Everything a girl needs to know about cars
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Annalese Ferrari offers cars4girls her top tips for staying safe on the roads in winter.
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Gemma Masini
November 27, 2017
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As we are now coming into the wintery weather, driving conditions can be hazardous and vary from day to day, so below are some of my tips to keep you safe on the road! If you want to have a go at some more “exhilarating” driving, please make sure you go to a motorsport school and do it safely, crazy driving is NOT for the road!

·         Prepare your car – ensure you have de icer or an ice scraper, ensure your lights are clean and working, all wiper blades are clean and in working order, screenwash is fully topped up, tyre condition, tread and depth is of a safe standard, brakes are working well and anti freeze and oil are kept topped off. Remember to get your car serviced when it requires it!

·         When the weather temperature really starts to drop, make sure you have emergency supplies in your car – mobile phone and charger, warm clothes/blanket, a torch and a hot flask if you are on a long journey! It is also highly advisable to have motoring breakdown cover to ensure someone will be along to help you in the event of a car failure!

·         Driving in the rain – rain greatly reduces visibility and stopping distances! Allow TWICE your normal braking distance in the rain, ensuring you have enough time to stop. Use your wiper blades and dipped headlights(in the daytime) or main headlights at night. Do not use your fog light unless visibility is under 100m – fog lights blind other drivers so only use if definitely required during fog, they are not for use in just rainy weather!

·         Aquaplaning – aquaplaning happens when driving too fast into surface water, the tyre cannot channel the water away quick enough. Ensure tyre pressures and depth are at the required standard to help avoid aquaplaning. If you do aquaplane, ease off the accelerator and brakes to allow the car to re-grip the road again.

·         Driving in snow and ice – reduce your speed to the point where you won’t skid if you need to stop and avoid harsh braking, acceleration and sharp steering. Driving on ice can increase your braking distance up to TEN times from your normal braking distance. To brake safely on ice, drop your car into a lower gear than normal, allow it to slow down and then apply the brakes. If there are weather warning, ensure you listen to them prior to travelling and only essential travel should be done during extreme conditions.

·         Driving in low sunshine – ensure your windscreen is clear and free from grease and reduce your speed. You might not see pedestrians/cyclists/horse riders in time due to the glare from the sun. Always remove your sunglasses once the sun has gone in.

·         Driving in fog – only use your fog lights when visibility drops below 100m in front and when there is no car behind you – once the car behind you can see you, turn the rear lights off to avoid dazzling the driver behind! Slow your speed down and if you are driving through patchy fog, remember it can appear just as quickly as it disappears!

·         Driving in high winds – hang on to the steering wheel, avoid bridges where possible and be aware of falling debris.

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Dash Cams - are they making Europes roads safer?
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Gemma Masini
November 23, 2017
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Dash cams are little cameras mounted inside your car and bring the sole purpose of visually recording your journey in real time. They have been around for decades and have been commonly used in Russia to expose fraudulent police officers, but, they are becoming more recognised in every day motoring in the UK now more than ever? Why? Simply to record your motoring and assist towards accountability should you find yourself in a traffic altercation.

The Dash cams can be mounted front and rear and turn on automatically when you start the engine and will record every journey you make. You may be the safest and most law abiding driver in the world, but the chances are you will come across road users who are less so. There are some pretty poor drivers out there.

Take my example, I was recently rear ended at a set of traffic lights, I knew it was going to happen too, I had seen in my rear view mirror the motorist behind me on her mobile phone, I was stationary and she had not realized as she was too busy on her phone, of course she didn’t admit to that in the insurance documentation, but had i had a a dash cam it would have been recorded, and who can deny video evidence ? Infact, more and more insurance companies are accepting dash cam footage in insurance claims, including the AA.

Furthermore, depending on the model of your dash cam they can be set to run when you are not driving in order to record what happens around your car when parked. How many times have you returned from the shops to find some has knocked your car with a trolley, or worse still crashed into you and driven off, or even broken into your vehicle? A dash cam will record all of this so why not invest for your own piece of mind and to assist in the event of any wrong doing.

