Hastings Direct news: winter weather warning

The week began with the release of figures revealing 2015 was a record-breaking year for new car sales. There was bad news for UK Volkswagen owners with the announcement that, despite previous claims, they will not be receiving compensation for the emissions scandal. Lastly, with the predictions of arctic weather to hit the UK, the safety of drivers and the precautions they take in these poor driving conditions has been the focus of several studies released this week.

Record-breaking new car sales in 2015

car sold

New figures have revealed the 2.63 million cars registered in 2015 broke the record of car sales set in 2003 when 2.58 million cars were sold. The latest figures depict a 6% increase in car sales from 2014, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced.

The last 42 months has seen a long-run growth of new car sales in the UK, witnessing just one slip in this period.

Key factors which are believed to have attributed to the findings are, increased customer confidence, along with wage growth, low unemployment levels and the reduction of fuel prices.

Low interest rates are thought to have contributed to the new rise in new car packages, with more than three quarters (80%) having the backing of a finance package.

"Most people just want to budget monthly, whether it's their mobile phone, rental payments or their car," chairman of Ford's British arm, Andy Barratt said.

UK VW owners will not be receiving compensation

VW car

Despite a previous announcement made at a press conference in December by VW UK CEO, Matthias Mueller, UK Volkswagen customers will not be receiving compensation from the emission scandal.

The official update on the situation is that "there won't be compensation. All the indications are the residual values are unaffected," a spokesman for VW UK revealed. However, certain circumstances some customers face may see them be offered a "support package".

Customers in the US will still be receiving $1,000 gift cards for compensation as it is claimed they face a "different set of circumstances".

VW UK is currently working on a phasing document to outline the recall dates of each affected model so they can receive the necessary software changes.

The mechanical changes will have a "negligible effect, so changes in the car's performance or the fuel economy will not be noticed by customers", VW UK have assured.

Survey reveals drivers take life-threatening risks on icy roads

icy road

A new survey has revealed a worrying amount of drivers are taking potentially life-threatening risks when driving in poor weather conditions.

More than half (54%) of drivers questioned thought other motorists drove too quickly in bad weather, while two thirds (66%) believe other divers do not ensure there is enough of a stopping space left between cars.

Of all those surveyed, nearly three quarters (71%) admitted not knowing the braking distance in icy conditions increased ten-fold to that in fair weather conditions. The correct braking distance in icy conditions was known by under a quarter (23%) of drivers.

"If you get caught out in bad weather the critical thing is to slow right down and keep your distance, bearing in mind that it will take you much longer to stop in an emergency, and to react in the first place, if visibility is reduced," warned campaigns and communications director for Brake, Gary Rae.

Motorists not prepared for winter weather

frozen windscreen

The predicted winter spell was in the news yet again this week as the results of Asda's survey of 1,000 drivers revealed a worrying amount are "dangerously unprepared" for the possible icy conditions.

The survey found that over a quarter (26%) of the drivers questioned do nothing to prepare their cars for winter weather and the poor driving conditions it can bring.

Regular and important safety checks were found to not be carried out, with less than a third of motorists admitting they check their brakes are working properly.

Of the findings, the most shocking discovery of driver habits in winter weather was that nearly two fifths (39%) admitted to driving "with ice or steam on the windscreen". They claimed the reason they drove with such poor visibility was that they didn't have time to wait for the windscreen to be fully defrosted.

However, the survey did find that an ice scraper was kept in the cars of 83% of the motorists questioned. Maybe it's just a case of getting up a little earlier on cold mornings?

© M2 Bespoke 2016

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