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Car tyre fragments could damage our health, experts say

tyre particles
Tyres give off particles of different sizes. Even the smoke contains tiny fragments of plastic (Picture iStock/Toa55)

We’re frequently told that cars are bad for the planet. That’s why we’re being pushed towards driving electric cars. But exhaust emissions aren’t the only nasties to come from our cars. Every time we drive, tiny bits of rubber fly off our tyres and into the atmosphere. In some cases, these particles are so small they’re considered to be microplastics. Read on to see if they really pose a threat.

How do tyres release fragments?

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Clean Air Day 2019: how to reduce your emissions from driving

clean air day 2019

Thursday 20 June was the UK’s Clean Air Day 2019. Organised by charity Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign. It’s been conceived to urge people in Britain to think about how they might reduce their emissions and help improve air quality.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road transport accounts for up to 30 per cent of particulate emissions in Europe. Much of that comes from the exhaust pipes of internal combustion engine vehicles. Here we reveal how car drivers can reduce their emissions and make every day a Clean Air Day.

Plan your trip

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Law changes wanted to crack down on drivers not wearing seat belts

Around a quarter of people killed in car crashes aren’t wearing seatbelts (Picture iStock/Skynesher)

Chances are, every time you get into a car you put your seat belt on. More than nine out of 10 of us do. But the small number of drivers who incredibly don’t buckle up in case they crease their clothes are dramatically increasing their chances of dying in a car crash.

The risks of not belting yourself into a car are revealed in a new report by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) in association with Direct Line. The panel of MPs wants the government to increase the penalties for not wearing safety belts.

The most high-profile victim not properly restrained in a car was Diana, Princess of Wales. But she died in 1997 and road safety campaigners believe drivers need to be reminded of the dangers of driving without seat belts.

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Quiz: how well do you know celebrity car fans?

celebrity car fans

Celebrity car fans are a constant feature in the media. But how much attention do you pay to them? Our quiz will reveal how much you know about the automotive obsession of some of the best-known people on the planet. Only household car nut names have made it into our quiz. And we’ve combined celebs who’ve been in the news or on TV recently, such as Paul Hollywood (above), with those you’ll undoubtedly have heard of. So buckle up, celebrity thinking caps on, it’s time to take the test!  Continue reading

Your car’s colour might make its value plunge

car's colour

You could well pay for choosing a wacky colour like this (Picture Volkswagen)

Experts say you should think carefully before choosing an outlandish shade for your car’s colour. That’s because your motor’s paintwork has a bigger influence on its value than you might think.

Recently, reality TV star Katie Price put her Barbie pink Range Rover up for sale. However, experts reckon that its colour alone could have knocked as much as £3000 off its estimated £22,900 value. If you’re buying a new or used car, what impact will its colour have on the price you pay and what you sell it for? Read on to find out.

Which car colours lose value?

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Drivers at risk from poisonous pollution in cars, expert says

Poisonous pollution

All cars have cabin air filters but new research shows they may not be that effective (Picture iStock/ahirao_photo)

A new study reveals that millions of drivers could be being poisoned by the air in their car. The claims come after researchers from a company specialising in motoring pollution tested 11 popular cars.

We’ve already revealed the bacteria living in car air-con. Now a study has found that some new models do little to protect occupants from dirty air coming in via filters in the ventilation system. Nick Molden, whose company Emissions Analytics was behind the report, said: “Our research suggests many vehicles are a risk to their drivers’ health.”

Which cars did badly?

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New litter bins tested in effort to cut down roadside rubbish

Litter bins

Every year Highways England says it spends £8 million clearing 200,000 sacks of litter from our main roads. As well as costing money, it says removing roadside rubbish puts workers’ lives at risk. That’s because contractors must stand close to speeding cars to pick up people’s junk.

In an effort to solve the problem, a pair of schemes involving new litter bins are being tested. But are they common sense or gimmicks? We investigate.

What are the drive-through litter bins?

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Fears assisted driving systems make people think cars self-drive

Assisted driving systems

We’re still quite a way from being able to read a book while the car reliably drives itself, experts say (Picture iStock/metamotorworks)

Safety experts have warned drivers that car makers could be lulling them into a false sense of security. One of the country’s foremost car safety experts believes motor manufacturers are overusing the word ‘autonomous’. As a consequence, drivers are getting the wrong idea about their cars’ capabilities.

Thatcham Research, an independent automotive safety specialist, and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) want car firms to be clearer about what the assisted driving systems on their cars can actually do.

What is the problem?

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New report reveals how well speed awareness courses work

Speed

Be on the wrong end of one of these you could end up on a speed awareness course (Picture iStock/south_agency)

Are you an experienced driver who thinks they’re unlikely to be caught speeding? Or have you already been nicked exceeding the speed limit and don’t know whether to choose a speed awareness course? The most exhaustive study yet on the courses offered to drivers caught speeding reveals the answers.

The report commissioned by the government looks at the increasingly popular National Speed Awareness Courses (NSAC). It assesses who is offered the courses, who accepts, and what impact the courses have on their driving. Read on to find out if you fit the profile for drivers who take speed awareness courses.

What are speed awareness courses?

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Smart pavement adapts roads for pedestrians, bikes and driverless cars

Smart pavement idea for cities adapts roads for pedestrians, cyclists and driverless cars

Cars that drive themselves may seem like a long way down the road. But the government is already preparing for the journey into the future. It is encouraging ideas for new infrastructure such as the smart pavement that take advantage of the so-called smart car.

One innovation that has caught the attention of experts is a new type of road. This employs embedded LED lighting technology to indicate a change of use.

Called FlexKerb, it is to be trialled in London. By using colour coding it can adapt according to traffic demands at different times of day.

Its creators say it could change from a cycle lane to a parking and charging bay for driverless vehicles depending on real-time traffic conditions and local infrastructure needs.

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