Why You Should Buy a Small Car

Posted by  | September 24, 2014 |
Originally published in Unhaggle.com 
Why You Should Buy a Small Car

When it comes to buying a new car, bigger is not always better. Small cars, generally defined as two- or four-seat vehicles, have a length of less than 457.2 centimetres and wheelbase of less than 266.7 centimetres and may in fact be the better choice in terms of drivability, safety and practicality.

In the past, large cars and trucks were highly touted, because they could haul more cargo, transport bigger parties and never compromise safety. But drivers are not looking to move furniture every other week now, and with hatchbacks such as the Honda Fit, they can easily take some more time at Costco, knowing that the adjustable room is flexible and accommodating, if not spacious.

The world is changing, and as more and more cars appear on the road, being smaller might just be the best driving advantage you can have.

Safety First

We often hear about the hypothetical collision between a Hummer and Smart Car. The image of a smooshed petite vehicle is what appears in our heads, thus deterring us from driving them. Though, in terms of physics, a small car is less likely to prevail in a small-verses-big-vehicle collision, it doesn’t mean that small cars are dangerous.

Larger cars have numerous dodgy factors to consider too. With a higher centre of gravity, large vehicles, such as SUVs, are more likely to roll over, and trucks with unequal weight distributions can fishtail aggressively on wet pavement. All large vehicles offer is a false sense of security and that’s often more hazardous.

The IIHS report clearly shows vast improvements in small-car safety between 2005 and 2011. New safety technologies, like electronic stability control and full side airbags, as well as improved structural materials have reduced the death toll of small-car drivers by 50 per cent. One can only assume that the number will continue to drop as small cars become even more progressive safety-savvy.

Driving Sensibility

There is nothing worse than traversing a tight alley or searching for a parking spot in an urban area, except maybe doing all of that in a large cumbersome vehicle. Small cars tend to be nimbler and more responsive, making it the more practical choice for city drivers. Entering cramp parkades and taking tight turns on smaller roads is easier when you don’t have extraneous parts daring to scrap against a pillar, parked vehicle or pedestrian.

Driving a smaller vehicle is simply the more sensible choice for novice and experienced drivers. After all, there is no such thing as wasted space, both inside and out. Getting around isn’t a big ordeal when you’re unobtrusive.

Better Performance

Small cars have less mass, enabling better performance without installation of a more powerful engine. That is why sleek, speedy sports cars are often smaller and lighter. While true sport and muscle cars have an increased length, adding to the aerodynamic features of the car for a smoother ride, more modest cars can hold their own too without any further strain or modifications. Small cars, as far as they go, are built to perform with less effort. Whether it is an every-day situation or long road trip down the coast, driving a smaller car is all in all a better experience, and it’s all because of the performance.

Fit in Compact Spaces, Including Your Tiny Garage

We are now living in a world of over seven billion people. It’s hard to imagine an automobile and a parking space for everybody. In North America, we feel as though we have unlimited amount of room, but that’s not true. Space is a fading commodity in the city core, parking lots and garages. Owning a large vehicle may be a way to showcase prosperity, but it also exhibits negligence and tactlessness. If you are buying a large vehicle to fuel your own desire, please reconsider, because if you don’t make room for us, there might not be room for you either.

Big Savings

When sifting through a list of affordable cars, you’d find that the majority are smaller vehicles. There are many factors adding up to savings, including fewer materials, better fuel economy, cheaper insurance rate and less maintenance.

In addition, smaller vehicles are also more environmentally-friendly. Electric and hybrid options are in high demand, not only because of the green factors, but also because it means money saved in your pocket. As emission taxes and gas prices increase, it only makes sense that our car sizes should decrease.

To all the car buyers out there: recall the Volkswagen Beetle ad that revolutionized a generation and “Think small.”

4 Reasons Why You Should Ditch That Old Clunker

Posted by  | September 18, 2014 |
Originally published on Unhaggle
4 Reasons Why You Should Ditch That Old Clunker

That old clunker sitting in your driveway might have once been your pride and joy, but now it has depreciated to the point where it only has sentimental value. Sure, the memories are priceless, but you know that deep down, buying a new car is a much more feasible and enjoyable prospect.

Like most consumer products, cars are built to fall apart over time. It doesn’t matter what the make or model is – unless your are consistently maintaining it like you would a vintage collector’s car – owning an old clunker and expecting it to function with the same showroom pristine after five, 10 or 20 years is simply unrealistic.

It takes up space, becomes a habitat for critters and pests and cheapens your image and life. It’s time to admit it: that old clunker has got to go.

4. Old clunkers look and feel bad

A rusty exterior, ripped upholstery, malfunctioning air conditioner, etc. When the “new car” smell is long gone and vehicle degradation has taken its course, the old clunker is not the most inviting confined space on the road. While some people find antiquities intriguing and nostalgic, many would still throw away old microwaves and toaster ovens. Bookshelves and armoires may last hundreds of years, but decrepit cars don’t and they shouldn’t be used as storage space either. The reason your vehicle is in such a state is because it had been neglected for so many years, so if you truly care about it and yourself, set it free. Odds are, you’ll probably become a better person without that rust bucket dragging you behind anyway.

3. Old clunkers are dangerous and unreliable

Anti-braking systems, safety sensors, electronic stability control and many other technological enhancements have become standard safety features in today’s vehicles. For old clunkers, you’d be lucky if you have seatbelts. Even if your car does have safety features, the power of time and the wear-and-tear element may cause deterioration – if not properly maintained – rendering the protection useless or even harmful.

Old clunkers are not the most reliable either. Believe me when I say that missing an appointment and waiting for roadside assistance due to a dead battery, engine trouble or a broken transmission is not fun. Avoid all of that, dump your clunker and consider getting a modest alternative, like a Toyota Camry. It’s really not that more expensive, and it’ll save you a lot of time.

2. Old clunkers cost more

Cars are expensive, but keeping your old clunker may be costing you more than buying a new(er) car. If you are planning to maintain your old car, take into consideration that older vehicles tend to need additional maintenance and have a higher insurance fee. After the 10-year mark, various parts of the vehicle will require repairs or replacements, and that is no simple or cheap task. Also to prevent parts of the old clunker from rusting up or getting jammed, the vehicle needs to be consistently driven. And clunkers are not revered for being economical either. Newer vehicles simply have better fuel mileage, so do the math: does regular maintenance plus frequent usage plus higher gas consumption equal the same as a newer vehicle? Probably not.

1. Old clunkers are not environmentally friendly

Over the past decade or so, green initiatives have changed the automotive industry and the psyche of most drivers. Manufactures are now focused on building vehicles that are fuel-efficient with low CO2 emissions. However, old clunkers often run on the environmental standards of yesteryears. Not only do old clunkers guzzle more gas, they also tend to lose fuel due to leakage and evaporations. Older vehicles simply aren’t built with the same green sensitive priorities and have been proven to be harmful.

Not only are old clunkers an expensive stain on the road, they are also damaging to the environment and unsafe to the people driving them. Sure, having the old clunker around might be an attention-grabbing token of the “good ol’ days” and losing it might make you feel a bit homesick, but you know what will make you feel sicker? Paying the extra fees and risking your life every time you hit the road.

How Making, Recording, and Measuring Decisions as a Team Can Change Your Company

Nothing says teamwork better than a group of people aligned in the decision making process. While some workplaces are guided by the “executive decisions” of the boss, that leadership practice might not necessary be the best approach in advocating change, nurturing involvement and learning from prior mistakes (i.e. bad decisions).

Steven Forth, CEO and director of Nugg, an application that enable workplace team members to focus, decide, track and align ideas, believes that decisions should not be made in a vacuum, and that the full decision-making cycle begins and ends with proper communication.

Forth wrote: “Some would say research, and research is sometimes needed, but the best decisions are made as part of conversations.”

Intuitive decisions should not feel random

The decision making cycle includes five key steps: surface, discuss, decide, execute, and review; all of which plays into a long-term goal. It’s true that not all decisions are of equal value; some are undoubtedly more serious than others. With that being said, the process of making decisions should not feel random, even though gut feelings, deadlines and stress may play a role.

“Emotions are critical to making intuitive decisions. ‘It feels right’ is a valid reason to make a decision,” wrote Forth. “But you still need to think through what the outcomes will be. Nugg let’s you mark any update or comment as a decision and then you or another person on your team can unfold that decision in more detail.”

Designate time to perform and review

By establishing a workplace culture that track, measure and review decisions after time have passed, allows team members to stay alert and execute appropriately in the future. Setting deadlines may seem like a stress magnifier, but that is not necessarily true. Implementing deadlines can sharpen intuitive decision-making, dampen procrastination and offer a more focused timeframe for exploration.

“Review date and getting explicit about expected and actual outcomes is so important,” Forth wrote. “And in most cases the first review should be relatively soon, within three months at the very longest. If you expect an outcome and are not getting it you need to review the decision.”

Don’t let good ideas and bad results get lost in the clutter

It’s not surprising that most people would want to quickly dismiss a bad decision from the past, wipe it from their mind and start anew. But that mentality will lead to history repeating itself. Don’t simply brush bad results under the desk, because they’ll likely reemerge in another form to waste time, effort and money.

On the flip side of the coin, good ideas are exchanged on the daily with zero trace. These ideas are often lost in an email thread, scattered amongst the shambles on your desk or simply placed in the back of your mind.

“Recording decisions and measuring the outcomes is critical today,” noted Gord Kukec, Member of the BCFerries Board of Directors, in a conversation with Nugg. “With so much happening it is easy for people to lose track of decisions and fail to check what actually results, but few teams do this in any systematic way. If you don’t record your decisions and measure the outcomes, you will never improve.”

Employ team members to participate in the decision-making process

Making decisions, especially on behalf of a whole company, is a scary venture. Ultimately, most long-term results are unpredictable.

