DRIVING HACKS: GET TO KNOW YOUR DASHBOARD

Do you know what all the lights on your dashboard mean?

We’re not saying you have to have a mechanic’s level of knowledge when it comes to your car but understanding the basics can really help. The lights on your dashboard tell you what the cars doing and they’ll also alert you if something isn’t quite right so knowing what each one means will help keep your car in tip-top shape.

Red A red light on your dashboard means danger, stop as soon as you can and get professional help.

Yellow A yellow or amber light means you have a problem. The problem will need sorting but does not mean immediate danger.

The difference between the two colours? Yellow means you can drive home and get it fixed. Red means you need to stop straight away (safely) and get it fixed.

 

RED

Brake System / Brake Fluid Warning Light

Your brakes are one of the most important safety features on your car for you and everyone around you. If this light illuminates red on your dashboard, firstly make sure that your handbrake is fully released (off), if it continues to flicker or stay on pull over and call your mechanic ASAP.

Oil Warning Light

If your oil light flashes red it can mean that the oil temperature is too high, the level is low or the pressure is low. Oil is what lubricates your engine and helps it work in harmony. If this light flashes, you should pull over as it’s safe to do so and call your mechanic straight away. If you ignore the light, it can be a costly and dangerous mistake.

Battery Warning Light

If your battery warning light turns red whilst driving it will more than likely mean a problem with the charging system rather than the battery itself. The danger of this is that your vehicle could run out of charge meaning your lights will go off and your engine could suddenly stop dead.

Power Steering / PAS Warning Light

If your power steering fails you’ll find that steering becomes very heavy which can become very dangerous. So if your PAS lights up red and your steering becomes heavy you need to pull over as soon as you safely can and get professional help.

Airbag Warning Light

If this light comes on red, it means there’s an issue with your airbags. It can also mean that your seat belts are not working. If your car has a faulty airbag it could mean that it won’t go off in the event of an accident, leaving you and your passengers vulnerable.

ECU / Engine Warning Light

If your engine light appears yellow/amber you’ll probably be experiencing some other symptoms such as lack of power because your car has gone into ‘safe mode’. Sometimes it can be a small issue but sometimes it can be a more serious mechanical issue. Either way, you need to get your engine looked at by a professional as soon as possible.

Coolant Warning Light

Without coolant, your car could get so hot it could fuse itself together. Madness! If this light illuminates yellow/amber it could mean that your coolant levels are low so have a look under the bonnet and see. If your engine temperature is high and your coolant light is on, it could mean that your engine is overheating. This could be either a minor or a major problem so it’s best to get it looked at straight away.

ABS / Anti-Lock Brake System

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The anti-lock brake system is an anti-skid brake system designed to keep you safe. If your light illuminates yellow/amber then it means there can be a fault in any part of the ABS and the system will be disabled until it’s fixed. If the ABS and the Brake System warning lights both come on at the same time, you need to pull over (safely) and call for help.

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AI CONFERENCE:Future of driving

AI Conference at The University of Portsmouth

Thursday 13th June 2019 was the launch of the Intelligent Transport Cluster by The University of Portsmouth. One of our instructors, Liam had the good fortune to attend along with 144 other delegates and had the opportunity to listen to a wide range of speakers covering all aspects of transport.

Various points, by various people, were made concerning AI and transport. Such as:

  • We are at a turning point with how the technology will migrate to the ordinary user
  • The opinion of this is to crawl, walk…then run
  • Technology needs to be smart, efficient and sustainable
  • The future will be different from how we imagine it will be

Transport is fundamental to us as people and efficient transport means an efficient economy.

However, technology and transport merging could have a number of problems:

Legal problems are bound to arise, regulation and insurance will most definitely be affected but it seems as though we cannot predict the diverse problems we might incur. Particularly if we’re talking about self-driving cars. Liam is of the opinion that technology may lag behind its capabilities due to courts and legislation.

As an example, an insurance company will at some point be facing a large claim and will want someone else to pay it. Think of the Selby rail crash 2001 caused by a Range Rover. The insurer sued the DoT for part of the £22 million pound settlement.

If the driver is ever expected to take over the vehicle in the event of the unexpected and they are doing nothing on these journeys. How are they going to keep up a level of attention to do so? Will insurance companies offer cover on vehicles where the driver is regularly unable to maintain full attention?

On trains, there is a device called the dead man’s handle. It requires the driver to always be holding it and therefore awake. Telsa have a device that requires you to hold the steering wheel however, other companies sell devices that allow you to circumvent this so you can have a nice sleep.

Stakeholders

Which will be inertia and focus. There are already systems in place so why change? Any change will require an investment that goes far beyond the mere physicality of a thing. There will be new routines and behaviours to be learnt. New pecking orders and turf to be established. There will have to be some clearly defined benefits from change.

Will the focus be in the right place? As an example, with traffic flow, would some paint in the road be a better solution than a smart system for monitoring it? Would a dedicated bicycle lane solve a lot of the congestion and air pollution problems?

Ultimately we will have electric vehicles and they will be part of Intelligent Transport Systems. But where should the focus be? How will we solve the problems of now and the future? These questions will get answered by how the budget is set. Put your money where your wheels are.

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DRIVING HACKS: BREAKING DOWN

Breaking Down a Break Down

Have you ever had a breakdown and just weren’t sure what to do? Or maybe you’re worried about breaking down and have no idea how to deal with it. We’ve got you covered.

 

Get Prepped

If you don’t have a breakdown kit in your car, now’s the time to put one together. In ours, you’ll find:

  • A warning triangle
  • Some warm clothes and a plastic mac
  • Spare bulbs and fuses
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Hi-Vis jacket
  • Emergency numbers
  • Bottled water and snack bar(s)

Lots of Banks offer breakdown cover with particular accounts, check yours to see if you’re covered. If not make sure you have breakdown cover. It will make your life so much easier!

 

In the Moment 

  • If you can, move your car to a safe space. Make sure you’re over to the left as far as possible and try and get those wheels pointing left too.
  • Get those hazards on. Let other drivers know that you’re not going anywhere. If it’s dark or foggy, keep your sidelights on.
  • Sounds obvious but please stay away from moving traffic! It’s usually safer to get out of the car but leave animals in the vehicle. Be sure to exit the vehicle by the door furthest from the traffic.  If you break down on the motorway try and move up the bank or at the very least stand behind the barriers!
  • Make sure you’re wearing the reflective/Hi-Vis jacket you have in your breakdown kit.
  • DON’T put your warning triangle out if you’ve broken down on the motorway. It’s not safe! If you’ve broken down on a normal road, place your triangle approximately 45 meters behind your vehicle.
  • If you’re on a motorway and you don’t have a mobile, run out of battery or have no signal. Walk (carefully) towards to an emergency phone. You can follow the arrows on the posts at the back of the hard shoulder. The phones are free and connect directly to the police. If you have broken down on a normal road and have no phone, walk (carefully) towards a local petrol station, shop etc. and ask to make a phone call. This is when your list of emergency numbers comes in very handy.
  • If you are in any way vulnerable i.e. you have a disability, feel in danger from another person or can’t get to a hard shoulder, let the operator know.

 

ALWAYS act with caution and never put yourself or anyone else in danger. Do NOT try and carry out repairs on a motorway, even small ones. ALWAYS call for help. If you are in serious danger call the appropriate Emergency Services IMMEDIATELY.

The Highways Agency National Switchboard: 0300 123 5000

Emergency Services: 999

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