Sep 042018
 

Essential Driving AppsBeing able to drive is one of life’s luxuries, but, it can also bring with it a host of frustrations. There’s parking, fuel costs and car maintenance to consider (as well as the initial stress of selecting the right vehicle for you at the start.)

However, with the rise of driving apps, motorists can now enjoy additional car add-ons, without the hefty price tags.

Here, Warranty Direct shares some of the best apps to take some of the stress out of your daily drive.

Triumph over traffic

There’s nothing worse than having your morning commute to work ruined by stand-still traffic.

This is where your trusty sat-nav can come in useful, as it helps plan the best and quickest route to your chosen destination. It can also work out the best alternative route, if you find yourself stuck in a bit of a jam.

There are apps available to assist too, such as Waze. All you need to do is log the journey and destination before you start driving and, voila, a less time-consuming travel experience should await!

You can use maps on your iPhone or Android to stay up-to-date with the latest traffic conditions as well, but make sure your phone is set up as hands-free, to avoid any safety issues on the roads.

Stay on track

As most drivers know only too well, keeping a car on the road can be costly. There’s car maintenance, fuel costs, insurance and tax to think about.

There’s a lot to consider, but luckily car management apps can help put you on the right course. Drivvo is designed to help you manage the cost of fuel consumption, car maintenance expenses and service costs.

It also has an innovative feature which allows you to check fuel prices at stations nearby.

Park your troubles

Research on the cost of parking in the UK found the average motorist spends almost £2000 a year on parking. Thankfully, apps such as JustPark help motorists find a solution to this costly problem.

From work journeys to weekend trips, JustPark can provide you with directions to car parks and on-street spaces, plus information on availability and restrictions.

It also offers 20,000+ reservable locations, so you can book parking in advance too.

With the average Brit spending an estimated four days every year looking for parking spaces, this app could bring an end to hours of parking woes.

In a dash

According to a recent AA study, dashcam usage has rocketed from 1 to 15% in just four years.

One of the reasons behind this boom is because these small cameras (usually mounted on the dashboard or windscreen of your car) document crucial evidence that could protect you in the event of a car accident.

Not only does dashcam footage help in the event of an accident, but some insurers are offering motorists discounts on their car insurance premiums if they have a dashcam installed.

While the reliability of dashcam apps greatly depends on the quality of your smartphone, they can give drivers additional peace of mind.

Breaking it down

Sometimes it’s hard to know what condition the internal components of your car are in. Unless a fault happens, you won’t know and if it happens suddenly, it could take away your control over your vehicle.

Warranty Direct recently teamed up with Engie to help put control back in your hands with its diagnostic device.

By connecting its Bluetooth device to a car’s computer via the OBD2 port, it can transfer data such as daily vehicle diagnosis, journey data and more to the accompanying smart phone app.

In the event of a malfunction or an upcoming vehicle service, the Engie app can also help aggregate real time quotes from nearby mechanics as well; helping you save money during your vehicle ownership.

We believe the Engie device and app brings more control to vehicle owners and allows them to talk directly to their cars. As such, we’re offering an Engie device to new and renewing customers for FREE*.

*Subject to Warranty Direct and Engie terms and conditions. See warrantydirect.co.uk for further information.


Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Aug 232018
 

Driving LawsIt’s been over a year since the new laws for speeding and mobile phone use behind the wheel were introduced, but have they really made a difference?

Leading car warranty provider, Warranty Direct has analysed Department of Justice data from over the past five years, to reveal what impact the new laws have had on the driving behaviours of the general public.

While it might seem extreme that driving laws are becoming increasingly stricter, research has shown how important it is for laws to be in place to prevent reckless driving.

Road safety site, Think, found you’re 4 times more likely to be in a crash if you’re using a mobile phone while driving, and also 4 times more likely to crash while travelling at 40mph than 30mph.

With alarming statistics on the rise, March 2017, saw higher fines issued to people caught using their mobile phone behind the wheel. Punishments were doubled from three points to six points on your licence and a fine of £200 up from £100.

Laws against speeding were also updated on 24 April 2017. Fines increased from a minimum of £100 to up to 150% of a person’s weekly wage. You could also expect to receive up to 6 points on your licence, depending on how much over the speed limit you are caught driving.

To find out how successful these new laws have been at reducing dangerous activity behind the wheel, Warranty Direct compared the number of fines issued before and after the updates were introduced.

The tables below show the number of fines issued from May to December 2017, compared with the number of fines issued in the same period in previous years.

Date range Quantity of fines for speeding
May- Dec 2013 75428
May- Dec 2014 101823
May- Dec 2015 111067
May- Dec 2016 110863
May- Dec 2017 101654

The number of speeding fines issued annually between 2013-2015 increased up to 68%. Although there was a slight reduction in 2016, after the new fines were introduced, not only did the number of fines continue to decrease but they dropped by 8.5%.

2017 data recorded the lowest number of fines for 4 years, and if this drop continues next year, the number issued for speeding will drop below 100,000 for the first time since 2013 (to 93,000).

Date range Quantity of fines for mobile usage
Mar- Dec 2013 14974
Mar- Dec 2014 14970
Mar- Dec 2015 14027
Mar- Dec 2016 11052
Mar- Dec 2017 6175

Fines for using a mobile phone while driving decreased even more dramatically. The number issued dropped 44% in 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, and by 59% compared to 5 years prior in 2013.

It’s clear from this steep decline, drivers have taken note of the updated punishments for breaking the latest driving laws and being more cautious on the roads.

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct commented on the findings:

“It’s great to see these updated driving laws have had a significant, positive impact on driving behaviours, in such a short space of time.

“I don’t believe it’s just the increased financial penalties influencing people’s driving behaviour either, as motoring authorities have increased their efforts to raise awareness of the dangers of unsafe driving.

“We fully support any new measures which make our roads safer for both drivers and pedestrians. I believe more motorists are truly beginning to understand the consequences of speeding and using their mobile phones at the wheel.

Jun 042018
 

MOT’s are something we all dread as there always seems to be an issue which needs fixing. To try to lighten up this sore point for many motorists, we wanted to look at how our favourite fictional cars would fair against today’s MOT regulations.

We will be looking at vehicles such as Fred Flintstone’s foot mobile. While it may work well in the animated series, we can see some serious issues. Whether it’s the huge hole in the floor or the lack of tread on the tyres, Fred’s going to find himself without a car unless he gets those issues fixed!

May 312018
 

Over half of UK roads are classified as ‘rural’ and are also statistically among the most hazardous, with 68% of fatalities occurring on them every year.

Quiet rural roads often lure drivers into a false sense of security, when they need to be at their most alert. To keep you – and others – safe, Warranty Direct has put together its top tips for rural driving.

 

Watch your speed

Many drivers assume they can drive quicker on rural roads because they’re typically quiet. However, obscured entrances, high trees and hedges, narrow bends and blind corners will restrict your view so it’s essential to keep your speed down to avoid potential hazards. Take notice of all the signs on the road to give you advance warnings, so you can adjust your speed accordingly.

At 60mph, a driver’s stopping distance is 73 metres and if a hazard suddenly appears, you may not be able to stop in time. Speed limits shouldn’t be seen as a target, so keep assessing whether you’re at the right speed for the conditions and you feel in control of the vehicle.

Be patient

Tractors, combines and other large agricultural vehicles are a common sight on country roads. While you may find getting stuck behind one of them annoying, you need to be patient as they’ve as much right to be on the road as you do.

If you do find yourself behind one, keep a safe distance as these types of vehicles often have limited visibility. If you attempt to overtake, make sure you’ve plenty of time and space to make the manoeuvre safely. Look for a long straight stretch and start to overtake from further behind than you would with a normal car, to give the driver more opportunity to see you.

Beware: animals crossing

Whether it’s a herd of cows being moved from one field to another or a rabbit just wandering across the road, you need to be more alert for wildlife during rural driving. Watch out for wild animal warning signs, which give you an indication of areas more prone to animals.

While it’s normally an instinctual movement, it’s important you don’t swerve to avoid small wildlife. This can be very dangerous for you, your passengers and the person who might be coming towards you on the other side of the road.

