Many families choose to take road trips over long weekends, and with Memorial Day being this weekend, more people than ever will take to the open road. This can be quite the scary notion for two distinct reasons. For starters, gasoline is spiking at $4.00 per gallon which makes travel expensive even just across town. The second reason is that more and more drivers on the road seem to be getting their drivers license without having taken the test. I drive roughly 20 minutes each way to and from work in Southern California and to be honest, I fear for my life nearly every time. Between cell phones, eating, passengers, and plenty of other distractions, it is a very dangerous world. Hopefully these tips can help keep you be safe and thrifty over the holiday weekend.
One way to temporarily increase fuel economy is by coasting to a stop. If you notice a light turn red in the distance - do not speed up just to stop short at the end. By letting the car coast as if it were in neutral you can boost gas mileage and save your brakes. The brakes on your car will ultimately bring you to a halt and keep your car from moving, but up until they are needed all they do is waste kinetic energy. Allowing your car to coast in stop and go traffic situations will allow the engine to work less, the brakes to work less, and will most likely cut down on those irritating false starts.
We’re trying to gather up some of the roads less traveled in America as part of our Road Trip series and in doing so, have pieced together this little seven hour road trip near Los Angeles, California. This long and twisty trip starts off at Placerita Canyon Road and takes the traveler through a series of roads that offer many activities to entertain along the way before ending at East Sierra Madre Avenue.
Right off the bat, road trip attendees can capture the scenery of the western San Gabriel Mountains off of Placerita Canyon Rd. About two miles from Placerita Canyon Road’s intersection with California State Route 14, travelers can head up to Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch to check out the location used by the film industry for many shows and movies such as Independence Day, The X-Files, CSI, My Name is Earl, Entourage, Boston Legal, Bones, Sons of Anarchy, and American Idol.
Hit the jump to check out what else can be found during this little California getaway.
Here’s another helpful infographic for all to ponder. Ever been hightailing it on the freeway when all of a sudden brake lights start lighting up like the Griswold house around Christmastime and you wonder why in the heck everyone has decided to slow down? It’s called a shockwave by traffic planners and it affects just about everyone at some point in time.
It starts off when one driver takes a bit too long to get into their lane or when something in the road catches their eye and they slow down to see if they should swerve or run over it. That minor change in one driver’s pattern begins a ripple effect that affects everyone behind them. All of a sudden, that driver is going 5mph slower than they were, making the person behind them slow down by 10mph to keep a safe driving distance. The more cars involved in this effect, the slower they have to drive to adjust to the change in flow. By the time everyone reaches the point where the original driver slowed down just a bit, there is no evidence as to why the change occurred and angry drivers chaulk it up to rubbernecking or bad driving.
It’s comparable to water flowing through a funnel. A slow drip flows smoothly down and exits freely; add a sudden rush of water and that funnel is now filling up and spilling over. Just something to think about next time you’re out on the freeway and are convinced some idiot just ruined your day.
Check back with us to find more interesting tidbits as part of our Car Infographics series.
If anyone is in the Texas area and looking for a little time away from home, check out this 320 mile road trip from El Paso, TX to Big Bend. This trip guides drivers through where Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico meet and provides ample opportunities to take advantage of a bit of culture.
On this trip, vacationers will be able to ride through the arts community in Marfa, Texas on Route 67, where the famous Marfa Ghost Lights will be waiting for your viewing pleasure. These lights are known as a paranormal phenomenon, but some people with a little less flair for the dramatic believe they are just atmospheric reflections of auto headlights and campfires. Others even say they are just static electricity or the more eccentric, swamp gas. Whatever they are, they draw many visitors every year, so take a trip and decide for yourself.
Hit the jump for more information on the El Paso to Big Bend Road Trip.
We know Germany is the home to some of the most exclusive and luxurious auto brands in the world, so you would expect a country that counts Mercedes Benz , Porsche , BMW , and Audi as home grown brands to have a more-than-normal fixation with vehicles.
Apparently, that fixation has extended far beyond the world of the auto industry and into luxury housing for tourists. Yep, one hotel in Germany has decided to turn some of their rooms into auto-themed spaces that could help us revisit our inner childhoods.
Among the rooms that have been ‘themed-up’ include a drive-in movie theme with a Caddy bed called the ‘AutoKino’, a racing-inspired room ‘Racing’, a garage-type room called ‘Werkstatt’, a junkyard – yes, there’s inspiration in junkyards too – room called ‘Nostalgie’, an outdoors themed room called ‘V8 Camp’, a Shell gas station-type room that comes with its own Herbie Beetle called ‘Tankstelle’, a carwash-themed room with a Mercedes called ‘Carwash’, an ode to Route 66 room called ‘Motocycle’, and a turbine-inspired room called ‘Vision’, among others.
Despite the room themes ranging from the weird and wacky to the cool and classy, all these rooms have their own appeal and we won’t be the least bit surprised if each of them has attracted their fair share of tourists in the past.
Whatever your taste and preference is, each room definitely has its own appeal, and the next time you find yourself in Stuttgart, Germany, do your curiosity a favor and check in to the V8 Hotel.
With the quest to increase the capacity of battery powered vehicles, a group of enthusiasts from Australia, Germany, and Switzerland have set off in their battery powered vehicles on what’s being billed as the "longest and greenest" round-the-world drive to promote emissions-free transport and November’s world climate conference.
The UN-supported "Zero Race" has been organized by a Swiss Louis Palmer, who made headlines with his 18-month pioneering world tour in a solar-powered "taxi" two years ago, picking up celebrities on the way.
Palmer said: "With this race we want to show that seven billion people on this planet need renewable energy and clean mobility. Petrol is running out and the climate crisis is coming, and we are all running against time."
A Korean vehicle failed to reach the start line at the United Nations in Geneva in time after it broke down with "a minor battery problem" about 60km up the road, Palmer said, but would join the other three teams later in the day.
The Zero Race team is set to stop off at the World Climate Conference in Cancun, Mexico, after touring through Europe, Russia, China, Canada, and the United States before heading back to Geneva in January 2011.
Ferrari’s famous "World Abu Dhabi" park will open on October 28, but before then the company decided to reveal the list of the park’s main attractions, and we need to admit its quite a long one.
Of course, Ferrari World’s main attraction will be "Formula Rossa" - a Formula One-inspired roller coaster that can hit a top speed of 240 km/h. The roller coaster will be able to carry 16 people and climbs to a maximum height of 52 meters while sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 2 seconds.
But that is not the only attraction set to provide a mind twisting experience. Ferrari World even has some fun things for the kids to do. For the kids Ferrari will offer three different entertainments: Junior GT, Junior Grand Prix, and Junior Training Camp. All of these programs will allow kids to drive reduced scale F430 GT Spiders or F1 inspired cars under the supervision of expert instructors.
Ferrari is also offering lots of virtual "fantasy journeys", a cinema that tells the story of Maranello, and, of course, the possibility of dining and shopping.
We cannot wait for this theme park to open so we can hear just how awesome this place is. We probably won’t be able to head on over there to experience it ourselves, but we are sure that people will be buzzing about their thrill rides on these attractions. Elvis and Graceland; eat your heart out.
It’s not at the same level of awesomeness as Iron Man, but when you’re given an opportunity to fly, those things became pretty irrelevant. For only $10,700, you can enroll yourself in a "test pilot" training program where you’ll be given an opportunity to try out a Total Experience Jetpack.
Of course, you’re going to have to meet some requirements to be eligible for the program, including being under the age of 18, weighing less than 90 kilos, and in the possession of a current driver’s license. Oh, and the program’s a long ways away in New Zealand so going there might be another problem altogether.
Nevertheless, the program looks to be a no-brainer for anyone with thrill-seeking tendencies and about 11 grand (NZD15,000) lying around somewhere. The whole program, which is the brainchild of Total Experience in collaboration with Martin Aircraft, will take place at the Martin Aircraft in Christchurch, New Zealand and will be held in a supervised, controlled environment to, we guess, minimize the already remote possibility of having someone fly off into yonder on a jetpack.
According to Total Experience, flying a jetpack is about as easy as learning to ride a bicycle with some students already capable of engaging in solo flight after only a few minutes of instruction.
It looks and sounds like one of those things that we’d have to give a go whenever we chance upon New Zealand. Costs nothwisthanding, we’re defintely putting this on our bucket list.
A lot of people have been cruising along with the wind in their hair and their radio blasting when all of a sudden their euphoric state is disrupted by blue and red flashing lights. Dozens of thoughts start circling in your brain. What does he want? Was I doing anything wrong? Was I speeding? Doesn’t he have anything better to do? Yes, a lot of people have been the victim of a speeding ticket. Whether you meant to be speeding or not, it doesn’t really matter. Whether you cry or flirt or make excuses, it doesn’t always work. Every once in a while you will be handed that flippin’ speeding ticket that instantly deflates your mood and blasts you from the oasis you’ve been hanging out in all day.
Why such a dramatic intro, you say? Well, we are here to tell you that even though a lot of people have been dealt a speeding ticket now and again, some states have it worse than others. A thought to ponder…do these states have more speeding tickets because there are tons more people speeding or is it simply because there are more boys in blue dedicated to stopping the insanity that is a speeding deviant?
It may all boil down to the classic chicken and the egg scenario of which came first, but, nonetheless, you may want to hit the jump to check out which speeding ticket happy states you may want to avoid in your automotive travels. And if you are unfortunate enough to live in one of them then please accept our condolences.
We have all been stuck in bumper to bumper traffic traveling to or from work at some point in our lives. The frustration, the anguish, the need to flick someone off when they just don’t know how to drive; are the ever existing dramas we experience on a day to day basis. We can’t say that AAA can change any of that, but we can bring you AAA’s top vehicle picks for commuters and hope that finding the right vehicle can improve safety and comfortability during those times of utter despair.
The average motorists spends about 41 minutes of their day going to or from work traveling about 22.5 miles during that time. With that in mind, AAA has reviewed and tested hundreds of vehicles based on practicality, safety, comfort, fuel efficiency, and affordability to provide readers with the top choices for these commuters. And, don’t worry; AAA has also taken into account the longer list of bells and whistles that come along with being comfortable in your ride by providing a second list that takes those aspects into account. Highlights from these lists include: Volkswagen Jetta TDI , Chevrolet Corvette , Mercedes-Benz GL , and BMW 3-Series .
Follow the jump for the extensive list of vehicles that can quite possibly eliminate the need for anger management plus the official press release.