Survey Reveals Parking Rage Is Sweeping Across The UK

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.

We all know about ‘Road Rage’, but have you heard of Parking Rage? Apparently, according to a study by Privilege Car Insurance it is sweeping across the country with more than 3 million motorists admitting to spying on neighbours to make sure they don’t park in the wrong place.

The survey revealed that 75% of motorists said poor parking left them outraged. Men aged 21 were the most susceptible who admitted to being outraged an average of 139 days a year. Newcastle is where most parking rage existed followed by Norwich.

It would seem that two thirds of motorists believed that it is a basic right to be able to park in front of  your home, regardless of driveways, garages or allocated parking. They admit to ‘curtain twitching’ if they feel the space outside their home is in jeopardy. Remedies include the usual beeping of horns and unsavoury hand gestures, as with road rage.

But parking rage can also lead to an angry note left on the windscreen of the miscreant (admitted by 14%) and direct arguments (12%). A small number even admit to deflating tyres and scratching the paintwork. So when you are parking in a residential road, keep an eye out for twitching curtains, you may return to a deflated or scratched car. By Graham Hill

What Do France and Summer Barbecues Have In Common?

Thursday, 23. June 2016

If you are thinking of driving around Europe this summer, especially if you are driving through France, you will need to carry a breathalyser, especially as not only in the UK, but also in Europe, they have woken up to the benefits of breathalysing motorists in the morning rather than at night.

It is far more difficult to assess whether you are over the limit in the morning, after a skin full the night before, than at night when you have just had a couple of drinks. And with barbeques coming into season in the UK, which I’m told leads to more morning after convictions than over the Christmas period, you need to take precautions to safeguard your licence.

If you agree you may think it is wise to invest in a fairly expensive but accurate breathalyser being sold by Alcosense called the Ultra. It costs a whopping £249.99 but is considered to be one of the most accurate consumer devices. It can be set to the regulations of the country you are in at the time, including France and the US, both of which calculate readings differently.

Once your breath has been detected and analysed by the software algorithm the device will give a reading. It tells you what percentage of alcohol has been detected in your breath then also flashes green, amber or red that indicates whether you are over the limit, under it or completely in the clear.

It also indicates how long it will be before you are fully sober again. So if you are the sort of person who drinks into the wee hours then wonders in the morning if you are safe to drive this could be a valuable investment. By Graham Hill

Had Or Need A Windscreen Replacement? You MUST Read This!

Thursday, 26. May 2016

If you need to have your windscreen replaced you normally check with your insurance company first who has an arrangement with one of the national windscreen replacement services such as Autoglass. The replacement is arranged between your insurer and the replacement company and all you do is pay your excess to the windscreen replacement company at the time the work is carried out.

All pretty straight forward but did you know that after a modern windscreen is replaced, in many instances these days, the driver assistance systems need to be recalibrated. In a report prepared by Autoglass it was found that 68% of motorists were not following advice to have their safety systems, such as autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping assistance, re-aligned after a windscreen has been replaced.

Following a windscreen replacement Autoglass explained that the cameras needed to be re-calibrated to ensure that they were aligned properly. They went on to explain that as little as one degree out could prevent the car from reading the road correctly. It is anticipated that accurate systems have the potential to save 1,100 lives and prevent over 120,000 casualties over the next 10 years. In 2015 just 2% of cars that had windscreen replacements needed to be re-calibrated.

However, by 2020 this is set to rise to over 40% of all new cars having driver assistance systems fitted. They also reported that when drivers were told by them that a re-calibration would be required and they contacted their main dealer the dealer admitted to knowing nothing about this requirement.

As a result Autoglass has rolled out a nationwide calibration programme that means that their technicians will be able to re-calibrate 96% of all cars. Unfortunately the 96% had not included Britain’s biggest selling car, the Nissan Qashqai when a driver recently had a problem following a screen replacement and Autoglass couldn’t fix it. He visited his local dealer who didn’t know what he was taking about.

Fortunately, according to Auto Express, Autoglass came up with their own solution and the car is now working just fine. But it’s a question you must ask after a screen replacement, does the car need to be re-calibrated once the replacement has been carried out? If it isn’t done you could be putting yours and any passengers’ lives at risk. By Graham Hill

The Dangers Of Damaging Authority Property In An Accident

Thursday, 26. May 2016

Now here is something really interesting that proves you can learn something new every day! And this piece of information could affect every single driver with his own insurance as well as companies running fleet cars. It all came about after I read a question regarding 3rd party damage, following a car accident, when the damage is caused to local authority owned property.

For example if you were to hit a road sign or street light or maybe smash into a bollard or worse still damage barriers or even the road surface. I was shocked to read that a company running a fleet of vehicles was billed £46,000 for barrier repairs without realising the length of the replacement barriers.

The warning was raised by claims management company actually called Claims Management & Adjusting. They had found that in particular fleet operators were being targeted by local authorities for some obscene repair costs. As it turned out the claim mentioned was for a much shorter stretch of barrier as the authority had claimed in yards but the length was only a third as the measurement was actually in feet, not as stated in yards.

After pointing it out the claim was written off. The claims company also claimed a success when an invoice for £56,000 worth of re-surfacing work was challenged after obtaining information under the Freedom Of Information Act that showed a larger stretch of road had been repaired for £750.

It would seem that not only are there a few disproportionate claims for damage but Highways England has allowed certain contractors to decide upon charges and repairs without further reference as long as the claims were under a threshold, commonly £10,000. This caused me to look further into this situation and what a can of worms it turned out to be.

Most people are of the opinion that you only have to report an accident to the police and your insurance for the following reasons; if someone has been injured (report to police and insurance), there is a claim going to be made against you by another motorist (insurance only) or you are going to make a claim on your insurance for damage repairs to your own car or your contents/passengers (insurance only).

However, knock down a bollard and cause little or no damage to your car you may think that this is the responsibility of the local authority and simply drive off. In fact you have caused damage to a third party’s property so by driving off you could be committing a criminal offence. But then you may think that no-one saw you so where is the evidence but with CCTV cameras and people with mobile phones everywhere you may find that several weeks later you receive a bill for the damages.

But having not reported the accident to your insurance company within a certain period (see your policy) they may no longer be obliged to pay out. It seems  that it can take several months for a local authority to make a claim against a driver. Whilst I’m told that every car insurance policy will cover you for third party damage, that isn’t just someone else’s car or someone’s front wall, it also covers you for what is known as ‘street furniture’ which includes road signs, bollards, hoardings etc.

But if you fail to meet the terms and conditions of your insurance policy or they can prove contributory negligence you could be facing a hefty repair bill. In addition you are obliged to stop after an accident and pass your details to anyone involved or the owners of property that has been damaged. If there are no casualties you don’t have to involve the police.

However, if you have damaged privately or authority owned property you must report the accident to the police if the owner of the property is not available to take the details from you. So as you can see this is a bit of a minefield and what may have seemed like a minor accident could potentially leave you thousands of pounds out of pocket! By Graham Hill

Roadside Workers To Be Issued With Body Cams

Friday, 22. April 2016

I know we all get a little irritated when we see the sign ahead slowing us down to 40mph and the 3 lanes we were happily trundling along about to reduce to a mere single lane but I didn’t realise that when this happens that the roadworkers are in serious danger.

Not of being run over by an inattentive speeding motorist, although this does happen, but in danger of being duffed up by a motorist who feels annoyed that he has been slowed down, abused, spat at, hit with all sorts of projectiles etc. Labourers near Wivanhoe in Essex have been subject to increasing violence from passing motorists whilst creating a new cycle lane, with one motorist caught brandishing a knuckle duster.

The local council has now followed other councils with similar problems and issued workers with police style body cameras to hopefully act as a deterrent as well as provide proof in the case where an attack takes place leading to a prosecution. Other councils suffering similar problems are in the North East and Midlands leading to the issue of these cameras to workers. Reports of attacks range from workers being punched to being shot at with an air rifle.

Ten companies that carry out roadworks have reported 441 incidents in one year alone, including 174 physical attacks. With this scale of incidents it probably won’t be long before all roadworkers are issued with body cams and even portable CCTV to record any illegal behaviour or attacks by motorists.

A sad reflection on our society when people are just doing their jobs. And if you want to duff up someone find the health & safety pen pusher who decided to cone off 5 miles of road for a hundred yards worth of repair work! By Graham Hill

Does A New MOT Prove That A Car Is Roadworthy?

Friday, 4. March 2016

Did you know that an MOT test certificate does not prove that a car is road legal. Many car dealers believe it does as do most customers. But let’s take an example whereby a used car on a dealer’s forecourt has been on a test drive and hits a pothole that forces the wheel alignment out.
Not so much that you would feel it in the steering but this damage could be the future cause of excessive tyre wear or even worse cause an accident. You test drive the car and agree to buy it. True to his word the dealer has the car MOT tested  before you take delivery but wheel alignment is not part of the MOT test but it is illegal to drive a car whose wheel alignment is out.
If you find the fault, hopefully not after an accident, the dealer will probably say that the car was roadworthy when you bought it because it had a brand new MOT certificate, issued the day you bought it. It’s a con. There are a number of other items that could be wrong with the car making it not roadworthy but are not part of an MOT test.
And if the MOT is 3 months old there is an even greater chance that it may not be roadworthy as an MOT is a snapshot, much can go wrong over 3 months. Finally on this point Trading Standards are considering a formal prosecution of a dealer who sold a car to a customer two and a half years previous to him being involved in an accident.
The accident was caused as a result of the car having a fault that made it not roadworthy which was shown to have existed at the time of purchase. The dealer argued that the car had a new MOT when sold and had been through 2 MOT’s since but the fault was not part of the MOT test so Trading Standards are prosecuting. If the outcome is reported I’ll let you know. By Graham Hill


Fuel Prices Set To Drop To A 6 Year Low

Friday, 11. December 2015

Great news for motorists over Christmas as the oil price riggers, OPEC, fail to agree on output and therefore a price for a barrel of oil so it’s turned out to be a bit of a free for all with the cost of a barrel now dropping below $40.

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This should mean a drop of 5 pence per litre at the pumps for diesel and a drop to less than a £1 per litre for petrol. The average price for diesel is already at a 6 year low at an average of 109.18 pence per litre at the pumps. First to move is expected to be the supermarkets.

Experts suggest that we could be as close as a week away from the price drops whilst others will be reasonably quick to follow. So whilst the producers continue to refuse to cut production we will see a continued drop in prices as the world becomes awash with fuel. To put this into perspective in mid 2014 oil rose to $115 per barrel.

Compared to this time last year the RAC has calculated that we will save on an average fill up £9 on a tank of petrol and £11 on a tank of diesel. Not to be sniffed at. Keep an eye on prices as the Government has asked the sellers to pass on the savings but of course some will refuse so we should avoid using them.

Whilst some commentators have suggested that the rate drops won’t be long lived others have predicted a period of steady price drops till it flattens out around the time that OPEC are due to meet next in June 2016. With production outpacing demand it’s good news for motorists, so fill your boots! As well as your tanks! By Graham Hill

Proposed Changes To The Driving Test – Sensible Or Dopey?

Tuesday, 13. October 2015

You know how sometimes you see an idea and think ‘that is completely dopey.’ Then after a while you think, ‘actually that wasn’t such a bad idea’ but then after further mental analysis decide it was pretty dopey after all? Just me then eh? But this is what I thought when I read an article based on the proposal by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) as the driving test reached its 80th birthday earlier this year.

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They suggested that we should incorporate eco driving into the driving test. Using a scheme similar to that used by Austria of all places. They carry out an initial assessment, as we do, but after a probationary period they carry out a further examination made up of 5 parts. Moving towards dopey. During the probationary period they operate zero tolerance towards driving offences and blood alcohol levels.

Not so dopey, then the new drivers undergo 2 x fifty minute improvement lessons within 2 to 4 months of the first practical test. A day’s further training with a drive psychologist and 2 more 50 minute advanced improvement driving courses complete the test. It all sounds very admirable (and expensive) but with gallons of testosterone flushing around the arteries of our young drivers will all this make the slightest of difference?

Having said that I would like to see all new applicants, as a prequel to their theory test, have to watch the films shown on the speed awareness courses. So summing up I think the idea is pretty dopey and I’m not alone. Graham Hurdle, MD of E-training World pointed out that the driving test has massively evolved since its introduction in 1935 but if we tighten things up too much it will drop the pass rate which would have a substantial effect on the economy as driving keeps business moving (no pun intended).

The driving test can only ever be a snapshot of a driver’s ability at the time he or she takes their test but would the proposals prevent more accidents amongst new drivers? Probably not! If you have a view drop me a note. By Graham Hill

What Does The Expression Real World Actually Mean?

Tuesday, 13. October 2015

Have you ever heard the expression ‘Real World’? It’s used about our royalty, ‘They don’t live in the real world’. When talking about wealthy people, they don’t know what it’s like to be in the real world. Dating men or women on dating sites, it’s not like dating in the real world.

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And so on and so forth, but what is the real world? And where is it? Who are its inhabitants? Just recently journalists and reporters have gone into meltdown over ‘real world’ testing when it comes to emissions from vehicles as well as the miles per gallon they return in test conditions compared to ‘the real world’.

For years What Car has been testing cars in ‘real world’ conditions to provide a more accurate MPG reading. But in my opinion it’s an absolute nonsense because the real world simply doesn’t exist except in the minds of each individual. If a driver was to drive through the middle of London, would that be extra urban conditions in the ‘real world’ or would it be more accurate to drive through the centre of Leeds.

And what time of day would be more accurate? 11.00 in the morning or 5.30 at the height of the rush hour? How would you measure urban or motorway driving. I would measure it on the motorway I use most, the M25 on which I consider it to be my birthday and Christmas combined if I keep moving for the whole of the trip.

OK I might agree that the testing conditions could be tweaked a little which may result in cars seen to be achieving a few miles to the gallon less than currently shown in the manufacturer’s handbooks. But what about CO2 emissions? Supposing we find that the readings have been out by a few grams per kilometre as a result of the changes to the tests to make them ‘real world’ tests?

The Government has set its tables for benefit in kind tax and road tax for the next few years so would drivers be hit with additional costs? Yes, they probably would because the Government can’t suddenly say that they will increase a banding from 99g/km of CO2’s to 109g/km because of miscalculations by car manufacturers.

The changes would affect motorists’ pockets because the Government has already established that they want to pull down CO2 emissions to the 99g/km level and ultimately to zero emissions. Speed, weather conditions, temperature and the driver of the car can all affect the fuel consumption and emissions so should we change the way cars are tested when there are so many variables?

Maybe the activists should be careful for what they wish for. The changes might just come back and bite them, you and other motorists on the bum! The fact is that manufacturers will still continue to try to find ways to improve the emissions of their cars, they are obliged to, irrespective of the way that cars are tested. By Graham Hill

Fewer Traffic Cops = Fewer Motoring Convictions

Wednesday, 22. April 2015

Following on from my notes on the change in law regarding Brits breaking motoring laws in Europe, it would seem that Jonny Foreigner is more likely to get away with offences over here than we are over there as the number of traffic cops in England and Wales has dropped by 23% over the last 4 years.

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In March 2010 the number of traffic cops stood at 5,635 but by March 2014 the number had dropped to 4,356. Some areas have been cut back dramatically, for example Devon and Cornwall have dropped from 539 to just 57 in 2014, a drop of 76% with Essex declining by 71%. The figures have angered the RAC who have said, ‘These figures make a mockery of motoring law.

If there are not enough police on the road, we can introduce all the new rules we want, but those breaking them just will not get caught.’ And to prove the point some figures were recently released that showed the worst speeding culprit to be a moron driving at 128 mph in a 30mph zone exceeding the limit by a mind blowing 98 miles per hour.

The highest recorded speed in the UK was recorded on a camera on the M25 in Kent with two cars hitting 146 miles per hour – twats! The frightening figures were revealed following a Freedom of Information request made by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) following which all but 6 of the 36 police forces across England and Wales responded.

Each force that replied had at least one case of a driver exceeding 110MPH. Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive, said, ‘It was disheartening, to say the least, that some road users are showing such disregard for the safety of all other road users. At speeds of 140 MPH it is simply impossible for an individual to react to anything that might happen in front of him.’ By Graham Hill