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.