Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Good Garage Scheme provides peace of mind wherever you travel in the UK for the Bank Holidays.

With the long bank holiday weekend upon us, it’s great to know you can locate Good Garage Scheme members all over the UK should anything go wrong with your vehicle.

Whilst visiting family and friends in the UK, or taking a trip to the coast or countryside, the Good Garage Scheme’s website gives you the peace of mind to locate a local garage that you can trust even when you are far from home.

The new Good Garage Scheme App is also a handy tool for those with iPhones, iPod touches and iPads. In fact, the recent national TV advertising campaign launched by the Good Garage Scheme prompted a 67% increase in daily downloads of the Good Garage Scheme iPhone app. As with the Good Garage Scheme website, the iPhone app enables motorists to locate Good Garage Scheme members anywhere UK-wide and also lists handy fuel saving tips.

Here are some of the comments received from those who have downloaded the App:

‘A genuinely useful app, simple to use and the kind of app that gets you out of a hole when you need it.’
December 2010

‘It’s a great application I found especially when you are on the move and you don’t know where you can get your car fixed. It’s so easy to use. I don’t remember if I have found something as useful as this recently.’
March 2011

‘This is a very useful App especially when you’re on the road a lot, off on holiday around the UK or just on the move’
April 2011

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Survey reveals motorists sacrificing safety to cut fuel costs, Good Garage Scheme reads.

Car insurance firm Swinton have revealed in a survey that some motorists are prepared to take great risks in their attempts to cut their fuel costs.

A worrying finding of the survey is that more than one in four who participated in the poll admitted to “coasting” as one way of reducing their motoring outgoings, without fear of the dangers of doing so. Also, almost one in five of the surveyed believed the practice to not be a hazardous one.

Coasting – driving in neutral or with the clutch pressed down, can affect the following:

•    Steering – especially when cornering
•    Vehicle speed – downhill will rise quickly
•    Foot brake – more frequent use can lessen effectiveness
•    Gears – increased difficulty in appropriate gear selection

Swinton’s Steve Chelton said: 'We're concerned that motorists are sacrificing safety in an attempt to save on fuel costs. The cost of getting into an accident, which could then lead to a car insurance claim, is definitely greater than whatever marginal savings in fuel costs you will get from coasting or not using your car lights.'

Winding windows down rather than using air conditioning systems and turning off car stereos were methods of saving money employed by seventeen and eight percent of those surveyed respectively.

For fuel saving tips, please click here.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Good Garage Scheme member launches the UK's first Apple iPhone application of its kind!

Jennifer Riach, of MECA Car Services, a long-standing member of the Good Garage Scheme, has launched an iPhone App for her garage. The app was created to give Exeter’s only female-owned award-winning garage’s customers an easier way to book their cars into the garage or contact them direct from their phone.

MECA Car Services are understood to be the UK’s first garage to have an iPhone App developed, courtesy of Rokk Media in Exeter.

The new iPhone app provides a number of features including information about the garage and links to their Twitter updates plus the blogs of both Jennifer Riach and the Good Garage Scheme. Their website was redesigned recently and an iPhone app was seen as another resource for customers to make contact with the garage.

Jennifer Riach said: ‘People's lives are so busy and often you get home and have forgotten to do a multitude of tasks such as booking your car into the garage.’

‘It's a very exciting prospect for our business. And it's the first iPhone app of its kind in the UK and the first of its type to be developed by Rokk Media too.  I understand they have gained more business as a result of the publicity and immediate success.’

The “My MECA” App can be downloaded directly to an iPhone from the iTunes App store or online here.

The Good Garage Scheme's own iPhone app can also be downloaded directly to an iPhone from iTunes App store or online here.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Uninsured drivers face car being destroyed, Good Garage Scheme warns.

New Government measures set for a summer introduction to combat the problem of people driving without insurance were set to be discussed in Parliament by Road Safety Minister Mike Penning this week.

Labelled Continuous Insurance Enforcement, failure to renew a motor insurance policy, regardless of whether a vehicle is in a roadworthy condition could see drivers facing a series of steps leading to the destruction of their car. The Government are working in conjunction with the DVLA and giving them extended powers against the uninsured to ensure compliance.

After an initial warning, motorists who ignore it face a fine. If they still fail to insure their vehicle, irrespective of if or when the fine is paid, they face clamping, seizure and destruction of their vehicle. Only when evidence is provided that the registered keeper is insured and that the driver collecting the vehicle is insured to do so will the vehicle be released.

The exemption to this is if a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN) has been issued.

However, motoring organisations fear for the innocent motorist who has made an honest mistake. Paul Watters of the AA said: ‘Many otherwise innocent motorists face being unwittingly fined or clamped for doing little more than being forgetful or distracted by the normal business of life.’

The Good Garage Scheme advises motorists to check their policies to prevent themselves from falling foul of these new measures.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Good Garage Scheme celebrates the eightieth birthday of the Highway Code.

