137 Wakefield Road, Barnsley, S71 1ND

5 Tips for Financing a Van on Bad Credit

Securing financing for a van with bad credit may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. Many people face financial challenges at some point in their lives, which can lead to a less-than-perfect credit score. However, bad credit doesn’t have to stand in the way of your van ownership dreams. 

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With the right strategies and a little patience, you can still obtain the financing you need to secure financing for a van for your business. Here are five essential tips to help you finance a van with bad credit.

 

Understand Your Credit Score

Before you embark on your journey to finance a van with bad credit, take the time to understand your credit score. Obtain a copy of your credit report and review it for accuracy. Your credit score is a vital factor in determining the terms of your loan, so knowing where you stand is the first step towards improving your situation. If you find any errors on your report, dispute them to potentially boost your credit score.

 

Improve Your Credit Score

While it might take some time, improving your credit score is a crucial step to securing better financing terms. Start by paying down any outstanding debts and making on-time payments. Reducing your credit card balances can significantly boost your score. Additionally, avoid applying for new credit lines while you work on improving your credit. These steps will show lenders that you’re committed to financial responsibility.

 

Save for a Larger Down Payment

A substantial down payment can make a significant difference in your ability to secure financing with bad credit. Save as much as you can for your van purchase. A larger down payment not only reduces the amount you need to finance but also demonstrates your commitment to the investment, making you a more attractive borrower to lenders.

 

Shop Around for Lenders

Not all lenders are created equal, and each may have different criteria and terms for financing a van. Shop around and compare offers from various lenders, including traditional banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Don’t just settle for the first offer you receive; explore your options and negotiate the terms to find a deal that works best for your circumstances.

 

Consider Co-Signing or a Co-Borrower

If your bad credit is a significant barrier to obtaining van financing, consider enlisting the help of a co-signer or co-borrower with a stronger credit history. A co-signer agrees to take responsibility for the loan if you default, which can boost your chances of approval and secure more favourable terms. However, it’s essential to choose someone you trust and who understands the responsibilities of being a co-signer.

Financing a van with bad credit may be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By understanding your credit score, working to improve it, saving for a larger down payment, shopping around for lenders, and considering co-signing or a co-borrower, you can increase your chances of securing the financing you need to get behind the wheel of the van you desire. Remember that patience and determination can go a long way in overcoming financial setbacks and achieving your goals.

Choosing the Right Van for Your Small Business Needs

For small business owners, having the right van can be a game-changer. It serves as a mobile workspace, enabling efficient transportation of goods and services while enhancing the overall productivity of the business. However, with a plethora of van options available, choosing the perfect one for your small business needs can be a daunting task. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the essential factors to consider when selecting the right van for your small business, ensuring that your investment aligns seamlessly with your operational requirements.

 

Assess Your Business Needs

 

Before diving into the world of vans, take a step back and carefully assess your small business needs. Consider the nature of your products or services and the daily tasks the van will be expected to handle. Determine the cargo capacity required, the number of passengers to be accommodated, and any specialised equipment or features essential to your business operations. Understanding your needs is the foundation for making an informed decision.

 

Cargo Space and Payload Capacity

 

Cargo space is a critical consideration for any small business reliant on transporting goods. Consider the volume and dimensions of the items you typically transport. If you deal with large or bulky goods, opt for a van with sufficient cargo space and the appropriate payload capacity. Balancing payload capacity with fuel efficiency will ensure cost-effective transportation.

 

Manoeuvrability and Size

 

Choosing the right size van is essential, as it directly impacts manoeuvrability and parking ease. Smaller vans are nimbler in urban environments, making them ideal for businesses requiring frequent stops and deliveries. On the other hand, larger vans offer more cargo space but may be challenging to navigate through congested city streets. Assess your routes and operational areas to determine the optimal size for your van.

 

Fuel Efficiency

 

For small businesses, every penny counts. Fuel expenses can significantly impact your bottom line, making fuel efficiency a crucial factor in van selection. Consider the van’s engine size and fuel type, and research its average miles-per-gallon (MPG) ratings. Opt for vans equipped with modern fuel-saving technologies to reduce ongoing operational costs.

 

Reliability and Maintenance Costs

 

Reliability is paramount for any business vehicle. Look for reputable van brands known for their durability and dependability. Read customer reviews and industry reports to gain insights into the van’s performance and maintenance costs. Low-maintenance vans can save your business time and money in the long run.

 

Safety Features

 

The safety of your business and employees is non-negotiable. Prioritise vans equipped with advanced safety features such as antilock braking systems (ABS), stability control, airbags, and rearview cameras. Additionally, consider vans with optional safety packages that offer additional driver-assistance technologies.

 

Budget Considerations

 

While it’s tempting to opt for the most feature-rich van, be mindful of your budget constraints. Determine your budget beforehand and research vans that offer the best value for your money while meeting your essential requirements. Don’t forget to consider financing options, including leasing and loans, to ease the initial financial burden. If your business is relatively new, securing a large car lease may be difficult so try and stick in your means.

 

It may also be worth considering a car-derived van. These are large cars with similar specs to that of a van that are also quite heavily incentivised by the government, making them a valuable asset and cost-effective for small businesses. To read more about the tax incentives as well as what a car-derived van is, check out our informative guide.

Brand Reputation and Warranty

A reputable van brand often reflects reliability and quality. Research the reputation of different van manufacturers and their customer service track records. If you are familiar with a brand, it might be a good idea to stay with them if they’ve suited your needs well in the past. Additionally, consider the length and coverage of the van’s warranty to safeguard your investment against unexpected repairs. Warranties differ between dealerships so it’s good to check all dealers near you to see what the best suits your needs.

 

Choosing the right van for your small business needs is a strategic decision that requires careful consideration of multiple factors. Assess your cargo and passenger requirements, prioritise fuel efficiency and safety, and take into account maintenance costs and budget constraints. Customisation options, brand reputation, and warranty coverage should also influence your decision-making process.

By thoroughly evaluating your business needs and conducting thorough research, you can select a van that aligns seamlessly with your small business operations, empowering you to achieve new heights of efficiency, productivity, and success. Remember, the right van is not just a means of transportation; it’s a valuable asset that can drive your business forward.

Car-Derived Vans For Commercial Businesses

If you are looking to save money as a small business, you’ll need to know about every loophole in the book from tax reliefs to clever workarounds. As a business owner, you may be aware of the fact that there is tax allowance for Ltd businesses that allows the business to claim 100% of the capital purchase (e.g. a vehicle) against Corporate Tax. This means that you can claim back the value of a commercial vehicle for your business. This is a great way for small businesses to grow their commercial fleet and expand their business potential.

 

What is a commercial vehicle?

 

That begs the question though, what is a commercial vehicle? The answer isn’t quite as simple as it might sound and there is a bit of discrepancy in what is considered a commercial vehicle but to put it simply, commercial vehicles are defined by HMRC guidelines. HMRC places vehicles into different categories, which often has implications for the amount of taxes paid on the vehicle.

 

The HMRC definition of a commercial vehicle is as follows:

 

  • Weighing at least 3.5 tonnes or more
  • Able to haul at least one tonne of cargo
  • For business purposes

 

Under this definition, lorries, vans, tractors, pickup trucks, and “car-derived vans” are all considered commercial vehicles. A car-derived vehicle is basically a van that’s designed to look like a car and in order to reduce people cheating the system, it is defined as a vehicle that : 

 

  • Have a laden gross weight of 2 tonnes
  • Be built on a platform designed to build vans by the same manufacturer
  • Not have back seats or windows, to discourage human transport – if it must have windows, they must be opaque or tinted
  • Not have floor panels – they can only feature loading bays

 

A full list of car-derived vehicles can be found here as provided by Gov UK : https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/428510/Car_derived_Van_updateMay2015.pdf 

 

Why would you want a car-derived van?

