We are now all of course only too aware of the havoc caused by the so-called ‘Beast from the East’. Damaged cars, stranded motorists, communities cut off by the snow; it showed just how unprepared the UK is when the weather really turns.
It might be time to open the conversation about requiring dash cams on all vehicles.
Have you ever witnessed an accident, or been in one, and wished you’d been able to record the events leading up to the collision? A dashboard camera, or dash cam, may be able to help with that. The current versions sit on one’s dashboard or attach to the windshield.
Dash cams are legal to own in the United States, but using one has its positives and negatives. Continue reading >>>
Like it or not, you are the average American consumer.
So am I.
We all take our paychecks, however large or small, and buy what we want or need. We buy gifts online, we buy food in stores, we order coffee on the way to work. We can do it in person or via our smartphones. But shopping from our cars?
Your car has been the one place that’s been free of e-shopping. But GM has just changed that with an app that looks to add a dose of convenience, and probably caffeine, to your daily drive. Continue reading >>>
New technology that makes cars easier to drive, more fuel efficient, and better connected could also be the reasons why new cars are less reliable than they’ve been in the past.
It wasn’t that long ago when a car buyer could take home a sedan with a 5-speed manual transmission, a CD player, a steering wheel, a basic 4-cylinder motor, and air conditioning. Cars like that could be driven for decades with minimal problems. Heck, Toyota and Honda built their businesses on those cars and still benefit from that reputation for reliability.
Things are changing, though. As cars become more advanced, their reliability is decreasing. Continue reading >>>
In 2005 I had a 6-month-old Honda Pilot. That vehicle was parked overnight in a driveway next to a large RV, and the RV caught fire.
The RV burned to a crisp, leaving nothing but a blackened frame and a smoking pile of debris. The Pilot, which was parked not 12 inches from the RV, didn’t catch fire, but did suffer massive damage from the heat. The windows burst, leather melted, paint bubbled, plastic exterior and interior trim melted, tires burst, and wheels warped.
The driver’s side of that car was destroyed. The insurance company deemed the damage repairable, and three months and $12,000 later, I got my car back, but it never felt “good as new.”
Contrast that story with this one: Continue reading >>>
Like about half of all drivers, I turned off an important, though irritating, safety feature in my car this weekend.
The incessant beeping of the lane-departure warning system routinely woke up my sleeping family as I drove home from a downtown event on Sunday. The shrill, fast series of beeps emanating from my Subaru is supposed to alert the driver that he or she is drifting outside of the lane, but somehow, on this drive, the system was picking up ruts in the highway instead of the painted lane markings and chirping in short bursts every 15 seconds.
I figured I had lived without the warning system for the first 20 years of my driving life, so I could probably make it the last few miles home without one.
And I did, with the family sleeping peacefully.
Timing is a funny thing, though, because the next day CNN published an article about how many crashes such systems have prevented and then warned against ever turning it off. Continue reading >>>
Have you ever had one of those mornings that can only mean a great afternoon is on the way?
You know the type of morning: You get out of bed a little late, which makes you leave for work a few minutes late, but as you’re backing out of the driveway, you notice a flat tire, so you transfer your stuff into your spouse’s car and take that one, only to spill an entire cup of coffee on your lap, because the cupholders in that car aren’t deep enough. (Maybe there’s something to that new Washington law disallowing coffee while driving.)
Just when you think you’ve made it through and have clear sailing to work, the road ahead is closed due to construction, and you have to take a time-consuming detour.
Later, when it’s finally time to change the flat, you discover that there’s no spare and no jack. Continue reading >>>
Drinking while driving is rightfully forbidden.
Texting while driving is equally dangerous and against the law nearly everywhere.
But how far should a state go in regulating what a driver may legally do behind the wheel? The state of Washington is testing those limits and has banned some pretty shocking activities while driving, and its citizens aren’t happy.
Who among us has ever enjoyed a coffee while driving? Or scarfed down a quick meal while on the way to a meeting or between errands? Ladies, have you ever applied makeup or even just a quick dab of mascara before arriving at work?
Those activities, or even just taking a sip of water to quench your thirst on a sweltering afternoon drive, are now illegal in Washington. Continue reading >>>
Fog is a known killer on highways around the world, but a popular accessory to battle the soupy stuff is starting to fade away from today’s vehicles.
The New York Times says,
Fog was a factor in nearly 20 percent of deadly multicar pileups involving 10 or more vehicles.
Fog is especially prevalent in some regions, including much of the Southeast, northern New England, the Pacific Northwest and the Central Valley of California, and it forms most often in winter. Deadly multicar crashes generally occur when cars and trucks traveling at interstate speed drive into what is essentially a low-lying cloud and quickly lose visibility. Drivers may not see the slowed cars ahead until it is too late, with one vehicle crashing into the next, including huge tractor-trailers.
Fog presents a real danger, and many car shoppers make sure their new cars are equipped with fog lights. In fact, the lower lights are expected on higher-end cars, trucks, and SUVs.
Some automakers, though, are removing the lights, because they’re no longer deemed necessary as headlight technology improves. Yes, add fog lights to the once-common list of features on cars that are going away forever. Continue reading >>>
Are you willing to risk safety to save 6.5 minutes of travel time?
Speed limits on highways across this great country range between 55 and 85 miles per hour depending on the size, location, and congestion of the highway. Lower limits are typically reserved for winding two-lane country highways while the 80-mph jaunts are reserved for four-lane rural Interstates.
While the nationwide 55-mph limit is long gone, some states still hang onto the lower limits in the name of safety and efficiency. Others, such as Nevada, Idaho, Texas, Montana, and more, are pushing limits up to 85 miles per hour. Continue reading >>>