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4 entries from April 2014

Road Rage: Tips for Dealing with Aggressive Drivers

Keep Calm and Drive On

We were on our way to the garden centre this weekend and as we drove there, we noticed a very frustrated gentleman in the car behind us, bobbing and weaving in traffic like he was playing Mario Karts.

"Man," I said to myself as he finally blew by us triumphantly, only to be stopped by a red light at a pedestrian crossing, "someone REALLY wants to get to the gardening centre."

Aggressive drivers are a year-round concern, but as the weather heats up and the roads are clearing, some folks seem to be treating the road like it's their own personal race track. Speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, barreling through red lights and skipping stop signs…it must be spring!

Here are a few reminders on how to deal with those aggressive drivers:

Keep calm and drive on. It's frustrating when you're driving responsibly and following the rules and another driver is acting aggressively. It may be tempting to bait the other driver by matching their dangerous moves with your own. But using your car to express your frustration is not the way to go. Take deep breaths, stay alert, drive in a consistent manner and give the aggressive driver a wide berth.

Let them pass. My grandfather prided himself on never letting anyone pass him on the highway but that's not a strategy I - or the police - would recommend. If someone is so desperate to pass you that they're tailgating and making unsafe lane changes, be the bigger person and allow them to pass when it's safe to do so.

Continue reading "Road Rage: Tips for Dealing with Aggressive Drivers" »

No More Flats: Are Airless Tires the Future?

This week, from the "cool things for your car" file - airless tires! Back in 2011, tire manufacturer Bridgestone introduced AirFree, their take on airless tires. Take a look at the video to see these beauties in motion:

The tires are made of thermo-plastic resin that can be recycled at the end of the tire's life, making them more environmentally friendly than traditional tires. They provide the same level of shock absorption as traditional tires, but won't be punctured by broken glass or even spike strips. With airless tires, you'd never have to check the air pressure or change a flat. Pretty neat!

Back in 2011, the airless tires' load-bearing capabilities meant that could only be used on personal vehicles, like scooters. Then, at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, Bridgestone revealed a new iteration of the AirFree tires that are almost ready for your car. Well…closer than before.

With improved load bearing and speed capability, the latest AirFree tires are being used on vehicles bigger than a go-kart. Can your SUV be far behind?

I think these tires look elegant - and who wouldn't love never having to change a flat tire again? Then again, once something gets caught in the exposed spokes, that could be a problem - so finding a way to avoid debris clogging up the works while preserving the visual appeal of the tires must be high on the list for AirFree developers.

Airless tires are a ways off yet - would you get them for your car when they're available? Let us know in the comments!

- Rose R.

Cars for Ladies?

Pink convertible
Photo: iStock

While researching another post a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a story about the FUSO Canter Eco Hybrid Canna, the first cube van designed specifically for women, which premiered at the Toyko Motor Show last year.

According to the article, "Their aim was to design a truck that would make the commercial vehicles industry look attractive as a place of employment for women."

What makes the truck special so that it's appealing to women? Well, it's pink and covered in polka dots.

The funny thing is that the truck is also 30 percent more fuel efficient than the previous version of the base truck - and fuel efficiency is actually one of the top considerations of women buyers - but no one's talking about that. Instead, the focus is on the cuteness and "comfort" of the white leather interior. Sigh.

Down the "cars for ladies" rabbit hole, I also found the salmon pink coloured 2012 Honda Fit "She's". The "She's" comes in colours to match your eyeshadow. The air conditioned system is specially designed to keep your complexion dewy and the windshield offers more than usual UV protection, to help lady drivers avoid wrinkles. Handy! Sadly for us in North America, the She's is only available in Japan.

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Monthly Poll - Who Follows the Rules of the Road Better, Pedestrians or Drivers?

Drivers vs pedestrians
Photo: iStock

One of the intersections near my house recently added an advance green arrow in the left hand turn lane, one of the many traffic safety upgrades Vancouver has been conducting lately.

The other night, however, when I was a pedestrian at that crosswalk, the woman next to me didn't notice the new advance green. She was on her phone, not paying attention, and stepped off the curb when she saw green out of the corner of her eye.

I managed to grab her sleeve and pull her back from wandering into the stream of cars turning left. I got a dirty look for my troubles and then she went back to texting. Sigh.

When I'm a pedestrian, I'm always on the lookout for drivers. When I'm in the car, I'm always on the lookout for pedestrians. But which are really the worst when it comes to following the rules of the road?

Well, according to this CTV News video via the Globe and Mail, here's the answer: "Study finds nearly a third of Vancouver pedestrians don't follow the rules". According to the story, a research team studied intersections across Vancouver, documenting both driver and pedestrian infractions. I expected the drivers to be the rule breakers but - spoiler alert! - I was wrong.

At the Broadway and Commercial intersection, for example, the pedestrians were the worst: 31% of them committed infractions (such as crossing on a flashing or solid hand, or crossing outside the painted lines) vs. 8% of drivers (whose infractions included barreling through yellow-to-red lights, making left turns as lights turn red, etc.) See the video here:

What about where you live? Do you think pedestrians are the worst or is it drivers? Take our poll below!

- Rose R.