Imagine waking up and finding someone else’s car dumped on your drive. It might sound strange but it happens. And astonishingly there’s no simple fix because one of Britain’s strange laws means it’s not immediately illegal.
You read that right. The 1991 Road Traffic Act handed over parking enforcement to local authorities. They can fine drivers for parking on public roads. But a drive is private land and the council has no jurisdiction over that.
The land owner isn’t allowed to remove the rogue car either as that could make them responsible for damaging someone else’s property.
For some drivers, the excitement of a showroom-fresh motor is short lived. Car faults can frequently take the pleasure out of owning a new motor.
At least, that’s the view of members of consumer champion Which?. Nearly 45,000 owners of cars aged up to three-years old were asked to rate their motor for reliability. Yet despite many of the vehicles still having that new-car smell, a surprising number of problems reared their head.
Here are the five most common faults that occur in a new car’s first three years of driving. And we’ve added the symptoms to help you understand if your car might be suffering from one.
“Take the next left. Or is that right?” Sat navs aren’t always infallible
Sat navs are one of the wonders of modern motoring ‑ until they direct you to somewhere you don’t want to be. There are numerous stories of satellite navigation systems going bad. Drivers have been directed onto the middle of ski slopes, articulated lorries pointed down totally unsuitable country lanes and coach parties sent on 750-mile detours.
Research by uSwitch suggests that around four in five of us rely on navigation systems over maps. And more than half (56 per cent) use the navigation unit as a handy reminder of the speed limit.
However, systems aren’t 100 per cent reliable. Research carried out by uSwitch found that around one in five drivers (17 per cent) had been given the wrong speed limit by their navigation system. So why are we being misled by our sat navs? And what can we do about it?
Keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel with voice-activated smartphone kits
The law on mobile phone use in cars changed at the beginning of March. The penalty for drivers caught phoning or texting without being hands-free has doubled, to six points with a £200 fine. But there’s no need to be hit with a costly fine and hefty points. There’s plenty of aftermarket equipment that will keep drivers on the right side of the law and safe on the road.
Bluetooth integration for mobile phones first made its way into our cars in 2001. For years, it remained an option that drivers would have to pay for with their new car. These days, it’s widely available as standard.
For anyone driving an older car without Bluetooth, there is a wide range of products to choose from, some offering much more than just wireless connection to a phone.