Most drivers (58%) get stressed out about putting their car through its MOT, according to new research. The cost of potential repairs needed to pass the test cause the most sleepless nights – 22%, while a fifth were concerned about being ripped-off over repairs.
The research, commissioned by Gocompare Car Insurance, also revealed 13% of drivers can’t remember when their car is due for its MOT. Worryingly, 10% of those surveyed said that as part of the Government’s lockdown measures last year, they received an automatic six-month MOT extension, and they now don’t know when their next MOT is due.
The automatic six-month MOT extension only applied to MOT tests due between 30 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 – so the extended MOT certificates expired on 31 January 2021.
A minority (8%) of drivers surveyed said they were also worried about the COVID risks from taking their car for its next MOT.
Cars more than three years old require an annual MOT test to ensure they are roadworthy, safe to drive and meet environmental standards.
If a car fails its MOT test, it must be repaired to conform to the standards. Basic checks carried out as part of a MOT, such as checking the screen wash is topped-up, the wiper blades are in good repair, and the depth of tread on tyres are very basic.
The research showed that most drivers will perform some basic checks prior to their MOT to help give their car the best chance of passing first time.
Driver checks carried out to help their car pass its MOT test % Checking the tyre tread and pressure is correct 43 Ensuring the car is not showing any warning lights on the dashboard. 42 Ensuring all the lights work, replacing light bulbs, as necessary. 42 Checking that the tyre tread and pressure are correct. 41 Making sure the screen wash is topped-up. 40 Ensuring the car’s windscreen is in good condition (no chips or cracks). 39 Clean the car, including windows and mirrors. 36 Ensuring wing mirrors are secure and intact. 35 Ensuring the registration plate is clean. 35
However, 27% of drivers surveyed said they don’t do anything to prepare their car for its MOT test.
As part of its series of offers to support customers and help them better protect the things that are important to them, GoCompare customers purchasing car insurance before 15 June 2021 will be eligible to receive an MOT test for £10 voucher – which must be booked by 30 June 2021 – a saving of around £44 off the full price. The voucher can be used with garages throughout the UK participating in the ‘Who Can Fix My Car’ scheme.
Lee Griffin, CEO and founder at GoCompare commented: “It’s clear from our research, that many drivers dread taking their car for its MOT test – fearing failure and the costs of any necessary repairs. A concerning number of drivers couldn’t remember when their car’s MOT was due. If your car’s MOT has expired, it’s illegal to drive it on the road and you could be prosecuted for doing so. The only exception allowed would be if you’d already booked an MOT and were driving to the test, which you would have to prove to the police.
“The penalty for driving a car without a valid MOT is a fine of up to £1,000, if the car is found to have a dangerous fault the penalty rises to £2,500 and three penalty points for ‘using a vehicle in a dangerous condition’. Drivers caught without an up-to-date MOT also risk invalidating their car insurance. This could lead to penalties for driving uninsured, leaving the driver liable for any costs if they were involved in an accident and adversely impact the cost of and their ability to buy insurance in the future.”
Lee Griffin continued: “The good news is that you can easily find out details of your car’s MOT due date and details of its previous MOT online through the Government’s free ‘Get MOT reminder’ service and MOT history site – which may highlight previous ‘advisories’ you’d forgotten about that might now need addressing. And, of course, our ‘MOT for a tenner’ offer will help qualifying drivers reduce the cost of their car’s MOT test.”
More information on the MOT for £10 offer can be found at: https://www.gocompare.com/motforatenner.
Summer of thunderstorms warning for motorists
As weather forecasters predict the country could be in for a summer of thunderstorms, a leading insurance comparison firm warns motorists to check their insurance policies before venturing out.
The Met Office says a ‘hotter than normal’ summer will bring outbreaks of torrential downpours, hail and thunderstorms as temperatures cool after heatwaves.
A glimpse of what could be a blistering summer, with high temperatures, heavy downpours and thunder and lightning was seen last weekend – particularly in the south.
Heavy and thundery rainfalls are predicted for the coming weekend, especially in the west.
Quotezone.co.uk, a leading car insurance comparison website, says any damage to cars caused by driving through flash floods might not be covered by insurance policies. It warns motorists to carefully check their policy exclusions, and even if routes are partially blocked, drivers should think twice before using waterlogged roads.
If drivers find themselves stuck in the car during a thunderstorm, official advice from the Met Office is to wind up the window and stay inside the vehicle – the metal frame of the car should act as a conductive Faraday cage, passing the current around the passengers and into the ground, should it be struck by lightning. Open or soft top vehicles are best kept under cover.
Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments: “Motorists who have taken out third party only or third-party, fire and theft insurance wouldn’t be covered for any storm damage to their vehicles – only fully-comprehensive policyholders are likely to be protected in those cases.
“If a storm is predicted, look at official flood warnings, avoid roads that are likely to flood and allow more time for your journey, note you may have to pull over and wait it out if the downpour starts to affect your visibility – not forgetting to put on the hazard lights.
“Unfortunately, if motorists do decide to drive through waterlogged roads, there’s a very real risk that they won’t be covered for any resulting water damage to the car – even fully-comprehensive drivers.”
Greg also warns motorists that have to go out, to make sure their cars are roadworthy before setting off, which includes checking tyre tread and windscreen wipers.
More than 20,000 people seeking to share a lift amidst rail strike chaos
As commuters are hit with the largest rail strike in 30 years, leading UK car-share platform, Liftshare points to car-sharing as a practical solution to growing commuter frustrations and rising traffic levels.
Over 40,000 rail workers walked out in protest on Tuesday 21st June, with more strikes planned for the following Thursday and Saturday. Commuters have been advised not to travel, as services are suspended across the country.
“Commuters being asked not to travel is just not practical, with reports of hospital staff staying overnight to avoid endangering patient safety. Car sharing is a real untapped resource when it comes to making these essential journeys. There are more than 47m empty seats on our roads every rush hour and that’s only set to increase as more people are forced into their cars during the rail strikes.” said Ali Clabburn, Founder and Chairman of Liftshare Group.
“For those that can drive, we’d ask them to consider sharing a lift. There are over 20,000 people looking to car share on our liftshare.com community site. It’s free to join and connect with people making the same journeys. This makes driving more affordable, which is ideal with the added pressure of rising fuel costs.”
Traffic levels have reportedly increased in a number of UK cities, exacerbating commuter emissions which account for 5% of the UK’s total emissions – 18 billion kg of CO2e annually.
President of the AA, Edmund King, spoke to Radio 4’s Today Programme about the ease and environmental benefits of Liftshare. “You just go to the website, put in the journey you want to take and see if other people are going the same way. It’s a very efficient and environmentally friendly way to travel.
“As the rail strikes cause huge disruption to people across the UK, sharing a car is a sustainable and cost effective solution to the disruption of the rail strikes. Over the last 20 years, we have seen spikes in car sharing interests correlate with strike action. The cost of living crisis means more people are actively seeking to reduce their travel costs permanently and car-sharing is a simple and effective solution to this.”
Nearly 90% of drivers break speed limit in 20mph residential areas
As many as 87% of Britain’s car drivers routinely break the speed limit in 20mph residential areas, according to the latest figures from the Department for Transport.
The new statistics released earlier this week, compiled throughout 2021, also show 51% of drivers still go over the 30mph limit.
Even though speeding came down from a spike of 63% during the first lockdown, the return to pre-pandemic levels of traffic looks to have had no long-term impact on driver behaviour.
The data also reveals that 48% of motorists broke the speed limit on motorways, although this fell to 11% of cars for single carriageways last year.
Drivers exceeding the speed limit by more than 10mph hovered around 5-6% last year, while 10% went over the speed limit by at least 10mph on motorways.
Only 1% of car drivers on single carriageways broke the speed limit by more than 10mph.
Respondents who admitted to exceeding the speed limit gave the top excuse as: ‘I drive according to the speed of other road users’. On 20mph roads, users most often cited the speed limit as being ‘inappropriate’.
Other popular reasons given for breaking the speed limit were: ‘It’s sometimes safer to go faster’, ‘pressure from other drivers’ and ‘I don’t look at the speedometer enough’.
The government figures are based on driver behaviour on roads with free-flowing traffic where there are no impediments such as bends or steep climbs.
Responding to the new data, Greg Wilson, Founder of leading car insurance comparison platform Quotezone.co.uk, says: “It’s staggering to realise that half of all motorists are still breaking the speed limit in residential 30mph zones and there is no encouraging longer-term downward trend. Residential areas are one of the areas drivers should be most cautious, given the high volume of pedestrians and children playing so it’s worrying that this is still an issue.
“While many drivers might think it’s a minor fault breaking the speed limit by a small margin, the law takes a different view. There’s no ‘look the other way’ if motorists go over a speed limit by less than 10 percent – that’s a myth.”
Motorists can face a fine of £100 and three penalty points on their licence if they break the speed limit – which can increase to six points and a fine of up to £1,000 if they’re doing more than 41mph in a 30mph zone.
Wilson says penalty points can add anything from 5% to car insurance premiums for the first three points on a licence, which can rise to 25% for six points.
Wilson continues: “If convicted, it’s important to be honest and fully disclose the offence to your insurance provider, because failure to do so can result in the policy being invalidated, meaning you won’t be covered. Some providers do offer car insurance policies with competitive rates for convicted drivers, which can help motorists find an affordable premium, but it probably goes without saying that the best way to keep your car insurance price low is to obey the speed limit.”
Last year, the Welsh Government announced plans to make 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas, with eight areas trialling the scheme, including Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, St Dogmaels in Pembrokeshire and Cilfrew in Neath Port Talbot.
At the time, Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, said: “Making 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas is a bold step that will save lives.
“We have made progress on reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads over the 21 years of devolution, but despite our considerable efforts the highest proportion of all casualties – 50% – occurred on 30mph roads during 2018. This cannot be tolerated, so a reduction to 20mph on our residential and other busy pedestrian urban roads has to be the way forward.
“Decreasing speeds reduces accidents and saves lives, and alongside this the quality of life will improve, making room on our streets for safer active travel. This helps reduce our environmental impact and has a positive outcome for our physical and mental wellbeing.”
Sgt Ian Price, from Go Safe – Dyfed-Powys Police Road Harm Reduction Unit, said: “Dyfed-Powys Police, with the support of Go Safe, is working with our road safety partners to help change driver attitudes in recognising a cultural and potential legal change, regarding restricted road status from 30mph to 20mph.
“Historically we have grown up to know that streetlights mean 30, but potential legislative changes in Wales in 2023 will default a restricted road status to 20mph. Too many people are being killed or seriously injured in existing urban areas, in which a reduction in speed limit along with compliance, can only reduce the number of these incidents. We can also make our communities safer places to live by walking and cycling those short journeys.”
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