries hundreds of tools, each with a very specific purpose. It means if a driver’s motor splutters to a halt – as Joe’s Land Rover did several times – the Green Flag technician should be able to fix the problem at the roadside.

The tools vary from the simple to the highly complex, costing from pence to hundreds of pounds. And several of them came to the rescue of Joe Swash, although he wasn’t too sure what many of them were for.

Take our quick quiz and see if you can guess the Green Flag tools and identify more of them than Joe could…

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Scenic Route: New driver courses for novices like Joe Swash who want to become more confident

Joe Swash is the first to admit he would benefit from a new driver course. The popular actor and television presenter may have taken the Scenic Route round Scotland but he only passed his driving test in July 2015. And the 34-year old Londoner says he would benefit from further lessons at the wheel.

So for Joe and the thousands of other newly qualified drivers, what courses are available if they want to brush up on their skills at the wheel and clock up more experience under professional guidance?

It’s not just an issue for those drivers who have recently passed their test. Anyone who’s been driving for some time can feel rusty and require a confidence boost in certain situations. If that sounds familiar, the good news is there are all sorts of driving courses across Britain that will put you on the right road. Here are four worth investigating:

Courses for newly qualified drivers: Pass Plus, any driving instructor

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Scenic Route: Buying old Land Rovers – the Green Flag expert’s guide

 

Fans will tell you buying old Land Rovers can be a fun and rewarding experience. Old versions of the model we now know as the Defender were the original ‘go anywhere’ vehicle. Ever since its introduction in 1948, the Land Rover is one of the few cars that can truly lay claim to having a cult following. It’s no surprise then that Joe Swash picked a Land Rover for his epic road trip for Green Flag’s Scenic Route series.

Joe’s is a 1985 Land Rover 90 Soft Top, the short wheelbase version fitted with what appears to be a poorly erected tent covering the back seats and load bay. You need a sense of adventure to own and drive a car like Joe’s. It’s also ideal to have a little mechanical knowledge or, at the least, the enthusiasm to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in, learning to fix faults as they arise. And they will – as any Land Rover owner will tell you. Continue reading

The Scenic Route: Technician’s top tips for trouble-free touring

The Jump star Joe Swash spent two days taking the Scenic Route into the Scottish Highlands. Along the way, he swam in a freezing lake, took a heart-pumping ride along a zip wire and enjoyed an action-packed afternoon learning how to drive his Land Rover off-road. But he also had to cope with a couple of mechanical breakdowns. Our Scenic Route technician’s top tips are ways that every driver can prevent their car suffering a similar fate, as explained by expert Jamie Girvan.

Scenic Route technician’s tips: Don’t take your tyres for granted

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Scenic Route: Joe Swash exclusive – learning to drive and my first motoring memories

The Jump and ex-Eastenders star Joe Swash is the first in a series of celebrities to take Green Flag’s Scenic Route. The series of adventures around the UK and Europe has been designed to celebrate the freedom of driving and encourage drivers to take the road less travelled. In this Joe Swash exclusive interview, the London lad talks about his life and how important motoring has been.

Why did you leave it so late to learn to drive?

“I lived in central London and public transport is amazing there. You can get round so much easier and quicker than in a car. Also I started doing Eastenders when I was 20 and we were ferried around by drivers all the time so I got lazy. Then before I knew it, I was in my 30s and still couldn’t drive. But I had my boy and I couldn’t keep on picking him up from school by cab…”

How does Joe Swash describe his driving?

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Scenic Route: TV star Joe Swash explores wild Scotland by Land Rover

 

With the Easter holiday around the corner and the summer break on the horizon, millions of us are planning to get away from it all. To fuel inspiration for great adventures in the UK and Europe, Green Flag has hit the road with an exciting new series of road trips. And some of the country’s best-known faces will be sliding into the driving seat and sharing their experiences with you.

Called Scenic Route, the journeys are easy for anyone to take. All you need is a car and a thirst for adventure. In the first Scenic Route road trip, actor and presenter Joe Swash, best known for Eastenders, I’m A Celebrity and, most recently, The Jump, reveals how the Scottish Highlands can take your breath away and get the adrenaline racing.

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Hybrid battery problems: How they affect petrol-electric cars

Hybrid battery problems

Toyota Prius started the petrol-electric revolution (Picture © Toyota)

Hybrid battery problems courtesy of wiring faults are becoming a common cause of breakdowns with the increasingly popular petrol-electric cars. The old cliché is that modern cars have more computing power than the first Apollo moon rockets. It’s true but it also means they have more wiring. And the more complex the electronics, the greater the capacity there is for something to go wrong. Here we look at how battery problems can afflict cars that use electricity to supplement petrol or diesel power.

What kind of breakdowns hit hybrid cars?

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Revealed: Roads worth avoiding during the Rugby World Cup

Roads worth avoiding

Rugby World Cup matches equal large crowds which means congested roads around grounds


The roads worth avoiding during the Rugby World Cup have been revealed by Green Flag – and surprisingly they’re not all in London. In fact the analysis, carried out during September 2015, revealed that Elland Road in Leeds is expected to be the most congested rugby ground in the country.

The Rugby World Cup climaxes at Twickenham on the outskirts of London on Saturday October 31. Green Flag data reveals that more than half a million breakdowns will take place in the UK during the course of the tournament. That’s a breakdown every seven seconds.
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