That being the case, an individual may panic, second-guess or be guided by a bias intention. Even the most apt leaders will have trouble making those “executive decisions,” but the pressure shouldn’t fall solely on the boss—the supporting team should have equal responsibility to supply input and review previous cases, thus leading the best possible result, even if the decision was made in haste.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Solar Car

Posted by  | September 03, 2014 |
Originally published for Unhaggle.com 
Pros and Cons of Owning a Solar CarAs car owners become more and more environmentally conscious about the vehicles they own, it’s only reasonable to ask if you should get an “environmentally-conscious” vehicle, like a solar car. Solar power has always been appealing since relying on a renewable resource like sunlight will undoubtedly save money over time and cut down on the carbon footprint we leave behind while driving fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Although concepts have been developed, and solar cars may in fact be available in showrooms in a few years, there are still many sceptical opinions out there that suggest that solar cars will always remain a pipe dream. However, with electric cars now surging into the market and onto the road, one can only hope that solar cars are not too far behind.

At the Consumer Electronic Show 2014, Ford presented the C-Max Solar Energi, a vehicle that takes the hybrid model to the next level by relying on solar energy. Multiple factors are at play when it comes to powering this hybrid, which enable it to be driven even on cloudy days and dark nights – albeit the large photovoltaic panel on the roof of the vehicle looks kind of goofy.

Nevertheless, the question remains: should you get a solar car? Here are some pros and cons that might paint a clearer picture:

Pro: Environmentally Responsible

A cloud of guilt often hangs over many car owners’ heads. Even by driving the most fuel-efficient vehicle, drivers are still adding to the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing pollution, which in turn harm our health and the wellness of the planet. Needless to say, the solar car will go a long way in solving the problems we have created for ourselves. However, if we want to make strides towards a proper solution, tiny steps will need to be made, and if public transit, riding the bike and walking are the first steps, then surely driving a solar-powered car that omits the need for fossil fuel is the second.

Con: Not Accommodating Enough

For any driver who had spent many frustrating minutes looking for a parking spot downtown would know that there is just not a whole lot of space for cars in the city. Odds are, only urban drivers would consider purchasing a solar car because they don’t always have to park where there is no sunlight, but it seems as though it will create a challenging lifestyle for those who do decide to buy one. Electric cars, such as the Nissan LEAF, can be plugged into an outlet to charge, but a solar car will need sunlight. Can there be a way to modify garages and parking lots so that sunlight could enter? The radio station I listen to while driving cuts out when I enter a cavernous parkade, so I must say that sunlight’s presence there would be even less likely.

Pro: Savings

Our gasoline-chugging lifestyle often forces us to consider alternatives, but are solar cars actually cheaper than buying a tank of gas over a couple of weeks? Unfortunately, there are still many variables to consider, but I predict that once a reliable system is implemented, money will in fact be saved in the long run. Even if the vehicle is a hybrid, relying on both solar energy and combustion will pay off the initial cost over time. However, the cost for a solar car at the moment is quite high, and batteries require frequent replacements. That being said, solar cars may soon be a more feasible option.

Con: Performance and Design Complications

More energy equals more power equals greater speed. You don’t need to be a scientist to know that in order for a solar car to go faster, it’ll need more “solar” energy. Sure, a small solar panel might be able to power your calculator, but for a car, you’ll need a lot more. The thing is, solar panels take up space and it’s not necessarily lightweight or aerodynamic either. Drivers need to understand that solar cars are not designed for performance, but rather for economy. Automakers are hesitant when dropping money to develop solar cars, because North American drivers are often reluctant to purchase new, high-priced and under-performing technology.

Should You Get a Solar Car?

After weighing the pros and cons, it’s clear that at the moment, the cons are hard to ignore, even if the pros are alluring. Solar cars are not ready for the open market yet. But there is definitely demand and a market out there for them. There are also many companies working on automotive innovations that include solar power. Although some are still dubious about the prospect of solar cars, I truly believe that they are a possibility. Remember when electric cars were shunned as a fantasy from eco-friendly dreamers? Now, an electric car is just another vehicle on the road.

However, at the moment, it’s best to avoid purchasing a solar car. If you want to be fuel and green conscious, consider a Chevrolet Volt or a hybrid. Until then, know that technology development moves very quickly and whether you’re in a solar car or not, the sun will rise again tomorrow.

Reasons Why Rural and Urban Car Buyers Are So Different

Posted by  | August 28, 2014 |
Originally published on Unhaggle.com 

Reasons Why Rural and Urban Car Buyers Are So Different

Ever wondered why rural dwellers prefer noticeably different cars from their urban counterparts? The cliché is that rural inhabitants prefer trucks and SUVs, while urbanites prefer hatchbacks and sedans. The truth is that rural and urban car buyers live in completely different environments and lead completely different lifestyles, which, of course, means that their automotive needs are completely different as well.

Let’s tell a tale about two car owners: One lives in the congestion of the city, the other lives in the open countryside. One considers their vehicle as an option, the other considers it to be a resource. When a city dweller’s car breaks down, runs out of gas or is parked someplace they can’t remember, they can take a bus, call a cab or get a Car2Go or ZipCar membership. But if someone from the country is without a vehicle, their options for getting around are limited at best – much more limited than you may think.

When you look at the stats presented by Newspaper Canada, the cost for transportation is approximately 12 per cent higher in rural areas, with gasoline and fuel expenditures being  4 per cent higher annually than in heavily-populated urban areas. Automobiles are an integral part of rural living, which means that when someone from the country purchases a vehicle, there are a few factors to consider:

Point A is Further from Point B

On average, a Canadian living in a rural area will travel 33 kilometres more to a supermarket than their city counterpart. In addition, they will travel 54 kilometres more to a car dealership, 37 kilometres more to a local department store and 56 kilometres more to a discount store.

Running errands simply takes more effort and mileage when you are not in an urban area. However, getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic is also less common. So, when every outing is a little road trip, rural car buyers will need to consider a vehicle that has good highway fuel economy and a reliable engine that won’t give up.

Weather Conditions May Apply

When snow falls in the city, ploughs and salt trucks take to the road and clear the path for commuters. When snow falls in the countryside, you can rather wait for rescue or beef up your vehicle so it can take on Mother Nature.

Regardless of where you live in Canada, the unpredictability of weather causes many car owners to consider the performance of their vehicle. People demand their cars to handle rain, snow and storm. Because of this mentality, some drivers choose to rely on trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with four-wheel drives as opposed to sports cars.

Admit it, you’ll probably feel a lot more comfortable driving through a storm in a Ford Explorer than you would in a family sedan.

Rough Roads, Rugged Terrain and Lack of Maintenance

Constructions, repairs and regular maintenance can often drive commuters nuts. However, for rural car buyers, the grass is greener on the other side.

The further the road is from the city core, the less attention it’ll get. Resources are often spread heavily where the population is the most dense. So, oftentimes, a gravel road within a rural neighbourhood will be so low on the priority list that potholes and trenches will form over time, which can cause damages to a vehicle not built for off-roading.

Variety is the Spice of Life and a Lifeline

Due to limited space and expensive parking spots, most household garages and condo underground parking lots in the metropolitan areas can only occupy one to two cars – if they can afford it. But in rural areas, car owners can have a whole line-up of vehicles.

Rural car owners may travel further to get to a car dealership, but they also visit them more frequently. Excluding regular services, 13 per cent of car owners in rural areas will visit a dealership more than three times in a year. Whereas, only 7 per cent of urban car owners will visit it more than three times.

Having several spare cars is not only a luxury for car owners in the country, it is also an insurance knowing that if, say, a truck is not performing appropriately, they can still count on the SUV or the sedan.

Living in a rural area with one vehicle is like having one pair of shoes for every occasion.

Top 10 Worst Cars for Teen Drivers

Posted by  | August 20, 2014 |
Originally published on Unhaggle.
Top 10 Worst Cars for Teen DriversNot every vehicle is a suitable car for a teen or novice driver. Some cars come with a steeper learning curve, more responsive handling and fewer safety features. Those little elements can add up to become a challenging ride for young, inexperienced drivers. So, this is not really about safety only, but the whole package. For information on the most unsafe vehicles currently on the road, be sure to check out our top picks right here.When looking into purchasing the first car for your teenager or yourself, it’s best to choose a vehicle with some familiarity and practicality. Young drivers are prone to distraction and an overwhelming sense of invincibility, so it’s best to keep them humble. Safety is paramount, and some cars are dangerous even for the most seasoned drivers. So, try and steer clear of these death traps or, at least, don’t introduce any young drivers to them.

10. Ford Mustang

Allowing your children to drive the world famous Ford Mustang is like giving them steroids for the road. They’ll love you because it’ll make them look cool, but you might lose them to the dark side forever. The Mustang is a powerful, rear-wheel-drive vehicle that has more power than most can handle. For new drivers who are still learning the rules of the road, it’s best to stay away from a vehicle as defiant as the Mustang.

9. Jeep Wrangler

For many adventurous parents looking for a frugal choice for their outdoorsy children, turning to the Jeep Wrangler may seem reasonable. However, the Wrangler is a notoriously finicky animal when it comes to turns. Prone to flips and barrel rolls when taking corners too quickly, the Wrangler might not be the best choice for young drivers who tend to have heavier feet. Also, it should be mentioned that off-roading should be reserved for more experienced drivers anyway, so if you are considering the Wrangler as a novice, maybe you should reconsider.

8. Any Clunker

Hand-me-downs are a good thing; they breeds tradition, save money and teach modesty. Nevertheless, parents should avoid giving their teenage drivers their old, clunky cars. “Clunker” is a term for any vehicle well past its prime, and the next ignition turn may be the last. If it has a rusty exterior, susceptibility for stalling or lack of safety features from the recent decade, then it’s not an okay gift no matter how you cut it. If you don’t want your children to be stranded on a highway or in worst situations, chip in a bit more and get them something reliable.

