Hastings Direct news: a Christmas warning
With Christmas just around the corner, the festivities will no doubt be revving up as people go in search of a good time. However, this week's news acts as a timely reminder that a good time should not come at the expense of common sense — especially if you're planning to get behind the wheel this Christmas and New Year.
In fact, we're expecting more motorists on the road than ever this Christmas, with 19% of the drivers quizzed by the AA in its latest study saying that they expect to drive to social events more than usual at this time of year as a result of poor public transport.
The AA's report, conducted in support of its 2015 Christmas anti-drink driving campaign, yielded a number of interesting — sometimes concerning — findings.
Half of drivers would report a drink-driving stranger
The AA questioned 29,568 drivers on whether they would call the police if they saw a stranger get into their car when they're clearly over the limit. Almost half (49%) said they would, although that figure dropped dramatically — to 2% — when asked if they would report a family member if it was clear they were over the limit.
However, the lowly figure might be due to them taking forceful action instead, with 78% saying they would take the keys off a friend or family member if they thought they were drunk.
Arguably the most concerning finding from the study was that 17% said they would still drive after drinking a couple of glasses of wine if they received an 'urgent' call from a loved one.
In summing up the findings, AA president Edmund King said: "Worse public transport, more parties or relatives to pick up should not be an excuse to drink and drive. The best advice is if you are going to drink, don't drive, and if you are going to drive, don't drink."
Solution sought to stop drivers falling asleep at the wheel
One of the other things drivers must factor in at this time of the year is tiredness. Whether it's heavy partying or excess turkey that's to blame, Christmas can take its toll on your body and motorist must be alert to how they're feeling.
If you're feeling drowsy, the best advice is to have somebody else do the driving, or take a welcome break if tiredness sets in mid-journey.
Tiredness is, of course, an issue that affects drivers at all times of the year, which is why the European Commission has set about drafting new safety rules for car manufacturers with this in mind.
The Telegraph reports that one of the options being considered is a camera which will sound an alarm if a driver falls asleep behind the wheel or uses a mobile phone.
Britain's Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) believes it could work, with its chief scientist stressing that the technology has life-saving potential and calls for it to be installed in every vehicle.
Car owners using their vehicle to hide Christmas presents
It can be tricky to find a place to hide Christmas presents to ensure they won't be found by prying eyes. This has led car owners into using their car to hoard presents, with eight million people expected to hide gifts in their vehicle in the run-up to Christmas, according to uSwitch.
However, the firm also found that 58% of the car owners surveyed were unlikely to check if they are covered in case of theft. Meanwhile, the 40% of people who did check the details of their policy found that their insurance did not cover items stored in the car if stolen or broken into.
uSwitch's advice was to get in contact with your insurer and make sure your car insurance policy covers any additional contents.
"This means if the worst should happen and the Grinch comes to steal Christmas, you'll have the right cover in place to make amends," said Rod Jones, insurance expert at the price comparison site.
Ford moves a step closer to commercialising self-driving cars
Automotive giant Ford Motor Company has been given the go-ahead to test its self-driving cars on public roads in California.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid is expected to have its trial run next year, with the manufacturer forecasting to deliver a fully autonomous car within five years.
Ford's president and chief executive Mark Fields said it is working hard to attract top talent from the world to make their five-year target a reality and to "explore and develop future mobility solutions".
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