Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on January 28, 2000 · Page 14
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 14

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Ukiah, California
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Friday, January 28, 2000
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Page 14
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B-2 — FRI., JAN. 28-SAT., JAN. 29, 2000 motion THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL, Click Continued from Page B-l the knowledge that he killed a 2- year-old child. It's tragic all around. RAY: And it's so obvious that it's wrong to drive and talk on the phone at the same time. Yet most of us are so selfish that we'd rather endanger the lives of innocent people than wait 20 minutes to return a phone call. TOM: There are several things people can do to help prevent more kids from getting killed. First, you can stop talking on the phone while you're driving. Start by changing your own behavior. If you want to Carry a phone in case of emer- g^ncy, that's great. But for non- femergencies, like "saying hi," "Checking in" or making calls you could just as easily make from your home, your office or a parking lot, take our advice and "Drive Now, Talk Later." RAY: Another thing you can do is help raise the consciousness of those around you. We are offering free bumper stickers that say "Drive Now, Talk Later." Just send a SASE (make sure it's "SA'd" and "S'd") to Bumper Sticker, Car Talk Plaza, Box 3500, Cambridge, MA 02238. Allow a few weeks for our lackeys to catch up on their envelope stuffing. TOM: And finally, you can write, phone and otherwise express your support for legislation that restricts the use of cell phones while driving. It's very much an uphill fight, because the cell-phone industry is huge and powerful, and it is spending tons of money to make sure nobody gets in its way. Plus, virtually every self-important politician drives around talking on, what? A cell phone. So it won't be easy. 'RAY: But eventually, some politician's 2 '/2-year-old daughter will be killed by a driver distracted on his or her cell phone. And then your letters will get us over the top. TOM: Again, our condolences, Patti. And we hope you'll see every letter that gets written as a result of this column as an act of kindness in memory of Morgan Lee. And don't give up, because you're absolutely right to fight this stupidity. And in * their hearts, even the politicians and cell-phone executives know •Toyota Camry :suffers from shakes • .' Dear Tom and Ray: ; • I have a 1995 Toyota Camry. •When I bought the car, it had .' about 8,000 miles on it. The day •after I bought it, I wanted my .'money back, because the car ; SHAKES! The dealer refused. I '. called Toyota, and they tell me it ; is one of the "characteristics" of . the Camry. I also contacted the ; Better Business Bureau, and they > told me to put the car in Neutral ;at every "red light." Guys, is there anything else I can do? Help! - Rose TOM: Well, shaking in Drive while stopped at a light IS a characteristic of the four-cylinder Camry, Rose. And there's no magic solution that we know of. But we've passed your letter on to Toyota, who we hope will take another shot at fixing this for you. Perhaps they know something we don't. ' • RAY: But if I were your mechanic, before I wrote this off as an "unfortunate characteristic," I'd want to be sure that nothing was actually broken. . • TOM: Right. If the shaking gpt considerably worse the day after you bought it, then you might have a broken motor mount or a cylinder that started to misfire. Those are not uncom- Cavalier mon problems, and either one would make the "normal" shaking a whole lot worse. "** On the other hand, if you just didn't notice the shaking when you test drove the car (in your state of euphoria comparing the '95 Camry with your, say, '82 Sentra), then Toyota may be right. TOM: Still, there are some things they could try in an attempt to make you happy. One is different motor mounts. There was a service bulletin on some older Camrys that claimed you could solve this problem by installing some updated motor mounts. I've tried that on several customers' cars, and it simply changed the "shake setting" from "puree" down to "blend." But it might be worth a try. RAY: The other thing they can do is to try messing around with the idle speed. Sometimes increasing or decreasing the idle speed by just 50 or 100 rpm can make the shaking substantially better. Or worse... so be careful! Do-it-yourself sunroof a snip away Dear Tom and Ray: I am the proud owner of a 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis station wagon. Right now, it's painted spearmint green with two large racing stripes up the middle. I have also attached several strands of Christmas tree lights to the hood. This all works fine, but I was thinking that a real big sunroof would make the car perfect. Being a poor, recently graduated student and seeing how the car isn't likely to last another year, I want to build the sunroof myself with the help of a saw. Will I do something really bad to the car by trying this myself? What kind of saw would you guys recommend? - Josh TOM: Well, you and I certainly share the same respectful attitude toward our cars, Josh! RAY: You can certainly try this yourself. It's hard to imagine doing much aesthetic harm to a spearmint green wagon with racing stripes and Christmas tree lights on it. TOM: The only caution is that you don't want to make the sunroof too big, or you'll decrease the structural safety of the car - of which the roof plays a key role. So don't go overboard in terms of size. RAY: The best tool for the job is a pair of air-powered tin snips. Body shops have these for cutting sheet metal. If you can't bribe a body shop into letting you use its snips, then you may have to "go manual" and use regular tin snips. TOM: Here's what I'd do. I'd cut the hole for the sunroof first, then I'd buy a piece of plexiglass from the hardware store. Put a nice, thick bead of silicone adhesive around the edge of the plex- iglass, lay it on top of the hole and then