Drivers still suspicious of driverless cars

Google is hoping this driverless car could be the future of motoring. Drivers might have other ideas…

Drivers are struggling to come to terms with driverless cars. Recent research shows that people are suspicious of giving up control of their car and relying on computers.

The studies, carried out for technology company Continental and insurer Direct Line reveal people are struggling to see the real-world benefits in driverless cars. The Continental report claims 37 per cent of people say humans are becoming too reliant on technology. Meanwhile 36 per cent think there are too many risks associated with the technology, such as it being hacked.

The Direct Line study backs this up with drivers equally split over whether the roads will be made safer or more dangerous. And a piece of work done on driverless cars reveals that we’re unlikely to reap any real road safety rewards from the technology until every car on the road is driverless. It seems the road towards autonomous vehicles is already a rocky one.

What do we really think of driverless cars?

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Tuned to perfection: how to upgrade an old car stereo to stream music

Tuned to perfection: how to upgrade an old car stereo to stream music

It’s a fact that the average age of a car in the UK is almost eight-years old. Given that millions more motors will be older still, many drivers are singing along to car sound systems that pre-date music streaming using Bluetooth. Plenty more are driving cars from a time when an apple was something you ate.

If that sounds familiar, there is some good news: it’s possible to upgrade an old car’s sound system. This means you’ll be able to play your latest digital music collection, or even use music streaming services, such as Spotify.

A wide range of clever accessories is available, and upgrades start from as little as £10. You might be keeping an old car going to get maximum value for money from it. Or you may own a classic car that’s from a time before iTunes. Whatever’s the case, you can use modern technology to upgrade your car’s sounds. Here’s how to put an end to the days of doing the time warp.

How do you play music from a smartphone with a cassette player?

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Which is best? Automatic gearbox, DSG, CVT, or automated manual

automatic gearbox

There are various automatic gearboxes on the market, but which is the best? (Picture © Kia)

Once upon a time, drivers simply had the choice between manual or automatic gearboxes. Now for anyone who wants to let the car’s electronic brain take the strain, there are a variety of different self-shifting gearboxes available.

Thanks to advances in technology, automatic gearboxes have become far more efficient. And as they can accommodate more ratios – some have 10 speeds – they help drivers to save fuel too.

Here we explain the difference between the four main types of automatic gearbox and look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Automatic gearbox

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Drug driving increase prompts calls for dope testing after crashes

Drug driving

Increasing numbers of drivers are being caught drug driving

Drug driving is increasing with more than half the drivers suspected of being under the influence of illegal substances testing positive. Now some road safety campaigners are calling for all drivers involved in accidents to face drug tests.

Figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) reveal there’s been a startling increase in drivers taking banned substances such as cocaine and cannabis. Of 2022 people stopped in June 2017, 1084 had illegal drugs in their blood. That’s 53.6 per cent compared with 39 per cent when a similar check was conducted in 2016.

Why are there so many drug drivers now?

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How to let an emergency vehicle pass without breaking the law

Five fails when letting an emergency vehicle pass: Driving in a bus lane

If there’s one thing on the road that all drivers are happy to make room for, it’s an emergency vehicle. But many of Britain’s motorists are unaware that by clearing the road for the blue flashing lights and wailing siren of an ambulance, fire engine or police car, they could be breaking the law.

From bus lane penalties to yellow box junction fines, there are plenty of mistakes that drivers may make when being passed by an emergency vehicle. The Highway Code (rule 219) says: “Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs.”

To help keep everyone on the right side of the law, we’ve flagged up the five most common mishaps.

Five fails when letting an emergency vehicle pass

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Vous êtes nicked! British drivers face hefty fines for speeding abroad

Speeding abroad

If that’s a speeding ticket he’s writing, it could blow the holiday budget

More than four out of five British drivers are oblivious to tough new fines for speeding abroad. Just weeks after UK speeding fines changed in April 2017, the EU increased the penalty for breaking the limit on the Continent. That means drivers could be fined up to £640. Other motoring offences, such as not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel, are covered by the law change too.

When UK drivers were asked by Green Flag about their driving habits , the largest proportion (45 per cent) said they broke the speed limit abroad by mistake. And more than a third (38 per cent) claimed they find themselves speeding abroad because they don’t know the limits.

Driving abroad: what are the speed limits?

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Virtual reality letting buyers test new models without the car there

Test drive a Mazda CX-5 using virtual reality

Taking a test drive is one of the most exciting things about buying a car. But most drivers will agree that waiting months for a new model to arrive in showrooms, and having to go from one car dealer to another, invariably giving up their Saturday or Sunday in the process, is a chore they could do without.

That could soon become a thing of the past. New technology is bringing the car to the customer. Without even leaving home, it is now possible to conduct a test drive from the comfort of a favourite armchair – thanks to advances in virtual reality.

Car makers including Audi, Ford, Mazda, Peugeot and Volvo are experimenting with virtual reality as they look for new ways to entice car buyers. Here’s why it could play a part when you buy your next car.  Continue reading

Life savers: safety features drivers should pick for their next car

Life savers: optional safety features drivers should choose for their next car

Car firms can now fit even the most modest motors with an astonishing array of safety equipment. It’s kit that’s designed to assist drivers and prevent crashes happening. But according to a study by What Car?, four times as many drivers prioritise connectivity, fancy audio units, navigation systems and alloy wheels over advanced systems that can help keep them, their passengers and other road users safe.

Many road safety experts believe this is because drivers don’t fully understand what the systems do, and how they can help. Here we investigate some of the most significant safety systems available on used and new cars.

Automatic braking systems

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Car industry innovations: what the boffins are planning for the future

Car industry innovations

Innovate or die is a famous catch phrase and nowhere is it more true than in the car industry. Not only do engineers work on developing cars that are faster, stronger and more economical than those currently on sale. They’re also intent on making them more user friendly. All the buzz might be about self-driving cars but there are a host of other car industry innovations coming to a model near you in the not-so distant future.

We’ve had unique access to a company that specialises in inventing equipment for the car industry. German giant Continental might be best known for making tyres but it’s also an automotive technology business. Every year its boffins spend countless hours and millions of pounds working to shape the future of motoring. Here are five of our favourite innovations.

The self-parking car

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How to save money on car servicing

car servicing

Be smart about car servicing and you can cut how much he’ll cost

Car servicing costs could escalate by as much as 10 per cent after Brexit. A new report conducted for car industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warns that if tariffs and other trade barriers come into force when the UK leaves the European Union, prices could rise. It claims the average annual cost of car servicing would then increase to £777.

According to the SMMT, 80 per cent of car spares are imported. Almost three quarters of those come from EU-based suppliers. The SMMT is concerned that if no new trading relationship with the EU is secured, tariffs and customs barriers will hike the prices of these parts.

Last year, every UK car owner spent an average £707 on car maintenance. Tyres, lubricants and filters were the most commonly replaced items. However, demand is rising quickly for telematics devices and tyre pressure monitoring sensors. Read our five top tips on how to save money on car servicing.

What does servicing entail?

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