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?
Smartphones are an important aid for drivers. The devices help us find our way from A to B, let us make important calls, and help long journeys pass faster by providing in-car entertainment.
But since 2003, it’s been illegal to handle a phone while driving. And in March 2017, tougher penalties were introduced for drivers caught in the act, with a £200 on-the-spot fine and six penalty points. The move was aimed at addressing a rise in the number of fatal road accidents in some parts of the UK.
However, we can still use the convenient features on our smartphones – if they’re fitted to an in-car phone holder. Here’s how to stay safe and on the right side of the law.
What is the law on using phones in-car?
In order to handle a car legally on public roads in the UK, new drivers have to pass a 40-minute driving test. But to ensure the test better prepares drivers for modern motoring, the biggest shake up in 20 years is happening in December 2017.
The driving test will still last the same amount of time and still be marked the same way. It will still cost £62 on weekdays, £75 for evenings, weekends and bank holidays. But from Monday December 4, the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will face the most far-reaching changes since the addition of the theory test in 1996. Here are the four new features budding drivers will encounter.
Increased independent driving
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
Drivers often check their car during the poor weather that rolls in with the winter. But those everyday safety checks are just as relevant in the summer. And whether motorists are simply commuting to work or planning a great escape to France for the summer holiday season, these pointers could keep drivers and their family safe and ensure they stay on the right side of the law.
Naturally, the Green Flag blog has lots of helpful advice on how to look after a car. But to encourage more drivers to consider their car’s general condition, we thought it was time to test everyone’s car knowledge and common sense – with our summer driving quiz.
So flex those brain cells and give it a go. After all, it could help you have a smooth roadtrip this summer.
Mobile phones have come a long way since the first call was made using one in the 1970s. Then, the Motorola handset used weighed more than a kilogram and could only make calls for 30 minutes before the battery needed charging for… 10 hours.
Today’s smartphone is packed with features, making it a computer, camera, music and media player, games console, diary and so much more besides. Many sync with a car and give the driver control through a touchscreen or voice commands. However, such features can be a dangerous distraction.
That’s why it’s important every driver knows how to enable the ‘Do Not Disturb When Driving’ mode. Earlier this month, Apple announced a bespoke safety feature for iPhones, to tackle the growing problem of driver distraction. And Google Android phones also offer a do not disturb setting. Here’s how to set them up and stay safe behind the wheel.
Experts are warning that the very equipment that’s meant to protect drivers is hitting them where it hurts: in the wallet. Increasingly advanced safety technology is sending car repair costs soaring.
Experts at Thatcham Research, the not-for-profit agency that works with car makers and the insurance industry, claim car repair bills have increased by 32 per cent over the last three years. The average repair bill is now £1678, says Thatcham. But what can car owners do about these increasing costs?
What’s causing car repair costs to rise?
Whether driving at night or motoring in the rain, fog or snow, one of a car’s most important safety features is its lights. The headlights in particular are a vital component for keeping drivers secure on the road. They dictate the view of the road ahead and surrounding environment, and help other road users see the approaching vehicle.
But as cars age, so do their bulbs. And nobody can have failed to notice that lighting technology has raced on over the past decade. The latest cars have ultra-bright LED lights. These can often make traditional halogen bulbs seem no more effective than a candle in a lantern.
If you’ve found yourself cursing your car’s lighting performance, or felt a pang of envy as you’ve shielded your eyes from other cars’ dazzling headlights, there is, ahem, light at the end of the tunnel.
Upgrading a car’s headlights is one of the simplest maintenance jobs drivers can tackle. It’s also highly affordable. And when you consider the safety benefits of changing a car’s bulbs for brighter items, it’s little wonder that sales of aftermarket bulbs are booming. Here’s how to do it.
Choosing the right car seat for children can be confusing at the best of times. But now the government has introduced new car seat rules, in line with United Nations legislation, which is aimed at phasing out the use of simple booster cushions for young children.
Previously, children as young as three-years old, or weighing more than 15kg, were legally allowed to use a basic booster cushion.
However, safety experts have long held concerns that the cushion-style seats offer little, if any protection to children in the event of a car accident. The UN cites EU figures, from 2010. These showed that nearly half of all children killed in road crashes were passengers in a vehicle.
The new legislation means only children taller than 125cm or weighing more than 22kg will be permitted to use a backless booster purchased after 9 February 2017.
Winter weather isn’t only dangerous for drivers when ice lies around a bend or snow is falling from the sky. The limited daylight hours, low sun, wet leaves, standing water and submerged potholes all make for particularly difficult driving conditions.
Drivers who don’t always feel confident when faced with such challenges – and many don’t – would benefit from taking a driving course specifically aimed at dealing with winter weather.
There is a wide variety of training available, tackling everything from aquaplaning to driving on ice. Prices range from affordable refresher courses to once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Here’s how you can stay safer, and feel more confident, when driving in the most tricky of all the seasons. Continue reading