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?
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?
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.
If there’s one thing that has drivers grumbling more than anything, it’s their car’s fuel economy. How many miles a car travels on a gallon of petrol or diesel – or in some cases, with a little bit of electric power in the mix – directly drains money from the bank. The more thirsty a car is, the more expensive it is to run.
A common complaint is that it is difficult to achieve a car’s advertised fuel economy. But wth a bit of practice and a change in driving habits, it’s surprising how much of an improvement can be made to a car’s mpg (miles per gallon) in a short space of time.
To see if you have a sound grasp of those driving techniques, or to simply learn more about making a car travel further on a tank of fuel, take this quiz and discover whether you’re a fuel economy winner or loser.
Getting the keys to the open road is an exciting moment. But changes are afoot (Picture iStock/Londoneye)
New drivers could face a strict probationary period after they’ve passed their test. Plans drawn up by the government will restrict what newly qualified drivers can do when they hit the road. The government wants to slash the disproportionately high number of accidents involving the 17-24 age group.
A Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) spokesperson explained: “Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) will establish a revised training and testing regime for car drivers and motorcyclists. It will introduce some post-test restrictions for drivers/riders to reduce the over-representation of new – mainly young – drivers/riders in fatal and serious road collisions.” Read on to find out more.
Are the changes definitely going ahead?
In the same week, a major recall and important alert have been launched by manufacturers of some of Britain’s best-selling cars. BMW has initiated a UK-wide recall of 312,000 cars after admitting certain models have suffered an electrical short-circuit. And Volkswagen and Seat are having to repair around 30,000 models due to a potentially dangerous seatbelt defect.
BMW is setting out to rectify an electrical fault that could leave drivers stranded with no headlights, brake lights, indicators or hazard lights. It made primetime TV after featuring on BBC One’s Watchdog show.
Meanwhile, independent safety tests revealed that the latest generation VW Polo, Seat Ibiza and Seat Arona, could unfasten one of the rear seatbelts without warning.
It is important that owners of the affected vehicles take action and follow the manufacturers’ guidelines to ensure their vehicle remains safe to drive. Here’s how to find out if the recall and alert involve your car.
Next week the starter button is pressed for the 2018 London Motor Show. It will see the engine fired up for one of Britain’s biggest events for drivers, car fans of all ages and anyone wanting to watch a live car stunt show that will make their hair stand on end.
The show starts on May 17 2018 and tickets for an adult cost from £18.50. With a wide number of events and some fun themes, there’s plenty to see and do. Browse the highlights of the motor show to find what’s on.
How old is your car? If it’s getting on for the best part of 10-years old, don’t feel any shame in not keeping up with the Joneses: the average age of motors on UK roads is rising.
The typical vehicle is now 8.1 years, the oldest since 2000. The figures for all cars and light vans licensed in 2017 suggest that more drivers and businesses are holding on to their vehicle to help make ends meet.
Analysis by The Times shows that over the past two decades, the proportion of the very oldest cars on Britain’s roads – those more than 13-years old – has almost tripled in the last two decades.
So what’s causing more drivers to keep their car for longer?
Some car firms, such as Kia, have an entire range of SUVs (Picture Kia Motors)
On the face of it, drivers might say they hate SUVs. But actually, many of us secretly want to own one. More than half of people (54 per cent) claim SUV or Sport Utility Vehicle drivers are the most annoying on the road.
Despite this, chunky, high-riding off-road style motors – sometimes called crossovers or dual-purpose cars – have a certain appeal. More than a third (35 per cent) of drivers are attracted by the thought of owning one. And sales of new SUVs have bucked the market trend by exceeding record-breaking 2017 levels so far in 2018.
Why drivers DON’T like SUVs?
Do you drive with children in your car? Are you fully aware of the laws around using the appropriate child seat? If your knowledge is a little sketchy, the good and bad news is you’re not alone. Almost nine in 10 parents admit that they are baffled by new booster seat rules and regulations.
Introduced last February, the updated rules were meant to provide clarity for mums, dads and carers when it came to securing a child safely in a car. Yet safety experts say that far from helping clarify the use of child seats, the rules have caused confusion.
Worryingly, almost one in five drivers with children under the age of 12 admit they rarely or never sit them in a car seat. So what are the guidelines that drivers should be following?
What the survey found