driving safety


Driving from Dusk til Dawn- What You Need to know!

With the days getting shorter and the sun setting earlier, there a good chance you’ll be driving between dusk and dawn more and more the next few months. Unfortunately, those can be some of the most dangerous hours to get behind the wheel.  Use these simple safety tips to keep you and your family as safe as possible when on the road.

1. Have a pair of spare sunglasses in the car– While sunsets are beautiful, driving into one can be difficult and dangerous.  The sun at that angle can be incredibly blinding.  Save your self the trouble of desperately searching for those sun glasses when that sun comes down and always keep a spare pair in your car. On the other hand, be sure to remove them as soon as the sun goes down.

2. Use headlights- the right way!– Often people don’t turn on their headlights until they realize they need them- and that’s usually too late. Contrary to popular belief, headlights should be used at all times throughout the day, including dusk and dawn.  While there may be light in the sky, the ambient light at dusk or dawn doesn’t allow for full visibility.  Even if your headlights won’t be completely effective in the ambient light, they do allow other drivers to see you more clearly. High beams or “brights” are rarely appropriate to use.  They can be extremely blinding to oncoming traffic and are not recommended for use except in rural areas with little street lights.  Even so, when using them be very aware of your surroundings. If you hear a car coming towards you, turn off your high beams immediately.

3. Avoid driving tired– The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 2.5% of fatal crashes and 2% of injury crashes involve drowsy driving, and early morning at dawn are when some of the most tired drivers hit the road.  Unfortunately, we understand working hours dictate many of our schedules and the times we have to drive. If you have to drive very early in the morning, give your self at least half an hour to fully wake up before jumping behind the wheel.  More than anything else, the best way to avoid tired driving is getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

4. Stay on the look out for wildlife– When it starts to get dark, many timid animals feel safe enough to start peaking their way out to investigate the dazzling lights from the passing cars.  While this mostly occurs in rural areas, it’s good to keep in mind that if you see something rustling in the grass on the side of the road, it could mean a furry friend is approaching.

Driving from Dusk Til Dawn (2)

 

Quick Tips to Prepare Your Car for Fall

It’s here! The weather is getting chillier, the sun is setting earlier, and the leaves are beginning to turn. Football season has returned and coffee shops across the Bay State are offering pumpkin spice lattes. Fall has arrived!

Though it is sad to bid summer in New England goodbye, autumn in New England is beautiful. Don’t forget that the changing weather and beautiful foliage can present risks to Massachusetts drivers, keep yourself safe on Massachusetts roads and enjoy the season safely with these tips!

Tires

As the weather cools, your tire pressure can change and fall weather can leave you with low tire pressure. Be sure to take a look at the pressure on your tires and also check their tread and traction – leaves and frost can make the roadways slippery, you’ll need the grip!

Brakes

Roads are more slippery in the fall, so getting your brakes in tip-top shape is extra important.

Heater, defrosters, anti-freeze

The colder weather is coming and before it hits it’s wise to get your car ready! Ensure your car’s heat works and that your coolant (anti-freeze) is at the correct levels for protecting your engine.

Wiper blades

Did you know November is typically the wettest month of the year in Massachusetts? Check that your windshield wiper blades are functioning properly and have no tears that could interfere with use or grow over time.

Be aware of the changing weather

As it gets colder, the road can fill up with hazards, like frost and falling leaves. When driving on leaves, be sure to slow down and give yourself time to stop. Wet or frozen leaves can make roads slippery, and leaves on the road can conceal other hazards like pot holes and bumps. Frost acts just like black ice and can cause dangerous conditions. During a frost, be extra careful on bridges, as they freeze before roads, and take it slow.

How To Care For Your Car After Winter

With temperatures heating up into the 70s this week, we’re getting closer and closer to Spring! While Winter might not be over just yet, it’s time to start de-winterizing your car. From the snow, salt and freezing temperatures, your car has had a rough winter. Here are 6 ways you can care for your car after the winter season.

1. Wash your car! Many times people get lazy in the winter washing their car because they know it’s going to get dirty from the snow and salt the next day. Buy washing regularly, about every 7 to 10 days, you’ll prevent the corrosive salts used to de-ice roadways that can cause rust and damage to your paint. Pay extra attention to the undercarriage, where salt likes to hide and corrode the body of your vehicle.

2. Check your tire pressure. This is especially important to those of you who saw the tire pressure light pop on during the winter. Because air is a gas, it contracts when cold, and expands when heated. If you inflated your tires during the colder months, they could become over inflated during the warmers months.

3. Check ALL fluids levels. Your car engine works on overdrive during bad winter conditions. The can cause fluid levels to drop faster than usual. Be sure to check antifreeze/coolant levels, engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power-steering fluid.

