Category Archives: Safe Driving

Autonomous cars could transform Transport for people with mobility challenges

13 Dec 17
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Former Indy car racer Sam Schmidt has a million-dollar car which permits him to do something that we said he’d never be able to perform again — push on hisnbsp;possess.

But he can not wait for fully autonomous vehicles to get there. Not for driving on the trail, where he feels fully safe manoeuvring his altered 2016 Corvette Stingray by employing special gears made for quadriplegics. Instead, Schmidt says that he needs the security features found in autonomous automobiles to face the intimidating streets of Las Vegas, where henbsp;resides.

“I really don’t feel comfortable on the road,” says Schmidt, who dropped the use of his four limbs at a 2000 crash onto a racetrack at Orlando. He is the first quadriplegic from the United States to have an unrestricted license to induce a semi-autonomousnbsp;automobile.

“I need to have the security of backup systems in place,” henbsp;states.

Calgarian Barry Lindemann also can not await the liberty he partners with fully autonomous automobiles being developed by Tesla and a number of other autonbsp;manufacturers.

“I ride from the Tesla dealership daily. I can’t wait till they start offering these cars,” says Lindemann, who became a quadriplegic after a diving accident 23 years back. “It’s something I am really excited about. It will revolutionize the way people getnbsp;around.”

Two groups in particular could gain more personal mobility with the debut of self-driving automobiles: individuals with severe disabilities and aging Canadians who lose their license for healthnbsp;motives.

Larry Hutchinson, president and chief executive officer of Toyota Canada, emphasized those two classes in a recent speech in Toronto. Calling the prospect of automated technologies to revolutionize transportation and change society, he said: “Consider the life-changing impact autonomous vehicles will have on the millions of individuals with mobilitynbsp;challenges.

“The elderly. People with disabilities. Or people who can not afford to get their own ownnbsp;automobile.”

Individuals with disabilities have quite a lot of confidence in the technology, says Robyn Robertson, president and CEO of the Ottawa-based Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), which polled Canadians on autonomous automobiles in 2016. Seniors, however, are much morenbsp;doubtful.

“Seniors have likely the capacity to reap the best benefits from the technology,” Robertson says. “But they do not trustnbsp;it.”

Instead, the most enthusiastic advocates for autonomous driving are those who drive longer distances and younger men — “the crash population,” as Robertson describes the latternbsp;group.

Lindemann, a client-relationship associate with TD property in Calgary, says one of the biggest pluses to autonomous automobiles are the ability not to have to rely on a motorist to getnbsp;about.

“Sometimes, you only need to get away on your own,” he says, noting he often will not go to events as a ride can not be arranged. Contemporary lift equipment is in the point of having the ability to put a quadriplegic to a car without human aid, henbsp;states.

“The power wheelchair just protects you set up,” Lindemann says. “Once you lock, you simply close the door and say, ‘Take me to the pub. ‘nbsp;”

Schmidt notes another significant benefit to autonomous automobiles — the comparative affordability, if they’re only used on demand. Equipping a van to accommodate a quadriplegic prices around $80,000 (U.S.) (and, Lindemann says, $130,000 in Canada), which puts them out of reach for many disabled persons. Being able to rely on an Uber-like assistance, in which someone pays for the car only while using it, could place the freedom option withinnbsp;reach.

The advocacy group Canadian Association of Retired People hasn’t yet taken a position on autonomous automobiles, says Tamara Cormak, manager of communications. “We frequently receive personal stories from members on several issues, but not on this particular onenbsp;nonetheless.”

Its U.S. counterpart, however, is fully behind the notion of shared self-driving cars. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) says in a policy statement that this “disruptive technology” could fix systemic problems in the U.S. transport system which make it hard for individuals to own and operate their own ownnbsp;vehicles.

“This contributes to problems for the one-third of individuals living in the U.S. who don’t drive. Moving forward, shared-use freedom — such as car-sharing, ride-sharing, ride-splitting — can be a tool to affect development patterns and individual travel options,” according to the AARPnbsp;announcement.

The trend has attracted investor interest. A Canadian investment fund launched the world’s first “future car” exchange-traded finance in September, providing investors one-stop access to businesses involved with electrical, autonomous and connected automobile supplynbsp;chains.

“There’s a good deal of investor appetite out there looking for ways to express their belief in the subject,” stated Elliot Johnson, chief operating officer of Evolve Funds Group, about its Automobile Innovation Indexnbsp;ETF.

Not too fast, TIRF’s Robertson says. She says that there are still a few significant barriers to be addressed before completely autonomous cars are set loose on the street. Driverless technology “has plenty of potential,” but it’s far from perfect. Autonomous cars make it possible for drivers to disengage from the driving experience, and that can be harmful, particularly if they believe the computer is capable of getting them from dangerous drivingnbsp;scenarios.

“Canadians want to rely on automation in states when technology will probably fail,” she states, like during adverse road conditions or unexpected behavior from different drivers. Drivers will need to have the ability to re-engage almost immediately in these conditions, and yet we’ve been lulled into trusting the computer: “The car says, ‘You’re up,’ and you are not ready,” Robertsonnbsp;states.

“As we become reliant on technology, we lose a few of the fundamental skills,” shenbsp;states.

Humans continue to be better at making decisions in a crisis, Robertson says. In a crisis, autonomous cars need to participate in “ethical decision-making” in the face of complex elements, such as who tonbsp;shield.

By way of instance, “Can you protect a car with a car seat in it over a vehicle that has two adults inside?” shenbsp;asks.

AARP is calling on policy makersnbsp;to:

  • Simplifies security for all road users in regulating autonomousnbsp;vehicles.
  • Establish criteria for comprehensive testing of autonomous vehicles before their installation and require manufacturers to publish the results of suchnbsp;testing.
  • Bar using partly automated vehicles on non-controlled access roads, such as citynbsp;roads.
  • Ensure consumer safety andnbsp;solitude.
  • Require client education and training on innovative vehiclenbsp;technology.