7. Dodge Viper

Must I explain why giving a race car to a teenage driver might be a bad idea? I’ll be frank: most roadsters are bad first cars for a young driver, because they are just too unpredictable in regular traffic. The Dodge Viper does not deliver a calming ride, it’s a rollercoaster constantly seeking the next ascension. For young drivers it’s a white-knuckle gripping experience, and that’s not what anybody wants.

6. Hummer H1

If you want to nurture the aggressive, road-hogging bully inside your children, go ahead, buy them the Hummer H1. Sure, you may want your kid to have the utmost protection on the road, which in your mind may mean “bigger is better.” However, the Hummer H1, with its action-movie-like off-roading capabilities, can lead to over-confident driving. Aggressive driving is the result of one in three fatal accidents each year, and it should not be an attribute installed in drivers of any age—especially in young and impressionable ones.

5. Chevrolet Aveo

Economy cars with an egg-shell frame and limited safety features, like the Chevrolet Aveo, are not the best option for young drivers, simply because the highest percentage of road accidents are actually caused by inexperienced drivers. Sure, the Aveo has many endearing qualities that may suit a teenager, such as reliability and reserved power, but having a thin arsenal of safety features is a reason enough to look elsewhere since the car has few other redeeming qualities anyhow.

4. Subaru WRX

The Subaru WRX is a car that gets attention, sometimes from the wrong people. When purchasing a vehicle for a young driver, it’s important to consider the impression the car has on others, especially the police. The WRX is a speedy machine with turbo acceleration that can put your teenager in an unsavoury position. All in all, avoid getting a new driver a vehicle with a turbo engine. The maintenance involved is one thing, but the speed it provides is another.

3. Nissan 300ZX

There was a time when the Nissan 300ZX was the cream of the crop, but now it’s an affordable model that offers the same respectable performance.  Although it’s certainly enticing, the 300ZX isn’t the smoothest-handling vehicle on the used-car market, especially since it’s from a pervious generation. Sure, the old car hasn’t grown up much, but your teenager should.

2. Porsche 911 Turbo

Tame your child’s need for speed early, lest they end up on the side of the road. Giving a teenage driver a Porsche of any kind – let alone a 911 Turbo – is a very bad idea. The turbocharged supercar may be a joy to drive, but as enthralling as it is, the risk level of having an inexperienced driver behind the wheel of this vehicle should worry every other driver on the road. If you do give your teenager a Porsche, warn me – I’ll try to avoid the route he or she may be taking.

1. McLaren-Mercedes SLR

A combination of the expensive, the powerful and the extravagant is obviously a good thing for a young driver, right? It sure is – not! No doubt, the McLaren-Mercedes SLR is a highly-touted vehicle for drivers of all ages, but I wouldn’t want a novice driver behind the wheel the same way I don’t want an inexperienced pilot guiding an airplane through a turbulent storm. Not only does the supercar come with a steep learning curve, it is utterly unforgiving when it comes to errors. Repairs and insurance fees can add up quickly, and that is a debt no young driver deserves.

Cars vs. Bicycles: Which One is More Practical? And Where?

Posted by  | August 13, 2014 |
Originally published on Unhaggle.com 
Bike-vs-car

In the battle of cars vs. bicycles, cars are the resounding champions, but bicycles are becoming a preference for many young people. But let’s face it, bike-lovers, automobiles are the most dependable, practical and common means of transportation currently available, no matter how often you rely on your two-wheeler. Regardless of the weather, distance or climb, a car can get you places faster and with greater ease.

That being said, bikes can serve as the active, green and financially responsible option in plenty of scenarios too. With your lifestyle and geographical location in mind, we’ll take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of bikes, and see how they stack up against the modern automobile.

Cars vs. Bicycles in Cities

Let’s be honest, traffic jams don’t happen because of cyclists – it is the rise of the automotive industry that has nurtured this phenomenon into existence. In big urban areas, traffic is inevitable. So, if you don’t want to get caught in the doldrums of bumper-to-bumper traffic, ride a bike.

In densely populated areas, bikes are an incredibly reasonable choice for getting around – especially since the inception of bike lanes in many major cities. Gone are the days of bikers sneaking into the blind spots of vehicles or making risky maneuvers around moving and parked cars or pedestrians.

Remember that even though you are on a bike, you are still not above the laws of the road. While big cities are changing their philosophy and fostering the growth of biking communities, cyclists must also take responsibility while riding. Biking in the city may be an efficient alternative to driving a car a couple of blocks, but it can still be a stressful endeavour. But as long as you’re attentive and respectful, there is no reason you’ll be late or aggravating to others.

Cars vs. Bicycles in Suburbs and Beyond

Riding a bike can be a great workout, but if you live in a rural area or in a suburban neighbourhood far from where you need to be, a three-hour workout to and from the office or a cross-country trip to the store might not be something you want on a daily basis.

Canada is a big country and there are many smaller cities and towns where accessibility for bikes is limited to the endurance of the rider. Sometimes a dangerous highway separate two cities and taking a bike down those routes can be risky.

On average, a bicycle can travel between 15 and 30 km/h. If it’s a short trip, this sort of speed shouldn’t be a problem, but if you want to go a bit further, be sure to take your stamina into account.

