More support needed for women to take the lead

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I am proud to be a founder member of the Women’s Equality party known as WE.

But like the motoring Club I run, too many men and sadly women think this sort of gender based stuff is simply feminist fluff with us only wanting things all our own way.

We even hear excuses like ‘there aren’t enough women to take the lead’…

Well here we are and I hope you voted for the RIGHT candidates yesterday. Even if it meant taking a ‘risk’ on women for the first time? How else can we prove our mettle if we aren’t given that chance?

But perhaps the email I received from the party this morning might explain why voting for WE (women and men) and supporting FOXY Lady Drivers Club, is all about making things better for women and in turn for men too. It’s important to see the BIG picture before making gender assumptions and simply walking away…

And in the same way as FOXY Lady Drivers Club looks to the motor industry to support it, the WE party looks to men and women alike to support it. Much as the money raised by Sandy’s speaking tour goes towards WE. For us all to do a better job for everyone. Which isn’t difficult, given the state of things in politics and some areas of the motor industry today…
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This is the email I received this morning (Friday 6 May 2016).

Womens-Equality-Party

“We — Catherine and Sandi — founded the Women’s Equality party to shake up politics and push gender equality on to the agenda. We aimed not only to make change directly, but also to influence the old parties to up their game.

Because of you, that has already happened. Our brilliant campaigns in Wales, Scotland and London, each managed locally and powered by our amazing activists, forced all the other parties to focus on issues that too often are sidelined or ignored. WE turned the debate to caregiving and the gender pay gap and violence against women and WE then watched the other parties sidle up to our manifestos and scoop up our policies to repackage as their own.

Together WE have started something — a party, a movement, a realisation that things must change — and the elections were just the start.

Of course we are on the edges of our seats waiting for the results. There’s not one of our candidates who wouldn’t lift the standard of politics and bring the sorts of perspectives that are so badly lacking.

But we are also already celebrating, and what we are celebrating is YOU. You have helped WE to win in making a difference. And when WE win, everyone wins. Because equality is better for everyone.”

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Hear, hear. And I support WE because it is the right thing to do.

I’m proud of WE for doing it.

And if YOU haven’t joined WE yet, can I suggest you do so NOW!

Because it’s money they need to stand up to the big budget boys in politics.

Have a look at the WE website please and JOIN US.

And I guarantee that if you are looking for a better motoring deal, women’ll struggle to find a better one than joining FOXY Lady Drivers Club too.

Make sure safety features loom large in your new car choice

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Too many car buyers take safety features for granted when they go shopping for a new car.

But the most important ones are in the minority it seems.

Rather than pay extra for top of the range info-tainment systems that might distract drivers during their operation, we’d like to see more motorists understanding, appreciating and actively asking for the likes of 5 star NCAP car ratings, AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking) systems and new tyre safety features.

And of course we’d like to see safety features figuring a lot higher on the list of selling points for used cars, but we don’t see this happening quite yet.

Who are #STOPTHECRASH at the new London Motor Show?

We were particularly interested in the partnership of leading car safety-related businesses Thatcham Research, Bosch, Continental Tyres and ZF TRW (re chassis/safety related technology) who are joining forces at the new London Motor Show at a stand called #STOPTHECRASH.

They are doing this to help motorists ask the right safety-related questions, then compare the answers, before buying a new car.

What are the lifesaving features for all new cars?

Here are their suggested life-saving questions for car buying motorists to ask, before deciding which car is the safest for them and their family.

1. What Euro NCAP test rating does this car have?

2. Is Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) fitted to this car – and is it standard?

3. What else should I do to maximise the safety protection offered by this car?

Why choose Autonomous Braking as a new car safety feature?

Photo ack: Euro NCAP
Photo ack: Euro NCAP

Choose Autonomous Braking as a must-have safety feature on your next new car and you’ll be doing your bit to reduce the annual 100,000 rear end crashes on UK roads resulting in associated and often avoidable injuries and fatalities.

None of this is rocket science, just common sense that you could #STOPTHECRASH by stopping your car sooner than you might do otherwise in an emergency, because of inferior tyre and/or brake conditions.

Don’t forget the safety importance of brakes and car tyres

A report released by Euro NCAP in 2015 found that Autonomous Braking (AEB) systems were responsible for a 38 per cent reduction in real-world rear-end crashes.

Yet despite these statistics AEB is only standard fit on 17% of new cars currently on sale in the UK. We’re supporting Thatcham Research work to do something about this.

“Autonomous Emergency Braking as standard should be the number one priority for anyone choosing a new car.”
said David Ward, Secretary-General of the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP).

“The technology is already available in one form or another from almost every car manufacturer and in the absence of legislation to make it mandatory, we are encouraging car shoppers to use their buying influence to make sure that every new car coming onto the road has this life-saving feature fitted.”

Demonstrations showing the safety advantage provided by Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) will run throughout the show and anyone wanting to check which new cars have AEB can do so via the Thatcham Research website.

NB: Tyres wear out on new cars too

Contrary to the number of times I’ve heard motorists saying “I change my car every two to three years” to explain their not needing a FREE car safety check, this doesn’t stop tyre wear leading to potentially dangerous tyres, depending on annual mileage.

Representatives from Continental Tyres will be on hand at the #STOPTHECRASH Show to demonstrate that, despite the UK legal limit for tread depth being 1.6mm, car tyres only perform at 55% efficiency with this amount of wear.

FOXY Lady Drivers Club publishes tyre safety advice for women drivers and supports Continental Tyres’ recommendation that we replace tyres when tread depth reaches 3mm. Sadly, in these instances, too many motorists think that the industry is selling them tyres they don’t need, simply because the 1.6mm limit is ‘legal’. They simply don’t understand that the Government is allowing them to drive on tyres that are not as efficient and could let them down in an emergency situation.

Shockingly Continental Tyre research says that 40 per cent of drivers have NEVER checked the tread of their tyres, choosing instead to wait for a service, while 20 per cent admit that they do not even know how to carry out a tyre check.

This confirms roadside tyre check findings we’ve seen, where fractionally more women were unaware of tyre safety than men. So this rings true for us and is why we are increasingly proactive in encouraging women to go for regular tyre safety checks at FOXY Lady Approved tyre centres that women know they can can trust. .

“Research shows that three quarters of all collisions occur at speeds under 20 mph,” commented David Ward. “Even the most basic AEB system in conjunction with sensible tyre safety could prevent the vast majority of these incidents.”

We shouldn’t need to say any more.

FOXY Steph
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For more information

About The New London Motor Show

About the #STOPTHECRASH partnership

About FOXY’s female friendly tyre services register

Calling all road smart women drivers

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Women drivers come in all shapes and sizes including petrolheads, the mechanically savvy, those that are happy to delegate motoring matters to the man in their lives and those whose car is the workhorse that they couldn’t do without in their busy family lives, and which needs regular professional care and attention to keep it safe.

In all cases, the common denominator is the driver, and we’d suggest that females are generally a lot more honest than men about any concerns about motoring concentration or confidence levels.

To address these areas and more, the newly branded IAM RoadSmart (previously the Institute of Advanced Motorists/IAM) has conducted research suggesting that as many as 40% of mums and grandmothers would like to become more confident when driving to unfamiliar places.

And whilst on-road training continues to be important for occupational drivers it seems that many busy motorists, including women, would prefer online courses because they take less than two hours to complete.

IAM Roadsmart research

IAM Roadsmart research highlights a number of important common-sense findings. Not just that drivers’ biggest concern is actually other drivers but also that reducing the cost of motoring and insurance (as a result of driver training) is a highly powerful motivation for younger motorists.

So these are the key areas that IAM RoadSmart is now addressing for motorists and motorbike riders alike.

IAM RoadSmart CEO, Sarah Sillars OBE said

“The most important thing for the majority of drivers and riders is getting from A to B with as little hassle as possible. The daily commute, travelling to a business meeting, or the drive to the shops, can be made so much more enjoyable with just a bit more awareness of the challenges on the road ahead. This is where IAM RoadSmart comes in.

We’ve been around for 60 years now and in that time roads, vehicles and distractions have changed, in some cases, beyond all recognition. The advanced driving and riding tests will remain core to what we do and will continue to be seen as the ultimate achievement, but if you just want to get more confident driving in bad weather for instance, we can help with that too.

We’ve helped create nearly half a million better drivers and riders already and as we become recognised as IAM RoadSmart we hope to be able to help many more.”

FOXY Founder Steph Savill added her congratulations and appreciation of the philosophy behind the new IAM Roadsmart brand.

“I learned a huge amount taking my IAM advanced driving test. As a result, we promote this programme to FOXY Lady Drivers Club members who receive a discount on their Skill For Life programme. We now look forward to promoting their new online and confidence courses to women.

Whilst it’s not just women who have had road accidents that have shaken their confidence, we do know of many who choose to drive the long way round on A and B roads to avoid motorway travel, regardless of the statistical evidence that more accidents occur on country roads. So anything IAM RoadSmart can do to help women regain their lost confidence and become better drivers into the bargain has our support.”

For More Information:

iamroadsmart.

To find out more about the new IAM Roadsmart website.

Why not join FOXY Lady Drivers Club to enjoy motoring savings, FOXY Lady Approved businesses and support services that complement IAM RoadSmart driver training options.

Top car accessories for a road trip with children and pets

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With the great British weather finally taking a turn for the better and the summer holidays just on the horizon, it’s the perfect time of the year to enjoy some days out with the kids.

A trip to a country park or the beach is also the perfect opportunity to give your pets a run out, especially for dog owners.

The easiest way to get anywhere with children and pets is often in your own car, but a road trip with these passengers can often be stressful and spoil the entire day out.

To make travelling with kids or pets a stress-free experience for drivers and other passengers, here’s our pick of the top car accessories that can make travelling as easy as possible.

Car mats

A great way to keep both kids and pets entertained is to take them on a country walk, stopping to enjoy the beautiful scenery and including outdoor games like tag and catch along the way. While days like these can create lasting memories you want these to be ones you’ll cherish for the rest of your lives, not just about the muddy foot (and paw) prints caused.

To make these as easy as possible to clean and to not have to worry too much about dirty shoes on the day, pick up some rubber floor mats before the trip. This set from Argos includes a mat for each of the front and back seats — when you get back home, simply hose them off and leave them to dry.

Seat protectors/organisers

If there’s one thing you can guarantee with a road trip with both kids and pets in tow, it’s that there’s going to be plenty of mess. Expect food crumbs, spilt liquids, and general clutter all over your car, and instead of hoping this time will be different, take the preventative measure of buying some seat covers instead.

There are a number of clever options, such as this back seat organiser from Safety 1st, which will not only help keep the interior of your car clean, but also double up as storage for your children’s toys.

A pet barrier

The safest way to travel with dogs is to install a travel barrier. This is an especially wise investment for the owners of energetic dogs who are likely to distract the driver if left to their own devices in the back of the car. A travel barrier keeps your pet cordoned off in the boot, which will keep everyone in the vehicle safe. It’s a good idea to purchase a good-quality, heavy-duty safety barrier, such as this one from Amazon, to ensure that your dog stays in the boot for the whole journey.

Make sure your dog has ample food and water in their section of the car, and provide them with their favourite toys to keep them entertained and calm. Just as with your child, you will also need to make regular stops to give them a toilet break and a stretch of the legs.

A roof box

With kids and pets along for the journey, you’re probably not going to have too much space left inside your car for your luggage. To get around this, invest in a roof box, which can give you up to 500 extra litres of storage and provide plenty of room to fit everything you need for your holiday. Check out the great range of roof boxes at Drive Den, who offers free delivery on all orders over £30.

A safety mirror

To ensure the safety of everyone in your vehicle when travelling with children and pets, make sure to pick up a safety mirror, such as this one from Tesco. This will allow you to keep an eye on the backseats and boot of your car without having to adjust your rear-view mirror, so you can keep your eyes on the road while checking up on your children and pets with the minimum of distraction.

If you pick up these essential accessories before your next long trip with the kids and your pets we’re confident you’ll be making it as enjoyable, stress-free and safe as possible.

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sweet smelling You might find some of the car care tips we’ve shared at Twitter @FOXYTweets recently of interest here.

For insider information like this about a plethora of motoring matters, why not join FOXY Lady Drivers Club?

Like most motoring mums we’re keen to minimise our motoring stress on car journeys – not just to aid our driving concentration but also to make sure that car travel is as safe and comfortable for our children and pets too.

UK motor sport careers for girls

Dare to Be Different karters at Daytona Sandown

Few of us know of or appreciate the vital economic contribution UK motor sports makes to our economy.

The last figures from the Motor Sports Association (MSA) tell us that in 2012, the UK motor sport engineering and services industry earned no less than £9 billion, having nearly doubled this turnover in a decade.

And that period included a long and tough recession.

Some 4300 companies are part of the motor sport industry and employ about 41,000 people with nearly 90 per cent of these businesses exporting worldwide. And, as you might expect, there is a particular focus on R&D with some firms spending more than 25 per cent of their annual turnover on development.

What is the most important resource in the motor industry?

Guess what resource is the most important to any ambitious industry and employer? It’s the human resource of course – the best talent there is on offer – regardless of gender, race and age.

Yes, motor sports is undoubtedly the sexy side of the motor industry (compared to working in a garage or selling car parts although each to their own) yet it has the same dilemma. That of getting its career message through to as many appropriately talented and ambitious females alongside the already open door for traditionally petrol-headed males – that girls can do and can enjoy a wide range of industry careers that have been previously thought of as no-go areas for them of old…

Getting the motor sports career message out to girls

A UK motor sports initiative to change this gender stereotype raced off the starting grid at Daytona Sandown Park on 13 April 2016 with 100 schoolgirls gaining an invaluable insight into every element of motor sport from driving and engineering to media skills, fitness and nutrition.

Founded by former Formula 1 driver Susie Wolff and the MSA, Dare To Be Different is a high-profile new initiative designed to inspire, connect and celebrate women in every aspect of motor sport. Following months of preparation Dare To Be Different’s first event took place at the state-of-the-art Daytona Sandown karting facility in Surrey, bringing together 100 girls from ten local schools.

Daytona provided Honda-powered 160cc Cadet and 200cc Junior karts for the girls to earn their racing spurs and compete in a tyre-changing pit-stop challenge, Williams sent along an F1 show car for technical tours and photo opportunities and Sky F1 presenter Natalie Pinkham taught the eager participants the tricks of the trade when it comes to interview etiquette.

Dare to Be Different hovercraft buildingNot only that, but ambassadors from national flagship programme STEMNET (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network) gave up their time to assist with a fun and educational hovercraft-building exercise.

In addition to all this, workshops on diet and fitness meant that each girl left with a comprehensive understanding of every facet of this fascinating sport – and as an official Dare To Be Different delegate.

Dare To Be Different Ambition

Former F1 racing driver Susie Wolff explained what the thought process is behind such an event.

“We want to see more girls coming into motor sport at grass-roots level, and karting is just one aspect of that. The breadth of potential careers within motor sport is immense, and to reflect that, beyond the karting we also offered the girls journalism and media presentation skills, hovercraft-building, fitness workshops and nutrition advice. Today is just the start of the Dare To Be Different journey – there’s so much more still to come.”

The MSA – the UK governing body of motor sport – was represented by its CEO Rob Jones, who added

“Motor sport is one of the very few sports in which women can compete at the same time and on equal terms as men – it offers a level playing field for everyone, and each event entails a phenomenal behind-the-scenes effort. By the same token, behind every driver are hundreds if not thousands of people working in different but equally essential areas of the sport.

“It was fantastic to have the Williams F1 car here. Claire Williams is the perfect role model to illustrate what women in motor sport can achieve. We hope that some of these girls will ultimately come to work in motor sport, be that as competitors or in some other professional capacity. That is the underlying aim of this campaign – to market and raise the profile of the career opportunities available within the sport – and what we saw today was a fantastic start.”

There are currently around 1,500 female MSA licence-holders in the UK which, whilst a significant number, represents only five per cent of all those competing in motor sport events throughout the country – a proportion that Dare To Be Different is eager to increase.

Dare To Be Different 2016 dates:

17 May, Nutts Corner, Crumlin, Northern Ireland
22 June, Daytona Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes
25 August, Knockhill Circuit, Fife, Scotland
15 September, Daytona Manchester, Manchester

To Find Out More

Here’s the Dare To Be Different MSA website details where these events will no doubt be announced at soon.

FOXY says:

This is a marvellous initiative and one I’d love to see as part of a Big Picture motor industry careers roadshow to sell the message of ALL motor industry careers to women. To women of all ages, including those that chose an early career in a more female friendly industry and who now could be tempted to bring their much needed business and customer service skills into automotive Boardrooms and senior management roles… As well as selling apprenticeship roles to young females and males alike.

But how marvellous to see Susie and Claire paying back – doing their bit to encourage other females into following in their impressive career footsteps. Two fantastic role models that WILL make a genuine difference to gender recruitment in UK motor sports in future.

And who knows… maybe a future spin off of Dare To Be Different might result in a new racing championship for females? As I see it, if women can have their own golf, tennis, swimming and team sports championships, why not a motor racing league for women too? Why wouldn’t we Dare To Be Different here as well?…

FOXY Steph
steph@foxyladydrivers.com

PS: Here’s what FOXY Lady Drivers Club does and how to join the club.

A blog for women about motoring