Or Test Fest 2011, since that's the model year of the cars we're evaluating?
Whatever, it is the largest, most comprehensive and objective automobile journalists Car/ Truck of the Year process - not just in Canada, not just in North America, but in The World.
I meet with journos from all four corners regularly - nobody has anything anywhere near this scope.
Beware of cheap imitations.
80-odd journalists (a few of them quite odd...) from coast to coast, here at the Niagara Regional Airport to put 48 new models through their paces - back-to-back, same roads, same day - to determine winners in 11 categories, plus overall Car and Truck of the Year.
Ann Arbor Michigan is probably among the smartest cities in the United States. The major industry - heck, nearly the ONLY industry - is the University of Michigan, one of the largest and best universities in the country.
So perhaps it isn't surprising that the Ann Arbor area is home to many examples of the smartest traffic control measure ever invented. Yeah yeah, here I go with roundabouts again.
This particular one is out in the country, but not far from Ann Arbor. As you can see, the locals are having no issues negotiating it.
We went through several roundabouts on our bus ride from the downtown hotel we were staying at to the Hyundai-Kia Technical centre in the town's outskirts. Our driver was a large, very funny and slightly scary woman who one-handed the bus through the roundabouts, her other hand holding on to her coffee mug.
Her comments on other drivers suggested that she had no problems with the roundabouts but perhaps others were still getting used to them. I'm not sure how long they've been here; the construction was clearly not that old.
The Americans are slowly figuring out seat belt use - they're still double-digit percentage points behind us on that count.
The glimmer of national health care is only 50 years behind us.
But it seems that at least in some American jurisdictions, they're ahead of at least some Canadian jurisdictions on roundabouts.
Now that Toronto has a mayor who doesn't actively hate cars - hey; his name is Ford, fer cryin' out loud - is there a chance for Toronto?
Do you know what the most dangerous animal to mankind is in North America?
Forget your grizzly bears, your killers bees, your scorpions, your rattlesnakes.
According to reports, more people die by running their vehicles into white-tailed deer than by any other interaction with native fauna.
True, moose are bigger and heavier, and it’s even nastier if you run into one of those. As they say in Newfoundland, “Moose on your plate is better than moose on your car.”
(Yes, the brown stuff is moose stew. I won't show you the "before" picture...).
There just aren’t as many of them.
Central Michigan, where I happen to be this week, is particularly prone. Deer hunting season (no, not with cars) is such a big deal that the first day of that season is often a statutory holiday - nobody shows up for work anyway, so the companies figure they might as well just shut down.
General Motors, whose crash test lab is nearby, is the only car company I've ever seen which has a 'white-tailed deer' crash test. They suspend a canvas bag filled with - well, I don't really want to know what it's filled with; let's assume sawdust - at the height of an adult deer's body (I gather the deer's legs are pretty much irrelevant in a highway-speed crash) and run their cars into it, to see how they do.
As you can see from these signs, the authorities do try to warn motorists of the danger these creatures pose.
(The 'leaping deer' one must be a new sign; no bullet holes in it yet.)
The pixelboard sign alternates between this (“DON’T VEER FOR DEER”) and another message (“HI DEER CRASH AREA”).
Apologies for the Amurrican spelling...
(BTW, it was very difficult to get a clear photo of this sign. Sometimes, the letters didn’t show up at all when I pushed the button, other times some were legible, others very faded. Anybody know why? Maybe the individual bulbs/LEDs/whatever making up the letters are flickering and the shutter speed was too fast to capture them all? This, the best shot I could get, was actually taken from farther away with more telephoto - any hints there?)
Apparently, deer aren’t the only dangerous thing on Rochester streets. This sign is heading IN to town: