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I know we all love summer: the long, hot days; the blue skies; the holidays. But don't you love early autumn just as much? The days may be getting shorter but there's still some warmth in the sun; the amazing colours of the trees; that first early-morning frost of this picturesque season; the knowledge that bonfire night is not too far away!
Despite all these positives, there's no doubt that autumn presents its own challenges, especially where driving is concerned.
So here's the Ramsey's Garage guide to keeping safe on the roads in this glorious season.
Look after your car battery
These crisp autumnal mornings look glorious but they'll quickly show up a failing car battery. Did you know that the average car battery has a useful life of just three - five years? It's worth popping in to Ramsey's Ltd for a free check of your battery's condition. Ramsey's will do this as part of a FREE health check of your vehicle.
Check your car tyres - including the spare if your car has one!
Autumn is a great time to check the tread on your tyres, before winter sets in.
The current legal minimum is 1.6mm (roughly the depth of the edge of a 20 pence coin) but most vehicle manufacturers and motoring organisations recommend changing them before that, usually at no less than 3mm; the extra cost is minimal and the grip they give drops off rapidly with a tread depth of less than 3mm.
Again, checking tyre tread and pressures is included in our FREE health check of your vehicle.
How effective is your antifreeze?
This is also the time to check that your antifreeze is up to scratch. Again, this has a limited life and as the temperature drops, it's important to ensure the antifreeze will function correctly when required.
Ramsey's will check the condition of the antifreeze as part of the FREE health check of your vehicle.
Here comes the sun!
Always keep a pair of sunglasses in the car to counter the low sun, especially early in the morning or evening.
Remember, if the sun is low behind you other road users may not be able to see you. If necessary, switch on your headlights to help other road users see you.
Keeping the inside of your windscreen spotlessly clean and making good use of your windscreen washers and wipers will also help.
Ramsey's will check the washers, wipers and lights as part of the FREE health check of your vehicle.
Slow down, especially in rural areas
Many animals are injured or killed in collisions with vehicles every year across the UK. Hard though it is to believe, deer are among the most frequent. (Apparently it's true - they do freeze in the headlights!). What's less obvious is that there are 400 to 700 human injuries and around 15 deaths each year in these collisions.
Hitting an animal of any considerable size is likely to lead to a serious accident and considerable damage to your car but you can reduce the risk by slowing down whenever you see signs warning of increased animal presence.
Beware of fallen leaves
The trees may look fantastic at this time of year, but a word of caution: hitting a patch of wet leaves on the road can be just as bad as hitting black ice. Take extra care, especially on country roads, and reduce your speed when you are forced to drive through them. Ensure your tyre tread and pressures are checked regularly.
Take the first step in getting your car ready for Autumn with a FREE health check from Ramsey's Ltd.
Contact Elliott Ramsey, our Service Manager, on 01325 300200, or at email@example.com
and quote code Autumn18 to book your free health check.
New Driving Rules 1st MArch 17
Three big changes to the law for drivers and their children come into force today, 1st March 2017
Using a phone at the wheel
Drivers will receive six points on their licence, instead of three, if caught using their phone at the wheel.
The new, stricter rules come into effect from March 1, 2017, and will see motorists slapped with £200 fines, up from £100.
The changes are set to have a significant impact on new drivers, who can have their licence revoked if they accrue six penalty points during their first two years on the road, so effectively risk having their driving licence revoked following a first offence.
Motorists will no longer be offered the opportunity to go on a driver awareness course.
Using any 'internet device' at the wheel
Under the new legislation the penalties for anyone caught using their phone - or any 'internet device' behind the wheel have been doubled.
With the changes taking place from today police have issued the following advice:
Switch off before you drive off.
• Even if you’re using a hands-free phone you should avoid making or answering calls when driving.
• All phone calls distract drivers' attention from the road.
• Park safely before using your mobile phone.
• DO NOT park on the hard shoulder of the motorway.
• Don't call other people when they're driving.
• If you call someone and they tell you they are driving, ask them to call you back when they have parked up safely.
Child car seats
The regulations around car booster seats have now changed.
To put it simply the new laws aim to improve kids' safety by stopping manufacturers introducing new backless booster seats for children who are smaller than a certain size.
UK law states that children must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm (4ft 5in) tall, whichever comes first. Under the new rules, backless booster seats will only be approved for use for children taller than 125cm and weighing more than 22kg.
But safety experts recommend you use a child car seat for all children under 150cm (4ft 11in).
For children weighing more than 36kg (5st 10lb) but under 150cm (4ft 11in) it is advised to go by height.
Remember it is the driver’s responsibility for children being in car seats while travelling.
Recent data showed that only 13 per cent of parents understood the new rules.
