Survey Says

Having your dog along for the ride makes you a safer driver

Dogs should be properly restrained at all times during vehicle travel.

Photo by Getty Images

A new survey of 2,000 U.K. drivers, who are also pet owners by SEAT UK, reveals that many are safer drivers when they have their dog in the vehicle with them. Some jurisdictions in the U.K. require drivers to restrain their dogs while en route and drivers who do not may be fined. Similar laws are in place in the U.S.

There results of the survey showed that 54 percent of respondents admitted that they drive more carefully when their dog is in the car with them. That percentage rises when younger drivers' behaviors are isolated. Sixty-nine percent of respondents aged 18-24 said they drive more safely with a dog in the car.

Close-Up Of Dog car spaniel riding Having their dog along for the ride calmed down most drivers. Photo by Getty Images/EyeEm

Older drivers exercised the least amount of additional caution when their dog accompanied them on a drive. Just 42 percent of respondents over 55 years old said that they were safer drivers when their pet was along for the ride.

Dogs are known for decreasing stress levels at home, but they also work their magic while on the road. Thirty-five percent of motorists said that they feel calmer when their dog is in the car with them.

U.K. drivers who do not properly restrain their dog while driving may incur a 5,000 fine and receive nine points on their license. Nine out of 10 people surveyed by SEAT UK were unsure of the rules concerning restraining a dog while motoring.

Over a third of dog-owning drivers were unsure whether there were any rules at all, and more than nine out of 10 didn't know of the maximum penalty, which can be issued by police.

Nigel Griggs, Head of Aftersales at SEAT UK commented, saying: "Everyone knows the British public is passionate about its dogs, however, this study confirms that having their best friend in the car can contribute to safer driving while also having a positive mental health benefit by reducing stress levels. It appears to be a win win.

"Motorists still need to make sure they're keeping their dogs safe while traveling too, and finding comfortable and secure in-car pet accessories to properly restrain pets is as important as using your own seat belt."

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Aston Martin is offering the car as a coupe or roadster.

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda

There's track-centric sports cars and then there's the Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition. Based on the Vantage that serves as an Official Safety Car of Formula 1, the Vantage F1 Edition brings track-honed performance to the open road (or the crowded street - it depends on where you drive it).

The new Vantage is the pinnacle of the Vantage lineup. It benefits from the chassis and aerodynamics improvements that have been put in place to engineer the safety car.

Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda

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It comes with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that has been enhanced to achieve 527 horsepower and 505 pound-feet of torque. Aston Martin has paired the engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Peak torque holds at the top of the curve longer than is traditional to increase tractability and in-gear urgency.

The car's structural stiffness was increased to improve steering feel and response. The internal workings of the car's campers have increased their effective force range. This change improves the car's ability to crest hills without losing performance capability.

An increased rear spring rate and lateral stiffness help to sharpen turn-in and increase traction to ensure that the back end's response complements the front end's action.

The steering system has been edited for driver clarity. It now offers greater feedback to the driver to help create a pure drive experience.

The rig rides on 21-inch Satin Black Diamond Turned alloy wheels. That's up form the 20-inchers on the traditional Vantage model. Each wheel is wrapped in Pirelli low-profile tires that were specially developed specifically for the F1 Edition car.

At top speed, the Vantage F1 Edition's aero kit is designed to deliver 200 kilograms more downforce than the traditional Vantage. The new rear wing on the car is a big part of that. A full-width front splitter, front dive planes, and underbody turning vanes also aid with the aerodynamics.

Aston Martin will sell you the car as a coupe or a roadster. A vaned grille is standard on all models, as are 2x2 Twill Carbon Fiber exterior accents and a quad exhaust.

Buyers can get their car in an Aston Martin Racing Green paint job or choose Jet Black or Lunar White. All models have a Solid Matte Dark Grey racing graphic. The interior has Obsidian Black Leather and Phantom Grey Alcantara upholstery and trim, with a choice of Lime Green, Obsidian Black, Wolf Grey or Spicy Red contrast stripe and stitching.

The new Vantage F1 Edition is on sale now with a recommended retail price from £142,000 in the UK and €162,000 in Germany with deliveries scheduled to begin in May 2021.

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The Maserati MC20 was recently spotted testing in winter weather.

Photo courtesy of Maserati

The Maserati MC20 sports car is undergoing final calibrations ahead of its turn on the assembly line in Italy. The automaker showed off those tests in a series of photos showcasing the model in an environment not usually thought of as supercar-friendly - in snow.

Maserati's engineers are testing the super sports car on the road and track, and in inclement conditions. The automaker went to the snow-covered roads of the Valtellina and at the Ghiacciodromo Livigno (Sondrio), Italy's most notable snow and ice circuit, which is shown in the photos.

Maserati MC20 at the Ghiacciodromo Livigno 

Photo courtesy of Maserati

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The extensive cold-weather trials on snow-covered roads are crucial to the vehicle's development as customers expect to drive their car at all times of the year. The tests also serve as a proving grounds for the vehicle's engine cold starting, low-temperature performance of its elastic components, and the car's handling on cold and low-grip asphalt surfaces. The car's climate control system, battery, suspension, and brakes were also put through their paces.

As part of its development, the Italian automaker's engineers fine-tuned the car's dynamics before they headed out in the snow using a Virtual Vehicle Dynamics Development system. It uses a mathematic model to perform 97 percent of the dynamic tests required for a new vehicle to become production-ready, shortening development time.

It took 2,000 man-hours to fine tune the design of the vehicle using Maserati's Dallara Wind Tunnnel and an additional 1,000 hours of computational fluid dynamics simulations. The car comes in a rear-wheel drive configuration and features a rear limited slip self-locking mechanical differential. An electronic differential is available.

Concealed under the hood is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that achieves 630 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque. The engine was designed and engineered in Italy by Maserati and is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

In front of the driver and at the center of the dashboard are two 10-inch screens. The driver's information screen provides a fully digital look at the car's speedometer, odometer, and tachometer, among other functions. The infotainment touch screen on the dashboard joins a host of convenience and performance technology including a wireless phone charger, drive mode selector (GT, Wet, Sport, Corsa, and ESC Off), two speed selection buttons, and power window controls in the cabin.

Production of the model is schedule to commence at the end of the year. Orders are currently being accepted.

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