Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hybrid Models Have Lower Injury Risk

IIHS news release • November 17, 2011

Hybrid models have lower injury odds than their conventional counterparts

Hybrids have a safety edge over their conventional twins when it comes to shielding their occupants from injuries in crashes, new research by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, shows. On average, the odds of being injured in a crash are 25 percent lower for people in hybrids than people traveling in nonhybrid models.

Full text of release at

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Safety consequences of vehicle size and weight

New crash tests demonstrate the influence of vehicle size and weight on safety in crashes; results are relevant to fuel economy policies

ARLINGTON, VA — Three front-to-front crash tests, each involving a microcar or minicar into a midsize model from the same manufacturer, show how extra vehicle size and weight enhance occupant protection in collisions. These Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests are about the physics of car crashes, which dictate that very small cars generally can't protect people in crashes as well as bigger, heavier models.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011 TOP SAFETY PICK award winners

IIHS news release • December 22, 2010

66 winners of 2011 Top Safety Pick award; automakers quickly improve roofs to boost rollover protection

ARLINGTON, VA — Sixty-six vehicles earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick award for 2011, including 40 cars, 25 SUVs, and a minivan. Top Safety Pick recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. Winners also must have available electronic stability control, a crash avoidance feature that significantly reduces crash risk. The ratings help consumers pick vehicles that offer a higher level of protection than federal safety standards require.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Essential Emergency Items and Preparation For Your Winter Roadtrip

Whether it's to visit family or friends in the next town or the next state, many Americans will be hitting the road around the holidays. Winter is a much more dangerous time to drive long distances but there are many things you can do to prepare for a long winter roadtrip and to increase your chances of reaching your destination without a problem.
Basic Check-Up
Before you leave on your roadtrip, it's important for you to check the basics of your vehicle. Some of the most important elements to check are the tire pressure, the antifreeze, the oil, spare tire and the wiper blades.
Plan Your Route
Prepare the safest route to your destination possible, but allow for a secondary option as well. Wherever you're going, be sure to let someone at home and at your destination know when you leave, what your route will be and what time you think you should be there. You should usually drive slower in the winter and if at all possible, take only major highways and roads. Never try to take shortcuts during the winter, especially in the snow.
You will also want to check the weather where you are currently, along your route and at your destination.
Emergency Supplies
Basic auto supplies should be taken along such as jumper cables, chains, jack and even an extra quart of oil. A gas can will also be handy if you have room for it. If you are driving somewhere you haven't been before, be sure to pick up some road maps.
A basic first aid kit, flares, blankets, matches or lighter, flashlight with extra batteries and shovel are also good additions to your safety kit. A shovel will be handy if you find you need to dig your vehicle out of the snow.
Food & Water
If you get stuck in snow or your vehicle simply breaks down, you will need to have extra food and water. Pack enough bottles of water for a couple days at least. Also, food supplies like energy or nutrition bars are a great idea. You can find a case of nutritious energy bars at the wherehouse clubs like Costco at bulk prices.
Great technology devices to have on hand include a GPS device to make sure you don't get lost, extended range walkie talkies and a hand crank cellular phone charger along with your cell phone.
Cold Weather Clothing
Everyone on the trip should have some extra warm clothing available in case they get wet. In addition to jackets and warm tops, things like gloves, scarves and hats will also be important to keep the cold at bay.
If you're stuck in your vehicle due to the weather for very long, you might want to have some handheld games, MP3 player, books, crossword puzzle books or other activities on hand for you or the kids. Some disposable hand warmers are also an excellent idea.
Using these tips and preparing well for your trip, you and your family should reach your destination without a problem.
Article Source:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How To Stay Safe Driving in Fog

When you run into fog on the road, keep your head and follow these simple tips to stay safe.

To complete this How-To you will need:

A cool head

Step 1: Slow down

Leave plenty of room between yourself and the car ahead of you.

Tip: Don't panic and try to speed out of the fog. Remain calm, and focus on the road.

Step 2: Turn lights on

Turn your lights on to help others see you. Use your low beams, since high beams reflect back at you in fog.

Step 3: Turn on wipers and defroster

Use your windshield wipers and defroster to keep your windows clear.

Tip: Turn off the radio and open your window so you can hear other cars more easily.

Step 4: Signal early and brake gently

Give other drivers plenty of notice before you turn. Brake gently, not suddenly, so drivers behind you have time to react.

Step 5: Watch your speed

Watch your speedometer so your speed won't creep up; it's harder to judge distances and speed in the fog.

Step 6: Stay on track

Stay in your lane, as drivers tend to drift toward the middle of the road in fog.

Tip: Watch for animals. In fog, deer and other animals are harder to see and are more likely to jump out in front of you.

Step 7: Rely on yourself

Focus on the road, not the car ahead. Don't follow other drivers, who may drift into oncoming lanes or off the road.

Step 8: Pull off if you have to

If the fog is too thick, pull onto the shoulder of the road until it lifts. Turn on your hazard lights so other drivers will know you are stopped.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tips for Safe Driving During the Holidays

Every year during the holiday season TV, radio, newspapers and others talk a lot about the hazards of drunk driving and remind us to be careful. Extra police are on the streets and many cities set up sobriety checkpoints to catch drunk drivers on nights when there are likely to be more parties.

This extra focus reduces the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents and makes all of us safer on the road during the holidays. Drunk drivers aren't the only hazard on the road during the holidays, though. While most of us would never dream of getting behind the wheel drunk, we could still be creating serious dangers without thinking about it.

Holiday Madness

Juggling normal responsibilities with shopping, parties, and extra school events can make a normally safe driver a literal wreck. Even if you are always calm and collected, remember that other drivers may be more on edge than usual and take these precautions.

*Be extra patient and make allowances for other people and the mistakes they make. Don't forget to watch out for pedestrians as well as other drivers.

*Try to keep your attention on what you are doing. Not only could they cause you to make a mistake, but cell phones, eating and other distractions keep you from paying attention to other people and the silly errors they can make.

*Be especially careful in parking lots crammed with cars and pedestrians at this time of year. Take it a little slower than normal to avoid fender benders or worse.

*Take note of your emotions and consider taking a break if you get too stressed out, irritated or emotional. Get a cup of coffee or tea and relax for 10 minutes before you dive back in to the frenzy.

Holiday Fatigue

Another danger that is often forgotten, but also a huge problem during this hectic time of year, is driving while drowsy. Falling asleep at the wheel is obviously the most dangerous result, but tired drivers also tend to be more irritable and impatient.

This year like normal there will no doubt be many people who leave work on Friday and start out on long-distance trips to be with family or friends. College students whose holiday break begin after classes on Friday may be headed home as well.

Here are some recommendations you should consider and pass along to family members and friends who may be traveling by car during the holidays:

*Don't start your journey tired. Be aware of the risks if you get up unusually early to start your trip or leave directly from work or school when you are tired.

*Plan your trip to include a 15-minute break every two hours.

*Make sure that you and everyone on your trip is carrying emergency contact information and valid identification.

*Share the driving if possible. Safety experts recommend switching off every three hours.

*You're too tired to drive if you start drifting from your lane, hitting rumble strips, yawning repeatedly, having difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open, missing road signs or tailgating.
Pull over to a safe place as soon as possible, drink a high caffeine drink and take a 15-minute nap.

Article Source:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How To Tell If Your Car Needs New Tires

Is there anything more poetic than the allure of the open road? Scenery flashing by as the endless miles of the highway unfurl before, picturesque villages chanced upon almost by accident, the squeal of rubber and protesting metal as tires that should have been replaced months before lose their grip on a treacherous mountain turn...

Melodrama aside, properly maintained tires can save your life. Although tire rotation as part of a regular preventative maintenance plan can dramatically help to extend tire life, the fact remains that at some point you will have to replace your tires.

There's an old saying that you have to spend money to make money. In the case of maintaining your vehicle, it's really more of a case of spending money to save money. Paradoxical? Perhaps, but it's the truth.

Driving on old, worn tires drains the cash from your bank account in two ways. First, a tire that is near the end of it's life doesn't hold air as well as a new tire does. This means burning more gas than you would normally have to. Second, worn down treads mean less grip, and that means your brakes have to work harder than is optimal. This results in having to replace brake pads before their proper time.

Rather than costing money, knowing when to purchase new tires may actually help you to conserve your cash flow. Knowing exactly when to buy can help with this.

There is no simple formula when it comes to making this decision. You could take the car's mileage and use it to figure out when you should need new tires, but this is not always a good indicator. Different drivers have different driving habits, and this may lead to unusual wear patterns on the tread. It's better to use indicators that are not so linked to time or distance driven.

One of the most common clues that your vehicle is due for new tires is when handling changes for the worse. It can actually be a very minor difference, but if it is a vehicle you drive often you won't have any trouble noticing. If steering takes more effort than it used to, or if driving through even shallow puddles starts your car hydroplaning, then it is probably time for new tires.

Another good way to tell is by periodically examining the Treadwear Indicator (TWI) bumps located in the bottom of the tread. Look for small raised lumps in the bottom of the treads. They can often be found by looking for a TWI marking on the tire where the tread and sidewall meet.

If the TWI bumps are below the tread across the whole width of the tire, then you are probably OK for the time being, assuming you haven't noticed any steering or handling problems. However, if the TWI indicators are flush with the surface of the tire, even on only one part of the tread, then it's definitely time for new tires.

When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And it's usually less expensive.

Article Source:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Car Seats 101's Dave Thomas and Jennifer Newman explain the basics of how to use car seats properly.