Automotive News

CAR SALES BOOM PREDICTED
- 22 February 2021
CAR SALES BOOM PREDICTED
Dealers should brace for a new surge in car sales when Britain emerges out of lockdown, according to market specialists Buyacar. The company issued the alert after conducting research which reveals that an overwhelming majority of people will choose to use their own car over other modes of transport, when the latest national lockdown restrictions are lifted. A massive 86.4% say they intend to stick with their own vehicle after lockdown, with just 4.4% saying that they won't, while 9.2% are still undecided. Those intentions, supported by data from last year, when the ending of Britain's first lockdown led to an explosion of demand for used cars in particular, signal a busy time ahead for dealers and car buyers alike. As the government begins to plan a staged route out of England's lockdown, beginning as early as next month, the newly revealed intention among the public to drive a car of their own, rather than take trains and buses, as soon as they can travel spells a likely fresh surge in demand. BuyaCar experts also believe that demand for used cars in particular will be boosted by the unusually low mileages on thousands of 2020 cars which have been parked for much of the past 12 months, making them more desirable - especially in contrast with new cars. When last year's first lockdown ended in June, dealers were swamped with customers as pent-up demand for cars was released and BuyaCar.co.uk recorded a 70% increase in registered customers and a 45% hike in cars ordered from the site for home delivery. With almost nine out of ten people now saying their immediate future travel plans focus on driving rather than using public transport it all adds up to a massive boost to car sales as restrictions are eased.
GETTING TOUGH ON DRINK DRIVERS
- 22 February 2021
GETTING TOUGH ON DRINK DRIVERS
Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has joined other groups in calling for a review of inadequate drink drive laws as deaths involving drink drivers reaches a 10-year high. Provisional government statistics for 2019 show that the central estimate of deaths from drink-driving on roads in Great Britain in 2019 was 280, an increase of 40 on the previous year and the highest central estimate since 2009. Good practice elsewhere GEM has assembled a line-up of good practice from other European countries and beyond: Reducing the limit in Estonia: Drink driving deaths reduced from 61 in 2006 to 7 in 2017, representing an 89% decrease. This was the result of a reduction in the drink drive limit to 0.2g/l BAC (compared with the England and Wales limit of 0.8g/l BAC) and a concerted and sustained improvement in enforcement techniques. Tough fines and education in Denmark: Any driver found with a BAC above 0.5g/l must pay for and follow a 12 hour mandatory course on alcohol and road safety in order to regain a driving licence. Drivers found with a BAC over 1.2g/l receive an unconditional three-year ban, with prison sentences for repeat offenders. There were 112 drink drive deaths in 2007, compared with 30 in 2016 - an average annual reduction of more than 12 per cent. Low limits and harsh sanctions in Australia: In the Australian state of Queensland, learner and recently-qualified drivers must have a zero BAC, while for all others - including motorcyclists - the limit is 0.05g/l BAC. A zero limit applies for all professional drivers. In July 2020, Australian newspaper headlines criticised one Brisbane driver for being 'six times over the limit' when stopped by police. She was disqualified for a year and paid a fine of approximately £800. The actual BAC reading she gave was 0.298g/l. She would have needed a BAC reading 16 times over the Queensland limit to reach the England and Wales limit of 0.8g/l. Random breath tests in Israel: An average of almost one million random alcohol breath tests have been taking place per year, in a country with just eight million inhabitants. This was supported by an increase in night-time bus transport to deter car use among younger drivers heading out to parties and bars. Roadside evidential testing in Belgium: A decade ago roadside evidential breath testing was introduced in Belgium. Police use screening devices on drivers which reveal a 'safe' reading of below 0.22g/l, an 'alarm' reading of between 0.22 and 0.35, or a 'positive' reading of above 0.35. In the event of an alarm or positive result, the driver must take a further evidential breath analysis test in a police van, which calculates the exact amount of alcohol in the breath. High-volume screening checks in Finland: It takes four or five police officers to set up testing at a busy road junction, where they use simple screening devices and obtain a test from every driver. There is no need for suspicion that the driver may have been drinking. The device immediately shows whether or not there's alcohol present in a driver's system. Those who give a negative reading continue their journeys, with no more than a few seconds' delay. Those who give a positive reading are directed to the roadside for further evidential testing.
IT'S NOW LESS ACCEPTABLE TO SPEED
- 22 February 2021
ITS NOW LESS ACCEPTABLE TO SPEED
New research from the UK's largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, has revealed some positive long-term trends in relation to speeding behaviour in the UK with motorists now considering it less acceptable to speed than they did five years ago. The findings come after recent provisional figures, released by the Department for Transport, highlighted that the number of UK road deaths was down significantly compared to the previous year due to less traffic being on the roads due to COVID-19. IAM RoadSmart's annual Safety Culture Report, which tracks drivers' changing attitudes to key road safety issues over time, discovered that while there was a significant improvement towards speeding the figures were still worryingly high. Out of the 2,000 motorists surveyed, 43 per cent (down from 55 per cent in 2016) thought it was acceptable to drive up to 80mph on a motorway and that 23 per cent (down from 28 per cent in 2016) thought it was acceptable to drive even faster than that. Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, said: "While there are signs of improvement, the results of this survey are still deeply concerning and there is clearly much more work to do on education and training. "Speeding consistently causes more than 4,400 casualties on UK roads each year, which is an average of 12 people a day killed or injured on UK roads." The vast majority of drivers find it unacceptable to speed in towns and this has remained basically unchanged in the last five years. However, a disconcerting one in five of those surveyed still think it is acceptable to drive five miles-per-hour over the speed limit on a residential street and nearly one in ten thought it was acceptable to drive at these speeds outside a school.
STAY BRIGHT & STAY SAFE
- 22 February 2021
STAY BRIGHT & STAY SAFE
Ford has developed new, first-of-its-kind electronic high-visibility panels, which do not rely on other light sources to be clearly visible in the dark. The red stripes, available on Transit and Transit Custom models, are illuminated by electricity passing through a thin layer of phosphorus gas - technology already used in aeroplane cockpits and on screens for medical and military equipment. When installed, these are activated by a switch behind the driver's seat. Many roadside workers, such as those repairing cars, fixing potholes, or maintaining gas and water supplies operate in high-risk environments and standard reflective panels are reliant on the headlights of other vehicles for illumination. As a result, these panels can be less effective when approached from around a bend - especially on long, dark winter nights. "Roadside working is a necessary and sometimes dangerous part of the job for many of our customers", said Simon Robinson, chief program engineer, Special Vehicle Engineering, Ford of Europe. "We want to ensure that what is often essential work can be carried out as safely and effectively as possible. Creating panels that can be illuminated without having to rely on other sources of light was literally a 'light bulb' moment." Ford trialled its panels in collaboration with Northumbrian Water Group, enabling engineers to monitor their effectiveness in real-world scenarios and to gauge the benefits of panels that light up - even when other drivers neglect to activate their headlights. Now Northumbrian Water Group, which includes Essex & Suffolk Water, are the first commercial users.
