How drivers can stay safe as the ‘Beast from the East’ blasts Britain

How drivers can stay safe as the 'Beast from the East' blasts Britain with Arctic winter

The ‘Beast from the East’. Snowpocalypse. Snowmageddon. Snowzilla. Call it what you will, the Siberian winter weather that has blasted across Europe is playing havoc with Britain’s roads and wider transport network.

On Tuesday, parts of of the UK awoke to find that up to six inches of snow had fallen. And blizzard-like conditions meant gritters and snow ploughs were having little effect. Quite simply, the snow was settling faster than they could clear it.

In Kent, multiple lanes of the M20 and M2 motorways had to be closed. The result saw thousands of drivers stranded on the gateways to east London and the M25.

Many train operators had to cancel services. Heathrow and Gatwick airports also cancelled flights. And thousands of school children were pleased to find they were being treated to a ‘snow day’.

Is there more snow on the way?

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Fears as thousands of cars miss vital safety recalls every year

Safety recalls

Recalls can be required for important safety equipment such as airbags

Thousands of cars sold last year have missed vital safety recalls, official figures show. The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has revealed that 87,000 vehicles checked in 2017 had failed to have important safety recall work carried out.

On top of that, the vehicle’s current owners weren’t aware that they were possibly driving a defective vehicle. In an attempt to get on top of the problem, the DVSA has launched a new website. The aim is to make it easier for drivers to find out if their car has been recalled for a safety glitch they may not know about. Here’s why this is such a pressing problem.

Why it’s vital to know if your car’s been recalled

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Law change to protect drivers from dodgy car parking companies

car parking

The government is about to change the law to protect drivers from ‘cowboy’ private car parking firms. It follows an escalation in protests about some private companies levying unfair charges on drivers.

Figures from complaints handling service Resolver show that gripes about private parking operators doubled in 2016 compared to the year before. Citizens Advice has also seen a steep increase in the number of people seeking assistance to deal with tickets issued by private firms. Last year, nearly 10,000 people approached it for help with parking tickets.

How some private firms trick drivers

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Abandoned cars increase as skint drivers dump them when they break

Abandoned cars

The number of abandoned cars on Britain’s roads has increased dramatically. New figures suggest car dumping is in danger of becoming an epidemic in some areas. In 2016, 18,941 discarded cars were removed from our roadsides. That is nearly seven times the number that were taken away in 2012.

Price comparison website put in a freedom of information request to local authorities. This revealed 261,724 dumped cars were reported in 2016 and 2017. It compares to 40,876 in 2012. The result is councils have had to splash out nearly £1 million to clear up the scrap cars over the past two years.

Here we look into the various factors behind the phenomenon and find that abandoning a broken car isn’t the only thing to do with it.

Increasing numbers of old cars

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Money matters: the most expensive (and cheapest) cars to service and repair

Which are the most expensive cars to service and repair?

If there’s one thing other than breaking down that’s guaranteed to set drivers steaming, it’s finding out that their car has a serious problem. After all, serious problems frequently mean big repair bills.

Knowing which cars are expensive to fix can give drivers a head-start. It lets them choose a car that will help them stick to a motoring budget that already has to allow for fuel and insurance.

To help car owners make an informed decision about car costs, we compare both the average and most expensive repair costs revealed by garages and warranty companies.

It pays to avoid cars with shocking repair bills

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Expert advice: why cold weather plays havoc with car suspension springs

Suspension failure

You probably don’t imagine cold weather and car suspension failures go hand in hand, but they do. During December, Green Flag witnessed nearly six times as many call outs for front suspension problems as in November. The number from December 2017 was up by nearly a quarter (24 per cent) compared to the same time the year before.

For our customers, this represents a significant problem. There isn’t just the cost of having expensive suspension parts replaced. It’s the inconvenience of the problem occurring in the first place. That’s because broken suspension isn’t usually a roadside fix: cars must be recovered to garages to be mended. Read on to find out more about this phenomenon.

How do you know if your suspension is broken?

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Valentine’s Day: drivers with common sense are more likely to find love

Common sense in drivers is likely to lead to successful relationships

Do you regularly check your car’s tyre pressures? Maybe you seek out a shady spot in a car park when the temperature is soaring? Or perhaps you have a dedicated key hook or drawer in the kitchen for the car keys?

If any of these rings true, then it’s likely you have a healthy helping of common sense. The good news is drivers who have common sense are more likely to find love and enjoy successful relationships.

According to new research conducted for Green Flag – which is well known for its common-sense prices and outstanding breakdown service – 79 per cent of people value common sense more than having a high IQ.

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Diesels less reliable than petrols and pricier to fix, report claims

Diesels less reliable

As if diesel didn’t have enough on its plate, now experts are saying that cars powered by the fuel are less reliable than petrol motors. The majority of complaints around diesel have been down to its environmental credentials. However, a new report shows that diesel cars could be three times more likely to break down than their petrol equivalent and up to 20 per cent more expensive to fix.

How unreliable are diesel cars?

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Modifying cars: what can you and can’t you do?

Modifying cars

Once upon a time this would have been a humble family runabout…

We all like to give things our personal touch and modifying cars is no different. But while it might please you to make parts of your car bigger, brighter, faster and louder, it could land you in hot water.

For a start, the law takes a dim view of cars that aren’t considered roadworthy. And insurers may even refuse to pay out if you modify a car without telling them. Here we look at what you can and can’t do to your car. And whatever you decide, make sure you do it with safety in mind and that you inform your insurer.

In-car entertainment

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Slowly does it: Britain in the top 10 most congested countries

Britain in the top 10 most congested countries

With more than 65 million people trying to get around and nearly 38 million cars on the road, Britain appears to be becoming increasingly congested.

Now the latest annual study of traffic levels around the world reveals the news few drivers will want to hear: Britain’s roads are grinding to a halt.

Motorists spend an average of 31 hours a year – more than a day – stuck in traffic. It is estimated that the delays cost drivers an average of £1168 in extra fuel and lost time. In London, where levels of congestion are higher, that figure rises to £2430 per driver. That’s equivalent to £9.5 billion for the capital.

Things are now so bad that during rush hour in some cities, it would be as quick to walk. Some average speeds are slower than a horse and carriage.

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