Title: Drivers Guide To Driving In a Heatwave

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Summary: UK weather is always a little unpredictable and this summer has been no different! We've all enjoyed the sun but what does heat do to your car? There are a few things to look out for!

Meta Title: A Driver's Guide To Driving In a Heatwave

Meta Description: A guide to driving in the heat

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Driving in windy weather (7)

Sun cream, hats, loose clothes and plenty of water…we all know what WE need during a heatwave but what about our cars? Here are some things to check when the mercury goes up!

Check your tyres
When the temperature goes up, the heat in your tyres will expand and affect the pressure, which could lead to a blowout. Heat can also cause the rubber to disintegrate so be sure to check the condition of your tyres before heading anywhere.

Keep your car hydrated!
Engine oil and coolant are essential for cooling down your engine and keeping it running under extreme conditions. Check the levels and top them up where needed.

Protect your car battery
Most car batteries are made with acid and water, the latter which will evaporate faster than the former in hot temperature, leaving you with bare lead plates. Park your car in the shade to prevent water levels from depleting.

Check your wipers in extreme conditions
Warmer weather tends to bring out more bugs and even a short journey can leave your windscreen covered! Make sure your wipers are in good condition and keep your screen wash topped up, so you can clean any bug bits away!

Glare
The sun is great but the glare is not – make sure you have a pair of sunglasses in the car to protect your retinas but try and avoid ones with blue lenses. Amber lights can look green and green lights can look ambiguous which could cause problems!

Chips/cracks in your windscreen
Intense heat and direct sunlight can make any existing damage worse, as the glass expands and contracts in the hotter temperatures. Again, park your car in the shade to protect your windscreen.

Don’t forget the drinks!
Of course, staying hydrated is super important and if you are travelling with kids, make sure you have plenty of cool drinks. You could even take a cool box with frozen treats!

Pack an emergency kit
A lot of minor car problems can be fixed with tools in an emergency kit so make sure to pack one, it could save a call for breakdown assistance!

Invest in a sunshade
Sunshades are ideal for trying to keep a car cooler, so get a sunshade for the windscreen and the back windows if you are travelling with passengers, especially little ones!

Do not leave children or pets in the car!
Self explanatory really…

So there you have it! If the weather has changed drastically again, have a look at A Driver’s Guide to Driving in Torrential Rain!

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: Drivers Guide To Driving In Torrential Rain

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Summary: In true form, the British weather is some what unpredictable this year and so, it's good to know what precautions to take when driving in all weathers! Here, we go through what to do when it's bucketing down!

Meta Title: A Drivers Guide To Driving In Rainy Weather

Meta Description: A short guide with tips and advice on driving in rainy weather

Article:

Driving in windy weather (6)

Rain. We know it all too well but how does it affect your driving when it is torrential and the roads are flooded? Read on to find out how to drive safely during heavy rain.

Firstly, if there is a heavy rain forecast or flood warnings, avoid driving if you can.

If you have to leave the house, make sure to check your wiper blades are in good condition. If the rubber is split or damaged, get them replaced.

Similarly, make sure your windscreen is clean inside and out. Visibility is even more important during difficult conditions!

Don’t speed! In fact, slow your speed by at least 5/10 mph. At certain speeds, cars can lift when there is surface water, or hydroplane. The best thing to do is keep calm, take your foot off the accelerator and let the car coast until it slows down,  keeping a firm grip on the steering wheel.

Avoid driving on flooded roads! It is very difficult to tell the depth of water and if water gets into the engine, the car could cut out completely.

If you’ve driven through a puddle, take your foot off the accelerator and touch the brakes very lightly. This causes friction and heat which will help dry off the brakes.

Don’t forget, if visibility is seriously reduced, turn on your dipped headlights and keep your eyes on the road!

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: The Lowdown on the Best and Worst Motorway Service Stations in the UK

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Summary: The results are in from Transport Focus and we can now reveal the best and worst motorway service stations in the UK! Rather handy if you are planning a road trip!

Meta Title: The Lowdown on the Best and Worst Motorway Service Stations

Meta Description: A commentary on the best and worst service stations as reported by Transport Focus

Article:

Driving in windy weather (5)

Whether taking a short trip or heading out on the road for a longer stint, business or leisure, many of us will have had the experience of a motorway service station.

