Web Wisdom of Truck
We all want a truck to go
300,000 miles and we think we'll live forever. When I sold trucks, I was
surprised at how many folks had accidents in their trucks and unhurt, they
came back to me to buy another truck! Trucks are safer than cars,
don't let anybody fool you. I'm looking for ways and products to keep trucks
and trailers safer. On this page you will see what I find. Is your hitch rated for your
trailer to pull your truck?
Maximum Tow Video
watch what the wrong tow vehicle will do.
Check out the latest safety issues the
New Trailer Safety
brochure from NHTSA:
Click here to order yours.
your Recalls here!
How safe are you? I think about this every time I jack up
my truck and hesitate to use the jack stands and block the tires. I know
folks that have been crushed to death by their vehicles. Kind of like
safety belts, it only takes one short cut to safety to end your world.
DRIVER DROWSINESS STUDY USING FORD VIRTTEX SIMULATOR COMES TO AN END
- More than 30 drivers have literally fallen asleep at the wheel
to improve vehicle safety
- Results expected in April - New safety technology to debut on
Volvo late in the decade
- Drowsiness causes more than 1,500 traffic deaths in the U.S.
- Ford is the only North American automaker with a
full-motion-based driving simulator like VIRTTEX
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 26 - Ford is testing technology to combat the
deadly problem of drowsy driving by having drivers literally fall
asleep at the wheel.
It's all completely safe - utilizing Ford's state-of-the-art
VIRTTEX driving simulator. The study began in October. By the time it
comes to an end in March, more than 30 drivers will have taken part in
the study into driver drowsiness and accident avoidance. The findings
will be analyzed and announced later in the spring.
VIRTTEX stands for VIRtual Test Track EXperiment. Ford is the only
North American automaker with a full-motion-based driving simulator
The research findings will be used to develop new safety
technology, slated to debut first on Volvo vehicles, known as the
world's safety leader - and then possibly later on other Ford Motor
A Deadly Problem
"Driver fatigue and falling asleep while driving is a deadly problem,"
said Jeff Greenberg, staff technical specialist, Vehicle Design
Research, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, and manager of the
VIRTTEX lab. "What we are attempting to understand is what happens
when a driver falls asleep at wheel, and when this scary situation
occurs, how best to keep these drivers from hurting themselves and
others on the road."
According to U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) estimates, drowsiness accounts for about four percent of all
fatal crashes - more than 1,500 deaths each year. It is a major cause
of catastrophic accident and injury. It is estimated that
approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes annually - about 1.5
percent of all crashes - involve drowsiness and fatigue as a principal
"These are often not minor accidents when they occur," said
Greenberg. "When someone falls asleep at the wheel, the vehicle often
leaves the lane and the roadway - followed by a major crash or
rollover. Our goal is to better understand these incidents and
investigate whether new technologies could be developed that might
detect this situation and help prevent it from happening."
Ford and Volvo researchers are investigating ways to sense when a
driver is falling asleep and beginning to veer out of the vehicle's
lane. After ascertaining that in fact the driver is falling asleep,
the team is testing technology to help prevent that unintended lane
There are several concepts being studied for effectiveness when the
vehicle systems sense the driver falling asleep: The simulated
vibration and sound of running over a rumble strip is broadcast. Red
lights flash. And the wheel is forcibly turned to keep the vehicle
from swerving out of its lane.
Planning the Tests
Prior to the start of the study, the experiments had to be designed,
tested and constructed - and test subjects had to be selected. Using
VIRTTEX, North America's premier driving simulator, the subjects would
be allowed to fall asleep during the test in complete safety.
In September, a Ford Taurus, which had starred in an earlier
breakthrough driver distraction study, was moved out of the VIRTTEX
test chamber, and a Volvo S80 was moved in. The piece of technology
most visible to the driver is the addition of a high-resolution camera
on the center console pointed at the drivers face. It is meant to
monitor the eyes and eye movement. A computer calculates the
percentage of eye closed versus eye open - to sense if the driver is
"Our intent is to make sure this system, when developed, works
right," said Greenberg. "There is nothing more annoying to a driver
than false signals - false beeps, buzzes and vibration - when the
driver is not falling asleep. False signals would could nag the driver
to the point he or she just turns it off. And a system that is turned
off is not serving any purpose whatsoever."