E-TYPE MILESTONE
- 22 February 2021
E-TYPE MILESTONE
At the Geneva Motor Show 60 years ago, the Jaguar E-type was first revealed to the world, quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon and a verified automotive icon. The world had fallen in love with one of the most beautiful cars ever imagined and - with a price of around £45,000 in today's money - owning the fastest car on the road all of a sudden wasn't a pipedream for many. Even 60 years on, the allure of the E-type refuses to wane, as owners seek to restore their cars to perfection or to upgrade their cars to more modern standards. E-Type UK is one of England's leading dedicated E-type specialists, responsible for maintaining these beautiful cars, and allowing them to be enjoyed by owners and admirers for generations to come. To kickstart celebrations of 60 years of the E-type, E-Type UK is shining a light on some of its latest fabulous examples available in the showroom: 1965 SERIES 1 4.2 RHD FHC Specifically upgraded with a larger engine and more luxurious interior to make it more suitable for the American market, the Series 1 4.2 is one of the most desirable E-type models in today's market. This particular 1965 fixed-head coupe, with only three owners spanning across the five decades of its lifetime, has been subject to a no-expense spared restoration by E-Type UK's dedicated team of expert engineers, completed over three years. 1961 SERIES 1 3.8 LHD ROADSTER The 407th left-hand-drive chassis to roll off the production line in 1961, this E-type roadster has been expertly restored to its former glory offering a fantastic early '60s example. The highly sought-after model has many of the desirable features that E-type aficionados look for: a 'flat floor' body, original 3.8 litre straight-six ..- regarded by many as the greatest engine of all time - welded bonnet louvres, Pumpkin Orange cylinder head, polka dot aluminium centre console and butler rear light. 1965 SERIES 1 4.2 RHD FHC This highly desirable original right-hand classic is certain to turn heads with its heritage Carmen Red and Black trim colour scheme. Prior to undergoing an E-Type UK restoration in 2016, this highly usable model had been cherished by its previous owners. If you are looking to celebrate the 60th anniversary with your very own E-type purchase, visit E-Type UK's showroom to find your dream British classic. All E-Type UK's fabulous stock is available to browse here: https://etypeuk.com/showroom/
PRICE UP THAT PLATE!
- 22 February 2021
PRICE UP THAT PLATE!
Despite the third national lockdown, consumers' confidence in being able to afford their next car has reached a peak, with many still looking to buy. Car buyers registering their brand-new cars from 1st March 2021, will be able to get their hands on the latest number plates which include '21', unless of course they go for a private plate. The very British phenomenon of personalising number plates doesn't seem to be abating, with the prices of bespoke plates rocketing in recent years, and even hitting six figure sums. Autotrader has collated a list of the 21 priciest car number plates sold in the UK: 25 0 (£518,480)- This was bought at auction by a Ferrari trader who put on his rare Ferrari 250 SWB that was previously owned by Eric Clapton. To date, this is the most expensive plate that has ever been sold by the DVLA X 1 (£502,500)- The original sale price for this was a staggering £1million, however someone got a 'steal', paying just half that amount in 2012. G 1 (£500,000)- Adorned on an Aston Martin this number plate was sold in 2011, making it the most expensive plate in the UK at the time. RR 1 (£472,000)- Sold in 2018 to adorn a Rolls Royce, naturally, the plate 'RR1' was described as "one of the most special" registration plates in the world ahead of its sale at the Goodwood Revival. F 1 (£440,625)- Widely recognised for the world's most popular racing sport, Formula 1, this plate is unlikely to ever leave the top ten of most expensive plates. S 1 (£404,063)- This was the first ever number plate issued in Scotland. It was bought in 2008 and placed on a Skoda, making it 10 times more expensive than the car itself! 1 D (£352,411)- One Direction must be waiting with bated breath for this to go back on sale after getting snapped up in 2009 by a property developer. 1 S (£340,000)- In 2010 this private reg was bought and placed on a Rolls Royce Phantom. It's thought to have doubled in value since. M 1 (£331,500)- Multimillionaire, Mike McComb snapped this up in 2006, purportedly for his son's 6th birthday. GB 1 (£325,000) - Sold in 2009, this plate sits on a Rolls Royce, embracing its British heritage. It'll be interesting to see how much it's worth post-Brexit!
THE GRITTY TRUTH
- 15 February 2021
THE GRITTY TRUTH
There was a 29% drop in the average number of days councils in the UK spent gritting roads between winter 2017/18 and winter 2019/20, according to new research by Citroen UK. A Freedom of Information Request to UK councils found the average number of days each council gritted roads in the country fell from 74.0 to 52.5 between 2017/18 and 2019/20, representing a 29% reduction. This is despite the freezing temperatures in 2018 when 'The Beast from the East' hit the UK with the harshest winter conditions recorded since 2010, according to the Royal Meteorological Society. During this period, a number of regions in the UK experienced temperatures well below the average recorded between 1981 and 2010, along with significant snowfall**. Research by the Asphalt Industry Alliance also shows an average annual road maintenance budget shortfall of £4.9 million per local highway authority in England and Wales in 2020, with councils in need of further funds to maintain roads. Councils in the north of the country were found to be most active, with Scottish Borders Council spending on average 203 days of the year gritting roads over the three-year period, while Northumberland County Council spent 144 days in total on the task. The research comes as the country braces for yet another cold spell and the risk of dangerous road conditions - especially in exposed areas. Just over half of the councils that answered the Freedom of Information Request told Citroen UK they had specific Snow Routes in place, which receive priority treatment during periods of heavy snowfall and sustained periods of freezing temperatures.
THE MOT TEST NEEDS TO EVOLVE WITH EVS
- 15 February 2021
THE MOT TEST NEEDS TO EVOLVE WITH EVS
As the move towards electric vehicles gathers pace and a greater focus is being placed on the charging network required, new research among UK motorists reveals that a significant proportion believe that the MOT should evolve in parallel with new technology. Under the current MOT, the test measures emissions from a vehicle's engine, therefore a purely electric vehicle registers zero emissions. However, in a study for Kwik Fit, the UK's largest MOT tester, 45% of car owners said they believe that in the future, the MOT should take into account how the electricity used to charge the vehicle has been generated1. This figure rises to 51% among owners of cars less than three years old. Only a quarter of owners (27%) believe that the source of electricity should not be considered in the test, while over a quarter (28%) said they didn't know. Environmental considerations are often felt to be greater among younger age groups, which may be the reason why those aged 18-34 are 36% more likely than those over 55 to believe that measuring the source of electricity should be in the MOT of the future. When it comes to a gender split, women are 20% more likely than men to feel this. Clearly the practicalities of assessing the electricity used are significant as it would require information to be relayed from the charging systems to the vehicle. This would then need to be measured by the MOT testing equipment, requiring data standards to be put in place and major developments to the test. With modern cars being fitted with an increasing range of technology to improve safety or to aid drivers, Kwik Fit's study also asked motorists which of these developments they thought should be added to the components tested in the MOT. More than half of drivers (52%) said that emergency braking systems - which apply the brakes automatically when getting too close to another car - should be in the MOT if they are fitted to the vehicle. A third of drivers (33%) thought that radar, other sensors or cameras used for autonomous driving systems should be checked in the MOT, while three in ten drivers (30%) said lane assist technology should be included. Start-stop technology was stated by just over a quarter of drivers (26%), with the same proportion (26%) believing parking sensors should be part of the annual test. Parking or rear view cameras were cited by 24% of drivers as worthy of inclusion. Interestingly, the Kwik Fit research found that drivers who have received an MOT failure are most in favour of developing the test. Those whose car has failed its MOT in the last three years are 15% more likely to believe that these safety features or driver aids should become part of the MOT compared to drivers who have not had an MOT failure in that time2. This perhaps indicates that drivers who have had an MOT failure are more likely to appreciate the important role the test plays in vehicle safety by highlighting problems in components they rely on.
WHAT GETS YOUR MOTOR RUNNING
- 15 February 2021
WHAT GETS YOUR MOTOR RUNNING
If you have ever wondered what gets the British people's motors running, now we know. Over half (55%) of 2,000 drivers surveyed admitted to getting 'intimate' in their car. This rose to 61% of men, while 1 in 10 (9%) indignantly said it was none of our business. The research by Auto Trader, the UK's largest digital marketplace for new and used cars, also found that those in Sunderland were the friskiest in the UK with a whopping 80% admitting to doing the deed in their car, whilst Cardiff was at the other end of the spectrum with just 37%. It seems Brits are having a love affair with their cars. Two thirds (64%) admitted to being in love with their motor, whilst one in five (22%) said they loved their car more than their partner. A further 23% would even spend more money on their car than their partner - not great for neglected spouses with Valentine's Day around the corner. Proving romance isn't entirely dead though, over a quarter (27%) said they've given their cars pet names. However, some die-hards out there (18%) claimed they'd rather break up with their partner than sell their car. When asked what it was exactly that they loved so much about their car, almost a third (29%) admitted it was its size, so perhaps there is something to the old adage. One in five (18%) claimed it was the way the car made them feel whilst 19% said it took them to places they'd never been before - make of that what you will. Sadly, this Valentine's Day, there will be some lonely hearts out there, with over a third of Brits (35%) admitting to regretting getting rid of an old car as they loved it or missed it greatly. Finally, Auto Trader's research found the top ten sexiest cars as voted for by the British public. In order of most sexy, they are: Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Jaguar F-Type Aston Martin DB4 De Tomaso P72 Ferrai 812 Superfast Bugatti Chiron Ford Mustang 390 GT Chevrolet Corvette Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe Mercedes-Benz SL300 Gullwing
THE TERRORS OF TAILGATING
- 15 February 2021
THE TERRORS OF TAILGATING
Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is calling on drivers to try out the 'two-second rule' and ensure they're not putting lives at risk by tailgating. The advice follows the start of trials involving motorway cameras designed to detect drivers travelling too close, amid concerns that too many motorists are simply unaware of the distance they need to stop safely in an emergency. Being followed too closely is one of the most hated experiences among drivers, according to GEM chief executive Neil Worth. "Drivers regularly place being tailgated up there at the top of the list of annoying, unpleasant and downright dangerous threats they experience on the road," he says. "Imagine a sudden problem ahead of you on a motorway or dual carriageway. According to the Highway Code, if you're driving at 70mph you will need a minimum of 96 metres to come to a stop. This relies on your being alert and able to react immediately to the problem you've spotted ahead. "Any sort of distraction will compromise that ability, meaning you will continue driving towards the problem at more than 60 metres per second. "The two-second rule is a great guide, and it works because it's time-based, not distance-based. There's flexibility that matches your speed, so it doesn't mean carrying a spreadsheet of distances and speeds around in your head. "You should note as the vehicle in front passes a fixed point, such as a tree or lamp-post. Then you say 'Only a fool breaks the two-second rule.' If you are still speaking when you pass the same fixed point, then you are following too close." In November 2020, Highways England commenced trials of new cameras to clamp down on tailgating, an offence it says is a factor in around one in eight casualties on England's motorways and major A roads. Choosing a close-following position is likely to intimidate the driver in front, but GEM is also concerned about those drivers who may follow too closely simply because they're not paying attention or they're simply not aware of the space they would need to stop if anything went wrong ahead of them. "They don't mean anyone else any harm, but they're still putting lives at risk," adds Neil Worth. "That's why trying out the two-second rule on a road journey should be very helpful in demonstrating whether we are following at a distance that will let us react and stop safely if we need to, or whether we are putting ourselves and others at risk because there's simply not enough space in front of us." Stay safe with GEM's tips: Try out the two-second rule on any journey. In wet weather, two seconds needs to be come four seconds. This is because reduced visibility means spotting hazards is harder, and tyres have less grip on wet roads, meaning it takes longer to stop. Don't assume that different rules apply to drivers of modern cars with fantastic brakes. Effective braking - and doing it early enough - still relies on observant, alert drivers. Check your driver seating position to ensure you can brake hard if you suddenly need to. This can be compromised if your seat is positioned too far forward, or too far back. Make a habit of observing what's going on beyond the vehicle in front. Seeing the possible problems well ahead means fewer nasty surprises. If you're concerned that someone is following you too closely, then leave plenty of extra room ahead of you so that you can lose speed gradually if you need to. Let them pass when it's safe, so that their presence behind you doesn't turn into a risky distraction.
