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1 . A bad day at the wheel

2. Roundabouts

3. Eco Driving

4. Reducing Car Insurance Costs 

1.  Had a bad lesson?

We all make mistakes and errors of judgment throughout our lives and driving is no exception. Often it's a very simple error and the whole lesson is ruined for you. Do not despair. Even a bad lesson can help improve your overall driving skills, if you learn from the errors made. Gain knowledge from the mistakes, and then these terrible lessons aren't bad after all. Chin up and keep trying!

 2. Roundabouts

There’s really no trick – it’s just early observation and slower approach speed. They are simply one-way streets, with all the traffic coming from the right. Approach at a speed that you can read and understand the signs – before you get there (know where you want to go). Get your position, speed (if you are unsure on your approach choose 2nd gear to give yourself time to think) and select the gear in good time and the rest is a piece of cake. Give yourself time to think and be able to see what others are doing. When you are on the roundabout tell others what you intend to do – it’s in your interest. It’s not uncommon to have cars suddenly crossing three lanes of traffic to make their exit or going past the exit you thought they were taking. So, while you are on the roundabout, it is plain stupidity to overtake. Before leaving, check that no one is attempting to undercut you (they don’t do that, do they?) Use the nearside mirror (that’s the one on the left), then signal left before leaving.

 3.  Eco Driving

Maintain momentumYour car uses most fuel getting away from a standstill. The answer? Keep the car moving, where possible. Pull away slowly and anticipate what's happening on the road ahead, keeping a good distance from the traffic in front. That way, you'll need to stop fewer times.

Change up earlier

Change up a gear as early as possible. The fewer revs the engine is doing at any given speed, the more miles it'll do to the gallon, so you'll save cash.

Shed weight

Don't lug around empty child seats or a boot full of tools. The lighter your car is, the less fuel it'll use.

Choose an eco route

The way you get to places makes a big difference to your fuel economy. Log on to www.viamichelin.co.uk for an easy way to plan economical routes. Also remember that a longer route might cut your fuel bills if there's less stop-start traffic.

Slash your speed

As long as you're in top gear, the slower you're going, the more miles per gallon you'll do. Cruise at 60mph rather than 90mph on the motorway and you'll use roughly 50% less fuel.

Stay in gear

Many modern cars shut off the fuel injectors when you're coasting in gear. Staying in gear for as long as possible (rather than coasting with your foot on the clutch) will save you cash.

Switch off electronics

Switch off your air-conditioning and you could save up to 15% on fuel. Other electrics (such as headlights, stereos and sat-navs) also require extra energy from the engine.

Check your tyre pressures

Under-inflated tyres create excess drag. Pump yours up to the correct pressures and you'll use up to 25% less fuel.

Streamline your car

Remove your roof rack or roof box when not needed, and wind up windows whenever possible (open windows cause drag, too).

Stop-start in traffic

Some modern cars will automatically switch off the engine when you come to a halt. If yours doesn't (and you're stationary for more than a minute), do it yourself.


4.  Redducing Car Insurance Costs

Consider These Options:

Take the Pass Plus Course


If you take a Pass Plus course, within two years of passing your test, you will get an automatic reduction on your insurance with a number of insuance companies. It usual consists of six additional hours with your driving instructor after passing your test and it involves no driving test at the end of the course.

Driving Less Miles

 
If you do less miles than the average, then say so. Give an accurate estimate of your annual mileage to your insurer. The more miles you drive, the more likely you are to be involved in a crash, so make sure you're not over-paying by over-estimating your mileage. According to statistics from insurance group Esure, average mileage fell by almost 5 per cent from 2007 to 2008).

 
Have a Voluntary Excess


Have the right excess. Don't hike the voluntary excess up too high so that you couldn't afford to pay it! You should never have an excess that you can't afford to pay straight away but adding just £50 to a voluntary excess will reduce your overall premium.


The Family Factor


Add on your spouse to benefit from the 'family factor'. Insurers will charge a lower premium for 'insured and spouse' rather than 'main driver with one named' because of the so-called 'family factor'. Once a child or loved one is in the car, a driver will usually behave more responsibly than they might have done as a 'young, free and single'.

 
Shop Arround


Shop around online. Always check the market to see if your current insurer's renewal quote is still competitive. Online price comparison websites such as Insurancewide are a good place to shop around for the best deal.


Use Your Garage

 
Clear out your garage - and use it! Most insurers offer additional discounts for cars that are garaged when not in use. There is less chance of theft, vandalism, smashed wing mirrors, and stationery collisions. If you have a garage, make sure it's used to store your car rather than household junk to save you money.


Don’t Modify Your Car


Avoid modifying. If you want a car with lots of gizmos and gadgets, try to buy a model that has them as standard. Enhancing the performance of your car or fitting expensive accessories is likely to hike up your insurance premium or could leave your vehicle difficult to insure.


Pay the Whole Premium up Front


Pay your premium in a lump sum. Paying by instalments in essence means that you're paying back a loan to your insurer. Try to save up by making a note of what month your car insurance is due and transferring some money each month into a savings account. Alternatively, consider a low rate credit card.


Down grade to Third party, Fire and Theft if you have a low value car.However, downgrading to third party, fire and theft could be costly. Choosing this basic level of car insurance may be cheaper at the outset but if you are involved in a crash and are at fault then you could face a hefty bill - even the cost of buying a new car if it is written off.


Car Legal Protection

Think before scrimping on cover. Opting for motor legal protection (MLP) could turn out to be a good decision if you're unfortunate enough to have a crash. MLP provides policyholders with the ability to recover uninsured losses if they are involved in an accident that is not their fault. Similarly, check the small print; if you use different vehicles ensure the policy has 'driving other cars' cover as standard.

 
Check Insurance Group Before Buying a New Car


Buying a new car? Check the insurance group first. Drivers are potentially leaving themselves exposed to higher premiums by not checking ahead. That new car may be just what you want but can you really afford it? Ensure that the new insurance premium is within budget, it's important to do your homework before signing on the dotted line.


Stay Conviction Free


Don't speed and stay conviction-free. Single speeding convictions with three points may only have a small effect on your premium, but some convictions carry six-point penalties, so multiple convictions in a three year period might result in a ban. If not, they will definitely result in substantial increases to a driver's premium.


Build up a No Claim Bonus


Drive carefully and claim free. Building up a no claim discount is the best way to reduce your car insurance premium. Insurers' scales are all different but many insurers go up to a 70 per cent no claim discount for drivers who haven't claimed for over five years.


Informing Your Insurance Company


If you are involved in a crash or if you have modified your car, you must inform your insurance company. If you don’t, your insurance may be invalid when you do need to claim.


Personalised Policies


Many insurance companies will plan a policy just for you, particularly if you have a classic vehicle. They may insist on a GPS gismo to be installed in the car so they know where you are and what speed you are travelling. You may then be able to restrict the number of hours on the road or the times. The savings can be quite dramatic.


One note of caution!


If you are a named driver on your parent’s car and it is for your exclusive use, (it's called "fronting") you may find that you are uninsured and have got yourself a criminal record and you can forget cheap insurance.

Keep Smiling! 

Richard, James and Sheila