Nov 092017
 

Whether you have a trusty, old TomTom or you are using apps on your smart phone, many drivers rely on electronic navigation to get from A-to-B.

However, stricter laws which came into effect in March 2017 see some drivers punished for using a Sat Nav or Sat Nav apps unsafely whilst driving. The law makes no distinction between changing the route on a map, answering a call and checking your social media accounts, so don’t be caught out.

Here is a list of Warranty Direct’s top tips for using your satellite navigation tools safely – and legally – on the roads…

Positioning

It’s legal to use hands-free devices on the road – so mounting your device to your windscreen before you set off is essential. The Highway Code states your windscreen must be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision, so don’t place your device directly in your line of sight.

The bottom right corner of the windscreen or near the dashboard air vents are best – mounting it too low will mean that your eyes are off the road for too long, so avoid this.

Dictation is important

Roads can often be congested with complicated layouts needing your full attention. In addition, studies have shown reading information on a Sat Nav could cause a change in scanning behaviour and increase the risk of a hazard being missed.

Make sure your Sat Nav’s voice instructions are turned on and can be heard clearly before starting your journey – this will allow you to listen to instructions rather than taking your eyes off the road for too long.

Don’t adjust and drive

Seven percent of drivers have stated that being distracted by a Sat Nav has nearly caused them to have an accident.

Taking your eyes off the road to adjust your Sat Nav is distracting and can be dangerous. Always pull over in a safe place before changing settings. Doing this on the move will take one hand off the wheel and your eyes and mind from the road.

Seeing is believing

Don’t follow your Sat Nav’s instructions blindly and ignore what you can see in front of you.

If the road looks wrong, don’t take it. Watch for signs – particularly height, weight or width restrictions. If you have a large vehicle or a caravan, you can’t be sure that a road is suitable just because the Sat Nav tells you to go down it.

Watch out for road closures, temporary speed limits and no-entry signs – ignoring these is an offence and could endanger yourself and other road users. If the Sat Nav suggests an unsuitable road, avoid it then pull over in a safe place to find an alternative route.

 

Essential updates

A study has revealed one in 20 drivers received a speeding fine because their Sat Nav allegedly showed the wrong speed limit.

Roads are often changed, so it’s important to keep your device updated so it doesn’t show you old information.

Most Sat Nav units can be easily updated on your computer to the latest map version, so you can take advantage of any new roads, layouts and speed limits.

Don’t invite thieves

If you leave your Sat Nav on display it will be a potential target for thieves. Hide the unit, power cable and mount out of sight.

Remember to wipe the glass to remove any marks left by the suction cup, as this will be a clue that there is a Sat Nav in the car.

Nov 092017
 

When it comes to purchasing a car, safety features are one of the main influences on many buyers’ decisions.

Modern cars are incredibly advanced, even compared to models that are just twenty years old. With further innovations such as fully autonomous vehicles imminent, vehicle safety will take on an even more significant role and be under more scrutiny than ever.

In this post, Warranty Direct highlights some of the key automotive safety regulations and devices, which have allowed manufacturers to develop the technologically advanced models of today.

The early days

The first landmark motorcar was the Ford Model T, produced between 1908 and 1927. However, one of the earliest breakthroughs in car safety came in 1934, when General Motors performed the first ever crash test.

The advent of testing led to several developments through the 1940s which are still used today, such as the padded dashboard, the safety cage and the introduction of disc brakes.

This increased focus on safety led to the UN establishing the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations in 1958, creating an international approach to safety standards.

Major milestones

From airbags to ABS, we catalogue some of the key motoring safety innovations below:

1959 – The 3-point seat belt, first created by Volvo, has been compulsory in every British car produced since 1967, preventing thousands of injuries from accidents every year.

1966 – When anti-lock brakes (ABS) were featured on a production car for the first time, the Jensen FF. The system was adapted from aircraft technology and in 1978 Mercedes developed this further with an electronic system in its S-Class model.

1981 – Although airbags were sold by General Motors in the ‘70s, the Mercedes S-Class of ’81 adopted the system still used today. Airbags are found on all modern cars, even on the outside of some types to protect pedestrians!

1995 Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is now fitted to every car on sale and was again pioneered by the Mercedes S-Class range. By using electronic sensors, braking power on each wheel is balanced to help counteract over or understeering. It is said to have reduced fatal accidents by 25 percent and wet-weather collisions by 32 percent.

1996 Euro NCAP was established and with it came its five-star safety rating, which is created through rigorous testing and provides a standard all new cars are held to. The rating has been updated several times and as of 2014, it’s now a two-tier system.

1998 – Advanced active head restraints first appeared across Saab’s range, which is proven to help prevent or limit back and neck injuries in rear-end collisions.

2005 – Lane departure warning systems first appeared in the Citroën C4, C5 and C6, using infrared sensors to monitor if a driver is moving out of a lane.

2015 – Volvo gives a glimpse of what’s to come, releasing the XC90 which has a ‘City Safety’ package, with advanced pedestrian detection and technology to prevent motorcycle and bicycle collisions.

The future is bright

Vehicle-to-vehicle communication is touted as the most important new safety feature, allowing cars to ‘talk’ to each other, avoiding accidents by transmitting information on speed and GPS positions.

Ford Motor Company has previewed driver health monitoring through seat belts and steering wheels equipped with vital statistics notifying a car if it needs to pull over, shut down or alert emergency services.

These are just some of the ways manufacturers are looking to modify and improve future vehicles. Whilst it’s still not clear which features the majority of companies will adopt permanently, it’s obvious these developments could make our cars smarter and safer than ever before.

Oct 012017
 

The motoring industry is a constant source of innovation, with regular developments across technology, design and safety. 3D printing is one of the latest trends set to make a significant impact and the effects could be ground-breaking.

3D printing is a technique where a physical object is created from a digital model by printing thin layers of material on top of one another.

Here are some of the ways it could make the motoring industry more efficient, safe and cost-effective:

 

Improved efficiency

While 3D printing is not yet efficient enough for high-volume manufacturing, the ability to develop prototype parts more quickly, create custom parts for drivers, or make crucial parts for smaller run performance vehicles, means it could start allowing some models to get to market quicker than standard vehicle manufacturing procedures.

Designing a complicated new part and then waiting months for prototype tooling to be produced could also become a thing of the past, as 3D printing is starting to create quicker, more cost-effective solutions for engineers too.

Safety conscious

One of the most important factors to address in the automotive industry is safety, and there are elements to 3D printing that have the potential to improve this. As the 3D components are designed using computer programmes, the consistency of production is greater than working with sheet metals, which could help to reduce future vehicle complications.

Bodywork can be more easily replicated, so an owner could potentially purchase a new shell more quickly with no discernible difference to the original.

Simplifying vehicle manufacturing

Many manufacturers are using 3D printing to create single, large body parts. The LM3D Swim is a prime example of this, as the car is created using less than 50 individual parts, compared to a traditional vehicle which could have over 30,000 parts.

The relative simplicity in design and fewer parts could mean issues will be more easily rectifiable, both in terms of parts manufacture and fitting. The simplicity of generating replacements and additions is already being tested by Ford, as it continues to investigate the effectiveness of creating large parts and components using 3D printing.

Cost savings

Millions of components are sitting in stock warehouses around the world, waiting to be supplied as a spare part. By printing new parts, automakers can reduce logistics and warehouse storage costs and produce complex components at low volumes. Imagine the savings by storing parts such as covers, spring caps, wiring ducts and mountings, digitally instead of physically and building them on-demand.

This potential is already recognised in America as Daimler Trucks, the world’s largest truck manufacturer, has been using 3D printing in its spare part production supply.

3D printing for racing advantage

Formula 1 teams originally bought into 3D prototyping to reduce development times. More iterations, more quickly don’t always reduce costs for race teams, but if it translates to saving even a millisecond on the track, the investment is justifiable to them.

The Lotus F1 team uses plastic 3D printing processes for concept development, functional prototypes and wind-tunnel models. The time saved is fundamental to the development timeline and 3D printers have allowed its teams to downsize Ford’s machine shops too.