Thursday, 20 December 2012

Drink Driving - Be Aware Of The Limit

Recent studies have suggested that young drivers are still taking risks with drink-driving. Unfortunately this can lead to accidents that result in serious injuries, fatalities and loss of driving licence if you're caught.

However, a recent study by RED driving school has revealed that many young drivers simply are not aware of the legal drink drive limit. This suggests that the issue is more of a lack of education / understanding than it is attitude. For more information on this please read "Young Drivers Unaware Of Drink Drive Limit."

So what is the drink drive limit? Well in the UK the legal drink drive limit is:

• 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath; or
• 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood; or
• 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

Unfortunately to the average person on the street this probably doesn't make a lot of sense - especially since this information cannot be safely converted into alcohol units.

But why is this the case? 

Well a number of factors can affect how much alcohol is found in the breath, blood or urine, including:

• Metabolism - i.e. how quickly your body absorbs the alcohol into the blood stream

• Body Mass - i.e. someone with a smaller body mass will probably absorb the alcohol quicker than a larger person.

• Gender – whilst this may sound sexist it is a fact that women tend to be more affected by drinking alcohol than men due to the fact that they tend to have a higher proportion of body fat than men. Since fat cannot absorb alcohol, it is concentrated at higher levels in the blood.

• How much you've eaten - if you've eaten little prior to having a drink the alcohol gets absorbed quicker - possibly resulting in feeling the effects faster.

So what is the message? How much can you drink?

Our advice – if you’re planning on driving then don’t drink since it’s really not worth the risk. However, we recognise that decision is ultimately down to you – but ask yourself these questions before you do:

Can I afford to lose my driving licence?

Do I want to put myself and others at risk?


Friday, 14 December 2012

Drink-Driving Over Christmas - Don't Risk It

News is coming in from all over the UK - from Lincolnshire to South Wales with reports that regional police forces are clamping down hard on drink-driving over the Christmas period.

Only today I read that 25 out of 600 drivers tested in North Lincolnshire were found to be over the limit in 2011. According to police reports this is up on the year before.

So is drink-driving back on the increase? The 2% of the 27,000+ motorists tested in Wales last year alone suggests that it could be.

Whilst these numbers may look relatively small in the grand-scheme of things, the behaviour of these irresponsible drivers could lead to fatal accidents - injuring and killing innocents as well as themselves.

Christmas is a time for spending with loved ones and for celebrating. It’s a time for festivity, fun and even a few drinks. But if you do plan on drinking - make sure you don't drive.

To find out more about how alcohol and drugs can affect your driving please check out these guides:


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Keep Your Windscreens Clear This Winter

There's been a bit of talk in recent months of young drivers tackling the job of de-icing their car with a wide range of household goods... anything other than a de-icer apparently!

A recent study conducted by Autoglym showed that many people are using spatulas, boiling water, alcohol and credit cards to de-frost their vehicles.

Commenting on the survey Autoglym’s CEO said:

"Using anything other than a good quality de-icing solution and ice scraper will not effectively remove the ice, and makeshift substitutes can damage the car's glass and rubber seals.”

He added:

“Instead of attacking the windscreen with boiling water and a credit card, I'd urge motorists to prepare themselves with the correct equipment for the job.” 

Now I'll be the first to admit that I fill a container with water to clear the windscreen... but not with boiling water! Funnily enough cold water does a pretty good job of clearing it - usually because even water from the cold tap is warmer than the ice on your window.

Did you know that if you use boiling water to de-ice your car you could risk shattering your windscreen due to the sudden extreme change in temperature?

Personally I don't like the idea of forking out a lot of money to replace an entire windscreen and I can't imagine many of us could afford that kind of cost...

So - young drivers - do yourselves a favour this winter - shell out for an ice-scraper and even a can of de-icer.

Alternatively, if like me you’re pretty tight or on a shoestring, then use cold water – it’s remarkably effective!


Simulated Driving Could Save Lives

Here at iKube we're always on the lookout for exciting new gadgets and apps that are built specifically to help learner drivers pass their driving test.

Whilst trawling the web I came across a piece on a driving simulator that helps learners to experience a range of driving conditions, including driving in snow, wet weather and other extreme conditions, without putting themselves at risk.

Afsim, a South African based company has partnered with Coega Development Corporation (CDC) to produce the simulators to help learner drivers.

Commenting on behalf of CDC, Ayanda Vilakazi sand that the initiative was launched to "save costs, improve safety, help drivers to use their controls more effectively and provide a wider range of exposure to hazardous driving conditions."

She added:

“Learner drivers, nervous or not, are constantly in danger of accidents on the road as they have never sat behind a steering wheel. It is essential that these individuals spend time on simulators to gain confidence before they drive on a public road.”

The company hopes that the simulator will help to cut the costs of learning to drive as it will mean learners will be able practice more without having to fork out more for extra driving lessons.

The group aims to distribute the simulator throughout South Africa, unfortunately there are no plans to ship it abroad - to the UK, for example, where many learner drivers would benefit from learning more technical driving in a safe environment.

iKube would be very interested to hear other's opinions on learning in a driving simulator before practising on the road. Please feel free to leave a comment below.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Driving – A Few Thoughts For The Learners On The Road

A feature about driving in the New Zealand press caught my eye today.

Ok - it's not the UK but what the article did was highlight the issues that young drivers all over the world have - namely putting up with other aggressive motorists.

The writer in question is actually a learner driver who was driving in bad weather - heavier rain than usual. In this kind of circumstance it makes sense to reduce your speed as visibility tends to be poorer and the wet weather can lead to skidding.

This is exactly what he did - he reduced his speed from 100kph to around 90kph and consequently he was subjected to a lot of abuse from drivers behind him. In fact some actually overtook him, slammed on their brakes once in front and then took off at speed. A rather childish attitude and certainly not something you would expect from experienced motorists.

Now this is probably an extreme example as I've never personally experienced this in the UK but the underlying message is pretty clear. Everyone has been a learner driver at some stage in their lives and not everyone is a natural behind the wheel (especially not in the first few lessons).

So if you're an experienced driver reading this - put yourself in the shoes of the learner before subjecting them to your angry impatience. If you didn’t give yourself enough time before leaving for work or that all important meeting then surely that’s your own fault… not theirs?

If you're a learner or an inexperienced driver reading this - it's ok to drive safely. In fact it's encouraged - if you're facing bad weather, especially over the winter months; slow down and drive carefully. To find out more about driving in bad weather check out iKube's range of driving guides.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Young Drivers Caught In A Vicious Circle Thanks To False Claims

Official figures released earlier this month suggest that there are fewer accidents on the road but there are more whiplash claims which have cost the insurance industry around £400 million.

Unfortunately it sounds like young drivers are in a vicious circle. Car insurance providers are claiming that premiums are on the rise due to the large number of claims - many of which are reportedly false!

So young drivers are automatically affected - many first time drivers pay a substantial cost for their first year's driving. Not only do they need to worry about the road tax, running and maintenance costs of the car but also how much their insurance is going to cost.

In spite of this, David Brown, chairman of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFA) has suggested that "the average cost of a UK motor insurance policy is decreasing."

However, he later added that whilst this is good news for the consumer, "it does raise the question of how sustainable this is for insurers."

So could we be looking at another spike in the cost of car insurance for young drivers in the future? Let's hope not!

Here at iKube we're always looking at ways we can make the cost of motor insurance fairer. We use a black box to help reduce costs - by using this data we can review your policy fairly at renewal and reward you according to how well and how safely you've driven.


Monday, 26 November 2012

Earlier Training Slashes Young Driver Accidents

Recent research by car manufacturer, SEAT has revealed that young drivers who have taken part in their young driver training scheme have seen a 50% cut in the number of road accidents when compared to other young drivers around the UK.

Back in 2011 we spoke about SEAT and its young driver training scheme that focuses on teaching 11 - 16 year olds the basics behind the wheel.

SEAT believes that by training our youth earlier the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities can be reduced significantly.

Did you know, for example, that one in four incidents of death or serious injuries on the UK roads involve young drivers? Worrying statistics that is likely to get any parent nervous when their teen starts driving for the first time!

But the good news is that the SEAT Young driver training programme has significantly reduced the number of accidents amongst young drivers who have completed the course.

These new figures suggest that less than 10% of those young drivers have been involved in an accident whilst driving, under half the national rate in comparison.

Commenting on behalf of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), Peter Rodger said that "it's good to see early indications that pre-driver courses are producing safer drivers."

Mr Rodger added that IAM believe that, by offering this type of training to young people it allows for more training over a longer period of time and helps to adjust their attitudes towards driving.

Black box insurance scheme, iKube supports any programme that can help to make Britain's roads safer and reduce the cost of car insurance for young drivers.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Winter Driving Courses For Young Drivers

With the long cold nights starting to set-in now it's more important than ever to stay safe on the road.

Ice, snow and even torrential rain are all major hazards when trying to make your way to work, college or even home after a long day.

You may have come across some of iKube's useful winter driving guides and blog articles previously, however, there's no substitute for hands-on training.

I recently came across a scheme called "Tread" which is taking place over in Norfolk - ran by the local council and backed by the police force.

This scheme is aimed at young drivers between the ages of 17 and 25. It's been designed to give a number of practical sessions that focus on winter driving as well as looking after your vehicle during the cold months.

By all accounts it's a very clever concept - the instructor has a device that actually causes the car to skid (something to do with hydraulic fluid, pistons and outrigger wheels).

The device effectively recreates how a car would react when driving on icy roads and compacted snow.

As a result the course teaches how to control your vehicle in the event of a skid and, more importantly, delivers the message of killing your speed - better to drive slow than risk your own life and that of other road users.

For more information visit: or for those who live outside Norfolk.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Poor Driving Costs Young Drivers £7 Billion A Year

A recent study by the Energy Savings Trust has revealed that poor driving is costing British drivers a massive £7 billion a year!

On average the Energy Savings Trust believes that drivers could save themselves an annual cost of £270 - which is the equivalent of 20 pence per litre, if they were to adopt a eco-friendly style of driving.

The cost of fuel is clearly not helping matters and there is no denying that things need to change to bring costs down to a more affordable, manageable level for motorists. However, that doesn't mean drivers should ignore the potential cost savings that fuel efficient driving styles can bring.

With the cost of young drivers insurance, road tax and car maintenance to worry about young drivers are best advised to consider ways they can improve their driving to reduce the amount they spend on fuel.

Tim Anderson, the Senior Transport Advice Manager for the Energy Savings Trust advised the following top ten methods to help improve fuel efficiency:

1. Try and drive more smoothly

2. Anticipate road conditions

3. Shift up gears early

4. Turn off your car's engine - if you expect to stop for over a minute

5. Switch off your air conditioning

6. Remove roof racks

7. De-clutter your car

8. Reduce your speed on motorways - drive the speed limit

9. Ensure your tyres are inflated correctly

10. Try to avoid sharp braking - give yourself more time and look ahead whilst driving

If all British motorists adopted these simple guidelines Mr Anderson believes that as they could save as much as £6.6 billion a year.

Find out more about the Energy Saving Trust's "Fuel Your Passion" campaign and how you can improve your fuel efficiency by visiting their website.


Monday, 8 October 2012

The ABI On Learning To Drive - An Overhaul

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) are calling for a complete overhaul to the way in which young people learn to drive.

The proposals have come about due to the number of young drivers aged under 25 who are involved in road accidents. In fact one in every three people who die on British roads are aged under 25.

With 27% of car insurance injury claims involving a young driver aged between 17 - 24 it is increasingly more important to help improve road safety.

The Director General of the ABI, Otto Thoresen commented:

“Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17-24 age group.  A car is potentially a lethal weapon, and we must do more to help young drivers better deal with the dangers of driving. Improving the safety of young drivers will also mean that they will face lower motor insurance costs.”

The ABI have put together a list of proposals to help improve the safety of young drivers, including:

• A minimum learning period of a year prior to taking the driving test. This is to ensure that learner drivers gain more supervised practice before taking to the road by themselves.

• A complete ban on taking intensive driving courses as the only means of learning to drive.

• A reduction in the age at which young people can start learning from 17 to 16.5 years of age.

• A graduated driver license - to include restrictions on the number of young people that can be driven by a young driver in the first 6 months after passing their driving test. This is because figures produced by the ABI suggest that the risk of a crash is significantly increased when driving with young passengers. The graduated license would also include:

• A restriction on young drivers driving between 11pm and 4am - similar to iKube's black box insurance scheme. However, there would be an exemption that allows young drivers to drive to a place of work or connected with education.

• A lower blood alcohol driving limit. This would effectively be a zero limit as it would only allow for the consumption of alcohol linked products - such as mouthwash.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Road tax to be abolished

New proposals are currently being put forward to abolish road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) in favour of upfront fees.

Under the new plans the price of small cars would see an increase of over £1,500. Owners of sports cars or vehicles with large engines could end up paying huge fees of £23,000.

Under the new scheme the rate would be set at £50 for every gram of CO2 a car produces over a pre-set point. Under the new proposals this is expected to be 94g/km.

In spite of this the Government are suggesting that those drivers who buy eco-friendly, fuel efficient cars could be granted a £750 subsidy.

Under the scheme it has been calculated that it could cut fuel usage by around 450 gallons over a 100,000 mile lifetime – saving drivers well over £2.5K.

Transport Minister Norman Baker has previously suggested that the use of a black box or telematics device could be used to monitor vehicle usage. This is very similar to the the way black box insurance companies utilise these devices to monitor driving behaviour.

However, he has suggested that the device will monitor vehicle usage to charge per mile on roads like motorways rather than behaviour.

He believes that this is feasible since road tax will be abolished and fuel duty (if any) will be significantly reduced.

What do you think about this new proposal by the Government? Good or bad? Whatever your views please feel free to leave a comment below.


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Autumn Driving - Safety First

Autumn can be a lovely time of the year to be a young driver – but there are obvious and hidden dangers to be aware of when taking to the road. 

Picture this - you're driving down a road with an array of trees either side with leaves that are just starting to turn from green to golden brown, it's a glorious sunny day... but the clouds are starting to move in. 

Whilst autumn can be a nice time to be on the road it can also be a hazardous time of the year to drive - especially with the increase in wet weather we've been having in recent years. Cold and wet weather can lead to accidents on the road if you drive carelessly – resulting in potential young driver insurance claims.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has recently put together a useful list of road safety hints and tips to help keep you safe whilst on the road. iKube has also added a few other things to think about when driving during the autumnal season:

1. Did you know that a patch of wet leaves can be as dangerous to drive on as standing water? Well it's true - always take care and reduce your speed before driving over them as leaves can be slippery when wet (ed. there's a Bon Jovi joke in there somewhere...).

2. Cold weather driving - autumn does tend to be a warmer time of the year than winter and really cold days are rare. However, don't discount them - especially in more northern or hilly areas of the UK. Always ensure that you clear your windscreens and windows of ice or condensation before setting off as it can impede your visibility whilst driving.

3. Make sure your heater controls are turned on in wet weather as rain can make your car's windows mist-up in mere seconds.

4. Be aware of strong winds - winds can unsettle your car and even alter your direction of travel. Make sure you have a firm grip on your steering wheel and be aware of other road users - especially motorcyclists and flat-sided vehicles.

5. Use your lights properly - if you're driving in the rain it's strongly advised to put your headlights on so that you are visible on the road and you can see other road users. In addition to this you should aim to turn your headlights on before sunset and keep them on for an hour after sunrise (if driving) during the autumn months - this makes it easier for other motorists to see you during twilight.

6. Check your car battery - try to keep the top of the car's battery clean and dry and ensure that the terminals are tight and free from corrosion. IAM recommend that if a battery is more than 3 years old you should check it now as you could save yourself a frustrating start in the morning.

7. Wiper blades - make sure they're in good condition. If your blades squeak whilst wiping they may need replacing. IAM have also suggested that you ensure that your wipers are switched off when you start the car in the morning as you could risk blowing a motor fuse when frost hits.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

New Parking Rules Could Prove Confusing

New private parking regulations are to come into force next month which could confuse many, according to the British Parking Association (BPA).

The new rules are to be active from October 1st and aims to deal with private property - which will include legislation against the clamping and removal of vehicles. The law will also introduce an independent appeals body.

However, the BPA have expressed concerns that young driver insurance holders will be unaware that the changes are not guaranteed to offer benefits.

The new restrictions on clamping relates to private land, however, there are many instances where landowners can get around this and have the freedom to choose how their parking is operated. This can include parking spaces at airports and train stations.

As a result many industry experts are sceptical and believe that the clamping band will not benefit motorists. In addition it is expected that parking companies may turn to illegal methods - such as unlawful ticketing.
Commenting on the new rules, Patrick Troy, CEO of the BPA said:

"The Protection of Freedoms Act ushers in perhaps the most significant shake-up of the private parking industry ever seen in this country and there is much that we and the Government can be proud of.

"However, the regulations do not yet go far enough. An independent appeals service which is not binding on all operators is likely to be a recipe for confusion among motorists and a ban on clamping is no substitute for proper regulation of the industry."

Mr Troy added that the new appeals service should provide an additional layer of protection for drivers when they believe a parking ticket has been unfairly issued.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Sweeney Gets a New Motoring Star

If you're a young driver the likelihood is you may not have heard of The Sweeney - a 70s cop show based in and around the streets of London.

Well the likelihood is that your parents (at least your Dad) could be rejoicing to hear that it's about to make a come-back - via the big screen.

The show is famous for the illustrious Ford Capri car that Regan and Carter (the two protagonists) used to chase crooks.

Unfortunately the Ford Capri is a little old now and is actually no longer in production anyway. As a result film-maker Nick Love has had to turn to the next closest thing... the Ford Focus ST.

Commenting on his choice of car Mr Love said:

"It was important for me to collaborate with Ford on The Sweeney as their legacy with the original TV show is so strong - they're the perfect partner. I like the Ford Focus ST so much, I want one!"

The Jaguar XFR is also to make an appearance in the film; however, it's to be a getaway car used by said criminals.

So it should be interesting... a Jaguar XFR against... a Ford Focus ST.

Let's put this in perspective a minute:

• A 5 litre V8 Supercharged car versus a 2 litre I4 turbocharged car - in the real world which one do you think would win? Need a clue – check out the next point.

• The Jaguar XFR does 0 – 60mph in 4.5 seconds. The Ford Focus ST does 0 – 60mph in 6.5 seconds.

• The XFR has a top speed of 174mph – the Focus ST has a top speed of 152mph.

• According to car retailers you're looking at almost £22K for a Focus ST... for a Jaguar XFR you're looking at around £65K.

I’m not trying to put the Focus ST down by any means… but comparing it to the Jaguar XFR is a bit like comparing a nippy little moped to a motorbike.

But this is the movies... and anything is possible - apparently!

Here at iKube we don't recommend young drivers to shell out for a sporty car like a Ford Focus ST as you may find the cost of your young driver insurance is far higher than if you opted for a smaller model - such as a Ford KA or Fiesta. If you're looking for your first car check out our car buyers guide.


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Protect Young Drivers Insurance - Control Speed

It's easy to get carried away when you first learn to drive - unfortunately this can lead to problems for yourself as a young driver – including accidents or speeding offences, resulting in an increase in your young driver insurance premium.

Whilst you remember practically everything that you were taught when learning to drive it's all too easy to slip into bad habits.

Inevitably this includes speeding...

It's really important to be aware of the driving speed limit at all times as this will help to keep you safe whilst on the road.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has recently issued a number of tips for young drivers courtesy of Peter Rodger, their chief examiner.

To manage your speed you should:

• Be aware of the speed limit and watch out for any changes by looking further ahead. This tends to happen at junctions and roundabouts.

• Always be aware of what other drivers are doing in front of you. For example, some motorists could slow down a lot quicker than anticipated when approaching speed cameras. Make sure you give drivers in front plenty of room so that you can react in time.

• Remember - speed limits are a maximum speed, not minimum. If conditions are poor then it's vital that you reduce your speed to avoid accidents.

• If you have problems sticking to a set speed limit in a manual car then simply set the car in a gear that will help you to stick to a legal speed limit. For example, built-up areas such as towns and cities have a speed limit of 30mph. It makes sense to set your gear to third or lower in some cases.

• Don't let other motorists behind you pressure you into breaking the speed limit - it's just not worth the risk. Whether you get caught speeding by the police or end up in a serious accident as a result - either way the results are not stacked in your favour.

• You should always drive at a speed that you will allow you to stop safely on your own side of the road within the distance you can see is clear.


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Have-A-Go Brits Happy To Service Own Cars

A recent survey by the RAC has revealed that a large number of British drivers feel comfortable carrying out basic mechanics on their own cars, rather than take the car to a local garage.

The report showed that 70% of drivers were happy to get stuck in. Over 50% of motorists were happy to check and top-up oil levels themselves.

The report went on to highlight that a third of drivers would fit a new wheel, 27% would attempt to change the battery, 12% would adjust fan belt tension and 12% would fit new brake pads to the vehicle.

It is believed that the increase in the number of people prepared to undertake work on their own cars is due to the belief that many professional mechanics rip-off naive drivers, and thus increase the cost of driving.

Commenting on behalf of the RAC, Technical Director David Bizley said:

"It is great to see that Britons are taking an interest in how their vehicle works and undertaking many of the simple checks and maintenance tasks which can prevent breakdowns."

Mr Bizley added:

"However, the rising cost of motoring is obviously taking its toll on drivers, and more must be done to ensure that owning a car in the UK is affordable for all."

Here at iKube we believe it's important to take care of your car, however, we recommend taking the car to a professional mechanic for more complex jobs. If you damage your car whilst attempting to fix it you could end up in an accident and face claims on your young driver insurance claim – potentially increasing the overall cost of motoring.


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Footwear Warning Over Summer Driving

Now that the warmer weather has arrived many young drivers will want to jump in the car and get down to the beach.

The problem is many of us will be tempted to drive in flip-flops or even bear-foot in some cases. But that is not a good idea - here's why.

Wearing flip-flops can be dangerous whilst driving - they can easily come off - if this happens you could be subject to:

The distraction of losing your footwear
This means that you could lose control of the vehicle or fail to notice the hazards around you - resulting in an accident and a potential claim on your young drivers insurance.

The flip-flop getting caught under a pedal
The danger here is fairly obvious - if, for example, the flip-flop gets caught under a brake pedal and you go to slam on the brakes when someone unexpectedly pulls-out you could end-up going into the back of them since you have less control over the foot-brake. The braking-power available to you will be greatly reduced.

Whilst there is no legal requirement to wear appropriate footwear whilst driving... you could be risking your life and putting other drivers at risk by driving in flip-flops, barefooted or even high-heels.

So before you drive off to the beach or the shops this summer think about your footwear – the last thing you want is a road accident and a young drivers' car insurance claim because you wore inappropriate footwear whilst driving.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Want A Life-size Aston Martin Airfix Kit?

It's every young driver's dream... The idea of having your very own Aston Martin DBR1 - just ashame you can't drive this one!

A company based in Hertfordshire has built a one-off airfix kit replica of the award winning Aston Martin DBR1.

The car is famous for winning the Le Mans Grand Prix in 1959 and Evanta, the company behind the kit, have put this together to commemorate the two drivers and chief engineer, all of whom sadly passed away in the last year.

Commenting on the model, Ant Anstead, MD for Evanta said:

"Aston Martin’s sole Le Mans win of 1959 is a huge part of British motorsport. The loss of both drivers and Ted Cutting within the same year is saddening. We wanted to do a tribute to these three great men and such a beautiful and iconic car. What could be a more fun and fitting tribute than every boys dream toy: a life-size model?"

What really makes this car stand out is the fact that it's an actual 1:1 scale of the real thing and has a staggering level of detail.

The car will not only include replicas of the vehicle's trimmings and paintwork but will also include a cap signed by the two drivers - Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby

Whilst this little beauty is unlikely to require young driver insurance or breakdown cover it's worth bearing in mind that the guide price at auction is £25,000.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Young Drivers Insurance - Bringing The Cost Down

The likes of telematics black box insurance is a great way to reduce costs for young drivers, however, it's important to remember some of the more traditional money saving tips when it comes to motoring and young driver insurance.

Let's touch on a few:

1. Secure Your Car. By keeping your vehicle in a safe, secure area such as a driveway or in the garage you could shave off a few more pounds from your premium. It's also worth thinking about getting a car alarm and immobiliser if you want to reduce costs further.

2. Policy Excess. It may seem like an annoying expense when you first consider a voluntary excess, however, if you want to bring your young driver insurance premium down this might be the way to do it.

3. Car Usage. Many of us use cars for social driving and commuting to and from work and it's important to make sure you're covered for this. If you don't need you car for business use - don't include it on your policy as it will probably increase the amount you pay.

4. Car Value. It's important to be realistic about the value of your car when getting a young driver insurance quote. If you over-estimate you could end up paying more, however, did you know that by under-estimating your vehicle your car could be seen as more of a risk and consequently you could also end up paying more?

5. Car Type. If you're thinking of buying a new car try not to be tempted by an expensive or powerful sports car. By driving a relatively inexpensive car with a small engine size could get you a significant saving on your premium.

6. Avoid Car Modifications. Try to avoid car customisation - such as spoilers and alloy wheels as they are likely to increase your young driver insurance premium significantly.

These tips are just a few to help reduce costs – to find out more check out our Top Eco-Safe Driving Tips For Young Drivers guide.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Tiredness Can Kill - Sleep Well Before Driving

Were you aware that by depriving yourself of sleep you are impairing your driving. When you think about it it's pretty obvious. Here are a few interesting facts you may not have known:

• Reflexes will be slower and therefore you will struggle to react to changes on the road. This could increase the chances of an accident and a claim on young drivers insurance.

• You risk falling asleep at the wheel. Falling asleep whilst driving is one of the most dangerous things that can happen. Not only are you putting yourself at risk of a serious accident but you're also risking the lives of passengers and other road-users.

• It's important to bear-in-mind that the law will not accept any excuse for falling asleep at the wheel.

• A fifth of accidents on motorways and other long, monotonous roads may be caused by tired drivers falling asleep.

• Overweight people tend to suffer more from tiredness and can lead to a condition known as “obstructive sleep apnoea” (OSA) – according to the Department for Transport (DfT) this condition significantly increase the risk of traffic accidents. Lifestyle changes such as weight-loss and reducing alcohol consumption can help to alleviate the symptoms.

The National Safety Council in the USA undertook a study recently that also suggests driving when deprived of sleep is as dangerous as drink or drug-driving.

The study showed that those under the age of 30 are more likely to be driving whilst sleep-deprived.
According to the report many young drivers believe that driving after drinking was wrong, however, driving whilst tired was an acceptable situation.

Commenting on the study a spokesperson for the organisation said:

“Drunk driving is universally viewed as dangerous, but young people especially don’t understand the very serious risks associated with drowsy and distracted driving. All drivers need to understand the dangers of driving while tired.”

To find out more about dealing with tiredness check out: Top Tips for Young Drivers to Combat Tiredness.


Monday, 30 July 2012

Young Drivers Demand Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is becoming one of the most important factors when young drivers look to buy a car.

The cost of fuel has become a hotly debated topic as it has become increasingly more expensive since the beginning of the "credit crunch" back in 2008. As a result many young drivers are probably wondering how they're going to afford to keep their cars running.

Not only is the cost of fuel on the increase but young drivers are faced with other costs - including young driver insurance, car maintenance costs, road tax, etc.

Whilst the likes of black box insurance can help to reduce the amount paid out for cover the additional costs of motoring are likely to have a significant impact on young driver budgets.

Recent focus has turned to electric cars and hybrids as an alternative to traditional petrol / diesel powered cars to help reduce the burden.

Here's a quick list of innovative solutions from top names in the motor industry...

Toyota's latest Prius - the Plug-in is capable of charging whilst plugged into nearby sockets. The car is capable of running off pure electric power for 15 miles before requiring fuel.

Vauxhall Ampera – voted joint European car of the year, along with the Cheverolet Volt. This little beauty is a clever combination of electric-drive and a petrol powered electricity generator. This car is capable of a 40 mile range thanks to the electric-drive when fully charged. The petrol powered electricity generator only kicks in when the electric-drive is exhausted.

Chevrolet Volt - car of the year 2012 is an almost pure electric powered car which is highly fuel efficient. This is effectively the same as the Vauxhall Ampera but with a different body shape and brand.

The Nissan Leaf - an all-electric car. This car is Nissan's attempt to enter the electric vehicle market. When fully charged the vehicle has a reported range of 120 miles, however, this is probably dependent on how you drive the car.

Whilst all this innovation in the motor industry sounds great it still raises the question of cost for many young drivers. A lot of hybrid or electric cars are still pretty pricey and when you mix this with road tax, car maintenance and young driver insurance the final price could still be too expensive for many.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Road Rage - What Causes It?

I was trawling the web earlier today trying to figure out what the root cause of road rage is. I'm not a psychologist so my understanding of it is fairly basic, however, the root cause behind road rage is actually very straight-forward (once you've waded through the jargon).

According to a study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) it comes down to this: "Human beings are territorial... The car is an extension of this territory." 

There are a number of other elements involved but universally the biggest factor appears to be how negative actions can have more impact than positive ones.

That probably doesn't make a lot of sense on its own - so I'm going to use a scenario to try and explain how it works.

If someone drives badly - undertaking you and cutting you up on the road, for example, this tends to have more of an effect on your emotional state than someone who lets you go in front of them.

For instance - if someone is considerate of you on the road you are more likely to be considerate and friendly back. However, a bad driver who upsets you could lead to a really aggressive response from yourself.

These aggressive responses could be directly linked to a condition that Harvard Medical School refer to as "intermittent explosive disorder".

It's described as “recurrent episodes of angry and potentially violent outbursts.” The condition is linked directly to road rage and abuse. The disorder reportedly triggers an overreaction to situations with uncontrollable rage.

Whilst this description of road rage is pretty straight-forward (in a scientific kind of way) the honest truth is... maybe you just had a bad day. Let’s face facts – driving can be stressful – couple this with a bad day in the office or at college and sometimes it’s all too easy to flip-out when another driver does something to annoy you. 

Unfortunately road rage and aggressive driving can lead to accidents – potentially injuring others (or worse) and having to make a claim on your young drivers insurance.

I don’t pretend to have the answer to the problem but what I can do is offer a little guidance on avoiding or diffusing road rage.

To find out more check out my other article on how to avoid conflict whilst driving.


Friday, 20 July 2012

iKube Parent Makes It To Insurance Times Award Final

iKube's parent company, Motaquote have reached the final of the Insurance Times Technology in Insurance Awards 2012.

The company have been shortlisted, along with two other firms, in the "Best use of Analytics" category. This is thanks, in no small part, to iKube Insurance.

iKube is a black box insurance policy that tracks the time of day the young driver is on the road. By agreeing to stay off the road between 11pm - 5am the policyholder is rewarded with a discounted premium.

The black box or "telematics" device that monitors the driving reports this information to the firm, along with other aspects about the way the car is driven.

Other aspects, such as acceleration and braking patterns as well as speed, types of roads and how the young driver manages corners are also recorded.

This information can then be used to make an informed decision on the renewal premium - potentially discounting the cover further if the data reports that the young driver insurance holder has driven sensibly and well.

To find out more about how iKube works check out the following:

Monday, 9 July 2012

Why Is Black Box Insurance Technology The Future?

Here at iKube we believe that the future for car insurance lies with black box technology - especially for 17 - 25 year old young drivers.

Black box insurance has been described by politicians, insurance and technology experts as being the solution that could level the playing field.

Essentially it's about making premiums fairer - if you drive well then you are rewarded with discounted insurance. If you drive badly then you are penalised accordingly.

By rating motorists based on their driving behaviour we believe black box insurance is making cover better for all.

Black box car insurance is not only about rating drivers more fairly. It's also about making driving more fuel economical by alerting the motorist to issues with their driving (i.e. harsh acceleration, speeding and braking patterns) which has a direct impact on their fuel usage.

We also see road safety as equally important - which is why we're partnered with the road safety charity, Brake.

With the numbers of people injured or killed as a result of careless driving we see black box technology as a solution to reducing road accidents.

Since a black box telematics device can report on all manner of driving issues that can affect the insurance premium it makes sense that motorists on a telematics insurance policy will want to keep their premiums as low as possible.

By driving safely and carefully a black box insurance policy, at renewal, could be discounted significantly. Not only does the premium drop but so could the number of accidents... thanks to technology that actively promotes better driving.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Are Learner Drivers Getting It Easy With New Technology?

In recent months car manufacturers around the World have been introducing new technological wizardry to their cars.

The likes of Ford with this Traffic Jam Assist that takes control in a traffic jam - aimed at improving speed and reducing fuel consumption.

Then you have the likes of Active Park Assist, designed to perform a perfect parallel park - letting the car's computer do all the hard work for you.

So with this type of self-drive technology and Ford's boast that they will have full functional self-driving cars by 2017 does this mean an end to driving lessons as we know them?

In theory this type of technology could make many aspects of learning to drive relatively void... relatively. The learner will no doubt still need to understand how self-driving aspects of the car works so they can switch them on where necessary.

But it also raises another question... if cars are going to become fully self-driving will there be a need for driving lessons at all?

From a personal perspective I would have to say yes... even a computer is prone to bugs, glitches and breaking-down. This is probably where the human aspect comes into play - you would expect a driver to have the ability to take control of the vehicle in certain circumstances.

Whilst learning to drive may change by 2017 it is unlikely that you would be able to buy a vehicle without a valid driving licence and elements such as young driver insurance, road tax, vehicle maintenance and regular MOTs would still be necessary. All of these elements require human interaction... to get a driving licence you still need to display that you can drive well and effectively and you would hope that the DVLA wouldn’t want to let standards slip.

So if you are learning to drive or looking for learner driver insurance – don’t jump the gun. Just because technology is making driving easier it does not mean you should start taking it for granted once you pass.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

New Suspension Rules For Driving Instructors Introduced

The UK government is to introduce new rules to protect learner driver insurance holders from driving instructors who are believed to pose a major risk to the public.

The new legislation was proposed in Parliament earlier this month as the current government believes that further efforts must be made to prevent road incidents.

Mike Penning, Road Safety Minister believes that the majority of driving instructors meet the high levels of practice required by the industry; however, there are rare cases when individuals do not meet the necessary standards. It is believed that these people pose a threat to themselves and others.

Mr Penning commented: “The vast majority of instructors meet the extremely high standards we require of them, but in the very rare cases where an instructor presents a significant danger to the public, it is right that we take prompt and effective action to protect learners and other road users.”

Under current law it takes an absolute minimum of 45 days to ban an instructor from being paid to teach learner drivers. As of 13th July this is set to change and the registrar of approved driving instructors is to be given powers to suspend instructors with immediate effect - both fully qualified registered instructors and those who are still trainees.

The registrar will also be given the power to suspend instructors who may have been convicted of a violent or sexual offence.

In spite of this driving instructors will be given the right to appeal against the ban. In addition to this they are within their rights to apply for compensation to cover any money they may have lost during their suspension.


Young Drivers Are Unfairly Discriminated Against

According to one comparison website* young drivers are not discriminated against - "they are just inexperienced."

Well - when I first read that my instant reaction was "What?!" It's one thing saying that young drivers are inexperienced but it's quite another thing to say that they are not being discriminated against... when they are.

A standard young driver's car insurance premium tends to be calculated based on a variety of factors. These include:

• Where the young driver lives (i.e. postcode)
• How old they are
• How long they have been driving for
• Gender (changes Dec 2012)
• Type of car they want to insure (i.e. engine size)

All of these aspects are based on a stereotypical picture put together by the insurance firm.

Stereotyping by its very nature is unfair and discriminatory. For example, it's like saying that every 17 year old male driver who lives in Billaracy, Essex and drives a Citreon Saxo is a boy racer... Ok, I know there is a joke here somewhere but I'll restrain myself.

But I am digressing... the point is young drivers do tend to be discriminated against. I accept the fact that they are inexperienced motorists but that doesn't automatically make them bad drivers... does it?

Well here at iKube we like to think otherwise - which is why we base our young driver insurance ratings on other factors as well.

