Expert advice: why fuel flooding is a problem for drivers

Fuel flooding

If a car starts, then refuses to start again almost immediately afterwards, it could be flooded with fuel

How do you start your car in the morning? Many of us have the same routine. And for some drivers, that could be the cause of a potentially inconvenient breakdown.

I love cars but my job as vehicle and customer data insight manager is all about figures and statistics. It involves analysing numbers and seeing how people – our customers ‑ use their vehicles on a daily basis. The results can be fascinating. Read on to see how the way you start your motor could leave you stranded at the roadside.

The mystery breakdown

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Frantic Friday: table of hotspots lets drivers avoid traffic when travelling over Christmas

Frantic Friday: how drivers can prepare for traffic when travelling over Christmas 2017

You might think you’ve been organised when it comes to giving gifts for family and friends this Christmas, but have you given much thought to planning any journey by car?

Drivers are being warned to plan ahead when travelling in the lead-up to Christmas, after experts predicted that Friday, 22 December would be the busiest day on the roads – leading it to be dubbed “Frantic Friday”.

More than 20m vehicles are expected to take to roads over the Christmas period. And because Christmas Day falls on a Monday this year, a combination of commuters and those setting off for Christmas is predicted to lead to the highest number of traffic jams.

Inrix, a transport analytics firm, warned that last year, there were more than 300 traffic jams at a peak of around 5pm on Friday, 23 December. Continue reading

Are electric cars cheaper to service than diesel models? We investigate

Are electric cars cheaper to service than diesel models? We investigate

In the autumn 2017 budget, the government dangled more carrots to entice drivers to switch to electric cars. It promised not to tax those who charge their cars for free at work. It also said there would be £400m for additional charging points and revealed increases in Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) for new diesel cars.

The incentives are intended to accelerate the drive toward electric cars that emit no emissions. Even so, most drivers still have practical questions over the suitability of battery powered vehicles and, importantly, their running costs.

One of the most significant running costs of any car is the price of servicing. And manufacturers of electric models often highlight how much cheaper they are to maintain than a comparably priced diesel car. But are there really savings to be made? And how often do they need to be serviced? We investigate. Continue reading

Expert advice: drivers rely too much on TPMS tyre pressure monitoring

Tyre pressure monitoring

If your car is registered after 2012, it will probably be fitted with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). But I have concerns that drivers are relying too much on the technology and not performing regular tyre checks themselves.

My fears are that drivers could be putting themselves in danger by thinking TPMS is doing a job it is neither designed for nor capable of. Here’s how TPMS may not be the all-encompassing safety net many drivers think it is.

TPMS MOT failures rise dramatically

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Christmas 2017 driving: roadworks embargo to make getting about easier

Christmas 2017

If you’re planning to drive anywhere this Christmas, the government has given you an early present. It has said that from December 22, all roadworks on major routes in the UK will be suspended. Here’s all you need to know if you’re planning to drive (or train, coach or fly) home for Christmas.

The Roadworks embargo

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The best smartphone navigation apps for drivers

Britain has roughly the same number of cars registered for the road as there are in France. That’s around 37 million, despite Britain having less than half the space of its continental neighbour. Unsurprisingly, it makes for crowded roads. Populated areas and main roads frequently grind to a halt and the UK has the dubious title of having the most congested roads in Europe.

As a consequence, more drivers than ever are turning to their smartphone to help navigate our congested roads. Apps that guide users from A to B, responding to live traffic conditions along the way, are replacing portable sat nav units. Because of this, it would no longer sell sat navs in its stores. More damning still, they were labelled ‘left behind’ in its annual retail report. To help drivers choose the best smartphone navigation app, here are five highly rated examples.

Free navigation apps for drivers

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Christmas gift guide for drivers 2017

Whether you know someone that drives for a living, potters about with cars at the weekend or is a young, enthusiastic petrolhead hooked on repeats of Top Gear and video games, Christmas is the time to treat them to a gift that will get their motor revving.

Our suggestions range from practical presents to neat gadgets. So get in the festive spirit and let these ideas serve as a short cut to inspiration for treating that special someone. Wrapping paper not included!

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Keyless car theft: how to protect your car from new relay technique

Keyless car theft

Crooks can bypass car security systems as long as their equipment can pick up the signal from keyless fobs

Thieves are increasingly targeting cars with keyless ignitions. Just as drivers can get into their cars without touching the key, so crooks can steal the car without having the key on them. And a new technique called relay attack is being used increasingly.

Vehicle recovery company Tracker says 66 per cent of the cars it recovered last year were stolen by relay. And Tracker claims that 96 per cent of drivers whose cars have keyless ignition could be vulnerable to this form of theft.

Andy Barrs, head of police liaison for Tracker said: “The new relay attack technique has gained significant ground in the US and Germany. But it’s also beginning to take hold in the UK, so vehicle owners need to protect themselves and their assets.” Here are some simple steps drivers can take to prevent themselves becoming victims.

How ‘relay’ theft works

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New laws make penalties for dangerous driving much tougher

Dangerous driving

Drivers who kill others by focusing on their mobile phones rather than the road could face life in prison. In a move designed to make the roads a safer place the government is changing the law. Its aim is to ‘clamp down on dangerous, criminal behaviour on our roads’.

The government has also acted to plug a gap in the law. It has introduced a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving. This will be punishable by up to three years prison. Here we look into what the changes mean for drivers.

Why has the law changed?

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Green Flag Smart Service: the clever way to keep your car in great shape

Green Flag Smart Service

For many drivers, the cost of keeping their vehicle properly maintained and road legal can be a real worry. And studies show drivers dread taking their car into garages thanks to overuse of technical jargon and the fear of being ripped off.

A lot of drivers find just remembering the MOT is a trial: a quarter (27 per cent) don’t know when their annual test is due, never mind how much possible repairs might cost them. But what if you had a qualified technician on your side? And what if they oversaw any work that needed doing to your car and could get preferential rates as well? Green Flag Smart Service provides exactly that, and it’s available for all Green Flag customers at no extra cost as an added benefit of your breakdown cover.

What is Green Flag Smart Service?

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