People and what they drive Category

If you go back fifty years, all the major makes and models depended on manual transmissions. Looking at the inside of an older vehicle, you can see why it was called a stick shift, the stalk lurking behind the steering wheel. This and floor-mounted shifts were the standard layout with automatic transmissions considered the toys of the rich. Fuel economy was terrible. They kept breaking down. And the vehicles were more expensive to buy. Coming forward to today’s market and you could not find a more complete reversal. Automatic transmissionsRead More
If parents had any choice, they would never allow their teens behind the wheel of a car. Traffic accidents are the main cause of death for teens overtaking all other natural causes through illness. In 2010, some 3,700 aged between 16 and 19 were killed on our roads and about 280,000 were hospitalized for treatment. If you take the age group from 15 to 24, they represent less than 15% of the population, but are responsible for causing about 30% of the cost of treatment in the whole health careRead More
These days the job of the design staff has grown more interesting because instead of simply focusing on the look of the vehicle, there are now a whole raft of regulations and recommendations from the NHTSA to build into each new generation of the car as it’s readied for the road. Underneath its camouflage, here’s what everyone is saying the 2014 Mini Cooper is going to look like. Not a whole lot different from the old one perhaps. When you’ve hit the winning formula, you don’t change the look andRead More
Despite gas prices edging up ever higher, there seems to be a marked reluctance on the part of ordinary drivers to give up their gas power. It seems the idea of the freedom of the road is built into the American psyche just like the apple pie you pick up at diners on your journeys. For now, this means the internal combustion engine continues to rule even though there’s increasing evidence the supply of oil is slowly coming to an end. So why should we all be rushing to buyRead More
Memorial Day is a time to unite, a time to remember, a time to honor and give respect to those who gave their lives for their country. It’s also the first public holiday as the summer comes closer and temperatures rise. This makes it all the more tempting to get out on the roads for a long weekend. Timing the price hikes to perfection, the gas retailers have been posting increases. Nationally, the average price has risen 7c on the week with the price of a gallon of regular nowRead More

Posted On May 8, 2013By adminIn People and what they drive

Driving in the Dark

Despite sounding like something from a futuristic sci-fi film, automotive night vision has been around for almost fifteen years. Because these systems can only be found on high-end models (with a steep additional cost), most ordinary drivers never see one. So is it worth buying and installing such a device? Is it safe? And, most importantly, does it look like something from a bad ass Batman movie? The first automotive night vision system appeared on the Cadillac Deville in 2000. It consisted of a barely comprehensible green and black blobRead More
People come in all different shapes and sizes, with near perfect abilities and with limited abilities. How should vehicles be designed to be safer for all? How can common denominator vehicles be modified or adapted to make them safer or “better” for people to drive? Let’s start with the learner driver. The technology to limit the speed of vehicles has been around ever since the carburetor was developed. A simple mechanical governor can be placed to prevent the flow of gas going above a preset level. That was then. Today,Read More
Learning to drive and pass the test is only the first step. Then it’s up to you to gain experience in the different types of road conditions for the rest of your driving career. A good driver never stops learning. In the early days, the vehicles themselves were not very safe and considerable skill was required to keep them on the road long enough to get to your destination. Modern drivers have never known the time when breakdowns were common. Every driver had to become familiar with the usual rangeRead More

Posted On May 8, 2013By adminIn People and what they drive

Learning to drive

Like all physical skills, learning to drive depends on your ability to coordinate hand and feet movements with what you can see. If anything is likely to interfere with this activity, the state has difficult decisions on deciding whether each individual applicant is allowed to learn. Although this sounds easy, it’s actually quite difficult to avoid offending people because of their age or “disability”. This is, of course, a joke. No dog would be allowed on the road in America. This is not necessarily the case in New Zealand whereRead More
Human nature has a traditional approach to the future. Unless there’s a particular reason to worry, most people just assume everything will turn out alright. This is particularly true when it involves an everyday activity whether it be cooking or driving. Most people of average ability assume they can produce the standard fare to eat on high days and holidays. The family has gone through the ritual time and time again throughout the years. Why should anything go wrong this time? It’s the same when people jump into their vehiclesRead More