Safe2Drive Blog

6/19/2017

Prepare Your Car for Hot Weather

by Penny Beaty

Prepare Your Car for Summer Driving

Are you heading out for a summer driving vacation? Extreme heat can take a toll on your car. Give your car a hot weather check-up before hitting the road for vacation.

Check Your Fluids

Check the white coolant-recovery tank often to ensure proper fluid level. Marks on the reservoir indicate the proper level for when the engine is cold or hot. If the tank is low after repeated fillings, suspect a leak. Also check for white, light green, blue, or pink coolant tracks in the engine bay, which is residue left from leaking coolant.

Fluids to check:
  • Coolant/antifreeze
  • Motor oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Power-steering fluid
  • Windshield wiper fluid

Inspect Belts and Hoses

Overheating can occur anytime but usually, it happens in the summer. Under the hood, temperatures are much higher, and heat can trigger or accelerate deterioration of rubber compounds causing cracking, blistering, and other damage to your belts and hoses, and they may need to be replaced.

When the engine is cool, squeeze the hoses with your thumb and forefinger near the clamps, where ECD most often occurs. Feel for soft or mushy spots. A good hose will have a firm yet pliant feel.

When the engine is hot, look for bulges or a collapsed section in the hose and oil contamination. Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot, as the hot coolant will be under pressure. Also, be aware that an electric cooling fan can come on at any time.

Here are tips for inspecting belts:
  • Look for cracks, fraying, or splits on the top cover.
  • Look for signs of glazing on the belt’s sides. Glazed or slick belts can slip, overheat or crack.

Check Your Battery

Heat can zap the life from batteries. Heat is the number one cause of battery failure, and extreme heat can cause the water in a battery to evaporate. This can lead to corrosion of the internal components and battery failure. To maintain your battery, you should clean the corrosive build up around the battery terminals and clamps, and ensure the clamps are tight. The average life of an automotive battery is three to five years. A fully charged automotive battery should measure at 12.6 volts or above, or 13.7 to 14.7 volts when the engine is running. If you don’t have a multimeter to test your battery, most auto part stores offer this service for free.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, but it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.

It’s a good idea to inspect your tires each time you visit a gas station. Check the air pressure and inspect tires for damage. Your tires expand when exposed to heat, and keeping them at the proper pressure will ensure that your vehicle doesn’t suffer from any issues.

You’ll find the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure for your car on a sticker in the door jam, or in your owner’s manual. Some models even place the stickers on the trunk lid, in the console or on the fuel door. Recommended pressure is usually between 30 and 35 PSI. Don’t forget to check your spare tire.

Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car

An emergency vehicle kit is something that you should keep in your vehicle year-round. Your kit should be stored somewhere safe and accessible, and should include the following items:

  • Jumper cables
  • Screwdrivers and wrenches of various sizes
  • A flashlight
  • Emergency flares and reflectors
  • Water for both the radiator and yourself
  • Nonperishable food items
  • A first aid kit
  • A jack and tire iron
  • A can of “Fix-a-Flat” for temporarily sealing and inflating a flat tire
  • Gloves
  • Blanket and towel

As a final measure, try taking your car for a quick test drive before leaving for your road trip. Listen for any weird noises, or strange feelings while driving. This can help you catch a problem before it gets worse.

For more Driver Safety tips visit www.safe2Drive.com

Are you heading out for a summer driving vacation? Extreme heat can take a toll on your car. Give your car a hot weather check-up before hitting the road for vacation.

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6/12/2017

Are you Guilty of Bad Driving Habits?

by Penny Beaty

Driving would be awesome, if it weren’t for the other drivers. We have all developed bad driving habits that are illegal or annoying to other drivers. Take a look at our bad driving habits list and see if you are guilty of bad driving habits and what you can do to become a better driver. Be the driver you would like to share the road with!

Tailgating

Tailgating means following the car in front of you too closely, literally riding up on its tail. Tailgating reduces your stopping distance, the distance needed to come to a complete and safe stop Tailgating the car in front of you too closely, reducing your stopping distance, or the distance needed to come to a complete and safe stop. According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, it takes alert drivers approximately two seconds to see a roadway hazard and react to it. The more space you allow between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, the more time you have to see a hazard and react safely.

Avoid reacting when being tailgated by another driver by tapping your brakes in an attempt to get the tailgater to back off; instead, use a safe following distance. Tapping on your brakes is a very dangerous move and causes needless auto accidents when drivers lose control or slam into someone’s rear bumper as a result.

Not Wearing a Seatbelt

Some drivers have a bad habit of not buckling up.Seat belts protect people from needless death and injury. But whether it is because they are in a hurry, distracted, or they simply forget, many people don ’t wear their seatbelts, and thousands die as a result.Every person in the vehicle should buckle up on every trip. For drivers and front-seat passengers, using a lap and shoulder belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 60 percent in an SUV, van or pickup and by 45 percent in a car.

Bad Lane Courtesy

It’s bad form to block traffic by driving slower than the flow of traffic in the left lane. Laws in many states give faster drivers the right of way on highway fast lanes and permit police to issue tickets to left-lane drivers that fail to move to the right lane when a vehicle is overtaking them. Some states also have laws that state you cannot linger or continuously drive in the left lane. Other state laws do not allow you to drive under the posted speed limit or under the flow of traffic in the left lane unless there are inclement weather conditions.

Passing a Stopped School Bus

If you are approaching a school bus that is displaying a flashing (alternating red or amber lamp) you must stop and must remain stopped as long as the lights are flashing, or the stop arm is out.

Speeding in Work Zones

You should never ignore construction zone speed limits, or stay in a closing lane longer than necessary in order to cut ahead of a line of traffic. Reduce your speed and be especially aware of your surroundings when driving near a work zone with flaggers posted.

Driving Through a Funeral

Funeral processions have the right-of-way. Be respectful. Once the lead car has entered traffic, the entire procession will follow without interruption. Even if their light is red and yours is green you must stop and allow the procession to continue through the intersection until all cars in the procession have passed. The last vehicle typically has two or more flags with hazard lights flashing. Don’t pass a procession on the right side on a highway, unless the procession is in the far-left lane.

Not Using Turn Signals

There seem to be a lot of people don’t use turn signals. Proper signaling alerts other drivers of your intent to maneuver around the roadway. You should signal when changing lanes, making a turn, pulling onto a road.

Rolling Through Stop Signs

A rolling stop is a term used in traffic law to refer to when a vehicle fails to come to a complete stop. A complete stop is when there is no forward momentum, and the needle on the speedometer is at 0. In a rolling stop, the car wheels are still in motion and the car is moving at less than five m.p.h. Never roll through a stop sign; you should always come to a complete stop!

Speeding

Speeding is a factor in nearly one-third of all fatal crashes. Speeding entails exceeding the posted speed limit. When drivers speed, they reduce the amount of available time needed to avoid a crash, increase the likelihood of a crash and increase the severity of a crash.

Driving Too Fast for the Weather Conditions

Driving the speed limit is the absolute fastest you are legally allowed to drive, but you should travel at a lower speed during poor roadway conditions to give yourself more time to react. You should reduce your speed under the posted speed limit by at least ten mph or to the speed you feel comfortable with. When the weather gets bad, slowing down is the best way to avoid an accident. Driving a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive isn’t an excuse for driving fast in inclement weather. When the road surface is slippery, a 3,500- to a 5,000-pound vehicle will probably skid if you need to slow down in a hurry. According to the Federal Highway Administration, 24 percent of all vehicle crashes are weather related. That’s a good reason to slow down and leave a little more space between your car and the car in front of you.

Eating While Driving

Eating while driving is one of the most common forms of distracted driving and can lead to trouble. Spills, slips, and burns lead to traffic accidents. Eating while driving reduces your ability to react to dangers on the road. That’s why there’s been a recent push to criminalize eating while driving in certain states or punish those caught eating under distracted driving or inattentive driving laws.

Talking on Your Phone While Driving

While talking on your cell phone may be legal in some places under certain circumstances, it’s still a bad habit to have. It can be tempting when that ringtone goes off while you’re behind the wheel, but it’s better to resist the urge to answer. Talking while on your cell phone is distracting, and distracted driving is dangerous driving; it puts you and others at risk.

Driving Tired

Sleepiness and driving is a dangerous combination. Drowsy driving makes it hard to pay attention to the road and negatively impacts how well you can make fast decisions. A tired driver can nod off while still going fast.

Texting While Driving

Texting while driving has now replaced drinking and driving as the leading cause of death among teenage drivers. Ninety percent of drivers know it's dangerous and still, they continue to text. Teenagers are not the only ones who are guilty. According to the United States Department of Transportation, cell phone use while driving contributes to 1.6 million car crashes a year, and those crashes result in half a million injuries and 6,000 deaths.

Drinking Alcohol While Operating a Vehicle

DWI or driving while intoxicated is a crime in every state. Anyone who is convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs can be heavily fined or given a prison sentence. Every day in America 27, people die as a result of a drunk driver. Never drive under the influence of alcohol. Only time will sober up a person. Drinking strong coffee, exercising or taking a cold shower will not help.

Taking a course from a defensive driving school serves as a great refresher—you’ll brush up on all of the safe driving techniques you learned when you took driver’s ed and you’ll learn about all of the new driving laws that have been put into place since you started driving. Whether you took an online driver’s ed course recently or it’s been decades since you learned the basics, an online driver’s training course is extremely useful. Some states even allow drivers to get a car insurance discount for completing a defensive driving course! Take a look at the course options in your state and think about signing up.

Driving would be awesome if it weren’t for the other drivers. We have all developed bad driving habits that are illegal or annoying to other drivers. That a look at our bad driving habits list and see if you are guilty of bad driving habits and what you can do to become a better driver. Be the driver you would like to share the road with!

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