The Confusions Over Utility Vehicles

In one sense every car is a passenger car, although many are also created with another purpose in mind, so when we use the term “passenger vehicle” we’re referring to a car whose primary purpose is to carry groups of people. Many passenger cars have features that ignore things like rough roads, so there is a need for something that carries people and is a bit more rugged, whether this is more one type of vehicle or the other is open to debate.

Utility Vehicles

Utility vehicles are designed for a specific purpose; it isn’t a passenger car alone. Many utility vehicles like SUVs were designed for off-road usage and for towing other vehicles in a way similar to a jeep.

Small utility vehicles are likely to be electric/zero emission. They aren’t as good as jeeps for towing due to their compactness. To add to the confusion, a jeep is called a light utility vehicle, even if there are many utility vehicles which are lighter.

A coupe utility or tray utility vehicle has a cargo “bed” at the back. These are known as ‘utes in the back.’

Sports Cars

Because of the link with sports utility vehicles, it is worthwhile to identify just what a sports car is – one which is designed for on-road driving. As with the SUV both designs are prioritizing handling, power, and acceleration.

The Tesla Cybertruck, which is new for 2021, may be thought of as a cross between a coupe utility vehicle and a sports car; the large storage area of a coupe utility vehicle but with the performance of a sports car. Its appearance is futuristic, note the stainless-steel facade. It also has the 0-60 rate of 2.9 seconds. It has been built for such functions as moving, carrying and towing.

Regular SUVs

A regular SUV has been also referred to as a tall SUV due to its increased height. The purpose of the height is ground clearance so you vehicle can climb over obstacles. Many are 4-wheel drive and may be referred to as 4×4, but technically these can be any car with off-road functionality, so it might be a jeep.

There is a feeling of chunkiness in the design and a long jump to the ground. It has the ability to drive through dirt, mud and some rocky surfaces, though there are limits to how far it can go. Always check it over when you have finished for the day.

Crossovers:

Crossovers are a type of sports utility vehicle crossed with a passenger car; they’re not designed for off-road use as much as a regular SUV. 50% of all SUV purchases are crossovers. There are sub-compact, compact, mid-size and full size crossovers available. In the UK they may be thought of being hatchbacks with some extra styling.

Why buy a crossover? The plus points include a large cargo space, a large passenger area and a nippy engine.

SSVs

An SSV is a small vehicle designed for recreational use. The number of passengers can be from 2 to 6 and the seating is “side by side”. Some SSVs have enclosed cabs, some do not. They are made by manufacturers such as Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Essentially all SUVs, jeeps, coupe utility vehicles and crossovers are multi-functioning vehicles and they all come down to being of utility or usefulness; whatever your needs.

Too Many Cars or Too Few?

Op-Ed by P. Wimsett and A.R. Bunch

Obviously, there is political pressure discouraging everyone from driving their cars, but is it really going to work? Has it already worked? Or is the answer to simply make cars more environmentally friendly? Do the powers that be want us to buy more cars or less? These are some of the questions we’ll look at today.

Carbon emission problems are discouraging folks from driving yet the need for domestic manufacturing jobs means it shouldn’t affect people’s car buying habits. The answer could be electric cars—that seems to be what car manufacturers are planning to do in response to the situation. The environment seems to be leading car production decisions.

Gridlock & Congestion

One issue with simply reducing vehicle carbon emissions is that it doesn’t eliminate gridlock. Unlike traffic jams, which result from accidents or construction, gridlock is that annoying traffic slowdown created by having too many commuters on the road at the same time. Gridlock is named for the grid pattern of city streets where efforts to coordinate traffic flow breaks down when capacity is reached. Clearly, your city doesn’t need a good grid-like layout in order to have gridlock—London and Rome manage to lockup pretty well and their streets meander about in every direction, seemingly at random.

People dislike gridlock but it doesn’t seem to detour them from going out at the prime times of the day when everyone else wants to go out–commuters for instance. Most people start and end work about same time as each other, which creates high demand. The laws of fluid dynamics come into play and suddenly congestion slows you down.

We reference fluid dynamics because that’s truly what governs traffic flow. It’s worth noting that gridlock and congestion don’t occur when traffic stops, they’re already happening when traffic goes under the posted speed. The simple act of having too much traffic causes the roadways to reduce capacity for throughput. Think of it in terms of supply and demand. Since supply can’t increase to meet demand, the price goes up. What are we paying the price with? Not dollars but time. Time is more precious than gold because when it’s spent, it’s gone forever.

Avoiding Gridlock

If you avoid the busy periods like rush hours you can avoid some of the gridlock.

Another way is to use public transport, although it cannot go exactly where the commuter wants to go and runs on it’s own schedule, and let’s face it, services are often delayed or interrupted. Even a gridlocked road may get you to your place of work quicker than public transport. So if you have a problem paying a lot of time to gridlock you may pay just as much for mass transit.

Peak Car

Traffic seems to be shrinking since 2007, also known as “peak car.” (Peak Car is a term that came from Peak Oil, or the theory that oil will become too hard to pull out of the ground, and at some point, no longer be cost effective.)

We know empirically that there are fewer cars on the roads because traffic cameras count the number of cars on high volume roads. But why? The population as a whole has continued to grow.

One possibility is demand reduction people are moving out of cities to rural places that don’t suffer congestion. We’ll return to demand in a minute. Another possible reason would be people using mass transit, but we also know the ridership levels and while they’re on the rise it’s not enough to account for reduced traffic.

Car Prices

The key way to tell if we’re truly diving less or if it just people not using high traffic roads (where they’d get counted), is if people are buying fewer cars. If we really had a peak car situation then you’d see people avoiding new cars in favor of cheap and plentiful used cars. And that has been a trend since 2016.

But as with everything in this article, Peak Car isn’t the only explanation for people buying used over new. As cars become too expensive, drivers are opting to share a vehicle or find an alternate way to get to work. It especially affects the supercar market but even names like General Motors are decreasing in new car sales.

Automakers are trying to respond to car prices by including high class extras, but the customer still needs to be able to afford these extras. Another possible way to counter the “too expensive” issue some auto makers are trying is to make cars less luxurious, cutting corners but not compromising safety.

This may be linked to the bad economy and people using public transit; however, affordability might not be the reason new car sales are down.

Demand Issues

There are demand issues. The baby-boomers are starting to not be able to drive. More people are working from home and the unemployed don’t need to commute to work. The digital age means people don’t need to drive to go shopping.

A big reason both road use and car buying are down is that millennials just don’t seem to want to buy cars, or even get a licence. In 2008 less than half of eligible drivers had a license when in 1998 two thirds of the population used did.

Is the car no longer a status symbol? It seems to be the case with young people and the trend continues: 26% of US 16 years old had a license in 2017. However, many Americans love having a car, even millennials. Vehicle registrations did go up in 2018.

There are a number of factors which affect car buying, not just finances. Some people think the reduction of cars is cyclical; others think it may be more permanent. This is why e-scooters, e-bikes and mini-motos are trying to gain a foothold.

“Research and forecast firms Cox Automotive, Edmunds and J.D. Power/LMC Automotive expect sales declined about 1% last year to roughly 17 million vehicles compared with 2018. Such results are considered healthy but would mark the lowest sales since 16.5 million vehicles in 2014.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/02/americans-bought-fewer-new-vehicles-in-2019-but-spending-to-hit-record.html

Despite research into this field, no one exactly knows what the future holds regarding the car economy.

The Future of Commuting Based on Current Trends:

The way things are going seems to be moving towards self-driving technology and electronic technology and we are moving into SUV, crossovers, and trucks. The kind of car to get away from the crowd, not the urban dweller.

What about taxis and Ubers? 95% of all trips will be made by taxis by 2030. This could be a piece of the answer, if not the whole, no matter what forces are driving the problem. It resolves the gridlock issue and affordability issue, and even the environmental issue. People are using Uber and Lyft – $20,000 a year and many people feel they won’t go back to a private car. Didi, a Chinese version of this kind of service took 10 million.

When we combine the trend toward larger off road vehicle purchases with the increase in rideshare usage the trend is easy to predict—people in cities will increasingly avoid owning a car and people in rural areas will insist on having them so they can “get away.”

Roads in 2030

Will 2030 roads be totally different from those of 2020? More likely than not, no; but here are some of the ideas that futurologists are speculating about, given that every year vehicles will grow by 3% up to 2030 and beyond.

The US has the world’s biggest and largest roadways, with 4.3 million km of paved roads and 2.28 million km of unpaved roads, according to government figures. Uber may at the moment be looking at flying cars, but this seems to be a pipe dream; in 2030 cars will still be confined to the roads.

Predictions

  • A way of communicating with vehicles, so that you know how the lanes are managed, which ones are busy, which ones are closed and so on.
  • In a similar way all road users can operate safely with the bad moves anticipated, though it is still possible to break the rules of the road.
  • The surface of the road will be designed to help the environment, giving it a low carbon use. Electric vehicles can be charged by the roadside. Bike lanes will have their lighting system through LEDs.
  • With 60% of the population living in cities there is an argument for using shared spaces, known as “Tripanel.” How we use the roads will be integrated. Many people believe the way we use the city is wrong–we should be more flexible and open.
  • Companies like Daimler are looking for self-driving trucks in 2030, but this has been in the planning stage since 2014. Many countries such as Denmark are planning to flood the market with electric cars.
  • The numbers of electric cars on the roads can only improve-at the moment it’s only 1% of cars which are electric. By 2025 GM will add another 25 different models to their portfolio, at least according to the Houston Chronicle. During the same period Ford is planning 13 electric models.
  • Apple, Dyson and Google are also planning to dominate the car market, though it is unlikely that they will take over from the more conventional names, even the car of the future will become more tech-savvy.
  • Gas stations may go out of business a number of years after 2030 as we start to use chargers instead, which may be found in such places as fast food places and hotels. It’s likely that net-zero emissions will soon be possible. Another plus for this is size: the charger takes up far less space than a gas pump. It’s not just electric though, some cars will run off sugar beet or flax, though these are not likely to be available at the pump!
  • There will be intelligent transport solutions where all the vehicles will move at the same speed to remove gridlock. However, it is believed that only city roads and the huge freeways will change, with the more rural roads you will have to rely on your natural driving ability. You may also have your new tech to help you in this situation though, which may be helpful.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Commute

If you are one of the millions of people that have to commute to and from your job every day, it may seem like that time spent in your car is wasted. While it is for most people, it doesn’t have to be for you. Believe it or not, there are a variety of ways you can make the most out of your commute, and better yourself in the process. Taking this time for yourself can help to start your day off on a positive note and set the tone for the rest of your day.

Interested in transitioning your boring commute into some productive alone time? Read below for some tips and suggestions on how to do so.

Daily Personal Reflection

One of the most productive things you can do during your commute is to take some time to perform a daily self-reflection. While you drive or bike or ride on a train or subway, take a moment to become aware of your physical and emotional well-being. You can’t meditate while driving or biking, but you can still become self-aware.

Take a moment to feel your body. Notice if there are any places of extra tension that you can try to release. Do the same for your mental state. Notice your general mood and any negative emotions that you are holding onto. Try to release what you can to start your day on a positive note.

Learn Something New

You don’t have to be in an actual classroom to learn something new nowadays. Take the time during your commute to better yourself intellectually. Maybe there is a language that you have always wanted to learn. Apps like Duolingo or recorded programs like Rosetta Stone help you learn a language from anywhere. A little bit of practice and learning a day, during your commute, will add up faster than you think.

If a language seems a little too ambitious for you, maybe try for something a little more accessible. Podcasts are becoming more and more popular, and are made about basically any subject you can think of. Choose a podcast about a topic in which you are interested. Or, choose a podcast that is more of a talk show. Either way, you are filling the down time of your commute with new knowledge.

Lastly, if podcasts just don’t do it for you, audio books are another great option. They are incredibly easy to access, and much cheaper than their physical counterparts. If you download an audio book app on your smart phone, like Audible, for example, you can purchase audio books that interest you. You can listen to them easily during your commute. These apps have great features that allow you to pick up easily where you left off before, among other things.

Work On Personal Relationships

If you have a headset for your phone, you can safely make phone calls while you are driving. Use your commuting time to catch up with friends. Most people are too busy to fit time into their day to call their friends and family. Using the time during your commute to call the important people in your life will give you a chance to work on and maintain these relationships.

Blow Off Steam

Frustrations with work or home life may mean that, on some days, you are not in the mood to learn something new or work on your personal relationships. What you may find that you need is to blow off some steam. Whether you are on your way to work or on your way home, there is something incredibly therapeutic about rolling down the windows and turning up your music. Finding the perfect song and breathing the fresh air can make you feel like a new person.

You may already listen to music and think, “why suggest that?” Well, the real reason listening to music stops being refreshing is that it’s the go-to choice for commuting. You hear the same songs repeatedly, often in the same order during the same part of you journey. When you shake it up and do some other things during your commute, don’t throw out your tunes altogether. You’ll find that taking a few days off from your tunes will bring back some of the joy they can bring.

In Conclusion

All of the options described above do not have to be done every day. Mix and match these ideas to find the best combination for you. Some weeks you will need to blow off steam more frequently than others. Some weeks you may be hooked on an audio book that you listen to nonstop. No matter what you choose, all of these options are beneficial, and a great way to maximize that alone time you have during your commute.

New York Changes?

New York is the fourth most congested area in the US and there seems a huge amount of pressure to bring the rate done. There is a five year plan focused on pedestrians, such as adding traffic signals, upgrading crosswalk marking and improving the crosswalk timers.

What has this got to do with the motorist though? An increase in both fatalities and gridlock in 2019 suggests an uncomfortable connection between pedestrian and automobile.

Tolls:

One traditional way to reduce congestion is with tolls. It forces people to plan ahead, carpool, or use mass transit. It also allows some folks to pay up for better travel time or chose the cheaper tunnel or bridge into the city. Having a toll for a bigger area of the city or a congestion payment seems like it would work…it is certainly the best way to bring money to the city.

A previous mayor, Michael Bloomberg tried to pass legislation for a toll as early as 2007 but was voted down. There have been four attempts to pass congestion pricing over a period of 10 years. It needed various New York political opponents to get together and agree.

Sources vary, but some suggest that cars be charged between $12 and $14, truck drivers could be charged about $25. The charge is planned to be at peak hours:6-8 am and 2-8pm, affecting office workers, as well as the usual traffic such as taxis and Ubers. The idea is two way tolling, charging for both entering and exiting and is subject to change.

New York will be the first city in the US to impose congestion charge, but only for the busiest parts of Manhattan, more precisely the area South of 60th Street in Midtown up to the Battery, so a substantial amount of New York’s streets and avenues.

The plans are backed by the governor of New York and are due to go into effect beginning 2022. With less vehicles air quality will improve and there will be better pedestrian access to local jobs and schools.

It is predicted to raise 15 billion dollars. The theory is that when faced for paying something that was previously free, drivers will abandon their cars as they have done in cities outside the US. It is believed that other American cities will follow in their wake. Los Angeles seems to be likely contender as there are plans to have major changes in time for the Olympics in 2028.

Could the area be increased? After all NY has 31 Interstate Highways and only four of them go through Manhattan; I-78 and I-95 being main routes and I-478 and I-495 being auxiliary ones. Put like this it does seem like a drop in the ocean, but remember that as hinted above, the highway users are using the toll roads. It’s just that the tolls aren’t helping the subway. No one wants to keep all the highways empty, the concept is to reduce the traffic a bit.

It all depends on whether you think it’s a city for cars or a city for people. Maybe the latter, after all only 27% of New Yorkers drive themselves. In Manhattan it’s even less – 8%. So as unpopular as it seems for car owners it could be the only way forward in crowded cities.

The Pain of Tolls

The payments involved in a running a car seems never-ending, maintenance, insurance, tax. But most annoying of these is probably tolls. It is always important to know how to pay a toll before you travel on a specific road: the onus is on you, should you wish to travel from one state or another or through a number of states.

The term toll road is mainly west coast terminology. In the east tolls exist but they’re called turnpikes.

Shunpiking – is the term for cheating tolls by running tollbooths or concealing tags (RFID). It has unfortunately increased, especially in areas where the toll is thought to be too high or when the road isn’t managed properly. Shunpiking – from shun meaning to avoid and turnpike which is the old name for a toll road. Of course, people have been trying to evade tolls as long as they’re have been tolls to avoid.

History of Tolls:

In Nevada, 100 toll roads were laid between 1850-1880. This was to finance stagecoach companies and mining countries, though it is now run by individual organizations such as Transportation Corridor Agencies in Florida 

In the east, the highways were nearly all toll-roads by 1950s, only 10% of road funding came from taxes. So, it’s a long-held tradition.

