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Title: What should I listen to during my commute?

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Summary: Whether you drive, take a train or walk to work, we have a few suggestions on how to pass the time!

Meta Title: What should I listen to during my commute?

Meta Description: Things to pass the time on your way to work!

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commute

PODCASTS
Podcasts have proved to be super beneficial as listeners tend to be more imaginative and a better listener. Plus learning things is always a win!

Where?  BBC, iTunes and Spotify to name a few!

MUSIC
If music is more your thing, you’ll be glad to know not only does listening to music lower stress, it also elevates your mood while driving and strengthens your memory! You’ll arrive at work raring to go!

Where? Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Soundcloud plus many more!

LANGUAGE
Learning a language will not only impress your friends but it will increase your confidence, boost your cognitive function and is great if you like to travel Sign us up!

Where? Duolingo, Babbel, Memrise with lots more available on the t’internet

AUDIO BOOKS
Reading is a fantastic way to spend your time but when you need to keep your eyes on the road or in the direction you are going, audio books are the heroes you need! Plus they help with pronunciation, increase reading accuracy and expand your vocabulary.

Where? Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Kobo are just some of the ways to can listen to audio books on the go!

No matter what you choose to listen to, you can say goodbye to boring commutes! Now if only we could do something about the traffic…

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and what it means for you

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Summary: Personal Independence Payment, or PIP, is being introduced as Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being phased out. This means anyone in receipt of DLA will have to apply to claim PIP. But don't worry, we are here to help!

Meta Title: Personal Independence Payment and what it means for you

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You may or may not be aware, but the current Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and this mean there are a few things you need to do in order to claim!

Firstly, if you  were or were over 65 years of age on 8th April 2013, you will continue to receive DLA as normal. This also applies to children under 16 years of age, who are already in receipt of DLA.

Everyone else, between the ages of 16 and 64,  will need to submit a new application for PIP, even if you have a ‘lifetime’ or ‘indefinite’ award for DLA. Don’t worry, it’s pretty straight forward!

If you want to get the ball rolling yourself, you can ring 0800 917 2222 (telephone) or 0800 917 7777 (textphone) Monday to Friday between 8am to 6pm. Within 2 weeks, you will receive an information pack with an application form and you will then have 4 weeks from then to complete and send back your application.

Otherwise, you will be sent a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) inviting you to make a claim for PIP. You will then have 4 weeks from receipt of the letter to complete and send back your application.

During this time, its a good idea to go and see your doctor to get the most up to date evidence on your health. However if you can’t get an appointment in that time, don’t delay your application. Use whatever evidence you have to hand. If you are unsure what to include, you can locate and contact your local Citizen’s Advice, who will be more than happy to help you.

To continue as part of the Motability scheme, you must be awarded the ‘enhanced rate’ for mobility component of PIP. Although this is not guaranteed, even if you are in receipt of the higher ratwe mobility component of DLA currently, making sure you have included as much evidence as possible will help to increase your chances.

In the event you do not qualify, you will have to return your Motability vehicle within 8 weeks of your payments stopping, or 26 weeks if you joined the Motability scheme before 2014. However you won’t be left high and dry without support from us and from the Motability scheme, who will offer transitional support packages, so don’t worry.

If your circumstances change as part of the transition, there are of course other options. Not only do Bristol Street Versa supply vehicles on the Motability scheme,  but we also have lots of new, nearly new and used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) available to buy so we can help to keep you going.

This may seem like an unsettling time but be assured that you won’t be left without the help you need should your circumstances change. Just follow the steps above to ensure your evidence and application are sent off in good time!

If you’re still unsure on your next steps,. you can either contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or contact Motability Customer Service on: 0300 456 4566

Author: Bristol Street Versa

Title: WLTP and RDE: What does it all mean?

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Summary: You may have heard about the new fuel consumption and emissions testing standards on the news... but what does it all mean? Read on for a simple explanation of WLTP and RDE - and how your motoring choices may be affected by the new rules.

Meta Title: What you need to know about WLTP and RDE

Meta Description: What does WLTP mean? How will WLTP affect motorists? Here's our simple explanation of fuel consumption and emissions testing, and why it's changing...

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From September 2018, all new car types (new cars introduced to the market for the first time) will be tested under the WLTP or the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure. Catchy name, right?

Fuel consumption and emissions have previously been tested using the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) which would put a passenger car through a cycle representative of ‘typical usage’ – but these tests – which are carried out in a laboratory environment – have attracted a lot of criticism for the likelihood that they could ever replicate typical ‘real world’ usage.

Because of this, it was claimed that advertised MPG figures were inaccurate and misleading.  So that’s when the European Union stepped in and created the WLTP! Hurrah!

BUT before we get to that, let’s quickly look at what fuel consumption and emissions are, and what they mean to drivers (for those who might not be too sure!)

Hang on, what is fuel consumption and what are emissions?