LEARNERS NEED MORE LEARNING
- 15 February 2021
LEARNERS NEED MORE LEARNING
New research conducted by IAM RoadSmart, the UK's largest independent road safety charity, has found overwhelming support for a 12-month minimum learning period for new drivers before they are allowed to take the practical driving test. In its in-depth survey of more than 2,000 motorists, the charity found that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) strongly backed the suggestion that all new drivers, regardless of age, should undergo at least a year's training and supervised practice before being allowed to take their practical test. And while the Government committed to investigating some form of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) in 2019, including the possibility of a 12-month minimum learning period as a key component, they have still not offered any firm conclusions. IAM RoadSmart is therefore calling for urgent action on this issue. The charity, citing the evidence presented to the recent House of Commons Transport Committee Inquiry into Young and Novice Drivers along with the strong public support demonstrated in this latest study, says that a move to Graduated Driver Licensing is a crucial step forward in improved road safety. Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, said: "The Government must listen to the concerns of the vast majority of motorists who clearly understand the long-term safety benefits that a 12-month minimum learning period for all new drivers would bring. "A lifetime of safe driving starts by gaining the right experience behind the wheel. Even the Government's own statistics show that one in five new drivers crash within their first year on the road, so a longer learning period can only help make our roads safer for all road users." Meanwhile, the study found that around two-thirds (65 per cent) of people also support more encouragement for post-test training, believing that it would be beneficial for drivers to improve their skills through advanced driver training and testing. This rises to 71 per cent among drivers aged 17 to 49.
BENTLEY'S DREAM MACHINE
- 15 February 2021
BENTLEYS DREAM MACHINE
The Bentley Flying Spur W12 has been recognized in MotorWeek's 2021 Drivers' Choice Awards as the Best Dream Machine. Since 1981, MotorWeek judges the best in the automotive industry, looking at the buyer's point of view and considering industry trends while looking towards the most innovative cars in the industry. Now, with more than 40,000 examples sold since its launch in 2005, the Flying Spur continues to set the bar as the most successful luxury sports sedan in the world. Sporting details including industry-first three-dimensional leather, cutting edge Bentley Rotating Display, and a retractable, illuminated "Flying B", each detail continues to be carefully created. The bold exterior design of the Flying Spur is based on a new and modern vision that is unmistakably Bentley, utilizing the latest technologies in aluminium extrusions and castings. Longtime Creator, Host and Senior Executive Producer of MotorWeek, John Davis, comments: "The Bentley Flying Spur is a car that fully lives up to our lofty automotive dreams when it comes to luxury, and then far exceeds them when it comes to performance. It effortlessly races to 60 miles per hour in well under 4.0-seconds, which is truly not enough time to enjoy the meticulously hand-crafted embrace that is the Flying Spur's cabin." Bentley Americas CEO and President, Christophe Georges, comments: "The Flying Spur has been part of Bentley since 2005 and since then has set the bar for the best of both worlds, combining limousine luxury and sports car performance, resulting in the ultimate Dream Machine. Our entire team is honoured that MotorWeek has also recognized the Flying Spur as a leader in the industry."
CONGESTION CHARGE FINES STACK UP
- 10 February 2021
CONGESTION CHARGE FINES STACK UP
Motorists were issued with up to £130 million of fines in the 12 months to September 2020, for failing to pay the London Congestion Charge, new research by Citroen UK has revealed. That is significantly more than the £52 million of revenue actually received by Transport for London (TfL) in daily congestion charges over the same period. The fee, which was increased from £11.50 to £15 from June 2020, alongside an extended seven-days-per-week charging window, is levied on vehicles that do not meet strict exemption criteria - namely emitting less than 75g/km of CO2 and having a minimum 20-mile zero emissions range. Failure to pay the London Congestion Charge results in a fine of £160, reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days. Citroen UK obtained the TfL data following a Freedom of Information request, which revealed TfL had issued more than 817,000 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to vehicle owners in the 12 months to September 2020. Over 60% of these PCNs were issued during the four months that followed the seven-days-per-week extension, suggesting many motorists may have been caught out on weekend trips to the Capital. The £160 fine can be avoided completely if motorists remember to pay the London Congestion Charge within three days of travelling within the specified zone, or are travelling in an exempt vehicle - such as the 100% electric New Citroen e-C4 compact hatchback, which could save owners hundreds in fines and charges.
MUSCLE CARS DON'T ALWAYS APPEAL TO MEN..
- 10 February 2021
MUSCLE CARS DONT ALWAYS APPEAL TO MEN..
New research by a leading driving experience provider Trackdays.co.uk has turned some driver stereotypes on their head, including the surprise finding that American muscle cars are actually incredibly popular with middle-aged women. Using data from YouGov's Topics research tool, TrackDays.co.uk was able to profile a selection of drivers on its most popular driving experiences, looking at what they would most like to drive and even some of their other preferences away from the track. And most surprisingly, it found that American muscle cars, specifically the iconic Ford Mustang, was incredibly popular with women aged 40 to 56 years. The data indicated that more than half would love to test their driving skills taming this motoring beast, compared to a younger profile of male drivers where it is most popular with those aged 21 to 39 years. Dan Jones, operations manager at TrackDays.co.uk, said: "You should never judge a book by its cover, or driver by their car, as these findings show. Our research shows that it is women in their 40s and 50s who feel the strong pull of an American muscle car rather than the younger generation." Meanwhile, the in-depth research of driver profiles conducted by using YouGov's Topics research tool also reinforced what many probably already believe about other motorists, in both their preference of car and lifestyle. For instance, drivers of an Audi R8 are more likely to be men aged 40 to 56 and their favourite TV show is likely to be Ross Kemp on Gangs and their favourite TV personality is probably Countdown star Rachel Riley. BMW M3 drivers are most likely to be women in the 40 to 56 years age bracket (apart from those driving a Ford Mustang!) and their TV programme of choice is Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. Dan added: "No matter how old you are, what your background is or what your interests are, we've got a unique driving day out that is sure to suit."
