Experts are warning that the very equipment that’s meant to protect drivers is hitting them where it hurts: in the wallet. Increasingly advanced safety technology is sending car repair costs soaring.
Experts at Thatcham Research, the not-for-profit agency that works with car makers and the insurance industry, claim car repair bills have increased by 32 per cent over the last three years. The average repair bill is now £1678, says Thatcham. But what can car owners do about these increasing costs?
What’s causing car repair costs to rise?
That familiar feeling of waiting for traffic lights to wake up and turn green could be a thing of the past thanks to new intelligent signals.
Currently the majority of lights on Britain’s roads are programmed to change at timed intervals. And with the number of signals growing from 23,000 in 1994 to 33,000 in 2014, it’s estimated traffic lights add two minutes to every car journey made. Incredibly, that’s calculated to cost the nation’s economy £16bn a year, or one per cent of GDP.
So what can be done about traffic lights and hold-ups? Experts say the answer is a new generation of intelligent traffic light.
Aren’t some traffic lights ‘smart’ already?
Roads can be a dangerous environment. Drivers need to have their wits about them and their eyes out on stalks even on the briefest trip. From passing parked cars to negotiating zebra crossings, each obstacle represents a hazard that needs to be approached with a certain mindset and technique to ensure drivers, passengers and fellow road users stay safe at all times.
On longer journeys, there are more hazards and greater speeds, which can call for fast decision making. So it pays to brush up on the rules of the road, whether that’s by sitting down with a mug of tea and revisiting the Highway Code, or seeking more general advice and practical tips from expert organisations, such as the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) or Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
To help drivers stay on their toes, we’ve compiled 10 common hazards that are encountered on the road, and challenge all to see how well they tackle them. Continue reading
The driving test is entering the digital age, after the government announced changes that are designed to reflect the widespread use of satellite navigation systems in cars.
Learner drivers will be expected to safely follow directions from a sat nav system or they will fail their driving test. And they will spend twice the amount of time – now 20 minutes – driving independently, without guidance from the examiner.
The changes are part of a package of revisions that will come into force from 4 December. The objective is to provide a more realistic assessment of driving on today’s roads. Continue reading
If you’re convinced that the cost of driving has been creeping up, you’re not imagining it. At least that’s the conclusion of new research, which says that even owners of the cheapest cars have seen everyday motoring costs creep up by 10 per cent, over the past year.
Research carried out by CAP HPI, the vehicle valuation specialist, looked at the running costs associated with owning a car, rather than the purchase price of the car.
The price of scheduled servicing and general wear-and-tear maintenance were calculated, as were bills for fuel (petrol or diesel), road tax and the drop in value of the car – known as depreciation. Once combined, they were used to produce a pence-per-mile figure.
As St Patrick’s Day gets underway, countless revellers will hijack the religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland, and dress up in green-coloured outfits to keep themselves invisible to leprechauns that are said to like nothing more than pinching unsuspecting individuals.
One or two pints of Guinness are likely to be consumed, and pubs and bars around the world will be ringing out to the cries of “Luck of the Irish!”, an expression that dates back to the 19th century, when Irish miners enjoyed successes during America’s gold and silver rush.
To mark the occasion, we’ve compiled a quiz on some of the world’s strangest superstitions for drivers. Continue reading
Drivers have been given some good news, after Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in the 2017 Budget that fuel duty will be frozen, despite widespread fears it would be raised to help balance the nation’s books.
It means that for the seventh year in a row, the duty on fuel remains frozen. This is estimated to save the average British driver £75 a year, and as much as £270 for van drivers.
At the same time, road tax – formally known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) – has been frozen for a further year, for private motorists and hauliers.
Are you an experienced driver? Can you tell one end of a spark plug from another? Do you know how to operate a swish infotainment system? And could you change a wheel at the roadside, or even just check the air pressure of a car’s tyres?
Nearly every driver secretly fancies themselves as being ‘above average’ behind the wheel. But cars are becoming so complex that it’s understandable if there are features few of us are familiar with.
However, there are some fundamental items on a car that either need checking regularly, to keep you safe on the road, or that you should know how to operate to help get the best from your car’s technology.
See how well you know your way around a car by taking this fun quiz. And once you’re done, send it to friends to see who’s the more knowledgeable driver…
Choosing the right car seat for children can be confusing at the best of times. But now the government has introduced new car seat rules, in line with United Nations legislation, which is aimed at phasing out the use of simple booster cushions for young children.
Previously, children as young as three-years old, or weighing more than 15kg, were legally allowed to use a basic booster cushion.
However, safety experts have long held concerns that the cushion-style seats offer little, if any protection to children in the event of a car accident. The UN cites EU figures, from 2010. These showed that nearly half of all children killed in road crashes were passengers in a vehicle.
The new legislation means only children taller than 125cm or weighing more than 22kg will be permitted to use a backless booster purchased after 9 February 2017.
Just how great is the British car industry? And what about the cars it produces? Britain, like any other nation, has enjoyed its fair share of ups and downs. There have been success stories, and then there have been British cars that have ruined their makers and reduced grown men to tears.
To test your knowledge of the landmark cars and places that have shaped the jigsaw of the British car industry over the years, we’ve devised a devilishly difficult quiz – well, difficult for those that can’t picture the difference between a Mini and a Maxi.
So without further delay, put on your thinking cap and see how much you know about Britain’s brilliant and not-so brilliant cars.