The insurance industry is bemoaning the fact that drivers have a poor grasp of Highway Code leading to accidents. Road users putting on make-up, changing CDs and arguing with their passengers have all contributed to traffic accidents, according to recent insurance claims.
According to one of the UK’s top insurance comparison websites, one driver was involved in an accident after claiming they saw an unnamed celebrity walking along the street. The “celebrity” turned out to be a normal member of the public.
Despite the humorous nature of these claims, many of these accidents betray a shocking ignorance of the Highway Code and basic driving skills, which only go to force up insurance premiums for other drivers.
“We never cease to be amazed by some claims,” said Paul Gilbert, customer services director of InsureAnts. co.uk price comparison website. “It’s almost as if some people pass their driving test and immediately forget the basic rules of the road.”
Ten of the favorite claims included:
“I was changing a CD and I didn’t notice the bend in the road. I ended up sideways in a field, and walked out through the hole where the windscreen was, listening to Led Zep.” (Sounds a bit like Kim Fletcher!)
“I thought I saw somebody famous walking down the pavement, and took my eye off the road, causing the crash. [Mr Not A Celebrity] saw the accident and kindly agreed to be a witness.”
“The other driver said he was too busy looking at the map to notice that he had gone the wrong way on a one-way street.”
“I was trying to swat a fly with the ice scraper and didn’t see the other car.”
“The other driver said they had just driven off the ferry after a week in France, and forgot to drive on the left.” (That one is very possible - I’ve done that myself!)
“I saw somebody getting undressed in their front window, and crashed through their wall.” (Haven’t done that one.)
“We were driving up to the traffic lights just as they turned red, and pressed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal.” (Happens every day in Pattaya!)
“I saw a police car, panicked, and drove on the pavement by mistake.”
“I was driving along a country road and the pollen from a nearby field made me sneeze and I ended up in a ditch.” (Come and see the allergy clinic!)
“The other driver was too busy putting on their make-up to see me coming the other way.”
“I was practicing what I’d do in the event of a car crash, and crashed.” (Must have been a boy scout!)
To celebrate the 50 years of Mustang, Ford Motor Co. kicked off its celebration with a special ceremony commemorating the 1 millionth Mustang produced at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant, but there were another 7.5 million Mustangs produced in total.
It had to happen - after a decade of producing cheap motor cars, China is now branching into the supercar market with the Icona Vulcano.
If you think you have seen this car before, you haven’t, but you have seen similar if you think LFA, Ferrari F12 and Corvette Stingray, all supercars with front-mounted engines, and now joined by the Icona Vulcano which was unveiled at the Shanghai motor show last month.
One of the real stunners at the show was the new E-Class. However, what is under the skin is even more interesting.
The new E-Class offers a combination of new safety technologies and driving comfort under “Intelligent Drive” system to ensure maximum safety. Innovative driver assistance systems, preventive protective measures, a stress-resistant body structure and highly effective restraint systems make the E-Class one of the safest vehicles in its segment.
One of the new cars at the Bangkok International Motor Show was the Suzuki Ertiga, a seven seater MPV with prices ranging between B. 544,000 - 689,000 for the top of the range.
Last week I mentioned that 1912 the Stanley company made 650 steamers. I said that was the same as one day’s production of what in 1923? What was the answer? An easy one - it was of course the model T Ford.
So to this week. The Cosworth-Ford DFV engines were designed to be a stressed member of the chassis, but was not the first. Which car was the first?
The medical fraternity realized many years ago that some medical conditions ran in families. I recently mentioned Dupuytrens Contracture, which we have managed to trace back to the Vikings who brought a ‘rogue gene’ with them in the longboats.
As medical knowledge continued to grow, we have found that for many more conditions there are familial or hereditary factors giving a clue as to whether you are going to have the same problems. Heredity is one of the pointers to your health in the future, and what you can do to enjoy a long, lively and healthy one. This is really where ‘thanks Mum and Dad’ comes in. One problem of being an orphan is that it leaves the person with no idea as to what ailments are going to befall them. Dad might have legged it or ‘fled the scene’, but did he live to tell the tale when he was 60?
With the increasing research into genetics, we are able to map out our likely futures and can predict such ailments as diabetes, epilepsy and other neurological problems like Huntington’s Chorea and Alzheimer’s Disease, some cancers such as breast, ovarian, lower bowel, prostate, skin and testicular, heart attacks, blood pressure problems, certain blood diseases like Sickle Cell anemia and so the list goes on.
