Summer driving not so hot
There’s nothing like hitting the open road in the summer with the windows down and the music up.
But driving in summer can actually be more treacherous than winter. In fact, the Institute for Highway Safety found that July, August and September are the most dangerous months of the year on the road.
Initiatives like awareness campaigns, rumble strips and sobriety checkpoints help, but they can’t overcome our complacency about our driving and even the care of our vehicles.
Face it. When it comes to driving, we stink.
A 2014 driving study in Britain revealed what we already knew deep down: Most of us would fail our driving test if we had to take it again.
Insurance company Direct Line put 50 experienced motorists through a mock driving exam and found that 75% could not pass.
Among the highlights: One motorist drove 40 mph through a 30-mph zone. Another ran into the curb during a three-point turn, and one driver nearly hit a pedestrian after failing to check his blind spots.
The vast majority of errors during the tests were attributed to a lack of concentration and vehicle control. The most common issues were using the wrong gear and failing to check mirrors.
Researchers feel that these are symptoms of complacent driving which they attributed to an over-reliance on driving aids like parking sensors, blind-spot monitors and GPS.
Ella Williamson’s driving may not stink, but her car sure does.
After owning her Peugeot hatchback for just over two years, Williamson left it at home in Hampshire, England, when she moved away to college. Her stepdad, James Baggott, said he would try to sell it for her, figuring it could fetch about $1,500.
That is until Baggott had a chance to look inside the car, which had become overrun with filth and mold.
Baggott, who happens to be an editor at the car website SuperUnleaded.com, decided to teach his stepdaughter a lesson by instead offering up the car for free on his website in a post titled, “We’re Giving Away The Most Disgusting Peugeot The World Has Ever Seen.”
“Just how badly do you treat your car?” the hilarious post began. “I bet it isn’t as bad as this stinking, petri dish of McDonald’s-infested filth my step daughter calls her wheels.”
On the positive side, he pointed out: “It’s a car and has an engine. It drives, too. To what extent we’re not sure.”
On the other hand: “We can only assume the step daughter was trying to grow penicillin on the door handle. Or dirt. Or disease.”
Williamson took the tough love lesson in good humor, telling the Daily Mail, “That’s hilarious. I didn’t realize it was that bad!”
No word on who the “winner” of this giveaway was, but Baggott warned entrants that they would need to “wear gloves and a hazmat suit” in order to collect it.
Bringing home the bacon
Police in Shelby Township, Mich., definitely know a thing or two about stinky cars.
In May, police in the Detroit suburb received a 9-1-1 call from a woman who said that she had been chased around her yard by a pig on the loose. She said she only got away when the pig got distracted by a decorative ball.
Police responded and managed to corral the pig into the back seat of a patrol car using a dog pole. Officers reported that the pig gave them no problems, or so they thought until they arrived back at the station.
“Well, let’s say the pig, either out of excitement or otherwise, felt the need to use the back seat of our patrol car as a bathroom,” Deputy Chief Mark Coil told WWJ Newsradio 950.
As officers were trying to figure out what to do next, they received a call from the pig’s owner.
“‘Hey, I think you’re looking for a pig and it may be mine,’” Coil recalled the owner saying. “Not that we have pigs running at large on a regular basis, we returned him.”
Coil said the owner was overjoyed to have his pig back safe and sound. The police also were thrilled when the owner volunteered to clean up the soiled back seat of the patrol car. And the pig was relieved to hear that he won’t be facing charges.
It was a happy ending for everyone. Well, except for the next person who rides in the back of that patrol car. R&B
David Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news for his Roads Report column since 2000. The stories are all true.