Think You Know All About Distracted Driving?

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Hands-free technologies might make it easier for motorists to text, talk on the phone, or even use Facebook while they drive, but new findings from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety show dangerous mental distractions exist even when drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

The research found that as mental workload and distractions increase reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues, potentially resulting in drivers not seeing items right in front of them including stop signs and pedestrians. This is the most comprehensive study of its kind to look at the mental distraction of drivers and arms AAA with evidence to appeal to the public to not use these voice-to-text features while their vehicle is in motion. Continue reading “Think You Know All About Distracted Driving?”

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The 2018 Mercedes-AMG

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The recently debuted Mercedes-AMG E43 sedan is a cool car, but it’s not the full-on AMG nutjob you’ve been waiting for. The one you want is this, the 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63, an E-Class that’s gone off the deep end. Like the last E63, this one comes standard with all-wheel-drive, but this time, it has Drift Mode.

Drift Mode!

Before we get to the tire smoke though, let’s tackle some details. In the standard E63, AMG’s now-familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 produces 563 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. In the E63 S, you get 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. In the AMG GT and C63, we’ve seen versions of this engine paired to seven-speed gearboxes, but the E63 gets a new nine-speed multi-clutch gearbox with a wet startup clutch replacing the traditional torque converter.

The E63 S may have 40 more horsepower than the standard car, but their acceleration times aren’t too different. The E63 runs from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds and the E63 S shaves off just 0.1 seconds from that time. There is a a big difference in top speed, though. The regular E63 is limited to just 155 mph, while the S has a limited top speed of 186, which if you haven’t noticed, is rather fast. And remember, that’s limited. Imagine what it can do if the limiter is removed. In a casual nod to sanity, the E63’s V8 can turn off half of its cylinders to get better highway fuel economy.

Keeping all the E63’s power under control is a new all-wheel-drive system dubbed 4Matic+, which offers a variable torque split between the front and rear axles. By contrast, the AMG E43’s all-wheel-drive system has a fixed torque split of 31:69 front-to-rear. 4Matic+ also enables the E63’s Drift Mode, but unlike the Ford Focus RS’s Drift Mode, the AMG’s is quite simple.

Pull both shift paddles at the same time with Race mode enabled and ESP turned off, and the E63’s front axle disconnects entirely. Yes, this effectively turns the E63 into a rear-wheel-drive car, and yes, we’re just as excited about this as you are.

With the E63, AMG also threw in air suspension, and widened the front fenders by 0.67 inches to accommodate bigger tires. It also looks like the E63 sits on Michelin’s new Pilot Sport 4 S tires, which replace the much-loved Pilot Super Sport.

All told, the new E63 is quite a departure from both the standard E-Class and even the E43. It makes its in-person debut next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and hits U.S. dealers next summer. We can’t wait to drive it, ideally sideways.

Self-driving cars hit the road for first public test in the UK

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Self-driving cars — or more accurately self-driving pods — took to the road in a city outside of London Tuesday in what organizers are calling the first public test of driverless cars in the UK. To be sure, it was at extremely low speeds in a sparsely trafficked area, but was still celebrated as a milestone by Great Britain, which has lagged behind the US in testing self-driving cars.

The autonomous Lutz Pathfinder Pod, developed by the Oxford Robotics Institute and a university spinout company Oxbotica, navigated its way around a small area in the southern English town of Milton Keynes at 5 mph, turning corners and stopping as pedestrians crossed its path, according to Reuters. The test was overseen by the government-sponsored Transport Systems Catapult, a non-profit that funds innovation projects in the UK. Continue reading “Self-driving cars hit the road for first public test in the UK”

A Little Auto Care Goes A Long Way

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Basic auto care goes a long way toward improving the safety and dependability of a vehicle. Whether you do it yourself or visit a trusted professional technician, here are 10 Fall Car Care Month maintenance procedures to help make sure your car is operating at its best before winter arrives.

Fall Car Care Month in October is the ideal time to give your car some extra attention before harsh winter weather sets in. Taking a little time for auto care now can help you avoid the headaches of a costly emergency breakdown later.

  1. Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  2. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  3. Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
  4. Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  5. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
  6. Check the engine to make sure it is delivering the best balance of power and fuel economy and producing the lowest level of emissions.
  7. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and safety reasons, such as defrosting.
  8. Inspect the steering and suspension systemannually, including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
  9. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  10. Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

5 Most Reliable German Cars

$_3.jpgNumerous attributes draw drivers to German cars: high performance, world-class luxury, thoughtful design and styling, or an upscale and top-notch driving experience. New and used-car shoppers often seek out a BMW, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen or Mercedes-Benz as their means of accessing a taste of the motoring high-life. Whether you’re after an affordable and economical family sedan, a high-performance sports car, or anything in between, there’s a German car that’s perfect for you.

However, German cars have also developed a reputation for questionable reliability and high ownership and maintenance costs, so we wondered which were the safest bets from the land of the Autobahn. Here we highlight 5 of the most reliable German cars on the road today, based on the research and experience of our experts, as well as recent results of the annual J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which analyzes reliability data reported by current owners of three-year old vehicles.

  1. Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  2. Volkswagen Jetta
  3. Porsche Boxster
  4. BMW 3 Series
  5. Audi R8

 

Auto Collision Tips

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An auto collision can be an emotional and exhausting experience. Many motorists drive defensively, take driver education courses and prepare for stressful driving situations, but unfortunately vehicle collisions still occur.

A driver is responsible for knowing what to do if they are involved in a collision. Even the most prepared and competent drivers sometimes find themselves involved in a crash. It does not matter who is at fault, the most important thing to do first is make sure everyone is OK, then seek medical and law enforcement help and know what to do to protect yourself from legal or financial problems down the road.

The best defense to avoid any problems after a crash is to be prepared. Keeping a pen and paper, disposable camera or cell phone camera, and copy of your insurance card easily accessible at all times will help keep you organized and decrease stress moments after a collision. Use of a mobile app can help you properly document the event.

After stopping your vehicle, all motorists involved in an auto crash should follow these steps:

1. Assist the Injured. Quickly check with those involved in the collision to determine if there are any injuries. If medical attention is needed, call 9-1-1. If medical attention is not needed, make sure you are not in imminent danger at the roadside. Continue reading “Auto Collision Tips”