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How To Stay Safe When Driving In The Snow


Staying Safe When Driving In The Snow

When it comes to driving in the snow, many drivers get a shiver down their spines.

With the cold weather chilling the air, it’s time for us to revisit the skills and precautions that a driver must take when driving in the snow and ice.

If there is a way to avoid taking on the challenge of driving in extreme weather conditions, you should defiantly take that chance. However, many of us don’t have the choice as there’s still the school run, venture to work and other priorities that must be done. So, we’ve come up with a few techniques you can use to make sure your as safe as possible when hitting the road in the harsh conditions.

Only drive when crucial

You’re probably thinking this is such an obvious thing to say but it’s something many drivers choose to ignore – but just consider the importance of the journey before you take it. You probably consider running to the shop for some milk so you can have a cup of tea as an important task at the time. Nevertheless, recognise the dangers that could come with taking that “quick” and “simple” trip to the shop.

So, what we’re saying is, just think about having a different drink for the moment and wait until the roads have cleared and the weather has settled down before hitting the roads.

Plan

Like I said at the start, some journeys can’t be avoided and must be faced head on. If your one of these people, then there’s more than the drive to consider. What would you do if your drive was cut short due to the weather? As annoying as it is, sometimes things don’t always go to plan.

Some equipment that could be useful to have in your car when the weather isn’t great are:

  • Blankets
  • Ice scraper
  • Shovel
  • De-icing spray/salt
  • Jump leads

All this equipment can be very useful when in a wintry crisis.

If you’re due to have a long and unfamiliar journey, plan your route and make sure your sticking to major roads and aren’t going on slip roads to make your journey 5 minutes faster. As handy as these roads can be, when facing wintry conditions, it’s best to stay on major roads as they’re most likely to have been gritted and cleared – making them clearer and safer for you to drive on.

Fill your tank for a long journey ahead as if you get stuck in traffic, the engine can help keep you warm – but if you are stuck in a queue for a long period of time, make sure your exhaust pipe doesn’t get blocked as this can cause carbon monoxide to build within your car which could lead to potential fatal situations.

Re-look at your tyre tread depths and make sure you have a least 3mm of tread on them. This is great support for a car on slippery roads. Or, if you wish to be extra cautious then get some winter tyres fitted.

Make sure that all the ice is gone from your windscreen. Many drivers just clear a segment of their screens and go ahead with their journeys, but you should always clear it all. Also, make sure that any snow on your car is cleared as you can get a £60 fine if you drive with snow on your roof. When clearing your car of snow and ice, stay clear of hot water as this can cause cracking to your windscreen and no level of heating will keep you warm if your windscreen isn’t there! Instead, use de-icing products.

Keep Your Distance

If you think about when you took your driving lessons, you’ll remember being told about increasing your stopping distance in icy conditions. However, if I asked you for the amount your stopping distance must increase by, would you be able to tell me?

Well the answer is acutely by ten times the amount it usually is.

If you drive carefully and smoothly in general, this will also help keep a safe distance from other cars around you.

Dealing With Skidding

If you find yourself on a clear road, away from junctions, it’s a good time to gently tent your breaks and steering to make sure it’ll work perfectly if needed.

If you do find yourself to be caught skidding on the road, you should take your foot off the accelerator and allow your car to get back a steady speed. Don’t jump straight to the breaks as this can prolong the skid. If you start to skid, steer into the directions so the car can straighten up.

If you stick to using these techniques, then you should be okay on the roads. I you have any questions regarding what you have read then give us a call today.

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Could You Be Among The 28% Of Drivers At Risk Of A £1,000 Fine?


The simple MOT mistake that could cost you £1,000

New figures are showing that more than a quarter of the cars on the road of Britain are overdue vital road safety checks. According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) around 28% of vehicles are late for their MOT. Around 2/3 of those vehicles are at least a week overdue schedule. Around 3/4 of the motorists that booked their test late confessed to forgetting when their test was due.

However, a free MOT reminder service has been created to help you out. This will come in handy if you keep finding yourself losing track of when your next MOT is due as it’ll enable drivers to receive a text or email 4 weeks before their car is due it’s test.

If a motorist is found to be driving without a valid MOT certificate then they could face of £1,00o. Transport Minister Baroness Sugg understood that it’s “easy to overlook” booking your MOT test but did press that the test plays a big part in “making sure the vehicles on our roads are safe.” She also agreed that “Getting a text or email will serve as a useful prompt to make sure people get their vehicle checked in time.”

What are the rules?

If you own a new vehicle then it must undergo an MOT test on the third anniversary of the registration. If the car is over 3 years old, then it must have the test every 12 months.

Last year, due to a vehicle defect, 28 people were killed, and 413 people were seriously injured in a car accident in Britain. To avoid this number from rising, DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn advised motorists to “check your vehicle all year round.”

If you have any questions regarding anything you have read, then don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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Have You Been Driving With Snow On Your Roof?

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Government Reconstruct Insurance Laws For Self Driving Cars


The government are paving the way for self-driving cars by reconstructing insurance laws

As it stands, self-driving cars are set to hit the roads of the Britain as soon as 2021. With this in mind, insurers are urging the government to update the law so it is clear who is to blame for accidents.

According to the government, the law on insurance will be reconstructed to make sure that anyone involved in an incident involving an autonomous car will be covered. This is a sign that pieces are being put in place for the launch of self-driving cars hitting the roads of Britain.

An issue that has arose in the development of autonomous vehicles are the questions over liability. During this transition period for the new technology, the issues have been predicted to be small. This is because vehicles won’t be fully autonomous straight away and the driver will remain legally in charge of the vehicle. Including when cars are on autopilot.

The secretary of state for transport, Chris Grayling, is set to rule that all future polices must include injuries to all parties where an automated vehicle is involved. This will be heard to a speech in which Grayling will claim self-driving cars will be on the roads by 2021, its expected he’ll say: “We are creating a new compulsory insurance framework that covers the use of automated vehicles and when the driver has legitimately handed control to the vehicle. This will ensure that victims have quick and easy access to compensation.”

If you have any questions regarding anything you have read on this page, or anywhere on the site, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Do You Know When Your Car Tax Is Due?


Do you know how to check to see if your car is taxed? Do you know the penalties for having a car that’s not taxed?

You could face a fine of up to £2,500 if you fail to pay your car tax or could even have your car removed.

Are you wondering when your car tax is due for renewal? Well here’s how you can find out in a blink of an eye!

What Even Is Car Tax?

You might have heard the term “vehicle excise duty (VED)” but it’s most commonly known as car tax. It’s a tax on the emissions your car produces.

Unless your car is exempt, everyone that owns a car that is driven on the road of the UK must pay car tax.

Vehicles are exempt from vehicle tax if:

  • They are driven by someone that is used by a disabled person.
  • If a vehicle is used by an organisation that provides transport for disabled people. This doesn’t include ambulances.
  • Mobility scooters, powered wheel chairs and invalid carriages.
  • If your vehicle was made before January 1st 1977.
  • Electric vehicles.
  • Steam vehicles.
  • Mowing machines.
  • Vehicles used just for agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

For any more details regarding exempt vehicles, check out gov.uk.

Depending on the make of your car, the model and the value of your car is how your tax is decided. However, this price could change each year. You can decide whether to pay your tax annually, monthly or every 6 months. The cheapest method is to pay the single yearly payment as this will save you some money.

As stated above, some vehicles are exempt, but every owner needs to apply for it on the gov.uk website.

How To Check Your Car Tax Renewal Date

Don’t panic if you can’t think of your tax renewal date as it’s super simple to check.

Simply visit the gov.uk website and just enter your car’s registration number.

If it shows that your vehicle is due to be renewed, you can renew now or eve pay by direct debit. This will save you the worrying about when your next payment is.

When it is due to be renewed, the DVLA will send you an email or letter telling you when and how much your future payments will be.

What Are The Consequences Of Not Paying?

If you get caught driving a vehicle that isn’t taxed then you could face a £80 on the spot fine.

If you are found to be keeping a vehicle that isn’t taxed without a SORN (statutory off-road notice) you could be seeing a £1000 fine coming your way.

This could go up to £2500 if you are using a car that has a SORN in place.

There’s always the risk of your car being clamped or towed away if it’s found to be untaxed. They’ll also be extra charges for the release of a car or clamp removal.

So our best advice is to always make sure you keep up with your car tax.

If you have any questions regarding anything you have read on this page, or anywhere on the site, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Bringing In A New And Improved Gauge MPG, Emissions


The first step forward to a new and improved way of measuring a car’s emissions begins on Friday

The New Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) is set to replace the current outdated New European Driving Cycle test (NEDC). The WLTP tests are set to reflect more realistic levels of fuel consumption and Co2 emissions. The new test is starting this Friday but will only apply to totally new models. Yet all cars, including the WLTP tested models, will still have their published emissions based on the data from the NEDC test. However, from September 2018, all new cars will have to have Co2 values based on WLTP.

At the earliest, these figures will not impact on marketing or taxation until January 2019. The test will reflect the car’s consumption more accurately and will not increase it.

However, the change has raised some concern. People are worried that higher Co2 values could lead to increases in VRT and road tax in the long term. This is possible if governments don’t modify tax bands to take the new figures into account.

Manufacturers are hoping that will be the case in countries, like Ireland, with emissions-based taxation systems.

In the transition period, the authorities are under pressure to continue to levy tax on “old” NEDC data.

To make sure that the WLTP gets the most accurate results, the test will involve a lot more testing under more realistic conditions. This includes a greater range of driving scenarios (urban, suburban, motorway); higher average/max speeds and much more.

Finally, if you would like to contact us regarding anything you’ve read then a member of our team will happily talk to you. 

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Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Electric Cars


Here Comes The Electric Cars

You might have heard that by 2040, all petrol cars will be banned from being manufactured and replaced by electric cars. So you probably have lots of questions such as “where will you charge them?” or “how are they better for the environment?”. Well we’ve got the answers right here!

Where Will You Be Able To Charge Your Car?

At the moment, the owners of an electric car tend to have charging points installed at their homes where they can plug their cars in. But there isn’t a lot of charging points on the street. However, Gareth Dunsmore of Nissan Europe said “Tomorrow that won’t be the case.”

There will be new charging points popping up at every shopping centre, railway station, hotel and cinemas. This will make it so much easier to charge your electric car when your out. There will also be an increase in the amount of rapid chargers at motorway service stations and convenient refuelling stations. These chargers will be able to recharge your car battery in 30 minutes.

However, the answers aren’t so simple for people that live on terraced streets. Yet don’t worry if you do as solutions are beginning to emerge. This has already started in Kensington and Chelsea. Each council have started a trial with a UK energy company and German firm to fit charging points into street lamps.

Should You Worry About Your Battery Running Out?

In the case of most of the mass marketed electric cars that are out today, you would have to travel 100-150 miles before your charge runs flat. If you have one of the high end electric cars like the Tesla’s sports car, you’d be able to travel a maximum of 334 miles before you’d need to even come close to a charging port. So you would’t have to worry about keeping track of the nearest charging point as you have plenty of time to find a charging point before your car battery runs out.

Now, you’ve probably already compared the 100-150 miles of an electric car to the 400-500 miles that a petrol or diesel car can travel before you need to refill your tank. Nevertheless, most electric cars would be able to complete a normal car journey. Half of all car journeys are one to five miles; 38% last between five to twenty-five miles and only a tiny 2% are for fifty mines and more so you’ll be fine!

However, it’s said that even pure electric cars will be able to travel around 400 miles within a decade.

What Will This Change Do To Your Bank Balance?

Electric car owners in London can already enter the congestion charge zone for free. Who doesn’t like a freebie? If more governments around the county start to follow this anti-pollution dive, it could lead to imposing more air quality zones. Governments could also start to exempt electric cars from tolls to try push more people to buy electric cars.

When it comes to the upfront cost of a electric car, conventional cars are defiantly cheaper. Companies such as Renault and Nissan are creating deals where buyers will be able to lease the battery. As it stands, the best-selling electric car is currently the Nissan Leaf that’s priced at £16,680 with the battery on lease for a monthly fee, making the price £21,680 if you decide to buy the battery outright. BMW have recently announced they’ll be releasing an all-electric Mini in 2019.

