Hastings Direct news: falling fuel prices & driving smoking ban

As this week's motoring news suggests, driving plays such a large part in our lives, acting as a constant from as young as 17 years old through to our twilight years. As such, any fluctuations in price or legislation — regardless how slight — can take some getting used to, meaning it's essential to stay on top of any potential changes relating to driving.

Motorists reminded about smoking ban

Smoking driver

With a third of children — 3 million — said to be exposed to second-hand smoke in vehicles, the government has moved to make smoking in cars illegal if the vehicle is carrying a person under 18.

The legislation was approved in February but has yet to come into effect. However, with less than seven weeks until the law becomes active on 1 October, the government has begun an awareness campaign in order to spread the word.

As the Guardian reports, those that choose to carry on smoking and driving while a child is in the car beyond that date can expect to receive a fixed penalty fine of £50. The same applies to passengers if they flout the new laws, with the government determined to protect young people from the damaging effects of second-hand smoke.

The Department of Health has detailed exactly why second-hand smoke is so damaging for young people, explaining that children breathe faster than adults. Their developing lungs mean that they are "much more at risk from harm".

Diesel prices hit five-year low

Petrol pumps at a service station

Another significant piece of news to emerge for drivers this week relates to fuel, which for drivers of diesel cars, will be especially welcome.

BBC News reported that the average price of diesel has dipped below 113p per litre for the first time since January 2010. Drivers had been concerned that prices appeared to be on the rise again since a significant fall in January, but figures from the information group Experian Catalist suggest that motorists have rarely had it so good as far as fuel is concerned.

It's a similar story for petrol, which this week hit 115.24p per litre on average, its lowest level for three months.

David Hunter, an energy industry analyst with Schneider Electric, told BBC Radio 5 live's Wake Up to Money programme that fuel prices could fall even further, if the crude oil price continues to tumble and sterling holds its value against the dollar.

Detouring for cheaper fuel a 'false economy'

Petrol pumps in field

The RAC claims that diesel prices could even fall to as low as £1 a litre, but insurance comparison website MoneySuperMarket says that drivers should not get too obsessed with finding the cheapest fuel possible.

It carried out a study which shows how driving two extra miles for the sake of saving 1p per litre of diesel or petrol could actually work out more expensive.

At best, the drive to the fuel station cancels out the cheaper price, says Dan Plant, consumer expert at MoneySuperMarket, who says drivers should use its '2-for-1 rule'.

"Never travel more than two extra miles to hunt out each one pence per litre saving," is Plant's advice.

He adds that drivers should be looking at savings of nearer 5p a litre for it to be worth their while, explaining that anything below that would be something of a "false economy".

Families told to keep an eye on older relatives

older driver

There is no age limit for drivers getting behind the wheel, which has prompted some motoring groups to put forward a number of different solutions to ensure people are not driving beyond an age at which they are no longer safe to do so.

However, GEM Motoring Assist believes that families have a large part to play in making sure older relatives are fit to drive. It highlights that many more experienced drivers are perfectly safe, but adds that there will likely come a time when safety is compromised.

David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, acknowledged how important being able to drive is for many older people, but he explains that freedom cannot come at the expense of safety.

He suggests, however, that it can be difficult for older motorists to recognise when their driving skills are starting to wane, therefore it is important that family members and friends take "appropriate action" if anything causes them concern.

Bad driving makes for a bad date

phone while drving

We wrap up this week by highlighting a light-hearted study which shows how bad driving can act as a romantic turn-off.

The survey by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) revealed how nearly half (46%) of the people questioned stated road rage as the worst first-date faux pas — which ranked fifth in the list, just below 'being self-obsessed'.

Other driving-related first date turn-offs in the top ten included:

  • Texting whilst driving' (45%)
  • Talking on a mobile whilst driving' (44%)
  • Having a dirty car (23%)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, rudeness was the number one reason given for why a date doesn't go beyond an initial encounter.

© M2 Bespoke 2015

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