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Media post: America needs more truck drivers

March 29th, 2015 No comments

Truck Driver. Picture courtesy pixgood.com

The U.S. economy is back to its very dynamic self with the 2009 recession now a definite thing of the past. Along with economic growth comes rising consumer demand and housing and as a result trucking companies are starting to struggle to find drivers to bring goods to market. According to industry lobby group the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the industry is short about 35,000 truck drivers, and this shortfall could grow to around 240,000 drivers by 2020 if it is not addressed – a very significant and daunting number. The over 1 million of trucking jobs currently listed on employment sites attest to the challenges of attracting and retaining drivers for long-haul trucking companies.

Shortages of truck drivers often occur when the economy accelerates because some drivers opt for construction and factory work that don’t require living on the road. But this time it’s different, as the current shortfall is also triggered by regulatory and demographic changes. 2013 federal regulations have limited the hours truckers can drive, and a government system tracking driver records since December 2010 has deterred drivers with checkered safety records. Also, the average truck driver is now 55, more drivers are retiring and not enough younger workers are signing up.

Higher wages can fix the problem. According to ACT Research, in 1980 the average trucker earned four times the wage of a food service worker. But the $40,940 the average truck driver makes today is just 1.8 times that of food service workers. “You’re paying someone not very much to live in a box in a parking lot,” Kenny Vieth, president of ACT Research said. “This isn’t a truck driver shortage, it’s a truck driver pay shortage.” Trucking companies are starting to cover the up to $7,000 cost of obtaining a license for drivers who commit to driving for a fixed period, others offer signing bonuses, ranking from $500 to $12,000, depending on geography. Bonuses are higher in energy states like Texas or Pennsylvania, where competition for drivers is intense. Bob Costello, the American Trucking Associations’ chief economist, said recent pay increases across the industry have averaged 10 to 15%. But he expects pay to keep rising.

Parts of this article were first published on Reuters.

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Media post: Around the World in 15 Taxis

March 18th, 2015 No comments

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Click on the image to see the infographic

Wherever you are in the world, you can always rely on a cab to get you from A to B. However, depending on where you call home, you’ll be faced with a number of different options when calling up or hailing a taxi, as this infographic and article (click here to view) from The Taxi Centre shows. From the vehicle – or animal – that will be picking you up, the flat rate you’ll pay, and tipping expectations, taxis worldwide vary widely. Should you ever find yourself in Venice, Nigeria, the Maldives or more without a ride, read on for some useful tips.

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Media post: Signs You Are Becoming a Dangerous Driver

March 12th, 2015 No comments

Dangerous driver

There probably isn’t a driver in the world who hasn’t experienced at least a fleeting moment of irrational, traffic-induced rage or distraction. If you haven’t, you will at least have seen it around you on the roads. Most of the time, these incidents pass, and you continue about your day. But, occasionally, they turn just bad enough that you’ll be glad you have insurance. So how do you know if you’ve become a menace on the road? Here are a few signs to watch out for.

You Find Yourself Pressuring Other Motorists to Drive the Way You Want

If you’re stuck behind that oh-so-irritating slow person while you’re running late, it’s tempting to try and gently coax them into meeting the speed limit. However, it’s very likely that what you see as a gentle coaxing comes across as road rage and tailgating, and this can cause a lot of stress on the road. On a bad day, it also causes accidents. You may think you’re a better driver than those around you, but that may be disproved if you cause an accident. If this happens to you, and you are concerned about your insurance provider doing their part, consider chatting with a law firm, such as Patinos, that specialises in this field.

You Find Yourself Zoning Out on Those Long or Familiar Routes

You’ve driven this route every working day for the past ten years. You could drive it while sleeping. And, occasionally, you nearly do. But you feel confident knowing this route, so it’s not a problem… right? Well, statistically, the majority of car accidents happen close to home, in the area we feel most at home and comfortable, and the area we are probably most relaxed as a driver. Keep alert near your home and, if you feel yourself getting complacent on your drive, change the route up a bit to force yourself to concentrate.

You Just Glance – Ever So Quickly – At Your Phone

Whether it’s to change the song or to just skim read the message you just received, you’re finding that using your phone is becoming more and more common while driving. But the danger comes from more than just a second with your eyes off the road. Your concentration is pulled as well, and all it takes is a moment of distraction for the situation to change drastically. As you haven’t been paying attention, your body takes that much longer to switch to a reaction, and you run the risk of being in a truly dangerous situation.

