3 articles Articles posted in Driving

Is Your Car Ready for Winter? #TestYourTreads

I don’t know if it’s just me, but after a pretty mild Autumn, it feels as though winter has sneaked up on me out of nowhere! Christmas is less than a month away but we’ve only just started wearing proper winter coats and boots and I think this year has been the latest we’ve ever put our heating on too. Living in the countryside means that we have to do certain things to prep for winter; we’re off the grid for gas, so we have to make sure we’ve had a delivery of LPG to last us, and we also use a log burner for heat which means making sure our wood is well seasoned and checking whether we might need to have more delivered.

Obviously, living remotely means that our car is really important to us, too, as we’d be stranded without it, so there are a few things we check there like anti-freeze, low-temperature screen wash and also our tyres. TyrePlus is urging everyone to #TestYourTreads to remind them that tyres which are worn below the legal limit can be even more dangerous in the winter.

Their experts say “Tyres aren’t just those great big rubber things that carry you from A to B. They’re a lot more sensitive than they look which is why we want you to help us spread the message about the importance of giving your tyres the TLC they need. They might look tough (and indeed they are) but deep down, they need a fair bit of looking after. Unfortunately, there are still far too many people who think The 20p Test is something you might find at a fairground amusement arcade.”

“This handy little test actually requires you to pop a 20p coin in the grooves of the tyre and if the outer band of the coin is visible at any point, the treads are below the legal limit. Carrying out simple checks like this one on a regular basis will keep car safety in check, reduce damage to vehicles and help eliminate unnecessary road accidents.”

A lot of people take it for granted that if their MOT is up to date then their tyres MUST be legal but this isn’t always the case, so performing the test above could really help to keep you safe. Also, take a look at any advisories on your last MOT because if your tyres were worn close to the legal limit and noted on your test, there’s a good chance they need replacing.

Obviously, the risks of having unsafe tyres are potentially fatal, so I’m sure I don’t need to reiterate how important it is to check them. What are you waiting for? Check them NOW!

Is Your Vision Good Enough for Driving?

One In Three Brits Risk Driving Ban With Overdue Eye Tests

I’ve been a glasses wearer since I was 11. At primary school, our classes were pretty small, so seeing the blackboard was never an issue, but once I got to senior school, the classes were bigger and suddenly I realised that my vision wasn’t good enough for me to see what was being written on the board. I went for an eye test, and lo and behold, I needed glasses, albeit with a pretty weak prescription. My lenses have got stronger pretty much every year since then, until about 2 years ago when the optician said I’d reached some sort of vision-stasis and that my eyes hadn’t worsened since my last test. However, I still get yearly tests because as a driver, I think it’s massively important.

Vision Express has recently conducted a survey which came up with some, quite frankly, terrifying results. Here’s a video that they’ve made all about it:

New research revealed today by Vision Express has found:

• Almost 30% of UK drivers are overdue an eye test, with 4% admitting to never having had one

• Drivers with uncorrected vision which falls short of legal thresholds face potential insurance invalidation, a heavy fine, penalty license points and even driving disqualification

• On average, Brits will be spending almost three hours in their vehicles en-route to their UK holiday destination and will be travelling with three people, including one child

• There will be increased pressure on UK roads this summer with 50% of Brits families holidaying in the UK, compared with 38% last year

• Brits are more likely to have their cars stocked with drinks and snacks, rather than they are to have had a recent eye test

As drivers, we’re all spot-on when it comes to getting our cars MOT’d to make sure they’re as safe as possible, but that safety-checking should always extend to ourselves – if your eyes aren’t giving you a reliable picture of what you’re seeing, then you’re putting yourself, your family and every other road user in danger. If you cause an accident and other people are injured including any that are in the car with you, you could find yourself facing legal action for whiplash claims and other injuries.

My ability to drive is something which is so essential to us as a family because of where we live; we’re 6 miles from Sausage’s school, 3 miles from the nearest shop and we don’t even really have passable pavements on any of the roads immediately around our house. In an emergency, Husband or I could cycle to get where we needed to go, but transporting ourselves as a family would be very tricky indeed. This means that my eye health is of paramount importance.

Do you make sure you have yearly tests? Are you as shocked as I am about the amount of people driving around with potentially poor vision?! Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear from you.

The Cost of Being a Motorist

Living in the middle of nowhere means that we have no choice but to drive everywhere. The school run alone is 7.6 miles each way, and although I’m working on my fitness I don’t think more than 30 miles of walking a day is hugely realistic for me! Having said that, our current car is getting really old and I’m not hugely confident about the MOT, which means needing to save for something new and that’s not all that easy when you factor in what we’re paying in every month to keep THIS car on the road!

New research by affordable car hire company autoeurope.co.uk reveals British motorists will drive over half a million miles in a lifetime – the equivalent to 22 times around the earth. They
will also fork out £168,880, on running costs of vehicle ownership, have 1,935 rows – and 2,709 episodes of road rage in a lifetime. Scary stats! Here’s a few more for you to get your head around:

When you look at the cumulative cost of having a car, it’s quite shocking to think that we’re all spending that much on it! Having said that, I’ve often said that learning to drive is one of the best things I ever did because of the amount of freedom it’s given me over the years. I’ve had my licence for 14 years and I still love driving, to this day. Aside from the obvious issue of being stranded where we live now, I think I’d be totally lost without a car to use on a daily basis. It’s my little space (and is usually full of empty coffee cups and biltong wrappers, if I’m being totally honest!) and I love it.

Are you a driver? Would you ever consider giving up your car? Do you find the cost of owning a car is just to high these days or are you happy to pay for the privilege of being able to get around independently? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear what you think.