Wednesday, 28 August 2013
Sunday, 25 August 2013
Road safety charity the IAM is offering weekly motoring tips from Britain's top advanced driver, Peter Rodger. This week, he is advising on dealing with flash for cash scams.
Crash for cash scams are staged collisions. The one to watch for is when someone deliberately flashes you to dupe you into thinking they are giving way and then driving into the side of your vehicle. This makes it very difficult for the other driver to prove that they were given way to turn into the road, and allows the other party to make an exaggerated insurance claim.
How to avoid them:
- Always look ahead and anticipate hazards, so you aren't "cornered" into a crash you can't avoid.
- If someone flashes you to invite you out of a junction, thank them but don't go - wait until the road is clear for you to progress.
If you are involved in one, remember:
- If you're suspicious, don't ask them directly about it at the scene but keep careful notes.
- Try to take photos of the damage to all vehicles, discreetly if possible.
- Get a description of the driver and count the number of people in the other vehicle. Take photos, discreetly if possible, of all the people in the vehicle.
- If you need the emergency services, call 999, and if you are suspicious about the incident, tell the police when you ring.
- Stay calm. You'll need to swap details with other drivers whatever happens.
IAM chief examiner Peter Rodger said: "Flash for cash scams are costing millions of pounds through our insurance premiums, and some are so reckless that they risk lives. Collisions are stressful and emotionally draining, but it's important to be prepared in case you are involved in one."
"Make sure you drive carefully to minimise your chances of having to deal with a collision."
Thursday, 22 August 2013
Did you know that your car needs to have its engine oil changed on a regular basis? If you didn't, it turns out you're not alone – but that's little consolation, as you could be ruining your engine.
According to a recent study, the results of which were released yesterday, around 21.8 million British motorists are blissfully unaware that their engine oil becomes less effective with time, and that if it isn't changed promptly, it can cause engine damage.
However, a whopping 3.7 million car owners think that they can get away with leaving a gap of three years between oil changes.
What's more one million drivers admitted that they'd never even put new oil in their cars.
Driving with dirty or old oil can result in significant engine wear, as the lubricant fails to protect the metal engine parts that rub together as well as it should.
This can lead to excessive fuel consumption, a drop in performance, and in extreme cases, even the failure of weakened internal parts
A pedestrian who was killed when he was run over by a Toyota Prius may not have heard the vehicle approaching, a court has heard.
The victim was pronounced dead in hospital having suffered severe head trauma after he was hit by the hybrid car in Wokingham Road, Reading.
The Prius's hybrid drivetrain can run in all-electric mode during which time it produces almost no engine noise.
Police in Kent are on the hunt for a pair of teenagers who stole a milk float and then crashed it into parked cars, causing "extensive" damage.
The pair took the float while its driver was out on his rounds in Dartford, at around 6:10am on July 17.
However, despite the electric vehicle's slow top speed, the hapless teens then lost control and rammed into cars parked at the side of the road, causing a large amount of damage to several of them.
The pair then abandoned the vehicle and made off on foot down an alleyway.
The force has now released an e-fit of the girl involved in the incident, who is described as a slim, white female of around 5'3", wearing a black leather jacket and blue jeans.
Her accomplice was a boy described as slim and white, with short, fair hair, wearing beige shorts and trainers and carrying a bag with a long strap.
"What probably seemed like a prank to them has caused a great deal of annoyance and stress to others," said investigating officer detective constable Gerry King.
"We will not tolerate people behaving like this in our streets."
"'We have compiled an e-fit of a female we believe could help us with our enquiries and ask anybody who recognises her, or who has information about the incident, to come forward."
A Lamborghini Gallardo that had gone up in flames brought traffic on one of Britain's busiest motorways to a grinding halt yesterday.
The stricken supercar caught fire in roadworks between junctions 25 and 24 of the M25 in Hertfordshire, spouting huge orange flames and sending a pillar of thick, black smoke into the sky.
The fire caused a flurry of activity on Twitter, with users posting pictures of the burning sports car as emergency services brought the blaze under control.
The vehicle was damaged beyond repair, with only a charred hulk remaining once the flames had been extinguished
"The incident occurred at approximately 1:10pm today," said a spokesman for the Highways Agency.
