Posts Tagged ‘motoring’

eating in the car Six penalty points for using mobile phone while drivingDrivers who use their mobiles while driving could be getting slapped around the face with six penalty points as part of a Government bid to crackdown to stop people getting killed on the roads, even though statistically, people are always going to die on the roads.

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he’s going to weigh-up doubling the penalty points for those caught pissing about with their phones while at the wheel.

This is because the latest figures suggest that there’s one road death per fortnight that is directly related to mobile phone use, which McLoughlin described as “absolutely appalling”.

If the six point penalty comes in, that means you’d be banned from driving after two mobile-related offences. If you’re a new driver, you will probably be banned after a single offence.

There’s more too. The fines imposed for tweeting while driving could be increased too. The government are looking at getting the current £100 penalty and hiking it up to £150.

In fairness, no tweet or text is important enough to do while you’re driving. It also stands to reason that the kind of people who think they’re amazing drivers won’t stop doing what they want anyway, because that’s the way the world works.

l plate Superstitious learner drivers seem a bit mentalPeople learning to drive feel like they need all the luck they can get, which has made some of them weirdly superstitious.

And the AA Driving School has created a list of some of the more peculiar rituals for getting luck on test day, which are way beyond wearing lucky socks and such.

One student got her mother to crack an egg on each tyre before they took their test, which another complete lunatic spent the last lesson parking up and standing on drain covers every time they spotted them in pairs.

In the case of the latter, you might think they failed their test for being a complete nuisance on the road, but alas, both eggy wheels and drain coverist both passed their tests. Feel free to complain about the quality of driving these days, compared specifically to when you got your licence.

Learner driver Will Law, aged 17, is hoping it is his skill behind the wheel that gets him his licence: ”I’m not superstitious at all. I have never been. I could see why people would do those little things before their test because it’s quite nerve-wracking and intense I guess for many people.”

While Will Law sounds completely sane, his driving instructor believes in magic, specifically the kind of luck that is brought from a monkey toy. Mr Martin said: ”Monkey always sits in the back, and I always tell them monkey knows that they can pass and he is waiting for them to pass.”

“Other rituals I have is I always get them to book their test for the morning … usually 9.07am, sometimes 10.14am – whatever they feel comfortable with. If it works, it’s safe and you drive to the right specification to pass the test then you will pass whether it’s Friday the 13th, first thing on a Monday or last thing on a Friday.”

Other people have done things like wave at magpies while driving, while one lady insisted on wearing a t-shirt she wore when she gave birth to her daughter – hopefully it was washed.

So there you have it – Britain is filled with people who crack raw eggs on wheels, wear placenta covered t-shirts and believe in the power of toy monkeys. No wonder we’re doomed.

Speeding video shows 28 kids being killed

June 26th, 2014 9 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Road safety adverts and videos about speeding are often treading the fine line of taste and trying hit the viewer hard with a message that will last.

This week, the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment showed off their video to encourage drivers to slow down with perhaps the most shocking awareness video yet.

The message is incredibly clear – the equivalent of a classroom full of children have been killed in speeding accidents since 2000.

You can watch the video below, but be warned, it does contain graphic content and may distress some of you. Seriously. This is so grim that it would absolutely be the depressing clip shown amongst the laughs on Tarrant on TV.

Mark Durkan, Northern Ireland’s Minister for Road Safety, said: “The aim of this campaign is to challenge and dispel, once and for all, through this emotional and uncomfortable message, the false perceptions that many road users have as to the truly horrifying consequences of speeding.”

Does the advert go too far? Do you think it is perfect to show the gravity of the situation? Are you jaded by countless horror films and hoped for more blood and limbs swinging from trees?

Get stuck in the comments and let us know.

Jaguar ads banned for reckless attitude

June 25th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Jaguar Jaguar ads banned for reckless attitudeThe Advertising Standards Authority have banned some promo films for Jaguar because they promoted dangerous driving and the like.

Spoilsports.

The four video ads on Jaguar’s website showed a car razzing through a tunnel and crossing over the single white lines in the middle of a road, before driving across a mountain road at night. That’s not advisable in terms of the Highway Code, but c’mon! It is meant to be fantasy, right?

Another clip showed a car driving at high speed, while voice-overs said: “The adaptive dynamics technology reacts 20 times faster than the human eye. It delivers a smooth drive by continuously analysing speed, steering and body movement of the car 500 times a second, giving every journey an instinctive, stable and agile ride.”

The adverts ended with the Jaguar logo alongside text reading: “Jaguar. How alive are you?” to the sound of an engine being revved to oblivion.

One stupid viewer complained that the ads were irresponsible because they “glorified speed and encouraged dangerous driving”.

Just like Shreddies adverts encourage Nestle to force grandmothers to work in cereal knitting sweatshops when they should be enjoying their retirement.

Jaguar said that their videos were shot on the open highway in Switzerland on closed sections of road on the Susten Pass and the Grimsel Pass. Their caption didn’t make this clear, but really, the fact it was an advert should’ve been clue enough.

The company said the adverts’ were there to emphasise the technical features and abilities of the cars and the clips where we saw cars crossing lanes were there to highlight the lightweight construction for cornering stability and safety. They added that these adverts “at no time demonstrated any dangerous driving”, and there was no indication that speed limits were being broken.

The ASA disagreed, saying that the impression they got was Jaguar were focusing on speed and acceleration, rather than safety because of all the high tempo music and revving engines. They also noted that the cars were driving in a manner that would be “irresponsible and illegal” on a public road in the UK.

The ASA said: “We considered that the cars were being handled in a dangerous manner that might encourage motorists to drive irresponsibly. Because we considered that speed was the main message of the ads and the ads portrayed the cars being driven in a dangerous manner, we concluded the ads were irresponsible and condoned dangerous driving.”

They ruled that Jaguar mustn’t show these ads again and that they shouldn’t “portray speed as the focus of an ad in future… and not to portray driving behaviour that might encourage motorists to drive irresponsibly in future”.

Jesus Christ Almighty.

Beware logbook loans on second-hand cars

June 23rd, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

eating in the car Beware logbook loans on second hand carsMost of us drive second-hand cars because we’re not made of money. There’s a whole load of pitfalls when buying a car that isn’t new, but one is often overlooked and particularly troubling.

Drivers could well inherit debts which have been taken out by previous owners of the vehicle you bought, which means you could see your car being seized, when it isn’t your fault.

The Citizens Advice have sent out a warning after stating that one in five people who reported a problem to them about logbook loans, they ended up having their car repossessed despite not borrowing the money themselves.

What happens is, someone takes out a logbook loan and they put their car up as security. Like using a pawnbroker, the full ownership of the car is retained by logbook loaner until the debt has been paid off in full.

Citizens Advice have warned that you might buy a car that is still the subject to an outstanding logbook loan taken out by the previous owner and you, who have done nothing wrong, ends up being chased for the debt.

There’s an estimated 60,000 logbook loans to be taken out this year, which is a 61% increase on 2011. The CA survey regarding drivers who had bought a second-hand car found that 63% did not check if the car had an outstanding loan.

As such, they’d like to see the law changed so that the car cannot be taken if the owner is not the original borrower. The person should own the loan, but the thing they put up as security.

Citizens Advice chief ­executive Gillian Guy said: “Innocent drivers should not have to bear the burden of someone else’s debt.”

Sadly, at the moment, there’s no way of telling whether or not the car you’re buying has a logbook loan attached to it, which is why it has become such a problem. However, the Citizens Advice do have a guideline about the whole thing.

Forget petrol! Fuel your car with coffee!

June 17th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

coffee addict  300x272 Forget petrol! Fuel your car with coffee!Researchers from the University of Bath have found that leftover coffee grinds could well be used to power your motorcars.

They’ve been getting waste coffee and turning it into biodiesel by extracting oil from it and then using a chemical process called ‘transesterification’.

Seeing as fossil fuels is really bad for the environment, we need to find a substitute that is kinder and altogether nicer… and the coffee industry is completely problem-free and doesn’t come at the expensive of humans at all.

Dr Chris Chuck, from the university’s Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, said: “Around eight million tonnes of coffee are produced globally each year and ground waste coffee contains up to 20 per cent oil per unit weight.”

“This oil also has similar properties to current feedstocks used to make biofuels. But, while those are cultivated specifically to produce fuel, spent coffee grounds are waste. Using these, there’s a real potential to produce a truly sustainable second-generation biofuel.”

This will be music to Starbucks’ ears. They’ll be looking at setting up fuel stations that play Paulo Nutini albums on the forecourts all over the world.

A regular-sized coffee shop produces around 10kg of coffee waste per day, which translates into around two litres of biofuel. There’s also gigantic amounts of grinds produced by the coffee bean roasting industry.

If they can make the fuel smell like freshly brewed coffee, we’re onto a winner here… but it’s more likely to smell like liquid faeces isn’t it?

£10,000 fines for speeding on the motorway

June 10th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

speeding car £10,000 fines for speeding on the motorwayThe Government are hatching a plan which could see drivers being slapped with a £10,000 fine if they speed on the motorway. If you speed on a dual carriageway, the maximum fine there would also be increased to £4,000.

That’s a lot of money. Probably worth more than most people’s cars.

Justice minister, Jeremy Wright, in his infinite wisdom, announced last night that Magistrates Courts will be given the powers to quadruple fines. He’s going after drink drivers, people with dodgy tyres and people caught driving while pissing about on their phones.

Wright reckons that these reforms will be an “effective way of punishing criminals” and added that these huge increases should act as a deterrent. Next year, he’ll probably say ‘bring back hanging’ or something. He added, with that smooth, simple face of his: “Magistrates are the cornerstone of our justice system and these changes will provide them with greater powers to deal with the day-to-day offences that impact their local communities.”

The problem here, is that these huge increases could very well put drivers off from challenging speeding tickets in the court with a fear that they would be hit with crippling fines and penalties.

Rupert Lipton, director of the National Motorists Action Group, said: “This massive increase is disproportionate and draconian. I think it will have a serious chilling effect. We will find motorists will be deterred from going to court where they don’t believe they are guilty of an offence and there is a potential challenge.”

“For general speeding allegations you’re allowed to take a fixed penalty, currently £60 and three penalty points on your licence, or agree to complete a speed awareness course. But if you wish to challenge it you can currently face six points and a £1,000 fine on non-motorway roads or £2,500 on the motorway.”

“I think that is enough of a deterrent for people who are thinking about taking a chance and going to court, but raising it four-fold is clearly an over-reaction. The threat and the fear of a disproportionate fine would deter many from trying to seek justice.”

Highway code altered for driverless cars

June 9th, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

car Highway code altered for driverless carsMinisters are rewriting the Highway Code, like King James rewriting the Bible.

And the result is just as terrifying, as they’re going to allow driverless cars on the roads of the world!

The way things stand, the law isn’t exactly useful when it comes to robot cars driving themselves around, and seeing as Google are making these devil-mobiles, things need a shake-up.

Google’s self piloting car has no steering wheel, brake or accelerator, just buttons to start, pull-over, stop and a computer screen to show the route, guided by GPS and Google Maps. Think of all that lovely data Google will be able to mine from that!

Google think that it will relieve humans from the burden of driving – people who actually enjoy the process of driving will no doubt disagree furiously.

In California, it is looking like the Department of Motor Vehicles will be issuing the first licences for self-driving cars and their human pilots THIS September.

The British Department for Transport are looking into it as well, with tests currently going on in Oxford. The Government’s infrastructure plan promises to look at the law, to “ensure there is a clear and appropriate regime for the testing of driverless cars that supports the world’s car companies to come hand test them here.”

The future really is here.

horse in petrol station 225x300 British drivers still getting ripped off for petrolWhile this won’t be news to anyone, it is a sign of things not getting any cheaper for drivers – basically, British drivers are still being ripped off at the forecourt and still paying some of the highest prices at the petrol pumps.

Reports state that British motorists are paying up to 43p a litre more than drivers in Europe for fuel. In France for example, it is 29p less for their diesel, according to the new Post Office Travel Money annual report.

The Post Office said that, even when you factor in the exchange-rate, diesel on the Continent was still cheaper in 19 of the 22 countries investigated. While Britons pay an average price of £1.37 a litre, in Andorra, they pay a paltry 94p. Luxembourg residents enjoy 99p while the Spanish pay £1.11. Unleaded petrol in the UK costs more than our French cousins.

The Post Office report says: “The biggest fall in the cost of unleaded petrol and diesel fuel has been in France, where the litre price is down 23p for unleaded and 24p for diesel. This year’s price fall means diesel drivers will pay 29p a litre less in France than in the UK.”

“A combination of cheaper fuel and the strong pound means UK tourists can expect to pay 15% less for unleaded petrol (£1.26) and 18 per cent less for diesel (£1.08) at French pumps. This means that 1,000 miles of motoring through France will cost £45 less than last year in a car using unleaded petrol (£191) and £47 less for diesel drivers (£163).”

Other countries with expensive fuel include Norway (£1.65 a litre of unleaded, diesel £1.50) and Holland and Turkey.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams isn’t happy and said: “Fuel retailers must reduce the price of diesel at the pumps as the wholesale cost is now almost the same as petrol – yet average forecourt prices are still 6p a litre more expensive. Transparent, fair fuel pricing is vital for the economy and to maintain the trust of motorists. While two thirds of Britain’s 29million cars run on petrol we use twice as much diesel, around 26billion litres a year.”

 

car crash 239x300 Should drivers be stopped from photographing accidents?Collectively, all of our lives are gaspingly dull. 99% of our lives involves gawping at the TV or shovelling swill into our already opened mouths, then defecating while writing edgy, sweary comments at the foot of online articles.

The 1% features interesting things that other people do. Our lives are lightened up by happenstance where we find ourselves in the presence of greatness. Like a gig. Or someone falling down a manhole.

Drivers can’t speed or black out their windows, so the only excitement they get is taking photographs of accidents. And soon, that won’t even be a thing.

The police say that motorists caught snapping crash scenes from behind the wheel could face prosecution.

Officers at the scene of a collision on the A45 noted that drivers were capturing images of the crash as they drove past. In return, the officers got a camera of their own and photographed the pap-drivers right back, and they’re going to call them in for driving offences.

Inspector Jen Helm said: “We will now be seeking prosecutions against those people. I am amazed people think there is nothing wrong with using their mobile phones to take pictures while driving, and secondly that they think it is in any way appropriate or respectful to the victims of that collision.”

“What might be a great Facebook update for one person could picture the spot where someone’s daughter or father took their last breath. Using your mobile phone while driving can, and does, lead to serious injury and sometimes fatal road traffic collisions.”

“The drivers we photographed all gambled with other people’s lives that day. When it does go wrong, I promise no photograph in the world will make the family of the victim think it was worth it.”

Admiral reduce premiums by 11%

May 15th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

admiral3 300x257 Admiral reduce premiums by 11%Insuring your vehicle is a dear-do, and the competition in car insurance is hotter than ever. With that, Admiral (who also own Confused.com) have noticed that their sales are falling across the group.

There’s been a 6% increase in customers, but a 7% fall in sales, so to keep some customers, and maybe win some more, Admiral have decided to reduce premiums by 11%.

Chief executive Henry Engelhardt said: “The UK car insurance market remains competitive and consumers continue to benefit.”

“We continue to focus on customer service and retention and as a result we were pleased to grow customer numbers by 2 per cent in the quarter. Growth outside the UK remains strong and we are happy with the progress we are making.”

It’s a good time to switch if you’re unhappy with your current package.

A recent report showed that, across the whole sector, premiums in the UK car insurance market fell by 19% in the first 3 months of 2014 compared with last year. Shop around and, if you’re going to use a price comparison website, use more than one because some are owned by parent companies who make sure cheaper rivals don’t appear in their results, ahem.

Audi salesmen have been lying to everyone

May 14th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

audi logo Audi salesmen have been lying to everyoneAudi salesmen have been lying to us. ALL OF US. And the company knew and decided to ignore it. We don’t know who is worse – Audi salesmen or Audi drivers (truly, the post-millennial version of the BMW asshat).

Audi ignored the warnings that their salesmen have been lying about the safety rating of their cars.

In one instance, Daniel Jenkins said that Audi dealers told him that his luxury R8 model had been given a five star safety rating by the gold standard Euro NCAP programme. Now, seeing as Daniel’s father was nearly killed in a 45mph crash while driving the car, he looked into it, finding that the model hadn’t even been crash-tested or gone through any Euro NCAP programme.

He got in touch with 50 dealerships about the R8’s safety, and in nearly all cases, was told the same misleading information.

48 out of 50 dealerships, all telling potentially fatal fibs. And Audi’s head office promised to look into it, however, tonight, a BBC Watchdog investigation will show that there’s more failings for other models at dealerships when they were visited by undercover reporters.

A spokesman said: “Audi UK accepts that this investigation has brought to light a shortfall in its communication procedures where the NCAP safety ratings of its range are concerned. We also acknowledge that we did not adequately address this shortfall when it was brought to our attention by Mr Jenkins, and on both counts we apologise unreservedly.”

Jenkins said: “I spent a year of my life proving they were misrepresenting [the cars] in the showroom. For me to notify them and them not to action anything but say they are taking it extremely seriously, that is extremely negligent. That is what annoys me the most.”

Sales of petrol fell to a record low in March, as drivers abandoned their cars to do other things, like pay energy bills, feed their children and buy scratch cards in the vain hope that they’ll win £2.

petrol pumps 300x214 Petrol sales slumped in March because were all skint

Government figures showed that 1.367 billion litres of petrol were bought in March – a fall in demand of 24.7%. The only similar low figure in recent years was 1.376 bn litres last March. Back then, though, you could see the reason – March 2013 was freezing cold with petrol prices at a sky high £1.40 a litre. But this year was warm, with prices at a steady £1.30 a litre.

So what’s causing us to ditch the car? Well, AA boss Edmund King blames our boilers. He said (well, to be honest, he waffled):

‘Either the fear or reality of gas and electricity price surges has triggered an avoid-the-petrol-pump backlash to balance family spending, or the trauma of speculator-driven road fuel price spikes over more than three years has seared into the psyche of the UK driving consumer.’

We may find out in the next couple of months as the boilers and heaters are turned off – and drivers look forward to summer motoring and trips out.’

Ah, yes, summer motoring….with the hood down and a flagon of ginger beer in the picnic hamper.

Marvellous. (Oh, wait, we can’t do that, because the bailiffs repossessed the car. Oops.)

Deathwatch: Car wash

April 25th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz1234567891 300x173 Deathwatch: Car washBad news for anyone who likes to hang around Hand Car Wash sites, for the self-cleaning car is coming!

Nissan is working on paint technology that will make such antics a thing of the past. Hurry up if you want to recreate that Jessica Simpson video where she washes the Dukes of Hazzard car, all sexy and that.

The specially engineered super-hydrophobic and oleophobic paint, repels water and oils, mud, rain and everyday dirt, meaning drivers may never have to clean their car again.

Engineers at Nissan have applied it to the new Nissan Note, to assess if it will work, so feel free to inspect those as you mooch around town (no tyre kickers). By creating a protective layer of air between the paint and environment, Ultra-Ever Dry effectively stops standing water and road spray from creating dirty marks on the car’s surface.

There is also a ‘wash and blow dry’ function on the rear view mirror, which uses water and compressed air to keep the lens free of grime.

So far, the coating, which is being marketed and sold by UltraTech International Inc, has responded well to common use cases including rain, spray, frost, sleet and standing water and Nissan say that there are currently no plans for the technology to be applied to the model as standard, but it will continue to consider the coating technology as a future aftermarket option.

Wild scenes.

1 in 8 drivers use their mobile at the wheel

April 22nd, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

car crash 239x300 1 in 8 drivers use their mobile at the wheelOne in every eight drivers are still using their mobile phones while at the wheel. That’s using it with their hands, rather than a hands-free kit or what-have-you. Tens years after it was made illegal, it seems drivers are still too keen to read and send messages while hurtling along.

This was discovered by road safety charity, Brake, and insurance company Direct Line. It wasn’t wholly bad news though, as they found that the number of people using hand-held devices at the wheel has actually fallen from 36% in 2006 to 13%.

The survey also showed that 68% of drivers polled agreed that it was dangerous to use any type of mobile phone while driving, with 36% supporting a ban on hands-free mobiles. 4% said all mobile phone use should be permitted.

Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend said: “It is shocking that, 10 years after the ban, one in eight drivers continues to flout the law and put lives in danger by using a hand-held mobile at the wheel.”

“Just as worrying is the widespread belief that using a hands-free kit is a safe alternative. Don’t kid yourself: it’s not. Using a hands-free phone while driving can end and ruin lives just as surely as using a phone hand-held, and no phone call or text is worth a life.”

“The Government needs to act now to stop this risky behaviour. We all need to take responsibility and put our phones safely out of reach and earshot while behind the wheel, and refuse to speak on the phone to others who are driving.”

Meanwhile, Direct Line’s motor director Rob Miles said: “The potential for casualties from mobile phone distraction is frightening. Hopefully, as drivers become more aware of the dangers inherent in the use of mobile phones whilst driving, it will become as much of a social taboo as drink-driving has become in recent years.”

What do you think?