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September 26, 2016

Engineering Easier Installation for Child Safety Seats

Toyota_IIHS_LATCH_01_20CD7BECFAF9B17424EF9181C42CF73901D20644_lowAs parents, we always want to ensure our children are as safe as possible when riding in a car. I may have been considered a bit of an over-protective parent, but my number-one rule was that all passengers HAD to be properly buckled in to their safety seats or wearing their seatbelts. And no, the armrest is NOT a place to seat your child! 

In 2015, IIHS established the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) rating program to encourage automakers to design LATCH hardware that meets specific ease-of-use criteria. While child restraints can be installed properly using vehicle safety belts, using the LATCH system is intended to make correct installation easier for parents. 

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September 23, 2016

Pedestrians Beware, We Don’t Always See You!

Pedstrian_crossing-iStock_27378656-s-PinkBadgerThe fact that I love driving is a given, considering my automotive background. However, for five years I lived in downtown Toronto and was more often a pedestrian than a driver.

As many of you may know, driving in Toronto has its challenges and parking is expensive; also, driving can be a little overwhelming at times with so much going on around us. So I found it easier to either take public transit or walk to wherever I was going.

As a pedestrian I felt like everyone driving should be “seeing” me as I was crossing the road. What I came to realize is that many drivers don’t see pedestrians and that pedestrians shouldn’t be so sure of being “seen.”

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#BackToSchool #SafetyTips: Tire Tips For Your Teen Driver


Take the time to teach your teen about proper tire care.

Tires are the only part of a vehicle making direct contact with the road, so it’s critical to make sure they are road-ready. Bridgestone's safety slogan encourages drivers to "inflate, rotate, and evaluate."

• Inflate: To check tire inflation, use a tire pressure gauge to make sure your tires have the proper inflation pressure. A lot of people mistakenly think that the correct inflation pressure is on the tire’s sidewall, but that’s not correct. What’s listed on the sidewall is the maximum inflation pressure for the tire, and not necessarily what’s appropriate for the load carrying capacity of a particular vehicle. To find the proper tire inflation pressure for your vehicle, refer to the placard that’s located in the driver’s side doorjamb or your vehicle owner’s manual. Tire pressure should be checked at least once each month, as tires can lose one psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure under normal operation. Also, for every 10 degree drop in temperature, tires lose one psi. Proper tire inflation pressure is critical for safety, maximum performance and fuel efficiency.

• Rotate: Have your tires rotated and balanced every 5,000 to 7,000 miles (check your vehicle owner’s manual for specific vehicle manufacturer recommendations).

• Evaluate: Continually evaluate your tire’s tread depth to make sure you have enough traction to grip the road. The penny test is a simple way to do this. Just place a penny upside down in the tire’s tread. If any part of Lincoln’s head is covered by the tread, you should be good to go. If not, it may be time for a new set of tires.

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September 21, 2016

Car Factories Go Green to Save Green

Easy_going_greenIt just makes sense: car companies that want to be known for producing eco-friendly cars build them at eco-friendly factories.

Kia has planted five million trees and initiated other green initiatives at its manufacturing plants around the world. Trees soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and the five million trees Kia has planted promise to soak up the equivalent of 107.5 million tons of CO2 a year.

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#BackToSchool #SafetyTips: General Driving Tips


Driving is a privilege, not a right.

Always wear a seat belt.
Clicking your seat belt takes a matter of seconds, and it’s your best defense in an accident — not to mention it’s the law. Yet, around 53% of teen drivers killed in car accidents are not wearing one; sadly, compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use, according to

Talk to your teen about the anti-lock braking system (ABS).
There are times that all drivers need to brake quickly. For new drivers, the sensation created in the brake pedal when the ABS kicks in can come as a bit of a surprise. Make sure that your teen driver is familiar with ABS and not startled by it. In sudden braking situations, you always want to apply the maximum amount of brake as soon as possible.

Understand braking distance.
It’s important for teens to understand that braking distance grows exponentially with the car’s speed. For example, doubling your speed more than doubles your stopping distance. Always brake earlier than you think you need to.

Learn what to do in a skid.
The first thing you teach your teen driver is to look where she wants the car to go and take her foot off the accelerator. This will help the tires regain traction and get her going in the right direction.

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September 19, 2016

Automatic Parking: New Advances from Chrysler

1_down_the_road-park_assist__chryslerParking is getting easier than ever thanks to advanced automatic parking features. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles launched parking features just a few years ago and is adding new features.

"Since its release Parallel/Perpendicular ParkSense has been a success. It's one of those 'surprise and delight' features where drivers are surprised when they have the feature and are totally delighted when they see how it works," said Adam Chiapetta, senior manager of driver assistance at FCA. ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist and ParkSense rear park assist with stop are available on select Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Fiat models.

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#BackToSchool #SafetyTips: Teen-Proof Your Car


Help your teen plan for the unexpected.

Encourage your teens to make a playlist before they hit the road.
Distracted driving isn’t limited to texting behind the wheel. Channel surfing the radio can be a big distraction, as well. Remind your teens to make a playlist in advance and keep the volume at a moderate level so they can always hear what’s going on around them.

Program your GPS before you drive away.
Navigation systems can really help young drivers find their way in new neighborhoods, but it's important to set the destination before hitting the road. Make sure your teen driver knows how to use the navigation system -- whether it's a feature on the car or a mobile app on their phone -- so they won't be distracted while driving. Getting lost can be irritating, so be sure to pull over to check the nav so the annoyance won't become a safety issue.

Pack a roadside emergency kit:
Should your teen end up stuck, make sure they’re prepared: A flash light, portable cell phone charger, granola bars, bottled water, jumper cables, first aid kit, and blanket are all good things to have on hand should something unexpected occur.

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September 16, 2016

Cabin Air Filters, Mice, and Allergies...

Mice_in_fram_fresh_breeze_cabin_air_filterCabin air filters, mice, and allergies...What’s the connection?

Well, mice love to live in my car’s cabin air filter! I don’t happen to love the idea the idea of them in my cabin air filter though. :-) I live in a rural area about an hour north of Toronto and don’t have a garage… I also have a car that I store in the wintertime.

Last year, when I pulled my car out of storage it smelled really bad inside, and I couldn’t figure out why. So I drove with the windows open most of the time.

When I took my vehicle in for an oil change a couple of months later, my shop owner kept my cabin air filter to show me what had happened. A family of mice had been living in my cabin air filter and what I was smelling was actually mouse urine and poop. Yuck! Pretty much every time I take my car in for service there are mice in the cabin air filter. I’ve been told Irish Spring soap deters the mice but when I pulled out the bar in the spring it had tooth marks in it! The joys of living in the country...

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#BackToSchool #SafetyTips: Keep an Eye Out for Bicyclists


On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see.

Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. According to the National Safety Council, The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

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September 15, 2016

Rolling Homes: Cool Autumn Air Beckons RVing, Hunters, and Anglers

1__fishing_in_the_mountains_rviaAs summer fades into autumn, chilly mornings are ideal for hunting, fishing, or walking in the woods. Whatever your outdoor passion, a good quality Recreation Vehicle makes any adventure more comfortable at the end of a long day exploring.

For lifelong angler and hunter Jimmy Smith of southern Oregon, getting "up close and personal with the great outdoors," is a top priority.

"Many times I have followed a gravel road that meandered onto a track that soon resembled a foot path. My truck and camper can easily handle narrow forest service roads and access rough areas for remote camping," says the longtime RVer.

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