In the not too distant future, Robertson believes the roads are likely to feature both kinds of drivers on the street: individuals who have complete control of their cars and people in semi-autonomous vehicles. To her, it’s a worrying scenario. She notes that as semi-autonomous vehicles are introduced into U.S. roads, the speed of crashes because 2015 has gonenbsp;up.

Whether entirely autonomous cars are acceptable depends upon if engineers and technologists can “resolve that last 10 percent” of layout that would make them dependable, predictable and equipped to react to unexpectednbsp;scenarios.

As for her? “I have ridden in one on a freeway. I would not be comfortable not payingnbsp;focus.”

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Could getting demerit points from speeding increase my insurance?

11 Dec 17
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I got a speeding ticket for going 20 km/h above the limit but it doesn’t say how many demerit points I lose. Does that mean I won’t lose any? I really don’t understand how demerits work and I’m worried that my insurance will go up. – Mike, Toronto

At a loss trying to figure out how demerits work? You’ve got plenty of company.

“Every single ticket issued, the first word out of people’s mouths is, ‘How many points do I lose?’ ” said Constable Clint Stibbe of Toronto Police Traffic Services. “But you don’t lose points, you gain them.”

Demerits are strikes against your driving record. , you start out with zero and get demerits added by the province when you get convicted of many Ontario Highway Traffic Act offences.

range from two demerits (for offences such as making an illegal turn) to seven demerits (for not stopping when police try to pull you over or for failing to remain at an accident).

Looking at speeding specifically: going 30-49 km/h over the limit is four demerits; 16-29 km/h over is three and there are no demerits if you’re 15 km/h or less over the limit.

And, , you’ll still get demerits from tickets you got in other provinces.

Demerits not on the ticket

When you’re pulled over, the officer doesn’t decide how many demerit points you’ll get, he just gives you a ticket for breaking a particular section. The ticket itself doesn’t show the demerits.

“The only time you would see any reference to demerits would be if we issue a warning for the offence,” Stibbe said. “If you get a warning, it will indicate what the fine and the demerits would have been. It’s like a safety brochure.”

If you do get a ticket and you pay it, or you fight it and the court finds you guilty, you’ll automatically get the demerit points associated with it.

There are a couple of exceptions. You won’t get demerit points . And while running a red light normally comes with three demerits, there are no demerits if it’s a ticket from a That’s because they get sent to the owner of the vehicle, who may not have been the one driving.

Gain demerits, lose your licence?

The specifics vary by province, but generally, if you rack up enough demerit points, your driver’s licence will get suspended.

If you have a full licence in Ontario, the ministry can decide to suspend your licence once you have nine demerits. But if you get to 15 or more, your licence is automatically suspended for 30 days.

For new drivers with G1 or G2 restricted licences, six demerits could be enough to get a licence suspension; nine demerits is an automatic 60-day suspension.

The demerits stay on your licence for two years. But the conviction stays on your driving record for three years, Stibbe said. Suspensions stay on your record for six years.

Convictions matter for insurance

It’s that conviction, rather than the demerits themselves, that your insurance company is looking at when deciding whether to raise your rates.

“The more tickets and infractions you have on your driving record the larger the risk you become to insure and your rate will reflect that,” said John Bordignon, spokesman for State Farm Canada, in an e-mail.

Companies can use any convictions on your record, even if they didn’t come with demerits. Generally, they break convictions into three categories: minor, major and serious.

Minor includes following too closely and speeding. Major includes improper passing of a school bus or failing to report an accident. Serious includes speeding 50 km/h over the posted limit and impaired driving.

So, something like speeding could affect your rates – even if it’s only for 10 km/h over the limit and didn’t come with demerits.

“If you have two or three within a three-year window, even those could add up,” said Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “The company will think, ‘Wait a minute, the trend here is that this is not a good driver.’ “

Rates soar, even without demerits

We looked at online insurance calculators and compared rates for a 30-year-old, male, married driver with a 2015 Honda Civic and no previous accidents.

With no tickets in the past three years, the lowest available rate was $1,878 a year. With two minor tickets, it rose to $2,017, with three to $4,987 and with four or more to $5,325.

The government doesn’t notify your insurance company when you get a ticket, but the company can still find out.

“Insurance companies on a semi-regular basis will check people’s driving records – if you’ve been with the same company, they may not look for two or three years,” Karageorgos said. “But if you’re shopping around for a new policy, that new insurance company will actively look at your driving record.”

And if you apply for a new policy without telling them about your ample collection of speeding tickets, your policy could be cancelled.

Have a driving question? Send it to . Canada’s a big place, so please let us know where you are so we can find the answer for your city and province.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Everything you should know about driving on winter tires

04 Dec 17
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I’m considering getting winter tires this season for the first time. Can they feel different to push on? Will I need to adjust my driving? — Jackie, Kelowna, B.C.

As soon as you slip winter tires to your vehicle, you will need to get used to slipping less on the street. But that does not mean you’re invincible.

“You could drive the exact same and you might be amazed by the stopping distance you’ve got,” said Angelo DiCicco, general manager with Young Drivers of Canada. “They might be a bit noisier and they might feel slightly clunkier around turns — but you should see that as being sure-footed.”

Young Drivers did evaluations of five distinct kinds of tires on sheer ice, and the winter tire stopped four car lengths shorter, DiCicco said. “They are not magic, but they are close to magic,” he said.

A quick refresher on : While treads vary based on whether the tire was made to be better in certain conditions — such as snow, ice or slush — winter tires made in the past decade are made out of rubber that grips better on cold streets.

