Driving Abroad – Know Your Laws

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Things You Should Know...

Everyone likes a holiday every now and again, and if you can bring your car along then it can be even better. Knowing that you can go off the beaten track and holiday the way you want to has its attractions, ones nobody can deny. On the flip side, if you are holidaying in a country or a state where the laws are different from the ones you are used to, you need to be very careful.

Some countries have quite radically different road laws than others. For example, British drivers may well find themselves overwhelmed on a German autobahn because, while the top speed on a British motorway is (technically) seventy miles an hour, German autobahns have no speed restrictions. This can make for a very steep learning curve.

If you are American and you visit London on holiday, you might also find that its takes some getting used to that British drivers drive on the left hand side of the road. It is something you learn quickly if you want to stay alive, of course, because everyone else is doing it – but it can make for some tricky moments at junctions and similar situations.

There are various other laws which can lead to drivers becoming unstuck, such as the French law which requires drivers to have high visibility vests in their cars at all times in case of breakdowns. In the main, you just need to do your research and acclimatise quickly to different laws. Once you’ve done so, driving abroad is a blast.

Pimping Your Ride – Or Making Your Car Look And Drive Better

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Things You Should Know...

The popular US TV series Pimp Your Ride, which has been exported to other TV markets in recent years, is a logical conclusion to the popular hobby of auto modification. People all over the world look at their cars and think “I can make this better – faster and better looking, and it will corner better when I’m done, too”. Basically, it’s The Six Million Dollar Man but with cars.

You can modify your car to a greater or lesser extent. Some people will settle for a new paint job and perhaps some new wheels and hubcaps. There may be some improvement in the car’s performance as a result, but the less modification you do, the less the improvement will be – in theory, at least.

There is, after all, such a thing as too much modification. You can tune up the engine, add things and take them away, and even – if you are inclined towards a daredevil approach – add nitrous oxide to the mix. You can add spoilers and tail fins to the car as well, for better road holding, but sometimes the theory and the practicalities do not match.

The basic message is that modification can be a mixed bag. If you know what to do and how to do it, then you can give a previously staid car a new lease of life, or bring an older car into line with some newer models. Or you might just settle for a cooler interior and a louder sound system. The choice is up to you, but please bear in mind that professionals make big money doing this for a reason – they’re good at it and you might not be.

Racing For Sport – Formula One Motor Racing

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Things You Should Know...

The single word “car” can be used to describe any one of a number of different kinds of vehicle, from the comfortable family sedan to the armored people carrier, and indeed to the sports cars that are driven around tracks by professional drivers. You’ll never see a Formula One car on a public road outside of special circumstances, but it’s a car all right.

The Formula One car has little in common with a road legal vehicle. The shape is different – it is much lower and more aerodynamically proportioned. It is as small as it can safely be while containing a driver and the necessary safety features, and it is built for high speeds – faster than any road legal car.

The best Formula One drivers over the years have been the likes of Juan Manuel Fangio, Gilles Villeneuve, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Although in many cases, these drivers have been helped by having the best car on the circuit, an uncommon level of skill and determination to win has set these men apart. Senna was tragically killed while competing in the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994, but statistically Formula One has had a low level of fatalities for all the speed of the races.

Formula One is similar in many ways to its American cousin, Indycar racing. However, it is felt that the drivers at Formula One level are slightly more technically gifted and the cars more conducive to fast lapping than Indycars. Many young Indycar drivers will make a move to Formula One after succeeding in the States, while few will move the other way.