Do you drive with children in your car? Are you fully aware of the laws around using the appropriate child seat? If your knowledge is a little sketchy, the good and bad news is you’re not alone. Almost nine in 10 parents admit that they are baffled by new booster seat rules and regulations.
Introduced last February, the updated rules were meant to provide clarity for mums, dads and carers when it came to securing a child safely in a car. Yet safety experts say that far from helping clarify the use of child seats, the rules have caused confusion.
Worryingly, almost one in five drivers with children under the age of 12 admit they rarely or never sit them in a car seat. So what are the guidelines that drivers should be following?
What the survey found
One of the problems contestants for Mud & Motors are going to have is – as the event’s name suggests ‑ driving through mud. Manoeuvring any vehicle other than a tank over a slippery surface is easier said than done.
As a regional operations manager, I have some experience of driving in mud. And I’ll be working with the contestants on Mud & Motors to help them out. Here are my tips for driving in mud.
Rather than just a field with greasy grass, when I say mud I’m thinking more along the lines of muddy tracks here. It’ll have been driven on before, possibly by heavy vehicles such as tractors. Their weight and the tread of their tyres will have broken down the composition of the soil and turned it into mud. There will be puddles, ruts and thick, gloopy mud. Lots of it. Here’s how you get through it.
Your car driving through mud
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?
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
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.
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.
Changes to the MOT will come into force this May, making it more difficult for dirty diesel cars to pass air quality tests. A three-tier rating for the severity of faults on all cars will also be introduced.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) claims the revisions to the MOT will make it tougher for anyone trying to cheat emissions tests and help keep vehicles in a dangerous condition off the road.
However, at the same time hundreds of thousands of cars more than 40-years old will no longer be required to take the annual road worthiness inspection. Here’s what motorists need to know about the changes.
Dirty diesels face stricter smoke test
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?
Cold weather isn’t just tough on drivers, it can play havoc with cars too. The heavy hail and snow showers that are hitting parts of the UK in mid-January 2018 are already causing chaos. Green Flag is warning that an astonishing 12 breakdowns every minute will take place this week.
Head of news for Green Flag Simon Henrick said: “After a variable but relatively mild winter period over Christmas, the changing weather conditions may take some drivers by surprise this week.
“By thoroughly checking their cars before leaving home, approaching the roads with caution and keeping plenty of distance between themselves and the vehicle in front, drivers will decrease the risk of encountering a problem while on the roads.” Read on to see how you can stay safe in the snow.
Health and safety
Thousands of car owners could be driving with medical conditions that make it illegal for them to be in charge of a car. The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) lists almost 200 complaints that sufferers should inform it about before taking to the road. These range from the obvious such as epilepsy and blackouts to slightly less evident such as snoring, eating disorders and depression.
One in four drivers is said to suffer from a notifiable condition. However, research suggests 10 per cent of those don’t report their ailment. Anyone who drives with one of the highlighted conditions without informing the DVLA could face a fine of up to £1000. They also risk having any insurance claims refused. Here are the more common, less obvious complaints drivers should be aware of.
Drivers are vowing to do a lot less of this in 2018
The majority of us make New Year’s resolutions. For many these might involve joining a gym, quitting smoking, drinking less, eating more healthily or stopping swearing. But for some of us, resolving to change and be better human beings might include something to do with motoring.
Some new research conducted by pre-17-year old driving school Young Driver found that older motorists still think they’ve got plenty to learn. Although one in five (18 per cent) confidently claimed to be perfect drivers, plenty of others felt they had work to do. Read on to find out what the most popular New Year’s resolutions for drivers are.
Performing regular car checks
Drivers who kill others by focusing on their mobile phones rather than the road could face life in prison. In a move designed to make the roads a safer place the government is changing the law. Its aim is to ‘clamp down on dangerous, criminal behaviour on our roads’.
The government has also acted to plug a gap in the law. It has introduced a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving. This will be punishable by up to three years prison. Here we look into what the changes mean for drivers.
Why has the law changed?
Would you be in favour of a cut in the speed limit? One expert believes that a 5 per cent reduction in maximum speeds – as little as 1mph in some cases ‑ would lead to a 30 per cent drop in fatal traffic crashes.