Riders need fuel the same way cars need gasoline. A bad scenario for a biker is to end up between two points, too fatigued, thirsty and weak to continue. It’s important to challenge yourself now and then, but if you really need to get from the farm town to downtown, consider driving.

Costs

When comparing cars to bicycles, the price of each plays an instrumental part in making the decision which one to use.

An average bike cost is between $400 and $1,000. A higher-end bike lock cost is approximately $200, while a helmet can set you back another $100. On the other hand, a mid-size vehicle can cost around $800/month.

A reliable bike is expensive, but compared to a car, a cyclist can buy a new ride every month instead of paying to finance just one vehicle. And we are not even including insurance, fuel, maintenance and other expenses that go into caring for a car.

In terms of pure dollar bills, this is not a contest at all. There aren’t many ways to make it seem like cars are the more financially-feasible option. It just isn’t. So, if you want to save long-term money, pedal on.

Safety

In terms of safety, there are many variables going into both modes of transportation. When it comes to a collision between a cyclist and an automobile, there isn’t much to consider. But if we look at the statistics separately we might be able to identify which one is more prone to accidents.

In terms of accident rates per kilometre, bikes are 26-48 times more likely to get into an accident than cars. About 64 per cent of automobile-and-bike-collision fatalities occur in urban areas during afternoon and evenings. However, in 2009, bike fatalities only made up 1.9% of deaths on the road. The other 53.1% belonged to drivers; 19.5% went to passengers and 13.9% went to pedestrians.

On average, 60 cyclists in Canada are killed each year in a motor vehicle accident, which not that high when compared to the rate of deaths in car-to-car accidents.

Regardless of the vehicle, riders and drivers alike must take precautions. Cars and bicycles are dangerous and safe in different ways.

Other Factors

The invention of cars has changed transportation forever, but bicycles still come with many benefits that are often ignored due to the many benefits of driving a car.

It’s been proven that riding a bike to commute can enhance productivity as well as physical and mental health. Employees that bike to work are often more proactive with their duties and eager to interact with others. Although biking can be a laborious task, it can also boost your energy over time. Riding a bike will also increase a person’s stamina, physical endurance and help burn calories. Even if you have nowhere to go, biking is still a good option for exercising.

If there was a buzz phrase for our generation, it would probably be “go green.” If you want to reduce your carbon footprint on this planet, then go with bicycles. Even if you don’t drive a car, the process it takes to manufacture a vehicle takes a lot of materials and energy. Bikes are simple machines that don’t require a lot to function. So, even if you have a car, choose to take your bike out once in a while. If it probably wouldn’t be your first option, but it can be your second.

5 Reasons Why Young People Don’t Drive or Own Cars

Posted by  | August 05, 2014 |
Originally published on Unhaggle.com
bikes

Young people just don’t own cars these days. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, only 44 per cent of teenagers have a driver’s licence and the number of vehicles purchased by drivers between the ages of 18 to 34 has dropped by approximately 30 per cent.

Back in the old days, cars were the definition of coming-of-age and growing up. A new car was the supercharged symbol of independence. Now, owning a car seems to be a responsibility and hassle that the millennials and Y-generation can (or seem to) do without.

But what has changed the cultural relationship between young people and the feeling they get when they sit behind a wheel for the first time? What’s making them reconsider skipping this significant milestone in life? Stick around as we list five reasons why this is the case.

5. Parents

Adulthood is one aspect that has changed for the new generation. It has been shown that young adults today are having difficulty establishing initial financial security – the kind of stability required to own a car. In a study done by the National Housing Federation, approximately three in 10 parents still have at least one son or daughter between the ages of 21 and 40 living at home with them. A majority of those parents admit that their children simply can’t afford rent elsewhere.

Merciful parents do not only offer substantial housing, but they commonly offer rides as well. Many young people have grown accustomed to the ask-and-receive taxi service they get from their parents. After all, it is a service that has existed throughout their entire lives – from trips to elementary school to being dropped off at middle school soccer practice and graduation house parties. Parents have always shown love in the form of drop-offs and pick-ups.

4. There Are Other Options

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Automobiles are not the only option to get around town. Look down the street and you’ll see creative modes of transportation that weren’t as popular or simply didn’t exist a decade or two ago. Bike lanes are now available in most urban areas, as biking is now a highly regarded, eco-friendly alternative to driving. Long-boarding, skateboarding, rollerblading, electric scooters and other recreational activities have now become legitimate forms of transportation for many people who choose not to own a car.

Perhaps there was a time when kids had to walk miles to school, but today, urban communities are built around a central area that include markets, restaurants and public infrastructures. Most things people need are within walking distance. And the little push to be in a better shape has encouraged younger people to omit owning cars from their healthy lives completely.

3. Public Transit Got Better

Even though public transit is often criticized for its inconvenient, unreliable and highly impersonal relationship with commuters, young people still prefer it to the bothers of owning a car, finding parking and feeding the meter. All they need to do when they take transit is get familiar with the bus, train or ferry route and schedule, as well as the body odour and annoying banter of everybody else onboard.