Opening Hours 23rd Dec '16 to 3rd Jan '17
Fri 23rd Sales & Service open as normal
Sat 24th to Tues 27th Sales & Service CLOSED
Wed 28th to Fri 30th Sales & Service open as normal
Sat 31st Sales open 9am-3pm. Service CLOSD
Sun 1st & Mon 2nd Sales & Service CLOSED
From Tues 3rd Sales & Service OPEN as usual
Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our customers from the Management and Staff at Ramsey's Ltd.
Safe Winter Driving
Well, it’s happened. Winter’s arrived. It’s sneaked up on us. Stealthily. Unannounced. It only seems a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in shirt sleeves, shades on, watching football and wondering when this late-summer sunshine was going to end. Then last week I was brushing snow off the car before I could travel to the next match!
It has a habit of doing that, the weather in this great country of ours. It always seems able to catch us unawares, as if it’s never behaved unpredictably before......and we’re never ready for it!
When it comes to ensuring your car is ready for winter, you want to be ready. If it’s not there’s a good chance that it’ll let you down – usually just when you need it the most.
There are some measures you can take to keep your vehicle in good mechanical condition. Like ensuring your car is regularly serviced and maintained. What condition is your battery in? Are you aware that your car’s battery has a finite life of about 5 years? Any older than that and it is probably coming towards the end of its useful life. So don’t wait until it’s too late, or the next frosty morning may catch you out. Here at Ramsey’s Ltd we can carry out a full service for you if required, or a winter health check, and recommend any remedial actions that may be required.
However, there are also some simple checks you can carry out yourself to reduce the likelihood of being caught out at this time of year.
How are your lights? Are they clean? Are the bulbs all working? Seeing clearly and, just as importantly, being seen is essential in winter.
What about your wiper blades? Do they work efficiently? These should be replaced every two-to-three years to ensure they do. Also, ensure you have plenty of good-quality screen wash – it’s amazing how much we use at this time of year!
You can also check all your under-bonnet fluid levels, so oils and coolant are correct.
And don’t forget to check your tyre pressures and tread depths as these are important for good traction as the roads get more and more slippery.
Finally, how is your windscreen? Keeping it clean is fairly easy, but does it have any stone chips in? At this time of year, when the temperature drops, a small chip can very soon become a large crack. Getting the chip repaired is easier, and cheaper, than having to replace the whole windscreen. Check your now and avoid the inconvenience of a windscreen replacement.
Or better still, pop in to see us and we’ll carry out a Winter Health Check for you – FOR FREE!
Drive safely this winter with Ramsey’s Ltd.
Spooks and Ghouls in your car this halloween?
There are more than just spooks and ghouls to send shivers down your spine at this time of year. The transition from summer motoring to dark, early-autumn mornings can be equally scary. Adjusting to the changing conditions can be difficult; it’s all too easy to find yourself in a situation which could easily have been avoided. Don’t be found wanting, saying... ‘I should have…’
On cold, dark, autumn mornings discovering a flat battery can be a nightmare, yet the ensuing disruption can easily be avoided. If your battery is more than five years old, check if it’s coming to the end of its life. Despite the good summer, your battery may already be showing warning signs. Don’t wait until it’s too late, the first frost will be sure to catch you out. Owning a set of jump leads and battery chargers is essential at this time of year. Also, remember to check your wiper blades and replace every two-to-three years.
When it comes to tyres, be sure and look for any signs of bulges or cuts. Ensure tyre pressures are checked regularly. It’s also important to check the depths of the tread on your tyres. The minimum legal limit is currently 1.6 millimetres, across the central ¾ of the tread around the complete circumference of the tyre.
Many car manufacturers, and Ramsey’s garage, recommend you replace your tyres once the tread falls below 3mm. On average, a car will take about 8 metres/25 feet longer to stop when the tyre tread is 1.6mm compared to 3mm.
Due to consecutive bad winters, more drivers are now choosing to change their car’s tyres
to all weather tyres. Consider how small changes in the weather can lead to big changes on our roads. Morning dew can lead to wet leaves on minor roads, creating slippery conditions. Sharp frosts can be lethal, so drive with care at all times.
Windscreen damage is more visual, but putting off repairing those small chips can lead to bigger problems later. Repair any chips from summer as soon as possible. Small chips can quickly become more serious damage, especially when the temperature begins to fall.
We can’t stress enough the importance of using good-quality screen wash; always make sure it’s fully topped up - we use far more during winter. There’s nothing worse than driving down a dark motorway discovering your water’s empty.
Last but not least, think about the driving conditions. Leave plenty of time for your journey and consider the space between you and the car in front. During autumn the low morning sun can also lead to long tailbacks with sudden braking. Drive with the conditions in mind.
Don’t forget the clocks go back Sunday 30th October!
Have a happy and safe Halloween with Ramsey’s Ltd, Newton Aycliffe.