GardenStateDrive


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

 

Take Your Best License Picture Yet!

 

Taking your license picture is one of those things that no one really enjoys.  The line is always too long and the other people there are usually not the most pleasant.  Finally, after your number is called you are hurried in and out while you pose under bright fluorescent lights for a picture that they usually take before you even know what hit you.  All of these factors can add up to a less than flattering picture that you’re stuck with for years.
Who wants to have a license picture where they are not looking their best?  To avoid a picture that looks more like a mug shot, follow these tips to make sure you are looking your best and ready for the camera.
  • Dress to impress!  Even though your license picture is only from the shoulders up, wearing an outfit you know you look good in will boost your confidence and give you an edge when you pose for the camera.  Try to wear either a bright or neutral shirt; pastels can give you a washed out effect, especially under fluorescent lights.
  • Don’t overdo your make up!  The fluorescent lighting is so bright and will lighten the appearance of your skin, so especially dark make up will appear even more dramatic.
  • Flash those pearly whites!  Personally, I have seen many licenses where people don’t even smile!  This is an especially important tip when it comes to avoiding the “mug shot” effect.  If you really want to be an overachiever, whiten your teeth in advance to brighten up your smile.  When it comes time for the picture, think of something happy that always makes you smile.  Ask the RMV worker to count to three, that way you will know exactly when the picture is being taken.  If you wait right until the count of three to smile, it will look more genuine and less forced.
  • When it comes to your hair, keep it natural, wear it the way you normally would so that you know it looks good.  Definitely don’t get a new haircut the day before you renew your license in case you are not totally satisfied with your new ‘do.
  • Avoid trendy looks.  You don’t want your past fashion faux pas sticking around to haunt you! Styles will come and go but this picture will be around for years! Stick with basic make up and a hair style that you could have at any age.  Don’t choose that day to test out your new lipstick or hair accessory that you just picked out.
  • Go out of your way to be nice to the RMV staff!  They are the ones taking your picture so if you get on their good side by asking how their day is it will go a long way.  They might also take the extra time to give you a second shot if you don’t like your original picture!
  • When it comes time to pose, remember to smile and lift up your chin.  A head-on picture is not the best angle of everyone so keep your face forward and try to turn your shoulders a bit to make them look less broad.

Follow these tips and your license picture will come out better than ever!  It can be a challenge capturing the perfect picture at the RMV, but these suggestions will set you on your way to a picture that you won’t be embarrassed to show every time you’re asked for your ID.

Photo By: OregonDOT

Protect Your GPS From Theft

Driver side car break-in, Safeguard anti-theft notice with broken glass, so much for Toyota Security, all thief had to do is break the window, Llandover Park, North Seattle, Washington, USA

Now that we’ve listed our top picks for the best GPS, it’s time to talk about protecting your navigation system. GPS systems are  expensive which makes them a valuable target for thieves. We’ve found some of the tops tips out there for GPS protection, and here are the best:

GPS systems have significantly increased the instances of car break-ins across the country. With a street value of about $100-$150, they are very easy to sell which makes them appealing to thieves who are looking for a quick buck. FBI statistics show there were nearly 5,500 reports of GPS thefts in 2007. In 2008 it was more than 31,000. Those numbers should encourage all GPS owners to bring their systems inside regardless of how safe they believe their neighborhood is. Thieves are also more likely to strike in areas with a high population such as a crowded parking lot in a school, mall, apartment complex, etc. This makes cities such as Boston a prime target as there are many cars lined up together and it is easier and faster for potential thieves to scope out targets. Be especially conscious of these locations and try to park in well-lit areas whenever possible. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24392168/ns/business-consumer_news/t/protect-your-gps-unit-car-thieves/#.T1egG12wVzQ

Nowadays GPS systems are extremely popular and considered to be a necessity by many drivers, and unfortunately their popularity is another factor that makes them more appealing to thieves. According to GPS tracking manufacturer, LandAirSea, about 7 out of 10 drivers use a GPS system so thieves are willing to try their luck and search many different cars for these valuable devices. GPS systems have also been reported as one of the top ten items stolen from vehicles. Unfortunately, their street value and availability are what make them such appealing items to steal. http://gpssystems.net/protecting-gps-systems-car-thieves/

