News

Motorway services: drivers urged to share good and bad examples

Motorway services: drivers urged to share good and bad examples

Motorway services and rest areas have long been the bane of drivers’ lives. Now anyone who is blowing a head gasket over the poor conditions of facilities can do something about it. Drivers of cars, vans and lorries are being urged to name and shame poor motorway service areas.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has launched a social media campaign. It wants to use people power to drive up the standards of services and rest areas across Britain.

The FTA is taking action after the government revealed it wants to fine drivers for not taking breaks away from their vehicle. Drivers who spend rest times in their cabs face a £300 fine. But HGV drivers complain that rest facilities on Britain’s motorway network leave a lot to be desired. They argue their full-fitted cabs are frequently more comfortable.

How do I share experiences of good or bad motorway services? Continue reading

Highway Code stopping distance needs urgent review, experts say

stopping distance

New research has revealed that the stopping distance prescribed by the government’s Highway Code is too short. They now believe it could take drivers half as much time again to come to a halt in an emergency. Road safety campaigners have called on the government to undertake an urgent review. They want the stopping distance section of the Highway Code revised.

How is stopping distance calculated?

Continue reading

Prepare for take-off: flying cars edge closer to the skies (and roads!)

Prepare for take-off: flying cars edge closer to the skies

At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, there was a glimmer of hope for anyone who thinks flying cars represent the future of personal transport. A company called AeroMobil, based in Slovakia, displayed its latest vision of a winged wonder. The good news is, thanks to advances in technology, it stands a healthy chance of reaching the runway.

Then there’s the news that this week, Dubai completed a test flight of the world’s first pilotless flying taxi, developed by Volocopter. Meanwhile Uber, the technology company that has disrupted the taxi industry, has signed deals with five companies that are developing air taxis and momentum is building.

The AeroMobil might be eye-wateringly expensive, but the market is surprisingly competitive and some big names from worldwide industry are joining the race, meaning costs are likely to fall. Here we look at how the flying car is spreading its wings, with four of the most promising models from around the world.

Continue reading

Eating, drinking, smoking: most common driver distractions

Driver distraction

Does driver distraction play a part in your motoring life? Are you a habitual nose-picker during the morning rush hour? Do you put on lipstick or brush your hair in traffic? Maybe you air-drum to your favourite tune on the radio? Or perhaps you reach for the electric shaver and smarten up on the way to a meeting?

Of course, as a responsible law-abiding driver, you’re shaking your head in disbelief: none of these descriptions rings true for you. However, according to a new survey, there are plenty of other drivers who do engage in deadly in-car habits.

Who’s not been paying attention?

Continue reading

New driving test: what young drivers can expect

New driving test

In order to handle a car legally on public roads in the UK, new drivers have to pass a 40-minute driving test. But to ensure the test better prepares drivers for modern motoring, the biggest shake up in 20 years is happening in December 2017.

The driving test will still last the same amount of time and still be marked the same way. It will still cost £62 on weekdays, £75 for evenings, weekends and bank holidays. But from Monday December 4, the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will face the most far-reaching changes since the addition of the theory test in 1996. Here are the four new features budding drivers will encounter.

Increased independent driving

Continue reading

Caught on camera: should every driver have a dash cam in their car?

Caught on camera should every driver have a dash cam in their car

Drivers could be forgiven for thinking almost every other car, van, lorry or motorbike has a dash cam fitted to it. The pocket-size portable video devices have boomed in popularity, with an estimated four million dashboard-mounted cameras now on Britain’s roads.

And that number is only set to rise. When 29 leading vehicle insurers were questioned about dash cams, all said they would consider accepting dash cam footage in the event of a claim. Some companies go so far as to offer discounts to drivers for using a dash cam.

However, one of the UK’s leading road safety organisations has spoken out over concerns that footage from dash cams might take traffic police off the roads. And privacy campaigners have slammed the phenomenon of ‘vehicle voyeurs’. These are drivers who publicly share footage of other road users without their consent. Find out how objections are increasing to this widespread and relatively new gadget.

Continue reading

Scrappage: all you need to know about car maker incentive schemes

scrappage

Vauxhall has been running its scrappage scheme since May (Picture © Vauxhall)

For drivers who might be considering swapping their old car for a new model, there are now multiple scrappage schemes to help. But, unlike last time when we had government-organised scrappage, these are car maker-inspired schemes. We explain what scrappage is, which manufacturers are currently doing it and look into these latest incentives.

What is scrappage?

Continue reading

Quiz: How well do you know British landmarks you can see from a car

British landmarks

Millions of us will have spent the summer driving around the country. And that means looking out of car windows and spotting famous landmarks to alleviate the boredom. But how well do you know yours? Take our cunning quiz to see how much you know about the famous places we see as we drive around Britain.

Continue reading

Drivers still suspicious of driverless cars

Google is hoping this driverless car could be the future of motoring. Drivers might have other ideas…

Drivers are struggling to come to terms with driverless cars. Recent research shows that people are suspicious of giving up control of their car and relying on computers.

The studies have been carried out for technology company Continental and insurer Direct Line. These reveal people are struggling to see the real-world benefits in driverless cars. The Continental report claims 37 per cent of people say humans are becoming too reliant on technology. Meanwhile 36 per cent think there are too many risks associated with the technology, such as it being hacked.

The Direct Line study backs this up. It found drivers equally split over whether the roads will be made safer or more dangerous. And a piece of work done on driverless cars reveals that we’re unlikely to reap any real road safety rewards from the technology until every car on the road is driverless. It seems the road towards autonomous vehicles is already a rocky one.

What do we really think of driverless cars?

Continue reading

Car industry innovations: what the boffins are planning for the future

Car industry innovations

Innovate or die is a famous catch phrase and nowhere is it more true than in the car industry. Not only do engineers work on developing cars that are faster, stronger and more economical than those currently on sale. They’re also intent on making them more user friendly. All the buzz might be about self-driving cars but there are a host of other car industry innovations coming to a model near you in the not-so distant future.

We’ve had unique access to a company that specialises in inventing equipment for the car industry. German giant Continental might be best known for making tyres but it’s also an automotive technology business. Every year its boffins spend countless hours and millions of pounds working to shape the future of motoring. Here are five of our favourite innovations.

The self-parking car

Continue reading