These are three very simple things that can be an indication for you that you may be becoming a little bit too relaxed behind the wheel. Try to find ways to keep calm, keep alert, and keep focused on your surroundings, and you might just avert an accident. The best thing about avoiding them is that you’ll never have to wonder if you could have avoided it. What is your best tip for being a safe driver? Share your suggestions below.

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Media Post: Five Tips for Buying Your Next Second-Hand Car

March 12th, 2015 No comments

SALE second hand vehicles

Buying a used car can save you money and help you avoid the financial hit usually experienced as soon as a new car is purchased and driven off the lot. Used vehicles can be a solid investment in reliable transportation. These five tips can provide you with added support in making the right moves in the second-hand vehicle marketplace.

Narrow Down Your Choices

Before stepping into the showroom or onto the used car lot, you should have a general idea of what you are looking for in your next vehicle. Spending valuable time looking at cars that are too small, overly large or otherwise unsuited to your needs can not only slow down your search but can reduce the enthusiasm of sales staff in helping you find the right car, truck, minivan or SUV for your needs.

Dealers vs. Private Sellers

Buying from a private seller can potentially save you money in the short run. However, these vehicles typically do not come with a warranty and may not offer the same consumer protections as those sold at brick-and-mortar dealerships. Factoring the cost of any necessary repairs into the overall cost of the second-hand vehicle can help you avoid spending too much for a car or truck that is purchased without a warranty or from a private seller.

Enlist Help from the Professionals

If you do decide to go the private seller route, investing in a thorough inspection by a trained and trusted mechanic can help you avoid purchasing a vehicle with serious issues. While some problems are obvious even to an automotive novice, a professional mechanic can often identify developing issues that can add up to serious headaches for buyers further down the line.

Line Up Financing First

If possible, arrange for your auto loan prior to your trip to the lot. Your negotiating power will be significantly increased if dealers know you have cash in hand to purchase the car or truck you want. Additionally, this tactic can help you avoid paying higher interest rates sometimes associated with dealer financing arrangements.

Do Your Research

Researching the average prices for specific vehicles can provide you with added information with which to negotiate when buying a used car or truck. Obtaining accurate car valuations on Gumtree can give you an edge in these negotiations and can ensure that you get the car you want at a price you can afford.

These five tips can help you acquire the car or truck you want at a reasonable price and can allow you to enjoy greater peace of mind throughout your vehicle search.

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Sponsored post: Toyota lifts Grenoble into the future with i-Road

March 6th, 2015 No comments

Toyota i-RoadToyota i-Road

Toyota has chosen the French town of Grenoble, a city famous for its visionary and innovative governance, for its first “Ha:mo” project outside Japan. Ha:mo is short for Harmonious Mobility and fits within Toyota’s overall future mobility vision, based on four pillars: safety, comfort, ease of use and ecology. Later this year Toyota will launch Citélib by Ha:mo in Grenoble, an innovative car-sharing service aimed at integrating within and optimising the combination of multiple means of transport. The main idea is to allow commuters to drive the first or last kilometres of their journey for increased flexibility and time-saving, thus contributing to reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in city centres. In this way it differentiates itself from recent car-sharing services such as Autolib in Paris.

Citélib by Ha:mo is a “one way” short car-sharing service based on ultra-compact EVs, the Toyota i-Road, seen as an extension of public transportation networks. It aims to promote interconnectivity of public transport methods (trams, buses, trains), offering a new type of personal mobility using small vehicles that don’t take up as much space as a normal car. Indeed, recent surveys show that the average daily commute in Europe is around 45 minutes. Increasingly, commuters use public transport, but most of them still have to walk a good 15 minutes to reach their final destination. This is where the Toyota i-Road comes into play.

One scenario could be that during your tram ride, you visualise the available i-ROADs at your usual stop through the Citélib app, you reserve and pay. Another app can also allow you to see the status of traffic and public transport before you leave, so you can plan the best route that day. The Cité lib by Ha:mo is the result of combined work by five partners – The City of Grenoble, the state of France, its metropolitan area Grenoble-Alpes-Métropole, the energy company EDF and its affiliate Sodetrel, Toyota Motor Coporation and Cité Lib. The experimental service will be offered to residents of Grenoble for 3 years from October 1st 2014. It comes with a smartphone app not only confirming the availability of the station, charging status and reservation of EVs, but a route-planner with car-charging stations and itineraries within Grenoble.

