Mar 192018

Recent reports have shown although roads are busier than ever before, casualties are at the lowest level on record. The exact reasons for these statistics are not quite known, but the fact vehicles themselves are becoming safer due technology advancements could be a contributing factor.

For example; manufacturers are developing car systems which not only mitigate the effects of a collision, but can prevent the chances of having one altogether. Volvo has even promised no one should be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars by 2020.

With 79 percent of consumers describing car safety as very important, Warranty Direct has put together a guide to the modern safety features keeping us safer on the roads…

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

ABS has become a standard in most cars. It helps prevent car wheels from locking up, so reducing the likelihood of skidding. One of the most dangerous aspects of wheel lock is the loss of steering control, but ABS ensures drivers will be able to steer after an episode of hard braking.

Blind spot monitoring

Blind spot monitoring systems help drivers be more aware of what’s in the adjacent lane to their vehicle. Using a radar system to scan the space around your car, it will use a bright LED light in your side view mirror to visually alert you if another vehicle is in your blind spot.


Since 1987, frontal air bags have saved 44,869 lives. Sensors in the car monitor deceleration rates, then fire the airbags to cushion impact. Modern developments include dual-stage airbags which have sensors to generate different responses depending on the seriousness of a collision. These advances reduce the chances of airbag-related injuries.


Apart from brakes, seatbelts are the oldest safety feature around. According to ROSPA,  tens of thousands of lives are estimated to have been saved in the UK since making the law for wearing seat belts mandatory.

While the overall design hasn’t changed, it continues to evolve. Ford has developed rear inflatable seatbelts for some of its models and in the event of an impact, this innovative technology is designed to minimise the likelihood of injuries.

Dash cams

Dash cams are onboard cameras that continuously record the view of your journey through a vehicle’s windscreen. They can be used to provide video evidence in the event of a road accident. During parking, some dashcams still can capture video evidence if vandalism is detected too.

They have become increasingly popular with motorists in the UK, with dash cam ownership increasing from one to 15 percent in just four years.

Bluetooth devices

Using a hand-held mobile phone or sat nav while driving is illegal and you are four times more likely to be in a collision if you use your phone when driving.

Many cars now come with Bluetooth hands-free calling connectivity to help combat such issues. Once you connect your phone to your car system, Bluetooth allows completely wireless access to calling functions from your phone through your vehicle, via the dash, a control screen, steering-wheel buttons, or voice commands.

It increases car safety as you’ll keep both hands on the wheel and won’t need to look down to dial numbers, hold a handset to your ear, or do things like changing the volume to music.

Child car seats

The law requires all children travelling in any vehicle to use a child car seat until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years old, whichever comes first. With plenty of options to choose from, always speak to an expert to help you decide which are best for your needs and to assist you in correctly fitting the seat to your car.

Most modern family cars now have Isofix connectors built into them, making it easier for fitting baby and child car seats.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

ECS helps drivers avoid loss of control in bends and during emergency steering manoeuvres by reducing the danger of skidding. This has become such an important development in terms of road safety, manufacturers are now required by law to install ESC in all new vehicles.

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Jan 022018

A checklist for when the unanticipated occurs

While there has been an 11 percent decrease in UK road accidents within the last five years, there were still 181,384 reported cases during 2016.

When it comes to car accidents many may think, ‘it will never happen to me’. Unfortunately, that might not be the case and things can happen outside even the most experienced of motorists’ control.

For help when you need it most, Warranty Direct has put together advice to make sure you’re prepared, whatever happens on the roads…

Be prepared

You never know when an accident might occur, so it’s important to be prepared. Have your insurance information, vehicle registration and license available at all times while on the road.

In case emergency situations occur in the dark or with bad visibility, it’s a good idea to have a torch, reflective triangle and high visibility jacket in your car to ensure other motorists can see you.

Safety First

Even if you think it’s not serious and you’ve only caused a couple of scuffs or scratches, you must stop after an accident. Failing to do so is a punishable offence by the Road Traffic Act.

If your car is driveable, find a safe place to pull over, switch off your engine and turn your hazard lights on to alert other road users.

If anyone has been hurt, contact an ambulance as soon as possible. Unless their injuries prevent it, remove passengers from the vehicle to a safe place. If the road is blocked, you should call the police.

You and your passengers should stand behind the motorway crash barrier, wearing reflective jackets, so you are visible to other drivers and wait for the emergency services to arrive.

According to the Highway Code, you must leave any animals in the vehicle or, in an emergency, keep them under control on the verge.

Collect all the necessary details

When you’re involved in a car accident you’re obligated to give your name and address to anyone else involved. You should also collect contact details from any drivers, passengers and witnesses.

Ask any drivers involved for their insurance details and establish whether they own the vehicle. If they don’t, find out who does and note their details.

If damage has been caused to third party property or a parked car you should leave a note with your contact details on a car’s windscreen if you’re unable to find the owner. If you don’t exchange details at the scene, you must report the incident to the police within 24 hours.

You’ll also need to make note of other details, which will help when it comes to sorting out the incident with insurers.

These include:

  • Time and date of the crash
  • Registration, colour, make and model of all vehicles involved
  • Photos for evidence – most mobiles will take good enough pictures to help you recall significant details.

Dealing with your insurer

It’s important to try to stay neutral and not accept liability or apologise if you’re unsure of who or what has caused the accident. Of course, this can be difficult in a stressful situation when emotions are heightened, but believe it or not, even saying something as small as ‘sorry’, could work against you later on when claiming for insurance.

While you are not obligated to claim after an accident, you should report the accident to your insurer within the time stated in your policy. Otherwise, your insurer has the right to refuse to cover you in future.

If you have GAP insurance, it’s worth noting some providers will ask you to call them before accepting any offer by your regular insurer. Make sure you inform the insurance provider of the accident to ensure the correct pay-out from the motor insurer.

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.

Jul 012016


Three new models recently launched by European manufacturers have been independently tested for safety by Euro NCAP. The Alfa Romeo Giulia, the SEAT Ateca and the VW Tiguan all reached five stars with safety equipment which is fitted as standard throughout the European Union.

From the beginning of this year, Euro NCAP applies a Dual Rating scheme where the default rating issued is based on standard safety equipment available throughout the range. Manufacturers may apply for a second rating, showing the additional safety provided by an optional pack, however, the Giulia, Ateca and Tiguan come with superior standard safety equipment as standard throughout Europe.

All three vehicles offer autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems that help to avoid or mitigate collisions between cars and with pedestrians. Testing of this important safety technology was introduced by Euro NCAP in 2014 for car crashes and this year for pedestrian crashes. The car industry has responded quickly and is fitting an increasing number of models with these life-saving systems.

Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen, said: ‘Euro NCAP shows what can be achieved when governments, consumer groups and motoring clubs from across Europe collaborate. Together, we can exert an influence on the car industry that would be hard to achieve otherwise. We are glad to see some of the major manufacturers making safety equipment standard across EU28, although we know that markets outside the Eurozone are sometimes less well served.’

Apr 222014

CutCostsMost drivers (47%) spend more disposable income on their car than anything else according to new figures well ahead of holidays (21%) and socialising with friends (13%). As a consequence, 1 in 10 continue to cut back on car maintenance in a bid to save money (equivalent to 2.8 million cars), with 41% placing the reliability and safety of their car last on the list of motoring concerns.

The findings are in a new report from Halfords Autocentres, which show despite the economic upturn motorists’ behaviour hasn’t changed and they continue to make some ill-advised compromises to car maintenance and safety.

Rory Carlin from Halfords Autocentres explains: “Despite a rise in personal earnings, stable inflation and fuel prices that are at a three-year low, drivers feel that they are already paying a high enough price for their motoring and are unwilling to spend more on anything they feel is unnecessary.

“However, car maintenance isn’t just necessary it is essential and we have uncovered some shocking admissions that are likely to be a hangover from the recession.”

Of the drivers that admitted to cutting back on maintenance to save money, 60% are no longer servicing their cars in line with manufacturers’ guidelines – a figure almost unchanged from the more austere financial times of 2012.

A worryingly high percentage (43%) also reported waiting to replace tyres until they are at or below the legal minimum (1.6mm), 32% are not investigating fresh noises or dashboard warning lights and 25% said they had avoided replacing brake pads.

Commenting on the findings, Maria McCarthy author of The Girls’ Car Handbook added: “A lack of technical know-how and the complexity of modern cars can make maintenance a daunting prospect.

“Find a garage you trust, or get a friend to recommended one, and build a rapport with them that will enable you to discuss which repairs are essential and which are advisory – then budget for on-going maintenance.”

A useful way to save on car maintenance costs is with an extended warranty covering the costs of repairs. This includes those repairs identified during MOT or servicing. Click here to get a quote via Warranty Direct.