Car Accidents – What You Might Learn From Google

A car accident is a serious business and indeed may be big business. Marketers and advertisers want to know what people are searching for regarding car accidents and whether they are targeting the right people. When it comes to searches, Google is King, but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to know what is happening in Yahoo searches, or Facebook, in LinkedIn or other websites.

But let’s just stick to Google.

“Car crash” gets 1,700,000,000 results while “car accident” gets 827,000,000 results. As accident is the more accepted term it might lead one to wonder whether people are looking for car crashes in some kind of voyeuristic way or if they want to try and prevent them.

“Injured in a car accident” gets 157,000,000 results while “injured at home” gets 471,000,000 results and “injured at work” gets 367,000,000. So “injured at home” is three times more likely to be searched for than “injured in a car accident” and “injured at work” is about 2.5 times more likely be searched for than “injured in a car accident”.

“Car accident other person at fault” gets 55,770,000 results. Even worse, “Car accident other person no insurance gets 268,000,000 results.

These searches are gold dust for the advertisers who can market the product in Google Ads at the top and bottom of the list of results or they might choose to push themselves onto the first page.

It seems a lot of people might just be nosy. There are 667,000,000 results for “car accident near me.” The results include traffic reports, newspaper headlines, possibly gruesome YouTube footage and well as advice for making a claim.

“Car accident family” has 447,000,000 results whereas “Car accident person” has 368,000,000. We’re sentimental about a family and no doubt people worry more about being in a car accident with their family than being alone.

Something people seem to do when in a crash is Google car parts, this can be seen when Googling “Car accident Ford” for instance. Dealerships also give advice on what to do after an accident, according to the results.

Work problems associated with car crashes include crashing the company car, suing for lost job after a car accident, wondering if you could lose your job thanks to an injury sustained by a car accident and will the job cause mental anguish resulting in problems at work.

Home problems associated with car crashes include having to change the layout of the house due to injuries, having to alter your household routine in order to do exercises and whether you should go home after a car accident.

When it comes to accidents, Google reveals that some serious problems relate to the chest area, blunt force trauma may cause broken ribs and collapsed lungs. A person with a heart concern may just go into cardiac arrest and there’s a risk of internal bleeding. It’s evidently a difficult time and the internet might be trying to help, but it’s important to seek medical advice as well as just using Google.

Keep safe out there.

Cities Built For Cars?

We take it for granted that cities are built for cars, especially in the US and the reasoning behind this originated not long after the automobile. It seems strange that an old English law held sway right up to 1924 that a person on foot or driving was equal in the eyes of the law. However, when you think about it most US laws were patterned after the old world until there was a reason to change them. The goal behind the English law had to do with policeman on a horse trying to own the road.

The entire topic is made up of the stuff that creates arguments. On the one side, you have to obey traffic laws if you’re going to use roads made for cars or you lose your licence to drive on them. It’s common sense that cars need a way to navigate around each other. However, pedestrians have been avoiding each other for centuries without incident or formal laws governing who can walk where. Who is it that thinks its okay to tell an American where they can put there feet?

Well, if you’re feet are in the road meant for vehicles then you’d best abide by the laws of the road. For that matter, it’s a new era with new ways of getting around so it’s common sense that the laws be upgraded to a keep everyone safe.

The History of the New Laws:

It seems that the LA traffic commission were one of the first authorities to question this ruling – after all in a busy city why should everyone slow down to accommodate the slowest moving individuals? It’s one thing to stop at a red light, another not to be able to move at all wile someone toddles across a thoroughfare.

But why did the car become the preferred mode of transport? It would seem strange to us if we still had horse and carriages but why did it become so preferred so quickly? There are two schools of thought, one that those in cities just preferred using cars than travelling on foot or using other vehicles; the other that it was all down to marketing and advertising (ultimately the car industry itself) which made the car such a popular form of travel.

Whether we are free to continue in our own fashion or whether we have to surrender to the mores of technology is not something we have to think about generally. But with possible changes in climate we might just be heading that way.

The idea of an automotive city had its origins in the 1920s but didn’t really take over until about the 1950s, many no doubt felt cars were just a fad that wouldn’t last. But since new cities such as Melbourne, Detroit and LA were built on a grid system which made them easier to travel through in a car it did seem that there was a bundle of money around ensuring that the car would be the ideal way to travel.

It may come down to logistics really, getting things to a certain point before you realised you needed them. In that, the car was supreme – at least at the beginning. Horse drawn vehicles never stood a chance in that basis. The use of trains might be better logistically but even then you don’t have that much choice as a tourist or businessman where you have to go and what time you get there. The car is so much better.

So the car got the privilege of being the master of the road. And pedestrians and to some extent, trains had to follow the path they took (not literally, but trains took on “transport corridors” which travel in the same direction of the road, almost as if the train is a substitute car). It’s one of the little ways that cars rule that we don’t even notice.

In Europe and places that didn’t grow up with the age of cars many roads exist that are too small for cars. These generally become pedestrian walkways or alleyways. Cities have to be retrofitted to accommodate cars, so pedestrians and mass transit hold more sway. But in America were the city grew alongside the auto industry the city accommodated the car.

Nowadays it is harder to design a city for cars, there are just too many of them. And why not look at other transport systems, just to make other ways to travel around?

The pedestrian controversy has reignited, in LA of all places, where octogenarian received a gash to his noggin battling police who were trying to site him for “jay-walking.” The very term Jaywalking has come under fire as it’s become more well known that the term used to be an insult to country bumpkins. The auto industry felt the best way to curb this random walk where you want tradition was to associate it with people who weren’t urban and sophisticated. It seems to have worked. But lets take a step back and ask ourselves how offensive it is these days to call someone a “Jay?” To shun the term is pretty ridiculous.

The auto industry employed boy scouts to hand out pamphlets to people caught Jaywalking, which is probably where we got the imagery of boy scouts helping old ladies across the street.

At the end of the day there is one factor that should weigh heavy in the argument over who gets the right of way—the laws not of man, but of physics. In Portland, OR. Citizens are given right of way over cars, as are bicycles. As a result, a pedestrian could stumble out from behind a random white panel van, mere feet in front of a car that’s traveling 20 MPH in a 25 MPH zone. The results are that the pedestrian who believes him/herself to be anointed by God and the City of Portland as impervious to several tons of steel learns too late that being “right” doesn’t replace common sense, and the driver of the vehicle get arrested for manslaughter. Is this good governance? You decide.

The Dreaded Female Driver?

Yep, we’re going there. The Kicker neither courts nor turns aside from controversy. So it’s time to look into lady drivers from an honest standpoint and let the chips fall where they may. The first question isn’t, “do women drivers have a reputation,” it’s do they deserve it.

The History of It:

Clearly there is no biological reason for there to be a difference in driving ability between male and female. It takes two legs at least one arm and basic hand eye coordination. Yet we heard such comments in the past as…

  • They can’t park.
  • They don’t look where they’re going.
  • They don’t use their turn signal.

All very constructive and not at all chauvinistic…right? This may not even be a problem in the future. But then again, we’re not living in the future.

Look in the distant past and they added comments like “where are they going to change?” “What happens if they fancy one of the mechanics?” Now days these are as likely said about a male driver.

But who really is the Better Driver?

The people most likely to know the answer to this question is insurance companies—they’re constantly running studies on this sort of thing. However, most states seem to have laws forbidding a different insurance rate for men then women.

Okay the truth is it depends on how you figure it. A male student might be just as dangerous behind the wheel as a female student. But men are more likely to pass their test on the first try. In fact, overall when it comes to driving tests, women have been known to fail more often. Sadly for men, this is the only category they dominate.

