Tag: Safety

By on May 20, 2020

If your vehicle spends any time — or will spend any time — suspended on jack stands bought from Harbor Freight, heed this warning: those stands might not suspend anything.

The company has issued recalls on its 3-ton and 6-ton jack stands, sold under the Pittsburgh name, out of fear they could collapse suddenly. (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2020

tesla factory fremont, Image: Tesla Motors

Furious over a decision by county officials to keep all non-essential businesses offline until the end of the month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced late Monday that his Fremont, California assembly plant is opening up anyway.

The move comes two days after the automaker filed a lawsuit against Alameda County. In it, Tesla called the county’s order unconstitutional and in violation of California Governor Gavin Newson’s statewide return-to-work mandate. Should county officials call in the cops, Musk wishes to be the only one in cuffs. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2020

Ontario Provincial Police, via Twitter

A finely tuned German road machine is always seeking to influence its driver. Prodding the individual to let down their defenses, throw caution to the wind, and open ‘er up.

Make any road your Autobahn. Feel alive, if only for once in your pathetic, stinking life, the German car whispers…

And yet, despite the supercar-fighting prowess instilled into many Mercedes-AMG products, you can’t blame the car or the manufacturer once Johnny Law catches up to you. Especially when you’re a teenager clocked going 191 mph in dad’s C63. (Read More…)

By on May 8, 2020

IIHS

We’ve talked about being upside down on auto loans on these digital pages before, but we’ve never really talked about being… upside down. Literally.

Sometimes all the traction in the world does nothing to keep a car’s undercarriage pointed towards terra firma. Sunroofs can become glass floors in a hurry, especially if soft earth or an impacting vehicle unexpectedly enters the scene. In the case of Jeep’s latest Wrangler Unlimited, the unexpected trip 90-degrees from vertical took place in the worst place possible: in front of cameras, in the crash test facility of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Suffice it to say the institute frowned upon the Wrangler’s unrecoverable roll to starboard. (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2020

Image: General Motors

It’s something we’ve touched upon in the recent past: the fact that, in these pandemic times, a private vehicle is the safest way to get around (from a contagion standpoint). It seems we’re not the only one to rethink the attributes of a personal car. Japanese driving schools are suddenly doing a booming business. Cars.com reports a sudden surge in non-car-owning visitors.

According to data accumulated from numerous countries, automakers could find a slew of newfound buyers once the strictest lockdown measures end. (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2020

Thursday’s health and safety update from Ford offered up details on that automaker’s back-to-work plan, with new info provided on how the company plans gradually ramp up production amid a pandemic. Ford seemed to suggest that its new protocol had the backing of a crucial organization: the United Auto Workers.

While neither the company nor the union can do anything to ease Michigan’s lockdown order, which runs through May 15th, UAW approval is needed to bring the Detroit Three’s plants back online. On Friday, the union’s stance seemed as firm as ever. (Read More…)

By on April 24, 2020

fca

The domestic auto industry is revving its engines, ready to cautiously punch the accelerator, but something’s standing in its way. That something would be United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble, who on Thursday appealed to companies to put the green flag away and think of their employees instead.

Seeing automakers angling for a production restart in the first week of May, the UAW boss said it was too early to move ahead.

“At this point in time, the UAW does not believe the scientific data is conclusive that it is safe to have our members back in the workplace,” Gamble said in a statement. “We have not done enough testing to really understand the threat our members face.” (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2020

It stands to reason. Despite the ecological advantage offered by buses and trains, private vehicle ownership starts looking mighty attractive in the midst of a viral pandemic. Fear and self-preservation often trumps virtue.

So it’s little wonder that a significant percentage of people browsing Cars.com in the first half of the month were people who’s never done so before, and who’d never owned a vehicle before. With transit ridership at all-time lows and ride-hailing companies hurting, the private car is king. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2020

vw

Vehicle production is a complex juggling act at the best of times, but industry-shuttering viral pandemics that sweep the globe in a matter of weeks can complicate the process. And aside from its joint-venture operations in China, Volkswagen finds itself, like other automakers, shut out of the business of building cars.