Instead, try to brake as soon as possible to minimise impact and beep your horn while slowing. Often this will startle wildlife into running out of your path.

However, larger animals like cattle, horses, and dogs are considered big enough to justify an emergency stop, because their size means, if hit at speed, they could cause a lot of damage to vehicles or injuries to passengers. For example; accidents involving deer are estimated to cost £17 million in vehicle damage every year.

If you are unlucky enough to hit a larger animal, you must stop by law and report the accident to the police immediately.

Think of others

Many people will be out on the country roads enjoying the scenery and leisure activities, so expect to see plenty of cyclists and horse riders. If you come across a horse and rider, it’s essential you slow down and pass with plenty of room to avoid spooking the horse. A scared horse can be a danger to itself and to its rider.

You should approach passing cyclists in the same way you would another vehicle. Make sure you wait for a straight stretch of road and give them as much room as possible. The Highway Code actually encourages cyclists to stay in the middle of the road for safety, so be patient and wait until it’s completely safe for you to pass.

You may also encounter walkers, so always corner slowly as there could be a pedestrian on the other side.

May 312018
 

Leading car warranty provider, Warranty Direct analysed its Reliability Index and SMMT data to reveal which of the bestselling UK hatchbacks were most reliable.

The Reliability Index collates and analyses 50,000 live Warranty Direct policies to rate vehicles in order of reliability. As well as finding out the overall reliability of a car, the index offers information on which parts fail most often such as air conditioning, axle & suspension, braking, cooling, electrical components and engines.

Top ten most popular hatchbacks ranked in order of reliability:

Reliability position

Model Popularity position *

1

Volkswagen Polo 6

2

Ford Fiesta 1

3

Ford Focus 3

4

Volkswagen Golf 2

5

Vauxhall Corsa

4

6 Mini Cooper

7

7 Mercedes Benz A-Class

8

8 BMW 1 Series

10

9 Vauxhall Astra

5

10 Audi A3

9

 

Recently plagued by problems owing to the diesel emission scandal, Volkswagen showed it’s still a strong contender in the hatchback market. According to the Reliability Index the Polo and Golf models came in at 1st and 4th place for overall reliability.

While it was only the 6th bestselling hatchback of last year, the Polo actually beat competitors to be crowned the most reliable, spending just 1.46 hours off the road for repairs, which cost an average of just £184.

This is because less than 10% of problems recorded in the Reliability Index for both Polo and Golf models stemmed from more expensive issues such as brakes or gearbox problems.

Following the Polo closely in second place was the Ford Fiesta, which according to SMMT was also the bestselling car of 2017. Low cost and easy to repair faults helped the Fiesta retain its top spot and it needed an average of only 1.51 hours off the road. It narrowly missed out on first position due to slightly higher repair times and costs compared to the Volkswagen Polo.

Coming in a respectable 3rd for reliability is family favourite, the Ford Focus. The average costs of repairs were a little higher though at £283 and so was the average time off the road for repairs at 2.05 hours. This could be down to the model experiencing trickier electrical faults, which made up nearly 30% of all its claims.

In last place for reliability and second to last for popularity, the Audi A3 had a staggering average repair cost of £439, stemming from expensive engine issues, which made up 27% of all claims.

Surprisingly, some of the most expensive, popular models scored more poorly for reliability, with the A-Class in 7th place, the 1 Series in 8th and the A3 rounding out the table in position ten. All took around three hours for the average time off the road for repairs, which may be down to the more complex makeup of these premium vehicles.

The Mercedes A-Class in particular was a good example, as 40% of its claims came from electrical issues, which are common for a growing number of luxury cars, as they contain more parts dependent upon automated technology

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct commented on the findings:

“When buying a new car, motorists should look beyond the initial purchase price and examine resources such as the Reliability Index to get a better indication of whether a particular model is suited to their individual needs.

“According to sales, the Polo was only the 6th bestselling hatchback of last year, but it’s actually the most reliable model according to our Reliability Index. In addition to this, the most expensive model may not actually be the most reliable, so it’s always worth doing your research before purchasing your next vehicle.”

*Popularity position based on 2017 SMMT data on the UK’s best-selling vehicles