Winter Driving

When it's below 44 degrees, it's tires, not ice that's the biggest hazard on the road

Pirelli has launched an education campaign to help Americans understand that they need to switch over to winter tires.

Photo by Getty Images

Hello, winter. The seasons have changed and just like that freezing rain, ice, snow, road salt, and hidden potholes have become the norm. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, winter storms, bad weather and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter.

Pirelli is kicking off a new campaign, #Below44. The 44-day campaign aims to educated drives on why winter tires are critical for anyone who lives in an environment where the temperature regularly dips below 44 degrees.

Pirelli Winter Tires: Enjoy the bad season. Video by Pirelli

Sure, there's always going to be people out there that boast about driving their rear-wheel drive boat of a sedan on all-season tires through "Nor'easter of '75" but that doesn't mean that you should tempt fate.

Why make the switch to winter tires?

"There are two reasons why we recommend consumers who live in colder climates switch over to true winter tires," said Ian Coke, Head of R&D, Pirelli North America. "The first is because tires are made of rubber compounds that respond to extreme temperatures and become stiffer as temperatures decrease. This stiffness can significantly reduce the traction levels of the tire tread – the part of the tire that makes direct contact with the road surface – and compromise the tire's overall performance and a driver's safety. As the temperature continues to drop the performance level of the tire will also continue to be impacted."

In Canada, where winter tires are mandatory, there has been a significant reduction in serious accidents that occur during the winter driving season, AAA reports. In Montreal alone, the rate dropped 46 percent.

Pirelli Winter Tires: The winter season is not so bad. Video by Pirelli

The Pirelli Pro Guide: Winter has launched and features answers to some questions you might have rattling around in your head about winter tires and driving. There are also tips and a consumer rebate offer.

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Dodge offers upgrades that push power to 885 ponies in some models.

Dodge

The world may be going electric, but Dodge is still offering plenty of support to owners of its famed Hellcat muscle cars. Today, the automaker announced a program to provide factory-backed performance parts for SRT Hellcat cars. The components can be ordered and installed by one of Dodge's "Power Broker" dealerships.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Dodge's packages include graphics for the Challenger.Dodge

Called Direct Connection, the service is Dodge's official source for performance parts and other components. Dodge offers two kits for Challenger SRT models: Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye cars can be upgraded to 885 horsepower and the standard Hellcat can be pushed to 750 ponies. In all, Direct Connection offers 14 kits for the Challenger and 13 race-ready kits. There are also four graphics packages for the Challenger Mopar Drag Park model.

Because of their connections with the company that designed and built the cars in the first place, factory-backed tuning and performance operations are usually top-notch. Dodge's program offers live technical support and an online catalog that allows users to mix and match performance parts using the site's "recipes." All parts that are installed or replaced by a certified Dodge dealer do not interfere with the cars' three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty or the five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Direct Connection Challenger Performance Parts | Dodge youtu.be

If Dodge-approved performance parts get you excited, you don't have long left to wait. The kits will go on sale late in the first quarter of 2022. The Dodge Power Brokers dealer network will also start around that time.

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Electric vehicles

NHTSA looking into Tesla's in-car video games

Some owners have discovered that their car's video games work when the car is moving.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles are among the most advanced and forward-thinking products of any kind, but serious innovation doesn't come with tradeoffs. The automaker has been in the news recently because of issues with how its advanced cruise control systems function, and now, Autoblog reports that the NHTSA is asking questions about Tesla giving drivers the ability to play video games and browse the internet while driving.

Tesla Arcade hands-on: the Model 3 is your video game console youtu.be

The feature is intended to be used while the car is parked, such as while charging, so the discovery that people can use them while driving is a serious one. Vince Patton, the person who filed the complaint with the NHTSA, tested his car and found that he could play Solitaire and a fairly involved action game while it was in motion. Internet browsing was also possible, meaning the driver could take their attention completely off the road ahead for extended periods of time.

Tesla Model 3 Tesla's screens offer advanced functions that many others do not. Tesla

Tesla was already under investigation over crashes involving its Autopilot feature. Several collisions have occurred between Teslas and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Following the initiation of that investigation, the NHTSA raised other questions with the automaker over a buggy software update that was pushed out, retracted, fixed, and reissued outside of the normal recall process. Despite their names, it's important to clarify that neither the Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving features are capable of driving the cars without driver awareness and input.

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