How to See Clearly in Any Driving Condition

(NewsUSA) – When is it necessary to change my wipers? Is there really a difference between wiper blades? As fall approaches, it’s important to ask yourself these questions as heavy rains and increasingly severe weather can obscure driving visibility.

In fact, the American Optometric Association reports that 90 percent of all driving decisions are based on visibility. Having a properly installed set of wiper blades will enhance your vision during difficult driving conditions. Most drivers don’t even realize they need new wipers until that moment of truth, as a storm approaches or heavy snow begins to fall.

To avoid this, check your wipers once a month for worn or split rubber that can cause streaking or chattering. TRICO, an authority in the wiper blades industry, encourages consumers to “change your clocks, change your blades” and make replacing wipers  part of your typical fall and spring routine maintenance during daylight saving time.

Finding the right-sized blades can seem difficult. The “Find Your Wiper” feature on wiperblades.com offers a quick solution by letting drivers select their vehicle’s make, model and year to display a full selection of wiper blade options.

You may find that several different wiper blades fit your car, and then ask yourself, “Does it really matter which one I use?” The difference between a conventional style and the newer, premium beam design is important to keep in mind.

A conventional blade design features a steel superstructure with blade claws, a rubber wiping element and several connection points. The beam blade design is the latest advancement in wiper technology that offers even pressure and enhanced clarity in all conditions.

Although the beam blade is considered an all-season wiper, you may want to consider a winter weather blade that is equipped with superior armors and synthetic blended materials. TRICO invented the winter blade in 1953 and has recently perfected it with TRICO Ice. This wiper blade is a great option for providing maximum performance in the most unrelentingly harsh conditions.

Of course, one of the most frustrating parts of buying wiper blades is installation. Thankfully, wiperblades.com has helpful installation videos to help you avoid the struggle and make the process as quick and easy as it should be.

No matter where you live, unpredictable and harsh weather will affect driving visibility, so be ready with a reliable, quality set of wiper blades when the time comes. Get more tips on how to keep yourself and other drivers safe at wiperblades.com.

How Safe Is Uber? It Depends on Gender

Modern luxury executive car on a white background

It’s shorthand for the potential danger faced by women using app-based, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. And if you’re already dismissing how dangerous it can be, you’ve obviously missed the rash of headlines like these from across the country.

• “Uber Driver Charged With Rape Ordered Held After Dangerousness Hearing” (Boston Globe, August 2016)

• “Police Had Tip That Lyft Driver Charged With Sexual Assault Planned To Flee Country” (Dallas Morning News, November 2015)

• “Police: Uber Driver Returns to Rape, Burglarize Passenger at Her Home” (FOX-TV New Orleans, January 2016)

• “Fake Uber Driver Arrested After Brutal Sexual Assault of Passenger in Westlake: LAPD” (KTLA-TV Los Angeles, April 2016)

You read correctly. Per that last headline, we’ve now reached the point where bad guys are actually posing as Uber drivers in order to lure unsuspecting women into their cars.

“With the alarming number of alleged sexual assaults involving ride-hail app drivers, it’s urgent that we bring this issue to the forefront of conversations,” says Delilah Rumburg, CEO of the nonprofit National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

To that point, the organization has allied with another nonprofit, the National Limousine Association (NLA), which — in calling for a “Passenger Bill of Rights” last year as part of its “Ride Responsibly” initiative — has been spearheading a nationwide movement to subject drivers for the Ubers of the world to the same rigorous criminal background checks as those behind the wheels of taxis and limos.

To up the ante, both have enlisted Pamela Anderson — she of former “Baywatch” fame — to make their case in a Public Service Announcement. “You can’t always vet the driver you are using,” she says in “The Driving Game!” video, “but the service you are using should.”

Whether even Ms. Anderson will be enough to steel the backs of politicians up against formal opponents in the ride-hailing industry in general, and that Uber in particular, remains to be seen. The main sticking point? Forcing the industry to finally start spending the extra bucks to fingerprint their drivers instead of relying on what NLA President Gary Buffo dismissively calls, “the perilously in-comprehensive background checks” Uber and its ilk continue to defend.

Just how formidable is the ride-hailing industry?

Consider this: a few months after Uber and Lyft pulled out of the Austin, Texas, market last May, rather than comply with new fingerprinting regulations that voters had just endorsed, the issue came up again in Massachusetts. Boston, you see, had been experiencing a slew of alleged sexual assaults by Uber drivers that left women on edge. Even so, lawmakers were unable to muster the votes needed to include a fingerprinting requirement in the statewide law that ultimately passed.

“It’s really frustrating when you see these attacks happen over and over again,” State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, who favored fingerprinting, tells the Boston Globe. “It’s hurtful to the victim and hurtful to the community.”

“When,” she adds, “is it going to stop?”.

Hybrid Cars Get New, Racier Image

(NewsUSA) – When most people think of hybrid vehicles, they imagine practical, mild-mannered vehicles. But could we soon see hybrid race cars burning up the tracks?

In March of 2010, Porsche unveiled three hybrids at the Geneva Auto Show – one for the road, one for the race track and one that is a genuine Porsche supercar. These innovative new Porsches – the Cayenne S Hybrid, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid and the 918 Spyder – show that hybrids can be sporty, fast and powerful.

The Cayenne S, Porsche’s first production hybrid, features a sophisticated parallel full hybrid system with the combined power of a 380 horsepower V6 combustion engine and an electric motor. The car has the potential to significantly enhance fuel economy at high speeds – when the driver lifts off the accelerator at cruising or highway speeds, the gasoline engine can be switched off and disengaged from the drivetrain, enabling the vehicle to move along without combustion or electric power.

The GT3 R’s innovative hybrid technology has been developed especially for racing. The front axle features two powerful electric motors that supplement the car’s 480 horsepower, naturally aspirated four-liter flat-six that drives the rear wheels. Instead of the heavy batteries usually found in a hybrid road car, an electrical flywheel power generator resides next to the driver to deliver energy to the electric motors. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid competed in the 24 Hours on the Nordschleife of Nürburgring in May 2010, leading for eight hours before retiring after 22 hours and 15 minutes for mechanical reasons. In the 2010 Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta it finished 18th out of a starting field of 41 cars.

With the 918 Spyder high-performance mid-engine concept hybrid sports car, Porsche is displaying its expertise in the field of highly efficient and low-emission drive technology. The 918 Spyder prototype with plug-in hybrid technology combines high-tech performance features with electric mobility to produce a fascinating range of qualities. It has an ultra-compact car’s emission levels of 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer, and it consumes just three liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, but can go from 0 to 62 mph in just under 3.2 seconds and reach a top track speed over 198 mph.

Protect Your Car From Harsh Weather

(NewsUSA) – October is Fall Car Care Month—a perfect time to start thinking about protecting your vehicle from the harsh weather and conditions ahead.

Using a car cover can protect your car’s finish from destructive elements like moisture, which can seep into tiny cracks and dings and work against your paint from the inside out. The process of corrosion begins any time your car is subjected to very moist conditions. Eventually, moisture can separate the paint from the metal and cause the metal to oxidize. Come winter, salt from road maintenance crews will accelerate corrosion by slowing down drying times and causing a chemical reaction with the metal body of your car.

If you live where there’s a lot of snow, you know what a hassle it is to clear away frost, ice and snow from your car before driving away. Using a car cover when your vehicle is parked outside lets you avoid that time-consuming de-icing routine—not to mention the danger of driving with a frost-covered windshield.

If you regularly park under trees, a car cover can protect your vehicle from debris like falling leaves, acorns and pinecones—all of which can cause tiny chips in the paint, allowing moisture to creep in and do its dirty work. And don’t forget about tree sap. Those little droplets can produce permanent color changes and can etch paint. Pine sap is particularly dangerous, as it contains turpentine.

The best car cover for harsh fall and winter conditions is one that provides superior moisture protection without sacrificing the breathability your car needs underneath. Look for a multi-layer fabric cover that has a middle layer of microporous film, which will stop water, yet allow trapped condensation to evaporate.

