Jun 302016

Andy Murray took on his fastest opponent ever when the British No.1 went head-to-head in a unique contest with Jaguar’s F-TYPE SVR driven by tennis legend, John McEnroe.

At Thruxton, the fastest motor-racing circuit in the UK, the British sporting icon squared off against McEnroe, disguised as a stunt driver behind the wheel of Jaguar’s supercharged high performance vehicles.

Murray said: “Trying to find an inch perfect serve at 130mph against the top players in the world is tough enough, but hitting a target racing past you at 160mph was the toughest and most unique match I’ve had.”

Behind the wheel of Jaguar’s luxury, high performance vehicles, McEnroe initiated the challenge in the Jaguar XE, F-TYPE SVR and the new Formula E racing machine in teaser livery, testing Murray’s precision, power and reaction speeds to the limit.

McEnroe, who revealed himself at the end of the challenge as the driver in Jaguar Racing’s test vehicle, said: “I wasn’t going easy on Andy. You can see from his reaction when he realised it was me. It was priceless! I’ve seen him react badly before, but nothing quite like that.”

The three-time Wimbledon champion admitted he went through a full range of emotions on his first drive of the Jaguar F-TYPE SVR. He said: “Wow! The drive & handling was incredible. I was a bit nervous when the engine first sounded. It’s a bit like the first time you go on a rollercoaster – when the adrenaline kicks in – it’s exhilarating, especially going around the corners at 150mph. It’s a very different sensation to playing in front of 15,000 on Centre Court.”

Murray, who owns a Jaguar F-TYPE Coupé and has already placed an order for the new Jaguar F-PACE, insists he is ready to seal his second Wimbledon title. He said: “I have played my best ever tennis on clay this year, and my form is as good now as it has been over the last couple of years.”

Jun 022016

Black Box TechnologyNearly seven in 10 drivers don’t trust ‘black box’ technology to lower their insurance premiums by proving they are a better driver, according to research by Whatcar.com.

Telematics-based insurance policies monitor driving standards by accessing the data produced by a car either by fitting an electronic device inside the car or via a smartphone app. The policies are increasingly being aimed at young, new drivers, with insurance firms rewarding good driving with policy discounts.

However, while improving road safety is the main aim of the new policies, Whatcar.com’s study found the only reason the vast majority of drivers (89%) would use telematics insurance is to save cash, while fewer than two in five (39%) would choose to use it at all.

As well as fearing the ‘Big Brother’ element of having their driving constantly monitored, 67% of motorists said they wouldn’t trust a telematics device to prove they were a good driver.

Paul O’Dowd, head of sales for telematics provider In-Car Cleverness, said mistrust in telematics-based insurance policies may be justified because insurance companies predominantly use hard-wired telematics systems that rely solely on GPS-based data, as opposed to on-board diagnostics (OBD) systems which take data directly from the car.

The scoring systems used also don’t take into account advanced driving methods, as well as other pertinent factors like weather and road conditions, meaning the results can be inaccurate.

He said: “The GPS-based systems that many insurance companies currently use are flawed. The scoring mechanisms do not take into account scenarios that keep a driver safe in the event of a near miss, or advanced driving methods. If all insurers used OBD telematics devices, which capture data readings directly from the vehicle, false data would be significantly reduced.”

Whatcar.com’s editorial director, Jim Holder, said: “Black boxes do encourage safer driving up to a point, but it is also fair to say that it’s often the safest young drivers who choose to have telematics in their car – they would be safe drivers anyway.

“And, while it works to save money for some drivers, it’s important to remember that premiums can go up as well as down based on feedback from the telematics.”

Jun 012016

£50 million PotholesThe British Government recently announced the allocation of the first £50 million of a five-year, £250 million ‘pothole fund’ has been welcomed but doesn’t go nearly far enough, says road maintenance campaign website, Potholes.co.uk.

The site, set up in 2007 by automotive specialist, Warranty Direct, campaigning nearly ten years now for a permanent solution to the dilapidated state of the nation’s road, rather than the ‘patch and mend’ mentality currently adopted by local authorities.

March’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) report estimated that there is a 10-year backlog of potholes that need to be fixed, at a cost of £11.8 billion.

With pothole damage to suspension and axle parts on cars costing motorists an average of £350, according to Warranty Direct’s database of 50,000 live policies, Warranty Direct Chief Operating Officer Philip Ward says that the £50 million recently pledged will not bring a solution to the pothole plague.

He said: “If the Government wishes to put more money towards road maintenance, it’s very welcomed to do so. But £50 million won’t allow local authorities to carry out the repairs to the standard road users expect.”

“What this money will do is help them fill in a few potholes with the same temporary solution that has caused the massive backlog that now exists and ultimately the roads will, sadly, still be prone to potholes forming.”

“I feel more for the drivers as they are the ones travelling our road networks and unfortunately the ones who will pay for it in the short to medium term, when repairs are needed for their vehicle and they’re forced to sort out the repair bill.”

Potholes.co.uk offers motorists an outlet to post stories about pothole encounters they have suffered, warn other drivers about dangerous craters and seek advice about how to claim compensation from local authorities, with a comprehensive step-by-step column detailing how to navigate the compensation process.

Potholes.co.uk’s 10-step process to claim compensation for pothole damage

Step 1: Gather evidence

Gather evidence of the pothole as soon as you hit it. As long as it’s completely safe to do so, take photographs, measure the pothole’s width and depth and note anything else about it, such as its position on a blind corner, whether it was hidden from view, etc.

Step 2: Report the pothole

Report the pothole on Potholes.co.uk and to the relevant council or highways agency – being a “good citizen” and helping other motorists will do your case no harm.

About reporting the pothole
Find out who is responsible for the road

 Step 3: Submit a Freedom of Information Act

Submit a Freedom of Information Act to the relevant council or highways agency to find out how often the road is inspected and maintained.

About Freedom of Information requests

 Step 4: Don’t be deterred

If (or when!) your claim gets rejected under section 58 of the Highways Act, don’t panic – this is to be expected and not the end of the story.

What is Section 58 of the Highways Act?

 Step 5: Read the national code

Download the national code of good practice for highway maintenance.

Find the code at http://www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org/roads/code_of_practice.htm

 Step 6: Make your claim

Stay calm at all times – remember when contacting a council that anything you say could be read out in court, so make sure you sound professional as much as you can and never lose your temper.

More information about making your claim

 Step 7: Analyse your council’s practice

Highlight both where your council’s maintenance programme mirrors the code and where it differs – this will help you consider how they may fight your claim.

 Step 8: Consider your case carefully

Consider your case carefully – if the council’s inspection policy mirrors the national code and they’ve followed what they are supposed to, your claim is unlikely to succeed.

Assessing the council or highways agency’s defence

 Step 9: Don’t be hasty

Don’t rush to issue Court proceedings or appoint a solicitor.

 Step 10: Be willing to negotiate

Many people blame local authorities for the state of the UK’s roads – at Potholes.co.uk, we’ve always thought that is not entirely fair. Local councils do what they can to maintain the roads with the meagre road maintenance budgets they are given but it simply has never been an adequate level of funding. That’s not the local councils’ fault – it is more down to central Government to provide a more realistic maintenance budget to pay for better repairs that will last longer and start chipping away at the horrendous backlog that has built up over many years of inadequate maintenance.

Jun 012016

TomTomKnowing what lies on the road ahead – when you can’t see beyond the next corner – can be a serious problem for drivers. That’s why TomTom has announced an innovative solution to the issue with TomTom Jam Ahead Warnings.

TomTom Jam Ahead Warnings visually and audibly alert drivers to rapidly slowing, or stationary, traffic on the highway ahead, giving the driver the opportunity to brake smoothly, and in time.

Corinne Vigreux, co-founder and managing director, TomTom, said: “We’re constantly striving to make the driving experience safer and more relaxed. TomTom Jam Ahead Warnings is a powerful example of this approach.”

The TomTom Speed Cameras app is already available in 16 countries, and has just launched in a further 26. Drivers around the world rely on the app to deliver highly accurate Fixed and Mobile camera alerts in real time, as well as Average Speed Cameras.

Drivers will especially welcome the average speed check feature, as Average Speed Cameras are becoming increasingly popular with road authorities around the world.

The locations of fixed cameras are provided by TomTom’s highly accurate database, and verified by a TomTom moderation team, while mobile speed cameras are reported and verified by a community of over 5 million drivers.