However, you do not need to have multi-million baht examinations done on your DNA to see where you are headed, all you need to do is to start asking the older family members about your inheritance. Not the money - your genetic inheritance in the health stakes.
Have you ever wondered why the questionnaire for life insurance asks whether any close member of your family has ever suffered from diabetes, epilepsy and other ailments and then also asks you to write down how old your parents or brothers and sisters were when they died, and what they died from? All that they, the insurance companies, are doing is finding out the relative likelihood (or ‘risk’) of your succumbing early to an easily identifiable disease. This does not need a postgraduate Masters degree in rocket science. It needs a cursory application of family history.
If either of your parents had diabetes, your elder brother has diabetes, your younger brother has diabetes and your cousin has diabetes, what are the odds on your getting (or already having) diabetes? Again this does not need Einstein. The answer is pretty damn high! And yet, I see families like this, where the individual members are totally surprised and amazed when they fall ill, go to hospital, and diabetes is diagnosed.
It does not really take very much time over a family lunch to begin to enquire about one’s forebears. After five minutes it will be obvious if there is some kind of common medical thread running through your family. That thread may not necessarily be life threatening, but could be something like arthritis for example.
Look at it this way - your future is being displayed by your family’s past. This could be considered frightening, when your father, his brother and your grandfather all died very early from heart attacks. Or, this could be considered as life saving, if it pushes you towards looking at you own cardiac health and overcoming an apparently disastrous medical history.
This is where careful application of family history can be life saving. If there is a common thread, then go looking for it. This is the advantage that you get provided you are not an orphan. You know what to look for before it becomes a problem. Going back to the family with diabetes, what should the younger members do? Well, if it were me, I would be having my blood sugar checked at least once a year from the age of 20. Any time I had reason to visit the doctor in between, I would also ask to have the level checked. We are talking about a very inexpensive test that could literally save you millions of baht in the future, as well as giving you a better Quality of Life, and a longer one.
Ask around the dinner table today and plan to check your medical future tomorrow. It’s called a ‘Check-up’!
The official figures have now been released following the close of the Bangkok International Motor Show at Impact Arena Challenger Hall. It was no surprise that Toyota again dominated, selling 10,341 vehicles, making up 25 percent of total sales.
The Institute of Advanced motorists (IAM) in the UK keeps excellent statistics and has announced that young drivers need more guidance and support in the first six months of obtaining their license.
Some of the suggestions included a tougher test to include rural roads - where young people are most vulnerable. A new focus on treating driving as a skill for life - through continuous learning with post-test checkups in the first six months of solo driving. A minimum driving period during learner stages to increase exposure to as wide range of traffic conditions as possible and a relaxation of the rules allowing learner drivers on motorways.
And where does that put the learner drivers in Thailand? There is neither L plates, nor is there insurance available. When my wife was learning to drive I asked my insurance broker what should be done in case of an accident. His answer? “Change seats!”
We have just had Songkran with the dreadful road toll, perhaps Thailand should be looking overseas for some guidance?
The Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors was present at the Bangkok International Motor Show last month, but had no intention of selling any vehicles, in fact there are none in Thailand. Company representative Mr. Wang stated their presence at the show was “mainly to inform Thai people about our plan to commercialize the car in Thai domestic market and build up a manufacturing plant in Thailand.”
Whilst their Haval SUV range has been the top seller in China for the past 10 years and is already exported to Russia, Australia (where it is the top selling Chinese brand), South Africa, Chile and Italy, the focus is now on SE Asia, and Great Wall has earmarked 10 billion baht to build a plant in Thailand, which should be able to produce vehicles by 2015. It is expected that this plant will be in one of the existing industrial estates in Rayong and one of the Hemaraj estates with the high level of auto industry suppliers would be a good bet.
The numbers being quoted for this yet to be built facility are 100,000 vehicles per year, in RHD form. This figure includes Thailand, ASEAN and Australia.
The Haval 6 comes fully loaded, including GPS with voice actuation, 4WD, brake assist, tyre pressure monitoring, reversing camera, touch screen entertainment, electronic stability and the full suite of acronyms. Being Chinese it should also be keenly priced.
I was most impressed with the quality of the finished product (although LHD at the Motor Show).