Diatribe

To shift…or not to shift

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour        al@motorwayamerica.com

For the first few decades in automotive history, almost without exception, cars were equipped with manual transmissions. Although an automatic transmission was first developed in about 1900 for marine use it wasn’t until almost 40 years later it became available for everyday use in an automobile.

Maybe you WON’T be having a V8

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour     
al@motorwayamerica.com

For the millions of us who are old enough to have had our Bar Mitzvahs in the 1950s and 1960s there was nothing more closely auto-related than the sweet sound and brute power of a high-performance V8. Forget that Cadillac produced the first mass-market V8 in 1914, they didn’t produce a 425 horsepower behemoth like Ford did in 1965.

Enforcing turn signal laws can reap rewards of justice

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour   
al@motorwayamerica.com

Occasionally I read something that gives me such a tingle that it almost feels like it should be illegal. A friend of mine who is basically as twisted as I am sent me a list of recent mug shots and charges against some of the “finer” citizens of the Windy City.

Creeping — dumb, dangerous, and deadly

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour    al@motorwayamerica.com

A reader I’ll call Don (primarily because that’s his name) wrote me to express his disgust with drivers who sit alongside you at a stoplight…and start creeping forward, inch-by-inch, so that by the time the light turns green again they’ve crept about two miles down the road.

Stay away from me!!!

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour   
al@motorwayamerica.com

You have to admit that lane widths on major roads and freeways are fairly liberal and unless you’re driving a Formula 1 racer with laser steering or you’re just a nervous driver there’s not too much pressure to stay strictly within your lane and still enjoy the scenery along the way — just as long as you don’t focus on it versus the traffic around you.

The value of horns — beep-beep, you better watch out

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour  

One of the most important elements of a vehicle — hands down — is the horn. Oh, sure, things like seat belts, disk brakes, stability control and the like save lives…but a horn is the true extension of the driver.

Don’t apologize for using the S-word

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour   
al@motorwayamerica.com

There are a lot of auto-related things I don’t understand. (Full discloser: I’m from Indiana so there’s not much I do understand.)  I don’t understand why, when given a perfectly good set of turn signals, so many drivers refuse to use them. I don’t understand why people buy an automatic transmission but will use paddle shifters that enables them to shift gears like they’re driving a stick shift.

How the evil Highway Department is out to get you

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour      
al@motorwayamerica.com

It was a big day for the Kozlowski Family. Linda and her husband Kenn (his grandparents put an extra “N” in a trust fund for him when he was born). They had saved for four years to buy a brand new Ford Focus. Even though they’d purchased the base model it felt to them like they had the keys to a Rolls Royce.

Driving you stupid — lessons learned in a family car

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
By Al Vinikour    
al@motorwayamerica.com

One of my readers brought up a great suggestion for a column. He commented about drivers who must have gotten their licenses at a K-Mart Blue Light Special and are squiring their kids around?

Attention public officials and to whom it may concern:

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DRIVER'S SIDE DIATRIBE
From Al Vinikour, citizen:

Unless you read automotive columns and auto-related websites you probably wouldn’t be familiar with my name. Truth-be-told I’m just a hard working (but financially challenged) journalist and freelance economist.


I have watched municipalities drop down to such desperate financial shape that many have actually had to do away with city services such as police and fire protection, school bus service, garbage pickup and a host of other things taxpayers and citizenry expect. If the way out of this morass wasn’t so clearly defined I could almost find some sympathy.