When Ford researchers were confident that the test procedures and
machinery were designed right - it was time to hire the test subjects.
Selecting the Subjects
More than 300 potential test subjects were interviewed with a
detailed 15-page questionnaire. Researchers were looking for a varied
group of men and women that represented likely Volvo customers in
terms of income and vehicle desire.
More than 30 men and women were selected, ranging in ages from 21
to 70. They are asked to stay up all night, the night before the test,
and take no caffeine after six p.m. that preceding evening. A sensor
placed on a watchstrap is worn the day before the test to verify that
the test subject does not fall asleep.
Performing the Tests
Early the following morning, after a sleepless night, the test subject
is driven to the Ford Scientific Research Laboratories. At six a.m.
the test subject enters the VIRTTEX simulator and then drives for up
to three hours on a simulated darkened country road.
Some participants were unable to complete the test, falling asleep
and then being unable to awaken sufficiently to complete the exercise.
Others completed the drive route without incident. Most participants
were somewhere in between -- dozing off and being awakened, often
New Safety Features May Result
"VIRTTEX is a great tool to test driver behavior efficiently,
adequately and safely," said Robert Hansson, manager, Vehicle
Controls, Volvo Cars. "It provides important help in the evaluation of
alternative technologies in order to come to grips with the drowsiness
issue. While we are in the pure research stage at this point, we are
optimistic that important findings and developments lie ahead."
Feb. 25, 03
Savvy Safety Systems are Developed for Cars
There are a growing number of savvy systems being developed by auto
makers and researchers at universities and transportation
authorities. The federal Department of Transportation has supported
such efforts under its Intelligent Vehicle Initiative, with the aim
of helping -- or even forcing -- motorists to make better
on-the-road decisions and thereby avoid crashes. Some
crash-avoidance systems are already available on certain luxury
cars. But beyond that, a wide range of "smart" systems are being
developed. Motorists may see some of them in the next two to four
years, and many will be in widespread use before 2010, predicts the
Intelligent Transportation Society of America, an association of
industry and academics. Products under development include systems
that, in theory at least, would prompt motorists to slow down sooner
or stop before entering dangerous intersections, while others would
provide warnings for inadvertent lane change or road departure.
Still others would alert a driver that his or her vehicle is closing
the gap with the car ahead too fast, and then, if the driver doesn't
respond, move to reduce the accelerator pressure and apply the
brakes in time to avoid a crash. "In the next few years, you will
see a lot more technologies coming into vehicles which are geared
toward preventing crashes," says Joseph Kanianthra, associate
administrator for vehicle safety research for the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration.
The Wall Street Journal
FORD MOTOR COMPANY PROMOTES SAFE TEEN DRIVING CAMPAIGN AMONG THOUSANDS
OF DEALERS NATIONWIDE
- Traffic accidents are the number-one killer of teens in America.
- Ford Motor Company and the Governors Highway Safety
Association's Real World Driver program focuses on four
critical skills teens need to drive safely.
- Real World Driver is a multi-year, national educational
campaign available to every high school in the United States.
LAS VEGAS, Nev., Jan. 31, 2004 - Ford Motor Company's North
American dealers got a lesson in safe driving today at the National
Automobile Dealers Association convention as they participated in a
clinic to educate dealers on ways to promote safe driving for
teenagers in their communities. Traffic accidents are the number-one
killer of teens in America and Ford Motor Company has joined forces
with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to deliver a multi-year,
educational campaign called Real World Driver: Driving Skills for
Life to high school students nationwide.
The Real World Driver program includes a teacher's guide,
video and other materials that have been distributed to every public
high school in the country. In addition to these materials, there is
also an interactive web site –
-- that gives students and parents more information about driving
skills and provides visitors the opportunity to take a quiz online for
a chance to win exciting prizes.
"Unfortunately, car crashes remain the number one killer of teens,"
Susan Cischke, Ford Motor Company Vice President, Environmental and
Safety Engineering told the dealers at the NADA briefing. "Yet most of
the crashes and resulting injuries and deaths could be prevented if
teenagers better understood the necessary skills for safely driving
motor vehicles and protected themselves by wearing their safety belt.
Real World Driver has been designed to illustrate for young
drivers safe driving techniques in key areas that safety experts say
are of particular importance to novice drivers."
According to data from NHTSA, more than 6,000 teens die each year
from injuries resulting from car crashes – making car crashes the
number one killer of teens in America. Yet a national survey by
Wirthlin Worldwide shows that many people underestimate the challenges
novice drivers face. When asked, 56 percent of Americans named drug
abuse as the leading health threat teenagers face, with only 13
percent identifying teen driving crashes as the number one threat.
Four Critical Driving Skills
To design the Real World Driver program, Ford and GHSA
convened a distinguished panel of safety experts that included
representatives from NHTSA, the International Association of Chiefs of
Police Highway Safety Committee and Students Against Destructive
Decisions (SADD). According to the Real World Driver Advisory
Board, the four key driving skills young drivers should master are:
hazard recognition, vehicle handling, space management and speed
- Hazard Recognition: Recognizing and anticipating hazards,
such as distractions and intersections, and dealing with them
successfully. Safe techniques for approaching and turning left at
intersections are examples of what is addressed.
- Vehicle Handling: Learning how to handle different vehicles
competently under a range of driving circumstances and maneuvers.
Vehicle balance, type and braking are all covered.
- Space Management: Maintaining safe spacing with other
traffic and managing space in an emergency. This section addresses
the importance of positioning your vehicle safely in traffic.
- Speed Management: Driving at speeds that are right for
conditions and maintaining control in dangerous situations such as
skids. Issues addressed are centered on knowing the road, letting
others know your intentions and knowing how to react to other
"Our Advisory Board identified specific items, like left turns,
that can turn deadly for teens due to their lack of awareness and
experience in those areas," Cischke said. "Real World Driver's
goal is to turn these four areas into four 'driving skills for life'
by focusing on the skills that are most likely to prevent crashes and
save teens' lives. But awareness is only part of the solution. There
is no substitute for behind-the-wheel training and practice."
Graduated Licensing and Extended Education
Ford partnered with GHSA, which represents state highway safety
offices, to ensure that Real World Driver is promoted in states
and local communities.
"We're excited to partner with Ford on this program and hope it
will help states raise awareness of the teen driving issue as they
work to strengthen their graduated driver's licensing laws," said GHSA
Board Member and Director of the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety
Charles Abbott. "We are also optimistic that Real World Driver
will encourage teens to get more actual driving time with a focus on
specific driving skills."
Ford, GHSA and other safety experts agree that the sensible way for
teens to learn driving is to phase them into it. Most states now have
graduated driver's licensing (GDL) laws that do just that – restrict
driving in risky times and under risky circumstances until responsible
performance is demonstrated over a period of time. Ford and GHSA
support graduated driving laws, and hope Real World Driver will
help augment them by offering guidance to parents and teens on what
skills should be learned and practiced.
Wirthlin's research also indicated that just 11 percent of parents
and 12 percent of all adults are satisfied with the training resources
available to first-time drivers. Moreover, nearly all parents (94
percent) are concerned about their teens driving independently.
"Real World Driver is a youth-friendly, comprehensive tool for
young drivers to use as an enhancement to their driver education,"
said Ashley Conners, SADD 2002-2003 Student of the Year and former
SADD President at Foothill High School in Las Vegas. "It is great to
see companies and organizations using teenagers to make a difference
in the attitudes and knowledge of their peers."
While hands-on, behind-the-wheel training and educational materials
are important elements of any safe driving program, Cischke reminds
all drivers that safety belts continue to provide the single, most
effective protection in any vehicle crash.
"Parents should insist that their teenagers buckle up," Cischke
said. "The safety belt is the single best way to avoid getting hurt in
Dealers who would like to obtain more information about the program
and how they can assist in partnership with the Ford Motor Company and
Governors Highway Safety Association can log onto the official website
NEW FORD 2004 F-150, FORD FREESTAR, MERCURY MONTEREY EARN TOP SAFETY
RATINGS FROM IIHS AND NHTSA
IIHS Front Crash "Best Picks"
- 2004 F-150 is a "best pick" in IIHS frontal crash test; the first
pickup truck to receive this honor
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 19, 2003 - The all-new 2004 Ford F-150 pickup
truck and the new Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans received
"good" rankings and were named "best picks" in the most recent round of
high-speed frontal offset crash testing performed by the Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – the institute's highest possible
The F-150 is the first, and only, pickup truck to receive a "best pick"
in the high-speed frontal offset crash category.
DaimlerChrysler Video Offers Teen Driving Tips with video game.
There's a new tool for anxious parents teaching their teenagers how to
drive -- a DaimlerChrysler AG-sponsored video game where kids earn points by
avoiding driving hazards. DaimlerChrysler hopes the Road Ready Streetwise
game will help prepare teens for driving before they actually get behind the
wheel. At a news conference, Chrysler Group president and CEO Dieter Zetsche
said the game will raise awareness about all kinds of hazards new drivers
face. "We set out to build a more pragmatic way to help parents prepare
their teens for safe driving," Zetsche said. "Video games are a better way."
Teens can download the game for free on the Web
Players progress through six levels, working through driving challenges like
deflecting questions from other teens in the car, answering a ringing cell
phone and eating. Meanwhile, the driver must avoid trucks backing into their
lanes, swerving drunk drivers, skateboarders and even a UFO. Jeffrey Runge,
chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the game
would help teens guard against traffic accidents. Road fatalities are the
leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 34. (Source: The
FORD LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO HELP TEENS HONE THEIR DRIVING
(Dearborn, MI) -- According
to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
more than 6,000 teens die each year from injuries resulting from car crashes
– making it the number one killer of teens in America. Yet, a recent
national survey by Wirthlin Worldwide shows that many people underestimate
the challenges novice drivers face. When asked, 56 percent of Americans
named drug abuse as the leading health threat teenagers face, with only 13
percent identifying teen driving crashes as the number one threat.
ENJOYTHEDRIVE.COM SUGGESTS WAYS
TO SAVE MONEY AT THE GAS PUMP
SEMA's Consumer Web Site Offers Seven Tips to Help
Any Vehicle Get Better Fuel Economy DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (March 13, 2003)--As
gas prices rev up, enjoythedrive.com suggests several ways drivers can save
money at the gas pump.
"Everybody has become uncomfortably aware of their
vehicles’ fuel economy," says Chris Horn, vice president of communications
for SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association. "While you can save
money by driving fewer miles, that isn't an option for most of us.
Fortunately, it's easy for practically any vehicle to get better gas
mileage. And there's a bonus: Many modifications that enhance fuel economy
also improve your vehicle's performance, and they reduce emissions."
FORD MOTOR COMPANY AND THE GOVERNORS HIGHWAY SAFETY ASSOCIATION TEACH
TEENS CRITICAL SKILLS NEEDED TO BECOME SAFER DRIVERS
Real World Driver Program Promotes Top 4 Safe Driving Skills;
Materials Reach Every Public High School in the Country
(Dearborn, MI) – As millions of teenagers head back to school this
month, the Ford Motor Company and the Governors Highway Safety
Association are focusing on the issue of safe teen driving by
promoting their Real World Driver: Driving Skills for Life
program to principals of every public high school in the country
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA), more than 6,000 teens die each year from injuries resulting
from car crashes – making it the number one killer of teens in
DRIVING AND DIALING: TEENS VS. ADULTS COMPETE IN RECENT FORD STUDY
- Driver distraction study finds teenagers to be as much as 56 percent
more distracted than adults when operating a cellular phone while driving.
- The retrieval of voicemail using hands-free technology does not
significantly distract drivers. More...
