Every year, new “must-have” features seem to appear in cars. From ventilated seats to Apple CarPlay to little mustang-shaped puddle lights, when it comes to bringing in new customers, a product manager’s creativity knows no bounds. Continue reading >>>
The night this happened, my brother had spent an evening with friends bar-hopping and enjoying the nightlife downtown.
At about 1 a.m. he set up an Uber ride and waited for a blue Subaru to arrive and safely shuttle him home.
When a Subaru pulled up in front of the bar that matched what Uber said would arrive, he opened the rear door of the car and sat down with a loud exhale followed by a, “Whew… what a night. How are you doing?”
There was no response.
He looked toward the driver’s seat and saw a terrified young woman gripping her steering wheel.
“You’re not my Uber, are you?”
The woman shook her head. My brother apologized and quickly exited her car.
It’s a funny story but illustrates the potential danger that drivers and passengers both face. Continue reading >>>
I made a promise to my family to not text while driving. Doing so is wildly dangerous and irresponsible, but also incredibly easy and tempting.
On any day, in any city around the country, a driver can look into the windows of surrounding cars and see a driver typing on his or her phone.
That driver will no longer be me, because I’ve decided that I control my phone instead of my phone controlling me. I won’t let it put my life, nor the lives of my loved ones, at risk.
Rather than taking responsibility for their own texting habits, some drivers want to sue one of the world’s largest makers of smartphones. The alleged crime? Making texting while driving possible. Or rather, not making it impossible. Continue reading >>>
Self-driving software has been highly scrutinized over the last few months because of a few high profile accidents and at least one fatality.
One incident resulted after a driver’s Model S failed to distinguish a crossing truck trailer and crashed into it, killing the driver. Still, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is adamant that autonomous cars are many times safer than cars driven by humans and is accumulating millions of miles of accident-free driving to back his claim up.
One new video is definitive proof of the power of computers, and shows a Model S in the Netherlands predict a nasty accident just moments before it happened, potentially saving lives. It’s hard to watch this video and not think that autonomous vehicles are the wave of the future.
Snoqualmie Pass in Western Washington is a place notorious for winter snowfall. Here, deep in the Cascade Mountains, snow is measured in tens-of-feet, not inches, and can pile up to treacherous levels in just a matter of hours. It’s a section of Interstate 90 that’s crucial to the transportation of goods from the Port of Seattle to cities all across the nation.
It’s regularly travelled by tourists and business people and regularly claims vehicles in the steep snow embankments along the highway’s exits.
Last winter, as I pulled off the highway toward a rest stop, a red Ford Ranger had slid off the road and was buried to its fenders.
We stopped, hooked up the tow rope to the rear bumper of our Legacy, and pulled the truck to safety. The Legacy’s tow feature came in handy again on New Year’s Day, when my in-law’s Nissan Leaf got stuck in 20 inches of snow.
Getting stuck in the snow is a common occurrence. Here’s how to get out of it, even if there’s no tow vehicle nearby.
The U.S. Department of Transportation thinks cars should learn to talk to each other before they can drive themselves. Earlier this month it issued a proposed rule announcement requiring vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology in all light-duty vehicles sold in the U.S. to allow the development of collision-avoidance applications that could prevent hundreds of thousands of accidents every year.
Years ago, my good friend, Tim, mistakenly locked the keys to his 1991 Audi 200 in the trunk while we were on our way back to Connecticut after a weekend of skiing. During the dead of night, with snow on the ground and our only sustenance coming from the assorted snacks picked up at a country store a few miles back, we waited in a parking lot for a AAA problem-solver to arrive. A flood light projected its beam upon a nearby furniture store’s sign, and at one point we found ourselves huddled around it, trying to take in any of the heat emitting from its bulb (there wasn’t much). Eventually AAA rescued us and while Tim and I are friends to this day, it’s a wonder he wasn’t left on the side of the road for this mistake. Continue reading >>>
Owning a Porsche doesn’t make you an expert on the track. You can buy the top-end 911, take it the Nurburgring or Laguna Seca, step on the gas, and end up with one very expensive repair bill.
Driving a performance vehicle at its full potential requires a level of skill that the average driver doesn’t possess. It shouldn’t need to be said, but making the purchase doesn’t make you an expert.
The same applies to performance trucks. Drivers are learning the hard way that the advertised off-road sprints and dramatic jumps aren’t for trying at home.
Two weeks ago, we wondered if Subaru is flying too close to the sun. Of course, that was in reference to the company’s reliability problems that are stemming from its growth in the United States. One of those problems is excessive oil consumption in the 2011-2014 Forester, 2013 Legacy, 2013 Outback, 2012-2013 Impreza, and 2013 XV Crosstrek. The offending motors are the 2.0-liter and 2.5-liter 4-cylinder mills.
This is a serious problem that can lead to engine failure, but has quietly escaped the wrath of the mainstream media. The good news is that Subaru has taken steps to make sure its customers are well taken care of.
I know, because I’m one of them.
Like many other Americans yesterday, my family spent a good portion of time in the car traveling between family gatherings. Our travels were uneventful, aside from the occasional debate about what song to play. (One kid wanted Charlie Puth while another voted for Nirvana and yet another was set on Tribe Society. Thank goodness for affordable iPods.)
As the driver, I naturally kept my hands off my phone. From the high throne of my Land Cruiser, though, I could see neighboring drivers with faces buried in the soft glow of their smartphones.
Distracted driving is a major problem, and now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to take another step to do something about it.
The NHTSA has released voluntary guidelines to shut down apps on phones while a person is sitting behind the steering wheel.