August 1st marks the anniversary of the first coast to coast trip made in an automobile. As you can imagine, driving an automobile that distance was difficult and a daring achievement. H. Nelson Jackson, a physician and businessman from Burlington, Vermont joined by Sewall K. Crocker, a mechanic, drove from San Francisco to New York. It took them 63 days and there were many challenges. The trip is detailed in 'Crossing the Country'. It is an interesting piece of history.
Making this 2,500 mile trip today would take roughly 40 hours or about 4 days. You would certainly not encounter the road conditions they experienced back in 1903. Automobile safety and mechanics have changed significantly as well. Today's cars are equipped with anti-lock brakes, seatbelts, a windshield and wipers just to name a few improvements that didn't exist then.
Government and consumer groups perform many safety tests and rate cars for their crash and rollover safety. It's important for you to do your research before buying a car your family will be driving or will be a passenger in. One good source is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Defects and Recalls are documented and published. However, the reports often don't reach the car owners that need this information. Websites such as www.safercar.gov provide resources to identify specific recalls as well as tips of being a safe driver. You owe it to yourself and your family to be informed. They are relying on you to keep them safe.