The most important innovation in automotive safety technology in recent years is the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, cars with this feature are in half as many rear-end crashes as other vehicles.
The ABCs of AEB systems
Thanks to sensors, radars and cameras, an AEB system is able to detect objects in front of the car and automatically apply the brakes when a collision is imminent. AEB systems generally include one or more of the following features:
• Dynamic brake support (DBS), which enhances a drivers’ braking when they aren’t pressing the brakes firmly enough to avoid a collision.
• Crash imminent braking (CIB), which automatically applies the car’s brakes when the driver has failed to take action to avoid a crash.
• Forward collision warning (FCW). This feature alerts drivers of an imminent collision with beeping, a flashing light in the instrument panel or by tightening the seat belt. If the driver fails to brake despite the warning, the CIB system (if included) kicks in.
Some but not all AEB systems are able to detect pedestrians as well as cars.
Availability of AEB systems
In 2018, 30 percent of new vehicles came standard with AEB systems, while 40 percent more offered them as an option. By 2022, virtually all new cars sold in North America will come standard with AEB systems.
AEB systems are meant to be a safeguard against distracted driving, which has become a serious problem on our roads. However, it’s in no way a substitute for an alert, conscientious driver.
Stay Safe on the Road: The Importance of Proper Tire Pressure
How Maintaining Correct Tire Pressure Can Save Lives and Money.
The Rubber Manufacturers’ Association emphasizes that proper tire maintenance is not just a matter of vehicle upkeep; it’s a crucial aspect of road safety. One key element often overlooked by drivers is tire pressure. Maintaining the correct tire pressure is vital for safe driving, yet many vehicles are on the road with underinflated tires, posing significant risks.
Risks of Under-Inflation
Under-inflated tires are a common issue and can lead to dangerous situations. When tires are not properly inflated, the risk of losing control or skidding increases significantly. This risk is compounded by the fact that tire pressure can be low even if the tires don’t appear flat, making regular checks essential.
Checking Tire Pressure
To ensure your tires are correctly inflated, refer to the label on your car’s door, glove compartment, or fuel door. This label provides the recommended air pressure, which may differ for front and rear tires, especially in SUVs. Remember, tire pressure guidelines vary among vehicle makes and models.
When to Check
It’s best to test tire pressure when tires are cold, as driving heats up the tires and may give a false reading. Make it a habit to check tire pressure every couple of weeks and always before embarking on a long trip.
Good Driving Habits
In addition to maintaining proper tire pressure, avoiding fast starts and stops, steering clear of curbs while parking, and not overloading the car can help extend tire life and enhance safety. These practices, combined with regular tire pressure checks, contribute to safer driving conditions.
Proper tire pressure is a simple yet crucial aspect of vehicle maintenance that significantly impacts safety and efficiency. By routinely checking tire pressure and adhering to good driving habits, drivers can save money on tire replacements and fuel costs and, more importantly, safeguard their lives and the lives of others on the road.
Winter is Coming: The Importance of a Pre-Winter Car Inspection
Three Compelling Reasons to Get Your Car Winter-Ready.
With winter around the corner, car owners are advised to prioritize their vehicle’s health. A pre-winter car inspection by a professional is more than just a routine check; it’s crucial to ensure your vehicle’s reliability and safety during the challenging winter months.
Here are three vital reasons why booking a pre-winter car inspection is essential:
- Optimal Timing: Fall is the perfect season for a car inspection. It’s a strategic move to pair this check-up with the installation of winter tires. As the holiday season approaches, ensuring your car is in top condition is vital for safe and enjoyable year-end road trips. Moreover, a pre-holiday inspection might be more budget-friendly as expenses typically ramp up during the holiday season.
- Expert Eye for Hidden Issues: Even the most knowledgeable car owners might miss subtle issues. A car that runs smoothly now doesn’t guarantee it will brave the winter without problems. With their expertise and specialized tools, professional mechanics can identify and fix minor issues before they escalate into major problems. This proactive approach is essential for preventing costly repairs and inconvenient breakdowns in the cold weather.
