Most popular car names

Every year, there are lists of the most popular baby names being released by multiple sources, but how about popular car names?

Quotezone.co.uk, a leading comparison website, has found that 1 in 10 drivers like to name their cars, and the top 10 car names are names given to humans, like Betty, Bob and Dave.

So, move over baby names, here’s the list of UK’s Top 10 Most Popular Car Names. https://www.quotezone.co.uk/car-insurance/most-popular-car-names.htm

UK’s Ten Most Popular Car Names

1 Betty

2 Bob

3 Bert

4 Dave

5 Amy

6 Bertie

7 Alfie

8 Peggy

9 Katy

10 Tilly

Can Cars Have A Gender?

We can also reveal that the most common car gender on UK roads is female!

According to figures, 50% of cars are perceived as female in gender and 30% of cars are considered male, while 20% have no gender identification.

This is mainly down to 1 in 2 female respondents considered their car as female, and 1 in 2 male respondents saw their car as female too.

Naming Your Car Makes Your More Attached to It 66% of our respondents said that naming their cars make them feel more attached to the vehicles.

So, what makes people want to name their car? According to our car owners, a car’s outer and inner beauty (personality) are the top two inspirations when naming their motors.

Top 5 Inspirations Drivers Use When Naming Their Cars Car’s colours or appearance – 28% Car’s personality – 20% Friend/family member – 15% Movie/TV show – 11% Celebrities – 7%

When we delve further into what kind of perceived personality traits a car can have, 39% of our respondents described their car as dependable and reliable. 20% said their car has a ‘playful’ nature, and 15% said their cars are sexy.

Perceived Personalities According to Car Brands

Adventurous – Honda

Confident – Fiat

Cute – Nissan

Dependable/Reliable – Ford, BMW

Intelligent – Mercedes, Honda

Playful – Fiat, Peugeot

Sexy/Good Looking – Honda, BMW

How About Unusual Names One Can Give to Their Car?

We have also found that ‘human’ names weren’t the only naming category given to their cars, 11% of our respondents said that movies and TV shows influenced the naming of their vehicles such as:

• Gandalf

• Trashpanda

• Gremlin

• Mrs. Potter

• Porg

• Pavel Andreievich

How to find cheap insurance as a young driver with a disability

How to find cheap insurance as a young driver with a disability

The independence and freedom that comes when a young person passes their driving test is life-changing. Perhaps even more so when that young person also has a disability.

If you are registered disabled, finding cheap motor insurance may be daunting - but it is possible.

Adrian Flux answers some of the questions people are asking about finding the best cover possible as a young disabled driver.

First of all, how do I know if the insurance provider I choose is reputable?

British Insurance companies should be registered with the trade regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

If you are offered a cheap deal through an unusual route, perhaps via a text message or email marketing, check the source to establish it is from a FCA member. Check out their website and read any online reviews and recommendations you can find.

Registration with the regulator will ensure the service the insurance company provides to all customers, including those with a disability, is of a sufficient standard.

Will I be charged more for my motor insurance as a disabled driver?

Under the terms of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act and the 2010 Equality Act, insurance companies registered with the FCA cannot refuse to insure you because you have a disability and they cannot offer you worse terms than they offer other customers.

That means you shouldn’t automatically be charged more simply because you have a disability.

However, they can apply special conditions or charge you extra for a policy if they can show your disability could result in a greater risk of you needing to make a claim.

If they do so, you can ask them to explain the additional risks they think your condition present.

If you dispute their evidence, a previous claim-free driving history and a letter from your doctor will help you fight your case for a better deal.

But if you are still unhappy with their stance, you could try getting advice from the group representing similar sufferers of your condition who may be able to bring pressure to bear.  

In the worst case scenario, you could take your case to the FCA Insurance Ombudsman.

My broker assures me my insurance premium has not been inflated because of my disability, so why am I paying so much?

You will need to look at the other risks factored-in to calculate your insurance premium.

Premiums will be more expensive if your car is in a high insurance bracket or you live in a high risk area.

As a young driver, the cost of your insurance will also reflect your relative inexperience on the road, previous claims and conviction of any motoring or criminal offences.

Is there anything I can do to reduce the cost of my insurance?