People have asked if dash cams will make driving safer, the answer is quite simply not directly, but indirectly they may increase self awareness and therefore have a knock on effect.

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The potential damaging effects of potholes and what should we be doing about them?
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Gemma Masini
November 22, 2017
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How often do you come across pot holes in the road? They are in major roads, minor roads, country lanes and carparks – they are everywhere. Why is this important to us? Well as motorists pot holes can cause you a number of problems for your car and car handling, infact 32% of motorists have reported vehicle damage caused by potholes in the last two years, that is 1 in 3 or motorists.

Potholes can cause damage to the tires, causeng punctures, tears or even a blown tire to occur and of course the damage is worst the higher the speed at which you traveling when you hit one and the depth of the hole itself. Not only that but they can cause the tracking to be thrown off balance which in turn will lead to poor handling.

Potholes are a caused by many factors and are unavoidable, so what should we be doing about these holes? Well, the answer is simple as motorists we have a responsibility to report the potholes to the local council in order for repairs to be made. A recent survey found that a whopping 51% of people surveyed have seen bad potholes locally but not reported them, that is 1 in 5, and 40% reported that would report a pothole if they knew how.

So how do you report these potholes?

Make a specific note of the location of the pothole, a landmark nearby for reference is a great idea along with the road name of course.
Find the contact details for your local council via their website or type the relevant post code into the government’s ‘report a pothole’ page.
Add the details, some councils have an interactive map option in order for you to drop a pin to locate the pothole.

If you do come across a pothole you should not make erratic changes to your driving such as swerving or heavy braking, especially if there are other road users nearby.

If you can avoid it by slowing down and careful steering around it, or passing over slowly then do so but please try to consider your actions and try not to cause a bigger accident by your actions.

Furthermore if you have experienced damage by potholes then contact your local council in order to find out if you are eligible to claim compensation. The claim will be dependent on evidence and the size of the pothole as well as the road that it is on but it is definitely worth checking.

Images and stats courtesy of The AA https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/advice/how-to-report-a-pothole

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FIAT 500 City Car Review
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Gemma Masini
November 15, 2017
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City cars can be a minefield, do you go for sexy, pretty, functional, electric, hybrid, petrol, diesel, manual, auto, auto parking???? The options are endless and so are the prices!

I live in Nice in the South of France, parking is next to impossible, especially at my kids school and congestion is ridiculous, particularly in the high summer season when the tourists (quite rightly) flock to enjoy the Cote D’Azur. Here a city car really is the ultimate choice and so I jumped at the chance to test drive as many as possible before settling on my number one choice, the iconic Fiat 500.

Let me begin superficially, because quite frankly looks do count, especially when taking into account the history of this pocket sized Italian beauty. Originally launched after the §twar in 1957, as a cheap, functional and economic car in Italy. For the petite (9 feet long) design with the 479cc two cylinder engine we can give thanks to the designer Dante Giacasso whose original design appealed to men who liked to ‘ogle women’ as they got out of the car with rear hinged doors (dubbed suicide doors). The rear mounted engine aided the agile maneuverability of the original models and its affordability and economical running costs helped it to secure its place in the hearts of the people. When production stopped in 1975 the Fiat 500 looked to remain etched in our hearts and memories as simply a part of iconic Italian heritage. However fast forward to 2007 and the re-launch of a retro city car.

Dante Giacasso’s original design has been somewhat preserved in the modern version of this little mouse with the original curvature particularly visible from the front and the sloped rear that now features more modern square lights but with a characteristic retro feel.

Aesthetically this car has it all, it has beautiful curves, streamlined and finished well with a choice of 70’s style alloys or a more modern tyre with the renowned Fiat 500 logo concealing the wheel nuts, and inside the dash and digital displays are pleasing to the eye, functional and all is user friendly. The interior dash is painted to match the exterior color and is rounded with classy chrome casing.