CARE NEEDED IF YOU DRIVE WITH YOUR DOG
- 10 February 2021
CARE NEEDED IF YOU DRIVE WITH YOUR DOG
Almost a third (29%) of van drivers are risking a fine of up to £5,000 and potentially invalidating their insurance for not safely securing their dogs while driving to work, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The study revealed 41% of van drivers who own dogs prefer to take them to work rather than leave them home alone or with a dogsitter. But a third admitted to not restraining them securely, which can lead to distractions. One in 10 drivers has had an accident while travelling in a vehicle with a pet or knows someone who has. Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that pets must be "suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly." The punishment for failing to secure a dog safely can range from up to £1,000 for driving without proper control, but can be stepped up to £5,000 and nine points for careless driving. Plus, it carries the potential of an insurer invalidating your policy. There are a number of ways to safely secure your pet in the van including a comfortably sized seat-belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or in the boot behind a dog-guard. Dog demand is now at an all-time high, with the Dogs Trust reporting that searches for "buy a puppy" more than doubled in 2020. Owners who have had an extended period at home during the COVID-19 lockdowns could face the potential prospect of returning to work later this year without their faithful companion by their side. The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles research found men are more likely to take their pets to work than women, while those working in London and Northern Ireland are most likely to bring their pets to work in their vans. Van drivers in East Anglia are more inclined to leave their dogs at home than any other region.
NO HARD SELL, SAY CAR BUYERS
- 10 February 2021
NO HARD SELL, SAY CAR BUYERS
Friendly, helpful advice - rather than being sold to - is overwhelmingly the most important experience car buyers seek from a dealer, according to exclusive new research. Two out of three motorists recently told a BuyaCar survey that friendly advice rather than sales was the key to buying a car with confidence. More than 400 motorists were quizzed on their most recent car buying experiences and how they want to be treated when choosing or financing a car - and their emphatic verdict was 'help and advise us - don't sell to us'. Asked to rank their preferred experience, ranging from being advised and helped to find the right deal to just receiving a sales pitch, a clear majority of 69.4% of buyers demand advice only. Just one in ten prefer to be persuaded to choose what the salesperson wants them to buy and 20.4% are happy with an equal mix of the two. And the approachability and friendliness of staff turns out to be hugely important to boosting the confidence of car buyers too, according to the survey's findings. More than one in three buyers rank 'friendliness and approachability' as the most important quality in the people they buy from, with 70.2% rating it as important or very important. Just three of those interviewed said they were unconcerned with the friendliness of their car supplier, while the remaining 8.2% ranked friendliness and approachability as only 'somewhat important'. Car-buyers also overwhelmingly want to feel that they are being helped to choose the best deal. Asked how important it is to feel helped, a massive 95% described it as significantly important to them. The research also revealed that the traditional motor industry has some way to go before its customers feel fully relaxed and confident in the car-buying experience, largely due to the typical traditional emphasis on selling rather than advising. Asked how they typically feel when they buy a car, less than half of the 402 motorists questioned said they enjoyed the experience and one in four positively disliked buying cars. A further 31.1% had no feeling one way or the other.
THE HIGH MILE CLUB
- 10 February 2021
THE HIGH MILE CLUB
The search is on for Britain's highest mileage car after motoring magazine Bargain Cars acquired a 2001 Volvo S80 with an astonishing 717,000 miles under its wheels. The diesel-engined Volvo was bought new in 2001 by a chauffeur doing VIP work and covered just under 400,000 miles in its first three years, before going on to be used as an airport taxi. Its original owner sold the car in 2016, since when it has had three further owners, the last of whom took it past 700,000 miles. Now, Bargain Cars is trying to find out if there are any other cars on the UK's roads that can beat it. Bargain Cars editor Peter Simpson said: "The Volvo is remarkable, not only because it is still going but also because it still drives really well - it's powerful, smooth and still quite tight. It goes to show that if you maintain a car well, it'll reward you with reliability. "We'd love to know if there are any other cars out there with similar or higher mileages, and what they are." Owners of mega-mile motors are encouraged to send details of their vehicles to Peter directly at peter.simpson@kelsey.co.uk As for the Volvo, when coronavirus restrictions are lifted the Bargain Cars team plan to take the car on a round-Britain tour in order to put more miles on the clock, and they're committed to keeping it until the odometer shows at least three-quarters of a million miles.
THE POTHOLE PROBLEM
- 10 February 2021
THE POTHOLE PROBLEM
Potholes are perceived by motorists to be a much more significant concern on the road than they were three years ago, overtaking texting and drink driving as a worsening problem - according to the findings of a new report from the UK's largest road safety charity. IAM RoadSmart's annual Safety Culture Report, which tracks drivers' changing attitudes to key road safety issues over time, discovered that three in four motorists (75 per cent) now perceive potholes to be a bigger issue for road users than they were three years ago. This was followed by driver distraction (68 per cent) - such as texting or talking on a mobile phone - and traffic congestion (65 per cent). Further findings from the report, now in its sixth year and which involves surveying more than 2,000 motorists, also discovered that around nine in ten (89 per cent) drivers have been affected by potholes over the last year. Meanwhile, just over one in three (31 per cent) drivers had changed their route to avoid a pothole with, more worryingly, more than half (54 per cent) having had to steer away or brake hard to avoid impact and damage. Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, said: "The pothole situation on UK roads has now become much more than just irritating, it's a significant threat to personal safety. "We simply can't have vehicles swerving into oncoming traffic or slamming on their brakes without warning to avoid them. Deteriorating roads also put pedestrians and cyclists at greater risk. "It is clearly a sign of the times when motorists perceive potholes to be a bigger growing concern to them than drink driving and texting. And while the statistics show that the devastating impacts of using a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or using a mobile phone when driving still remain, it does highlight that it is time for government to take potholes seriously and fix the UK's road network." Regionally, eight in ten (81 per cent) motorists in the South East considered potholes to be a bigger road safety issue than three years ago, compared with around six in ten in London (61 per cent) and the North East (64 per cent). It is currently estimated that there are some 42,675 miles of UK roads classed as being in POOR structural condition, costing an estimated £11.14 billion to bring them up to a level which they could be maintained cost effectively going forward, according to Asphalt Industry Alliance*. However, IAM RoadSmart's research found of those motorists who had experienced a pothole only around one in ten (12 per cent) had enough damage to their car caused by the pothole to require a repair and only around one in six (16 per cent) had reported a pothole to the authorities. Less than one in ten (7 per cent) made a claim for the damage.
MINIS AND BEATLES
- 05 February 2021
MINIS AND BEATLES
With over 30 years' experience, Andy 'Ace' Harrison is amongst the UK's foremost specialists for one of the world's most loved cars, the original Mini. Over that time Harrison has repaired, raced, rallied, restored, bought and sold all types of Mini via his Acespeed business in Shipley, Yorkshire. As one of the world's leading authorities on Minis, it is no surprise that one particularly iconic Mini found its way back to Harrison's Mecca to ensure it was perfect for a special new owner. Back in 1966, each member of pop band The Beatles was handed an incredibly special Mini by their manager Brian Epstein. Each was customised by luxury coachbuilder of the time, Harold Radford & Co. Alongside significant changes to the body, they were fitted with desirable extras including alloy wheels, a substantially more luxurious and equipped interior with a walnut dash, electric windows, reclining seats and a sunroof. The cars were the height of cool in Swinging London at the time. Ringo's car went one step further, packing a specific feature that made his just a little more special for the time. As the drummer, he asked that his Mini be capable of carrying his full drum kit in the rear; no mean feat for three-metre-long car. It led Radford to incorporate a folding rear seat and, decades before the MINI had one, a rear hatch. Registered in Ringo's real name (Richard Starkey) in June '67, LLO836D was owned by the star (or Starr!) until December the following year. Harrison knew the car, it having already passed through the hallowed Acespeed workshop when it received some remedial work with a previous owner. Now owned by another pop icon, Geri Halliwell from the Spice Girls, Harrison was again entrusted with undertaking a rigorous recommission of the highly original and fortunately unmolested condition. With body, engine and interior now up to scratch, Harris focussed on the details that included sourcing the correct Cosmic alloys and Falken Tyres. "Falken and Minis go hand in hand," says Harrison. "I've trusted them on my road and race Minis so when it came to picking tyres for Ringo's car, there was only one brand I was going to opt for." As well as being available in the correct 145/80/10 size, Harrison says the look and feel of Falken's Sincera SN807 tyre complements the Mini perfectly. "For me, the best handling Mini is one fitted with the 145-width tyre - it makes the car. The Falken is ideal for providing the right grip and feedback but it also looks right; not over bulbous like some others." Harrison's faith in the Japanese tyre is not just limited to the period Minis. He has opted for the rubber for the AcespeedR new build; bespoke Minis built to a customer's ideal specification. In essence, the AcespeedR is a brand new classic Mini where colour, trim and engine performance choice mean you can have the Mini you always wanted. "They just suit the car so well; I'll use Falken wherever I can."
EV SALES GATHER PACE
- 05 February 2021
EV SALES GATHER PACE
According to the latest analysis from Auto Trader, the sale of new electric vehicles (EVs) could overtake petrol and diesel sales by as early as 2025, whilst alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) more broadly, could pass them even earlier, in 2024. The analysis indicates that by 2025, EVs will account for around 10% of the total British car parc, and AFVs around 18%; by the time the government's ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars comes into effect in 2030, they're likely to represent as much as 30% and 40% respectively. Post the ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) sales in 2030 and then hybrid sales in 2035, it's likely that, if assuming typical scrappage rates and exclude the exception of classic or collector cars, ICE vehicles will almost disappear from the car parc by the mid-2040s. Highlighting the growing positive sentiment for electric and low emission cars, research conducted this week, showed that as many as 24% of consumers surveyed on Auto Trader are considering buying an alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV), which is up from 16% in November 2020, and 13% from as recently as August 2020. The same survey revealed that 33% of those considering an EV or hybrid as their next purchase, were directly influenced by the prime minister's announcement in November. The levels of demand (based on searches and advert views on Auto Trader) for EVs increased by a massive 93% year-on-year (YoY) in November. Demand eased slightly in December, but remained high, increasing 78% YoY. In contrast, demand for petrol increased just 0.6% YoY last month, whilst diesel dropped -7.7%. The added level of consumer engagement through this period resulted in the number of new EV leads being sent to retailers growing 421% YoY and 413% in November and December respectively. EV leads in December accounted for as many as 11% of the total number of new car leads, up from just 4% recorded a year earlier.
NISSAN GOES EVEN GREENER
- 05 February 2021
NISSAN GOES EVEN GREENER
Nissan has set itself a challenging goal to achieve carbon neutrality across the company's operations and the life cycle of its products by 2050. As part of this effort, by the early 2030s every all-new Nissan vehicle offering in key markets will be electrified. Nissan will pursue further innovations in electrification and manufacturing technology to make progress on the company's carbon neutrality goal in various strategic areas. First, with battery innovations including solid-state and related technologies to develop cost-competitive and more efficient electric vehicles. Plus we'll also see further development of Nissan's e-POWER electrified powertrains to achieve greater energy efficiency. The brand also plans development of a battery ecosystem to support decentralized, onsite power generation for buildings with renewable energy sources. Nissan anticipates increased collaboration with the energy sector to support the decarbonization of power grids. And the company plans to introduce manufacturing process innovations to support higher productivity in vehicle assembly, starting with the Nissan Intelligent Factory initiative. The company will also strive for greater energy and material efficiencies to support longer-term carbon neutrality ambitions. "We're determined to help create a carbon neutral society and accelerate the global effort against climate change," said Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida. "Our offering in electrified vehicles will continue to expand around the world, and this will make a major contribution to Nissan becoming carbon neutral. We will continue to drive innovation that enriches people's lives as we pursue a sustainable future for all."
BENTLEY'S LANDMARK
- 05 February 2021
BENTLEYS LANDMARK
The Home of Bentley in Crewe, UK has produced the 80,000th individual, made-to-order example of the Continental GT - the world's definitive luxury grand tourer. The 80,000th car - a right-hand drive Continental GT V8 in Orange Flame - was handcrafted earlier this week, in the world's first carbon neutral factory for luxury car production. In 1952, the Bentley R-Type Continental made its debut; a Mulliner-bodied coupe with a top speed of just less than 120 mph. It was the fastest four-seater car in the world and very quickly earned a reputation as the ultimate in high-speed luxury. In 2003, the Continental GT was launched - the first car of the modern Bentley era. Inspired by the R-Type, the first Continental GT established an entirely new market segment - the modern luxury Grand Tourer. Ever since, it has been the unchallenged benchmark for the sector that it founded, with an average of nearly 5,000 examples a year being delivered to customers around the world. Today, eighteen years later, Bentley's skilled craftspeople - many of whom will have worked on the very first example of the Continental GT (still owned by Bentley) - have handcrafted the 80,000th car. Over this period the style, technology and engineering beneath the car has evolved significantly, seeing an increase of up to 27 per cent in peak power, whilst models within the range have also achieved a reduction over the original Continental GT of 48 per cent in CO2 emissions. Bentley's Chairman and Chief Executive, Adrian Hallmark, commented: "At its launch in 2003, Bentley redefined the modern grand tourer with the revolutionary Continental GT. Now in 2021, the GT continues to be the ultimate luxury grand tourer, encompassing the latest technology, performance and style. This success is a testament to the skills of our designers, engineers and craftspeople here in Crewe.
