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 budget, the government dangled more carrots to entice drivers to switch to electric cars. It promised to not tax those who charge for free at work, said there would be £400m for additional charging points and announced 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 local 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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

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?

Continue reading

How safe are the roads you use? Britain’s best and worst revealed

Every driver thinks they know a safe road and one that’s dangerous. Personal experiences and anecdotes from friends and family can create an impression that some roads are more risky than others. Now there is a more reliable measure of the safety of the routes we routinely travel.

For the first time, drivers and communities can accurately find out which roads in Britain are safe. The Road Crash Index allows anyone to view the number of accidents on specific roads. They can then see whether there has been any increase or decrease over time.

Free and available to all drivers, the Road Crash Index has been compiled as part of a wider initiative to improve road safety standards across Europe’s main roads. Read on to find out how to use it.

What is the Road Crash Index? Continue reading

Speeding: what effect would cutting limits have on road deaths?

Speeding

Would you be in favour of a cut in the speed limit? One expert believes that a 5 per cent reduction in maximum speeds – as little as 1mph in some cases ‑ would lead to a 30 per cent drop in fatal traffic crashes.

And what about traffic enforcement cameras and 20mph zones? When both became a part of everyday motoring life, they were greeted with dismay by many drivers. But evidence produced at the Speed Summit, held by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), shows they’re now becoming more accepted.

Speed is an emotive issue among drivers. The Department for Transport has just revealed numbers caught speeding is higher than any other year in the past decade. Nearly 6000 drivers were caught exceeding the speed limit every day in England and Wales. But inappropriate or excessive speed are two contributory factors most often recorded by police at the scene of crashes. Here are some of the latest facts behind speed and speeding.

Would cutting the speed limit save lives?

Continue reading