Tag Archives: driving

Are You a Speed Demon?

YamazaruNinja asked the Lockergnome community whether we tend to tend to speed when driving down an open stretch of highway. I like to think that I never do this – thanks to Cruise Control. I admit that back in the day before I had such a luxury on my cars, I always ended up going too fast at times. I think everyone I know had this problem at some point. You’re cruising along and totally lose track of how fast you’re going. After all… it doesn’t FEEL like you’re speeding, right? You don’t even realize it until it’s too late sometimes.

This is just another small way in which technology advancements have enriched our lives. In the grand scheme of things, perhaps something such as Cruise Control isn’t such a big deal. When you realize that it could save lives by helping us to slow down, it puts it in a whole new perspective.

So how about it? Do you tend to speed when you’re out on the highway, or do you pay attention and drive within the speed limit?

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Google Android can Park Your Car

If you’re anything like me, road rage sets in when you’re trying to find a parking place. Snagging a spot – even one far from your destination – can be a royal pain in the ass much of the time. If you happen to be the owner of a phone with Google’s Android operating system, though, there’s an app for that! The new Open Spot app (released today by Google) will help you find a parking spot within moments.

Open Spot (still in beta) plans to save users more than just time and gas money. They also aim to cut down on pollution by reducing the amount of time driving around trying to hunt down an open space. The app will show you all empty spaces within .9 miles of your current location. They’re color-coded to tell you how long ago someone reported the spot as empty (Red for freshly-marked spots, orange for spots marked over 5 minutes ago, and yellow for spots marked over 10 minutes ago). Spots disappear after twenty minutes, so don’t dawdle.

This type of app can really work well if it’s widely used. When you vacate a parking place, you’ll let Open Spot know about it so that someone else can nab it. Likewise, they report to the app when they take off so the next poor sap driving in circles can find a place to park their beloved vehicle. Rinse… and repeat!

What are your thoughts? Is this something you’ll start using?

Who Texts While Driving?

According to a new study, it’s not teens who text the most while driving. The guilty parties, actually, are adults. The Pew Research Center says that of those adults polled, 47 percent of respondents admit they either send or read messages while at the wheel of a vehicle.

Amongst teens aged 16 and 17, only about 34% tend to text while driving. Pew’s senior researcher, Mary Madden, said “There’s been a lot of focus on young drivers, and for good reasons. But this research provides an important reminder that adults are setting a bad example.” Several states already have a ban on texting while driving, and seven have banned the use of cell phones altogether while driving. However, the U.S. Senate is voting right now on banning texting nationwide.

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Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Geek!This is Carol Foltz’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

My motto for driving is: I drive like an old lady so I can be one. I don’t mean the drive-45-in-a-55-mph-zone old lady, just that I take reasonable care, I don’t speed and I’m more careful when weather conditions negatively impact driving conditions.

Winter driving seems to baffle some drivers, even though winter keeps returning every year. When the snow flies, common sense flies out the window. Therefore, I present “Carol’s Rules For Safe Winter Driving.”

  1. Make sure you need to go out. If you don’t need to go out, then don’t. If you must go out, make sure you know where you are going and why. Don’t make extra trips.
  2. Realize that the roads are slick and you can’t stop on a dime. Give yourself leeway by slowing down before you get to the intersection. Also, you can’t just start driving. Ease into it a little bit, or you will fishtail. If there is a car next to you, you could hit it if you aren’t careful.
  3. Be careful and assume that everyone else on the road isn’t careful. Act like they are either first-time drivers who don’t know what they are doing or that they are actively trying to kill you with their cars. Stay away from the other drivers. WEAR YOUR SEATBELT!
  4. If you are driving when it’s still snowing, drive slowly with wipers going and your lights on, even if it’s daytime. Having your lights on helps other drivers see you and hopefully avoid you.
  5. If you are driving and get stuck, stay with your car unless it’s falling into a river or something. Don’t get out and start walking to your destination, especially if you are in the country. Don’t make law enforcement start looking for you “between Moorland and Rockwell City,” for example. (Those two towns are about 20 miles apart.)
  6. The usual: Have a winter survival kit in your car, including a shovel. When a bad winter storm hit Iowa in February 2007, I prepared by bringing a suitcase of clothes and things I would need into town when I came to work, with plans to stay at my mom’s apartment until it was safe to go home. I left our only shovel at home, thinking that maybe my family might need it. I could always go to Wal-Mart and get one before going to stay the night at Mom’s, right? Wrong. They closed Wal-Mart. They closed Wal-Mart.
  7. In winter, snow happens. It rarely happens without warning, however. Keep up to date with the weather on a daily basis so you can be prepared. In that memorable storm of 2007, the weather warnings had been in place for days ahead. I had time to think about my plans, pack a suitcase, do extra shopping and so on. I even came into work the night the storm hit, even though I wasn’t scheduled to work that night, so I wouldn’t be driving during the heavy part of the storm. If I had not, I would have been stuck at home for four days because travel was prohibited.
  8. If school is out and businesses are closing, don’t get into your little two-door car and head for the mall. Stay home. (See rule No. 1.) When authorities say that travel is prohibited, take them seriously. As I mentioned before, weather reports can give you an idea ahead of time when the bad storms are coming. If on Saturday, you hear that a bad storm is expected to hit your area on Wednesday, and that warning is repeated on a daily basis, maybe you should do your emergency grocery shopping on Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. Don’t try to go out Wednesday night after the blizzard hits because you are out of groceries.
  9. Have a cell phone handy. In these days of prepaid cell phones, everyone can afford one. Have a cell phone even if you only use it when you have an emergency in your car. Keep your cell phone charged. Like a spare tire that you have to check periodically to make sure it’s not flat, a cell phone is only good if it’s charged. Be familiar with the basic functions of your cell phone. Which leads to No. 10…
  10. Know where you are. If you absolutely must travel in bad winter weather, have a good idea where you are in case something happens and you have to call 911. It will be easier for law enforcement to find you if you can say you are two miles west of Moorland rather than “somewhere between Moorland and Rockwell City” (see rule No. 5).

Some of these tips are specific to winter driving in climates where snow is the norm. Some of these tips are good year-round no matter where you live. I can’t stress too much the importance of wearing a seatbelt. There have been several accidents in my area this past year with preventable fatalities: the people involved didn’t wear seatbelts and were thrown from their vehicles. Some of these accidents had survivors who could have avoided serious injuries by wearing seatbelts. All of these accidents involved people in their teens and early 20s.

Above all, be careful. Drive like an old geek so you can be one.

How to Deal with Winter and your Car

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Winter not only brings Christmas, it also brings bad weather for much of the United States. Snow, sleet and ice are prevalent, and can wreak havoc on your car. Here are some excellent tips to help you deal more effectively with your car in bad weather.

  • Store your car (if it’s possible) always in a garage or in a “closed type” parking. It is very important to keep your car from the snow because it will be always clean and you will not waste your time to clean the snow from it. It is best to you to keep car in a warm place to help the snow to thaw after driving.
  • Keep your gas tank as full as you can. The temperature difference between cold conditions outside and warm conditons inside the gas tank causes the process of water condesation which can cause an “ice fuse” in fuel hoses. You then suddenly may not be able to power on your car engine, because fuel is not able to reach the engine. But, if your tank is always filled with gas, it will supersede all water drops and they simply will be burned in the engine with the fuel.
  • After washing your car, “blow” all locks of your`s car doors with a hair drier. Remember how many times you tried to open a frozen door of your car after washing? So, after washing your car, park it in a warm place (in a garage), then take a simple hair drier and blow car locks with it.You must blow warm airflow directly inside the lock for a minute ot two to make it totally dry. Then, take a dry cloth and wipe out water from the lock mechanism on the side of the door.
  • Keep an eye on your “window washer” liquid level. It`s dirty outside, isn`t it? So, to drive safely, it’s very important to have clean front windows. Go to your closest store and buy a good washer liquid for your car. Do not buy cheap products, because they can contain chemicals, which can be dangerous for you life.
    Do not buy liquid which contains methanol (CH3OH), because when in the air, it transforms into deadly Carbon Dioxide which can be very dangerous if inhaled
  • How to drive your car safely during winter? There is an ice on the road! So increase speed slowly! I said slowly!!! Give some time to your car`s wheels to hook on the ice. Remember, that the “stopping-distance” of your car varies from the weather conditions. In winter, it becomes much bigger than in summer because of the ice. So, brake in advance, to prevent collison!!! A good braking technique in winter is a “repeatedly braking technique”. Try to push on a brake pedal repeatedly, so your “brake lips” can clean the brake disk from dirt and snow and effectively stop your car.

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