Distracted Teen Driving – 4 Tips

Becoming a new driver as a teenager creates an exhilarating sense of fun and freedom…as well as a boatload of new challenges and dangers.  It can also be a little scary, to say the least.  While genuine guided practice and patience can offset many of those negatives…distracted driving poses an ongoing threat that everyone faces…especially new teenage drivers.  What can they do to avoid distractions?

backseat view of 2 teens driving down country road

  1. No Cell Phones in Hand or Within Reach Temptation – While undeniably useful and convenient, cell phone pose an incredible distraction for any driver.  If it’s out of sight while driving, everyone’s safer.  Driving should be like going to the movies…there’s very little it has to say that can’t wait.  Pull over if you absolutely must check messages or make a call.
  2. Embrace Technology If/When Engaging Devices is Absolutely Necessary – Yes, technology can actually reduce the  intensity of distraction in little ways…like controls for cell phones and music being available right on the steering wheel.  If it helps keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel…try it.
  3. Keep Things Quiet – Advocating total silence while driving is probably unrealistic…nevertheless…it’s a good idea to avoid any kind of major distraction.  If you know there’s a good chance you’ll get caught up in a “Sweet Caroline” moment like the Hyundai commercial…just don’t play the song you know you’ll get lost in.  Heated discussions, verbal romantic interludes and passionate Jerry Maguire moments are best left for driveways and parking lots.
  4. No Makeup in the Car – and no electric razors…for faces OR legs.  Personal grooming is a  documented primary cause of distracted driving for teenagers.  Just don’t do it!  It not only requires you to take your eyes off the road…it takes your hands off the wheel too!

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Bollinger B1 Electric Truck to Beat Tesla?

So far, electric vehicles (EVs) have tended toward high-tech, high speed electronic capsules that almost substitute for your office or a day at the spa.  But what about the needs of people outside of urban areas or downright rural areas that have more utilitarian needs…something along the lines of a low-maintenance workhorse that doesn’t need a saddle or a hay and water trough.

Bollinger Motors recently announced “the world’s first fully electric sport utility truck”…the Bollinger B1…a highly practical pickup truck that traverses the roughest terrain…with zero carbon footprint.  A totally USA centric vehicle that’s designed, engineered and, one day soon, built right here in the United States.

Built on a…

… aluminum chassis that weighs just 295 pounds and incorporates the complete powertrain system as well as off-road suspension. It sports a wheelbase of 105 inches, front and rear tracks of 68 inches, an approach angle of 56 degrees, departure angle of 53 degrees, and break over angle of 33 degrees.

Want more specs?

The bad news:

  1. You can’t get one till “early 2018” says Bollinger
  2. Pricing is “to be determined” …and only then will..
  3. $1,000 deposits accepted in early 2018
  4. Once a production site is nailed down, deliveries could commence in 19 months.

The good news:

  1. 0-60 mph time is about 4.5 seconds and
  2. Top speed is 127 mph
  3. The B1 qualifies as a Class 3 commercial truck which considerably reduces regulatory requirements compared to vehicles intended purely for passenger use.
  4. Bollinger hopes to beat Tesla to market with an EV sport utility vehicle

 

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Tire Safety for Summer

Summer here…the season for family trips and all sorts of travel ideas.  Don’t forget how important your tires are for getting you there!  Here a few simple tire-maintenance tips to keep your travel plans from going off course.


Heat Factor – Proper tire inflation is your #1 concern to keep you rolling…and Heat is the primary enemy. Tires can overheat from being underinflated, overloaded, or pushed at higher speeds. Sizzling hot summer road temperatures can actually cause tire blow outs.  Only about 19 percent of consumers properly inflate their tires, according to government estimates. A simple inspection can improve your safety:

  1. Check pressure when the tires are at same temperature as their surroundings, typically after they’ve been parked for more than 3 hours.
  2. Set the pressure to the prescribed level, which can be found on a placard on the driver’s doorjamb in most cars. Don’t use the pressure that’s noted on the tire’s sidewall; that’s the maximum pressure allowed for the tire.

Don’t Overload – Often miscaculated!  Here, the tire information placard IS your guide. It provides the allowable weight of all occupants and cargo combined.  Beware! Many vehicles hit maximum load capacity with just a few adults…and absolutely nothing in the trunk.

Spare Tire Check Monthly – Repeat…Monthly!  This is so overlooked …it’s not funny.  Check your spare tire every time you do  your regular monthly tire inflation check …AND before long-distance trips.

