Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Online Customizer Lets You Build Your Ultimate Dream Virtual Mustang

Have you ever dreamed about your ultimate Mustang? Custom paint, unique wheels. Hood scoop and more? Now it’s easier than ever for lovers of the original pony car to create the virtual Mustang of their dreams. With never-before-used digital technologies, Ford has created a customizer site within the car’s microsite, www.fordvehicles.com/the2010mustang.

The site is meant to reflect what the Ford Mustang is all about: classic design - a design to be redesigned by you - and attitude.

The Mustang customizer site is fun, and it’s also simple to use. Every aspect from choosing parts, changing colors, determining the intensity of your burnout cloud - all interactions are designed to be fluid and easy. There are 239 design elements in the customizer, and visitors can even choose the decals and the environments for their Mustang.

Accessories available include wheels, hoods, spoilers and grilles. Within minutes, vastly different looks can be created. You can build and save up to 10 as desktop wallpaper.

Although there are many customizer sites, the 2010 Ford Mustang customizer sets itself apart, largely because it’s not designed to be a linear build and price experience, like most sites. Ford focused on bringing some fun back into creating the ultimate Mustang.

You can also build your car in community. The community customizer is a multiuser mode that lets four people work on the same Mustang in real time. Chat features create an even more social experience, and the gallery allows submitted Mustangs to be voted on by other users, with the winners displayed each week.

The 2010 Mustang offers more performance and appearance options directly from Ford than ever before. With six accessories available right from the factory floor, 3,012 possible combinations available for order without accessories and 9,224 possible combinations with accessories (not including exterior and interior colors, and SVT),

For those serious about making their custom car a reality, a downloadable PDF offers a detailed list of all the parts used to create that particular Mustang. The PDF is separated into three categories - Ford, aftermarket and concept accessories - and includes links to the applicable sites. The list of parts makes it easy to start a conversation with your local Ford dealer.

When something like this hits in the Mustang community, word travels fast. Mustang enthusiasts have been buzzing with discussion in online forums, and customized Mustangs are even appearing in competitor vehicle forums.

One week after launch, almost 52,000 cars have been built with more than 16,000 of those saved into the site gallery. And more than 30 forums and blogs are sharing their own creations.

Give America’s favorite muscle car your unique spin. Customize your 2010 Ford Mustang by clicking here.

Source: The Ford Story

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Top 11 Driver Distractions

Driven to Distraction

Driving a car is a complex physical and mental operation. Not only does it require coordination and reflexes, it also requires rapid assessment skills and good judgment. Automakers have spent decades making cars easier and safer to drive, installing everything from rearview mirrors to automatic transmissions to cruise control. Despite that, some drivers insist on creating distractions for themselves behind the wheel, most of which have nothing to do with driving, safe or otherwise.

Distraction Causes Crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have studied driver behavior, and have categorized some of the causes of accidents in these reports. Their conclusion: "Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes."

Just Drive

We've compiled a list of distracting activities that we've witnessed on the road. While we may have been guilty of engaging in a few of these non-driving-related distractions ourselves over the years, we have sworn off all extraneous activities behind the wheel. Our new motto: "Just drive."

Applying Makeup

Ladies, we know that it's impossible to get ready on time in the morning. But please, don't try to put on your mascara in traffic. Not only are you diverting your attention from the road, you're also at risk of looking like a sad clown by the time your get to the office.


Gentlemen, just because that razor is cordless doesn't mean that you should use it everywhere. While you concentrate on getting your sideburns even, traffic has bunched up behind you and you're driving on the shoulder. Shave at home, or wait until you get to work.


We've all done it on a busy day. A quick trip through the drive-through, and before you know it, you're eating a double cheeseburger with one hand, French fries with the other, balancing a soda with your elbow and steering with your knees. Beyond being a recipe for indigestion, eating behind the wheel is unsafe and distracting.


'Great Expectations' is a great book. It was a great book when Charles Dickens finished it in 1861. It will still be a great book after you reach your destination. Don't read behind the wheel. If you must be literary while driving, try audio books. Many of the classics are available for loan at your public library.

Talking on the Phone

"Research shows that driving while using a cell phone can pose a serious cognitive distraction and degrade driver performance," according to NHTSA, Using a hands-free device can reduce distraction, but not eliminate it. In other words, hang up and drive.


The driver in front of you on your morning commute weaves and swerves. You pull alongside, expecting to see an inebriated partier. Instead, a starched and pressed business person pilots the vehicle, while texting with both thumbs on a PDA which rests on the steering wheel. Texting is unsafe at any speed but zero.


One of the first things we learn in driver's ed is proper driving position. So why do so many drivers insist on slouching, reclining, leaning against the door or putting their feet out of the window? Not only is visibility compromised, reaction time is delayed and control is also compromised, so much of the crash protection engineered into the car is defeated. Straighten up and drive right, for your own good.


