The most common driving faults

Having a bump when parking

Most common when parking or manoeuvring the car, but normally don’t result in more than a few scratches or bumper damage. Our best advice is to take your time, move slowly and use all of your mirrors. Ask your passenger, or even a passer-by, for help guiding you into the space if you’re not sure.

Tailgating

Driving too close to the vehicle in front can result in a rear end collision if the car in front brakes suddenly or you aren’t paying attention. This can be avoided by applying the ‘two second rule’ – leaving a gap of at least two seconds between you and the car in front. And remember “only a fool breaks the two second rule”.

Stopping too close to the car in front

Sitting too close at lights or at junctions can result in being pushed into the vehicle in front in the event of you being hit from behind, or being unable to drive around the vehicle if it breaks down. This can be avoided by stopping so that you can see where the rear wheels of the vehicle in front touch the tarmac. Leave more space if the vehicle in front of you is an HGV.

Speeding

Speeding is the second most common cause of road accidents, after distracted drivers. It may be obvious but to avoid causing any accidents, stay within posted speed limits, and pay attention to the road ahead and your surroundings to identify anything that may cause you to slow down well in advance.

Using your mobile phone

Distractions whilst driving is the biggest cause of road accidents, especially when a driver is using their mobile phone. Drivers have been caught not only texting whilst driving, but also using social media and checking directions. All of these activities involve taking your eyes off the road and diverting your attention away from your surroundings, making you more likely to cause an accident. This endangers not only you, but your passengers, fellow drivers and pedestrians. Our advice is to keep off your mobile phone until you are parked in a safe place.

Tiredness

Driving whilst tired and potentially falling asleep at the wheel can have fatal consequences. The answer is to take regular breaks – a break of 15 minutes for every two hours of driving is about right. Do not attempt to drive long distances if you are already tired.

Not checking your blind spot

Blind spots vary from vehicle to vehicle, so make sure if you’re driving a new or unfamiliar car, that you get know these areas before you start your journey. Remember, your mirrors can’t show you everything so take the time to check your blind spot before changing lines.

Braking too late

Always try and alert the car behind by applying the brake lights early, which should encourage them to increase their following distance. This, combined with travelling at the legal speed and paying attention to your surroundings, are the best ways to avoid a collision.

Poor road positioning

This can cause vision problems for other drivers and their reaction time may be reduced. If another driver cannot see you until the last minute it may cause late braking or collisions, especially on faster roads. Stay within your lane and be cautious of other drivers around you.

Avoiding these common driving faults can ensure that not only you, but your passengers and other drivers, are kept safe on the road.

California to Capri

California dreaming

Not only is California loved by A-listers from Hollywood, but it has also inspired car makers like Volkswagen and Ferrari. The Ferrari California was originally launched in 2008, followed by variants such as California 30 and most recently, California T. 

Reaching 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 196 mph, the California T not only looks great but is pretty powerful, as you would expect from Ferrari. It’s no wonder they named it after a place synonymous with glamour and it certainly wouldn’t look out of place riding down Rodeo Drive. You’ll need the bank balance of Brad Pitt to afford one, with a 2017 model starting from around £127,000.

Desert driving

We’re staying in the USA but travelling south, near the Mexican border for two destinations that inspired Hyundai – Tuscon and Santa Fe. Both large, 4×4 models, with the Tuscon the smaller, compact SUV of the two.

Both are well-equipped to handle all terrains, especially the hot climate of places they’re named after. There are many similarities between the two models, with size and price being the main difference, with a used Santa Festarting at around £23,000 and £14,000 for a Tuscon. The two locations, situated near the Mexican border, have similarities too with both steeped in Spanish history. Which leads us on to our next destination…

Woah, we’re going to Ibiza!

Being Spanish, it’s not hard to see why SEAT has a long history in naming its cars after towns and cities in Spain, from the likes of Leon, Toledo and Altea. But by far the most iconic of SEAT’s offerings is the Ibiza.

Named after the party loving island, both car and location are popular with the younger generation. The Ibiza is a great, sporty number and not too pricey! The 3-door option is perfect as a first car for someone who likes to be seen. Most modern models come in a variety of colours, sound system upgrades and all the gadgets.

Classic Capri

It’s a 2-hour plane journey from Ibiza to our next destination, Capri, an island in the Province of Naples. We’re also going back in time to the days of the Ford Capri, first released back in 1968. It was a highly successful model for Ford, going on to sell nearly 1.9 million in its 18-year run. Very much a classic car these days, depending on the condition and spec, a classic Capri can cost between £10,000 and £34,000.

Road to Rio

It’s time to get into the carnival spirit and head to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the small compact from Kia. The Kia Rio is now in its fourth generation from the South Korean manufacturer since its original launch in 2000 and competes with the likes of the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and Skoda Fabia. If you’re looking for a 2017 model, prices start from around £8,000 – £9,000.

Its namesake is a little more vibrant, known for its carnival, samba and beaches. It is one of the most visited cities in the world, with tourists flocking there every year to visit the many iconic landmarks including Christ the Redeemer.

Come to Cambridge

For the last stop on our world tour, we’re heading back home to the UK for the Austin Cambridge. Not only was it named after the university city in England, it was also British made in Oxford. Production of the Austin Cambridge ran for 17 years, in a range of body styles. Deluxe versions had heaters, leather seats and carpet, with a radio and clock as optional extras.

Cambridge itself is most famous for the world-renowned University of Cambridge, founded in 1209. Famous Cambridge alumni include Charles Darwin, Sir David Attenborough, Stephen Hawking and Prince Charles.

New technology for easier and safer driving

Here’s just a few examples of new technology becoming a standard feature in new cars.

Some basic features for new cars are systems that assist you with your everyday driving, but just that little bit better and safer. Some of the most common are Brake Assist systems.

These use cameras or radar technology to be aware of other vehicles and pedestrians around your car. It allows the car to brake in the safest and quickest way, supporting what you’d want to happen. Nissan for example has their ProPILOT that combines advanced image processing technology using four high-resolution cameras along with information from 12 ultrasonic sensors around the car.

This advanced driving assistant uses the information on the traffic and road conditions data supplied by the technology to automatically control the distance to the vehicle in front. It also steers the vehicle to help you keep to the centre of the lane.

An added and very helpful feature is its fully auto-parking system to help you squeeze into that small parking space. Keep your eye on that in the future – there are currently parking systems in development where you can park the car while you’re not even in it!

Modern drivers have long become used to cruise control, where with a flick of a switch you can set your speed on the motorway and take your foot off the accelerator, but now there’s Adaptive Cruise Control available.

This is often linked to a Stop&Go function and regulates the car’s speed depending on traffic flow, even allowing for drivers to come to a complete stop and then start again automatically. Even such things as the headlights are being developed with new tech to improve them. The new Matrix LED Headlights are extremely useful. Not only do they provide precise illumination of the road but they reduce the risk of dazzling other road users by automatically switching individual LEDs in the headlight unit on and off or dimming them as necessary.

More traditional tech has improved too. Audi are continuing to develop their All-Wheel-Drive system which provides outstanding grip with the road in both extreme and every day conditions. It was developed through Audi motorsport engineering, with Quattro being the cornerstone of their philosophy. Today it brings safety, sportiness and performance to everyday driving.

Drivers Need to Develop Too

There is a downside to all this in-car technology. A recent survey revealed that it is evolving faster than the typical driver’s understanding. So, it’s not unusual for owners to be missing out on the benefits of features that they may have paid more than £1,300 for.

It highlights the importance of a good dealer, who’s willing to spend the time with you when you buy the car (and perhaps at a later date), to take you through all that amazing tech. But as we’ve seen, this new technology can help make driving easier and safer, and is definitely here to stay.