Tag: Driving Tips

Stay Safe With These Winter Driving Tips

Stay Safe With These Winter Driving Tips

The best piece of advice for driving in snowy, icy conditions is simply don’t do it if you don’t have to. Unfortunately, most of us have obligations that we must attend—even in the winter months. Work, school, family functions and Christmas parties to name just a few. Here are a few road safety tips to help you stay safe this winter.

Check The Weather Forecast

If the forecast calls for a storm, allow yourself plenty of extra time. The more time you have to spare, the less likely you will be to drive recklessly and lose control of your vehicle. If you going on a long-distance road trip, be sure to check the forecast in each city that you will be driving through as the weather and road conditions can change drastically from one region to the next.

Be Prepared

Never leave home without your cell phone, especially in bad weather conditions.  You want to be able to call for help if necessary. The folks at AAA also recommend placing a placing a safety or survival kit inside your vehicle at the beginning of winter. Your kit should be divided into items that you will use on a daily basis as well as emergency items. Daily items should be easily accessible and may include:

  • Ice scraper
  • Snow brush
  • Driving gloves
  • Umbrella

Survival items can be stored in the trunk or rear cargo area of you vehicle, but are best stored somewhere where you can access them without getting out of your vehicle if possible. Such items include:

  • Blankets
  • Hats
  • Food
  • Water
  • Medication

Emergency items that you will want to keep in your automobile during the winter months include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Chains, gravel or kitty litter
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Road flares

Hopefully, you won’t ever need to use any of these items. But in the event that you become stranded they could save your life.

Drive Carefully

When the roads are covered with snow and ice, you should always drive carefully. Slow down if you need too. Driving too fast can cause you to lose control of your car and collide with either stationary or moving objects.  In many states, driving too fast for the conditions can also result in a ticket for reckless driving.

The best way to maintain control of your vehicle in the snow and ice is to accelerate and decelerate slowly. This will provide the best traction and help you to avoid skidding out of control. If you do find yourself losing control of the vehicle, try this trick that professional drivers have been using for years: turn your steering wheel the opposite direction that you are trying to turn. It may sound crazy, but it works!

Finally, when conditions are too slippery, you should also leave yourself about three times as much room between cars as you normally do to that you have plenty of time to stop. Failure to maintain control of your vehicle can also result in reckless driving charges, not to mention endangers you and others on the road.

Don’t Drive Fatigued

It doesn’t matter if you are driving a short distance or a long distance, you should never drive fatigued. This can be as dangerous as driving under the influence. So rather than staying at a holiday party longer than you want, use this as an excuse to duck out early. If you start to feel drowsy while driving, pull over immediately. Ask a passenger in your car to drive for a while or pull that blanket out of your emergency kit and take a power nap!

Don’t Drive Under The Influence

This should go without saying, but unfortunately many people still do it. During the holiday party season, it is more important than ever to designate a driver. This is the safest, easiest way to stay prevent an accident or a citation. If you aren’t traveling with a friend or loved one and you plan to have a few drinks, you would be well advised to take some sort of public transportation: train, taxi or bus. Planning to take public transportation ahead of time will not only ensure your own safety, but also the safety of others. You won’t have to worry about returning the next day to retrieve the car you left behind. If neither a designated driver nor public transportation is an option, stay where you are. Chances are the host of the party would rather have you crash on the couch for a while than putting yourself at risk.

Tips for Driving in Wet Weather

Tips for Driving in Wet Weather

Without question, many of the most dangerous car accidents take place during wet weather.  Rain, snow, and sleet create hazardous conditions that have to be carefully navigated if you are to arrive safely at your destination.  Unfortunately, many people do not take wet and icy road conditions very seriously.  This leads to many accidents and wrecks that could have been easily avoided.  Public safety officers and car insurance agents have identified some of the most risky inclement weather hazards and encourage drivers to implement a few safe driving tips.

 Wet Weather Driving Tips

 Because each region of the country can have radically different climate conditions, not everyone will encounter the same weather-related challenges on the road.  However, most of these tips will apply to any driver regardless of where they live.

