Tuesday, January 10, 2012 02:04
I was shocked to discover that running stoplights and stop signs was still illegal.
From observing drivers in South Carolina where I live, apparently they’re required to run stoplights and stop signs to enter a two-lane rural highway, but ONLY if:
- There is fast-moving vehicle within 150 yards traveling in the lane the stop sign runner is about to enter
- The stop-sign runner is going only short distance
- The sign or light runner is going to do it slowly
Several times, I’ve been forced to use full-emergency anti-lock braking to avoid someone who ran a stop sign to go 100 feet at 15 mph before turning into a driveway. If a South Carolina driver waits at the stop sign, it's almost certain he’s going to travel more than 10 miles. More...
Friday, December 30, 2011 00:28
A lot of people make plans to go home for the holidays, but not all of them get there. With the season of peace and joy comes an increase of accidents, and even experienced drivers can get caught up in the surge of crash statistics. Young drivers especially are at risk during the holiday season because of a number of factors that make driving more hazardous.
If you started driving in the last year, you’re more likely to have an accident than after you’ve gained some more time behind the wheel––and that’s just on normally traveled roads in good weather. Roads clogged with cars driven by frustrated shoppers, parents with crying kids in the back, and commuters weaving their way home from an office party won’t lessen the odds of being involved in an accident.
Weather is a factor too. Slippery roads and poor visibility contribute to enough accidents without factoring in inexperienced drivers. Just as it was safer to take your first drive in a deserted parking lot with an experienced driver, it’s smarter to learn about driving on icy roads or in the pouring rain some other time of year.
Perhaps the single most effective strategy for tipping the odds in your favor during the holidays is staying off the roads late at night when attention levels and visibility are low, and blood alcohol levels are high. It should go without saying—but it will be said anyway—that you shouldn’t drink and drive, and not just during the holidays, but ever. If you have to get to a party on New Year’s Eve, remember taxis are cheaper than lawyers, and getting into a cab is a lot easier than getting out of a DUI.
Thursday, December 22, 2011 05:01
How does a Republican discover all the ghosts in his closet? Run for President.
Though not a Republican, I'd be a great candidate. As I made my announcement, some blogger would ask, “How many speeding tickets have you had?”
A California cop asked me that once.
I was NOT intending to be a smart aleck, but I came across as one: "You mean in my life?" "Yeah, in your life.”
I knew that if I’d told him, “There have been so many, I can’t remember,” I was gonna get another one.
So I dropped into my deepest native Southern drawl and said, "Wail, Ah got mah furst un ‘n 1970. I was driving my Daddy's ’65 Jeep Wagoneeyer. Three on the tree with the 258 straight six. I was doin' 54 in a 40. I didn't get another until...Wail, I was driving the Torino, '71 with a 302, in Memphis. It was ’73...no '74.”
At that point, I said to myself, “If he allows me to get to the end of this, I’m going to jail.” Fortunately, he’d tired of my Jeff Foxworthy imitation. He said, "No, no, no, I mean THIS year." My truthful response: "My license is clean."
See, he was asking ‘bout my California license. He didn’t ask about my less-clean Tennessee license. (This was pre-September 11.) A good ol’ boy will never lie to you, but he might not tell the whole truth, especially if you don’t ask for it.
I'm Mac Demere and I approve this message.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 01:46
If you’re a teenager and you’d rather sit behind the wheel than in front of a computer, you might be an endangered species. That’s because the people who think about these things have discovered that American teenagers would rather spend their time and money chatting online with their friends instead of driving to their houses to see them IRL, which stands for “in real life”, and if you already knew that, you might be among the growing majority.
Ever since the car was invented it’s been the dream of just about every teenager to get a driver’s license and a car, not necessarily in that order. But a survey revealed that almost half of today’s 18-to-24-year-olds would choose internet access over owning a car. Among baby boomers, who grew up in the 1950s and ‘60s, only 15 percent would take a keyboard over an ignition key. The other 85 percent were probably not the cool kids in high school.
Last year only 4 percent of people 19 and under had driver’s licenses, the lowest percentage since 1978. There’s speculation that the decline in due in large part to tougher license tests and graduated licenses requiring drivers under 16 to be accompanied by a licensed driver 21 or older––seriously, what’s less cool than having your big sister in the shotgun seat nagging you about left turns?––but the effect of social networks, high gas prices, and the poor job market can’t be dismissed, either.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 06:00
I like connector ramps, on-ramps, off-ramps, merges, big curves, twisties, switchbacks, anything that allows me to sling myself through a turn at rates beyond the acceptable. My friends call it the slice and dice, and they’re right—driving should be fun. Commuting through traffic on a sticky set of DOT-legal race tires makes it even more fun.
Alright, technically the Dunlop Z1 isn’t a race tire, but it is a tire that folks race with—autocrossers, track-day killers, and canyon carvers alike have called it a marvel. When the Z1 was approved as an SCCA-legal item, it was highly sought after, even more so when the Z1 Star Spec was introduced, a slight redesign of the original Z1 that sorted out the first tire’s tendency to warm up too slowly for short-course autocrossing (and brought an added benefit of slightly improved threshold grip). The point is that the Dunlop Z1, even four-plus years after its release to the American public, is a big-G knife, paws for the wolves in sheep’s traffic.
The Z1’s American availability is a sticky wicket in its own right. Dunlop, as we all remember from race tires in Europe, motorcycles, Le Mans, and so many other bits of awesome from the good old days, is no longer, having been broken up and sold to the Japanese (Sumitomo) and Americans (Goodyear). Fortunately, both parent companies share lots of the development and promotional duties, and different Dunlops pass back and forth between them for availability in the U.S. For example, the Dunlop SportMaxx, a big-sedan Euro-style Autobahn killer (ideal for everything from G8 to M5), is made by the Goodyear Dunlop, while the Direzza DZ101 rice-racer favorite and the slightly related Z1 are made by the Japanese Dunlop (and is at-home with the all-wheel drive and Porsche crowd). Indeed, the Japanese get a few other versions of the Z1 that are even racier than the Z1 Star Spec over here, but at least we have that, because it’s super. More...