Thieves will typically target any car, but those with GPS systems that are visible are especially easy targets since they know they will definitely walk away with something. The best thing to do is bring your GPS inside or at least put it in the dashboard (although this is an obvious hiding spot). However, even if they can’t see it, if a thief believes you have a GPS in your car they may be tempted to smash your window and look inside the car, and replacing a car window can be more expensive than the GPS itself. Don’t leave any hints that you have anything valuable in the car, so put away the charger, stand, and if your GPS has a suction cup that clings to the window, clean off the ring it leaves around the windshield to hide any and all signs of your GPS. Taking these preventative measures should eliminate all signs of your GPS and give would-be thieves no reason to suspect you have valuables inside your car. http://www.komonews.com/news/consumer/17932074.html

Having a visible GPS or any signs of such a device makes you an easy target for thieves, which can be a scary thought! Make sure to utilize these GPS safety tips next time you are out, parking in well lit areas or taking the extra minute to pack up your GPS and bring it inside can make all the difference! Consider renters insurance to cover your belongings, possibly including your GPS. Talk to a MassDrive agent today about how a renters policy might help protect you from theft.

The Best GPS Systems: Our Top 5 Picks

Loads of GPS devices in our car

Remember the days when you had to print out directions or actually memorize the roads that you were traveling on?  Although it wasn’t really that long ago, it seems like it would be impossible for many of us to live without our GPS navigation systems and go back to traveling the old fashioned way.  GPS systems are so readily available it wouldn’t make sense not to use them, more cars and phones are coming with them built in and they offer great driving tips, list the posted speed limit, and often have tools to help find nearby restaurants and gas stations.  With so many different options on the market it can be overwhelming when it comes to deciding which one is right for you.  We’ve researched some of the most popular GPS systems out there and listed some of their coolest features so you know exactly what to look for.

The TomTom Go Live 2535M is a great choice for frequent travelers and those that enjoy pit stops on their journey as it features multiple apps that list local restaurants, attractions, and stores.  It connects to apps such as Yelp, Google, Expedia, Twitter, and Trip Advisor which allow the user to search for nearby stops.  It is also able to provide you with local weather, traffic, and gas prices which is great for those that travel often to places that are unfamiliar.  This GPS also includes premium maps of the US, Canada and Mexico and hands-free Bluetooth calling ability.  http://www.tomtom.com/en_us/products/car-navigation/go-2535-m-live/

For those of you looking for your first GPS or something a bit less complex, the Garmin Nuvi 50 is the perfect choice.  The touch screen offers two initial options, “Where to?” and “View Map”.  It has a large screen that makes reading easier and turn by turn directions are spoken through the device.  It also has a “Where Am I?” emergency location feature that will ensure that you are never lost.  It is a simple GPS that has a large screen which makes it perfect for someone who has never used a GPS before or for someone who is a bit older.  https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=92845&ra=true

Like to stay organized and plan vacation itineraries?  The Magellan RoadMate 5175T-LM Traveler is your new best friend.  Not only does it allow users to search local restaurants and attractions, but it allows you to plan an itinerary on the GPS itself and use it to find the fastest routes in between destinations.  This GPS also has Wi-Fi connectivity to keep you connected to the web and has traffic, travel, and speed limit alerts which will ensure you have the most pleasant journey possible.  http://www.magellangps.com/Products/RoadMate/Magellan-RoadMate-5175T-LM

For those of you that are really bad with directions and need very precise instructions, the Garmin Nuvi 1450 LMT is a great choice because it has a lane assist feature which tells you exactly what lane to be in for highway travel so you can avoid missing the exit you need to take.  This is a great feature because it is very specific when it comes to driving and allows you to focus more on the road than following directions. It also has a map that can be displayed in either 2D or 3D view and a world clock if you are embarking on a journey that will take place across multiple time zones.  Believe it or not it also has a currency converter and MicroSD card slot to copy pictures from your vacation.  For those of you that are environmentally friendly you will love the ecoRoute feature of this GPS which tracks fuel usage and finds the most fuel-efficient route to your destination.  https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=87481

If you’re looking for a GPS that has all of the typical bells and whistles plus a bit extra, check out the Magellan Maestro 4700.  It has a large touchscreen, Bluetooth hookup, lane assist, and a predictive traffic routing feature which predicts the best route based on past traffic patterns.  Users can also set up voice activated commands such as “Go Home” or search for the nearest hotel, gas station, and restaurants. It also allows you to select favorite destinations in different cities to pull up at later points in time. Using this GPS to make phone calls is easier than ever as it allows you to store up to 1,000 numbers and the microphone cancels out road noise such as car horns, etc. which makes it easier for the person on the other end of the phone to hear more easily.  http://www.magellangps.com/Products/Previous-Models/Magellan-Maestro-4700

Many GPS systems out there have very similar features but we’ve complied a list that diversifies some of the top products out there so that everyone can find the perfect GPS system that’s perfect for them!

