85 thoughts on “Car technology and more

  1. If Honda Sense in 2020 is representative of what Toyota’s driver assist features can do, I don’t think it’s something that can be relied upon yet by a driver who isn’t otherwise capable of driving safely. And I think overpromising at this point will likely cause more deaths due to the false sense of security.

    The two features that are the most reliable, imo, are blind spot warning (flashing on the mirror and loud beeps) and rear cross traffic alerts when you’re in reverse and a car is crossing behind you (so don’t back up).

  2. I agree with Milo about a driver relying on technology – at least where it stands today – when they are not otherwise capable of driving safely. It is now 5 years ago (eons in technology time), but my Honda minivan had the warnings that you were drifting out of your lane, unless you had on a turn signal. The problem was the state was in the process of widening the highway and adding toll lanes in the center. Every few weeks they changed where the stripping was. My minivan couldn’t always tell the newest lines from the older ones — they did pain over them, but not very well — and was always beeping. I had to turn it off. In fairness, many other drivers were trying to figure out where the lanes were too.

  3. Just bought a Subaru. Lots of safety features, but too many sensors, warnings, etc. Very complex. I like the simpler interface in the Honda Accord that I own

  4. This is not just car related, but I push myself to try newer technology and not just say – I don’t need/like that – because I believe that technology is what will keep us aging, but relatively healthy folks in our homes longer. The power outage that we recently suffered in Texas did point out how those dependent on power and internet are extremely vulnerable without it.

  5. I don’t think it’s something that can be relied upon yet by a driver who isn’t otherwise capable of driving safely. And I think overpromising at this point will likely cause more deaths due to the false sense of security.

    That assumes the alternative is not driving. As we all know voters, a lot of them older, have almost no apatite for aggressively limiting the ability of the elderly to drive.

    If, as in the case with Subaru, “…Eyesight-equipped vehicles are involved in 61% fewer accidents and 85% fewer rear-end crashes. Pedestrian-related injuries are lowered by 35%.” and as a result we can lower the elderly accident rate below where it otherwise would be for a few years, that’s all for the best.

  6. Or think of it this way. Let’s say we decided that 125 injuries per 100 million miles is the point at which we need to take away the licenses of the elderly. Currently the average driver hits that risk category at 80 years old. If this technology can keep the rate below 125 per 100 million miles till 85, then it would make sense to preserve the freedom of the elderly for 5 more years, right?

  7. The two features mentioned by Milo are the most important to me. I also love the 360 degree parking camera. Less for the process than for judging whether an adjustment is warranted afterward.

    DH, 78 and sometimes vague, is giving up the Miata when we get it out of winter storage. He hasnt driven in a year. It needs a tune up, fluid change, snow tires swapped out, and probably some brake work. It has a few scratches on the front bumper and was in an accident, not his fault, but body work in its history. My inclination is to drive it to the dealer, ask for a quote to sell it back to them after a service dept check, and leave it. I am sure others can offer better financial advice on disposal, but Since repairs before a private sale would likely be 1200 or more, and my time is uncompensated and valuable to me, practical suggestions only.

  8. Rhett – I see your point, but the other factor in your data is that it is reducing the injuries/deaths based on those still driving. With assist, how many more current non-drivers would start driving again?

    In the big picture, older drivers IME tend to be more concerned about getting to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor’s office or over the grandkids (house/school, etc.) in the same city than about taking long road trips. The most frequent accidents I hear about from older friends and friends with elderly parents is (1) fender benders due to not being able to see around another vehicle (small car parked next to big truck) or having depth perception issues; and (2) judgement usually due to depth perception and misjudging the speed or distance of another vehicle and pulling out in front of them. I see the technology clearly reducing the first group of accidents, but driver-less vehicles could fix both.

  9. Meme,

    I’d get a quote from Carmax:


    And then ask the dealer if they can beat it. Obviously you could get more money selling it online but that’s a pain in the ass. But I think Carmax and the dealer fits your criteria for $ per unit of effort.

  10. @ Meme – I would try CarMax rather than the dealer. I find their offers higher, if there is one convenient to you.

  11. meme – sorry to hear that.

    To your question, at least go to CarMax and get their quote in hand before you go the dealer. The Honda dealer offered me $500 for my Acura. I said very nonchalantly that I had a CarMax offer for $2k. We were doing other stuff, but 30 minutes later, whoever is in charge of used cars sent a message that they’d pay the $2k.

  12. When my mom died, we needed to sell her car quickly. I first took it to a used car dealer and got a quote, then went to the Toyota dealer and asked if they could beat it. Quick and easy. We definitely could’ve gotten more doing a private sale but we didn’t have the time to deal with it.

  13. Parking in my garage is tight now because we have bikes on stands in the space between our two cars. We also have shelving in the front and at the sides. If I am not careful, my mirrors or my garage door could be damaged. Of course both of us have big vehicles. I am going to a smaller vehicle in a few years. One that parks itself is awesome. DS laughs at me because his spatial skills are awesome. He took to driving like a duck to water.

  14. The sun is out and warm after days of chill and rain. My whole city is dashing about. Dining, bar and outdoor gathering capacities have been increased. Schools are back after months of remote. It’s looking a tad bit brighter.

  15. My mom’s DH just passed and she will be selling his truck. I gave her the same advice you got above, she was going to take it to the dealer and see what she could get. I asked her to also drive it to Carmax and get their bid. The carmax bid, the last time I did it, was good for 7 days, and that makes it easy to get both and then take the higher one.

  16. Meme: my advice is no matter how/where you sell, sell in spring. I got a lot more from the dealer for my Mustang, because they desperately needed convertibles for the big spring/summer sales season.

  17. Echo the Carmax quote and then the dealership. Of course, you can do the bluebook look up for the general price range to see how the quotes compare.

    My last car purchase was a weird one. The dealership contacted me wanting to buy my 2 yr old minivan. Gave me a trade-in value between trade-in and retail, plus a discount on the new car I purchased. I was happy because I really hated that minivan – loved my prior model – but like my Pilot better. Though minivan features are definitely geared to people with smaller kids and multiple kids (yours plus friends) and/or kids and stuff to haul around.

  18. “My inclination is to drive it to the dealer, ask for a quote to sell it back to them after a service dept check, and leave it.”

    @Meme – This is exactly what we did. We had a CarMax quote (IIRC, we didn’t even bring it into the lot – they did it online), then we went and asked the dealer if they would pay us something about 15% more. There was some back & forth, but eventually they gave us the cash amount I asked for. I was not willing to go through the hassle of a private sale. This worked fine & was done in a few hours.

  19. I’m fairly confident that DW and I will be vaccinated before June. With that in mind, I’m thinking that while the kids are away for their week of camp toward the end of June, we might take a five-day cruise from the quaint little coastal village of Bayonne, New Jersey to beautiful Bermuda. You leave Bayonne, sail overnight and all the next day, pull in the following morning and stay in Bermuda for two days, then two nights and a day in between sailing home. Nice little trip, I can show her where I sailed (actually sailed) as a college student. We’ll get a balcony stateroom.

    Sounds good, right? I just need my parents to come two days in advance to watch the kids for the weekend, then drop them off at camp and the dog at the kennel before they head home.

  20. Sounds good, right?

    Sounds like a great plan to me. I’m booking some trips for the summer. Although the process has reminded me how cost effective doing nothing is.

  21. Oh and the new Stanley Tuchi show has confirmed that the next international trip is definitely Italy.

    And I’ll offer my usual reminded that the weather tomorrow in Rome and Milan is sunny and 66. A lot of people think they need to go in the summer. That’s all well and good but if you’re going to hoofing it around Rome, the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, February and April vacations have a lot going for them in terms of crowds, temps and cost vs. the summer.

  22. Although the process has reminded me how cost effective is.

    Yes, totally. The extra savings have become a habit.

  23. Milo, my concern would be another passenger getting COVID and having to turn that boat around. But, sailing doesn’t sounds great to me, so that would be my excuse. Now, the idea of flying into Bermuda, spending 5 days there, and maybe chartering a sailboat for a day, that sounds nice.

    We have several vacations planned for summer and fall. DH and I were just discussing a late summer getaway for us. It is hard to not be optimistic when I just spent the last week booking summer camps, golf lessons, and summer sports for the kids.

  24. “my concern would be another passenger getting COVID and having to turn that boat around”

    That’s a good point. I’ll look into what their policies are on that.

  25. Milo, my concern would be another passenger getting COVID and having to turn that boat around.

    Bermuda’s vaccination rate is 27 per 100 people as of this week. And they are almost to phase 3 of their rollout. I doubt there would be an issue by June. Keeping in mind that they probably won’t let anyone on the ship without proof of vaccination.


  26. I just drove around to two Kroger’s and an urgent care place and managed to get my name on the waitlist at one Kroger. My man Guillermo came through for me. The urgent care place wasn’t doing shots yet, and the other Kroger pharmacist didn’t know me and insisted there wasn’t a cancellation list. Mmmph. I got tired of driving around, but tomorrow I’ll go to the other urgent care place and get on their cancellation list. Makes me feel like I’m doing something.

  27. In normal times, there’s a week-long cruise to Bermuda that leaves from Boston every Friday. I’ve always wanted to do it — I’ve never been on a cruise. Maybe someday.

  28. DH and I managed to get our first shot yesterday. Still trying to figure out how to get DS a vaccine.

  29. “On February 18, Crystal Cruises said it would require guests to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before a cruise. ”

    Does that mean that if you can only get the one-shot J&J vaccine, you’re out of luck?

  30. Our summer is completely up in the air and I need to burn some time between now and August 31 (end of fiscal year). SO has never been a huge fan of travel. I am not sure how much being vaccinated will alleviate his fear of catching COVID, the cost of vacation, and how easily he still tires, I am not sure I can get him to go anywhere.

    Before summer – DD#2 moves out in April and I will likely go help her get stuff into storage and take an extra day, maybe two to look around the area. RMS maybe we can meet up? DD#1 graduates in May. I made a hotel reservation just for the weekend – both of us would have to fly to NY – if they have in-person graduation – decision still pending.

    DD#1 is looking for internships – applied for several already and continues to do so – so her schedule is up in the air. DD#2 is looking for a summer job/internship. She decided she did not want to work at summer camp this year, but rather is looking for something related to her major and does not require communal living. But, both need to return to their respective college campuses in mid-to-late August and moving into apartments. Right now it looks like I will go with both of them and then try to tack on days before/after actual move-in. The only other thing is DD#1’s best friend and DD#1 want to cabin camp near a local river – likely a long weekend – over the summer.

  31. NoB,

    The JJ vaccine hasn’t even been approved yet. I assume once it is Crystal will update their policy.

  32. DW just got my dad scheduled for his first shot. She does that kind of stuff. My mom already had hers because she’s an “educator.”

  33. Austin,

    The Hyatt Lost Pines in Austin is nice and it has a lazy river.

    It might be an option. You get to be out and about and it won’t be so hard on your SO.

  34. Rhett – Hyatt Lost Pines is about an hour away from us. If you want to do more than what is offered there, you are driving back into our town. It would work for a weekend, but not longer.

  35. Cassandra—is DS on your company payroll (and hence an ag worker)? Are the local almond grower associations helping coordinate appointments?

  36. Hyatt Lost Pines is very overpriced!

    We still don’t have vaccines, and are not in a category that is currently being vaccinated. I hope that we can get vaccinated by this summer, but am not planning for it.

    We are planning to drive to Nashville to visit a cousin. That’s the extent of our plans at this point.

  37. Yes, indeed, Rhett. Season ticket holders get priority. They only hold a half payment for the year, carried over from last year, so whatever I use is out of sunk funds. My second shot is 12 days before opening Day.

