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Why Zero Teen Fatalities?

WhyIMG_1764 Zero Teen Fatalities?

There are 32 families that are still mourning the loss of a child after last year’s Teen-Driver related fatalities in Nevada. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) put out by the National Highway Safety Administration, at least 62% of all teen related crashes last year involved aggressive driving; including speeding and erratic driving. Intoxication was a large factor in at least 41% of teen-drivers’ fatal accidents, along with other avoidable behaviors such as absence of restraints and distraction, acting as major contributors to loss of life.

These statistics are staggering to say the least. The biggest question is how can we reduce these numbers and educate young drivers to be responsible while behind the wheel of a car?

IMG_1765Recently I was privileged to observe a class directed at young, inexperienced drivers, sponsored by the Nevada Department of Public Safety, along with the Nevada Highway Patrol. The attendees did not sign up in excitement for these classes, instead they were sentenced by a Judge to attend, after receiving a citation for many of the same reasons Nevada lost 32 teens in 2014.

This class was held at the local Juvenile Hall after school hours so I decided to arrive early in order to observe those who might be attending as they found their way into the parking lot for the session. I sat quietly in my vehicle as cars with young drivers began to enter, some driving cautiously, others zipping through the lot looking for a spot. A few arrived early, some arrived right on time. I noticed that a few students were prepared with writing materials, others just seemed as if they wished it was already over.

I exited my vehicle once it appeared no others were arriving. I entered the building, and like any court system facility, was searched, with my items removed to be scanned prior to entering. I was relieved that the bells and whistles stayed silent as I went through the detector. You just never know what might set off that sensitive machine.IMG_1766

I was escorted to the classroom and I noticed that all the attendees were placed in a holding area so roll call could be taken. After all, this is a court ordered class as part of their sentencing.

I was greeted by Scott Swain, the Law Enforcement Liaison for the Nevada Department of Public Safety and introduced myself. Since I was a guest and observer, I sat in the back of the room so as not to be a distraction to the rest of the class.

The students began to arrive as a group and were asked to sit anywhere. In total there were 19 attending; 10 boys and 9 girls. Prior to the start of the presentation, each student was instructed to take a pre-test, consisting of 10 questions. Among the questions were: is it legal to drive 5 miles over the posted speed limit? What is Offensive Driving? When can you drive in the left lane? And what is the safe following distance, just to list a few.

The objective of this class/sentencing was the hope of changing the way teen drivers drive, since 62% of them are causing crash related accidents. The class was 3 hours long and covered all driver related situations, laws, and many of the things these teen drivers aren’t learning prior to getting their driver’s license. These students learned that as a driver, no matter the age, you will be tried as an adult in any crash related accident. The audio visual was extremely graphic and at times humor was tossed in to help lighten the seriousness of the content.

Students were asked if they felt they had bad parent drivers who taught them to drive? 4 raised their hands. They were asked if they ever took a Driver’s Education class? Unbelievably, 100% of the students acknowledged that they had never taken Driver’s Ed. Let’s think about this for a moment. If you want to be good in sports, do you start out being great? No, it takes work and practice. How about wanting to be CEO of a company? No, it takes hard work and dedication, so why do we give licenses to 16 year olds and tell them they are now good drivers? We allow them to use a car that can potentially become a weapon if used irresponsibly.

IMG_1767Finally, there was a video of young girls laughing and texting with the driver being distracted by her friends. All of a sudden the vehicle veers into oncoming traffic, hitting a car head on, it’s then hit by another vehicle, and unable to stop for the accident. The outcome? 3 of the 4 girls die, while their friend watches as she is trapped inside the car. In the other vehicle was a family of 5: mom and dad were killed, an infant dies, and the 5 year old in the back seat wants to know why daddy is not answering her.

As I watched the students taking in this tragedy as it unfolded, the room became silent. Some seemed shaken by the situation and others looked as if they felt this wasn’t real. In fact, this video was taken from vehicle cams installed by insurance companies to help lower costs to drivers in another country due to so many accidents. The cameras help to shed a better light on who actually is at fault, if and when it went to trial. In this case, a distracted teen took the lives of many innocent people and pretty much wiped out an entire family.

IMG_1768After the class came to an end, I was able to speak to one young student. He informed me that he is a second offender to this class. I wanted to know if he has learned anything after being here twice. He assured me he did, so let’s hope that he did.