Teenage Driving: Make Sure They Are Fully Prepared Before They Hit the Road!

Houstonian Car Crash #2 - 003
Teenage driving can be a frightening thought, especially in Massachusetts where we have a certain reputation with the rest of the country when it comes to our driving skills. However, a surprising statistic according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association showed that although deaths among 16 and 17 year old drivers were up 11% in the first half of 2011 when compared to the same time in 2010, Massachusetts is one of few states that saw no increase in deaths. http://www.wggb.com/2012/02/16/teen-driving-in-massachusetts/

Perhaps a related factor could be that more students in Massachusetts earned a Driver’s Education Certificate in 2011 than 2010, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Not only do these courses give young drivers the experience they need on the road to feel comfortable behind the wheel of the car, they also teach them basic driving facts such as at what speed the car will start to hydroplane, how far to stay behind a school bus, and many basic rules and regulations of the road. They show videos that illustrate the results of drunk driving, speeding, and reckless driving while also teaching students the legal and physical consequences of their actions behind the wheel. Teenagers under the age of 18 in Massachusetts are required to complete the course which involves 30 hours of classroom sessions, 12 hours of driving lessons and 6 hours of observations if they want their license.

This training gives teenagers the experience they need to build their confidence and knowledge before they start driving. Drivers under the age of 18 also have many more restrictions when it comes to operating a vehicle which can be found online at  the Massachusetts RMV http://www.mass.gov/rmv/jol/jol_penalties_chart.htm.  For even more information related to driving with teens check out our blog http://blog.massdrive.com/category/driving-with-kids/. When it comes to your teenager you can never be too careful, make sure they are fully prepared and have all of the resources they need before they start driving!

To be safe, make sure you have adequate auto insurance for teenagers. Call a MassDrive agent today to discuss the particulars of car insurance coverage for teenage drivers.

Make the Most Out of Commuting to Work: Tips for Commuters

Love Your Commute
For all of you commuters out there, would you have ever believed that there could be something positive or enjoyable about all that time you spend traveling?  Here at MassDrive we are still in the Valentine’s spirit and today is all about learning how to love your commute!  Whether you drive or take public transportation there are plenty of ways to increase your enjoyment and production while commuting to work.

If you’re driving to work an iPod, or any MP3 for that matter is your new best friend.  Customize your own playlist depending on the mood your commute puts you in.  If you’re typically tired in the morning, listen to music with a fast beat that pumps you up for the day.  If you’re commute frustrates you and sets a bad tone for the rest of the day, make a playlist with soothing songs or sounds such as the ocean or a cool spring breeze, you’d be amazed at the difference a good playlist can have on your day!

Want to save money on your commuting costs?  Have you considered carpooling?  Organizing a carpool with friends or coworkers is a great idea for those of us that are on a budget.  With potential fare increases being discussed regarding the MBTA, public transportation is becoming more expensive than ever.  Carpooling is a great alternative as you don’t have to rely on train times to dictate your return home and it may actually save you money when compared to public transit, depending on your location.  The bigger the group the better of course, but carpooling with even one person can make a huge difference.  Think of how much you would save if you yourself only had to drive half the time, pay for parking have the time, and put gas in the car half of the time.  The savings add up and the more people you have the lower the commuting cost will be and who wouldn’t love that?

For those of you that commute via public transportation, this is a great time to accomplish all of those errands you typically wouldn’t have time for.  Been meaning to schedule a doctor’s appointment, renew your auto insurance policy, reconnect with an old friend or finally finish that book you started?  Most people view their commute as a waste of time in their day but truthfully it’s a great opportunity to take care of all of the miscellaneous tasks that accumulate in your daily life.  Take advantage of this time that you would typically view as a waste, it may turn out to be one of the most productive segments of your day! A commuting backpack designed for that daily trek will keep you comfortable while you make your trip and accomplish those errands.

