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Archive for the ‘Car Safety’ Category

Driving a Large Truck? Read This First

August 13th, 2014

2003 Freightliner Fl70 24_ft_box_truck_4_lgw

I began life as a delivery boy.

Well, after actually being delivered at the hospital, I basically went right to work as a delivery boy for my dad’s business.

I didn’t deliver pizzas like most young people; I delivered mattresses, because my dad owned a mattress company.

My point in mentioning this is that I became more familiar with driving a 24-foot box truck than I did with the ’84 Accord I used to get to and from work.

I quickly learned that right turns need to be as wide as possible and low-hanging branches can punch right through the box.

These are things that people who have never driven a large truck might not think about, yet every day moving companies happily hand out keys to people who have never driven anything bigger than a Miata.

This topic came to mind because of a Facebook meme that made me laugh, but makes a very good point.

IMG_5461

That said, here are tips for driving a large truck:

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Car Minded, Car Safety, General Chat, Trucks & SUVs , ,

How to Solve This Smelly Problem?

July 21st, 2014

mouse in car

It started with a smell.

The terribly awful odor of death is unmistakable, and it came from somewhere inside my car.

After throwing a small tantrum, I emptied everything out of our Legacy, hooked up the vacuum and told myself I wouldn’t stop until I found “the problem.” I vacuumed every nook and cranny, under the seats, in the glovebox… and found nothing.

The scent didn’t go away, so I dug deeper and did some research.

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The Problem with a Teen’s First Car

July 17th, 2014

2005 Volvo XC90 V8

I’m lucky I survived into adulthood.

I was like a baby sea turtle as a teenager. On their long journey from the nest to the ocean, seagulls snatch many little turtles up before they ever get a chance to thrive in the water. Baby sea turtles aren’t familiar with their surroundings and don’t know to be afraid. All they see is a flat beach and water on the horizon, and they try to get there as fast as they can.

Same with teenagers. Unleashed on the world with the ability to freely travel wherever they choose, they often forget, or don’t realize, that danger resides around every corner. I was reckless and aggressive as a teen driver, a truth I’m not proud of, but something that’s made me a better driver today.

With experience and technology, I hope we can greatly reduce the number of teen deaths on our roads. The problem is that safety costs a lot of money.

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Car Industry News, Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Safety, Car Shopping, General Chat , , , ,

The Harsh Reminders of Traffic School

June 23rd, 2014

driving safety

Don is about to kill his wife.

Not on purpose, of course, because he loves her. Talking with her and laughing with her are two of the only things in his life that bring Don blissful joy.

Don’s other love is his car. He loves the thrill of pushing its limits and accelerating quickly, even on city streets. By combining those two loves, Don will tragically lose them both within a couple of seconds.

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Car Minded, Car Safety, General Chat , ,

When Car Technology Gets Creepy

June 18th, 2014
Bad idea...

Bad idea…

Sometimes the “thank-you wave” just isn’t good enough.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve wished I could contact another driver with whom I’m sharing the road to convey a piece of information that a wave simply cannot.

Sometimes I wish I could apologize for a dumb move on my part or tell another motorist that I’ll stop and let him or her into traffic. Waving is good for a thank you, but not much else.

I’ve wondered what it would be like to type the license plate of the car I want to contact into some kind of device, then have access to the driver so I can convey my message.

Naturally, there would be a downside to such technology, because unfortunately, people like to use good inventions for evil. Road rage would become more personal, and the ability to curse out other drivers would rarely end well.

A new app could make the possibility of car-to-car communication a very real, and very scary, reality.

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GM Failing Recall Test?

June 17th, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Impala

Multiple-choice question:

When there’s a safety problem with a car, it’s best to fix it:

A) As cheaply and easily as possible.

B) As thoroughly as possible to make sure the faulty part performs as required.

The answer will be revealed later in this blog.

First, keep in mind that General Motors has had an extraordinarily tough year as it has dealt with the ramifications of waiting more than a decade to recall cars affected by an ignition-switch problem. That problem has proven fatal in a number of instances and is still in the process of being fixed.

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Car Industry News, Car Safety, Car Shopping, General Chat , , ,

2014 NEMPA Technology Conference

June 6th, 2014
2014 NEMPA Technology Panel

Panelists John Bozzella, Jeff Ruel, John Capp and Danny Shapiro listen as Dr. Bryan Reimer answers a question posed by moderator John Paul of AAA.

Last week we were lucky enough to attend the New England Motor Press Association’s Technology Conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. The conference has become an annual event put on by NEMPA, with strong support from MIT (particularly from Paul Parravano, Co-Director of MIT’s Office of Government and Community Relations).

Each year, the conference aims to shine a spotlight on a particular area of technology and show how that technology is changing the cars we know and love. This year, the conference featured panelists from diverse corners of the auto industry, all seeking to explain how modern technology is “engineering safer drivers” (this year’s theme).

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Car Industry News, Car Minded, Car Safety, General Chat

Personal Vendetta: Red Light Cameras

June 2nd, 2014

red light camera

I never thought it would happen to me.

I’ve seen the bright flashes of light when people run red lights and chuckled to myself as I silently mocked them for being dumb enough to run a red light at an intersection monitored by cameras.

I never saw the flash.

Other schmucks run red lights. Not me. How hard is it to stop when the light turns red at an intersection known to have cameras installed?

I don’t run red lights. I’m very careful to obey traffic laws and, occasionally, even the speed limit. I’m a defensive driver, not an aggressive one. So when I opened my mailbox on Friday and found an official-looking envelope from the Red Light Enforcement Program, my heart sank.

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10 Ways Modern Cars Keep Us Safe

May 23rd, 2014
Crash Testing Volvo, side view

Photo courtesy of Motor Trend

If you’ve been inside a newer car lately, it’s very likely you’ve seen some of the awesome safety technologies new cars come with these days. While cars have become more reliable, longer-lasting and more fuel-efficient in recent years, safety is really where cars have grown by leaps and bounds. In the past, it was all cars could do to protect us during a crash. Today, they actively try to prevent crashes.

We decided we wanted to take a closer look at just what cars are doing to keep us safe. While some of the best safety features on the road today have become standard in many cars, some of the coolest have yet to become mainstream. To help give you an idea of what, exactly, cars are doing to keep the airbags from going off, we put together a list of what we think are 10 of the coolest, most interesting and best safety innovations automakers put into cars.

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Car Industry News, Car Lists, Car Minded, Car Safety, Car Shopping, General Chat

Solar Roadways Inch Closer to Reality

May 12th, 2014

solar roadways

Great ideas often fade into the vast emptiness of history before being realized or appreciated.

The bigger the idea, the less likely it is to gain traction. That’s usually because big ideas take big money and usually require some kind of shift in paradigm.

Challenging the status quo is so hard because people like doing things they way they’ve always been done. Even if a new way is better or makes more sense, those invested in the old way will make progress very difficult. The way we build roads is a prime example.

Many of the roads we drive on are as old as vehicles themselves. They are a crumbling mass of expansive and expensive asphalt that become ice rinks in the winter and chunked-out obstacle courses come spring.

An Idaho company has a big idea to change things, and wants to cover the U.S. in solar-powered glass roads that provide electricity, melt ice and safely guide motorists with built-in LED lighting.

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