Why Have Auto-Related Deaths Risen Lately?

Hey Dallas Ft Worth Chevrolet drivers, traffic deaths have been on the rise lately, which means the odds of getting killed in a car crash have gotten higher, too. But why? According to ConsumerReports.org, factors like economic recovery, hard partying, warm weather, and even motorcycles may take a share in the blame.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released new estimates recently that showed a nine percent increase in traffic fatalities in the first half of 2012 compared with the first half of 2011. While nine percent may not seem like a high increase, it’s the worse percentage increase in decades. To put it in numbers, it means that 1,340 more people died on the road from January through June of 2012 than in the same period during the prior year.

While GM and other automakers are doing everything they can to make our new Chevrolets safer and safer, we are still in control behind the wheel and ultimately, we have to be responsible for our driving habits and ensuring the safety of ourselves, our passengers and those passengers in other vehicles. Let’s take a look at the factors ConsumerReports.org says are contributing to these increases.

An Improving Economy. I know it may seem like we blame everything on the economy – whether good or bad – there is some speculation that an improving economy means more driving. More driving equals more exposure to risk.  Here’s an excerpt from the Consumer Reports article you might find interesting:

In explaining potential causes for the increase, Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), points out that “all miles aren’t the same.” Leisure driving, which includes nighttime partying, is inherently more hazardous, and people do more of that when they have more money in their pockets.

Here are a few of the other potential causes to the increase, according to Consumer Reports.

  • Driver Distraction.
    Driver distraction may also play a role, as society embraces smart-phones and the constant interaction that the gadgets inspire. Also, our experts wonder if the trend toward complex and distracting controls may become a statistical factor, as well. Even when the body count is official it remains exceedingly difficult to estimate how many crashes were caused by inattentive drivers and what the source of their distraction was. But it is clear, doing anything in the car (e.g., eating, calling, texting) increases crash risks.
  • Maybe it’s the Harleys…
    Another factor Rader points to is the unusually mild winter and spring in many parts of the country that brought out more motorcycles, which have a much higher death rate than passenger vehicles. Since this NHTSA analysis doesn’t break out motorcycle fatalities from car-occupant fatalities, it’s impossible to tell what role bikes may have played.

There may be a little light at the end of the tunnel though, DFW… check out these statistics.

Annual fatalities dropped 25 percent from a recent peak of 43,510 in 2005 to 32,310 in 2011—a huge improvement. In fact, one reason the nine-percent figure appears so shocking is that 2011 was a year of record low deaths—the best showing in 60 years. It may be small comfort, but the disturbing fatality number for the first half of 2012 is still modestly better than the figure for the same period of 2009.

So whether we will continue to see an increase in the death toll is really up to you guys. Stay safe, Dallas Ft Worth Chevrolet drivers.

[Source: ConsumerReports.org]

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

10 Active Safety Features on the 2014 Chevrolet Impala Help Drivers Avoid Crashes

Hey North Texas Chevrolet drivers, did you know that General Motors is continuously working on delivering the latest and greatest safety technology features in the vehicle line up? It honestly amazes me how often I find myself reading about these new features, and here’s another example I had to share with you.

Earlier this year, the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala was revealed at the New York Auto Show sporting a pretty amazing suite of 10 active safety features designed to help Chevrolet drivers avoid crashes. is the latest addition to Chevrolet’s passenger car lineup and provides first-ever safety technologies for the global brand.

Here’s a breakdown from GM themselves on the 10 active safety features you’ll see on the 2014 Impala:

