Tag Archives: Vehicles

China to Make RFID Chips Mandatory in Cars So the Government Can Track Citizens on the Road

The Chinese government, in its ongoing pursuit to create the dystopian police state dreamed up in many a science fiction tale, is reportedly readying a new vehicle identification system that will be capable of monitoring the movement of citizens.

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The Used Cars With the Best Deals on Black Friday

Okay, maybe Black Friday isn’t completely dead. It might be a good day to get a discount on a used car, for example. A recent report found that Black Friday had 33% more deals than on an average day. In fact, that percentage was higher than any other holiday.

Car shopping site iSeeCars analyzed the pricing history of over 40 million used cars from 2013-2015. Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving were all decent days to find used car deals, but Black Friday topped the list. You can see their full list of best days to buy in the infographic below, and the following list shows the 10 best used cars to buy on Black Friday, according to the percentage of better than average prices.

  1. Hyundai Elantra: 230.6% more deals than average day
  2. Hyundai Sonata: 158.9%
  3. Ford F-150: 156.3%
  4. VW Jetta: 115.6%
  5. Chevrolet Silverado 1500: 115.4%
  6. GMC Sierra 1500: 84.7%
  7. Chevrolet Camaro: 74.8%
  8. Honda CR-V: 69.8%
  9. Chrysler Town and Country: 63.5%
  10. Honda Accord: 62.0%

In an email, they explained a bit more about their methodology:

For the Top 10 Best Cars to Buy on Black Friday, cars for the last 5 model years (2011–2015), with at least 750 vehicles sold on that day were included. For each model, the percent of cars sold with at least a five percent discount on Black Friday was compared to the same metric averaged across the 2013-2015 period. Models were ranked by the percent difference between the Black Friday percentage and the average percentage.

Interestingly, they also found that, in general, dealerships offer even better discounts on the first day of the month than the last. Prices were 8.5% better than average on the first day compared with 5.6% on the last day. The site’s CEO, Phong Ly, explained:

“A dealership’s sales month usually ends a few days into the next calendar month. So sales made on the first of the month can be included in the previous month’s sales…Much like with the end of the year, dealers are probably trying to make some last-minute sales to meet their monthly goals.” Similarly, the fifth day of the month was the worst day for deals, most likely because it is always at the beginning of the new sales period.

Of course, your own experience may vary, but it’s interesting to see how these findings stack up. For more detail, check out the infographic below or head to the link.

Best Car Deals For Black Friday And Thanksgiving | iSeeCars

The Most Dangerous U.S. Cities for Drivers

Driving comes with its share of risk and danger, and some cities are more dangerous than others. NerdWallet looked at data in the 200 most populous cities in the U.S. to rank the safest and most dangerous for drivers.

To come up with their numbers, NerdWallet analyzed five factors: the rate of fatal crashes, the likelihood of an accident compared to other cities, the number of years between accidents, the risk of break-ins, and the risk of a stolen vehicle.

They also looked at insurance rates in each city. They explain:

We compared the total scores based on those metrics with the auto insurance rates in each city, analyzing the average annual cost of insurance given the legal requirements for that state and the most affordable insurers among the largest companies in that market…Auto insurance rates are 47% more expensive in our most dangerous cities. The average annual insurance rate in our 20 most dangerous cities is $1,721, compared with $1,169 in our 20 safest cities.

Detroit was their most dangerous city for drivers, and they found a difference of 642% for the price of car insurance when compared with their safest city, Cary, North Carolina.

While Detroit was the most dangerous city overall, it had the second-highest fatal accident rate, at 16.2 accidents for every 100,000 residents. Baton Rouge, Baltimore, Springfield (MA), and San Bernardino (CA) were in the top five.

You can see a quick breakdown of the cities in the infographic, but be sure to head to their full post at the link below for detailed statistics on each city.

The Safest and Most Dangerous Cities for Drivers | NerdWallet

The Most Dangerous U.S. Cities for Drivers

When2Leave Sends You an Alert When Traffic Dies Down

When2Leave Sends You an Alert When Traffic Dies Down

Depending on when you leave the house, traffic can vary from manageable to an absolute nightmare. When2Leave helps you leave at the best time by sending you an alert when traffic dies down.

This web app is especially useful for people who actually have some flexibility with their schedules. You simply type your origin and destination into the app, then tell it to notify you when the route falls below whatever amount of time you desire. It’ll tell you what the average and current traffic time is for the route.

When2Leave Sends You an Alert When Traffic Dies Down

It’s only available via your browser, though, so you have to be at your computer to get the alert. It would be even more useful as a mobile app, but it works well if you’re on your computer. If you’re at work, for example, and trying to figure out the best time to leave at the end of the day, the app will send a pop-up telling you that your route is within your time frame.

Of course, you can always check Google Maps for updates, but this offers a more automatic alternative than refreshing Maps every so often. Check it out for yourself at the link below.

When2Leave via Product Hunt

When2Leave Sends You an Alert When Traffic Dies Down

When2Leave Sends You an Alert When Traffic Dies Down

Depending on when you leave the house, traffic can vary from manageable to an absolute nightmare. When2Leave helps you leave at the best time by sending you an alert when traffic dies down.

This web app is especially useful for people who actually have some flexibility with their schedules. You simply type your origin and destination into the app, then tell it to notify you when the route falls below whatever amount of time you desire. It’ll tell you what the average and current traffic time is for the route.

When2Leave Sends You an Alert When Traffic Dies Down

It’s only available via your browser, though, so you have to be at your computer to get the alert. It would be even more useful as a mobile app, but it works well if you’re on your computer. If you’re at work, for example, and trying to figure out the best time to leave at the end of the day, the app will send a pop-up telling you that your route is within your time frame.

Of course, you can always check Google Maps for updates, but this offers a more automatic alternative than refreshing Maps every so often. Check it out for yourself at the link below.

When2Leave via Product Hunt

These Little Known Rules of the Road Help You Drive Smarter

These Little Known Rules of the Road Help You Drive Smarter

If you’re going to drive, you have to follow the rules, and most of us are familiar with the basics. However, there are a handful of lesser-known road rules. Maybe you learned them in driver’s ed, but forgot them, because they’re not as important as, say, stopping at a red light. Still, they’ll help you navigate efficiently and communicate silently with other drivers.

Exit Panel Placement Warns You of a Left Exit

These Little Known Rules of the Road Help You Drive Smarter

My dad recently clued me in on this, but it’s something we’ve covered before, too: if a freeway exit is on the left, you can tell by the sign placement.

Most of the time, left exits are clearly marked, but that’s not always the case. As the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration explains (PDF), if the exit number panel is positioned to the left of the freeway guide sign, that means the exit is on the left. If it’s on the right, the exit will be on the right.

Not all left exits are marked this way, though. Some exit panels, right or left, are positioned in the middle, which doesn’t really help you. However, if you come across a left-positioned panel, let it be a heads up—the exit will be on the left.

Exit Numbers Tell You How Far You Have to Go

These Little Known Rules of the Road Help You Drive Smarter

You’re probably familiar with the function of mile markers, which show you the number of miles ago (or left) where the highway entered your state. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the counting always starts at the south state line for north-south routes and in the west for east-west routes.

One reader gave us a heads up about distance-based exit numbers, which correspond with these mile markers.

http://lifehacker.com/stuff-like-thi…

It’s useful info for figuring out where you are and how far you have to go. For example, if you pass Exit 40, you know you’re close to Mile 40. Thus, if you need to get off on Exit 50, you can easily tell you’re 10 miles away.

Keep in mind, however, that not all states follow this standard, though. You can see whether your state uses distance-based exit numbers here.

Highway Numbers Tell You Where You’re Headed

These Little Known Rules of the Road Help You Drive Smarter

Your highway number is another indication of where you’re headed. Interstate highways follow an odd or even numbering system.

If the highway has an odd number, it’s traveling north-south and the numbers increase from the West Coast (I-5) to the East Coast (I-95). If the highway is even, it’s traveling east-west, and the numbers should increase from south (I-10) to north (I-94). Of course, sometimes highways veer off in different directions for a while, but as the Federal Highway Administration points out, the rule is based on the overall direction of the highway.

And then there are three-digit interstate highways. The numbers in a three-digit highway generally tell you a few things:

  • If the first digit is even, the highway usually connects to another interstate at both ends, meaning it’s a loop.
  • If the first digit is odd, the highway is typically a “spur” route.
  • The last two numbers usually tell you which interstate the route spurs off from. For example: I-210 in California branches off of I-10. Houston’s I-610 loop branches off of I-10, too.

Again, these rules are typically the case, but there are always a few exceptions. As Snopes points out, I-238 in California doesn’t spur off of Interstate 38, as Interstate 38 doesn’t exist.

Truck Drivers Have Their Own Headlight Code

These Little Known Rules of the Road Help You Drive Smarter

You probably already know to flicker your high beams at someone who’s driving without theirs on at night to signal to them that they should turn them on. Beyond that, there’s some interesting headlight vocabulary that truckers in particular use to communicate, simply because they drive so much.

For example, you probably already know that when a truck (or just another car) puts on their blinker to get into your lane, quickly flashing your brights at them says, “go ahead.” If they gently tap their brakes twice, that’s their way of saying, “thank you.” Broken Secrets outlines a few others:

  • The most common signal is used by cars and trucks in oncoming lanes. They will double-flash their headlights when they just passed a police speed trap that you’re heading toward. While this is very helpful, be sure you know your local laws about this, in some places it is against the law.
  • More than two consecutive flashes from oncoming traffic signals that there is another type of danger ahead, such as a foreign object on the road and drivers should proceed with caution.
  • Truck drivers will put their flashing hazard lights on when the highway traffic is coming to an abrupt stop. This signal is fairly common among drivers in Europe, but is only common among truck drivers in North America.

These rules are helpful for truck drivers because it can be tough to maneuver a huge vehicle around a bunch of smaller, speedy cars. However, they come in handy for the rest of us, too. Plus, they’re kind of fun.

Blue Reflectors Are Fire Hydrant Warnings

These Little Known Rules of the Road Help You Drive Smarter

You’ve probably been in this scenario: you’re looking for parking, you think you see a spot, but nope, it’s a fire hydrant. If you pay attention, the road often gives you a heads up on this, though. Blue reflectors on the road are a sign that there’s a fire hydrant up ahead.

While this is designed for firefighters, it’s useful for those of us who have trouble parking, too. Similarly, white markers indicate lane markings, yellow markers separate traffic in opposite directions (or mark the left pavement on one-way streets), and if you see red markers, that’s a warning that you’re driving in the wrong direction. Red markers are actually clear, white or yellow when you’re going the right way.

Of course, these colors vary depending on the country, too, and you can look up the different meanings here.

Most of us know and follow the basic rules of the road. There are a lot of rules, though, which means many of the less urgent ones are forgotten. These aren’t as important as others, but they’re still useful nuggets to have on hand.

Illustration by: Sam Woolley

Photos: Ken Lund, Ken Lund, Ken Lund, Katelyn, Robert Couse-Baker

The True Cost of Owning a Car, Depending on Where You Live

The True Cost of Owning a Car, Depending on Where You Live

Owning a car can be pretty expensive beyond the price of the vehicle itself. Taxes, title fees, gas, and other costs add up quite a bit, and those costs vary depending on where you live. In a recent study, GOBankingRates ranked the most and least expensive states for owning a car.

To come up with their numbers, they surveyed and tracked the cost of buying and owning a car for three years in every state (and in D.C.) They explain:

Assuming all U.S. residents pay the average transaction price of $33,543 (according to Kelley Blue Book), the findings reveal that in addition to auto payments, U.S. car owners will pay an additional $11,227 on average to buy and own a car for three years. This amount includes:

  • car sales tax and title fees (referred to as “one-time purchase costs” in this study)
  • registration fees, car insurance, gas and car maintenance costs (referred to “annual ownership and usage costs”)

But, costs vary widely by state. In fact, depending on where you live, your state could add up to $7,217 to the cost of buying, maintaining and owning a car for three years.

New Hampshire is the cheapest state to own a car, with the total extra cost for three years coming in at $8,098. GBR explains that the state doesn’t levy sales tax on cars, so that saves quite a bit, but they also have low insurance premiums and low maintenance and repair costs. Michigan was the most expensive state to own a car, with a total cost of $15,315. Insurance is the biggest culprit here; on average drivers pay $1,413 more than the national average.

Here are a few other states on their list, including the total extra cost:

California: $14,452

One-time purchase costs: $2,116
Annual ownership and usage costs: $4,112

New Jersey: $13,484

One-time purchase costs: $2,408
Annual ownership and usage costs: $3,692

Texas: $11,673

One-time purchase costs: $2,129
Annual ownership and usage costs: $3,181

For the full list, head to their post at the link below.

Most (and Least) Expensive States to Own a Car | GOBankingRates

A Video Guide to Getting Your Car Fixed Without Getting Ripped Off

Some car maintenance is easier than you’d think, but there’s still a lot that goes on under the hood that can leave you scratching your head. This video breaks down some basic rules to avoid a car repair ripoff.

In the video, financial expert Jean Chatzky interviews a mechanical engineer who offers some advice. He says the first step is avoiding a shop that pushes you out the door quickly:

You can look around and see everything’s loud and everything’s bustling and getting in and out fast. That’s never a good sign. It usually lends itself to every shortcut under the sun. If you want a cheaper job you can get cheaper parts. There’s a huge difference in the quality of these parts. There’s a reason why they are cheaper.

Another solid tip: your mechanic should be familiar with your unique driving habits.

Your mechanic should tailor your maintenance to how you drive — if you’re a city driver, if you’re a country driver or do you do long-distance? Good, experienced mechanics will be able to tell a lot just by looking at the car.

The video offers other great tips, so check it out above or head to the link below.

3 ways to avoid car repair rip-offs | Bankrate

A Video Guide to Getting Your Car Fixed Without Getting Ripped Off

Some car maintenance is easier than you’d think, but there’s still a lot that goes on under the hood that can leave you scratching your head. This video breaks down some basic rules to avoid a car repair ripoff.

In the video, financial expert Jean Chatzky interviews a mechanical engineer who offers some advice. He says the first step is avoiding a shop that pushes you out the door quickly:

You can look around and see everything’s loud and everything’s bustling and getting in and out fast. That’s never a good sign. It usually lends itself to every shortcut under the sun. If you want a cheaper job you can get cheaper parts. There’s a huge difference in the quality of these parts. There’s a reason why they are cheaper.

Another solid tip: your mechanic should be familiar with your unique driving habits.

Your mechanic should tailor your maintenance to how you drive — if you’re a city driver, if you’re a country driver or do you do long-distance? Good, experienced mechanics will be able to tell a lot just by looking at the car.

The video offers other great tips, so check it out above or head to the link below.

3 ways to avoid car repair rip-offs | Bankrate

Five Bad Habits You Should Avoid When Driving Automatic Vehicles

Driving an automatic is more straightforward than driving a manual, but there are still ways to mess up parts of your vehicle. Here are five things you shouldn’t do if you drive a car with an automatic transmission.

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