Legal Ways to Skip Tolls:

A boycott occurred at the James River Bridge in Eastern Virginia, starting from 1955. Trucks of the Smithfield Packing Company who always used the bridge before, were told by their employer to take a different route. This continued for twenty years until finally the toll was dropped.

Legal ways of skipping the toll exist. With a little bit of research, you can route around them. Take the Delaware Turnpike and similar ones in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. In fact, some toll roads exist merely as a shortcut to bypass a congested artery.

Sometimes a private landowner fights government attempts to acquire their land for a road but succumbs to an opportunity to make far more money by leasing the land to a developer who builds a toll road across it. Want to get there for free? A way exists. Want to get there fast, pay a little and you can.

Paying Tolls:

When it comes to paying the tolls there are easy way to do it, such as the E-Z Pass on the north- eastern roads. In some cases, the license plates are registered, in other cases, drivers pay after they used the road. Some sites such as a FasTrack account (which works in California, including San Francisco’s Golden Gare Bridge) allow for the addition of a temporary number plate, e.g. from a rented car.

Transponders are a common way to pay tolls; they record your badge to charge your tolls, either by check or by debit cards. Sometimes by prepay and other times after each use. These are a good way of saving you money if you regularly pay tolls. Look at the math and see what the best option is. (Why this method of payment is called a “transponder” is a bit of a mystery., it’s some kind of wireless device, nothing to do with transport or the internet as such).

When using a manned toll booth take some time to count your cash. An unmanned toll booth tends to use a basket, it’s important to have the correct change.

As well as toll roads you need to pay extra money to use High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes or express lanes. Much like the private toll roads mentioned earlier, these lanes exist to allow you to skip the congestion for a small fee. It’s probably worth it if you are trying keep to a deadline.

The Future of Transportation

OP-ED by Stephanie Larson

With the interstate building project of the 1950s, most U.S. cities suddenly became connected by paved roads. What was once dirt and gravel roads became paved asphalt highways. For car lovers, these highways were a dream come true. Drivers finally had long stretches of paved roads where they could see what their vehicles could do.

Some thought the interstate system was the future of transportation, but technology is advancing and changing how drivers get around. Here are some automotive advances you should watch for in the coming years.

1. Self-Driving Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are already here, and several car manufacturers have models slowly making their way up the guideline levels set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are four levels and two sub-levels vehicles have to pass before considered fully-automatic and safe to drive.

Most self-driving models are at level one. The vehicle reliably provides drivers with warnings and information. Some vehicles are in the early stages of level 2 for automated parking and highway driving. However, Google is currently the company ahead at level four. While the company’s vehicle is fully-automated there are still a few glitches that need to be worked out.

Soon, your car may be the one driving instead of you.

2. All Electric Vehicles

Hybrid vehicles are becoming more common as technology progresses. The batteries are capable of holding a charge longer and the vehicles are getting a little bigger instead of smaller. All electric models still won’t be larger than a small sedan for quite some time.

One of the appeals electric vehicles have is its simple components. Without the need for gasoline, several components will no longer be necessary. The essentially scale-downed vehicles are also expected to cost consumers less in the purchase price and maintenance.

These advancements in technology have even lead Bloomberg New Energy Finance to predict electric vehicles will comprise 35 percent of worldwide car sales by 2040.

3. Self-Driving Electric Vehicles

It’s not uncommon for technologies to mix. Smart cars owe their intelligence to computer technology. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine smart electric cars. Automobile manufacturers with eminent plans to release self-driving technology in 2022 now include giants like Ford. However, the automotive giant plans on using the technology in their hybrid vehicles first.

In the future, ride share services like Uber and others could do away with their drivers. When you use the app to order a ride, a self-driving electric vehicle shows up. Instead of bus drivers and train operators, public transportation could also become fully automated, along with electrically powered.

With these vehicles, you are the passenger.

What These Changes Mean For You

It’s impossible to stop technology advancing and this means changes, even in transportation. Self-driving cars, both gas and electric will be on the roads in the future. However, this doesn’t mean that your love of the open road has to change.

Electric cars don’t have the ‘oomph’ that an 8-cyllander engine has. Self-driving vehicles are still crashing into things on road tests. However, these glitches will be fixed, and these automobiles will become a common sight on the interstate.

There is one thing that will remain the same regardless of how far technology goes. Vehicle maintenance will always be important. Even self-driving electric vehicles need regular tune-ups. You will also want to keep an eye on the battery condition. This is something that you should still be doing regularly whether you drive a hybrid or have a gas engine.