But how is it really to drive the i-Road? Just like skiing really! The left and right front wheels move up and down independently synchronized in response to the driver’s steering, and the vehicle automatically selects the optimal lean angle when cornering. The ultra-compact i-Road is 870mm wide, enabling ease of handling in confined spaces and parking within a quarter of the space usually required for a normal car. As easy to use as a motorbike, but without fear of getting wet in the rain and no need to wear a helmet, the i-Road maintains balance – not the driver – and thus stability is maintained not only on curves but on slopes and over uneven surfaces. Plus, the i-Road is an EV and its Zero CO2 emissions make it completely environmentally friendly.

This post has been sponsored by Toyota, but concerns our own opinion.

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Guest post: Can Your Vehicle Pass an Inspection and Emissions Test?

February 13th, 2015 No comments

Vehicle inspection

Safety inspections and emissions are common in many large city areas. These tests are a way to ensure a vehicle is operating at an optimal efficiency for both safety and environmental concerns. Although many people may feel inconvenienced by this annual process, they should consider the efficiency that is enhanced for any given vehicle. It may actually save money and reduce risks for the driver by operating an automobile in good condition.

Fuel Mileage Alterations

During an emissions test, there could be a variety of adjustments that may be needed in order to pass. Depending on the results, repairs may need to be completed which could directly affect your gas mileage for the better. An optimal performing engine can use less gas to operate than one that has several complications such as a oxygen mixtures or bad spark plugs.

Wheel Alignments and Steering

By having your wheels aligned and steering adjusted regularly, you can reduce risks to yourself and others while driving. With faulty steering, black ice on the road and other hazards may be more dangerous. An accident resulting from bad alignment or faulty steering could also affect your insurance premiums.

Headlight Alignments and Functionality

Headlights allow you to drive at night while reducing risk to yourself and everything else on the road. However, a light that is burnt out or misaligned can become a hazard as it reduces your line of sight. Objects on the side of the road could be unseen immediately before darting out in front of you.

Brakes Are Important

Complications within the brakes can cause severe accidents if not addressed. Although your vehicle may stop while creating an awful noise, you don’t know the extent of the damage. Perhaps that noise is a precursor to brake failure.

Tests such as Pittsburgh state inspection can be greatly beneficial for you as a driver as well as other people on the road. The more efficient your vehicle is, the less risks it presents while possibly saving you thousands of dollars in property damage. Have your vehicle properly maintained and reduce complications and financial burden on yourself.

 

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Guest post: The 5 Most Expensive Number Plates Ever Sold

February 2nd, 2015 No comments

Replica_of_the_first_license_plate_of_Abu_Dhabi

Private number plates are a popular purchase amongst the rich and super rich. As a number plate combination can only be produced once, this makes certain number plates such as short number plates, and number plates that spell out popular words highly sought after amongst the rich and super rich that want a way of further showing their wealth or among investors that obtain rare number plates to sell for a higher price a later date. But what are the most expensive number plates ever sold?… The people at Car Buyer Tom have done the research, so in reverse order…

5

The fifth most expensive number ever sold was the plate “VIP 1” which was initially meant for Pople John Paul 2nd’s “popemobile” but was instead purchased by Roman Abramovich for a cool £285,000.

4

The M1 plate was the first registration to ever be issued, all the way back in 1902. It was originally kept on a rare Meredes Benz at Tatton Park, but was later put on sale to raise money for the grounds. Mike McComb (who made his money selling his mobile phone store to BT in 2000) purchased the plate for his sons 6th Birthday present. It cost him an incredible £330,000.

3

This plate “F1” was purchased by Bradford born Afzal Khan in 2008. It cost an eye watering £440,000. Which makes it the most expensive number plate to ever be purchased in Britain.

2

Talal Ali Mohammed Khoury paid £3,500,000 for the number plate “5”. Yes, you read that correctly. He also spent a considerable £800,000 on the number plate “55”.

1

Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri purchased the number plate “1” for a staggering £7 million. Khouri is a member of a wealthy Abu Dhabi family.

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Guest post: The Relationship Between Vehicle Type and High Risk Drivers

January 13th, 2015 No comments

press-release

Some vehicles are higher risk than others for less obvious reasons. The death rate of the Nissan 350Z is double that of the average sports car. At first glance you might think the car is at fault. However, upon closer inspection, the death rate is higher because the drivers of these cars tend to be younger, less experienced drivers with a higher likelihood of being involved in a collision and require high risk auto insurance. It’s important to look at a vehicle’s safety features to see how dangerous it truly is.

Side-Impact Protection

Having proper side-impact protection can mean the difference between life and death. Crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) resulted in a wide range of results for side-impact and rear whiplash protection. While whiplash on its own is not a life-threatening injury, head injuries can be without proper protection.

The facts don’t lie: drivers and passengers in vehicles with side-curtain airbags have a higher likelihood of survival in a side-impact collision. In the U.S., side-curtain bags are required for all vehicles made after 2009. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s estimated these reduce fatal side-impact head injuries by 45 per cent and save up to 1,000 lives each year.

Built to Last

Side airbags are often not enough on their own to save lives. A vehicle needs to be structurally sound to withstand a serious collision. The size and weight of a vehicle are crucial when it comes to vehicle safety. Smaller, lightweight vehicles almost always come up on the short end in collisions.

However, smaller vehicles do have some advantages. A smaller vehicle like the Mazda 3 is a lot easier to maneuver than a bigger vehicle like the Ford Explorer. When trying to avoid a collision, a smaller vehicle may let you get out of the way in the nick of time.

While a larger vehicle may better protect you in multi-vehicle accidents, you aren’t always at an advantage when it comes to single-vehicle collisions. There is a staggering 43 per cent fatality rate in these instances. Both SUVs and pickup trucks have twice the chance of rolling over, according to the NHTSA.

Pickup Trucks

You’d think pickup trucks would better protect you in a collision. Unfortunately, it’s quite the opposite. According to the safety advocacy group Informed for Life, pickup trucks are the most dangerous type of vehicles. Not only do pickups have the highest chance of fatality and serious injury, they have a high risk of rollover. Few pickups offer electronic stability control compared to other vehicles. If you’re an inexperienced driver, you should really think twice before driving a pickup.

Please visit Rates.ca for more information on car insurance for high risk drivers.

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Media post: Wise Spender: 6 Tips to Save Money on a New Car

January 6th, 2015 No comments

new-car-keys

Becoming the owner of a new car can be a very exciting event. Here are six money-saving tips to keep in mind when buying a new ride.

Certified pre-owned vehicle

Drivers who are on a tight budget should consider buying a certified pre-owned vehicle. Unlike an average used car, a certified pre-owned vehicle usually comes with a lengthy warranty. Not only are certified pre-owned vehicles in superb condition, but they also have low miles. Car shoppers can actually save as much as $10,000 by opting to purchase a certified pre-owned vehicle.

Avoid purchasing unnecessary options 

Many car buyers are tempted to upgrade their vehicle with additional features. However, these upgraded features will typically cause the total cost of the vehicle to increase. By choosing a cloth upholstery instead of leather, the car buyer can save an average of $1,500. However, safety upgrades such as a rear-view camera may be well-worth the extra cost.

Take advantage of deals

At various times during the year, some car dealerships have outstanding bargains. If the dealership has a surplus of an outgoing model, they will usually offer substantial discounts. This is great news for the drivers who want to put a little extra cash into their pockets. Car shoppers also need to be on the lookout for cost-cutting incentives.

Research the vehicle’s long-term reliability 

After the original warranty expires, the car owner will have to foot the bill for any repair work. Shoppers should seek to purchase a vehicle that has a reputation for being reliable. This will help to avoid costly repairs in the future. It is also a good idea to research the vehicle’s projected cost of maintenance.

Compare the cost

Before making a final decision on a new ride, be sure to perform a car cost comparison. A side-by-side comparison chart will help the car shopper to analyze the cost of each vehicle.

Have a budget in order

Some car shoppers simply cannot resist the appeal of a certain vehicle. However, smart car buyers always consider their personal finances before making a final decision.  Car buyers should never allow the excitement of buying a new vehicle to cloud their judgment. By implementing these tips, car shoppers will be able to save a significant amount of money.

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Media post: The Coolest Cars of Professional Poker Players

January 6th, 2015 No comments

phil_ivey_car

It’s no secret that many high-stakes poker players live lavishly. When your earnings can number into the millions of dollars, why shouldn’t you treat yourself to the finer things? And treat themselves they do. Famous poker players spend their winnings on sprawling mansions, all-inclusive vacation getaways, and, of course, some of the most expensive cars on the market.

For many of these professional gamblers, a trip to the car dealership is the ultimate way to splurge. We can promise you they aren’t picking out a Honda. Just take a look at three of the coolest cars some of the most famous poker players in the world get to call their own.

gx_article_22603_roussow.jpegBentley Continental GT 

Poker sweetheart Vanessa Rousso made her way onto the professional stage in the early 2000s playing Texas Hold’em and has since secured several career titles in major tournaments. Her biggest win came in 2007 when she walked away from a World Championship of Online Poker No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em event with $700,782.50. Since then, her total winnings have climbed to over $3.5 million. How does she enjoy that money? By taking it down to the dealership.

Recently, she traded in her Lamborghini for a Bentley Continental GT, which has an MSRP of $189,000. The coupe combines modern technology with classic Continental inspiration, while sporting sharp, contemporary lines and a lush interior. The powerful yet refined 12-cylinder 6-liter engine has twin turbochargers that make for an exhilarating drive, complemented by one of the world’s most advanced all-wheel-drive systems. Despite its power, the GT is amazingly efficient as evidenced by the 12 percent reduction in fuel consumption. Although the car is mass-produced, much of it is hand-assembled, giving the Bentley Continental GT a personalised, unique feel.

mercedes-benz-sls-amg-roadster-2012

Mercedes Benz SLR Roadster

Phil Ivey is often lauded as one of professional poker’s most successful players, having excelled at many different games including Omaha, Stud, and H.O.R.S.E. Since appearing on the scene in the late 90s, Ivey has earned a reputation as the Tiger Woods of Poker as well as countless career titles, including 10 World Series of Poker bracelets. Currently, his career winnings stand at over $21 million. He spent part of that on a Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren Roadster, one of the world’s most sought-after supercars.

The supercharged 617 horsepower V-8 engine is hand-built, while the body shell and chassis are made from high-strength carbon fiber composite. In short: It’s a sturdy ride. The Roadster’s arrow-shaped nose and twin fin front spoiler give the illusion that it might take flight at any moment, accented by swing-wing doors that open forwards and then up at a wide angle. Inside, premium leather lines the dash, doors, armrests, and consoles for a sophisticated finish, while body-contoured carbon fiber seats grip the driver just right. While not commanding poker tables around the nation and the globe, you can spot Ivey cruising around Las Vegas in this sleek ride.

rolls-royce-phantom--11_600x0w

Rolls Royce Phantom

Regarded as the best all-around poker player worldwide, it makes sense that one lavish sports car wouldn’t be enough to satisfy Ivey. He is also the proud owner of the iconic Rolls Royce Phantom, joining the elite ranks of fellow Phantom owners like Jay Z and David Beckham. The Rolls Royce Phantom is a $400,000 car that embodies the modern luxury driving experience. The Phantom commands attention with its poise and sophistication, as well as stunning attention to detail. For example, each door cleverly hides an umbrella just in case of rain.

The leather interior is soft and supple, complemented by polished veneer throughout; each piece is harvested from the same tree. Lamb wool rugs are underfoot. The curve of the exterior suggests movement even while the Phantom sits still. A state-of-the-art suspension system and smooth power delivery make for a ride that could be likened to a trip on a magic carpet, effortless and air-cushioned. All of which make riding in the Phantom a luxurious and unforgettable experience that Ivey gets to enjoy daily.

These are just a few examples of the many auto indulgences some of the world’s most famous poker players have treated themselves to. As stakes climb higher, you can bet that these superstars will continue to drop insane amounts of money on some of the world’s coolest cars. Who knows what cars we can expect to see Ivey, Rousso and the next crop of successful poker players riding around in 2016, but here’s hoping they are even more luxurious and outlandish than this year’s picks.

 

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