There are a number of ways you could secure cheaper insurance. Firstly, buy a modest car which will be in a low insurance group and get some extra training to develop your driving skills.

Pass Plus is a practical 6-hour training course usually taken within a year of passing your test.

You’ll need a Pass Plus registered approved driving instructor (ADI) to teach you, but it is recognised by most insurance companies and its successful completion could mean a cheaper insurance deal, even if you have a disability.

Discounts can also be obtained by fitting a dashcam or other security devices such as alarms, immobilisers and trackers. You should also consider a limited mileage policy or getting a black box telematics device installed to track your good driving.

Some insurance providers will offer further discounts if you qualify for a Blue Badge. You can find out if you qualify for a Blue Badge here.

How can I be sure I am getting the best deal?

Shop around or use a broker such as Adrian Flux whose insurance experts compare cost and levels of cover being offered by a panel of almost 40 insurers.

The best deals are only available over the phone (0800 369 8590) and cannot be found on price comparison websites. At Adrian Flux you can even request a free call back (within normal office hours) on a date and time that is best for you.

Are there any special provisions I should look for in my policy?

If your disability is physical, you need to use a wheelchair for example, there are some important questions you will need to ask before handing over your hard earned money.

These include:

  • If your car was stolen or vandalised, would your replacement vehicle have modifications such as hoists or ramps, or adaptations for wheelchair access and hand controls?

  • If your policy doesn’t provide a replacement vehicle, will it cover the costs of taxis while your car is off the road?

  • If you have a carer, can they be added to your policy as an additional driver?

Adrian Flux can provide optional extras on their policies such as:

  • Keycare and misfuelling insurance

  • Breakdown and homestart

  • Windscreen cover

  • Courtesy car hire in the event of your car being off the road as a result of a claim

  • Excess protection - meaning you won’t have to pay any excess if you are involved in a non-fault claim

Adrian Flux policies all come with legal cover up to £100,000 as standard.

Motability or not Motability: Which is best for me?

The Motability Scheme aims to provide an affordable, worry-free way for people with disabilities to lease a car and have it insured in exchange for the mobility allowance component of certain benefits.

However, the scheme is not for everyone. For a start, to register you must be in receipt of either the Personal Independence Payment or the Disability Living Allowance. If your condition is considered not serious enough you may not qualify.

There are also mileage restrictions and it can become very expensive at the end of your lease period if you exceed them.

Another drawback is that when leasing through Motability you do not accrue an actual  personal no-claims bonus. (Although, should you choose to change insurers, the scheme can provide a letter as proof of your claims history).

Finally, some people simply prefer to have their allowances at their own disposal, rather than having money stopped at source to meet the expense of lease hire.

If you do go it alone and buy your own car, there will be no mileage limits (unless you agree a limited mileage policy with your insurer) and the charity Motability may still be able to help with a grant towards the cost of the car, or to help finance the cost of any modifications it may need to enable you to drive safely.

All applicants are means tested and any help will go towards the “best value” solution to help you cope with your mobility needs.

Modifications may include:

  • hand controls for braking and accelerating

  • steering aids

  • clutch conversions

  • seat belt modifications or harnesses

  • special seating

  • wheelchair stowage equipment.

What medical conditions do I need to declare?

The Equality Act sets out when someone is considered to be disabled and protected from discrimination. The definition is quite wide - so check it even if you don’t think you’re disabled. For example, you might be covered if you have a learning difficulty, dyslexia or autism.

The definition states you are disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment, and that impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Some impairments are automatically treated as a disability. You will be covered if you have:

  • cancer

  • a visual impairment

  • multiple sclerosis

  • HIV

  • a severe, long-term disfigurement.

If you have a medical condition check with the DVLA to see if you need to notify them about it.

What happens if I fail to declare my medical condition?

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you do not tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. You may be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result.

Any subsequent claim on your car insurance could also be invalidated if you have an undisclosed notifiable medical condition or your eyesight doesn’t meet the legal minimum requirement.

It’s simply not worth taking the risk, so always notify the DVLA and your insurer of your condition, or if it deteriorates over time.

How to save money on your car and travel expenses

Louise Wood

Everybody needs to get from A to B, but why does it have to be so expensive?

The answer is that it really doesn't, as long as you are willing to make a few changes to your routine and shop around.

