Subaru has worked diligently over the years to make its cars as safe as for possible for people, but now it is shifting some of that focus to man’s best friend.
The Japanese automaker, which has cultivated an image as a pet-friendly brand over the years, has teamed up with the nonprofit Center for Pet Safety to study the dangers of driving with a dog. Their research involves putting dog-shaped dummies through crash simulations at a Virginia laboratory that tests child seats for the government.
Currently, there are no standards — either governmental or from the private sector — for the various in-car equipment sold for dogs, resulting in consumers often swapping bad information about the best way to protect their furry companions in cars. For instance, many drivers see no harm in carrying dogs in their laps.
The first round of tests revealed that while many popular dog harnesses did a good job in keeping dogs from distracting the driver, they broke during a car crash, often lunching the dog headfirst toward the front seat.
As the first-ever automaker to study crash safety for pets, Subaru is hoping that its work will spur the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or SAE International to finally tackle the issue.
“We’d like to see something developed over time, but it’s not really our job,” Dave Sullivan, the marketing, launch and strategy manager at Subaru of America, told . “We’re trying to do our best to raise the issue.”
The initiative also bolsters the company’s pet-friendly image.
Accidents Happen: Getting Your Auto Glass Repaired Doesn’t Have To Be Stressful
A cracked or otherwise damaged windshield is dangerous for several reasons. Not only can it impair the driver’s vision, but it can also endanger all passengers during an accident.
A crack or chip can easily compromise your windshield’s structural integrity and shouldn’t be taken lightly regardless of whether your car is new or old. In fact, in many parts of the world, there are laws that govern the condition of a windshield.
In Ontario, Canada’s largest province, for instance, lawmakers included the following specifically with regard to windshield cracks when they updated the used car inspection standards in 2016:
- A crack cannot be more than 50 millimeters in any area that the windshield wipers cover
- The crack cannot obstruct the driver’s view, no matter how big or little it is.
In the latter instance, inspectors may give some leeway for hairline or very small chips or cracks, but don’t count on it.
Many vehicle owners must deal with this aspect of the new inspection law, because the windshield absorbs more wear and tear than almost any other part of the vehicle. Today’s high-tread tires give drivers better control than ever before, and they also toss up more pebbles and other road debris than ever before. This junk remains suspended in midair for several seconds, just waiting for driver like you to plow into it at full speed.
All told, it’s quite remarkable that vehicle windshields last very long at all. When yours suffers damage, what can an service do?
Repair Or Replace?
Tiny chips, hairline cracks, and other such flaws are usually fairly easy to repair for less than $100. Many services offer mobile repair options that can repair your windshield on your lunch hour at work, so there is even less reason to delay such a call.
Typically, if the crack or chip is smaller than a dollar bill, repair is usually in order. But there are some exceptions:
- Chip or crack directly in the driver’s line of sight,
- A flaw along the edge of the windshield, or
- More than three small cracks.
In these instances, the entire windshield probably needs to be replaced. That sounds like a headache, but the longer you put off the problem, the worse it gets and the more painful the fix becomes. Such a fix is pretty much inevitable. As mentioned earlier, cracks must be fixed or else the car will flunk inspection. Moreover, in many jurisdictions, cracked windshields often merit traffic tickets.
Making The Right Choice
If repair is an option, it’s almost always the right choice, for a number of reasons:
- Cost: As mentioned, the cost is often negligible. Moreover, to encourage their customers to take the less expensive option, many auto insurance companies waive deductibles in windshield repair cases.
- Convenience: Repairs very rarely take more than an hour.
- Eco-Friendly: Discarded windshields go into landfills, and as glass is not biodegradable, they will stay there forever.
Usually, the repair technician rinses the windshield clean, injects a specialized resin into the chip or crack, and then polishes the area.
If warranted, it’s very important to proceed with windshield replacement. In addition to visibility, the windshield withstands during a rollover crash. If it’s weak, it cannot protect the way it should, leaving the vehicle occupants at risk. There are precise safety standards for the entire process, and experienced auto glass replacement professionals follow these guidelines to a T.
If your windshield needs attention, don’t make the problem worse by putting it off.
Hyundai Introduces First Panoramic Sunroof Airbag
As a novelty that’s increasingly becoming popular, large panoramic sunroofs present a looming danger that could see passengers get thrown out of the roof of their car in the event of an accident. One automaker, Hyundai, has come up with new way to mitigate this risk.
The Korean automaker has introduced the world’s first panoramic sunroof airbag, one designed to keep passengers inside the vehicle during an accident and prevent injuries, especially to the head.
Resembling a curtain airbag, the innovative airbag is installed inside the sunroof and deploys from the rear of the vehicle. It features a sensor that detects when the turning angle of the vehicle is changed due to a rollover, activating the inflator to deploy the airbag.
Its cushion is inflated by gas and covers the vehicle’s entire roof surface in a hasty 0.08 seconds.
According to Hyundai, test on dummies showed that the panoramic sunroof airbag prevented the occupants from being flung out of the car and cushioned the impact on the head.
The company hasn’t announced when the airbag will be offered, but it can’t come soon enough.
The Evolution of Automotive Safety
During the early days of the automotive age, little thought was given to automobile safety. This wasn’t due to any deliberate indifference at the time. Rather, it was just that these “horseless carriages” moved so slow, not to mention new, that no one realized just how dangerous they could be.
As time went on, however, they got bigger and faster, and the safety for the drivers and passengers became an issue.
The First Safety Feature Was A Starter
After the introduction of brakes and headlights, the next safety feature was the electric starter. To consider an electric starter in a car as a safety feature may come as a surprise, but it is.
You see, before electric starters were developed, car engines were started by hand crank. Not only did this require a great deal of strength, it could cause some serious injury. The problem was backfiring — if the engine you were cranking all of the sudden backfired, which was a very common occurrence back then, the crank could kick back and strike you.
As the story goes, in 1914, a good friend of an automotive engineer by the name Charles “Boss” Kettering died when a backfiring crank hit him in the jaw. Kettering realized that the crank method of starting cars was really too dangerous and an alternative needed to be developed, prompting him to develop the electric car starter.
The Next Few Decades
From 1915 until 1940, automobiles evolved pretty much continuously, with their technology advancing with more power and more contemporary styling with each model year. Car safety? Little happened in that area.
Safety was an occasional thought that was usually driven by marketing departments. That is, if a “safety feature” sold more cars, then it was quickly developed and advertised.
The Baby Boom
The onset of the baby boom in the late 1940s saw parents and the federal government becoming more concerned with automotive safety. Rudimentary seat belts became optional on some Ford models in the 1950, and according to our friends at , a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in Webster, TX, Volvo was the automaker that actually pioneered the three-point safety belts in 1959.
The automobile manufacturers were slowly adopting features that were designed with safety in mind.
In 1965, Ralph Nader published a nasty denunciation of the automotive industry in his now-well-known book . While the he used the Chevrolet Corvair as a prime example, the book was a clear indictment of the whole automotive industry.
The book achieved the desire result, prompting Washington to pass what would become the basis for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Safety engineering — largely driven by the federal government and a general awareness of automotive safety — is a now a critical area of importance for all manufacturers. While some will fuss about all the cumbersome regulations involved, it’s important to keep in mind that the survivability of accidents has increased many times over since the 1960s. In the future, we will undoubtedly see further innovation, improved crash performance and even more human lives saved.