Death Rate Lowest for Occupants of SUVs
While they're more prone to roll over during
accidents than cars, newer
sport-utility vehicles now have a lower overall death rate, according to
a study by an insurance industry research group. But the statistics also
support a frequent criticism of SUVs: Their size and weight cause
mismatches in collisions with smaller vehicles, and those occupants are
more likely to be killed or injured… An analysis of 2001 traffic deaths
by the Insurance Institute shows the death rate in SUVs fell to 115
fatalities per million registered vehicles, the lowest among all types
of passenger vehicles. That was down from 134 fatalities per million in
2000 and from 494 per million in 1980, when SUVs accounted for twice the number
of fatalities as cars. (Source: Chicago Tribune)
After I spent a couple of
weeks driving GM Quadrasteers and enjoying the stability with a trailer and
on snowy icy roads, I dawned on me that part of the equation was the wider
rear track of the Quadrasteer. A normal GM HD 2500 4x4 has the same rear
axle as a 4x2 for obvious economic reasons. So the 4x4 rear axle is 2 inches
narrower than the front. But the Quadrasteer rear axle is over 3 inches wider than the
front. So I remembered reading about Correctrack rear-wheel alignment
system. Now I'm testing the spacers. There are several makes of trucks and
vans that have this tracking deficit. Read my conclusions,
click for more..
Centramatic wheel balancers can take
the vibration out of the steering wheel. It's hard to keep a tire balanced
on the rough roads that a lot of trucks live on. So just after a few months
of driving, your tires don't feel new anymore. Enjoy the safety of improved,
less stressful steering with automatic balancing.
bedliners in trucks can build up static electricity and turn a portable
gas container into a bomb!
Static electricity can
build up from the plastic bedliner rubbing on the metal truck bed.
Pouring gasoline from a gas container sitting in the truck bed into a
lawn mower, ATV etc. or filling a gas container sitting in the truck bed
sitting on top of a plastic drop-in bedliner can cause a fire. Always
take the portable gas container out of the truck bed before filling it
or using it to fill other gas tanks. Click on the blue links for more
Crashes the Leading Cause of Death for Teens
I grew up in the country,
driving on dirt roads. I discovered later how important that was to know the
difference between pavement and gravel driving. On dirt roads the shoulders
are soft and if you get too close, it will suck you into the ditch. Which is
exactly what you do, you slow down and drive right into the ditch at the
same angle. So many people try to turn hard away from the ditch and roll
their vehicle. The gravel windrows that run parallel with the roads will
also create challenges with steering. Were I grew up, car crashes on dirt
roads were the leading cause of death for teenagers as they are today. Usually it evolves
someone not familiar with the driving characteristics of dirt roads and
alcohol. The statistics I've read also show only 20% of the accidents happen
in rural areas, but 60% of the fatalities happen there. If you survive the
accident, it takes longer to get help. The below article deals with the other driving dangers for
teenagers. Learn all you can, show your kids what driving on dirt roads is
like and lets have safe holidays.
CARFAX Announces Safe Car - Safe Teen
Driver Program To Protect America's Teens
September 2002 (Newstream) -- Motor
vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, resulting in
thousands of deaths nationwide per year. In fact, teenagers are involved in
three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers, according to The
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For Judy Appleby and Bob Moore, these
are more than statistics. Each lost their teen in crashes. However, many
experts believe accidents like the ones that took the lives of Michael
Appleby and Cassie Moore can be prevented if parents and teenagers sit down
together to learn and practice safe-driving techniques. Experts say
teenagers are more prone to accidents because of their inexperience behind
the wheel, their risk-taking behavior and immaturity.
To keep teen drivers safe on the road,
CARFAX - a company that can check the history of any used car - is launching
the Safe Car - Safe Teen Driver Campaign.
It features an interactive Web site
designed to make parents and teens aware of risks and safety measures for
young drivers to help reduce the number of teenagers involved in fatal or
disabling automobile crashes. Another component of the program is an email
drive designed to reach the millions of parents who have or will have teens
at the driving age in their household.
Parents and teens can access the site
Produced for Carfax Inc.
Julie Atlas, 703-934-2664