Posts from ‘Safety’
According to the folks at the personal-finance and research website WalletHub, the average American spends about 18 hours a week in his or her vehicle. That’s a bunch of time. Enough time to make plans for the upcoming weekend, call your parents (hands free, of course), or to wonder, “Why am I wasting all this time commuting?”
As a Chicagoan, I take a certain amount of pride in my ability to complain about the local traffic situation. To that end, though I loathe to report that my 17-mile trip from Consumer Guide’s Chicago-adjacent office to the sleepy Northwest Suburbs can take me more than an hour on the wrong day, I feel a least at little satisfaction knowing that I am a statistical outlier.
If you’ve gotten the sense that automotive technology—and specifically auto safety technology—is advancing more quickly than drivers are learning about it, you’re not alone. A recent survey conducted by the team at MyCarDoesWhat.org finds that a number of recently introduced automotive safety features and systems are not well understood by the general driving public.
“We encourage you to go over the limit.”
That opening (and potentially career-ending) comment was delivered by Mazda product specialist Ramana Lagemann, and–trust me–it was a phrase none of the assembled auto journalists had ever before heard at a press preview. In fact, most manufacturers spend a great deal of (entirely justified) time imploring us NOT to go over the limit, as things quickly get expensive when we do. Just ask any prematurely grey PR rep.
Forty or so years ago, ensuring vehicle safety and reliability in cold-weather driving usually meant performing a series of annual maintenance rituals.
Common preparations including swapping out the thermostat, flushing the cooling system, switching to lighter-weight motor oil, and having the battery tested. Additionally, slapping on snow tires was not uncommon in locales known for heavy doses of the white stuff.
With a 15-year-old daughter having just completed driver’s education, I find myself in the unenviable position of shopping for a second car. That car, by the way, will spend most of its time in the service of the aforementioned daughter.
The evidence is anecdotal, but compelling. More than ever, ambivalent drivers are flocking to the far left lane of the nation’s highways, only to travel at some speed comfortably below the organic flow of traffic.
Those were once magical words.
As kids, after peering out our bedroom windows to see that Mother Nature had blessed us with a fresh, thick blanket of white overnight, my sister and I would sit at the breakfast table eagerly waiting for the phone to ring. And on those all-too-rare occasions when it did, there would be a moment of anticipation followed by a rousing cheer: “Snow day!”
In the past few years, the number of vehicles offered with 4-Wheel Drive (4WD) or All-Wheel Drive (AWD) has increased dramatically. Previously the domain of pickup trucks and SUVs, today there are few segments where multiple vehicles aren’t offered with one system or the other.
With spring upon us, we’re reposting Tom’s cathartic recollection of his encounter with a bobtailed Michigan resident. The original story appeared in September of 2010.