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Archive for the ‘Car Safety’ Category

Would You Buy This Damaged Land Rover?

February 4th, 2015

Hoegh Osaka Land Rover

What a short attention span we have in this world today.

Less than a month ago, we wrote about the Hoegh Osaka. Remember that? If you’re anything like me, you’ll read that name and it’ll sound vaguely familiar, but you won’t remember why. Let me remind you:

The ship was carrying around 1,200 Jaguars and Land Rovers before tilting dangerously and running aground near England.

It was speculated that the load of expensive cars would be scrapped, depending on the damage done.

Well, 20-some days later, the cars are being driven off the boat under their own power. Watch the video then ask yourself: Would you buy one?

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New BMW Headlights Solve Old Problem

January 15th, 2015

BMW headlights at CES

Imagine a world where you never have to worry about turning down your brights as you drive. We’ve all been there, happily zooming down a country lane or lonely highway with the road in front of us bathed in ample light, our cars cutting through the darkness with high beams in full force.

Then a car approaches.

We think nothing of it until the approaching vehicle flashes its high beams, causing us to remember that we are blinding this fellow traveler. In our haste to quickly turn off the high beams, we spill our drink and accidentally flip on our right turn signal.

By the time we recover, the approaching car is long gone and we flip the high beams back on, only to repeat the process a few miles down the road.

There has to be a better way.

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Does Snow Change Your Travel Plans?

January 5th, 2015
How much snow is too much?

How much snow is too much?

There was a debate at my house last night involving safety and weather-related travel, and I declared myself the winner, but now I’m not so sure.

My wife, of course, had a good case.

Here’s the situation: On Saturday we had made plans to go out Sunday evening and buy a day bed from a woman who listed it for sale on Craigslist. It was a great bed and priced at just $75. A steal! The problem didn’t arise until later, when Sunday brought about 10 inches of snow and many miles of unplowed roads. I argued that, even with our all-wheel-drive vehicle, making the trip wasn’t worth the safety risk. My lovely wife, on the other hand, said she’d never changed travel plans because of weather and wanted to go get the bed.

Why did I begin to question myself? Because I saw an F1 driver racing his car in the snow. If he could do that, I surely could lumber slowly through a mild snowstorm.

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When’s the Last Time a Rear-view Mirror Made the News?

December 24th, 2014

Cadillac Camera

The first backup camera ever invented was made of glass and adhered to the front windshield. It was called a rear-view mirror. I looked toward Wikipedia for more history on the veritable safety device, because there just isn’t much chatter about them these days. Here’s what I found:

The earliest known rear-view mirror mounted on a motor vehicle appeared in Ray Harroun’s Marmon racecar at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 race in 1911. Although Harroun’s is the first known use of such a mirror on a motor vehicle, Harroun himself claimed he got the idea from seeing a mirror used for a similar purpose on a horse-drawn vehicle in 1904. Harroun also claimed that the mirror vibrated constantly due to the rough brick surface, rendering it largely useless.

Elmer Berger is usually credited with inventing the rear-view mirror, though in fact he was the first to patent it (1921) and develop it for incorporation into production streetgoing automobiles by his Berger and Company.

So there you have it. The rear-view mirror hasn’t made the news since about 1921.

Leave it Cadillac to make the rear-view cool again.

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Let’s End the Epidemic of Valet Joyrides

December 18th, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Corvette

I feel bad for valet drivers who have to sit behind the wheel of my car. Sure, it’s a nice Audi Q7, but a guest driver will find him or herself surrounded by scattered piles of unread mail, empty coconut-water cartons and various bits of food left over by two ravenous little girls who become a spinning mass of Tasmanian devils once strapped into their car seats.

My car isn’t a place where someone would want to spend a lot of time, and I assume valet drivers try to find the closest parking spot and exit as quickly as possible, hoping the next customer will own something a little more fun.

This week there’s a great example of a valet enjoying a new car in a completely inappropriate way.

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Winter Car Hacks? Try Good Common Sense Instead

December 1st, 2014

Porsche-911-winter-driving

Winter has set in across the United States, which is something of which the people of upstate New York need no reminder.

When winter snow and ice make their annual return, websites like to give advice on how to deal with the effects on cars. Advice on everything from driving through blizzards to de-icing your car with onions can be found with a simple Google search.

Some of the advice, though, is just dumb and you’d be better off using some common sense instead of random produce.

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10 Best Cars to Tackle Winter: 2014 Edition

November 21st, 2014

2014 Jeep Wrangler

The words of House Stark will tell you that preparing for winter is imperative. And assuming you’ve seen a few winters in your time, you’ll know that one of the biggest adjustments you’ll need to make is winter driving. You’ll need to add some time to your commute allowance, check your antifreeze, grab some flares and road salt, and throw on some snow tires. But if you’re looking for a new vehicle to bring to battle with winter, we have some suggestions. Cars for skiing are great, but these vehicles will do you good in the everyday winter struggle.

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These Three Unsafe Minivans Will Surprise You

November 21st, 2014

2014 Nissan Quest crash test

You assume you’re safe. You’re surrounded by acres of sheet metal and protected by a sturdy steel frame. You’re riding higher than most other vehicles and under the impression that you’re nearly invincible.

Your most valuable possessions, including your new 60-inch television, your sporting equipment, yesterday’s leftovers and probably even your children, are along for the ride. You might smile to yourself, because you think you’re riding in one of the safest vehicles on the road.

But if you’re driving one of three popular minivans, you’re not.

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Get Your Car Fixed, Get a Free Starbucks!

November 6th, 2014
Free coffee must be more convincing than a death risk

Free coffee must be more convincing than a death risk

General Motors’ ignition-switch recall debacle just won’t go away.

With over a million recalled but unfixed vehicles still on the road and pressure on GM to fix the cars as quickly as possible, the company has come up with an interesting proposition.

Since the risk of death hasn’t convinced those million-plus car owners to visit their dealership, GM hopes $25 worth of coffee will.

The recall, which was announced in February, included 2.6 million cars and involves a faulty ignition switch that could shift into the accessory position while driving, shutting down important functions like brakes, steering and airbags while the car is running.

At least 30 people have been killed because of this defect, but that risk apparently isn’t enough for owners to take action and have the free repair made.

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Buying Used Luxury? Think Twice

November 5th, 2014
How much are those rings worth to you?

How much are those rings worth to you?

Driving a luxury car for the price of a Honda is an appealing proposition.

I’ve advocated for it on these very pages. Why would someone spend $25,000 on a new Accord or CR-V when they could have a used Audi A6 or Q7?

The benefits make it seem like a no-brainer. For the same money you get more luxury, more brand panache, better performance, and an all-around cooler vehicle. Everything’s great, up until your new luxury car needs some basic maintenance and repairs.

I’d like to share my personal story, so you might avoid the fate that has fallen upon me.

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