The price difference between petrol and electric is also very far apart. With an electric car, it would cost about £3-£4 to travel 100 miles but if you was to travel 100 miles in a petrol car, it would cost £15. Think how much money you could save in the long run.

What’s The Batteries Life Span?

As time goes on, the battery will lose it’s capacity. But don’t worry because the makers of electric cars sell their models with a battery warranty. If we go back to the Nissan Leaf, you can drive stress free for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Or if you have a bigger battery, it rises to eight years or 100,000 miles. Yet you can’t escape it forever. You will eventually have to buy a new battery but by the time this comes round, the price should have dropped. There’s also the option to sell the car on.

Eaton, an energy company, have already started to sell used electric batteries for reuse as household batteries.

Will Your Current Diesel Car Lose Value?

The answer is probably yes. On average, used diesel cars tend to sell on for £7,000. Yet due to bad headlines, prices are falling faster then they have ever done before. It’s been predicted that over the next year, diesel cars could decrease in value by 15%.

But What Will Happen To The Petrol Stations?

At the moment they’re 8,476 petrol stations around the UK. However, you might have noticed that they are starting to close. Well energy analysts Wood Mackenzie say that they are starting to close at a rate of 100 a year. With the electric cars taking the streets by storm, they’ll probably continue to close, leaving no more than 6,000 by 2035. They’ll probably be changed to fast-charging sites.

Is It Better For The Climate?

Yes! Even with the fossil fuels in the power stations it’s still better for climate change. Currently, 50% of power in the UK is created from low carbon sources. With that share growing rapidly in the next decade, emissions from electric cars will fall too.

If you have any questions on anything you have read on the page above then don’t hesitate to contact us! We’ll look forward to hearing from you.

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Road Tax Changes


From April 1st, road tax has dramatically changed. Didn’t know? You weren’t the only one!

A recent survey by website Carbuyer revealed that nine out of ten drivers were unaware of the current change to the price of road tax being changed. Lack of communication has been see before when the tax disk was abolished. Here is everything you will need to know about the current change.

Cars which were previously exempt, like those using hybrid, are no longer exempt. Hybrid owners will now have to pay £130 a year road tax. Previously, cars that emitted 100g of Carbon Dioxide or lower were exempt from paying car tax. Nevertheless, from April 1st they also will be liable to pay £130 every year. It’s not all bad though as if you drive a hybrid or your car emits 100g of Carbon Dioxide or lower, you get a discounted price to the standard rate of £140. Only regular petrol and diesel cars owners will have to pay the standard rate.

If you’re paying for a car which is over £40,000 you’ll have to pay £310 a year, on top of the standard rate for the first 5 years since buying the car. If you sell the car before the first 5 years are up, the new buyer will have to pay the rest of the money. On the positive side, consumers selling cars over the price of £40,000 might lower the price of the cars to make it more appealing to the costumer.

If you bought a car that emits more than 255g pkm of CO2, your first year fee would be £2000. This is a dramatic increase of £800 from the previous highest first year tax payment.

Car Leasing Contracts

There is some good news about the change. For many car leasing contracts, road tax will be covered. Meaning that it’s always best to check the exact terms of any leasing contract. This is just to be sure where you stand with road tax. Such contracts are usually negotiable so speak with the suppliers with the view to get the best possible deal.

According to the DVLA, approximately £5.6 billion worth of road tax is paid into the general treasury fund on a annual basis.

For Example

Before April 1st, if you drove a 3 litre diesel X5 that emits between 201g and 225g of CO2 pkm, the first year would cost you £650, after that, you will be paying £295 car tax per year. Yes you might find this is high but now it’s a lot higher! The first years rate would be £1200 and £450 after for the next 4 years. Once the car has passed it’s 5 years, the annual tax would be £140. So, before April 1st the total cost for your first 5 years would be £1830. But if you’ve done the maths, it will now cost you £3310.

If you have any questions or would like some more information, contact us here.

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What To Consider When Buying a Used Car


Are you buying a used car but not sure what checks need to be made? Have a look at what we think are the most crucial checks that need to be made when buying a used car.

If your reading this then you probably understand the stress that comes with buying a new car. You might even know about the additional stress that comes with buying a used car. With all the added checks that you need to do, it can be hard to make sure that your car is properly maintained. However, once you’ve read through the list below, that task will be made much easier and you can make sure that your potential new car is of selling standards.

