Child car seats: Laws and advice (Carbuyer.co.uk)

If you’re a learner driver, the pressure to pass the theory test is huge – as this is the only obstacle standing between you and the practical driving test. Failure is daunting because it can make all those hours of revision seem worthless, and getting your driving licence can suddenly feel much more difficult.

But don’t let the theory test stress you out. Here are our tips and tricks (and some from the AA) on how you can increase your chances of passing first time. 

Already passed your theory test? We’ve got a load more tips for your practical driving test too!

Test Tips: Choosing your revision material

There are plenty of revision books, CD-ROMs and smartphone apps, but whichever format you pick, make sure it uses material from the Highway Code and official DSA syllabus. This is the information you’ll be quizzed on during the test, so it only makes sense to revise using this material.

Test Tips: Make a revision plan

Just like with any other exam, setting a solid revision plan can increase your chances of passing the theory test. Set aside at least an hour a day to revise the different topics that could pop up on the theory test. Do mock exams under test conditions, too, as you’ll get a better idea of what needs more revision and what to expect on the day.

Test Tips: Use apps in your spare time 

Smartphone apps are useful for revision whenever you have a few spare minutes during the day. These short bursts may not seem like much at first, but the information all eventually adds up with daily practice.

Test Tips: Learn while driving

Learning the rules of the road during supervised driving lessons is just as useful as books, software and the Internet for revision. This hands-on approach will give you a better sense of the Highway Code and how to approach potential hazards, which is a very effective way of making revision stick in your head. It’s also wise to get your driving instructor to talk you through some possible theory questions, especially those you’re unsure of.

Test Tips: Make a checklist

The night before your theory test, make a checklist of everything you need to take to the test centre. Both parts of your provisional driving license – the photocard and paper counterpart – are the most important because you can’t take the test without them.

Test Tips: Go back to questions you’re unsure of

Nerves can sometimes make you forget certain topics. If you’re stuck on a question during the multiple choice section of the test, don’t spend all your time trying to work it out. Skip the question, return to it later and you may find that you’ve remembered the answer.   

Test Tips: Check your answers

If there’s time at the end of the multiple choice section, go back and check all your answers. This way you can make sure you’ve answered all the questions and haven’t clicked on a wrong answer by mistake.

Test Tips: Take a break

Make use of the three-minute break between the multiple choice and hazard perception sections. Have a glass of water – your brain will feel much more refreshed, which can relieve some of the nerves and stress when you get to the hazard perception section.

Test Tips: Watch your clicks

During the hazard perception test, the computer will penalise you if you click excessively during each video clip. To increase your chances of scoring the maximum five points in each clip, you should only click each time you spot a potential hazard, a developing hazard and an actual hazard. Here are examples of each: 

Potential hazard
When you see children running along the pavement.

Developing hazard
The children are now running towards the road.

Actual hazard
The children have ran into the road and the path of your vehicle.

Theory test tips (Carbuyer.co.uk)

If you’re a learner driver, the pressure to pass the theory test is huge – as this is the only obstacle standing between you and the practical driving test. Failure is daunting because it can make all those hours of revision seem worthless, and getting your driving licence can suddenly feel much more difficult.

But don’t let the theory test stress you out. Here are our tips and tricks (and some from the AA) on how you can increase your chances of passing first time. 

Already passed your theory test? We’ve got a load more tips for your practical driving test too!

Test Tips: Choosing your revision material

There are plenty of revision books, CD-ROMs and smartphone apps, but whichever format you pick, make sure it uses material from the Highway Code and official DSA syllabus. This is the information you’ll be quizzed on during the test, so it only makes sense to revise using this material.

Test Tips: Make a revision plan

Just like with any other exam, setting a solid revision plan can increase your chances of passing the theory test. Set aside at least an hour a day to revise the different topics that could pop up on the theory test. Do mock exams under test conditions, too, as you’ll get a better idea of what needs more revision and what to expect on the day.

Test Tips: Use apps in your spare time 

Smartphone apps are useful for revision whenever you have a few spare minutes during the day. These short bursts may not seem like much at first, but the information all eventually adds up with daily practice.

Test Tips: Learn while driving

Learning the rules of the road during supervised driving lessons is just as useful as books, software and the Internet for revision. This hands-on approach will give you a better sense of the Highway Code and how to approach potential hazards, which is a very effective way of making revision stick in your head. It’s also wise to get your driving instructor to talk you through some possible theory questions, especially those you’re unsure of.

Test Tips: Make a checklist

The night before your theory test, make a checklist of everything you need to take to the test centre. Both parts of your provisional driving license – the photocard and paper counterpart – are the most important because you can’t take the test without them.

Test Tips: Go back to questions you’re unsure of

Nerves can sometimes make you forget certain topics. If you’re stuck on a question during the multiple choice section of the test, don’t spend all your time trying to work it out. Skip the question, return to it later and you may find that you’ve remembered the answer.   

Test Tips: Check your answers

If there’s time at the end of the multiple choice section, go back and check all your answers. This way you can make sure you’ve answered all the questions and haven’t clicked on a wrong answer by mistake.

Test Tips: Take a break

Make use of the three-minute break between the multiple choice and hazard perception sections. Have a glass of water – your brain will feel much more refreshed, which can relieve some of the nerves and stress when you get to the hazard perception section.

Test Tips: Watch your clicks

During the hazard perception test, the computer will penalise you if you click excessively during each video clip. To increase your chances of scoring the maximum five points in each clip, you should only click each time you spot a potential hazard, a developing hazard and an actual hazard. Here are examples of each: 

Potential hazard
When you see children running along the pavement.

Developing hazard
The children are now running towards the road.

Actual hazard
The children have ran into the road and the path of your vehicle.

Driving test tips (Carbuyer.co.uk)

It only lasts around 40 minutes, but the driving test can be one of the most stressful moments in your life if you’re a learner driver. The amount of time and money you’ve invested has finally led to this moment, but one mistake could easily cost you that pass.

To calm your driving test nerves, we’ve come up with some handy advice. From important pre-test preparation to ways of making the driving test run smoothly, here are our tips and tricks on how to increase your chances of passing on the big day.

Test tips: Learn at your own pace

Everyone learns at their own pace – some are ready for their driving test with just 50 hours of lessons, while others can take twice that time. Be patient and book your driving test when your instructor says you’re ready. Rushing will only leave you underprepared and set you up for a failure.

Test tips: Practice your manoeuvres often

Thousands miss out on a pass each year because they fail to do their manoeuvres correctly. Only regular practice can help you become comfortable with your manoeuvres, which will make you less likely to mess them up on the test.

Test tips: Learn outside of your lessons

Most learner drivers average two hours of driving lessons a week, but it’s easy to forget what you’ve learned between lessons. In these gaps, it’s a good idea to get a friend or relative to take you out in their car for extra practice. Not only are you less likely to forget what your instructor taught you, but you’re also gaining some extra valuable experience. It’s worth noting that to drive on the road, the friend or relative sitting with you must be over 21 and have had a full driving licence for at least three years. You also need the relevant learner driver insurance, too.

Test tips: Prepare for the weather

The weather in the UK is unpredictable at the best of times and you don’t know if the roads will by dry, wet or icy on the day of your test. Driving in as many weather conditions as possible will prepare you for the unexpected and stop you from being caught out.

Test tips: Mock driving tests

Do mock driving tests with your instructor on every likely test route that could come up on test day. Becoming familiar with these routes will boost your confidence and may help you predict some of the examiner’s instructions during the test. 

Test tips: Choosing the right time

The time of your test can affect your performance – you’re more likely to panic and make mistakes, if you take your test during rush hour when there’s loads of traffic. If possible, book a time when there’s less traffic on the road, as this could make your test easier.

Test tips: Keep it quiet

Don’t go telling everyone you know when your driving test is. This will only pile on more pressure to pass and make you more nervous.

Test tips: Create a checklist for the day

Remember to create a checklist of important documents to take on the day of your test. It sounds obvious, but you won’t be able to take the driving test unless you bring confirmation of your theory test pass and both parts of your provisional driving licence – the photocard and paper counterpart.

Test tips: Get a good night’s sleep

Tiredness and hunger can seriously affect concentration levels, so make sure you have a decent night’s sleep and a good meal before heading off to the test centre. Get there at least ten minutes early, too, so you’re not rushing and getting into a panic.

Test tips: Use a car you’re familiar with

Take your test using a car you’re familiar with - ideally the one you’ve been learning in. You’ll be familiar with things like the location of all the controls or the clutch’s biting point and won’t be caught out by anything unfamiliar.

Test tips: Exaggerate your actions

Examiners will be making sure you’re a safe driver by examining whether you’re looking at your mirrors properly or if you’re checking for oncoming traffic at junctions. Slightly exaggerating these actions will ensure they notice that you are indeed a safe and sensible driver.

Test tips: It’s okay to make mistakes

Don’t worry if you make a mistake during your driving test. As long as it’s not dangerous and you resolve the issue calmly and safely, the examiner won’t have any reason to fail you.

