People and what they drive Category


Posted On July 16, 2014By adminIn People and what they drive

How to teach driving?

The traditional approach was to put the learner behind the wheel of a vehicle and point them in the direction of the road. This was usually the family car and, in theory, a parent was in charge of the educational experience. This was not so dangerous if the parents chose off-peak times and stayed off the main roads, but as the volume of urban traffic has increased, it’s become less common for parents to assume the responsibility. Driving schools have stepped into the commercial space, with schools and colleges acceptingRead More
In theory, the people who design the vehicles we drive take every small detail and think about it. That way, they always deliver a vehicle with optimized safety. Well, unfortunately, that’s only in our dreams. As General Motors has so effectively demonstrated, all safety considerations are subject to price caps. Anything that threatens the bottom line, even by a few cents, is out. Except, perhaps, in one area of design. Even though it’s the most dangerous time of the day to be driving, many people seem to want to driveRead More

Posted On July 7, 2014By adminIn People and what they drive

The British nanny state

The Brits are sometimes not a little weird in the way they allow the law to impact their lives. Whereas we Americans are trained from birth to deal with obviously fake advertising and marketing strategies, the British government has forced the creation of the Advertising Standards Authority. The advertising industry was told in no uncertain terms that if it did not effectively police itself, the government would regulate. The ASA therefore enforces a code drawn up by the advertisers. This is not simply a duty not to mislead. The advertisersRead More
Back in the way back when, people would think nothing of jumping into their vehicles and just driving for the Hell of it. With gas so cheap and even new vehicles not so expensive, it was just a fun way of passing the time. The fact you might go several hundred miles on a round trip for a beer and a sandwich was just part of the car culture. We were all hooked on the idea of being “Kings of the Road”. Indeed, when young, we prided ourselves on beingRead More
In science fiction novels and movies, ground and sometimes air transport is powered by some undefined type of battery or there’s a compact power-generating source. It’s convenient to describe or show these things working without feeling the need to explain the technology behind them. It’s a form of science-as-magic approach to world-building. Coming to our reality, scientists are trying to convince lawmakers there’s a problem with the climate. This is pushing both the federal and some state lawmakers into requiring the development of zero-emission vehicles. Environmentally friendly design is theRead More
Well, it’s that time of year again. With Memorial Day come and gone, we’re into what’s politely called the summer driving season when all the folk who have spent the colder winter months hunkering close to home, suddenly kick the tires and fill up with gas. The call of the wild blue yonder is irresistible as we head out for that cottage or campground. This year, we have been through the arctic vortex and really icy weather and, somehow, it’s the dog-days of summer and our chance to lose ourRead More
For the record, this magazine does not believe in any causation that depends on the supernatural. We’re entirely scientific when it comes to cause and effect. So we never look at predictions based on the alignment of the stars to see whether it’s safe to drive, or try to invoke luck by hanging a pair of dice in a vehicle. So here’s a simple question for you. When the good folk landed at Plymouth Rock, they brought with them a devout belief that black cats were companions to witches. IfRead More

Posted On May 26, 2014By adminIn People and what they drive

Why have speed limits?

People who ask this question usually have a political agenda. They want to argue the local or state government is using the fines to pad out the state budget. The more police issue tickets, the smaller the deficit. These people almost always assert they are good drivers. They claim never to have had an accident. They say they are safe driving at high speeds. They think speed limits are for the poor drivers. The problem with this argument is that it ignores all the evidence. No matter which country youRead More
Let’s take a simple comparison as our starting point. One truck can carry several tons of cargo. One train with flatbeds could carry more than one hundred trucks. If you work out how much fuel is being used by the rail delivery system, it’s a fraction the cost of the gas burned by hundreds of trucks. So if all we’re interested in doing is producing the most cost-effective system for delivering cargo to distribution centers, the automatic choice would be rail. And, for the most part, that’s what happens inRead More
Chevrolet Volt 2014 hybrid
When folk at the bottom of the Greek hill called Mount Olympus heard the thunder and saw the lightning flash, they made up stories about Gods who controlled the weather and other aspects of their environment. They didn’t know any better. Now we’re in the Age of Enlightenment and know some science, we understand thunder and lightning have nothing to do with gods. Well, it’s time to bring the same level of understanding to the question of electric vehicles, specifically the Chevrolet Volt. So let’s start off with the balancingRead More