Written by a Guest Blogger
This winter has been rumoured to be one of the worst for over 60 years with a lot of snow, ice and cold temperatures heading our way. This means it’s time to take action and make sure that your car is in full working order and prepared for the conditions that could soon be occurring.
There are a number of checks that you should carry out and ones that could actually be lifesaving during times of severe weather, and we’ve listed some of the most important ones below.
With ice and snow around your brakes are essential as, although you could still slide and skid on the roads, you are at a much lower risk of damaging your car or yourself if you have fully working brakes. Check as to whether the pads and the discs are worn as this can often be the case over time. If they are visibly in bad condition you may want to replace the pads or discs and these can come much cheaper than you may think.
Also pay attention when driving as if you are noticing that you have to apply a lot more force to your brakes to get them to react, this is a big sign that something isn’t as it should be.
Head lights, fog lights, full beams and side lights are all needed throughout the winter months as the darkness draws in. While parked outside your home, check that these are all in working order and also make sure your hazards work correctly.
If any of the bulbs are broken, new ones are not expensive or hard to come by. They can be fitted within minutes and it’s just a matter of unscrewing the old, and replacing with the new.
It is a legal requirement that the tread on your tyres should be a minimum depth of 1.6mm the entire way round across the central ¾ of the surface. They can easily become worn in hard conditions as well as if your wheel alignment is off. Have a professional check that the alignment is correct as if not this could wear down your tread significantly quicker.
Check your tyre pressure along with the car manual and make sure that the correct measurements are adhered to. This will also improve the overall performance of the car and save you money on petrol.
As the rain starts to lash down and storms become more frequent, wipers are essential to be able to maintain your visibility. Take a look at the wiper closely to be sure that it is properly intact and is not about to come apart. These are extremely simple to replace and cost a small amount, so if you notice that they are at risk of becoming less effective take action.
Any chips can soon turn to cracks during the winter which can be a great deal of expense. If water gets into a chip and then freezes, the expansion of the water as it turns to ice can force the glass to break. It is a quick process to fill in chips and can often be done without claiming on your insurance policy.
With grit also being spread on the roads when ice and snow is due to occur, this can cause damage to your windscreen. Keep an eye on any chips that occur and take action as soon as possible if you notice any.
You can prepare as much as possible for the winter weather, but sometimes accidents do happen and your car could break down. If this happens, call help immediately and wait for assistance. Due to the cold weather conditions, do not try to walk miles for help if not needed so always make sure your car has the essentials for this situation.
Pack a blanket to keep warm, a shovel to help you if you are stuck, and some snacks and water to make sure you are fed and watered while waiting.
Even though these checks are essential, common sense and good driving are still of paramount importance. Make sure that, in extreme conditions, you only drive when needed and avoid any unnecessary journeys.
This post was written by Amy Bennett who has recently carried out a full winter preparation on her car. She replaced lights and brake parts to make sure that they were in full working order. She purchased these at bargain prices thanks to Dunmow Motor Factors.
Written by a Guest Blogger
The state of the UK roads is a constant source of concern for road users and now the Government is weighing in on the issue, attempting to establish ways to increase road safety. Young drivers are at the heart of the debate as 20% of accidents involve drivers aged between 17 and 24.
Over the years, car manufacturers and vehicle accessory makers such as brigade-electronics.com, have strived to produce and implement features that improve the overall safety of a vehicle. They have worked to reduce the number of accidents as well as the damage that is caused to both the car and the occupants should an accident take place.
The New Age
As young drivers are often to blame for the high number of accidents and road incidents, the Government is proposing an increase in the amount of learning, which takes place.
As it stands, drivers are able to apply for a provisional license at the age of 16 with the view of passing a driving test and gaining a full driving license when they have turned 17. This is set to change and drivers will not be entitled to a full license until they are 18 years old and cannot apply for a provisional license until they are 17, but the changes do not stop there…
Implementing a Curfew
When a driver first passes their test, they are keen to be out on the road as much as possible, carrying multiple passengers and embracing the independence and freedom, which comes with the ability to drive. New drivers need to build confidence and an understanding of how to drive competently and safely.
The Government is considering the prospect of a curfew which restricts driving times and will prevent the common occurrence of new drivers travelling late at night, under the influence, or under immense pressure, all of which result in accidents. Young people are more likely to die as a result of a car accident than they are from drink or drug related complications.
Driving will be prohibited between the hours of 10pm and 5am unless a passenger over the age of 30 accompanies them.
The Government has considered a number of different factors that contribute to the high number of road accidents that involve young drivers and produced a full proposal that could be passed in the coming months.
Below is a thorough overview of the proposed changes…
- Drivers can apply for a provisional license at the age of 17 but are unable to attain a full license until they are 18
- They must complete 100 hours of daytime practice
- They must complete 20 hours of nighttime practice
- Once the driving test has been passed at 18, a green ‘P’ will be attached to their vehicle to let other drivers know they are a new driver
- A driving curfew will be in place to prevent driving between the hours of 10pm and 5am
- There will be a ban on all mobile phones, even hands free devices whilst driving
- They are banned from carrying passengers under the age of 30
- The legal alcohol limit will be reduced for young drivers
- After a 12 month probation, drivers will attain a full license and all restrictions will be lifted
A fifth of all UK deaths on the roads involve those aged between 17 and 24 and the Government and campaigners are frantically trying to reduce the number of people that are killed in preventable circumstances.
Although the proposed changes are yet to take effect and it is uncertain whether they will, the new structure for young drivers could certainly significantly increase road safety.
This article was written by freelance writer and mother of three, Kathryn Thompson. Follow her on Twitter: @katht35
The Tesla Model S will be featured in a series of Electric Car Guest Drives hosted by the EV Quorum car club.
The San Diego event will be held on Saturday, November 9 from 11am-5pm in Balboa Park.
In a single afternoon, participants can drive six different electric cars including the Tesla Model S.
Participants who become members of EV Quorum are eligible to drive any of the electric cars on display. There is no charge for guests although an invitation, available through advance registration on the club’s web site, is required. EV Quorum membership is just $19.80 and includes a one-year subscription to Electric Car Insider Magazine.
There will be educational exhibits about electric cars, charging stations and solar car charging systems at the event. Non-alcoholic beverages and snacks will be available. EV Quorum organizers said that guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages, but emphasized that this is a no-alcohol gathering whose primary activity is driving.
This picnic in the park provides entertainment for non-driving family members and friends including lawn bowling and other kid-friendly games and entertainment.
The San Diego Electric Car Guest Drive will be held in Balboa Park on Saturday, November 9 2013 from 11am to 5pm.
Details, guest invitations and driver registration are available at ElectricCarGuestDrive.com
Written by a Guest Blogger
Driving comes with legislations and rules that need to be adhered to at all times to make sure the road is a safe environment for everyone. Certain driving offences can result in punishments and for those that are deemed to be a real risk to other road users often find themselves losing the privilege of driving. Serious offences such as speeding, using a mobile phone, driving erratically and being an unsafe driver for example are some of the areas that can result in the harshest punishments. Fines and penalty points are the biggest punishments and a certain number of points SHOULD result in an automatic driving ban for a set period of time. Once a driver has reached 12 penalty points on their license they are forced to attend court that will determine the length of the ban, in some extreme cases judges are able to overturn the ban yet this should be for rare situations and other punishments should be in place. There are now more people driving around with an excessive number of points, which undermines the law and the way in which drivers should follow the road rules. Bad driving can quickly result in points and fines which will affect the cost of insurance premiums as insurers see you as a risk and a bad driver that could cause them a higher number of pay-outs as a result.
Young drivers are trying to turn this around by having a black box installed from companies such as InGenie, which monitors the way they drive and highlights where they are going wrong. They are then less likely to pick up bad habits after leaving the young drivers category and is something that could be suitable as a way to deter experienced drivers that repeatedly offend whilst driving from doing so in the future? If the punishments that are currently in place are not going to be enforced then there needs to be another solution and other penalties in place of the more severe punishments that are clearly not effective or taken seriously.
It has been reported that the lack of enforcement is so serious that one woman is currently still on the British roads after equating a staggering 42 points on her driving license. As the rules become more lenient, the conditions of our roads and the drivers upon them will worsen and there will be a higher number of cases of accidents and collisions that are a result of poor driving. The rules are in place for a very specific reason, to keep people and pedestrians as safe as possible, it is not something to be taken lightly and there is now a growing concern at the standard of driving and the way in which other people will be affected. Rules are not meant to be broken yet there seems to be little impact on those that do. The strength of other road rules will now weaken as nothing seems to be taken as seriously as it once was, those that repeatedly drive poorly and put other people in danger really have no place on the roads.
Written by a Guest Blogger
Unfortunately, no matter how much time and care you dedicate to car maintenance, it’s likely that you will run into unexpected car trouble at some point over the years – just like every other driver.
But, as Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail’, and if you stock your car with a few items that might well really help you out in an emergency, you could prevent your small problem from turning into a complete disaster…
Here’s 10 things that no car should be without.
Most of us rely on technology to get us where we’re going nowadays, but it’s best to have a back-up in case batteries run out, you lose signal or you encounter any sort of other electronic failure.
Essential for exploring under the hood, or generally finding your way in the dark – be sure to regularly check that the batteries are still working, though!
A tow rope
A tow rope can help transport your car to a safer place or to the garage for repair in the event of a breakdown.
If your car battery runs flat – and you can flag down a helpful fellow motorist – these can get you back on the road with minimum fuss.
First Aid kit
The bigger the better! A First Aid Kit, especially a well-stocked one, could help you out in a jam when the medical aid you need’s a long way away or a minor health niggle is making it difficult for you to concentrate on driving.
Let’s face it, a versatile multi tool is a good piece of kit to have on you at all times, but it’s especially useful when it comes to coping with any of your car’s mechanical troubles.
Owner’s manuals can be pretty hefty, so you might feel tempted to leave yours at home. But don’t – it’ll definitely be worth all that space it takes up if you suddenly need to find out what the deal is with that mystery flashing light on your dashboard…
Hard copies of your breakdown cover information
You might have your details stored electronically, but you should also always keep the contact phone number and your policy information on a print out too.
Snacks and water
Break down in an isolated area and you could be there for a while… Keep a cereal bar, fitness bar or similar in the glove compartment, along with a bottle of water, and remember to replace regularly.
A blanket will keep you warm if you run into trouble in cold conditions, or protect you if you need to lie down on the road to look underneath the car.
About the Blogger
Written by a Guest Blogger
In the modern era you’d do well to find something that didn’t feature electronics. With smartphones, tablet computers and other forms of mobile tech pretty much everywhere you look, even motorists are starting to feel the benefit of the advancements in technology of the past decade.
We all know about satellite navigation systems that help us to reach our destinations and there are even ‘black boxes’ that help us to find budget car insurance to bring costs down; but there are also other forms of technology that help those working in the motoring industry, and those who drive or travel a lot, to take the stresses away and make motoring fun.
The previously mentioned ‘black boxes’ monitor driving styles including speed and braking as well as the time of day that the car is driven, and insurance is calculated based on the results produced with ‘bad’ drivers charged more. These devices use telematics and GPS technology and are also used in fleets as ‘tracking devices’ so that the depot manager can monitor the driver’s location as well as their performance, working out fuel consumption and whether they’ve taken the best route.
Hands-free kits have also proven to be highly beneficial, particularly for commercial drivers. Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal, but many sat nav systems feature Bluetooth technology that enables drivers to talk on the phone while driving absolutely hands free and avoiding the risks (and penalties) associated with driving while talking on the phone.
Satellite navigation has certainly been the most beneficial technology to make it onto our roads. In the past the traditional paper-based road maps were all we had to guide us to our destinations, (in theory at least!) Today, we are given audible directions and visual maps that are adjusted at real-time speeds to help us find the most appropriate route.
A lot of the more modern cars have a great deal of technology built into the dashboard. We have the ability to use the BMW iDrive feature and the Audi MMI programme, and in the future we’re looking likely to have WiFi and 4G built in to enable us to surf the web, stream television shows and watch DVDs, all on a car dashboard. Expect that all to be relatively soon as the bond between cars and technology is growing stronger with every passing mile!