Hastings Direct news: safety first

With the school summer holidays in full flow, some families may opt for a UK break, or drive across the Channel to keep costs down. For those that do, ensuring you're well prepared is critical to having an enjoyable and relaxing time.

The ability to keep the children safe and entertained will also play a big part in holiday satisfaction. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that recently we have seen a string of safety warnings for drivers.

Booster seats don't test well

child booster seat

The booster seat has long been seen as the middle phase in young person's transition to being able to sit in a car without assistance. However, experts say that they can compromise a child's safety in case of an accident.

Car seats specialists Britax have urged parents to prop their children up with highback booster alternatives instead, arguing that the traditional booster seat provides inadequate protection to users.

Although it could be claimed that Britax have a vested interested in leading parents to the highback option, it's footage of a crash test comparing the two options available to parents appears conclusive.

Car buyers haven't got their priorities right

in car tech

Some new cars now come with Britax-approved booster seats pre-installed, but road safety charity Brake says some drivers are overlooking some of these safety features in the name of image.

In research undertaken by the organisation, only 37% of drivers aged 17-24 stated safety as the most important consideration when buying a new car. The percentage is slightly better for older drivers at 48%, but Brake argues that safety should always be the number one factor.

However, young drivers are now more likely to choose their next car based on what "infotainment" it boasts, despite evidence showing that stereos and mobile phones pose a serious risk of distraction to their concentration behind the wheel.

Drivers neglecting their checks

checking tyres

Ensuring a vehicle is as safe to drive as it possibly can be should be a primary concern for all drivers — but research from a tyre supplier suggests that motorists are neglecting to regularly check their car.

Micheldever revealed how half of the tyres it replaces are found to be at or below the 1.6mm legal limit for tread depth.

It shows evidence of a 250% increase in the number of tyres being used until they reach an unhealthy condition, within a period of just seven years.

Having analysed data from 100,000 tyres removed each year, the firm found that 56.4% of the tyres replaced today fell short of the legal limit — a rise from 15.3% in 2008.

Its study hints that a lack of knowledge is to blame for the stark increase, with four out of ten drivers not even able to say what the legal tread depth limit for car tyres is.

But Duncan Wilkes, Micheldever's chief executive, says that ignorance is no excuse and urged drivers to make sure they are prepared to set aside some time to carry out thorough vehicle checks.

European emergency number a mystery to Brits

european emergency number

Being able to recall telephone numbers from memory is no longer a necessity, with mobile phones able to take care of that job. This might be the reason why most UK motorists don't know the European emergency number.

In a survey by the RAC, only 38% of respondents knew that 112 is the correct number to call in case of emergency in Europe.

For motorists planning to take a trip across the Channel this year, having the 112 number stored — whether in memory or on a device — is crucial. According to the RAC's estimates, some six million of the country's drivers are expected to head to Europe this year — peaking in the summer months.

When asked what the European emergency number was, 10% believed it to be 111 — the non-emergency for the NHS in most of the UK. Other popular incorrect answers included 911, 101 and 999.

Motorist-cyclist hostility heats up

cyclist safety

We finish our news round-up this week by bringing you an issue that looks set to dominate headlines for the foreseeable: tensions between drivers and cyclists.

Cyclists are increasingly arming themselves with headcams in order to capture inconsiderate and often dangerous driving of car, van and lorry drivers. However, a renowned motoring lawyer claims cyclists are not entirely blameless and has urged drivers to "fight back" by making their own videos.

Nick Freeman, also known as Mr Loophole, argues that too often cyclists are guilty of irresponsible use of the road, but are not coming under the same scrutiny as motorists.

He takes particular exception to the public identification of motorists that some cyclists choose to enact, while the bikers remain "relatively anonymous".

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