However, gone are the days of Wimpy and Little Chef! Now you can expect super modern service stations, boasting the likes of M&S, Costa, Nandos and Waitrose. Nice!

In fact 53% of people surveyed felt that introducing well known brands made service stations better, with only 2% thinking it made them worse.

Satisfaction levels overall were very high, with 92% of visitors satisfied, of which 62% were very satisfied. With that being said, the main improvement was value for money.

In terms of accessibility, 90% of visitors with a disability were satisfied with their experience and 70% felt they were well catered for, which was a decrease from 82% the previous year.

In terms of reasons for visiting the motorway service area (MSA), the main reasons were to use the toilet, get food and drink and take a break from driving. One in four drivers arrived feeling stressed, tired and/or frustrated yet significantly, one in 20 visitors reported feeling stressed, tired and/or frustrated when leaving the MSA. Taking breaks is so important!

In fact, visiting an MSA saw 84% of visitors leaving in a positive mood compared to 59% on arrival. Amazing what a nice cuppa and stretching your legs can do!

So let’s get to what we are all here for…the best…

Norton Canes (M6 Toll) – 100%
Stafford Soutbound (M6) – 99%
Wetherby (A1(M)) – 99%
Hilton Park Southbound (M6) – 99%
Corley Southbound (M6) – 99%

And the worst!

Thurrock* (M25) – 68%
Toddington Southbound* (M1) – 72%
Southwaite Northbound (M6) – 80%
Newport Pagnell South (M1) – 81%
Bridgwater (M5) – 81%

(*It is worth noting that these stations were undergoing refurbishment at the time the survey was carried out!)

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: Summer Staycation and Driving Around the UK

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Summary: More and more people are embracing the 'staycation' so we decided to put together a little blog around things to consider when you are driving around the UK! Happy holidays!

Meta Title: Summer Staycation - Driving Around the UK

Meta Description: A quick guide to driving around the UK this summer!

Article:

Driving in windy weather (2)

Summer is here and for many of us, the British Isles is the destination of choice this year. Marvellous! We’ve pulled together a few points to remember before you try and squeeze the other half, the kids, the dog and a load of stuff you probably don’t need into the car.

Make sure your documents are up to date!
It might seem silly but you don’t want to get caught out with invalid insurance or an expired license so check your MOT, insurance, tax and license are all in date!

Double check the basics
Oil, air in the tyres, tread, water and so on. These are the things that seem small but could cause a headache if they aren’t all good to go. If you are planning a longer journey, it may be worth investing in a service.

Book a service here

 

Navigation
If you are using a nifty navigation system or app, make sure it’s fixed into a sturdy cradle that won’t fall off the windscreen as you are coming up to your turn off! Alternatively pick a co-pilot, but make sure they are actually good at following directions!

Little Ones!
If you have children and you decide to take them on holiday with you, make sure you stock up on things to keep them occupied, and have lots of snacks and drinks! And be prepared that you will need to stop just after you’ve left even though you asked at least 10 times if anyone needed the toilet before you set off.

Adults
Particularly the one behind the wheel, make sure you take plenty of breaks on long journeys to avoid fatigue and stay hydrated, especially in warmer weather! If you are the co-pilot, make sure to keep an eye on your driver and insist on stopping if they look tired.

Plan your route
Whether you like to have a full itinerary laminated and ready to go, or you like to be a bit more spontaneous, it’s always a good idea to plan your route to your next destination at the very least.

Weather
Whether the weather is hot or cold (and it could change rapidly in the UK!), temperature can affect your vehicle. In hotter months, check the car’s fluids, tyre pressure and battery. Make sure your interior cooling system is working properly and invest in some sun shades for the kids in the back!

Read our blog on common air-con mistakes here

 

Pets
Taking your furry family member on holiday can be fun but you need to make sure that your pet is fed and watered, and be prepared to make comfort stops to avoid any accidents!

Read our blog on rescuing dogs in hot cars here

 

Entertainment
Good music is going to be the soundtrack to your holiday so get a catalogue of tunes that has something for everyone to enjoy!

We may have put a super catchy summer playlist together that you can have a listen to here

 

Have fun!
The UK has some of the most beautiful places to visit, come rain or shine so take lots of photos and relax!

If you are thinking about upgrading your car before your road trip, take a look at our range of new and used cars! Treat yourself!

