Surviving the 3 Scariest Car Scenarios

Sometimes drivers don’t take precautionary advice as seriously as they should…until something unfortunate actually happens to them or someone they know.  The potential danger just doesn’t seem as real until drivers have some first hand experience that scares them and makes  think a little.   Since driving a car is a necessary daily event for many of us that has become commonplace, it’s perhaps easy to become desensitized to the variety and intensity of dangerous outcomes that can befall us whenever we get behind the wheel.

For some who do experience dangerous and horrific traumas, yet manage to survive them, it becomes a fervent mission to tell their story so others can avoid the same experience…and most importantly, avoid a life threatening outcome.  Kids and Cars founder Janette Fennell is an incredible example.   In 1995, she and her husband were carjacked, robbed and left in their trunk in an remote location.  Fortunately, they escaped, but didn’t discover that their infant son was unharmed until they arrived back home to find him sitting in his baby seat in the driveway.  Janette later founded the advocacy group Kids and Cars and successfully lobbied to get trunk releases required in all new vehicles.

Could something similar happen to you? Approximately 45,000 carjackings occur each year.

Carjacker In/Near Your Vehicle
The key to keeping yourself safe is to vigilantly scan your surroundings. People in parking lots tend to be arriving or leaving without much delay.  So someone just standing around for any period of time…uninvolved with getting in or out of a car…might be looking for a potential victim.  So don’t dally…quickly get in your vehicle and lock the doors.  But if someone is already in your car or about to confront you? Immediately comply and move away. Give them what they want and create as much distance between you and the intruder as possible.  If the car is stationery…get out…even if it’s in drive. If it’s moving, stop quickly and get out.

Car Trouble or Flat Tire at Night
Stay in your car and call for help!  Many people make the biggest mistake of getting out of their vehicle in the midst of or near traffic.  Traffic behind you will invariably begin to slow and stop. If an apparent good Samaritan or helpful stranger comes close… don’t open the door. Just talk to them through the window and ask them to call the police if you are unable to do so.

Car in Flashflood, Mudslide or Sinking in Water
Probably the most valuable things to have for this situation is a Life Hammer device.  It’s a small tool that makes it easier to break out windows and cut seat belts if needed…to help you escape a crashed or submerged vehicle.

One of the biggest challenges to overcome is that water will cause the power to go out and most modern cars have power locks and windows.  Trying to open the door while the car is filling up with water is almost impossible.  After it’s full, it may be too late.  The minute or so after a car lands in water, but is not yet submerged is when it’s easiest to escape and survive…according to researchers from the University of Manitoba. They recommend exiting through the side windows while the vehicle is still floating.  The key is to think and move quickly.

384 occupants die in motor vehicle crashes involving water submersion each year…according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

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Car Safety’s Next New Technology: V2V

V2V is new technology that promises to solve limitations of current adaptive driving capabilites and offer a wider perspective on urban traffic challenges. It uses a small radio transmitters & receivers on each vehicle to broadcast information about its location, speed, and direction to other vehicles within several hundred yards. Unlike current radar, lidar, camera, and other sensors, it can know what oncoming vehicles are doing—or even those around corners and out of sight. The idea is to use this information to help electronic safety systems work more smoothly and safely.

graphic showing several vehicles interacting with V2V technology

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was at Delphi Labs @ Silicon Valley earlier this year to announce a series of steps to speed life-saving technology innovations to America’s highways.  The Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will expedite its public time table for its proposed requirement of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication devices in new vehicles, and is working to accelerate testing necessary to ensure that V2V and vehicle-to-infrastructure transmissions are free from radio interference.

“The Department wants to speed the nation toward an era when vehicle safety isn’t just about surviving crashes; it’s about avoiding them. . .Connected, automated vehicles that can sense the environment around them and communicate with other vehicles and with infrastructure have the potential to revolutionize road safety and save thousands of lives.” ~ U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx

  • Accelerating the schedule of NHTSA’s proposal to require V2V equipment on new vehicles.
  • Developing an expedited test plan on interference with V2V signals.
  • Ensuring that the Department’s regulatory framework accelerates safety innovations.

