driving tips


Tips & Tricks For Driving in the Snow

While the snow looks beautiful coming down, it makes driving way more difficult and increases your chances of an accident significantly.  While it’s best to avoid driving in bad weather as much as possible, it’s often unavoidable- especially in New England. If you must hit the road during a snowy winter wonderland, keep these tips and tricks in mind to stay as safe as possible.

1. Drive Slow– This must be the most obvious thing to state when it comes to driving in the snow, but it has to be said. Really though, actually drive slower and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. The snow makes the roads slippery and reduces visibility so you’ll need to give yourself plenty of more time to react to changing conditions. This advice is heavily aimed at those who drive SUVs, 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive cars. While those type of cars do offer some more traction and control, it does not make you invincible or your car a super SUV. The roads are still significantly less safe and require slow driving.

2. Give Yourself Distance– Most people follow the 2 (or 3) second rule of thumb to calculate the minimum distance they should keep behind from the car in front so that there is adequate time to stop. In the snow, you want to at the very least double this distance. Ideally, triple it. If you do slide or skid on the snow, the farther away you are from other vehicles the safer you’ll be.

3. Lights– ALWAYS have your lights on when driving in the snow. With the reduced visibility, you’ll want to make your surroundings as visible as possible. On the side, you’ll want other drivers to be able to see you as well.

4. NEVER Use Cruise Control- You’ll need extra vigilance and extra control when it comes to driving in the snow. Not only do you need to adjust your speed more frequently when driving in the snow, you’ll also need much more control over steering, even if you’re driving on a straight road. Never use cruise control when driving in the snow. Ever.

5. Avoid Slamming on the Break– If your tires start to skid, most people’s first instinct is to panic and slam on the break- don’t do this. Instead ease off the accelerator and try to steer the car out of potential collisions. Slamming on the breaks once your tires have already locked up and lost traction won’t help. Skidding out can be frightening, but try to stay as calm as possible in order to safely slow down and come to a stop.

6. Beware of Bridges– Bridges are the first to freeze and ice over in cold weather and snow. Unlike roads which lose their temperature on their surface, bridges they are exposed the wind and cold from every angle which promotes the perfect environment for black ice. Even if the roads seem okay in mild snow, use extra caution when you get to a bridge.

7. Clean Your Car– Don’t slack off when it comes to cleaning your car. Even if you’re just driving a short distance, that snow of your roof is a hazard. It can fall in front and obstruct your vision, or it can fly off on to the car behind you which is seriously dangerous. Also, always keep cleaning essentials in your car all winter long such a scraper and shovel and make sure your car has enough windshield wiper fluid for the season.

8. Keep Kitty Litter!– This neat little trick can be a life safer! Getting stuck in the snow is the worst, and the more you try to accelerate out of it, the more you dig yourself deeper. Adding kitty litter behind your tire will provide the traction the tire needs for you to drive your way out. Sand or salt also works well. Keep a bag of it in your trunk of your car if possible.

9. Emergency Kit– While emergency kits are important all year round, they are extra crucial in the winter months. Click here to see what essentials you should have in yours this winter!

 

TIPS & TRICKS FOR DRIVING IN THE SNOW

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

MassDrive Playlist for Your Thanksgiving Drive

Lately, we’ve been inspired by our neighbors at The Club. Not only do they offer awesome classes to help us get fit, but they also share monthly mixes on Spotify to get us pumped up both in and out of the gym – we’ve discovered so many great new artists and songs from their lists, which you can check out here.

This month, we made our own playlist and it is perfect for driving. We asked each of our agents to add a song, which has resulted in a unique mix of music of all genres and styles. This mix will get you grooving and soothe you, even in traffic.

Thanksgiving is just days away – and this week will have some of the busiest travel days of the year, as families and friends gather to give thanks and eat turkey on Thursday. In fact, there will be more people on the roads this Thanksgiving than any year since 2005! If you’ve got a drive ahead of you this week, these great tunes will help it go by faster, and make the traffic less road rage inducing, so follow the playlist now!

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

Fall Driving Tips

Now that fall is officially here, there are some important tips to remember when it comes to driving.  With the change of seasons comes a change in driving conditions, and there are important rules of the road to remember for each time of year.  Even though we are not yet dealing with snow on the ground (knock on wood),  there are other dangers to watch out for and work around while driving.  These tips will give you a quick refresher on what exactly to look out for:

Wet Leaves – The brightly colored leaves on the trees are one of the most beautiful parts of the season, however once they begin to fall off the trees we have a problem.  Wet leaves are extremely slick and can be just as dangerous as ice on the road.  They reduce traction making it easier to skid out or hydroplane if it’s raining.  Another hazard?  They can also cover up the yellow and white lines that divide lanes which limits visibility and creates dangerous conditions for yourself and others on the road.  Treat slick leaves on the road as you would ice, drive slowly and cautiously and be extra aware of other drivers.  Being a defensive driver could save your life, even if you are obeying all of the rules of the road, other drivers may not be.  Stay alert and watch for any unsafe behavior such as speeding or weaving in and out of lanes, especially when there are wet leaves on the ground.

Frost – Hard to believe it but sooner than later we will be waking up to a fresh coat of frost on our windshields.  You know what that means?  Stocking our cars with ice scrapers and turning up the defroster!  Make sure that you’re prepared for your morning commute, there’s nothing worse that running late because you have to wait for your windshield to defrost.  Now that it’s getting colder, frost will not only accumulate on your windshield but in cold, wet areas on the road as well.  Be especially cautious near bridges with water underneath them.  The combination of cold air and the water underneath the bridge causes the temperature of that part of the road to drop lower than other areas of the road, creating black ice.  Areas underneath overpasses can also be dangerous because they get little to no sunlight.  Pay extra close attention during the early morning and evening hours, typically the darkest and coldest times of day.

Driving In The Dark – We lose a minute of sunlight each day in the fall, and until we turn our clocks back in October it will only keep getting darker earlier at night and later in the morning.  After enjoying the daylight until about 9 PM in the summer months, it can be quite an adjustment driving in the dark on your way home from work now that fall is here.  As the days pass it is only going to get darker sooner, so don’t forget to adjust your headlights both in the morning and at night.  This is especially important in thickly settled districts, it will be much harder to see children playing outside, bike riders, and even people doing yard work outside once it starts to get dark in the early evening.  Remember to adjust your headlight accordingly if you don’t have automatic ones, and be extra cautious when driving during the dark evening hours.

Prepare Your Car For Winter – It’s never too early to be prepared!  Winterizing your car is a process that takes multiple steps and it’s never too early to start!  As we mentioned earlier, make sure you have an ice scraper in your car so that you’re prepared for any frost that may potentially slow your commute.  You should also set aside some time to have your vehicle looked at by a professional, make sure the brakes, heater, lights, battery, fluids, and defroster are all working.  You don’t want to be stranded or have any car troubles when the temperatures drop!  We will post even more tips to winterize your car once the snowy season is closer, but for now these tasks will set you on your way to a winterized vehicle ready to take on the snow!

As always, one of the most important tips we can offer is to make sure you are properly insured.  Accidents are much more likely to occur during the colder months due to slick roads, which is why it’s so important to make sure you are covered!  Give us a call or click MassDrive to get a quote from one of our agents today!

Photo By: visualthinker

 

Super Bowl Safety – Are You Ready for Super Bowl Sunday?

Super Bowl Sunday

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 with the Giants! But have you thought about Super Bowl safety?

Whichever team you’re rooting for this Super Bowl Sunday, make sure you’re ready when you get behind the wheel. It’s not just the wintry New England weather that you’ll need to be prepared for – Super Bowl Sunday can be dangerous on the roads because of all the parties. Super Bowl drunk driving 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 thing you can do to stay safe on Super Bowl Sunday is be prepared. Make plans in advance and include finding a designated driver in your game day preparations. If you find yourself in need, but without a designated driver after the game (and hopefully those drinks will have been celebratory!), there are many alternatives to getting behind the wheel. Call a cab, take public transportation, book a room, or if you must get home with your car on Sunday night, the Tipsy Tow will pick you, your car and as many friends will fit in the truck up and bring you back home. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357), anywhere in the US and Canada, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to request the Tipsy Tow.

If you’re throwing a Super Bowl party, create a safer party environment by making sure you have plenty of food to serve along with alcoholic beverages, so no one drinks on an empty stomach. You could also offer non-alcoholic beverages as well, so everyone has something to sip on during the game. There are so many Super Bowl recipes, and many of them are easy! A simple Google or Pinterest search will have armed with tons of ideas for snacks that will help keep your party safe.

Whatever your plans this Sunday, everyone at MassDrive wishes you a safe and fun Super Bowl. Go Patriots!

Photo by chipgriffin

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips

Stay Safe this New Year'sNew Year’s is a time for celebrating, reflection, resolutions and some auld lang syne. One of the most hyped party nights of the year, there will be lots of festivities occurring this December 31st, which happens to fall on a Saturday this year. Whether you’re throwing a party, checking out the club scene or attending First Night, it is important to make sure you’re safe this New Year’s Eve. Drunk driving and New Year’s seem to go hand-in-hand according to the statistics, so please, take measures to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Drunk driving is especially common on New Year’s Eve, especially between the hours of 9:00pm and 6:00am. Every year, there are 16,000 alcohol-related car accidents. Someone is killed every half hour due to drunk driving and someone else is injured every other minute, according to Lifetips30% of Americans will be involved in a car accident involving alcohol – this year, resolve to not be one of them.

New Year’s Day is considered to be the deadliest day of the year, second to the Fourth of July, according to ABC News. Deaths shoot up 150% on New Year’s because of drunk drivers on the roads. Sadly, it isn’t just driving that’s unsafe. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway safety, New Year’s also has the highest amount of pedestrians killed than any other day throughout the year. Be aware however you travel this New Year’s.

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips:

  • When traveling, choose a designated driver. Sure, no one likes to be left out of the partying on New Year’s, but get all the passengers to pitch in for the driver’s cover charge at the bar, or owe them a big favor. Regardless, if you are going to be traveling by car, make sure your driver is sober. Not only will your journey be safer, a sober driver will be better able to respond to drunk drivers sharing the road.
  • If you are driving and may be tempted to drink, make sure to give your keys up upon arriving at the party. Listen to your friends if they think you are too intoxicated to drive. There are always other and better options than you getting behind the wheel, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
  • If you are traveling by car, as the driver or as a passenger, bring along an overnight bag just in case. This will make it less tempting to drive drunk, and you’ll be able to stay over more comfortably.
  • Take public transportation! The MBTA will offer free service after 8pm on New Year’s Eve, and the subway is open until 12:45am. This will give you enough time to go out and take in the beautiful midnight fireworks!
  • Call a cab. Paying a cab fare is much less costly than the price you could pay driving drunk. Don’t want to deal with Boston taxis? Use Uber, a car service app that makes it extremely easy and hassle-free to get a pick up, and you won’t have to worry about paying with cash or calculating a tip when you’ve had a few drinks.
  • Call the Tipsy Tow! If you must get home with your car, call AAA. The Tipsy Tow will pick you, your car and as many friends will fit in the truck up and bring you back home. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357), anywhere in the US and Canada, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • Book a room. Why not make a night of it? If you’re traveling to a party somewhere, book a room at a nearby hotel and circumvent having to drive after 6pm. Sites like Priceline and Hotwire always have great deals on hotels. Pamper yourself while staying safe!

Don’t make excuses – there are too many options that will get you home safely. Plan ahead and keep your loved ones in mind when making your New Year’s plans.

May you have a happy and safe New Year’s! This year, don’t let the New Year’s Eve drunk driving statistics keep you from having a good time, but be diligent! I’ll leave you on a positive note with my favorite version of Auld Lang Syne, one by the talented Martin Sexton! From all of us at MassDrive, we wish you the very best in the new year!

Photo by e_calamar

Back To School: Driving Safety Tips

As back to school season begins the simple fact is you will encounter more cars on the road. From additional youth drivers to parents returning from a summer vaca you may notice an increase in traffic throughout the day and especially in the mornings. Now is a great time to review safe driving techniques with your children, teenagers – even take a refresher yourself:

  • Silence your cell: With the new distracted driving legislation this should be a no-brainer. If caught texting and driving you can face a steep fine or even a suspension of your license!
  • Buckle-up: Elementary, but necessary for safe driving. Parents should ensure all children are buckled and situated in car-seats appropriate for their size. Remind your teenagers seat belts are a must, they won’t “look cool” when they find themselves without in an accident.
  • Reverse: Looking over your shoulder and checking all mirrors should be automatic before placing your vehicle in reverse. This is especially important when children are present.
  • School-buses: Know when a school bus stops and its red stop sign or flashing lights appear children are boarding or exiting the bus. Be on the look out for children crossing the street even after the bus has moved on.
  • Be Alert: Avoid driving when you are exhausted or feel fatigued. When you are not able to pay full attention to the road you may miss crucial directions or signs and will be putting other drivers, bikers, and pedestrians lives at risk.
  • School Zones – SLOW DOWN: School zones generally have a lower speed limit than other surrounding areas. There is a rhyme and reason to this and these lower speed limits should be obeyed.
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