And what about traffic enforcement cameras and 20mph zones? When both became a part of everyday motoring life, they were greeted with dismay by many drivers. But evidence produced at the Speed Summit, held by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), shows they’re now becoming more accepted.
Speed is an emotive issue among drivers. The Department for Transport has just revealed numbers caught speeding is higher than any other year in the past decade. Nearly 6000 drivers were caught exceeding the speed limit every day in England and Wales. But inappropriate or excessive speed are two contributory factors most often recorded by police at the scene of crashes. Here are some of the latest facts behind speed and speeding.
Would cutting the speed limit save lives?
There are no end of motoring myths. Most drivers will know at least a handful: sometimes they’re true, but often they’re stories that need to be shown the red light.
From the speed limit on a dual carriageway, to sounding a car’s horn in the small hours of the morning, driving in flip-flops to using an egg to repair an engine’s radiator, they can seem as confusing as the Spaghetti Junction.
To help sort the facts from fiction, we’ve pulled together 10 tricky questions for a motoring myths quiz. Which is driving delusion and which is as factual as the Highway Code?
Don’t try to fix it yourself. Read our five dos and five don’ts for stopping on a motorway hard shoulder
A motorway hard shoulder can be a dangerous place to spend time. That’s why all our technicians receive comprehensive training on what to do and how to behave on the hard shoulder. While it’s part of their job to spend time at the side of the motorway, it’s also something every driver could have to face at some point in their car-owning career.
For that reason, I’ve compiled five dos and fives don’ts for the motorway hard shoulder.
DO take care entering the hard shoulder
Cars could automatically fail their MOT if they haven’t had important recall work done. A government body has recommended that all MOT testers should check cars for any recall work. If this hasn’t been done, they will then be able to refuse to give the car a valid MOT certificate.
While car owners will bear the brunt of this, the move has actually been proposed to put pressure on car makers. The government wants them to work harder to ensure all recall work is carried out. The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has put these plans to the government. It is expecting to hear back by the end of March 2018.
The proposals come after Vauxhall was slammed by the Transport Select Committee for the way it handled fires affecting its Zafira B model. Chair of the committee, Lilian Greenwood MP said: “The public needs to be confident that their safety comes first.” Here’s what the changes could mean for drivers.
What is a recall?
More drivers than ever are being banned for poor vision after roadside eye tests
Have you ever had your eyesight tested? If the answer’s no, you’re not alone. New research by optician Vision Express has revealed one in six drivers has never had an eye test. And more than three quarters (78 per cent) screened at a special event were overdue an eye exam.
It comes as new figures show the number of drivers failing roadside eye tests has rocketed over the past decade. It’s prompted calls for drivers to have their eyesight checked every two years. Some even want eye tests to be made compulsory for drivers.
How many drivers have failed eye tests?
New research has revealed that the stopping distance prescribed by the government’s Highway Code is too short. They now believe it could take drivers half as much time again to come to a halt in an emergency. Road safety campaigners have called on the government to undertake an urgent review. They want the stopping distance section of the Highway Code revised.
How is stopping distance calculated?
Smartphones are an important aid for drivers. The devices help us find our way from A to B, let us make important calls, and help long journeys pass faster by providing in-car entertainment.
But since 2003, it’s been illegal to handle a phone while driving. And in March 2017, tougher penalties were introduced for drivers caught in the act, with a £200 on-the-spot fine and six penalty points. The move was aimed at addressing a rise in the number of fatal road accidents in some parts of the UK.
However, we can still use the convenient features on our smartphones – if they’re fitted to an in-car phone holder. Here’s how to stay safe and on the right side of the law.
What is the law on using phones in-car?
In order to handle a car legally on public roads in the UK, new drivers have to pass a 40-minute driving test. But to ensure the test better prepares drivers for modern motoring, the biggest shake up in 20 years is happening in December 2017.
The driving test will still last the same amount of time and still be marked the same way. It will still cost £62 on weekdays, £75 for evenings, weekends and bank holidays. But from Monday December 4, the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will face the most far-reaching changes since the addition of the theory test in 1996. Here are the four new features budding drivers will encounter.
Increased independent driving