Pin It
Favorite

Star of the Open Road 

by Clint Burgess


For as long as there have been cars, there have been lockouts, flat tires and fender benders. Yet as technology has advanced, so has the opportunity to nullify the crippling effects of these pesky problems. In the 21st century, such conveniences as unlocking a vehicle from a remote location, arranging towing for a disabled vehicle or notifying emergency crews of a collision involving an injury can be as easy as the push of a button.


Because there are many more drivers on the road today, more and more can go wrong. The majority of drivers don't have all the tech-toys that come standard on most new vehicles, but there are a number of problems that these systems can address. In the case of Onstar, the industry's leading concept for getting drivers out of trouble when they get into it, the one place to find it is in post 1997 GM vehicles. The disadvantage is that you can't get it installed into your non-GM vehicle.


Now that the playing field has been established, do the Onstar goods deliver? A few of the specifications include but are not limited to: A one-year free subscription to Onstar when you purchase a new vehicle equipped with the system. (After your subscription expires, it will cost $17 a month for the basic service.) For your money, a few of the more useful features of Onstar include stolen vehicle tracking, remote engine diagnostics and troubleshooting of the error messages on your vehicle's instrument panel. There are also a number of hospitality features that make road trips a breeze.


The layout of Onstar is exceptionally functional and allows for a minimum amount of distraction from driving. Three buttons make up the entire interface. The first white dot or phone button connects you to what is basically a cell phone but with better range and service. The second, a blue Onstar button, is used to connect to an advisor -- if he or she can't help you, there isn't a whole lot more they can do for you. The third button, a red cross, is used to connect as a priority signal to advisors in case of an accident so they can notify emergency response crews. General Motors has announced that the Onstar service and systems will be implemented as a standard option in all of the company's vehicles by 2007. To put this in perspective, that includes all makes and models in the Chevy, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Cadillac, Hummer, Saab, and Saturn lines.


It may seem that Onstar is just an organized way to get a few major tasks done at the push of three buttons. While this is the simplified version of the system, it does streamline what can be done with a standard GPS unit and a cell phone. And Onstar offers outstanding advantages during emergencies. In the event of a debilitating accident, Onstar can detect airbag deployment; even in a less severe situation, it's much easier to push a button for help than to use a cell phone. In addition, Onstar can pinpoint vehicle locations with a GPS locator, reducing response time for emergency crews. While uncertainty is sometimes an exhilarating part of the driving experience, it is better to know you can get out of a jam than to leave it to chance.





Publication date: 2/10/05

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Cherry Pitfalls
  • Cherry Pitfalls

    Why fruit is rotting on trees while workers wait at the border
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • The Real Threats
  • The Real Threats

    What worries Spokane's sheriff; plus, Washington's lawmakers finally hash out a budget
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • Party of Five?
  • Party of Five?

    Why Spokane County's newest commissioner is leading the fight to add two more
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Moscow ArtWalk 2015

Moscow ArtWalk 2015 @ Downtown Moscow

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays. Continues through Aug. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Clint Burgess

  • The Word Made Fresh

    & & by Luke Baumgarten and Clint Burgess & & & r & It's gotta be tough to do publicity for Christian rock. The evangelical idea that the secular world is the devil's domain - that it's the fiery gauntlet you have to navigate to get your eternal reward - turns
    • Sep 21, 2005
  • Summer Adventure - NW Fishing

    Fishing is a way to absorb the natural surroundings of the region we call home, to commune with the spirits of generations gone before who dropped their lines the same way we do today. Besides, it's
    • Jul 13, 2005
  • Honda Gets Tough

    As a rule, certain car companies are known for specific models and typically excel at what they do within a specific type of vehicle. For example, Dodge is known for its trucks, Toyota for its sedans, Mazda for its sports cars and so fort
    • Jul 6, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • The Rachel We Knew

    EDITOR'S NOTE: How Rachel Dolezal came to write for the Inlander
    • Jun 18, 2015
  • The Real Rachel Dolezal

    The story goes far beyond just a white woman portraying herself as black
    • Jun 17, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation