Ask NRMA: How Can I Keep My Car Cool During Summer?

If you’ve survived an Australian summer you know how hot it can get inside a vehicle. So we’ve put together some tips to prevent scorching yourself with the seat belt buckle and to keep your dash from melting.

1. Seek shade: always look for covered parking when possible, even if you have to walk a little further. Under cover parking can take some time to find so use the my nrma app to find the closest parks in your area.
2. Use a sun reflector
or sunshade to prevent your dashboard and steering wheel from becoming unbearably hot.

Sun reflector

Investing in a sun reflector will save you when shaded parking is unavailable.

3. Cover your steering wheel with a hand towel in the absence of a sun reflector.
4. Cover seats with spare clothing or towels to prevent your upholstery from drying and/or cracking.
5. The fastest ways to cool down your car is to first roll down all the windows and open your sunroof, then switch on the air con using the ‘fresh air’ function. Use the coldest setting on the thermostat to pump fresh air through the car, forcing the hot air out. After a few minutes with the fan speed setting at 3/4 power you’ll notice the air temperature is cooler than outside. Switch over to ‘recirculate’ and also roll up your vehicle’s windows and adjust the thermostat settings to your desired temperature.
6. For the super keen, mini solar powered fans can be bought and help with circulation of air inside the car if you aren’t always able to park in shaded areas.

Health tip: Don’t leave disposable plastic water bottles inside the car on sunny days, there has been researching that when plastic bottle are heated they can release harmful toxins that can leak into the drinking water.

Do you have any tips to keep your vehicle cool during the summer?

Ask NRMA: Are police allowed use mobile phones while driving?

Over the years, images of police officers using mobile phones while driving have generated lots of attention on social media, posing the question: is this illegal? 

NSW Police - NRMA Blog

Under NSW law, using a mobile phone while driving is illegal. It attracts an on-the-spot fine of $325 and four demerit points, with an increase of $433 for offences in school zones. There are however exemptions for emergency vehicles, including police.

Part 300 of NSW Road Rules covers use of mobile phones. It states:
1)  The driver of a vehicle must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, unless…
… (c)  the vehicle is an emergency vehicle or a police vehicle.

As you might expect, police often get asked on their social media why this exemption exists. This statement is from the NSW Police Facebook pageOfficers may need to receive information about a job over their mobile phones for operational reasons, just as they might need to increase their speed to get to jobs without activating warning devices. That’s not to say officers have an excuse to breach the rules in every circumstance - where possible, they will comply with all road rulesThey
are also rigorously checked against our Safe Driver Policy.

In addition, there are also exemptions for drivers of police vehicles under NSW Road Rule 305, regardless if the vehicle is displaying a blue or red flashing light or sounding an alarm. So the law is clear. Police are allowed to use mobile phones when driving. However, they will comply with the road rules where possible.

What do you think?

The information contained on this webpage is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. 

While we endeavour to ensure the information is complete and up to date, we make no warranties as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information and accept no responsibility for any loss or damage you may suffer as a result or your reliance on any part of it. Links to other websites are inserted for convenience only and do not constitute endorsement of material on those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.

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Android Auto – Modern Tech For Older Vehicles

New car technology is all the rage right now, with Tesla’s seemingly endless roll out of mind blowing innovations helping to increase road safety. But what about the majority of us that can’t afford to purchase a $120,000 Tesla Model S?

Android Auto

You no longer need a fancy car to make use of Google’s new in-car technology.

Google has recently made its Android Auto technology available to anyone with an Android smartphone running Android 5.0 (lollipop) and above, allowing it to work in any car through the phone’s display. Previously, this technology was only available in brand new car infotainment systems compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The new update gives some functions of your phone a hands-free and brings the ability to automatically start the Android Auto app when the phone is paired with the car’s Bluetooth.

What is Android Auto?

Android Auto is an app which allows any car to navigate with Google Maps, listen to playlists or podcasts, or send messages via voice control. All laid out with a simplified interface, large buttons, and powerful voice actions, Android Auto is designed to make it easier and safer to use apps from your phone while you’re on the road. You can summon Google’s help by saying “OK Google”. Remember unless you are a full license holder in NSW, you cannot use your phone in any way while operating a vehicle.

Here our Motoring expert Jaedene Hudson shows what Android Auto looks like when it comes factory built into a new car:

So if you have an Android smartphone and won’t be buying a new car anytime soon, you might want to give this technology a try. While you’re at it, download the free my nrma app to access cheap fuel and parking pricing in your area, available for both Android and iOS iPhone users.

Do you use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay? 

Ask NRMA: Is it illegal to attach a camera to motorbike helmet?