First of all, make sure you are covered by a service such Green Flag Breakdown to offer you peace of mind and ensure costs don't spiral if you do find things begin going wrong with your vehicle.

Save as you drive

But don't just plan for worst case scenarios. Every day tweaks can make big differences, especially as the average UK family spends about £80 per week on travel.

In a famous episode of Top Gear, presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May attempted the One Tank Challenge, driving from Basel in Switzerland to Blackpool - a 750-mile journey - without stopping to refill the tank.

On the show, all three made it to their destination - but not without sacrifices.

And it's the same for all of us in a way. In order to get the best fuel consumption possible it is necessary to make changes to the way you would normally act behind the wheel.

Luxuries such as running air conditioning, charging your phone, heating seats and playing the radio (although this is minute) help empty the tank quicker, as does driving too fast.

Increasing your speed from 55mph to 75mph can raise fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent. Driving at speeds around 55mph is generally viewed as the best way to make your fuel go that little further.

Tips to save on travel

Other driving ‘hacks’ include driving in the right gear, keeping tyres at the correct pressure and taking any heavy items that are not needed out of the vehicle.

Of course, it's not always quite so simple to follow all these rules, but if you stick as closely as possible you will quickly notice the changes.

Shopping around will also save money in the long run.

Just because your latest insurance quote looks reasonable, it doesn't mean there aren't any better deals out there - you just need to look.

The same rule applies to purchasing your fuel. Some petrol stations notoriously charge more than others, but there are websites out there which can help you find the best deal.

And what about when you buy or lease your next vehicle? Will you go for the one which looks the coolest or the one which offers you the best value all round?

Of course, there are other cheats available. Sharing journeys with colleagues or taking the most direct route, even cutting down on the amount of journeys by doing more tasks in one trip, will also be more cost effective.

And when you're using other forms of transport such as planes and trains, make sure you shop around too. 

There are great deals out there, but often you must plan ahead and book early.

And if you still want to save more, there is always public transport - or you could even get on your bike and mix the chores with a bit of enjoyable exercise.

Car maintenance tips for learner drivers

Sabrina Bucknole

For many people, learning to drive is a major milestone because it gives you a life-long skill and a liberating sense of independence. It is, however, a journey – and with any journey there are plenty of things to learn along the way. From theory tests and hazard perception tests to buying and insuring your first car, some parts seem simple while others feel more of a challenge.

Whether you’re just starting to learn to drive, or you’re almost ready to take your driving test, learning what’s under the bonnet and knowing how to keep your car in tip top shape is definitely important. It’s also an area that many people find daunting.

So, to help learner drivers become familiar with their own cars, here are some essential car maintenance tips you need to know.

The engine

Possibly the most important and most complex place to start is at the heart of the car – the engine. Learning how it functions and knowing what to look out for if your engine has any mechanical issues is very useful.

To put your car into motion, the engine converts fuel into power and energy – this is called ‘internal combustion’. Internal combustion refers to the act of small, controlled explosions created by the spark plugs, which generate enough power to move your car.

Modern cars will usually alert you if there is a mechanical issue with the engine by illuminating a certain light or set of lights on the dashboard. If you have a car of your own, you should familiarise yourself with your car’s handbook to help you identify which light you should look out for if an engine issue were to arise.

As a learner driver and first-time car buyer, you may not have the flashiest of cars with all the bells and whistles. Instead, you’re likely to have an older, more affordable car which may not have the technology to warn you if there’s an engine problem. This is why it’s also important to know the telltale signs of engine failure so that you’re able to recognise if something’s wrong without having to rely on your dashboard lights.

Some telltale signs of an engine problem include knocking or tapping sounds coming from the engine itself, a loss of engine power, smoke coming from the exhaust, oil patches underneath the vehicle, and the engine running roughly or inconsistently. If your car ever experiences these symptoms, it’s best to take it to the garage for diagnosis asap!

Brake fluid

Brake fluid is a very important component of you car’s overall health because it plays a key role in keeping your brakes operational. The brake fluid reservoir can be found under the bonnet. Depending on what type of car you have, the specific location of the brake fluid reservoir can vary. It is usually positioned on the driver’s side of the vehicle, against the back of the engine compartment or near the base of the windshield. Your car’s handbook will tell you its exact location, so it’s best to double check just to be on the safe side.

While it’s important to check your brake fluid is at the right level, it can be risky if you try to do it yourself. If dirt gets into the cylinder when you open the reservoir, this could could result in brake failure and if the cylinder is left open for too long and the fluid is exposed to moist air for more than 15 minutes, the brake fluid will be ruined. To avoid any costly mishaps, you should take your car to the garage so they can change the brake fluid for you.

Engine oil

Checking your car’s engine oil levels is much easier than checking the brake fluid level, yet just as important. Engine oil keeps the integral parts of the engine well lubricated to reduce the friction caused by the engine’s moving parts, and to keep it running smoothly. Without engine oil, the friction would increase and ultimately damage the engine, resulting in a very costly payout for repairs, a brand new engine or even a new car.

To avoid these devastating results, you should check your engine oil levels regularly to ensure you’re never running too low. First, make sure the engine is cold (or has been off for at least ten minutes), then locate the dipstick, take it out and give it a good wipe to make sure it’s clean before popping it back into the pipe. Pull the dipstick out again and inspect the film of oil on the end of the dipstick to make sure the oil level is not below the lower line. The oil should just reach the the upper line, or be slightly below it.

While you’re inspecting the level of oil, you should also look at the overall oil condition. Healthy engine oil will look fairly clear like golden honey, while dark brown to black oil means that the engine oil or oil filter need to be replaced.

If your engine is oil is running low, you can top it up by removing the screw-off cap which should display an engine symbol, and use a funnel to carefully add a small amount of engine oil. Keep doing this and check the oil levels with the dipstick until it is between the markers.

Coolant

Engines tend to get very hot when driving, which is why you need to ensure your car has enough coolant to literally cool down the engine. Without coolant, the temperature of the engine would continue to rise until the engine would overheat and break, which could lead to your car being written off.

First, make sure the engine is cold and then unscrew the cap to the coolant reservoir. Most coolant reservoirs display minimum and maximum level marks, so check that the coolant level is in between these two marks before pouring more coolant in. If your coolant level is either below or near the minimum mark, top it up using a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze. Once the reservoir is full, screw the cap back on and wipe up any spills.

Check these levels regularly, especially in the warmer months and before long journeys.

Windscreen washer

Having a clean and clear screen is vital for visibility purposes which is why you need to keep an eye on your windscreen washer levels. The cap to the windscreen washer reservoir is usually blue and can be located on the passenger side of the car. Simply remove the cap, and top it up to the maximum mark.

Hopefully these walkthroughs will give you a better idea of how to maintain your car and keep it running smoothly. This is not to say you have to do all of the maintenance yourself; if you aren’t very confident, always seek help from a professional or someone who has more experience with cars.

5 Things every young driver must have included in their car insurance

5 Things every young driver must have included in their car insurance

Getting behind the wheel can be quite exciting for new drivers, especially because of the independence that comes with it. However, before you do that you need to protect yourself. You can do this not just by learning all the safety rules but also by getting car insurance.

This article includes:

Bodily injury liability

Property damage liability

Collision coverage

Comprehensive coverage

Uninsured Motorist

Scania answers your questions…

Scania’s Training Services Manager, Mark Agnew, answers some frequently asked questions about trucks

About Mark

With over 20 years as a professional truck driver in Europe, Mark has worked at Scania (Great Britain) Limited for over 23 years. He oversees a team of almost 30 Driver Trainers who put around 900 new drivers through their licence every year and training existing drivers to be the best they can be for safety, fuel and environmental efficiency.  

What is the difference in field of vision between a car and a lorry?

“The driver’s seat in a truck is much higher than that of a car, which gives better vision of the road in front as they can see over other traffic. It can also help give the truck driver the ability to see over hedges, and low walls on side roads, which gives them advance warning of vehicles approaching the junction so they can anticipate changes in the road situation in advance.

“However it’s worth being aware that because of the size of the vehicle, there can be blind spots along the sides of a truck and while correct mirror adjustments and camera systems limit these, so it may be difficult for the driver to see you. Additions such as the city safe window also can help drivers. Similarly, many trucks have no vision to the rear – again, this can be helped with the aid of a camera system. Drivers are trained to use the side mirrors when reversing and in public places will often use a reversing assistant or a ‘banksman’.”   

What tools does a lorry have to help them improve vision?

“There are a multitude of tools that a truck driver has to help improve their vision and awareness of what is around them. EC Law requires all vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight to have devices, such as mirrors or CCTV, to improve the driver’s field of vision down the sides and in front of the truck.  In practice, this means that in addition to the wide-angle standard mirrors, two on each side, trucks have a downward pointing kerb side mirror giving a clear view of the nearside of the cab area and a front mirror giving a clear view along the front of the truck, all to aid vision of pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users.  Increasingly, trucks are also being fitted with CCTV equipment to give vision to the rear when reversing and in many cases to supplement the standard mirrors. With the introduction of the Direct Vision Standards in London, we’re proud to say that our new L-cab has a five start rating.”

Why do lorries straddle 2 lanes sometimes when turning?

 “The length and width of a truck means that it is more difficult to turn than a car and a driver must have several factors in mind. The rear of the truck can swing outwards when turning – this is called tail swing. If the driver feels like this might hit other road users, then they will often position the truck to block both lanes. In addition, the rear or trailer wheels will track to the inside of the front wheels; on a tight turn extra space is needed so that the rear wheels of the truck do not mount the kerb, which could endanger pedestrians, other road users and buildings.  Again, the driver may straddle both lanes to make sure the truck has sufficient room to make the turn safely. So effectively, they’re using both lanes to ensure that the turn is as safe as possible. Drivers will appreciate other road users who give them plenty of space to carry out their manoeuvres.”

Why does it always seem whatever the weather a lorry does 60 on the motorway, does rain not impact them as much?

“The legal speed limit for a truck on Motorways is 60mph.  However, all trucks have their speed limited to a maximum of 56mph by law, using a calibrated speed limiter. Trucks are accurately calibrated to this speed, but the speedometer on cars will typically overstate their speed by around 5% to ensure they comply with Construction & Use regulations for speedometers, therefore it can appear to car drivers that trucks are going slightly faster.  Truck drivers also have higher seating positions which can give them a better view of the road in light rain and meaning they are less impacted by spray from other vehicles, but of course, all drivers should drive at a speed which is safe for the conditions and bear in mind the increased braking distances in the wet.  As a point of interest, all trucks today are fitted with spray suppressing mud-flaps to improve vision for other road users in rain.”

What does carrying a heavy load mean for steering, accelerating and braking?

“Carrying a heavy load can have a big impact on the trucks steering, accelerating and braking. Trucks accelerate more slowly than cars because of their higher overall mass, empty or loaded.  Steering and braking systems are designed to take full account of the load being carried and trucks generally have braking assistance systems. One example of this would be that Scania vehicles are fitted with Advanced Emergency Braking systems. All truck drivers are trained to allow extra braking distance and use lower steering speeds because of the substantial extra mass.”

Why does it take so long for lorries to overtake each other?

“Although speed limiters must be set to no more than 56 mph for trucks, some fleets decide to set a slightly lower maximum speed as a fuel saving measure. But as you can imagine, overtaking with only a 2mph advantage can take quite a while, this is why drivers often use the road gradients to their advantage. To put it into perspective, typical walking pace is 4 mph. Imagine how long it takes to walk past a stationary truck with a 40 foot trailer at 4 mph? The double that time for a speed difference of 2 mph or multiply it by four for a 1 mph difference in speed. 

“Some two lane dual carriageways have daytime bans on trucks overtaking to minimise the inconvenience to car drivers.”  

About Scania

Scania is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks and buses for heavy transport applications. Employing more than 49,000 people, Scania operates in more than 100 countries. As well as supplying trucks, buses and coaches in the UK, Scania also supplies engines for industrial and marine applications and provides a range of complementary and ancillary services in support of its products and customers.

Next time you see a fire truck behind you, take a look as it might be a Scania…

www.scania.co.uk  

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Is it illegal to drive with headphones?

pexels-photo-1037996.jpg

Have you ever battled with the quality of your radio signal and thought you’d be better off listening to your favourite playlist on your new wireless headphones?

Well the easy answer is No - It’s not illegal to drive whilst using headphones, however the police can look at the situation and determine that the headphones we’re causing a distraction that led to dangerous driving. For example if you we’re to have an accident whilst wearing headphones, it’s likely this would be submitted as evidence to say you couldn’t effectively judge the situation as you couldn’t hear.

