Author Archives: Allie

penalty points

Traffic offences and penalty points – get the facts

Every year police in England and Wales deal with more than six million road traffic offences; ranging from minor infractions to serious offences.

penalty points

Make sure you stay in the know, and keep on the right side of the law with our guide to motoring offences in the UK and the penalties that they could land you with.

Who sets the penalties?

The maximum penalties for road traffic offences are set by the government; the severity of the offence is taken into account when handing out penalties, with the most serious offences attracting the maximum penalties, the court decides on the appropriate penalty depending on individual circumstances.

Ticket types

penalty points

There are two types of tickets you could be hit with; if you commit a motoring offence it will either be deemed endorsable or non-endorsable. Endorsable tickets are the ones that attract a fine and penalty points; with a non-endorsable ticket you will only have to fork out for a fine.

Endorsable tickets usually come with a fixed penalty of £100 fine and three penalty points. You can get an endorsable ticket for:


-Running a red light

-Using a mobile while driving

-Running a red light

-Pedestrian crossing offences like parking on the zigzag lines leading up to a crossing, stopping or overtaking on a crossing

-Driving without insurance; in this case the minimum fine will be £300 and you’ll get at least six penalty points.

The minimum fixed penalty for a non-endorsable ticket will usually be a £50 fine. These can be issued for:

-Driving without an MOT, this attracts a £100 fine

-Failing to wear a seatbelt, this also attracts a £100 fine

-Failing to comply with a traffic sign

-Parking offences

-Driving a vehicle with a defective part; no windscreen wipers etc

-Lighting offense; driving without headlights or misuse of fog lights

-Causing unnecessary noise

-Exceeding weight restrictions for your vehicle

Points remain on your licence for three years, after four years you can send off your licence to the DVLA to have them removed.

If you accumulate more than 12 or more penalty points in a 3 year period, you will be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of six months; this could be longer if you have previously been disqualified.

More serious offences

Dangerous driving

If your driving ‘falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and it would be obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous’ it is considered to be very irresponsible you could be convicted of dangerous driving.

This is an extremely serious driving offence and you could end up with a prison sentence of up to 3 years, an unlimited fine and you will have your licence taken away from you. Causing death by dangerous driving will land you with a 10-year prison sentence, an unlimited fine and disqualification.

Drinking & driving

Not to be taken lightly, drinking and driving is a very serious offence; not only could you do yourself some serious damage you could also hurt someone else.

There are strict alcohol limits for drivers, but the amount of drinks this equals is different for each person.

The legal alcohol limit for drivers in the UK is:

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

There are a number of factors that could determine the way alcohol affects you, these could be:

  • Your weight, age, sex and metabolism
  • The type of alcohol you have been drinking
  • How much and what you’ve eaten recently
  • Stress levels at the time of drinking

Maximum penalties for jumping behind the wheel after a drink vary depending on the offence:

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit:

-Three months’ imprisonment

-Up to £2,500 fine

-A possible driving ban

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit:

-Six months’ imprisonment

-Up to £5,000 fine

-A driving ban for at least one year (three years if convicted twice in 10 years)

Refusing to provide a specimen for analysis:

-Six months’ imprisonment

-Up to £5,000 fine

-A ban from driving for at least one year

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink:

-14 years’ imprisonment

-An unlimited fine

-A ban from driving for at least two years

-An extended driving test before your licence is returned

Below is a table of the maximum penalties that offences can attract:

penalty points

caught speeding

Caught in a flash – what happens when you’re caught speeding

You’re driving in a new area, distracted by rowdy kids in the back seat, or singing along to the radio; in your rear view you see a sickening flash and realise with a sinking feeling that you’ve been caught by a speed camera…  No matter how careful a driver you try to be; it’s happened to us all.

caught speeding

An eagle-eyed speed camera

If you’ve recently been busted by a speed trap, we’ve got the facts for you; so you’ll know what to expect when, and how to deal with the fine when it hits your doormat.

If you’re caught speeding by either a traffic officer or a camera, the options are pretty simple. The policeman can give you a verbal warning, which a speed camera cannot, but in most cases you will either be:

  • Offered the chance to attend a speed-awareness course, which you’ll have to pay for.
  • Issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (a speeding ticket), with a fine of £100 and penalty points.
  • Prosecuted for speeding. You will have to go to court, and could face a fine of up to £1,000 (£2,500 if you were speeding on the motorway), between three and six penalty points on your driving licence, and a possible driving ban.

Although individual police forces can use their discretion, the Association of Chief Police Officers or ACPO suggests the following when enforcing speed limits:

Speed limitMinimum speed for a ticketMinimum speed for prosecution
20 mph25 mph35 mph
30 mph35 mph50 mph
40 mph46 mph66 mph
50 mph57 mph76 mph
60 mph68 mph86 mph
70 mph79 mph96 mph

The painful wait

If you’ve been flashed then the next few weeks can be a stressful game of cat and mouse with the postman. The police have 14 days to issue you with a ‘notice of intended prosecution’ or NIP which sets out the details of the alleged offence. If you were caught by a camera as opposed to being stopped by a policeman, then this will go to the registered keeper of the vehicle.

If you haven’t had a NIP within 14 days then it’s likely you have escaped prosecution.


In most cases, a fixed penalty notice will be issued; the minimum fine for a speeding offence is £100.

You can choose either to pay this and accept the penalty points or, if you don’t think the speeding ticket is correct, contest the speeding charge in court.

You’ll have 28 days to nominate the driver and pay the fixed penalty. If you ignore it or fail to pay in time your case will be referred to court where the fine my well be higher than the fixed penalty.

If you’ve committed a more serious offence, it is likely that the case will be referred to court where the maximum fine is £1000, or £2500 for motorway offences. Fines imposed by the court will always take into account the circumstances, the speed and your driving record.

…and penalty points

Still reeling from the fine? If you have committed a speeding offence you will also find yourself with between 3 and 6 points, and these are stuck on your licence for three years from the date of the offence.

You can apply to have the points removed from your licence after four years. Points can increase your insurance premiums, and if you ‘collect’ more than 12 in any three year period then you could find yourself without a licence and disqualified from driving.

Speed Awareness Courses

caught speeding

If you’re not watching your speed, you can guarantee someone is…

Most police forces in the UK also now offer speed awareness courses as an alternative to points and fines. You will have to pay the cost of the course, but you’ll save yourself the points on your licence.

The courses last around four hours and aim to teach you the consequences of speeding and the effect that your driving has on other road users.

You won’t always be offered the course, as it is at the discretion of the issuing force. If you haven’t been offered one, it’s worth asking the issuing force if they will consider it; they may not accept your request but if they do you can escape the dreaded points. If you have previous points, you are unlikely to be offered a speed awareness course.

Feeling appealing?

You have the right to appeal the fixed penalty notice. If you decide to you have 28 days from the day of issue to do so. Your case will be referred to court, where in most cases it will be overseen by a magistrate.

Bear in mind that in court, the role of the prosecution is simply to prove that you were speeding. Arguments like ‘I didn’t know I was speeding’ and ‘I only exceeded the limit for a few miles’ won’t be taken into consideration.

Unless you are sure of your grounds for appeal we’d recommend thinking carefully about heading to court as should you be unsuccessful the fine is likely to be significantly higher than the original fixed penalty.

Court summons

caught speeding

If the world starts to blur, it might be time to take your foot of the pedal…

If you were caught doing high speeds on the motorway, or driving way over the limit in built up areas, the police have six months to start court proceedings against you. This is also true if you already have more than eight points on your licence.

Your penalty will be based on the severity of the offence, mitigating circumstances; past record and any other circumstances that the Court feels should be taken into account, and can range from 3 points and £100 fine to disqualification and a fine of £2,500.

Although you can represent yourself in court, it is recommended that you get yourself some legal advice so as to give you the chance of the best possible outcome.

goodwood revival

Goodwood Revival 2014

Get your glad rags on; it’s time for Goodwood Revival!

The glamorous days of racing gone-by are on show this weekend at Goodwood Revival; a three day spectacular in the heart of Sussex that celebrates all things motor racing from 1948 to 1966; when Goodwood was one of the country’s foremost racing venues and an era that many believe was the heyday of motor sport.

Goodwood Revival

From 12th to the 14th September 2014, cars and motorbikes will take to the track, showcasing some of the finest vintage racing vehicles, driven by celebrities and familiar faces from the world of motor racing.

It’s also a chance for spectators to get involved too; glamming themselves up in vintage clothing to look the part. It’s a rip-roaring weekend filled with the sounds of jazz, the smell of engine oil and the sights of the past; so dust of that vintage outfit, pack yourself a picnic and head to West Sussex to get the party started.

Goodwood Revival

To get you in the festival spirit, we’re bringing you the lowdown on the weekend’s events…


Competitive action begins bright and early, at 9am on Friday; the races are made up of celebrity two-driver races, saloon races, sports cars races, single-seater races and three circuit parades in honour of Sir Jackie Stewart. It’s 50 years since he was discovered while driving at Goodwood, and Sir Jackie Stewart will take part in each of the three parades!

Goodwood Revival

There’s lots to commemorate this weekend; 60 years of the Jaguar D-type is honoured with one of the largest gatherings of D-types in the world, 60 years of the ‘small block’ V8 engine, 50 years of the Ford Mustang, the list is endless.

goodwood revival

There is also a life-size Stonehenge installation to celebrate 50 years since the Order of the Bards, Ovates and Druids and a Brighton Pier installation to commemorate 50 years since the beginning of the fights between the Mods and Rockers in seaside towns during the summer of 1964.

In fact Quadrophenia star Phil Daniels will officially open Goodwood by leading a procession of about 100 mods, all driving vintage scooters around the track.

Don’t forget to look out for other famous faces taking part in races. Highlights include 5 times Le Mans winner Derek Bell, F1 podium winner Jackie Oliver and actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson!

Friday 12th September

Friday is practice day, so drivers and riders will be taking to the track to secure themselves the best positions for the next day’s races.

Goodwood Revival

Look out for the Bonhams sale of priceless historic cars; you might not be able to splash the cash but it costs nothing to drool over them.

Saturday 13th September

On Saturday the racing hots up; as the trophies are dangled before the drivers, it’s all to race for!

goodwood revival

Highlights today are the Barry Sheene Memorial Trophy race for motorcycles, the always popular St Mary’s Trophy and the post-war Grand Prix cars battling for the Goodwood Trophy.

Saturday is also Ladies’ Day so make sure you come dressed to impress girls!

Sunday 14th September

Not to be missed on Sunday is the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration race, which showcases some of the world’s most valuable racing cars; this for many is the highlight of the weekend.

Don’t forget to look up today, as Spitfires and Hurricanes take to the skies.

goodwood revival

The Prize Giving ceremony ends a perfect weekend.

The main races are:

Goodwood revival

There’s more to Goodwood Revival than racing!

With amazing aircraft, fantastic shopping, fabulous food, dancing, drinking and general merriment on offer away from the track; it would be easy to get lost in the crowds… Lucky for you, here’s a map of the event:

goodwood revival

Revival Car Show

goodwood revival

The action doesn’t just take place on the track, before you even make it through the gates you’ll be wowed by some seriously beautiful cars. Around 4500 pre-1974 tax exempt vehicles are driven to the show every year by guests, and parked up Over the Road for you to enjoy on your way in to the races. Look out for the top 10 cars posted daily!


goodwood revival

Aviation is as much a part of this nostalgia-fest as the cars; and true to form there is a line-up of around 30 stunning aircraft on show at this year’s Spirit of Aviation show, some from as early as the 1920s! Check out the de Havilland DH82, the Douglas C-47A Dakota and the Auster 5; which took part in the D-Day landings, and taking centre stage is the helicopter made famous by Pussy Galore in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger…


Goodwood Revival

Dressing up is half the fun!

Dressing up is optional; you don’t have to don retro gear to go to Goodwood, but really its half the fun of the revival so why not get involved? Every year attendees go to great efforts to recreate the looks of the 1940s, 50s and 60s; women make themselves over in either WWII uniform chic, 50s glam and gorgeous or miniskirts and black eyeliner from the 60s.

The look for men is either RAF uniform, blazers, cravats and panamas or all out 60s with a crushed velvet suit!

goodwood revival

World’s coolest kids

Dressing up could also see you crowned ‘Best Dressed’ at the event, look out for the teams of judges on the prowl throughout the site and you could bag a prize; there’s one male and one female prize up for grabs every day!

Shopping & eating

goodwood revival

Browse the racks at the vintage markets

The site is full of dining options, from lingering over fancy fare at the Goodwood Hotel, to grabbing a burger from a NAAFI Wagon; there is something for everyone.

For even more eating options head Over the Road, which is quite literally, over the road via a bridge. Here you’ll find a fairground, loads of shopping and bars playing out live music. Don’t miss the Doom Bar where you can sample some Goodwood Lager & Ale, or the Butlins Roller Disco which is brand new for 2014.

Goodwood Revival

The Revival High Street offers shopping from a by-gone era, lovingly recreated; you can enjoy a stroll down memory lane while browsing market stalls, a coffee shop and even a vintage Tesco where the staff are kitted out in period uniforms and retro products fill the shelves.

goodwood revival

The Tesco at Goodwood is packed full of vintage stock

For more information head to Goodwood Revival.

best used cars for uni students

Best used cars for uni students

September sees a whole new set of teenagers heading off to work and play at university…

best used cars for uni students

Student packing leaves a lot to be desired…

If you’re already feeling the strain of being your soon-to-be student offspring’s only source of transport and dreading the ferrying back and forth to uni, let alone the last night pickups once they’re home for the holidays; getting them set up with their own car could help give them the independence they crave while making it very easy for them to get back home; as once they’re gone, you might even miss them!

Investing in an economical used car for your offspring could have a number of benefits:

–  You’ve got more chance of seeing them as it’s so easy for them to get home.

–  It saves you ferrying them back and forth to their chosen uni; most likely to some far flung corner of the country.

–  They will be independent when they come home during breaks, saving you from becoming the obligatory taxi driver…

–  Having the responsibility of their own car is a great way to teach teens basic car maintenance and the value of looking after a car.

We’ve found six of the best value used motors; all perfect for students about to embark on their heady university days. They are all affordable to buy, cheap to run and easy to maintain, so keep reading for our guide to the best used cars for uni students!

Fiat 500

best used cars for uni students

Cute and super-chic; the extremely popular Fiat 500 makes the perfect car for any style-conscious teenager. Not only is it cheap to run thanks to its small but effective turbo engine; it also looks the part so there won’t be any complaints as they set off for their new life.

Running at an average combined mpg of 68.9, it’s efficient and planet-friendly; it also produces low emissions meaning the road tax bill will be minimal.

The Fiat 500 packed full of safety features; it has seven airbags, ABS and has been awarded a 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Euro NCAP independently test cars for safety, so that you can have an unbiased rating of your potential car’s safety features!

The damage: A 2008 1.2 litre comes in at around £5,900.

Volkswagen Polo

best used cars for uni students

Reliable, good looking and great to drive; the VW Polo has long been a favourite of younger drivers. It’s a well-built beast and handles perfectly; it’s also comfortable to drive long distance thanks to its spacious interior.

Getting an average 51.4mpg it won’t cost your impoverished student a packet to refuel, it gets top scores for safety features too; awarded a 5-star rating from Euro NCAP, the Polo is a great all-rounder and will see them long into their graduate days.

The damage: A 2008 1.2 litre starts from £4,400

Skoda Citigo

best used cars for uni students

Compact without feeling claustrophobic, the Skoda Citigo is great for nipping around crowded city centres. Its lower emissions make for cheaper road tax, while it’s small but perfectly formed 1.0 litre engine gets up to 68.9 miles per gallon.

With longer between refuels, there’s less chance of your beloved child running up a huge credit card bill; meaning they can spend their hard borrowed pounds on, ahem, books and university equipment.

Safety is key with this little run around too; it has been awarded a 5-star rating from Euro NCAP and comes complete with side airbags and ABS.

The damage: A 2012 1.0 litre comes in at around £7,260

Peugeot 107

best used cars for uni students

This is one cute little city car; not only does have a chic and cheeky look about it, it also racks up the miles without you having to re-mortgage; on average it gets a cool combined 62.7mpg!

Although its engine may be a little small at 1.0 litre, overall the car feels nippy and is perfect for getting from student digs to lecture halls; it also scores a 4-star rating for safety from Euro NCAP so you can enjoy peace of mind.

The damage: A 2008 1.0 litre starts from £3,900

Seat Mii

best used cars for uni students

Coming in a range of colours, the Seat Mii is a slick and stylish little car that means big business! Like the other options, it is also highly economical; average miles per gallon are 68.9. Its emissions are on the low side so road tax isn’t a huge problem.

It comes with ABS, airbags and rear parking sensors; and like the other cars it has been awarded a 5-star safety rating.

Add to that the on-board computer, MP3, CD & radio and Bluetooth connectivity as standard, the Seat Mii really does make for great value.

If your offspring is a style savvy fashion-ista, then the Seat Mii by Mango is a great way for them to show off their great taste.

best used cars for uni students

The stylish Seat Mii by Mango

Seat have teamed up with fashion brand Mango to create a sleek and chic version of the Mii. Featuring alloy wheels and chrome trims, it comes in either black or nude and goes with everything!

The damage: A 2012 1.0 litre comes in at around £6,700

Ford Fiesta

best used cars for uni students

Cheap, reliable and not bad to look at; if you’re looking for the bargain of the bunch then you’ve found it. The Fiesta has been the car of choice for many a student over the years thanks to cheap running costs and affordable parts.

Although it’s not the most efficient car here, it gets an average combined mpg of 51.4, which isn’t too shabby and makes for pretty affordable refuelling.

The Fiesta also handles pretty well, and scores highly for safety; getting a 5-star rating from Euro NCAP.  A great little run around and the ideal first car; if you’re looking for a no-nonsense first car then this is it!

The damage: A 2008 1.2 litre starts from £4,300

For a wide range of great value used cars; head to Crawley Down Group and get searching for the perfect car!

Summer road trip essentials

Summer road trip essentials

School’s out and the sun is shining; it’s the best time of the year, and the open road offers a summer of adventures with your family; you could be relaxing on the beach, playing in the park or wandering up mountains; the possibilities are endless…

Summer road trip essentials

Pack up the car and get out of town!

Family days out are what summer was made for; piling into the car for an exciting road trip at a moment’s notice can be fun and exhilarating – forgetting to pack a number of all-important items however, can really put a damper on your day. Stay ahead of the pack and make the most of the holidays, thanks to CDG’s summer road trip essentials!

1. Sat nav 

Summer road trip essentials

Arguments over directions are the quickest way to spoil a day; get yourself a satnav and those rows could become a distant memory! Don’t forget to pack yourself a good old fashioned paper map too though, as technology has its bad days, just like us…

TomTom sat nav with UK & western Europe maps £118.99


2. Snacks and water bottles

Pile the car high with snacks; having something to munch on could come in really handy if you get stuck in traffic, get yourself lost, or nothing is open once you hit your destination.

3. Pillows and blankets

Summer road trip essentials

Comfy kids = quiet kids!

Getting comfy in the car is the key to a successful day out. Bring some pillows for the kids so they can lounge in the back and make themselves at home, saving you from answering their myriad of questions. Popping a few blankets in isn’t a bad idea either; they can double up as picnic rugs should you find a piece of deserted paradise to picnic in.

4. Camera

Summer road trip essentials

Smartphones have pretty decent cameras these days, but packing a separate camera means you can get some higher res pics and save your phone battery for when you really need it!

Canon IXUS 150 £89.00


5. In-car phone charger

Summer road trip essentials

For when you really need a phone but you’ve spent all day snapping pictures of the amazing day you’re having, and your phone battery is running on empty.

PowerGen Dual USB charger £5.99




6. Cooler packed full of treats

Summer road trip essentials

Picnicking is the only way to do a summer day out; a day out at the beach wouldn’t be the same without sand covered sandwiches. Fill a cool box with lunchtime treats and save yourself cash when it comes to eating out.

Coleman cooler £15.22



7. Travel mug

Summer road trip essentials

Keep your spirits and energy levels up; pack a travel mug so you can enjoy a reviving coffee while you’re on the move.

Bodum Vacuum Travel Mug £15.00






8. Distractions for back seat passengers

Summer road trip essentials


Investing in an iPad or portable DVD player really could save your day; distracted kids are happy kids, so bring along lots of music, toys, games and even some books on tape to help soothe their curious minds and lull them into perfectly behaved passengers!

iPad Mini from £319


9. Sun cream

This goes without saying; don’t leave home without decent sun cream.

10. Towel

Handy not only for lounging on the beach and impromptu swims; but also for getting sand and dirt off little feet before they clamber back into the car.

11. Ball games

Summer road trip essentials

More distraction techniques; packing a Frisbee or a ball is a great way to get the kids active and keep them happy for hours.

12. First aid kit

Summer road trip essentials

Accidents happen, so having a first aid kit packed with a few essentials is never going to be a bad idea. We suggest keeping one in your car at all times, as you never know when you might need it!

Boots Travel First Aid Kit £11.99



13. Antibacterial hand gel

Summer road trip essentials

A must have for impromptu breaks at questionable public toilets.

Carex Hand Gel £1.45






14. Torch

Summer road trip essentials

Could be a life saver if you break down in the dark or something you urgently need rolls under a seat!

Super-Bright LED Torch £8.95




15. Roadside assistance

Don’t be the family stuck at the side of the road in, waiting for the rain to pass as your car coughs its way to a stop. Invest in some breakdown cover just in case your car does have a hiccup so you can sit back and relax while someone else takes care of the problem. The AA or RAC both offer great cover.

Summer road trip essentials

Before you go:

Carry out a few basic checks on your car before setting off; these could save you from frustrating delays caused by breakdowns or even accidents.

  • Check tyre tread and pressure
  • Check oil level
  • Check water or engine coolant level
  • Check wiper blades and screen wash level


parking nightmares

Top ten parking nightmares

Driving might be a fun way to get about, but the nightmare that occurs once you have reached your destination might be enough to make you wish you’d caught the bus; that’s right, we’re talking about the horror of parking!

parking nightmares

This is bad parking taken to the extreme…                                                                                                                                           image credit

It seems to be getting harder and harder to park in our city centres, supermarkets and even on our own streets. Car parks are fraught with neglectful drivers, careless parking and spaces only a toy car could squeeze into; to ease your pain we’ve compiled our top ten parking nightmares so you can relieve some of the stress caused by parking frustrations and get on with your day…

1. Suffocating spaces

It is just us or are spaces in supermarkets and shopping centres getting smaller by the day? When even the best parking in the world leaves you barely enough room to manoeuvre yourself out of your car something is amiss; and some car parks feature pillars, low ceilings and a whole host of other obstacles just to make parking that little bit more daunting. You’re not alone in your frustration; Aviva have named and shamed the country’s worst car parks; check them out here!