An NRMA Member recently asked us on Facebook if it was an offence to have a camera attached to your motorbike helmet while riding. Is it legal to wear a GoPro on your motorbike helmet

Amongst other things, the answer to the question depends on how ‘approved motor bike helmet’ is defined in the legislation. 

NSW Road Rule 270(1)(a) is quite ambiguous when it comes to defining exactly what constitutes an ‘approved motor bike helmet’ under motor traffic law (see law below).

Part 270 of Road Rules 2014 covers wearing motorbike helmets

(1) The rider of a motor bike that is moving, or is stationary but not parked, must:
- (a) wear an approved motor bike helmet securely fitted and fastened on the rider’s head, and
- (b) not ride with a passenger unless the passenger complies with subrule (2).

As stated in the legislation, an approved motor bike helmet must comply with standard AS/NZS 1698. It has been argued by some that this standard relates to the initial manufacturing of the helmet and not attaching third party modifications, such as cameras, to the helmet.

Keep in mind, that the legislation also allows for helmets that have an identifying mark certifying compliance with the standard UNECE22.05 as an approved motor bike helmet, but it is the AS/NZS 1698 standard that has been discussed in court cases and sets precedents in various states in Australia.

It should be noted that it is definitely illegal to screw a device into the helmet by drilling holes or interfering with the structural integrity of the helmet. Once it’s structural integrity is compromised, the helmet wouldn’t qualify as an approved helmet and the rider’s safety would be at risk.

An interesting development is that the law firm Maurice Blackburn recently appealed a magistrate’s decision in Victoria and successfully argued that the Australian Standard governing motorcycle helmets is not made freely accessible to the public by VicRoads, and therefore riders could not be found guilty of breaching a standard that was not publicly available.

However, at this stage in New South Wales, it is still technically illegal to wear a GoPro or other such device on a motorcycle helmet. The law on this may change some time in the near future to bring NSW in line with other states such as Queensland and South Australia. Their position is clearer, stating that the time for compliance with a standard is at the time of manufacture and not after the sale of the helmet.

Therefore, until the meaning of ‘approved motor bike helmet’ has been more conclusively defined by the courts in New South Wales, you do risk a New South Wales police officer fining you $325 plus three demerit points (for specific helmet offences including the fitting of cameras) with also the possibility of double demerit points over in a double demerit holiday period, if you wear a camera attached to your motorcycle helmet.

Have any more questions? Feel free to contact our Motoring Advice on 13 11 22 (Monday-Friday 8:30am – 5pm) 

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The information contained on this webpage is provided for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. 

Whilst we endeavour to ensure the information is complete and up to date, we make no warranties as to the accuracy or any other aspect of the information and accept no responsibility for any loss or damage you may suffer as a result or your reliance on any part of it. Links to other websites are inserted for convenience only and do not constitute endorsement of material on those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.

Thrifty makes statement by adding a Tesla to its ACT fleet

Tesla Model S

Thrifty Australia recently announced its customers in Canberra will be able to rent a Tesla Model S, in a move to showcase new vehicle technology and encourage other states to remove Stamp Duty for energy efficient vehicles.

Thrifty, which is owned by the NRMA, made the vehicle available for rent in mid-November. It is the first Tesla available for rent through any Thrifty in Australia, highlighting the Territory’s forward-thinking approach to greener transport energy.

The ACT Government provides Stamp Duty exemptions to these vehicles, meaning registering a Tesla in the ACT is almost $7,500 cheaper than in NSW.

Tesla Model S

“Tesla opens the door to what the future of mobility in Australia will look like and we are thrilled to be making this available to our Thrifty customers in the ACT,” said NRMA Group CEO Rohan Lund.

“The NRMA Group of businesses has embarked on a new strategy that focuses on using technology to solve the mobility challenges of our Members and customers.

“Part of that approach means using the NRMA’s advocacy voice to call for the removal of any barriers to the fast tracking of this technology. Indeed, we call on other state and territory governments to remove unnecessary red tape, fees and charges that might hold this technology back.”

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Sporting an all-electric powertrain, the performance of Model S is remarkable as it accelerates from zero to 100 kph in just 2.7 seconds. Inside the cabin, the first thing you’ll notice is the massive 17” touchscreen which controls everything from navigation to opening the glass panoramic roof. Have a play with its advanced autopilot features and ability to navigate lane changes or park itself. It’s filled with cutting edge technology that gives a glimpse of what the future of driving will look like.

Interested NRMA Members should enter our Tesla test drive weekend competition before it closes on 2 December 2016 at 11:59pm. There are two prizes up for grabs, including 2 nights at the Hotel Kurrajong with breakfast for 2 daily, and a 1 hour test drive of the electrifying Tesla Model S.

Would you like to see NSW remove stamp duty for energy efficient vehicles?