Archive for January 2021
Distracted DrivingPosted January 31, 2021 9:20 AM
When asked, most people think they are good at multi-tasking. Scientific studies, however, reveal that only around 2% of the population can truly demonstrate the capacity to effectively multi-task. For the rest of us who are not so biologically wired, no amount of practice can increase our effectiveness at multi-tasking. Turns out, multi-tasking is almost a superpower. Think of fighter pilots: capable of maintaining their orientation in three dimensional space and performing specific and highly complicated functions while accessing life threatening situations and coming up with an appropriate response. Admit it – you can’t do that.
Yet when it comes to driving, we seem to think we are very capable of safely operating a motor vehicle with myriad distractions. 77% of young adults feel somewhat confident that they can safely text and drive while 55% claim it’s easy to text and drive. Can they possibly be right? Let’s look at some statistics.
Nearly 23% of all accidents in the United States involve cell phones. Every day, 11 people are killed and over 900 are injured in texting-related accidents. In fact, texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving intoxicated. Just think back at your own experiences: how many of your “near misses” as a pedestrian or in a vehicle have involved a driver with a cell phone in their hand?
There are three types of driving distractions:
Of course, texting or using a cell phone involves all three. Eating, applying make-up, arguing and working on-board features like the stereo and navigation system are all very real distractions. You may be interested to know that hands-free cell calls are not substantially safer than using a handheld phone. Any time you glance away from the road (like looking at a text or incoming phone call) your eyes are off task for at least 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour/90 kph, you will cover the length of a football field in that time. Would you ever consent to strapping on a blindfold and driving off down the road for that distance?
So what do you do? First, accept the fact that you are not part of the 2% of all the people on the planet who can truly multi-task (if you are one of the lucky ones you would know by now because your performance does not degrade no matter how many additional tasks are added). Next, don’t EVER drive distracted. Incoming text: it will wait for later. Juicy hamburger: eat it in the parking lot. No exceptions, ever. And don’t accept anything less from drivers of vehicles in which you are a passenger.
Another way to avoid distractions is to keep on top of scheduled maintenance and necessary repairs so that your vehicle itself doesn’t become a distraction. We can help you with that.
Give us a call.
When Metal Meets Metal (Wheel Bearings)Posted January 24, 2021 8:53 AM
What part of your vehicle has little metal balls inside that are lubricated and allow you to cruise on down the road? They are wheel bearings, and automotive designers might argue they are human beings' second greatest invention of all time (the first is, of course, the wheel!).
You have a wheel bearing at each wheel. They allow your wheels to turn freely, minimizing friction that would ordinarily slow you down when metal meets metal. When one of your wheel bearings starts to go bad, it lets you know. A wheel bearing does its work quietly when it's in good health but starts getting noisy when it isn't. People describe the noise differently. Sometimes it sounds like road noise, a pulsating, rhythmic, sound. That pulse speeds up when your vehicle speeds up.
Here's what's happening when you hear that sound. As mentioned, the bearing has these little metal balls inside a ring. They have a lubricant inside to reduce friction between the balls; modern wheel bearings are sealed and they're intended to do their job without any maintenance.
Wheel bearings take a beating; you hit some rough potholes or go over some uneven railroad tracks. Sometimes water can get into a bearing and reduce the ability of the lubricant to do its job. Time starts to take its toll, too. When the lubricant isn't reducing friction like it should, the bearing can heat up. One of those little balls can start shedding pieces of metal and soon those shards start grinding up the other balls. Friction takes over and soon your wheel isn't turning smoothly. That's what's causing the sound. If a wheel bearing is not fixed, it could eventually seize up completely, and you can be stranded.
It's a lot easier if you heed the early warning signals, that pulsating noise. Now, sometimes a similar noise can be caused by a bad tire, but in either case, it's important to have it checked out. Our Darrell's Firestone technicians will be able to tell you fairly quickly what the problem is and offer a solution.
Wheel bearings generally don't fail often and usually last from 85,000-100,000 miles/140,000km to 160,000km. But consider them a long-term maintenance item that, once fixed, will keep you heading smoothly to the next destination.
Fuel Saving Tip: Alignment for Your Farmington VehiclePosted January 17, 2021 7:53 AM
Farmington residents need to make sure they're tracking straight. You'll get better fuel economy and your tires'll last longer. Now, mush!
When Are Your Tires Worn Out?Posted January 10, 2021 11:20 AM
Hey Farmington area drivers, are your tires worn out? What is the standard for our MI streets? How can you tell on your vehicle?
So what happened with the 2/32 inch/1.6 mm tires on the car? Get this – when the car had traveled the distance required to stop with new tires, it was still going 55 mph/89 kph. Stopping distance was nearly doubled to 379 feet/116 meters, and it took 5.9 seconds.
To Save Gas Around Farmington: Keep up with Your Scheduled ServicePosted January 3, 2021 10:56 AM
One topic that hits the news in MI on a regular basis is the price of gas. The answer for some MI drivers is to buy a vehicle that gets better fuel economy. For those of us in Farmington who don't want to add a car payment to our monthly expenses, we need to improve our fuel economy any way we can.
Automotive Tips from Darrell's Firestone: Air Conditioning ? Common ProblemPosted January 1, 2021 7:07 AM
Your auto air conditioning system cools and conditions the air in your passenger compartment when you are driving around Farmington. It also removes moisture from the air to keep your windows from fogging up.
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