• 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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  • 25 Memorable Jeremy Clarkson Car Quotes

    If you’re bored, like looking at cool cars and have a spare 5 minutes then check out these 25 car quotes with pics from Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson. He certainly has a way with words. Enjoy!

    1. “I’d like to consider Ferrari as a scaled down version of God.”

    2. [On the Porsche Boxster] “It couldn’t pull a greased stick out of a pig’s bottom.”

    3. [When driving the Mercedes SLR McLaren through a tunnel]

    “When they debate as to what the sound of the SLR engine was akin to, the British engineers from McLaren said it sounded like a Spitfire. But the German engineers from Mercedes said ‘Nein! Nein! Sounds like a Messerschmitt!’ They were both wrong. It sounds like the God of Thunder, gargling with nails.”

    4. “I’m sorry, but having an Aston Martin DB9 on the drive and not driving it is a bit like having Keira Knightley in your bed and sleeping on the couch. If you’ve got even half a scrotum it’s not going to happen.”

    5. “Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary… that’s what gets you.”

    6. “Koenigsegg are saying that the CCX is more comfortable. More comfortable than what… being stabbed?”

    7. [On Detroit] “God may have created the world in six days, but while he was resting on the seventh, Beelzebub popped up and did this place.”

    8. “Owning a TVR in the past was like owning a bear. I mean it was great, until it pulled your head off, which it would.”

    9. [On the Renault Clio V6] “I think the problem is that it’s French. It’s a surrendermonkey.”

    10. [On the Enzo Ferrari] “I rang up Jay Kay, who’s got one, and said: “Can we borrow yours?” and he said, “Yeah, if I can borrow your daughter, because it amounts to the same thing.”

    11. [On the Porsche Cayenne] “I’ve seen gangrenous wounds better looking than this!”

    12. “The air conditioning in Lamborghinis used to be an asthmatic sitting in the dashboard blowing at you through a straw.”

    13. “Whenever I’m suffering from insomnia, I just look at a picture of a Toyota Camry and I’m straight off.”

    14. “If you were to buy a BMW 6-series, I recommend you select reverse when leaving friends’ houses so they don’t see its backside.”

    15. “That [Pagani] Zonda, really! It’s like a lion in orange dungarees. Kind of fierce, but ridiculous all at the same time.”

    16. [On a Chevrolet Corvette]

    “The Americans lecture the world on democracy and then won’t let me turn the traction control off!”

    17. [On the Alfa Romeo Brera]

    “Think of it as Angelina Jolie. You’ve heard she’s mad and eats nothing but wallpaper paste. But you would, wouldn’t you?”

    18. “A turbo: exhaust gasses go into the turbocharger and spin it, witchcraft happens and you go faster.”

    19. “This is a Renault Espace, probably the best of the people carriers. Not that that’s much to shout about. That’s like saying ‘Oh good, I’ve got syphilis, the best of the sexually transmitted diseases!’”

    20. “In the olden days I always got the impression that TVR built a car, put it on sale, and then found out how it handled – usually when one of their customers wrote to the factory complaining about how dead he was.”

    21. [On the Mercedes CLS55 AMG]

    “It sounds like Barry White eating wasps.”

    22. “I’d rather go to work on my hands and knees than drive there in a Ford Galaxy. Whoever designed the Ford Galaxy upholstery had a cauliflower fixation. I would rather have a vasectomy than buy a Ford Galaxy.”

    23. “Usually, a Range Rover would be beaten away from the lights by a diesel powered wheelbarrow.”

    24. “Racing cars which have been converted for road use never really work. It’s like making a hardcore adult film, and then editing it so that it can be shown in British hotels. You’d just end up with a sort of half hour close up of some bloke’s sweaty face.”

    25. “I don’t understand bus lanes. Why do poor people have to get to places quicker than I do?”

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  • Looking For A Cool Fuel Efficient City Car? Fiat 500 Ticks All The Boxes

    One of the things that is most important to car buyers nowadays, especially as many of us are still suffering from the damages the recession did to the economy, is the fuel efficiency. Although the style, design and interior are all factored into your decision, it is likely if you’re looking for a new car that you are concerned with how many miles you will get to the gallon with each time you fill it up. If that is the case, then the Fiat 500 could be the car you are looking for.

    Available at dealerships across the UK such as Richard Hardie, the Fiat 500 has been getting a lot of attention and rightly so. Let’s take a closer look at one of the safest cars on the market, and one that’s also a lot of fun to drive too! Some pictures of the Fiat 500 to start us off as as you can see, it’s such a cool looking small city car.

