Travelers Insurance has issued some safety tips for adults this Halloween. Like, clean your gutters and be careful using candles. There’s also a driving tip, called “Pay Close Attention When Driving.” Wish it weren't necessary to remind people of that, but then again, “More than twice as many children are killed in pedestrian-car accidents on Halloween between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., compared with the same hours on other days throughout the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”
Clearly, you can never overstate the importance of staying safe on the roads. Unfortunately, alerting drivers isn’t quite enough. This week, Consumer Reports “dumped some of its favorite vehicles — Toyota's Camry, RAV4 and Prius V — from its list of recommended cars because they scored poorly in an insurance industry crash test.”
In revoking those endorsements, Consumer Reports looked at the results of the so-called small overlap crash test. The Camry is the best-selling passenger car in the United States, and the RAV4 is one of the most popular compact sport utility vehicles.
All three have long been among Consumer Reports' top picks. Audi's A4 also lost its recommended status for the same reason.
The small overlap crash test “simulates a wreck in which a front corner of the car hits another car or a fixed object” causing “severe damage.” Clearly, it hasn’t been a great few days for Toyota. Just one week ago, a local Oklahoma jury found the company “liable for a 2007 crash that left one woman dead and another seriously injured after a Camry suddenly accelerated.… It also decided Toyota acted with ‘reckless disregard’ for the rights of others.” The plaintiffs presented evidence that “the vehicle accelerated unexpectedly because of a defect in the car’s electronic throttle-control system [and] that Toyota knew about the problems, but concealed that information from the public.”(Remember that story? Here, here.)
On the other hand, plenty of American cars are, well, nothing to write home about either. Back to those Consumer Reports ratings:
Despite the strong performance of Buick and GMC, domestic brands filled most of the bottom of the rankings.
Ford Motor Co. fared particularly poorly.
Of the 31 Fords in the survey, only the F-150 pickup truck with the 3.7-liter V-6 engine rated above average. Including its Lincoln brand, almost two-thirds of the 34 Ford vehicles in the survey received scores that were much worse than average.
Ford continues to struggle with its My-Touch in-car technology system and also has had problems with its vehicles sold with the EcoBoost turbocharged V-6 engine, said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports automotive test director.
But overall, Mini — a division of BMW — scored the lowest in the rankings. The next lowest were Lincoln, followed by Ford, Cadillac, Dodge and Jeep. After that, Nissan, Hyundai, Volkswagen and Chrysler's Ram truck line rounded out the bottom 10.
As to those Jeeps - also not a great week for them.
Government safety regulators are investigating two reports of 2012 Jeep Liberty crossovers that had fires in the driver's side doors.
In both cases, owners reported smoke come from the driver's side door, followed by actual flames, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday. The car's master power window switch is at the center of the probe.
In other words, candles aren’t the only flame-causing safety problem this Halloween. Take note, Travelers Insurance – and everyone else on the road today. Stay safe!