Automotive Safety

Be safe out there!

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), one of two crash testing bodies in the United States, has announced its results for dozens of vehicles in the 2021 model year. The results published show that every Mazda vehicle tested has received the highest rating IIHS offers, a Top Safety Pick+ (“plus”). This is the second year in a row that Mazda has done so.

To qualify for the IIHS’ top award, a vehicle must pass all six crash tests with a top score of “Good,” including the difficult and industry’s only front passenger-side overlap test as well as a head restraints test. The vehicle must then pass all advanced crash prevention tests, which tests technology to avoid or limit accidents, and vehicle-to-pedestrian avoidance with a top “Superior” rating. Finally, the vehicle’s headlamps must also pass the IIHS’ difficult headlight testing for safety and compliance.

The Mazda3 sedan, Mazda3 Hatchback, Mazda6, CX-3, CX-30, CX-5 and Mazda CX-9 all achieved Top Safety Pick+ status for the 2021 model year. The only Mazda vehicle not yet tested by the IIHS is the MX-5 Miata sports car.

Kudos to Mazda for getting such high safety scores on all of their mainstream family vehicles!

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In this special episode, we talk with automotive journalist Benjamin Hunting, who appears regularly in many well-known publications, about automotive safety technologies. Specially “semi-autonomous” tech and the impact it’s having on driving habits. Hunting wrote a great article, referenced herein, about this subject for Inside Hook (

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Nissan safety

Important safety technology now in more Nissan models

Nissan is now offering its Rear Door Alert (RDA) technology on 12 models and is expected to be available on all four-door trucks, sedans and SUVs by 2022.  Designed to help reduce risks posed by dangerous interior car temperatures, this technology was invented by a pair of Nissan engineers who are also mothers. RDA was inspired by pan of lasagna accidentally left in the back seat of a car overnight.

Marlene Mendoza, one of the inventing engineers and a mother of three, was pregnant when the idea struck. “[After the lasagna incident] the car smelled for days, but it made me ask myself, ‘What if I left something far more important back there?'”

Rear Door Alert reminds owners to check the rear seat upon exiting their vehicle by using a series of distinctive honks as the driver walks away from the vehicle. Nissan is the first automaker to use a honking horn as an alert for this type of feature.

The system uses door sequence logic, the center instrument panel message display and multiple horn honks to help remind drivers to check the rear seat after the vehicle is parked. The system can help remind parents and caregivers that precious cargo is in the back seat.

RDA expansion

For model year 2020, RDA is standard on the Nissan Altima, Armada, Kicks (SV and SR), LEAF, Murano, Maxima, Pathfinder, Rogue, Rogue Sport, Sentra, TITAN (King Cab and Crew Cab) and Versa (SV and SR).

In 2019, Nissan joined other vehicle manufacturers in a pledge to have a rear seat reminder feature in essentially all cars and trucks by model year 2025 or sooner. Under this commitment, automakers will introduce a wide range of approaches to help parents and caregivers remember to check the back seat as they leave a vehicle.

How RDA works

Once activated, the system monitors when a rear door is opened and closed before and after the vehicle is in motion. If a rear door was used before a trip but was not opened after the vehicle is parked, the system reminds the driver to check the rear seat. Once the vehicle is in park, the system will first display a notification in the instrument panel. If the driver exits the vehicle and does not open a rear door, the system progresses to distinctive chirps of the horn.

The RDA system is easy to configure and can be temporarily, or permanently, turned on through a menu in the cluster display or through a separate RDA switch, depending on the model.

To learn more about Rear Door Alert and the full Nissan vehicle lineup, visit here.

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Car have a dead battery? Jump starting is a simple, but exact process. If done incorrectly, several electronic systems in your car could be damaged. Here, our friend James Gilboy explains the two common methods for jump starting a car: one using traditional jumper cables and an operating vehicle and the other using a jump box with stored power as part of an emergency roadside kit.

Check it out!

To see a full review of the jump box he’s using, head over to CarNewsCafe:

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This is Aaron’s third year at the Rocky Mountain Redline Ice Drive event in Colorado. In snowy Winter Park, he got to put six vehicles to the test in snow and ice. Running through the elements, each vehicle was put to work with and without safety systems and with and without a winter-astute driver (meaning Aaron driving the right way and then not) to see how all-wheel drive, snow tires, and safety technologies keep these vehicles upright.

The vehicles in question were all from the 2020 model year, starting with the Acura RDX, the Dodge Charger GT, the Fiat 500X, the Honda CR-V, the Nissan Altima AWD, and the Nissan Rogue Sport. Normal, everyday vehicles thrown into the cruel elements to see how they handled them. Here’s the results.

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Holly is not only the Vice President of CGI, but got to that position by learning the ropes and becoming a race driving instructor. She talks about why women should get into motorsports, gives tips on improving performance and safety, and more. All while hot cars fly by on the track behind her. Check it out!

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Radio host and automotive journalist Daryl Killian of Auto Nsider ( joins Kristin in the all new 2020 Nissan Sentra. After having driven the new sedan, the two compare notes about the vehicle and who should be checking it out as a purchase option.

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Ford has announced that the Driving Skills for Life program, which teaches safe driving to teenagers around the nation, will continue for 2020. This year, the tour will appear in 18 cities around the U.S. with a total of 80 clinics in all.

These free, hands-on driving clinics have taught thousands of teenagers the skills needed to become safer, smarter drivers. Training includes information on the latest vehicle technologies, how various types of vehicles interact (including cars, bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles) as well as ride sharing protocols.

“Despite progress in recent years, teens continue to be overrepresented in motor vehicle crashes and fatalities across the country and vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for newly licensed drivers,” said Jim Graham, global manger, Ford Driving Skills for Life. “We look forward to continuing and expanding our efforts to help reduce the number of crashes and fatalities through real-world training and improved decision-making skills. Working with all of our partner organizations we believe we are making a substantial contribution to safer driving.”

This will be the 17th year of the Driving Skills for Life program from Ford. The tour began on January 25 in Orlando, Florida. This year’s clinics have been modified in reaction to surveys made in 2019 about how Generation Z drivers view the world and driving in it. Including the fact that while most Gen Z drivers agree that using handheld devices while driving is very dangerous, most still use them on the road.

Working in the U.S. with its national partner, the Governors Highway Safety Association, the Ford Driving Skills for Life tour will reach Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia this year. In addition to the hands-on driving clinics, a free online “Academy” is available for teens and parents at

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Teen drivers have unique needs beyond just four wheels and a key. Safety is of everyone’s concern, especially parents, when considering a vehicle for a teenager. But there are other things to think about as well. In this episode, Kristin and Aaron delve into the criteria that make for an excellent car for a teen and list models that fit those criterion.

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