OUR ROADS GET SAFER BUT CYCLISTS STILL AT RISK
- 05 February 2021
OUR ROADS GET SAFER BUT CYCLISTS STILL AT RISK
Figures released from the Department for Transport have revealed that UK traffic collisions in the 12 months up to June 2020 are down 16 per cent and road deaths have reduced by 14 per cent compared to the equivalent period in the preceding year. The research indicated that there were 131,220 casualties of all severities (compared to 156,034 previously) and 1,580 road deaths (down from 1,827 the previous year), representing significant reductions. The decline in UK road deaths and casualties is directly linked to the reduction in traffic as a result of national lockdown restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, for example, during the first lockdown which commenced on 23rd March, casualties fell by 67 per cent as road traffic reduced by 49 per cent. Neil Greig, Director of Policy & Research at the UK's largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, said: "Despite fears that speeding has increased substantially during the first lockdown it does now look as if the number of casualties has gone down in line with falling traffic numbers. This is certainly good news as it shows that the vast majority of car, van and lorry stuck drivers to the rules. "However, the only way to confirm these trends and measure the true impact of local traffic closures and temporary cycle lanes is for the government to publish more details on what has happened throughout the rest of 2020.
WHITE VAN MAN GOING GREEN
- 05 February 2021
WHITE VAN MAN GOING GREEN
The 'white van man' is going green with more than a third considering the switch to electric - and 20 per cent are ditching fry-ups in favour of a meat-free diet, research has revealed. A survey of 500 van drivers carried out by Fiat Professional revealed 91 per cent think it's vital for everyone to be as environmentally friendly as possible. And it is time to put the myths and stereotypes about the motorists who keep Britain running to bed - with almost two thirds of van drivers offended by the idea they're aggressive on the road. The perception that the interior of a van is a health and safety hazard is also a no-no - with 77 per cent claiming they take pride and joy in ensuring their vehicle is always clean and tidy. Two thirds (66 per cent) also admitted they are tired of the claim van drivers get by on an unhealthy diet. Instead, one in five are vegan or vegetarian, and high calorie breakfasts have been ditched - with 'green van man' more likely to have a bagel or cereal bar than a fry-up. When on the move, van drivers are just as likely to listen to Radio 2 as they are Radio 1. The research was carried out by Fiat Professional to launch its E-Ducato electric van in the UK, which has a range of up to 192 miles between charges - almost four times the daily distance driven by the van drivers surveyed.
GREY IS THE COLOUR
- 26 January 2021
GREY IS THE COLOUR
Grey retained its position as the UK's favourite new car colour in 2020, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). While it was a tough year for new car registrations overall, 397,197 grey units were sold over the course of 2020, which means that just shy of a quarter (24.3%) of all new cars sold were painted in the shade. Black and white took second and third place overall, completing a monochrome podium, with more than six in ten (61.6%) of all new cars entering British roads in 2020 painted in these three colours. The rest of the top 10 remained unchanged, apart from yellow and bronze which reversed places as yellow increased its market share by 50% but equivalent to only 6,816 sales. Red saw its registrations drop below 200,000 for the first time in a decade to 147,222, recording its worst tally since 1997. While the top colour for both petrol and diesel cars was grey, with 248,182 and 84,489 registered in the colours respectively, white was the most in-demand tint for zero emission battery electric vehicles (BEVs) with 25,689 painted in it whilst black was the most popular shade for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) with 17,989 registered. It was a record year for these electrified vehicles, which together accounted for more than one in 10 registrations - up from around one in 30 in 2019. Unlike 2019, which saw Scotland and the Channel Islands bucking the national trend, in 2020 grey was the unanimous colour of choice across the UK. Indeed, the only counties to not opt for grey cars as their number one choice were the Isle of White and Borders, where blue was the most popular tint, and Strathclyde which saw white take the top spot. Leicestershire, meanwhile, was the most popular location for pink cars, with 23.7% of the UK's total registered in the region, while buyers in the West Midlands snapped up the most orange cars. While white was the most popular shade for the mini segment, luxury saloons and executive cars were most likely to be black. Overall, there were 106 different distinct colours registered throughout the year with the least popular colour nationwide being maroon.
THE MIST CLEARS - IN A KUGA
- 26 January 2021
THE MIST CLEARS - IN A KUGA
With many of us exercising outside, and some having to get in the car afterwards, our exertions lead to the cabin steaming up - delaying our journey, if only by a few minutes. Ford's Windscreen Weather Station prevents this before it even happens. It can detect moisture in the air as well as detect changes in the temperature of the glass, automatically activating the air con if needed, and selecting the required airflow setting to pre-empt the windscreen misting over. Last year, from March to June, Sport England reported 731,000 more runners and 1.2 million more cyclists than before, while Germany saw a 42% increase in runners, as people tried to prioritise staying active. The Windscreen Weather Station is located on the glass, near the rear-view mirror on the glass. The 5x3cm system consists of several sensors. The latest version, already introduced to the new Ford Kuga - Ford's most electrified car - also helps improve fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions by reducing the usage of the air-con's compressor. Ford recently teamed up with outdoor experience experts komoot to enable drivers to plan, navigate and enjoy an adventure in the great outdoors; and drivers of selected electrified Ford vehicles can utilise FordPass to defrost the windscreen and set the cabin temperature before starting their journey. For the outside, Ford's patented QuickClear technology de-ices the windscreen in seconds at the touch of a button. Ingo Krolewski, Ford's European climate control supervisor, said: ""Waiting for your windscreen to clear after exercising is one of life's little irritations - but driving without being able to clearly see the view ahead can be dangerous. This technology anticipates the problem and deals with it without the driver even knowing." The Ford Kuga is available with three electrified engines - plug-in hybrid, full hybrid and mild hybrid - as well as front- or all-wheel-drive. The sensor system is included on vehicles with Dual Electric Automatic Temperature Control.
