Driving safety

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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Quiz: Do you know how to prepare your car for summer driving?

Quiz: Do you know how to prepare your car for summer driving?

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.

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How to set Do Not Disturb While Driving mode for Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones

How to set Do Not Disturb While Driving mode for Apple iOS and Google Android smartphone

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.

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Why are car repair costs increasing and what can we do to prevent it?

Why car repair costs are accelerating like a supercar

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?

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Bright idea: how to change or upgrade car headlight bulbs

Headlights

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.

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What the new car child seat laws mean for parents and drivers

Britax compared a basic booster seat with a high-backed booster seat

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.

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The best driving courses for mastering winter weather

The best driving courses for mastering winter weather

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

How to transport fireworks safely by car

Transport fireworks safely by car

It’s that time of year when children are getting excited and mums are warning dads not to get carried away buying industrial quantities of fireworks that resemble a bunker buster. But while plenty of guidance is given to help everyone have a safe fireworks display at home or in public, little thought is given on how to transport fireworks safely by car.

Fireworks are extremely dangerous. The Government’s last recorded figures on injuries caused by fireworks, from 2005, showed that 990 people were hurt during a four week period around November 5.

However, there are some sensible tips and several essential steps that drivers should take to ensure that carrying fireworks in a car doesn’t result in a serious accident.

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Advice for new parents: check your car’s tyres before leaving hospital

Parents

Janine McCarthy’s car rolled six times after a tyre burst; she urges mums-to-be to check their car’s tyres (Picture © TyreSafe)

When it comes to offering advice to new or first-time parents, everyone has words of wisdom to speed mums and dads towards a blissful time with baby. From sleep routines to feeding, pushchairs to car child seats, the parenting tips come think and fast. But it’s rare that those who mean well would ever advise checking your car’s tyres.

However, that’s the message to proud parents across the nation, as a safety campaign gets under way, aimed at parents of the 695,000 babies born in England and Wales each year. It suggests that checking the condition of car tyres is just as critical as making sure babies are taken home from hospital in an appropriate child seat if travelling by car.

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