If you have a young driver in your household, make sure they are driving responsibly; no parent wants to ever receive that knock on the door. Drive Safe.
For more information about this program and others, go to www.stayundead.com

Changing Nevada’s Speed Limit

How Do You Feel about Changing Nevada’s Speed Limit To 85 MPH?

Bill SB2 has been introduced into the Nevada Legislature to change the Highway Speed Limit on some highways from85 mph70 MPH to 85 MPH. Controversy surrounds this bill on both sides. Senator Don Gustovson, the sponsor of the bill, testified on Monday in support of this legislation which he says would help reduce traffic accidents on stretches of highway that are far from civilization.

Those against the bill state that upping the speed limit would only mean drivers would drive above the posted limit and actually soar down the highways at 90 plus. After all, how many drivers do you see now who seem to never drive the speed limit, but it appears they use our highways as a race track?

70 mphOther states, such as Texas and Utah, have raised their speed limits and actually have seen a decrease in overall accidents. Is it because they are driving faster and are now paying more attention to the road, or is it because people are more worried about the faster drivers, and they are slowing down themselves and are more aware of their surroundings?

I can remember the 1970’s when Nevada did not have any speed limit outside the city limits, and as long as you were not driving recklessly, any speed was the limit. As the population grew, the speed limit was decreased in hopes of saving lives, but it had the opposite effect. If you have ever driven from Las Vegas to Reno, once you are outside of the city limits, you’ll probably notice there are miles and miles of sagebrush and open road populated by sleepy drivers.

The drivers today do not see driving as the focus; distractions like cell phones and texting are on their minds more than the oncoming traffic. The increase in cars on the roads today here in Northern Nevada is due to the population boom, it will only become worse with all of the new Industry arriving daily.

I am a great supporter of smaller towns, since that is where I hope to be when I retire. Until then, I will need to cope with all the drivers on the road by being alert in hopes of not becoming a statistic. When you consider the drunk or impaired drivers in the mix*, that is definitely a recipe for disaster. And people are pushing for Recreational Marijuana, which can only add to the problem. Pretty soon our highways are going to look more like the bumper car ride at a carnival than a highway.cartoon drivers

I cannot wait to see how insurance companies tackle this one. This topic is up for debate and everyone will have their own views and opinions, but I think we really need to view the safety of our roadways and not fall prey to political pressures or certain groups. This is about all the people, not some of the people. If you have ever been in an accident, it’s never pleasant, and depending on the severity of the accident, it can be a life changing experience, costing you time and money. After all, insurance companies have limits that they will pay out, and the rest is on you.

Time will tell.

(*In 2012 32% of all driving fatalities were impaired drivers. http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics-nevada.html) Source for Nevada drunk driving information and statistics from US Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 12/02

Basic Auto For Women Seminar

Women with cars 001Have you ever had the desire to become more knowledgable about your automobile, then this Basic Auto for Women Seminar is a must? Do you want to feel more secure when taking your car in for repair? What is that Pesty Check Engine Light? How Do I check my fluids and more, then this class is for you. Teresa Aquila from Teresa’s Garage will be hosting a 3 to 4 hour seminar on just how to master these questions and come out feeling in control.

This course is designed for people who really don’t know anything about their car except how to drive it and how to fill up the tank. This class will offer students instruction in the basics of simple automotive services such as changing a flat tire, and checking the oil, understanding maintenance schedules, preventive maintenance and repair, along with the terminology, proper use of tools, and procedures required to perform these tasks. This class will empower the students to not only be able to perform simple tasks themselves, but it will help them to have confidence if they take their car into the shop to have someone else work on it.

Opening your hood should not feel like going down into the tunnel of darkness. There really isn’t anything under your hood that should scare you. Simple things like keeping your battery clean, steam cleaning your engine, checking your anti freeze, oil and transmission will no longer be a chore, but a way of saving you hard earned cash.

On May 16, 2015, Teresa’s Garage Seminar, held at the Reno Town Mall, in Reno, Nevada is the place to be. Sign up now by emailing teresa@teresasgarage.com to reserve your seat. You won’t be disappointed and there will be door prizes, so everyone should go home with more than they arrived with.