secure it with an armload of sheet metal screws. RAY: Then your only challenge will be figuring out what to do with the tattered remains of the headliner that you cut up while taking a piece of the roof off. You might want to check with Martha Stewart. I think she wrote an article recently called "Sewing 18th Century Lace Pattern Doilies Out of '87 Mercury Headliners." Good luck, Josh. Want to get the best car for your money? Make sure you read Tom and Ray's guide "How to Buy a Great Used Car: Things Detroit and Tokyo Dont Want You to Know." Send $3 and a stamped (55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to USED CAR, PO Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. • ; Continued from Page B'l behind the wheel for an hour or two and felt non-the-worse-for- wear when I arrived at my destination. I would, however, save the rear seats for children or at least not subject my passengers to an extended stay. It gets a little tight behind the driver's seat. Like it or not, Chevrolet has equipped the Cavalier with daytime running lights. The system turns on front running lights during the day, according to proponents, to make travel safer. One safety feature that I think is good to have, au^. ..*o comes standard on the Cavalier, is anti-locking brakes. We've talked about how experienced drivers are able to use threshold braking to bring their vehicles to a safe halt. But, for the everyday driver, or the not so experienced, ABS is a good idea. With ABS, you are able to retain control of the vehicle and steer around trouble. The changes made to the new Cavalier only enhance its ability to be a vehicle that can fulfill the needs of many owners. The car is attractive, economical and easy to live with. It's certainly a vehicle that should be on your list to check out. Forecasting tomorrow's traffic report By JAMES PILCHER Associated Press Writer ATLANTA — Just as meteorologists can forecast the weather days in advance, a Georgia Tech researcher is designing a system that can predict traffic jams long before rush hour begins. The software being developed by Georgia Tech civil engineering professor John Leonard will predict traffic flows or "temperatures," showing drive times in bright colors like a weather map. He also is developing a scale for gridlock so traffic conditions can be expressed in a figure. "People need a simple-to-understand number — even if it doesn't have a physical meaning — to represent traffic congestion," Leonard said. "What I want to do is bring traffic flow science to the traveling public ... and get people to start developing a personal understanding of congestion and plan accordingly." And just like people use weather reports to plan how they will dress the next day, they could use traffic reports to plan tomorrow's commute. "You know at certain times of the day it's going to be bad no matter what," said Marion Jones, state traffic operations engineer for the Georgia Department of Transportation. "But this might be able to tell you if you should leave 15 minutes early or can hit the snooze that one extra time." Leonard's current drive-time predictor helps with an immediate departure. It uses historical data collected from the DOT along with variables such as weather, population growth figures, the calendar and events such as ball games or major conventions. Current users can only click on five different departure points on the map — Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, downtown and the main junctions of the interstate system around the city — to get drive-time estimates. But by March Leonard says someone can click anywhere on the map and make that the departure point, so someone could check the estimated travel time into the office before they leave home. He also says predictions made 24 hours in advance could be online early next year. "As we get closer to real time, we could fine-tune it with what's going on now." Leonard said the concept can be applied to any major city with a traffic management .system that tracks flow and average speeds and has the historical data necessary for predictions. "Most major metres have something up and running," Leonard said. "It's just that Georgia's and Atlanta's is one of the most extensive and offers us a chance to show the future of this kind of stuff." Leonard especially hopes that traffic reporters and truck and delivery dispatchers will use his system. Dispatchers could use it to plan around slow drive times and take some vehicles off the road, while the media could get the word out to commuters. Always looking for a scoop on reporting traffic jams, veteran Atlanta traffic reporter Herb Emory said he would use the real-time data but is taking a wait-and-see attitude to the long-range predictions. "We are all looking for any kind of extra input in trying to cope with Atlanta traffic," Emory said. "It's so hard on so many people's nerves, including mine. But as for predictions, it is awfully hard to nail down times, and I could tell you certain things are going to happen just based on experience." One drawback to the long-range system is that it doesn't account for accidents or other incidents — such as a gas main break near Interstate 85 that literally shut down Atlanta for four hours Oct. 19. Jones said that about 64 percent of tieups in Atlanta are caused by unforeseen accj- dents. Leonard said that the site could update its 24-hour predictions with short-terpi reports telling motorists how long problems will take to clear. '. "Traffic is like the heartbeat of the city, and a traffic jam is like a heart attack," Leonard said. "If we can get people to alter their driving patterns or get a few more people off the road during rush hour and relieve some of that pressure, then it will be worth it." EDITOR'S NOTE: The Web site http://traffic.ce.gatech.edu/trafficweather. is LAST CHANCE! for reserved Mardi Gras tables with special wines! 7pm • seats 8-10 • $150 ea. 462-3888 Dinner tickets extra ELECTRONIC PROTECTION DEEP VALLEY SECURITY Call us: 462-5200 NORTH COUNTRY HORSE EXPO 2000 Local news, weather & sports in the Daily Journal

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