Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Should Learner Drivers Be Taught To Read Maps?

With many young drivers lacking basic map reading skills due to over-reliance on SatNav and online technologies we ask the question – should learner drivers be taught how to navigate using a road map?

A recent study by NetVoucherCodes.co.uk has suggested that the map-reading skills of many young drivers are extremely poor - suggesting that they have become too reliant on satellite navigation technology.

According to the survey four out of five young drivers between the ages of 18 and 30 have confessed to being unable to read a map and require electronic guidance to help them find where they need to go.

Commenting on behalf of the company, a spokesperson said:

"We’ve all seen the pictures of lorries wedged in narrow streets or heard the tales of cars being diverted hundreds of miles purely to avoid one bit of road. Map reading is a valuable skill and one which should not be lost especially amongst our younger generations. We have to remember that technology cannot be counted on all of the time."

The survey clearly brings up a number of concerns - including the lack of map reading skills by young drivers. Whilst it's easy to become dependent on the likes of a SatNav or online tool like Google Maps there is no knowing when it could go wrong. 

The difference is – a SatNav is essentially a computer device that pulls its data from a satellite where a road atlas is a large book of road maps. An atlas can’t really go wrong – unless it’s a really old version and therefore doesn’t include the latest road changes – but that’s why it’s important to make sure the Atlas is up-to-date. A SatNav is an extremely useful tool; however, it is electronic and therefore prone to bugs, errors and general technical failure (in some instances).

There are arguments for both sides; however, stories in the press of people driving down restricted roads; driving headlong into lakes or rivers or driving the wrong way down a one-way road due to over-reliance on their SatNav also highlights the importance of map-reading, checking road signs and a little common sense. 

So with this over-reliance on satellite navigation is it time to bring things back to basics? Should map reading to be introduced as part of a learner driver’s driving test?

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2265917/Most-people-longer-navigate-map-reliant-satnavs.html

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Young driver insurance rates could be on the increase

Experts in the insurance industry have warned that young driver insurance rates could increase to £3,300 a year or higher in some cases.

The reason insurers are looking to increase their rates for young drivers is down to changes in the way that compensation is paid to crash victims.

Unfortunately young drivers under the age of 22 are expected to be hardest hit as they are statistically more likely to be involved in a serious accident.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers commented:

"It is little surprise motor premiums are rising because insurers have been hit with a mixture of extraordinary conditions such as increased cases of fraud and whiplash claims. When these costs come under control, the cost to drivers will fall."

The increase in insurance rates for young drivers could come as an additional blow to young female motorists as many may have already seen an increase in their premiums as a result of the EU Gender Ruling introduced in December 2012.

Commenting on behalf of the RAC, Stephen Glaister added that millions of people rely on their cars to get to work and high car insurance costs are likely to severely impact them. He added:

"Hikes in premiums and the new gender rules could make driving all but a dream for thousands of young women."

Fortunately here at iKube Insurance we offer discounted car insurance for young drivers based on the time of day they drive. As long as the policyholder agrees not to drive late at night (between 11pm - 5am) we can offer them discounted rates.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2256380/Teenagers-face-3-000-car-insurance-changes-compensation-paid-o-crash-victims.html

Monday, 14 January 2013

Top Five Cars For Learner Drivers This Year

A recent article by thisislincolnshire.co.uk has revealed the top five cars that learner drivers should consider when getting behind the wheel for the first time.

They've taken into motoring costs - such as road tax, learner driver insurance and MOT when suggesting cars for learners to help manage  their / parent's budget.

They include cars such as the Toyota Aygo, Smart Fortwo, Chevrolet Spark, Ford Ka and the Vauxhall Corsa.

However, when you look at the cars they all tend to come with a very similar specification. The majority have a 1.0 / 1.2 litre engine and fall into group 1 (or 2 / 3 at a push) for car insurance. Read our guide on car insurance groups to find out more.

Each of the cars mentioned in the article all tend to be fuel efficient and you should expect to get at least 55mpg.

In order of top-to-bottom cars to drive for learner drivers we have:

1. Toyota Aygo / Citreon C1 / Peugeot 107 - apparently they just couldn't make up their minds! They are all believed to be good cars for learner drivers.

2. The Smart Fortwo - a hybrid vehicle that could help save on fuel consumption, however, it does fall into insurance group 3 so the cost of provisional insurance may be a little higher than the others.

3. The Chevrolet Spark - an American vehicle with the most capacity of the five contenders.

4. The Ford Ka - a reliable fuel efficient vehicle that is ideal for first-time drivers.

5. The Vauxhall Corsa - a popular choice amongst driving schools that is fuel efficient and appears to be the most capable of handling longer journeys.

Source: http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/cars-learner-drivers/story-17690847-detail/story.html

Monday, 7 January 2013

The Importance of Indicating Whilst Driving

When out on the road it can be easy to slip into bad habits - especially when it comes to not using the vehicle's indicators correctly.

Did you know that by not using your indicators you could be risking your life and that of other road users?

It might sound a little dramatic but a recent study suggests that indicator neglect can result in up to 2 million crashes over a 12 month period, according to the US Society of Automotive Engineers. When compared to the 950,000 crashes reported by the US Department of Transportation as a result of distracted driving (i.e. mobile phone use, ogling attractive pedestrians, etc) it puts it into perspective.

We've all seen it - someone driving on the motorway or dual-carriageway swerving in and out of lanes without indicating. Whether this is through sheer ignorance or just a complete disregard for other road users is not known - but that doesn't take away the fact that it can be dangerous - possibly fatal.

Indicator signals are there to inform other road users and pedestrians about what you plan on doing. For example, if you plan on turning into another road and a pedestrian is about to cross it tells them what your intentions are and they may wait for you to turn. However, if you go to turn without indicating and the pedestrian is already crossing as they are not aware of your intentions then this could result in an accident...

These two examples highlight the importance of signalling - whether you're in a built-up area such as a town or village or even on the motorway. By forcing yourself to use indicators you are taking an important step to driving safely.

Here at iKube we still turn to the Highway Code to check driving facts - especially if it means it will make us safer drivers. Take a look below at what the Code says about signalling:

• Always give clear signals in plenty of time. It's important to check that it's not misleading to signal.
• Use indicators to advise other road users before changing course or direction.
• Cancel your indicators after use.
• Ensure that your signals will not confuse others.
• Be aware that an indicator on another vehicle may not have been cancelled.

Remember - by driving safely you naturally reduce the chance of accidents on the road - as well as reducing the likelihood of claiming on your young drivers insurance.

Source: http://autos.aol.com/article/turn-signal-neglect-study/