BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience

BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience

uLike many, I’ve always imagined blasting an expensive sports car through a twisty, high-speed thrill ride. Maybe it’s the TV commercials. The ones that require a legal disclaimer: “Professional driver on closed course. Do not attempt.” Alas, most of us can only fantasize about what it feels like to control the power of a true performance car. Either we can’t afford one, or we never get the chance — or the nerve — to push a car that hard.

So we’re left wondering about the mystique of BMWs, the standard-setter for performance among premium-brand sedans. What is it about these so-called “ultimate driving machines” that seduces thousands of otherwise practical people into making monthly payments that rival the mortgage?

BMW is attempting to answer this question with a nationwide consumer event, the “Ultimate Driving Experience”. Designed to teach drivers of all levels to feel more confident and in control on the roads, the no-fee program offers consumers a chance to drive the redesigned 2006 BMW 330i through an autocross at breakneck speeds. Even better, participants also do an Audi/BMW/Infiniti comparison, testing the 2006 Audi A4

How to Share the Road with Truckers

How to Share the Road with Truckers

vEverybody has a horror story to tell about an encounter they’ve had with an 18-wheeler on the Interstate, and how they were nearly killed by the inattentiveness of the truck driver. News programs like Dateline NBC and 60 Minutes feed this fear with selectively edited stories regarding truck safety. But what nobody seems to consider is that they themselves may have caused the problem because of ignorance about what is involved in driving a truck, or by engaging in righteous driving behavior that did nothing but endanger their own lives and those of the people they care most about.

Personally, we’ve seen rude truckers hog the road, and we’ve seen dimwitted drivers set themselves up for what could be a very painful, if not deadly, lesson. Furthermore, not all trucks traveling the nation’s highways are properly maintained, due to a lack of finances or pure laziness. But for most truck drivers, who are paid by the mile and are held responsible for damaged goods, their lives and livelihoods depend on driving a well-maintained truck carefully, and getting freight to its destination on time.

Tractor trailer

Caught! Big Brother May Be Watching You With Traffic Cameras

Caught! Big Brother May Be Watching You With Traffic Cameras

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Maybe you’ve seen them in the vicinity of traffic signals. Those insidious cameras that stand ready to catch your transgressions on film, unbeknownst to you until that fateful day you receive a citation in the mail, accompanied by a photo of you blatantly disregarding the law as you cruise through a red light.

Red light cameras are meant to act as a much needed deterrent from running red lights. Motorists are more likely to be injured in crashes involving red light running than in other types of crashes. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2007, almost 900 were killed and nearly 153,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running. About half of the deaths are pedestrians and occupants in other vehicles who are hit by the red light runners. The IIHS has reported huge decreases in red light running in several cities in which the cameras were used.

As a result, traffic cameras are becoming increasingly common at America’s intersections. As of April 2009, 25 states and the District of Columbia have installed them. The cameras are designed to snap

10 Tips to Clean and Detail Your Car Like a Pro

10 Tips to Clean and Detail Your Car Like a Pro

1. 10 Tips to Clean and Detail Your Car Like a Pro

“Think of the surface of your car as you would your face,” says Mike Schultz, head of new products at Turtle Wax. “It needs to be properly taken care of in order to have a healthy glow.”

Today, it’s easier than ever to do that yourself: Techniques developed by professional detailers have trickled down to passionate car enthusiasts. Auto paint has been improved from the days of lacquer covered with carnauba paste wax, and now it’s more durable and shines longer than ever. That means it’s okay to toss out your old cans of rubbing compound, your leather chamois, and piles of newsprint for buffing and replace them with items like blocks of paint-cleaning clay, microfiber cloths, aloe leather healer, and chemical paint cleaners.

If you’re considering some DIY detailing, proceed with caution. The pro detailers who provided us with these tips are practiced with rotating buffers that clean and resurface paint with wool or charcoal-coated foam pads, and they warn that such machines are not for an amateur Saturday-morning project. But the following 10 steps will

Automotive Marketing Ideas: 10 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Business

Automotive Marketing Ideas: 10 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Business

When it comes to marketing ideas to grow your auto repair, dealership, bodywork, auto parts and accessories, or car wash business, advertising advice that works for other enterprises may fall short. The problem with the automotive industry is that people don’t generally tend to think about your services until they suddenly need them. So how do you make sure that yours is the first business they find when they start looking? Here are ten marketing ideas tailored specifically to the automotive sales and service industry that will help drive customers right to your door.