The best news about car covers? Today’s covers can be custom-fit to follow the exact contours of a vehicle—even those with modifications or aftermarket accessories. Custom-fit covers are more tailored and don’t move around as much in the wind. Plus, they’re more affordable than you may think and are easier to install than ever.

Get a Better Grip About Driving on Wet Roads

GetAGripYour eyes can thank the abundant rainfall for all of the lush greenery popping up everywhere this season. And as your personal experience has probably taught you, the wetter roads also make driving potentially hazardous.

Russell Shepherd, a mechanical engineer for Michelin North America and self-proclaimed “tire nerd,” had earned his informal title with his 15 years of driving in almost every type of weather conceivable. His most concerning? Driving in the rain.

“Most people don’t realize how much wet roads affect their driving,” says Shepherd. “When roads become wet, it takes longer to stop and more time to react, making it more important than normal to pay attention to your car and other drivers.”

For the average driver, Shepherd suggests getting to the bottom of things first—starting with the tires. Here are some tips to help:

•    Check the tires regularly for tread wear and pressure. Different seasons and temperatures will affect tires, so it’s a good idea to check both.

•    Slow down. Traction is negatively affected as soon as it starts raining, so taking your time is paramount. It only takes a small amount of water to mix with oil and dust to create slick roads.

•    Pick the right tire. A tire with a grip designed to handle wet roads, such as the new Michelin Premier A/S tire, can be the difference between arriving safely at your destination or getting in an accident. This tire has a unique rubber compound engineered to maximize traction, and two sets of grooves to help wick water away from the tires to maintain traction. The second set of grooves is hidden when the tire is new, but emerges as the tire wears. This distinctive design feature maintains the tire’s ability to funnel water away, even when worn, which prolongs the life of the tire and raises driver safety.

•    Know your car. Take time to learn how your car responds on wet roads. If the steering seems looser, if you’re sliding when you brake, or if the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) is kicking in, your tires could be losing their grip. In this case, slow down and get your tires checked as soon as possible.

For more information about wet-weather driving and choosing the right tire for you and your car, visit www.michelineman.com.

Gear Up for Winter Driving This Holiday Season

(NewsUSA) – The weather outside may be frightful, but your commute doesn’t have to be — that is, if you take the proper steps to prepare your vehicle for winter weather. Be prepared with Firestone Complete Auto Care’s winter driving safety tips to help make sure you arrive home safely for the holidays.

•    Be proactive! Winter only magnifies existing problems like pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling. Make sure your vehicle is mechanically sound before the temperature dips and the streets get icy.

•    Make certain the engine is in peak condition. Also, check the cooling system. Coolant should be replaced per the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.

•    Prepare for winter emergencies by using your trunk as a storage place for emergency items. Important items to have on hand are: a properly inflated spare tire, an ice scraper, windshield de-icer, a flashlight, a blanket, extra clothes, bottled water and non-perishable snacks. Don’t forget your cell phone’s car charger.

•    Minimize the possibility of control problems by putting winter tires on all four wheels. Ask your local Firestone Complete Auto Care technician about Bridgestone Blizzak tires; these tires are specially designed to improve your vehicle’s stability and handling in adverse winter driving conditions.

•    Check your tire pressure weekly when the weather turns cold. As the temperature outside drops, the air inside a tire contracts, dropping the tire’s air pressure. A tire’s PSI measurement can drop one pound for every 10-degree drop in temperature. Under-inflation will lessen the gripping action because the tire tread will not meet the road surface as it was designed to do.

•    Use common sense during adverse road conditions. Reduce your driving speed, and increase your following distance in hazardous winter weather.

•    If you get stuck in the snow, don’t spin your tires — this can overheat them and possibly cause damage. Use sand, gravel, kitty litter, an asphalt shingle or another gritty item to help your tires gain traction.

From Atlantic to Pacific, you can help make the traffic terrific by being proactive about winter driving safety and following these simple but crucial tips. Remember, there’s no place like home for the holidays, so make sure you arrive safely by taking the necessary precautions. Get more tips at www.firestonecompleteautocare.com.

Americans Want Easier Car Shopping

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Have you ever wondered how all of those colorful auto dealership promotion pamphlets arrive in the mail at the exact moment you are contemplating a new car purchase? Oddly enough, they are perfectly timed to coincide with your vehicle-buying needs — and there’s a reason behind it.
Consider this: In 2012, studies showed that more than 90 percent of consumers began their car search online. This insight, according to Ken Schwartz, founder of InMarketSolution (IMS), a Chicago-based marketing company geared specifically to the auto industry and its potential buyers, provides dealerships with a treasure trove of demographic information.
“Consumer data is abundant and valuable, yet many dealers fail to fully exploit its potential,” says Schwartz. “In this way, we use best-of-breed data to identify consumers currently in the market to buy a car.”
The way it works is that IMS uses proprietary data from its InMarket Buyers List to identify when a consumer is in the market to buy or lease a car. IMS then compares that list to the Dealer Database Management System, removing all matches to ensure the IMS driven sales are new customers. Using multiple technologies, IMS tracks and interacts with the InMarket Buyers multiple times by using a combination of highly targeted direct mail and digital advertising that will potentially drive exclusive leads to a targeted dealership.
The difference between IMS and other direct-mail marketing companies is its business model. In a nutshell, if a dealership doesn’t get new customers through IMS’s efforts, the dealership doesn’t pay a dime.
“I am so confident that our program works, that I am willing to put my money where my mouth is,” says Schwartz. “Simply put, if a dealership doesn’t sell cars to new customers, we don’t get paid.”
Schwartz’s confidence comes from his past experience working with big data. Before founding IMS, Schwartz was the CEO of CityTwist, an email advertising company focused specifically on automotive marketing. During his tenure there, CityTwist became an Inc. 500/5000 fastest growing company in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. In addition, the company has been recognized as a fastest-growing company in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal for the last two years.
For more information, visit www.inmarketsolution.com.

Top Tips for Timely Performance Driving

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – As millions of Americans know, daily commutes can be stressful and monotonous. Couple that with winter weather, and staying alert is paramount–especially as road conditions start to deteriorate.
To that point, you never know when you’re going to need to become a Timely Performance Driver.
Timely Performance is a term that describes being present in the moment when driving so you can maximize your car’s performance and react quickly to surprising situations on the road. Based on a recent survey, 75 percent of U.S. adults say they need to become Timely Performance Drivers at least once a week, and those who reported a need to react quickly to a driving situation say they do so approximately 6 times per week.
BFGoodrich Tires has conducted a survey of driving behaviors. The study group included 1,009 adults (aged 18 years and older) living in the continental United States. The sample was representative of the general population in terms of geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic traits.
Overall, 82 percent of the survey respondents say that drivers often face unexpected situations on the road, and 54 percent agree that drivers drive better in potentially dangerous situations.
Andrew Comrie-Picard, a professional race car driver, X-Games athlete, and BFGoodrich ambassador, emphasizes that drivers of any age can (and should) practice Timely Performance Driving by staying alert so they can push their car to its maximum performance in the moments that matter most.
According to Comrie-Picard, key aspects of Timely Performance Driving include:
*Looking far down the road to anticipate potential issues and road hazards.
*Remembering the importance of smooth contol inputs, such as braking, throttling, and steering.
*Anticipating road conditions, such as standing water and slick roads.
*Driving with two hands on the wheel–no exceptions.
*Keeping distance between you and the car in front of you.
Comrie-Picard also says it’s important to ensure that your tires are appropriate for your car and well-maintained. Specifically, he likes the BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport tire for its seasonality and performance capabilities during the harsh winter weather months, as well as throughout the year.
Additional information on BFGoodrich Tires, as well as other driving tips, can be found on http://www.BFGoodrichTires.com

The Great Car Debate: To Buy or to Lease?

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – As the economy continues to rebound, more Americans find themselves strolling the lot of their local car dealership and facing a difficult decision — whether to buy or lease a new vehicle.
“Both options have their pros and cons,” said Joe Wiesenfelder, senior editor at Cars.com. “It really depends on your personal driving habits, the amount of money you’re willing to spend and how often you like driving a new car.”
Wiesenfelder offers these tips for car shoppers:

Benefits of Leasing
1. Driving a New Car. Leasing allows you to get a new car frequently. While this may not be the best reason to get a car, it does mean you’ll always have the latest safety technology and comforts.
2. Affordability. With leasing, you’re getting more car for a lower monthly payment.
3. Less Maintenance. Leasing can help you avoid some hefty maintenance and repair bills. With the exception of a few oil changes and filter replacements, there should be no need for any heavy maintenance. Assuming that you’ve kept the car in good condition and stayed within the mileage limits, when your lease is up, you can simply turn the car in and walk away.
4. Avoid Upside-down Loans. When you lease, you there is no danger of getting stuck in an “upside-down” loan, where you owe more than the car is worth.

Benefits of Buying
1. Ownership of the car. When you buy a car, you own the vehicle and will eventually be free of car payments.
2. Lower Costs in the Long Run.While the monthly payments for buying a car are higher than payments for leasing, you will eventually pay the loan off. Those initial high payments make up for themselves with years of being payment free.
3. No Restrictions. A lease contract contains many restrictions, such as mileage limits, which may be inconvenient and costly in the long run. An owner can sell at any time, while leases usually include hefty penalties for early termination.
4. Rebates and Incentives. Rebates and incentives for new cars are abundant for buyers right now. In some cases, these offers might make buying a significantly less expensive option than leasing.
For many people, the decision to buy or lease comes down to price, says Wiesenfelder. “We encourage people to use our automatic Loan vs. Lease calculator at Cars.com. By entering in the monthly payment you can afford, you’ll get an idea of which car you could afford to own, or if leasing is a better option for you.”

Advice for Parents of Teen Drivers: How to Have the Car Talk

(NewsUSA) – Giving a 16-year-old their first set of car keys can feel like one or both of you just went skydiving without a parachute. As a parent, you’re relinquishing a certain amount of control when your child climbs behind the wheel. And that can be terrifying.

Car accidents are the number-one cause of death among teens in the U.S., so when it comes to driving, the majority of parental fears are warranted. It’s also important to remember to communicate the seriousness of the sudden responsibility. The experts at Trico Products are committed to making teen driving safer and encouraging parents to have a sit-down discussion with their children before they start driving.

To help make that conversation a little easier to navigate, TRICO has provided a road map of important points:

•    Seatbelt – Teenagers are more likely to shuffle through their iPod in search of a suitable playlist before they think about putting on their seatbelt. Be clear that fastening your seatbelt should be the very first thing you do before keys are even in the ignition.

•    Texting – There are enough distractions outside of the vehicle, so explain the importance of paying strict attention to the road at all times. Cell phones, music and passengers can be huge distractions, especially texting on your cell. Every second a teen takes their eyes of the road could be an opportunity for a terrible accident.

•    Drinking and driving – Make it known that no one under the age of 21 should be drinking. But teens will be teens, so emphasize the necessity of always having a designated driver. Make sure they understand it’s never too late to call for a ride home.

•    Defensive driving – New drivers should be hyper-sensitive to all surroundings, since they’re still developing basic skills and habits. Teach teenagers to watch out for other drivers and be aware of their reactions to avoid collisions.

•    Penalties – Discuss the fines associated with tickets, share a personal experience you had getting a ticket and sitting in traffic court. Let them know they will be responsible for any monetary repercussions or other consequences.

•    Roadside emergencies and maintenance – Go over what to do and whom to call in an emergency. Do they have roadside assistance and insurance information readily available? Make sure they know not to lose that information—it’s best to always keep it in the car. Introduce them to basic car maintenance, too, by taking them along for regular oil changes, tire rotations and inspections. That way, they can start scheduling their own appointments when necessary.

Engage in this conversation often to drive these points home and help teens make good decisions. Visit tricoproducts.com for additional help on driver safety and regular car maintenance.