But men are more likely to be charged with motor offences, if you look at such things as speeding, drunk driving and avoiding proper taxes. And men are more likely to make an insurance claim and more likely to be at fault.

So, legally forcing an end this inequality and prejudice, what happens is that females pay more; such is the price of equality. (This is according to Confused.com’s research.)

Professional Women Drivers:

As noted above, there isn’t a big biological reason why women would need a different league then men in motor sports—and we do find women driving alongside men in professional racing. However, there are not very many of them, in fact Danica Patrick is the only woman with an IndyCar series win (2008 Indy Japan 300).

It begs the question, is the physical demand of professional racing too much for most women. For that answer to that question we go to one of the most physically demanding form of auto racing, Rally Car. What is it like to be a female rally driver? Kathy Legge gets is part of four girl racing team, and this is the question she gets asked the most. She says that she has no idea what it’s like to be a guy driver so it’s hard to compare. Her mantra is “we’re no different, we can do the job.”

But is women racers just a gimmick? Well it’s a new thing, so from that viewpoint, yes it is a gimmick. But there is no reason to expect it won’t become the norm.

Other Female Driving Professionals:

A business that needs female drivers in order to survive is a female only cab service, such as Sakha Cabs.

Many women feel more comfortable in cars driven by women, especially when traveling, and Sakha Cabs is catering to this niche. The firm runs from the Indira Gandhi airport in New Delhi to and from local hotels and tourist destinations. The goal is to market it exclusively to women passengers which not only makes them feel more comfortable, it helps them recruit women cab drivers, who will end up working late nights in a dangerous industry. The would-be drivers are trained in self-defense and speaking English, and of course, driving a cab. There is also a panic button in the cab.

The cars are popular and can average 40 rides in a day.

The CB Slang in the Convoy Song

For those not familiar with Citizen’s Band and its slang, the 1975 song Convoy must seem like a mass of jargon and confusion. Surprisingly, the song by C. W. McCall was a hit not only on the country & western charts, but also a crossover hit on the pop charts.

Before we get to deciphering the song, here’s a brief history of the CB Radio. It is described on Wikipedia as both as “professional mobile radio” and a “land mobile radio system” involving communication over a short wave. In many countries it doesn’t involve a license.

The Federal Communications Commission controls and allocates certain bandwidths for certain uses. This prevents radio stations from broadcasting on the headsets of commercial airline pilots and other potentially nasty confusions. In 1945 the FCC allotted a special band (or section of frequencies) for citizens to have personal communications.

In the days before cell phones this became a way for people to communicate with each other when no land line was available. This brought a lot of efficiency to things like fire lookout stations. But in at the hight of their popularity, in the 1970s, they were the bailiwick of professional drivers. CBs were especially useful to long haul truck drivers who were likely to encounter bad weather conditions or surprise road closures.

These long-haul drivers also began warning each other of speed traps. Which made them a valuable source of information to other drivers crossing remote areas, who wanted to avoid being pulled over for speeding.

CB Slang

Many bandwidths of radio broadcast picked up specific nomenclature specific to their needs. HAM radio operators, who use a similar device and operate in a similar manor, actually need to get a licence to broadcast. Part of the licence requires them to learn Morse Code though their bandwidth is generally spoken word.

CB slang developed at an accelerated pace compared to the regular evolution such devices, due in part to desire to inform on police without being blatantly obvious.

What is a Convoy?

The song concerns some kind of driver rebellion, a convoy, which travels from the West coast to the East coast without a break. Biologists refer to this behaviour as swarming, or schooling. It happens in bird or fish that will react to a predator by acting in a uniform pattern, which tricks the predator into treating the group as a whole instead of as a bunch of individuals.

What is one police car supposed to do when 15 semis barrel past going 10 miles an hour over the speed limit? At best they ticket one of them and let the rest go. There is mention in the song of a strong police presence and having to speed past a toll booth.

One reason a convoy might work is that most states only put so many highway patrol on a given freeway, which means a group of truckers could drag a train of patrol cars to the edge of their jurisdiction where they must quit the chase. Provided they obscured their identifying numbers like registration or licence plates.

Eventually police began using roadblocks and tire puncture devises, and the federal highway commission began to require upgraded identification.

Slang in the Song “Convoy.”

Because it takes in so much of America the song wedges in as many nicknames for US cities as decency allows!

Here is a glossary:

10-4: Affirmative.

10-9: Repeat.

(10 codes were a staple on CB. Currently 10-1 Unreadable to 10-33 Help Officer; but many codes have been retired).

19: The traditional channel for CB, pronounced “1-9”.

20: Location.

Bear: The police. “Heading for bear” here means heading for an area which has a police presence, which since they were speeding probably meant trouble.

Bridge: The bridge referred in the song is the Walt Whitman Bridge across the Delaware. They enter New Jersey but they do not pay the toll.

Catch you on the flip-flop: Catch you next time, whenever that might be.

Chartreuse microbus: A VW microbus, also known as a caravan.

Chi-Town: Chicago.

Chicken Coups: Truck weigh stations. These are checkpoints a driver must legally stop at.

Clover leaf: An interchange of four roads making a four leaf clover pattern.

Convoy: Three of more truck drivers going to the same place when they exceed the speed limit.

Flagtown: Flagstaff, Arizona.

Front door: The head of the convoy. They were the one charged to look for “bears” or police cars.

Kenworth: A Class 8 truck made in Seattle. The one referenced in the song was “pulling logs” or transporting logs.

Pete: Peterbilt, a truck manufacturer.

Pig Pen: The driver of a pig truck, not the most popular of people!

Put the hammer down: Put the pedal the floor, get moving!

Reefer: A refrigeration truck used to haul food.

Rubber Duck: The leader in a convoy.

Shakey Town: Los Angeles, so-called because of the earthquakes.

Sod buster: A tractor, because it digs up sods or patches of grass.

Suicide jockey: A driver of hazardous material, usually explosives.

Swindle cheats: The log book used to log a truck’s progress. They were not seen as reliable hence “swindle cheats”.

Nowadays:

The addition of electronic log books and GPS has eliminated any thought of getting away with most of the traffic offences a convoy was intended to enable, however it’s the cell phone that has done the most to kill CB slang. For better or worse, all things come to an end.

The History of Herbie

At the time of year we gorge ourselves on movies on TV and especially Disney movies.

When it comes to car characters from Disney the most famous is probably Herbie. The majority of the population probably know that he had red, white,and blue racing stripes and the number 53 on his hood. Is that his registration number or something? No! The that was California Plate OFP 357. So why the 53? Read to the end and we’ll tell you.

He first appeared in the 1968 movie The Love Bug. He was owned by Peter Thorndyke (David Tomlinson) and although briefly owned by Mrs Van Luit it was mainly owned by Jim Douglas (played by Dean Jones). Only then did Herbie acquire his name. The name was coined by Tennessee Steinmetz (played by Buddy Hackett) and he named him after his Uncle Herb, who as a boxer acquired a nose shaped like a VW Beetle.

The car goes to Tennessee’s aunt in Herbie Rides Again Mrs Steinmetz (played by Helen Hayes, also famous for being in One of Our Dinosaurs Are Missing). It appears that Herbie now has the power to bring other Beetles to life. This is the only movie which doesn’t show Herbie as a race car.

For some reason Herbie is racing again in Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo in the Trans-France race, apparently by Jim Douglas again. The car develops a crush on Lancia Montecarlo. These were sports cars made in the 1970s and early ‘80s by Fiat. Because they had a rep of being noisy cars and susceptible to corrosion they didn’t last long. They were however more popular racing cars than the VW Beetle.

In Herbie Goes Bananas Herbie is passed to Pete Stancheck (Stephen W Burns), Jim Douglas’s nephew and is entered into the Brazil Grand Primeo, only it seems to get lost on a cruise ship and befriended by Paco (Joaquin Garay III) and is disguised as a taxi in Mexico. Paco takes to calling Herbie “ocho” which at the end of the movie is explained as “eight,” because 5 +3 = 8.

Although Herbie was used as a driving instructor’s car in the TV show The Love Bug (also featuring Jim Douglas) it is back racing again in the 1997 TV movie, also called The Love Bug. The car is now owned by Hank Cooper. The movie features an evil counterpart to Herbie in Horace, the Hate Bug. Later in the movie Jim Douglas returns and Herbie begins racing again.

In the 2005 film Herbie: Fully Loaded he is bought by Maggie Peyton (Lindsay Lohan) and is modified to a 2002-cc engine car. As well as the normal races he also enters a demolition derby. Again Herbie falls in love, this time with another Beetle.  

As well as the movies and TV series Herbie has also appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club in 1990 and in two video racing games. He has also appeared in extreme stunt shows at Disney theme parks and has even appeared on Disney on Ice and cameoed on The Simpsons. Not bad for a car which is more than 60 years old. No doubt he’s appeared in a movie over the holidays this year. Either way, “the love bug” is a great post for a car blog on Valentines Day.

So why does Herbie bear the numbers 53 on his side? According to metv.com Love Bug producer Bill Walsh was a huge Don Drysdale fan. As in the Dodgers Baseball Don Drysdale. This probably accounts for not only the 53 but the red and blue racing stripes as well.

PS: perhaps the craziest bit of trivia about the love bug is that it’s generally accepted fact that the movie is based on the book “Car, Boy, Girl,” by Gordon Buford. However, this book doesn’t seem to exist. You won’t find it on Amazon, in book store, or in the Library of Congress. It’s possible that the book was snatched up by Disney and while they adapted it for screen they never finished publishing the original novel.

The Vital Components of the Mini.

By Paul Wimsett, UK Desk

The 1960s was all about miniskirts and the Mini itself. The Mini has a stronger link to the sixties than the Beatles or satire, as the Mini was launched in 1960 itself, the satire boom and the creation of Beatles occurred in 1963.

The Origins of the Mini:

Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, who although born in Greece inherited British citizenship through his father and like many immigrants, saw himself as more English than the English. Many of the cars he designed, the Austin and the Morris Minor had a distinctive look about them, cars for a small family rather than cars where you could sit people in the back seat and in the trunk. BTW: Kids in the trunk is totally illegal now, but common at the time to make use of all the necessary space in a saloon car. (BTW: a “saloon car” is a sedan.)

The reasoning behind the car was purely practical, there was a fuel shortage after the Second World War and generally only the breadwinner needed to get around. So many households made do with a single, small car.

The Mini Cooper was one of the first designs to be used as part of this first generation. The first car had an 848cc engine, or 34bhp (brake horsepower), the equivalent to about 25Kw; so practically all the power of a modern boiler. Obviously this had to change. A modern Cooper has around 160bhp or the equivalent of 119 Kw, around five times as much.

As well as showing itself as an excellent racing car in the 1960s, it was driven by such diverse personalities as Paul McCartney, Steve McQueen and even rival car maker Enzo Ferrari. It all came down to convenience and the Mini was the ideal car for the time, working on the success of similar small cars.

The Future of the Mini:

The Mini has been an iconic car for a number of decades, but for how much longer can it continue? Ultimately, it all comes down whether it can ride the storm of Brexit in Britain and whether it can continue to offer something from its competition with less money to play with.

Let’s take a Mini Countryman it’s a modern type of car, still a Mini but using the Crossover status. Some are known as Countryman Coopers, some are not.

With a length of 2,670 mm and a width of 4,313 mm (which exclude the mirrors). The standard Cooper has a weight of 3,300 Ib.

A Mini Cooper has a 0-60 rate of 7.3 secs. (The average is about 10-12 seconds). A Porsche Skyrider can do 0-60 in about 2.1, but then not everyone wants to drive a sports car. The acceleration rate is dependent on the power of the engine, so we can assume that the Cooper has a better than average powered engine- not something you might associate with a small car?

In the End:

It should come as no shock that Sir Alec become known as a “Greek God” in British car innovation. It would difficult to write the story of the British car industry without him and Britons hope that Mini manufacture will continue into the future.

A Look at Car Health

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In January, we take a look at how we might change our lifestyle. So why don’t we look at our cars as well? Nowadays you don’t even need a mechanic–you can diagnose the problem itself.

Well, the word “diagnose” is a bit strong. Look at it this way. You see the light on your dash that says something is wrong? You still don’t know what’s wrong. Well you can, if you have a car health monitor.

They’ve had code readers for a long time. Think of it this way. Your car has a number of sensors on critical parts. If you have low oil pressure for example it triggers the engine light. So all these sensors are triggering the same light, but your car knows which one was triggered and if you get a code reader, it will tell you which one.

External Diagnostic Devices

Aside from getting a better description of a problem than just a dash light, the other reason to get some sort of car health monitor is peace of mind at the mechanic. How much more confident would you feel walking you’re your mechanic and saying, I’m pretty sure my alternator is shot,” vs saying, “my car sometimes won’t start.”

You feel the difference? You might not have a clue what an alternator is, but how much faster are you going to get answers to simple questions like, “when could you have this done,” or “what’s it going to run me to fix this?”

With the old method your mechanic grins broadly and says, leave it with me for the day and I’ll call you when I know what’s up. Then he hooks up the same machine you could buy…when he gets around to it…later today.

Another place that has a car health monitor is the auto parts store. Although they have their own health monitoring service it will save you a trip if you purchase one of your own. If your problem doesn’t need to be fixed right now you’ll wait for the weekend, if you have to go to the store to find out what’s wrong, you’ll end up buying the part while you’re there.

Is there a difference between a simple code reader and a diagnostic? Yes! An external diagnostic can read into the code or even double check the reading that are causing the diagnostic. Some are even programmed to check against the way that engine type is meant to operate. It’s a language interpreter of sorts.

OnBoard Diagnostics

This type of monitor is the OnBoard Diagnostics which started in the early 1990s. It could be said that these tools are in the second generation of development, though having said that OBD-II came out as early as 1996.

There are various different types of device, the most common of which is a type of scanner which operates by plugging into your scanner and displaying the car’s info on a little screen. The simplest of these can only show the Check Engine codes, but the more advanced models can give a whole variety of codes for whatever predicament.

If you’re confused about why we’re talking about plugging something in when it’s called an OnBoard Diagnostic it’s because there is a port where you engines computer can attach to an external code reader or diagnostic, and an OBD can just stay plugged into that port, then broadcast wirelessly to your phone or other device.

What all does my ODB monitor?

Things that can always be shown on the scanner are fuel rate, the voltage of the O2 sensor, the voltage level of the battery and the time that your engine has been running, even for something like a loose fuel cap. The idea of the scanner is to show you information beyond the simple flashing lights on the dashboard.

OBD Ports

It has been illegal since 1996 to not include an OBD port in a vehicle, though of course older vehicles will have to rely on the older type of scanner. The port has sixteen pins and it is regular practise for mechanics to use the port in order to work out the fault with the car.

There are various protocols associated with these ports. A protocol is dependent on what type of vehicle it is, for instance is it a Ford or a General Motors vehicle? In 2008 the Controller Area Network was introduced and all vehicles have to use the same protocol.

With a special USB adaptor attached to the port you can read these codes from your laptop, rather than a scanner screen. Most of these tools do work the same way though. Alternatively some of them work via an app on the regular type of tablets and smart phones. Some produce current data (also known as “live data”) so you know that there is a problem as soon as it occurs. The phrase “peace of mind” must surely be mentioned here.