Wheels and deals

Rituals performing on the Firestone Stage at the Barclaycard Arena.
Rituals performing on the Firestone Stage at the Barclaycard Arena.

Wunelli, a provider of vehicle telematics for insurance companies, and insurance broker Drivology, gathered data on more than 4,000 drivers over a period of 18 months, including data on journeys made with hands-free and illegal hand-held mobile phone use, with the results suggesting that driver performance is affected in both scenarios.

Hard braking events - G-force sufficient to propell a handbag on to the floor - occur approximately once every 50 miles with an average driver, but Wunelli established that for drivers using a hand-held mobile, these events increase by 75%, and 20% for those using hands-free.

A traffic jam in London.

A traffic jam in London.

The data also revealed that men are almost twice as likely to use their phone illegally at the wheel, while drivers of either sex between the ages of 25 and 35 most frequently commit this offence.

A majority of illegal phonecalls are made on roads with a speed limit of 40mph or less, where accidents are 11 times more likely to occur compared to motorways.

The data also showed that drivers using a phone illegally tend to drop their speed by a third on average, suggesting a high level of distraction.

Paul Stacy, founding director of Wunelli, said: “Driving a car is the most dangerous activity most people will ever do.

Dirk and Trudy Regter with the 100-year-old Ford Model T they are using to circumnavigate the world.

Dirk and Trudy Regter with the 100-year-old Ford Model T they are using to circumnavigate the world.

“The fact we all started to use phones in our cars 10 years before the Government in the UK banned use while driving, means we need re-think our attitude to mobile phone use, and mute the mobile when we make a journey.”

Driving around the world is a serious challenge and not something to be attempted on a whim, but just imagine doing it for charity in a 100-year-old Ford Model T...

Dutch couple Dirk and Trudy Regter have been doing just that since 2012, driving 14,000 miles from their home in Edam to Cape Town in South Africa.

In 2013 they drove a complete route across North America, taking in the USA and Canada in 17,000 miles and 180 days.

The 2016 Seat Leon Cupra 290.

The 2016 Seat Leon Cupra 290.

This year they plan to start a new leg of their epic journey, through New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and India, before crossing the Himalayas to China, Mongolia and back through Europe.

The intrepid adventurers, who have owned their 1915 Model T since 1997, have visited and supported various projects run by international children’s aid organisation SOS Children’s Villages, along the way.

Dirk has previously owned a 1923 Model T and a 1928 Model A, and he’s not intimidated by the age of the car. “In Africa, we had to weld a broken front wheel at the local blacksmith,” he said.

“I’m pretty handy, and a screwdriver, hammer, some duct tape, tie wraps and tensioning straps go a long way.”

The Regters’ Ford Model T is powered by a 3.0-litre petrol engine and remains in the same specification as when it left the factory in 1915, apart from larger tyres for the wooden-spoked wheels, which make the ride ‘softer and more bearable’ over long journeys.

“On the border of South Africa and Botswana, we met a farmer who had an old Ford Model T in the shed, he gave us the tyre off of it as a gift to help us on our way,” Dirk added.

Best known for its high performance tyres, Firestone is looking to promote unsigned musical acts in partnership with the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.

Launched at an Ellie Goulding performance at the Barclaycard Arena, the Firestone Stage will give unsigned acts the chance to perform in the pre-show entertainment arena at selected events over the coming months in front of tens of thousands of people.

The stage will also play host to Firestone’s annual Battle of the Bands competition, where acts compete to win personalised Marshall amplifiers and the chance to perform on stage in front of big audiences. Firestone will also have a large presence at this year’s Download Festival, the largest UK rock festival, which takes place in June at Donington Park.

Artists wishing to submit material for consideration can do so by posting a video of their performance on the Barclaycard Arena Facebook page or tweet a link to @BCardArena with the hashtag #FirestoneBham. Submissions will be reviewed and a representative from the Barclaycard Arena will be in touch with selected applicants.