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.

Apr 272018
 

Reliable and well-maintained tyres are one of the most important factors for a safe and comfortable drive, so it’s essential to keep them in good condition.

However, UK motorists were fined £27 million last year because their tyres were below the legal repair level. To help ensure your tyres are up to scratch, Warranty Direct has put together its top tips on tyre maintenance.

Why it’s important

 Illegal, defective or under-inflated tyres are the most common vehicle defect contributing to fatal crashes, yet they’re some of the simplest to detect and rectify. As well as being dangerous, motorists could be fined up to £2,500 and three penalty points for each defective tyre.

The grooves in tyres help your car brake, steer and accelerate properly. They also remove water from the contact patch between tyres and the road surface, when driving in wet conditions.

Poor tyre quality has a significant impact on vehicle stopping distances. For example; research found a car travelling at 50mph fitted with tyres with a tread depth of 4.1mm stopped in 24.3m on a wet road.

However, with a tread depth of 1.6mm, the braking distance increased to 32.7m, so tyre quality is essential for keeping stopping distances at a safe range.

 Check your tread

The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and around its entire circumference. Check the depth of the main tread grooves in several places across and around the tyre to ensure the entire surface area is legal.

Tyres also have tread wear indicators moulded into the base of the main grooves. When the tread surface is worn to the same level as these indicators, the tyre is at the minimum legal limit and should be replaced.

If you are unsure, place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when inserted, your tread is legal. If the outer band of the coin is visible, your tread may be too worn, so head to a garage as soon as you can.

Don’t forget the pressure

Tyre pressure monitoring systems are a legal requirement for all new vehicles, alerting drivers to any changes, which need seeing to. However, they shouldn’t replace physically checking your tyres for faults.

If a tyre is under-inflated by 5 PSI (pounds per square inch) it can reduce its life by around 25%, as it puts more pressure on the edges of the tread, causing deterioration of the casing and faster wear.

Under-inflated tyres can also increase fuel consumption by around 6%, so you’ll be paying for more fuel and harming the environment.

Over-inflated tyres can lead to increased impact damage and concentrate road contact in the centre of the tyre, accelerating wear.

Consider driving style

 Your driving style has a big impact on how quickly tyres deteriorate. Hard braking, fast acceleration and aggressive cornering can reduce tread depth more quickly, so you’ll need to replace tyres more frequently.

Driving at high speeds causes tyres to become hotter, which can lead to increased damage and the risk of tyres burning out while on the road.

The added pressure of a fully loaded car can result in the tread wearing out quicker. Your car’s manual should come with a tyre pressure guide for when carrying a heavy load, so ensure you prepare correctly for these types of journeys.


Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.

 

Apr 132018
 

Warranty Direct to sponsor the 2018 FirstCar Awards

We are happy to announce Warranty Direct is the lead sponsor of the 2018 FirstCar Awards. The event will be held at the Royal Automobile Club in London on 25th April 2018 and we are really looking forward to celebrate the industry and its worthy winners.

The FirstCar Awards, in association with Warranty Direct, recognises and rewards companies leading the way for young drivers. A FirstCar award will help guide young drivers when making key purchasing decisions and give added credibility to the winning manufacturers.

These awards will reward the best in class across a range of different categories – all specifically relevant for young drivers. Along with being the main sponsor, Warranty Direct will also sponsor the ‘Used Car of the Year’ and ‘Car of the Year’ awards.

Contenders for the Warranty Direct Sponsored Used Car of Year Award are:

  • Citroën C1
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Kia Picanto
  • Volkswagen Polo

Shortlisted for the Car of Year Award are:

  • Ford Fiesta,
  • Nissan Micra
  • VW Up

Cars from both categories will be assessed for their reliability and safety using Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index and Euro NCAP criteria. The judges will also be looking at a variety of other key features to contribute to overall scores, including:

  • Value for money and running costs, such as fuel economy and insurance
  • Both new and used cars should be easy to drive, dependable and safe
  • Affordability is key for both purchasing and throughout the ownership of the car
  • The standard fitment of important safety features

Speaking about the upcoming awards, our CEO, Simon Ackers said:

 “With First Car offering advice, tips and expert opinions to help their audience be better informed and safer motorists, we are proud to work with a partner whose values mirror our own.

“We are really looking forward to celebrating those in the industry who are leading the way, promoting safe driving and enabling young drivers to make knowledgeable decisions and become confident on the roads.”

Other categories at the awards will include: Driving Instructor of the Year, Regional Driving School of the Year, National Driving School of the Year, Driving Instructor Car of the Year, Best Safety Technology and Safe Car of the Year.

One thing’s for sure, there is always a real sense of team spirit and support at these awards, which not only honour the accomplishments of driving schools and their instructors, but also the motor industry’s ability to revive and improve their safety products every year.


Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.

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.

Airbags

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.

Seatbelts

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.

Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.

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.