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Driving - Here & There


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The POWER of the FOOT

Sometimes I wonder if podiatrists upon examinations
notice issues with their patient’s right feet as many of them do not seem to
function properly. Perhaps the diagnosis is a lack of flexibility caused by
atrophy induced by high gasoline prices where people used the “egg between the
foot and pedal” plan. From road observations I have to note that many drivers must
experience this malady and appear seriously unable to flex that right foot.

Along with the foot thing, I watch in amazement as the
horsepower ratings on cars continues to climb with every new model year. To
think that in 1974, a Corvette with a 350 CID V-8 engine had as little as 160hp
when now even the smallest econobox milks that much from tiny 3 and 4 cylinder
engines. Even some motorcycles have more now. Nevertheless, the horsepower race
is on passing through the 300, 400, 500, 600, 700 and now even the 800hp mark
with the introduction of the 2016 Shelby Cobra claiming 850hp. The electric
Tesla comes with available 694hp and the Dodge Hellcat provides 707hp. With oodles of power ala carte in new vehicles
to temp the perspective buyer, horsepower is a temptation which is difficult to
resist and many don’t. Maybe sometime in
the past, a car with over 300hp seemed impressive but impressing any of the car
people, you’ll find that even 400hp will hardly even get you a glance. Specialty exotics such as the Bugatti Veyron
claim well in excess of 1,000hp and top speeds over 200 mph which seems useful
if you happen to have an Autobahn around. On I-90? Naw.

With all that in mind I have noticed that is spite of

being surrounded by higher powered vehicle, my IS250AWD is about the fastest
car on the road. For whatever reason, I have to notice that many of the highest
horsepower cars on the road are also the slowest. I seriously ask why someone
would dish out 100 bucks for a new Z06 or Viper and idle around? Every time I
drive my Lexus, I am thankful I only have 207hp because 7 grand comes pretty
quickly off a light and I can easily take even the highest horsepower cars
because my right foot still flexes fine and theirs do not.

I say while gasoline is this cheap, let’s burn as much
as we can. Use that right foot.



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I agree with you totally. It isn't as much the horsepower as the skill of the driver. I can cut a tree (traffic light) as well as anybody. I can get my 204 hp out in front of anybody and with my F-Sport suspension, I can corner pretty well too. My foot flexes well Denny. It is supposed to be 75 and sunny here today. I imagine it will get a good workout.

I think the problem with most of the high horsepower cars out there is that they are so expensive that only old farts can afford them and they drive too sensibly. They, unlike us Denny, decided to grow up. Sad....

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Well that gave me a laugh. How true. Saw a new red C7 Corvette idling around last week. For my purposes and better judgement, the horsepower I have is surely adequate. More than you can use is what gets you in trouble.

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Winter Tire Time - Considerations AWD/4WD?

The state safety inspection ran out on my Frontier which is what I usually drive around town. Not a problem as it will pass but rather not get a ticket. The other morning it was raining and I had errands to run so I took the Corolla since I don't like getting my race car wet. The Corolla is usually driven by my daughter but due to her needing to move stuff, she ended up with the Silverado. The tires are maybe 3 years old and have less than 20,000 but these summer tires are junk. You should never break traction in 3rd gear in a 5 speed Corolla. Since she sometimes drives in snow, I ordered up some new snow tires since when I looked at the winter set I noticed the old tires were date coded out (9 years old). Look for the DOT code that has four number (such as 0204) which mean Second Week of 2004. All tires have carried this code since the 90's however on very old 90's tires there is only 3 numbers (mo/yr). Of course you'd be a fool to drive on them. Besides tire wear, tires also DATE code out with 5 years being a safe benchmark.

For those of you who live in areas with occasional snow, snow tires are cheaper than accidents. For those of you live in snow belt areas and depend on AWD/4WD to save you, please do others a favor and read statistics on how well that works. Yes, AWD/4WD really is good at getting you going BUT the tires are the SAME as FWD/RWD vehicles and they all will stop and steer just about the same in snow because after all, tires are tires. After you smack into something and your insurance company sits up and takes notice you will wish you had a flexible foot so you go give yourself a good swift kick in your personal rear bumper. Snow tires cost a fraction of an accident and as a bonus, you don't wear your summer (or 3-Season) tires out in the winter spinning them endlessly in a futile attempt to gain traction. Your beautiful summer wheels will not get salted and pitted and the winter sneakers may even save you car shopping.

One word of caution for new WINTER tire drivers. Learn to check your mirror because that person behind you with AWD doesn't know how fast YOU can stop. If you're going to be in an accident, always better to be the hit-ee not the hit-er. Better you avoid the accident by driving aware.

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