  1. Establish and Optimize Your Web Presence

This seems obvious, so why do so many auto repair shops and the like still refuse to join the party? Studies show that up to 97% of those looking to buy, fix, or customize a car start their journey online. Whether they get referrals from Facebook friends, check out directories of auto dealers, or simply Google “auto repairs near me,” the Internet is where they’re looking. The bottom line? If you don’t have a strong web presence, you’re not likely to be found. As a minimum, you should have a website, a blog, social media business pages, and an email marketing

How To Survive 10 Driving Emergencies

How To Survive 10 Driving Emergencies

To earn a private pilot’s license, a student has to show proficiency in overcoming basic urgent and emergency situations. But to get a driver license, a motorist need only demonstrate a clumsy three-point turn and a ham-fisted attempt at parallel parking. Some states don’t even require that. The first time that drivers are asked to demonstrate their accident-avoidance skills, lives may be on the line. Without knowledge and practice, the odds are not in their favor.

I first learned about the basic skills required to turn emergency driving situations into non-events from car magazines and Piero Taruffi’s 1959 book, The Technique of Motor Racing. I honed those techniques as a racecar driver, vehicle and tire tester and holder of a commercial driver license (for driving big rigs).

From all that experience, I’ve distilled these tips for you. To make them life savers, though, you’ll need practice. Good practice areas include under-construction subdivisions after working hours, parking lots of derelict stores and dead-end roads. Use common sense, keep speeds under 35 mph and limit practice to 15 minutes per session.

Emergency 1: The Accident You Don’t See Coming
The best way to survive an accident is not to get into one. Start by accepting

The Pros and Cons of Run-Flat Tires

The Pros and Cons of Run-Flat Tires

A flat tire often happens at the most inopportune moment or location. Most people may call roadside assistance, but they’ll likely be waiting about 45 minutes to an hour. If you know how to change the spare, it’s a dirty job and chances are you’re not properly dressed for it. Worse yet, your car may have no spare and you don’t know how to use the tire repair kit.

Enter the run-flat tire. Run-flat or zero-pressure tires can support the weight of a vehicle for a short time, providing the driver with roughly 100 miles of range to find a repair shop. While it may sound like the perfect solution, car owners and car shoppers should know about the trade-offs.

Run-flat tires are standard on 12 percent of new vehicles, according to Edmunds data. Traditionally, carmakers have used run-flat tires on sports cars, but in recent years they have started to use them for other cars, too. Cadillac and BMW, for example, have made run-flat tires standard on a number of their sedans.

Self-Supporting Tire
The most common type of run-flat tire in use today is the self-supporting tire. The tire’s sidewalls are heavily reinforced to support the vehicle when the air pressure

Your Day in Traffic Court

Your Day in Traffic Court

At Edmunds.com we do not in any way condone breaking traffic laws. However, there are times we feel we have unfairly received a ticket because of extenuating circumstances or because of a speed trap on a lonely downhill stretch of road. These articles were written for the driver who feels unjustly accused and who wants to argue their case in traffic court.

My rearview mirror exploded with blue and white lights. I glanced down at my speedometer — I was pushing 80 mph. But the cars around me were going about the same speed. Could this cop really be pulling me over?

I carefully navigated my way across six lanes of traffic. I pulled over on the shoulder and waited, my heart pounding. Moments later the motorcycle cop’s helmeted face appeared in the passenger window.

“License and registration,” he said, raising his voice over the roar of the traffic.

“What’s the problem?” I asked.

“You were doing 80 in a 65-mile-an-hour zone.” He disappeared before I could argue the point.

Busted.

I sat there fuming, thinking of the money this would cost me, the increased insurance premiums or the cost and time to attend traffic school. And for what? Going 80 miles per hour on the 405

Escape That Traffic Jam — for a Fee

Escape That Traffic Jam — for a Fee

Peter Samuel writes an online newsletter about the toll-highway business. But he’s far from a dispassionate observer when it comes to HOT (high-occupancy toll) lanes, a spreading innovation that provides commuters with an escape valve from urban traffic jams — for a hefty fee.

Traffic authorities are likely to install HOT lanes on I-270 north of Washington, D.C., all the way out to the exit at suburban Frederick, Maryland, where Samuel lives. “I’d like to dash down there and pay $3 or $4 as a toll and get a guaranteed easy ride to appointments in D.C.,” said Samuel, editor of Toll Roads News. “For me, it’s even the uncertainty that there will be congestion that makes things difficult.”