The Fiat 500 offers a spacious ride, with plenty of leg room for all, even in the back which is a pleasant surprise for a two door city car, adults can ride comfortably in the back without feeling cramped, even without the front seats pulled to the most forward setting. There is more leg room than the mini and incidentally more boot space too, enough for a medium sized suitcase although do not expect to get a push chair in easily.

The driver position is relatively high, personally i prefer that for my road car to the go kart feel of the mini where you are close to the chassis. The car handles particularly well and recent models have seen a vast improvement on the turning circle and weight of the steering and handling. It corners well, is light and reasonably economical but do not expect to win any awards for acceleration and power, this is a 2 cylinder car and although you do not feel like you are driving a tin pot at all, power is relative.

This is a quirky, fashionable and comfortable 4 person car with good reliability and affordability that holds it’s value. It’s a 9 out of 10 for me.

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Birmingham revealed as ‘the worst city to drive in’
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Anna
October 30, 2016
0

MotoringResearch.com have reported the results of a survey that reveals Britain’s worst city to drive in. And some people might be surprised by the results, as most would automatically assume the title would go to London.

Infact, Birmingham was revealed as the worst city to drive in, probably not helped by the fact that Spaghetti Junction was described as ‘traffic hell’.

London wasn’t close behind, with 21% of the vote. This was followed by Bristol (17%), Liverpool (15%) and Cambridge (14%).

MotoringResearch.com also reported that George Charles, spokesperson for the website that conducted the survey, said: “Driving in a new place for the first time can always be a daunting task, but no more so than when your route takes you through Spaghetti Junction, or into a long queue on the M25 while trying to manoeuvre your way around London.

“It’s great to tackle these though, and not let the fears and worries put you off. Always keep alert, stay fully focused on the road and what’s going on around you, and where possible have a sat nav installed to help you navigate the lanes and turnings.”

The survey was carried out by VoucherCodesPro.co.uk and the full article can be found here –

https://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/britains-worst-city-drive-revealedand-not-london

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Most popular European holiday destination to hire a car: revealed!
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Anna
October 23, 2016
0

Mallorca has been revealed as the most popular holiday destination in Europe to hire a car.

Traveldailymedia.com have reported the results of this survey and also published the table below, which handily tells you the average cost that you’ll pay in petrol or diesel while on holiday.

Mallorca was closely followed by Milan, Rome and Barcelona as the most popular destinations to hire a car abroad.

Country Petrol (€) Diesel (€) Average (€)
1 Mallorca 1.13 1.03 1.08
2 Milan 1.45 1.30 1.37
3 Rome 1.45 1.30 1.37
4 Barcelona 1.13 1.03 1.08
5 Pisa 1.45 1.30 1.37
6 Porto 1.45 1.21 1.33
7 Marseille 1.28 1.15 1.21
8 Gran Canaria 1.13 1.03 1.08
9 Lisbon 1.45 1.21 1.33
10 Faro 1.45 1.21 1.33

The full article can be found here –

http://www.traveldailymedia.com/239495/mallorca-tops-car-hire-survey-of-uk-holidaymakers/

And finally did you know driving abroad…
In Scandinavia it is illegal to drive without headlights on, even during the day.

If you wear glasses and you plan to drive in Spain you’ll need to carry an additional pair.

Whilst in Germany it is illegal to drive without winter tyres at certain times of the year!

In Russia, if you see people walking along the side of the road, don’t be tempted to give them a lift to the next town, it’s forbidden to pick up hitchhikers.

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Our biggest driving abroad fears: revealed!
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Anna
October 16, 2016
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Do you drive when you go abroad? If so, what’s your biggest fear about it – if you have one?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a survey has found the biggest fear of Brits driving abroad is driving on the wrong side of the road. Express.co.uk are reporting that 26% of participants of a recent survey said that this was their biggest worry.

22% also said that they were worried about not understanding foreign road signs.

4% of people said that they’d been involved in a collision abroad and 3% said that they had been the victim of road rage when driving abroad.

Additionally, and rather worryingly, 30% of motorists who were questioned for this research didn’t know the emergency telephone number, should trouble arise when driving abroad.

If you do hit trouble abroad and need urgent assistance, you should dial 112.

RAC European Breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “On the face of it there may appear much to be concerned about with about driving in Europe, but in reality many of these worries are easily overcome through some simple preparation and research. Driving on the wrong side of the road is perhaps the most obvious concern which is probably far more likely to happen on a quiet, deserted country road than it is on a busy town or city road”.

“Interestingly, the RAC European Breakdown survey found that more than a third (37%) of those questioned hadn’t even driven in Europe with 18% of those admitting to feeling worried by the thought”.

“Accidents can and do happen on roads abroad but they are probably far less frequent than many would imagine. Should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident or even witness one, it’s vital to know the right number to call to get help so it was very worrying to see that more people were unaware of the 112 emergency number this year than they were last year when 38% knew the correct answer.”

RAC European Breakdown carried out the study, and the full article by Express.co.uk can be found here –

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/700597/British-abroad-worried-driving-wrong-side-road-car-country

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Are BMW motorists the worst drivers on the road?
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Anna
September 18, 2016
0

Who do you think are the worst drivers on the road? Grimsbytelegraph.co.uk are reporting some very interesting findings to answer this question.

Apparently, BMW drivers are the worst motorists in the country, according to 60% of people who were questioned for this research. 8% of those surveyed thought that Renault drivers were the worst and 6.3% said Audi drivers.

BMW motorists were seen as ‘dangerous’ and ‘aggressive’.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, Boy Racers came out as the worst type of drivers on the road, but pensioners and white van drivers got a mention too!

Nearly 10% of women who were questioned for this research said that they would get rid of driving licences for pensioners.

The findings are according to Jennings Motor Group Driving Survey and the full article at Grimsbytelegraph.co.uk can be found here –

http://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/drivers-of-this-brand-of-car-are-apparently-the-worst-motorists-on-the-road-do-you-agree/story-29725558-detail/story.html

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Survey suggests UK Motorists enjoy car journeys to Europe
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Anna
September 12, 2016
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Express.co.uk are reporting that nearly two thirds of UK motorists like car journeys to Europe, because of the lack of congestion on the roads abroad. And one in five drivers said that they enjoy driving abroad because of the roads being better quality than in the UK.

74% of respondents said that there was less congestion when driving in other countries, and two thirds of people said that fuel is cheaper abroad.

But it wasn’t all positive news. Nearly half of participants didn’t feel that there was any difference in the quality of service stations between the UK and the continent.

And 80% of those surveyed said that they thought there were less potholes on foreign roads compared to the UK.

RAC European Breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said:

“Europe is clearly a big hit with British motorists, as the quality and traffic-free nature of its roads make for a marked contrast with our own.

“The cheaper price of fuel is also very welcome, and even though we are currently enjoying an extended period of lower prices, the level of tax we pay to the government always limits how far pump prices can fall when the cost of oil is low. In Europe where fuel duty rates are lower the price of petrol and diesel is noticeably cheaper.”

The survey was carried out by the RAC and the full article can be found here –

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/700022/Brits-enjoy-driving-continents-smoother-less-congested-roads

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Should heavier penalties be given to drivers using disabled parking when they shouldn’t?
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Anna
September 3, 2016
0

According to the mirror.co.uk, last year, 12 million motorists left their vehicles in restricted areas and picked up a total of £80m in fines. But what do you think the consequences should be for motorists who use disabled parking spaces, when they shouldn’t? According to a recent survey, most of don’t think that the penalties are high enough.

Actually, some motorists think that cheats who park in a disabled, parent and child or a Doctor parking space when they shouldn’t, should be hit with penalty points and not just fined.

Apparently, most drivers who broke the rules said that they were only parking there because it was for a short amount of time and that they didn’t think it mattered. One in five people surveyed said that they parked there because it was the only space available. And one in ten said they broke the rules because they didn’t have time to find another space. Some drivers even said that they didn’t know the parking spaces were out of bounds.

The research was carried out by Churchill Car Insurance and the mirror.co.uk reported on the results. The full article can be found here –

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/cheating-drivers-who-park-disabled-8646293

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