Self Driving Cars

The Jetsons broadcast into American living rooms in 1962. The futuristic cartoon was based on how we all might be living in 2062. Flying cars, housecleaning robots and video calls…hmmm… looks like we’re right on track. Motor Trend listed the Buick as the best car of 1962, which came standard with an AM radio.  

Twenty years later Night Rider was created in 1982, by this point, cars had advanced to include AM/FM radios and tape players.  

Today our vehicles are essentially equal parts computer/machine. A voice command can start off verbal directions to anywhere, a beep tells us we’re too close to another car or object and can hit the breaks for us. We’re currently to some degree co-piloting with our cars. It makes absolute sense that the next level of auto-evolution would be self-driving cars which ironically rename the dash, the cockpit.

A recent Verge article asks and answers the question, where are the autonomous cars?  As it turns out, the technology is here, though the profit is not. Much like the manufacturing of fast cars has an extremely small American market due to the still remaining popularity of large vehicles, self-driving cars fall into the same category. They’re small.

The article continues to include a few urban locations where these cars are being tested on real streets in real traffic, more specifically for use of delivering products and people.

Google Lexus Self-Driving Car

Google Lexus Self-Driving Car

Either way, the race is still on to bring the car of the future into our driveways sooner than later. Tesla, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and even Kia are all digging their mechanical and software engineering heels into the starting line. According to Market Watch, we’re ready and set, GO however is not expected to happen for another 15-20 years.

For many of us, that’s a crushed dream of anxiety-free parallel parking and nap to work wishes. For most, however, we’re psychologically not so sure about the idea. A report compiled by AAA in 2016 found that 75% of people are afraid of letting their car do the driving; although psychologists feel it will be a fairly easy fear to defeat. Somehow we all got over the Computerphobia of the 1980’s, we’ll likely do the same with our phobia about self-driving cars in the 2030’s. 

In the meantime, we can expect to see more and more cars with self-driving aspects such as self-steering and breaking. Phasing into trusting our car to do all the driving might just be the best way to go. 

Guest Blogger: Allison Green

 

 

Being Ready for Winter Driving

I doubt anyone is excited about a forecast of 30 below with the wind chill and a possibility of snow. Still, you can be as best prepared as possible for traveling in these kinds of winter conditions.

Here are a few tips for preventing an accident this icy, snowy, cold season: 

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  • Check tire pressure and tread. New tires can seem like an expensive purchase but can keep you from a catastrophic expense later on. It is normal for tire pressure to lower during winter months so be sure to check your owner’s manual for the recommended winter psi.

  • Slow down in inclement weather no matter what vehicle you are driving. This may seem like some Captain Obvious advice here, however we have all seen that big 4x4 flying down the highway on a sheet of interstate ice. Four wheel drive may get you over hills and through difficult terrain much more easily than without, however when it comes to stopping and turning being in four does you no favors. No matter what vehicle you may drive, keeping a moderate speed can prevent having to hit the brakes which will always prevent slipping around to where you don’t want to go.

  • Making sure your wiper blades are in good shape and functioning properly along with checking wiper fluid and anti-freeze levels can keep you moving forward with full visibility. While everyone knows this, taking the time to do a winter maintenance check can be difficult to accomplish in a busy world.

    • If the unfortunate does happen, make sure to have an emergency kit readily available in your vehicle. Here are a few ideas for your kit:

      • Every vehicle should have a standard emergency kit with first aid supplies, flares, jumper cables, flashlight, high protein food and water (not frozen) no matter what time of year it is.

        • Ice scraper

        • Blankets

        • An extra pair of gloves and hat

        • Cat litter for traction in case you get stuck

Last but not least, before you head out the door there are a few things you can do to give yourself and everyone you know a little extra piece of mind.

Check with your insurance company to see if you have towing coverage. Some policies offer very affordable coverage for this service.  Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to arrive.

Additionally, smartphone apps such as “Find My Friends” allow you to share your location. If you decide to use such an app be sure to turn your location settings on and know the app may not work if you have no signal,  Fill up when you get to or below half a tank.

Hopefully, you’ll never be stuck in the snow,  but if you are you’ll at least be warm!  When the weather looks frightful and you're in doubt - Don’t go out!  Our team at Richards' Collision Center wish everyone a Safe & Happy New Year!! 

 

 

 

                                                                             

 

 

 

 

New 2018 Vehicles to Dazzle Your Holidays!

New 2018 Vehicles to Dazzle Your Holidays!

Whether you're a driver that prefers a sedan, coupe, convertible, SUV, truck, pickup, van, minivan, crossover, wagon or hatchback, charting all of the redesigned changes can lead you to pick out the best new vehicle option to suit your preferences. Some models are all-new while others are redesigns.

Keeping Halloween Safe & Fun!

By Audrey Emerick Elder 

Wilma & Barney - Halloween 2016

As the cold northern winds blow the last day of October off the calendar, the American tradition of #Halloween will usher in November in a grand masquerade. Keeping the adorably costumed little ones to the costume contestant adults safe must indeed take priority over the battle between chocolate bars and candy corn.

Halloween can be a nightmare as more drunk drivers experience fatal crashes and that these crashes are three times more likely than on New Year’s Eve! A must-read blog for anyone who plans to find fun and mischief on Halloween. Know how to be SAFE and keep those you love SAFE. 

 

Trick or Treating

A good costume - This little Monster High  character can see perfectly and her costume does not drag on the ground. She has glow light bracelets and necklace to be easily seen in the dark. 

A good costume - This little Monster High  character can see perfectly and her costume does not drag on the ground. She has glow light bracelets and necklace to be easily seen in the dark. 

AAA Exchange has created a guide filled with great tips for Halloween safety for both safe costumes and safe driving. This list reminds us all that this is the one day a year that our neighborhoods and communities will be filled with disguised children that are not only more difficult to see, particularly after dark, but also, more likely to dart out into the streets. Parents can take steps to ensure their child is more visible to drivers with reflective or partially reflective costumes and costumes that aren’t a tripping hazard. Simply adding a few strips of reflective tape to a child’s outfit can add a layer of safety to the evening’s fun.

For drivers, the guide suggests keeping speed several miles per hour under the speed limit. Though heartbreaking, every Halloween has a tragic story of children being hit by cars. The National Safety Council reports children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year.

 

Halloween Drunk Drivers

Another startling Halloween statistic is that of drunk driving incidents on Halloween. The holiday is far from just for children and sadly many adult festivities end in drunk or buzzed drivers on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that fatal crashes on Halloween are three times more likely than on New Year’s Eve.  Getting the kids home at an early time in the evening helps ensure they aren’t on the same roads as impaired drivers. If you’re hosting a party with alcohol, you know the rules - only designated drivers should gain their keys back.

A Few Fun Ideas

1.  Many organizations host trunk or treats. Plenty of candy for the kids and a safe way for them and their parents to show off those creative costumes!

2.  Some cities offer specific trick or treating hours to promote getting the kids back home before the sun goes down.

3.  And finally, you could host a safe kid-friendly party with candy, games, and activities that will be sure to live in those children’s memories for years to come. Who doesn’t love bobbing for apples and bowling with tiny pumpkins?

 

WE AT Richards' Collision Center WISH EVERYONE A VERY SAFE & HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! 

 

Autumn in the Park!

Destination West - The White River National Forest

Western Colorado becomes seas of sparkling gold that cover the mountains as the aspen trees turn from summer green. Within the 2.3 million acres which include ten mountain peaks you will find the ability to hunt, fish, camp, hike and rock climb. One of the most popular sites (and most photographed in the United States) within the forest is the Maroon Bells of Aspen. Nearby day trips well worth the time include the historic towns of Redstone and Marble and the Rifle Falls State Park.       

Rifle Falls State Park

If you take I-70 west through Kansas I recommend setting Hays or Colby as your stop for the night destination point. I also recommend taking along a book written just for this trip. “Driving across Kansas” by Ted T. Cable & Wayne A. Maley tells the history of Kansas in mile marker increments. St. Fidelis Church, better known as “The Cathedral of the Plains” is located in Victoria, KS just east of Hays. The church was built in 1911 and is open to the public daily.

For a memorable and scenic lunch experience I recommend stopping in Idaho Springs just west of Denver. This Gold Rush mining town has a fantastic historic downtown filled with local shops and dining choices. If you’re looking to take a stab at a little gold panning, you’ll have no trouble finding supplies.

Destination East - Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Northern Michigan and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula become a picture perfect rainbow of color as the states hardwoods turn their leaves from green to yellow, orange, and red. Though peak color has passed for the most northern regions of the state there is sure to be some beautiful scenes along the way.  The Lake Superior lakeshore is filled with giant sandstone cliffs and offers hiking/walking trails as well as camping.

Whether you take a southern or northern route the foliage from central Missouri all the way through Illinois is picture worthy. If you do take the northern route I highly recommend lunch at O’Griffs Irish Grill and Brewhouse in one of Quincy, Illinois’ historic downtown areas.  Just outside of the Grill is the October 13th, 1858 site of the sixth Lincoln-Douglas debate.

On the topic of history, a favorite destination from far and wide is Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. The 80 acre village is a well lain collection of historical experiences and buildings including the Noah Webster home moved from New Haven, Connecticut where the first Webster Dictionary was written.

Heading north on 75, Christmas enthusiast will love the town of Frankenmuth, Michigan is a must stop. Here you will find Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland which is as large as one and half football fields with the feel of a giant museum full of themed displays, except everything is for sale

On the way (at least somewhat directionally) to Pictured Rocks it is well worth the time to spend at least a day at Mackinac Island (Pronounced “mackinaw”). The island was occupied by French Missionaries in the late 1600’s and by the late 1700’s became a Fort of British occupation. Most of the island became America’s second National Park after Yellowstone. Today that acreage is a Michigan State Park. If you have heard of this Island and wonder if it is true that no cars are allowed you are correct! In an effort to freeze history in time only bicycles, horse drawn carriages and shoes are allowed methods of travel.

Destination Day Trip - Ozark National Scenic Riverways

A little closer to home, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways are not only a scenic destination but an invitation to adventure. Canoeing, camping, hiking, bicycling and discovering caves are all just some of the ways to experience the Ozarks any time of year. Along the river the primary color will be yellow as Sycamores leaves turn in Mid-October.  Adventuring beyond the river will add reds and oranges from Birch, Maples, Oaks and Hawthorns as well as extend your fall color viewing as these trees peak nearer to the end of October.  

Missouri is filled with wonderful little historic towns, so choosing which ones to stop at on the way might be best accomplished by throwing a dart at a map. Just in case that won’t work for you here are a few suggestions.

Any stop along Missouri’s Wine Country is a sure bet for a fun day in a beautiful fall setting. Many of these towns will have fall festivals including the Hermann Oktoberfest that runs every weekend during the entire month of October. Keep in mind though getting a room in town this late in the year might be impossible. Hermann’s bed and breakfast lodging is often fully booked by February.

Missouri's Wine Country

Last stop before jumping into that Ozark adventure is the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home in Mansfield. There are two homes on the property, the first being the farm home the Wilders lived in after moving to Mansfield in 1894. The second being a home Laura’s daughter Rose had built for her in 1928. Laura wrote the “Little House on the Prairie” books in both homes. She and Almanzo missed living in the little farmhouse and later moved back to live out the rest of their years.

So, wherever the road may take you may it be safe, fun and colorful!
Blog by Audrey Elder - Past2PresentResearch.com