The Future of Mass Transit

Even if you don’t typically take a form of public transportation you still expect to see city buses on the roads, along with light rail and trains in some major metropolitan areas. However, the future of mass transit might be in doubt.

The number of riders is down in the U.S. and other major cities across the globe and some people are wondering if this is the end of mass transit. While mass transit isn’t going away, at least in the foreseeable future, there will be some changes that riders will either love or hate.

Mass Transit in the Future

The number of annual riders on public mass transit systems has been declining over the years. Some of the decline is attributed to more affordable automobile pricing, along with drops in some types of vehicle insurance premiums.

Health concerns, both in the past and present, are also contributing to the drop in daily riders.

Having more room on buses and subway trains seems like a positive. It’ll be easier to find a seat, even during busy morning commutes. Social distancing also won’t be as big of a problem with fewer riders.

However, there is a serious downside to you being able to easily find a seat. The loss of riders means that less money is coming in. These are the funds that are used for maintenance, repairs, and even improvements. Without this money, mass transit will not be able to survive.

This doesn’t mean that public mass systems around the world are accepting the fact they might be obsolete. They have a few ideas that will keep mass transit operating well into the future.

Rental Vehicles

Scooters, bikes, and even electric mini cars are entering the mass transit system. In an effort to stay relevant, mass transit is expanding away from crowded buses and trains. How the system works is simple. Riders, using a credit card or token, rent the vehicle for a specific amount of time, returning it to one of the rental kiosks when they’re finished.

You will still be able to get around the city, even if you don’t own a vehicle. Best of all, you’ll never have to worry about finding a seat. These rental kiosks are showing up in major cities around the world.

Smart Buses

We already have smart cars and some light rail systems are also automated. Mass transit is also working on incorporating smart buses into their fleet.

The public transport app is being developed and has been granted a license to run a smart fleet in London. San Francisco also isn’t far behind in starting a fleet. The advantage of a smart bus will be its smaller size that will be better equipped to navigate narrow and crowded city streets.

Underwater Mass Transit

This doesn’t apply to all cities and the cost is expensive. England and France have The Channel Tunnel or ‘Chunnel’ as it’s referred to. Consisting of three tunnels – two are used for freight and passenger trains and the other for service and maintenance.

Some cities around the world are discussing the possibility of adding underwater tunnels to their mass transit system but this will be in the future if or when it happens.

Conclusion

Even though public mass transit systems are taking a financial hit, it doesn’t seem to mean the end of city buses and trains. Instead, it is forcing cities and transit administration to come up with new and innovative ideas to ensure their future.

The Business of Trucks

It should reassure the average commuter; how many safety procedures are built into the business of trucking just so that it can function day to day.

As trainee truck drivers begin their learning journey by adjusting to the different feel of driving a big rig when compared to other vehicles. One aspect is the length and being aware of your large blind spots. Another is reaction time and stopping time and maintaining following distance.

Another big difference when driving truck is the brakes need to so much larger than a conventional vehicle. Even the way the brakes are applied can make all the difference. How much extra distance can depend on payload. Any liquid tanker will require a special license because the stopping distance over a regular big rig is around 30% extra.

Perhaps the aspect of driving truck that car drivers don’t think of first is that truck drivers are situated higher up with potentially a better view to any potential danger. They also have blind spots right up front. When you are too close you might not be able to observe the danger and that is when mishaps could occur.

All drivers must consider things like rain, ice and snow when deciding speed and safe following distance but truck drivers must get used to even more buffer when in inclement weather. While a truck driver is seldom at risk of dying in a crash they are more at risk of killing someone, so job safety is a priority.

The real problems come with the drivers who have to explore the Ice Roads in Alaska and Canada. Here especially is where stopping can be the difference between life and death.

When watching out for other vehicles the biggest challenges come from the fact that other drivers aren’t familiar with big rigs. Vehicles often tailgate trucks or weave in and out of traffic in a way that makes it difficult to predict their next move. It’s hard on any vehicle to deal with erratic drivers, but given the need for maximum stopping distance, it’s extra hard for truckers.

By the same token a truck causes more agitation when weaving or constantly changing lanes. If you discover a truck behaving like this you should give it a wide berth.

Trucks often accelerate at a slower rate even if they can go faster, because the dangers of navigating an intersection require time you don’t have when speeding.

ELD

With the latest of ELD or Electronic Tracking Device records any accident but remember that all computers are not the same and data needs to be interpreted. There’s too much detail contained in these “truck black boxes” to go into here, but the gist is this, truck drivers are monitored for how they drive and how long they’ve been driving so that fatigue isn’t an issue.

For obvious reasons, truck drivers oppose ELDs and prefer manual logs. But they day is fast approaching when ELDs will be required.

Hazmats

A dangerous good (also known as hazardous material or HazMat) may be explosives, flammable gases and liquids and even flammable solids, substances which react violently to water, poisonous materials, infections and radioactive substances. Some HazMats are so large that can cause damage to property if transported incorrectly. More HazMats are transported by truck than rail or ship.

If you are travelling hazardous material you need to have a placard on the truck which isn’t damaged, deteriorating or obscured. The placarding must comply to Hazmat standards.

The more complex the substance the more the urgency the need for a truck to be well-driven. When a dangerous substance needs to be taken from one place to another it all becomes hugely significant when problems do occur.

Specialty Trucks

While all big rig trucks, or tractor trailers have a standard design many are built for a special purpose. The fire service uses trucks made by Alexis. Marion on the other hand make garbage trucks and Oshkosh makes military trucks.

This is a small bit of the information about trucks, but we hope it helps you share the road with these lumbering giants.

The Minimal Car Which Could Get Anywhere.

There are huge number of public spaces in European towns, especially in Italy, tight areas where it would be hard for sedans to navigate. Whether the roads are too rough, or the area is designated to pedestrians, it is not a place for normal cars. Added to this are car-free islands where there is no way to transport anything substantial to the place.

Is there a Motorized Vehicle Solution?

This is where you need some kind of minimalist car. What is a minimalist car? Well there are a few examples already in existence, and if the market demands it, perhaps they will design more.

In Slovenia, for instance, where the elderly and the infirm are moved about by Ljubjani or slow-moving taxis. But there are hundreds of such regions from the Spandau of Berlin to the Renaissance Quarter of Seville. There must be a market here for mini vehicles?

Such was the concept that Giorgetto Guigiaro hoped to innovate. One of the chief designers of Italdesign, he had created a number of specialist cars like the famous Delorean. Giorgetto was ahead of his time, thinking up concepts like ride-sharing long before others created it. Could he create a car that narrowed everything down to the basic essentials, for use in these urban enclaves where other cars cannot go?

A New Approach to A New Type of Car

In terms of car design, Italdesign does a little of everything, including creating prototypes for automobiles and design validation. At least according to their website. It’s not clear how validation differs from testing, maybe it’s about getting from a prototype to a product that can enter the market.

Guigiaro planned to get a minimalist car to market by 1992, but there’s little point in researching a new vehicle unless you plan for some kind of success. Previous attempts at minimalist cars, like the Sinclair C5, had a toy car look and feel. These cars embraced their identity as novelty cars and therefore had no mass marketability.

The car that Guigiaro came up with was the Biga, one of the first electric cars. This type of car looks more like a small van than a car and it has been built to save space.

Which parts did the vehicle need and what could be left out?

To look at the Biga from the outside you might find it hard to believe it is possible for this tiny a vehicle to transport four people. The way round this is to only to have the driver’s seat where it usually is. The other three seats are at 90° from the driver’s seat and access is only available through a back door. If each seat had its own door this would take up needless space.

You might have thought that the Biga was made of fiberglass, but it was actually made of a lightweight steel. The overall effect is a cube on wheels. Like a number of compact cars since, the Biga can be parked at right angles to the sidewalk (where the law permits), this allows you to easily fit three Biga’s in the length of two normal parking spots.

Not all cars can be Cadiallacs, there are hundreds of vehicles that aren’t there for the mass market. It’s hard to find accurate sales of the Biga. It would be difficult to judge those numbers in context if you found them. The reason is that the Biga is a cross between a novelty car and a mass market production vehicle—more in the category of a four-wheel drive off-road vehicle, only most off-road vehicles are still able to serve as a daily driver in a pinch. The Biga is the type of car which encourages creative thought and solves a problem, rather than one that makes a huge impression. So it makes a splash in its own way.