What Documents Do You Need To Check?

The first thing that needs to be checked when buying a used car is it’s documents. It just saves time. Imagine setting your mind on a car and then realising that it’s not registered to the seller. This could be the case if the car is written off or stolen.

The most import document that needs to be involved in your check is the V5C registration. This document will let you know if the seller is the genuine owner of the registration. If you discover that they aren’t, don’t go rushing to report them as you can just ask to speak to the actual owner of the vehicle.

Other checks include the VIN, engine number and that the colour matches the information on the V5C registration document.

Check The Locks And Windows Are Secure

Something that you consider to automatically be safe when buying a car is the locking system. However, we recommend to always check the central locking system and the remote control just to make sure they work.

Do the windows open and shut as they should? Don’t forget about the sunroof. You should also have a close look around for signs of damage or forced entry. No one wants to buy a car and then find out that they legally don’t even own it because the the person that they bought it from didn’t actually own it.

Make sure that the keys that are getting handed over are the correct ones. It’s really easy to do this by checking the user handbook. This contains all the information about the keys, including the amount of keys that came with the car originally. Every key should be accounted for before buying the used car.

Have A Test Drive

Most people will say this one is common sense but it still should be said. But, before you buy any car, you should take it for a test drive. During the test drive you should check:

  • For any unusual noises.
  • That the warning lights are working properly.
  • If the handbrake works properly.
  • That the brakes are working to their full potential.
  • To see if you can feel vibrations in the steering wheel.
  • When braking make sure that the car is not favouring one side of the road more than the other.
  • To see if the tyres are fit for the road. This includes checking the tyre pressure, treads and general wear and tear.

Warranty

Is the vehicle still under warranty? When buying a used vehicle we would recommend buying a used car warranty. This saves you a lot of money and time if you come across an unexpected repair. In the case of finding out that the used vehicle still has some years to go on it’s manufacturer’s warranty, you can decide to buy the car and then look around for a used car warranty cover that suits you at a later date.

If you are considering buying a used car, we have a great selection of cars to choose from. Or if you wish to see the cars for yourself, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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What To Look For In Your Summer Car Health Check


Summer Car Health Checks

As it’s coming up to summer, its a good idea give your car a summer health check. To help, we have listed the essential checks that you should include when checking your car.

Like most people, keeping up with the maintenance of your car isn’t easy, especially if you have a lot going on in your personal life or you just have no clue what to check for. However, you will know that it’s coming up to that time where you need to do your summer car health check. Below you will find a list of all the things you will need to check for you to have a healthy car in the summer.

Engine Coolant Levels

Do you check that your engine coolant levels are at a recommended level on a regular basis? Well according to the AA, six million people are at risk of a repair bill of £1,000 or more because they aren’t checking this. This is one of the vital parts on your summer car health check if you are wanting to prevent overheating.

When the engine is cold, it is recommended that you check that your coolant fluid level is between the maximum and minimum marks on the tank. Ordinarily coolant levels should remain at the same level between services. However if they do drop, make sure that you take your car to your local garage so it can get checked out.

Cooling Fan

When the engine starts to over heat the cooling fan will automatically turn on. This will draw in cool air through the radiator to cool the engine down. Nevertheless, significant damage can accrue if the fan seizes, causing the engine coolant to start to boil.

There is just the one way to check the health of your cooling fan and that’s by turning your heater to cold and run the car to normal temperatures (the middle of your temperature gauge). Once the car has reached the normal temperature, find somewhere to park but keep the engine running. Do not use your car for five minutes. After this amount of time, the fan should of automatically kicked in.

If the fan doesn’t automatically kick in and your engine temperature starts to spiral upwards then there is a problem. At this point you should turn off your engine and contact your breakdown cover team or a local mechanic.

Overheating

Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are ensuring that you have the correct engine coolant level and fully functional engine cooling fan; sometimes the heat is too strong for your vehicle, especially if your in holiday traffic jams.

If you turn your heater onto full and activate your air conditioning, the problem should go away.