Our advice would be to stick to your car radio! With the introduction of DAB the signal strength has come on leaps and bounds! And don’t worry if you have an older car with no DAB radio, as you can now buy DAB conversion kits from the likes of Halfords.

If you’re looking at a new car, why not add either Apple Car Play or Android Auto to your wishlist as you can then run your favourite playlists with ease!

What is Learner Driver Insurance?

We answer questions on Learner Driver Insurance as popularity grows

To help you build your confidence and increase time behind the wheel, learner drivers can now get specific insurance to cover them on someone else’s vehicle. This requires permission from the owner and still requires the learner to be supervised by a qualified driver with the right level of experience. If you would like to know what requirements there are for supervising a learner driver, you can check here.

How long does cover last?

It varies. Some insurers will ask you to sign up for at least 30 days, others offer daily policies or will even cover you for just a few hours at a time.

Can I practise in any car?

Don’t expect to borrow the keys to your rich uncle’s Range Rover. Policies will place restrictions on the insurance group and the total value of the car you drive. Typically the highest insurance group allowed will be around group 30-35, and the maximum value of the car somewhere in the region of £20,000-£30,000.

Anything else I should know?

Policies usually cover you do drive in one specific vehicle – expect to take out another policy if you want to practise in a second car. There may also be restrictions on the age of whoever is supervising you and their driving experience, so an older brother or sister may not have been behind the wheel for long enough. Also, if you’ve already made a claim due to a crash while learning, you may not be eligible for cover.

How to choose the right driving instructor

There are over 30,000 driving instructors in the UK, so where should you start when looking for someone to teach you how to drive?!

The usual route is to ask family or friends for recommendations or of course you can Google ‘Driving lessons in Cardiff’ for example.

Driving instructors will typically either work as a sole trader and run their business independently or be part of a franchise. This means they work for a company with anything from 2-2,000 driving instructors working for them. There will be smaller local business and large national ones like the AA, Bill Plant, BSM & RED.

The main thing to focus on is the individual, as you’ll likely be spending a fair bit of time in their company and you want to learn from them in the most effective way, so picking someone you can gel with is essential.

There are also 2 types of driving instructors in the UK an ADI and a PDI

What is an ADI?

ADI stands for Approved Driving Instructor. This means that instructor has completed the full instructional course set by the DVSA.

What is a PDI?

A PDI or Potential Driving Instructor has completed all of the required training to take the final teaching ability, but is teaching learners to drive to build experience before taking the final test. This is perfectly legal and can be a really good way for you the learner to save money (PDIs typically charge less for lessons).

What should you look for when looking for a driving instructor?

We’ve provided a few questions to ask to get you started -

1 Is the instructor fully qualified (an ADI)?

2 If I have a PDI will I pay less?

3 If I sign up for a course and we don’t get on, can I have my money back? All of it, or just some?

4 Will I get the same instructor and car for  each lesson?

5 How long is each lesson? Can I choose between 60, 90 and 120-minute sessions?

6 Can I take lessons at different times to build experience of different scenarios such as night time driving sessions?

7 Can I change instructors if we don’t get on?

8 Where will I be having my lessons?

9 Can you pick me up and drop me off at different locations (if required)?

10 Do you offer Motorway lessons as part of the course?

New car registration statistics released for 2017

Ford Fiesta in pole position

The Department for Transport have released their latest statistics showing the volume of each make & model car registered for the first time in 2017. As expected the number of vehicles registered contracted by approx. 7%.

The Ford Fiesta remains the UK’s most popular car, with 91,074 new registrations in 2017. That’s despite a drop of 21% vs 2016. The Ford Fiesta held 3 of the top 5 models registered with the Zetec, Zetec Turbo & Titanium variants 1st, 2nd  5th respectively. With a new model launched in 2017, it’s not surprising people we’re waiting to pull the trigger on a new purchase until more reviews had landed.

Not such a rosy picture for typically very popular Vauxhall Corsa with a drop to 48,490 vs 73,704 registered in 2016. Other manufacturers have seen a similar story with all Peugeot models bringing in a total of 77,373 vs 2016’s 91,365 (a drop of 15%).

Some bright lands stand out including FirstCar 2018 Driving Instructor Car of the Year the Citreon C3 showing growth of nearly 78% from 11,191 in 2016 to an impressive 19,938 in 2017.

Another stand out that we watch with interest is Tesla. Whilst waiting here in the UK for the Model 3, Tesla has still produced impressive growth of 95% to 4,675 across all models (2,399 in 2016). Has their aggressive branding & presence in high footfall shopping centres starting to pay dividend? This is one to watch this time next year and into 2020 (we expect it’s going one way, and that’s up!).

Why Won’t They Drive?

new-vs-classic-1450523.jpg

They pay for the lessons, endure the hard work of learning, conquer their nerves and pass the test, and then avoid getting behind the wheel

A study by learner driver and car sharing insurance specialist Veygo by Admiral and FirstCar magazine has revealed that in the first year after passing the test, one in eight (12%) drivers across the UK avoid getting behind the wheel; they don’t want to drive. It seems an odd conclusion to the investment of time and money they have put in, especially when three quarters believe their driving skills will deteriorate if they don’t drive. 

In the UK, learning to drive and gaining the hallowed licence remains popular, with two thirds (62%) of learners passing their test by the time they are 19. So why, once the ‘L’ plates are off and celebrations have died down, do so many put off driving?

Top reasons people put off driving - 

  1. I don’t have access to a car
  2. It’s too expensive
  3. I’m at college or university and don’t need a car
  4. I don’t want to run a car as I’m saving money 
  5. I’m too nervous
  6. I prefer to use public transport
  7. My family or friends drive me around
  8. My parents are too nervous to let me drive

It probably comes as no surprise that finances are a key concern for most, especially when so many are off to study at university with the financial and time costs involved in that. It’s a key reason why half of new drivers have no access to a car, whether buying their own or be able to use someone else’s. Furthermore, over a third (38%) of people putting off driving because they felt running a car was simply too expensive.

While this makes sense, it is perhaps worrying that after all those professional lessons, 7% of drivers said they were too nervous to go solo post-test, with 4% saying their parents were too nervous to let them drive.

(NOT) Like Riding a Bike

The results contradict their belief in the age-old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ - three quarters of drivers believed their confidence would increase in line with the post-test miles, and were concerned about deteriorating skills through a lack of driving. Interestingly, over half of new drivers were considering having more lessons to bolster their skills and self-belief, especially when only being able to afford old, less driver friendly vehicles (30%). 

Key to Success

While more young people are passing their driving test, less are getting their own car and the valuable experience they need. But not having their own set of wheels needn’t be a barrier.

Veygo by Admiral offers flexible and affordable car sharing insurance so that anyone can borrow a friend or family member’s car, tailored to the drivers needs while protecting the owner’s insurance and No Claims Bonus.

Find out more about Veygo here

[1] Survey conducted by First Car magazine of 1393 drivers across the UK aged between 17 – 73

Test centre pass rates The highs & lows

The DVSA has released the latest pass rates including tests conducted across a number of different test categories and locations. 

We've taken a look to see which areas have the highest and lowest pass rate. Now let me start by making it clear, a low pass rate doesn't mean all the driving instructors in the area are rubbish or even that the examiners are really harsh. There are lot's of reasons that can influence these stats, for example rural areas with lower volume of tests tend to have a higher pass rate than those inner city. This could be down to experience driving vehicles off road before someone can legally take to the road. We haven't looked at the number of people that have taken their test without a driving instructor either. 

That being said it makes for some interesting reading when looking at the overall pass rates for 2017/18 (Apr 17 - Mar 18).

Highest Driving Test Pass Rates in the UK

As usual some of the top numbers have come from Scotland with the top spot being bagged by Golspie on the East coast of Scotland. Incredibly from a population of just 1,650, 73 Practical tests we're conducted and 56 passes! That's a pass rate of 76.7%, people of Golspie we tip our hat to you! Let's look at some volume now and which area with over 2,000 tests came out on top? Well it's the beautiful market town that is Dorchester with 3,129 passes from 4,876 tests (64.2%). Other large areas worth a commendation here are Yeovil, Durham & Ipswich who scored 61.3%, 59.6% & 59.4% pass rates respectively.

