Being late is stressful and no one wants to wish they had chosen a different lane to make it to their destination quicker. Digital Vision/Thinkstock When you're faced with rows of brake lights at the end of a long day, it can be enticing to think that if you simply pick the "right" lane to drive in, you'll somehow zip through traffic at record speed. Unfortunately, traffic doesn't work that way and, for the most part, your commute will take exactly the same amount of time no matter which lane you choose. By its very nature, traffic congestion is uneven. It bunches up and stretches out like an accordion as incidents occur or resolve. Since each lane performs this jamming and unjamming motion at different times, it might seem like some lanes are moving faster than others. For the most part, however, all lanes travel at the same average speed, so switching lanes in an effort to save time is generally an exercise in futility [source: Vanderbilt]. Not only is chronic lane switching … [Read more...] about How do you pick the fastest lane to drive in?
How do test drives work
As Jalopnik’s resident car buying expert and professional car shopper, I get emails. Lots of emails. I’ve decided to pick a few questions and try to help out. This week we are discussing extended test drives, spotting online scammers, and the best car for a tall teenager. First up: What if you want to test drive a car and really try it out, but the dealer only lets you do so for a short period of time? My wife is handicapped and has some difficulty getting in and out of cars. Sometimes, it’s not immediately evident how a car’s door sill or passenger-side floor pan will affect her for a few days after she’s banged her ankles or shins on the door sill while hoisting herself up and into the seat or while shifting her weight to get back out. We’ve thought about possibly looking for a short-term rental of the following cars to do the evaluation, but local dealers aren’t interested, and car rental companies don’t have these vehicles: Toyota … [Read more...] about How Can You Test Drive a Car For More Than Just a Few Minutes?
Pre-collision systems assist drivers in identifying oncoming crashes and can correct the car's path for minimal damage. See our collection of car safety pictures. AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara Since the 1960s and 1970s, the number of crashes and the fatalities and injuries associated with these crashes have dramatically decreased. This can be attributed to a series of car safety laws passed both on the national and statewide level. Historically, these improvements have tended to happen gradually. Take, for instance, the introduction of the seat belt in the 1950s. This simple device didn't make an immediate impact on drivers. In fact, for a long time, seat belt use was very low, remaining at about 10 to 15 percent nationwide. But in 1965, for every 100 million miles (160,934,400 kilometers) driven in America, there were almost six fatalities -- a dangerously high statistic. But from 1984 forward, seat belt use has steadily increased due to several laws and strong enforcement … [Read more...] about How Pre-Collision Systems Work
Image Gallery: Concept Cars Proving grounds give General Motors the space it needs to test (in private) experimental vehicles, like this 1954 gas turbine-powered vehicle, the XP-21 Firebird. See more pictures of concept cars. FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images There's a good chance that you drive (or at least ride in) a car every day. You may have a family that rides in that car with you. And chances are that you trust that car to keep you and your family safe. Even under unusual driving conditions -- weird weather, high speeds, bumpy roads, accidents -- you expect your car to respond well and protect you and your loved ones. After all, the manufacturer has advertised the car as having certain capabilities and being safe to drive. But how, exactly, does the manufacturer know that? How do the people who built your car know exactly what conditions it can stand up to? Did they drive it through all possible road conditions under all possible circumstances just to be sure? Well, yes, … [Read more...] about How Automotive Proving Grounds Work
Image Gallery: Car Safety A vehicle test driver drives a Jaguar sedan around the company's test track in East Haddam, Conn. See more car safety pictures. AP Photo/Bob Child Testing the long-term durability of a car is fairly straightforward. Simply compress its useful life, about a decade in most cases, into a shorter period, say a few months to a year. While the concept may be simple it's never easy, but it can be interesting. Testing could mean driving the car over a test track 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for more than a month. It could mean putting the car on a static dynamometer and running it at 120 miles per hour (193.1 kilometers per hour) for several months. Durability testing of a car door could mean opening it and closing it thousands of times a day, for a week or even a month. Indeed, for every real life challenge a car could face on the mean roads of America there is a test to simulate it, compress time, and create a virtual reality that's a reflection of a … [Read more...] about How do automakers test long-term durability?