 

Even ignoring the tax benefits potentially provided by a car-derived van, they also have a high number of advantages over normal cars and commercial vans. They have the advantage of looking more stylish than most other vans, and they frequently offer higher levels of comfort and standard equipment. They are identical to the cars they are based on in every aspect up front, including how they drive. They therefore represent a safer option for folks who have never operated a large commercial vehicle but desire something more substantial than a car with flat-folded seats.

 

What’s the best car-derived van for my business?

It really depends on what your business wants. Car-derived vans are a totally different beast and what you want could be completely different to other businesses. Do you want a van that provides the comfort and usability of a car? Or do you want a car that has some of the storage and durability of a van?

 

If you want to buy one straight out of the factory, there are currently limited options available. Presently, there are just two on sale: the Toyota Corolla Commercial and the newly launched Dacia Duster Commercial. If you are looking for something a bit bigger, the van versions of the Land Rover Defender and Discovery and the Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial are classified as commercial 4x4s but would still allow you the basic tax benefits you are after.

 

There should still be plenty of the more popular types, such as the Renault Zoe van, available on the used market still and this may be your best bet in terms of securing a low cost commercial vehicle for your business. These vans have been fairly popular but have seen short factory lifespans so the main way to get at these car-derived vans is through the second hand market. 

 

Securing a cheap vehicle for your business can be a great way to build out your business and reduce the level of investment you need to grow your business. Car-derived vans are an unusual beast but they are a brilliant way to secure tax allowance and help staff who might be unfamiliar with driving larger commercial vehicles such as vans.

Best Engine For Commercial Vehicles : Petrol, Diesel or Electric?

If you own a commercial vehicle fleet, you will have a familiarity and a likely fondness for diesel vehicles. They have been the staple for decades; reliable, longer mileages and longer lasting. For most commercial businesses, your fleet will mostly consist of diesel vehicles. But does that necessarily need to be the case?

For a lot of owners, it would seem not as electric van sale figures continue to surge and the current vehicle climate seems to be shifting towards renewable energy motors. While this is a great move for the environment and should be embraced, what does this emergence of electric vehicles mean for your business and is it time to make the change?

In this guide, we look at diesel, petrol and the modern electric vans to see what gets you the most bang for your buck and whether the technology of electric vans is finally ready for the commercial world or if you are better off waiting and relying on your current fleet.

Diesel Vans: The Commercial Vehicle Blueprint

Almost every single commercial van currently on the market is available with a diesel engine, they are the most accessible model on the market and if you are looking for a particular model or have a preference, then they make an excellent choice. Diesel vans have been popular for decades due to the normality of the fuel, product availability & familiarity of the engines. The more modern diesel engines are quieter, offer excellent fuel economy, there are no restrictions on range and they require less refills than a petrol or electric engine. The strength in residual value of diesel vans has always been one of its strongest assets as the resell ability of diesel vans is reliable and provides good return on investment. Most diesel vans also offer the highest payloads on the market, making them incredibly useful for a commercial fleet. This is why they have been so dominant in the vehicle market; you can fill them with more, go further without stopping and they typically last a long time. Also, they are typically cheaper than electric vehicles and even more so if you buy second hand (though the EV price point is always dropping).

However, diesel vans also have their share of downsides, most notably in the price and environmental departments. While diesel vans typically last longer, they also cost more to repair if something does go wrong. They are also typically more expensive to run when compared to electric vans. Also, it is no secret that the price of diesel is continually on the rise and in some cases, it might not even be available at some gas stations with ‘no diesel’ signs becoming a somewhat common occurrence in the UK.

In an age where companies are tasked with improving their environmental impact, diesel engines are considered to be environmentally unfriendly with high CO2 & particulate emissions, their diesel particulate filters (DPF) are easily blocked in urban operation (which can cost a lot to replace) & depending on their age, they may not be eligible for fee-free operation in ultra-low emission zones that continue to surround the big cities in the UK. This might be an issue if you are working in local villages or cities without emission zones currently but odds are high that most major cities will have an emission zone before long. According to gov.uk, the following cities either have a low emission zone in place or are planning on adding one in the near future :

  • Bath
  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Bristol
  • Greater Manchester (under review)
  • Portsmouth
  • Sheffield (starts end of February 2023)
  • Tyneside – Newcastle and Gateshead (starts end of January 2023)

With the increased focus on low emission zones and more renewable forms of fuel, diesel engines are becoming quite costly and starting to veer towards old-fashioned. However, diesel vans are still the current norm and for now, they still have a lot of upside even if they are not as perfect for commercial vehicles as they once were.

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Petrol Vans : A Passing Fad

If you’ve been in the commercial vehicle industry for a while or used vans for a while, you’ll likely know about petrol vans. Petrol is obviously the preferred fuel for most cars on the road and petrol engines were tried in a range of different vans but they never really caught on. While new petrol vans are still on the market and you can find second hand vans at a cracking price, petrol vans are continually being pulled off the market due to a lack of demand. Why is that?

Well, they have most of the downsides of diesel vans with few of the upsides. That’s not to say petrol vans are completely useless. As mentioned before, they are usually cheaper, they have fewer emissions and lack the PDF blockage issue, making them typically better for built up urban areas. Also, petrol is cheaper and more readily available throughout the country and less likely to rocket in price due to the public need for petrol (though recent petrol prices have been up and down like crazy with last year’s petrol price spike still only just recovering).

However, petrol vans are still likely to fall foul of low emission zones and while better than diesel fuel for the environment, petrol vans aren’t going to look much better from an environmental point of view. They are also less reliable, harder to sell and have a shorter range so often cost more to run.

Petrol vans had a decent niche market for those worried about diesel emissions and who mostly focused on smaller and local commercial business as the shorter range didn’t really matter, the reduced payload wasn’t a massive problem, they didn’t have the DPF issue of diesel vans and they were cheaper for smaller businesses. However, they have mostly been replaced in this market by the quickly emerging electric van, the true contender to the diesel crown.

 

Electric Vans : Are they ready for commercial use?

Electric cars are no new phenomenon with hybrid and fully electric cars being around for over a decade but electric vans are more new. When they first came out, the electric van was good but clearly in its infancy. The vans were quiet, good for low range journeys and cheap to run but they were also quite expensive to buy, had poor payloads and had fairly unpredictable ranges compared to more reliable diesel engines. The infrastructure was also limited and this made finding a charging point difficult and one that worked well even more so.

Nowadays, electric vans have a lot of upsides. The most of which is the lack of any emissions while driving. This means you can go through any low-emission zone in the country and it also looks a lot nicer to potential customers. Also, the vans are still very quiet, making them perfect for domestic visits. Payloads have also gotten better thanks to lighter batteries and most electric vans stack up fairly well against diesel vans (though it is worth noting that diesel vans still have better payloads overall). Running costs are also far cheaper even with the current cost of living crisis bumping electricity costs. The batteries hold their charge far better than they used to as well, meaning that overnight charging is a more viable option (though recent studies have shown that overcharging or even charging to max consistently can impact battery life).

This is where the heart of the electric van dilemma lies. The technology is still emerging and this makes it incredibly difficult to know whether to invest. Knowledge over battery and engine life is limited and batteries are still quite expensive to replace. This not only means unpredictability but it means that the residual value of a van is fairly poor with new rapidly emerging technologies and improvements making old vans obsolete pretty much immediately. That’s not to say if you buy a van today, it’ll be obsolete tomorrow but it’ll have limited value when you go to upgrade to a newer model down the road. Electric vans still being new means that vehicle diversity is relatively low. While popular models like the Ford Transit and the Citroen Berlingo have seen great additions in the electric van market, other makes and models are still ‘in development’ which means that if you have a particular preference, you might be stuck waiting.

Question marks still persist over the range. While increasing all the time, 100 miles or so is a fairly typical expected range which is fairly adequate for most commercial vans. However, the infrastructure can still be unreliable and restricted at times. At time of writing, there are around 42,000 charging points in the UK across 15,550 locations. This is a strong increase and the numbers keep going up. However, the above image, taken from Zap Map which is a leading electric charging point location service, paints the picture. There are still plenty of gaps in the infrastructure with the North particularly seeing a lack of investment. Also, the quality can be largely unpredictable. Most charging stations are designed to offer rapid (1 hour to full) or fast charging (3-4 hours to full) but this isn’t always the case with chargers breaking or running at a slower rate. Also with limited chargers per location, this can lead to long queues in quieter locations which can severely impact your response time if you run a quick emergency service. When back at your workplace, charging stations are relatively reliable and installations are fairly easy to sort but on the go charging is still relatively difficult.

Overall, there is a lot to like about electric vans and it is certainly where the market is eventually heading. Quiet, cheap to run and constantly improving, there is a lot of upside beyond just being greener. However, the technology still feels relatively under optimised, the range and lack of infrastructure can cause problems particularly for those working up north and the lack of real knowledge about shelf life makes them more difficult to recommend than a diesel van.

 

Should you upgrade at some point? Definitely. Should you upgrade right now? It really depends on your needs and what your business needs from a van. If you are running a small local business, it could be perfect. If you are running a bigger operation, I’d probably hold off for now and see what the newer technology brings. The knowledge that the vans are only going to improve makes any major investment feel a little foolish as your van will inevitably drop considerably in value. Something you could do for a larger fleet is invest in an electric van and see how your team gets on with it. For running an entire commercial fleet, electric vans feel a little too unpredictable to fully commit right now but for a single van, maybe as a more public appearance van, they could certainly do the business. 

Benefits of Buying a Commercial Van over Leasing

When it comes to acquiring a van for your business, you typically have the option to buy or lease. Both methods have seen major spikes and dips in popularity over the years as business owners are always looking for the best way to save money and build out their commercial fleet in the most cost-effective manner possible.

While leasing offers some benefits and has often been a preferred option among business owners, purchasing a second hand van can be a smart investment for your business. Here are some of the benefits of buying a van for your business over leasing:

 

Long-term savings

While leasing can offer lower monthly payments, over the long-term, purchasing a van can be more cost-effective. With a purchase, you will eventually own the vehicle outright and will no longer have to make payments. This can save you money in the long run, especially if you plan to keep the van for several years.

Customization

When you purchase a van, you have the freedom to customise it to meet the specific needs of your business. You can add shelving, drawers, and other features to increase storage and organisation. You can also add branding and graphics to promote your business. With a leasing agreement, you have to return the van in the condition it was when you first picked it up and in most cases, you can accrue hefty fines for any changes or damage caused over the leasing period.

No mileage restrictions

When you lease a van, there are typically mileage restrictions that you must adhere to in order to avoid extra fees. This is typically decided at the start of a leasing agreement and while this isn’t an issue if you know your likely mileage over the next few years, it is unlikely most of us will. Businesses are ever changing, especially in the current climate with recessions and Brexit causing businesses to continually change their output and delivery to adapt to a new market. When you own a van, you can use it as much as you need to without worrying about mileage restrictions.

Flexibility

Flexibility is becoming a key focus with commercial vans right now as we begin to see the rise of electric vans and the general improvement of the technology is making a switch more viable for business owners. When you own a van, you have the flexibility to sell it or trade it in whenever you want. With a lease, you are locked into a specific contract and may have to pay penalties if you terminate the lease early. This flexibility is more noticeable with second hand commercial vans as the up front fee is lower and this provides a bit more freedom in terms of when to move to a new van.

Tax benefits

When you purchase a van for your business, you may be eligible for tax benefits such as depreciation and interest deductions. These benefits can help to reduce your overall tax burden and save you money. If you are working with a larger scale commercial fleet, these benefits can quickly add up and improve your general outgoings significantly.

 

Overall, purchasing a van for your business can be a smart investment that offers long-term savings, customization options, flexibility, and tax benefits. While leasing may be a good option for some businesses, purchasing a van can be a better choice for those looking for a long-term solution that can be tailored to their specific needs.

Six Benefits of Buying a Used Van

If you work in the commercial sector, you most likely rely on vans and commercial vehicles in order for your business to run smoothly. Many businesses rely on vans to keep operations running smoothly and most businesses will typically have more than one with major businesses having large fleets of vans making daily journeys and deliveries. As a new year begins, you may be looking to expand your business or simply add a new vehicle to your company.

When it comes to choosing a van, there are many makes and models to choose from but the first consideration for many business owners is – new or used? With van production slowing and the sales of new commercial vans on a noticeable downturn, this is becoming more and more of a pressing issue for business owners and one you need to consider.

A new van is the ideal and most obvious choice as they are going to be more reliable and they are going to last longer. Also, with production on the downturn, getting a brand new van might just give you the longest lasting option. However, there are many benefits to be gained by choosing a used vehicle. With second hand vehicles, there often comes a bit of dread and a horror story but it is time to change that mindset. With the right research and the right vehicle, you can get yourself a brilliant deal and a cracking set of wheels so if you’re thinking about investing in a van, see below for six benefits of choosing a used vehicle. 

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Embracing the new with the old

As mentioned above, the sale of brand new petrol and diesel vehicles is coming to an end in 2030 with all new vans needing to be zero-emission by 2035. While this is a positive move in terms of addressing climate change and something businesses should look to embrace, if your current fleet is full of fuel guzzlers, it’s going to be a costly switch. Second hand vehicles are likely to increase in popularity and be far cheaper than newer electric vehicles so embracing the switch now will help make that transition easier down the road and also incentivise you to make the switch to electric vehicles sooner rather than later, which will likely be backed by government incentives and tax reliefs.

More affordable

The cost savings of buying a used van are its most evident advantage. A used van is far less expensive than a new one, and it won’t depreciate either. If you’re buying a used vehicle, haggling is also simpler, so don’t be hesitant to try and obtain a better offer.

Various financing options

When you acquire a used van, a number of financing options are available, such as leasing and hire purchase. This allows you to spread out your payments to fit your budget and company requirements.

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A large selection of brands and models

Vans come in a variety of sizes and forms, so it’s critical to pick the one that best meets your requirements. You can choose from a large selection of makes and models when you purchase a used van, and at cheaper costs. If you can’t afford a brand-new van, you might have a favourite model that has been discontinued or you could buy the model from the previous year of your preferred make and model. 

Consistency across vans

As mentioned above, new vans are going to be rarer and far more expensive which might mean that your fleet becomes a mix of different makes and models. While not a huge issue, many business owners prefer consistency across their fleet as it looks more professional and it is easier for training purposes. The ability to buy older versions of the same model makes second hand vans more attractive and it allows you to keep a consistent fleet even as supplies diminish.

Reliable quality

A used van doesn’t mean lower quality and many second hand vehicles come with a six month warranty as standard. As part of our sales, we offer a 12 month AA warranty to provide even more assurance. We also supply you with full service history and we can offer MOT tests and servicing on-site to ensure your van lasts as long as possible. Our vans are also fully serviced and maintained before a sale so they are ready to go right from the start.

 

Here at Barnsley Van Sales, we have Yorkshire’s largest collection of used commercial vans for sale, from manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Ford, Mercedes and many more. All vehicles are competitively priced, majority having one owner (with service history), and prepared to the highest standard.

Where do the Parties Stand on Motoring Issues?

It won’t have escaped your notice that there’s an General Election looming on the horizon. Politics is a subject that’s guaranteed to divide people – and in some cases cause them to shout at one another (and us).

But it’s something that we can’t rightly ignore, especially when the people standing for office are looking to make major changes to the way we all live and work. We’ve all seen the headline-grabbing stuff, but what’s lurking in those manifestos that’ll impact us and our customers specifically? Let’s try to be as impartial as possible as we delve into the sticky, tedious mess of manifesto pledges:

The Greens
As you might expect, this lot have something of a bone to pick with the automotive industry. They’re calling for a bit more urgency, and say that if we don’t cut our carbon emissions to zero by 2030, environmental calamity is going to be the result. If you’ve seen the title sequence of Terminator 2, then you have a fair idea of what to expect. They’re pledging £100 billion per year toward the project, which will mean that all petrol and diesel vehicles are taken of the road.

