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.

Dec 112017
 

 Despite the festive spirit, you may feel, driving home for Christmas is not always so joyous.

With millions of people travelling to see their nearest and dearest, the prolonged journeys, unexpected road conditions and temperamental weather can often mean feeling more Bah Humbug! than Christmas Cheer.

Here at Warranty Direct, we’ve put together our own guide to avoiding Christmas travel chaos – so you won’t end up feeling like Scrooge come Christmas Eve!

Consult more than your advent calendar…

Planning ahead could save you a huge amount of time and hassle. This year, Christmas Day falls on a Monday. This means roads on Saturday and Sunday beforehand are likely to be jam-packed and journeys could take twice as long. The Friday before Christmas 2016 saw 12 million cars on the road, so also be wary of travelling on the evening of Friday 22nd.

Online tools such as Highways England’s planned roadwork finder can be used to check your route is clear of any planned disruption prior to travel.

If you have to drive over the Christmas weekend, it’s best to ensure you don’t do so at peak times. If you can, avoid the motorways. Leave as early as possible on Friday 22nd. Journeying in the evenings on Saturday and Sunday may also save some time.

Driving in the evening can be easier if travelling with kids. Snuggle them up in the backseat with cosy blankets, play Christmas audio books or set up a festive film on a laptop to keep them entertained. You can even put them in pyjamas before setting off – so hopefully they’ll fall asleep!

Don’t just ‘let it snow’

In recent years, winters in Britain have been mild. However, some weather experts are predicting the coldest December in five years, which may mean further difficulties with travel.

Driving in snow and ice is not easy, so make sure you remind yourself of the necessary stopping distances before you travel. These can increase tenfold in snow or ice, so be mindful of traffic in front of you. If conditions are particularly hazardous, you can invest in a set of winter tyres or tyre chains to prevent skidding

Should you run into trouble, it’s vital to keep a winter emergency kit in your car. This should include items such as a snow shovel, tow rope and a high-visibility vest.

Don’t attempt to make repairs yourself – simply call your breakdown provider and request assistance. BreakdownCare Plus* from Warranty Direct provides benefits such as UK roadside assistance and nationwide recovery, to legal advice and uninsured loss recovery.

Be tech-savvy

We are lucky today’s technology has vastly improved when it comes to providing motoring assistance. Google Maps and TomTom’s MyDrive route planner are great tools to use before you set off, to plan the quickest route and avoid traffic hotspots.

There are also a huge range of sat-nav apps available, which can provide alternative routes to help you avoid the worst of the traffic.

Plan for the Polar Express

Not only do fewer trains run during the festive season, this quieter period is often used to undertake maintenance work on rail services. This year, in particular, it’s been reported there will be a major disruption to London services. There will be no trains from Charing Cross, Cannon Street Waterloo East and London Bridge stations from 23 December to New Year’s Day.

National Rail’s future engineering work search tool can give you a good indication as to any delays you might encounter and when – so you know whether to make alternative travel plans.

* – Breakdown cover is operated by AXA Assistance on behalf of Warranty Direct and underwritten by Inter Partner Assistance.

Warranty Direct 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

Aug 272016
 

New research for Kwik Fit, the UK’s largest automotive servicing and repair company, has revealed that the average driver knows only 79% of UK road sign meanings, with one in five road signs a mystery.

For two in five drivers, not being able to understand a sign or being confused over its meaning has led to problems on the road. The most common mistakes due to misinterpreting road signs are breaking the speed limit (16%), braking suddenly (15%) and having to slow down, causing traffic to build up (9%).

Perhaps recognising the gaps in their knowledge, the majority of drivers believe that the driving theory and hazard perception tests should be retaken throughout people’s motoring lives, with more than half (53%) thinking it should be repeated at least once every twenty years.

When researchers for Kwik Fit tested drivers on some specific UK roads signs and road markings, some significant gaps in their knowledge were revealed.  Only one in ten drivers correctly identified the central white line markings which indicate a hazard ahead.  In direct contrast to their true meaning, the vast majority (66%) believed that this line meant normal road conditions.

A circular white sign with a red border is worryingly unfamiliar to the majority of drivers, as only a quarter (27%) know that this means “all vehicles prohibited expect bicycles being pushed by pedestrians”. More than this number (30%) of drivers think it signifies a “red route – no waiting” while a further third (33%) admitted to not knowing.

While a white “C” on a red circle should be familiar to drivers in the capital, one in four Londoners (22%) don’t recognise this as signifying a congestion charging zone.  In fact, 6% of Londoners think it means “caution children ahead” with 4% believing it marks a charging point for electric vehicles. Those drivers from outside London should take care if they are making a trip to the capital, as more than a third (34%) could not correctly identify the road sign, and so could find themselves risking a penalty fine.

Signs giving indications of speed caused confusion for a surprising number of drivers. Kwik Fit found that almost one in five drivers (19%) were flummoxed by the meaning of a white circle with a black diagonal bar.  5% thought this meant a 70 mph limit applied, 4% thought 60mph applied while 7% thought it meant no speed restrictions, something which doesn’t apply on any public road in the UK. The correct meaning is “national speed limit applies”.

As well as maximum speeds causing confusion, drivers are also in danger of being caught out by minimum speeds signs.  A white 30 on a blue circle with a red diagonal line through it indicates the end of a 30mph minimum speed zone, something that could be identified by just one in four (25%) of drivers.

Two-thirds (68%) of UK adults believe that drivers should have to re-take the driving theory and hazard perception tests, with an average gap of every 15 years. Those who do currently drive would leave a longer period between tests, on average every 16.5 years, while non-drivers believe motorists should be retested every 11 years

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, says: “The findings show that although many of us think we are good drivers, we are ready to accept that we don’t know the meanings of all road signs. Our research showed that some surprising results, and indicated that there are some clear instructions and safety warnings which drivers are not picking up on when out on the road.

“While people can’t be expected to voluntarily retake their test, it would be a good idea for even those of us who have been driving a long time to make sure we really do know the correct meaning of road signs and markings.”

Answers to the signs above are as follows:

A – Warning of ‘Give Way’ just ahead

B – No Entry

C – Level Crossing without barrier

D – National Speed Limit applies

E – Hazard Warning Line

F – Side winds warning             

G – End of minimum speed limit

H – Congestion Charge Zone just ahead

I –  No vehicles except bicycles being pushed

J – Country Park attraction