As automotive traffic continues to grow in America’s cities — and the infrastructure sags and creaks under the heavier burden — “congestion pricing” is emerging as an increasingly favored tool of traffic engineers and policy makers. The idea is simple: Many drivers will pay significant extra fees for access to where they want or need to go, even if they grumble about the cost.

Urban planners and politicians can use the huge extra revenues to fix and expand roads, bridges and ramps, beyond the revenues

Top Ten Tips To Avoid An Accident

Top Ten Tips To Avoid An Accident

Preventing accidents is easy when you know what to do.

Sometimes it’s the obvious things that can have the largest impact. You know the statistics, you’ve taken the classes and you’re ready to drive. But what about all those facts that say teen drivers are most likely to have an accident?

If you follow these common sense steps, you will be taking the most important steps to ensuring you avoid an accident.

  1. Develop the right attitude about driving. Many teen auto accidents are a result of attitude and maturity, not skills or knowledge. Make a commitment to yourself to practice a responsible attitude about driving. You’re controlling over 3,000 pounds of fast-moving metal, and you owe it to yourself, your passengers and other drivers to drive responsibly.
  2. Get as much supervised practice driving as possible. Your parents should take an active role in your practice driving. Make a firm schedule with them and stick to it. And keep it up until you take your test to get a license.
    Many states now have graduated licensing laws. To learn about the laws in your state visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  3. ALWAYS wear your safety belt. Get into the habit of wearing a safety belt

What to Do After a Car Accident

What to Do After a Car Accident

Each year, thousands of people are involved in traffic accidents during the Memorial Day Weekend. If you are one of these unfortunate people, will you know what to do in the aftermath of a collision? How you react can prevent further injuries, reduce costs and accelerate the clean-up and repair process.

The Consumer Protection Association of America is increasing public awareness on this subject by designating the week before Memorial Day “National Driver Education Week.” The Association has developed a list of suggestions to help drivers anticipate what they need to know about dealing with an accident.

“These tips can make a big difference in everything from protecting yourself and your passengers to ensuring that you won’t be without a car while yours is in the shop,” said Dr. Ray Bruce, president of the association.

Over 6.3 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes occurred in the United States in 1998. Almost one-third of these accidents resulted in injury. In 2001, nearly 42,000 people died on America’s roadways. Clearly, accidents are a part of life in America.

So, if you are involved in a traffic collision, try to remain calm, and follow these steps:

Action Plan to Deal with Accidents:

  1. Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Glove

Are You a Candidate for Car Sharing?

Are You a Candidate for Car Sharing?

Would you let a perfect stranger drive your car? Would you do it if you could earn an average of $300 per month?

When Edmunds asked this question on Facebook, the answers ranged from “Absolutely not” to more colorful refutations that can’t be reprinted here. It’s an understandable reaction. Car sharing raises questions about insurance, vehicle security and personal safety, to say nothing of the queasy feeling that comes with letting someone else drive your four-wheeled baby.

And yet, following in the footsteps of people who rent out their homes to vacationers they’ve never met, hundreds of people are renting out their personal cars through car-sharing services like RelayRides, Getaround and Wheelz. Earning extra money is the primary motivation, but various owners who rent out their cars cite other reasons as well.

How Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Started
Jeremy Barton of San Francisco felt “a bit guilty” about how little he was driving his Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. “For the most part, I keep it just so I can drive to Tahoe,” he says. “I can bike to work, so for five days out of most weeks, my car would just sit idle.”

Since Barton joined RelayRides, he has rented out the car 61 times.

10 Things Teens Should Know About Cars and Driving

10 Things Teens Should Know About Cars and Driving

When a teenager gets a driver license, it signifies freedom and the lure of the open road. But with this newfound freedom comes a host of new situations and possible problems that most teen drivers have never encountered before. It’s a good idea to review these scenarios with new drivers in your family, and discuss how to handle them before they happen for real.

From traffic stops to road rage, here’s a primer on what you need to tell teen drivers as they take to the roads.

  1. What to do when you’re stopped by a police officer
    Safely pull to the side of the road, turn off your car, roll down the window and keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves or argue with the officer. Do your arguing in traffic court.
  2. How to deal with a flat tire
    Pull completely off the road, even if it means destroying the tire. Call roadside assistance and let that person change the tire. If you have a spare (many cars now only have an inflation kit) and know how to change the tire, make sure you are out of traffic and in plain sight of oncoming traffic before changing it yourself.

Find cheaper car insurance with our money-saving tips

Find cheaper car insurance with our money-saving tips

Cheap motor insurance

With daily car journeys a necessity for many families, it’s likely there are few of us who could seriously consider life without our own motor. But when your car insurance renewal quote arrives on your doormat, you could be forgiven for thinking again… Perhaps even for hunting out your local bus timetable.

Auto insurance can be a major cost for motorists who already face high fuel prices, paying for regular MOTs and services and of course covering the cost of the vehicle they drive each day.

If you’re looking to find cheaper auto insurance, try these tips for lowering your car insurance costs.

1. Compare car insurance online

Shopping around for auto insurance is often a simple but effective way to reduce the price you pay for cover. Insurance companies rarely offer their very best deals to existing customers, instead reserving their cheapest possible prices for new customers. Use our car insurance comparison tool to see how much you could save by switching insurers. Just remember to make sure you are comparing like for like cover, with voluntary excesses set at the same level and including any extras that you’d usually add on.

2. Increase your excess

Opting for a higher voluntary excess when setting up

Fresher Drive Smartly: Car Driving Tips for Beginners

Fresher Drive Smartly: Car Driving Tips for Beginners

Driving a car is thrill and interesting especially for beginners. The car driving tips for beginners are important for safe and happy driving. The car driving tips for beginners are summarized below:

Drive under Guidance: The first tip is to drive under guidance for small period of time to get you accustomed with the city traffic. The experienced guidance will help the first time drivers to understand the dos and don’ts. In fact they can learn many things while driving with someone and the good driving skills can be developed from the first day.

Catch Basics: Learn the usage of clutch and gear change and smooth brake implementation. The speed is not necessary rather than learning how to slow down and apply brakes suddenly.

Relax Mind:  Drive without panic and keep yourself calm and cool. The relaxed mind will help you in understanding the traffic and prevent any mishaps.

Obey Rules and Regulations: The traffic signals, rules and regulations are meant for your safety. Always follow them for safe driving. There is always an advantage of following rules it avoids clashes and prevent traffic jams.

Forget about Mobile Calls: The car driving tips for beginners take it as a spell to avoid mobile phone usage

10 Things You Should Know About Buying Auto Insurance

10 Things You Should Know About Buying Auto Insurance
  1. How is Your Insurance Rate Determined?
    Two factors determine what you pay for auto insurance. The first factor is underwriting and the second factor is rating. Insurance companies underwrite to assess the risk associated with an applicant, group the applicant with other similar risks and decide if the company will accept the application. Based on the results of the underwriting process, the rating assigns a price based on what the insurer believes it will cost to assume the financial responsibility for the applicant’s potential claim.

    Each company adopts its own rating system, although there are general guidelines that all companies follow.
    The single greatest influence on the rating process is claim frequency. This does not mean how many times you specifically have made an insurance claim, although that will have an additional effect. Claim frequency measures how often an insured event occurs within a group relative to the number of policies contained in that group. Persons sharing characteristics with high claims groups will be charged more for insurance coverage.

  2. Specific Factors that Affect Your Rate
    • Your driving record – drivers with previous violations or accidents are considered to be higher risk
    • Your geographic territory – urban areas have more claims than rural areas
    • Your

Driving Safety Tips to Prevent an Accident

Driving Safety Tips to Prevent an Accident

The vast majority of motor vehicle accidents that occur in the U.S. are due to human error. While accident rates have been declining, they are still staggeringly high, mostly due to simple mistakes people make while driving. Fortunately, there are many things drivers can do to minimize the risk of being injured in an accident while on the road.

  • Keep everyone belted in: An alarmingly high rate of fatalities in car crashes occur because the person involved was not wearing a seat belt. If you have kids, make sure they are belted in. This will protect them as well as keep them from distracting you as much.
  • Avoid drunk driving: Nearly a third of all vehicle accidents occur because of drunk driving. Even if your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit, it can still affect your driving. If you know that you will be drinking, take a taxi or arrange for someone else to drive you home.
  • Get plenty of sleep: Nearly as dangerous as driving drunk is driving drowsy. Lack of adequate sleep can result in reduced reaction time, difficulty making decisions, and lapses into unconsciousness, which can occur without warning.
  • Keep the speed limit: For every mile per hour you

Confessions of a Parking Valet

Confessions of a Parking Valet

Introduction

It can be nerve-wracking handing your car keys to a total stranger at a valet station. You don’t know if they’re responsible drivers, what their definition of “gentle” is, or often where your car is headed. If all parking valets were trustworthy, there wouldn’t be a need for the “valet key” that prevents one from opening the trunk and glovebox.