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Also Read: Changing a Tire in 8 Easy Steps from last month…practice makes perfect!

Changing a Tire in 8 Easy Steps

Been a little reluctant to try changing a tire on your own?  Go ahead!…the weather’s beautiful…and it beats trial by fire along side a highway when you’re late for a meeting.

Here they are 3 steps…easy peasy, lemon squeezy:

  1. Loosen the Lugs – Once the car is on flat ground and the brake is set, break the lugs loose by turning them counterclockwise.
  2. Jack up the Car – Raise the car with the jack until the flat tire is completely raised off the ground.
  3. Off With the Flat – Once the car is off the ground, fully remove the wheel lugs and take off the flat tire.

 

Here’s the slightly longer version:

  1. Get to a safe spot
  2. Find your spare tire, jack and tire iron
  3. Loosen the wheel lugs
  4. Jack up the car
  5. Remove the flat tire
  6. Install the spare
  7. Lower the car and tighten the wheel lugs completely
  8. Important details about compact spare tires

 

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Legendary 1971 Plymouth Barracuda – 58,000% Increase

Been looking for that hot investment opportunity? Classic muscle cars might be worth looking at.  A unique combination of valuation factors can come into play…paying out leveraged dividends like you never thought possible…into the Thousands (1000’s) of percent increase over their original purchase price.  This 1971 Plymouth Barracuda, for example, has enjoyed a 58,000% increase in value.  But unrestored “mint condition” is a top quality that’s hard to come by.

Sfoskett~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=220464

Another classic car example is the 1967 Shelby Cobra…increasing 17,000% to $1.3 million. Other models are also yanking in big bucks at auctions around the US (shown below) includes the Cadillac Eldorado, Chevy Corvette, Pontiac Bonneville, Ford Thunderbird, and Ford Mustang GT.

chart showing 12 top performing value increases of classic cars

The percentage increase in value is influenced by a unique algorithm with intangibles…the three Ps: popularity, pop culture and production volume.

“Many people think today’s uber-expensive vehicles always came with a hefty price tag, but these vehicles show that’s clearly not the case,” Eric Lawrence ~ Black Book

Every year since 2013 has brought record prices for classic cars—but the market is stabilizing. The prices paid for cars increased 25% in 2014 and rose by nearly 18% in both 2015 and 2016, according to the HAGI Top Index, a measure of prices paid for cars that cost more than £100,000 ($122,670). Most of the cars were sold in auctions around the world.

 

Read More – MarketWatch

 

Honda’s New Safe Driving Technology: Safe Swarm

Ever watch a documentary on sea life that showed schools of smaller fish swimming in unison?  Honda has…and they’ve invented a new safe driving technology based on that “bio-mimicry” concept that may one day affect the way vehicles communicate and interact on the highway.  Unveiled at the 2017 CES show…it’s called Safe Swarm and uses vehicle-to-vehicle communication to help human drivers.

The Safe Swarm concept basically takes information received by one vehicle equipped with the technology…and passes it on to others close by (also equipped)…allowing vehicle reactions way before a human driver would be able to react on his own.  So, for example, the same bit of information can actually be propagated in almost real-time to following cars…miles behind, potentially…so drivers have ample reaction time to avoid problems and collisions.

To be fair…similar technology is being developed by other car companies.  And though this tech will probably not manifest in vehicles produced within the next year or two…it highlights how big of a concept connectivity between vehicles as a safety feature…will be in the near future.

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All Pro Towing & Recovery Celebrates Small Business Saturday 11/26/16

The Small Business Saturday Story

  • 2010 – Day One –  The first-ever Small Business Saturday took place on Nov 27.  It encouraged people across the country to support small, local businesses.
  • 2011 – The Day Became Official – The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday.
  • 2012 – EVERY STATE IN THE UNION – From Washington D.C., to Washington State, governors, mayors, and even President Obama championed Small Business Saturday.
  • 2013 – Neighborhoods Celebrated The Day – The day continued to grow, with more individuals and local organizations pledging to support the day as Neighborhood Champions.
  • 2014 – SMALL BUSINESSES OWNED THE DAY – American Express encouraged small business owners to take charge of the day, helping them promote their businesses with free personalized ads, which appeared millions of times across the web.
  • 2015 – ONE FOR THE BOOKS – Shoppers supported their neighborhood businesses like never before, continuing to embrace the day as a holiday shopping tradition.

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Car Hackers Bottom Line: Cash, Not Wrecks

If you’re even a vague car enthusiast, headlines like these may be becoming a bit too familiar…and putting you on edge…especially if you own a newer vehicle with any kind of autonomous driving features or vehicle-to-vehicle communications that are becoming the norm with connected vehicles.

Oh, crap: hackers find new ways to override Jeep, Tesla software
Chinese hackers control Tesla brakes, lights from 12 miles away
Latest worry for Volkswagen owners: Wireless hack can unlock millions of Audis, Porsches, VWs

Who wouldn’t be concerned while watching videos (like below) of the steering and braking functions of various vehicles being taken control of by invisible strangers.

 

But taking control of a vehicles driving functions are not only extremely difficult…they have little to no financial incentive.

“Attackers will try to find exploits that provide a financial incentive, and it seems that safety-critical attacks don’t provide any obvious monetary return,” Andre Weimerskirch – VP Cybersecurity – Lear Corp.

Much more likely hacker activities, according to Weimerskirch, are money motivated things like:

  • Stealing the Vehicle – by remotely unlocking it.
  • Ransom – instead of stealing it outright…taking temporary control in exchange for a cash payment to regain control.
  • Hack into Vehicle Connected Cellphones – to steal credit card information, or use location data and apps to break into the driver’s home.

By 2020, about  55 percent of all new vehicles will be connected to a network like OnStar or Uconnect…according to the IIHS.  Older vehicles already have aftermarket solutions that will make the total of all the cars worldwide with some level of connectivity…at roughly 50 percent by then.  That ability for connected cars to “talk” to each other is what creates vulnerability to hackers.  It’s a sophisticated potential threat that vehicle owners have virtually no control over…responsibility resting almost exclusively with car makers.  But unfortunately, only about 40 percent of car companies have cybersecurity units dedicated to the problem…according to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Co.

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Red-light Cameras Save Lives…Hundreds Annually

Ever received a traffic citation in the mail with a photo that shows your car running a red light?  Suddenly finding out that you need to pay a fine is probably never a nice surprise…but if you live in one of the almost 500 US cities that utilize red-light cameras that that automatically doll out tickets for violators…a new study just might make you a bit more grateful.

The effects of red-light camera programs have been hotly debated since they began in many municipalities years ago. For the first time, we’re learning that they’re actually saving lives…measurably.

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently reviewed what results when cities that formerly used red-light photo enforced traffic cameras…and, for whatever reason…decided to terminate their program (click this map to check if your city uses red-light cameras. Spoiler Alert: Gilroy has two [2]).  Each of the cities studied had populations greater than 200,000 people…so there’s a statistically sound basis for legitimacy of the study’s results.

The IIHS study was done in two separate parts from differing perspectives:

  • Part 1:  57 cities that started and continued programs from 1992 to 2014 were compared with 33 cities that don’t have any.  Ultimately…cities with red-light cameras had 21 percent fewer deaths related to collisions with red light runners and 14 percent fewer deaths from other crashes than cities without cameras.
  • Part 2:  14 cities were reviewed that ended their red-light camera programs between the years 2010 and 2014.  Those 14 cities were then compared with 29 others that had similar populations and regions.

The bottom line: terminating the red-light camera programs resulted in a 30 percent increase in deaths due to crashes with red-light runners and a 16 percent increase in deaths from other types of collisions.

“Debates over automated enforcement often center on the hassle of getting a ticket and paying a fine. It’s important to remember that there are hundreds of people walking around who wouldn’t be here if not for red light cameras.” ~ Adrian Lund – IIHS President

But, for the sake of equality…here’s a video that considers the opposing view:

 

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Tires – The Replacement Dilemma

The honeymoon’s over with your “new” car when it’s original tires start showing serious wear and you need to worry about replacing them.  Where the rubber meets the road is a famous expression for a reason…so you know that getting new tires is a serious task.  But where should you get them?  There’s really just 5 basic choices:

  1. Car Dealer – where you actually bought the car from in the first place
  2. National Chain Tire Store
  3. Online Tire Retailer
  4. Big Box Chain Retailer like Costco or Walmart
  5. Independent Local Tire Dealer or your Local Mechanic

Getting some unbiased, objective advice…even professionally done research is always a good idea.  Consumer Reports is a famous place for getting exactly that.  Here are some tips to help you weed through the 5 types of tire sellers…and about 10 of the most well known manufacturers to guide you through the process of making a good choice.

 

Some may feel safe with the idea that sticking with the exact same tire that came with the new car as purchased from the dealer.  But often, switching to a different tire brand can be a wise choice.  It’s a whole subject worth discussing separately, so stay tuned!

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