Friday, March 7, 2008

Auto and Driver's Tips

How Car Insurance Works - Baffled at how your auto insurance company determines how much to charge you for your preferred mode of transportation? They combine their loss data with that of the Highway Loss Data Institute. You can view and compare some interesting data on the costs of injury, collision and theft on all sorts of different cars.

New California Law - As of July 1, 2008, California drivers may only use a cell phone "if it has a hands-free listening and speaking system." There are also a few more laws that impact teen drivers here. All good stuff, though the wording that the phone need only have a hands-free option leaves room for loopholes in my opinion. I'm also a bit disappointed at the measly little fees. Per the AAA,
"Drivers ticketed for either offense will be subject to a base fine of $20 (at least $70 after penalties are added) for a first offense and $50 (at least $175 after penalties are added) for subsequent offenses."

Watch your tire pressure! Both of our cars have tire-inflation sensors. My sensor came on recently, and MetaDaddy inflated the tires. It turns out that my tires were at about 20 psi, though they should have been closer to 35. And when he checked his tires, they were even worse, though the car's sensor didn't alert him. I usually watch out for underinflated tires (it's a quirky hobby), and ours looked fine, which really got me to thinking that your tires can be severely underinflated without being visibly obvious. And if it's really obvious, you must be in serious trouble. Per the AAA, the "tire-inflation sensors are designed to give a warning when a tire is 25% underinflated." Perhaps our sensor is on the fritz. Hmm...

Why is an underinflated tire bad? It could cause:
  • A blowout
  • Increased stopping distance when braking
  • Sluggish handling
  • Poor gas mileage
So while the sensors can be handy, don't take your tires for granted. And if you know their underinflated, go fix 'em for goodness' sake!


Chief Family Officer said...

Thanks, MM! I remember when that law was passed and have been wondering when the heck it goes into effect.