When drivers run out of space in their car, an increasingly popular practical solution is to fit a roof rack and storage box. These allow for a holiday’s worth of luggage to be carried without resorting to packing out the passenger seats. But failing to load road-mounted luggage correctly might lead to more than scattered clothes in the road. It could cause an accident.
According to IAM Roadsmart, a leading UK road safety charity, each year thousands of accidents are caused by debris falling from vehicles. Even if there aren’t any casualties caused by such an event, the charity points to the practical problem of delays. It claims that each incident leads to a 20-minute traffic jam on average.
To help keep drivers safe, the IAM’s driving experts share some simple tips for loading a roof rack safely.
Why use a roof rack or roof box?
We rarely need reminding that the UK is an island. And one of the consequences of not being part of a larger continent is we’re frequently buffeted by strong winds. And that means whenever the Met Office issues weather warnings drivers in particular should pay attention.
Car owners frequently think rain and snow present the most challenging driving conditions. But wind is up there with the worst of them. Short of staying at home, lighting the fire and pouring a cuppa, what practical steps can drivers (along with bikers and cyclists) take to stay safe when they need to get from A to B in strong winds?
A car is of no use without its key. It can’t be opened, so it’s going nowhere. And if it was locked and left in gear with the handbrake applied, it’s going to be devilishly difficult to move.
The moment most drivers realise they’ve lost their car keys, is when they need to be somewhere, soon. But first they’ve got the headache of working out how best to remedy the situation. Should they phone a friend who knows their way around a car? Perhaps it’s better to call a garage or should it be a breakdown service provider? And what about a car locksmith? Here are the steps drivers can take when they have lost their car keys.
Hyper milers: Paul Clifton (left) and Ian McKean with their diesel Ford Fiesta (Picture © Ford)
Failing to achieve the fuel economy that their car is claimed to return is one of the most common grumbles among drivers.
So what would you say if simple driving tips could improve your car’s economy? And in some cases it might even climb by a staggering 60 per cent compared with the manufacturer’s figures.
Most of us would raise an eyebrow and wonder if it’s really possible. But these aren’t the claims of sharp-suited sales execs; they’re perfectly practical tips from normal drivers that anyone can put into practice.
It might not take that much damage for a car to be written off. But can it be put back on the road?
From October 2017 onwards, the insurance categories for damaged cars change. Where once these categorisations went neatly from A to D, they now go A, B, S, and N. The classes have been changed in a bid to ensure fewer dangerously crash-damaged cars end up being put back on the road. We look at what’s been done, what it means for drivers and whether it’ll make a difference.
What are insurance write-off categories?
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?
Smoking isn’t just harmful to you and your passengers
We all know smoking is bad for us. But now there’s conclusive evidence that it’s harmful to our car’s health as well. Anyone who partakes in the evil weed will realise that smoking is an expensive hobby. But the impact on our pocket doesn’t stop with buying tobacco or cigarettes. It can keep on hurting us financially when we sell our cars too.
A new report by car valuation experts CAP HPI reveals that cars can lose as much as £2000 off their resale value if they’ve been smoked in.
Why does smoking in cars hit their value?
Drivers may be tempted to imagine that the most reliable cars are the most expensive models from the poshest brands. But the latest independent surveys of car owners suggest otherwise.
Audi, BMW and Land Rover can be found languishing at the bottom of tables ranking the most and least reliable car makers. And budget brands, including Skoda and Suzuki, are often given the highest ratings.
It means that when buying a used or new car, drivers should do their homework carefully. If they don’t, they run the risk of their car being off the road and unexpected repair bills.
To help inform car buyers, we’ve got some top tips on how to choose a car that won’t let you down.
The days of the independent car companies are pretty much over. Motor makers are now superbrands so they can reap the enormous financial rewards of selling millions of models all over the globe. In a world where every car company seems to be owned by someone else, we look at some of the smaller firms and ask who owns them? Some of the questions are cunning. And there are a couple of teasers in there to make it a bit of a challenge. If you enjoy this, try some of our other mind-stretchers.
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.