A little bit of singing is a good thing, even while driving. But we've seen drivers engaging in full-out air guitar rockfests worthy of amphitheater stages, all while driving down a crowded highway. Save the theatrics for Karaoke night, and keep your mind on the road.

Petting the dog, cat, rabbit, bird or lizard

In swanky Beverly Hills, it's not uncommon to see a dog's face peeking out of the driver's window as a car whizzes by on Doheny Drive. The California state legislature even debated a law outlawing pets on drivers' laps. Confine your pet to the back seat or passenger seat. Pets are not immune to crashes, and can even cause them if they are unrestrained in the cabin.

Watching a Movie

In-car entertainment can really make a road trip pass by quickly for the passengers. But we've seen vehicles with LCD screens installed in the dash, in clear view of the driver, blaring video entertainment while the vehicle moves through traffic. Drive-in movies are one thing; a driving movie is something else entirely. Be sure to keep entertainment screens out of the driver's line of sight.

Accessing the Internet

We haven't seen this yet, but it's coming. Chrysler LLC recently announced that it will launch an in-vehicle wireless internet system for its vehicles. According to Chrysler, "'uconnect web' transforms the vehicle into a mobile 'hot spot,' delivering unlimited, reliable and uninterrupted Internet connectivity." The system will be available as a dealer installed accessory for Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles beginning in August, 2008. Uh-oh!

Source: Autos AOL

How to Avoid Car Break-Ins and Vehicle Theft?

Avoid Break-Ins: Introduction

Each year, $1.255 billion in personal items and accessories are stolen from vehicles in about 1.85 million thefts; and for every theft, experts estimate, there are several break-ins and attempted break-ins. With these common sense habits and preventative measures, you can greatly reduce the chances your vehicle will become a target.

Avoid Break Ins: Lock Your Doors

While this piece of advice should be a no-brainer, up to a quarter of vehicle thefts are from unlocked cars, according to some law enforcement agencies. Even if you're running into the store for a Coke, that's too long to leave your vehicle's contents open for the taking. Simply locking the doors will deter those who might just be waiting around for an easy target.

Avoid Break-Ins: Keep it Tidy

Almost any worthless personal item that's visible from the outside--even an empty shopping bag--could be seen as a valuable or a carrier of valuables. If you have a wagon or SUV that leaves your cargo area on display, consider getting a cover. Most of these vehicles can be fitted with inexpensive retractable covers to help keep shopping bags or other belongings out of sight.

Avoid Break-Ins: Conceal all the evidence

Don't leave any bait out for thieves; stow your electronics and accessories well out of sight--or better yet, bring it with you. The evidence alone might be enough to pique the interest of thieves, so hide that too, including power plugs, telltale iPod adapters, or nav-system windshield suction-cup mounts, and even put the cigarette lighter back in place.

Avoid Break-Ins: Stash Before (Not After) You Park

Get in the habit of putting shopping bags in the trunk right when you return to the vehicle, rather than after you park at the next place. According to National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) spokesman Frank Scafidi, thieves sometimes linger in busy parking lots looking for valuables being moved out of sight. Don't display to them what you have.

Avoid Break-Ins: Completely Close Windows and Sunroofs

No, it's not just because thieves might reach in through the gap and open your locks with a coat hanger. Open windows will disable the pressure sensor in some car alarms, leaving the vehicle more vulnerable to break-in and potentially giving thieves more time before the alarm sounds.

Avoid Break-Ins: Get an Alarm

If you don't have an alarm system, get one. The noise alone may be enough to scare away an inexperienced thief and prevent the break-in. Factory-option alarm systems are generally best, but a carefully installed, properly calibrated aftermarket system can provide just as much safety. Beware, many less-expensive new cars have remote entry but not a true alarm.

Avoid Break-Ins: Stick With Your Original Audio System

Thefts of car audio components are on the decline, but having an aftermarket system still makes a car more attractive to thieves thinking of breaking in. There's no black market to speak of for factory stereos, and they've become much better sounding in recent years.

Avoid Break-Ins: Park for Visibility

Park in a busy, well-lit area, and avoid concealment from larger vehicles, fences, or foliage. Except for the most brazen thieves, the greater the chances are that someone might see a crime in progress, the lower the chances are that the potential thief will attempt it.

Avoid Break-Ins: Get physical

A significant portion of vehicles are broken into with the intent of stealing the vehicle itself, so combining several visible simple, inexpensive physical theft deterrents like steering wheel locks (The Club), steering column collars, or brake pedal locks may discourage the would-be thief from breaking in and trying.

Avoid Break-Ins: Layer your Defenses

That's the strategy recommended by the NICB; layers include warning devices such as alarms, wheel etching, or decals; immobilizers; and even tracking systems (LoJack is one). "None of them are foolproof, but if they're used in tandem they can really keep the chances down," agrees Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.

Source: Autos AOL