Monthly Archives: October 2010

October 29, 2010

We have all experienced long car journeys and it can be uncomfortable without the right supplies or knowledge.

Many people enjoy taking their pets along with them but everybody needs to stretch their legs whether it be two legs of four.

Motorway Walks for drivers and dogs is a unique service that provides information regarding areas close by to motorway exits to stretch your legs, pubs, cottages and campsites that accept dogs on their premise, with many of them providing facilities for dogs such as treats, water and somewhere to rest.

Not everybody has a choice to take their pets along with them, people with assistance dogs need to plan their journeys with their four legged friend in mind.

No matter what journey you are going on or who you have in the car, be prepared both in case of a problem with the vehicle itself, but also for the wellbeing of your passengers and pets.

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October 28, 2010
Ford set for 100mpg motoring milestone

Ford is close to making a spectacular engineering breakthrough that will allow some of its best-selling cars to cover 100 miles on a gallon of fuel.

A next-generation power unit is set to break the three litres per 100 kilometres economy barrier – equal to 94.1mpg – and officials are confident it will reach the magic 100mpg mark in the next five years.

Conceived at the company’s research centre in Holland, the first Ford three-cylinder motor to go into series production is now in the hands of development engineers based at Dunton in Essex.

Despite having a swept volume of only 1,000cc, the little unit will produce between 100PS and 130PS – sufficient to provide adequate performance for various super-economy versions of the Fiesta and even the latest C-MAX.

“What we’re working on is potentially the most significant engine we have ever put into a car. We think it will be a motoring milestone – it’s very exciting and we think we’ll be at the 100mpg level in five years’ time at the latest,” Ford marketing director Mark Simpson told Fleet News.


October 27, 2010

When you drive in the UK, the rules can be very different to other countries and it’s important to know where you stand.

It is important to establish whether your foreign licence allows you to drive in the UK and whether there are time restrictions. If you are entitled, there are a few simple rules to follow in order to drive safely and happily on UK roads.

First, take things slowly. Familiarise yourself with your surrounding and don’t rush into hiring or buying a vehicle whereby you will end up on a busy road or motorway.

Take a look at the Highway Code and make sure you understand the signs and symbols. Many of the rules are legal requirements and have repercussions for breaking them. However, the Highway Code is there to make the roads safe and to show solidarity among all road users.

Don’t copy other road users, whether their act is legal or not, it may not be safe. Use your own judgement as to what is safe for you, other road users and pedestrians. Be wary of narrow roads, one way routes and roads that require cars to give priority over on-coming traffic. If a sign tells a driver they have priority they WILL go.

Watch your speed. You will find speed limits posted and they will vary depending on the area and the road.

Finally be careful where you park your car. Yellow lines, loading bays, residential bays, and disabled bays are a no-no unless you are exempt. You must also check the rules and regulations in all car parks as no car park is the same. Some have restrictions in terms of how long you can stay there, some charge and others don’t and not all the bays may be there for public use.

Emily Smith of Britannia Driving School said: “It all sounds very daunting but with a few refresher lessons from Britannia to familiarise yourself and build confidence, you should be out on the roads experiencing the UK to its full glory.”

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October 26, 2010
Licence checks via DMS tool launched

CAR dealers can now check employee driving licences with the DVLA through their DMS system.

Pinewood has integrated the one-stop licence check system to help dealers tackle Duty of Care and Corporate Manslaughter Act issues.

Why has it been done? Because research shows 1 in 7 dealer employees have points on their licence. This is, said MD Neville Briggs, a ‘major risk management issue.

‘Changes in corporate risk management, especially the arrival of the Corporate Manslaughter Act, have made the checking of licences an essential task for dealer managers.

‘Just one employee who is banned or using a dummy driving licence could lead to a massive third party claim for a dealer, with their insurance company refusing to payout because basic checks haven’t been made.’

Checks can be incredibly onerous and time consuming, though. Hence the attraction of Pinewood’s more convenient and straightforward solution – it is already used in the fleet car industry, where it’s been taken up well.

It not only allows dealers automatic checks at a cost-effective price, but it also gives them an audit trail of the checks made.

Dealers can even set how often the checks are made – annually, for low-risk drivers, and more frequently for the higher-risk, higher-mileage ones. Automatic alerts are sent to the dealer the moment any changes or endorsements are made by the DVLA.


October 25, 2010

For years there has been the debate as to who are the better drivers, men or women. However, it seems as though not only do men see themselves as better drivers but they are also scared of their partners driving.

Men think that women have a lack of concentration, brake too late, travel too fast, get too close to other cars and fail to signal correctly if at all.

Research has shown that more than 10% of men have been forced to grab the steering wheel from their partner as they had lost control and they did not feel safe.

Astonishingly one in five men said that when their partner is driving they are NEVER able to relax in the passenger seat. This has caused 20% of couples to argue about the quality of each other’s driving.

Yet women have just as much to say about men and their driving. They believe that men are risk takers, they speed and many choose not to wear a seatbelt. Women are often carrying passengers or small children so are thought to be more careful and considerate drivers.

Holly Harper of Britannia Driving School said: “This debate is surrounded with gender stereotypes and considering there are so many factors to consider it is a question without a clear answer.

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October 22, 2010

We all have legal obligations as a driver. Not only for ourselves but the vehicles we drive.

