Road safety

Book early! MOT rush with testers busier than ever this month

 

MOT rush

No time off allowed. He’s in for a busy March in 2018

If your car is due its MOT this month you won’t be alone. In fact, it might be an idea to book its test in advance. Record numbers of motors are due to have their annual roadworthiness check this March in an unprecedented MOT rush.

The phenomenon is prompting garage chain Kwik Fit to warn that MOT testers will get very busy over the coming weeks. Kwik Fit’s Roger Griggs said: “March is always a peak month for MOTs, but this year it will be busier than ever as the record-breaking new-car sales of 2015 feed through.” Find out all about the 2018 MOT rush here.

Why is March the month?

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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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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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Quiz: how much do you know about cold weather driving?

Cold weather driving

The UK’s climate can feel like a moving target sometimes. But one thing is guaranteed: cold weather driving is something we all have to do at some point in the year.

Whether that’s going to work first thing in the morning and scraping the ice off the car or negotiating slippery bends, it can be enough to send a shiver down your spine. And for some of us, winter weather means driving in snow, which throws up a whole new set of challenges.

But although it’s something you probably do regularly with little thought, how much do you actually know about it? Take our cunning quiz to find out.

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New road technology that could be coming to you in the near future

Road technology

While much of the focus for the way motoring is changing is on our cars, road technology will play an increasingly important part in our lives. Cars might be getting ever cleverer but the roads are beginning to catch up.

The safety-conscious Scandinavians are at the forefront of advances and here we explore two common sense bits of road technology. Bluetooth traffic monitoring may already be on a road near you, depending on where you live in the UK. And intelligent streets lights with a low power resting mode that become brighter when cars approach could be coming sooner than you think.

Why monitor Bluetooth?

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Britain’s future roads to have breathtaking views to combat fatigue

Tired driving: why the roads of the future will come with breathtaking views

Let’s face it, driving can frequently be a tiring business. Little wonder that experts believe fatigue is a contributory factor to one-in-five accidents. The issue has become so serious that Highways England recently announced it will design roads with panoramic views and stimulating sculptures.

As part of its £15bn Road Investment Strategy, the organisation that runs Britain’s major highways wants to ensure roads help alleviate the monotony of a long journey. See what the experts have to say. And read on for tips to tackle tiredness when driving.

How roads can combat fatigue

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Smart motorways: fines or re-training for those who break the rules

Smart motorways

The government is investigating fining more drivers who ignore lane closures on smart motorways. Highways England, which manages the motorway network, is currently trialling cameras designed to automatically snap cars driving in lanes marked with a red cross.

Drivers caught illegally using the closed lanes could then be hit with a £100 fine. And police chiefs are now looking at retraining for offenders – the equivalent of a speed awareness course – to ensure drivers don’t break the law again. These changes could be brought in as quickly as March 2018. Read on to find out more.

How do smart motorways work?

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Mobile phone driving laws: how to use a phone in-car legally and safely

Mobile phones driving laws how to be legal and safe if using a phone in a car

In 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to make using a phone when driving as unacceptable as drink-driving. Last April, tougher penalties were introduced to deter phone use at the wheel.

But since then, more than 200 drivers a day have been prosecuted for using their phone while driving. That means they’ve been slapped with six points on their licence and a £200 fine.

Some drivers complain they find the law confusing around the areas of making calls while driving and using a phone as a sat nav device. Many reason this confusion comes from being told it’s okay to use a phone while driving when it’s in hands-free mode.

This is what motorists need to know to stay on the right side of the law. As importantly, it will help keep them and other road users safe.

The law: hands-free phone use

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Why are modern car headlights so bright? How to prevent dazzle

Why are modern cars’ headlights so bright? We explain what’s causing more drivers to be dazzled at night and how to prevent it

Are car headlights getting brighter? Ask around, and you’ll find it’s a common grumble among anyone that drives, especially those that frequently take to the road first thing in the morning or at night.

They’ll tell you that on an unlit road, especially one with crests or undulations, oncoming traffic can leave them feeling as if they can’t see.

During the winter months, the problem is exacerbated. Fewer daylight hours mean cars spend more time with their lights on. And the latest technology on modern cars has introduced superior lighting power to even the average family car.

While that’s great for any driver of a car with powerful lights, it’s not so safe for drivers of oncoming vehicles. They can find themselves blinded by the brilliant light from the latest systems.

Is there anything dazzled drivers can do? And will headlights continue to get brighter?

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