Best sat-nav apps 2014 (Carbuyer)

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These days, there are a huge number of sat-nav apps for smartphones – some of which are free – that require just a simple download via Wi-Fi or 3G.

However, the volume of sat-nav apps now available can often make it a long and difficult task to find the best one.

Here at Carbuyer, we’ve done all the work for you and put the best sat-nav apps on the market through some grueling tests in an attempt to crown a winner. Price, map accuracy, features and ease of use have all been taken into account. For example, we tested whether they could navigate to a saved contact’s address and how quickly it could recalculate an alternative route.

Our comprehensive top ten list has the price for each app, where it can be downloaded and what kind of smartphone it’s compatible with. We’ve also indicated whether an app stores maps offline - this function does use up memory but means the app doesn’t use as much of your data allowance. It also makes the app more reliable in places with weak signal.

No matter your budget, there’s a sat-nav on our list to suit your needs.

1. CoPilot Premium Europe - £34.99 - iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile

The CoPilot app’s £34.99 price tag wasn’t enough to stop it taking the number one spot. It’s incredibly simple to use despite it also being a very detailed app. Menu screens are uncluttered and easy to use, as is the actual map once you’re on the move. Live traffic is free too.

Maps: offline

2. TomTom Western Europe - £39.99 - iPhone and Android

If you’re after one of the most reliable sat-nav brands on the market, TomTom could be the sat-nav app for you. It made an instant name for itself when it came onto the sat-nav scene and has remained one of the most trusted companies ever since. The app is very easy to operate and it can even use your phone’s contact list to find addresses. Unlike the CoPilot, you don’t even get live traffic updates.

Maps: offline

3. Waze - Free - iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile

The free Waze app generates its content from the 40 million people who use it. That means you get information on congestion, speed cameras and fuel prices directly from very reliable sources. The interface isn’t best looking of all sat-navs, but it’s simple to understand, whilst all the information and maps are very accurate.

Maps: offline

4. Google Maps - Free - iPhone and Android

Android phones already have Google Maps installed and Apple users can download the app free of charge from the Apple store. Many already use it as a navigational tool while on foot and this familiarity makes it easy to use when driving. The display is a little bit cluttered and the fact it has to download data means that signal loss and roaming network changes can become a bit of a nuisance.

Maps: online

5. Apple Maps - Free - iPhone

Apple has designed this sat-nav app to make journeys incredibly simple. Spoken directions make driving safer because you can keep your eyes on the road, while the useful night-mode makes the screen easier to read when you’re travelling in dimly lit locations. It also comes packed with real-time traffic updates to calculate your estimated time of arrival and, if the congestion is really bad, Apple Maps will offer alternative routes.

Maps: online

6. NavFree - Free - iPhone

Navfree eliminates the connectivity issues that some other sat-nav apps have when downloading data from the Internet. Maps can be downloaded beforehand and made readily available anywhere you go. Information can take a while to download depending on your Internet connection, but it is packed with safety camera warnings and a clever route guidance system that displays all the correct turns to take on a journey. The only sacrifice comes in the form of in-app adverts, which are annoying if you accidentally click on them.

Maps: offline

7. Skobbler - £0.69p iPhone, £1 Android

It’s a bit of an ordeal planning a route but once you have done, this app is slick and flows well. Very occasionally there’ll be a blip in the routing but generally it’s impressive. The price isn’t quite as good as it seems, as you have to pay extra once you’ve bought the app in order to get map access.

Maps: online

8. Garmin UK & Ireland - £44.99 - iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile

Garmin is one of the big players in portable sat-nav systems and its app isn’t bad either. The drawback, obviously, is the price - for £45 you could buy a basic portable sat nav. The app performs well but its cost sends it further down our list.

Maps: offline

9. Navigon British Isles - £54.99 - iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile

Maps are accurate and it’s very easy to find an address or places of interest, plus the app reads out clear directions and has attractive maps, but it just doesn’t do enough to justify its very high price compared to the competition.

Maps: offline

10. AA - £24.99 - iPhone

AA’s sat-nav app uses detailed 2D and 3D maps to navigate you to the exact house number you want to get to. Phone calls won’t interrupt the app either, because it gives you continuous turn-by-turn navigation even during calls. Points of interest are restricted to AA-related places and a few other details, such as repetitive and annoying voice instructions, detracted from the overall user experience.

Maps: offline

Love apps? Why not check out our best free apps for iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile and Blackberry?

60mph speed limit planned for M3 motorway (Auto Express)

A 60mph speed limit is planned for the M3 motorway, following the introduction of the same smart motorway strategy for the M1. These new limits are the result of government plans to combat emissions and congestion.

• Most economical cars

This three-mile smart motorway and its 60mph restriction will run between J3 at Lightwater and J4 near Farnborough between 7am and 7pm.

The 60mph limit covers part of a 13.4-mile stretch between J2 and J4a where additional lanes will be opened in both directions to improve capacity - at a cost of £174million.

The Highways Agency (HA) hopes this new motorway can ease congestion flowing in and out of London. Traffic currently enters the capital on a 45mph average in the mornings and exits at a 56mph average in the evenings.

According to the HA, the motorway expansion would cut journey times by four minutes in the morning and one minute in the evening, but the 60mph limit is needed to ensure air pollution does not breach legal limits following the planned expansion of the route.

The HA also stressed that these restrictions may be lifted within four years as emission reducing technology in cars improve.

Robert Goodwill, the Roads Minister, said: “The M3 is heavily congested and the introduction of this smart motorway will help improve journey times by smoothing traffic flow.”

Another 60mph restriction on the M1 between South Yorkshire and the East Midlands was announced last month, affecting junction 28 at Mansfield and junction 35a at Sheffield and Rotherham.

Four other major roads covering 38 miles of the UK’s 4,300-mile strategic road network may soon get the same restrictions.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “The AA believes that the extra capacity is required and that ironically 60mph speeds at peak times would actually speed up journeys.

“However a majority of drivers question whether reducing motorway speeds will make any difference to air pollution as 69 per cent see lorries as the main culprit.”

David Bizley, technical director of the RAC, said: “Coming hot on the heels of the M1 announcement, the M3 plan invites the question as to whether any of the eight other planned all-lane running, smart motorway schemes which the Government have heavily invested in will also need to have reduced speed limits put in place to protect air quality.”

Britain’s most expensive parking space on sale for £400,000 (Auto Express)

Britain’s most expensive parking space is up for sale and it’s a snip at £400,000. The exclusive underground space in London’s posh Kensington area has room for two cars and costs 15 times the average UK salary of £26,500. Its expensive price tag is also double that of the average UK house price.

• UK floods: dealing with water-damaged cars

The freehold is described as a ‘large secure underground parking space ideally situated for an Albert Court or Albert Hall Mansions resident’. After parking their cars, owners can stroll around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, both just across the road. Locals probably wouldn’t think twice about purchasing this space, either. Property prices in the SW7 area average a staggering £2.3 million.

Agents Hobart Slater are responsible for the sale for the record-breaking bay. A spokesman for the company said: “We’ve already had plenty of interest in the space.”

Is £400,000 unreasonable for a parking space? Well, for the same price, you can park your car 880 yards away at the nearest NCP for 81 years. That’s just £35.10 a day. A similar parking space in the same car park went on sale 10 months earlier for £275.000 but the London property market has done its work and now you’re looking at a nice round £400k.

• Fire-up the Quattro! Ashes to Ashes Audi Quattro on sale

£400,000 can get you much more elsewhere in the country. A five-bedroom countryside home with conservatory, terraced gardens and double-detached garage in Burnley costs the same amount. You could also get a seven-bedroom detached house with front and rear garden.  Both properties have ample parking.

The latest Land Registry figures show that the pricey parking space is £3,792 cheaper than the average London property price, though.

Fire-up the Quattro! Ashes to Ashes Audi Quattro on sale (Auto Express)

Classic car enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that the Audi Quattro from hit BBC drama Ashes to Ashes is up for auction on eBay.

The famous red Audi Quattro is best known as an unmarked police car featured in 16 episodes of the Eighties-based show. Philip Glenister and Keeley Hawes led the Ashes to Ashes cast, but the Audi Quattro was the real star for many fans. 

This older 2.1-litre turbo powered Audi Quattro has been in storage since its final Ashes to Ashes appearance. Its mileage figures trump even the most recent used cars, too, the car having done just over 100 miles in five years. Hundreds of ‘bullet holes’ and missing interior parts mean its new owner will probably have some work to do if they want to take it on the road. 

• New Audi Quattro could make production

Other Audi Quattros can fetch up to £20,000 depending on their condition, but this model could be worth more because of its star status. The auction is currently live on eBay and ends on Sunday evening.

Ashes to Ashes boosted the Audi Quattro’s popularity so much that it came second in a survey of British TV’s most recognised cars, coming behind Del Boy’s famous Reliant Robin from Only Fools and Horses. Audi Quattro parts also became more difficult to source as the car’s profile grew.

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The Audi Quattro debuted at the 1980 Geneva Motor Show and gained a reputation as a world-class rally car that was unrivalled at the time. This was partly due to it taking advantage of new rules that allowed the entry of four-wheel drive cars in competition racing for the first time.

Production ceased in 1991, but Audi unveiled a new Audi Sport Quattro concept at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Audi bosses hinted that it would fit somewhere between the Audi TT and Audi R8 if it went into production.

Fake DVLA websites overcharging motorists (Auto Express)

Motorists visiting non-government linked websites are paying triple the price of normal driving license applications processed by the DVLA.

These sites, found as sponsored links in search engines, offer check and send services, amongst other additional extras. According to the DVLA, motorists who use this site will only get back a paper application form that has been filled in for them.

• £12 tool can hack your car

Theory and practical driving tests booked with the DVLA cost £31 and £62 respectively. The Office of Fair Trading says the services and costs offered by non-DVLA websites are not illegal, however.

In 2011, fake emails claiming to be from the DVLA were sent to motorists. Police verified the senders of these emails as fraudsters attempting to steal personal information for identity fraud.

Driving license applications through the Government can be fully completed online and no additional fees are charged during the process. The DVLA urges motorists to apply for their driving licenses through the official gov.uk website.

New Renault Trafic on sale this summer (Auto Express)

Renault hopes a new version of the Renault Trafic van will help them keep their strong grip on the business van market. 1.6 million units of the outgoing van have already been sold throughout its 34-year history and this new Trafic is part of Renault’s plan to refresh its brand identity.

• New, British-built Vauxhall Vivaro van on sale this summer

The new third-generation Renault Trafic shares a platform with the forthcoming new Vauxhall Vivaro and aims to deliver business customers a practical all-round mid-sized panel van. The Vauxhall Vivaro sold 44,000 units in 2013 but its Trafic sister vehicle traditionally lags a little behind.

Updated Renault Trafic design

A bold new design and updated technology, boosted by Renault’s Formula 1 expertise, could give the Renault Trafic a needed edge in the panel van sector.

The new model hasn’t been unveiled in the metal yet, but preview sketches show that it has much more presence than the older, boxier Renault Trafic. Slimmer headlights, a bolder grille and a curved front certainly give it a sleeker shape.

• Best van to buy in 2014

Kihyun Jung, the new Renault Trafic’s designer said: “Its lines embody Renault’s new brand identity. My aim was to achieve a dynamic, assertive stance without sacrificing either the robustness or user-friendliness customers expect of their van.”

Not much else has been revealed about the new Renault Trafic. If it’s anything like the current range’s most basic model, though, it will probably have a four-cylinder two-litre diesel engine at the core of the range. In addition, the outgoing Renault Trafic comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, Bluetooth/USB connectivity, 16-inch wheels and starts from just over £15,000.

New Honda Civic Tourer ad campaign (Auto Express)

The Honda Civic Tourer is the main focus of the manufacturer’s latest advertising campaign.

Honda’s latest ‘Inner Beauty’ ad celebrates the spacious interior of the Honda Civic Tourer as several objects fly into its class-leading 624-litre boot.

• Honda news and reviews

With this latest advertising campaign, Honda has followed its blueprint of producing innovative promotions – the previous ‘Hands’ advert has reached 10 million YouTube views and has won several awards, too.

Olivia Dunn, Honda UK’s Head of Marketing, said: “This campaign takes the viewer beyond that first appearance to emphasise the balance between style and performance, and the incredible practicality that the car delivers.”

Wieden+Kennedy and Nexus Productions, the brains behind ‘Hands’, were also behind the ‘Inner Beauty’ ad, and gave the advertisement its quirky and colourful personality.

Scott Dungate, Creative Director at Wieden+Kennedy London, said: “We wanted to create a film that showed the external beauty of the car, but also celebrated the wonder and surprise of what lies on the inside of things.’’

Those feeling lucky can enter Honda’s five-day Twitter competition starting 3 February. @Honda_UK will tweet loops with concealed words from the ad and all you need to do is tweet them back with the hashtag #CivicTourer for your chance to win a camera, £743 of spending money and a holiday for two.

The Honda Civic Tourer is the lightest in its class and is available with a 1.6 i-DTEC engine. It manages 74.3mpg and it emits just 99g/km of CO2. It also has secret storage compartments, concealed door handles and Honda’s unique ‘Magic Seats,’ which vanish when folded.

The Honda Civic Tourer will reach UK showrooms this month and prices for the 1.8 i-VTEC S model start from around £20,265.