Archive for the ‘Car Safety’ Category

Questions and Answers About Winter Tires

November 25th, 2015

Snowy roadWinter weather has already started its sloppy march across the northern parts of the United States. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late for some winter tire advice.

Why do you need winter tires? The fast answer is handling. Well-designed winter tires have deeper treads than summer or all-season tires. (The latter, by the way, are really three-season tires if you live in the snow belt.)

Winter tires’ deeper treads help them deal with snow and the icy precipitation that creates slush. An interesting side benefit of winter tires is that they improve traction by packing snow in those treads for better grip on snow.

Also, winter tires are designed with tiny slits in the treads (or as Bridgestone calls them “snipes”). These provide biting edges on ice that help with acceleration, deceleration, and stopping.

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Before You Buy Your Teen a Safe Car, Invest in Safe Driving Skills

October 22nd, 2015

Ford Teen DrivingWe’re in the midst of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs through Oct. 24. That gives us a great reason to point out the variety of opportunities available for your teens to get into an advanced driver-safety program thanks to companies like Kia, Ford, and BMW.

John F. Paul, a AAA spokesman in New England, says these programs can be invaluable for young teen drivers. And don’t worry. Just like teaching martial arts doesn’t make a teen a fighter, advanced safety driving schools don’t make young drivers over-confident in their abilities. As Paul points out, kids are less likely to drive recklessly after taking one of these courses.

Startling statistics demonstrate why these courses are so important. According to Paul, 50 percent of teen drivers will be involved in some kind of accident within their first 6 months of driving.

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

Do Your Tires Last as Long as You Think They Should?

October 22nd, 2015

worn tires

Who knew tires could be so controversial?

Back in 2009 we posted a blog about the need to replace new tires after just 20,000 miles. At the time I had a new vehicle that required new tires after just 22,000 miles, which turned out to be pretty common as evidenced by the people who left comments on the post.

In the years since, I’ve purchased other cars and other sets of tires. It seems there’s a new practice emerging of paying for a tire warranty. Are the days of 60,000- or 80,000-mile tire warranties gone?

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Nine You’re Fine, Ten You’re Mine

October 19th, 2015

80 mph

How fast is fast enough?

Last week I mentioned a spur-of-the-moment trip my wife and I took from Washington to Colorado. We embarked on the trip because we found a boat for sale that we had to have.

Yes, there were other boats closer to us, but this one was the correct year, with the correct engine, in great condition, and at a price we couldn’t pass up.

With a free weekend ahead of us, we set off on the 2,500-mile round-trip jaunt on Friday afternoon with the requirement to be back in town before work at 7:30 Monday morning.

I don’t mention this because I think anyone will care about the trip itself—I mention it because we experienced issues on the trip that anyone will experience when driving long distances. Today’s topic: the speed limit.

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The Biggest Factor in Automotive Safety

September 30th, 2015

Safety First sign

Can you remember a time when there has been more bad press for car companies?

The unintended acceleration debacles with Audi in 1986 and Toyota in 2009 were precursors to the multitude of problems that have reared their ugly heads this year. The General Motors ignition switch recall, Chrysler’s defiance of the NHTSA, and now, Volkswagen’s diesel issue all call into question the safety (and honesty) of the world’s automakers.

Yes, bad things can happen when building cars. Parts can be defective, engineering can be faulty, and tests can be cheated.

But let’s not forget the biggest factor in automotive safety:


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Dangers of Texting and Driving: A Personal Experience

September 7th, 2015

VW Jetta, rear ended

The call every parent dreads begins like this:

“Your kids have been in an accident.”

There’s nothing scarier or more dreadful than hearing those words except for the unknown information that comes next.

Are they okay? Where are they? What happened? The questions flood your brain like rapid-fire bullets, and the answers can’t come fast enough. Guilt sets in because the number one function of a parent, protecting the kids, didn’t happen.

It’s an overwhelming feeling that’s only eased by the words, “They’re okay.”

I didn’t fully understand it until it happened to me.

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CarGurus’ Top Ten Family-Friendly Kid-Haulers

August 27th, 2015

2014 Honda Odyssey

With another school year about to begin, parents nationwide are preparing to spend lots more time driving children to and from after-school activities. According to a recent CarGurus online poll of car shoppers with school-age kids, 38% of parents estimate they spend between 30 minutes and an hour shuttling their kids around on a typical weekday, while 33% of parents polled say they spend more than an hour. If your current daily driver isn’t up to the task, here are 10 vehicles with high safety ratings that also offer plenty of cargo space, seating capacity, cabin comforts, and a host of modern technology features that should at least make that extra time spent shuttling children around a little more comfortable for the whole family.

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A Scary Reminder to Perform Some Basic Maintenance

August 24th, 2015
Wildfire Ash-Covered Car, Spokane

If this is on the car, imagine what’s in the car

As you might have heard, the state of Washington is currently on fire. As it so happens, the state of Washington is also where I currently live.

While flames have not directly threatened my family, countless others have been evacuated from their homes or lost them altogether.

The resulting smoke in the air has been suffocating. Even in cities miles from the fires, smoke chokes out residents as embers from burned trees fall from the sky. Flecks of white ash cover cars.

My family and I, desperate to escape the heavy blanket of smoke, packed up the car and left the state to find a place where we could breathe some clean, crisp air. We ended up at Priest Lake, deep in the forests of North Idaho. The first day was perfect. On the second day, though, we discovered that Idaho is on fire, too.

I only tell this story because there’s an important lesson to remember here about cars:

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Third Age Suit Points to Greater Safety Technology Needs

August 6th, 2015

Glaucoma glasses Ford photoNormally driving a 2015 Lexus RC 350 is an exercise in automotive enjoyment. On one hot day recently, I found it extremely difficult. I had trouble seeing. My movements were largely restricted, and my hand was shaking. I was less confident in my ability to safely drive.

While it sounds like I was drunk, I wasn’t. I was encased in Ford’s Third Age Suit. It is designed to significantly reduce mobility when worn. It helps designers and engineers create future vehicles with the needs and limitations of the elderly in mind. It also does a great job of highlighting how crucial current safety technology will become as you age.

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FCA: Another Recall and the Coolest Dyno on Earth

August 4th, 2015

CTC cold test dyno

You’d think, at some point, we’d grow immune to recall news and just start ignoring the mass of notices that fill the headlines of news outlets everywhere.

For now, though, the recalls that dominate headlines seem to feed our hunger for negative news and cultivate a fear of our own vehicles.

Don’t get me wrong—recalls are serious, and some of them must be addressed as soon as possible to avoid danger. Others are, in my humble opinion, the result of over-anxious government agencies trying to justify their existence.

The latest recall from FCA could potentially be a must-fix, so let’s address that and then look at something seriously cool that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is doing to constantly improve its vehicles.

First, the recall:

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