2. No way out

Have you ever found yourself going around and round in circles when trying to find your way out of a car park thanks to misleading and contradictory exit signs? Why the signage can’t be made clear so that you can get on with your day, rather than touring the car park for the fifth or sixth time trying to track down the elusive way out, is beyond us!

3. Seeing double

Is there anything in this world more annoying than a selfish parker? We’ve all been there; you’re popping into Tesco to grab your dinner; it’s busy and you just want to shop and run. As you circle the heaving car park it dawns on you that this may take a while… Finally you see a spot, but what’s this? Some careless driver has parked across the last two available spaces. Seething with rage you drive off unable to complete your mission.

4. Trolley bash & dash

Returning to your parking space to find that some mindless fiend has bashed their trolley into your gleaming car is a thing of horror! A close cousin of the car door crash & dash, when a careless driver opens their door smack bang into yours; lack of attention can be highly infuriating. Why can’t people just take a little more care?!

5. Rogue ‘parking inspectors’

In at number 5 and becoming a regular feature in our towns; the rogue parking inspector! They work for private companies who own the land you have parked on; often at out of town industrial parks or supermarkets. Look out for unrealistic maximum stays and make sure you abide by the badly displayed rules, or you could land yourself a ticket from a threatening man who more often than not is lying in wait. These unscrupulous companies often use threatening tactics to get you to pay; for advice on and more information head to the Citizens Advice Bureau.

6. Daylight robbery

Parking keeps getting more and more expensive. Some short stays are so pricey you’d be tempted not to drive. £1.00 for 15 minutes is a ludicrous amount of money for a grubby, out of town car park with questionable security; but as the car parks who charge this kind of rate are still in existence, drivers must be shelling out. Vote with your feet and make a note of parking charges in your area; refuse to pay through the nose and go elsewhere if the price isn’t right.

7. Too close for comfort

You did it! Miraculously you found a space in a reasonably priced car park. You’ve had a lovely day in town and all is right with the world… until you return to your car and find yourself blocked in so tightly that you’re unable to get into your car, let alone out of the space. The inconsiderate driver who parked next to you is literally millimetres from your car. You fume and rant but can’t do anything until the idiot returns.

8. Magical mystery tour

Arriving in a new town you follow the signs for town centre parking; around the one way system you go, all the while studiously following the signage until suddenly you come across a junction and all the signs have magically disappeared!  You stumble and frantically scan the scene to try and find your way; the chorus of beeps from impatient locals ringing in your ears. Finally you choose a direction, just in time to see a sign further down the road pointing the opposite way. ARGH!

9. Pay & dismay

From lack of change machines to varying times on ticket machines across the car park; pay and display parking is a corrupt system fraught with danger.  Making a note of the time and returning a minute or two late, to find a parking officer rubbing his hands together with glee as he writes you a ticket is seriously frustrating. You plead your case but he claims as he’s started he cannot finish. All we can say about this is hooray for the nice ticket inspectors who give you a few minutes grace.

10. The long & winding road

The snaking queue that works its way up from the exit barrier to the ninth floor is our tenth most annoying car park nightmare. Sitting in dingy fluorescent half-light in a car park with an exit system designed by a monkey really is not how you want to spend your time. As half an hour ticks by and you’ve barely moved you begin to wonder if it was worth coming into town at all…

German Grand Prix

Get set for the German Grand Prix

Old rivalries

It’s nearly time for another exciting Grand Prix, and following on from his recent home triumph at Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton is firmly back in the title race and will be looking for a win this weekend at the German Grand Prix, to keep him in the game.

German Grand Prix

Get set for the German Grand Prix!                                                                                                                                                           image credit

But he will be facing stiff competition as German hopes run high; after all, what could be better for a nation of German’s than to see a German win the GP, driving a German built car just a week after the German’s stormed to victory in Brazil?

This year’s race is being held at the Hockenheim circuit on Sunday 20th July at 2pm.

The last time Lewis took the podium at the German GP was back in 2011, and at the Hockenheimring it was 2008; can he keep a cool head and drive away in pole position, sealing his bid for the 2014 Drivers Championship? Lewis has got it all to do…

German Grand Prix

Can Hamilton take the trophy in front of the German crowd?                                                                                                              image credit

No stranger to pressure, Hamilton started the British Grand Prix 29 points behind title rival and teammate Nico Rosberg; his stunning victory along with Rosberg’s retirement from the race, means that he is back in the running with only four points currently standing between the two rivals.

Lewis started in pole position at last year’s German Grand Prix, held in Nürburgring, but only managed to finish 10th  let’s hope the Hertfordshire born Brit can up his game and steal victory from his German teammate…

 After a wash out at Wimbledon, an early exit from the world cup and a disappointing start to the Tour De France, we Brits need a win!

Current Driver Championship standings:

German Grand Prix

Rocking in Hockenheim

The German GP is one of the oldest Grand Prix’s; there have been 73 races held so far, since 1929.

German Grand Prix

The Hockenheimring circuit

First used as a Formula One circuit in 1970, Hockenheimring was 6.8km long with large straights running through forest. At 45 laps and with most of the action taking place away from the eager eyes of spectators, the track was redesigned and launched in time for the 2002 German GP.

Situated in the Rhine valley, the circuit is almost completely flat; it has a seating capacity of 120,000, is over 4.5km long and consists of 67 laps.

Circuit Name:    Hockenheimring
First Grand Prix:1970
Number of Laps:67
Circuit Length: 4.574 km
Race Distance:306.458 km
Lap Record:    1:13.78; Kimi Raikkonen (2004)

Schedule for the weekend:

Friday 18 July 2014

Practice 1             10:00am – 11:30am

Practice 2             2:00pm – 3:30pm

Saturday 19 July 2014

Practice 3             11:00am – 12:00pm

Qualifying            2:00pm

Sunday 20 July 2014

Race                     2:00pm

Rain or shine?

Sunday weather

Sunday looks set to be hot and humid, with highs of 30 degrees and the chance of a storm or two; might need to have those wet weather tyres on standby…

Tickets, should you wish to go, start at a mere £156 for a weekend pass. If you’re happy to splash the cash, head to Formula 1 for more information and to buy!

Gone are the days when trailing a caravan behind you meant being buffeted by passing HGVs, all the way to a windy week in wales… Modern caravans are stylish, streamlined and open up a world of possibilities!

get caravanning with CDG

You could be waking up to a view like this every morning!

When you’re towing your home away from home, you can point the car anywhere, and set off at a moment’s notice without stressing about hotel bookings and weight limitations on budget airlines. Freedom is yours!

If you’re thinking of buying a caravan but are a little overwhelmed by choice and jargon, let CGD help you find your way through the maze of information to your dream caravan.

With a guide to choosing the right one for you, facts on weight and towing, and some great gadgets you just can’t live without; CDG’s guide to caravanning can help you take top the road with confidence…

Step 1: Choosing the right caravan for you!

There are many different kinds of caravan available, from the conventional classics right through to modern, tiny trailers; choosing the right one for you can be a little daunting… We’ve rounded up the main contenders so you can get some fast facts.

The classic caravan

get caravanning with CDG

Keep comfortable while on the road…                                                                                                                           image credit

The standard, single axle caravan can sleep between two and six people. They can accommodate showers, toilets and fully fitted kitchenettes on board. The single axle is lighter weight, easier to manoeuvre at campsite and more economical than a twin axle.

The twin axle

If you opt for a larger or heavier caravan, it may be fitted with a twin axle. This improves road grip, but makes it harder to pitch on site, and get back into storage once you’re back home.

The tiny trailer

get caravanning with CDG

The teardrop trailer                                                                                                                                                          image credit

If you have a small towing vehicle, you could consider a trailer. These small but perfectly formed trailers are super stylish and feature basic accommodation; a bed, some come with cooking equipment and room for storing your kit. If you want to get away from it all without it costing the earth, this could be a great option for you!

The American Airstream

get caravanning with CDG

Iconic American Airstream                                                                                                                                               image credit

These iconic transatlantic silver spaceships will get you plenty of attention when you’re out and about! Manufactured by Airstream, these classic campers are as all-American as apple pie; they offer stylish and comfortable accommodation but come with a rather hefty price tag!

The anti-tower

get caravanning with CDG

Vintage VW Campervan                                                                                                                                                    image credit

Want to explore the beautiful British countryside but not sure about towing your life behind you? A motorhome might be just what you need! These come in all shapes and sizes, from converted vans and cars, right up to huge, road hogging American style RVs; they let you take to the road at a moment’s notice, but beware the low lying bridge if you opt for a bigger beast!

Step 2: Find the right balance

When choosing the right caravan for you, you need to take weight into account. Outfit matching is when the weight of the caravan and contents does not exceed 85% of the cars un-laden weight.

To begin this process, look in the handbook and find the kerbweight of your car; then multiply this by 85/100 which will give you the all-important 85% figure. Next check the towing limit, also found in your handbook. If this limit is higher than the 85% you’ve just calculated then you can look for a caravan up to this 85% weight. If not, you will be restricted in your towing.

The law states that caravans must not cause any danger or nuisance to other people on the road. Because of this, the Caravan Club suggests:

  • The lower the laden weight of a trailer caravan when towed on the public highway, the safer the out?t.
  • The laden weight of the caravan should never exceed the kerbside weight of the towing vehicle.
  • The nearer the caravan laden weight approaches the one-to-one ratio, the more careful the driver must be.

To allow power for overtaking, getting up steep hills, and greater stability particularly on motorways; the lower the weight ratio between the car and caravan, the better off you’ll be. So if your car is not up to towing a large caravan, you either need to rethink your chosen caravan or rethink your car!

Step 3: Get the car right

Skoda Octavia

Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance; winner of Tow Car of the Year 2013                                                   image credit

If you’re running a car that won’t cope with your dream caravan, it may well be worth a rethink. For advice on the best car for the job, speak to the experts at CDG or check out the Tow Car Awards.

Every year Practical Caravan, What Car?, and The Camping and Caravanning Club put hundreds of cars to the test and find the best car for your towing needs!

Step 4: Towing practice

Towing might seem like a scary prospect, but thousands of people do it every week! It’s easier than you might think and just takes practice; the main points to consider are:

  • Taking extra length into account
  • Taking more care when cornering
  • Braking and accelerating smoothly to allow the caravan to follow the direction and speed of the car

The Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club both offer help, advice and courses to get your confidence up and help you set off on your adventure!

Step 5: Gadgets galore!

We’ve rounded up some must have camping gadgets so that you can take your pick and get on with enjoying your new found freedom.

TomTom GO LIVE Camper and Caravan  

get caravanning with CDG


Packed full of features for caravan drivers; there are over 25,000 points of interest including camping areas, chemical toilet facilities and camper service spots; this reliable sat-nav is perfect if you want a hassle free drive.  State of the art; it also features hands-free calling via Bluetooth, voice controlled navigation and IQ Routes to give you the most accurate travel time.

Emergency phone charger

get caravanning with CDG


Tiny and ready to travel; you need never be without power again! Give yourself an extra charge with this handy device; it comes loaded with a rechargeable battery and charges most popular phones along with iPods!

Compact Mini washing machine

get caravanning with CDG


Weighing less than 5kgs, this time saving mini washing machine could be just what you need if you’re heading out on the open road. Forget cleaning your clothes in the sink or paying for campsite washer; with this handy little device you can wash up to 1kg loads and choose from three wash cycles.

Bodum Travel Press coffee maker

get caravanning with CDG


Just because you’re camping, doesn’t mean you have to suffer bad coffee! Caffeine addicts everywhere should get their hands on one of these; a handy portable French press that gives you great coffee on the go.

Weber Go-Anywhere® Charcoal BBQ

get caravanning with CDG


Nothing says summer fun like a BBQ, and this handy grab and go model is perfectly compact and ideal for camping. Featuring a fold over lid and legs that fold down to save space, the Go Anywhere BBQ makes the perfect cooking accessory for your trip!

Motability CDG

Motability: Get mobile with CDG

Motability CDG Successfully running since 1978, the Motability scheme is looked after by Motability; a national charity that raises funds and provides financial aid to customers, helping them find their perfect mobility solution. Since its creation, Motability has helped over 3 million people get mobile with a new vehicle. If you have a government funded Motability allowance then you could use this to lease a new car that could give you the freedom you crave!  And the scheme doesn’t just give you the benefit of a brand new car to enjoy; it also takes all the worry and stress out of running a car by offering the following benefits:

  • You get a brand new car, wheelchair or scooter every three years
  • You are fully insured and the car is serviced and maintained for you by the dealer
  • You get the peace of mind that comes with having full breakdown assistance
  • Your annual tax is paid and sent directly to your home
  • You are eligible for replacement tyres and windscreen repairs
  • You have a 60,000 mileage allowance over the three year
  • You can add two named drivers to your car, so if you can’t drive you can still get about

If you receive the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) you may be eligible to join this great scheme.

Motability with CDG

Our Motability experts are happy to help with all your queries

At Crawley Down Group we are proud to be members of the Motability scheme and are on-hand to help you through the process.We had a great turnout at our recent Motability event, held at our Copthorne showrooms! Tea, coffee & cake were served as customers chatted to our Motability specialists, and fired all their questions about the scheme at the team. Our wide range of SKODA, Seat, Fiat and Peugeot models, were available to browse and everyone who came along took home a special Motability goody bag; a successful day was had by all! Check out Crawley Down Group, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to keep an eye out for future Motability events! If you have questions about the Motability scheme or about the application process, or would just like to take a look at the cars on offer, head to our state of the art showrooms at Copthorne. Here you can discover the wide range of models; all starting from nil advance payment, and our friendly Motability Specialists will offer help and advice, and answer any questions you may have.

We can also offer car adaptions to make driving that little bit easier for you; these could include:

  • Assisted steering
  • Foot steering systems
  • Accelerator and brake hand controls
  • Adapted foot controls
  • Rotating seats
  • Adapted mirrors

For more information on the Motability Scheme and how CDG can help, click here.