ROADS REPORT: In the heat of battle

Roads Report Article March 10, 2011
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Driving while married


A new study finds that most in-car arguments are over directions. (No they aren’t.) Yes they are!


Ah, arguing and driving. For married couples, it can be hard to separate the two. (What did you say?!) I said that we could never separate. (Oh, OK then.)


A new British survey found that 70% of drivers admit to being involved in an in-car spat in the last month, and 18% confess to having in-car fights every week. (Yeah, but that’s Britain.) Why don’t you run your own survey then?! Anyway, the results showed that the majority of those arguments were over directions. Eighty percent of women complained that their partners never looked at directions before heading off, while 85% said they argued over the driver’s refusal to ask for directions once they got lost. (What’s wrong with asking?) Because I wasn’t that lost!


Look, the U.S. DOT lists in-car conversations as one of the leading driver distractions and points out that squabbling can both cognitively and visually impair a driver, increasing response times and potentially causing accidents. So maybe the safest thing to do is just ride around in silence and enjoy the view. (You’re sleeping on the couch.)


Bus stop ad generates heat


Some new bus shelter ads were heating things up in Minnesota this past winter.


In an effort to promote a new line of hot breakfast sandwiches in January, Caribou Coffee Co. actually transformed three Minneapolis bus shelters into heated toaster ovens.


The exterior of each shelter was affixed with an oven panel that included temperature dials and a working clock, while the interior was designed to look like the inside of an oven, complete with glowing heat coils on the ceiling.


And best of all for transit passengers trying to get to work in the dead of winter, the heat coils actually produced heat.


Just how much heat? The creative director at the Minneapolis agency that produced the ads said, “It’s 20 below here, so trying to measure heat is like trying to boil the ocean.”


Not so fast to fasten


Kansas is one of 31 states that have a primary seat belt law, meaning that drivers can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt without any other traffic offense taking place. However, a Wichita man thinks he found a loophole.


Paul Weigand believes buckling up should be a personal choice, and so in defiance of the new state law, he wears a homemade belt made of a seat belt strap and buckle that fastens around his waist like a traditional belt and doesn’t attach to his car—or anything at all.


“It’s the law, you have to wear a seat belt and I don’t want to forget to put it on,” Weigand told KWCH-TV, “so I just wear it all the time.” At home, at the grocery store, out dancing and, yes, while driving.


Weigand was pulled over recently, and while the policeman found his “seat belt” amusing, he was still issued a $5 ticket.


However, Weigand decided to take advantage of the situation by challenging the ticket, and therefore the law itself, based on a technicality he thinks he found. While the law states that a seat belt must be fastened around the driver’s body while their car is in motion, it doesn’t say anything about the seat belt needing to be attached to the car.


Weigand admits that he’s making light of the law, but it’s only because he has a phobia of being trapped by a seat belt in an accident. “The idea of wearing a seat belt scares me more than the idea of not wearing it,” he said. A municipal court judge wasn’t buying it, but ruled that Weigand can take his case to trial. So Kansans, get ready to invest your tax money into the trial of the century month: Weigand v. Common Sense.

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