Friday, July 23, 2010

Boxster Spyder Car - Product of Porsche - Road car and Racing heritage

Porsche builds some of the world's most coveted cars, and it has a rich tradition in motor racing.

Porsche builds sports cars to be used as daily commuters, but they can also be taken to a racetrack and flogged all day long. The Boxster Spyder is a perfect example of Porsche's combined road-car appeal and racing heritage. The Boxster S, in my opinion, is the best all-around Porsche, providing stunning performance and handling along with two trunks and a convertible top -- all standard. Porsche has taken the Boxster S and developed a lightweight version called the Spyder. With 79.8 kilograms shed and 10 horsepower added, this is a car built for driving purists.

Boxster Spyder - Porsche

The skin:

You can tell the Spyder is something special just by looking at it. The fully manual roof is the most dramatic change from the original Boxster S, requiring the driver to get out and dismantle it in sections and store it under the Carrera GT-inspired rear cover. The sexy-looking rear trunk has no struts to hold it up, just a conventional brace. Dismantling and storing the roof looks rather complex, but after a couple of times it is really rather easy, taking only a few minutes.

The cockpit:

The Spyder sits 20 millimetres lower than the Boxster S; this along with the large wheels and cropped roof make a car that stands out. The Spyder has been stripped of anything that takes away from the pure driving pleasure of an open-air roadster. There is no radio, just the sound of the beautiful engine. Yes, the buyer can have the radio as a no-cost option, and I would include it if I were buying one of these cars.

The ride:

So what is the advantage to having a lightweight Boxster? Driving enthusiasts know that the power-to-weight ratio is one of the most important factors in any car. If you have a huge motor in a heavy car, the horsepower advantage is lost. But if you can get a powerful engine in a light car, then you have magic! Since the Spyder is 79.8 kilograms lighter than the Boxster S and the car sits lower to the ground, the extra 10 horsepower is magnified.

The good and bad:

Good: This unique car is pure bliss to drive.

Bad: I don't think I could live with this car all year long.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

I-94 drunken-driving effort nets arrests

Police in seven states made several arrests Friday and Saturday as part of a crackdown on drunken driving along 1,500 miles of Interstate 94, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported.

Preliminary data shows seven arrests for having open bottles in vehicles, five arrests for drug violations, and three arrests on warrants.

There were four crashes involving injuries, NHTSA reported.

In addition, 23 citations were issued for not using seat belts or not having children in safety seats, and 164 tickets for aggressive driving, NHTSA reported.

Agencies from Minnesota, North Dakota, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Montana took part in the effort, which started 8 p.m. Friday and ended 4 a.m. Saturday.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Volkswagen to ramp up its car production in India

World's biggest auto giant, Volkswagen is reaping success, thanks to its new Polo, which has lots of fan followers in India. Volkswagen has invested Rs.3800 crore in its Chakan Plant near Pune, and recently rolled out its 10,000th car during the first week of June 2010. As per the German company's plans, the production house will manufacture cars at full swing leading to 1.1 lakh cars in a short span of 18 months.

According to Joerg Mueller, the Volkswagen Group Chief Representative India & President & Managing Director Volkswagen India Private Limited, the company will start its second shift operations commencing in three months to acheive the production target. Apart from the production target, the newly launched VW Polo customers have to wait a bitter 3 to 4 months to drive their car home from the dealers. The German auto maker focuses on well built quality cars for Indian roads so as to leave not a single customer unhappy in India.

India is the most promising automobile market around the world. As per the expert predictions, by 2015, 3 million vehicles will be needed by Indians as against 1.6 million vehicles sold last year. Mr. Muller stated that India's automobile growth is tremendous and Volkswagen will happily participate in this growing momentum and thereby meets its internal growth and return targets.

Volkswagen Group of cars made the Indian entry with the first car Skoda Octavia. After, 2007 both Audi and Skoda cars were available, and now Volkswagen has got 17 different models including its own Passat, Jetta, Phaeton, Touareg and Polo. In 2010, Volkswagen launched Polo, a hatchback car which has got laurels throught the world.

The yet to be launched Vento, a Polo based sedan will strengthen the Volkswagen's line up of cars in the country. As more than 70% of the Indian passenger car market is dominated by small cars, Volkswagen is studying the Indian market in order to launch a small car below the Polo segment.


Friday, June 18, 2010

One alcoholic drink can triple the chances of car accident

A study has found that even a single alcoholic drink can triple the chances of a driver dying in a car accident, as it can increase a driver's blood-alcohol level by more than half the legal limit.

