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Roundabout, traffic circle, rotary, gyratory, whatever you call these curving intersections they can be quite confusing to drivers that have never experienced one before. With yield signs, bike lanes and pedestrian crossings there’s a lot going on in a small area and plenty of opportunity to screw things up. But here are a few helpful hints on how to navigate these labyrinthine road junctions.
With the Midwest and eastern states smothered in snow and accosted by abnormally frigid temperatures, this winter has been uncommonly excruciating for people in the Northern U.S. Given the brutal weather, tires are a surprisingly appropriate subject for discussion.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), New Year’s Day is the year’s deadliest day for alcohol-related fatalities.
Potential customers are no good to an automaker if they’re dead so Mercedes-Benz is taking steps to help improve the chances that teens practice safe driving in the spirit of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
“Teens are now faced with more distractions behind the wheel, compared to previous generations of new drivers,” said Marc Hemsworth, senior driving coach at Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy and former LAPD officer and chief driving instructor. “Reinforcing the dangers of distracted driving and being a good role model are a few ways parents can help improve driver safety for their teens and everyone on the road.”
Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy, a California State certified driving school, will kick off the awareness month by offering free programs including a distracted driving demo, Parent and Teen Workshops and driving assessments.
The seminars begin April 2 and will be held at Calabasas High School in Calabasas, Calif. and mark the third year that April has been designated with the awareness campaign.
Distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is more likely among teens over any other age group. Additionally, in the first half of 2011, the number of teen driving deaths increased by 11 percent after an eight-year consecutive decline.
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, as the name would suggest, is observed throughout the country, but California runs an additional “Teen Safe Driving Week,” which begins this Sunday.
Men and women disagree on a lot of things, but when it comes to which gender is the better driver, there’s one thing most of us can all agree on – women are. But the two sexes do have something to learn from each other when it comes to driving.
This information is coming to us via the latest MetLife Auto & Home American Safety Pulse Poll. It finds that only 39 percent of men believed they are safer drivers than women, while 35 percent of these men were unsure which gender drives safer. Not so for women – 51 percent said they were safer drivers than men and only 24 percent were undecided.
Men have the edge on women when it comes to how much they know about safety-related automotive technologies that have come to pass this decade. Take electronic stability control as an example: 58 percent of men knew what this safety feature was for, compared to the 26 percent that did. And 24 percent of these men how electronic stability control helped to make people safer drivers, versus 13 percent of women.
As for what technology features they want in their next car, men and women are pretty much in agreement. More women than men (57 percent vs. 53 percent) want a car with state-of-the-art technology upgrades. Technologies that top the list for women and men (respectively) are: GPS (65 percent vs. 61 percent); forward collision warning (60 percent vs. 53 percent); and rear-view cameras (58 percent vs. 53 percent).
What do you think? Are women safer drivers than men? And what can the sexes learn form each other when it comes to driving safety? Let us know in the comments section below.
How safe is your city to drive in? You can find out how your city fared in Allstate Insurance Company’s seventh annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report.” This report uses Allstate’s claim data to rank America’s 200 largest cities in terms of car collision frequency to see which ones have the safest drivers.
For the second year in a row, Fort Collins, Colorado comes out in first place. If you’re a driver in Fort Collins, you can expect to get into a car accident every 14 years – that’s 28.6 percent less likely than the national average of 10 years.
“We want to recognize the city of Fort Collins for again being the safest driving city in America, and we salute all of America’s safe drivers, who help make our communities better places to live, work and raise families,” said Mike Roche, executive vice president, Allstate’s Claim Organization.
Taking the last place spot for a third year in a row is Washington, D.C. Other cities that placed near the bottom of the list include Baltimore, Maryland, Los Angeles, California and Newark, New Jersey.
Did your city make it into the top 10? Find out after the jump.
The countdown to the first day of school is on. Just as important as it is to get everything ready for the big day, it’s also a good idea to go over a few school bus safety tips.
After all, it’s been a long summer and you may have to do a little homework to ensure you and your kids are prepared for the big yellow bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has put together a handy cheat sheet of tips to help students, parents, and motorists be safe around buses.
- Be early. Arrive at your bus stop at least five minutes before it comes to pick you up.
- When the bus picks you up, give it some room. Stand at least six feet away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
- Don’t be in a rush to climb onboard. You should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, the door opens, and the driver says that it’s okay before stepping onto the bus.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, you should walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road until you are about 10 feet ahead of the bus before crossing. When you cross, make sure that you can see the bus driver and the bus driver can see you.
- To avoid falls, use the handrails when entering and exiting the bus. Make sure clothing or backpacks don’t get caught in the handrails or doors when you’re leaving the bus.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver before picking it up – the bus driver might not be able to see you.
- Watch out for children walking or bicycling when backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage. A good habit to get into is to walk around your car or out to the sidewalk to check for any children in your path before you get into it.
- Drive slowly and watch for children walking in the street. Keep an eye out for kids playing or waiting around bus stops.
- Even though children are taught about looking both ways, they could dart into the street without looking, so be extra vigilant and aware when driving.
