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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Safety

Ford Provides Video Details Of New Explorer Off-Road and Safety Features

On: Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 5:05PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Provides Video Details Of New Explorer Off-Road and Safety Features  test 1-1

A day after its big, hyped-up Facebook reveal, the 2011 Ford Explorer has shown up in a series of videos. Ford uses the short clips to provide some hands-on footage of new features of the Explorer, such as the 4WD system's terrain management and Trailer Sway Control. Ford's photo and video team must have made a killing off of the new crossover.

The 2011 Explorer has been a big story this spring and summer, and continues capturing headlines. Ford introduced the newly ordained crossover on Monday, and followed up with a few videos that provide a closer look at the Explorer in action. More specifically,  the videos help to show consumers exactly what the Explorer's new technological features can do on road and off.

How Airbags Protect Motorists and Thier Passengers During an Accident

On: Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 2:15PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

How Airbags Protect Motorists and Thier Passengers During an Accident  test 1-1

Everyone knows that the primary function of automotive airbags is to protect the driver and his/her passengers in the unfortunate event that an accident occurs. But how, exactly, do airbags protect you in an accident and why are they so important when safety ratings are performed?  

During a moderate to severe impact the front airbags are deployed within a fraction of a second and they protect the driver and passengers from being thrown into contact with the car’s interior.

It is important to wear a seat belt; if an occupant is not wearing a seat belt during an accident, there is a much higher probability of severe injury or even death as a result of sitting too close to the airbag, which can be deployed at 200 mph. Driver and front passenger seats should be moved as far back as possible, particularly for shorter people, to prevent being too close to the airbag in case it is deployed in an accident.

Which Safety Car Seat is Best for Your Child?

On: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 3:15PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Which Safety Car Seat is Best for Your Child? test 1-1

New parents looking to provide the safest child car seat for their infant may find that there is more to selecting the best baby car seat than they initially realized, and to complicate matters more, there have been many recalls on seats that were deemed more of a safety hazard than anything. So, how do parents know they are getting the safest car seat for their child?

First of all, it’s important to select a car seat that is fairly simple to use; if you cannot get the belt buckled in a pinch, it will only bring frustration. You should get familiar with the mechanisms of your child safety seat before actually installing it in your car; that way if you have your hands full and the baby is crying, or it’s dark in the car and you cannot see the latching mechanism, you will know how to use it fast and efficiently getting the baby buckled into, and out of, the seat.

Some car seats have special features that enable the seat to be easier to use, including the behind-the-seat harness adjustment, harness straps that won’t twist up, and even some that have automatic tightening and tethering of the straps. There is usually a significant price difference in the seats with extra options.

BMW's New Traffic Assist Technology

On: Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 2:57PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW's New Traffic Assist Technology test 1-1

BMW has announced plans for brand new technology that will assist in supporting “safer and smoother-flowing” traffic, including 15 new projects to create new driver assist systems, as well as programs that will enable resourceful traffic management which BMW calls “Technologies for Intelligent Traffic.”

The technology, designed to intervene when a potential accident is about to occur, is what BMW is calling their “Active Hazard Braking” feature. This feature will, according to BMW, completely prevent nose-to-tail impacts utilizing a laser scanner that will actually monitor for any vehicles that are too close, ahead and to the side. My favorite mechanism in the plan is a surveillance camera that will be on the lookout for those drivers that constantly ride your tail. The car will then use sensors to evaluate a driver’s reaction to having a car close with a risk of imploding in the front of the car, for example, and the brakes will automatically be applied when the driver is not responding correctly, in order to avoid an accident—that is, after the driver is alerted (and does not respond to) the vehicle’s alarm system.

Another project that BMW is working on is the “Car2x Communications” program that will allow the exchange of information from one to another regarding the traffic patterns.

“If this assistance system discovers that the motorist giving way is probably misjudging his approach, the system warns him of a potential collision through a visual and audible signal.”

Additional projects that the group worked on were pedestrian and cyclist safety technology.

Other subprojects within the Active Safety project were the development of Integrated Lateral Assistance, Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety and the crossover project Driver Awareness and Safety as well as a traffic management program that would implement traffic information from internet sites such as Google to view a potential driving route from the drivers vehicle while in route.


Ford Gives Drivers Safe Alternative to Hand-Held Texting

On: Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 11:44AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Gives Drivers Safe Alternative to Hand-Held Texting test 1-1

Say what you want about Ford, but no one can argue the fact that the company is very progressive—for all of you Ford haters—yes, that includes you, John Welch!  The voice recognition (VR) technology that is a part of Ford’s SYNC system is said to be more effective in identifying commands than any other system of its type, recognizing over 10,000 commands without having to pass through a single menu.

One of the problems with other VR systems has been figuring out which specific commands are required to enter a destination or make a call. The Nuance system (utilized by Ford SYNC) has implemented a system that can use a variety of different phrases that let users request the same command for example, "play track" or "play song" will both command the same action.

Now Ford’s new technology for the 2011 MyFord Touch driver connect features a "Do Not Disturb" button to enable motorists to block incoming phone calls and text messages while driving. The option can be selected for the duration of the trip, or for times when there is heavy traffic and the driver does not want to be distracted.

Toyota Complaints Drop Drastically

On: Sat, Jul 17, 2010 at 9:53PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Complaints Drop Drastically  test 1-1

It's been a long time in the making, but there is some good news for Toyota, if only in the short term. According to Reuters, complaints about unintended acceleration have dropped significantly, as media focus has shifted away from Toyota's safety problems. The drop in complaints and media scrutiny should help Toyota rebound and earn back consumer trust and respect after an embarrassing year of major safety recalls, bad press, and fines for inaction.

Beginning in September of 2009, Toyota announced a string of major recalls that affected an eventual 10 million vehicles in total. Two major recalls were made due to unintended acceleration problems. Floor mats and sticking accelerator pedals were cited as the causes of the unintended acceleration, but the media questioned whether there wasn't a greater issue with the electronic throttle-control system.

So far, both Toyota and NHTSA testing has failed to reveal any problems outside of the floor mats and sticking accelerator pedals. The NHTSA is still involved in a thorough review of the recalls and it's likely to be months before it wraps up its investigation and present its findings. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that initial findings by the NHTSA have indicated that a percentage of unintended acceleration complaints were due to driver error and were not caused by vehicle deficincies.

How Crash Tests Are Performed

On: Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 12:39PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

How Crash Tests Are Performed test 1-1

Everyone knows that car crash tests are done to evaluate the level of safety in automobiles, but how, exactly, are those tests performed?
There are several types of crash tests that are performed to establish standards in crashworthiness and crash compatibility for automobiles and components.

Frontal-impact tests have been around the longest and are what most people envision when crash tests are mentioned (the old crash test dummy being thrown into the windshield comes to mind), but nowadays crash tests are much more sophisticated. Test includes crash impact on solid concrete walls at a specific speed, and results of collisions involving high side-impact of SUVs or trucks.

Offset tests involve crash tests where only part of the car impacts with a vehicle, the force of the impact remains approximately the same as in frontal impact tests, but only a portion of the car is required to absorb all of the force. This test is done to evaluate the impact on a car turning into oncoming traffic. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety performs these tests.

Side-impact crash tests are performed to evaluate the result of side-impact crashes, which have a very high incidence of fatality, and to measure the crumple zone for the ability to absorb impact before the occupant is injured. Side-impact crashes, with their high fatality rates, are responsible for inspiring the use of side airbags.

Smithsonian Dedicates Upcoming Website and Exhibit to Auto Safety

On: Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 12:07PM | By: Chris Weiss

Smithsonian Dedicates Upcoming Website and Exhibit to Auto Safety  test 1-1

During a time when interest in auto safety is at its peak, thanks largely to Toyota's unprecedented string of highly publicized safety issues, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is putting together a website and exhibit on auto safety. 10 individuals and companies, including GM and AAA, made a significant donation of auto safety equipment and icons ranging from historical seat belts to crash test dummies. Cars and protecting your vital organs—what's not to like?

Highlights of the donations made to the museum yesterday include the costumes used by Vince and Larry—the crash test dummies featured in the "You Could Learn a Lot From a Dummy" series of ads back in the 1980s and 90s—as well as other crash test dummies and parts. The actors who played Vince and Larry, Tony Reitano and Whitney Rydbeck, even showed up for Wednesday's event. Also on hand were the campaign's co-creator, Jim Ferguson, and its director Bill Dear. The quartet spoke candidly about filming the commercials and gave a little insight about the impact the campaign had on them and the greater public. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belt usage rose 14 percent points as a result of the campaign and an estimated 85,000 lives were spared.

While the Vince and Larry memorabilia created the biggest buzz, donations included a variety of historically significant equipment like a 1967 Chevy steering wheel column that was the world's first collapsible model, the first three-point seat belt from Volvo, 1930s AAA driving manuals, and ignition-integrated breath analyzers from Guardian Interlock.

The Smithsonian will feature the newly donated items on a website dedicated to auto safety from the 1920s through today, and later will include them in an exhibit.

Roger White, a curator at the museum said of the collection, "This is about America’s relationship with its cars; we all know it’s a love affair. But automobiles had to change to make them truly useful and acceptable.”

Safe Driving-AAA Tips to Avoid Falling Asleep At the Wheel

On: Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 11:48AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Safe Driving-AAA Tips to Avoid Falling Asleep At the Wheel test 1-1

Believe it or not, motorists who get behind the wheel of an automobile when they are drowsy have impairments in judgment similar to those motorists driving under the influence of alcohol experience. Simply put; a tired driver is a danger to himself and others.

Defensive Driving-Avoid Tailgaters

On: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 3:05PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Defensive Driving-Avoid Tailgaters  test 1-1

Everyone knows that tailgaters are a pain in the you know what. Following too closely often restricts your vision, and gives you less time to react, should the driver in front of you need to make a sudden stop. In fact, 40% of the accidents are a direct result of following too closely.

Those statistics are the reason the two-second rule was created and integrated into driving safety programs, and appear as a very common test question on most state’s driver’s license exams. 
Okay, so it’s a fairly simple guideline to follow, given the fact that we know we will have cut our risk of being in a rear-end collision in half if we simply adhere, but what about other drivers who are tailgating—following us to closely? There are some practical things that you can do to help ensure your safety when other motorists put you at risk.

Let's say you can't get the guy off your tail and he follows you for several blocks. If something requiring immediate response happens and you actually DO hit the brakes, the tailgater's reaction time may be longer because he is thinking you are just "tapping" your brake lights again—and by tailgating he is already too close for comfort!

The first thing to do is automatically add an extra two seconds between you and the driver in front of you, so that if you need to react you have more time to change lanes or slow down before the guy behind you rear-ends you.

Toyota May Not Be Entirely At Fault in Unintended Acceleration

On: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 9:50AM | By: Chris Weiss

2011 Toyota Avalon  test 2

The United States Department of Transportation has been rigorously analyzing paperwork and equipment relating to Toyota's unintended accleration problems, issues that have caused the recall of more than eight million vehicles, beginning last year. While the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) has already slapped Toyota with a $16.4 million fine, and may still add more fines to that total, a recent report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that the agency is finding that Toyota is not the only party to blame in the acceleration woes. In at least a portion of the complaints, driver error has been found to be the cause of the issue.

In an intensive analysis of dozens of vehicle data recorders taken from Toyota models involved in sudden acceleration incidents, the NHTSA has found that many of them recorded the throttle being fully open and the brakes being disengaged at the time of crashing. This shows that the drivers involved were punching the accelerator, but not stepping on the brakes at all.

The problem of sudden acceleration, which has been linked to both floor mats and defective, sticking accelerator pedals in individual recalls, has been that cars reportedly accelerated even when the brakes were pressed. However, in these newly uncovered incidents, it would appear that the drivers mistakenly hit the accelerator rather than the brakes.

Driver error has also been cited as the cause of some high profile acceleration incidents, including one in New York and one in the San Diego area.