Friday 26 October 2012

Drivers - Get Ready for Shorter Days

On Sunday, the clocks turn back an hour – winter will officially arrive. As the days become shorter, we’ll be experiencing dark mornings and evenings.
Darker evenings also see the road casualty rates increase. Here are some frightening facts from 2011:
  • The number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in November was 14 per cent more than the monthly average.
  • The number of cyclist casualties was 5 per cent higher.
  • The rate of motorcycle casualties per vehicle mile was 28 per cent higher.
While the more vulnerable road users are at a significantly higher risk, cars on the road are also at risk. That’s why it’s important to take extra precautions when driving at night. Driving in the dark is a different experience to driving in the daylight. So keep an eye out for the motorcyclist in the darker clothing. Speed is difficult to judge while the following distances of other vehicles can be hard to see with a wall of headlights shining back at you.

Here’s some advice on adjusting your driving to the shorter days ahead.
  • Turn your headlights on before sunset and keep them on for an hour after sunrise so that it’s easier for other drivers to see you in twilight. 
  • It’s also important to make sure all your exterior lights are cleaned and working properly.  
  • Keep the windscreen free of fallen leaves
  • Make sure your windscreen and windows are clean both inside and out.
Make the most of other people’s lights – use the light shed by vehicles ahead or from roadside lights – not just street lights – to help you see further ahead.
On rural roads, drive on full beam whenever possible but dip your lights when faced with another road user to avoid dazzling them. If a driver approaching you fails to dip their own headlights, look away to the verge on the left-hand side to avoid being dazzled yourself. And make the most of other people’s lights – use the light shed by vehicles ahead or from roadside lights - not just street lights - to help you see further ahead.

If you are not sure if your car is in tip top condition for winter driving, take your car to a local Good Garage Scheme member for a Winter Check. Visit

The Good Garage Scheme wishes to thank the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) for the above article. For more information about the IAM, please visit their website.

Friday 19 October 2012

Get ready for icy weather with a Good Garage Scheme Winter Check

With winter just around the corner the Good Garage Scheme is encouraging motorists to get their cars professionally checked to ensure they are safe and reliable in the cold months ahead. 
Good Garage Scheme workshops across the UK are offering a Winter Check to help protect vehicles and reduce the risk of accidents, costly repairs and breakdowns.
Not having a vehicle checked and prepared for harsh weather can increase the likelihood of having an accident, especially if a car’s tyre pressures are low, making it hard to maintain grip and easy to skid on wet and icy roads. Visibility is also important as the days get shorter, making it essential to check the operation of heaters, windscreen washers and the condition of wiper blades, as well as headlamp bulbs to ensure drivers can see and be seen.
Cars with low antifreeze levels are also at risk in freezing temperatures, which can cause engine overheating and damage, resulting in stressful breakdowns and costly repairs.  Monitoring coolant and topping up, or preferably cleaning and refilling the vehicle’s cooling system, will ensure a healthy engine and help the heater to work properly and defrost icy windscreens more quickly.
The Good Garage Scheme Winter Check covers the condition and level of the antifreeze, engine oil and brake fluid as well as the state of the brakes and tyres.  The Winter Check also includes inspection of the wiper blades and all lights.  As a result, motorists taking advantage of the Good Garage Scheme Winter Check can be sure that their car is well prepared for the frosty months ahead.
Visit and enter your postcode to find your local Good Garage Scheme workshop offering the Winter Check to protect you and your car.  Smartphone users can also download a free iPhone or Android app to help them locate a nearby Good Garage Scheme member anywhere in the UK.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Safety Advice for Lone Female Drivers

Monday, 8th October was National Personal Safety Day, a day marked each year by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust was founded in 1986 following the disappearance of the young estate agent. The aim of the Trust is to raise awareness of the importance of personal safety and to help people to avoid violence and aggression and live safer, more confident lives.

female, breakdown, Good Garage Scheme breakdown imageThe Good Garage Scheme would like to support the Trust's aim by sharing their valuable driving safety advice especially aimed at female motorists travelling alone.