    Ivy, what are you hearing from the cubbies…

  38. NPR: Tiger Woods Will Not Face Charges In Rollover Crash, Is Recovering After Surgery

    “This is purely an accident,” the Los Angeles County sheriff said…

    My editorializing:
    This may have been an “accident” in American idiomatic English, since we routinely refer to car crashes as “accidents”.

    This was no “accident”. When the final CHP/LA Sheriff’s report comes out I am willing to wager it’ll have the words “excessive rate of speed, ___mph in a posted 45mph zone” in it. And thus, ladies and gentlemen of the jury (although no charges will be forthcoming), losing control of the vehicle was a foreseeable result. Yes, it was a crash, and TW is lucky to have been in a very well safety equipped car, but it was no “accident”.

    There are very very few auto “accidents”. If you get smashed into by someone who was going too fast, was drunk/high, alseep at the wheel, distracted, yes it’s an accident on your part. But if you are the one who caused the crash because you were going too fast, drunk/high, alseep at the wheel, distracted, then you were not in an “accident”. If you hadn’t been any of those, probably the crash wouldn’t have happened. Highly preventable and forseeable, therefore not an accident.


  39. Meme,

    When I had to call American Airlines to apply my flight credits from March and the automated voice said, “Welcome back Rhett!” I swooned. I’m even more excited by the prospect of you at opening day.

  40. This may have been an “accident” in American idiomatic English, since we routinely refer to car crashes as “accidents”.

    In many parts of the country they say, “got in a wreck.” I like that as it just states the facts. The vehicle was “wrecked.” It doesn’t imply who was or wasn’t responsible for what.

  41. And how do you clean it???

    The same way you clean your home office.

    With your army of servants.

  42. I am going to Italy because I have been talking boat goign to Italy for ten years, and the Ticci show sealed the deal. I told DH that I need at least 3 or 4 separate trips because there is so much that I want to see and i don’t want to rush through the places. The good news is that we can go in the fall of 2022. DD has no interest and we can go when she is in school. The weather is great and there are fewer people. Before we had DD, we used to travel though Spain and France in Sept/Oct and we miss those trips.

    We spoke to DD’s guidance counselor today. It was our first meeting as a family and it was to cover the the first list of schools. We are going to plan some trips to see the schools, but that will be at the end of August.

    There is a lot of doom and gloom talk about new variants, but I am trying to stay optimistic about travel.

  43. There is a lot of doom and gloom talk about new variants,

    Yeah, it’s too much negativity for me. I am not getting a picture of what exactly a variant will do once I get vaccinated. All, I can see is Covid becoming endemic instead of pandemic.

  44. I got some big travel excitement this morning – Southwest announced service to Bozeman with four flights daily from Denver. And promotional fares of $39 each way. I booked flights for her orientation thing in July even though she hasn’t decided on MSU yet.

  45. “Ivy, what are you hearing from the cubbies…”

    Nothing solid yet. “Your health is our priority….local laws…precautions” and that season ticket holders will have priority, but no solid plans yet.

    I am hopeful that we will be able to travel this summer, but we’ll see. I think DH & I will be able to be vaxxed by Memorial Day, but it’s also – what will be open & available to do.

  46. “Cassandra—is DS on your company payroll (and hence an ag worker)? Are the local almond grower associations helping coordinate appointments?”

    Minca, DS is on the payroll, and currently on a tractor. The problem was that he is 17 and 3/4 and its was the Moderna vaccine.

    The ag groups are currently trying to get vaccine to the ag county, coordinating appointments is secondary to having actual vaccines. My county’s allocation increased significantly and now it should only take four more years to vaccinate the current population at the current allocation.

    There is a whiny article about vaccine distribution https://www.sacbee.com/article249485250.html

  47. Lauren – happy to hear about the Italy plans. You will love it. October is a good time of year there, too.

  48. “I can see is Covid becoming endemic instead of pandemic.”

    My guess/hope right now is that it’ll become somewhat like the flu, where we get a shot every year to immunize us against new variants.

    Marc Lipsitch predicted about a year ago that covid would become endemic.

  49. Tom & Jerry is streaming on HBO. One of the few cartoon shows that we used to get in the home country, so filled with nostalgia for me.

  50. My first trip will be domestic. I’ll see how that goes and then I’d like to travel more extensively in Italy, to small towns and to Sicily, for starters. But right now I’m ambivalent about travel for a number of reasons. And to Louise’s point about Covid becoming pandemic, more exotic locations may not happen for years. I’m a bit surprised to hear you all talk about cruises, but then I was wary of them even before the pandemic. However, I’m still interested in a Nordic fiord cruise.

    I don’t need parallel parking assistance so frequently that I’m going to rush out to get a Tesla now. Plus I expect that technology will be more widely available soon enough. We’ll see. I like road trips so more assisted driving is appealing as I get older.

    Speaking of Tesla:

  51. Kim – you could swap that 28 yr old with my profile. I want a Tesla too but already have a newer car and two kids going to college soon.

  52. A base Model 3 is about $37k. Throw in lower fuel and maintenance costs than with an ICE car, and it’s not that much more than a lot of other cars.

  53. Cass – glad to know to y’all got vaccinated.

    In our news, there is a crush of teachers on the vaccine list now.

  54. DD,

    The Property Details blurb is fantastic!

    Here it is, literally the worst house on the street! The Seller has done the hard work of cleaning up the almost half-acre property (it only took 7 dumpsters!), so now is your chance to take it from here. Have you ever watched HGTV and thought, I could do that! ? If so, pack up your tape measure and start Googling how to identify a load-bearing wall because it’s time to put your money where your mouth is! The roof leaks, the floor creaks, and there’s a terrible draft, but this 3 bed, 1.5 bath home is very open concept. And by that we mean the inside is open to the outside because several of the windows are broken.

    And it goes on.

  55. Hah — my Granny used to live in Zephyrhills!

    DD, great news about Southwest!

    I’m laughing at Tesla dude — in particular, that he had no clue about the real reason his parents don’t want him to buy the car. If I invited my kid to live at home to save up money for a downpayment and s/he came home with a new toy instead, s/he’d be looking for an apartment the next day!

  56. LfB,

    Given your CO experience, would you advise the kid to buy a home? IIRC you would have been better off blowing the money on a Porsche than buying a place at that age.

  57. A friend of mine just bought a used Mitubishi Miev (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_i-MiEV (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_i-MiEV. He bought it pretty cheap (<$5k) and is posting his adventures driving it (and finding charging stations) on FB. His family lives in an urban area on east coast, so their driving needs aren't high. He's always been an early adopter. From his posts, it is harder to get your car charged than you would think…one charging location was at a high school that was locked.

  58. for the elderly, I think the warnings that buzz your seat or shake the steering wheel are better. My hard of hearing dad can’t hear the warning beeps for blindspots in my car (Acura).

  59. “Given your CO experience, would you advise the kid to buy a home? IIRC you would have been better off blowing the money on a Porsche than buying a place at that age.”

    Rhett, I would NOT advise that a single 20-something prioritize buying a house. I view a house as a lifestyle choice, not an investment. I would tell him to mazimize his investments in the market instead.

    Actually, I would advise him to go ahead and blow some cash on a fun vehicle or whatever floats his boat. I do wish I had been a little looser with money on completely frivolous things when I was in his position. BUT I’d tell him to get an apartment first. In short, my advice would be:

    1. Move out.
    2. Buy a toy, live your life to a reasonable extent, consistent with maxing your retirement accounts.
    3. Throw the rest of your money at investments.

    Or: Live at home, and use your extra money in a parentally-approved way.

  60. “all-electric Zero Motorcyles”

    I imagine an electric motorcycle could have really incredible acceleration, to the point that one would need to lean forward hold on really, really tight. I could imagine some distracted passengers being left behind.

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