Perhaps ambitiously, the automaker aims to be back online, cranking out cars in the U.S. and Europe by the end of the month. (Read More…)

By on April 14, 2020

Each one of us, minus the psychopaths, lives by a personal code, and that set of deeply held beliefs and attitudes dictates how we treat others. How we interact in society. It makes us whole.

Given that there’s a hell of a lot of variation in what drives a person, there’s been no shortage of diverging takes on the latest Cannonball Run “trophy” holder — the crew of a white, 2019 Audi A8 that rocketed from New York City to Los Angeles in 26 hours and 38 minutes earlier this month, using lightly trafficked highways borne of the coronavirus pandemic to their advantage. Average speed? Roughly 105 mph.

Is this feat worthy of a slap on the back, or a punch in the face? (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2020

2019 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE interior

It’s hard to peruse local headlines these days without stumbling across a post or two detailing recent speeding infractions, with the ticketed drivers apparently taking advantage of traffic-free roads and bargain basement gas to see what dad’s Accord can really do.

It makes sense that some drivers would see a pandemic as an opportunity. Generally, vastly fewer vehicles on the roads leads to fewer deaths on those roads, but that’s definitely not true everywhere. (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2020

2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD

General Motors’ revamped 2020 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD pickups are striking in appearance, but some buyers might be more enamored with the new 6.6-liter gas V8 under the hood. It’s a selling point, but it’s not something you want the truck showing off an inopportune times.

Like, say, when driving down the highway.

The possibility of unexpected underhood peep shows for the occupants of passing school buses are what prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue a recall. (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2020

As the resident germophobe here (and everywhere else, now and in the past), spotting bacteria and viruses is no difficult task for this writer. It’s easy — they’re everywhere. The outer layer of your average human surpasses the dirtiness of an adolescent mind.

And it’s with this mindset in tow that your author enters a pandemic. Just freakin’ great. Like most normal, well-adjusted people, I like going to bars and public places every once in a while, and try and stop me from picking the best-looking Roma tomatoes out of that grocery store bin that everyone stands over, pawing at them with their filthy hands. I also put a fair number of miles on my luxurious sedan — a once-innocent practice that now carries its own viral danger.

How can a driver stay safe? (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2020

Most white-collar types working for domestic automakers will be able to limit exposure to the rampaging coronavirus by sealing themselves off at home, relying on computers, phones, and Skype to carry on the business of making cars. But those whose livelihoods involve the physical building of cars are a different story; they have to come into work, so long as the plant stays open.

With this in mind, the Detroit Three and the United Auto Workers joined up to create the COVID-19/Coronavirus Task Force — an effort to lower the risk posed to assembly plant workers. (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2020

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has issued a set of guidelines for advanced driving aids, suggesting that the key to automated safety is making sure drivers are perpetually engaged with the vehicle’s operations. Unfortunately, this has turned out to be a Catch-22 scenario due to the way these systems function. Semi-autonomous features are supposed to be there to help promote safety by adding an extra layer of protection; however, many encourage motorists to disengage by nature of their design.

Adaptive cruise control with lane keeping is probably the worst offender. Implemented as a way to keep cars a safe distance apart on the expressway, it offers an experience that borders on having the car chauffeur you around. The effectiveness of these systems vary widely, with none actually being capable of any legitimate self-driving functionality. You’re also not supposed to be able to tune out while they’re in use, but they all seem coyly contrived to do exactly that. The IIHS is concerned this phenomenon will only get worse as driving aids evolve and become increasingly commonplace.

“Unfortunately, the more sophisticated and reliable automation becomes, the more difficult it is for drivers to stay focused on what the vehicle is doing,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “That’s why systems should be designed to keep drivers actively engaged.” (Read More…)

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