Latest News From Bumper to Bumper Radio

AAA Commends NHTSA and DOT on Commitment to Protecting First Responders at the Roadside

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 18, 2020) -- AAA commends Senators Duckworth, Durbin, Fischer and Representative Bustos for their request of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the effectiveness of Move Over laws. We are not surprised by the report’s findings that there is a lack of traffic data related to Move Over law violations, low public awareness of laws and a glaring absence of resources available to assist state officials in raising awareness of the laws. However, we are encouraged by and commend the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation for their commitments to rectify these shortfalls through an expansion of data collection and an investment in forthcoming studies and investigations.

Volvo Cars Imagines the Future of Autonomous Drive by Tapping Into Origins of Human Communication

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Dec. 22, 2020 - Volvo Cars has established itself as one of the leaders in autonomous drive development, following its announcement earlier this year that its next generation of cars will be available as hardware ready for the technology from production start.

At the same time, the company is also looking further into the future, considering how autonomous cars will communicate with other road users in a driverless world. This research looks beyond current Highway Pilot plans, which aims to have cars drive safely on their own on chosen areas of highway that Volvo has verified as safe. To design this future, however, Volvo's experts are seeking inspiration from the past.

"We make no secret about the fact that we see autonomous drive as the real long-term solution to avoid car accidents and to achieve traffic safety," says Mats Moberg, Senior Vice President of R&D at Volvo Cars. However, as is always the case at Volvo Cars, safety is the first concern.

The Volvo 360c autonomous concept car, unveiled in 2018, provides one possible avenue of future development. It explores the type of safety-focused communication Volvo Cars believes will be essential to cars of the future when it comes to sharing the road with other road users, including other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. The design for the 360c explores a combination of external sounds, lights, and even subtle movements to communicate the vehicle's intentions to other road users.

At Least 34 Million Fewer Americans to Travel This Holiday Season

Three-quarters of Americans are expected to stay home; AAA advises caution for those who decide to travel

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 15, 2020) – AAA Travel expects the vast majority of Americans to stay home this holiday season. Public health concerns and travel guidance are influencing their decisions not to travel over the year-end holidays, a period that typically sees high demand for vacations. While AAA expects at least 34 million fewer travelers compared to last year’s holiday season, as many as 84.5 million Americans may still travel from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3, a decline in travel of at least 29%.

“While Thanksgiving is traditionally spent gathering with friends and family, the year-end holidays are when Americans often venture out for longer, more elaborate vacations. That will not be the case this year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Public health concerns, official guidance not to travel, and an overall decline in consumer sentiment have encouraged the vast majority of Americans to stay home for the holidays.”

The CDC urges Americans not to travel for the holidays this year, warning that travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

For those who make the personal decision to travel, it is important to understand the risks involved and take steps to keep yourself and others safe. Seek the advice of a trusted travel advisor and refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com for the latest state and local travel restrictions, and to help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along your route.

What to Know Before You Go

Plan Ahead. Check with state and local officials along your route and at your destination to learn about local guidance and any restrictions that may be in place. This includes what is expected of you when you return home. Many localities are requiring COVID-19 testing prior to and after travel.
Follow Public Health Guidance.

How Automated Vehicles Can Impede Driver Performance, And What To Do About It

As cars keep getting smarter, automation is taking many tricky tasks -- from parallel parking to backing up -- out of drivers' hands.

Now, a University of Toronto Engineering study is underscoring the importance of drivers keeping their eyes on the road -- even when they are in an automated vehicle (AV).

Using an AV driving simulator and eye-tracking equipment, Professor Birsen Donmez and her team studied two types of in-vehicle displays and their effects on the driving behaviours of 48 participants.

The findings, published recently in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, revealed that drivers can become over-reliant on AV technology. This was especially true with a type of in-vehicle display the team coined as takeover request and automation capability (TORAC).

A "takeover request" asks the driver to take vehicle control when automation is not able to handle a situation; "automation capability" indicates how close to that limit the automation is.

"Drivers find themselves in situations where, although they are not actively driving, they are still part of the driving task -- they must be monitoring the vehicle and step in if the vehicle fails," says Donmez.

Survey Says: Men Are More Aggressive Behind the Wheel

AAA urges motorists to keep their cool as research shows differences between men and women regarding aggressive driving behavior

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 3, 2020) Data gathered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms the perception that men tend to speed, tailgate, merge dangerously, and make rude gestures or honk at other drivers more than women. The survey finds that women also admit to some dangerous driving habits, such as running red lights. Overall, younger male and female drivers tend to be more aggressive than older drivers. With everyday stress already compounded by the pandemic and now the holiday season, which can elevate tensions on the road, AAA urges motorists to keep their cool and avoid dangerous driving habits.

Regardless of gender, nearly 8 in 10 (79%) American drivers demonstrate aggressive behaviors when behind the wheel. Speeding tops the list, with men being the biggest culprit, though women are not far behind. Contrary to common perception, speeding does not save time on the road. The average amount saved on a 5-mile trip, driving 65 mph on a 45 mph posted road, is only 1.9 minutes.

“Speeding, red-light running, and cutting other drivers off can kill you, your passengers, and others sharing the road,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy. “Driving aggressively isn’t worth the risk. When you get behind the wheel, be patient, be kind, and obey traffic laws so everyone gets home safely.”

Safely Road Tripping During a Pandemic

A vacation, let alone a road trip, might sound very daunting or impossible during a pandemic. However, there are ways to keep safe if you do have to travel. Not only do YOU need to keep healthy and safe during a road trip, but your vehicle needs to be kept “healthy” and safe too!

Packing everything you need is key because you may be in a remote area with no internet access, or ability to buy groceries and drinking water. Keep reading to learn some tips on keeping safe while road tripping!

Is Road Tripping Safe During Covid-19?

Stepping out of isolation can put anybody at risk for Covid-19 during these times. However, taking a road trip is safer than being exposed to public transport and flights. Depending on where you are located, there may or may not be restrictions on domestic travel. The CDC has warned that car travel can present some risk because it’s usually necessary to make stops along the way for gas, food, or restroom breaks. And, it’s a possibility to come in contact with other people and surfaces. There are some things you can do, however, to mitigate your risk.

Average New-Vehicle Prices Up 1.3% Year-Over-Year in November 2020, Down 1.2% from Last Month

IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 1, 2020 -- The valuation analysts at Kelley Blue Book today reported the estimated average transaction price for a light vehicle in the United States was $39,259 in November 2020. New-vehicle prices increased $499 (up 1.3%) from November 2019, while falling $480 (down 1.2%) from last month.

"COVID-19 began its second surge with cases on the rise this past month and right before for the holiday season," said Kayla Reynolds, industry intelligence analyst at Cox Automotive. "Consumer confidence has been faltering and unemployment remains stubbornly high. Still, consumers in the market for new vehicles are demonstrating an ability to pay premium prices. While average transaction prices are down from last month, they remain historically elevated, with November forecasted to be the third-highest month on record."

The only automakers with both month-over-month and year-over-year gains included Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai Kia, and Subaru, with Fiat Chrysler reporting the largest year-over-year growth at 6%. Nissan North America and Volkswagen Group were down from last month and this time last year.

As Days Get Shorter, Check Vehicle Lights, Wipers

Winter is quickly approaching and that means fewer hours of daylight. To be sure you can be seen by others and your visibility is not compromised, check your vehicle’s lights and wipers, says the non-profit Car Care Council.

“The days are getting shorter, so it is a good time to check that your vehicle’s wipers and lighting are working properly because the chance of an accident increases if you can’t see or be seen,” said Nathan Perrine, executive director, Car Care Council. “From the driver’s seat you may not notice a light that isn’t working, so check all of your car’s lights and replace those that are out. Also, be sure to inspect and replace wiper blades so you can see clearly when wet weather hits.”

The wiper system keeps excessive water, snow and dirt from building up on the windshield, maintaining clear visibility. Many factors can accelerate the replacement interval of wipers, including operating conditions (winter conditions are tough on wiper blades), frequency of use, material and type of wipers and sunny weather. In fact, wiper blades can deteriorate faster and need more frequent replacement in desert states.

xxx

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 30, 2020) – Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the national gas price average is more expensive. At $2.12, it is two cents more than a week ago, but remains cheaper compared to last month (-2 cents) and last year (-46 cents). Across the country, motorists in nearly 30 states are paying more at the pump on the week with states along the I-95 corridor seeing the largest jump: Delaware (+15 cents), Maryland (+8 cents), Pennsylvania (+7 cents), New Jersey (+6 cents) and North Carolina (+6 cents).

Despite the small increase at the pump, U. S. gasoline stocks increased and demand decreased, according to the Energy Information Administration’s reports for the week ending November 20. Demand dropped to 8.1 million b/d, a five month low, and stocks built by 2.2 million bbl to total 230.1 million bbl.

“As COVID-19 cases increased, the national gas price average saw it’s cheapest November in 12 years,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokesperson. “Motorists can expect gas prices to mostly decrease in the days ahead, especially with demand showing the lowest reading since June.”

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Delaware (+15 cents), Maryland (+8 cents), Pennsylvania (+7 cents), New Jersey (+6 cents), North Carolina (+6 cents), Indiana (+6 cents), Washington, D.C. (+5 cents), Virginia (+4 cents), Tennessee (+4 cents) and Oklahoma (+3 cents).

Ally Survey Reveals Heightened Dependence On Cars in Pandemic, Even With Fewer Places To Go

DETROIT, Nov. 18, 2020 -- At a time when many Americans are adapting to a lifestyle with fewer places to go, a new survey from Ally finds that cars and personal transportation are more essential to people's lives than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seventy-two percent of car owners say that going for a drive alone allows them to clear to their head, according to a survey of 2,000 American adults conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Ally Financial. Nearly three-quarters of men (73%) and more than half of women (53%) consider their car to be their personal "fortress of solitude."

Ally survey finds that the essential value of cars is increasing during pandemic, along with financial anxiety.

In addition, the pandemic has caused Americans to rethink their desired mode of transportation. Nearly 3 out of four Americans, 72%, are wary of using public transportation because of COVID-19. This isn't just a short-term trend—69% of car owners say they plan on driving more after the pandemic ends rather than use public transportation.

Clip of the Week

Bumper to Bumper helps a listener having battery issues with his 2017 Hyundai Elantra.