Why Drug-Impaired Driving May Be a Huge Problem in Canada

Posted by  | November 04, 2014 |
Formerly published in Unhaggle.com

Why Drug-Impaired Driving May Be a Huge Problem in Canada

Impaired driving is dangerous; it doesn’t matter if it’s caused by fatigue, alcohol or drugs, because you are taking an unnecessary risk one way or another. Although it’s true that drugs, such as marijuana, affect each person differently, it’s also true that from 1999 to 2010 drug-related fatalitieshave almost doubled. The question is why. Here are some theories:

There Are No Proper Regulations

Law enforcers have done certainly much to deter drivers from driving drunk, but they still have trouble discovering and implementing the most effective measure for stopping drug-impaired drivers from grabbing their keys and getting behind the wheel. Canada has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure that law officials attend unique drug-recognition training courses. However, the program is not believed to have reached its full potential when it comes to catching and actually convicting impaired drivers.

Many Think It’s Okay to Drive High

While drinking and driving is taboo, driving under the influence of drugs still somehow goes under the radar, and that’s problematic. The attitude of drivers needs to change, especially among younger ones, who have always shown a more carefree mentality when operating a vehicle. In a study conducted by Drug Free Canada, one in three teenagers considers smoking marijuana and driving to be less dangerous than drinking and driving, which is not very comforting. Driving requires a lot of attention, and a sudden lapse of judgement for whatever reason can be deadly on the road.

In order to change this reckless attitude, lawmakers in North America, Australia and certain countries in Europe have implemented a legal limit of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – in some parts of the U.S., it’s five nanograms per millilitre of blood – as well as protocols for officers to perform when they suspect the driver to be under the influence of drugs. One method practiced in Norway and Australia involves requesting oral fluid samples from drivers, which can be obtained with a quick roadside test that involves licking or swabbing of the tongue.

By giving officers more resources to catch drug-impaired drivers, the mentality of people may eventually change.

Drug Users Are Not Punished Enough

There are many reasons why our society frowns upon drinking and driving, and one of those reasons is the fact that the police categorizes the  as a high-priority issue. Why else would they have roadblocks, breathalysers and other sobriety tests? Because drinking and driving is very obviously illegal.

Some political parties believe that the whole penalty system should change so that drug-impaired drivers could receive punishment equal to those who drink and drive. The Transportation Minister of Ontario, Steven Del Duca, believes that implementing roadside suspensions, mandatory education or treatment, an ignition interlock condition and a seven-day vehicle impoundment are some of the first important steps to take in order to convince the public of the severity of drug use.

“And when you look at the statistics, in 2011 for example, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 46 per cent of all collisions involving vehicles that resulted in deaths had individuals who were either under the influence of drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol,” says Del Duca.

In Canada 2012, however, only 1,126 drug-impaired driving charges were laid, which makes up 2 per cent of all annual impaired driving charges (alcohol-impairment charges exceed 60,000). The inability to confidently confirm impairment on the scene has led to many challenges for those wanting to see an end to drug-impaired driving. This is mainly because the technology used for catching drunk drivers does not work on drug users.

So What Can Help Us?

Law enforcers could definitely benefit from a few technological innovations. Breathalysers have changed the way officers charge drunk drivers, and as such, we need a device that can do the same for drivers who are high. The Cannabix Breathalyser might be the solution. In less than a few minutes, this hand-held device, conceived by BC-based company West Point Resources, can accurately detect whether a person has consumed marijuana or not. Given its success rate, this new technology could also act as another deterrent for anyone who is thinking of using drugs before driving.

Generally speaking, the point is not to argue whether smoking weed is better or worse than drinking a couple of beers – the point is to reduce fatalities. And in order to do that, drivers need to change their mindsets, while politicians and lawmakers have to reconsider their approach and provide law enforcers with better technology. It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely doable!

Don’t be a passenger your whole life

Image via Thinkstock

Why driving is a life-long skill worth having

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published by The Other Press. March 16, 2015

Younger generations are no longer putting car ownership as a top priority, and because of that the attitude towards learning to drive or earning a driver’s licence is left idling. Many have even accepted that they will never own a vehicle and that public transit is just something that will be a part of their lives forever. It’s true that owning a car is a big responsibility and learning to drive is a hassle, but while the economy may place a roadblock in our plans, we cannot be ignorant towards a fundamental skill of urban society.

Being able to drive is more than simply having an alternative to walking or taking the bus, being able to drive is being fluent in the rules of the road and having a lifeline for travelling. If you don’t know how to drive you will always be a passenger—always. It doesn’t matter if you are taking a taxi, bus, or if your friends are chauffeuring you around, you are always governed by someone’s driving habits and navigation skills. In a way, you are someone’s luggage.

Having the skills to drive gives you the freedom to travel. If you decide you want to—in a split second—rent a car and visit another city, province, or country, you can. The ability to drive will take you further in life.

You become a more valuable, respectable, and dependable person when you know how to drive. Pedestrians who don’t know the difference between a turn signal lever and a windshield wiper controller have little sympathy toward drivers and behave as though they own the roads. They are blind to what drivers have to deal with on a busy street and seldom give them a benefit of the doubt.

People who have never driven also have weaker navigational skills and direction-giving abilities. Often they will tell the driver to take a turn too late or have no idea where they are because they are not travelling along a bus route. Driving enables people to understand the layout of a city better. Getting lost is not a big deal when you are in a car, unlike if you take the wrong bus.

Not everybody needs a car. In fact, if you have spent time pondering life in rush hour traffic, you would believe that fewer people should actually drive. But that does not change the fact that cars are one of the most valuable technologies of the past century. Traffic is the pulse of a city and we need to help it beat. Knowing how to drive is the ability to see how a city functions. It’s a language we should all understand.

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

1986-Ferris-Buelle_1458313i-446x288

 

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 

Transformers-crop

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.

Unhaggle | 10 Worst Driving Stereotypes and Why They Are True/False

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Written and researched by Elliot Chan for Unhaggle.com| May 26, 2014 |

Driving is not simply about getting from one place to another, it is a public display of your identity. Because of that—and human’s unfortunate obsession with categorizing people—stereotypes emerge. It’s true, at every intersection, on every road and at every parking lot, stereotyping happens.

But which ones are based on truths and which ones are just our own prejudices? Which ones are valid and which are our ignorant negativity? Are Jeep drivers that much different than Mazda drivers? Surely quality driving is not only skin-deep. 

Women are worse drivers than men

True. Hate to say it, but there is actually some validity to this stereotype. According to a studyconducted by the University of Michigan, men and women get into approximately the same amount of accidents in six scenarios that resulted in a crash. But where the scale is tipped is that men drive 20% more often than women. And crashes occurring between women and women are more frequent in a sample of 6.5 million crashes.

Ethnicity affects quality driving

False. Ethnicity and race has no implication on how one drives.

A common assumption is that people who are born in other countries with different traffic cultures are unable to adapt to the North American standards and therefore cause accidents. If that is the case, it is still the person who is unable to or has declined to learn the culture, and he or she does not represent the collective.

On the road, we may see one Asian driver in an accident, but we don’t notice all the other ones driving safely. It becomes a clear memory and one that can be regurgitated in moments of high intensity while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Traffic Safety Report published in 2009, which you can view here, there is no clear determining factor between ethnicity, race and traffic collisions.

Older drivers are even worse

True. In Canada, seniors of a certain age will have to reapply for their driver’s licence, take a vision test, and undergo a driving examination. It’s been proven that elderly drivers are more likely to be involved in right-of-way accidents, where it involves yielding to another vehicle. Researchers have found that mental, visual or physical impairments play a large role in a driver’s ability to concentrate. As those attributes deteriorate, so does the quality of driving.

Young drivers are negligent

According to a 2002 Statistics Canada report, 19-24 year olds are involved in the highest rate of impaired driving, while MADD Canada reports show that automotive accidents cause the largest percentage of deaths in Canadians aged 15-25. Young drivers tend to feel invincible upon getting their new car, but the fact is that they are inexperienced—unable to make key judgement calls. The high percentage of speeding and driving under the influence amongst young drivers continue to warrant concerns.

Pickup truck drivers are rude on the road

Depends. Yes, big pickup trucks are annoying, especially to those with small compact cars—we can’t understand why they drove such a massive beast to the shopping mall and took up two parking spaces—but there they are. We mutter “Douche” under our breath and move on. But having a vehicle of a certain type does not make you any more aggressive of a driver. While it’s true that the driver is the one who makes a choice to buy a truck and act as an alpha on the road, the rule doesn’t always apply. And for those of you with little cars, know this: pickup trucks are quite expensive to insure. It’s not uncommon for its insurance price to match that of a luxury vehicle. Gee, I wonder why. Then again, the driver might be totally cool and will help you move next time.

Red cars get into more accidents

False. Black, silver and grey cars actually have a higher risk of being in an accident, because of their inability to be seen through cluttered streets and low lighting situations. Red cars lurk around the middle ground in regards to being accident-prone. There is a lot of research out there, but nothing conclusive yet on how colour relates to accidents. Even insurance companies will admit that they don’t necessary charge more for vehicles in red. It is all just a myth.

Expensive cars get more speeding tickets

True. Studies done by Quality Planning, a company based in San Francisco has polled numbers and found that the car most likely to be ticketed was the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, a pretty fancy piece of machinery that gets noticed.

With four times the likelihood of being ticketed, those driving a two-door convertible are often those who can afford the fine. And they know it too, because 63% of luxury drivers believe they will get a speeding ticket if they are over the speed limit by 10 miles/hour. They have a right to be paranoid.

Weed smokers are safer drivers

Debatable—but leaning more towards false. In an earlier post, we discussed the possibility that those who consume cannabis before driving may actually be more cautious and alert upon the roads. While no firm conclusion can be offered, it seems as though the public and authorities are far from condoning the act and still very much consider it DUI if caught. Sure, you might not be drunk, but your motor skills are still hindered, so technically, you can’t be considered “safer.”

Only snobs drive hybrid and electric cars

False. Hating on hybrid and electric car drivers is the most perplexing phenomenon on the roads today. Many drivers of standard vehicles are feeling victimized in public parking places where spots usually reserved for the mass are now exclusive for hybrids and electrics. They would argue: Should a vegetarian get a better seat in the restaurant, because they are eating healthier? Good point, but maybe it should encourage people to go green.

An episode of South Park famously mocked the smugness of hybrid drivers, as they cruise on by feeling high and mighty. I believe that eco-friendliness is something that should be commended, but not worshiped. I would rather have a snobby hybrid on the road than another reckless sports car enthusiast. Maybe I’m already green with envy.

Cars are the best way to get over a midlife crisis

False. As we approach that pinnacle point in our life and ride the plateau into retirement, we often feel compelled to splurge. The cliché: a forty year-old businessman going against his wife’s wishes and buying a fancy vehicle. Yes, that sounds tantalizing and rejuvenating, but a car remains a materialistic possession. The initial feeling of joy will evaporate, as fees and maintenance builds up. It becomes a responsibility or a liability.

But if you do feel the need to purchase a swanky vehicle, take your friends and family on a trip. That is where the memory happens.

Unhaggle | 5 Ways to Lose Weight While Driving

Researched and Ghostwritten by Elliot Chan for Unhaggle.com | April 01, 2014 |
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Driving is the leisurely way to commute, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight while doing it. Although we shouldn’t point at our GMC Sierras and Dodge Journeys and shame them as the cause of our obesity, researchers at Planetizen have found links between driving and diabetes and other weight-related health problems in the U.S.

But as more and more people get rides to work, does that mean us drivers are doomed to the mockery of bikers and joggers, in addition to our bad health? Not necessarily. Sure, you might be able to walk everywhere, but you are very capable of making your commute to work, home and fun much more healthy—and you might even be able to lose a few pounds on your way too.

Don’t Eat and Drive

With so many dining options at every intersection and increasingly busy schedule, it’s easy to get caught in a drive-thru or consume a quick meal on your way somewhere. Eating while driving is not only dangerous, but it is also unhealthy and unnatural. In the best case scenario, you might add pounds, but in the worst case scenario, you might cause an accident.

On the go eating is bad for the digestive system, because it happens in quick spurts and is inconsistent. A red light does not mean “Go” for eating. Schedule your day so that you would have a moment to eat before or after driving to your appointments. Once you are driving, you should be driving—not eating a dashboard dinner.

Don’t Eat Junk Food

If your plan is to lose weight, you should know better than to indulge in junk food—and driving should not excuse you from that plan. Sure, heavy traffic and long trips may lend itself to snacking, but snacking out of boredom is a bad alternative.

Snacking occasionally while driving is a habit that causes drivers to lose touch with their sense of hunger. Instead of enjoying the food, they are just continuously eating, neglecting the fact that they have already eaten. This habit is then transferred to other mundane activities during the day. Don’t associate boredom with eating. Don’t associate driving with eating.

Stack Up On Healthy Snacks

Driving is not a high-calorie burning activity like running or bicycling, but it does burn calories. A person weighing at 130 pounds will burn approximately 118 calories after having driven 30 miles. Increasing speed does not increase the weight loss, but if the person is heavier, the weight loss does decrease. So maybe it isn’t so crazy to stock up on some fuel on long trips just to keep the energy up. But when choosing snacks for long road trips, consider the healthy choices. That means, avoid stocking up on beef jerky and pork rinds at the gas station.

Prepare ahead: bring some peanut butter or tuna sandwiches for protein, some fruit and vegetables for nourishment and some personalized trail mix, as you would if you were going on a hike. Having the right mindset will put you on a path to a healthier lifestyle.

Work Out In Your Car

Drivers have a reputation for being lazy, but that is just not the case. Busy schedules impact their abilities to get a sufficient workout at a gym or home. The excuses for drivers are abundant, but it really doesn’t excuse them if they want to get in shape.

Exercising in the car may sound like a recipe for disaster, but there are ways to do it safely and effectively, even if it’s just a few moments in the parking lot. Turn on some pump up music and try a few of these workouts. To work out your biceps, start by gripping your steering wheel palms down at 11 and 1 o’clock and pulling up, you can work out the muscles in your arm. If you want to work out your triceps, use your hands to support yourself with the arm rests in your car. Push down with your arms, while raising your body. For a chest workout, grab the steering wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock and push inwards and feel the burn in your chest. Finally, if you can, work out your back by grabbing onto the steering wheel at 9 and 3 o’clock and pulling it towards yourself,

These are some simple workouts you can try to sneak in when you are waiting in your car for a friend or your parking metre to run out. Either way, keep an extra pair of running shoes in your vehicle just in case a workout spontaneously occurs.

Drink Water

You might want to get another cup of latte and a snack for the road, but water may be a better alternative.

First off, water is good for you, plain and simple, no arguments there. But it’ll also keep your mind away from those tempting snacks and high-calorie drinks. Keep a bottle of water with you during days where you need to get from here to there, and then back again. You know those types of days where you just can’t help but feel sluggish. Water is the zero-calorie premium.

Unhaggle | Can Smoking Pot Make You a Better Driver?

Ghostwritten by Elliot Chan for Unhaggle.com| March 18, 2014 |

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In Canada, smoking pot might not be as frowned upon as it once was, but driving while high is still questionable. While some consider it an impairment akin to drinking and driving, others say that marijuana increases awareness on the road and focuses the driver, allowing him or her to be more cautious. But as any experienced driver knows, traffic can be unpredictable. It doesn’t matter how aware, cautious or slow you are going… sometimes things happen.

So, does one ever really feel confident “blazing” down the “high” way in a Hyundai Sonata? Can one ever be certain that a Toyota Venza won’t pull out of an intersection unexpectedly or merge without warning? I ask: should an accident happen, would you want to be sober and competent or would you rather be panicky, high and paranoid? You make the judgement.

High On DUI

In the British Medical Journal, researchers found that the risk of accidents double should a pot smoker choose to drive within three hours after smoking. Although there wasn’t an exact correlation between driving high and accidents, the journal found that those involved in a collision have higher levels of tetrahyrocannabinol (THC), a key compound in marijuana.

The research states, “[TCH] concentrations might also be important, with minor collisions more likely than fatal collisions to involve drivers with lower concentrations of cannabis.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that approximately 18% of fatal accidents involve drug consumption other than alcohol, and that statistic includes weed. In addition, one in nine drivers involved in fatal collisions will test positive for marijuana, according to Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia.

Marijuana use, although is becoming more lenient, is also causing law enforcement to reconsider the term impairment. An article from the 2009 American Journal of Addiction showed that, unlike alcohol, smoking weed has a different effect on different people and measuring impairment may be trickier than conducting a breathalyser.

“We have this notion that since we have a magic number for alcohol, we are going to have a similar number for marijuana,” Paul Armentano, the deputy director NORML said in a The New York Timesinterview“The problem is that marijuana is not metabolized and absorbed by the body in the same way alcohol is.”

But in terms of medical use, the same way some patients shouldn’t operate heavy machinery on certain pharmaceutical medication, so shouldn’t stoners. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is recommending a zero tolerance rule, while roadside officers are willing to put suspected impaired drivers through a physical coordination test called Standard Field Sobriety Test. Failing the test will result in an evaluation from a drug recognition expert and advance on further charges from there.

The punishment for DUI is different in each province, but one thing is certain, the consequence is definitely not something to get high about.

Green Means Go

Pot smokers are known to overcompensate for their diminished motor skills by being cautious and slow on the road. In incidents where officers have pulled over drivers suspected of smoking and driving, the suspects were recognized to be coherent and respectful. There have been many examples where suspects have been acquitted in court due to limited evidence.

Unlike alcohol, which is often known as the aggressor and accelerant for rash decision-making, pot is a relaxant and is much safer than alcohol. But should drivers drop their guard and be relaxed on the road?

“When you’re high, you’re supposed to be relaxed,” 18-year-old Madelyn told Teen Vogue. “But when you’re driving, you technically can’t be! I went numb. I wasn’t sure if I was pressing the gas or the brakes or if I was moving at all. It was really intense, and the colours from the cars and the headlights were all blurring.”

While traditional-thinking people are against pot use and driving, others are presenting new studies that say weed is in fact making our streets safer.

“Our research suggests that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities through reducing alcohol consumption by young adults,” Daniel Rees, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver and co-author of the study said. Rees added, “Although we make no policy recommendations, it certainly appears as though medical marijuana laws are making our highways safer.”

Because there is so little information available about the result of driving high, researchers are looking at the stats on total fatalities on the roads in relation to the legalization and increased usage of marijuana.

Don’t Be a Dope

Whether you are on your way to White Castle or to watch a delightful movie, we must understand that the driver will always be responsible for their actions prior to stepping behind the wheel. If you are tired, you shouldn’t drive; if you are drunk, you shouldn’t drive; if you are high… you probably shouldn’t drive either. After all, wouldn’t you rather just chill than burn out?