4. Vacuum your car mats. From snow, slush, rain, mud, and more dragged in your car, your interior mats could use a shampoo, or at least a vacuum, to keep your car in prime condition. Bonus** This will help with any allergies you may have.

5. Listen to your brakes. This may sound like an obvious one- if your brakes sound like they’re grinding or squeaking, get them checked. But this is double important after winter. Snowy driving conditions can result in salt and debris building up on your brakes, causing them to bind, and ultimately lead to premature wear. In very severe cases, rust from road salt can cause brake failure. If something sounds or feels off, consult a mechanic ASAP.

6. Rotate your tires. To extend the life of your tires, rotate them as the beginning of each season. Wheels tend to wear quicker in winter driving conditions. If you invested in snow tires, think about putting them away in the next few weeks until next winter. The special tread and rubbery consistency that make them perform great in snow, also make them wear much more quickly that all-season tires.

*Bonus tip: Don’t put off minor repairs! Many people wait with minor repairs if their car still gets them from A to B. But the longer you put off minor repairs, the more likely they will turn into most costly maintenance problems in the long run.

HOW TO car for car-1

How to Drive Safely With Snowbanks

The four blizzards in three weeks have left mountains of snow all around New England. Removing the snow has been challenging for towns everywhere, and with nowhere to move it all, the streets have becoming increasingly clogged. Travel lanes have been reduced from four to two, and two-way roads are now one way. Particularly small streets are so clogged up that even sidewalks cease to exist! If they do, they’re so narrow even the smallest of people have a hard time passing the massive snow banks. With nowhere else to walk, pedestrians than take to the road, resulting in further unsafe road conditions.

Here are a few safety tips on how to drive with massive snowbanks:

1. Drive SLOWER. Although that seems like such obvious advice, it really is so important.   In the winter, tires don’t hold to asphalt as well as they do in the summer. A mistake becomes much harder to correct with snow on the ground. Braking distances become longer, and the ability to dart around quickly in traffic decreases. Even when the roads seem cleared up, it’s still important to drive slowly due to decreased visibility from the snow banks. Many the snow piles tower way above 3 ½ feet- which is eye level for most drivers. The safest way to cross is to slowly come to a stop and then inch out to see if a car is coming. Even if you know that there is a stop sign for the intersected street, they might not able to see it due to the snow banks.

2. Make sure you windows are de-iced so you can properly see cars coming. Not only is driving with iced up windows incredibility unsafe, it is also illegal. You can quickly ice proof your windows by spraying them the night before with three parts vinegar and one part water. The acetic acid in vinegar will lower the melting point of water and preventing it from freezing. If you don’t get to it at night, spray the mixture in the morning to make scrapping much easier.

3. Check the pressure and tread of your tires. Too low pressure or bald tires can be extremely dangerous, especially in snowy weather. Having low pressure can cause heat build up, which can cause the tire to pop at high speeds. Most gas station have air pumps that will let you gauge the pressure and add more air if needed. Bald tires, or low tread means less traction to the road, especially in rain or snow. You can check this by placing a penny (the edge with Lincoln’s head pointing down) in one the grooves of the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.

4. Drive with your lights on. With snowbanks blocking drivers view, having your lights on with help make you known to other drivers. Even if the sun is out, if it’s snowing always have your lights on. With visibility so low when it snows, having your lights on will help you see other cars coming, and help drivers see you.

Massachusetts has had a record-breaking month with snow, and it will take some time for it all to melt. Keep these tips in mind so you can safely navigate around the snow covered streets!

Driving with Snowbanks

Super Bowl Driving Safety Tips

Who’s excited for the Super Bowl?!

The Super Bowl is a true American tradition, and this year in Massachusetts there is an even higher level of anticipation than usual – the Patriots will face off against the Seahawks! Super Bowl Sunday can be one of the best days of the year, but have you thought about Super Bowl safety?

This Sunday can be a dangerous time for drivers on the road. Not only is Massachusetts going to be hit with more snow this weekend, making the road conditions worst (check out our safety tips for driving in the snow), but drunk driving on Super Bowl Sunday is rampant. More drivers are involved in alcohol-related accidents on Super Bowl Sunday than any day of the year besides St. Patrick’s Day, according to the Insurance Information Institute. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 48% of U.S. traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are alcohol related.

The best plan of action is to plan ahead. Have a designated driver. Plan to stay overnight at a friend or family member’s house. Book a hotel. Use public transportation. Call a cab or get an Uber. With so many options to travel safely, there is no excuse for drunk driving.

If you are hosting a Super Bowl Party, provide plenty of yummy food so guests don’t drink on an empty stomach. Search Pinterest or Google to find easy crowd-pleasing recipes! Also, offer non-alcoholic drinks for people to sip on throughout the game.

