How Vehicle Manufacturers are Helping to Keep You Safe

Your car is a second set of eyes on the road

How Vehicle Manufacturers are Helping to Keep You Safe

Rear Cross Traffic Alert

Car accidents happen – FAST! Before you realize what’s happening, it’s over. It’s easy to look back and think of how you should’ve maneuvered differently, or been paying more attention, etc. The fact is, they happen to the best of us, and sometimes we’re just not able to react quick enough to prevent or lessen the impact but car manufacturers are constantly researching to improve vehicle’s capabilities for collisions.

5 Steps To Take After A Car Accident

We had the chance to tour some of Chevrolet’s most top-secret test facilities (we’re not kidding...we got “pic-patched”) to get a preview of what they’re doing to lower the number of accidents, especially fatalities, while driving. 

Phone pic patch

When you break it down, there are really 3 stages to a collision: before, during, and after. So, we wanted to see how vehicle technology is assisting in mitigating and avoiding collisions, protecting occupants during a crash, as well as aiding after the accident has occurred.
We visited the General Motors Milford Proving Grounds, which felt so top-secret that we were half-expecting them to blind-fold us as we drove there. At the Active Safety Testing Area, we got a first-hand experience of a few new features Chevy vehicles are equipped with to help drivers avoid accidents, and be alert of road hazards. Here are some technologies that your car uses before a collision happens to minimize your risk. 
  • Rear Cross Traffic Control Alert:
Have you ever been reversing out of a parking spot next to a bigger vehicle you can’t see around? Welcome cross-traffic alerts. vehicles This feature is not only a rear camera that warns you of objects behind you, but it also can detect approaching in the laneways, before you would be able to see it.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Blind-Side Warning:
Self-explanatory but way too under appreciated! Driving lesson #1: always check your blind spot, but way too often we see accidents occur because of failing to do so. Having a small warning light on the mirror when a car is next to us is always comforting, and a great safety reminder. Just a note, even with the warning light on you should always physically check your blind spot just in case.
Blind Side Warning
  • Front Automatic Braking:
This feature was by far one of our favourite, and the most “wow” feature. The automatic braking is meant to prevent or mitigate an accident (depending on your speed) when driving. When you’re approaching a car, if your vehicle doesn’t detect you engaging the brakes, it warns you through various means (flashing lights, haptic feedback by way of vibrating seats) and eventually, will stop the car.
Front Automatic Braking
While all of these features are great technologies that assist in avoiding or lessening severity of collisions, it should go without saying that driving still requires driver attentiveness! Seeing all of the auto technological advances that have been made in such a short period – it’s exciting to imagine what the possibilities are in terms of keeping people safe in cars!
Be prepared in case you're in a collision - read this to find out 5 steps to take after a car accident. Got a passenger who loves putting their feet on the dash? Maybe this post will change their mind.

A Peek at How Crash Test Dummies Die So You Won't

They Take a Beating on your behalf

A Peek at How Crash Test Dummies Die So You Won't

Crash Test Dummies

When accidents happen, they’re over before we know it and the results can be frightening just to read, never mind experience. Vehicle safety features are improving every year and manufacturers pride themselves on their safety advances. In fact, they spend millions (dare we say.. billions!) of dollars on research! In every collision, there are 3 stages to it: before, during, and after. We wanted to see how manufacturers are working to protect occupants during a crash, so we took the opportunity to tour some of Chevrolet’s most top-secret test facilities.

5 Steps To Take After A Car Accident

Crash Test Dummies

Many, many years ago, human cadavers were used to study the impacts of high-speed collisions. Since then, many other research methods and ‘props’ have been used with the dummies becoming popular in the 70s. During a tour of the General Motors Milford Proving Grounds, we had the chance to meet with the famous Crash Test Dummies. They came in all sizes and weights, almost 200 different dummies – including an adorable little newborn. This allows manufacturers to test impacts on various types of occupants.

Infant Crash Test Dummy

The anthropomorphic test device (ATD), better known as a crash test dummy, is realistic in height and weight and is designed to record data in simulated collisions. All over these dummies are small accelerometers, load sensors, and movement sensors that measure all of the information that safety engineers require to design safer vehicles. These dummies can cost over $400,000 USD each and the accelerometers are not cheap either (~$500 USD each)! We were floored - we had no idea they were that expensive.


Scary Fact:
47% of drivers and 54% of passengers in a fatal collision were not wearing a seatbelt.
In a day and age where the seatbelt is widely accepted as reducing serious risk in the case of a collision, we couldn’t help but wonder how so many people are still not buckling up. Your seatbelt is considered an active restraint system – you have to put on your seatbelt. Systems like airbags are considered passive restraints and are secondary. Buckle Up!
Something different that we learned during the Chevrolet safety tour is the front seats’ centre airbags. Some things seem so necessary that we think it’s common sense, but before we were shown a video of a collision with and without centre airbags – we never questioned the absence of it. This revolutionary airbag creates a cushion between the driver and the centre console, or a passenger in the front seat. How had no one thought of this before? 

Centre Airbag

After watching many commercials and videos of crash test dummies, we’ve come to appreciate them after spending some time learning about the data that they provide us about occupants during a collision. Sometimes, the videos we see on TV make light of the situation – the slow motion of the impact and how the dummies are tossed around almost make it laughable. It’s a sobering thought to remember that whatever these dummies report to us in data can be very real scenarios.

Why NOT to Follow a Car Manufacturer's Maintenance Schedule

Factory maintenance intervals are the bare minimum

Why NOT to Follow a Car Manufacturer's Maintenance Schedule

changing engine oil

As I write this blog post, I’m anticipating a lot of people will disagree with me… I’m going to be writing about something that a lot of you don’t want to hear. In fact, I’ve avoided writing about this for a while now because many will disagree with me. Alas, I feel convicted to say it like it is. Whether you agree with me or not – this is based on my experience in the automotive industry.

If you are leasing a car and intend on returning it, this article doesn’t apply to you. Keep doing the bare minimum per factory maintenance schedule and it’s all good.

But if there’s even the slightest chance that you’ll be keeping the car beyond its warranty period, read on.

The Only Secret To Maintaining Your Vehicle

Traditionally, oil changes were done every 3 months or 5,000kms – whichever came first. Nowadays, oil changes range from every 6,000kms to 10,000kms. If you drive a luxury vehicle, your oil change intervals can be as long as 25,000kms. Yes, synthetic engine oil and premium oil filters will extend the intervals – but how long is too long?

Understand that your manufacturer’s warranty is highly calculated. And that’s not a knock against the manufacturers. They rightly have to calculate their warranty period – that’s good business sense! But remember, it’s no different than the warranty on your kitchen appliance or vacuum cleaner, roof shingles, life insurance premiums, and the like. Very calculated.

There are many reasons for extending the maintenance intervals. Yes, vehicles are designed better and require less maintenance. However, the intervals that some of the manufacturers recommend need be looked at with this in mind: the manufacturers are interested in the minimum amount of maintenance required to support their factory warranties.

There’s a sales benefit to having longer maintenance intervals too. Let’s pretend you’re in the market to buy a new car. What if I told you I had a car that didn’t require a lot of maintenance – let’s say an oil change or two every year, and that I would cover the first 2 years of factory-scheduled maintenance… that would be a pretty good perk, wouldn’t it? From a manufacturer’s standpoint, the fewer scheduled maintenance I have to cover, the better… hence the benefit of extending the maintenance interval.

If You See This Type Of Residue Underneath Your Engine Cap Take Your Car To A Mechanic

Sure engine oils are better today than they were a few years ago – BUT the demands of your engine is that much more now. For example, the engine oil used to be responsible for lubrication and cooling. Nowadays, engine oil is sometimes relied upon for engine timing in ‘eco’ modes. There are tighter clearances between moving parts in the engine, oil filters are getting smaller, and the list goes on. Following the factory maintenance schedule will get your engine out of the warranty period, but don’t be surprised if it has accelerated wear beyond that.

We still recommend the standard interval - 3 months or 5,000kms whichever comes first (synthetic oils get 4 months or 8,000kms). If you're curious enough, ask to see the oil coming out of your engine the next time you get your car serviced. It’s ultimately your choice – decide how much you expect out of your car and take care of it accordingly.

Read "Common Scam: Cheap Oil Changes" and "Think Twice About Asking For Your Car's Tune-Up" for more car maintenance tips!