NISSAN - STILL THE EV LEADER
- 26 January 2021
NISSAN - STILL THE EV LEADER
Nissan is the UK's biggest-selling brand to offer both electric cars and commercial vehicles, the biggest supplier of e-LCV, and the second most popular EV brand overall, according to figures released this month. With new retail offers for January, including a £249/mth PCP on LEAF, there are compelling reasons for car buyers to choose Nissan in 2021 and make the switch to zero emissions driving. Nissan sold a combined total of 10,674 electric vehicles in the UK during the last 12 months and the e-NV200, which is available as both a van and a seven-seat people-carrier, secured a 66% share of the e-LCV market over the last 12 months. Nissan sold 2,448 e-NV200 in 2020 - more than twice the sales of its nearest rival. To maintain this EV lead, Nissan has launched its new year offers for January 2021. The Nissan LEAF 40kWh N-Connecta is currently available to retail customers on a 0% finance PCP, with a 15% deposit and monthly payments of £249 per month# - finally putting to rest the perception that electric vehicles are any more expensive to buy than traditional rivals. Capable of driving up to 168 miles (WLTP Combined) on a single charge, the LEAF 40kWh is joined in showrooms by a longer range 62kWH LEAF e+ version, which has a WLTP Combined range of up to 239 miles. The Nissan e-NV200 - with a range of up to 124 miles WLTP Combined / 187 miles WLTP City - is similarly cost effective. Prices start from £20,005 ex VAT for the commercial vehicle model, and £29,755 as a seven-seat people carrier.
MOBILITY APP PUTS DRIVERS BACK IN DRIVING SEAT
- 26 January 2021
MOBILITY APP PUTS DRIVERS BACK IN DRIVING SEAT
A new driving app, myAutomate, is revolutionising the way drivers think about their vehicle - and how they use it. The innovative new app, which can be downloaded for free on the App Store and Google Play, offers the same benefits to every motorist. It provides a complete solution that takes the hassle and complexity out of owning, driving and managing a car day-to-day. By downloading myAutomate, drivers have access to a world of information at their fingertips. This begins with smart fuel pricing, where drivers can view the best fuel price nearest to them. The algorithm powering the myAutomate app recognises that recommending the cheapest garage to fill up may not necessarily be the best value if it is further away. Instead, prices are listed in order of distance, allowing the user to decide if the best price is the one nearest them or a drive further away. The enhanced functionality also caters for the growing number of electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid drivers. myAutomate already lists more than 12,000 available charging sites with over 31,000 connectors for owners to locate within the app and more are being added on a daily basis. Pinpointing car washes as well as parking options is also possible in one touch using this free-to-download app. The app lists locations with automatic rollover or conveyor wash, jet washing or regulated hand wash facilities and car parks with more than 25 spaces. Accurate and live information means that all prices and locations are constantly being updated with new information to make any motorist's journey a simple one. Keeping on top of vehicle tax renewals, MOT, servicing and insurance renewal dates can be time consuming. However, what sets myAutomate apart is the option to input a vehicle registration to automatically create reminders on tax and MOT expiry dates. Furthermore, users add their details on their last service date and insurance expiry dates and myAutomate does the rest in managing all the red tape and admin through advanced reminders.
ARE YOU NOW MORE LIKELY TO BE HIT WHEN PARKED?
- 26 January 2021
ARE YOU NOW MORE LIKELY TO BE HIT WHEN PARKED?
Rear end collisions fell by a drastic 27% last year, according to analysis by accident aftercare provider AX of its latest accident data. Although the pandemic meant the overall number of collisions fell, the share of cars damaged by being 'Hit in rear' fell 5.6%, making up just 24.7% of all accidents handled by AX. This resulted in 'Hit whilst parked' becoming the most common type of collision, accounting for nearly a third of the total, perhaps due to many vehicles spending more time parked up. Although fewer journeys were made last year, AX believes safety technology such as automatic emergency braking (now equipped as standard on most new vehicles), could have played a part in reducing rear end collisions. The analysis by the accident aftercare provider also revealed how the pandemic has impacted when collisions have occurred throughout 2020. With millions of people working from home since the outbreak of COVID-19, AX's data showed a shift in the peak time of day for accidents to occur. Usually, the evening commute between 17:00 and 18:00 experiences the highest accident rate, but last year the peak shifted to the school run rush hour between 15:00 and 16:00. Although many offices were closed throughout the pandemic, schools remained open from September until Christmas. Scott Hamilton-Cooper, Director of Sales and Operations at AX, said "It's fascinating to see how the pandemic has impacted how and when collisions occur. For instance, our data shows a definite shift of incidents to early and mid-afternoon from the typical morning rush hour. "Ordinarily, our data would show that November to March is when the greatest number of accidents occur - when the days are shorter, there's more rainfall and, at times, wintery conditions can make the roads treacherous. "However, the result of two national lockdowns, in addition to a change in vehicle congestion levels during this period, means our data will paint a very different picture this winter."
REDUCE YOUR AQUAPLANING RISK
- 26 January 2021
REDUCE YOUR AQUAPLANING RISK
With Christoph the latest in what is likely to be a string of storms this winter, TyreSafe is urging motorists to check their tyres to reduce the risk of an incident while out on the road. While snow is forecast for some parts of the country, it is unlikely to remain on the ground for long. Thawing snow will add to the risk of flooding, which is also forecast across many regions. When driving in these conditions, tread depth is essential to ensure the vehicle remains in contact with the road. When there is significant standing water, the biggest risk is 'aquaplaning'. Also known as 'hydroplaning', aquaplaning is caused when a layer of water builds up between a vehicle's tyres and the surface of the road. When this happens, tyres are not effectively in contact with the road, making any attempts by the driver to steer, brake or accelerate ineffective - in other words, they're out of control. Signs which may alert the driver to their vehicle aquaplaning include increased engine sound without a change in speed, the steering becoming 'light and unresponsive', and feeling the back end of the car drifting from side to side - known as 'fishtailing'. A survey* by TyreSafe revealed 80% of drivers were aware of the phenomenon of aquaplaning, however, a concerning number do not know what to do if they experience it while driving. In fact, more than half suggested actions which would make the situation worse. Should drivers find themselves aquaplaning, they should gently lift their foot from the accelerator and allow the vehicle's speed to naturally reduce. This will allow the tyres to regain grip on the road. To help avoid the situation, drivers should first of all make sure their driving behaviour is appropriate for the road conditions and, if there is a lot of standing water, reduce their speed. Greater distance should also be allowed when following vehicles. However, to reduce the risk, it is essential to check your tyres to ensure they all have adequate tread depth of at least the minimum legal limit of 1.6mm. Tread clears water from between the road surface the tyre - as much as a bucket full every seven seconds on a new tyre. The lower the tread, the less water it can clear, thereby increasing the chances of aquaplaning. You can check your tyres' tread depth with a 20p piece if you do not have a tread depth gauge. The outer rim of the 20p is approximately 2.6mm, so drivers can insert the coin into the tyre's tread and gauge how much of the border remains exposed. If the border is completely hidden, tread depth is likely to be above the legal limit; if any more than the slightest amount of the coin's rim is visible, the tread needs to be checked by a professional.