4 Tips to Get Your Car Winter and Road Trip Ready

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It’s that time of year again: winter weather and road trips are upon us. The holiday season is one of the busiest times on the road and all the snow, ice, and wind don’t make matters any easier. While you may plan on doing plenty of driving, it’s easy to overlook your car’s maintenance needs. Our heads are filled with thoughts of family, friends, gifts, and parties so getting the oil checked takes a backseat. But it’s crucial for your car’s health and your safety to ensure your car is ready for harsh weather and long miles.  It only takes a little preparation to get to all your holiday festivities safely.

Here are 4 tips to get your car winter and road trip ready:

  1. Winter Car Kit

If you know you’ll be driving through icy or snowy conditions, you’ll want to pack up a few extra items in case of emergency. In fact, it’s a good idea to put together a winter car kit and just leave it in your trunk all season. A few essentials include:

  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Extra clothing/blankets
  • Water/snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Spare tire
  • Small shovel

   2. Check Tires

Before you hit the road, make sure your tires have sufficient tread. Patches of snow and the ever-sneaky black ice can turn the road into a skating rink if your tires are smooth. It’s also important to pay attention to your tire pressure as it too helps your car grip the road . For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, your tires lose roughly 1 PSI.

  3. Monitor Coolant Level

Coolant ensures your car starts properly and protects your engine’s fluids from freezing over. It also prevents the formation of rust and guards against corrosion. Check your coolant levels early in the season so you know your safe all winter.

 4. Grab Winter-Grade Windshield Cleaner

There are types of windshield wiper fluid specially formulated to remain liquid in freezing temperatures. During the winter roads are treated with salt and/or sand to prevent hydroplaning in inclement weather. While the mix provides great traction, it can crust over your windshield and decrease your visibility considerably. You don’t want your windshield fluid freezing up on you in a time like that.

Could Talking Cars Eliminate Traffic Lights?

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication is one of the major technologies set to reshape mobility as we know it—and that includes traffic lights. According to AAA, the average American spends nearly 59 hours per year sitting at red lights. Imagine how much quicker (and more pleasant) your daily commute would be if that number was brought down to zero. This could one day be reality.

As part of the UK Autodrive Project, Ford Motor Company plans to demonstrate its Intersection Priority Management (IPM) technology on the roads of a small town about 60 miles north of London. Ford has equipped test vehicles with V2V communications so they can track each other’s locations, travel speed, and direction. This information helps vehicles suggest speed alterations to drivers so they can pass one another safely at an intersection without ever having to stop. If this technology was applied to driverless vehicles in the future—which is likely given Ford’s ventures in autonomous vehicle testing—cars would be able to slow themselves automatically.

The thinking behind IPM is based on how human beings make their way through crowded areas. While walking, we typically don’t come to complete stops to avoid people in our path. We continuously adjust our walking speed or direction to prevent collisions. If the same process could be transferred to our vehicles it would spell the end of traffic lights and stops, creating a more efficient flow of traffic.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of this incredible technology:

Stuck in a Rut

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When love puts stars in your eyes, a besotted creature doesn’t pay attention to traffic. That’s how deer ‘rut’ season goes. Mating season and the quest for more secure habitats have deer on the move during this time of the year, and that means, Drivers, Beware!

While rut lasts from October to January, romantic deer encounters in many states peak in November. Here’s why this is the season for drivers to shift into high alert:

Deer rarely travel alone. Even if you spot only one deer, there’s a good chance many more are nearby.

Deer are more mobile around sunrise and sunset. The hours when humans are battling morning and evening rush hour traffic are the same times chances of hitting a deer are highest.

Here’s what to do:

Drive alertly through deer crossing areas.

If a deer is in your path, brake firmly and stay in your lane. Many crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid an animal and hit another vehicle.

Skip deer whistles and reflectors which have not been proven to reduce collisions, although they allow that one long honk from a car horn could be effective.

Reduce speed near wooded or green areas such as parks and golf courses and near streams and ponds.

Use bright lights when conveniet and safe, to scan the road ahead.

Opt for common-sense caution, like wearing a seat belt.

If you do hit a deer, Transportation and Natural Resources officials advise that motorists leave the animal in the road and call law enforcement, who will remove it. They caution to especially not approach a wounded animal. Drivers are urged to turn on their hazard lights and stay buckled in their vehicles, as they are more protected inside a car should a secondary crash occur.

#roadsafety #deerseason #huntingseason #deeronthemove #safedriving #deerinlove

Safe Teens

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So, what’s the magic formula to insure teenagers and their friends don’t get into a crash? The state of Oregon has one – a driver education program. Oregon statistics shows that teens age 15 – 20 without driver education are responsible for 91 percent of teen driver crashes.

Apart from enrolling in a drivers ed class, the factors teens can (ahem) steer away from to avoid being involved in an accident are the same as those for all drivers:

  • Alcohol and drug-impaired driving.
  • Inconsistent or no seat belt use.
  • Distracted and drowsy driving.
  • Speeding.
  • Having too many passengers in the car.

#teenagers #drivingsafety #saferoads #drivereducation #don’tdrinkanddrive