Keeping kids smiling when you’re on a long trip can be a challenge
Old-style in-car games such as I-Spy are the most popular ways to occupy kids on road trips. They beat smartphones and tablets, which astonishingly, are among the least popular choices to keep young passengers happy on car journeys.
New research by YouGov for garage rating organisation Motor Codes tallied with a recent study by Green Flag which found that travelling together is an opportunity to spend quality time with the family. The increasingly popular driving holiday is seen as a time for families to ditch technology in favour of entertainment that encourages creativity, learning and laughs for the whole family.
Looking out of the window and playing age-old observational in-car games such as I-Spy were cited by more than 60 per cent of drivers as the best way to keep youngsters entertained. This was the particular favourite of 18 to 24 year olds and over 55s.
Great in-car games to play with kids
Exploring is the main reason more than half of us love driving holidays
Forget sweltering in a steamy sun-baked airport departure lounge, the driving holiday is the new way to take a summer break for many British travellers. It coincides with the increase in popularity of the ‘staycation’ that will see a dramatic 250 per cent increase in the number of people holidaying in the UK compared to five years ago.
New research from Green Flag reveals that this summer 56 per cent of people will be driving to their holiday destination. And 13.2 million of us have already been on a driving holiday this year. If you’re one of the millions planning a road trip this summer, we’ve compiled the following list to help you break your journey.
Six great places to stop during a driving holiday
Breakdown cover can save wasting holiday time (Picture © TyreSafe)
Having your vehicle break down is never something you expect and when it does happen it’s frequently at the most inconvenient time. Green Flag’s Sam Jackson explains how having breakdown cover can transform what would have been a difficult experience into a minor adjustment to your trip, even if you’re in foreign climes. Continue reading
Blue Monday could be bad enough without breaking down. Follow our tips for trouble free motoring
We’ve had black ice, now it’s Blue Monday, officially the most depressing day of the year. And of any day, this is probably the one that you don’t want made worse by car trouble. So here are 10 dos and don’ts to ensure you – and your car ‑ enjoy trouble free motoring.
Be kind to your battery
Turning an engine over is a tiring business for a battery. Cold weather thickens the engine oil and makes cranking the engine even harder, requiring more battery charge. To help your battery on its way, turn everything such as the lights, wipers and sound system off while you start the car. Dip the clutch too. It makes it easier for the battery to turn the engine, your battery will last longer, and it’s less likely to leave you stranded.
Black ice looks like the road surface has been freshly painted. From a car it’s frequently invisible until it’s too late
The current freezing but largely dry weather conditions pose a unique threat to motorists: black ice, a hazard that is all the more dangerous because it’s impossible to see. The first you know about black ice is usually when you lose control of the car. However, there are some steps you can take to be prepared. Peter Rodger from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said: “We all need to respect that the weather changes and make adjustments to deal with it. Being mentally prepared as well as having the right equipment is vital, so think about last year, any problems it caused you, and what you need to do to overcome them if they recur.” Here are our expert tips for coping with the threat of black ice.
Of all the crazy cars from 2015, the Honda Project 2&4 is one of the maddest (Picture © Honda)
There’s nothing car makers like better than to experiment. They do this with models called concept cars and in 2015, there was a raft of these launched at motor shows around the world to catch the eye, set off camera phones and fill social media feeds. Here is our pick of the six craziest concept cars of the year.
Many garages offer to perform free winter checks on cars
No one wants to be stranded in winter, especially when we rely on our cars for visiting family and friends. Equally, we all want to spend time enjoying ourselves, rather than getting grimy carrying out car maintenance. That’s why drivers will like these simple DIY jobs that will keep cars in tip top condition in cold weather without taking hours to do. Continue reading
Aquaplaning is the most common hazard drivers face in winter (Picture © Porsche)
When we’re on the road, the firefly twinkle of Christmas lights and warm glow of a roaring fire is just something to look forward to when we get home. The rest of the time it’s mostly cold, damp and dark – in other words, the most difficult driving conditions of the year.
Sprinkle a fresh and fluffy layer of snow on the roads, add a touch of black ice for good measure, and it gets downright treacherous. While it’s a good idea to invest in tuition at an advanced driving course, not everyone has the time or money to spare. So these invaluable tips from Peter Rodger, a former chief examiner at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, should benefit all drivers this winter.
The number of mechanical car washes has halved over the last 15 years
A Saharan dust cloud is expected to hit the UK on Thursday. Brits on the east coast are being warned to expect warm weather and high pollution levels as unseasonable temperatures hit us. But if the dust does make it and your car is covered, how will you clean it off? According to a new report, the days of the mechanical car wash could be numbered.
The growing popularity of hand car washes has prompted the decline in so-called ‘rollover machines’. Now the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) claims the number of automated car washes has halved over the past 15 years. It says that since 2000, the mechanical car washes on UK garage forecourts have plunged from 9000 to 4200 this year.
Why are hand car washes becoming so popular?
A report from five years ago by researcher Datamonitor revealed that the UK spends £523m a year on car washes. But according to the PRA, mechanical car washes are increasingly standing idle because hand car Continue reading
Once upon a time, air-conditioning in cars was the ultimate luxury, available only on the most expensive motors. Now it’s a standard feature in the most affordable cars on our roads: the small Dacia Sandero, Skoda Citigo and Vauxhall Viva city cars offer it. But drivers often think that it will be more economical and save on fuel if they don’t use it over winter, when the air rarely needs cooling. So the question is this: to chill or not to chill in winter?
Should you switch a car’s air-conditioning off in winter?
Air-conditioning expert Sam Sihra from Alpinair, in West London, has been servicing cars’ air-conditioning systems since 1972. In his view, switching off a car’s air-conditioning system for weeks on end when the weather is cold, and perhaps only running it occasionally, is a mistake.
Why should drivers use air-con in winter weather?
Air-conditioning is the best way to dehumidify, or dry, damp air. With it running, the inside of a car’s windows won’t mist up; switch it off and it could seem as though you’re driving in dense fog. Equally, using the air-conditioning is a great way of de-misting the car if it steams up when you first get in it on a cold day. Continue reading