Maria McCarthy

I'm a journalist and broadcaster covering motoring and general lifestyle topics

Good Housekeeping

Why eye tests for motorists should be compulsory

At the beginning of your driving test, as you no doubt remember, you'll have been asked to read a car numberplate at 20 metres. For the vast majority of us it will have felt like a relatively easy hurdle to clear before embarking on more nerve-racking challenges, such as parallel parking. After that, there are no follow up-checks required for the rest of your driving life. Although it's an offence to drive if your eyesight doesn't reach the legal standard and after 70 motorists are required to
Good Housekeeping

6 things you need in case of a car accident

Winter driving can bring plenty of challenges. Research by Co-op Motor Insurance shows that there's a 6% rise in accidents during the autumn and winter months. Don't be caught out. Here's our advice on how to always to be prepared for the worst... Pack your boot with the following - hi-viz jacke t and emergency warning triangle torch , sensible footwear, blankets, water, emergency snacks, spade Never travel without a fully-charged mobile phone with ICE (in case of emergency) and your breakdown
Saga

Women and drink-driving

When you think of a drink-driver you may picture an aggressive boy racer, a middle-aged businessman who's had one too many when entertaining clients, or maybe just a regular guy who let himself be talked into another pint by his mates and ended up getting pulled over and losing his licence. Chances are, you didn't think of a woman. To a certain extent, that's in line with the facts – men are responsible for the majority of drink-driving convictions. However, the female share has nearly dou
Saga

Remember these old road safety films?

Whether it's drink-driving, hand-held mobile phone use or annoying and dangerous behaviours such as tailgating, there's no doubt that when it comes to some motorists’ driving behaviour there's plenty of room for improvement. But what's the best way to bring about change – is it increased levels of road traffic police and harsher penalties? Or could education and raising greater awareness through TV advertising be effective as well? Public information films shown on TV had their heyday during t
Saga

Hospital parking charges

Paying for parking can be a hassle. But it's especially difficult and stressful when it's hospital parking. "When my mum had a stroke my siblings and I raced to St Peter's Hospital in Woking, where she was being cared for," says Rae Martin, 54 from Herne Bay. "During the four weeks until she passed away one of us was with her all the time and we must have paid out hundreds of pounds in parking charges – that can't be right." Parking fines on private land – do you have to pay up? Most hospitals
Good Housekeeping

Maria McCarthy : Hire car Q & A

Do you know how to get the best deal on car rental ? Maria McCarthy, author of The Girls' Car Handbook and The Girls' Guide to Losing your L Plates, gives her top advice on getting the best deal. I'm going on holiday to Italy with my husband and two children. We're hoping to hire a car so we can explore the local area. How do I get the best deal? Car hire can be a complicated business and it's important to do your research. Car hire comparison websites such as carrentals.co.uk are a good sta
Good Housekeeping

7 things that will help you pass your driving test

Nervous about taking your driving test? Think like an expert with driving guru Maria McCarthy's top tips on preparing for the big day... They're known among instructors as the ‘driving test superfood’. This is because bananas are full of B vitamins, potassium and tryptophan – a combination that is excellent for soothing jangled nerves.You’re allowed to take your test in your own car provided it’s roadworthy, insured and meets the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) rules. However, some c
Saga

Mystery Shopping: how to become a mystery shopper

Sometimes known as secret shopping, mystery shopping agencies are hired by companies to assess the service their customers are receiving. For example, a sandwich chain might want to arrange for mystery shoppers to visit its branches and observe various issues  ranging from how well-stocked the fridges are to how long it takes for them to be served or whether there's enough loo roll in the toilets. The feedback helps the company improve the service it provides. Although most mystery shoppers be
Saga

Whatever happened to postal orders?

Maybe you received one on your birthday, enclosed in a card from your grandparents, or used one to pay for membership of the Donny Osmond fan club. Perhaps you can recall your mother buying one to cover the cost of catalogue goods. Are they a thing of the past, or could you still use a postal order, if you needed to? Now we're making payments by cheque, debit card and even via our mobile phone, many people assume postal orders have been phased out. But they are still available at a Post Offi
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