Dashboard-Mounted Signs: A Reality for North Huntingdon Drivers?

It’s not uncommon for drivers around Pittsburgh and North Huntingdon to see other drivers run stop signs or fail to yield to oncoming traffic. And if you are being honest with yourself, you may be guilty of this a time or two as well. But what would happen if those traffic signs didn’t exist and were replaced with electronic signs and warnings via an in-dash screen? And the warnings would only be shown if another vehicle was present at an intersection?

This is exactly what researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute want to find out in an experiment that relies on technology rather than metal signs. The research is designed to not only provide safe traffic flow, but also save time and fuel for drivers and cut down on emissions caused by cars stopping or slowing for no reason—something any driver can appreciate.

dashboard mounted traffic signs, traffic signs Pittsburgh, traffic signs North Huntingdon

“The idea is there would be no physical stop or yield signs on the side of the road, but they would be inside the vehicle,” Alexandria Noble, the Virginia Tech master’s student leading the research project, recently said. And it’s more than just an idea since Noble and VTTI conducted real-world trials with vehicles and drivers to test the concept.

VTTI conducted its own 17-week trial by eliminating road signs on its closed-course facility. Two tests involved dozens of participants aged 18 to 25 and also over 50 driving cars equipped with small dashboard screens. The screens were used to alert drivers to either stop or yield via a flashing display or to continue through the intersection unimpeded.

The technology could be beneficial since physical stop and yield signs are often not only overlooked or ignored but are also costly, noted VTTI. Signs have to be maintained and can be easily covered by trees, and they need to be replaced when damaged or stolen. The researchers also pointed out that signs such as “Bridge Freezes Before Road” aren’t needed most of the year and that adaptive in-car warnings would be better in such circumstances.

Pets: Man’s Best Friend AND Travel Companion

With the end of summer right around the corner, you’re trying to fit in as many last-minute vacations as possible, even if it is just a long drive for a day or a trip to Jim Shorkey! Here’s some tips to make sure you and your pet get the most out of your road trip!

Jack Russell Terrier Dog Enjoying a Car Ride.

1. Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. Carriers come in a wide variety of sizes, from wire mesh to hard and soft-sided. Whichever one is right for your pet, make sure it’s large enough for your per to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around in. And don’t forget to secure the crate or carrier so it wont slid or slip at a quick stop.

2. Prepare your pet for a long trip by taking them on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car.

3. Feed your pet 3 to 4 hours prior to your road trip. This allows for the food to digest so your pet won’t get car sick. Don’t feed your pet in a moving vehicle – even if it is a long trip. Take a break and walk your furry friend in a pet-friendly rest stop.

4. Never leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time. And on a cold day, the car can become an icebox in a matter of minutes!

5. Pack your pet’s traveling bag. Make a checklist so you don’t forget all of your pet’s necessities. Travel papers, food, bowl, leash, waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication , pet first-aid kit, and your pets favorite toy!

6. Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and wears a collar with a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone number, and any other relevant contact information.

7. If you plan on traveling across state lines, bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record, as some states requires this proof at certain interstate crossings.

8. Don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window; they could be injured by flying objects. And for safety reasons, keep them in the back seat in a crate or with a harness attached to a seat buckle.

9. Bring bottle water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. Drinking water from an area that they are not use to could result in an upset stomach.

10. If you travel frequently with your pet, you may want to invest in rubberized floor liners and waterproof seat covers.

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Don’t forget that we are pet friendly at Jim Shorkey! So bring your pet in and find the perfect vehicle for you and your furry friend!

Road Trip Travel Tips

The great America road trip is a standard summertime tradition for many friends and family. If you plan on packing up your car and venturing out on the open road this summer, then check out our trips for smooth sailing—err, driving—to your destination.

Car Maintenance

Technician. Consider stopping by one of our Service Centers to have your vehicle checked before a long trip.

Tires. Check your tires monthly for tread wear. Make sure all tires (including the spare) are properly inflated.

Coolant. Check the coolant level and condition, making certain the proper 50/50 mixture of coolant and water is present.

Oil. Check the level and condition of the engine oil. Your owner’s manual should have specific directions.

Belts and Hoses. Look for worn, cracked, blistered, or soft belts and hoses. Of course, always perform this check with the engine off.

Battery. Hot weather can shorten the life of a battery. You can have it tested by a qualified technician.

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Travel Planning

Emergency Kit. Carry an emergency kit with a flashlight, batteries, warning devices (such as flares or reflective triangles), jumper cables, a first-aid kit, and extra water.

Fuel. Don’t let the gas level get below one-quarter of a tank.

Route-Planning. Use any mobile app to plan your route ahead of time (a paper map works great too!). Plan for stops every 100 miles or 2 hours to avoid drowsy or fatigued driving.

Accommodations. Reserve all accommodations in advance, but be flexible if you need to stop an extra night due to traffic a change of plans.

Security. Lock your car when you leave it, and keep your valuables out of sight.

Safety. Secure children and adults in car seats, booster seats, or seat belts.

Entertainment. Bring books, games, and music for the ride, but don’t forget to take in the beautiful scenery.

Information. Bring information on your destination to make the most of your trip.

travel plans

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Most drivers understand the dangers associated with texting and driving, and yet a large number of those drivers ignore these perils or otherwise believe they belong to a nonexistent elite cavalry that can text, drive, and still pay attention to the road.

April 2014 is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the US Department of Transportation has launched a “U Drive, U Text, U Pay” campaign that runs until April 15 to combat distracted driving. This 30-second video, which has seen immersion in both television and online outlets, shows a woman looking down at her phone and driving through a stop sign before she is hit from the side by a tractor trailer.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,328 people were killed and an estimated 421,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2012.

THE LAW IN PENNSYLVANIA

In the Keystone State, using your cell phone while driving to send or receive texts, emails, or messages of any kind is illegal. If you are caught using a mobile device for any of the above purposes, the PA Department of Transportation will issue you a $50 fine. It is not illegal to make phone calls while driving.

However, if you must make or receive a call while driving, you should:

  • Pull off the road whenever possible.
  • Use a hands-free device.
  • Never participate in emotionally heated conversations.

We would like to ask our readers: