Driving requires a high level of concentration to stay safe, be aware of hazards and react accordingly. Yet a lot of drivers become distracted when behind the wheel, whether due to being in a rush on the morning commute and attempting to drink coffee or losing focus and letting their mind wander.
Recently the law changed to clamp down on distracted driving by increasing the penalty to six points and a £200 fine for those using a phone. But there are many other driver distractions that can prove just as dangerous. At HPI we looked into what the top driver distractions and bad habits are.
A tougher set of MOT test rules will be introduced on 20 May, making it harder for your car to get through the annual roadworthiness check. We’ll detail what those changes are below, but if you need to get up to speed on what the MOT is and how it works, our previous blog on the MOT systemwill reveal all – our article onhow to decipher your car’s MOT history is also worth a read.
If you cast your mind back to when you were first learning to drive, you might have panicky memories of trying to frantically learn all the road signs to make sure you didn’t mess up on your test.
If this sounds familiar, it’s also probably fair to say that as soon as you passed your test you perhaps relaxed your dedication to knowing every single road sign off by heart. This then got the team at HPI wondering just how much we Brits do know when it comes to the road signs we encounter every day when behind the wheel.
So, we set to work to find out and here’s how we did it:
We tasked a number of UK drivers that had different ages and driving histories with several tests. The first of which was to see how well they could draw the following road signs:
End of a motorway
National Speed Limit
The next test saw us give our drivers a selection of images of road signs that they had to identify. These were the signs we included:
No waiting / Controlled Zone
The final tests we carried out saw us asking the drivers a few bonus questions around what UK speed limits can apply for certain traffic signs without numbers, or driving when on certain types of roadways.
A Variety of Results
Once we’d gathered all our data, we then studied our findings and learned that we’re quite hit and miss when it comes to knowing our signs and speed limits.
Here’s some key findings from our drawing test:
50% of people couldn’t draw a ‘Stop’ sign
55% of people couldn’t draw the ‘No overtaking’ sign
90% of people couldn’t draw the sign for a ‘Roundabout’, and were equally as confused by the ‘Mini-roundabout’ sign
Only 15% of people could draw the ‘End of motorway’ sign
70% of people didn’t know how to draw the ‘Give way’ sign
Almost half of people (45%) didn’t know how to draw the ‘One-way system’ sign
In the second part of our test (the image identifying test) we found out the following:
55% of people couldn’t identify what the ‘Sharp bend’ sign was, with the majority of people mistaking it for ‘Turn right’
Only 20% of people could identify the ‘Mini-roundabout’ sign
95% of people didn’t know what the ‘No waiting’ sign was
None of our drivers could tell us what the ‘Uneven road’ sign meant
35% of people couldn’t identify the sign for ‘Congestion’
The main findings from the speed limit questions we asked were as follows:
12% of those we asked thought the speed limit on a dual carriageway was 80mph – as much as 10mph over the actual limit
38% of the drivers aged between 25-34 thought the speed limit for a van on a motorway was 50mph
56% of all our drivers didn’t know the speed limit for a van on a motorway
6% of those we asked didn’t know what the speed limit is when you’re towing on a single carriageway
60% of drivers got the dual carriageway speed limit wrong
47% of these people thought the speed limit on a dual carriageway was 60mph
While it’s interesting to see how much (and how little) we know, these tests were all just a bit of fun; the serious point remains that as a UK road user, you should be able to identify your traffic signs to ensure you and your passengers are safe.
So, if these stats have set alarm bells ringing, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get out the old Highway Code and brush up on your signs and symbols.
Everyone has their own driving dreads, whether it’s something that affects them on the daily commute or just worries they have when driving in an unknown area. Being caught by speed cameras, stuck behind cyclists and confusing one-way systems are just some of them. These aspects make up some of Britain’s worst drives, but at HPI Check we wanted to know what some of the worst ones really are. We conducted research to discover what the most common driving worries are and where worst drives in the UK are situated.
In April of this year the Government introduced a new set of guidelines for tackling speeding offences in England and Wales. This passed many people by, and of those who do know about the changes, many are confused by how the new system works. So here at hpi we’re going to spell it all out for you, in our usual public-spirited way.
The first thing you need to know is that the tougher penalties apply only to drivers who go a bit crazy behind the wheel and exceed the speed limit by a big margin. So if you stray just a few miles an hour over the limit, nothing has changed. You’ll probably still be offered a speed awareness course if you’re caught under the threshold and you haven’t already taken part in one within the last three years.
If you’re not offered a course you’ll be handed a fixed penalty which means your wallet will be £100 lighter and you’ll get three points on your license. The camera partnerships that set up fixed and mobile cameras around the UK are funded by these speed awareness courses so they’re very keen for you to choose that option; elect to pay a fine and take the points instead, and your cash goes straight to the Treasury, thus reducing the partnership’s income by a typical £35. No wonder they want you to do the course instead.
Young drivers have a habit of crashing cars, sometimes through inexperience and often through bravado – and frequently because of the two combined. Not all young drivers behave so recklessly of course, but until relatively recently, insurance companies could only go by statistics, so they’ve long struggled to treat drivers as individuals. Not any more, as modern technology allows insurers to monitor how their customers drive, to see just how safe (or otherwise) they are. Thanks to the use of telematics, or black box technology, young drivers can now prove to their insurer they’re not a liability.
Every car owner and dweller will know that finding suitable parking in the centre of any UK metropolis can be a nightmare, with the charges sometimes high enough to break the bank!
Well, here at HPI Check, we’ve done some research into the UK cities with the most expensive bays and found an easy way for you to put the brakes on pricey city parking! Here’s how we did it and what we found out…
First off, we needed to pick the locations we wanted to focus the research on, we opted for: London, Manchester, Cardiff, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle and Sunderland.
We then needed to determine the questions we wanted to answer through our research, we decided on the following:
How much is parking for one hour in the location?
What is this cost on average for a working day? (based on a typical working day of 9-5)
On average, how much does the above cost when a person is parking for a week (Mon-Fri), and a month?
Does the above change if a person parks slightly outside of a city centre, and, if so, how much different is this?
Few purchases are as exciting as your first car, which provides a ticket to independence like you’ve never enjoyed before. Last year we published a guide on the key things to consider when buying your first car– once you’ve read and digested that, these are the models that should be on your shortlist.
It’s always the same. Just when everyone has got used to something, along comes someone who just has to change things around so nobody knows what’s going on any more. The perfect example is the insurance write-off system; for years we’ve had category A, B, C and D write-offs, but that’s all set to end on 1 October. That’s because from this date, written-off cars will instead be categorised A, B, S and N.
Thatcham is a safety and security testing facility (based in Thatcham, Berkshire) and in conjunction with the Institute of Automotive Engineers the new categories have been devised, in a bid to ensure that damaged cars are categorised correctly. Or to put it another way, the new scheme is being introduced to make sure that cars that are too badly damaged won’t be returned to the road.
Uk motorists are pretty rubbish when it comes to doing their own simple checks to ensure their cars are in fine fettle. A few minutes spent each week can stave off big bills and potentially a big accident, but despite this we’re either too lazy or lacking in confidence to make the time.