Unlike normal tires which get tougher — and lose their grip on the street — when it gets colder than 7 degrees Celsius outside, the rubber in winter tires is designed to remain soft so tires can keep their gripping power to -40C.

“It is surely the single most important differentiation between today’s winter tires and winter tires of yore,” stated Glenn Maidment, president of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), an industry group representing .

Despite the fact that winter tires assist you stick better to streets, you need to stick to being careful, Maidment said.

“There is no difference in how you drive — but what you do not need is for people to have overconfidence and believe they could somehow test the limits of the driving and the car,” Maidment said. “They always have to drive to the state of the streets — and if they do, they will realize their steering is sharper, they will have more control and better stopping distanc”

If roads are especially arctic, heavy with new snow — or if it is tough to see — which might mean , with or without winter tires.

“You will need to keep that additional level of security,” DiCicco said. “You need to make a compromise when you buy winter tires and select whether they are excellent on snow, really good on ice or really good on slush — so your choice might not be ideal for that unexpected patch of ice”

Greater likelihood of getting rear-ended?

In TRAC’s of winter tire use across Canada, 60 percent of motorists outside Quebec — where winter tires are compulsory — said they are using winter tires.

While that’s up from 35 percent in 1998, it suggests that even if you have winter tires, you’re going to be sharing the road with motorists that do not.

“I liken it to inoculation,” Maidment said. “If everybody is inoculated, everybody is safe. If just two-thirds are, they are not.”

In actuality, because you are going to be quitting shorter on winter tires compared to the motorist behind you may expect, your odds of becoming rear-ended are greater, DiCicco said.

“The man behind you might be cheap and does not know that investing up front on winter tires will prolong the life span of his summer tires,” DiCicco said. “And so he can not stop as quickly at his summer tires as possible on your winter tire and he could hit you.”

And it doesn’t matter whether this driver has all-wheel drive (AWD). It doesn’t really make automobiles safer on winter streets. It enables you to get going quicker in deep snow, but it will not help with quitting. In actuality, cars with AWD are usually heavier and may have more momentum — and take more time to stop — compared to cars without it.

That is why it’s important to keep additional distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you at the winter, interval, DiCicco said.

How close should you be? It’s difficult to correctly judge metres or car lengths when you are driving, DiCicco said.

Instead, once the car in front of you pushes beyond something — a road sign, shadow of an overpass or a bus shelter, state — count out the amount of seconds before you pass it.

On perfect summer streets under perfect conditions (“it is sunny but not too sunny”), you should be after a minimum of 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you at city speeds, three seconds at highway speeds and four seconds on entry ramps, where cars often slow or stop abruptly, DiCicco said.

“In the winter, you would like to add one second to all these — so, three, four and five,” DiCicco said. “Those additional seconds can allow you to mitigate the risk in the other drivers that do not have their winter tires.”

Even with that 3 seconds of distance in town, once you’re stopping at an intersection or slowing to turn, start slowing down early to provide the driver behind you sufficient time to respond and stop, DiCicco said.

“When you come to an amber light, you will need to slow down sooner,” DiCicco said. “Monitor your mirrors — as the man behind you’re [sliding] toward you.”

If you have left enough space in front of you, you are able to move ahead three or four yards to permit the vehicle behind you to slide to a stop.

“You move up 1 space and everyone gets to go home safely,” DiCicco said. “It is not based on your performance or your own skills, which might be stellar — it is being a great neighbour and maintaining that extra distance for someone who screws up. And, hopefully, someone will do the exact same for you.”

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Honda’s Insider Experience lets Acura NSX owners get to know their supercar

03 Dec 17
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It’s been nearly 40 years since Honda became the first major Japanese automobile manufacturer to open an assembly plant stateside. In 1979, the company began building the Honda CR250R Elsinore motocross bicycle here in Marysville. Three decades later, just up the street, it started a one-million-square-foot centre to meet demand for the popular Accord family sedan. In 2016, it christened another plant in the heart of middle America, a state-of-the-art location at which the Acura NSX hybrid supercar is piecednbsp;collectively.

There is no denying that Honda is a proud business. Company founder Soichiro Honda, an engineer himself, constructed an engineering-led outfit and he is commended to this day, his estimates on screen in the pristine Acura Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC). But there’s also plenty of homegrown pride innbsp;Ohio.

The NSX is billed as being “the sole supercar designed, engineered and manufactured in America” and all markets around the world are served with this 1 facility. Most the PMC workers are plucked from other Honda plants — the best of the best. The twin-turbocharged V-6 engine is hand-built from the nearby city of Anna, affixed to the dual-clutch automatic transmission and rear drive electric motor, and then trucked to Marysville.

The technology staff at Honda Ramp;D Americas (also situated just up the street) led the development of the vehicle. It spent upward of 200 days per year testing prototypes on several roads and paths around the world. The design of the NSX emerged from the Acura Design Studio in Torrance, Calif., and has been led by Michelle Christensen, the first female supercar designer innbsp;background.

So the second-generation Acura NSX remains a Japanese supercar — but additionally, it is American to the core. Now, to better experience this team effort, the maker has introduced the NSX Insider Experience, an exclusive program for clients who have purchased the hybrid halo car. This exceptional program encourages the lucky few owners to travel to Ohio — not always a spot near the top of your normal bucket list — to find out about the Acura NSX, making it tick and how to drive itnbsp;fast.

The NSX is what Honda likes to call a “pinnacle merchandise” and pinnacle is an apt descriptor. The hybrid powertrain of the NSX joins the twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V-6 with electric motors at each front wheel and a third straight drive engine bonded to the transmission. Overall system horsepower rings in at 573, while torque amounts to 476 lb-ft, much of it accessible early because of the rapid response of the electrical motors. The NSX also showcases a dead-simple launch control system, torque-vectoring all-wheel drive and four different drive modes which range from all-electric tonbsp;full-bore.

As part of their experience, clients can get a better sense of what their new car is going to do on a closed circuit with a professional driver riding shotgun. In my case, the (un)blessed soul is Jason Widmer, the chief engineer responsible for the car’s development. For the client experience, guests have the option of either four or two hours worth of tracknbsp;forcing.

My time behind the wheel provides hardly enough opportunity to frighten my co-driver. A quick, 225-km/h burst along a high-banked oval at the test centre is a snooze for Widmer — he has established a version of the NSX around at more than 300 km/h. Four laps round the 16-turn street course have him gripping his door handle for assistance, sure, but he has assaulted this track with more verve before also. (Long, black tire marks that trail off into the grass at the end of the speediest straight are hisnbsp;handiwork.)

Driving the NSX serves to remind me what a fantastic car it is: an authentic supercar, loaded to the teeth with trickery and technologies. Additionally, it makes me want more time behind the wheel to correctly test the ability of the strong regenerative brake system, to come to grips with the eye-opening grasp of the torque-vectoring system using its electrical motors churning away at each front wheel. It can be a bewildering car to explain; it is perhaps an even harder automobile tonbsp;master.

The drive element of the NSX Insider Expertise is what will likely draw many clients. However, the trip to the Honda Heritage Center is intriguing in and of itself — it captures the unbelievable assortment of goods Honda has made through time, from lawn mowers and snow blowers to business jets and supercars. The tour of the engine plant in Anna will resonate with the most frenzied of gearheads. But if the timing functions, the factory tour is where the consumer might be encouraged to apply a finishing touch with their NSX as it comes off the assembly line — and that is the sort of thing money can not normallynbsp;purchase.

The NSX Insider Experience gives the choice of six unique packages, ranging in cost from $1,990 (U.S.) to $7,576. Clients coming to Ohio from elsewhere may also receive help with everything from flight reservations to hotel rooms and dinnernbsp;plans.

The author was a guest of the automobile maker. Content wasn’t subject tonbsp;acceptance.

Shopping for a new car? Take a look at the new to find the hottest discounts, rebates and prices on new cars, trucks and SUVs. To receive your price.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

With a few exceptions, an out-of-province ticket will go on your record

27 Nov 17
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I live in Ontario but I am in British Columbia temporarily for work and am driving a rental car. I was issued a $135 speeding ticket for going 84 km/h at a 50 km/h zone. Can this offence and the demerits be added to my Ontario driving record? — Cheryl

If you had been caught speeding in any other state or territory, you would be receiving demerits in your Ontario licence.

But what happens in British Columbia, remains in British Columbia.

“B.C. offences by out-of-province drivers aren’t shared with other authorities,” Lindsay Olsen, spokeswoman for Insurance Corp. of British Columbia, said in an email.

The Canadian Driver Licence Compact (CDLC) is a 1990 agreement to discuss driving records between the states and territories.

Everybody signed it except B.C., Quebec and Nunavut.

In British Columbia, that means out-of-province drivers won’t have B.C. tickets added to their driving records — and vice versa. “If a B.C. driver were to be given a violation ticket — for instance, a speeding ticket — out of our state, it wouldn’t be added to their driving record in B.C.,” Olsen said.

The exception? Criminal Code convictions, for example , appear on all provincial and territorial driving documents “… therefore it could be added to a driver’s record in B.C., regardless of where in Canada the offence happened,” Olsen said.

Share and share alike?

But in most other state, offences away from home will get added to a driving record, the same like they had happened at home.

By way of instance, if you reside in Ontario and get a speeding ticket in Saskatchewan, you would find the equivalent number of added to your licence. And the opposite is true.

“Saskatchewan belongs to [the CDLC] in which the guiding principle is one driver, 1 driver’s licence and one driver record,” stated Tyler McMurchy, spokesman for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, in an email. “This agreement furthers highway safety by treating similar convictions and administrative sanctions that happened in 1 province like they had happened in the driver’s home state”

That includes demerits. Demerits are strikes against your driving record — if you , your license will be suspended. The rules for how out-of-province demerits are implemented vary by state.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation , just — such as speeding, failure to obey a stop sign or signal, and failure to stop for a school bus — will get added to a Ontario licence.

But that does not mean an Ontario driver’s record will remain unscathed if they are caught speeding in Quebec.

Quebec and Ontario have their own reciprocal record-sharing , meaning all offences — and demerits — will be shared between the two provinces.

Exterior of the CDLC, some states have their own agreements with American nations. Ontario has agreements with New York and Michigan, while has arrangements with Maine and New York.

If you don’t cover

And if you do not cover your out-of-province speeding ticket?

It varies. In British Columbia, the state can find a collection agency to go after out-of-province drivers to the outstanding fine, Olsen said.

Provinces also have the capacity to experience the Canada Revenue Agency and choose the sum due from GST rebates and income tax refunds, McMurchy said.

Even if driving documents are shared between authorities, your home province can not keep you from renewing your driver’s license or registration for an outstanding ticket from another state, how it would for an at home. Bu if you return to a province in which you have outstanding tickets, you might get pulled over.

“In Ontario, MTO doesn’t have the ability to force the driver to cover an out-of-province ticket,” said Brian Smiley, spokesman for Manitoba Public Insurance. “If the driver returns to Manitoba, Manitoba doesn’t have the authority to suspend the out-of-province driver — but the driver could be arrested by authorities.”

Have a compelling question? Send it to . Canada’s a big place, so tell us where you are so we can get the answer for your town and state.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

For Canada 150, Porsche goes on an unforgettable drive to the East Coast

26 Nov 17
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Porsche does not assert its guided tours are cheap, but it does guarantee they will be unforgettable — and it’ll be tricky to forget this year’s Canada 150nbsp;Tour.

There were not many takers for the 10-day collapse drive from Toronto to Halifax, but the two couples and two single drivers who signed up were enthusiastic fans of the new. They had to be: It cost $12,000 per person, plus airfares, to signnbsp;up.

“We dithered a great deal on this due to the cost,” said Paz Fernando, a podiatrist from Winnipeg and confessed Porsche Snob who flew in with his wife Lisa. “We thought of going on the Provence Porsche excursion, or possibly Morocco before it was cancelled — I feel that the mountain roads shattered the Cayennes — but we wanted to find the East Coast. We have nevernbsp;been.”

And in case you can, it is a good idea to drive there in a . The culmination of the tour was in the Cabot Trail, 300 kilometres of Cape Breton curves. Along the way, the four cars with different hosts and guides visited Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, before going through New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to Novanbsp;Scotia.

Since Porsche’s website stated, Canada’s “world-class cities, rich history, vibrant coastlines, rugged terrain, and lush, understated wilderness provide new sights and sounds with each turn. And during each new experience, you are going to rely on one thing and one thing just to get you there — anbsp;Porsche.”

The idea appealed to JoAnn Van Engelen, a twice-widowed Boxster and Macan proprietor from southwestern Ontario; she is taking advantage of her liberty now that the family farm was sold and the children have left home. She is still frugal, however. “I saw it and thought, well, this is excellent, until I got to the cost, and I thought, ‘Oh,'” Van Engelennbsp;stated.

“And I thought, well, what about just knowing where they begin and after along? But then I have got to do resorts, and I didn’t have any clue how they are filling in the remaining hours. I spoke to my children about it and they said: ‘Oh mother, justnbsp;proceed.'”

The resorts are top-notch (the Andaz in Ottawa, the Queen Elizabeth in Montreal, that type of thing) and the food is high end, but the participants saw these as distractions in the driving. “We’d rather skip lunch, we are here for the cars,” said Paz Fernando. “Let us get out of bed early and get on it while we have access to thenbsp;street.”

This was the couple’s fifth Porsche tour in as many years, after trips to Italy for the Stelvio Pass and Romania for the Transfagasaran street, among others. “These excursions work best when everyone gets along and nobody takes themselves too seriously,” said Lisa Fernando, before dissing on a prima donna in Romania who ticked offnbsp;everybody.

Here in Canada, everybody did get together. The tour was rounded out with a Chinese property developer from Seattle and a wealthy Australian couple who take part in a number of such trips annually, and everyone agreed they would like more driving, with fewer citynbsp;tours.

The cars, after all, were terrific: Porsche 911 Carrera 4Ss, the same $150,000 cars used for Porsche’s performance driving school. Porsche offers a lot of different “customer experience” events each year, including performance driving schools at racetracks and brief tours that finish at racetracks. Internationally, Porsche offers many events and tours. This 3,000-kilometre drive to the East Coast to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday, however, was anbsp;original.

“It is more of a branding exercise, building the brand and building the connection these attendees have with Porsche, and providing them a lifelong memory,” stated Daniel Ponzini of Porsche Cars Canada. “There’s a business case for all these events, such as all drive experience occasions, but it does more — it exposes clients to various styles of automobile and reveals them newer vehicles. It builds the brand in a differentnbsp;mild.”

There were originally 20 available spots for the one-off Canada 150 Tour but only half were sold. There was some grumbling during the driveway once the cars were in procession on the Trans-Canada Highway, sticking to the speed limit, but when possible, the manuals would leave the multi-lane highway and discover a country road with smooth asphalt and tightnbsp;corners.

In the end of it all, there was the promise of the Cabot Trail, Canada’s crown jewel of driving streets. “The deeper we got into the Maritimes, the greater the streets and the attitudes obtained,” remembered Paz Fernando afterwards in an email, following the trip was complete and everyone returnednbsp;dwelling.

“Obviously, the Holy [Cabot] Path was the highlight and rescue for 2 stubborn black SUVs that blocked us for a while from the Keltic Inn on the next day, the drive was the best. And lobsters and oysters were shown nonbsp;mercy.”

The author was a guest of the automobile maker. Content wasn’t subject tonbsp;acceptance.

Shopping for a new car? Take a look at the new to see the most recent discounts, rebates and prices on new cars, trucks and SUVs. To receive your price.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Japan aims to show Autonomous Vehicles off at 2020 Summer Olympics

20 Nov 17
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The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be a showcase for autonomous vehicles if Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gets his wish. He needs fleets of self-driving taxis, trucks, buses and personal vehicles on Tokyo streets, even ferrying the athletes, from the time the world descends on thenbsp;city.

With an aging population and an economy bouncing in and out of recession, Abe sees the Olympics as an opportunity to encourage Japanese companies to devote andnbsp;innovate.

The absence of legal framework for self-driving cars remains a barrier for their roll-out in Canada and the rest of the world, but Abe’s government is working on guidelines to clear a legal course. Tokyo aims to get the required legislation .

At the Tokyo Motor Show last month, Lexus introduced a — known as LS — which will be available in 2020. The car’s “Highway Teammate” system, which has been in testing on public roads in Japan since 2015, allows “automatic driving on highways from on-ramp all the way through the off-ramp,” and can perform manoeuvres like merging on the street, changing lanes and overtaking without motorist help. However, it is not clear if such a system would require responsibility in the driver (as at a Society of Automotive Engineers Level-3 autonomous vehicle) or when the machine would behave just as an assistant to an individual driver (SAEnbsp;Level-2).

“Level-3 … is in limbo,” said Kiyotaka Ise, chief safety officer and head of research and development for Toyota. “Maybe Level-4 will make better sense. We are concurrently developing alternatives for bothnbsp;degrees.”

