Road Safety: The Drag Race

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

There will always be a number of people who enjoy taking their cars on to the open road and seeing just how fast they can go, something which has led to a fairly large number of unofficial “drag races” taking place on public roads. The argument usually made by the drivers in such races is that they only race on quiet roads, usually at times when no-one else is likely to be on the road.

One potential argument against this is that you can never be certain who will be on the road. After all, it is there for a reason – people need to get from one place to another. It is no use saying after you have crashed into another car that you thought the road would be deserted. It wasn’t, and what you expected has absolutely no relevance to anyone killed or injured.

Another reason why drag races can be dangerous is in their very unregulated nature. Most car racing is carried out at tracks which have safety features as well as full emergency services – and professional car racers have still been known to die in high-speed crashes. When you are driving in an illegal drag race you have no such security to call on, and you can end up in real trouble as a result.

Although it is often the illegal and unsanctioned nature of drag races that attracts people to drive in them, a certain amount of this bravado is born out of a sense that you’ll be lucky. But you only have to be unlucky once to kill or injure yourself, a friend or another road user. Drag races, as fun as they may be, should be kept to race tracks.

Cash For Clunkers: Trading In An Older Car For Cash

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Cars are like people, in many ways. They need to have the proper care taken of them and to be treated in a certain way if they are to keep running smoothly. The longer they are in service, the more likely they will be to develop faults. Eventually, they need to be retired before they do some harm to themselves or others.

Numerous governments are now creating schemes whereby an older car can be traded in for money against the purchase of a new one. The thinking behind this is that older cars are both less safe and worse for the environment than newer ones, and the government can save money on future environmental protection by spending a small amount of money up front to ensure cleaner air.

The benefit for the motorist who trades in their car is that they save money on a newer car which they might otherwise not have been able to afford. It is an incentive which works to reduce the amount of pollution in the air and make the roads safer. The cash paid for the older cars, too, can be recouped in scrap costs and recycling.

There is some amount of controversy over such programs, with people arguing that it is a waste of government money that could be better spent elsewhere or not spent at all. In the end, any such program is best judged by its success, and these programs have been judged successful on balance. How often they will be repeated in future will depend on the economic climate.

Trading In For A Younger Model

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Some people drive the same car from the day they pass their test to the day that they decide to stop driving, or have that decision made for them. Others, and these are the larger group, will update their car on a more or less regular basis. There is a reason for this, and it is fairly simple. As cars get older, they become more prone to faults and some features may become obsolete.

There is a lot that you can to to keep your car more up to date, especially on the inside of the car. Any car in the world can accommodate a GPS satellite navigation system, although the newer models come with one already installed. Seatbelts were, once upon a time, optional in a car, but now they are compulsory with good reason.

Newer cars are, in the main, cleaner and safer to drive than the older ones. This can be balanced against the fact that a driver may feel more comfortable, more at ease and therefore a better driver in a car they have driven for many years. But many of us will trade in for a newer model simply because it is less prone to faults.

In such cases it may be a good idea to trade your old car in for a small part of the cost of the newer model. There is always something that can be salvaged from an older car, and it may even be modified to make it more up to date.

Road Safety: Kill Your Speed, Not A Person

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

Laws governing drivers are often controversial, as one driver may be more skilful than others and less likely to make mistakes that will cause danger to other road users. This leads to the situation where a driver will say “I don’t see why I should be penalised because I’m a better driver than someone else”. To which the only reaction is: Sit down, shut up and deal with it.

This may be seen as an authoritarian response to a fair point, but the issue here is that a law must apply to everyone (within reason) in order to be in any way enforceable. If you happen to be really good at controlling a car even at high speeds, then pat yourself on the back and enjoy the adulation – but the fact is that in residential areas and other spots with high traffic, it is dangerous to drive above a certain speed.

We all like traveling at higher speeds. For one thing, it gets us where we are going in less time. But it does not take a scientist to recognise that a car traveling at 50 mph will do more damage to anything or anyone it hits than one traveling at 30. You can be as careful and as skilful as you like, but things happen in split seconds, and a line needs to be drawn somewhere.

Some countries have no speed restrictions on their motorways, highways or autobahns, and this can work well in practice, but there is a necessity to keep speeds to a reasonable level on roads that are not designed for high speeds.

Drinking And Driving – It’s Never OK

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Everything About Cars

One of the most troubling issues regarding motoring, in any country, is that of people driving their cars while under the influence of alcohol. The laws governing acceptable drinking and driving differ in many countries, but just about every country in the world has a law regarding drinking and driving. The base point seems to be that it is something you just should not do.

The problem with drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car is that alcohol impairs reaction times and judgement. Many people will utter the oft-heard sentence “Well, I actually drive better when I have had a few.”. Even if this is objectively true, and it rarely is, it fails to take into account the fact that other drivers use the road too.

Therefore, a driver who is technically intoxicated may be in better control of their own vehicle than you might expect, but their reaction times will be compromised. Therefore, if another road user has a problem which outs other drivers at risk, the driver who has had a few drinks will be less likely to succeed in pulling a manoeuvre that avoids a crash.

There can be any number of debating points made about the safety or otherwise of drinking and driving, but the key point is that if you make a mistake or are unable to perform a safety manoeuvre because your judgement is impaired by alcohol, you are at least partially responsible for the crash. So if you are out drinking, leave the car at home.

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