"The vehicle was on fire and the police, fire and our traffic officers were called to the scene. The carriageway was partially blocked while the vehicle fire was attended to.
"The whole carriageway was open by 3:25pm."
Metropolitan Police added: "The fire happened on the hard shoulder and the driver sustained no injuries.
"It is believed to be a mechanical problem that started the fire."
It's not the first time a mid-engined Italian supercar has gone up in smoke. A spate of roadside fires have affected both the Gallardo and its chief rival, the Ferrari 458 Italia in recent years.
Both have had recalls issued to cure problems that, their makers have said, might have resulted in parts catching alight.
Whether this latest fire is related to one of those recalls has yet to be established
Monday, 19 August 2013
Ever wondered which company is the best for car insurance in the UK?
Auto Express has put together a countdown of the best car insurers in its latest Driver Power Survey that might steer you in the right direction.
So which car insurer was voted top and which came bottom?
NFU tops the poll
NFU Mutual, originally set up by farmers for farmers, came top of the Drive Power Survey, retaining its 2012 ranking.
Missing out on the top spot was specialist insurer for organisations and trade unions LV= Frizzell which came second. Adelaide IAM Surety (3rd), Royal & Sun Alliance (4th) and SAGA (5th) followed.
NFU blew the competition out of the water and achieved a score of 89.09%, ticking the right boxes for great customer service and attentive staff.
Praise was directed at NFU's efficiency when asked to provide information on a policy and when it came to sorting a claim.
The firm managed to achieve top marks in four out of the five judging categories, only performing less well in the 'value for money' section.
However, over 97% of those surveyed said they would renew their policy even though NFU did not necessarily deliver the cheapest quote
Six months have already passed and it's that time of the year again. The release of the number plates see 63 make its way on to the number plates of new cars in the United Kingdom. But before you're taken in by the excitement of a new car, prepare yourself before you walk into that car dealership.
The prospect of a shiny new car is exciting. But don't make a haste decision. With advances in the latest road safety technology and the latest technical features in new cars, try to get the most out of your money.
Firstly, decide on the type of car you need. Do you need to ferry the children around and make the school run? Or do you want a car with enough luggage space for the numerous long trips away you have planned. It may be your car is simply a means to get from A to B. Just make sure your choice fits the purpose.
While we're often led by the way the car looks, it's important to be clear on your budget from the start. Make sure you know how much you are able to spend. The price displayed often isn't the total price of the car. There are other costs to factor in such as insurance cost and other running costs too.
Don't forget to check for hidden extras. There's nothing worse than to finalise the details of the car and then learn that there are additional charges for number plates and delivery.
It's often the question on everyone's mind. Petrol or diesel? Check out the running costs before you buy. Diesel cars offer better fuel economy but are more expensive. It's important to factor in car depreciation. Think about how much the car will decrease in value in its first three years and how this will affect the price of the car if sold second-hand. VED is related to carbon emissions, so the lower the emissions, the better.
Once you know your budget, work out how you will be financing the car. Whether you'll be taking out a loan, asking family and friends or using your savings, it's important to plan a budget. Don't be swayed by the prospect of a new car, stick to your budget.
Most importantly, test drive it. There's no other way of knowing if you'll like it without driving it. Remember, if you're going to spending a long time in it commuting, you need to make sure it's what you want.
Friday, 16 August 2013
Car and taxi drivers have been warned that they can longer turn into Station Street from London Road while work takes place at Nottingham Station with CCTV monitoring and recording any motorists who break the restrictions.
Three road signs are in place to warn of the restriction but 4,023 fines of £60 each have been issued by the city council since it has been enforced, angering residents and local taxi drivers.
A council spokesman told This Is Nottingham: "When the turning ban was put in place at the end of June, we sent out warning notices rather than give fines for the first two weeks to give drivers using the route fair notice.
"Since this warning period, we have enforced the restriction through penalty-charge notices."
But local taxi drivers are frustrated at both the fines imposed and the adverse affect the new restrictions have had on the flow of traffic.
Mohammed Mahirban said: "It gets really busy from the roundabout at the end of London Road because of it. This is especially so on Fridays."