In Level-4, the human does not have to be prepared to resume control. Ise mentioned the car-to-driver handover time and human-machine port as the biggest technical hurdles. For the Olympics, ” he said, Toyota would like to have prototype vehicles using its “Urban Teammate” system on the street. These vehicles would provide automated driving not only on highways but in cities,nbsp;also.

Nissan is also targeting 2020 for the development of its autonomous technologies. The business intends to have cars on the road that provide driver-supervised automation in cities and in intersections, as Globe Drive has .

Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s CEO, told reporters in Tokyo that the Japanese government appears to be the most willing to adopt autonomous driving technology. “The technology will be mass-marketed when authorities want it,” he said. “Our job is to ensure that the technology is ready. So, I am telling you, it’ll be prepared bynbsp;2020.”

For 2020, Ghosn is ambitiously planning to get autonomous city driving accessible. Before then, he said, will also have autonomous highway driving and traffic jam help.

Toyota is one of the principal international sponsors of the 2020 Olympics, and Ghosn has been vocal about his aspirations for Nissan. By comparison, Honda has not made much of a splash in the autonomous automobile world. The business is targeting 2020 to get a car that could take control in restricted highway conditions (Level-3) and 2025 because of its .

Subaru was among the first companies to provide advanced driver-assistance using its EyeSight stereo-camera system. In Japan, Subaru offers vehicles with Tesla-like highway-only autopilot functionality. While the company has not announced anything special for the Olympics, Subaru’s Viziv concept from the Tokyo Motor Show is thought to preview the next development of EyeSight. For 2020, the machine will acquire radar and precise digital maps, which Subaru claims will allow for automatic lane-changes in certainnbsp;states.

It’s important to not forget that all the new semi-autonomous technology being talked about are confined to certain environments — certain geo-fenced zones or highways-only or intersections-only — and specific (good) weather. Consumer vehicles without steering wheels are a ways off. We are talking baby stepsnbsp;here.

“2020 is just 3 years down the road; it is not too long,” said Toru Saito, president of Audi Japan. “I don’t think we are going to make a quantum jump to autonomous driving [bynbsp;then].”

Realistically, he said, there’ll be Level-3 vehicles on the street; Audi already has that technology in its A8 sedan. The only catch is Level-3 systems are not legal; not yet, anyhow. “I believe they’re going to change the law to adapt autonomous driving by 2020,” said Saito. “That is the government’s goal.”

To encourage development of autonomous vehicles, the Japanese government is working to make detailed digital maps of the country’s road network, which it expects to have finished for thenbsp;Games.

The last time Japan hosted the Olympics, in 1964, the Games spurred the nation forward both socially and economically. That year, the Olympics saw the introduction of Japan’s now-famous Shinkansen bullet train. Legalizing Level-3 cars might be the real breakthrough fornbsp;2020.

“The one thing to learn about Japan is that, if it sets its mind on something, it is going to do it,” said Stephen Beatty, vice-president of Toyota Canada. “Individuals align to those big objectives. If this were North America … the jury would be out on our capacity to handle it. But I never, ever, underestimate Japan’s ability to establish targets and hitnbsp;the”

Car companies are proficient at producing hype without necessarily having the ability to follow through. This time, however, they have the support of Japan’s government, and the world will benbsp;viewing.

The author was a guest of Audi at the Tokyo Motor Show. Content wasn’t subject tonbsp;acceptance.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

What’s the purpose of maintaining winter-tire rims?

13 Nov 17
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Why does everybody with winter tires have ugly black steel rims? Why don’t you just put winter tires on your present wheels and change them back in the autumn? If they are on their own rims, they are only a whole lot heavier to carry around. Is there any other purpose I am missing? — Sean, Toronto

There are real reasons to get winter tires. The largest is safety. They’re demonstrated to shorten stopping distances on ice and snow. And, in Ontario, your insurance company is needed to offer you a discount if you use them.

But why would you need to set your winter tires on their own wheels?

“Having tires mounted and demounted semi-annually is a significant strain on the tire itself,” said David Weatherhead, automotive professor at Centennial College in Toronto. “Especially with lower-profile tires, it stresses the rubber around the bead of the tire and can cause damaging the rubber, which in turn may result in tire degradation and, thus, leaks.”

The reason you see so many of these black wheels? Compared with expensive alloys, black steel is a steal.

“Many people will choose the steel alternative as steel rims are, actually, less costly,” Weatherhead said.

Based on the size you’re looking for, you may probably find basic black steel wheels starting at about $50 to $80 each. Even the least expensive aluminum alloy wheels — that look a bit closer to what your car came with — could cost up to three times as much.

Wheel deal?

Another huge reason people choose winter wheels? You will save money when you set your winter tires in the fall — and take them off at the spring.

“It differs between areas, but you would probably be saving $75 to $100 a year if they are already on the rims as it’s less work, so it is less of a fee for us to get it done,” said Geoff Wiebe, a Regina-based tire expert with Kal Tire.

But whether you find yourself saving money over all is dependent upon how much you spend on these wheels.

“We do find it is less and less financially reasonable for customers to get tires,” said Blair Martin, a supervisor with OK Tire at Vancouver. “A lot will take up to eight years to recoup the investment.”

And, if your vehicle needs Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) detectors, those can cost $70 or more a wheel.

Your vehicle’s TPMS system monitors tire pressure and warns you — with a yellowish light — when it’s 25 per cent under the pressure recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.

There are two types of methods: direct and indirect. Direct uses sensors in each wheel which send signals to your car’s computer.

Indirect doesn’t utilize sensors — it uses information from the anti-lock brake (ABS) system to find out how quickly your wheels are spinning. If tires get smaller due to a sudden flow, they will spin faster which will trigger the tire pressure warning.

A variety of automobile manufacturers are using indirect systems, but if you’ve got a direct system, the detectors for all four wheels could cost $280 or more. Add this to the cost of the cheapest steel wheels and you may be paying more than $500 alone only for for that winter pair of wheels. That is on top of everything you paid for your winter tires.

And if you do not get detectors? That light remains on all winter. For a good deal of people, that is well worth the savings.

“Many people opt to leave the light on, which in itself is a risky choice,” Weatherhead said. ” [You are] losing an excess degree of security that the maker had built in for security and fuel-economy purposes.”

Small savings?

There is another way winter wheels could help you save money. With , a smaller set of winter wheels can allow you to purchase , possibly cheaper winter tires.

“Frequently, bicycle stores will have 16-inch or 17-inch packages that match the car,” Weatherhead said. “Care should be taken to make sure it’s an approved size for your vehicle in addition to an approved tire speed rating.”

Minus sizing also enables you to place on thicker winter tires with deeper treads — compared with the low-profile tires your car comes together — which manage better in snow.

But that different tire size could take some getting used to, Weatherhead said.

“Changing the speed rating and tire size will affect the car’s handling characteristics and might make the vehicle perform considerably different in maneuvers like cornering,” he said.

Protection from salt?

Placing your winter tires on their own wheels means that the wheels your car came with get to spend winter indoors, safe from road salt which can corrode them, Weatherhead said.

But washing your car regularly will lower your likelihood of wheel damage, ” said Calvin Feist, automotive instructor at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton.

“Road salt will harm alloy wheels, but it is going to damage steel wheels also,” Feist said. “You simply need to clean your car or truck frequently and the wheels will last and look great for quite a long time.”

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Shifting season rings in most dangerous time of the year for driving

08 Nov 17
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The “most wonderful time of the year” could be close according to the Christmas carols floating about shopping malls, but we are already into the most dangerous time of the year on our streets.

The end of Daylight Saving Time — in the majority of the nation — and the coming of authentic fall weather have created a perfect storm that will almost surely increase the amount of car-on-car and car-on-pedestrian events on Canada’s roads.

Let’s count the ways:

  • You will find the reduced hours of daylight, meaning there are fewer hours when motorists and pedestrians can easily find each other.
  • There is the time shift, which not just tends to upset people’s circadian rhythms and make them less mentally sharp, but also signifies that the always-fraught-with-peril evening rush hour is largely in darkness.
  • Falling leaves added to those other decreasing things — snow, rain, sleet — that make the streets slicker.
  • Those glowing summer wardrobes are replaced with dark clothes. Not only does this make them harder to see, but matters like hoods and toques added to earbuds and cellphones unite to detach pedestrians even farther from their surroundings.

“November … has traditionally been the month when pedestrians are involved in the most crashes,” Toronto Police traffic services constable Clinton Stibbe states.

Although studies have produced varying results on the time change’s role in road safety, there certainly seems to be a link.

A 2007 American study revealed that people walking during rush hour following the return to standard time were greater than twice as likely to be killed by a car than before the shift. The most dangerous time of the day was after 6 p.m., it revealed.

But most of us can not avoid driving, walking or biking at the moment, so motorists, cyclists and pedestrians will need to be extra cautious.

It might sound somewhat Elmer the Safety Elephantish, but it is largely a matter of slowing down and taking more care.

“There’s been plenty of focus on which pedestrians do wrong,” says Teresa Di Felice, Director of Government and Community Relations for the CAA, pointing to a recent proposal to create distracted walking prohibited in Toronto. “But the simple fact is that most these collisions aren’t the pedestrians’ faul”

A recent report revealed that in Toronto, 41 percent of pedestrian-vehicle collisions occurred at intersections — most frequently when the pedestrian had the right away. Furthermore, 46 percent of those 28 pedestrian fatalities in Toronto this season involved seniors.

“The ultimate responsibility falls on the driver to be aware and assess their environment,” Di Felice says.

She offers several tips on how to protect yourself and others:

  • Wear lighter clothes or put in a few reflective strips to your backpack or briefcase to improve visibility when walking. Cyclists need as many reflective strips and lighting as you can.
  • Take additional care when driving, slowing when coming high-traffic locations and double-checking prior to turning.
  • Try to make eye contact with drivers when crossing an intersection.
  • Pay attention to automobile maintenance, especially brakes and tires. Check your tire pressure regularly, ensure that your windshield washer fluid is topped up and your wipers are in fact wiping.
  • Take additional care when nearing home. “People become more complacent when they are in familiar territory, whether they are walking or driving,” she says. “We know the area and let down our guard a little. That complacency can make an incident.”

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I have got two Volkswagen diesels. Will the emissions fix hurt performance and fuel economy?

30 Oct 17
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We’ve got two Golf TDI wagons, a 2013 and a 2011. Both were influenced by the Volkswagen emissions scandal, and when I elect to have the “installed and the end result isn’t up to my expectations (poor gas mileage(slow performance), what recourse do I have? If I forgo the fix and continue to push it as it is, am I responsible for passing emission tests? And did we get as good a deal as the Americans? I can’t imagine what might be unique to the combustion chambers of VW TDI to create hydrogen oxide — which, supposedly, doesn’t happen in the rest of the diesel engines in the world. — Gordon, Claremont, Ont.

If you receive the emissions fix for your Golf TDIs, they will pollute less — but your fuel economy will get worse. That is partly why Volkswagen The emissions controls in the first location.

“They’re emitting a Lot of NOx [nitrogen oxide] since VW shut off the emission controls in the real world — it is quite blatant,” said John German, senior fellow with the (ICCT), who found the cheat in tests in 2013 and 2014. “We are not talking minor — these men are emitting 2.5 times greater than a Mack truck{}”

Knowing the problem they are trying to fix might help you decide whether you need it. Along with other Like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides are produced when your engine burns gasoline, diesel and even . They are bad, mainly because they contribute to smog and acid rain.

“There are a few direct health effects from NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) and that is primarily a closeness thing — if you are bicycling in a bicycle lane and you are 3 feet from a VW diesel, you are inhaling it,” German said. “However, NOx and NO2 contribute to the creation of ozone, and ozone is one of the larger air health issues in the U.S.”

Simply exhausting

Any car with a tailpipe has emission controls. For diesel engines, there are — the lean NOx trap (LNT) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) — to restrict the amount of nitrogen oxides from the exhaust by turning them in to other gases.

The majority of the over 11 million influenced Volkswagen diesels had LNT, which stores NOx at a catalyst in a trap at the exhaust.

“You do not have a lot of storage,” German said. “About once a minute, you need to remove that saved NOx and decrease it.”

The LNT system does this by injecting additional fuel to the exhaust, where it reacts with the oxygen from the NOx and converts it to nitrogen, German said.

“So that the punishment is additional fuel consumption, and it does not function and the SCR systems and it deteriorates faster,” German said. “So they closed it off{}”

SCR uses ammonia in urea — — as a catalyst to convert the NOx into nitrogen, water and traces of carbon dioxide.

“This is the AdBlue additive which you find a lot in heavy duty trucks,” German said. “Its drawback is that the customer must refuel the urea tank and that is a hassle. Therefore, if you shut it off, the consumer does not need to refill the urea tank as frequently”

Cheaters never win?

VW used the defeat device for the two systems in Volkswagens, Porsches and Audis. Additionally, it used cheaper, less durable parts in the emissions-control systems since it knew they’d be off the majority of the time, German said.

With the cheat software, automobiles with both systems On a dynamometer or treadmill which didn’t quantify pollution in real-world problems.

It was only discovered when German’s team hooked up detectors to actual vehicles and discovered emissions were up to 35 times the legal limit.

Other companies, including And Mercedes-Benz, have faced charges of using defeat devices to tamper with their emissions controls in certain real-world scenarios, German said.

“However, Volkswagen did two things nobody else has ever done,” German said. “They closed the emissions controls off all of the time and they lied to the bureaus for 18 months{}”

United States got better bargain?

In April, Quebec and Ontario courts declared a $2.1-billion For approximately 105,000 cars with 2.0-litre TDI motors following a class-action lawsuit.

Each owner obtained a payment between $5,100 and $8,000. Many had the option to sell their car back to Volkswagen or find an emissions modification approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Automobile Protection Association (APA) said Canadians fared better than Europeans on the deal, but American clients got 10 to 20 percent more than Canadian client when VW purchased cars back, even with no difference in the exchange rate. That is because the Canadian bargain based the resale value on the medium-low assortment of the book value.

The governments of Canada and Ontario have been “mostly passive,” said APA president George Iny. “It is the law firms acting for the course and VW probably working tirelessly that arrived at an arrangement that’s a rather close replica of the U.S. deal.”

Independent from the settlement and a $15-million Under the Competition Act, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has been for 2 decades but has yet to put charges.

Beyond this, there are still class proceedings under way for 20,000 3.0-litre V-6 TDIs in Canada.

The fix is in?

Both the federal and Ontario environment ministries urge the emissions fix if you are keeping your cars. The states regulate which vehicles remain on the street, and for now, the repair — that contains a software upgrade and installation of more durable emissions elements — is not required.

If you choose to get it, then there should not be a noticeable shift to functionality so long as it is calibrated correctly, German said. When it is not, the engine could “hesitate,” he said.

“But fuel economy will take a 5 to 10 percent hit the [LNT] and 2 to 5 percent hit the [SCR],” he said.

We requested Volkswagen Canada if there was refuge if you’re not pleased with the fix, and it pointed us which explains the fix, potential performance problems and the warranty extension covering emissions-related components.

“Customers shouldn’t notice any adverse changes in vehicle reliability, durability, or functionality (by way of instance, 0-100 km/h time, high speed, etc.),” it stated. “Your vehicle’s fuel consumption increases by around 0.4 litres/100 km{}”

Can you have the fix reversed if you are not content? Not likely. Iny explained the APA believes the settlement is final once approved.

“There have been very few complaints related to performance after the motor modifications,” Iny stated. “Performance of the motor following the modification could be impacted by the poor state of the engine prior to the fix.”

Volkswagen will not be analyzing the performance of each modified automobile, and there’s absolutely not any tailpipe check, Iny stated.

Owners also have complained that Volkswagen won’t perform the repair before unrelated repairs are done — in the owner’s expense.

“The later model gas is unreliable with [an] expensive fuel injector and high-pressure gas gas pump fixes [being] fairly common.” Iny said. “A situation aggravated by the fact that owners deferred repairs and maintenance following the cheating was shown in September 2015; today some of them are facing huge bills.”

Affected cars already pass Drive Clean

Ontario is the only state with an emissions test. All light-duty vehicles — cars, trucks, SUVs — in Southern Ontario have to pass the 30 Drive Clean test every two years once they’re seven years old.

Drive Clean does not examine tailpipe emissions on cars built after 1998; rather, it assesses engine codes.

That means that unless there has been some other difficulty unrelated to the cheating, VW TDIs with the cheat have always passed the test.

And they ought to continue to pass, with or without the fix, German said.

“The reason they will pass is because the on-board diagnostic system is set up to discover malfunctions — where emissions have grown compared to the way they were created,” he said. “On the vehicles with no fix, the emission controls operate; they simply have not turned them on.”

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) said vehicles with no repair should pass Drive Clean — again, unless there is some other issue.

And automobiles with the fix? From the letter to owners, Volkswagen said it does not anticipate vehicles with the correct to have problems passing provincial emissions evaluations.

Asked if this was the case, MOECC said, “VW hasn’t submitted ‘their fix’ to [us] for evaluation{}”

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail