• Signs of Confusion?

    The British have always been great travellers with some of the world’s most famous explorers hailing from our shores: Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh and Captain James Cook to name but a few who faced incredible dangers in uncharted territories with constant threats from disaster, disease, wild animals and hostile locals. It seems that Brits have been successful in reaching every corner of the globe (assuming that globes actually have corners!) but there is one peril that these heroic globetrotters did not have to face but one that lies in wait for any unwary modern-day British traveller brave enough to venture from these sheltered isles. That danger arises from the apparent inability of the British to understand other countries’ road signs.

    Of course any traveller needs to understand a little of the local lingo even if such knowledge is limited to STOP, LEFT and RIGHT but it seems that most confusion arises with the signs containing pictures or symbols. Although there have been moves towards standardisation of road signs for many years (a protocol to which the UK did not sign-up), there remains much national diversity and there are even some signs which have different meanings in different countries. This failure to understand, and consequently not to follow, the instructions given by these signs has been cited as one of main causes of accidents abroad and this fact has been recognised by overseas car-hire companies who are now imposing additional insurance requirements on British drivers who they regard as being a bad risk. This may slightly dent the pride of our usually well-respected motorists but insurance companies report that the countries from which the most accident claims originate are: Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Australia. The latter, being an English speaking country, may be surprising and many visitors from the UK expect driving here to be just like at home, with the possible exception of a few signs showing Skippy bouncing across the road, and are not prepared for some of the unusual road signs. The Australian sign for “The Road Ahead Will Change” is a classic example of a sign where the image seems to bear no resemblance to the message it is purporting to convey. It seems that you really need to think Australian to fully understand the logic. Some of the Icelandic signs are also highly symbolic rather than pictorial so need to be carefully studied.

    Both in the UK and overseas, there are also signs which are unlikely to have any relevance to the average motorist such as the prohibition of vehicles carrying explosives but the whole business of understanding other countries’ road signs is a matter which should be taken very seriously and some, such as those advising which roads are “priority routes”, inform drivers as to who has the right of way and abiding by this is almost as important as driving on the correct side of the road.

    The most important thing is to recognise which signs are concerned with road safety and which are simply providing information about local facilities. In France for example a sign simply showing the letter é over a silhouette of a village church simply indicates the location of a stop-over village (Village Étape) and a single letter t indicates the toll booth location for season ticket holders. It may be some consolation to know that French drivers’ knowledge of some of these minor signs is not much better than that of UK drivers.

    It should always be remembered that UK road signs are probably just as confusing to overseas visitors and we can only wonder what a Renault-driving Frenchman would do when confronted with a sign saying “FORD”.

    So, whatever country is to be visited, some time should be taken to become familiar with that country’s road signs and, if it has been some time since a driving test was passed, it would do no harm at all to also study the latest UK road signs as their numbers also steadily rise. The realisation that most of the important overseas road signs are intuitive comes as something of a relief to those with limited language skills and the few which are symbolic rather than pictorial can easily be learnt. Driving in a safe and considerate manner should be no more difficult overseas than at home and will win the respect and appreciation of local motorists. It also enables such trips to be fully enjoyed, carrying on the British tradition of travel and exploration. Take a look at the coop’s infographic:

    Road signs

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  • How Much Money Can You Make from Renting Your Driveway?

    By Permalink

    London is a heaving, thriving metropolis, a place where everyone wants to be and be seen. But it is a city short on one thing: space.

    Space for people- from housing to pavement space is at a premium. Finding a parking spot is virtually impossible. And when you do, can be cripplingly expensive. Add on to the congestion charge for driving the capital’s streets, and you can see how expensive it can be.

    But, you may think, living miles away in the surrounding London suburbs, this may not worry you. You don’t commute into the capital, you have no congestion charge, and therefore, you are not footing this bill.


    But that empty driveway space outside your home could be worth money. Commuters park in streets and avenues around stations, blocking driveways and rights of way. We have all seen the issues that householders face. Perhaps it’s time to think differently about this problem and how you could be part of the solution.

    Driveway rental = £

    If you have space for one or more cars to be parked on your driveway, you could be sitting on a gold mine. Commuters are prepared to pay to park their cars in a secure spot. And you could command a fairly decent price every day of the week too.

    There are various factors that affect how much you could earn…

    • Your postcode – some areas closer to the capital and/or major event centres can be lucrative and sought after parking spots
    • Proximity to station – from a 5-minute walk to a 20-minute dash, being within striking distance of a main train line station can also affect how much cash your driveway can generate
    • Driveway or garage? – from secure parking on a driveway behind a gate or, for some drivers this is an absolute must, a garage with a door can all mean big bucks
    • Tea or no tea? – sometimes, a pleasant refreshment break and a chat is also on the cards and if you can provide this, then you may be able to command an even higher price.

    Make money – rent your driveway today!

    There is a growing need and a pressing demand for secure, cheap off-road parking within a 50-mile radius of the capital. And this demand is set to rise as the capital carries on growing, so if you have a driveway with parking for at least one vehicle, why not sign up with www.spacehopper.com and rent it out?

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  • The Benefits of Leasing

    When you are in the market for a new car, you have a variety of options available to you. You can buy a car outright with cash and there is also the possibility of getting a car on a finance agreement. Financing will cost you more but it could be your only option. In both cases you could be shocked by the depreciation that occurs the second you drive your new car out of the showroom.

    There is a third option that is growing massively in popularity; and that is car leasing. If you are looking to lease cars instead of purchase them, there are a variety of benefits.

    No Depreciation

    When purchasing a new car either outright with cash or on finance, an important consideration is what will happen when they come to sell it. This is why depreciation is such an issue for people purchasing a new car. A standard car can depreciate by 50-60% over three years, for example, a Ford Focus is worth just 36% of its original price after 3 years.

    When leasing a car, depreciation is not a concern as you hand the car back to the leasing company rather than having to sell it or keep it. If owning the car is not a major priority for you, then leasing is a great way of avoiding the cost of depreciation.

    Lower monthly costs

    When getting a car on finance, you obviously have to pay a monthly amount in order to own the car. The same goes for leasing a car, however the monthly costs are usually cheaper for leasing than they are on finance. Car leasing monthly payments are usually 30-60% lower than the normal finance options payments. Again, using the Ford Focus as an example. The average monthly payment on finance is £384.98, however, on a leasing agreement, that monthly payment can drop down to £225.60.

    A major benefit of car leasing is that it is cheaper month on month compared with purchasing a car on finance. This actually allows you to spread your budget further, so you afford to lease a better quality car. The top three brands for car leasing are Mercedes, BMW and Audi.

    Cheap car leasing deals are always available on the majority of cars on the market. It doesn’t matter if you have excellent credit or poor credit, you will be considered. Car leasing could offer you a simpler and better value way of obtaining a car than an outright purchase.

    The Benefits Of Leasing

    The Benefits Of Leasing

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  • Electrician wins £150k Aston Martin with BOTB

    By , , , , Permalink

    An electrician will have to dust down overalls after swapping van for £150k Aston Martin convertible with stunning BOTB win!

    Sparks were flying in London this morning as an electrician scooped a convertible Aston Martin DB9 in the latest weekly competition with BOTB. Francois Chklar (CORR) is used to dealing with power but even he might struggle with the 510bhp on offer, propelling the car from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds.

    The 36-year-old was ambushed this morning by BOTB boss Will Hindmarch as he worked on a construction site in Shepherd’s Bush. “It’s just the most incredible news,” he stuttered, flanked by cheering work colleagues.

    Of course, not everything ran smoothly.

    “I FaceTimed my partner, Lydia, and told her the news but she said ‘You told me you’d stopped playing that game?’. I showed her the car next to me so hopefully she’ll forgive me!”

    The father-of-one, from Camden, may run into another issue – baby number two is on the way.

    “Yes, not the most practical motor but this is my dream car so I’m sure we can make it work.”

    BOTB boss Will Hindmarch said he was delighted for Francois.

    “I can honestly say that I have the best job in the world,” Will smiles. “Travelling somewhere new each week to give people the keys to a dream car is incredibly rewarding.

    “There’s a huge team of people at BOTB involved in the winner’s surprise and to see the reaction on Francois’ face when we turned up just makes the whole thing worthwhile.

    “He’s won an incredible piece of kit but he’ll have to get changed before he drives it,” Will laughed.

    BOTB surprises a winner with a dream car every week and has given away cars worth over £18million since it was founded in 1999.

    The dreamcar competition company has stands in many well-known shopping centres and all of Britain’s major airports. Half of all customers play online at www.botb.com where you can also see Francois’ reaction to his win.

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  • Interactive history of the Ford Fiesta – Infographic

    Have you ever wanted to know how the Ford Fiesta has evolved over the years? Well a UK based Ford Dealer has launched an interactive history piece of content to show how this popular model has changed since it first launched.

    The scrolling “infographic”starts with the Fiesta’s humble beginnings in 1976, and takes you on a journey through to the 7th version of the vehicle that you see on so many roads today.

    As well as showing how the design of the car has changed, the scrolling content includes a number of interesting facts and figures that give more detail to each model such as MPG, top speeds and awards.

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