The British study, commissioned by the Government, has advised that legal limits for drinking and driving should be reduced from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The New Zealand Government had last year proposed lowering the blood-alcohol limit from 80mg to 50mg, which is backed by health experts and is included in May's Law Commission report.

The study revealed that the drink-drive limit of 80mg increases the chances of a fatal crash by at least six times, and for those just over the limit, with 100mg blood alcohol level, the risk is 11 times higher.

The British medical regulator, Nice, said road accidents happen mostly with young people, as they are less experienced drivers, immature and have a lower tolerance to alcohol than older people.

Countries, which have lowered the blood-alcohol limit to 50mg, include France, Germany, Italy and Spain, with Estonia, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic having a zero limit.

When the 50mg limit was introduced in 15 countries in Europe it resulted in an 11.5 per cent drop in fatal drink-driving accidents involving 18 to 25-year-olds, the group at highest risk.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Parents target ATV rules

Off-road warriors as young as 6 are taxing local emergency rooms in an "epidemic" of battered brains and busted bones as lawmakers debate today whether to hike the state’s minimum age for operating an ATV from 10 to 14.

And even that’s not tough enough, believes Katie Kearney of Plymouth, whose 8-year-old son - the namesake of "Sean’s Bill" - was crushed to death in 2006 beneath a 500-pound all-terrain vehicle that the adult hosts of a playdate allowed Sean to drive, unbeknown-st to his parents.

Kearney asserts the legal cutoff should be no less than 16 years old for ATV operators.

"In Massachusetts you can’t ride an electric scooter until you’re 16. You can’t ride a jet ski until you’re 16. You can’t drive a car until you’re 16. Why should you be able to drive an ATV?" she asked.

Last month alone in Massachusetts, a dozen children under the age of 16 required emergency medical care after being thrown from ATVs, crashing into trees, flipping over and, in the case of a 12-year-old Plymouth girl, nearly drowning in a cranberry bog, according to Dr. Peter Masiakos, a pediatric trauma surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"It is epidemic. I can’t imagine burying a child that had a preventable death," said Masiakos, the physician upon whose shoulders four years ago fell the sad duty of telling Katie and Mark Kearney their boy was dead.

Referencing state public health statistics, Masiakos said that since 1982, 19 kids under age 16 have been killed riding ATVs. Between 2004 and 2005, he said 900 children under age 16 suffered ATV-related injuries and 35 more had moderate to severe brain trauma requiring intensive care and rehabilitation.

The state Senate already has approved raising the minimum ATV age to 14. The House will vote this afternoon, considering proposals such as requiring children 16 and under to pass an ATV safety course.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Health Tip: Encourage Teens to Drive Safely

Before teens begin driving, parents should discuss a few ground rules to help prevent accidents.

The U.S. National Safety Council suggests how parents can prepare their teens for safe driving:

Drive safely

  • Take your teen out for lots of practice sessions, exposing him or her to various driving situations.
  • Don't allow your teen to drive with any distractions. That means no cell phones or other teens in the car.
  • Establish strict rules about seat belt use and drunk driving, and enforce your punishments.
  • Talk to your teen often and openly.
  • Be informed about where your teen is going, what he or she is doing and who may be riding along.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Safety Driving: Parents should know where, how their kids are driving

Many parents fear handing their car keys over to their teenagers, but what if a parent could track the teen's every move while the youth was on the road?

Plug-N-Track, made by Tucson-based Gateway Communications Inc., is a small box that plugs into a car's diagnostic port. It allows you to track your vehicle's movement, speed, acceleration and deceleration patterns online and through text message, said Jon Rowley, president of Gateway Communications.

While GPS driving-habit trackers are the current trend in safe-driving promotion, with at least 10 different products available online, Rowley said he used his 25 years of experience designing fleet-tracking systems to help Plug-N-Track stand out in the market.

safety car driving

"What makes us unique is being able to quickly, with no professional installers, plug it in to the vehicle," Rowley said. "Simplicity is what makes it really, really nice."

Plug-N-Track retails for $299.99 and requires a monthly service fee of $19.99. Other simular products can run anywhere from $195 for the unit with a $40 monthly tracking fee to $470, also with a $40 monthly fee.

Plug N Track device

Once users plug the device into their cars, they can then track their vehicles through an online program, similar to Google Maps, or they can text-message the system and receive real-time updates listing the cars' cross streets, their direction and their speed.

Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said that while driver-tracker systems have been shown to decrease dangerous driving tendencies, there is some doubt about whether they will really catch on in the market.

A 2009 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, meant to test the influence of these devices on driver tendencies, actually had a hard time recruiting participants because, Rader said, parents did not want to offend their teenagers by showing they did not trust them behind the wheel.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Heather Locklear Arrested Over Car Crash

Actress Heather Locklear has been arrested after allegedly hitting a traffic sign.

The 48-year-old Melrose Place star was taken into custody after reports of a crash in California where a No Parking sign had been knocked down.

Police were called to the scene by a local resident in North Ranch Country Club in Westlake, California, when they heard a crash.

According to reports in the US, police examined debris at the scene and found the car involved was Locklear's black BMW.

Locklear's lawyer, Blair Berk, said in a statement: "Ms Locklear was cited with a misdemeanour traffic ticket as she is the registered owner of the vehicle.

"She was never taken into custody. The matter is still being looked into as it is not yet clear who was driving the vehicle."

Locklear, who also starred in TJ Hooker and Dynasty, is due to appear in court on May 17.

In January last year she pleaded no contest to a charge of reckless driving after a journalist phoned police to tell them the actress was behaving erratically shortly before driving away from a supermarket.

A blood test showed no alcohol or illegal drugs in her system. Authorities said her prescription medicine could have affected her ability to drive.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A spring tune-up on cycling safety

Whether you are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle or gripping the handlebars of a bike, this can be a challenging time of year on the streets of cities and towns across the country.

The snow and the slush are largely gone, that's true, and roads are for the most part dry. But the arrival of those bike-friendly conditions means drivers and cyclists may need to relearn how to peaceably coexist. Seasonal cyclists and the four-season warriors will have to get used to each other again too.

The early part of the cycling season can see everyone a bit rusty on the ground rules for safe cycling and for sharing the road.

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“I think what we consistently find is that when there are more cyclists on the road, it's much safer for all cyclists,” says Zlatko Krstulich, president of the Ottawa-based advocacy group Citizens for Safe Biking.

Cycling Safety

“The big reason is that drivers see one or two and they start to get in their minds ‘Hey, look out for cyclists.' ”

Nancy Kendrew, a co-owner of Toronto's Urbane Cyclist, says the onus to be mindful of cyclists doesn't just rest with drivers.

Ms. Kendrew is a dedicated four-season cyclist, as are others who work at her store, a worker-owned cycle shop. She and her colleagues notice that at this time of year, the seasonal or recreational cyclists can be as much of a threat to their fellow cyclists as cars.

“There's a two-edged thing. We think the No. 1 danger is from motorists – I mean, it's true if you get hit by a car it's much bigger. But if you do something [and] you're clipped by a fast-moving cyclist, it can lead to a serious injury as well,” she says.

“There are cyclists who go all season long. And they're very wary and they're very safety-oriented because they've gone through icy conditions and whatnot.

“And it's sort of like the newbies that come along in the springtime and they're not predictable, they don't stop at lights, they're not obeying the rules, some of them.”

Predictable. That word comes up a lot when you're talking to people knowledgeable about cycling safety. Being predictable is the key weapon cyclists have to protect themselves and others, Ms. Kendrew and Mr. Krstulich suggest. That means:

Bike where you are supposed to bike. Don't weave in and out of traffic.

Signal your turns. Signalling allows drivers and other cyclists to anticipate the directional changes you are about to make.

Obey the rules of the road.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mandatory Bicycle Training for Children

Seoul's elementary schools will conduct mandatory courses on bicycle riding, with an emphasis on safety, officials said Wednesday. The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education has instructed the schools to introduce four hours of lessons on bicycle riding and safety tips a year.

"Many students ride bicycles to school or for physical exercise, but schools have been negligent in providing safety lessons," an official with the education office said. "This is one of the reasons for the rise in bicycle accidents."

According to police, there were a total of 10,915 bicycle-related traffic accidents in 2008. In particular, accidents involving children have been on the rise. In 2005, 257 elementary school students reported injuries from bicycle accidents. The figure rose to 388 in 2007.

With collaboration with the Seoul city administration, the education office has also distributed safety guidelines to schools. They are aimed at helping children dress properly for bicycle riding, abide by traffic signals and in how to deal with accidents.

According to a recent survey by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Management (KCDC), only three percent of children aged from three to 18 wear helmets while cycling.

The survey said 2.4 percent of children from 3 to 11 years old wore protective helmets in 2007 and 3.2 percent did so in 2008. In 2008, bicycle accidents accounted for 14 percent of traffic accident victims with 46 percent of them being under 20 years old.

In the United States, the helmet-wearing rate was 3.8 percent in 1991, but education and guidance campaigns raised the rate to 14.9 percent in 2007.

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