The Highway Code was initially introduced today in 1931. Today, eighty years later, it is still the definitive resource for best driving practice in the UK.

Before its introduction, road accident caused fatalities averaged over 7,000 annually with only 2.3 million vehicles on the roads. The fatalities figure has dropped by over two thirds to 2,222 annually while the number of vehicles has soared to well over 34 million on the roads today.

When the original edition was published, as a result of 1930’s Road Traffic Act, road users were counselled to ‘always be careful and considerate towards others. As a responsible citizen you have a duty to the community not to endanger or impede others in their lawful use of the King’s Highway.’

While this advice is still as relevant today, many features have been drastically altered, in light of technological innovation and the ever changing vehicles using our roads.

Archaic advice referring to horse-drawn carriages has long since disappeared. Stopping distances, traffic lights, road signs and mirrors are not featured in the first edition, priced at one old penny (1d) but hand signals (policemen and road users) were very prominent, taking over a third of the original twenty-four page booklet, which also featured advertisements for both the RAC and the AA.

Eighty years from now, what features of the current guide will be obsolete and archaic and what will have taken their place?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

MOT timing changes proposed by Government, Good Garage Scheme reads.

Since its inception in 1967, the MOT test carried out in the UK has remained virtually unchanged. The Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond believes with the progress made in safety and technology that changes can be made to the existing format.

There are three options being proposed to be discussed in a consultation with the MOT trade, motoring and road safety organisations.

1.    Initial MoT after four years (rather than three), then annually afterwards.
2.    First MoT after four years, then another test two years later, then annual testing.
3.    Primary test after four years, the next three MoT tests biannually, then annual testing.

The proposals have been met with criticism from consumer association Which? who believe that the small annual costs savings made do not justify the ramifications for car safety.

AA President Edmund King has also voiced his concerns: ‘We have surveyed 60,000 drivers and most of them think we should stick with the current regime. Rather than being a burden on the driver, we think it’s a good safety reminder for once a year.’

The proposed change is seen as a method of appeasing the motorist in the light of the ever increasing fuel prices seen during this year. MoT costs can increase substantially with work required on areas such as tyres or brake discs to pass on a vehicle re-test.

Mr Hammond added: ‘This will be a genuine consultation and we want to work with the industry and motorists to get the decision absolutely right.’

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Good Garage Scheme hears chocolate gives Ford inspiration in new technology.

NestlĂ©’s Aero has been used as a source of inspiration for engineers at Ford in their pursuit of a new way of reducing vehicle weight. The new idea aims to reduce emissions while simultaneously increasing fuel economy, without sacrificing durability.

MuCell (microcellular plastic foam) technology, born at world famous technology institute MIT, has been developed by the formation of millions of micro bubbles similar to that of Aero chocolate bars by the injection of gas during moulding.

The process reduces the overall plastic content used on components by up to ten per cent. Next year’s Focus is expected to be the first model manufactured with the new technology.

Ford aim, with this technology, to reduce the weight of their vehicles by between 100 kg for their smaller models to up to 300 kg for the larger vehicles in their range within the next ten years.

Carsten Starke, MuCell technology expert at Ford, said: "We are saving weight in many ways, not just by using this new plastic, because lighter cars handle better, accelerate faster and stop more quickly. For the customer it is win-win, the plastic is 20 per cent lighter without increasing cost or reducing strength and it will help make their Ford better in almost every aspect.”

Initially, the technology will be seen on engine covers in models released in the next few years but other parts of their vehicles could see the process applied to them.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tailgating perceived most dangerous motorway action, Good Garage Scheme reads.

Tailgating has been revealed as the worst action committed while driving on the motorways, in the eyes of 85% of surveyed UK motorists. The findings have been released by road safety and breakdown organisation, GEM Motoring Assist.

Mobile phone use figured next most prominently, followed closely by the act of driving in the middle lane whilst the left hand lane remained vacant.

The most striking statistic is worrying for road safety organisations. Only one in five of the survey participants deemed that drivers’ speed should be more stringently observed, with over 50% of drivers suggesting the national speed limit should rise.

Surveyed participants' top ten motorway dangers:

  1. Tailgating
  2. Driving whilst using a mobile phone
  3. Driving in the middle lane when the left hand lane is empty
  4. Changing lanes without adequate observations or signals
  5. Driving on the hard shoulder to avoid traffic
  6. Entering a motorway from a slip road without adequate observations or signals
  7. Driving too slowly
  8. Speeding
  9. Use of the outside lane by LGV’s
  10. Stopping on the hard shoulder when there is no emergency

GEM Motoring Assist’s CEO, David Williams, MBE, said: “We believe that bad motorway driving such as tailgating and driving in the middle lane when the left hand lane is empty should definitely be more strictly enforced as it is this kind of careless driving that can lead to frustration, annoyance and possible accidents.”

What do you feel is the worst motorway driving offence?