    Incredible Fuel Efficiency

    As it is a car designed to be driven around the city and towns, you would expect the Fiat 500 to be fuel efficient. However, we were surprised at just how efficient it actually is. Take the revolutionary TwinAir engine model that gives you a staggering 69 miles to the gallon. Even if you opt for one of the smaller, 1.2 or 1.4 litre models you still can benefit from either 59 or 49 miles to the gallon.

    Five Star NCAP Rated Car

    As the saying goes, safety comes first and the Fiat 500 will not let you down in this regard. The car was awarded a full five stars from the European NCAP ratings and looking at the array of safety features built-in to the car, it is not hard to see why. Along with a total of six airbags, the car also comes with ESC or Electronic Stability Control. This means that regardless of the conditions of the road are, the car will give you as good a grip as any city car.

    It also uses ABS along with EBD and AS/MSR anti slip systems for that extra level of control, support and safety. The car even comes with the practical Tyre Pressure Monitoring System on the dash that will alert you if the pressure is getting too low. No wonder the Fiat 500 is often referred to as one of the safest cars on the road.

    Customisable And Cool

    Fiat have never been known as a car manufacturer that shies away from creating cars that are not only fun to drive, but fun to look at as well. The Fiat 500 has always had a very iconic look; one that has been improved on over the years. You can choose from a total of 11 different colours for the interior, allowing you to customise it to your preferences and tastes.

    Along with the many other bits of technology utilised in the car, such as the Blue&Me navigation system, it is easy to see the attraction with the Fiat 500. Not only will it save you money driving it around for those day to day city commutes, you will look good and feel safe doing it. What’s not to like?

    Finally, this infographic showcases the Fiat 500 family

    The Fiat 500 Family – An infographic by the team at The Fiat 500 Family

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  • Nissan Pulsar: Showcasing Nissan’s Latest Hatchback

    If you’ve been looking for a hatchback that has a little more to offer than the average small car then you should consider the brand-new Nissan Pulsar. Although a lot smaller than both, it borrows design and technological aspects from the X-Trail and Qashqai. Here’s a video and some pictures of the Nissan Pulsar and as you can see, it’s a pretty cool looking hatchback!

    In the following article we lift the lid and give you the low down on all you need to know and why you should consider the the Pulsar if you are in the market for a hatchback.


    Various Power And Performance Options

    The Nissan Pulsar is available from all of the fifteen West Way Nissan dealerships across the country. The Pulsar comes in a range of three different power set-ups, allowing you to choose from the 1.6 litre, 1.5 litre and 1.2 litre engine models. Regardless of whichever engine you opt for, the great thing is that they all offer similar fuel efficiency with CO2 emissions of under 95 grams per km.


    Reliable And Safe

    Nissan are renowned for manufacturing reliable and high quality cars and the new Pulsar is no different. It is also considered to be one of the safest cars on the road, thanks largely to the innovative Safety Shield technology(also used by Qashqai, Juke and X-Trail models) that the car utilises. Safety Shield gives you moving object detection, blind spot warnings and helps you to anticipate obstacles, as well as braking for you if it detects immediate danger that may require quicker reflexes than your own.


    Comfort And Luxury Above The Price Tag

    The Nissan Pulsar leads its’ class when it comes to the level of comfort and space it offers you. There is comfortable and roomy leg space in the front and the back of the car, so even passengers can enjoy a relaxing car journey. There is a number of added extras that Nissan have thought about that other car manufacturers haven’t including resistant and soft fabrics for more comfortable seats and wider arm rests. Everything on the interior is designed to give the car a more luxurious and expensive feel than you’d expect for the car’s reasonable price tag.

    Highly Practical

    Along with the Nissan Pulsar leading its class in terms of space in the front and back seats, it also beats the competition in terms of shoulder space. As a result of the longer wheel base the Nissan has been built on, leading its class again, the car offers a greater amount of space than it looks like it might. The boot is also bigger than many hatchbacks and will be more than enough for the weekly shop.

    There are many other reasons why you should love the Nissan Pulsar, though if we were to list everything this page would be about 3 times the size. Taking into account Nissan’s many decades of experience and innovation and all of the above, if you are looking for a hatchback that will offer you a comfortable drive, save money on the cost of fuel and last for many years to come; the Nissan Pulsar is a car you need to consider.

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