Transport Thanksgiving Food Safely With These Tips


At some point we've all been tasked with the thankless Thanksgiving job of holding a hot casserole dish on our laps while the family drives to Grandmother's house. And how about getting all those leftovers home after Thanksgiving dinner? While Auntie May's pumpkin pie may seem perfectly pleasant perched atop a lace doily on the dining-room table, it can become a dangerous projectile if not secured properly in the car.

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A study of children involved in car crashes conducted by Intel Corp. and the University of California-Irvine revealed some alarming statistics:

  • Of the more than 12,500 children injured by an item inside the car during a crash, at least 3,000 collided with unrestrained objects, a passenger or both.
  • "Unrestrained cargo may even cause death in a frontal crash by striking an occupant's seatback."
  • "Loose objects [in the car] can become lethal … even in emergency braking."
  • To help out you and your family this Thanksgiving, I selflessly volunteered to indulge in some early holiday grub and experiment to find the best techniques to safely and cleanly transport your holiday feast favorites in the car. You can thank me later.
By Kristin Varela | November 12, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Nissan Altima: Car Seat Check


There's no doubt many families consider Nissan's popular midsize sedan when shopping for a car. After a full redesign for 2013, not much about the Altima has changed for the 2015 model year aside from some technology and convenience feature upgrades. Parents will find that the sedan's wide, flat backseat comfortably accommodates two child-safety seats, but crowded buckles and Latch anchors made installation less than easy.

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

More Car Seat Checks

By Jennifer Geiger | November 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

Survey: Recalls Influence Car Shoppers


If you're weary of the nonstop recall coverage lately, we don't blame you. It's been an unprecedented year for them. Tallying recalls is a dubious task, given the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's counts a vehicle recall as anything from passenger cars to garbage trucks and motorcycles. But the Detroit Free Press counted 56.1 million auto recalls year to date on Oct. 20 — a figure that thumped NHTSA's prior record of 30.8 million vehicle recalls set in 2004, according to annual totals obtained by And that was two days before NHTSA added another 3.1 million cars to a widespread airbag recall.

Related: What Cars Are Included in the Takata Airbag Recall?

Meanwhile, new-car sales at GM are up 3.9 percent through October. That falls short of the industry's 5.5 percent gain, according to Automotive News, but it's better than you'd expect for an automaker whose 25.6 million recalls top other automakers by a mile. Other recall-heavy automakers have had mixed years: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is up 15.8 percent and Toyota is up 5.8 percent, but Ford and Honda are roughly flat.

Still, a new survey suggests that car shoppers do, in fact, care about recalls — and most of them know about this year's largest ones. How that influences shoppers' decisions, on the other hand, is up for debate.

By Kelsey Mays | November 10, 2014 | Comments (1)

Report: GM Ordered Replacement Ignition Switches Two Months Before Recall


The New York Times reported today that GM ordered some 500,000 replacement ignition switches from auto-parts supplier Delphi Automotive in December 2013. That was nearly two months before GM told regulators and the general public that the existing ignition switches, which have led to some 2.2 million recalled small cars in the U.S., could get bumped into the "off" position. Citing emails declassified by a plaintiff's attorney during class-action litigation against GM — and first reported by The Wall Street Journal — the Times notes that the request represented "an urgent field action" and far outweighed a previous request for 11,000 such switches in 2012.

Related: New House Report Blasts NHTSA

The report fuels claims that GM knew about the problem before disclosing it to the public. Earlier this year, news reports said GM may have known about the faulty switches as early as 2002. The automaker faces investigations from the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, 48 state attorneys general and Canadian officials, according to The Detroit News.

GM says the emails simply confirm that the automaker's previous defect reporting and investigation systems needed reform, something it claimed it's done. "We have reorganized our entire safety investigation and decision process and have more investigators, move issues more quickly and make decisions with better data," the automaker said in a statement.

Click here to read the full story from the New York Times. photo by Ian Merritt

By Kelsey Mays | November 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

City Drivers Versus Country Drivers: Who's More Dangerous?


In Aesop's Fable "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse," the rural rodent after visiting his urban-dwelling friend's hustling-and-bustling home returns to the simple life and says of the big city: "It is surrounded by too many dangers to please me." Most of us can relate on some level to the calming allure of open spaces versus the imposing shadow of the downtown skyline, and city drivers in particular have a reputation for being wild behind the wheel (think cabbies) — but are they really more dangerous?

Related: Speediest and Slowest States: Where Does Yours Rank?

On the whole, the numbers show, they are not — not even close. According to a 2014 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, despite only 19 percent of the U.S. population living in rural areas, rural fatalities accounted for 54 percent of all traffic deaths in 2012. And that's after a decade of steep declines in highway deaths, by 27 percent in rural areas compared with just 14 percent in urban areas. Even with the gap narrowing, rural crashes still kill many more people each year, statistically, than urban accidents.

By Matt Schmitz | November 10, 2014 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 2001-2006 Honda, Acura Vehicles


Vehicles Affected: An unspecified number of model-year 2001-05 Honda Civic cars; 2003-04 Civic compressed natural gas cars and Element crossovers; 2002-05 CR-V crossovers; 2002-04 Odyssey minivans; 2003-05 Accord cars, Pilot crossovers, Civic Hybrid cars and Acura MDX luxury crossovers; 2005 Acura RL luxury sedans; and 2006 Honda Ridgeline pickup trucks, all originally sold or registered at any time in areas with high absolute humidity, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saipan, Guam and American Samoa

The Problem: Upon deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, excessive internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture. In a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking and seriously injuring occupants. The action is part of the massive ongoing Takata airbag recall that has affected nearly 7.8 million vehicles and 10 automakers.

The Fix: Honda will begin notifying owners Nov. 24, and dealers will replace the passenger-side airbag inflator for free. Honda said most of the vehicles covered by this formal recall were included in a June 2014 "safety improvement campaign." The automaker said the same repair required in that previous campaign — replacement of the passenger-side frontal airbag inflator — applies to all of the vehicles now included in the formal recall; vehicles in which the passenger-side airbag inflator already was replaced under the previous safety campaign are not included in the recall. Honda said the number of vehicles affected has yet to be determined; a call to the automaker for clarification was not immediately returned.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Honda at 800-999-1009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to for more info.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Matt Schmitz | November 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

Video: Ugh! Why Do My Car Windows Keep Fogging Up?

Having the windows of your car fog up and obstruct your visibility when you need to get somewhere can be annoying — and, more importantly, dangerous. If you're foggy on why this happens and the best way to deal with it when it does, watch the video above;'s Joe Wiesenfelder makes things nice and clear.

By Matt Schmitz | November 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

Report: Takata Covered Up Dangerous Airbag Defect


Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata has been accused of covering up an internal investigation of airbag defects, defects that since have been implicated in two deaths and resulted in nearly 7.8 million recalls from 10 automakers.

Related: What Cars Are Included in the Takata Airbag Recall?

USA Today cited the New York Times in reporting that Takata had allegedly conducted tests a decade ago on airbags recovered from a junkyard and determined the devices had the potential to crack in a way that could lead to a rupture that could harm passengers. The report alleges that the company did not report its discovery — made in 2004 after an Alabama driver was sprayed with metal debris — to regulators and that executives ordered lab techs to dispose of the evidence. Get the full story from USA Today.


By Matt Schmitz | November 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

The Great Car Compromise for Teens, Parents


My friend's 15-year-old son wants a Jeep Wrangler. Well, if you ask him what his dream car is, it's a Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which starts at $116,325 (all prices include a destination fee), but he's scaling back his expectations to a vehicle he may actually be able to attain. Many teens want dream cars that we as parents either can't afford or don't want to buy for our kids for safety or other reasons.

Related: IIHS: These Used Cars Are Safer for Teens

While my friend's teen sees a Wrangler as a compromise car, his parents may not agree. Below is a list of some popular cars teens would likely want to drive and a list of compromise cars that parents can feel mostly good about. Remember, compromise isn't all about getting your way. If it were, everyone would give their teen their late-model Toyota Camry to drive.

By Sara Lacey | November 7, 2014 | Comments (8)

Texting-While-Driving Study Likens Phone Use to Drug Addiction


When Huey Lewis sang "I Want a New Drug" back in the '80s, he could not have foreseen that one day that newfangled pharmaceutical wouldn't come in pill form but as a phone — and that it would be one of the more dangerous drugs on the market. The active substance in this new "drug" is happiness-enhancing dopamine, and according to a study commissioned by communications giant AT&T, the "high" you get from using your mobile device is akin to being addicted.

Related: Texting-While-Driving Consequences Vary By State

The study, conducted by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine in cooperation with the "Texting & Driving … It Can Wait" campaign, found that more and more people are demonstrating compulsive behavior — dubbed "cell-phone addiction" — with three-quarters of people admitting to at least glancing at their phones while behind the wheel. That's despite 90 percent of people reporting that they know better.

"We compulsively check our phones because every time we get an update through text, email or social media, we experience an elevation of dopamine, which is a neurochemical in the brain that makes us feel happy," Dr. David Greenfield, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and founder of the Internet and Technology Addiction, said in a statement. "If that desire for a dopamine fix leads us to check our phones while we're driving, a simple text can turn deadly."

By Matt Schmitz | November 6, 2014 | Comments (1)

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