  1. Full-speed-range adaptive cruise control – Radar technology senses ahead and adjusts the Impala’s speed from a complete stop to full acceleration. It is the first application in a Chevrolet.
  2. Collision mitigation braking – Another Chevy first: Radar technology detects a possible crash threat and alerts the driver. If the driver does not appear to react quickly enough or doesn’t react at all, this feature intervenes to apply the brakes in an effort to avoid the crash.
  3. Forward collision alert – Camera technology detects a possible crash threat and alerts the driver visually and audibly, giving him or her time to stop and/or change course. If a crash occurs, the Impala is equipped with OnStar, and a specially trained advisor is connected to the vehicle. If the driver requests help or can’t answer, emergency responders are sent to the precise GPS location.
  4. Lane departure warning – A camera-based lane-detection system identifies traffic lane markings and provides audible alerts in cases of unintended lane changes.
  5. Side blind zone alert – Using radar sensors on both sides of the vehicle, the system “looks” for other vehicles in the blind zone areas of the Impala and indicates their presence with LED-lit symbols in the outside mirrors.
  6. · Rear cross traffic alert – Based on the radar sensors of side blind zone alert, it warns the driver of vehicles in traffic when backing out of a parking spot – including angled parking. Visual and audible alerts are triggered if moving vehicles are detected.
  7. Rear vision camera with dynamic guidelines – With a display in the center stack infotainment system, the camera provides a view of objects directly behind the Impala, while the dynamic guidelines provide a reference that helps make parking and other maneuvers easier.
  8. Rear park assist – Uses sensors in the rear bumper to detect objects directly behind the vehicle and provides an alert for the driver.
  9. Brake pre-fill feature – Another Chevy first: Radar technology detects a possible crash threat and the system increases the hydraulic pressure in the brake lines, anticipating a driver’s hard braking. This quickens the response time and shortens stopping distances (included with 20-inch wheels on uplevel models).
  10. Hill hold/start assist – On hills, applies the brakes for about 1.5 seconds to prevent the car from rolling when the driver moves his or her foot from the brake to the accelerator pedal.

Impressed yet, Dallas Ft Worth? You should be since the Impala currently leads the full-size car segment with 10 standard air bags. While passive safety systems, such as air bags and seat belts, do protect us in the event of a crash, these active safety systems are designed to prevent us from crashing our new Chevrolets all together using sounds, visual warnings and automated actions.

Be on the lookout for the all-new Impala to arrive at your number one North Texas Classic Chevrolet dealership in early 2013. In the meantime, check out the image below detailing some of these features.

© General Motors

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

[Source: Media.GM.com]

Understanding the Difference Between an Automatic and Manual Transmission

When it comes to getting a new car in Dallas, we have a lot of decisions to make. Obviously, we have to select a make and model first. But beyond that, we will have to decide on other options such as color, interior, engine size, features and sometimes transmission.

For quite some time, we’ve had the option to choose between driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission or a manual transmission. It seems that these days, this option is much less of an issue. In fact, I don’t think my younger sisters are even aware of or know the difference between the two. For this reason, I decided to share a little bit of basic knowledge for those of you out there who are unaware, as well.

Let’s start out by putting it plainly: in a manual transmission, the driver is responsible for shifting the gears as speed changes, and in an automatic transmission, the car is responsible for shifting the gears. Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages to both transmissions and the one that’s best for you all depends on your personal preferences and your driving habits.

Overall, the automatic transmission is considered the easier of the two because you’ll have to learn how to coordinate the clutch and the throttle in a manual. Speaking as someone who learned how to drive in a vehicle with a manual transmission, I will admit that it can be a bit challenging. The learning curve will be different for everyone.

Now let’s take a look at some of the major differences.  A manual transmission out the gate will typically be about $1000 cheaper and will require fewer repairs. They also tend to get better mileage. An automatic transmission on the other hand,  requires less stress and less concentration. They are also much easier to drive in traffic compared to a stick shift. Though they have higher repair costs, this may be worth it to some considering you have an extra free hand and free leg.

Like I said before, the choice is strictly up to the driver and the driver’s preferences. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, you can always head down to your number one North Texas Chevrolet dealership and try out both.

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing. 

[Source: DriveSteady.com]

 

 

Don’t Be An Easy Target for Car Theft

While driving in to work this morning, I heard a news snippet that caught my attention. Apparently, a cat burglar who had been targeting homes around White Rock Lake since March has struck again! Not only is this person breaking in to homes, they’re also breaking into and stealing cars! So I thought what better time than now to discuss two things – that should be common knowledge – owners of new and used Chevrolet’s can do to stay off of a car thief’s radar.

