Category Archives: Learning To Drive

The New Tech That’s Helping You Drive Safer Than Ever

 

Although a quick glimpse at road accident starts might have you thinking otherwise, it’s becoming safer than ever to drive a car. Of course, accidents and deaths on the roads are never likely to end, but we are getting closer to that dream. And, it’s technology that is driving those changes. Today, we thought we would take a look at some of the amazing developments that are making waves in the car safety world.

The rear view camera

It wasn’t so long ago that rear view cameras were solely the preserve of the wealthy. These days, however, they are fitted to most new cars. They are helping people to avoid pranging their cars while reversing. And, they are also giving them a chance to see pedestrians who might be walking around the back. Even more impressive is the tech developed by Infiniti for their JX model a couple of years ago. Not only does their camera show you what is behind you, but it also cuts out the engine before it collides with anything.

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Lane keeping and collision intervention

Infiniti was also responsible for some cool tech that enables a car to ‘see’ road markings and oncoming traffic. It gives drivers a little nudge when they are crossing those lines and help them keep on the straight and narrow. A lot of crashes and accidents occur when drivers go outside of these clear boundaries, so it would be great to see this tech in more models. Plenty of cars are also arriving on the market with collision intervention, too. This will apply automatic brakes when you are about to hit a car in front of you. Again, this technology is springing up in the cheap car market these days, which is great to see.

Run flat tyres

Run flat tyres have been optional extras for many years now, but manufacturers have started to fit them in a lot of new models. They give your car the chance to drive on after a blowout or deep puncture, and stop it from swerving out of control. In fact, you can even drive it for a distance with no air pressure at all in the tyre. This makes it an essential safety feature, given the horrendous accidents that blowouts can cause on motorways.

Drink driving checker

It’s not surprising that a self-administered breathalyzer has caused considerable controversy. But, the reality is that it saves lives. The trouble with drink drivers is that they think they can handle a car just as they would sober – but the reality is devastatingly different. With a substance abuse detection system in place, drink drivers won’t even be able to start the engine. There are issues with privacy and tracking, of course. But that’s a small price to pay for saving lives on the road, surely?
Well – there you have it. Four modern technologies that are helping people stay safe on the road. We would love to hear from you if your car has any other cool features that improve car safety. Or, indeed, if you have ever avoided an accident thanks to using them. Let us know and get involved with the conversation!

 

 

How Can I Start Driving Without Breaking The Bank?

Learning to drive is undoubtedly one of the greatest skills in the world. However, it’s not cheap. Finding a way to soften the financial blow is a priority for many new drivers, and we’ve got some advice to help.

 

Unfortunately, you’ve got to accept that it is going to costs a significant amount of money to get yourself on the road. Nonetheless, that shouldn’t stop you from trying to make savings where possible.

 

Here are our top tips to reduce those costs significantly.

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Pass First Time

It might sound obvious, but giving yourself the best chance of passing first time is a must. Extended hours of driving isn’t cheap, nor are resits. But if you put in the effort, there’s no reason you can’t pass at the first time of trying.

 

You might be tempted to learn from your parents in a bid to save money. However, driving schools are the best option as they’ll provide you with the best chance of passing first time. Meanwhile, you should be sure to put in the right level of study to ace your theory test too.

You’re going to need the knowledge, so it would be stupid to throw money away in the process.

 

As well as saving a small fortune, passing at the first attempt makes life a lot less stressful. The self-satisfaction will stay with you forever too.

 

Buy Used

It might be tempting to buy a new car, but it can be crippling. For a first car, used is often the best option to take.

 

The great thing about buying a used car is that it expands your options. This allows you to find a safe car, but also an economical one that won’t cost you as much money to run. Meanwhile, if you look to buy towards the end of the month, you could find that there’s better scope for negotiating the price.

 

Buying a car is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make all year. Be sure to shop around for the best deal.

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Understand Insurance Quotes

The car itself isn’t the only soul-destroying fee you’ll have to pay. Car insurance is a huge expense, especially for new drivers. Most people are stunned by just how expensive it is. With a little research, though, you can save a significant amount of money.

 

There are various types of car insurance cover, and tailoring a package to suit your needs is essential. Paying for features you don’t need is the same as throwing money down the drain. For the sake of a few hours research, it’s always worth analysing the plans.

 

Meanwhile, price comparison sites can help find the best firm to go with.

 

Look After The Car

One of the easiest ways to make driving more expensive is to neglect the car.

 

The vehicle needs good care and attention, especially if it is used. These maintenance tips should help you greatly. As well as ensuring the car runs smoother, it will help retain more of the resale value too.

 

It’s quite simple really: look after the car, and the car will look after you.

 

4 Ways to Avoid Car Crashes

Nobody want to be involved in car crashes, yet many people are every day. More often than not, crashes occur as a result of negligence and a lack of care when it comes to driving. This is quite shocking when you think about the possible outcomes of a car crash. People are seriously hurt and killed on our roads every day.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re doing everything you can to minimise your risk of being involved in an accident. There are plenty of things you can do that minimise your risk; it’s just about using common sense and not letting standards slip over time. Here are the best 4 ways of avoiding car crashes.

1. Eliminate Distractions

There are so many things in the front of our cars that can act as distractions nowadays. There’s the GPS, the infotainment systems, phones and whatever else we take into the car with us. These distractions can be fatal. You should definitely never text while driving and avoid anything else that may distract you too.

Sometimes you can’t just get rid of your distractions though. If you’re driving with kids in the back, you can often be left trying to control them and stop them fighting with each other rather than focusing on the road. This is just as dangerous, so find new ways to keep them quiet in the back seats.

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2. Drive Conservatively

The best way to drive is in a careful, controlled way. It’s never worth going over the speed limit a little or cutting corners. These minor risks can sometimes cause major crashes. So, drive conservatively and don’t be tempted to do things you know are wrong.

You should also watch how other drivers are driving. You can’t control the way in which everyone else drives, but you can make sure you’re looking out for any mistakes and making sure they don’t affect you.

3. Keep Your Car in Top Shape

If you car is in great condition, it will be better prepared to face the challenges of the road every day. That means it will be much less likely to be involved in costly accidents.

If you notice any problems with your car, get them seen to by a mechanic straight away. It’s better to pay for repairs when they’re small rather than letting them get bigger. You should also make sure your tyre pressure is at the correct level, so top them up regularly.

4. Be Aware of Blind Spots

You’d be surprised by how many road traffic accidents are caused by people not being aware of their blind spots. You should be constantly aware of what’s going on around you and checking your mirrors. And take extra care to check your blind spots, so no accidents occur that way.

There’s no sure-fire way to avoid car crashes. All you can do is make sure you and your car are as prepared as is possible every time you hit the road. So, by following these 4 tips, you’ll minimise your risk.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Drink Driving

Drink driving is a serious driving offence that can cause danger to yourself and others. Although it has been the law for a while, last year, 1200 people were seriously injured because a driver had drunk too much alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Accidents that involve drunk drivers have decreased substantially over the last 35 years, but unfortunately, they are still too high and can not be tolerated. Read on for everything you need to know about drink driving:

The Law

Our country is actually slightly more lenient when it comes to drink driving. Other countries in Europe allow you to have 50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, while we allow 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

How Much You Can Drink

There is no tried and tested system that will allow you to drink and stay under the limit. The amount of alcohol you consume will affect you differently, varying from person to person. It all depends on the following factors; weight, gender, metabolism, the amount you’re drinking, stress levels, and when you last ate.

Small amounts of alcohol can even be dangerous, so it’s usually best to avoid any alcohol at all.

Why We Shouldn’t Drink and Drive

When we drink, the brain takes longer to receive messages from the eye. This can be very dangerous when behind the wheel. It also takes us longer to process information, with slower reaction times. The possibility of an accident becomes more likely.

Testing for Drink Driving

Police usually do a roadside breathalyser test to determine whether you are over the limit. If you fail, you’ll be arrested and taken to the police station. You’ll then have to do more tests to determine just how much above the limit you are.

The police are authorised to stop any vehicle, and will often do more tests over times like Christmas.

Punishment for Drink Driving

Depending on how serious your offence, you could be looking at varying punishments. You will be banned for at least a year and could be fined up to £5000. On top of this, you will be given points on your license. You could even get sent to jail. Getting caught drink driving more than once in a 10 year period could see you banned from driving for at least 3 years. A drink driving solicitor could help you to get the most lenient punishment.

To make sure that you don’t drink drive, you should always assign a designated driver in a group of friends. You can also take advantage of public transport, like trains, buses, and taxis. If you have no choice but to drive, stick to mocktails and pop.

You may even be over the limit the morning after drinking. If you’re ever unsure, it’s always best to avoid driving until you feel safe to drive. Buying your own personal breathalyser could stop you from driving when you’re over the limit.

Stay safe, and avoid drinking at all if you’re driving!

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Expert Tips For Test Driving Used Cars

When you go and look at a brand new car, one of the things you will want to do is take it for a test drive to see if it’s the car for you. But when it comes to looking at used cars, tests drives are absolutely imperative because it helps you to identify if there are any problems with the car before you part with any cash.

In the UK, car dealers have a legal obligation to make sure that the cars they sell are roadworthy, safe and don’t have a hidden history (such as being two separate cars welded together illegally). They aren’t allowed to sell cars on a “sold as seen” basis, yet there are some unscrupulous traders out there that think the law doesn’t apply to them.

To make sure that the next used car you buy isn’t dodgy in any way, you should follow these expert test drive tips so that you can have peace of mind knowing that the car you are thinking of buying won’t turn into a financial nightmare!

Insurance

Before you can take a used car out for a test drive, you first need to have insurance cover. Traders typically have special insurance policies in place specifically for supervised test drives, but if you are buying from a private seller it is up to you to ensure that you have adequate third party insurance cover.

If you already have a car and you are insured on it, check to see whether your policy has provision for driving other people’s cars on a third party basis (provided that they are insured on their cars themselves beforehand). Otherwise, you may need to arrange temporary one-day insurance cover for the purpose.

Test drive tips

Once you have got insurance matters settled, you should allow yourself around 20 minutes for a test drive. This is ample time to get a cold engine up to normal operating temperature, and for you to familiarise yourself with any strange noises or smells that the car produces during the test drive.

Be wary of cars that aren’t “cold” when you start them up; this can indicate a less-than honest seller trying to hide a fault with the car.

Once you are on the road, you should make sure that you do not drive with the car’s stereo on; this is so you can listen out for any strange noises, particularly from the car’s engine and suspension systems.

It’s advisable to take a friend with you and have them sit at the back so they can listen out for anything strange coming from the back of the car. www.rrg-group.com recommends that you check the car’s air conditioning and heating systems whilst you are on the road to confirm that they are in perfect working order.

Pay attention to the car’s braking system, and keep an eye out for any warning lamps illuminating on the car’s dashboard, such as the ABS lamp or the “check engine” lamp, as this could indicate expensive repairs (as well as a future MOT failure).

 

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Image Source (credit: Percita, Flickr)

5 Top Tips: How To Save Money On Driving Lessons

Turning 17-years-old is a huge moment in a teens life. Partly because this is your moment to get behind the wheel and begin the wonderful journey of learning how to drive. Eek!

My top-tip before you even step foot into a car is to accept that you will make mistakes. But the beauty of mistakes is that we learn and grow from them.

One huge mistake you can make is not being careful with your money when going about choosing the correct driving schools, instructors and learning vehicle.

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If you don’t do your research, the whole process of learning can cost you hundreds, maybe even thousands of pounds. Sickening, I know.

But don’t let that put you off. There are ways in becoming an independent driver that won’t feel like it’s taking forever, and more importantly, won’t break the bank.

1. Learn Outside Your Lessons.

It’s a massive help if you’ve already got a car, or insured on your parent’s motor. Driving alongside a responsible adult outside of being taught by a certified tutor will see your skills come on leaps and bounds. As they say: practice, most definitely, makes perfect.

But the key thing to remember is: only the instructor can submit you for a test. So do the basics with an adult and learn the valuable methods and theory for the test off your instructor.

2. Supermarket Browsing.

You don’t go to your local supermarket and just grab exactly what’s on your list before you look for the bargains do you?

The internet is your friend, so use it to do some extensive research into the driving schools around your area. It’s more beneficial to use a tutor that operates in quite a wide area, so you can really test your skills to the limit.

Wimbledon Driving School is a good example of this. After I did my own research, I realised this is one of the very few schools that operate such a vast area, offering London driving lessons as part of the learning package. Learning in a busy city is, no matter what people say, the best thing you can do for your driving. If you don’t live in London, you can check out driving lessons in St Helens.

At the end of the day, it’s very much down to your tutor. If they have a good student pass rate record, then you’ll save mega pounds. Getting to know them first is essential, you need to get along if you’re going to be spending so much time together.

3. Don’t Book One Hour Lessons.

Spending so much time together leads me on to my next point. It’s much better to have two hour lessons over a shorter period.

When I was learning how to drive, I’d only have one hour lessons each week because of how busy and in-demand my instructor was. BIG mistake. By the time my weekly lesson came around, I’d be out of sync and make rookie errors that sometimes made the whole experience depressing.

So, another thing to remember when you’re picking an instructor, make sure he is free to give you as much attention as possible. Once you’ve done that, and you’re ready to commit, I’m sure your instructor will be happy to accept a cheque off you for buying lessons in bulk. After all, it’s cheaper for you in the long run!

4. Hit The Books.

Not literally. But it does help to study for your driving theory exam. I know quite a few people who thought the test would just be easy-peasy common sense, only to realise that doing revision is more than necessary. Save yourself £30 each time and get it out the way first go.

In terms of revision materials, you’re sure to know someone who will have a book or CD spare somewhere in their house. So make them an offer, or if they’re really generous, ask to borrow it for a few weeks.

5. Learner Car

This is a point that goes very unnoticed when you think you’ve met a friendly instructor.

The car your instructor teaches is a big factor in terms of saving you money. If they’re giving lessons in an expensive flashy car, then the chances are your lesson fees will be higher. Again, when going for an instructor, make sure they have a modest, economical motor. After all, will your first car be flashy?

There you have it. Some simple methods to saving some mega pounds when learning to drive.

It’s vital you take a clear financial perspective when learning how to drive so that once the learning process is complete, the journey doesn’t end there because you can’t afford a car!