Posts Tagged ‘driving safely’
Ah Spring. The snow is melting, the trees are budding, and the weather is unpredictable as, well, spring weather. It’s time to pack away the heavy winter coats and bring out the shorts.
Just like your wardrobe and your home, cars have unique needs to spring. Here’s a list of all you’ll need to do to keep your car in top shape for the warm weather.
Remove winter tires (if needed) and chains – Studded tires, chains and heavy traction tires need to be removed as soon as snowfall starts slowing down. These types of tires can do serious damage to asphalt. Each state has its own deadline, typically in early (Washington) to late April (Idaho, Alaska).
Check tread – Check your tires to make sure you have enough for the next 3 months. Here’s a cool link to checking tread with spare change.
Rotate tires – Rotating your tires properly can extend the life of your front tires dramatically. Tires should be rotated every 7,500 miles, and before you start those many spring and summer road trips.
Check wiper blades – April showers bring May flowers. In sub-tropical climates like Alabama and Florida, this translates into April, May and June showers. Check wiper blades before heavy spring rainfall starts. Don’t wait until you’re on the interstate in a heavy storm!
Check brakes – Drive without the stereo turned up for a few trips. If you hear any squeaking, squealing or, heaven forbid, grinding, take it in to one of our fantastic mechanics.
Change oil – Switch out to your normal thicker oil for the warmer weather (if you use thinner oil for winter). Change that oil filter while you’re at it. Gunk builds up over winter.
Check fluids – While you’re changing the oil, or having it changed, check transmission, windshield wiper, coolant, brake and power steering to make sure levels haven’t been depleted over the winter. If so, get the fluids topped off.
Clean the undercarriage – All that nasty dirt and salt can ruin your car’s undercarriage, reducing the value of your car. Make sure to get under the car and pressure wash all of that loose.
Clean and protect interior surfaces – If you’re driving an older car, use a vinyl protectant on all vinyl surfaces. For any car with leather seats, regardless of age, use a leather conditioner to protect seats.
Clean and protect exterier – Wash theÂ exteriorÂ carefully with products specifically made for cars. Don’t use kitchen soap or lint covered towels! These can strip your surface of all wax and leave lint over your entire finish. Finish it off with the annual buff and wax. You can do this yourself or pay a professional to detail and buff your car out.
There you Â have it! Â A complete checklist to prepare you for the bliss of driving with the windows open, top down and ZZ Top at full volume. With these items completed, you’ll get better gas mileage and be ready for road trips!
A writer for the New York Times Wheels section recently described his youth as â€œdriving down the back roads of America pretending his Volkswagen was a Porsche racecar.â€
The story (and the writer) may be old, but the dream hasnâ€™t changed. Teenage drivers, particularly males, still feel the need for speed â€“ a need that can be as devastating as it is enticing. According to the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, teenage car accidents are the leading cause of death among U.S. teens, with those in the 16-19-year-old group four times as likely to crash as older drivers. Read more
Did you know it’s National Stop on Red Week? We started to write about it, but realized Kari DeVrieze at CarsforGirls.com had already written an excellent post. We’ll get you started here, but please visit the link to read the rest of Kari’s post.
August 1-7th Marks National Stop on Red Week
Yesterday, the National Safety Council announced its support for National Stop on Red Week August 1st â€“ 7th, an event organized by the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running.Â NSC believes talking on handheld and hands-free cell phones while driving is a contributing factor to red-light running.
Drivers using hands-free or handheld cell phones experience a form of cognitive distraction called inattention blindness, meaning they â€œlook atâ€ but do not â€œseeâ€ up to 50 percent of the information in their driving environment.Â These drivers miss visual cues critical to safety and navigation.Â They tend to miss exits and go through red lights and stop signs.Â Go here for the rest of Kari’s post!
No matter how good of a driver you think you are, the second you hear the sound of sirens on the road, you might find yourself frozen and unsure of how to respond. Weâ€™re not talking about a police vehicle flashing behind you trying to pull you over, but one that youâ€™re simply sharing the road with. If you thought we meant otherwise, you may have seen one too many episodes of the show COPS! Those police cars, ambulances and fire trucks have an important job to do as they come wailing down the road and the last thing any driver wants to do is stop them from getting where they need to be. The best way to make sure you respond correctly and quickly when you see an emergency vehicle on the road while youâ€™re in your car is to know the rules! Read more
According to a brochure developed jointly by the NOAA, the American Red Cross, and FEMA, almost half of all deaths from flooding happen to people trapped in vehicles. In fact, only in recent years has heat surpassed flooding as the primary cause of fatalities in the U.S. Flash floods are the most dangerous type of flooding, largely because waters rise rapidly and unexpectedly, especially in arroyos and irrigation ditches not normally associated with water, leaving most drivers (and their passengers) unprepared.
More important, water itself is a tremendous force. It weighs 62.4 pounds per cubic foot, delivering 500 pounds of pressure per square inch to doors and windows. It also makes cars buoyant, subtracting 1500 pounds from the weight of the vehicle for each foot it rises. Water a mere two feet deep can sweep away a vehicle, even a heavy-duty truck or SUV, as well as the bridge it is trapped on. Vehicles trapped in underpasses during rapidly rising water are in even more danger, and when flooding occurs at night drivers often canâ€™t see such danger until it is too late. As Carblog.com notes, even a burst water main can trigger dangerous flooding in low-lying areas. Read more
The upside to families visiting that favorite vacation spot, be it Grandma and Grandpaâ€™s house or a to-die-for cabana on the Pacific near Mazatlan, is that gas prices remain well below 2008â€™s astronomical $4 a gallon or more.
These prices, which are also sparking a renewed interest in bigger vehicles (think crew-cab trucks and family-sized SUVs like the Ford Flex reviewed on Roadtripsforfamilies.com), average $2.72, offering hope that the family road trip is not a thing of the past (we werenâ€™t all that fond of staycations anyway, were we?). Read more
CarHelp.com is sponsoring a 47-day road trip featuring the Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Pacific Northwest. Check out Sheri talking about her trip on Fox 13 in Seattle yesterday!
Want to find out more about the road trip? Visit RoadTripsforFamilies.com
We’ve all had the frustration ( and sometimes downright fear) of a driver following much too close behind you on the road.Â There are several things you can do as a safe driver to reduce the danger of a rear-end collison – accidents oftenÂ caused by people following too closely to the car in front.
As a refresher, make sure you know how close is “too close.” Experts say to use the ‘three second” rule. Pick a fixed object in front. When the car in front passes that object, three seconds should go by before YOU pass the object. In poor weather, it should be 4-5 seconds. You can also use the two-car lengths rule – for more details on maintaining a safe driving distance go to Smartmotorist.com
What to do if someone is not observing good driving practices? Here are a few tips that may help keep both cars safer and help you feel more in control. Read more