Bodywork

During the summer there is a lot of road maintenance happening which can cause loose debris such as stone and tar, to be scattered around newly surfaced roads. This kind of material can cause damage to your car’s bodywork.

To avoid the damage we recommend not driving too close to over drivers to stop debris flicking up and to also stick to the speed limit when driving through road work zones.

Tyres

According to the AA, the most common cause of summer breakdowns are punctures; with high temperatures often aggravating damage which may already be present. Therefor, you should check your tyre pressure every week to ensure that it meets the standards of the manufacturers stated guidelines which can be found in your vehicle handbook. Signs of a slow puncture would be if your tyre pressure is dropping surprisingly quickly in one tyre.

Having a tyre tread depth which is at least 1.6mm, the minimum which is required by law, is vital as you’ve probably noticed that just because it’s summer, it doesn’t mean there won’t be any rain in the UK. It is important that you check this as it’s the tyre tread which disperses water that it laying on the road so that you can have better control of your car. The bigger the tread, the more controlled your vehicle will be.

Batteries

Through the winter, your battery goes through a lot and it is very possible that some damage has accrued during this season. You can recognise a damaged battery if your car is struggling to start.

You should make sure that you have a fully working battery by taking a battery test which will be done for free in many garages. This is the easiest and simplest way of avoiding a surprised and inconvenient breakdown.

Vision

Dirty windscreens increase the likelihood of motorists being involved in a accident yet glare from the sun makes this likelihood even higher because of poor visibility. We recommend carrying in your car, a bottle of windscreen wash so this procedure can be done whilst out on the road.

However, the windscreen wash only works if your wiper blades are in good condition but if they are worn out, then they will only just irritate the problem. Make sure that replacement wipers are sourced when ever required.

Air Conditioning

You don’t really appreciate the importance of air conditioning until you have been stuck in a row of traffic of a burning hot day. As well as cooling you down, the air conditioning units can also help to reduce pollen levels in vehicals for those who suffer from hay fever. Therefor, it’s important to make sure that your air conditioning is fully prepared for the months to come.

It is estimated that 15% of the refrigerant gas will be lost annually and you should therefore ideally have your air conditioning unit serviced either every 30,000 miles or every two years so as to avoid costly repairs. Nevertheless, using your air conditioning all the time will increase fuel combustion.

Air Filter

This feature of your car is designed to keep dirt and debris from entering your car. As you can then imagine, it has the tendency to get clogged up, particularly in the summer due to the reasons you read above under Bodywork.

By changing your Air filter every year, it aids the air flow coming onto your engine. This should be done during your annual service.

Brakes

Many people decide to pack their cars and drive to a holiday destination during the summer which usually includes a long distance journey. Meaning that it’s very important to test your breaks before you go.

But don’t worry, come to a local garage like ours and tell us to check your brake pads, discs and also your brake fluid levels so ensure maximum peace of mind before you set off to your destination.

Oil Levels

The oil is like the blood of the car which flows through your engine, so make sure that your oil levels are between the maximum and minimum on your dipstick in order to avoid causing potentially irreparable damage. It’s recommended that you check this once a week.

If you require anymore information on your Summer Car Health Check then don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Speeding fines go up today – Here is everything you need to know


Speeding Fines Made More Surveyor Under Stricter Law

As of today, Magistrates will be able to apply the maximum speeding penalty of 150% of the offending drivers weekly income. The was decided last year by the Sentencing Council when they held a consultation. The RAC road safety spokesman, Pete Williams welcomed the change. He said “Hopefully, hitting the offenders harder in the pocket will make them think twice before doing it again in the future”. The sentencing Council introduced the change as they felt that the current punishment didn’t reflect the ‘potential harm’ that could be caused by going above the speed limit on the road.

The stricter law makes the fine for speeding on a motorway £2,500. In 2015, 166,695 people from England and Wales were sentenced to £188 for going above the speed limit. However, the council are hoping that the amount of people speeding will change once the new law comes into place.

The fines are determined in three different categories:

  • Band A – the fine will be 50% of the offenders wage if they are caught speeding 10 mph over the limit.
  • Band B – the fine will be 100% of the offenders wage if they are caught speeding 20 mph over the limit.
  • Band C – the fine will be 150% of the offenders wage if they are caught speeding over 20 mph over the limit.

Offenders will also face points on their licence or could even be disqualified.

This isn’t the only law which is changing. It is among a number of crimes to see tougher or alternative sentencing guidelines introduced. Some examples are the animal cruelty law and the TV licence evasion. Read more on the law changes here.

The District Judge Richard Williams, a sentencing council member, said “The magistrates’ court deal with the vast majority of (speeding) offenders in England and Wales, so it is essential that the guidelines they use are up to date and help ensure that the sentences are applied consequently and effectively”.

What do you think to the new law? Do you think it’s too harsh? Have your say on our Facebook page here.

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Tougher Mobile Phone Law Could Land You a £2000 Fine


As of March 1st 2017 the mobile phone law penalty for driving and using your phone has doubled to a £200 fine and six points on your licence.

If you are driving a bus or a goods vehicle, you could get a maximum fine of £2,500. However, if your case gets taken to court, you could be disqualified from driving and get a £1,000 fine. Here are a few reasons why this mobile phone law has become tougher.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a survey in 2010 revealing distracted drivers cause 18% of fatal crashes. This lead to 3,092 people being killed and around 416,000 being wounded.

11% of drivers aged 18-20, involved in a car crash, admitted that they were receiving or sending a text at the time of the crash. This links with the results of Virginia Tech Transportation institute’s study. There results revealed that a crash caused by a text message is likely to be 23 times worse than a crash with no distractions involved.

The risk of a crash is increased by 23% when the driver is texting. A study found the average time spent texting on your phone whilst behind the wheel is around 5 seconds. This means that if you are travelling at a speed of 50km/h you would travel a total of 70 meters. This is equal to the length of three Wimbledon courts.

There are a few times where a mobile phone can be used inside a car and you don’t break a mobile phone law:

  • When you are parked
  • If you are a passenger
  • If it is a genuine emergency and you are calling 999 or 112

Just hours after the new law was introduced a 19-year-old was charged with a £200 fine and six points on his licence within two years after passing his test. The normal amount of points required to lose your licence is 12. However, if you get caught within two years of passing, you only need 6 points to get it removed. Meaning, this teenager will need to book in for a new driving test!

Using your phone whilst driving isn’t the only bad habit that drivers have!

Driving through a puddle

We have all laughed at the thought of seeing a car going through a puddle and soaking someone head to toe but did you know that it’s an offence? Under section three of the road traffic Act 1988 it states that it’s an offence if you drive “without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road”

Flashing your headlights to fellow drivers

When you think your helping another driver by flashing your headlights, you’re going actually going against the Highway Code. The Highway Code states you should not “flash your headlights to convey any other message”. The only time you can flash your headlights at other drivers is when you are alerting them of your presence.

Eating/Drinking

If you are late to work in the morning and have grabbed something on the way out for your breakfast to eat in the car, you know you are taking a risk. A shocking statistic has shown that 64% of drivers have done this. But did you know if you are caught eating/drinking whilst driving then you could receive a careless driving penalty? Maybe you should start eating when you get to work from now on?

If you are interested in this change and want to find out more, go to the official government website.

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How to prepare my car for an MOT test?


Once a car reaches 3 years of age it becomes a legal requirement that it needs to undergo a yearly MOT test.

This test ensures that the car is safe for use on the public roads. There are a number tests involved and unless you are a mechanic yourself then it can be impossible to check these at home. There are a few area’s that can be easily checked and rectified though before taking your car for an MOT test.

Some of the tips below only take a few minutes to check and are often overlooked by owners, this means that they are often the biggest points of failure. So to help keep your repair costs down to a minimum and you on the road, why not check your own car for the points below?

1. Tyre Tread

The tread depth on your tyres is the biggest point of failure for car’s MOT test. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6milimetres, although we recommended changing them at 3 millimetres.
How can you check your tyre tread? There is a really easy test you can carry out with a 20 pence coin. Simply put the coin into the tread of the tyre, the band around the edge of the coin is almost 1.6 millimetres so if you can still see this then you need to change the tyre.

Remember tyre wear can occur at different speeds, so all 4 tyres need to be checked.

2. Number Plate

There is a small light to provide illumination to the rear number plate. This should come on automatically with the lights and can be checked by simply turning the lights on.

The most common fault for this to fail is a faulty bulb. You also need to make sure that the number plates are clean and legible.

3. Windscreen Wipers

Again this is a simple check that can be easily fixed if required. Your windscreen wipers should be able to clear the water from the windscreen effectively. If there are any cracks, tears or holes in the rubber then they need to be replaced.

4. Lights

Checking the lights is easier if there are two of you so ask a friend for help. Go through the lights one by one and confirm that they all illuminate as expected. If there are any that don’t then it’s most likely the bulbs or fuses that need to be replaced.

5. Screen wash

Probably the easiest of all! If you don’t have any screen wash in the bottle you can fail your MOT. Test this by activating the screen wash function from the driver’s seat. If there is a fault then check the water bottle to confirm it contains screen wash. Sounds simply but unfortunately people still don’t check!

Check the Government website for more.

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Volkswagen Emissions Scandal


The world largest car manufacture Volkswagen made world news last week for the wrong reasons. The emissions coming out of Volkswagen diesel engines were not a true reflection of what they have stated officially.

The emissions problem began in the US. Regulators discovered that certain vehicles made by Volkswagen were fitted with software that would make their diesel engines operate differently when they sensed that the car was being tested.

It meant that the vehicles emitted considerably more pollutants in real world driving conditions than they had in testing.

Volkswagen has come up with a solution and will begin the largest recall in the brands history. They have moved quickly to find a solution and have outlined a plan.

Volkswagen will begin recalling all vehicles that have been affected by the diesel emissions test scandal. According to The Wall Street Journal, the recall will begin in the new year. However, German authorities have to approve of the company’s plans to fix the cars first. The recall is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

In the interim all VW, Skoda, Seat and Audi owners car go online and see if there car is one of the effected vehicles. All that is needed to check is the VIN Number/Chassis number on the official sites of each manufacturer:

In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, new Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said that while the company hopes to fix all affected European cars by the end of 2016, it is still waiting for approval from the Environmental Protection Agency before the same recall can happen in the US. A software update would work for most cars, but other vehicles would require new fuel injection equipment and catalytic converters, he added.

In the mean time as a Volkswagen owner you must remember your car is still safe to drive. This fault will not affect on the actual running of the car. Volkswagen cars are still as reliable as they have ever been.

The cars will not fail the MOT as the UK Department of Transport’s (DoT) MOT emissions test for diesel cars measures the density of the particulates in the exhaust fumes, not the nature of the gasses produced.

A DoT spokesperson said “This is a smoke opacity test. It is not comparable to the laboratory or road emissions tests.”

The test is carried out using a calibrated smoke meter. This measures the soot content in the exhaust.

As for used car prices, from my own personnel view point the Volkswagen brand cars are still poplar in the auctions and little evidence can be seen for any price drop. This week we have seen no drop in the number of people want to purchase a second hand VW, as people still appreciate the brand for being strong a reliable and see the current situation as a mere technical issue.

No significant impact

As for the main industry valuations CAP Automotive said that it thought the current scandal would have ‘no discernible’ impact on used values, specifically pointing to the minor effects of previous global recalls and general public perceptions. Dylan Setterfield, senior forecasting editor at CAP said: “We do not expect there to be any significant impact on used values for VAG models in the UK as a direct result of the US emissions scandal. The last global recall was the Toyota/Lexus issue, and despite the fact that this had serious safety implications, there was no discernible impact on used values.

“It is also far from certain that VAG are the only ones to have employed such technology on their vehicles in the USA.

“UK consumers remain relatively unaware of Nitrogen Oxide emissions and are far more accepting of diesel technology than their counterparts in the USA. The overriding view is that diesel vehicles are more economical than their petrol equivalents (even if this is not always the case), and the torque characteristics of diesel engines are generally popular with drivers.

“There is already wide acceptance that official data regarding CO2 emissions and fuel economy are broadly unreliable across the board. This is reputational issue for VW and I’m sure they will take steps to reassure customers and rebuild trust.”

CAP said it had received a high volume of enquiries from across the industry around the potential impact on used values, and that it would continue to monitor the situation for any changes.

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