We provide what's known as "black box car insurance". The policy is rated in a similar way to a standard insurance policy; however, we add a discount to the policy as long as the young driver agrees not to drive between 11pm - 5am (the red hours) as this is the most dangerous time to drive.

Is that a big ask? It won't suit every young driver but we believe it's perfect for people who don't need to drive late at night. We don't restrict you on mileage (like some) and we won't increase your premium if you do drive after 11pm. We understand that in some cases it's necessary (like in an emergency) - what we will do is simply charge you £100 if you do. Just think of it as a deterrent to keep you off the road during the riskiest time - it's about keeping you safe and your premiums low.


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Summer Driving – Limiting Motoring Dangers For Young Drivers

With warmer weather closing in more and more of us will be taking to the road, however, it's important to be aware of the risks the hot weather could pose.

With winter and cold weather behind us (hopefully) and the summer months up-ahead It's all too easy to become lapse in driving safety.

We've put together a quick list of things to be aware of whilst driving in the summer:

1. Young drivers insurance
It's important to make sure the cover you get is the right young drivers insurance for you. For example, we use black box insurance technology to record data about your driving style. By driving with care you could be rewarded with substantial discounts at renewal. iKube also gives young drivers the ability to monitor their own driving style online so that you can adapt your technique to become a safer driver.

2. Limit the number of passengers you have in your car
It stands to reason that passengers can be quite distracting and, as a young driver it may be easier to simply limit the number of people you carry when you're driving around.

3. Turn off your mobile phone whilst driving
Using a mobile phone whilst on the road, whether you're phoning, texting or tweeting, is a risky business. So either switch off your phone or set it to silent and stick it in your car’s glove box, out of sight.

4. Learn about basic car maintenance
It's worth learning a little about car maintenance - even if it's just checking the oil and fluid levels and how to top them up. If you're unsure about anything there are plenty of resources available online or simply ask someone you trust to teach you some basics.

Friday, 8 June 2012

British Drivers Becoming More Polite?!

Young drivers could be in for some good news as; according to a recent poll British motorists are becoming far nicer on the roads.

Let me just say that again. "British" motorists are becoming far "nicer" on roads.

Incredibly it's true... at least if you believe the CarCraft / Opinion Matters survey carried out of over 2,000 drivers. If this is true then accidents and claims on young drivers insurance could reduce.

I can't say this is in-line with what I've seen when on the road, however, for the benefit of our readers I'll hold on to my opinion until the end.

Let's take a look at what the study revealed:

1. Over a third of motorists "smile" at other motorists when they're cutting lanes or pushing in queues.

2. Only 3% get angry and swear when getting cut up... the older generation (aged 45 – 54) tend to be the worst culprits when it comes to this behaviour.

3. Perhaps unsurprisingly motorists over the age of 55 smile the least of all age groups.

4. Women are more willing to use charm techniques than men.

5. Around 60% of motorists are willing to wait in traffic until it starts to flow, however, a quarter look to find an alternative route.

In addition to all of this only a minor few actually admitted to cutting queues and lane jumping... but then how many people will actually admit to this type of behaviour and how many do it without realising they've done it?

If true this could spell good news for young drivers taking to the road for the first time. As motorists become nicer and more patient on the roads the risk of accidents could well be reduced – in turn reducing the number of claims made on young drivers insurance.


Thursday, 31 May 2012

Provisional Licences Explained

When you hit the age of 17 and you start looking into driving it can be a bit of a whirlwind - there can be quite a lot to take in. However, by far the most important thing before you start getting overwhelmed by it is to make sure you have a provisional licence.

Having a provisional licence is essential if you want to start driving lessons or even if you need learner driver insurance for that car you plan to buy and practice in.

So how do you go about buying one? Well it's really quite simple - just visit DirectGov apply online for it.

Alternatively, if this doesn't appeal, just pop-down to your local post office and buy one.

However, before you go rushing off you need to ensure you can prove the following:

• Are a UK resident
• Not prevented from driving for any reason
• Are at least 17 or older
• Meet the necessary eyesight requirement

You also need to make sure you can provide the following when you go to purchase your provisional driving licence:

• £50 for the licence
• A valid UK passport or other form of ID
• Proof of address of where you have lived in the last 3 years

It can take anything from 2 - 3 weeks to receive your licence once you've applied.

Have a provisional licence? Thinking of getting a car to practice in? Check out iKube’s learner driver insurance – we could save you a bundle!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Learner Drivers - Think Before You Learn

When you hit the age of 17 one of the key things on your mind is learning to drive. However, you really need to consider a few things before jumping in the deep end, including:

1. Who do you want teaching you?

If you think about it learning to drive is one of the most important things you will ever do. It is also one of the only times you can actually choose who you want to instruct you.

Some learners try out two or three instructors to begin with to help decide who they want teaching them. Others may only require one, however, it is essential that you get on and respond well to your instructor so be careful when looking.

2. Do you want intensive courses or weekly tuition?

This really depends on your learning style - for instance, some people find that learning over a number of weeks or months is more beneficial to them. It may also be more cost effective - not everyone can shell-out a lump sum to pay for an intensive course.

However, other people may find that they benefit from an intensive course over a week or two week period. This is especially useful for young drivers who need to get on the road quickly - i.e. for work purposes. It's worth bearing in mind that an intensive course may prove too expensive for some as it requires a larger up-front payment than one spread out over a number of weeks.

3. Have you the money to set-aside for driving lessons?

Whilst some learner drivers have parents to help them out with lesson fees there are inevitably those that have to pay for the lessons themselves.

If you're working a full or part-time job it's important to make sure that you have enough to cover your driving lessons. However, it's also important to make sure you have your cost of living covered - i.e. bills, rent money, etc.

5. What course materials do you need?

Course materials are more essential than you may think. However, like anything, the type of course materials you require are partially dependent on your learning style. But let's take a look at the main essentials:

Highway Code -  it should go without saying that the Highway Code is a vital document to study. It outlines the rules of the road for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Driving Theory Book - this allows you to learn and test your driving knowledge. By using this book you are increasing your chances of passing the driving theory test that you are required to pass before going for the practical test.

Whilst these are the two main essentials there are a number of other resources available to learners. The DSA, for example, offers an online theory test so you can practice. There is even software available to buy if you think you need it, however, we don't necessarily endorse this.

Looking for learner driver insurance? Check out iKube's specialist black box insurance for learner drivers - we won't increase your premium when you pass your test.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Curfew Car Insurance - What Curfew?

iKube has had a lot of labels attached to it over the years - including the term "curfew car insurance" which we feel is wrong.

There are plenty of pay-as-you-drive black box insurance schemes out there, however, here at ikube we don't charge you by the mile. 

Instead iKube simply asks that young drivers who take out our telematics car insurance policy do not drive between 11pm - 5am at night as this is believed to be the most dangerous time of the day to drive.

I won't go into the nitty-gritty as to why, instead I'm going to touch upon something else that a lot of people appear to neglect.

Did you know that 75% of young drivers who take out iKube's black box insurance are rewarded with a safe driving discount at year 2? In addition to this a third of those are actually given the opportunity to remove the night time restriction completely (these are people who have driven particularly well).

For those people who drive particularly well we are not only offering a discounted form of car insurance but we're also offering a non-restricted policy. We're removing the "curfew car insurance" label associated with it and we don't restrict by mileage. 

Essentially iKube is like a straight-forward car insurance policy - the only difference is that your premiums potentially reduce year-on-year, depending on how well you drive.

Taking An Active Approach In Your Teen’s Driving

A study by the AAA Foundation in the US has revealed that it's actually safer for a young driver insurance holder to drive by themselves than to allow another teenage passenger in the car with them.

It's believed that if a parent restricts the young driver to driving alone they could significantly reduce the risk of a driving accident.

Commenting on behalf of AAA, Chuch Mai stated:

“The more teen passengers, the more likely there is conversation going on back and forth, perhaps horseplay or even a certain degree of perhaps showing off."

The study showed that with every passenger younger than 21 the risk of fatalities increases exponentially and quadruples with three or more passengers.

Mr Mai added that teens are more at risk since they do not have the experience that an older driver does to manage distractions, such as passengers in the car.

He went on to say that parents need to take a more active approach in their teenager's driving habits to help reduce the chance of an accident.

Other ways you can improve safety for your teenager whilst driving is by considering a black box insurance policy, such as iKube. A black box policy can help reduce the risk as it monitors driving behaviours – in the case of iKube the scheme requests that the young driver does not drive between 11pm – 5am as this is proven to be the most dangerous time of the day to drive.

However, at renewal the black box insurance policy also takes into consideration how well and how carefully the young motorist has driven. If they have driven well they could receive substantial savings when it comes around to renewing their car insurance.


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Key Benefits Of Black Box Insurance

There are a wide range of benefits that black box insurance can help you - and we're not just talking about saving you money.

Here's a quick list of ways black box insurance can help:

It Can Save You Money! 

I know I said that it's not just about saving you money but let's face it - it's still a pretty important factor for many young drivers looking for car insurance. The iKube black box scheme can help reduce the cost of young drivers insurance simply by requesting that you don't drive late at night (between 11pm - 5am). 

Makes You A Safer Driver. 

By taking out a young drivers’ insurance policy with iKube you are being given the opportunity to prove that you are a good driver. As long as you can prove that you drive well and carefully you are rewarded with further discounts at renewal. When it comes around to year 2 renewals the scheme not only takes into consideration No Claims Bonuses but it also looks at your driving data and determines how well and how carefully you've driven. As long as you've displayed good driving behaviour you could be in for a significant discount.

Tracking Car Thefts. 

All cars on a black box car insurance scheme needs to be fitted with a tracking device (i.e. the little black box) so that data can be recorded on how, when and where the car is being driven. By using this data iKube can actually provide help to local authorities if they are looking for a stolen vehicle. Since the device is difficult to locate it's not obvious that the car is even fitted with a tracker so a thief will probably be unaware that they're being traced.

So are there benefits to taking out a telematics young driver insurance scheme with iKube? Just look at the facts, give us a call and see if we could help you: 0845 602 6925.

Learner Drivers – A Lower Car Insurance Risk

Did you know that learner drivers are actually seen as a lower car insurance risk than a newly qualified young driver? If so have you ever wondered why?

Let's take a look at a few facts about learner driver insurance:

Learners are accompanied or "chaperoned" by a driving instructor or other qualified driver such as a parent when they're out on the road. As a result they are actually seen as less of a risk - since they're not allowed to drive by themselves. 

A newly qualified young driver tends to be seen as a higher risk as they are not being supervised by an instructor or more mature, qualified driver, such as a parent. Consequently a new driver will probably be faced with high young drivers’ insurance premiums. 

This is why iKube believe that it is in their best interests to take out a provisional car insurance policy whilst they are still learning to drive. 

Did you know that by taking out an iKube learner driver insurance policy you are actually saving yourself money in the long-run? Unlike some other provisional insurance schemes iKube will not increase the cost of your car insurance after you pass your driving test – more importantly the policy will still be valid as long as you let us know that you’ve passed.

So don't wait until you've passed your test - take out a provisional car insurance quote before and you could make significant savings in the long-run.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Young Drivers - Importance Of Correct Information

As a learner driver the cost of young drivers insurance tends to be higher than car insurance for those who have a full licence.

This may tempt policy holders to bend the truth when requesting a young drivers insurance quote from the insurer or the broker.

This even on a small scale is fraud and you will be convicted if found out. Providing anything but true and correct information can and will result in a claim being rejected by the insurance company. So the shiny new vehicle that you bought will be damaged or scrapped and you will be out of pocket.

On a more serious note you may be liable for any injury to a third party if an accident causes suffering or loss of life.


You may think that driving down the premium by insuring the car in your parent's name is a clever way of saving money but the above applies in this situation as well. You are essentially breaking the law and will be found out.

To avoid any issues material facts must be disclosed, including your driving licence details. You will be required to provide copies of your licences (paper and card) if and when a claim is made.

So – why shouldn’t you bend the truth when requesting a car insurance quote? It’s simple really – it’s a criminal offence to falsify information to obtain cheap young drivers insurance. The risk really is not worth the hassle.

If you are looking for affordable learner driver insurance that won’t increase after you pass your driving test then check out our exclusive telematics scheme for learner drivers.