The Labour Party
Labour are this time promising ‘real’ change, and they appear to mean it. In much the same way, they’re going to be looking to slash carbon emissions. Part of the way they’ll do this is by nationalising the rail service and investing in local buses. Their manifesto pledges to eliminate new sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2030 – which means we’ll have ten years to go electric.

The Liberal Democrats
This lot, as we all know (because they aren’t shy about it) are in it to stop Brexit. Their manifesto also singles out air pollution, which causes 40,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS £15 billion. Like the Labour Party, they’ll be banning the sale of non-electric cars by 2030, and they’ll use ‘taxation, subsidy and regulation’ to ease the transition. They’ll also make unpolluted air a legal right, and extend ultra-low emission zones to urban centres around England.

The Brexit Party
The Brexit Party, it must be said, are rather keen to stick to their core message, which is getting Brexit over the line, as soon as possible. That said, they do have other policies, among which is a desire to invest ‘at least’ £50bn in road and rail schemes, funded in part by scrapping HS2.

The Conservative Party
Among the most eye-catching policies in the super-svelte Tory manifesto is a pledge to launch the ‘biggest ever’ pothole filling plan. This basically means that they’ll be spending more money than any previous government – though not necessarily in real terms. To be specific, the costings document reveals £500 million a year for four years. Potholes are a little bit like indigestion and wet weather – few people like them, and thus it’s easy to see why political parties would want to bang on about how they’re going to be dealt with.

The Problem with Engine Idling?

How would you feel if you were pulled up in your van, waiting for someone, and a stranger knocked on your window and demanded that you turn off your engine? For many, this might seem like an unreasonable demand. But the fact is that air pollution is something that increasing numbers of people are concerned about. And thus this is a confrontation that increasing numbers of people will have.

What’s wrong with Engine Idling?
According to the Royal College of Physicians, around forty thousand deaths a year are associated with air pollution. When you’re stopped, you’re still causing air pollution, even though you aren’t travelling anywhere.

Being as we’re getting close to winter, you might find that it’s a bit of a struggle to get the van fired up when it’s frozen in the morning. Thus, turning off the engine might not seem like much of a tempting prospect. If your engine is consistently struggling to fire up, it might be a sign that there’s a deeper underlying problem. Plus, if you’re stopping in traffic, you might decide against turning off the engine, since you don’t want to get stuck and cause a blockage.

Engine idling will also impact your fuel reserves, as your motor will keep guzzling a small amount of fuel during those brief stops. While this might not seem like a significant concern, it can add up over the course of the vehicle’s lifespan.

What about Technology?
As with many things in life, this is a problem that can be fixed with the help of a little bit of technology. You might already have driven one of those vehicles that stops and starts the engine automatically when it comes to a halt. And, of course, there’s the looming prospect of the electric vehicle, which will reduce your emissions to zero (though, of course, the energy generated will need to come from somewhere, and if it’s from burning oil and gas, there will still be emissions).

If you were feeling clever, you might an accusing finger in the direction of parents who pull up outside of a school in a fleet of Range Rovers, and thereby cause enormous amounts of exhaust fumes to be inhaled by the very children who are being saved the peril of a walk home. But the fact is that engine idling is a problem that we should all be aware of. According to research by the RAC, around 72% of drivers want their local councils to get involved, and 44% want officials to have the power to issue fines to correct the behaviour.

It may be awhile yet before this drastic step is taken in your neck of the woods. But that won’t stop schools and other sensitive areas from advertising their presence and urging drivers to switch off, with the help of banners that can be tethered to a suitable fence. Thus, if a fine doesn’t get you, then a sense of lingering, inescapable guilt will.

Breathalysers to be Mandatory from 2022

Buried in all of this month’s political news is the announcement that, from 2022, all new cars sold in Europe will need to be fitted with breath-testing devices. Moreover, existing cars will have until 2024 to get with the program and have the necessary modifications fitted. This is part of the same EU regulations which mandate that speed-limiting software will be installed, too.
The aim of this stuff is simple: to reduce the number of road fatalities and severe injuries. If you get behind the driver’s wheel of the car of the future, then it’ll detect that you’ve had one too many and it’ll shut down the engine.

According to the European Transport Safety Council, an independent body which has nothing to do with the EU, despite being based in Brussels, the elimination of drink-drivers from the roads would cut collisions by a whopping thirty percent, which would save roughly 25,000 lives across the continent over the course of the next fifteen years.
It’s probably a good idea to take predictions like this with a pinch of salt. It’s difficult to say what will happen next year in an industry as dependent on technological change as the motoring industry. Moreover, taking a single small figure and extrapolating outward to produce a big one is likely to result in embarrassing errors.

What about the UK?
As you’ve been reading this, two letters in particular might have jumped out at you. This is an EU thing, isn’t it? So what impact is it going to have on British drivers?

Well, there are several reasons to pay attention. The first is that many British drivers will find themselves on the continent, and they’ll need to have suitable vehicles. The second is that what happens in Europe often happens here, too: the current government has expressed a desire to maintain close alignment with road safety laws on the continent.

What’s more, the entire Brexit process is somewhat up-in-the-air at the moment, with many of the parties vying for power in the imminent election having entirely opposing takes on how to resolve the issue. All in all, it’s highly unlikely that Britain won’t mandate this technology at some point.

All of that aside, it’s difficult to deny that getting drink-drivers off the road is an unambiguously good thing, and that it’s going to result in fewer road injuries and deaths. Thus it’s enormously likely that this technology, if it’s proven effective, is going to emerge in Britain, too – regardless of what happens with Brexit.

Of course, drink-driving is a problem now, and we shouldn’t wait for some technological supervisor to be introduced into our vehicles to cut it out. While there is a point at which you can have alcohol in your bloodstream and still be legally allowed to drive, your reactions and motor skills will still be impaired – and thus a good idea is to limit your intake to a nice round zero if you know you’re going to need to drive home.

French MPs scrap Breathalyser Law

Improving road safety is an ongoing struggle for just about every government in the world. Sometimes they intervene, and in the process genuinely help the situation. Sometimes these interventions aren’t quite so successful. Recently, we have the case of the French government, which in 2013 decided to require that foreign motorists carry a breathalyser kit with them. There was going to be an €11 fine for those that failed to comply – but then the incoming president Francois Hollande decided that there wasn’t going to be a fine, but there was going to be a requirement. A crime without punishment isn’t much of a deterrent, and the new rules failed to have much, if any impact, on the way that foreign drivers actually behaved.

What are the drink-drive limits in France?
The drink-drive limit in France is a measly 0.05%, which compares with 0.08% in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. For younger drivers, it’s even lower, at a measly 0.02% for the first three years on the road (meaning that such drivers are effectively banned from drinking while they’re behind the wheel). If you regularly drive to Scotland, you might already be familiar with this way of doing things: their limit is set down at 0.02%, too.

As such, drivers who might have been within the limit on one side of the channel would be driving illegally on the other. So, the breathalyser rule was intended to help drivers to stay within the law, but, as part of a raft of reforms, the breathalyser law is getting chucked.

Now, while the law is going to be withdrawn in the near future, that doesn’t mean that taking a breathalyser kit isn’t a good idea. If you are caught over the limit, then you’ll be in serious trouble, as the law over there is even stricter than it is over here. Whether you’re driving in a personal or professional capacity, getting caught can have life changing consequences – and even if you don’t get caught, you might change someone else’s life for the worse.

Of course, the safest way is to not drink at all – that way you’ll be at your sharpest, whichever country you’re in. We’d therefore suggest keeping your intake down to zero when you’re on the road. If you’re taking the van down through Europe, you can always stop off somewhere for the night if you’d like to sample the local reds. In fact, if you’re driving across entire countries, making the time for an extended rest break is almost always the safest way to proceed.

At the risk of belabouring this point, we’re in agreement with RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis, who commented: “The best advice is to never drink and drive, whether driving in France or elsewhere.” Motoring advice doesn’t get much more straightforward than that.

If you’re planning on driving in France in the near future, then you’ll have one less thing to worry about – just remember that you need to drive on the other side of the road!