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Monday, August 17, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
ARLINGTON, VA — Crash tests demonstrate that occupant protection in all kinds of vehicles is improving. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety doesn't routinely test vehicles in every size/type category. Emphasizing vehicles for family use, the Institute usually crash tests 4-door models. To evaluate the extent to which automakers are extending crashworthiness improvements to 2-door cars, the Institute recently conducted front, side, and rear tests of 2009 coupes including the Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Scion tC, all small models, plus the midsize Volvo C30.
"We're often asked about the crash test performance of 2-door cars," says David Zuby, Institute senior vice president for vehicle research. "Design and structural differences mean we can't automatically apply our test results of 4-door cars to 2-door versions of the same models. We decided to do these tests to see how the 2-doors stack up in protecting people in the 3 most common kinds of crashes."
The Institute rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on performance in front and side crash tests. The third test measures how well vehicle seats and head restraints protect people against neck injury in low-speed rear crashes.
"Overall the results for 2-door cars are good news," Zuby says. "All but one earn good ratings in our frontal offset test. Only 2 of the 5 earn this rating for protection in side crashes, but none of the 5 earns anything less than an acceptable rating. This is pretty good, considering how demanding the side test is. It simulates being struck by a pickup or SUV."
Zuby adds that "all 5 cars in this group, from relatively inexpensive to moderately priced, have head-protecting side airbags as standard equipment. In 2003 automakers pledged to voluntarily put side airbags in their vehicles as standard equipment by the 2010 model year. They're making good on this pledge."
Focus and C30 are best in group of 5: Earning good ratings in all 3 of the Institute's tests and equipped with optional electronic stability control, the Focus qualifies as a 2009 Top Safety Pick among small cars. Also earning this award is the midsize Volvo C30. Seven small cars and 10 midsize moderately priced models now earn the award, the Institute's top safety designation. The list of winners makes it easier for consumers to zero in on vehicles in each class that afford the best overall crash protection.
"Choosing a vehicle that provides top-notch crash protection is easier than ever," Zuby says. "With so many choices, there's no reason to buy something with less than the best crash test ratings."
Among the 5 car models the Institute recently tested, 4 earn the top rating of good in the 40 mph frontal offset test. The Scion tC is rated acceptable.
The tC's structure held up well, but overall performance wasn't as good as the other cars. Forces recorded on the driver dummy indicate that an injury to the lower right leg would be possible, and a high head acceleration occurred when the dummy's head bottomed out the airbag. The tC is unique in this group for having a separate airbag in the lower instrument panel designed to minimize knee injuries in frontal crashes.
The tC doesn't have electronic stability control, which research shows can significantly reduce the risk of crashing — especially getting into a serious single-vehicle crash. This feature reduces fatal single-vehicle crash risk by 51 percent and fatal multiple-vehicle crash risk by 20 percent.
"Since the tC is especially appealing to younger drivers who are more likely to get into the kinds of situations where electronic stability control can make a difference, even a lifesaving difference, it's disappointing that this feature isn't offered, even as an option," Zuby points out.
No poor performers in side test: Side impacts are the second most common type of fatal crash. More than 8,000 people were killed in side impacts in 2007. This compares with more than 14,000 deaths in frontal crashes. In the Institute's side test, the C30 and Focus are rated good. The Civic, Cobalt, and tC are rated acceptable (note: The Cobalt's rating applies to vehicles built after May 2009, when General Motors modified this car's curtain airbags).
In the Civic, forces on the driver dummy's chest and abdomen indicate that rib fractures and a fractured pelvis would be possible. The tC also was downgraded for torso protection. The Cobalt's marginal score for structural intrusion into the occupant compartment prevented this car from earning a good rating overall in the side test.
Rear crash protection: Occupant protection in rear-enders has mostly lagged behind improvements in front and side crashworthiness, but the recently tested cars are exceptions. All but the tC earn good or acceptable rear crash ratings. Neck sprain or strain is the most frequently reported crash injury in US insurance claims. As automakers strive to earn Top Safety Pick, they're upgrading seats and head restraints.
2- and 4-door cars don't always perform the same: The Civic, Cobalt, and Focus also are sold as 4-doors, and the Institute tested them previously. Frontal tests reveal only small differences between the 2- and 4-door versions, but differences in side test performance are more pronounced. For example, the 4-door Civic earns a good rating in the Institute's side test and is a Top Safety Pick while the 2-door version is rated acceptable in the side test because of higher forces on the driver dummy's chest, abdomen, and pelvis. On the other hand, the 2-door Focus performed better than the 4-door version, earning a good rating in the side test and a Top Safety Pick designation compared with the 4-door's acceptable performance in the side test.
"These differences confirm that crash test ratings for 4-door cars can't automatically be applied to 2-door versions," Zuby explains. "Still the safety improvements we've seen for 4-door vehicles generally appear to be carrying over to 2-doors, which is good news for consumers."
How vehicles are evaluated: The Institute's frontal crashworthiness evaluations are based on results of 40 mph frontal offset crash tests. Each vehicle's overall evaluation is based on measurements of intrusion into the occupant compartment, injury measures recorded on a Hybrid III dummy in the driver seat, and analysis of slow-motion film to assess how well the restraint system controlled dummy movement during the test.
Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph. The barrier represents the front end of a pickup or SUV. Ratings reflect injury measures recorded on two instrumented SID-IIs dummies, assessment of head protection countermeasures, and the vehicle's structural performance during the impact.
Rear crash protection is rated according to a two-step procedure. Starting points for the ratings are measurements of head restraint geometry — the height of a restraint and its horizontal distance behind the back of the head of an average-size man. Seat/head restraints with good or acceptable geometry are tested dynamically using a dummy that measures forces on the neck. This test simulates a collision in which a stationary vehicle is struck in the rear at 20 mph. Seats without good or acceptable geometry are rated poor overall because they can't be positioned to protect many people.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
- Never leave your vehicle running unattended
- Lock all doors
- Remove all valuables
- Completely close all the windows
- Park in well-lit locations. Avoid isolated areas
- Install an alarm system with a kill switch
- INstall a steering wheel locking device
- Install a locking fuel cap
- Intall a vehicle tracking system
- Install an ignition or fuel kill switch
- If you have a garage, use it and lock it
- If you have a rear-wheel drive car, back into the driveway
- If you have a front-wheel drive car, park front end first
- Always set the emergency brake
- Never hide a spare key in the vehicle
- Don't leave the ownership or insurance cards in the vehicle when unattended
- Drop business cards or address labels inside doors to assist with vehicle identification
Don't assume you have Theft Coverage on your insurance policy, talk to your broker.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Most people remember when daylight savings happens, it's time to change the battery in their smoke detectors. Here are 8 more useful tips to keep your home in top shape:
1- Clean out your dryer vent
Make your dryer more efficient, reduce condensation build-up and prevent possible fires;
2- Change the rubber washers on your garden hoses
Stop that annoying drip, save money on your water bill and prevent damage to your house foundation;
3- Replace burnt out light bulbs outside your home
A well-lit home is an inexpensive way to deter break ins;
4- Cut back hedges and trim trees near your house
Eliminate hiding places for thieves and remove branches that could damage siding or break windows;
5- Check the downspouts
Clean all blockages and point spouts away from the foundation to prevent excess moisture problems;
6- Remove unwanted clutter from garages and sheds
Free up storage space and eliminate potential fire risks;
7- Make sure furnace and roof vents are clear of obstructions
Leaves and bird’s nests can cause serious problems if left unattended;
8- Check the water hoses that run to your washing machine
These are relatively inexpensive hoses that are under constant pressure. If one happens to break you could have a major expense on your hands. Change them every 5 years and with small investment, you could save hundreds of dollars.
The articles which appear in this publication represent the opinions of the authors and do not represent or embody any official position of, or statement by IBAO or Blue Sky Financial Group; nor do they attempt to set forth definitive action standards or to provide legal advice
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Home Safety Tips
Personal safety for you and your family begins in your home. Statistics prove this.
Far too many fire fatalities occur in the home — most at night when people are asleep and where there are no working smoke alarms. The law in Ontario is that homes have one smoke alarm on every level of their home and it is recommended that there be one installed outside all sleeping areas.
Having a smoke alarm is not enough. It must be a working alarm. Test your smoke alarms regularly and remember to change their batteries at least once a year. Since we change our clocks each Spring and Fall, these are good opportunities to change the batteries in your smoke alarms.
Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling away from bathrooms, windows, ceiling fans and heating appliances. Make sure everyone knows the sound of the alarm and what to do if a fire occurs.
Fires can be terrifying and cause confusion, especially for children. Make sure everyone has two escape routes out of the house and you have a pre-arranged meeting place outside the home. Practice your escape plans by conducting a fire drill – it could save your life.
Another hazard in the home is carbon monoxide (CO), a colourless, odourless and deadly gas. CO is a by-product of appliances such as furnaces, water heaters and fireplaces that run on flammable fuels like gas or oil. CO poisoning can be difficult to detect since its symptoms are similar to diseases such as the flu. Symptoms of low CO levels could be a slight headache and/or shortage of breath. Higher concentrations will make victims experience severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, mental confusion, weakness, drowsiness or fainting. At extreme levels of CO poisoning, individuals can experience unconsciousness, brain damage or even death.
A CO detector placed near the home’s heating source adds an extra measure of safety. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning in your home, open all doors and windows, leave the house immediately and call your fuel supplier or a licensed heating contractor for an emergency inspection.
For more information contact your local fire department or Fire Prevention Officer.
The articles which appear in this publication represent the opinions of the authors and do not represent or embody any official position of, or statement by IBAO or Blue Sky Financial Group; nor do they attempt to set forth definitive action standards or to provide legal advice.
Monday, May 11, 2009
A Few Simple Precautions is All it Takes
A professional thief can steal your car in about 30 seconds – without a key. It’s really that easy. But there are few simple precautions that you can take to help make the thief’s target a little harder to reach:
- Always roll up your car windows, lock the doors and pocket the key.
- Keep your vehicle registration certificate and proof of insurance on you at all times – not in the glove box.
- Never leave valuable objects or packages in full view. Put them in the trunk.
- Don’t leave the keys in the ignition (20% of stolen cars have keys in them).
- Always park in a well lit and busy area.
- Protect your car with an IBC-approved engine immobilizer that meets the strict Canadian Standards. However, please be aware that it has been proven that the installation of aftermarket remote starting systems (including those installed at new car dealers) can seriously compromise the effectiveness of immobilization systems. You may be trading the complete protection of your car for a convenience.
- Have the parts of your car marked. Parts marking will render your car less attractive to thieves who like to chop up old cars and sell the parts (“chop shops”).
- Prevent thieves from towing your car; park with your wheels turned sharply and apply the emergency brake.
- Give only your ignition key to a parking lot attendant. Keep your other keys with you.
- If you have a garage, use it and lock the door as well as your car.
from the Insurance Bureau of Canada www.ibc.ca
for automobile insurance advice contact us at www.blueskyfinancialgroup.com