27 May 2016


Safety should be your priority when getting out on the roads with a new motorbike for the first time. However, it never seems to work out like that. Once you get that feeling you need to get on your bike, it’s tempting to cut some corners. And, if you have passed your test, what could go wrong? The trick is to get your gear before you get your first bike. It’s that simple - and here are some of the things you will need to ensure your safety.

#1 Full-face helmet

Don’t think that you will get away with wearing a shorty for your first year or so of motorcycling. You still have a lot to learn - and you will fall off your bike. An open face helmet is going to lead to serious injury if you are even slightly unlucky, which is more than likely when you are just starting out. So, go for a proper defence with a full-face helmet - and don’t save on the cost. Cheap helmets are inexpensive for a reason - they are next to useless. A good helmet will save your life - so there’s just no contest in quality.

#2 Proper riding clothing

First of all, in your first year of riding, you are going to come off - perhaps, even, on many different occasions. In simple terms, it's going to hurt, and even the slightest graze on the knee can affect your biking technique. You need to be comfortable, and you need protection. Think about heavy duty Rukka Trousers or something similar to give you the protection you need. Also, get a heavy set leather jacket to protect your elbows and upper body. Again, it’s worth investing a little in something that looks great and feels perfect.

#3 Boots

Footwear is just as important as anything else you will wear. But, they are especially important if you are riding a fast bike rather than a cruiser. Sportbike riders should look for something lightweight and durable. There is a huge array of technology involved in riding boots these days. The trick is to find something that you feel comfortable with, so head down to your local bike store.

#4 Something for the rain

When you live in the UK, you have always got to be ready for rain. It’s just the way it is - and without protection, you will regret it. Leather isn’t the greatest material when it comes to water, so get something waterproof to ensure it stays dry. We know of bikers getting caught in thunderstorms miles from home, with no option other than to ride on. The added water in their leathers almost doubled their weight - so think carefully before skipping the kagool section in TK Maxx.

#5 Sunglasses

Finally, always have a good pair of shades. For a start, no biker worth their salt would go without. But, it’s also a much safer way of biking when the sun is out, and the roads are looking hazy. It only takes a stray reflection to hit your eye at the wrong angle, and you could be toast.

Image source: Flickr / Adam Kuśmierz

5 Essential Pieces of Gear For First Time Motorcycle Owners

23 May 2016


Although more than half (58%) of Brits would recognise they’re too sick to work, they would still get behind the wheel of their car, according to new research.

The survey, conducted by car finance specialist Zuto, asked 1,003 motorists about their attitudes towards driving while suffering from the effects of ten common conditions, only to find that while nearly of half of Brits (47%) would call in sick after breaking an arm, over a fifth (21%) would continue to drive.

Meanwhile, 38% of Brits would call in sick if suffering from sciatica yet 53% would still be happy to hit the road - in extreme cases, the illness can cause stiff or weak legs. Not ideal for quick reactions if needed.

Furthermore, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) motorists said they would take to the roads when they had a cold/flu, risking the effects of the illness and its treatments.

Overall, the results showed that while a third (36%) of motorists would consider themselves too ill to work, over half (58%) of Brits would still get behind the wheel.

Encouraging safety on the roads, Zuto wants to ensure that UK drivers are fully aware of the perils to themselves and others when driving with common illnesses.

Christine Davies, a pharmacy technician of over 20 years, said:
Quite a lot of people aren't aware that the medicines they're taking can have an effect on their concentration and could cause drowsiness.

The thing to remember is that all drugs have some side effects, but they aren't the same for everyone and can interact with other regular medications. The main thing is if you're taking anything new, and you start to feel unusual in any way, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

The illnesses Brits say they drive with:

Illness
Potential Issues
Cold/Flu 86%
Slowed reactions, alertness and uncontrolled sneezing
Ear Infection 80%
Pain, nausea, reduced hearing and potential dizziness
Back Pain 69%
Painkillers used to treat can cause dizziness and slowed reactions
Tonsillitis/Glandular Fever 64%
Extreme fatigue and fever
Kidney Infection 58%
High levels of pain fever, chills, fatigue, nausea and diarrhoea
Sciatica/Trapped Nerve 53%
Extreme cases can cause stiff or weak legs
Eye Infection 52%
Potential blurred vision
Migraine 46%
Nausea, impaired vision, Sensitivity to light and sound and slowed mental processing
Sickness & Diarrhoea 46%
Fever and stomach discomfort
Broken arm 21%
Reduced range of movement
Ailments which can cause visual impairments were met with worrying indifference by off-colour drivers. Nearly half (46%) of those suffering from a migraine – with symptoms including blurred vision – still felt it was safe to drive, while 52% of those with eye infections said they’d be happy to risk a trip on the roads.

A further breakdown of the results showed that just under one in three (29%) said they’d only drive for journeys they would describe as necessary, for example taking the kids to school. While around quarter (23%) of people said they’d still carry on with their daily tasks, like going to the supermarket, when feeling unwell.

Ryan Dignan from Zuto said:
Many of us follow the weekly routine of driving to work, doing the school run and stocking up on groceries, but when illness hits, it’s vital that we pay attention to the effect it’s having on us.
Taking to the roads with blurry vision or whilst distracted by pain is just as dangerous as the more obvious risks like speeding. Our guide highlights the dangers of common illness we’re likely to ignore, so we’re encouraging all drivers to start paying attention to those little things that can have a big effect.
To find out if it’s safe to drive when suffering from and being treated for common illnesses, go to the Zuto website https://www.zuto.com/blog/too-sick-to-drive/.

Brits Would Call In Sick With a Broken Arm - But Refuse to Stop Driving!

20 May 2016

When it’s time to buy a new car, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of things, and settle on a model which isn’t quite right for you. Obviously, any new car is cause for celebration. However, sometimes it’s better to be patient. There are a number of exciting new cars coming out over the next few years that are well worth the wait!

#1 BMW 5 Series

Image source: Navigator84 / Wiki

The executive saloon class is pretty competitive these days, especially with the release of the new Mercedes E-Class. BMW certainly have an idea of the stakes, which is why the upcoming 5 Series is looking so good. This gorgeous saloon is going to have to compete with the E-Class’s great drivability, and limo-like interior luxury. The 5 Series will include high-tech features like gesture control for the infotainment and semi-autonomous driving. These are carried on from the revolutionary 7 Series. BMW have also announced they’ll be shaving off 100kg from the whole vehicle, meaning the fuel economy will be greatly improved. While there’s no telling until we drive it, the 5 Series certainly looks like it’s going to be something special.

#2 Ford Fiesta

Image source: Ford Europe / Flickr
Earlier versions of the Fiesta are an incredibly common sight. If you’ve ever driven one, you’ll know exactly where that popularity comes from! The new MK8 Fiesta is due to be released in early 2017, and drivers all over the world are expected to flock to the dealerships. The new release will be much lower than the previous versions, giving it a much sleeker shape that will make you forget you’re driving a supermini! The information that’s been released is limited. However, Ford are expected to take an evolutionary route, with a modernised interior and advanced tech. This brand has never been known for reinventing the wheel. You can expect the 2017 Fiesta to be just as reliable, practical and spacious as their previous versions.



#3 Ford F150 Raptor

Image source: João Paulo / Flickr
Ford aren’t just looking out for their casual, sub-urban drivers. Off-roading junkies have got a present to look forward to as well! The Raptor has always been a favourite among pickup lovers, and the amount of hype for the 2017 version is only continuing to mount. The new F150 Raptor will include a 360-degree camera, an improved 4x4 chassis and torque, as well as a more advanced infotainment system. If older Raptors are anything to go on, this model will be a versatile, comfortable truck, both off the road and on it. The 2017 version will be up-sized, with larger doors and more cabin space, as well as gnarly-looking skid plate. I didn’t think these trucks could look any more mean until I saw these recent images! Pictures of the interior aren’t all that impressive, despite the added tech. However, I’m sure that’s not what you’d buy a pickup for!

There you have just a few of the most anticipated cars on our radar. More and more models are being talked about all the time. Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s coming over 2017 and beyond!

3 Cars To Look Out For In 2017

19 May 2016


Recent research conducted by Experian has revealed a boom in used car sales, with the number of used cars sold in Great Britain increasing by as much as 7% in the final quarter of 2015… that’s 1.63 million cars.

North East Sees Largest Rise in Used Car Sales in UK

The region that saw the largest growth in the number of used car sales was the north east, where sales were up 8.3% year-on-year. Scotland’s rise, at 4.1%, was the lowest of all the regions in Great Britain.

New cars have seen a large rise in the number of registrations in the past few years thanks to a slight economic recovery. This rise, that started in 2012, has now seen those new cars returned as used ones as part of the traditional cycle, where owners part-exchange their car before its first MOT.

Sale of Cars Up to Three Years Old Rises by 11%

This partly explains why the number of cars sold that are up to three years old has soared by 11%, with people looking to buy slightly used models. By contrast, the number of people buying cars that are between 6 and 9 years old has tumbled by almost 6%.

In many cases, it appears as though many people are selling their vehicles before their finance deal matures properly, which is causing an influx of cars that are almost three years old coming to the market.

The Way We Buy Cars is Changing

This represents a change in British car buying behaviour and is in part due to the rise of Personal Contract Purchases (PCPs), which help split car prices into affordably monthly payments. For many, new cars and nearly new cars are now far more affordable than they’ve ever been previously and people now no longer have to settle for a used car that’s 3-5 years old.

By buying newer cars, many believe that they’re getting a much better deal, even if they have to pay a little more. This is because the age of the car, and the fact that it will still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty and doesn’t need an MOT means that less is likely to go wrong.

The Trend Looks Likely to Stay

Overall, the thirst for newer cars has fuelled the rise of retailers who specialise in selling nearly new cars. According to the data, this is a trend that also looks set to stay. This is because the strong performance in the final quarter of 2015 follows a more modest increase in the third quarter of the year, when used car sales increased by 1.1% year-on-year to 1.88 million.

Why Used Car Sales are on the Rise

17 May 2016


Leading innovators in the field of engine technologies from Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be showcasing products to help improve the efficiency of the next generation of vehicles in the UK Pavilion at Engine Expo 2016, Messe Stuttgart, Germany, 31 May - 2 June 2016.

The research and development work carried out by the exhibitors is being aided by Britain’s unique innovation landscape, where industry and government work together in conjunction with a range of support including funding. Support organisations involved in the UK Pavilion are the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), Innovate UK, the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) and the Niche Vehicle Network (NVN).

The exhibiting companies and the new technologies being showcased are as follows:

Advanced Innovative Engineering

Clean, efficient and economical lightweight Wankel rotary engine for hybrids/range-extenders or as a primary power unit

Aeristech

Fully electric turbocharger and eSupercharger technology and compressors for automotive fuel cell applications

Bladon Jets

Micro-turbine and air bearing technology for use in automotive range-extenders or for static power units

Brunel University London

Industry-led research, bridging the gap between the lab and the marketplace to accelerate manufacturing implementation

Catagen

Catalyst technology allows the testing of full size after-treatment systems and components under a wider range of conditions encompassing WLTC Real Driving Emissions

Cella Energy

Advanced materials and technologies company has developed a safe hydrogen storage material that releases hydrogen when heated

Cosworth

High performance, low carbon powertrain engineering solutions for global OEMs and motorsport teams

Dearman Engine Company

Using liquid air to deliver zero-emission power and cooling

Equipmake

Prototype motor, hybrid and electric system design & development

GKN Hybrid Power

Gyrodrive composite flywheel hybrid technology reduces fuel consumption and emissions

Oaktec

Pulse-R multi-gas engine delivers exceptional results in terms of performance, emissions and fuel efficiency

Prodrive

Engine development capability showcased by Aston Martin Vulcan

RML Group

Motorsport and high performance automotive engineering company has developed the 400bhp 3-cylinder 1.5-litre powertrain for the Nissan ZEOD RC

Sunamp

Heat batteries for vehicle heat recovery, storage and re-use – for applications ranging from improving ICE efficiency to extending EV range.

The UK Pavilion will include an Aston Martin Vulcan with a V12 engine developed by Prodrive and a Westfield sports car with a new rotary engine developed by AIE.

Ian Constance, CEO, Advanced Propulsion Centre said:

The UK Pavilion at Engine Expo 2016 shows that automotive supply chain companies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have a real strength in the area of innovation, and we have the support required to help these companies bring their technologies to market. The exhibiting companies also demonstrate that the UK is a global centre of excellence for low carbon propulsion development and production.
More information can be found about all the exhibiting companies at Engine Expo 2016 at: www.apcuk.co.uk/engine-expo

The UK Pavilion (stand number 3320) is supported by the GREAT Britain campaign. The campaign showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer, and welcomes the world to visit, study and do business with the UK.

www.greatbritaincampaign.com

UK’s Leading Engine Technology Innovators to Showcase Products at Engine EXPO 2016

11 May 2016


MINI today has launched its latest design model, MINI Seven.

Taking its name from the very first Mini, the 1959 Austin Seven, MINI Seven has been developed to showcase both the distinctive style inspired by the original Mini and the current modern values of the brand.

MINI Seven joins the current generation MINI Hatch range in 5-door or 3-door form with specially designed exterior and interior looks unseen before on this generation’s model line-up.

MINI Seven is instantly recognisable by its striking MINI Yours body finish which comes as standard in Lapisluxury Blue - the most intensive blue tone ever applied to a MINI. Three other body finishes from the MINI paint range are also available to choose from; Pepper White, Midnight Black and British Racing Green.

A Melting Silver roof and exterior mirror caps come as standard contrasting with the distinctive body finishes. MINI Seven door sill finishers and side scuttles with the MINI Seven logo as well as 17-inch light alloy wheels in exclusive MINI Seven Spoke two-tone design complete the exterior look.



For those wanting to add their own personal style to the exterior design of MINI Seven, bonnet stirpes in Melting Silver with surround in Malt Brown are also available as an option.

Inside, the eye-catching design cues continue with sports seats in the fabric/leather finish Diamond Malt Brown, designed exclusively for MINI Seven.


There is also a MINI Seven logo on the central instrument which surrounds the MINI Visual Boost 6.5’’ colour display which also comes as standard alongside MINI Connected, Bluetooth Handsfree with USB audio, floor mats, MINI Excitement Pack, automatic dual-zone air conditioning and storage compartment pack.

In addition to the high quality standard equipment offered, MINI Seven has its own bespoke option pack, the MINI Seven Chili. The MINI Seven Chili offers customers MINI Yours features such as the Lounge Leather Upholstery in Carbon Black and the MINI Yours Steering Wheel in Walk Nappa leather with a waxed hand stitched seem.

The MINI Seven Chili pack also offers additional features which are unique in the small car segment including LED headlights, multifunction controls for the steering wheel and cruise control with brake function.



Additional optional equipment from the MINI range is also available to further customise MINI Seven. This includes the popular panorama glass roof, windscreen heating, front driver and passenger seat heating, the Harmon Kardon hi-fi speaker system as well as MINI Connected XL and MINI Navigation System.

MINI Seven will be have its first UK premiere at Goodwood Festival of Speed on the MINI stand from 23-26th June with orders being taken now.

Prices start for MINI 3-door Seven from £18,545 OTR and from £19,145 for MINI 5-door Seven.

The New MINI Seven

9 May 2016


Whether you’re planning to travel across the UK or make the trip abroad, you need to make sure your vehicle is in a suitable condition. Without taking proper care, you could run into all sorts of problems. Before you know it, you’ll end up broken down on the side of the road, which is definitely something you don’t want to experience! So, you’re going to have to follow a few crucial tips if you want to turn a potential travel nightmare into a positive holiday experience.

Of course, the main thing you need to consider is vehicle maintenance. You should be checking your vehicle on a regular basis as it is, but this is especially the case when you’re going on long journeys. Make sure the oil is checked on a regular basis, or you could end causing severe consequences to your vehicle. Also, ensure the wheels are adequately equipped with enough air according to the requirements in the manual. Keep your washer fluid topped up so you can deal with any messy marks on the windscreen too. Just a few basic checks are all that’s needed before you go away.

If there are any repairs that need to be done to your vehicle before you go away, get them booked in ASAP. You don’t want to be hoping for the best when you’re expecting to have a nice holiday. Get your car serviced by a local mechanic, and make sure you’re picking a reputable one. You also need to ensure the basics like tax and MOT are covered, or you could find yourself getting into trouble. Nothing screams “bad holiday” like being stopped by the police on your way there.

You also need to think whether your current vehicle is even suitable for what you intend it to do. If your entire family is coming with you on a nationwide trip, can you really accommodate them? It might be simpler to think about minibus hire or something to that effect. I try to limit the amount of travelling I do in my car because I know it’s not in the best condition. If yours is the same way, you’re going to have to think long and hard about whether it’s a safe option. You shouldn’t be travelling at all if you can’t guarantee the safety of those around you.

Instead of using your vehicle to get around, you could always use public transport instead. Trains and busses are great alternatives. If you can’t rely on your vehicle, this might be your best bet. As long as you find the right deals by browsing online first, you might even save a bit of money in the process!

If you’re certain that your vehicle is ready and it’s up to scratch, it’s time to get out there! Remember to drive safely at all times, obeying the speed limits and taking proper care. Always take adequate rest stops to ensure your concentration doesn’t slip. If you’re feeling tired at any point, you should find a place to rest overnight.

Is Your Vehicle Ready For A Long Trip?

2 May 2016

So here we are again, its round 2 of my second DMAX season and it was time to head back to Sandown Park. As a karting circuit it is essentially my home track, it is the place I did my first proper outdoor karting and certainly the place I truly fell in love with the sport. As you might imagine, I do know the track pretty well having raced there a lot and also had the pleasure of a Daytona karting masterclass there but does that mean I was faster than everyone else? Sadly not, but it was a great round.

The Track

My history at Sandown involves a fair few arrive and drive evening sessions in the 4 stroke sodi karts and the previous model of kart too. It is also where I enjoyed racing against Damon Hill and all sorts of celebs like Heston Blumenthal at the Halow Charity events and others.It is a track with one hell of a start finish straight that leads into one hell of a first corner. Turn 1 is a long sweeping corner that turns you a full 180 degrees and the debate about how fast you can tackle it can always be heard rumbling on between new drivers at the track. In a DMAX kart personally I don't think you can take it flat as the kart just starts losing grip but this could be because I don't weigh very much. In a Sodi kart you can definitely take it flat and it's a great feeling, but don't try it in the wet!

There is then a mix of tight turns and sweeping corners as well as a couple of tricky complexes that take some time to learn. Every time I race there I think I learn something new and this DMAX race was no different.

It's All About the Brakes

So, in light of my plan this season to learn more and take on advise this race was going to be all about the brakes. So many people had watched my videos and said I was just not braking hard enough soon enough. In a car you would start braking then gradually increase the pressure up until the lock up point then perhaps release a little before hitting the throttle to come out of a corner. Being primarily a car driver this is how I have been braking since I started karting. What the advice I have been getting says is that in a kart you need to literally stamp on the brake, lock up the wheels and then release a little before hitting the gas.This may sound simple but it carries with it a big risk of spinning.

Because a kart's brakes only act on the back wheels when you lock them up it will naturally try to spin, if you are even slightly turning into a corner and do this the kart will start making it's way very rapidly into a 180 turn that is not great from a racing point of view. So the big trick with this kind of braking is to be ready for the spin and be good enough to control it; and here lies the skill. If you are about to head out on your first ever karting session I would not advise trying this, you will probably get a black flag and asked to stop because you would be considered out of control. However, if like me, you have done a lot of karting but simply can't get that extra bit of pace then its time to push the limits.

Did It Work?

In short, yes. I was shy at first but as I got a few practice laps in I started to try this new technique and I managed to hold onto the kart and keep racing. It was pretty scary feeling the kart fully locked up and starting to spin but a touch of lock in either direction and releasing the brake seemed to allow me to turn in and carry through a lot more speed. In terms of lap times, last year's race was on a partially wet track so it is hard to compare but I feel I was a lot faster than I normally am at Sandown.

The Race

As always the heats were a mixed bag but generally a good one.I felt good on the track and apart from the people who are super quick I was able to hold my ground with a lot of drivers and it felt great. During the heats you start at different points on the grid and I started in 4th for one race. for a very short moment after some contact at turn 1 I actually shot into the lead. Now, I knew I was not going to stay there but it was a very surreal moment to be racing in DMAX and not have anyone in front of me. As you might imagine, it didn't take long for Jake Butler, Tim Sibley and Tom Golding to new a few were making their way past me but I really felt pretty comfortable up there and the usual apologetic letting people past didn't happen, I think I finally feel I deserve to be on the grid.

The Final

Sadly, due to a spin which is rather painfully captured on the official video below I came last in the final but I managed some better positions during the heats so it was not quite as bad as it sounds. I also had a great tussle with a few people at the back so I got some really good racing in as well as trying out my new braking technique.


Next!

Round 2 was a great days racing, it was an even better test bed for some great racing advice and it gave me a brief glimpse of what it is like to lead a race....all in all a great day!

If you want to have a crack at karting at any level then head to https://www.daytona.co.uk/ you can try some simple arrive and drive, or you could get in touch with them about joining me at one of the DMAX rounds...go on, I dare you!

Round 2 - 2016 TW Steel Daytona DMAX Championship - Sandown Park

27 April 2016


Becoming a driver is one of the most important things you can do in your life. And you need to make sure you take it seriously. That means following all the necessary paths you need to take to be a sensible and safe driver. Here is a list of a few of the vital things you’re going to need as a driver.

#1 Insurance

You have to realise that there are certain legal requirements that you need as a driver. And one of their big ones is making sure that you have the correct car insurance. This is a pain in the neck for many drivers, and something they’d rather get out of the way as soon as possible. You need to make sure you sort out the right insurance for the best possible price. Use price comparison websites and feedback from other drivers to help you accomplish this.

#2 Training to Drive Other Vehicles

Something you do need to realize is that driving a car is different put to driving other vehicles. Just because you passed your test doesn’t mean you can drive a minibus! On the contrary, you’ll need to get MiDAS driver training if you want to be able to do that. You need to understand the importance of this. Make sure you have the proper training and a valid license to drive other types of vehicles. This is essential for making sure you can safely drive and operate these other vehicles.

#3 The Right Car

It’s so important to make sure you have the right car when you're driving. A lot of people make mistakes because they pick cars that look great but don’t deliver. You need to think about the whole history of a vehicle and whether it stands up to testing. It needs to be safe, secure and reliable on the roads. You should do your homework and read up on what makes the perfect car for you. Dependability is more important than driving something flashy. And you need to bear this in mind if you’re serious about getting a car that lasts years.

#4 Patience

Bear in mind that being a driver can be a stressful experience. Sure, it’s excellent because you can finally drive after all this time!  But there is a lot involved in actually getting out on the roads and reading your destination. And you will experience issues with traffic, road works, and other drivers. So you need to remember to be patient and understanding. If you get stressed and angry this could make the situation worse and lead to accidents or road rage! Try to remain cool, calm and collected at all times.

This is a list of just a few of the vital things you’re going to need as a driver. So many people learn to drive every year, and the roads are getting busier. That’s one of the reasons why all the points listed on here are so crucial. Make sure you enjoy your driving experience, and that you’re always safe and sensible behind the wheel.

4 Vital Things You'll Need as a Driver

26 April 2016


The Young Driver Challenge 2016 is ready to launch, with the aim of finding Britain’s best young drivers – and this year it’s lowered the entry age to just 10.

The Challenge is run by Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, and opens to entries on 30th April 2016. The scheme has recently started offering lessons to 10 year olds, and so this year those who have just hit double figures will, for the first time, be able to take part.

The competition, which is in its third year, aims to find the best young drivers in the country – but they must be aged between 10 and their 17th birthday. Youngsters can enter at one of Young Driver’s 43 sites across England, Scotland and Wales, from now until the end of July.

The Challenge aims to encourage youngsters to consider responsible and safe driving, with top marks given to those who show the best levels of control and awareness. Entrants drive a real, dual-control SKODA car, with an instructor, and are marked on driving skills and manoeuvres, including parallel parking, figures of eight, turn in the road, steering, judgement and positioning.A second, knowledge-based part of the test is taken via the Goodyear Driving Academy, an online driving simulator which tests a youngsters’ ability to cope with everyday driving distractions as well as quizzing them on road safety and the Highway Code.

The top 40 drivers, with 20 from the 10-13 age category and 20 14-16 year olds, will then be invited to a grand final, which will be held for the first time on the special driving training track at the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire on 3rd September.  Prizes include Young Driver lessons, ‘on the road’ post-17 driving lessons courtesy of Goodyear, remote control cars provided by SKODA, and £500 off a car insurance premium courtesy of Young Driver sponsor Admiral. There will also be a special Admiral Award for the young driver who shows the best attitude, with a £200 cash prize.


The winner of the 2015 11-13 age category, Callum McNeilly, now 13, from Swadlincote in Derbyshire, said:
I have loved cars from a very small age and have always wanted to drive. When I took my first Young Driver lesson in September 2014, I was extremely excited to be in control of a car under road like conditions. It may seem odd to some people that I was driving from such a young age, but I personally believe that it will have a huge impact on my safety and skill when I take to the roads at 17. I still can’t believe I won the Young Driver of the Year Competition 2015 – there were so many excellent competitors.  I had to take on various different manoeuvres and demonstrate my driving skills in areas such as parallel parking, tight steering, emergency braking and slaloming as well as independent driving whilst obeying signs. It certainly put me to the test!
Kim Stanton, who heads up Young Driver, added:
People would be amazed at the level of skill these young drivers show. The aim of Young Driver has always been to create a safer next generation of youngsters on the roads. At the moment one in five have an accident within six months of passing their test and 400 people are killed each year in the UK in accidents involving young drivers. The current, traditional way of educating youngsters is clearly not working. We strongly believe that by educating young people from a younger age, and over a longer period of time, you create much safer drivers – and the research figures back us up, proving it halves their risk of having an accident. The Young Driver Challenge gives us the opportunity to celebrate the hard work these youngsters put in and to show the world how responsible and safe youngsters can be behind the wheel given the proper tuition and experience. We look forward to receiving lots of entries – the final is always the highlight of our year!
Motoring expert and presenter Quentin Willson said:
My 11-year-old daughter took part in last year’s challenge and I’m proud to say she’s doing it again this year. The Young Driver Challenge helps kids learn that driving should be a craft not a chore.
For more information about the challenge, or to book a Young Driver lesson, please log on to www.youngdriver.eu or call 0844 371 9010.

Young Driver was established in 2009 and has now provided more than 300,000 lessons to young people across Great Britain.

Youngsters Gear Up to be the Best Driver - From Age 10!

20 April 2016


There have never been more cars on our roads, and that brings with it a lot more safety concerns. Road accidents, car accidents and personal injury are becoming more and more common, and it’s a tough situation to be in.

It can be hard to know what to do next, and even harder to get back on the roads again. If you’ve been in a car accident of any kind and have sustained a minor injury, how do you recover from that? The answer is to stay calm, stay focused, and follow these 5 key steps.

#1 At the scene of the accident, never accept fault

If you are feeling pressured into accepting fault by the other driver, do not, under any circumstances. This could make you the liable party if the case progresses to court. Instead, don’t say anything, don’t become angry or aggressive, and stay calm. Getting worked up will only make the situation worse.

#2 Take pictures of the scene, write down details, and get contact details

What you should do, however, is get as many details as possible as soon after your accident. You should ask the other drivers involved for their contact details, insurance details and anything else to get in touch with them. You should also take a picture of the scene (before and after if possible) before anything gets moved or the picture changes.

It’s also worth speaking to eyewitnesses and asking them for any contact details. This can help the authorities clarify who is at fault and precisely what happened.

#3 Make a claim

You’ll need to submit an insurance claim, and a personal injury claim. Every type of claim, from whiplash injury claims to road accident claims, is different and need treating differently. Getting legal advice will help you out in this scenario, just in case you aren’t sure what to do next.

In terms of insurance, there are a few types of claim - not at fault, and at fault, for example. If you aren’t at fault, your insurance company should have any car damage repaired through one of their own garage connections. This saves you the hassle of doing this yourself, and saves you the costs.

If you were at fault, however, you won’t get away with paying nothing. Your insurance premiums could increase, and you’ll have to contribute to repairs and other incurred costs.

#4 Improve the safety of your vehicle, if applicable

Was the accident caused by a faulty brake light? Are your wheels not gripping the road properly? Whatever the case, see that your car is returned to 100 percent shape. The only good thing about this accident is that you will learn just how safe your vehicle is. If it was the car itself that caused your injury - i.e. no airbags, poor headrest - be sure to fix it.

#5 Learn from any mistakes you may have made, and move on

One of the hardest things about a road accident is getting back on the road afterwards. It can be tough to regain your confidence and start driving normally again. You have to try and overcome this, and get back out there. If you’re a new driver, be sure you’re familiar with the highway code and the rules of the road. You may have made a mistake, but if you learn from it, you’ll be an even stronger driver than before.

Image source: Pictures of Money / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0

Injured In A Car Accident? Read Our 5 Top Tips on What To Do Next

19 April 2016


Volkswagen campervans have always stood for peace and freedom: the chance to just drive away, follow your dreams and seek adventures. The most recent iteration of the classic camper, the California, is no different, and that’s why Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is giving would-be adventurers the chance to win their California dream through a new Facebook competition.

From Wednesday (20 April) until 4 May, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will be posting images of the California hidden in stunning landscapes on its Facebook page www.facebook.com/VolkswagenCommercialVehiclesUK.

The images – taken by award-winning photographer Harry Cory-Wright – show locations from the Peak District to the Alps, and the Dolomites to Tuscany – and, if you look carefully enough, you’ll spot the campervan. For your chance to win your perfect getaway, simply ‘like’ the competition post on Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ Facebook page and add a comment or a picture of your own California dream.

From all the entrants who share their dream, the winner will be drawn at random and subsequently enjoy the loan of a California Ocean for a week in Europe or the UK (full Ts & Cs are on the competition page on Facebook).

At the same time, a campaign will be running in Volkswagen Van Centre California specialists (see https://www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk/find-a-van-centre for details) promoting the new model, and helping aspiring buyers to convert their California dreams to reality.

Based on the sixth-generation Transporter which went on sale in the UK last September, the new California remains the only factory-built camper van on the market. The latest model – and fourth to bear the California name – builds on the strengths of its highly successful predecessors. The range incorporates all the key features introduced on the new Transporter T6, including new, more efficient engines that are up to 15 per cent more economical than the outgoing units. The new California also features a range of advanced technologies designed to make life safer and even more enjoyable for occupants. These include driver assistance systems, a completely refreshed infotainment system and the availability of adaptive suspension.

To enter the competition go to www.facebook.com/VolkswagenCommercialVehiclesUK. For more information on the California, visit www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk/findthecalifornia.

A Chance to Win Your Very Own Volkswagen California Dream!

 
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