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.
Roads can be a dangerous environment. Drivers need to have their wits about them and their eyes out on stalks even on the briefest trip. From passing parked cars to negotiating zebra crossings, each obstacle represents a hazard that needs to be approached with a certain mindset and technique to ensure drivers, passengers and fellow road users stay safe at all times.
On longer journeys, there are more hazards and greater speeds, which can call for fast decision making. So it pays to brush up on the rules of the road, whether that’s by sitting down with a mug of tea and revisiting the Highway Code, or seeking more general advice and practical tips from expert organisations, such as the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) or Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
To help drivers stay on their toes, we’ve compiled 10 common hazards that are encountered on the road, and challenge all to see how well they tackle them. Continue reading
It’s been a great summer with long, warm days that have been as appreciated by drivers as they have by those putting up a deckchair or firing up the barbeque. However, the autumn weather is bringing rain to Britain, which makes for more difficult driving conditions.
Despite modern cars brimming with electronic systems that can help prevent an accident, all experts agree that it’s important drivers adjust their driving style to allow for the challenges that wet roads present man and machine. We asked Daffyd Williams, a professional driving instructor and driving team manager at Mercedes-Benz World, for his expert tips on staying safe when driving in the rain.
It’s claimed drivers should buy EuroNCAP 5-star cars such as the Volvo XC90
British car buyers have been urged to choose only top rated cars for safety after new research revealed a worrying trend that could be costing lives. When it comes to sales of new cars that are ranked best for pedestrian protection in crashes, the UK lines up 19th of the 28 European countries. According to the executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), this could be preventing Britain from cutting deaths to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
The UK’s road safety struggle
It’s one of the few books that never leaves the bestseller list, but ever since the Highway Code was first published, in 1931, few readers would admit to finding it a gripping page-turner.
However, the Highway Code has contributed to saving thousands of lives over the years. When launched, there were just 2.3 million cars on Britain’s roads, yet more than 7000 people were killed in road accidents each year. Today, there are more than 27 million cars on UK roads, but there are fewer than 2000 fatalities.
The driving standards book originally had just 24 pages of guidelines, with a single paragraph on how pedestrians should cross a road. Today, a whole chapter is dedicated to educating both pedestrians and drivers on safely reaching the other side of the road.
It also goes on to cover areas of digital technology, such as smartphones, which increasingly fight for a driver’s attention when they’re at the wheel.
To see how well you know the latest rules and regulations of the road, take this snapshot quiz and test your knowledge of the Highway Code. Continue reading
It’s a scenario familiar to many drivers: the phone rings and it’s your wife asking to be collected from the train station. But you’ve drunk more than one glass of wine with dinner and you’re not really sure whether it’s a good idea to get behind the wheel.
It isn’t. At least, that’s the message from Think!, the road safety campaigning arm of the Department for Transport (DfT). Its seasonal Christmas driver safety adverts remind drivers that they mustn’t give in to peer pressure to drink and drive.It also tells drinkers that they shouldn’t pressure drivers into joining them for ‘just one more’ before they hit the road. It comes in response to DfT figures that show the number of casualties in the UK caused by drink drivers increased in 2014 compared to the previous year.
Improve road safety and upgrade your car’s headlamp bulbs (Picture © Ford)
This year’s national Road Safety Week
promotes the message that drivers should use their car less and live more. It’s a heartfelt and honest sentiment, but not necessarily entirely practical for those who rely on their car to commute, get the children to school or carry out their job. So what simple but proven things can drivers do to make them and our roads safer?
Upgrading a car’s headlamp bulbs is an ideal starting point at this time of year. For one, it’s an affordable improvement that won’t deplete the Christmas present fund. A pair of the best-performing halogen headlamp bulbs costs around £20 or less, and even the least mechanically minded motorists should be able to fit them.
Confusing? Our roadsides are becoming increasingly cluttered with signs
If you’ve seen a pointless road sign near you, its days could be numbered. The government wants to get to grips with the increasingly confusing number of signs that are sprouting at the side of our roads. It is planning new-look signs and wants to give councils the power to cull confusing and pointless road signs.
A road sign review was ordered after it emerged that the number of road signs has doubled over the last 20 years. It wants to help drivers focus on what’s important by removing any pointless road signs – what road safety experts call ‘visual noise’ – from the road side. The fear is that the growing number of pointless road signs is contributing to an increasing number of road deaths. Department for Transport (DfT) figures for 2014 show that the number of road fatalities increased by four per cent compared to the year before.