Earlier last week, you may have read a news story in which British researchers say that driving a convertible with the top down at highway speeds could damage to your hearing over time. The Brits found that some of the driving scenarios can produce sustained sound levels over 90 decibels. That's loud, just so you know. That said, the eggheads noted that simply rolling up the windows gets the noise down to a more manageable, if still loud, level. As a convertible driver myself (that's my car to the left), the article got me thinking about what other stuff you might want to look out for if you choose to roll in a ragtop. Here are some of my personal observations on the topic.
Before stowing that roof, consider your route. I love top-down motoring, but if I'm going to travel on one of the interstates, I leave the roof up. Why? Trucks. I've seen enough debris fly off big rigs and other commercial vehicles on I-95 to know that I don't want to learn how it feels to be hit by it. I prefer limited-access scenic routes like Connecticut's Merritt Parkway. No big rigs allowed there, so down goes the top if the weather's cooperative.
Be wary of wildlife. Sure, this seems obvious. After all, deer seem to be drawn to speeding traffic like gypsy moths to a bug-zapper. But when you drive a convertible, the potential for unplanned human-animal interaction isn't strictly limited to ground-dwellers like Bambi. One morning, on the aforementioned Merritt Parkway, I was cruising along at a good clip when my peripheral vision caught a flurry of unexpected movement -- in the air. A hawk decided to fly across the road directly in front of me at just about head level, and I was on a course to intercept. Because the idea of a sizable bird of prey in my hair seemed distasteful, I instinctively ducked. As I did, I heard a "tink" as the windshield frame made contact with one of the passing hawk's talons. Somehow, he kept flying, and I kept driving, happy that I didn't have a dead, or worse -- angry, raptor in my passenger seat.
Wear sunscreen. Seriously. One nice thing about driving a convertible is that in the summertime, it helps you passively cultivate a seriously awesome farmer's tan. One not-so-nice thing about it is that your face can turn the color of the Red Lobster mascot if you're not careful. And you won't notice until it's too late, because the artificial breeze caused by the act of driving keeps you from feeling the burn. I keep a sunscreen stick in my storage bin as a preventive measure. It's cheap and it works.
Sunglasses are a good idea. Not just because of the sun, either. While the windshield protects you from the flying insects and such, it's always nice to have a second line of defense for your peepers. Of course, at night, you'll want to stow the sunglasses unless you happen to be Corey Hart. Also, the shades introduce the possibility of raccoon-eyes tan lines during the summer. See the previous bullet point for a handy tip on avoiding this condition.
Prepare for bad hair. I don't think this requires any additional explanation. I keep a baseball cap in the car. It mitigates the extremely windblown look quite effectively.
Rolling up the windows really does calm things down. Yep, it's a lot quieter and less windy if you keep your windows up while the top's down, but the feeling is somewhat akin to being a zoo animal looking out at the world from a glassed-in habitat. You bought a convertible for this?
That concludes this set of casual observations, just in time for the end of convertible season! (Tip: You can artificially extend it; that thing in the dash is called a heater.)
Ultimately, when you purchase a convertible, you really do have to make compromises, though. We cover a lot of those practical concerns in our full report, but it doesn't tell you to watch out for errant hawks. Now you know.
This ConsumerSearch.com page has been optimized for print. To view this page in it's original form,
please visit: http://www.consumersearch.com/blog/besides-possible-hearing-damage-what-else-should-you-be-aware-of-when-driving-convertibles
Sponsored Links are keyword-targeted advertisements provided through the Google AdWords™ program.
These listings are administered, sorted and maintained by Google. For
information about these Google ads, go to adwords.google.com.
Google may place or recognize a unique "cookie" on your Web browser.
Information from this cookie may be used by Google to help provide
advertisers with more targeted advertising opportunities. For more
By clicking on Sponsored Links you will leave ConsumerSearch.com. The web site you will go to is not endorsed by ConsumerSearch.