- Cost Savings and Long-term Benefits: Regular inspections, ideally twice a year, are not just about immediate fixes; they’re an investment in your car’s long-term health. Catching small problems early can substantially reduce repair costs. Consistent maintenance also keeps your manufacturer’s warranty intact. Additionally, a well-maintained car commands a higher resale value, proving beneficial if you plan to sell your vehicle.
A pre-winter car inspection is a small step that leads to significant peace of mind. It ensures that your vehicle is prepared for the harsh conditions of winter, ultimately saving you time, money, and stress. As the cold season approaches, remember that a well-maintained car is key to a safe and smooth driving experience.
Get More Miles from Your Tires: Four Proven Tips
Maximizing the Longevity of Your Vehicle’s Footwear.
We’ve all felt the pain of parting with our hard-earned cash for a new set of tires. It’s not just a purchase; it’s an investment in safety, comfort, and performance. Wouldn’t it be great if we could stretch every dollar spent by making our tires last just a bit longer? Here are four effective strategies that can help you get the most out of those rubber rings circling your wheels.
1. Twice-Yearly Tire Rotation
One of the most straightforward tips is to rotate your tires. By simply swapping the front and rear tires in spring and fall, you can ensure even wear. This step not only boosts the tire’s lifespan but also helps in achieving a smoother drive.
2. Keeping the Pressure Just Right
While it might seem like a minor detail, maintaining the correct air pressure in your tires can significantly influence their lifespan. Over-inflated or under-inflated tires tend to wear out faster and can even affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. A quick pressure check during monthly fill-ups or routine stops at the gas station can save both your tires and wallet.
3. Proper Tire Storage is Key
If you’re swapping out seasonal tires, their storage matters. For those on rims, lay them flat, but for the rimless kind, standing them up is the way to go. But no matter how you store them, remember to keep them away from direct sunlight and dampness, which can deteriorate the rubber over time.
4. Smooth Ride, Longer Tire Life
Your car’s suspension system plays a pivotal role in how your tires wear. If the shock absorbers are worn out, your tires bear the brunt. A good indicator that it might be time to check your suspension is if your vehicle seems to bounce a bit too much, especially over bumps or uneven surfaces.
James Turner, a mechanic with over 20 years of experience, emphasizes the importance of these practices. “I can’t stress enough how a little attention to your tires can lead to substantial savings,” Turner says. “Regular checks and maintenance can add thousands of miles to a tire’s life.”
In the grand scheme of car ownership, taking a few moments to care for your tires can result in tangible benefits. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also enjoy a safer and smoother driving experience. Remember, the health of your tires directly impacts the health of your driver. So, invest a little time now and save a lot in the long run.
Brighten Your Path: The Importance of Polishing Your Car’s Headlights
How Headlight Polishing Enhances Safety and Visibility on Winter Roads.
Winter is just around the corner, and with it comes the need for special attention to car maintenance. Among the various tasks, polishing headlights might seem trivial, but it’s far from just cosmetic. It’s an important safety measure. Let’s delve into why polishing your headlights is not only beneficial but essential.
Headlights are crucial for two primary reasons:
- Visibility: They enable you to see clearly while driving at night or in low-light conditions like dusk or heavy snowfall.
- Conspicuity: They ensure other motorists can see you, which is crucial in preventing accidents.
Over time, headlights can become dull or yellowed due to exposure to UV rays, significantly reducing their effectiveness. This deterioration can lead to dangerous driving situations, especially in winter when days are shorter and visibility is often compromised.
Safety Aspect: Dim or yellowed headlights can impair your ability to spot obstacles in time, increasing the risk of accidents. Equally, if your car is less visible to others, it might be too late for them to react appropriately. Therefore, maintaining clear headlights is vital for safe driving.
Cost-Effective Maintenance: If your headlights are cracked or deeply scratched, they need immediate replacement. However, polishing is an effective and economical solution for mild dullness or yellowing. You can opt for professional polishing services, generally available under $100, or do it yourself with a non-toxic paste. This small investment can significantly improve your headlights’ clarity and functionality.
Polishing not only restores the appearance of your vehicle but, more importantly, enhances your visibility on the road. This is especially crucial during winter months when early darkness and adverse weather conditions are common.
Ensuring your vehicle is ready to face the season’s challenges is essential as winter approaches. Polishing your headlights is a simple yet crucial step in your car maintenance routine. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s a vital safety measure that enhances visibility and ensures a safer driving experience. Remember, clear headlights are not just for you to see better but also for others to see you.
Do You Remember Road Safety Rules? Test Your Knowledge!
Brushing Up On Safe Driving.
We get it. You’ve been on the road for years, and driving is now almost like second nature. But road safety rules? How well do you remember those intricate details that could make a difference? Let’s test your knowledge and see if you’ve got what it takes to score perfectly on this driving safety quiz!
The Rules of the Road
1. Navigating the Roundabout
Question: Which action should you avoid in a roundabout?
A. Stopping in the roundabout
B. Driving around again
C. Going counterclockwise
2. Right Turn on Red
Question: How should you handle a right turn at a red light (where it’s allowed)?
A. Stop completely and wait for those crossing
B. Make the turn as soon as the coast is clear
C. Both of the above
3. The School Bus Conundrum
Question: In which situation can you continue without stopping when you see a stationary school bus?
A. When you have at least two lanes between you and the bus
B. When there’s a center divider between you two
C. When crossing an intersection without passing the bus
4. Respecting the Safety Corridor
Question: Which stationary vehicles with blinking or hazard lights should be given a safety corridor?
A. Police cars, ambulances, tow trucks
B. Fire trucks, road control, wildlife protection vehicles
C. All vehicles listed above
True or False Round
5. Factors like how long you’ve been awake, trip duration, time, and drinking can make you sleepy while driving.
- Speeding up just because someone is overtaking you is not just rude but illegal.
- Any screens (like a DVD player) that aren’t for driving and are visible from the driver’s spot are not allowed.
- You should lower your headlights in well-lit areas, like city roads, so you don’t blind others.
Answers & Explanations
- A – Roundabouts aren’t places for sudden stops unless there’s danger.
- A – Always ensure it’s safe before turning.
- B – Always stop for school buses, as children might be crossing.
- C – Safety corridors matter for all these vehicles.
- True – All these can affect your alertness.
- True – Let’s keep the road-friendly and lawful.
- True – Stay focused on the road ahead.
- True – A courtesy to other drivers.
Stay Safe, Stay Informed
Whether you aced the quiz or stumbled on a few, it’s always good to refresh your memory. Driving isn’t just about getting from point A to B. It’s about ensuring everyone gets there safely. So the next time you’re on the road, remember these rules, and happy driving!
Spotting a Tire Puncture: Know the Signs
Quick Actions Can Prevent Lengthy Troubles.
We’ve all been there – cruising down the road when suddenly the car doesn’t feel quite right. A tire puncture can sneak up on anyone, and knowing the early signs might just save the day. In a world where safety is paramount, it’s essential to recognize the difference between a fast puncture and a slow one. Here’s what you need to know.
The Telltale Signs
- Tire Takes a Breather: One of the most obvious signs is a deflating tire. If you notice your tire looking flatter than usual, it’s a clear hint.
- Feeling the Vibe: Ever felt your steering wheel shudder and shake? That vibration can be a tire’s distress call.
- Pulling You Along: If you suddenly find your vehicle having a mind of its own, veering to one side, it’s high time to pull over and check.
Fast Puncture Vs. Slow Puncture: Know the Difference
- When Things Go ‘Bang’: The fast puncture is the drama queen of tire issues. It’s sudden, loud, and often accompanied by noises like bangs or flaps. When objects like nails or glass make a forceful entrance, this type of puncture is usually the result. And the action to take? Stop the car, replace the tire if prepared, or call for professional help.
- The Silent Sabotage: On the other side of the spectrum, the slow puncture is the sneaky troublemaker. Its signs are subtle since the tire deflates at a gradual pace. It can be due to minor holes or slight tears in the tire’s tread. However, just because it’s less noticeable doesn’t mean it’s less harmful. When suspected, a visit to a repair shop should be a top priority.
Whether it’s a sharp suddenness or a gradual giveaway, punctures compromise the integrity of a vehicle. And the consequences? They range from damaging the tire beyond repair to risking an accident. The golden rule? Swift action. Driving on a compromised tire isn’t a risk worth taking. Safety, after all, should always come first.