Another taxi driver, Mike Eccles, said: "I can understand why they are doing it while the station is closed.
"But I don't see the need to do so after that. It is going to lead to lots of people getting fined."
According to This is Nottingham, the council insists that the money from the fines will be put back into transport projects, but it was unable to give details of exactly how it would be spent
Friday, 9 August 2013
Spot checks on motorists saw a further 54 drivers issued with penalty notices by officers on Thursday morning.
Amongst those stopped, one driver was found to be reading a book at the wheel, while another had been taking dictation from a hands-free phone using a notepad and pen.
A total of 35 drivers and passengers were found not to be wearing seat belts and 14 were caught using their mobile phones.
All were issued with a £60 fine and three penalty points on their licence.
Speaking to the BBC, PC Mike Pilling, of Thames Valley Police, said: "It is clear that a number of people are still prepared to put themselves and others at risk by flouting road traffic laws designed to protect them from injury.
"We will continue to target this type of behaviour with more road safety checks at all times of the day."
The police activity comes as new statistics show that 2.4 million UK motorists – equating to one in 20 adults – were involved in a road collision last year.
Figures from the Department of Transport show that 800,000 of these people were injured, highlighting the need for increased scrutiny of driver behaviour, particularly over the summer months where traffic increases by over two per cent.
We shouldn't laugh, but we did.
The council workers in charge of this job clearly need a bit more time inside the classroom.
They were tasked with painting 'School - Keep - Clear' outside Innellan Primary School, near Dunoon in Scotland.
However they made a - quite hefty - error, spelling 'school' with a 'k'.
As you do.
The work will hopefully be fixed by the time the school's 154 pupils return for lessons after the summer break
Monday, 5 August 2013
Monday 12th August 2013 marks International Youth Day and in light of this some handy guidance for younger drivers.
There's nothing that terrified me more than when I first started to drive. I know I could have benefitted quite a bit from advice like this – so I hope you find it useful. And as for the experienced motorists – well, we all need a reminder every now and then!
As a young driver, shopping for car insurance can be a stressful task – you're likely to be faced with many unaffordable insurance quotes. Use comparison sites to shop around, and consider having a telematics box fitted to bring your premiums down. Further driver training will also bring costs down.
As part of learning to drive, it's likely that you will have been taught how to do basic checks on your vehicle – tyre tread and pressure, fluid levels, lights, and mirrors and windows. It's important that you spend a few minutes each week doing each of these checks in order to avoid a breakdown and drive safely.
The law states that you are allowed up to 80mg of alcohol per 100mg of blood before you are over the drink-drive limit. However, it's impossible to judge how much you can drink and still be under the limit – so make it none for the road. And beware the morning-after effect – there may still be enough alcohol in your system to land you with a conviction for drink-driving.
Learner drivers are currently not allowed on the motorway. This means that once they pass, they are faced with the often daunting task of driving on high-speed, unfamiliar roads. But there is no need to be anxious – motorways are statistically our safest roads, and the skills you learned to pass your test will equip you to take them on. Remember to check your mirrors more regularly and leave a minimum two second gap between yourself and the car in front
Saturday, 3 August 2013
A number of cars ground to a halt immediately after being refuelled on Wednesday, due to the tainted petrol, and roadside assistance vans were called to help motorists get on their way.
Morrisons has since announced that it has launched an inquiry into why its warning system, which normally alerts petrol station operators to pollutants in fuel, failed.
The supermarket has also confirmed that motorists who have been affected would be compensated for any damage caused to their cars.
Speaking to the BBC, a spokesman for Morrisons said: "The recent bad weather caused some water, only a small amount, to get into the tanks.
"The sensors went off but about a dozen had got fuel. Yesterday we shut the pump down, drained the tank and flushed the system and refuelled."
He went on to say that the supermarket's insurers would contact those affected, and when asked whether motorists could expect to be reimbursed, said: "I'm guessing that's what will happen."
Morrisons won't welcome the bad publicity considering many of the major supermarkets are currently fighting for custom by lowering prices and offering lucrative deals on fuel. Earlier this year, Morrisons instigated a mini price war when it dropped the cost of its petrol by 2p a litre and 1p a litre for diesel