Archive for the ‘Car Safety’ Category

GM Recall Poses a Serious Safety Issue

February 26th, 2014

2008 Saturn Sky

Sometimes topics in the auto world get pretty serious.

We like to have some fun and make light of certain situations, but there are times when humor is off the table. The fact is, building cars is a dangerous business. A lot can go wrong when putting together the pieces of these metal capsules that hurl us down traffic-filled roads at upwards of 70 miles per hour.

Usually, things go according to plan, and our vehicles safely transport our families and us for many years. When things go wrong, though, lives can be lost. Even worse is when an automaker knows about a problem, but fails to act in time to save lives.

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Flashing While Driving: Now Legal!

February 7th, 2014

speed trap

There’s big, big news in the world of cars today. It’s not often that a piece of news or legislation or automotive awesomeness comes along that completely lights up my days and nights.

When it happens, though, it needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.

The news I discovered yesterday has not only caused me to rest easier while driving, it will save me (and you) money while adding another level of protection and camaraderie on the streets of these great United States.

What could have such a big influence on the state of driving?

The answer, as briefly as possible, is:

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Bad Gas Mileage or Lack of Common Sense?

January 30th, 2014

2014 Toyota RAV4

I have a family member who doesn’t know anything about cars. I mean that quite literally, so the fact that she routinely sits behind the wheel of one is more than a little frightening.

Allow me to correct myself: This is a person who knows one thing about cars. She knows that they go. She knows how to make them go, how to make them “not go” (her words for stop) and how to get them to go in the general direction of her choosing.

So when this family member asked why her Toyota RAV4 was taking more gas than usual, I didn’t know exactly how to answer or what questions to ask. So I took it step by step.

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Relying On Technology That Isn’t There

January 23rd, 2014

BMW Sentra crash

I’ve outsourced my brain to my phone.

I can’t believe it’s happened, but it’s true. Last night’s conversation at home turned to the Dave Matthews Band, which led to trying to remember which movie Dave was in a few years ago. My first reaction was to reach for my phone, rather than pause, process and try to remember the title.

That’s just one example of relying on technology. There was no harm done, other than to my ego upon realizing my phone does most of my thinking.

Relying on technology, though, can quickly turn bad. Relying on car technology can be even worse, especially when it’s technology that’s not even there.

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Be Honest: Are You a Distracted Driver?

January 21st, 2014

distracted driving

I’m guilty.

I’ve spent a lot of time on these pages preaching about distracted driving and the dangers therein. I think we all admit that it’s a huge problem, but very few of us willingly admit that we are guilty.

Today, I’m saying it: I’m guilty.

I had my moment of truth when I pulled up next to a truck at a stoplight. Inside was the familiar glow of a phone illuminating the drivers face. He was obviously texting. I shook my head at the complete disregard for safety and silently scolded him for looking at his phone while behind the wheel.

Then, without even thinking, I picked up my phone and checked for new emails.

It wasn’t until messages began downloading and the light turned green that I realized I was doing the exact same thing.

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Car Safety Takes the Front Seat in America

December 20th, 2013

backup camera in a car

Within a matter of seconds yesterday afternoon, I almost backed into a kid and got backed into by a vehicle. Thanks to a backup camera, I saw the kid at the last second, and thanks to the basic functionality of a car horn, I alerted the backing-up driver to my presence before getting hit.

It was a heart-pounding couple of seconds, to say the least, but goes to show the importance of safety features in vehicles. The horn is probably among the oldest of safety devices, while the backup camera is one of the newest. I’m lucky the Legacy I was driving was equipped with both.

Call it coincidental, but on the same day of the two close calls, I read that the Legacy was one of the few sedans to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety‘s Top Safety Pick+ rating.

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Big Money and High Technology to Fix an Old Problem

December 18th, 2013

McLaren P1

What’s the best way to spend the most money to fix a simple problem?

Assign a supercar engineer to the task.

Here’s the problem:

During inclement weather, falling condensation in the form of oxidane can accumulate on the windscreen of a vehicle, thereby creating visual impairment and putting the driver and occupants at risk. Additionally, when exposed to freezing conditions, said oxidane can transform into a solid state and create an even bigger problem for drivers by rendering the windscreen opaque.

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2015 Chevy Colorado Revealed!

November 21st, 2013

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71

Just last week we caught word of the soon-to-be revealed 2015 Chevy Colorado pickup, and now we have official images and specs of the hotly anticipated new midsize truck.

The new Colorado is built for people who want strength and capability in a truck but don’t want to park a full-size one in the garage.

Also, the truck is a much better choice than a large and lumbering Silverado to take on an epic trek to the deadliest road in the world. Just something to keep in mind, because, well, you never know.

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Airless Tires Closer to Reality

November 20th, 2013

Airless tires

I fully expect to have a tire catastrophe in the near future.

I accept this fact because for the last couple of weeks, I’ve ignored a tire problem that has cropped up. There’s a slow leak in my front driver’s-side tire that requires a stop at the gas station, four quarters and about 15 pounds of air pressure every couple of days.

There are some who won’t call that a “slow leak,” but instead give it the full-blown label of “leak,” or even “flat tire.”

There are two possibilities with this leak. Either it’s an easy fix that a quick stop at a tire store can fix, or it’s a sign that I’ll soon have a $600 credit-card charge for four new tires.

I foresee the latter, which explains my lack of action to resolve the problem.

If only there was a way to eliminate the need for air in tires…

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Backup Cameras Could Save Lives of Children

November 18th, 2013

Blind-spot distances

Cars are dangerous.

It’s easy to forget that something so common in our lives, something so many of us safely use each day, can cause utter devastation in people’s lives.

Cars and trucks are essentially large, heavy chunks of metal that are capable of inflicting great damage. I was reminded of this fact by the tragic story of a Chevy Avalanche owner who accidentally backed over a child. It’s a terrible reminder that cars are dangerous, especially many of the late-model vehicles with sloped roofs, small windows and large blind spots.

Is a sleek look worth the added safety risk?

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