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: DVLA urges UK drivers to test their eyes and here is how

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Summary: In light of staggering figures from the DVLA that suggest 50% of UK drivers aren't aware of minimum standards for eyesight while driving, here is all you need to know!

Meta Title: DVLA highlights driver's legal requirement to test their eyes

Meta Description: DVLA highlights driver's legal requirement to test their eyes

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Driving in windy weather (4)

 

According to BBC News, the DVLA carried out a survey which highlighted that only half of the drivers asked knew about the eye test and did it regularly to maintain legal driving standards.

So what do you need to do to make sure you are meeting the legal requirements?

You must be able to read a number plate from 20m (65ft) away.

If you can’t, you must visit an opticians for an eye test.  If you need glasses, you must wear them, or contact lenses, every time you drive to ensure safe driving.

For more information or a more in depth run down of the requirements, visit the DVLA website

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: 5 In-Car Air Conditioning Mistakes That Will Make You Sweat

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Summary: With temperatures set to rise again, make sure you aren't making any of these mistakes when trying to keep cool behind the wheel!

Meta Title: 5 common mistakes made with air con systems

Meta Description: 5 common mistakes which may mean you are not as cool as you think you are!

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Driving in windy weather

We have all experienced the feeling of getting into a hot car and blasting the A/C in an attempt to stop melting into a puddle in the foot well! (FYI, hot cars are no place to leave your pets – you should read our blog on how to rescue a dog in a hot car!)

Here are some common mistakes which mean you might not be getting the very best from your A/C system!

Blasting the Air Con
As tempting as it is, putting the air con on the maximum as soon as you get in the car will only lead to hot air being circulated around the car – make sure you leave the doors open and roll down the windows before you set off!

Hogging the Air Jets
This seems like common sense, but pointing the air jets towards the roof allows for a more even distribution of that lovely, cool air!

Regular Check-Ups
Like everything,  your air con system needs TLC to ensure it’s working properly. Cabin air filters need to be changed every 10,000 to 15,000 miles approximately.

Rise and Shine!
While it might not seem too warm first thing, it doesn’t take long for the sun to heat up a car so pop your air con on first thing to avoid the dreaded windscreen fog when the outside temperature starts to rise!

Air Re-circulation
Using the air re-circulation option means your windscreen is more likely to fog and reduce visibility. Most cars have an ‘auto’ option which regulates the temperature to avoid fog and make your journey easy-breezy!

It is reported that a cabin temperature of 35°C can decrease reaction time by 20%, compared to a cabin temperature of 25°C.  It’s important to remain alert when driving so make sure you have adequate ventilation and some water!

 

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: Accessible Tech: Voice Automation and Disability

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Summary: Have you heard about the Amazon Echo or the Google Home, but aren't really sure what they can do for you? Read about how technology is beginning to open up a whole new world of independence for disabled people, within their homes.

Meta Title: Accessible Tech: Voice Automation and Disability

Meta Description: Technology that can help disabled people in their homes

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Unrecognizable senior woman in a wheelchair with tablet at home. An elderly woman sitting at the table.

 

However you feel about technology, whether you are completely tech-savvy or just starting out, there’s no doubt it has definitely enhanced all of our lives.

We can reach out to friends and family halfway across the world, we can set reminders and alarms, and we can surf the web and order to our doors without ever having to visit a store!

Products like Amazon’s Echo (or mini Echo Dot) and Google’s Home have taken technology a step further and begun to spark futuristic ideas of an almost entirely automated home. Scary as this seems, the futuristic little pods can be used to complete even the most basic of tasks. For those with any disability or mobility issues, these products open up a new world to all.

For those unfamiliar, the Amazon Echo and Google Home are little pieces of kit that will fit in the palm of your hand (they look like a round speaker). You can set them up anywhere in the home, and with an internet connection they can do just about anything you can think of, using voice activation.

Typically priced around £100, or sometimes less, products such as these are increasingly affordable and have an array of apps or ‘skills’  which are in constant development, and the apps available continue to grow.

If you struggle with using a laptop or phone, one of these products allow for easy life-administration; you can set reminders, create shopping and to-do lists, track your shopping, dictate lists and generally use any search function you’d expect from Google, or any similar search engine.

For those with visual impairment, audible books can be accessed. You can ask Alexa or Google Home what time it is, what the latest news articles are, and check your calendar for your appointments that day. You can play messages and make calls, without having to scroll through your phone.

That’s not all as other mobility issues can be eased with this impressive technology. Daily tasks which can seem daunting or frustrating when you use a wheelchair, can be instructed to Alexa or Google Home with a simple voice command. When set up, the device can control elements in your home such as lighting, or even be set up with smart blinds to open and close as needed. For even more bold additions to the ‘smart home’ set up, you can lock doors, open and close the garage door, set and adjust the thermostat and control the TV.

As we move towards a more inclusive world in every sense, innovative products like these will continue to bring a level of ease to the lives of wheelchair users and those with other disabilities.

Author: Emma Russell

Title: How to Check Your Car History Online

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Summary: Thinking of buying a used car? There are some checks you can carry out online that will help you avoid potential problems later down the line! Read on, fine people!

Meta Title: How to Check A Used Car's History Online | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Check a used car's history online

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So you’ve got a used car in your sights but you’ve read loads of horror stories online about people driving away in a used car and the engine fell out, right?

I hear you but don’t worry, there are different ways to check that you are getting a used car that is above board. Have a read below at what you can do online to save yourself any hassle!

Hooray for the DVLA! Those guys have built up a database worth its weight in gold – all you need to do is click here then type in the vehicle’s registration and it will give you;

When the current tax  and MOT expires
The date the car was registered
SORN status (if applicable)
Colour
Engine size
Year of Manufacture
CO2 emissions
Current vehicle tax rate (You will need
the V5C certificate to get this information)

And if that isn’t juicy enough, you can also get more specific information about the vehicle’s MOT history by entering the registration number on this page here. Get crackin’ Sherlock!

If you are a little unsure how to go about buying a used car, check out our Driver’s Guide to Buying A Used Car – you’ll be an expert in no time!

And don’t forget to have a look at our huge range of used cars!

 

 

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: The Super Catchy Summer Driving Playlist

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Summary: Everyone knows there is nothing better than getting in the car, winding those windows down, popping the sun roof and taking a drive, especially when the sun is shining. We've taken the plunge and compiled a catchy playlist for your driving merriment (but are under no illusion it won't be everyone's cup of tea - it's okay, we still love you)

Meta Title: The Super Catchy Summer Driving Playlist

Meta Description: Music to drive your way through the summer to!

Article:

Hurrah! We are smack dab in the middle of summer and it is GLORIOUS. Check out our driving playlist for dreamy lyrics and marvellous melodies!

 

 

If you don’t have a car to listen to this playlist in, or you want a new one, have a little look at what we offer! You’ll be spoilt for choice!

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: New Road Technology That Can Detect When You Are Using Your Phone Behind The Wheel

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Summary: A collaboration between a local council and a leading technology company has culminated in the development of road signs that will aid in the campaign to crack down on the use of mobile phones behind the wheel!

Meta Title: Road signs that know when you are using your phone while driving

Meta Description: Road signs will flash warning signals to deter drivers using their mobile phones while driving

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Mobile-Driving

In a bid to deter drivers from using their mobile phones while they are driving, a warning system is currently being trialled in Norfolk, where the road signs can detect when an active phone call is taking place, and flashes a red signal as the driver passes, according to Sky News.

Norfolk County Council’s road team have been working alongside Westcotec, a warning sign specialist based in Norfolk, to develop the system in order to aid the crack down and although the technology cannot identify offenders at the moment, that is something that is being considered for the future.

The system will be able to differentiate between those who are and who are not receiving calls via Bluetooth, to avoid giving warnings to drivers on the right side of the law.

The Department of Transport reported that, in 2016, figures showed accidents that involved drivers using mobile phones killed the equivalent of one person every 10 days, and seriously injured 137 people.

According to the RAC, you are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone while driving and your reaction time is twice as slow if you text and drive, than if you drink drive! (Of which we condone neither!)

If you need to take a call or reply to a text and it cannot wait until you reach your destination, take two minutes and pull over.

The legal consequences for using a mobile phone whilst behind the steering wheel was increased last year from 3 penalty points and a £100 fine, to 6 penalty points and a £200 fine. Other consequences include fatalities, serious injury  and/or damage to your vehicle.

If you have passed your test within two years of being prosecuted, you could lose your licence.

Author: Bristol Street Motors