Canadian public transportation has made vast improvements in every major city in the past few decades. Most people are able to walk out of their houses and locate a bus stop within a few minutes. Toronto and Montreal are rated as two of the top cities with the best Transit Score in 2014, ranking above many American cities – yet still behind New York and San Francisco, which are the exemplars of North American public transit design and implementation. Most notably, Vancouver has scored 74 points in the ratings, beating their neighbours to the south, Seattle, by 17 points.

2. The Internet

When you break it down, there are simply fewer reasons to travel nowadays with the Internet being the only connection to the outside world many seem to really need. Scary, but it’s true. Think of all the people you keep in touch with on Facebook that you never get to see in person? There was a time when the only way to see your friends is to physically leave the house and go see them. But today, we can chat with friends over a game of Call of Duty, work from home and live a perfectly fulfilling life from the comfort of our desk chair.

No group of people are more affected by the Internet dominion than the young people who have lived with it their whole lives. Internet has always been there for them, while cars have not. If they were to pick one or the other, it’s pretty clear which one they would choose.

1. Cars Are Expensive

In today’s world everything is expensive and cars are not an exception. In fact, cars are perceived as an extreme luxury item to many young people who are submerged in student loans and credit card debts. Most of them choose not to even think about all they would have to pay in insurance, maintenance and gas, if they owned a car.

But that doesn’t mean a car is unachievable for young people today. A vehicle is like every other big purchase – an investment – and it should be approached with tact and clarity, not simply pride and pleasure. There are many vehicles out on the market that offer rebate and incentives that will make buying a car – even a new one – an affordable and reasonable option.

If you are sick of taking the bus or riding the bike, it might be the time to see if owning a car is a possibility for you. Buying and owning a car is not impossible, not even if you are a young person. There might be a lot of great alternatives out there for those without a car, but remember, unlike a bus, your very own car won’t drive away from you when you are running towards it.

How to Get Your Parents to Buy You a New Car

 

Posted by  | July 31, 2014 | 
Originally published on Unhaggle.com 

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Your parents, they love you. They want the best for you. They raised you and bought you clothes, food and video games, but why aren’t they buying a new car for you when you’ve asked? And they are not even willing to buy you an old one either!

You’ve negotiated and made the loose bargains you’ve been making your whole life: “I’ll get straight A’s!”, “I’ll do the chores!” or “I’ll take care of you when you’re old!” But those aren’t working. Perhaps it’s time to grow up and approach this tactfully. Think: What would an adult do?

Pick the Car You Want and Explain Its Benefits

 

Prove your maturity by doing research. Not only will it show your family that you are knowledgeable, but you might also impress them with all your added automotive expertise.

If your parents are hesitant, which they probably are, then you should suggest several vehicles that will ease their nerves and make them reconsider. Select several cars and highlight their safety features, comfort level, fuel economy and price.

Most vehicles these days come with state-of-the-art safety technology, so it wouldn’t hurt to know what electronic stability control does and why anti-lock brakes are important. If you want to really show off your chops, list all the IIHS Top Safety Picks and pinpoint the vehicle you want on the list. Nothing is more important to your parents than your safety, so be sure to leverage that!

Gas prices are on a pretty consistent rise, insurance is always more expensive than it should be and cars aren’t cheap either. With that in mind, beggars can’t really be choosers, so demonstrate to your parents that you can be financially responsible. After researching affordable cars, you’ll notice that not every vehicle has the lavishness of a Lexus, Porsche orBMW, but they can still get you places and isn’t that the important thing? A car should not be a status symbol unless you have earned it yourself.

Convince Them That You’ll Pay Your Share

 

Nobody likes a spoiled brat, not even your parents, so pay back the good deed. Your mom and dad may take some convincing, but if you can show off your budgeting capability, not only will you get a car, but your family will have a piece of mind too.

Start by paying for the gas you use, move up to the monthly insurance and then, hopefully, over time, you’ll be able to take over the financing or lease. If the car breaks down, if you get a ticket or if your friends make a mess in the backseat, it is your job to clean up that mess. Please don’t let your mom solve all your problems. Admit it, your parents work hard because they don’t deserve to worry about another set of payments. So, anything you can chip in would be great – and make sure you do.

This might mean getting a job on the weekend or after school. Heck, you might even be able to drive to work and show off your ride. All of a sudden, you look a little bit more like the adult you totally are. Understand that a car is not only a wonderful alternative to the bus, it is also a huge responsibility. You’ll need to clean it, take it to maintenance and of course, be responsible while driving it.

Make Your Car Useful and Promise to Follow Rules

 

My late Uncle Ben once told me: “With great power comes great responsibility.” I always heed those words, and so should you. If you have a car, it is your duty to use it to not only make your life better, but to make your whole family’s life better too.

By sharing the vehicle with your loved ones, you’ll better convince your parents that you actually deserve it. So, why not give your sister a ride to the party? Why not help your mom pick up groceries at the store? Or why not drive your dad to the doctor’s office instead of simply driving him mad? The car shouldn’t just change your life, it should change everyone else’s too – and for the better.

Yes, you’re helping out, but when you do have the car for your own time, be sure to follow the rules; rules that you and your parents have agreed upon initially, before the trip to the dealership, before you put the key into the ignition and before you go cruising down the road.

You should be the one who approaches your parents with the rules. Write them down on paper and make them official – parents love official stuff. Whether you deserve a curfew, restrictions on where you drive or the freedom to have food in your car are up for you and your parents to decide. But, once the rules are set, regardless of what they are, be sure to follow them. As soon as you break a rule and your parents catch you, the trust is lost – and the same might happen to your car privileges.

You deserve a car. But, if you want to drive, you’ll have to prove it.

Apple CarPlay or Android Auto? How to Decide Which System is Right for You

 

Posted by  | July 24, 2014 | 
Originally published for Unhaggle.com 

Apple CarPlay or Android Auto? We help distinguish the two systems to help you decide which one to get.

Smartphones and cars do not mix – or at least they shouldn’t be used together in the conventional way. Yet Apple and Google are changing the ways drivers commute, communicate and consume app-based content while driving. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the two latest plug-in-and-drive alternatives that are racing to be the first on your dashboard. 

The thing is, at this early stage, the two corporate giants – Apple and Google – are making agreements with auto manufacturers. While some have pledged their fealty to CarPlay, others have taken sides with Android Auto, forming the Open Automotive Alliance. But the integration is compatible with most vehicles, and odds are most carmakers will soon let drivers make the choice in deciding which infotainment system they prefer. Honda and Volvo are two of those brands, retaining the native system’s integration and empowering the drivers.

But the question still remains, which is the right system for you?

Major Similarities

At their most basic, CarPlay and Android Auto offer the same seamless in-dash monitor connectivity with your smartphones without having to operate off an additional system. That means you can answer hands-free phone calls, listen to your music and utilize your apps through the dashboard display.

Both platforms currently require a cable to connect the system to your smartphone, whether it be a Micro USB or Lightning cable. First-world problem: you’ll actually have to take your phone out of your pocket every time you want to connect it to your car. Hopefully, a wireless solution will materialize sooner than later for both systems.

Many third-party supporters have also chosen to remain impartial by offering their product to both CarPlay and Android Auto. Partnership possibilities seem limitless at the moment as Spotify, iHeartRadio and others have already signed on.

So, whatever one does, the other wouldn’t be that far behind, as most companies are wary of the idea of being exclusive. That philosophy has extended to the car manufacturers as well, as many are choosing to support both CarPlay and Android Auto.

Notable Differences

For those who have used both an iPhone and Android, you would know that the two smartphone experiences are unique to their brand. The same goes with CarPlay and Android Auto. One is iOS and the other is Android—Duh!

The Apple CarPlay, or formerly known as iOS in the Car, is just another extension of the Apple universe we live in. The system includes familiar services such as iTunes Radio, Apple Maps and good old Siri. Current iOS users may find it difficult to consider anything other than CarPlay, with its bold yet simple iOS 7 interface and minimalistic style. As far as compatibility goes, CarPlay will work with iPhone 5 and beyond.

The Android Auto, on the other hand, serves its following well and is packed with the premium Google services, the kind that comes in handy during long drives, such as Google Maps, Google Search and Google Play Music. Another quality feature for drivers is the voice activation, which if you are a Google Now user, you should be familiar with.

Google has made many improvements with designs over the years and it shows in the Android Auto, which follows the new Material Design principles, helping the brand stay consistent across platforms. Where the Android Auto falls behind is in Google’s platform adoption rates. Android Auto is compatible with Android L and onwards, but those that lack the operating system may need to consider improving their mobile device or continue waiting for an update. Bummer.

What Vehicles Can Have Them?

As it currently stands both CarPlay and Android Auto have partnerships with well over 20 automotive manufacturers in the market. Brands such as Audi, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Ram, Subaru and Volvo are already offering options for both.

Meanwhile, CarPlay currently has exclusive attention of BMW, Ferrari, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, MINI and Toyota.

By contrast, Android Auto owns the dash of Acura, Bentley, Infiniti, Maserati and Volkswagen.

So does your smartphone influence the next car you buy or does the next car you buy influence the smartphone you get?

Our Pick

When it comes down to it, cars and gadgets are all about preference, and improvements are constantly being made. So, the choice is something you as an individual will need to consider for yourself, because you are the one who will be spending many hours on your smartphone and in your car.

If you are a seasoned iOS user, we recommend that you stick with Apple. The system and style will be familiar to you and Apple platforms are user-friendly and tend to have a shallow learning curve.

It would be nice to say that Android Auto would be an alternative for those who don’t have iPhones, but that is not the case. Although Android Auto proves to be a terrific platform in demos, there is a small percentage of smartphone users who are currently operating through the latest Android L. It’ll take a bit of time before Android gains more traction.

Apple CarPlay has the experience, but Android Auto has the tenacity to challenge, so whichever you choose, you’ll know that the other side is not that far behind or ahead, keeping the battle of the dashboard competitive and exciting.