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4 entries from April 2012

How Does Music Affect Your Driving?

Driving Music
Photo: iStockphoto

We're heading out on a 10 hour road trip this weekend. Probably the biggest part of our planning process isn't our travel route or where we'll stop for gas along the way. Our biggest concern, naturally, is "What will we listen to?" We'll have a car full of dogs, so I'm hoping that this song will make the cut:

    Get your motor runnin'
    Head out on the highway
    Lookin' for adventure
    And whatever comes our way
    Born to be wild!
    Born to be wild!

To me - and likely to most of you - music and driving go hand in hand. We've all experienced that perfect synchronicity of song and machine that makes driving an enjoyable experience. And the good news is that studies show music of medium intensity can actually help focus drivers on the task at hand! Of course, what constitutes "medium intensity" may vary, based on your personal tastes. We've all rolled up next to that guy at the stop light whose bass is thumping so loud you can feel it in your teeth. Why does no one ever blast Vivaldi at the stop light?

Here are some tips to consider when you're rocking out in your vehicle:

Continue reading "How Does Music Affect Your Driving?" »

Rust Proofing: A small investment with long term rewards

Rust Proofing
Photo: iStockphoto

We’ve talked about several vehicle maintenance items, most referring to the mechanics of your car – but what about the body?  If you are going to take the time to perform regular mechanical maintenance on your vehicle in order to prolong the life of your vehicle – than why should the body get any lesser treatment? Rust is a bad four letter word in my vocabulary and it should be in yours too!

I recently purchased my first new vehicle. Having always had older, used vehicles this was the first time that I was confronted with making the decision about rust proofing my car. As I glanced over at my old truck that I’d had for 10 years, eaten away by rust, I thought to myself, “Yeah, maybe rust proofing is a good idea this time around”.   If you’re like me and you keep your vehicles for longer than a 3 year lease cycle, then you probably should think about making the small investment into rust proofing your vehicle annually. 

Continue reading "Rust Proofing: A small investment with long term rewards" »

Slow Down and Save?

Slow Down
Photo: iStockphoto

As we mentioned in our first PumpTalk post this year, PumpTalk isn't the only blog on Suncor's roster. The Oil Sands Question & Response blog (or OSQAR) is where members of the communications and sustainability teams write about topics related to oil sands development, sustainability and energy literacy.

We thought the most recent OSQAR post, 'Is Slow the New Fast?' had an interesting connection to PumpTalk because it included some interesting information about a new movement around slower driving - which has a positive effect on fuel efficiency.

Continue reading "Slow Down and Save?" »

Baby on Board: Reviewing Child Car Seat Safety

Child Car Seat
Photo: iStockphoto

I could be remembering incorrectly - but I seem to recall that back in the '70s and '80s when I was a kid, car seats and booster seats were really only for babies. While I know I rode in a car seat as a very young child, I'm also pretty sure I rode in the front seat well before the age of 13. So long as we had a seatbelt on, we were good to go!

Obviously, much has changed around child safety in the car over the last few decades. We touched on the topic of buckling your kids up in our Buckle Up (Properly) and Stay Safe post but with the recent change in Transport Canada's regulations for car seats, we thought it would be worth revisiting the topic a little more in-depth.

I don't have kids myself, so most of this was news to me! Here are a few things I didn't know about child safety seats:

1. If you live in Canada, it's illegal to use a car seat from the United States or any other country. I love a little cross-border shopping - but even though the latest federal budget will now allow us to bring back more goods from the U.S. every time we visit, you should still not buy your car seat there. According to Transport Canada, car seats purchased from non-Canadian vendors don't comply with Canada's Motor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Cushions Safety Regulations  and could pose a risk to your child's safety.

2. Buckling them in wearing a bulky winter coat can increase the likelihood of your child being ejected from their seat. Even if you strap them in tightly, bulky clothing - like a down parka - can be compressed on impact, creating slack in the harness and making it possible for the child to slip out of the seat in an accident. To make sure the harness operates the way it's supposed to, it's best to dress your kid in something that doesn't compress (like fleece) and then, if they're cold, tuck in a blanket over top of the harness.

3. If you're in an accident - even a minor fender bender - you need to replace your car seat. Even in a very minor collision, the forces involved may affect your car seat - even if your child wasn't in it at the time. Car seats are pricey but most insurance will cover replacing car seats in the event of a collision.

In related child safety news, we came across this post on the Car Seat Blog about how we all use car seats for babies in cars, but on airplanes, we think it's okay to just hold the baby. Not the safest option! Definitely food for thought for those of you travelling with kids under 2 years old.

To find out more about child car seat regulations and safety, visit Transport Canada and SafeKidsCanada.

- Rose R.