Tag Archives: vehicle safety

For Safer Driving, Forget What You Know

safe driving with airbagsOlder drivers were taught to drive safely before the use of airbags. But now that airbags are common and are installed in every new vehicle before it is sold, you may be driving wrong. That’s what safety experts are saying.

The new case study makes mention of two specific driving habits that are outdated: The placement of your hands on the steering wheel and the movement of your hands when turning your vehicle.

Drivers used to be taught that you should place your hands at the 2 o’clock and the 10 o’clock positions on the steering wheel. Now, safety experts are saying to place your hands at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions. Why the change?

The reason is because placing your hands higher on the steering wheel can put them in the way of your airbag. If your airbag deploys during an accident, then it could push your hands into your face and break your nose or injure you in some other way. So you should place your hands lower on the steering wheel to keep them out of the deploying airbag’s natural path.

For the same reason, safety experts are saying that the old turning method of using hand-over-hand maneuvering to turn your steering wheel is no longer valid. That method puts your hands in front of the airbag. Again, that’s a safety hazard.

Instead, drivers should push up with one hand and down with the other. That way, your hands stay clear of the airbag should it deploy and you are more likely to avert any serious injury to your face due to your airbag pushing your hands into it.

Is In-Dash Technology Responsible For Driver Distractions?

in-dash technology safe drivingUSA Today asks if vehicle safety is tied to in-dash technology. Or, more succinctly, are cars to blame for distracted driving?

If you’ve ever seen an accident where the person at fault was someone talking on the phone or texting, then you know the answer to that question. The problem is, now, auto manufacturers are beginning to add technological features to vehicles in the dash that can be just as distracting. These include:

  • Bluetooth
  • Satellite radio
  • GPS navigation
  • USB ports

And there’s plenty more.

Of course, these same auto makers are also adding voice activation control to those gadgets, so there’s really no excuse for drivers to fiddle with them while they are driving. Still, old habits die hard.

Don’t be surprised if future vehicle safety inspectors take in-dash technology into consideration. Your car might be reviewed based on how safe the manufacturer makes your in-dash technology.

That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. If drivers can’t police themselves, then it might be pressed upon the auto manufacturers to help reduce the distractions for drivers by reducing the appeal of in-dash technology to within finger distance.

What do you think? Would safety inspections for in-dash technology be a good thing?

The New Age Of Tech Celebrities And Auto Endorsements

Google executive Vic Gundotra promoting Mercedes-Benz

Remember when celebrity athletes commanded millions of dollars for endorsing products on TV? Oh, wait, that still happens.

Well, remember when technology company executives endorsed their favorite automobiles? You don’t? Then you haven’t seen the new video of Google executive Vic Gundotra promoting the safety of a Mercedes-Benz.

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I don’t much care for Mark Zuckerberg eating boiled lobster while wearing a hoodie, but how about Bill Gates appearing in videos all over the web talking about the benefits of driving a Porsche? Or what if Pete Cashmore and Rand Fishkin appeared together in videos discussing the benefits of walking?

Seriously, have we entered the age of Internet celebrities or tech company celebrities endorsing their favorite automobiles? Famous entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki of Apple fame reviews automobiles on his Change the World blog. It seems all one need do to recommend a product these days is be somebody. Anybody. Even a tech superstar.

I’m not knocking it. I mean, we all ask our friends for recommendations all the time. If your buddy from high school goes out and buys a new automobile and he likes it, you’re more likely to buy the same automobile, right? Or at least you’ll take it for a test drive and maybe one up him with a more premium model by the same auto maker.

In today’s social media environment, everyone is your friend. They may not be your buddy from high school, but they are your friend on Friendster, your follower on Twitter, your connection on LinkedIn, or a fan of your Facebook page. And you trust them.

In 2011, the world is smaller. That’s why technology company executives are the new celebrities. And that’s why they endorse their favorite auto brands.

How to Prepare an Emergency Car Kit

Most people are aware of Murphy’s Law, which states whatever can go wrong probably will go wrong, and probably at the most inconvenient moment. This is particularly true when driving, even with the advent of roadside assistance and cell phones. What follows is a list of items to keep in your new Honda, Hyundai, Acura, or Suzuki vehicle in the event that you find yourself in a spot of trouble.  Even if the car must be towed to a car repair shop, you’ll want to be prepared while you wait for a tow truck.

1. Carry a shovel. You never know when you may find yourself stuck somewhere unable to get traction under your tires. Most hardware stores will carry collapsible shovels that are very compact and take up little room.

2. Buy a wind-up cell phone charger. Following the Murphy’s Law theme, when ever you most need your cell phone is exactly when the battery will die. The Sidewinder company makes a cell phone charger that will fit most models that you crank in order to charge the phone. 2 minutes of cranking provides up to 6 minutes of talk time or 30 minutes of standby time. If you have a passenger with you, you can also use the phone while your passenger cranks the charger.

3. You may find yourself in an area without cell phone coverage. If that is the case, you may also be in a less-travelled area, and it may take some time for help to arrive. Therefore, carry a sleeping bag or blanket in case the temperature drops while you’re waiting for assistance. Remember, if your Honda, Hyundai, Acura, or Suzuki vehicle isn’t running the heater will not work.

4. A flashlight is also a must. If using a battery powered model, make sure to keep extra batteries on hand, and do not store the batteries in the flashlight as over time the batteries will leak. Better yet, hand-crank flashlights are easy to come by and there is no need for batteries.

Although your new Honda, Hyundai, Acura, or Suzuki will provide you with years of problem free driving, life will always happen and it’s best to be prepared.

Keeping your Car on the Road: What to Keep in the Trunk

Car Emergency KitIn a perfect world, nothing would ever go wrong while you’re out driving your new Ford. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world and there’s only so much control you have over your environment. Bad weather, other drivers and garden variety accidents all have an impact on your life on the road, and you need to be prepared. Here are some things to keep in the truck to make sure you’re always safe when there are problems with your Ford.

Blankets

Whether you decide to spend an impromptu evening under the stars or you get stuck in bad weather, blankets are on the list of the most important things to carry in your new Ford vehicle at all times. Keep enough blankets so everyone with you can stay warm — if you normally carry your spouse and both kids, you’ll need four.

First Aid Kit

It costs practically nothing to keep a first aid kit in your car or truck, and it could save a life. If you — or anyone else around you, for that matter — if you get into an accident, you’ll want to make sure you have what you need on hand until emergency crews alive. Generally speaking you can get everything you’ll ever need for under $20, and hopefully you’ll never need it.

Flashlight

Having a flashlight in your car car or truck  is really a no brainer. They cost so little and can come in handy in so many situations. Whether you need to read a map in low light, you want to navigate poorly lit roads or you have to take a peek under the trunk, flashlights are vital. If your flashlight is battery powered, keep the batteries separate to prevent leakage.

It doesn’t take a lot to keep you safe on the road, so make sure to keep these items on hand. Many hardware and superstores have kits you can buy for your car to have everything in one tightly sealed place.

If you require maintenance and service on your Ford vehicle, please stop by your Omaha Ford dealer today.

New Safety Rating System More Difficult for 2011 Vehicles

With a tougher rating system, many 2011 vehicles are finding it difficult to receive the 5-star safety rating from the Department of Transportation.  An important symbol of vehicle safety, the 5-star rating is important to both auto makers and consumers, who often consider the rating when purchasing new vehicles.

So far, 33 vehicles for 2011 have been tested and only 2 have received 5-star ratings, proving the system has become increasingly tougher, the results of an incentive first started in 2008 by the Bush White House.  Compared to 2010, when 99 vehicles received 5-star ratings, the 2011 have a much more difficult road ahead of them.

When asked about the new safety rating system, Toyota officials responded, “Toyota engineers are investigating measures to further enhance safety performance so Camry again obtains outstanding assessment results under the new rating system.”

According to David Strickland, chief of the National Highway Safety Administration, “We’re just trying to make the manufacturers stretch even more to make cars safer.”

However, many car manufacturers are concerned that the new ratings may affect sales, and, according to Daniel Ryan, government and safety affairs manager for Mazda Motor Corp.’s North American operations, “There is a small number of consumers who say, ‘I won’t buy it unless it’s five stars’.”

Despite concerns from auto manufacturers, the new vehicle safety rating system comes into effect at a time when accident-related deaths are their lowest since 1950, due to increased use of seatbelts and better driving habits, and the Department of Transportation hopes that the more rigorous system will further lower driving deaths in the coming years.

Vehicle safety ratings can be found at www.safercar.gov.