My main focus this time, is on safe driving. Yes, vehicles are safer today than ever. But people still die, or get injured. Sometimes, severely.
Even the lowest cost car has 6+ airbags today. Manufacturers build in crumple zones, which dissipates energy. Factor in anti-lock brakes, stability control, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, etc., and we should prevent vehicular death. Yet, we don’t. Annually, many drivers and passengers die. Many times “accidents,” are PREVENTABLE!
One area where manufacturers have failed in my opinion, is the interior controls. Many of today’s dashboards feature stupid, little buttons. Seniors need their readers. You can’t push while wearing gloves! Basic dials or knobs are the way to go! GPS/Navigation/Infotainment systems can be very distracting. Use an old fashioned map, before heading out, on unfamiliar areas.
Our 2007 Chrysler Sebring was a lousy car, but it had the best automatic climate control, controls.
The US navy commissioned a instrumentation study in the 1960s. The study found that a black background, with white numerals, are the easiest/quickest to read. I used basic Stewart Warner gauges in my race cars. Yet most electronic gauge clusters, allow the driver to pick colours, etc.
My daughter called me a few years ago. Her 2012 gave a low brake fluid warning. It was false and 3 London dealers couldn’t find the problem. She traded that car.
We as drivers, always think we’re good, and not the problem – it’s always the other guy who is. Yet, we probably got our licence in our teens. In my case, many years ago. Have you ever tuned up your skills? I’ve take Advance Driver Training.
Two-time Michigan 500 (CART) winner, Torontonian Scott Goodyear, taught me. I’ve also taken John Powell’s, “Skid School,” at Mosport. These courses saved my “bacon,” on the track, and on the road, several times! When I was working, my employer evaluated my driving, twice. I love going fast, in a controlled, legal environment.
Every vehicle has a limits of performance. You can roll a formula race car. Tough to do, but not impossible. However, rolling a dump truck, or tractor-trailer is easier. SUVs have a tall centre of gravity, thus will roll easier than a sports car, while taking evasive action. SUVs are really a minivan with a hood.
Finland’s Kimi Räikkönen, the 2007 F1 World Champion, raced for Lotus a few years ago. He was in 4th place late in a Grand Prix. His engineer radioed him, saying, “hurry up, you’re xx seconds behind, and xx seconds ahead.” Kimi angrily replied: “Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing!” I commend the racer, as he knew he was being distracted. It reinforced the idea of hang up and drive.
Distracted drivers primary cause of road collisions. Inattentive drivers cause more crashes than speeding, drug/alcohol use combined. According to the OPP, 47 people have died this year due to inattentive drivers, which is up from the 39 deaths reported at the same time last year. This data is as of Aug. 30. The data has been collected since 2009, when distracted driving laws came into effect. Only 1 year had more speeding, or drug/alcohol collisions than distracted driving.
Get ready for winter. Sad to say. Soon tire retailers will advertise sales. Consider this. Yes, more cash outlay, but if all weather (NOT all season), or winter tires, save you from 1 collision, they’ll pay for themselves. If the sidewall has the snowflake and mountain graphic, they should get you an insurance discount. Ask your agent. Also, your summer (all season) tires will last longer. However, don’t use winter tires year round. They’re too soft for summer’s heat. Consider 4 rims. This will save you in the long run. Balancing, and mounting/dismounting, aren’t necessary at changeover.
I had another 2 road trips this summer. I saw a AAA Buffalo Bisons baseball game. They’re the Toronto Blue Jays “farm team.” It’s a great stadium that holds 16,900. We carried on to Erie, PA, en route to see relatives in Cleveland, OH. After that, we headed southeast. We passed the HUGE Chev plant in Youngstown, OH. They build the Cruze sedan there.
Next stop was Pittsburgh, for a Cincinnati Reds vs. the hometown Pirates. They play at the beautiful, 16 year old, downtown PNC Park. I hear it’s currently the best Major League Baseball experience. I agree! The Steelers stadium is nearby. We sat in Level 100, between 3rd base, and the Foul Pole. The seat cost $11, but the concessions aren’t cheap. However, local bars offer cheap pre-game drinks. The staff and fans were great! Our usher guided us to our seat then he pulled out a micro fibre cloth, and wiped down, the already clean seat. Now that’s service! It was a balmy, summer night. My wife’s 2011 Lincoln MKT performed flawlessly.
After that trip, my buddy and I went to Buffalo, for a Bisons game. We got 2 good seats, and $15 “Bison Bucks” (good for food/drink/swag), for $35 CAD at the Peace Bridge Duty Free store, in Fort Erie. After the game we headed west on I-90, in his 2011 Honda Ridgeline. 1:40 later, we “landed” in Erie, PA. $9 USF got us a great seat, right behind home plate. The Erie team, the Seawolves are AA, and are affiliated with the Detroit Tigers. Their downtown stadium holds 6,000. It was Buck Night: $1 hot dogs, popcorn, pop, or 12 oz. draft beer/$2 for 20 oz. We behaved. The team just announced a $12 million State grant. They won’t expand this great 22 year old stadium, but will upgrade/refresh, things like the Jumbotron scoreboard. Again, great staff and fans! The Honda got us back safely, with no problems.
If you don’t need a high capacity truck (payload/towing), but need a pick up bed, consider this comfortable, and fuel efficient truck. We got roughly 9-10 L/100 kms.
Lastly, the Peterborough Pinty’s Nascar has been cancelled. A new venue was added, for the series final 2017 race. On Sept. 23, the Jukasa 200 will be held at Jukasa Motor Speedway. Long time motorsport fans will remember this 5/8 mile oval, as Cayuga. The track is north of Lake Erie, and south of Hamilton. As always, check details before leaving.
Written By Larry Barnett