The necessary hardware entails a small box containing a radio transmitter, receiver and as a microcomputer…all costing about $300.  Basically, they are tricked out versions of existing Wi-Fi systems currently used with desktop computers…but optimized for moving vehicles and having about a half mile range.

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Heads Up Danger: Shattering Sunroofs

Sunroofs are shattering across the country, injuring and scaring drivers. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation is underway to determine what’s responsible.

Read More – USAToday


Spontaneously Shattering Sunroofs Prompt Federal Investigation – ABC News

ABC World News
While waiting at a stop sign…all of a sudden we hear what sounded like a gunshot.  Wade Owens says his shattered while driving on the highway. “All the glass caves in…BOOM!  Plus, more stories online about drivers in shock. “My sunroof exploded in front of my eyes.”  Glass expert Mark Meshulam demonstrates what is it looks like when a sunroof shatters. Even pushing it down to simulate it falling on the driver. The cracks go at over 3,000 miles an hour so in an absolute instant this glass is completely broken. What’s going on?  Most are made of tempered glass for your safety breaking into smaller more rounded pieces instead of sharp dangerous shards but experts say that can lead to spontaneous shattering if there’s a manufacturing defect. The glass is constantly in tension and just like when you put a pin in a balloon it catastrophically breaks, the same thing happens with tempered glass.   “GMA Investigates” finding nearly 400 complaints in the national highway traffic safety administration’s database across all makes and models. NHTSA is telling us it’s reviewing the complaints and investigating certain Kia Sorentos. Kia is telling us it’s evaluating the performance of the panoramic sunroofs in the 2011 to 2013 vehicles but in their investigation have found only foreign objects such as rocks and gravel have been identified as the cause of sunroof breakage. Now, some auto safety experts are calling on NHTSA to create new safety standards for sunroofs. Like requiring them to be made of laminated glass like that used in windshields. Which when hit remain in place to protect the driver. You should not have to ride at risk worrying about whether your sunroof is going to explode over you.

For “Good Morning America,” Mara Schiavocampo, ABC News, New York.  > Read More – ABCNews


NHTSA Upgrades Investigation Into Shattering Kia Sorento Sunroofs – TheCarConnection

Back in October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into the 2011-2013 Kia Sorento after a string of complaints that the crossover’s sunroof imploded.
It doesn’t sound like things have gotten any better for the Georgia-built crossover. According to Automotive News, last year’s investigation has now been upgraded to an investigation for an engineering analysis, which it says is a “step in a process” that could eventually lead to a recall if the agency deems it necessary.

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Shattering Sunroofs: Audi Latest to Issue a Recall – NBCNews

Sunroofs are intended to give you a clear view of the heavens above without the hassle – or cost – of buying a convertible. But few owners are likely to anticipate the problems that have so far snared at least three automakers, according to reports on file with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Audi is the latest manufacturer to order a recall because the sunroofs on several models can unexpectedly shatter – creating not only a crisis in a rainstorm but also the risk of an accident, warns NHTSA.

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Safest Car Choices for Teen Drivers

Honda Accord - 2008

Tis the season for high school graduation ceremonies and the most coveted teenage new grad gift: a new car.  Though teens and parents often have different motivations for vehicle model choice, whoever is doling out the cash usually has the larger say.   For parents, safety and protection of their kids are naturally top priorities…another reason why money is a crucial factor in the car budgeting process.  Newer cars tend to be more crashworthy and have other key safety features like side airbags.  And the sad fact is that teen drivers ultimately have more fatal car crashes than do adults, so it’s difficult to over exaggerate the safety angle (  Beginning with vehicle size and weight, here are three (3) key factors to consider in choosing the safest cars for teen drivers.

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