How Are UK Roads Made Unnecessarily Dangerous By Drivers?

Friday, 12. August 2016

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

How safe are our roads? This general question often refers to the general condition of our roads, how well they are maintained in bad weather, the safety of our cars and how well the cars are maintained. But what about the health of our drivers? Could drivers’ health affect the safety of our roads?

It would seem that whilst most drivers take things like drink driving very seriously and wouldn’t dream of driving a car without wearing a seatbelt it seems that they are nowhere near as vigilant when it comes to their health. Watching TV with a little bit of a squint is maybe a bit of an inconvenience and not focusing too well when reading the paper may be a little uncomfortable but what about driving?

As responsibility falls upon drivers to self regulate their eyesight how many actually meet the minimum standards? Many drivers are shocked when they finally feel the need to have an eye test and find that they badly need to wear glasses. If you drive with faulty eyesight you can be prosecuted but it’s a bit late if you are dead or badly injured in hospital or you have hit a cyclist or pedestrian that you didn’t see.

With an estimated 4 million drivers considered to have deficient eyesight, i.e. more than 10% of all drivers, how dangerous are our roads? We can add other conditions to poor eyesight, many of which are not considered as dangerous. This time of year there are those with hay fever who take anti histamines that, whilst a legal drug, can impair the driver’s ability to control a car.

Those with a bad back pain can be distracted because of the discomfort or could take strong painkillers that could impair their driving and slow down reaction times. Conditions such as sleep apnoea are not fully understood by those suffering who may believe they simply feel tired occasionally but if you have the condition it is even more important that you stop driving more quickly than those simply feeling a little groggy.

The fact is that our roads are made more dangerous by those who drive on them with a range of medical issues from poor eyesight to a dodgy knee. Is it about time that we all took greater responsibility and stopped putting ours and other’s lives at risk. Always read the labels of any medicines you are taking, even when they are bought over the counter, and follow the warnings. By Graham Hill

GH Questions The Environmental Benefits of Plug In Hybrids

Thursday, 26. May 2016

There is no industry that I know that surrounds itself more with mystery and ‘smoke and mirrors’ than the motor and associated finance industry. Emissions, fuel consumption, APR, PCP, warranty the list goes on. These are all provided by manufacturers, dealers and funders in ways to totally mislead you.

We are now being fed a pile rubbish as we see the growth in plug in hybrid cars. We are told that they are great for the environment and you get a zillion miles to the gallon, as a result the Government gives you a chunk of money off the new car cost as they ‘apparently’ create less carbon dioxides than diesel and petrol engine cars.

We are told that the Government applies a grant of £2,500 if the electric part of the drive unit can achieve a range of up to 70 miles. More than 70 miles and you can have a grant of £4,500 but you have to bear in mind that the hybrid car is much more expensive than its petrol or diesel equivalent in the first place, certainly much more than the grant provided as an incentive.

Plug in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) look very impressive, low fuel cost and tax incentives are grabbing the attention of fleets as well as consumers but the problem is that not all drivers are driving these cars as they should be. The most common omission is the recharging of the car on a regular basis. This in itself can increase the whole life cost by 15% according to Wayne Millward, Fleet Consultant at contract hire company Arval.

For fleets the low benefit in kind tax is very attractive to employees but equally the employees aren’t that interested in efficiency. Even more so if fuel is provided as part of their employment package so they don’t ever plug in their cars to an electric charger. There are of course others who don’t have regular access to charging points, either at home or in the street where they park, making it virtually impossible to charge the batteries using the plug in option.

Either way, when the car moves over from the electric motor to the petrol engine, fuel efficiency plummets and CO2 emissions increase. So unless you or your company drivers use the cars as intended you could be vastly out of pocket. From a running cost point of view if a PHEV is not used as was intended the costs soar and the atmosphere suffers. You would be better off driving a normal diesel or petrol.

So why don’t the car manufacturers do anything to address this issue? I’ll tell you why, because the more hybrid cars they sell the lower the declared average CO2 emissions of all the cars they provide across Europe. In 2015 they had to get the average emissions down to 130g/km which most did.

However, this was based on the manufacturer’s claimed CO2 emissions for PHEV’s being included in the mix, assuming that the cars were regularly plugged into the mains. The fact is that very few were and is yet another con trick perpetrated by the car manufacturers as they know this is what happens! By Graham Hill

Lawyers Argue Over Interpretation of the Consumer Rights Act

Friday, 30. October 2015

No sooner has the new Consumer Rights Act become law than we are already seeing lawyers disagreeing with each other. Let’s take the example of the used car dealer who sells a car that turns out to be faulty and is returned by the customer. One lawyer suggests ‘The durability of a vehicle is down to the manufacturer in the design and use of quality materials and, as such, a second hand dealership does not have control over these issues.’ Idiots!

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

They are advising dealers to try to avoid their responsibility to their customers by suggesting that if the car has a fault when sold, that is a manufacturing fault, that the dealer isn’t responsible. As another lawyer pointed out, whilst this may be true the second hand dealer could be liable for any issues as the purchasers contract is with the dealer not the manufacturer. Could be?? That should read definitely liable. No question!

If the dealer wants to offset the cost by suing the manufacturer that is up to him but the customer has a right to expect the car to have no faults other than any that have been pointed out prior to the sale. Next issue was over Fit for Purpose. One lawyer suggested that if an electrician can carry all of his tools in a briefcase, a sports car with a small boot would be fit for that particular purpose.

That might be fine but to be fair to the dealer he needs to be told the purpose for which the car is being bought. You can’t buy a 1.0 litre city car then take it back because it wouldn’t tow your 8 berth caravan unless you told the car dealer that this was what you wanted to do with the car and he told you it would do that no problem.

But it gets worse because another lawyer, trying to be a bit of a smart arse said that if an electrician or tradesperson is using the vehicle for business, then they are probably not a consumer and so the act would not apply in this case.

Well Mr Smartarse lawyer you are right, a business user is not covered by the new Consumer Rights Act but as long as he isn’t a limited company or large partnership he is still covered by the Sale of Goods Act and the car must still be fit for purpose and if it isn’t you can still get your money back. Good grief – and I’m not a lawyer! Lawyer 1 then goes on to say the following to dealers when it comes to remedies:

  1. Short term right to reject (up to 30 days from the point of sale)
  2. The right to repair or replacement (for 6 months following the point of sale)
  3. The right to a price reduction

Lawyer 2 points out that the right to repair does not end at 6 months. The statute of limitations gives the consumer 6 years – you may not have known that! Point c should read ‘the right to a price reduction or final right to reject’.

Regarding the issue of deductions for usage. The first lawyer states the following:

“The question here is how dealerships would assess this deduction. The obvious place to start would be the price that they would need to pay for a similar vehicle if they purchased it for stock on the day of the rejection, which could of course be significant and would need to be explained to the vehicle owner.”

That is a disgrace because the instructions within the act on this matter are very clear and quite contrary to this advice that suggests that usage should be based on the price of the vehicle when bought at its retail price less the trade value of a replacement vehicle. The instructions state:

Note that the deduction must be calculated based on the use that the consumer has had from the goods, and not the second-hand value of the goods. 

Couldn’t be much clearer could it you idiots. But the point here is that if the lawyers advising the car dealers can’t agree amongst themselves and get it right what chance do consumers have? By Graham Hill

Preparing For Winter Part 2

Wednesday, 31. December 2014

Here is part 2 of my safety tips as we count down to winter. I mentioned in my last list of tips the importance of making sure that your screen is clear, not only outside but inside. Clean the inside of your screen regularly with anti mist cleaner.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

My experience is that this still won’t stop the screen from misting up but it makes them clear quicker when you turn on the demister. Remember that in the rain stopping distance is doubled so allow plenty of space between you and the car in front. It is a legal requirement to switch on your headlights (if not automatic) when visibility is less than 100 metres.

Another recommendation is not to use cruise control when driving in the wet. Also if you break down in heavy rain don’t leave your bonnet open, some older drivers and truck drivers would do this to indicate that the vehicle had broken down but this will allow the electrics to get wet and make the job of the recovery man or woman much harder.

For some strange reason Brits don’t understand the full dangers of floods, maybe because it is rare for us to experience really heavy flooding (last year being an exception) so we tend to be somewhat glib. The fact is that a massive 32% of all flood related deaths are by drowning in a vehicle.

Here are some more frightening facts to remember the next time a local stream or small river overflows its banks and you feel safe to drive through it. Two feet of standing water is enough to float a car whilst 12” of water flowing at 6mph is also enough to float an average family car. And if you feel the need to drive through a flood splashing water up into the engine compartment, an egg cup full of water in the combustion chamber can wreck an engine.

OK, onto some water tips. Only drive a car through water that you know isn’t too deep, by that I mean halfway up the wheels. Don’t drive through fast moving water, even if the water is just a small stream. Drive on the highest section of the road, check the camber, this is normally the middle of the road.

If your car is a manual keep the revs high by slipping the clutch whilst in water, it is important to keep your engine running. In deep water you should keep your foot on the accelerator as water will travel up the exhaust pipe if you let the revs drop. In a flood take it in turns if you meet oncoming traffic. Allow them to pass first keeping to the highest part of the road.

Make sure that you test your brakes when you leave the water. Finally in this section I must clear up a misconception regarding SUV’s or commonly known as 4WD cars. They are not amphibious vehicles. They are not safer than a normal saloon car, they won’t offer more protection if you are involved in a crash and they certainly won’t fare any better than any other car if you are driving through a flood.

Last year the AA answered calls from 4,000 motorists who had come to grief in floods. Many had driven through water only to get the car die on them when they drove out with 1,000 still stuck in the middle of the water. The AA has a specialist flood rescue team, known as AA SORT (Special Operations Response Team). They are already on alert as we start to move through autumn to winter.

One of the warnings from the AA, other than don’t believe your SUV is a boat, is don’t ignore statutory ‘Road Closed’ signs. They are there for a reason and certainly avoid driving through anything more than a puddle. By ignoring road closed warnings you could put your insurance at risk.

Water can write off cars or severely damage engines but if you ignored a warning saying that a road was closed the insurer could avoid paying out on a claim. So greater care is needed and take no risks. Water can be a killer. More next time so watch this space. By Graham Hill

What You Should Do To Prepare For Winter

Wednesday, 17. September 2014

Sadly we are coming to the end of what wasn’t a bad summer other than August that was complete rubbish! Nights are drawing in and whilst we are still enjoying some late sunshine we should be making plans for the winter months ahead.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

Fleet News has provided a few pointers and given us a few things to think about. Inevitably there will be a few days when it will be difficult, if not impossible, to either drive to work or use public transport (bit of wind, snow, leaves on the train line, volcanoes erupting, landslides etc.) so do you have a back up plan that enables you and/or staff to work from home in the case of an emergency?

Don’t forget if you employ staff you are responsible for their health and safety and could leave yourself exposed if you insist they come to work when the authorities or experts have advised against it. With regard to your car, have you considered swapping to winter tyres to reduce tyre wear and increase grip. Many of the national tyre fitters now offer a service whereby they will swap over tyres for you between summer and winter and store your summer tyres till spring.

Fleet News also suggest that you consider 4WD cars but I disagree. I don’t recall one day last winter when a 4WD car would have avoided taking any time off work and I have to say that unless you have taken a 4WD course the chances are that you will be no better off driving a 4WD car than a 2WD car. Oh and a little tip if you are stuck in snow, try letting a little air out of the drive tyres to increase grip or better still buy a set of snow chains and a spade to dig yourself out.

Make sure that your car has been serviced and there is enough anti freeze in your radiator and plenty in your windscreen wash. In fact make up some anti-freeze screen wash and keep it in a bottle in the boot, it is so easy to run out of screen wash on a trip and end up not being able to see out of the windscreen. Give yourself a few minutes to sit in the car with the engine running in order to warm up the heater.

If it is cold or raining and you drive straight off you will find the windscreen heavily misting up before it starts to demist making it impossible to see where you are going. Remember it is an offence to drive a car if you cannot see through the screen due to either dirt or mist. Oh and another tip, get yourself some Marigold rubber gloves and stick them in the boot.

Snow chain at the front wheel. Photographer: D...

Snow chain at the front wheel. Photographer: Devchonka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The best type of gloves to wear when clearing snow or frost off the car or even to wear when fitting snow chains or digging out the snow. They are totally waterproof and surprisingly warm. I’ll add a few more tips into my next newsletter as the countdown to winter continues. There are lots more tips to come so make sure you read them and stay safe! By Graham Hill

Survey Says Car Servicing Standards Improving

Friday, 7. March 2014

Drivers are generally happier with their servicing than ever before according to a survey carried out by the self regulating body, Motor Codes. They surveyed 57,000 drivers and found that 95% of those using a Trading Standards approved Motor Codes garage would recommend it to a friend.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

It also revealed that one in ten had reason to make a warranty claim whilst there was also a 10% rise in satisfaction from 84% to 94% over the last 5 years when using a main dealer to maintain their cars. Surprisingly the age of cars maintained by Motor Codes recommended garages has risen from 10% in 2010 that were 11 years old or older to 18% in 2013.

This could be down to a number of factors as older cars are becoming less capable of being maintained by the DIY’ers or it could be that there is more money about as we come out of recession making it affordable to have cars maintained by a garage rather than a mate with a set of spanners. By Graham Hill

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Dangers Of Ex Demonstrator Cars Reveals Graham Hill

Sunday, 9. February 2014

What car can do 0 – 60 in 5 seconds, return 15 miles to the gallon and out perform a Ferrari F40 away from the traffic lights? Answer, a company car, or so the old joke goes. These days company cars are much better cared for as transport managers and employers know that poorly cared for cars could result in end of contract charges.

Thinking of a change but unsure as to the best way to finance your car? Then you need a copy of my car finance book, Car Finance – A Simple Guide by Graham Hill. Click on the link below to buy the best car finance book on the market, available as a Kindle Book and Paper Back.

So buying what used to be a dodgy ex company car is no longer such a risk. But as one buyer of a used car from a BMW main dealer found out, buying a used car isn’t always as safe as it seems when he bought an M3 that had previously been used as a track car. There was nothing wrong with the car and it drove perfectly but you can only imagine the stresses and strains applied to that car whilst being hammered around a race track by a racing driver or instructor.

Of course the buyer was upset when he found out about the previous use of the car but there is no obligation on the part of the dealer to tell him that the car was used as a track car and I have to say an M3 was built as a performance car so should not be in the slightest affected by its previous use.

But there is one use of car that buyers actually queue up to buy without knowing how badly the car may have been criminally abused. Treated like a performance car from new with certain components stressed to their limit many buyers actually boast that they have bought one of these cars in preference to a brand new car.

I’m talking about the ex-demonstrator. I always advise against these awful cars which are often worse than ex hire cars and wildly over priced. Yes you appear to have a large discount but often that is after a load of unnecessary extras have been added to the car in order for the dealer to demonstrate.

So you have a £20,000 car with £5,000 worth of extras added with a £7,000 discount, dropping the price to £18,000 or the price you would have paid for a new car without the bigger wheels, sports suspension, special paint, larger fuel tank, privacy rear glass, smokers pack etc etc. So often the saving is not as it seems.

But that is minor compared to the real problem. In industry I was group general manager for a PLC with around 700 vehicles. When you run a fleet of that size you are provided with demonstrators every day of the week. It was nothing for a a couple of transporters to turn up with 20 cars from Astras to E Class Mercedes brand new with no miles on the clock.

They would be handed out to staff to use who would drive the cars like lunatics (I’m embarrassed to say I was one of them).  A driver would drive the car out of the car park getting close to 60mph out of the car in first gear. We didn’t care as they weren’t our cars and we justified the abuse by saying that the cars were being ‘put through their paces’ which is why we had the cars in the first place.

And this is the rub. People that buy ex demonstrators believe that they are buying a car that has been carefully driven by nervous drivers with a member of dealership staff sitting beside them, hardly getting above 30mph. The truth is that they are handed out to drivers for maybe 2 or 3 days at a time and the cars are ‘hammered’.

They come back, often in a disgraceful state but are repaired, professionally valeted and sold proudly as an ex demonstrator. My advice is leave them, you are potentially buying a disaster unless you like having a car that spends more days in a repair shop than out of it. By Graham Hill

Enhanced by Zemanta

Servicing Can Affect Your Warranty

Tuesday, 10. April 2012

I’ve mentioned on several occasions that you are able to have your car serviced at a non franchised dealer but you have to be extra careful about warranty claims as manufacturers will try to squirm out of them. A recent case involved Ford and a young lady with a 4 year old Ford Ka. She suddenly found that the car had developed rust Read more

Cost Of Parking Bigger Cars Set To Double

Monday, 9. April 2012

Having a bigger than standard car will cost you more to park in future, if you’re parking in Wyre in Lancashire. If your car is too big to fit into a single car space or if you are a lazy driver taking up more than one space you will now be expected to pay double. If not you will be penalised. Wyre County Council formalised what local wardens have been Read more

Winter Tips Part 3

Wednesday, 9. November 2011

What should you do if you are stuck in the snow or on an icy road? First of all get yourself down to Halfords, Wilkinson or other DIY centre and get yourself a travel/snow spade to carry around in the back of your car. So often you see a little pile of snow in front of the drive wheels after clearing the snow off the screens and the driver then attempts to Read more