You are legally culpable if you fail to meet certain criteria outlined by the DVLA. In order to drive, you must hold the appropriate licence for that vehicle. By holding a full driving licence this does not entitle you to drive any vehicle. Check the back of your driving licence to be sure.

You must also meet the minimum age requirement, which again may not mean 17 years of age.

You must be medically fit and have the correct level of eyesight, defined by the DVLA. You must declare this information when obtaining a provisional licence. However, you still have a duty to inform the DVLA of any changes once having obtained a full UK driving licence, whether it is a medical condition, wearing glasses or a change in your name or address.

You are also held liable for the vehicle you are driving. Making sure it is taxed, has a current MOT and is registered with the DVLA. You must also ensure you are insured to drive the vehicle and inform the DVLA of any changes to the vehicle or if you sell or scrap it.

Emily Smith of Britannia Driving School said: “One error or deviation could result in you losing your licence or having your vehicle ceased. Failing to notify the DVLA or your insurers of any changes could also invalidate your insurance policy would could cost you a lot of money if you were to have an accident.”

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October 21, 2010
Driver sets new world record by driving 1,531 miles on single tank of fuel

A Volkswagen Passat has set a new world record for the furthest distance covered by a car on a single tank of fuel.

The diesel Passat Bluemotion broke the Guinness World Record by covering 1,531 miles – the distance from London to Malaga in Spain – without stopping to refuel.

The four-door car’s average fuel consumption was 90 miles per gallon, significantly higher than the previous record of 64mpg.

The average British driver covering 10,000 miles a year would need to refuel just seven times a year, or once every 52 days.

The driver, Gavin Conway, took 33 hours and 53 minutes at an average speed of 45mph in the standard production passenger car, which had a 1.6 litre engine. Over three days, Mr Conway drove from Maidstone in Kent to the South of France and most of the way back again, before running out of fuel just outside Calais.

Two AA patrolmen followed the entire attempt in their van to witness the journey independently for the world record.


October 20, 2010

Weybridge in Surrey homes the remains of the first purpose-built motor circuit in the world. Landowner Hugh Locke King built the circuit on 330 acres of farm and woodland.

Thousands of spectators would come to watch those racing their powerful vehicles hurtling round the circuit at speeds well over 100mph.

The circuit was constructed in 1907 but is now a thing of the past. In its place a museum lies, displaying giant racing cars, motorcycles and bicycles.

The motorsport industry in Britain has declined despite Formula one and the Grand prix and this is thought to be because of the economic and climate change we have experienced since the early 1900’s.

With teams heavily relying on commercial sponsorship and manufacturers and with economic times as they are, it is becoming increasing difficult to fund motorists, their team and the championship itself.

Environmental campaigners are against the extensive amount of fuel that is burnt on these high speed races. However, the racing fraternity are always developing their vehicles trying to make them more fuel efficient which can then be transferred to all road users. Along with the technology developed to improve performance and reduce wasted energy, those involved in the sport hope to deflect criticism and keep British motorsport alive.

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October 19, 2010
Father banned from going on mechanics course before his ‘road trip of a lifetime’… because he’s a MAN

John Mandy’s retirement dreams have stalled after being told he can’t go on the mechanics course he wanted because he’s the wrong sex.

Mr Mandy, 58, of Stockport, Manchester, had sensibly planned to tune up his skills ahead of a trip of a lifetime around Europe in a VW camper van with wife Joy, 57.

But his plan failed as the one local evening class he could find – at Trafford College – only accepts women so that men can’t ‘intimidate’ them in lessons

Mr Mandy, who works at Kellogg’s in Old Trafford, said: ‘I just can’t get my head around it.

‘I could understand if it was swimming classes or something like that, but it would just be a group of people in overalls learning about cars. I don’t see what difference it makes whether you’re a man or a woman.

‘I wouldn’t be any sort of threat to anyone learning there. I doubt anyone knows as little about mechanics as me.’

John, who hopes to retire in the next two years, bought a 1972 VW ambulance for £6,500 on Ebay and plans to convert it into a camper van for his big trip.

He said: ‘I’m completely clueless about cars and need to learn how to be able to maintain an engine if we’re to go travelling, but it seems that men just aren’t catered for.


October 18, 2010

Sixteen year old Justin Bieber failed his theory test the first time round, almost reducing him to tears. With a brand new Range Rover brought for him by his mentor Usher, no wonder it nearly reduced him to tears.

Beyonce Knowles obtained her full driving licence at the age of 28. Her husband gave her driving lessons running up to the test, which clearly paid off. Not all new drivers are the typical age of 17, many drivers start learning later in life. Research has shown that the best age to pass is 25, as they are thought to have low accident rates and lower conviction rates.

Welsh Singer Tom Jones had to re-take his driving test in order to keep hold of his Californian licence, as he is now 70 years old. Despite driving for 25 years and reading up on the Highway Code, it must still be very daunting re-sitting your driving exam.

Not all stars want a driving licence, Kate Beckinsale doesn’t want to learn how to drive saying she much prefers to be a passenger.

Emily Smith of Britannia Driving School said: “Learning to drive is a different experience for everybody, with some passing first time, some learning at 17 and others at 30 and others taking their test so long ago that they were not required to take a theory test. Even if you are famous, you have to follow the same process and contend with the same emotions as everyone else when trying to get your licence.”

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