The class will be filmed and hosted on Teresa’s Garage website. I will then also choose a student or students to be my special guest on Teresa’s Garage Radio Show and discuss with the listeners what you obtained from this Seminar and answer any questions from callers who call into the show. Save the date and sign up now!

Cruising, Dancing and Classic Cars, A&W 1990

Here is a video that I filmed in 1990 during Hot August Nights at the A&W. During the summers when temperatures were warm, days for long and cruising was on every classic cars owners mind. I was no exception.

People would get to the A&W early in order to save a spot by parking their classic sometimes all day just waiting for the evening to arrive along with all the other car lovers and on lookers wanting to participate in the fun.

This was a place to meet up with friends or even make new ones. Some couples started their relationships at the A&W by hooking while hanging out to enjoy the festivities.

The building has been torn down now for sometime, but those of us who lived and played at this A&W in Reno, Nevada remember it well and with fond memories. This is just a one of many videos I will be posting for all to enjoy. Click A&W and enjoy.

A&W Crusing Reno, Nv 1990

 

Do You Have What It Takes To Drive In The Snow?

Due to recent snow storms in the area, it’s not difficult to locate which drivers know what it takes to travel safely and those that are still in the learning process; they are proudly displayed all over the roadside. I, of course, prefer the more experienced winter driver over the not so experienced, since the latter of the two will most likely be the one who can single handedly wipe out an entire section of the highway, causing accidents and holding up traffic for hours. Throw distracted drivers into the mix, and you have a recipe for a long commute.

So what should you do to prepare yourselves and your vehicle for these types of situations? First off, make sure your vehicle has the proper tires for the weather conditions.

All-season tires are a design compromise which allow you to maintain a basic level of both winter and summer performance, but don’t offer maximum control in either season. In some ways, all-season tires are like tennis shoes. Sure, you can wear them on the beach and in the snow, but flip flops on the beach and warm boots in the snow provide better comfort and performance in those specific weather conditions. If you live on the fringe of the Snow Belt and drive in snow once or twice in a winter, then all-season tires will suffice as long as they are relatively new. But for those of us who live in the Snow Belt, or who visit snowy areas on a regular basis, winter performance tires, sometimes called snow tires, are the responsible choice.

The winter tire, or snow tire, is designed to provide maximum performance in low winter temperatures and on ice, snow and slush. This tire performs better due to its combination of more flexible sidewalls, winter tread patterns, deeper tread depth, and perhaps most importantly, tread compounds which remain soft in the lowest winter temperatures. Be wary though: retailers offer a wide range of tires sold as “winter tires” with an “M&S” (mud and snow rating), but they are not at all equal in performance. Many of these tires are thinly disguised all-season or lower quality tire brands, using outdated technology to give the impression that the tires are suitable for winter use.

The best performing winter tires have a mountain/snowflake symbol branded on the tire’s sidewall. The RMA (Rubber Manufacturers Association) designates winter tires that meet the newest severe snow standard with this special symbol. This rating sets the true winter tire apart from other standard M&S rated all-season designs. Tires that have earned this symbol can be expected to provide twenty-five to fifty percent more traction in winter’s worst conditions, which may easily be the difference between driving safely and losing control in the snow and ice. In fact, winter tire technology has improved so dramatically in recent years that several states and provinces are considering requiring the use of winter-specific tires in designated areas to improve traffic safety.snow accident

Summer tire tread compounds and tread designs provide the best performance, handling, and wear in warmer temperatures. However, the very attributes that make summer tires work so well, will severely limit their winter performance. A tire that performs brilliantly on high temperature roadways typically has stiff sidewalls and offers a harder, shallower tread compound. This compound becomes even harder, almost like plastic, when exposed to lower winter temperatures. As you have probably noticed, plastic sleds slide quite well on snow. Summer tires won’t help you drive safely in the snow.

Be sure not to be drawn in on tire specials that may or may not perform in the snow or rain, but are great in summertime. Personally, I own two sets of tires for my vehicle, one I use during summer months and the other set for winter driving. This way I know that I have the proper rubber on the road when I need it.

The other important aspect of winter driving is learning to handle the road. It is imperative that drivers of all ages learn to drive in their respective weather conditions. Waiting for the snowfall is probably not the best time to test your skills, if you have not learned how to do so beforehand. Insurance companies can pay dearly during inclement weather conditions, and one spin on the ice might have you wishing you stayed home, or obtained the skills to handle this type of driving conditions.

Here are some safe-driving tips that will help you when roads are slick with ice or snow:

• Get the feel of the road by starting out slowly and testing your steering control and braking ability. Avoid spinning your tires when you start by gently pressing your gas pedal until the car starts to roll. Start slowing down at least three times sooner than you normally would when turning or stopping.

• Equip your vehicle with chains or snow tires. Chains are by far the most effective, and they should be used where ice and snow remain on the roadway. Remember that snow tires can still slide on ice or packed snow, so keep your distance.

• Reduce your speed to correspond with conditions. There is no such thing as a “safe” speed range at which you may drive on snow or ice. You must be extremely cautious until you are able to determine how much traction you can expect from your tires.

• When stopping, avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel and pump the brake gently. Avoid locking up the brakes on glazed ice as it will cause a loss of steering and control. Every city block and every mile of highway may be different, depending upon sun or shade and the surface of the roadway. (Check your vehicle owner’s manual, if the vehicle has anti-lock brakes, you may apply steady pressure to the brake pedal.)

• Maintain a safe interval between you and the car ahead of you according to the conditions of the road. Many needless rear-end crashes occur on icy streets because drivers forget to leave stopping space.

• Keep your vehicle in the best possible driving condition. The lights, tires, brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, and radiator are especially important for winter driving.

• Keep your windows clear. Don’t start driving until the windows are defrosted and clean – even if you’re only going a short distance. In many cities and states it is illegal not to clear your windows of snow and ice.

• Watch for danger or slippery spots ahead. Ice may remain on bridges even though the rest of the road is clear. Snow and ice also stick longer in shaded areas.

For more winter driving tips go to http://winterdrive.com/shop/winter-driving-dvd-s-manuals to purchase a winter driving DVD from Bridgestone.

Happy Motoring!

Never Change Points Again

Never Change Points Again:

If you are the owner of a classic vehicle and want to keep that original equipment look when you open up the hood, finding parts that not only look original, but outperform, is not always an easy task.change_points

One area that really needs an improvement would be under your distributor cap. Classic car engines were designed to operate with a breaker point ignition system, where a cam is rotating on the distributor shaft, opening the points at exactly the right moment, sending up to 2500 volts to the spark plug. The spark occurs at the spark plug almost the instant the contact points open.

When the engine is idling, the spark occurs just before the piston reaches top dead center. But at higher speeds, the spark is advanced, or moved ahead, so that it occurs earlier.

As the points wear, the point gap increases sending a weaker amount of electrical current to the spark plugs and the vehicle will begin to run rough, as if it misses a beat. If you fail to check the gap periodically, it will decrease your fuel mileage and one day the engine could fail to start.

This will always occur when you are far from home, heading to a car show, or out for a cruise, showing off your cool ride, only to have it fail to start. This is not the time to consider checking or changing your ignition points.

Pertronix has invented a product that has been around for several years, offering a pointless ignition set up, while still using your original cap and rotor. It gives the appearance of original equipment while performing just like an electronic ignition.

petronix

Pertronix Specifications:

For over thirty years, the Ignitor has proven itself in applications ranging from race cars to tractors. The Ignitor replaces breaker point and troublesome factory electronic ignitions with a dependable, self contained and maintenance free electronic ignition system. The Ignitor has been called the “stealth” ignition because of its quick installation and nearly undetectable presence under your distributor cap.

• Operating Voltage: 8-V to 16-V DC
• Temperature Range: -50º to 300ºF
• RPM Range: 0 to 15,000 RPM
• 12-V NEG Ground (some 6-V NEG, 6 & 12-V POS ground kits available)
• System is designed for use with most point-type coils, optimal performance achieved when used with their Flame-Thrower® 40,000 volt coil.
• Works great in stock point-type distributors as a trigger for multi-spark CD ignitions, eliminating the need for expensive aftermarket distributors.
• No complicated wiring makes installation easy.
• A solid-state electronic ignition system. “Never change points again!”

I have Pertronix installed in all of my classic vehicles, giving me worry free start ups. Pertronix is sold at most auto parts stores and you can find them at Summit Racing.

For more information on Pertronix products, visit their website at http://www.pertronix.com/

Happy Motoring