Unhaggle | The 5 Car Features That Will Keep Your Family Safe

Originally posted in Unhaggle.com
March 13, 2014
Written by Elliot Chan
Before you buy a car, don’t just consider the driver’s needs, but consider the passengers as well. If your family is important to you – you don’t need to convince me that they are – then finding a car with safety features to match is equally as important. Families come in all sizes and so do vehicles, so it doesn’t matter if you are dropping off your kid at school in your Chevrolet Cruze or heading on a family trip in your Toyota Highlander, safety is paramount.Here are five car features that every family-caring chauffeur should consider.

Automated braking


One third of all collisions are rear enders. Excessive speed, road conditions, and carelessness cause drivers to slam their brakes, but sometimes collision happen anyway and the driver from the rear is always liable. That makes braking essential, especially in those close-call moments on the road.

Automated braking is quickly showing its value to many drivers who occasionally change radio stations and enjoy their coffee during their commute. Using sensors, such as radar, laser or video data, the input system is able to calculate the speed of the vehicle and the approaching object and time the brakes accordingly – to stop before the two collide.

As an intuitive system, automated braking works unobtrusively. The driver shouldn’t even notice it’s there. It only activates when the moment arises.

Collision avoidance systems


Collision avoidance systems give your car a little brain of its own, not that it can drive without you. However, it can definitely access the situation around you (speed of traffic, visibility, etc.) to get you where you need to go safer.

Adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, blind spot detections, front crash prevention, lane departure warning and prevention, and park assist are all key features of the collision avoidance system. Each feature utilizes sensors to notify the driver when something (another car, an object, a pedestrian, etc.) is too close for the safety of your car.

Camera assistance (reversing, side views and blind spots)


Not every collision is a major one, but slight maneuvers can still cause big problems, especially for those that occur in tight spaces around your blind spots. Camera assistance is a popular option to help drivers see in those situations. It acts as another mirror or sightline in your vehicle located conveniently on your dashboard or rearview mirrors.

Whether you are changing lanes, parallel parking, or backing into a tight spot, camera assistance will offer you assurance that you’ll at least get to see where you are going, and they are becoming a standard and not simply a luxury item.

Enhanced night visibility


Unlit roads and oncoming headlights strains the eyes and limit visibility causing hazards for many nighttime drivers. Using near-infrared illuminators and a charge-coupled device camera, innovative engineers and manufactures have equipped vehicles with, enhances night visibility. This technology allows drivers to see obstructions that would otherwise be unapparent.

From UV technology, augmented reality windshields, to night-vision imaging systems, prototypes of all kinds are being tested by the biggest names in car manufacturing, because drivers of all calibres know that driving at night is often one of the most challenging aspects, weather conditions aside.

Electronic stability control


Because of the fact that most roads are not straight and traffic doesn’t flow at a constant speed, vehicles and the drivers driving them can find themselves losing control in gut-wrenching situations. According to Transport Canada, the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) had worked to reduce the rate of control-loss accidents by 29%.

ESC works by utilizing a sensory system that addresses the speed of the vehicle in relation to the rotation of the wheels with the steering of the driver. If it senses that there is a disconnect between the two, than it can assess the type of swerve (or loss of control) to properly administer the braking needed and help the driver regain control.

Only (child) the lonely

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. March 4, 2014

I was a late-bloomer, in the social sense. As a child, most of my time was dedicated to television, artworks, or other solitary enjoyments. My parents were too busy with work to entertain me, and my cousins lived too far away for weekday visits. Yes, being an only child was a lonely endeavour. If it wasn’t for my imagination and my ability to outgrow my shyness, I would not have been able to survive my teenage years, let alone my adult years.

As I watch my parents age and my own responsibilities pile up, I wish I could turn to someone for support; a person who could relate to my family’s erratic behaviour and me; someone to talk to without having to explain a lengthy life story; someone who understands mom and dad’s expectations and their tendencies; someone to vent to without feeling the judgmental reverberations.

My parents rely on me for many things, and often times it seems unfair that all their hopes and dreams are now placed upon my shoulders. As an only child, I’m all the eggs in one basket—and they know it as well as I do. I know that having siblings comes with minor annoyances: you’ll have to wake up early to fight for the bathroom, you might not get seconds for dinner, and you might need to move out earlier because your parents can no longer support all of you financially. Those who are an only child face a psychological challenge. I call it “I never asked to be born” syndrome, where the child has to decide whether to do what their parents want them to do or to live their own life. That syndrome is evermore present in only children.

I’m well-aware that when mom and dad are gone, I might be the last branch extending out in an obtuse direction from our family tree. That’s a scary thought, one that only those without siblings can understand. All the affection, all the care, all the attention we received our whole lives will vanish. Memories of family dinners, vacations, and other snippets of normality growing up will be lost—should I allow it to be.

Now, I’m not saying that I want a brother or a sister. That is not a decision for a son to make, nor did I ever pressure my parents to conjure up a playmate for me. From my experience, it’s a flip of the coin on whether you’ll actually get along with your siblings. Regardless, I think a bond between siblings is sacred; they endure the test of time. I find myself attempting to replicate that relationship with my friends and my cousins, but since most of my friends and cousins have siblings and families of their own, the sensation is far from authentic.

A family has a gravitational force that pulls all the beings together. An only child suffers the fate of orbiting alone, like the moon around Earth. Insignificant to the universe, but vital to the planet, we can only wonder what life would be like if there was another.

Unhaggle | How to Buy a New Car That Would Suit Your Daily Needs

Posted by  | February 05, 2014 |
Ghostwritten by Elliot Chan. Formerly published by Unhaggle.com 
carlifestyleLike a new sweater or a new haircut, a new car is no different – It has to suit you and you alone. On one hand, a vehicle is a necessity, and on the other hand, a vehicle is fashion. It’s what people see you arriving and leaving in, so it is important that it represents you in the right way. But hey, I get it – cars are not something everyone can splurge on. We must be practical. So, how can we find the balance between budget and lifestyle to get us going in the direction we want? Simple. Just follow our guide and you’ll get there!

Figure Out Your Lifestyle

As trends show, certain types of lifestyles adhere to certain types of vehicles, and although you might want to turn heads with the most unique set of wheels on the block, you also should consider sticking with what’s in style.

Different types of people use their vehicles for different reasons. If you have a family, you might want to take your partner’s needs into consideration and figure out whether your children will be driving the new car any time soon.

If you have a large family of five to seven people, you will probably need an accommodating vehicle – like a minivan or an SUV. But if you have a smaller family with a teenager preparing for their first driving lesson, you might consider finding an adaptable vehicle that focuses on safety instead.Honda, Toyota and Subaru have consistently achieved accolades for their safety features and compatibility.

But if you haven’t settled down yet, and sharing a vehicle is not priority, you might want to consider other options, depending on your work, play and eco-friendly attitude. Most people simply need something ideal for commuting. That means a car must have good gas mileage, while offering comfort and, above all else, reliability, because god knows you don’t want to be late for another business meeting.

Then again, you might have an adventurous mindset, so a simple but reliable hatchback might not do it for you. If you want to find that secluded campsite or just take the road less traveled, take some time to decide if a truck or an SUV will in fact be worth it – even though they often come with extra expenses.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the eco-friendly people who want to reduce carbon footprint, but have a lifestyle where transit is not possible. Hybrids, electric and diesel cars may all be a greener option, if staying eco-friendly is your goal.

Prepare a Budget

As a car buyer, you shouldn’t set the bar too high when it comes to selecting a new car. Sure, we all want the luxury and sports cars, but remember that the MSRP is not all you have to consider. There are also other expenses to take into account such as maintenance and insurance fees, which are not cheap.

Don’t be naive when it comes to budgetary constraints, because it can end up biting you big time in the long run. Understand your financial status, your salary, your living situation (social security and tax) and your bills. Some experts suggest that you should only buy a car if you can afford it with cash or if it costs 20% of your annual income.

Obviously paying in cash is not always possible – not in this economy – and that 20% suggestion is often overruled. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t make the best decision for yourself. Monthly payments may seem like a financially responsible choice, but be warned that a slight increase in payment can really offset your budget. Leasing might also be an option for those who are okay with owning a new car every few years, while losing equity.

Compile a List of Prospective Cars

You probably have the car you want in mind already. Yes, you see it occasionally as you await the next bus or wave down a cab. So, why not mark it down and see where the cost lands on your budgetary range. Acknowledge your lifestyle as well and understand whether that vehicle is actually right for you.

Let’s say you have set your eyes on the 2014 Lexus RX 450h (average MSRP $47,000), but it’s slightly over your budget. As such, you might want to take one notch down on the price range and look at a vehicle such as the 2014 Chevrolet Traverse (average MSRP $30,000). Both are mid-size SUVs with high user ratings, but they have very different prices. How does that Rolling Stones song go? “You can’t always get what you want…” In other words, know your limits and never exceed them!

Start Haggling

Okay, so you’re ready to take to the dealership. You already know which car is right for you and you are going to get it – no matter what!

Hold it there – because you can still save yourself a bit more if you handle the purchasing scenario appropriately. Don’t just walk in there and drop the suitcase full of money. Be tactful, do your research and review how much your vehicle will cost, not just the MSRP, but also the invoice price (the price the dealership has actually paid for the vehicle). That should be the price where you start negotiating from, and you can find the information through sites such as Unhaggle.com.

Also, keep in mind what features you want beforehand and be wary of incentives. Buying a car shouldn’t be an arm wrestle, and as long as you do it with class, you’ll ride out in the vehicle that suits your style best.