Newbury Business Today

Thursday, November 4, 2021 39

Newbury Weekly News

Some simple tips for when driving’s a pain in the neck

MORE than a third of UK motorists could be driving cars with damaged alloy wheels, with over half of these caused by hitting a kerb, research from Škoda UK has shown. The problem, which is often caused when parallel parking, accounts for more than 13 million damaged alloy wheels in the UK – the single biggest cause of alloy wheel damage. Based on an average repair price for a single alloy wheel of £67.50 the total collective ex- pense for UK motorists would come to more than £890m to fix all alloy wheels damaged by kerb impact. Thanks to features such as the intelligent Park Assist on the all-new fourth generation Škoda Fabia, parking will be- come safer with a lower risk of damaging cars. The system, which uses sen- sors to find a suitable parking space, steers itself into the space as the driver focuses on braking and accelerating, en- suring the car is parked a safe distance from the kerb, reduc- ing the risk of damaged alloys. Motorists can’t blame fel- low road users for the scuffs and scrapes on their wheels, as 83 per cent of drivers said the damage had been caused by someone in their own household, according to Ško- da’s data. As well as affecting the ap- pearance of the car, the im- pact of a wheel on the kerb can lead to further issues such as tyre damage and even track- Cost causing young to stall on driving PASSING your driving test was once seen as a rite of passage for most young- sters. But with the number of young people getting behind the wheel now declining, re- search conducted by the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, IAM RoadS- mart, has indicated why many young people aged 17 to 24 have put the brakes on learning to drive. Of 1,000 young drivers sur- veyed, cost concerns were rated as the biggest reason for why young people had been put off learning to drive at first. Equal top concerns (29 per cent) were the price of les- sons and the cost of running car, closely followed in sec- ond spot (28 per cent) by the cost of taking the driving test itself. IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “Our research shows that among young people the cost of learning to drive is a major deter- rent to getting that licence which would open up many more job opportunities and increase their personal mo- bility. No doubt, the increase in numbers going into high- er education, and the rise of cheap taxi-hailing mobile applications have also fuelled the driving decline.”

normal and is not something I need to put up with’. “Our tips offer some great ideas that should help you reduce – and hopefully elimi- nate – any pains or discomfort while driving. “We look at whether your car is as suitable for your needs and circumstances as it once was. “We demonstrate inexpen- sive but safe devices that can reduce the discomfort associ- ated with getting in and out, loading heavy luggage, turn- ing your neck or fastening your seatbelt. “We want to help every driv- er stay as safe as possible for as long as possible. “All our tips are designed to make it easy for drivers to adapt to the sort of physical changes that happen to most of us, whilst ensuring that we are always in full control of our ve- hicle on every journey.” GEM’s tips for safer, more comfortable car journeys: 1. Getting in and out If you find it difficult to get into or out of a car, consider getting something extra to hold on to. The steering wheel can offer a bit of extra lever- age, but it’s not recommend- ed because you could do long

Sitting too close to the wheel is a bad idea, as this could compromise the effective de- ployment of safety devices such as air bags in the event of an emergency. Sitting too far back compromises pedal con- trol. So, make sure your feet have free and effective contact with the pedals. Experts rec- ommend a minimum of 30cm gap between the centre of the steering wheel and the base of the driver’s breastbone. 5. Reduce glare As the days shorten, we’re entering the time of year where glare from low sun can seriously compromise visibil- ity. But you can take steps to reduce the harmful effects of glare. Ask a professional about the most suitable sunglasses for your needs and consider additional glare shields which you can fit to the sun visor. 6. Plan your journeys Take the time to plan any long journeys or trips on un- familiar roads. Plan to travel when traffic is light and stick to the types of roads that suit you best. Consider postponing the journey if weather con- ditions are poor. If you find turning your neck difficult, then avoid junctions where you know it’s painful.

ROAD safety and break- down organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encour- aging any motorists who find driving uncomfortable to look for ways of making life easier. Discomfort and lower back pain are frequent complaints reported by many drivers, but GEM says there are often sim- ple solutions available that can make a big difference for comfort and safety. The organisation has com- piled a line-up of tips to help drivers and passengers enjoy more comfortable journeys. These are based on the pro- cess of ageing and how it can affect our ability to get in and out of the car or drive around safely and in comfort. GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “Driving forces us to sit in a constrained posture, sometimes for long periods of time. This can often lead to stiffness and reduced mobil- ity, especially among older drivers. “Common complaints in- clude lower back pain, stiff neck, foot cramps, sore shoul- ders and finger cramp. “We want drivers to adopt an approach that says ‘being in pain at the wheel is not

putting some sort of protective cover at the boot opening, so you don’t risk damaging your car’s paint and bodywork if you’re struggling with a heavy item of luggage. 3. Seat belt If it’s uncomfortable reach- ing back to grab your seat belt, that’s no excuse to stop wearing it. Easy-reach seat- belt handles are cheap to buy and quick to fit. Also consider extra padding if you need it. Sheepskin seatbelt covers pro- tect your neck and shoulder from rubbing and chafing. 4. Driving position

term damage to it. There’s a range of handles and large grips that go into the car door latch and create a strong han- dle. This improves stability and safety. 2. Loading and unloading Many drivers find it chal- lenging to stow luggage and heavy equipment. For exam- ple, putting a wheelchair in the boot can be a risky un- dertaking based on its sheer weight. There are simple ways to make boot access easier. Use simple laminated boards, as they can reduce the strain of lifting. And think about

Škoda reveals potential cost of UK’s kerb-damaged alloy wheels


Quality Vehicle Servicing and Repairs Superior Quality at Independent Rates


knowledged had happened to them when parking their car. Despite the high number of damaged alloy wheels, a third of drivers claimed to be very confident when parking. Part of the problem could be down to their preferred type of parking manoeuvre, with almost half (45 per cent) saying they would rather bay park compared to just 18 per cent who see parallel parking as the better option.

ing problems with a car. Risk of impacts with kerbs during certain parking ma- noeuvres isn’t the only issue which can be minimised with Park Assist 3.0. The technology, which can also be used to guide the vehi- cle when perpendicular park- ing, will activate the automat- ic emergency braking if the system detects a risk of col- lision during parking, some- thing 30 per cent of drivers ac-

Book your next Vehicle Service, MOT or Aircon Service today by calling us now on 01635 551661 or visit our website at

Sharp’s Autos, Unit 2, Bone Lane, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5SH

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker