tire pressure

Fall Driving Safety

fall drive

When most people think of dangerous driving weather, winter usually comes to mind, but fall has its fair share of dangers too.  Some of the things we love most about fall, like the beautiful leaves and cooler weather can lead to new dangers that you may not think of.  Keep these tips in mind in the fall, and stay safe on the road!

 Leaves – Everyone loves the beautiful red, yellow, and orange leaves that come with the fall season, but they don’t stay on the trees for very long.  Once they fall to the ground and cover the road, they can hide potholes, cover pavement markings, and once it rains, they can make the road extremely slick which is not only a danger for drivers, but pedestrians as well.  Keep your windshield leaf-free to prevent them from getting stuck under windshield wipers in a storm.  Make sure to also be aware of leaf peepers on the road, especially if you live in a rural area.  These drivers may be distracted or make sudden stops, so use caution around cars that are traveling particularly slow or have out of state license plates.  Remain alert when driving in the fall, especially when it’s raining, use the same caution you would if you were driving over ice in the winter.

Frost – After a hot, humid summer, the cooler fall air is a refreshing change, but with the change in temperature comes another thing to be weary of, frost.   Temperatures may feel fair and refreshing during the day, but they can drop dramatically at night.  First thing in the morning, there may still be frost on the road so use caution, especially on overpasses, bridges, or roads that don’t get lit by much sunlight, as this is where frost tends to accumulate.

Tires – With the sudden changes in temperature, tires can contract and expand which results in them losing air pressure so you need to monitor them closely.  Under inflated tires can increase fuel consumption and effect the way the vehicle handles, it is also a major cause of tire failure so be sure to check your tire pressure once a month.

Fog – Fall can be a damp, wet season here in Massachusetts, and we will likely see a lot of dark, foggy mornings and nights.  Keep your lights on during these foggy days, but do not put your high beams on as this can distract other drivers and restrict their visibility.

Back to School Traffic – Fall means back to school season, and there are going to be more pedestrians, school buses, and traffic along with it.  Be extra alert and mindful of speed limits in school zones, and near areas where children tend to be such as playgrounds and athletic fields.  For more in depth safety tips during back to school season, check another one of our blogs which has a ton of back to school  driving safety tips.

Autumn creates some unique driving hazards that many would not typically think of.  Understanding these dangers will make you a better, and safer driver, so be sure to keep these tips in mind!

Photo By: Michael Sprague


Tips To Keep Your Car Cool This Summer

car in shade

There’s nothing worse than getting into a sweltering car that’s hotter than it was outside.  We’ve got you covered for the the summer, just keep these tips in mind when it comes to your car and you’ll stay cool until the chill returns to the air this fall.

  • Having the right accessories for you car can make it a lot easier to keep it cool!  Sun shades, seat covers, and steering wheel covers can make a big difference in keeping your car cool while it’s parked without the air conditioning on.  Check out our blog that will give you more info on these items and where you can get them.
  • If you don’t want to spring for seat covers, bring some towels along and put them over the seats while you’re out of the car, especially if you have leather seats as those can seriously hurt to sit in if they get too hot.
  • Park in the shade if possible, if you can find a garage that’s even better.  The less sunlight your car is exposed to, the cooler it will be when you have to get back in.
  • Leave your windows open a crack, but not wide enough for someone to put their arm through.  If your windows are open while the car is parked it will allow for some air ventilation, and even a little bit can make a difference on a hot summer day.
  • Before getting into your car, leave the doors open for a few minutes to allow the stale hot air to filter out and cooler air to filter in.
  • Check your fluids in the car, pay close attention to the oil, especially if you’re going on a road trip, and coolant.  Coolant is what keeps your engine from over heating and is especially important in the summer with the heat from the outdoors adding to the already extreme heat underneath the hood of the car.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated.  Tire pressure fluctuates with the air temperature, and here in New England we can go from a humid day in the 90’s to a breeze day in the 70’s.  Over or under-inflated tires can lead to problems down the line or your tire could even explode, which would not only be dangerous but of course a major inconvenience.  Take the time to check your tires’ pressure especially if your car has been parked for a long time.

These tips will definitely help keep your car cool, but there are also a few other things to remember in the heat.  Definitely don’t leave CDs or DVDs out in the sunlight, put them in a case or underneath your seat to protect them from the damaging rays of the sun.  The most important thing to remember is to never leave kids or pets in the car unattended, summer heat can be deadly in minutes so even if it’s a “quick trip into the store” do not leave them unattended.  Keep these tips in mind and the rest of your summer will be safe and cool.

Photo By: Eric Cherup

Keeping Your Teen Safe On The Road This Summer

teen driver

Did you know that summer is the most dangerous time of year for teens to be on the road? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest for drivers between ages 15-20.   It makes sense, less time in school, more time for parties, going to the beach, road trips, and endless other places to drive to during the summer season. Don’t let your teen become another statistic, share these safety tips with them and help them practice safe driving this summer!  Remember to set a good example as well, teens pick up habits from other drivers that they observe and you don’t want them to think it’s ok to send a quick text or ditch their seat belt just because they’re going somewhere close.  These tips may seem like common sense to some, but new drivers  don’t have as much experience behind the wheel and may not consider things that drivers with a little more experience would consider obvious.

  • Click it or ticket!  Wearing your seat belt is not only a good idea, but it’s also the law here in Massachusetts.  New drivers may think it’s no big deal to hop in the car and ride down the street to the store without their seat belt just because it’s close, but accidents can happen anywhere. Make sure your teen knows just how important it is to wear your seat belt.  Did you know that drivers and passengers increase their risk of injury or death by up to 50% by not wearing a safety belt?  Those are odds you don’t want to gamble with so remind your teen of the importance of their seat belt and set a good example when you’re driving as well!
  • Talk To Your Teen About Car Maintenance – Again, some things that may seem obvious to experienced drivers may not be so clear to teens.  Make sure your teen knows how to check their tire pressure, put air in the tires, knows how often they need an oil change and tire rotation, and knows how to check and replace the car’s fluids.  A problem as small as low tire pressure can cause the car to handle differently, and may even potentially lead to an accident.  Make sure your teen knows exactly what to look for when it comes to their car.
  • Understand the Dangers of Distracted Driving – Although teens are the least experienced drivers on the road, they are typically the most likely to use their cell phones when behind the wheel.  Averting your eyes from the road for even five seconds, or the amount of time it takes to send a quick text, can lead to a major accident.  Even having too many passengers in a car can be a major distraction, paying attention to friends, music, and the road all at the same time is difficult for any driver, but especially those with little experience. If your teen still has their junior operator license, make sure they are following the rules and regulations that go along with that, which can be found here.
  • Communicate the Danger of Drinking And Driving – Again, this may seem obvious but it’s still a good idea to sit down with your teen and make sure they understand exactly how important this is.  Underage drinking continues to be an issue and although there are attempts to crack down on it, teens still find access to alcohol and it’s important that parents communicate how dangerous and deadly drinking and driving can be.  Make sure your teen knows not to drive themselves, or get into the car with anyone that has had a drink.
  • Limit Unnecessary Trips – Unless your teen has a purpose for their outing, they shouldn’t be going out “just for a drive”.  The less time they spend on the road, the less likely they are to be in an accident.
  • Make Sure Your Teen Knows Where They Are Going – If your teen is taking a trip to the beach or a concert, make sure they know exactly how to get there to prevent getting lost.  If their destination is nearby, take a test drive out there with them and make sure they know exactly where they’re going. If their destination is too far for a convenient test drive, make sure they have a GPS system, and fully charged cell phone to use in case of emergency.

These tips will help your teen make smart decisions and stay safe on the road this summer.  Make sure they understand how important it is for them to give the road their undivided attention, distractions while driving have caused fatal accidents in the past, and the sad thing is that they are typically preventable.  The sooner your teen understands these tips, the safer they will be!

Photo By: State Farm

Tire Maintinance & Suggestions to Make Them Last Longer

Regular tire maintenance is an important safety precaution too often overlooked by busy drivers. Let me kindly remind you, tires are the only contact between your vehicle and the road. Taking great care with them will allow you a safer ride and probably save you a few bucks.

The number one most important concern of tire maintenance: regularly check tire pressures. Tires regularly lose about 1 psi per month from normal wear and tear. However keep an eye on the thermometer as well, tires will generally drop 1 psi per 10 degree temperature drop. Under inflation, according to tiresafety.com, is the leading cause of tire failure. Not only will tire failure ultimately ensue, you may be experience less efficient gas mileage.

Another important aspect of tire care is to make sure you have sufficient tread. To check tire tread depth place a penny with the top of Lincoln’s head directly towards the tires into the tread. If you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head this is a sign of tread wear and you need new tires. A vehicle driving on tires with low or no tread can not properly hold a vehicle to the road. This is a danger not only to the driver and passengers of the vehicle, but anyone else on the road.

To prevent irregular and early wear and tear be sure to regularly rotate your tires. Most vehicles should have their tires rotated at least every 5,000 – 10,000 miles. For a more accurate rotation intervals check the owner’s manual. Rotating tires allow more uniform wear and usually a longer life. It is important to note if you are going to rotate the tires yourself there are specific patters in which tires should be rotated on different types of vehicles. Keep an eye on your tires and have a smooth ride!

Driving in a Winter Wonderland

Driving on a warm summer day is another world from the winter wonderland we’ve driven through this winter. If your vehicle breaks down in the summer, it is a great inconvenience, however you won’t be worried about walking through drifts of snow and below zero winds. If your car needs a tune up, oil change, or any standard care done do not put it off.

A standard service many people forget to check is tire pressure. The pressure will drop about one pound for ever ten degree drop in temperature. Not only does the proper air pressures in your tires help you get the most out of your gas mileage, it will affect how your auto handles. Whether you’re braking or maybe turning a corner downtown, the tire pressure will greatly affect the way your car responds.

Another important, yet basic, winter maintenance many forget is checking your windshield wipers and fluid. Be sure to keep the windshield wipers clean and great shape. There’s nothing worse than squinting through a dirty windshield in rush hour traffic. Keep your windshield wiper fluid at a decent level as well, although it may not snow or rain every day chances are one day or another you’ll drive behind a large truck spewing slushy snow and dirt your way. Also, it’s always a good idea to keep an extra bottle in the trunk for those extra slushy days.

A third important thing to keep an eye on is the gas tank. When driving in the winter it’s important to keep the gas tank full, or at least half full. Should you hit a patch of ice or find yourself stuck in the snow, your engine may be your only source of heat! When traveling from one side of town to the other, or maybe from one side of the state to the other, it’s important to maintain gas levels and avoid frost bite.

These are a few things you can do yourself, however if you notice anything strange or different about the way your car runs play it safe and take it into a mechanic. Many times by letting a small problem go, larger more expensive problems may occur. Save yourself the trouble, let a professional take a look.

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