Driving in the face of danger

You know it’s bad when a car full of clowns is your safest option   

January 05, 2016

No laughing matter

Two women being chased by a deranged man in Toronto found help in an unlikely place: a clown car.

Needless to say, there was plenty of room inside.

On a Sunday afternoon in November, an apparently disturbed man shoved a woman walking toward him, and then began chasing her and her friend down a busy downtown street.

Shane Farberman, known professionally as Doo Doo the Clown, witnessed the assault as he was driving back from an appearance, still in full makeup and costume. 

He quickly rolled down his window and yelled for the women to get into his car. The women dove into the backseat, squeezing in with two other clowns. 

The attacker soon followed and began kicking and punching the vehicle. He even managed to rip off a mirror before police arrived and eight officers subdued him.

Doo Doo, who you may remember as the scene-stealing clown in the Adam Sandler movie “Billy Madison,” was presented with a commendation for bravery from a Toronto councilman for not ”clowning around” when courage was called for.

Farberman told the Toronto Star that only afterward did he realize how bizarre the rescue must have been for the two women. “[They’re] looking at a black Hummer and a clown screaming, ‘Get in! Get in!’” 

The worst without fail

New research out of the U.K. shows that motorists who need a few tries to pass their driving test actually turn out to be better drivers.

The study by insurance company LV= found an unexpected link between the difficulty a driver has in first getting their license and the type of driver they ultimately become.  

Drivers who fail their driving test two or more times before passing were found to be the safest drivers, while “those who pass the driving test on their first attempt are arguably the worst drivers,” the report stated.

The issue appears to be over-confidence. First-time passers are very confident in their ability and more likely to describe their driving as “perfect.” As a result, they’re also more likely to take risks.

On the other hand, third-time passers are more cautious and consider their driving to be “safe.”

The first of its kind

Hate car shopping? Most people do. But now motorists in Nashville, Tenn., have a new option thanks to the first ever used car vending machine.

The five-story building along I-65 owned by online auto retailer Carvana opened in November. Constructed with glass walls to showcase the 20 cars stored inside, the structure does indeed resemble a giant vending machine. 

However, it takes more than a few quarters to make a car come out. Customers first need to purchase a vehicle through Carvana’s website, and then they can visit the vending machine facility for pickup.

Upon arrival, each customer receives a personal oversized coin which they can insert into a machine in the lobby. In true vending-machine style, the coin triggers an automated process where the customer’s vehicle selection is picked out, lowered to the ground floor, and then delivered to a bay where the customer can take it for a test drive or take it home.

It’s pretty elaborate, but Carvana believes the upfront investment will ultimately save the company money on labor and delivery costs.

In fact, Carvana is so confident in this new system, it will even subsidize $200 of airfare to Nashville for customers who live outside of Tennessee.  

Carvana said it is quickly expanding into new markets, fueled by more than $300 million in funding.

Doggone dangerous

Don’t you just hate it when you’re getting pulled over for speeding and your dog wrestles away control of the car, leads police on a high-speed chase, loses control taking a turn too fast, drives through two ditches and then crashes into a house? 

That’s exactly what happened to poor Reliford Cooper this fall. He told police all about it from the bathroom of a nearby church where he was found hiding after the crash.

“I wasn’t driving that car,” he explained while being handcuffed. “My dog was driving that car. I ran because I wanted to.”

Police didn’t buy it, but Cooper’s family is standing by him, explaining that he had recently passed his driving test in just one try. R&B

David Matthews

David Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news for his Roads Report column since 2000. The stories are all true.

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