If you do need to travel alone by car, please read the following sensible safety tips:
  • Plan your journey carefully. Know what route you are taking and let other people know where you are going and when you hope to arrive.
  • Keep a map in the car so that you don’t have to stop and ask for directions.
  • Never leave your keys in the ignition whilst you are out of the car for any reason. Keep the doors locked when driving and keep bags and other valuables out of sight.
  • If someone approaches the car when you are parked or stopped at lights, only roll down the window enough to hear what they want but not enough for someone to get their arm through.
  • Make sure your car is serviced regularly. In winter it is especially important to keep your lights clean and your battery fully charged.
  • Check you have up-to-date breakdown cover and that you know the number to call if you break down or have an accident. If possible, carry a mobile phone with you at all times.
  • Avoid using poorly-lit car parks. Whenever possible choose a staffed car park and park as close as you can to the attendant. Reverse into the space and hide all valuables. Shut all windows, lock all doors and note where you have parked your car.
  • If you think someone is following you, keep driving until you come to a busy location such as a garage or motorway services. If you are really worried, drive straight to the nearest police station.
  • If you feel threatened, make a note of the type of car and its registration number.
  • If you breakdown, pull as far off the road as you can and put your hazard warning lights on. Call your breakdown organisation and let them know if you are travelling alone and if you have children with you.
  • If you break down on a motorway, it is usually safer to wait for assistance outside your vehicle, standing on the verge or behind the crash barrier. Take your keys with you and lock all doors except the one nearest to you, which you can leave wide open so that you can get in quickly if you need to.
  • If you witness an accident or someone tries to flag you down, think carefully before stopping. It may be safer to drive on and phone the police from a safe location.
  • If your car is hit from behind, think twice before you get out of the car. If you feel threatened, lock your doors and sound your horn to attract attention and use a mobile phone to contact the police.
free app from Good Garage Scheme, iphone, play
Having your car serviced regularly will give you added assurance that your vehicle will not let you down, especially as the days become shorter. Why not contact your local Good Garage Scheme garage and make sure your car is in tip-top condition?

For additional peace of mind, download the free Good Garage Scheme app so that you can locate a garage you can trust wherever you travel in the UK.

Thanks to the the Suzy Lamplugh Trust for help with this week's blog. For more information about their organisation, visit

Friday 5 October 2012

Your New Car Can Still be Serviced at an Independent Garage

According to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), new car registrations in September exceeded expectations and were 8.2% higher than in September 2011.

New car owners may have been given an opportunity to purchase a service plan at the dealership, but the Good Garage Scheme would like to remind motorists that taking their car to an independent for a service will not invalidate the warranty.

Prior to 2003, motorists who took their vehicle for a service or repair at any garage other than a main dealer were at risk of invalidating the vehicle's warranty.

In October 2003, the European Commission Block Exemption Regulation 1400/2002 changed all of that and gave motorists more flexibility. Independent garages were given access to technical information from the manufacturer including diagnostic equipment and software allowing them to service and repair cars.

As a result of the legislation, motorists are free to take their vehicles to any garage for maintenance or service work provided Original Equipment 'Matching Quality' (OEM) parts are used and recorded as such. The garage must also follow the manufacturer's service schedules.

How does Block Exemption Regulation (BER) affect the motorist?

Block Exemption Regulation is good news for the motorist because it allows more choice in the vehicle servicing and repair market leading to lower costs and higher standards without invalidating the vehicle’s warranty.

According to a study of garage servicing prices carried out by Which? in 2011, franchised dealers consistently charged the most and independent garages were 18% cheaper.

Top Marques Searched on Good Garage Scheme website

Research from the Good Garage Scheme can reveal that the most popular marques searched on its website include BMW, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Ford and Renault.

Why not look for a specialist to service or repair your car? 
Visit for more information.