- Every state or province has its own set of laws when it comes to school buses. Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is going to stop or drop off children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm signal let you know that the bus is stopped, and that children are getting on or off. Make sure you know what you have to do as a driver around these signals.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
You’ve fought that urge, admit it. You know what we’re talking about – the one where you instinctively want to check your mobile phone when it goes off, even while you’re driving. You’re dying to see who it is, but you can’t: it’s against the law, it’s not safe.
The Steer Safe, according to its creators, is in compliance with the laws of the Department of Transportation, so it’s safe to use while driving. It holds onto your mobile phone and hooks to the top part of your steering wheel either vertically or horizontally.
It’s a handy accessory when you need to use the GPS function on your phone or if you need to use the loudspeaker to take that important call. The bad news is you still can’t text or forward that hilarious email until you park your vehicle.
The Steer Safe isn’t available for purchase just yet – it’s still a Kickstarter project and they’ve got a bit to go before reaching the backing goal of $20,000. If you think it’s a great idea and you want to get your hands on one as soon as it comes out, feel free to contribute $25 to the project. You can check out Steer Safe’s Kickstarter page for more information.
Before you get too excited, the Taser app isn’t what you think it is. But what it will do is protect your family while they are driving.
A special app that’s only available for Blackberry and Android platforms (it needs Bluetooth to function properly), the Taser prevents cell-phone related driving distractions, promotes responsible driving behaviors, and offers important information you may need in emergency situations. Basically, it locks down your cell phone while you are behind the wheel, so you get that peace of mind for when your teen borrows the car.
Here’s how it works: the app uses Bluetooth to communicate via a small dongle that connects to the vehicle’s diagnostic port. When it makes a connection, it locks down the phone except for the Taser app which gives the user only basic functionality including voice dialing and 911 access. You also get GPS and cellular functionality (with its own SIM card). If you really want to keep an eye on what your teens are doing, it will keep track of a vehicle’s location and will report unsafe driving behavior and accidents – it’s the perfect snitch.
The Taser kit will cost you $249.95 plus a recurring fee starting at $14.95/month. If the price doesn’t shock you (sorry, couldn’t resist), the Taser may be a worthwhile investment, especially if you want to monitor your young drivers.
[Source: Oh Gizmo]
We bet that you wish you could be in the car whenever your teenager takes it out for a spin. Sure, you trust them, but you would feel better if you could make sure they weren’t going too fast or you could turn the radio dial when Howard Stern comes on. Thanks to Ford’s enhanced MyKey system, you’ll feel a lot better the next time your teen asks for the keys.
The latest version of Ford’s MyKey technology actually lets parents block explicit satellite radio content in the vehicle – think of it as a cable or Internet blocker that ensures your kids can’t watch any adult movies while you’re away at work. It will come standard on next year’s Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer, and in the future will be available in a variety of Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Don’t think of it as a nagging device – the MyKey system was designed to help parents encourage safe teen driving habits.
And not only will the MyKey feature limit radio access, it also limits driving speeds too. This easily programmable key lets you limit a vehicle’s top speed at four different settings – 65, 70, 75 or 80 mph. It will also limit radio volume and ensure that your teen puts on a safety-belt usage by muting the radio until they buckle up. The current version of the MyKey feature that launched in 2009 only allows drivers to limit the vehicle’s top speed to 80 mph, with chimes sounding at 45, 55 and 65 mph.
Would a feature like this make you more likely to purchase a Ford? And for all you teen drivers out there, how do you feel about having your parents put a limit on your radio usage and speed limits? Let us know in the comment section below.
You look at the survey headline: “86 Percent Of Teen Drivers Are Distracted.” Of course, you go right to the evils of the cell phone – talking, texting, sending and reading email – or using advanced in-car features. Results from a survey conducted by AAA and Seventeen magazine found that 86 percent of those polled drove distracted – but they consider adjusting the radio and eating in the car as distractions.
In its survey of 2,000 drivers ages 16-19, the two distractions that teens engaged in most were adjusting the radio (73 percent) and eating (61 percent). Coming in third was talking on a cell phone ( 60 percent).
Cell phone use is also more common with the current generation of teens, and many studies have found that using a cell is distracting whether you’re using a handset or hands-free device.
And texting isn’t lost in this survey – thought to be one of the riskiest behaviours to partake in behind the wheel. About 28 percent of respondents admitted to texting while driving. This number may not seem as high as the others, but it should be noted that this 28 percent averaged sending 23 texts a month.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
What scares the bejesus out of you? Spiders? Clowns? Garden gnomes? If you’re a man, chances are you’re afraid of your wife’s or girlfriend’s driving.
So it’s a bit of a stereotype, but a recent poll taken by OnePoll.com, an online market research firm, asked 3,000 men a series of questions about how they felt being a passenger riding along with a female driver. The results found that a third of men are afraid in the passenger seat. Around one-fifth of those polled often grip the seat cushion in fear and one in ten said they had been forced to grab the steering wheel as their partner took her eyes off the road.
OnePoll.com spokesperson said that most men “feel they are better drivers than the women in their lives,” as well as “believe they concentrate a lot better, read road situations more quickly and clearly and have better reactions.” Some of the respondents even went on to say they could never relax when their other half was driving.
Hit the jump for a list of the top 10 complaints made about women’s driving: