Automatic Emergency Braking on Large Trucks

Given the number of tragic crashes that occur when truck drivers are not paying attention, and the horrifying number of people who die as a result, I think this technology should be made compulsory as quickly as possible, in all countries.

Meanwhile, if you happen to be stuck in traffic and see a large truck coming up behind you too fast, it’s time for prayers.

TIP:  This is also a good reason to be in the lane next to the shoulder in a traffic jam so that you have a potential, last-ditch escape route — it could be vastly more important than trying to save a few minutes off your journey time!

The dangers of buying used or second-hand child car seats

The following factsheet is from Britain but of course it is valid anywhere in the world.  It was aimed at the managers of charity shops that sell used items, hence the wording, but it applies equally to any purchase.

Photo: safecar.gov

Sale of Second-hand Child Car Seats
We all know how expensive it is to bring up children and Charity Shops are a valuable way for parents to shop around for second-hand items, to save money whilst raising valuable funds for good causes. But, one item you should never take a gamble on [buying] is a second-hand child’s car seat.

What’s the danger?
It’s impossible to know for certain if a used car seat has been in a collision and relying on a [seller’s] word is too much of a risk to take.

If a car seat has been involved in a crash there may be little or no visible damage to it, but there could well be substantial internal damage, rendering it dangerous.

Missing instruction booklets in second-hand car seats could lead to them being fitted incorrectly, rendering them dangerous in the event of a crash.

It is also vitally important that the size of the car seat is correct for the size and weight of the child and, sadly, not all child car seats fit safely into all cars.  Retailers of new seats receive industry training on appropriate restraints and can advise their customers on fitting them.

How can you tell if it’s safe?
With second-hand seats, you can’t. Just looking at a car seat won’t tell you what you need to know. In fact, the only way of checking a used car seat’s integrity is through laboratory testing.

The fact that many seats ‘look’ OK after an incident leads some parents to continue using their car seats after a crash, unwittingly putting their children at risk.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises that car crashes can weaken a child car seat to the extent that a child is left dangerously unprotected in the event of another incident. They advise parents to replace their children’s car seats immediately after a crash.

How can you help keep children safe?
Please do not [buy or] sell second-hand child car seats… the consequences of a seat failing, even in a relatively low speed impact, are simply a risk not worth taking.

#END

Source: http://londonroadsafetycouncil.org.uk/highlighting-the-dangers-of-second-hand-child-car-seats-to-local-communities/ on June 29, 2017

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We would also add the reminder that PARENTS SHOULD **ALWAYS** SEEK EXPERT HELP IN FITTING CHILD SEATS CORRECTLY.  AROUND 90% OF ALL CHILD CAR SEATS IN AMERICA ARE WRONGLY FITTED, AND THAT IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR CHILD! YOUR LOCAL FIREHOUSE / FIRE STATION IS A GOOD PLACE TO ENQUIRE, AS FIRE CREWS HAVE MANY TRAINED SEAT FITTERS, THROUGHOUT THE USA (and it’s usually free).

Eddie Wren, CEO & Chief InstructorAdvanced Drivers of North America

Rear Fog Lights for Driving in the USA? What ARE They?

Please note:  All photographs here and in other articles on this website are taken from the passenger seat and with telephoto lenses, from much further away than the resulting images appear to show.  Safety is never compromised to get a photo.

Sadly, in the USA, matched pairs of high-intensity rear fog lights are not permitted. Indeed, if I ask American drivers about this – which I frequently do – they haven’t even got a clue what rear fog lights are.  So let’s get the answer out of the way:  Rear fog lights are red, they are very bright and they must only be used (to protect your ‘six’) in bad visibility.

The car near the center of this photo, which has a matched pair of rear, high-intensity fog lights illuminated — not brake lights — will clearly remain more visible than even cars nearer the camera that have only their regular rear lights to rely upon. Look at the two cars just beyond and to the left of the well-lit car: both of them do have their regular tail lights on yet are fading from view. The difference in safety is very obvious.  Copyright image.

To say that the absence of paired rear fog lights is a pity is an understatement because these things save lives. Admittedly, cars from Europe can be imported to the USA with just one rear fog light fitted – not the two they have when on European roads – but as I will show below, this is inadequate and less safe.

Here, a car in heavy spray and with just one rear fog light makes it obvious that in worse visibility or at a greater distance away, only the one light will remain visible. In those circumstances, it is much harder for a driver following your vehicle to correctly assess how big the gap is, between the vehicles, and that  makes the situation significantly less safe. (Had you spotted the tall truck, visible between the two cars the camera vehicle is following? )  Copyright image.

About 15 years ago, at an event in Manhattan, I asked some top-level, European vehicle engineers about this silly situation and was told that paired rear fog lights are not permitted in America “in case people mistake them for brake lights!” This reason would be hilarious if it weren’t so stupid.  Pairs of these very bright, additional rear red lights have been used in Europe for 3-4 decades, and not once – not even when I was a traffic patrol police officer investigating crashes – have people ever even implied to me that they confused rear fog lights with brake lights.  Once informed, even a child would instantly know the difference between them.

Let’s imagine a scenario: You are driving your sedan or SUV  in the half-light of dawn or dusk in very thick fog but its 20 miles to the next exit so you have no choice but to continue, by driving as slowly as the conditions dictate.  (Stopping on the shoulder in bad visibility can be even more dangerous than continuing, unless you were to cross right over the shoulder and drive on the grass, as far away from the asphalt as possible.)  Coming up behind you, driving too fast for the conditions, let’s say there is a fully loaded 18-wheeler semi-tractor-trailer; the driver is late and he’s in a hurry.  What happens next?  Do you want him to say “Those lights ahead are very bright.  I wonder whether they’re brake lights!<<joke>>  Or instead, do you want him to wonder what he has just rammed from behind because he didn’t see anything until it was too late and he slammed into your car and wrecked it… and perhaps you and your family!

The whole purpose of having rear fog lights (plural) is so that not only can other drivers see your vehicle from behind, from a much greater distance in fog, heavily-falling snow, thick smoke, heavy road spray or even sandstorms, but also – when there are two of the lights and not just one – they permit drivers behind you to gauge the distance between their vehicle and yours quite accurately. A single bright rear light often does not allow the same degree of awareness.

Once again, the more distant car, with its rear fog lights in use, is very obviously the most conspicuous. Copyright image.
A close-up of the distant vehicles in the photo above. Had you spotted the third car? Its near-invisibility could be lethal. Copyright image.

There is an answer to concerns about such bright lights being inappropriately used when there is good visibility and the lights’ brightness becomes a nuisance. It is, of course, called the law – specifically one that prohibits the use of rear fog lights unless atmospheric visibility (as opposed to just night-time darkness) is bad.  A similar law should already be in existence to prevent people having their front fog lights on except in the conditions described, but in most if not all states, no such law yet exists.  The very low mounting height of front fog lights means they create a serious amount of glare on clear nights, even though they don’t actually dazzle, yet in those conditions they serve no good purpose whatsoever.  That, however, is the subject for another article which will be linked here in due course.

So there you have it. High-intensity rear red fog lights have been around for at least one third of a century.  They are used in quite possibly all of the countries that have a much better road safety record than the USA.  Yet still, somebody in some little office took it upon him/herself to decree “not in America!”  That person or committee’s ill-informed decision has very likely cost a lot of Americans their lives or their limbs in thousands of bad-visibility crashes over the years.

How about it, NHTSA?  It is time for a re-think (preferably by reference to overseas best practices).  It would be so easy to use this inexpensive, additional equipment to make bad weather driving significantly safer.

Oh, and please don’t let Detroit force its penny-pinching refusals on you over topics like this. Contrary to their apparent belief, their profits are emphatically not more important than the lives of the people of this great nation.

Eddie Wren, CEO & Chief InstructorAdvanced Drivers of North America

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