Most drivers are well aware of the word ‘whiplash’ even if they’ve never experienced the physical discomfort it can bring. That’s because Britain has been called the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’, with 80 per cent of personal injury claims following a car crash involving whiplash.
The government says one whiplash claim is paid out every 60 seconds, and has launched a consultation as it attempts to tackle the problem. Things have got so bad, jokes have been made about the Britain’s drivers having the weakest necks in the world. But it’s no laughing matter.
The majority of whiplash claims are believed to be bogus claims, estimated to add an extra £1bn to UK drivers’ insurance bills – or £93 for every premium.
And according to Matthew Avery, an expert in car safety, only 10 per cent of claims are from people who have suffered serious injury with long-term side effects.
So how can drivers ensure they aren’t one of the few who suffer serious injury from whiplash?
They have been hailed as miniature life savers but independent tests have shown that tyre pressure warning devices, known as Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), may not work at all.
The systems are designed to alert drivers when a tyre is losing air pressure. In independent testing, a Volkswagen Golf, one of the UK’s best-selling cars, and a Fiat 500L family car were put through a series of trials on the road to assess how well the TPMS worked. The Golf’s system failed to detect an under-inflated tyre in 14 of the 16 scenarios; the 500L’s didn’t even manage to alert its driver once.
The tests were carried out by Transport & Environment, a group that campaigns to improve the sustainability of cars and transport policy across Europe. It accuses car makers of trying to cut corners and cut costs, after the TPMS technology became a legal requirement on every new car sold from 2014.
What is a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System?
With storms currently battering the UK, Green Flag have been busy helping customers who have been caught out by the floods. In the last week alone, we’ve seen a 300% increase in the number of call-outs to people whose cars have become stuck in flood water or won’t start on a flooded driveway.
Despite the extreme weather, we’re still getting out to help motorists and unlike some other breakdown organisations, Green Flag customers won’t be charged an additional fee if they need help after getting stuck in a flood, mud or snow.
We’ve written a guide to driving safely in floods which we’d encourage you to read if you have to take your car out in a flooded area.
Below is a summary of the current flood warnings from the Environment Agency. The links will take you to their website where you can see more information about the warnings and their specific locations.