Wheels and deals

Want to impress on a first date? Then clean your car, calm your road rage and put your phone out of your mind, says a new study of first date turn-offs.

Four of the top 10 turn-offs in a first encounter are related to cars, with road rage (46%), texting (45%) and chatting on your mobile (44%) when behind the wheel all among the biggest peeves for new potential partners.

While those three were fifth, sixth and seventh on the list, 10th spot is occupied by a dirty car, with 23% saying it was a no-no.

The survey was conducted for the Institute of Advanced Motorists. Outside the top 10 answers were an inability to find and get into a parking space (11%), and overly cautious driving. More than one in seven said a slowcoach puts the brakes on a date.

On the other hand, good driving skills came eighth on the corresponding list of first date turn-ons with 11%, beating ‘great shoes’ (9%) and ‘nice car’ (7%). But enthusiastic gents should remember that in most cases this doesn’t mean an ability to complete handbrake turns.

The IAM’s chief executive, Sarah Sillars, said: “Bad driving not only has an impact on the safety of our roads, but can also affect your chances of romance. Being able to manoeuvre properly and drive carefully should be much higher up on people’s dating priorities.”

:: Sales of ‘banger’ cars are rising fast, while prices are even increasing for cars aged 10.5 years old and over.

Even though there are now more bangers coming on to the market, the average price paid at auction for this type of car at auction has risen from £725 in 2013 to £875 in June 2015.

The availability of cheap PCP (personal contract plan) deals for new cars has encouraged many drivers to give up their bangers. However, even with more bangers coming on to the market, there has been a substantial rise in demand that means there are more buyers than cars available, so prices have firmed up.

Rupert Pontin, head of valuations at Glass’s, said: “We are seeing something interesting going on. Since the start of 2013, the number of cars over 10.5 years old being sold at auction has increased by around 50%. We believe this is because large numbers of buyers are selling their bangers and signing up to low-cost new and used car PCP deals to get behind the wheel of a newer model.

“However, instead of this flood of bangers entering the market leading to a collapse in values, they have actually increased quite substantially. Enough new buyers are entering the market to soak up the extra volume and the banger market is actually in excellent health.”

Pontin added: “Partially this is as a result of improving economic conditions as more people are feeling confident about buying and running a car at the entry level. However, the quality of older cars on sale is improving all the time, which helps.

“We see many bangers going through auction in excellent condition at very reasonable prices and, for many people, they make extremely sensible purchases.

“It is very much a case of: ‘The banger is dead. Long live the banger’.”

:: Drivers of cars fitted with Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) are being urged to remember to also switch on their rear lights when it’s dark.

The call comes as more cars are fitted with DRLs that can illuminate the road ahead without the driver realising they do not have the car’s rear lights on to cause a potential hazard.

If a car has DRLs fitted, the driver should still switch on headlights when it gets dark or the weather is poor. This will illuminate the rear lights automatically.

GEM Motoring Assist is backing the call and David Williams, GEM’s Chief Executive, said: “Daytime running lights (DRL) ensure cars are more easily seen from the front.

“But DRL is for front lights only, so by relying exclusively on your car’s automatic DRL setting, you will find yourself in the hazardous situation of having no rear lights on when it’s dark, or visibility is reduced because of poor weather.

“Not only is this illegal, it is also very dangerous and the risk of a collision is increased significantly. Someone could go into the back of you, it would be your fault, and they could claim off your insurance.”