Saturday, May 26, 2018
Transportation

Gift ideas for the driver on your list

It's time for the Doc's ninth annual roundup of holiday gift suggestions for the road-trippers in your life. Most of this year's items can be purchased online, making it even easier and faster to cross names off your shopping list.

Swift Hitch: Just because you drive an older or nonfancy model doesn't mean you can't have anything nice. Or cool, like a backup camera that allows one person to hitch a trailer solo. The Swift Hitch is a portable, wireless backup camera that attaches to a truck tailgate and is touted to make hitching a trailer a painless three-step operation. The units run on lithium batteries, use infrared technology, and provide night vision and visibility of up to 300 feet. These babies aren't cheap — models run from about $200 to $300. swifthitch.com.

Drop Stop car wedge: Truth be told, most parents have had this experience — you glance in the rearview mirror and notice that your toddler is happily munching on a french fry. But you didn't give him that french fry, or any other snack for that matter. Whatever it is junior is eating is found food, most likely something he excavated from between the seat cushions or some other cranny in the family vehicle. Gah! If anyone on your list is a fumble fingers who's forever dropping coins, shopping lists, or the occasional french fry into the abyss that is the crevice between the front seats and the console, this is a true gift of love. The Drop Stop acts as a wedge that prevents dropped items from disappearing into the dreaded car cavern. Drop Stop comes in a package of two; each wedge attaches to the seat belt and moves with the seat, so there's no need to adjust for most vehicles. The duo is around $20 and totally worth it. buydropstop.com.

Car bed: All it takes is one frugal cross country trip to know that reclining the front seat and taking a snooze in the parking lot of a rest area is not ideal. Neither is crawling into the backseat when you're desperate for a quick nap and your daughter's soccer match will likely last another six hours. Now we have the option of doing so on a mattress built just for that. A few manufacturers (Fuloon, Karnap, Eumerce) have come out with similarly designed backseat air mattresses that provide the same features — easily inflated via the cigarette lighter, flocked surface, will fit in the backseat of most vehicles and provides some cushiony air between your tired bones and the seat belts. Best of all, they have pedestal feet that keep the mattress level rather than sliding down onto the floor mats. Some models even have built-in window shades so no one can see you napping. Most run about $150. You can find them at Amazon and other online retailers.

SunPass: All-electronic tolling is here to stay, so why not pick up a SunPass transponder for those tough-to-buy-for folks on your list? The transponders cost $25 plus tax and the SunPass Mini Sticker transponder costs $4.99 plus tax. Both SunPass units allow motorists to sign up to have tolls electronically deducted from a prepaid account or a personal bank account. SunPass is good statewide on most (but not all) toll roads. Purchase transponders online or at an authorized SunPass retailer. Information is available at sunpass.com or call toll-free 1-888-865-5352.

Auto club memberships: Say you care with free towing. Auto clubs and service packages abound, so shop around for a membership that best meets the needs of both your favorite driver and your wallet. Check out AAA online at aaasouth.com or call toll-free 1-800-222-1134 for membership information. Your credit union may also offer auto clubs and discounts as do many retailers.

Email Dr. Delay at [email protected] to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions or follow Dr. Delay on Twitter @AskDrDelay.

Comments
She was looking at paperwork to buy a car. Then she had to confirm that she was not a robot.

She was looking at paperwork to buy a car. Then she had to confirm that she was not a robot.

Marci Robin was reviewing the usual paperwork when she was about to buy her Fiat 500X from a West Palm Beach car dealership on Tuesday.Then she had to verify, in person via pen and paper, that she was not a robot, Jalopnik reported.I bought a car tod...
Published: 05/23/18
Pilot-hungry airlines are raiding flight schools - creating a shortage of instructors to train the next generation

Pilot-hungry airlines are raiding flight schools - creating a shortage of instructors to train the next generation

Airlines’ insatiable demand for pilots threatens to sabotage flight schools’ ability to train new ones. Carriers are raising wages and hoarding every available pilot - including the instructors schools rely on to teach incoming students.The very pilo...
Published: 05/23/18
Investigators insist MH370 crash was an accident, not a mass murder-suicide by pilot

Investigators insist MH370 crash was an accident, not a mass murder-suicide by pilot

A despondent Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, troubled over the end of his marriage or some other unbearable sadness, was the only person awake on the doomed plane full of unconscious people, one theory goes. The suicidal pilot disabled communications on Ma...
Published: 05/22/18
Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

TAMPA — Driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t just for the British any more under an innovative plan for moving traffic through three local Interstate 75 interchanges. Construction will soon begin on a $37 million, three-year proje...
Published: 05/21/18
More parking for the Straz Center? So far, the proposal is getting little traction

More parking for the Straz Center? So far, the proposal is getting little traction

TAMPA — Parking has been a problem at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts since downtown began to emerge from the recession nearly a decade ago.The crunch looks likely to continue.A Straz plan to expand parking at its arrival plaza ...
Published: 05/18/18
More St. Petersburg residents using bike-share program on a regular basis

More St. Petersburg residents using bike-share program on a regular basis

ST. PETERSBURG — Cycling downtown on a blue basket bicycle has proven to be a popular pastime, according to the first yearly report provided by the Coast Bike Share. In an update presented to the St. Petersburg City Council, Coast announced that 45,6...
Published: 05/16/18
Co-pilot sucked halfway out of plane after windshield cracks over China

Co-pilot sucked halfway out of plane after windshield cracks over China

Getting sucked halfway out of a plane window is the stuff of movies and nightmares and it happens extremely rarely.But in mid-April, a female passenger died after being partially sucked out of a Southwest Airlines flight when one of the aircraft’s en...
Published: 05/16/18
MH370 experts think they’ve finally solved the mystery of the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight

MH370 experts think they’ve finally solved the mystery of the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight

All but one of the 239 people on the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had probably been unconscious — incapacitated by the sudden depressurization of the Boeing 777 — and had no way of knowing that they were on an hours-long, meandering path to th...
Published: 05/15/18
Pasco buries tunnel proposal at U.S. 41 and SR 54

Pasco buries tunnel proposal at U.S. 41 and SR 54

DADE CITY — Transportation planners are burying the idea of tunneling under U.S. 41 to ease traffic congestion at the road’s intersection with State Road 54 in central Pasco.Even with the conceptual cost dropping $300 million, Pasco’s elected county...
Published: 05/11/18
Updated: 05/13/18
Florida Supreme Court: Cameras a legal way to catch red light runners

Florida Supreme Court: Cameras a legal way to catch red light runners

TALLAHASSEE — Traffic cameras are a legal way to catch red light runners, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a verdict that likely marks the end of a class-action lawsuit seeking refunds for ticketed motorists.In a unanimous verdict, Supreme...
Updated one month ago