Whatever your plans are this weekend, MassDrive hopes your drinks are celebratory, and your Super Bowl safe! Lets go Patriots!

 

Super Bowl Driving Safety Tips

Travel Tips For Memorial Day Weekend

driving

Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the beginning of summer, and if you’re planning a fun weekend getaway, you’re not alone.  There will be millions of drivers on the road this weekend and all of them will be eager to get to their destination.  Everyone wants to make good time during travel, but it’s more important to be safe and prepared for anything.  Keep these tips in mind this weekend and your drive should go smoothly, safely, and hopefully quickly!

  • Make sure your car is in tip top shape.  If you’ll be traveling a long distance, get an oil change, make sure you have enough windshield washer fluid, make sure all of your headlights and blinkers are working properly, and make sure your tires have enough air in them.
  • Be prepared.  Holiday travel can be very stressful, there are tons of other people on the road and anything can happen.  Make sure you’re prepared by keeping an emergency kit in your car.  It should include first aid, a flashlight with extra batteries, equipment to change a flat tire, water and food such as granola bars, a fire extinguisher, reflective cones, jumper cables, duct tape, and a blanket.
  • Plan your route.  Make sure you know how often you will need to stop for gas and bathroom breaks, and map out potential rest stops and gas stations where this would be possible.  It’s also a good idea to download traffic apps as many of them will tell you where these things are along your route.  You also want to make sure your auto insurance is up to date and that you have all of the proper coverages you need.
  • Get an E-ZPass transponder.  This will make your life much easier when it comes to tolls, you can just quickly pass through the toll without having to stop which will definitely save you some time compared to those drivers without an E-ZPass.
  • Obey the law.  Make sure everyone in your car is wearing their seat belt and that you’re obeying all posted speed limits.  The other thing that we want to stress is to avoid distracted driving at all costs.  This can be extremely dangerous not only for yourself but for other drivers as well, so if your phone is going off or you need directions, ask the person in the passenger seat to do it and avoid getting yourself a hefty ticket.  Police officers will be out in full force this weekend so make sure you’re obeying the law.  Nothing like getting a ticket to start your weekend off on the wrong foot.
  • Use a designated driver.  If you plan on drinking this is a no-brainer.  Technically the legal limit is a blood-alcohol level under .08.  Drunk driving tends to increase over the holiday weekend, and as we said police will be out in full-force looking for drivers endangering themselves and others.  We want everyone to have an enjoyable weekend, but we want them to do it responsibly.

This weekend is sure to be full of family, friends, food, and fun in the sun!  Enjoy the weekend but make sure you’re prepared for anything and most of all drive responsibly!

Photo By: Land Rover MENA

Halloween Safety Tips For Drivers

Halloween Driving

Are you as excited for Halloween as we are?  It’ll be here before we know it and the streets will be filled with witches, goblins, and ghouls!  Drivers have a responsibility to remain extra alert so that these little monsters stay safe.  These tips are great reminders for all drivers to keep in mind this Halloween.

Make Sure Your Lights Work – On Halloween night, visibility is key.  There will be tons of children on the streets in dark costumes which will be hard enough to see even with working headlights.  Before you leave your driveway, test all lights and turn signals to ensure that they are working properly.

Remain Alert – This goes without saying any time you’re on the road, but it important to be extra vigilant on Halloween night when the streets are filled with young children who may not understand all of the rules of the road.

Drive Slowly – On Halloween night children will be running from house to house in dark costumes and masks that limit their visibility.  This makes it harder for drivers to see them and for them to see oncoming cars,  so be sure to drive slower than usual should any trick-or-treaters unexpectedly run out in front of you.  Be especially careful around parked vehicles, not only could children be standing near them waiting to cross, but they may also be letting children out of them.  You should also drive under the posted speed limit, as there will be more pedestrians out than usual and some may be harder to see than others.

Avoid Distractions – With parents, trick-or-treaters, flashlights, and decorations, there are already enough distractions on the road, avoid any additional ones by putting down your phone, turning off the radio, and limiting the amount of passengers in your vehicle.

Yield to Pedestrians – This is a give in, whether they’re at a cross walk or not, pedestrians always have the right of way and on Halloween night there might be some (especially the young ones) that are more excited than usual and may not utilize caution when crossing the street for their next candy stop.  If you see children attempting to cross the street,  don’t assume that they see your vehicle, make sure you come to a complete stop and give them plenty of time to cross the street.

Utilize Turn Signals – It’s important to communicate with other drivers so that they know what you’re doing.  If you’re going to pull over to make a quick candy stop, make sure you put on your turn signal and use the hazard lights when children are exiting the vehicle.

Avoid Wearing A Costume – If you’re driving and are going to a costume party or are getting dressed up for some reason, wait until you arrive at your destination before you put on any masks or wigs.  These can limit visibility should they slip out of place which can cause a serious hazard to yourself and others.

Use A Designated Driver – If you’re going to a party where alcohol will be served, always remember to use a designated driver, drunk driving is never an option and endangers yourself and anyone else on the road near you.

We want everyone to have a safe, and fun Halloween, it only takes a moment for the night to turn into a nightmare, so keep these tips in mind and share them with the other drivers in your life.

Photo By: OakleyOriginals

 

 

 

Car Seat Installation Checklist

Properly installing a car seat is one of the most important aspects of keeping your child safe while driving. From ensuring you have the right size seat for your car to resources to learn more about carseats for children, the Car Seat Install Checklist from MassDrive will help you keep your little one safe on the road. Download now and stay safe out there with your family!

Installing a Car Seat Checklist

Traveling With Pets Checklist

At MassDrive, we love our pets! Some of our favorite days here in the office are when our pets come to visit. We understand that it just wouldn’t be a family vacation without your furry friends, and that traveling with your pet can be difficult. Bringing your pet along on a long car ride isn’t quite a walk in the park, but traveling prepared can help make the trip safe and comfortable for everyone. Download our interactive MassDrive Traveling with Pets Checklist to ensure that you and your pet have a happy, safe journey wherever you may be driving.

Happy travels!

Traveling with Pets Checklist

April Showers Bring May Flowers: Make Sure You are Driving Safely in the Rain!

April is famous for it’s rain showers, but are you driving safely in the rain? Driving through precipitation is much different and more dangerous than typical driving.  Not only do you have to be more alert, you also have to take special precautions that you normally wouldn’t.  Keep in mind that following these suggestions could save your life or the lives of others.

Make Sure Your Car is Ready- There are certain parts of your car that you want to be sure are working properly before you head out in the rain.  First and foremost, your windshield wipers.  Without these your vision is extremely limited in the rain so if you need new ones don’t wait!  You also want to make sure your tires are in good shape.  Once tires age and the grooves in them get worn down it is harder for them to keep their traction on the road when it is raining, which makes it easier to hydroplane.  Lastly, check and make sure that all of your lights are working, you will be needing them in the rain to improve visibility.

Reduce Your Speed- One of the biggest dangers of driving in the rain is the risk that your car will hydroplane.  This is when the combination of high speed and rain results in the tires lifting off of the ground and skidding across the water.  You can hydroplane at 40 MPH or higher which is why it is so important to reduce your speed, especially if you are on the highway. If you do start to hydroplane,  don’t slam on the break or jerk the wheel, which could cause you to spin out, instead steer straight and take your foot off the gas until car regains traction and you have control once again.

Keep Your Distance- You know that rule that no one follows that tells you to keep the length of 3 cars between yourself and the car in front of you? Driving in the rain is one of the times that you want to abide this tip since it takes longer to stop.  You don’t want to end up rear ending the car in front of you because you were following too closely and your brakes failed or reacted slower than usual in the rain.  Be sure to keep away from trucks as well, their large tires spray a lot of water behind them that can limit visibility even with the windshield wipers on.

Avoid Puddles- Steer clear of big puddles on the road.  If possible, stay towards the middle of the road, most roads tend to rise in the middle which causes water to runoff to the sides, increasing the risk for a giant puddle.  Driving through them can cause a lot of damage underneath your car and make it dangerous or impossible to keep driving. If water gets inside your car’s engine compartment, it could severely damage the car’s internal electric system.  This water can potentially soak or ruin the brakes as well.  If there’s no way for you to avoid a puddle on the road, test your brakes by gently tapping them to make sure they are working once you are out of the puddle.  If they are not working, continue to tap the brake. This can help if your brakes are damp, it may create enough heat to dry them out so you can keep driving.

Always Turn On Headlights- Whether it is raining, snowing, or just foggy, it’s always a good idea to turn on your headlights.  It helps improve your vision and helps other drivers see you, which reduces the risk of an accident.

Pull Over- If you find yourself in a situation where it is pouring, thundering, or lightening so badly that it affects your visibility or is distracting you, pull over and wait out the storm.  It’s not worth it to continue on in treacherous conditions if it is potentially dangerous.

These tips are simple adjustments to make when you are driving in the rain.  Not only will they make your journey easier, it will also be safer for yourself as well as everyone else on the road.  Many accidents that happen when it is raining could have been prevented if the driver’s would have used more caution.  Next time you are out and about in the car and it starts to rain, use these tips to make sure you are not endangering yourself or anyone else on the road.

Sources:

edmunds.com

smartmotorist.com

Photo By: jiggoja

 

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