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Archive for the ‘Car Safety’ Category

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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Tips to Avoid Traffic School

May 9th, 2014

Police Stop

Not getting a ticket seems so simple.

All you have to do is follow the rules of the road, and you’re virtually guaranteed to live a life free of traffic tickets and, worse, traffic school.

Go the speed limit, stop at stop signs, use your blinker, yada yada yada. It’s not hard to follow the rules of the road.

Unless, of course, your car has other plans. Sometimes traffic rules just don’t jive with what your car has in mind. This became evident in two scenarios over the past week that should serve to remind us all of the importance of not getting pulled over and thus avoiding a weekend in traffic school.

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GM’s Solution to Recall: Just Buy a New Car

May 6th, 2014
2014 Buick Regal

Sorry for the trouble. Buy one of these as compensation!

Let’s say you bought a car only to find out later it has a defect that could potentially kill you.

Would your first response be heading to your nearest dealer and buying a new version of the same brand to replace your defective car?

Of course not. That’s a silly question, right? Most people would simply want the car fixed, if possible. Others might have a more extreme response and sue the carmaker in question and vow to never own said brand again.

General Motors is still in the middle of its ignition recall and has made those affected by it a very strange offer.

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Should Lane Splitting Be Legal?

April 21st, 2014

Tango lane splitting

We live in a society of single-family homes spread through countless suburbs surrounding big cities. We work in those cities, often driving many miles and spending hours commuting from our suburban homes to our urban workplaces.

In places like Los Angeles, the commute consists of congested freeways and long lines of stop-and-go traffic. In most cities, a driver’s only option is to wait out the traffic and arrive whenever the brake lights finally fade and the pavement opens up.

In California, though, there’s another option—assuming you have the right vehicle.

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Accidental Car Theft: It’s a Thing

April 18th, 2014

stolen_honda_accord

As a teenager, I drove a 1984 Honda Accord. It was charcoal gray, just like every other 1984 Accord in existence.

On more than one occasion I remember walking up to the wrong one, even putting my hand on the door handle, before realizing it wasn’t my car. For me, the first indication that it wasn’t mine was the lack of a wet towel jammed between the leaky sunroof and the headliner to prevent rainwater from dousing my head.

While it would’ve been nice to drive away in a car with leak-proof roof, I never did steal anyone’s car in place of mine.

Many years later my mom drove a 2012 Subaru. She parked at a grocery store, but came back to the wrong car and actually sat down inside and tried to start it before realizing she’d made a mistake.

A funny story out of the New York Post tells the tale of a mother who actually succeeded in an accidental theft, which makes me wonder just how often things like this happen.

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Audi: Road-Trip Chariot of the Giants

April 14th, 2014

2008 Audi Q7

Four giant 18-year-old boys. One coach. About four dozen assorted pieces of luggage. All surrounding yours truly in one car for a 9-hour ride to a state tournament.

At this point I’ll stop and ask: Which vehicle would you choose for such a task?

No, a school bus wasn’t available, nor was a Suburban or other appropriately large vehicle that could comfortably transport a bunch of 6-foot-4 rowdy high schoolers.

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Invisible Hoods Could Help on Blind Curves

April 10th, 2014

Land Rover's transparent hood

There’s a blind curve on my way home that both thrills and frightens me. On adventurous days, I push my right foot down on the accelerator and take the uphill hard-right turn fast and tight while hoping there’s not a stalled car or deer or some other obstacle looming as I let my mind transport me to Laguna Seca.

On other days I approach the curve with caution, even slowing to a near crawl as intuition alone tells me to be wary.

I haven’t encountered a problem on this turn, but I know it’s quite possible that someday I will, because there are a few moments when all I can see are my hood and the sky.

Is this a curve that technology can outsmart, or will I forever be doomed to navigate those few seconds blindly?

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Burning Oil in a Brand New Car

April 7th, 2014

oil_level_low_warning

Burning oil in a 1973 Cadillac seems legit.

Drive an old boat like that around for long and you’ll stop at every gas station and put in a quart of oil. Worn engines simply burn and leak oil, often causing heavy smoke and the putrid odor of crusty black tar.

Drivers of those old cars don’t get too angry at the oil consumption because they know it just comes with the territory of having the pleasure of driving a Nixon-era automobile.

A 2013 car should never burn a quart of oil between oil changes.

Right?

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