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Roadside drug testing to come into force in England and Wales

In an effort to combat drug impaired drivers, roadside drug testing will be introduced in England and Wales this year. But there’s more, drivers may be given a breathalyser test to detect alcohol levels instead of instant drug tests or both. Revolutionary new “drugalysers” have been approved to take saliva samples and analyse drivers on the spot for drugs such as cannabis and cocaine. However, legal highs aren’t detectable as of yet.

 Brethalyser

Previously, to detect drug impaired drivers, police officers had to rely on field drug impairment tests similar to those before breathalysers were introduced such as making the driver stand on one leg and checking pupils for dilation.  

Drivers who weren’t successful, were taken to the station to undergo medically supervised blood tests. Many individuals however, resisted giving blood samples based on religious beliefs or medical reasons; wasting time and allowing the drugs to exit the system. With the drug analysers available on the streets, there’s no excuse to not providing a saliva sample when asked.

Official numbers indicate that the number of people killed in road accidents whilst under the influence of drugs rose from 3% in 1998 to a staggering 18% in 1998. Furthermore, in a separate report, Durham police found that almost half of the 23 people killed on (roads in the area)  in 2014 showed traces of cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and prescription drugs, which all contribute to impaired driving.

Drugalysers

A new drug offence is scheduled for release in March 2015, and these new drug kits will support it as soon as it comes into effect. The initiative to implement drugalysers came after the “No drink, No doubt” campaign that asks drivers to refrain from taking the wheel if they’ve consumed even a drop of alcohol. Policing Minister Mike Penning adds that motorists felt the same about drug impaired driving as they did with alcohol-impaired drivers. Penning also stated that those who get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs and alcohol not only put their own lives at stake, but also those of their passengers and other motorists on the road.

What is a Drugalyser and the Penalties for Drug Impaired Driving?

Similar to a breathalyser, a drugalyser is the machine that will be used for on the spot oral swab tests to catch drug-influenced drivers. It tests for chemical compounds in saliva and can detect up to 16 different drugs. Officials claim that penalties for drug impaired driving will be harsh, and may range from up to £5,000 in fines, prison time of 6 months or more and a license being revoked for at least a year. These offences will also affect future insurance for your car such as classic car insurance and fully comprehensive insurance and will ultimately help keep our roads safer.

The Strangest Breakdown Callouts of 2014

The RAC and AA made over three million callouts in 2014, and there were some bizarre stories behind these numbers. Both the RAC and AA have published a list of their strangest callouts in an effort to make motorists more aware of what’s covered and what’s not with breakdown cover. These roadside assistance services have rescued everything from raccoons, guinea pigs, snakes and a bunch of other pets, had a close encounter with an alligator, a hopeless groom who had locked his wedding rings inside his vehicle to children trapped in a vehicle.

In terms of numbers, the AA indicates that motorists called for trapped children in cars over 2500 times and upwards of a 1000 callouts to rescue pets. This why with an older car, when you take out classic car insurance for your cherished classic, it is highly recommended that yout take out some form of breakdown cover

But these are just the beginning in a spate of bizarre requests, and we’ve listed some of the most intriguing ones below.

According to the RAC and AA, dogs are the most frequent animal offenders, and many of them have locked their owners out at petrol stations by activating the locks with their paws. In addition, dogs have also managed to swallow car keys, and caused damaged to the interior of vehicles by chewing the fabric of seats, wires and even steering wheels.

One AA serviceman claims he arrived for a callout only to discover a handful of rats living in the fuse box, where they had chewed through all the wires. Another AA member called the AA frantically trying to gain access to his vehicle only to learn it wasn’t his.

Some motorists have even locked a significant amount of money in their vehicle such as one individual who locked over £75,000 in his boot. One of the AA’s most dangerous callouts would have to be when they were called to repair a vehicle that was transporting an alligator to the zoo. On an amorous note, both the AA and RAC have received several calls where couples were locked in their vehicles. There have also been several instances where the AA and RAC have helped motorists in a life changing event such as getting to a wedding and even delivering a baby.

Dog With Car Keys

With regards to the longest recovery, it took the RAC over a 600 mile trip from South London to Ross-shire in the Scottish Highlands, and the busiest day was Monday, November 24th 2014 with over 14,000 callouts.

Other strange callouts include:

A strange noise inside the vehicle thought to be of a snake was simply an aerosol container jammed under the passenger’s seat

An elderly woman helped an RAC serviceman fix her fan belt with her tights

A patrol car had to rescue an elderly woman who’d lost her keys and hearing aid and fallen asleep in her vehicle

Porridge was used by a car owner to stop a leak

An owner placed a hot water bottle on top of his engine in an effort to keep it warm. 

Top Ten Practical Tips for Classic Car Restoration

Most classic car aficionados make this rather special investment for the sole purpose of replenishing the car's natural beauty. While this is undeniably an exciting opportunity, it shouldn’t result in you spending more than the cars worth when it’s all said and done. Here are 10 tips to ensure you restoring project brings you immense satisfaction and not crushing disappointment, and remember – get classic car insurance once your beauty is restored as it is much more affordable than generic car insurance.

Classic Car Restoration

1. Choose the Right Vehicle to Restore - When shopping for a classic car to restore, you will be spoilt for choice, which is why you need to apply more caution. Fact is that a few or most of these cars will never prove valuable no matter what the level of restoration. This is why is important to do your homework to determine what models are worth restoring and which ones are better left untouched.

2. Figure out your Budget – Chances are that you already know how much you’d have or like to spend on the restoration process including the cost of the actual vehicle itself. But before making a commitment, it is highly recommended that you inspect the vehicle thoroughly to see if any added costs are involved.

3.  Primary Inspection – In order to determine if the vehicle is worth the value after restoration, it is important to first inspect the mechanical aspects of the vehicle such as the engine, trunk and any other related parts. Reason being is that these are the most expensive parts to replace and generally a restored vehicle with its original engine is more valuable than one that’s been replaced.

4. Secondary Inspection – The second level of inspection will be geared towards checking the vehicle for the level of rust. This type of damage is time consuming and if you seek professional help will cost you a ton in labour costs. Eliminating rust from a vehicle may require replacement of the steel body panels at the least or stripping of the entire chassis and sandblasting them from scratch in worse case scenarios.

5. Does the Car Start? – Buying a car that starts or better yet runs well significantly reduces the cost of repairs. Contrarily, buying one that shows no signs of starting is a risky proposition. On a brighter note, the car might just need a new battery, fuel pump or starter and be prepared to deal with a seized engine in worse cases.

6. Are Spare Parts easily Available? – Considering this is a car that may be more than 15 years old, it may be challenging to source specific parts. If they aren’t available, your restoration project will come to a halt or you will have to invest in expensive aftermarket parts.

7.Are you working alone or with a Friend – Decide whether you have the expertise to complete the entire car restoration yourself or if you’re going to seek professional for some if not all of it. However, it is recommended that you do not involve family or friends as this may backfire if the costs of restoration spiral out of control.

8.  Start the Restoration Process – First begin by fixing the mechanical aspects of the vehicle such as the engine, and works towards the outer part of the vehicle. If you’re getting professional help, make it a point to visit the garage periodically to stay updated on the progress of the restoration.

9. Check the Vehicle – After all the restoration has been completed to specs including the body work and paint, take the vehicle for a long ride to ensure it is in pristine state and excellent working condition.

10. Further Maintenance – a restored vehicle is similar to a new one and must be treated as such. This means that it will require proper and periodic maintenance checks to ensure long service life.     

Is the Bentley Turbo R an investment in the Waiting?

The Bentley Turbo R is arguably one of the best innovations to come out of the Bentley hangar, and car enthusiasts young and old would wholeheartedly agree. In fact, it is unique in its own right in that it is one of the only cars in the world with tremendous bulk and weight, but still capable of delivering a blistering performance with each ride. And if the raw performance is what appeals to you in a vehicle, and if you want to able to haul your family and friends and their baggage in the lap of luxury without bending, and still be able to see clearly out the windows, the Bentley Turbo R is probably the only car that will not disappoint.

Bentley Turbo R

Bentley’s Turbo R arrived with a ton of perks inside and out, most of them hand crafted extras. The picnic tables however were removed around 1969 only to be replaced a few years later with two opening compartments containing lead crystal glasses and decanters. The Turbo R (R for roadholding) was based on the chassis of the Bentley Mulsanne, only that it was intended to be a high performance vehicle. But the Turbo R did have the same turbocharged engine as the Mulsanne Turbo, but even this engine was tweaked significantly in comparison to the Mulsanne.

Bentley Turbo R Interior

Adding to this, the Turbo R was enhanced with a Bosch fuel injection, upgraded suspension, class leading dampers and anti roll bars to allow it to be surprisingly smooth around bends and corners especially considering its size. Adding to the excitement was the powerhouse V8, 6750CC that gave it the potential to literally sprint at 135mph, making it a true performer in a straight track. When the Bentley Turbo R received its first alloy wheels, it garnered mixed reviews from consumers, where some felt it looked too flamboyant and others were impressed.

Released in 1985 in the U.K., four years earlier than the United States, the Turbo R was described by several critics as the first Bentley in decades to merit its name. When first released, it was clear that Bentley was looking to captivate and capture the fashionable sports car market, and that’s exactly what happened! Although Bentley Motors LTD planned to keep both the Mulsanne and the Turbo R in production, sales of the latter were good enough to cease production of the former.

Once this decision was made, the Turbo R created history as being the best ever selling vehicles that Bentley and Rolls-Royse had ever created. In 1989, the same year the Bentley Turbo R was released in the United States, it received a subtle facelift, where the two large square front headlamps were replaced with round headlamps in an effort to boost its sporty appeal. Considering that Bentley created history with the Turbo R, it is definitely one of the most prestigious assets to add to your garage or collection. You can get your hands on one for under £20,000 for a showroom ready example on a later plate, and also get classic car insurance as well. Destined to be an invaluable asset and worth a lot more in the years to come, this is a classic car that looks like it will only grow in stature

Vinyl Wrap Or Respray?

Inevitably as a classic car enthusiast you will notice that many classic cars do not have their original paintwork that came from the factory. This is due to many reasons such as corrosion setting in, damaged bodywork or the original colour just being too plain awful for the 21st century, hearing aid beige anyone?

The issue here though is that full body re-sprays do not come cheap, and if they do - then you get what you pay for. If you have a beautiful old Mercedes 350SL then you are not going want to skimp on a cheap paintjob, you will want the best. However their are alternatives to going for the full re-spray and spending £5,000 for your dream colour choice. Vinyl wrapping is becoming increasingly popular amongst enthusiasts, and for good reason too. You can get the same look and feel as a full body re-spray for a fraction of the cost.

5 Reasons Why Wrapping May Be Your Desired Route

Cost – First and foremost this is the biggest factor here. Re-spray’s can add up, especially if you are going for a high-end paint job that is metallic. Wrapping can start anywhere from approximately £500 in any colour and finish you so desire. The life expectancy is shorter, ranging from five to eight years though. But many re-sprays only last that long on some classic cars.

Options – There are some many options available with vinyl wrapping. From all the colours under the rainbow, to custom designs such as carbon fibre, racing stripes or even cartoon characters if that is your thing. The classic car market is known for enthusiasts customising their cars, and it doesn’t get much more customisable than wrapping.

Vinyl Wrapped Mercedes

Installation – Imagine having your classic G-Wagon re-sprayed, due to the size of this beast it could take up to two weeks for your average paint-shop to turn around. With a vinyl wrap however it could be done in 48 hours.

Protection – This is the added benefit of wrapping a car. It protects the vehicle from the natural elements. An important issue on Britain’s wintry roads. It protects the paint underneath from corrosion and also any scratches and stone chips. The vinyl essentially acts as a shield. No need to claim on your classic car insurance for nasty scratches to your paintwork.

Maintenance – Imagine not having to wax your classic car again? Sounds good right. All you need to do is wash your car with car shampoo to bring it up looking like new again. Many classic cars are garaged and this is another factor, which prolongs the life of the vinyl. Sun damage can weaken the vinyl over time. If you get fed up of your current vinyl three years down the road, then no problem just get it removed and the paint underneath will not be affected.

 

How to Find the Perfect Classic Car Online

Although buying a car online today is much easier than say ten years ago thanks to the internet, buying a classic car however does require a fair bit of extra effort compared to buying your average modern car. Even with a modern digital online marketplace, car shoppers and even tech savvy shoppers are sceptical of making an online purchase especially if the value and size of the classic car is higher. Investing a significant outlay of cash based on simply reading consumer reviews and viewing photos is just not enough to put people in the comfort zone. But apart from viewing photos and reading reviews, there are several key things a classic car buyer can do to help make this process much easier.

Listed below are a few tips to buying classic cars online, which cover all major aspects of online car buying for classic cars. These tips are not only aspects that must be considered when buying a classic car online, but also serve as a checklist for other items you need to address to ease your buying decision when you aready to depart with your hard-earned cash.

1. Checklist – whether you’re buying a small or big ticket classic car, it is important to make a checklist to include a list of things to take care of to avoid any hiccups in the buying process. Your checklist should include items such as test drive, the distance of the seller, license plates, insurance, storage, body work, mechanical inspection and any questions you might have for the seller including availability of service records and previous owner details.

2. Know your Seller – There are no exact rules to go by when investigating a seller online and it all boils down to the route you take to buy the car. If you’re buying a classic car by replying to a personal ad, you will have to work with whatever info you have about the seller. You can however perform some additional research yourself by entering their details into one of the better search engines and seeing if anything flags up, and also running a hpi check. The point here is not to see how many classic car forums they are active on, but to determine their online reputation.

Most classic car buyers prefer to use auction sites to make their classic car purchases, which is definitely a more hassle free approach. Online auction marketplaces generally have state of the art tools to help buyers make an easy decision such as an unbiased feedback and rating system and also the option of escrow payments. Most people sell through auction sites as it adds to their overall customer reviews resulting in more future business, and many consumers prefer to buy classic cars through auction sites because they get a clear insight into a seller’s reputation through these reviews and their level of feedback.

3. Ask The Right Questions – when you find the classic car you want, ask questions that may be missing from the listing description. You will have to refer to the checklist you created initially for these questions, but don’t limit yourself to them.

 Classic Car For Sale

4. Inspect the vehicle – bottom line that you should never pay for a vehicle online if it hasn’t been inspected by you personally or someone you know. This can make the process so much easier and give you a great peace of mind, The rates for general vehicle inspections can vary but this should not be the reason to overlook this aspect considering that the price tag of the classic car is often significantly higher and more expensive to fix if something major is wrong with the car. Inspection would also include checking the previous owner details and service records, ensure that all panels are inspected for previous damage and rust. 

Buying a classic car online is certainly an in-depth process that requires more effort than buying your average daily commute, but following the tips mentioned above will help make the process easier. 

Should You Claim On Your Insurance For a Damaged Windscreen?

Having a chipped or cracked windscreen is extremely annoying and unsafe to say the least. It starts out with something small such as a stone chip or road debris hitting your windscreen, which creates a little line and then gradually leads to a large cracked windscreen. Depending on the location of the crack, it could impair your vision when driving or compromise the structural integrity of the glass. This issue can also be even more prominent on classic cars of a certain age, as modern cars use safety glass (laminated glass) for the windscreen, whereas early classics used plate glass whichfor todays standards it wouldn't pass a safety test on a new vehicle.

But before rush to get auto glass work done, it is wise to speak to your insurance agent to see if you have windscreen damage coverage and if it will affect your classic car insurance insurance policy and in what way. Chances are the windscreen crack is still in its infancy and hence maybe an easy fix. In this case, you may be able to get away with simple windscreen repair rather than replacing the entire windscreen. 

Classic Car Windscreen

Owing to fraudulent insurance claims made between certain insurers and auto glass professional, where claims were submitted without the client’s knowledge, insurance companies scrutinize every case diligently. But since windscreen damage is extremely common type of car repair, most insurance companies pay the complete cost of windscreen repair without a excess. This means that if you do get your windscreen repaired, it should not affect your insurance premiums of policy.

In most cases and again because it a fairly common type of repair, a majority of windscreen repair shops will simply bill your insurance company directly. This streamlined approach is not only easy on you as a driver as you don’t have to shuffle bills and fill out long claim forms, but also makes it easier for the merchant to receive payment for their services. Most of the time, even a cost of replacing an entire windscreen with a whole new one is less than your excess so refer to your insurance policy and calculate the costs.

If you do get a windscreen repair done, you may have to pay an excess to cover part of the bill. This is why it may be a good idea to get a non-obligatory quote from a windscreen repair specialist to determine the actual costs involved and if you would be better off paying for it out of your pocket rather than speaking to your insurance company.

There also may be a limit to the number windscreen repairs in your policy, but generally the first one is free. Filing regular windscreen claims may affect your insurance policy in the long term so it important to drive safe and steer clear of imminent road hazards. Coverage changes may include removal or windscreen repair cover from your policy or an increase in your excess.

The moment you notice a crack in your windscreen, dot waste time getting it fixed as the glass can spread fast and result in more serious damage and staggering repair costs. Whether or not a chip can be repaired depends on several factors including location, size and extent of damage, and the rule of thumb is that any crack that’s longer than three inches or any chips bigger than a quarter will need complete window replacement, or your car will fail its MOT.

