Wheels and deals

Motorists driving on the hard shoulder of one of the busiest stretches of motorway in Britain between junctions 3 and 7 of the M42.
Motorists driving on the hard shoulder of one of the busiest stretches of motorway in Britain between junctions 3 and 7 of the M42.
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The European road safety body Euro NCAP has released the results of its latest crash test assessments, with mixed results for some models.

Thanks to the addition of autonomous emergency braking either as standard or an option on many models, 11 of the newly tested vehicles achieved the full five-start rating.

The Lancia Ypsilon which performed poorly in the crash tests.

The Lancia Ypsilon which performed poorly in the crash tests.

Jaguar’s XE and XF saloons, Kia’s Sportage and Optima, the Vauxhall Astra, the BMW X1, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Renault Megane and Talisman (not sold in the UK), the Infiniti Q30 and the Lexus RX were all awarded the highest overall score.

Nissan’s NP300 Navara achieved four stars overall which is a strong score given that pick-ups generally score lower than conventional vehicles. The new Mini Clubman scored four stars and the BMW Z4 scored three, with Euro NCAP citing the lack of crash avoidance technologies resulting in a lower score.

Most disappointing was the Lancia Ypsilon, which achieved just two stars, although this model is no longer sold in the UK. The Euro NCAP assessment mentioned a lack of safety systems and adult protection in delivering its verdict.

Almost one in five business drivers don’t stop for breaks on long drives, raising questions over road safety practices.

A black cab.

A black cab.

The UK’s Highway Code recommends a 15-minute break for every two hours of driving, but 18% of people driving for business reasons don’t stop.

The Masternaut survey doesn’t define reasons for this, but it does reveal that around half of the 2,000 business drivers in the survey either wind the window down or drink strong tea or coffee to help them feel like they are staying more alert on long journeys.

Nearly a third (31%) listen to loud music - something that actually reduces the brain’s ability to process all the data available to it. It also means drivers can miss approaching emergency services vehicles because they can’t hear the sirens.

At the quieter end of the scale, a scant 2% of those surveyed do mental arithmetic to stay alert, despite this potentially being a distraction in itself. Alarmingly, 7% would resort to slapping themselves rather than stop.

Masternaut is recommending telematics, which monitor a driver’s location and driving hours.

Steve Towe, chief commercial officer and UK managing director, said: “It’s vitally important that drivers are alert at all times and get home safely - and that employers play a role from a duty of care perspective to ensure this happens.

“Telematics can provide the answer, giving the means and the tools to make sure that drivers are taking the necessary precautions to ensure they aren’t being a danger to themselves or other road users.”

Hyundai Motors UK has celebrated 10 years in Britain with an ambitious photography project called A Streetcar Named Hyundai.

Hyundai used a hydrogen-powered ix35 fuel cell vehicle to photograph the entirety of The Knowledge route over 50 days. The route was mapped by the Ordnance Survey team that plotted the Olympic torch route, and driven by a wide range of notable people including including British Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams, reality TV star Jamie Laing from Made In Chelsea and WRC driver and co-driver Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul.

The Knowledge is the area of London that black cab drivers need to memorise before plying for trade on the capital’s streets. It covers 2,092 miles and many thousands of streets around the capital, broadly in a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.

The result is a two-minute time-lapse video of the capital, capturing London exactly as it stands at the end of 2015. A large mosaic, consisting of the photographs taken en route, depicts an Oxford Street scene. Visit astreetcarnamedhyundai.co.uk