Fuel consumption is the amount of fuel used by a vehicle to travel a certain distance at a certain speed. Pretty straightforward so far! It is measured in either kilometres per litre or miles per gallon and the higher the value, the more economical the vehicle will be. This could mean you get more mileage for your petrol but there are a lot of variables which could affect this including driving style, weather conditions and road type to name a few!

Vehicle emissions refer to the production of some rather nasty gases including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen, all of which have an impact on the environment and the air we breathe. Defined limits were put in to regulate the negative effects on the climate, environment and human health – and vehicle emissions must fall within those limits.

Okay cool. So what makes the WLTP more accurate than the previous test, the NEDC?

Well for one, it’s a longer test, taking around 30 minutes compared to the 20 minutes of its predecessor. Not only that but the test itself will cover a larger distance and the speeds tested will reach 81 mph with the average at 29 mph. A lot more fitting as most urban areas tend to be around 30 mph.

And what is RDE?

Running alongside the WLTP is the RDE (Real Driving Emissions) test where emissions of nitrogen oxide will be measured while the vehicle is out and about, driving on the road. This is the first time ‘real driving’ will be used during these sorts of tests, with the hopes of closing the gap between real life discrepancies and accurate figures.

Any other changes?

Yes! Another change is the introduction of testing car models with all of their additional extras,  as opposed to the basic specification taken as the representation of all models. This again has taken into account some of the variables that may affect fuel consumption and emissions and address them, hopefully, with a positive outcome!

Final thoughts?

While the WLTP and RDE will certainly bring us closer to a more accurate reading of fuel consumption and emissions, we cannot ignore that there are just too many variables to cater for, however implementing more robust tests will help to bring us closer to a greener way of driving!

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: The Most Unusual Driving Laws from Around the World

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Summary: We all have to abide by the laws of the road - they are there to keep us safe after all. However, there are a few from around the globe that are questionable!

Meta Title: The Most Unusual Driving Laws from Around the World

Meta Description: Unusual driving laws from around the world

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Driving in windy weather (8)

In Thailand, it is illegal to drive shirtless and you could end up with a warning or a ticket!

If you are driving in Denmark, you must check for sleeping children under your car before setting off

It’s illegal to have your sat-nav set up to alert you to speed cameras in France

In Italy, driving in certain historic zones without a permit is illegal

Make sure you have a packet of mints if you are in Ontario! You are not allowed in a taxi with bad breath!

In Manila, the number of days you can drive is limited depending on the last 4 digits of your number plate

It is illegal to urinate in public in the UK,  unless you are by the rear wheel, touching your car!

You must have a breathalyser in your car at all times when driving in France

Splashing a pedestrian is illegal in both the UK  and Japan!

In Finland, all taxi drivers must have a licence to play recorded music whilst carrying passengers

Don’t forget to fill your tank before heading on the Autobahn in Germany. It’s illegal to stop, even if you run out of fuel!

In Denver, Colorado it is illegal to drive a black car on Sunday (although I don’t think it’s enforced all that much!)

Make sure your car is sparkling before driving in Russia – it is illegal to drive around in a dirty car!

In California, it is illegal to jump from a car travelling at 65 mph…just in case you were wondering

Shhh! Slamming your car door is prohibited in Switzerland

In Massachusetts, it’s illegal to operate a car with a gorilla in the back. Of course!

In Macedonia, you need to appoint a designated driver AND designated front seat passenger as both have to be sober!

 

 

 

 

 

*Some of these may or may not be true.

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: How do I SORN my vehicle?

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Summary: If you have a car that you don't plan on driving for a good while, save yourself some money and declare it off the road!

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Meta Description: How to declare your car off the road

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Whether your car is undergoing restoration, isn’t roadworthy or you just aren’t going to drive it for a while, you can declare it off road with a Statutory Off Road Notice which means you don’t have to tax the vehicle.

Driving without taxing your vehicle could end up costing you a pretty penny, somewhere in the region of £2500! The only exception being you are driving to a pre-booked MOT test, that you can prove.

Applying for a SORN is pretty simple. You need either the 11-digit reference number from your V5C (the logbook) or the 16-digit reference code on your road tax renewal reminder. Either of these, along with the registration, make and model of the car plus the date you would like to declare the vehicle off road from and you are good to go!

You can either contact the DVLA on 0300 123 4321, send a V890 application form to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR

Or you can go online to register your vehicle as off road here

Once you have successfully declared your vehicle off road, you must make sure it stays that way until you tax it or sell it, which means it must be stored on a private drive, in a garage or in storage. You cannot leave it parked on the street as that does not constitute as off road and you could be liable!

A SORN will last indefinitely, only expiring if you tax the vehicle or sell or scrap it. You cannot transfer a SORN from one vehicle owner to another so if the car is sold, tax will be due unless the new registered keeper applied for a SORN.

Author: Bristol Street Motors

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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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

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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

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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!

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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

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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