Insurance Issues To Be Aware Of When Driving in Europe

Europe is one of the biggest and closest destinations for business travelers and holiday makers alike, in both summer and winter seasons. Hence, it is important to understand the level of protection you currently have, what you may be short of and other practicalities before setting off especially if you are driving a classic car. Many Europe bound British motorists assume that their current insurance is automatically protects them when driving in the EU, and although this is partially true, most insurers only offer basic RTA (Road Traffic Accident) level of protection.

Driving Classic Car In Europe

Depending on the country you’re travelling to, your insurance policy may also include third party cover, which again is no big help in the event of legal matters resulting from the accident or even if your vehicle were stolen. Research indicates that 80% of UK insurers provided protection for foreign travel as standard, while most of the rest provided comprehensive cover as an optional chargeable extra, and others provided no cover at all. Adding to this, some insurance companies expect to be notified of your travel dates and countries you will be visiting, while other insurers may not ask for any notification at all.

If you have a specific classic car insurance policy, call us to check your level of cover to the country you are visiting. 

Demystifying the Green Card

Owing to history, British motorists have needed a Green Card document as prove as their insurance coverage overseas. However, due to the onset of the single market in the early 90’s, a few European countries permitted British motorists to travel without a Green card, but this directive was not welcomed by all the countries in Europe. To avoid any difficulties on your trip, it is highly recommended that you do carry your Green card no matter what country you travel to.

There are no costs associated with getting a Green card, which is a document that proves that you have adequate level of cover to drive in the UK, and that cover under EU law protects you while you drive within Europe. But take note that in most instances Green card cover offers basic level of protection such as third party coverage, even if you’ve signed up for comprehensive cover in the UK. This is when it starts to get tricky as some insurers offer comprehensive European cover generally for up to 30 days at the same level of protection like you have in the UK and label it as Green Card Cover. Simply put, a Green card offers the basic level of protection needed in drive in the EU at no cost, whereas if you’d like the same level of cover as you currently have in the UK, you will have to pay more for what insurers dub as “Green Card” cover.

That said, insurance rates will vary depending on several factors such as the length of your trip and the type of vehicle among others. If you do plan on taking out “Green Card”, it is highly recommended that you do so well ahead of your travel date so that your document arrives in time. Furthermore, ensure that you’re vehicle is in a good state by completing a comprehensive check to include updating MOT, refilling water and oil. With regards to breakdown cover, it may be exempt from your UK insurance when travelling in the EU so it is important to keep a helpline number handy in case you’re faced with any such inconvenience.

Another aspect and often overlooked in the high cost of car repairs in the EU compared to the UK and may be a reason for a boost in insurance premiums. When planning a trip to the EU, give your insurance company a call further to clarify exactly what you’re covered for in order to avoid any nasty surprises in the event of an accident.

 

The Best Way to Prepare Your Car for Cold Weather

It is important that you prepare your classic car for wintertime, just like you would prepare yourself for the harsh weather and cold temperatures. It is unlikely that you will go out in the freezing cold with just a t-shirt, unless you are Bear Grylls. Cold weather puts a stronger demand on your vehicle's output and running gear. Ensuring that you vehicle is ready to face the extreme winter weather and temperatures will make you feel more at ease when you get behind the wheel to take it for a spin on a bright wintry day.

Why Buying A Convertible In Winter Is A Good Idea

In winter seasons, people want to buy cars, which can withstand the snowy weather in the UK and the freezing temperatures that come with that. It is also a common time that people sell off their old vehicles and upgrade when winter is going to hit. Until now, 4x4’s and hybrid four-wheelers were considered the best option for winters, as they can plough through any weather conditions with relative ease. But is that always the best option?

Classic Mini, ‘Henry’ is just the Italian job

Before his ‘starring role’ on Lancaster Insurance’s stand at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show in November, ‘Henry’, a 1990 ‘H’ reg Mini embarked on another big adventure. His owners, Tanya and Jason Field, from Oxfordshire, took him on ‘The Italian Job’, a charity car rally for classic and modern Minis around Italy.

Peel Cars - the Re-launch

The Peel cars were originally built between 1962-5 (Peel P50) and 1962-6 (Peel Trident) in the town of Peel on the Isle of Man by Cyril Cannell, owner of Peel Engineering Company until it ceased trading in 1970.

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