When we decided to delve into the secret life of valet parking attendants, we expected some stories about concealed door dings, petty theft or occasional hijinks behind the wheel. But we had no idea the extent to which some valets routinely take liberties with their customers’ property.

Our “confessor” (let’s call him Mark) has worked both at upscale hotels and small valet parking companies and has seen (and done) his share of mischief. He shares his experience with us, no holds barred. Learning how valets think and how some of them treat your property might make you reconsider self-parking.

Who’s Parking Your Car?

According to Mark, most parking valets fall into three general categories. The first is student types seeking flexible hours and a job that doesn’t require much training. The second group is often working nights after another job, and are often the

Tips on servicing and maintaining your car

Tips on servicing and maintaining your car

Caring for your car saves money

Getting your car serviced each year – and maintaining it between services – is money well spent. Problems are likely to be caught early on when they’re cheaper to fix, and your car will have a better resale value and longer life.

A well-maintained car is also more efficient, so you’ll save money on fuel as well. If you need to claim on a warranty you’ll normally have to show that you’ve got a complete service record.

Get to know your car’s service manual

Your car’s service manual is the key to keeping your vehicle in good repair. Written by the people who designed and built your car, it should show:

  • how often you’ll need to get your car serviced
  • how often regular maintenance tasks need to be carried out – for example, oil changes
  • when the car’s replaceable parts might need to be changed

It’s also a good idea to use the service manual to plan ahead for the cost of your car’s maintenance and repair bills.

To avoid spending money on your car unnecessarily, always follow the schedule in the service manual. For example, many dealerships and quick oil change chains will typically recommend an oil change twice as often as

12 Easy Tips To Increase Your Car Mileage

12 Easy Tips To Increase Your Car Mileage

In the days ever rising fuel prices, the fuel bills are digging deep into the pockets of a common man. I’m going to share some practices which can get you more miles out of your fuel by increasing the fuel average or fuel mileage of your car.

Tip 1: Do not accelerate too fast

Too quick acceleration consumes too much fuel, accelerate slowly and gradually. That will save quite a significant amount of fuel in city driving.

Tip 2: Do not use clutch too much (Stick Shift Only)

If you use a manual transmission car, as is mostly used by people in India, do-not drive with clutch pressed, or use clutch only when needed, too much use of clutch will waste a lot of fuel.

Tip 3: Change gears appropriately (Stick Shify Only)

This is also applicable for manual transmission cars. Use correct gears at correct speeds, this will help save the fuel. For correct speeds, see your car’s user manual.

Tip 4: No Excuses to delay car service

Get the car serviced as per manufacturer’s recommended schedule. This will ensure good health of engine, less maintenance due to break-down.

Tip 5: Do you drive in dusty environment? Clean the Air-filter

If you drive in dusty environment the air-filter gets

Cargo Weight and Rollovers: Know the Limits of Your SUV

Cargo Weight and Rollovers: Know the Limits of Your SUV

New vehicle segments, technology and safety legislation — along with commonsense driving advice — can go a long way toward insuring that the worst does not occur when you’re behind the wheel of a sport-utility vehicle. A few years ago it seemed that every commercial for an SUV included a group of hard-bodied 20-somethings set to conquer the wilderness. They high-fived their way through whitewater rapids, forests and the occasional desert with kayaks, mountain bikes and backpacks scattered inside — and on top of — their vehicle. However, in the real world of bulky baby seats and traffic jams, these scenes of off-road machismo make as much sense as a Good Humor truck at the North Pole.

SUVs appeal to consumers because of their greater cargo capacity and perceived go-anywhere capability. Compared to typical sedans and station wagons, it seems logical that a larger 4WD vehicle would offer both these advantages with few tradeoffs. This is despite the fact that many SUVs have a payload capacity (how much weight they can carry) that is considerably less than what buyers assume. Once an SUV is overloaded, the chance of a rollover increases dramatically.

The taller height of an SUV (which provides a commanding