1. Don’t be an easy target. Avoid parking in dark, isolated, or otherwise concealed areas. This areas are excellent choices for the aspiring car thief. Planning on parking your vehicle for an extended amount of time? Then you need to either disable the battery or leave it somewhere attended so it doesn’t collect parking tickets, an excessive amount of dirt, etc.

2. Hide those electronics and their cords! I don’t know about you guys, but I have a terrible habit of leaving my iPod cables and chargers out in the open. I’ve even left my lap top in my car on several occasions. Regardless of whether you locked your vehicle or not, mp3 players, laptops, tablets, even radar detectors are all easily and quickly lifted from exposed vehicles and can be easily wiped of identifying information and resold. Even the presence of charging cables may be enough to tell a casual vandal that it’s worth getting into your car to go through the glovebox and armrest to see if you’ve stashed a phone or an iPod there.

Even though advanced technology is steadily lowering the auto theft percentage in the U.S., it’s still happening. The new break-ins in Dallas prove it. So hide your belongings Dallas Ft Worth! And don’t let your new or used Chevrolet fall victim to car theft.

[Source: TheCarConnection.com]

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

The Chevy Spark is the Perfect Car for Dallas Ft Worth Residents

Finally… it’s coming. The perfect vehicle for us young, city dwellers in Dallas and Ft. Worth – the Chevy Spark. Due to hit showrooms later this year, the Spark is hands down the ultimate city vehicle.

In a GM press release, Vice President of Chevrolet Global Marketing, Chris Perry, said “We listened to what young people said they wanted in a car. Our engineers tuned and equipped the Chevrolet Spark specifically for first-time buyers and city dwellers in North America. Spark is the perfect urban car because we’ve made it easy to drive, easy to park and easy to own.”

So what exactly have the brilliant minds at Chevrolet done to make the Spark the ultimate city vehicle for first-time buyers? I’m glad you asked.

Size. With a length of only 144 inches and 63 inches wide (37 inches shorter and 8 inches narrower than the Chevy Cruze), you’ll no longer have to pass by those tight parking spaces on city streets.

Connectivity. Spark owners can connect owners to their friends, music, videos and photos with a radio that features a seven-inch diagonal color touch screen equipped with the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, which provides users with access to Pandora and Stitcher, Bluetooth and navigation. MyLink also makes it possible to connect a smartphone or other USB device to play movies, display pictures and download contacts for hands-free calling, allowing for a full in-vehicle media experience.

A Sixth Sense. City driving can be hectic with a lot of sudden breaking. Not for the Spark, though. It has what we like to call a “sixth sense” named Panic Brake Assist that detects situations where emergency breaking is needed and automatically engages maximum braking force.

The Look.  The Spark will be sporting 15-inch wheels, making it the only vehicle in the segment to come standard with alloy wheels and increasing its performance and style street cred. Not to mention Chevrolet gave it a facelift with a deeper grille and restyled fog lamps for a sportier, more aggressive style.

I don’t know about you guys out there, but this sounds like the perfect little vehicle to me. In case I forgot to mention, the Chevrolet Spark is also packing extra horsepower under the hood with modifications to the engine displacement and enhancements to the ride and handling. Layman’s terms… more power and better handling at higher speeds.

Stay tuned to Classic Chevrolet for more updates, DFW. This is one new vehicle you won’t want to miss!

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

 

Five Maintenance Tips That’ll Save the Chevrolet Driver in the Long Run

Last month, I told you guys about a study conducted by General Motors where two of their fuel economy engineers, Ann Wenzlick and Beth Nunning, drove identical Chevrolet Cruze LTs. From their study, we gained a little insight to what mistakes we as drivers make that hurt our overall mpg and also some tips on how to save a little this summer on gasoline. But did you also know that regular maintenance can save you significant amounts of dough in the long run?

In the details of that same study, General Motors provided five maintenance tips for Chevrolet drivers that will save them down the road.

1. Tires. Make them last. Properly inflated tires will improve your fuel economy, and they will last longer. Also rotate tires at manufacturer-recommended intervals.

2. Oil. Always use the recommended grade of motor oil. Motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the performance symbol of the American Petroleum Institute contains friction-reducing additives that can improve fuel economy.

3. Octane. Check your owner’s manual for the most effective octane level for your car. For most cars, the recommended gasoline is regular octane. In most cases, using a higher-than-recommended octane gas offers no benefit – and costs more.

4. Batteries. They can make or break you. Check battery life, replace or charge your current battery and make sure battery cables are free of corrosion. Many breakdowns occur because batteries aren’t delivering full cranking power.

5. Tune-Ups. Get regular engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks. According to the EPA, tune-ups improve performance as well as gas mileage. Check your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance schedules and follow them. This will avoid fuel economy problems due to worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, or the transmission failing to go into high gear.

Keep on this list Dallas Ft Worth, and  you’ll be sure to get a long and happy life out of your new Chevrolet car or truck.

[Source: Media.GM.com]

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

The Truth Behind the Most Common Seat Belt Myths

How many times have you been driving around DFW and asked your passenger and/or driver why they weren’t wearing their seat belts and gotten one of the following replies:  We aren’t going that far… We aren’t going fast… We’re in a big truck… I have air bags, etc.  These are among many others are excuses/reasons why people say they won’t wear a seat belt. However, they are all common misconceptions.  In light of National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization week, I thought it wise to debunk these seat belts myths so the next time a friend gives you an excuse, you can explain to them why they are wrong.

Since the car has airbags, you don’t need a seat belt.
Wrong! Air bags are designed to protect a buckled occupant. When unbuckled, airbags become less effective or worse, can become deadly themselves. You’ve all heard horror stories of air bag burn, right? Well imagine how much harder the contact will be between you and that air bag without a seat belt on. 

Seat belts can trap you in a fire or underwater.
Incidents involving fire or water account for .5  percent of all crashes. But more importantly, you can’t escape such dangers unless you’re conscious… and wearing a seat belt gives you a much greater chance of being conscious and able-bodied.

If you’re not going far or traveling fast seat belts aren’t necessary.
Most fatal crashes happen within 25 miles from home and at speeds of less than 40 mph.

Your seat belt can hurt you in a crash.
In a crash, everything in your car can cause you harm – your seat belt is one of the few things that can actually save you.

Being in a Chevrolet truck or Chevrolet SUV makes you safer than everyone else.
For SUV, pickup, and van occupants, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent.

 

So there you have it, Chevrolet owners. Five of the most common excuses people give for not wearing their seat belts. Pass on the word, and let’s reduce fatalities caused by not wearing our seat belts.

[Source: NHSTA.org]

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization Week

Hey Dallas Ft Worth Chevy drivers, did you know that it’s National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization week? From May 21 – June 3, approximately 10,000 law enforcement officers across the nation are participating in the “Click It or Ticket” crackdown. And when they say “crackdown”, they mean it. Over the course of five years, the annual two-week Click It or Tick Crackdown has resulted in more than three million seat belt citations. Three million! That equates to a ticket every other second.

For my generation, putting on a seat belt the second we get in to our Chevrolets is second nature. That’s probably because it’s been the law since we all started driving. This is not the case for my father’s generation, though. Back when he started driving, wearing your seat belt was not required by law. Let me just say that I’m more than thankful new car models make that annoying noise until you buckle up. If it weren’t for that, he’d probably wear his seat belt a lot less often.

Though it need not be said, seat belts are important. Besides the fear of receving a ticket, we should always wear our seat belts to protect our lives should we be in a crash. If all passenger vehicle occupants five and older had worn seat belts, and additional 3,341 people could have been saved in 2010. Just for good measure, that’s more than twice the lives lost when the Titanic sunk.

As you may have noticed, the Memorial Day holiday occurs during National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization Week. In a press release, the NHTSA said that 241 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in traffic crashes during the Memorial Day holiday period in 2010.  Nearly two-thirds of these fatalities occurred at night between the hours of 6:00 PM and 5:59AM — when the risk of being in a crash triples — and 66 percent were not belted.

So Dallas Ft Worth, whatever your plans may be this holiday weekend, be sure to buckle up. In fact, be sure to buckle up all the time. Not only will it save your bank account, it’ll also save your life.

[Source: NHTSA.gov]

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

 

How to Handle Driving Your New or Used Chevrolet Through a Hailstorm

Looks like the Dallas / Ft Worth metroplex is in for some severe weather this week! I guess it was to be expected seeing how the temperatures the past few months have been much higher than the average.  I was watching the news this morning, and the weatherman was mentioning the high probability for hail with these storms. And of course the first thing that came to my mind? My poor new car sitting helpless all day without any cover. Hail damage is no joke. It’s also not the most pleasant thing to drive through. If you’ve ever been stuck in a hail storm while on the road, I’m sure you can relate.

I decided to do a little research before I left the house the morning to see if there were any tips on driving in a hailstorm. Since I know there are many of you who will also have to be driving through the storms, I thought I’d share my findings. I found the most helpful information on Progressive.com.

Tips for driving in a hailstorm:

  • Stay inside the vehicle. Hail falls at fast speeds, and it can cause injury to those in its path.
  • Stop driving and pull to a safe place so hail doesn’t break the windshield or any windows — driving compounds hail’s impact with your car. Stop under an overpass, and don’t forget to pull out of traffic lanes and onto a shoulder. Avoid ditches due to possible high-rising water.
  • Keep your car angled so the hail is hitting the front of your car. Windshields are reinforced to withstand forward driving and pelting objects. Side windows and back glass are not, so they’re much more susceptible to breakage.
  • Lie down, if possible, and keep your back to the windows. If you have a blanket, cover yourself with it to prevent possible debris from hitting you.

Another thing you want to be weary of when dealing with hail is the aftermath. If it has hailed a lot, the roads will now be covered with a bunch of ice pellets. This can make driving a little slippery. So take caution when driving after a hailstorm.

It’s too bad that inclement weather isn’t a reason to skip work or work from home, isn’t it? Hopefully, the weathermen are wrong, and we won’t see any hail. But if we do, at least you’ll know now what to do to protect yourself and your new or used Chevrolet. Safe travels!

[Source: Progressive.com]

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

The Truth Behind the Most Common Gasoline Myths

chevrolet dealership texasIn an era where fuel economy and saving gas has become one of the most important factors when it comes to the car-buying decision, it’s important to know the facts. We’ve all heard numerous car myths, whether or not we knew that they were “myths” at the time.

The problem with most of these gasoline myths is that they have been around forever, and as you know… our Chevrolet cars and trucks have come a long way. So though some of these may have been true at one point in time, they are not so true when it comes to our modern vehicles. I’ve picked out my top three favorite myths to debunk.  Susan Winlaw, co-author of the book, Car Advice for Women (and Smart Men), examines six popular gasoline myths and gives us the facts behind them. Here are my two favorite ones to debunk. Check out what else Winlaw has to say in the video below.

1. Once your gas gauge hits empty, you have at least one more gallon of gasoline.

Most cars actually have about two gallons in their tanks when the gauge hits empty! This myth is actually true! Though we’d like to think that car manufacturers did this to be helpful to those of us who seem to always find themselves running on E with no gas station in sight, it’s really just a marketing ploy. Have you ever noticed how your gauge seems to stay on the full side much longer than it does on the empty?

National auto writer Paul Duchene said, “Gas gauges aren’t linear. They are set up so they actually stay on ‘full’ for a long time, mosey on down to half, then plunge quickly to about a quarter, then gradually make their way down to zero, at which point you have about two gallons left.”

However, running on empty is definitely not something you should do on a regular basis… especially in the summertime.

2. Use premium gas and your car will need fewer tune-ups and get better mileage.Premium Gas Pays for Itself

The only thing that using regular gas could cost you is a few extra horsepower at high speeds. But the odds are, you aren’t going to notice anyway.  Most engine fuel-management systems are perfectly prepared to handle lower-octane fuel.

“The difference between 87 and 93 octane is so insignificant that you will realize neither better mileage nor fewer maintenance bills by buying supreme,” said Duchene.  “It makes no difference unless the car is supercharged or it is absolutely specified that it needs higher octane.”

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.