Monday, June 30, 2008

Drive Safely this Fourth of July Holiday

The July Fourth holiday weekend is one of the most popular family getaways, a great time to drive to the beach, lake or a friend's backyard barbecue. It's also one of the most deadly times of the year on our roads.

An insurance industry analysis of data for the ten years from 1995-2005 shows that the day July 4th is actually the single most deadly day of the year, while July 2nd and 3rd are not far behind. Since the July 4, 2008 falls on a Friday, law enforcement officials are especially concerned that this year's Independence Day holiday could be a very deadly one.

To combat this, the Governors Highway Safety Association is funding extra enforcement efforts focusing on such safety issues as seat belt use, speeding, drunk driving, and an activity not enough drivers think is dangerous -- driving with one hand while holding a cellphone in the other. Talking while holding a cellphone is dangerous enough, but it is simply incoprehensible anybody is idiotic enough to take their eyes off the road long enough to either to dial or text message. But they do. And those people are beyond dumb. They are flat out dangerous.

Five states have laws prohibiting driving while talking on a handheld cellphone -- California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington, plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. The rules in California and Washington go into effect on July first, in time for the deadly driving days around the Fourth of July.

Four states ban text messaging while driving -- Alaska, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington, and other states have introduced similar legislation.

Great drives are safe drives. This Fourth of July weekend, slow down -- you'll save gas and you'll drive more in control. Don't drink and drive. Don't text and drive. Don't dial and drive.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Drive Your Corvette to Work

Despite high gas prices, this is the day to drive your Corvette to work, if you own one. If not, just watch the parade of this iconic great drive.

Friday, June 28, 2008 is the annual "Drive Your Corvette to Work Day". It's a celebration sponsored by Mid America Motorworks, to say happy birthday to the vehicle known as "America's Sports Car".

The nationwide event is held on the Friday closest to June 30th, when the first Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan. That was in 1953, which makes the Corvette the same age as the speed limit -- 55. This year -- 2008 -- also happens to be the 100th birthday of General Motors. To many car lovers, creation of the Corvette is GM's greatest contribution to the automotive world. Certainly more important than the Edsel or the Hummer H2.

The organizer of this annual event has a vested interest in keeping Corvettes rolling and purring and cornering and launching zero to sixty -- or 55 -- in a throaty blink. He is Mike Yager, founder Mid America Motorworks, the world’s leading supplier of Corvette parts and accessories.

These days, the Corvette is manufactured in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the factory tour and Corvette Museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Bluegrass State.

The image, BTW, is the 2008 Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car. Now that's a great drive!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Saab 9-X Bio-Hybrid Concept Wins Another Award

The Saab 9-X BioHybrid has been voted “Specialty Concept Car of the Year” by a jury of 25 professional automotive journalists. The award ceremony took place at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan.

It's the second award for this great future drive, a streamlined, environmentally-friendly design. The 9-X was named “Best Concept” by AutoWeek Magazine at its world debut at the Geneva Auto Show recently.

The annual Concept Car of the Year Awards recognize vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. The Saab was voted the best of 40 concept cars and 12 production preview vehicles that debuted during the 2008 auto show season, which includes the Los Angeles Auto Show, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the New York Auto.

The 9-X BioHybrid is a vivid vision of what a future compact car from Saab could look like. It is designed to reflect the priorities of youthful customers who seek progressive looks, responsible performance and high-tech communications, all in a sporty, fun-to-drive package.

And it also has a pretty sensational power plant, too -- an ultra-efficient, 200 hp (147 kW), 1.4-liter BioPower turbo engine backed by GM’s next-generation hybrid system, with projected combined cycle CO2 emissions of just 105 g/km. That's low enough to qualify for one of the coveted SULEV ratings.

It's a sleek design, with ‘turbine’ wheels placed at all four corners. Minimal bodywork overhangs add to its sleek shape and reduce aerodynamic drag, too. The Saab designers know something about aero-dynamic. They design and build airplanes, too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Five Tips to Keep You and Your Vehicle Safe in Mexico

Mexico is such an attractive place for a road trip that there are more than 80 million vehicle border crossings each year. That number could increase this year because a great drive south-of-the-border is an affordable travel alternative to Europe.

Here are five top tips to keep you and your car safe from GMAC Insurance --

1. Have the proper insurance. In most instances, your U.S. auto insurance policy will not be valid in an accident in Mexico, so you should buy Mexico auto insurance. Check with your insurance company to see if it offers a pre-approved policy for Mexico, or special add-ons to
cover you within a certain mileage from the border.

2. Know the law. In Mexico, a car accident is seen as a criminal offense, and until it is determined who is at fault and whether a penalty can be paid, you could be detained in jail. Check with your insurance company to make sure they will cover bail costs, so you stay in jail longer than absolutely necessary.

3. Stay With Your Car. Mexican law states that a car must be driven by the vehicle owner, or the owner must be in the vehicle. If the owner is not present, the car will be seized by customs and not returned under any circumstances. If your name is on the title, stay with the vehicle at all times.

4. Plan Ahead. Know how long you will be in the country in advance. Give yourself extra leeway in the event an accident occurs and an extended stay is unavoidable. In addition, register with the embassy, so they are aware of your presence and your whereabouts.

5. Study Up. Read your new auto insurance policy carefully, especially the part about your responsibilities in case of an accident or loss. Keep a copy of the policy in the vehicle at all times, and always carry your driver's license, as well - it's valid in Mexico.

These tips can help you avoid a mountain of headaches, from paperwork to jail time to enormous fines and other costs.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Drive Your Own Race Car on the Spanish Grand Prix Track

Now, how great is this drive -- get behind the wheel of a super-fast Porsche and do five laps on a world-class racetrack in Spain. Just sign up for the F1 Racing Package from Cassanova Hotel in Barcelona.

The program starts with a classroom session on driving and safety, incuding how to find the line around a tight curve without losing speed or control. Then, you strap yourself into a Porsche Cayman and see if you can throttle up to its 295 hp max. You get five tries around the Montmelo Formula 1 race track, home to the Spanish Grand Prix.

The program includes two nights at the elegant and luxurious Casanova Hotel, daily breakfast, transportation between the airport and hotel, and between hotel and racetrack. The F1 Racing package starts at 1185 Euros, which is approximately $1860 USD. /div>

Or, spend a bit more and vroom around the track in a Ferrari, Lamborghini or even a Formula 1. Just don't reserve the red one -- that's mine.

After your racetrack experience, you can slow down at the Casanova's Stone Spa, or its rooftop pool.

Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Formula 1. Great drives all of them.