Drivers Ending The Working Week With A Bang

With research from NRMA Insurance showing Friday is the worst day of the week for a collision, the insurer is calling for drivers to stay alert at the wheel especially as they head into the weekend*.

The insurer’s data showed that collisions on a Friday spiked by 17 per cent above the weekly average and Sunday is the least likely day to have a collision. The peak hour times of 3pm to 5pm during the week are the worst time for a collision and 11am to 1pm on the weekend.

NRMA Insurance spokesperson Damien Butler said the data was a timely reminder to drivers to focus on the road while they’re at the wheel particularly on a Friday and during peak hour traffic.

“People may be starting to unwind for the weekend and be distracted on a Friday, which contributes to them being at higher risk of a collision.

“In the afternoon, drivers may be rushing home from work, hurrying to collect their kids from school or heading away for the weekend and not taking extra care while driving.

“We want to urge drivers to focus on the road, be aware of traffic conditions and to stay calm while driving to help prevent the worst happening,” Mr Butler said.

In the event of a collision, NRMA Car Insurance recommends drivers:

– Stop immediately and give assistance to anyone who is injured;
– Call an ambulance if required;
– Call the police if a person has been injured, the other party fails to stop and/or supply details, a vehicle has to be towed, a driver appears under the influence of drugs or alcohol or there is damage to property;
– Exchange details, including date, time and location, name and residential address of the person involved and the owner of the vehicle, licence and registration details, make and model of the cars involved and insurance details;
– Collect the details of any witnesses and police in attendance; and
– Contact your insurer.

* Based on NRMA Insurance comprehensive motor claims data for the 2011 calendar year.

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Driven To Distraction By Mobile Phones

With over 40 per cent of NSW drivers using their mobile phone while at the wheel, NRMA Insurance is calling for drivers to focus on the road to avoid being at higher risk of a collision*.

Recent NRMA Insurance research shows drivers are continuing to take risks by using their mobile phone while driving, with:

88 per cent making phone calls;
68 per cent texting and reading emails;
40 per cent using applications – e.g. checking the weather forecast, news headlines;
38 per cent taking photos; and
25 per cent updating their status or tweeting.

NRMA Car Insurance spokesperson Adele Buhagiar said the results were concerning, as they showed drivers were still putting themselves at increased risk of a collision, despite the safety warnings.

“The research shows that our appetite for technology extends to while we are driving, with one in four admitting that they are updating their status or tweeting while at the wheel. This is up from one in ten last year.

“We were surprised to see that people are even risking taking photos while driving. Losing focus while behind the wheel, even if it is only for a split second, may cause the worst to happen,” said Ms Buhagiar.

It is illegal to drive a vehicle while using a hand-held mobile phone in NSW, with the penalty a significant fine and three demerit points**.

Ms Buhagiar added “We urge all NSW drivers to be alert on the roads and if you need to make a call or send a message, we suggest you pull over in a safe place before using the phone.”

* Based on a survey of 415 NSW drivers by Pure Profile Research in January 2012.
** www.rta.nsw.gov.au

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Confused.com Launches A New Mobile Phone App To Reward Good Drivers

Confused.com has announced the launch of MotorMate, a new easy-to-use driving app that shows people how good a driver they are at the touch of a button, whilst earning rewards.

The app mirrors in-car telematics technology which is where a black box is fitted to a car monitoring driving performance and potentially allowing good drivers to benefit from cheaper car insurance premiums.

The app also allows drivers who are interested in telematics but are unsure about installing a little black box in their car to ‘try before you buy’.

The app has been developed in an exclusive partnership with MyDrive Solutions, the pre-eminent driver behavioural profiling company in the insurance telematics industry, and RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), to deliver an app that allows drivers to earn real rewards and understand how good a driver they are compared with expert RoSPA drivers, who represent the gold standard for safe driving. The app is free to download from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

The app monitors driving behaviour every second and also filters the quality of the GPS data ensuring the driver gets the most accurate evaluation of their driving behaviour. For example, if a driver is moving slowly through congestion, the app will not mark down the driver for driving too slowly, it will recognise the location and traffic build-up and will filter this from the final score, ensuring the driver score is accurate.

The Confused.com MotorMate app also has a unique heartbeat functionality where it will check in with the phone holder every day to communicate that it is working properly and to ensure that all data is being recorded on every trip.

All individual driving trips made using the app are scored out of 5 stars based on the user’s anticipation of the road, braking, acceleration, and driving at a sensible speed. Feedback on a driver’s behavior will usually be given 10 minutes after the journey has ended (subject to network coverage).

An overall ‘Confused.com MotorMark’ is given after the user has driven 250 miles in total (this doesn’t have to be during one journey – it can be a multiple of journeys). Their ‘Confused.com MotorMark’ score will be out of 100 – 100 being an expert driver and 20 being a driver who needs improvement.

The ‘Confused.com MotorMark’ score is a reflection of how the user drives overall, taking into account factors such as anticipation, pace, acceleration, braking and cornering and gives a more thorough understanding of the driver’s behaviour. The overall score also benchmarks the user’s driving score with that of an advanced RoSPA driver.

MotorMate will allow drivers to look at their driving patterns by reviewing their driving score, and seeing where there’s room for improvement. By using the app as a monitoring tool, drivers should increase their driving score over time, making them a safer driver in the process and making the roads even safer.

As users of the app become safer drivers, they could reduce their car insurance costs since being a safer driver should reduce the risk of being involved in an accident, which means less claims and potentially cheaper car insurance premiums. In fact, this is just how ablack box insurance policy works in real life, and those who opt for a telematics policy, will ultimately be rewarded for being a good driver.

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Avoiding the Perils of Dangerous Car Modifications

TorqueCars http://www.torquecars.com, one of the UK’s leading online car modding communities today launched an awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of poor quality DIY car modifications by inexperienced owners.

We see many modified cars that are downright dangerous or at least going to be unreliable. It seems that lots of car owners with minimal knowledge are making changes to their cars without realising the implications. By highlighting these problems TorqueCars hope to minimise the negative impact created by these low budget, poor quality modified cars, and focus on a professional approach to car modification.

It only takes a few high profile incidents involving poorly modified cars before the clamour is raised for legislation outlawing all modifications or restricting the choice of modifications people can do.

Some young drivers seem to think that the more noise the car makes the faster it goes. Experience proves this to be incorrect and often these large exhausts and noisy induction kits have a negative effect on the cars performance and power.

One particular area of concern is with car electrics. Inexperienced DIYers will often overload circuits or hack into wires for power without making proper provisions for vibrations wear and adequate electrical insulation. These can often short out potentially causing a fire or at least creating a breakdown.

The most common electrical mistake is putting a wire straight through a bulk head without placing a rubber grommet around the wire to shield it from rubbing on the bulk head and wearing through.

A holistic approach to car modification is required where increased power is matched with up rated braking and handling. Dropping a 2.0 Turbo engine into a car which originally had a much smaller engine will offer a dramatic power hike but the brakes and suspension will be unable to handle this causing a potentially dangerous situation.

The main motivation for modifying a car is to maximise the drivers enjoyment of the vehicle. Most modifications merely release the full potential of a car where manufacturers have detuned or restricted the car in some way for economic or reputational reasons.

It is also fair to assume that each driver has their own personal preferences when it comes to a cars power band, handling characteristics and the aesthetic design of their car.

A well modified car should be safer than the standard unmodified one due to the stronger or uprated parts introduced. Braking distances can be dramatically shortened, the risk of skidding on a deceptive bend or corner or losing control should also be lower.

By increasing an engines efficiency there is often an additional saving in fuel consumption. This fact is particularly true when it comes to tuning modern turbo diesel engines.

It’s not just poorly modified cars that present a danger; poorly maintained cars are just as big a risk. According to TorqueCars senior partner Waynne Smith, “if you walk around any public car park you will find many cars will illegal tyres. The tread depth will be below the legal minimum or there will be damage to the sidewall of the tyre. We try hard to promote responsible car ownership to our members and readers of our articles.”

The forums at TorqueCars are a great place to go to discuss your car tuning project in details with experienced car modifiers and enthusiasts from around the world. By garnering as much information as you can you’ll be better placed to avoid the common pitfalls associated with modified cars.

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Small Cars – Walking Pace Wrecks

A range of top selling small cars cost up to 70 per cent of their new purchase price to repair when involved in a walking-pace speed collision.

NRMA Insurance put the spotlight on the nine top selling small vehicles in Australia to see how their bumpers performed when involved in a collision.

The insurer is urging consumers to consider repair costs when looking for a new car as they can have an impact on their insurance premium.

“We tested the front and rear bumpers of each vehicle by simulating a low speed crash which is the most common type of crash on our roads,” NRMA Insurance Head of Research Robert McDonald said.

“Even travelling at only 10 km/h, we found many of the cars had poor-performing bumper design which resulted in high collision repair costs.

“Our test shows the importance of insurance, as well as serving as a reminder that your car choice could impact your premium. We determine whether it is economical to repair a car after a collision based on the damage and the percentage of the new purchase price it costs to repair the car.”

Mr McDonald said the test revealed a vast difference in repair costs across the range of top selling small vehicles.

“Of the vehicles tested, repair costs for a rear collision range from around $1,200 on one car to more than $7,600 on another.”

When comparing damage for a front and rear collision, the Toyota Yaris and the Honda Jazz were the most expensive to repair. The Yaris cost $13,440 to repair — 70.8 per cent of its new purchase price — and the Jazz cost $13,754 — 69.5 per cent of its new purchase price.

The best performer in the test was the Holden Barina, which had a repair cost for a front and rear collision of $2,574 or 14.3 per cent of its new purchase price.

“Poorly designed bumpers can slide under other bumpers on impact, causing more damage to both vehicles in a collision. Because of its effective bumper design, the Barina did not suffer structural damage and the damage was isolated to the bumper components,” Mr McDonald said.

“It is possible to have effective bumpers on small cars that protect the more expensive parts like headlights and the radiator.”

The NRMA Insurance low speed crash test program was designed to urge car manufacturers to make improvements to bumper bar design to help keep the cost of collision repairs affordable.

The crash apparatus uses a ‘roller coaster’ type device to simulate a 10 km/h collision which replicates impact with another car, allowing NRMA Insurance to accurately compare the costs of repairs. The tests were completed at the NRMA Insurance Research Centre in Sydney.

The NRMA Insurance low speed crash test program is a collision repair cost test and is not an indicator of vehicle safety features. All of these cars, except the Nissan Micra, have been awarded five stars in ANCAP safety rating.

Additional information can be found at http://www.nrma.com.au/small-cars-walking-pace-wrecks

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