 

  • Slow down! Driving at high speeds is the single most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel in bad weather.  All experts agree that backing off the gas pedal will instantly increase the safety of your vehicle.
  • Watch the road. In good weather, most drivers take for granted that the road in front of them is clear of obstacles.  Instead, they will pay attention to the behavior of the driver in front of them. Being aware of other drivers is equally important in wet and dry weather, though rain, snow, and sleet can change the road itself in dramatic ways.  Heavy rain falling in a short period of time can create large puddles that might be surprisingly deep.  A road covered with water can cause a vehicle to hydroplane.  Wet, slippery snow can also cause a vehicle to lose contact with the road and slide across the surface instead.  Be especially careful going up or down hills, even those with a minimal incline.
  • Make sure your vehicle is weather-ready. Drivers that live in climates that experience regular seasons of rain or snow are highly encouraged to prepare their vehicles for driving in bad weather.  Many auto service centers offer specials on “winterizing,” or preparing your vehicle for winter driving.  A winterizing service package will include new wiper blades, the installation of snow tires, a complete system check, the addition of antifreeze, and other services to ensure that your vehicle is prepared for whatever the season holds.

 Adjust Your Driving to the Weather

 Many drivers are under the impression that it’s possible to drive in wet weather in the same manner that they do in dry.  This is a misconception.  The truth is that even the most fundamental driving strategies have to be adjusted in order to compensate for the changing conditions.  Inclement weather can include a number of complicating factors.  You have to take each factor into consideration as you are planning your drive.

 A Few Final Tips

 In addition to the above tips, there are a few other simple strategies you can implement to ensure that you arrive safely.  Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination; don’t put yourself into a position where you have to rush to arrive on time.  Plan your route ahead of time; try to avoid making any unplanned detours.  Minimize your driving until the weather has cleared up.  And finally, make sure that you have a fully-stocked emergency kit that’s easily accessible.  If you pay close attention to the road and prepare yourself ahead of time, you’ll be able to cope with even the worst wet weather driving conditions.

 

Holiday Road Trip Preparation

Holiday Road Trip Preparation

We’ve all been in the situation where we have a long road trip ahead of us, and we’re not sure where to start to get ready.  This situation becomes even worse in the event that we are taking our kids.  It’s difficult to sit still for a long period of time in a car, and it’s even harder for kids than it is adults.  If you’re like those of us who get carsick and need a break every few hours, road trips may sound like a nightmare.  But there are a few things you and I can do to make our road trips more successful for all of us who are in the car.

Get The Car Ready

Nothing is worse than having a car break down in the middle of a road trip.  Not only will we have to call a tow truck and have the car towed, but then we are also stuck moving our stuff from one place to another after we’ve worked so hard to pack the car perfectly.  But this problem is easy to avoid if we prepare before we pull out of the driveway.  A few days before the trip, it’s important to check out several things on the car that will be driven.  A few of them are listed below.

  • Get the oil changed
  • Check tire pressure
  • Have tires rotated
  • Top off fluids
  • Fill up gas
  • Check windshield wipers and headlights

While we can’t predict every problem a car may have on a road trip, we can sure take care of a few common problems that happen to cars when they are on the road for a long time.

Pack Snacks And Drinks

Most of us like to have something to munch on and something to sip when we are taking long drives.  Often, the process of drinking and eating may help to keep the driver of the car awake after a long day on the road.  A great way to head off this problem is to pack a cooler of each passenger’s favorite drinks and bring a large bag of favorite snacks.  While there are always gas stations and restaurants available to purchase goods, it will seriously slow down the trip if a stop has to be made every hour.  Packing snacks is an even better idea if the road trip is through an area that lacks towns along the highway or freeway.

Prepare Entertainment

Anyone with kids knows how exhausting it can be to entertain them for twelve hours in a car.  We can anticipate this problem by bringing entertainment along in the car.  Bring movies, books and music players to give each passenger something to do.  If the driver gets sleepy, listening to music or an audiobook is always a great way to keep the driver interested and alert.  Bring movies and games that your kids love to play.

Make It Comfortable

An essential part of a good road trip is a favorite pillow and blanket.  It is hard to get comfortable in a car, and bringing along favorite sleeping items makes it much easier.  We’ve all curled up against the door at one point or another and wished we had a pillow every time we doze off and our heads hit the window.  Bringing pillows and blankets guarantees that everyone is comfortable whenever they want to sleep.  Kids are also more encouraged to fall asleep when they have familiar sleeping items nearby.

Plan The Route

Being lost is no fun, especially when you’ve been in the car for a long time.  You and I have both been in situations where tempers have been flamed up because of too much time spent in the car.  Make sure to map out any routes beforehand, and print off maps to help you get to your destination.  We can all avoid arguing during our trips if we have picked a route before we leave and agree not to deter from it.

Have Fun

But ultimately, it’s up to us to relax and have a good time on a road trip.  Part of driving in the car is the bonding experience you get when you are together in such close quarters.  Even though it can be frustrating and exhausting, when we plan ahead we can anticipate and prevent many problems before they occur.  By being prepared for a road trip, you and I can ensure that everyone has a good time and that things flow smoothly.