November 2009


It was one year ago on November 23, 2008 at 5:44pm when the Green Street speed radar went into operation, and since then it has been dutifully recording every vehicle travelling by, almost 270,000 of them. (more…)

As a new dog owner since last week (we rescued a yellow lab mix puppy), a recent fatal dog bite incident in Austria caught my attention. The incident involved a Rottweiler and a 1-year old child. Apparently the dog saw a threat in the child when the father returned from work and the family rushed to greet him. (more…)

I love to run, even in the winter. I wish I had the time to be out more often. One of the worst things that can happen on a clear and crisp winter morning is having to run by a car that is idling in someone’s driveway. A sharp pain enters my lungs from the exhaust fumes, and I try to breathe as flatly as I can until I am far away.

Why do people install remote starters so that they can start their cars and let them sit in their driveways for 30 minutes or more?

Here is what Consumerreports.com has to say about this practice:

Myth: Let your engine warm up for several minutes before driving.

Reality: That might have been good advice for yesteryear’s cars but is less so today. Modern engines warm up more quickly when they’re driven. And the sooner they warm up, the sooner they reach maximum efficiency and deliver the best fuel economy and performance. But don’t rev the engine high over the first few miles while it’s warming up.

Clearly, this makes sense. But they forgot to finish this thought – if it is better to drive your engine to bring it up to operating temperature, it is worse to not do it. So people who start their car with a remote starter and then let it idle, actually reduce the life expectancy of the car. Think about it this way: The most wear and tear for any engine happens right after it gets started, and the lubricant (oil) is cold and has not reached the proper viscosity that is needed to do its job. The longer the engine runs cold, the more wear it will get. So, start the engine and drive away!

check -  Idling cars in driveways – bad for the cars

European governments have made this practice illegal in the 70s, not because they wanted to help people with extending the life of their cars, but because it is so bad for the environment. Not only do engines do a poor job lubricating themselves when they are cold, they also do a very poor job burning gasoline. The gas does not burn completely, and at no other time does an engine blow more residual substances into the atmosphere than when it is cold.

check -  Idling cars in driveways – bad for the environment

Poisonous exhaust fumes from a neighbor’s driveway can enter garages and homes where children live who then develop asthma or other horrible conditions as a result.

check -  Idling cars in driveways – bad for the health of the neighbors, and bad for neighborly relationships

And finally, if you own a vehicle with a remote starter and actually use this feature to start it up before you step into the shower in the morning, watch out. You might get whacked over the head with a snow shovel by your neighbor who’s kids now have asthma.

check -  Idling cars in driveways – bad for the owner

Will you start your car to let it idle in your driveway this winter?