Lowest Driving Test Pass Rates in the UK

Propping up the table we find Birmingham (the pavilion) test centre with a pass rate of 30.2% 303 from 1004 practical tests. London unsurprisingly has a large number of test centres, so it's not a huge shock to see a few represented in the bottom 5, with Erith (30.6%), Belvedere (30.6%), Wanstead (33.4%) all in. The other representative in here is Leeds with 2,469 passes from 7,413 tests (33.3%).

The full list of test centres can be found on the gov.uk website or click here

So what should you do if you live in one of these areas? 

Well first of all don't worry. These stats should have no bearing on your individual success. Make sure you're working with your driving instructor to make sure you're ready for your test. Imagine an area where you and 1 other person are the only 2 people taking practical tests. If the other person takes 9 tests and fails them all but you pass first time, that makes that test centre's pass rate 10%, but yours is 100%! That's the key here focus on you! 

How to upgrade your car's lighting

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If the headlights on your car are rubbish, it’s just a matter of time before you drive into something at night, unless you go everywhere at walking pace. What you need is to throw some more light on the situation, by fitting upgraded bulbs or extra lighting. There are several issues about being enlightened, including the legal side – seriously bright bulbs are banned because they’ll dazzle everyone else – while you could also overload your car’s electrical system if you overdo things.

The easiest way of gaining more light is to slot in replacement bulbs, but make sure you buy from a reputable seller; there’s a lot of illegal stuff floating about, so don’t be surprised if you get caught out trying to buy cheap tat from some bloke on a market stall. The alternative is to fit extra lights, such as spot lights – again some stuff sold in the UK is illegal because it’s too bright. The key thing to remember is that the higher the power (wattage) rating, the more juice your car’s electrical system has to supply. Ask for too much and it might just blow a fuse – or worse.

Fitting extra lights is easy enough – if you know what you’re doing. Avoid relays or allow wires to chafe then short out, and you’re guaranteed trouble. Screw up badly and your car could easily end up going up in smoke – so think very carefully before trying to do any work yourself.

 

A speeding fine - with a twist

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Q: Within four months of passing my driving test I was caught speeding at 46mph in a 40mph zone.

To my amazement I’ve recently noticed this same road on which I was caught, now has a 50mph speed limit.

Surely I’m able to appeal against my previous conviction and have the three points overturned?

You can only normally appeal against conviction if you pleaded not guilty and you were convicted

A: It depends whether or not the speed limit was 50 at the time you committed the offence.

If it was a 40 limit at the time, you can’t appeal. Also you can’t appeal if you accepted the fixed penalty offer.

You can only normally appeal against conviction if you pleaded not guilty and you were convicted.

 


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FirstCar's legal expert is Emma Patterson, who runs Patterson Law, which specialises in motoring cases. If you've got a legal question, email us at info@firstcar.co.uk and we'll get Patterson Law to answer it for you. If you need the advice or representation of a great motoring lawyer, you can contact Emma or one of her colleagues, through her website.

 

Braking hard to deter a tailgater

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Q: I was driving to pick up my friend, when the car behind me started to drive very close to me. It kept speeding up and slowing down, generally driving like an idiot. I tried to slow down to just under the limit to get him to back off but he wouldn’t.

I was getting annoyed so I slammed on my brakes. He slammed on as well and it worked because he then backed off. However, a police car was stationary in a side road and the policemen inside stopped both vehicles. They have given me an s59 warning. I don’t think this is fair because it was the other driver’s fault. 

I was getting annoyed so I slammed on my brakes

A: In these circumstances, an s59 warning means that if another offence of driving in a careless or inconsiderate manner is committed in the next 12 months by the driver of the vehicle or the vehicle with the warning issued to it, the police have the power to seize the vehicle.

Whilst it may seem unfair, and the other driver should certainly be held accountable as well, your actions amount to driving in a careless or inconsiderate manner. Slamming on your brakes could cause an accident, so is viewed very seriously by the police. You have been lucky to have only been given a warning on this occasion, and not prosecuted. 


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FirstCar's legal expert is Emma Patterson, who runs Patterson Law, which specialises in motoring cases. If you've got a legal question, email us at info@firstcar.co.uk and we'll get Emma to answer it for you. If you need the advice or representation of a great motoring lawyer, you can contact Emma or one of her colleagues, through her website.