Turn your commute into your daily workout!  If possible and you live close enough to work, try commuting by bike or walking there.  Not only is it environmentally friendly but it will get you your daily dose of exercise and some fresh air!

If you drive to work on a daily basis, try switching up your route once in a while.  Not only will this get you better acquainted with the city you’re working in, you may find a better way to get to work with less traffic, a way that’s faster, or a way that offers a much more scenic route.  If you spend an hour of your day sitting in traffic on the highway, try taking the back roads once in a while.  You may have to leave a bit earlier but for the most part it should take the same amount of time and will offer you a much better view than red brake lights for miles and miles!

Even though heading to work can be frustrating and time consuming there are always positive aspects of any situation that can help you make the best out of it!  Try utilizing some of these tips which are sure to either save you time, money, or put a smile on your face while commuting to work!  Happy commuting!

Have to Drive in the Snow? Winter Driving Safety Tips

Snow Covered Car

After last weekend’s storm and the upcoming snow expected to arrive this Sunday, it is extremely important to keep in mind a few winter driving safety tips during this winter weather.  This time of year results in snow, ice, and sleet, all of which create hazardous road conditions for the most experienced of drivers. Drivers are highly recommended to stay indoors in such weather, however if you must venture out wait until plows and sand trucks have gone by.  If you find yourself in a situation where driving in the snow can’t be avoided, keep these simple defensive winter driving tips in mind to improve your safety on the road:

  • Allot extra time to get to your destination.  It is vital to decrease your speed while driving in the snow, and you should also leave about three times more space than usual between yourself and the car in front of you to give yourself plenty of time to stop.  Getting on the road 20 minutes earlier than you usually do should give you enough time to drive slowly and safely and also reach you destination on time.
  • If your car starts skidding, don’t panic!  Slamming on the breaks and turning the wheel to avoid a crash are actually more likely to result in an accident.  If you are sliding on ice and your tires suddenly regain their grip, the car will turn whichever way the tires are pointed, which can be detrimental if you have suddenly jerked the steering wheel in a certain direction. The appropriate reaction to this situation depends on which wheels are actually skidding out, front or back.  If your back tires are skidding out and you have begun to “fishtail”, take your foot off the gas, steer the car in the direction that the back tires are skidding in, and gently apply the break.  You may have to steer from right to left until you regain control of the vehicle.  If your front tires begin to skid, take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, this will slow the car down as the wheels skid sideways, and you will slowly regain traction.
  • ALWAYS drive with your lights on in the snow, even if the sun is still out.  Visibility is much lower when it is snowing which is why it is so important to keep your lights on and make yourself known to other drivers.
  • Check your levels of windshield wiper fluid!  This fluid is helpful in improving visibility as it can be used to melt snow and ice on the windshield.  It definitely won’t replace a scraper, but it can be helpful if you find yourself driving in the midst of a storm or have a light layer of snow or ice on your car.
  • Use extra caution when driving over bridges as they are more likely to freeze first. Unlike roads, which only lose heat from their surface, bridges are more exposed to the wind and therefore lose heat on all sides, top and bottom.  This results in snow and rain freezing more rapidly, which often leads to black ice.
  • Do not use cruise control. In conditions that are more dangerous than usual it is important to have as much control over the car as you possibly can. Utilizing the cruise control ability of a car can delay your reaction time should your car begin to skid.
  • Do not attempt to pass by snow plows. These trucks typically have limited visibility and you’re better off sticking behind them and driving on a freshly plowed road, than passing them and struggling with roads that are full of snow.
  • Should your car get stuck in the snow, do not hit the gas!  This will only spin your wheels and dig you in deeper, instead turn the wheel from left to right in an attempt to loosen snow from around the tires.  Keep a bag of salt, sand, or even kitty litter in your trunk, these can all be sprinkled around tires that are stuck to gain traction.
  • Consider alternate forms of transportation.  On snowy days it may be more convenient and safer to rely on public transportation such as trains or buses.  If they are not in service due to the weather, take it as a hint that you shouldn’t be out driving either.
  • Make sure you have proper car insurance coverage for the risks on winter roads. If you are unsure what types of coverage you need, call a MassDrive agent to learn more.

At MassDrive we want all drivers out there to practice safe winter driving.  These simple tips can go a long way when it comes to ensuring that you will be as safe as possible on the roads this winter.

Get Your Car Ready For Winter!

Car Ready for Winter?

Winter weather is here! Is your car ready?  When the temperature drops it can have some seriously negative effects on your vehicle, which is why it is so important to winterize your car.  Basic maintenance and simple adjustments make a world of difference when it comes to prepping a car for winter and safe winter driving.  To make it easy for you, we’ve listed some of the most important steps to winterize your vehicle in the upcoming months:

  • Get your tires checked.  Cold weather causes tires to lose their air quicker than usual.  Checking the air pressure is crucial during the winter season, especially because roads are so slick and icy, you need your tires to be at top performance more than ever.  If it is an option financially, snow tires are a great option as they can reduce travel time while increasing safety of the vehicle.
  • Winter wiper blades are a cost effective preventative measure as they usually range from about $8-$10 each.  These blades have a thicker and wider rubber covering and are able to power through snow and ice more effectively than normal wiper blades.
  • Check windshield washer fluid levels!  Switching to a winter grade solvent windshield washer fluid during this time of year is helpful because it doesn’t freeze.   It is also especially important in the winter because it is able to assist in clearing away snow and ice on the windshield if you are in a rush and don’t have much time to scrape off ice.
  • Keep your gas tank as full as possible during the next few months.  This prevents the gas line from freezing.  Condensation typically builds up inside a gas tank but during the winter it is especially dangerous because it can freeze.  Should this happen, the water will sink to the bottom of the tank, freeze, and consequently make it impossible to drive.  If you are not able to pump a full tank’s worth of gas, adding a bottle’s worth of fuel de-icer to the tank can keep the line from freezing.
  • Salt is one of the most harmful elements to cars during the winter.  It is necessary for keeping the roads safer and less icy, but in turn salt gets into the undercarriage of a car, causing parts to rust and erode over time.  Getting your car washed (at least once a week) in the winter washes away the salt which can be detrimental to both the car and your wallet should it cause erosion.  Be sure to ask for an undercarriage rinse for best effects.
  • Despite the cold temperatures, an engine can still over heat in the winter.  The cold causes oil to thicken which makes it move more slowly between different parts of the engine, which results in it getting too hot.  A simple oil change, which is recommended about every 3,000 miles, is the best way to keep this from happening.
  • On the other hand, you don’t want your engine to freeze either, which is why antifreeze is essential to ensure that your vehicle survives the cold.  Putting the right amount is crucial to the engine’s performance as well.  Creating a mixture of about 50% antifreeze and 50% water is the ideal fluid to put into the engine.
  • Check the battery, belts, and hoses.  The engine has to work much harder in the cold which puts extra strain on the battery.  They typically last about 3-5 years but it is important to keep track so that you don’t end up stranded in the snow.  Belts and hoses are weakened by the cold which makes it easier for them to snap or break.  Have a mechanic take a look at these when you bring your car in for an oil change.
  • Should you ever find yourself stranded in the snow with a broken down car, one of the most important things to have is an emergency kit specifically for winter.  This should include blankets, boots, gloves, flares, a flashlight, ice scraper, spare tire, and energy bars.
  • Make sure your Mass auto insurance policy is squared away before hitting the road, just in case. Call your MassDrive agent today to learn more.

This season can result in extremely dangerous winter driving conditions which is why it is so important to be sure that your car is in the best shape possible!  These tips not only make driving safer in the present, but help to prevent potentially serious damage to your car in the future!

Photo by wanko

Winter Driving Accessories You (Might) Need

Winter driving can be chilly, difficult and downright anxiety-inducing at times. With ice, snow, sleet, slush and salt to conquer during the winter months, it’s no wonder there’s a huge crop of winter-themed driving tools out there. While some are wacky, some may be just what you need to survive the winter cold. These may not be your standard winter car kit items, these winter car accessories are indulgences that may make the winter months pass quicker.

Heated Seat Covers

Car didn’t come with heated seats? Didn’t want to splurge? That’s okay. Thanks to CozyWinters, there’s a low cost and easy to install option that has your back (literally). The 2-Volt Heated Seat Cushion with Hi-Lo Back Massage not only keeps your derrière warm on chilly winter days, it doubles as a back massager. Never give in to the stress of snowy day traffic with the relaxing massage from this seat heater. Just strap it onto your seat, plug it into the cigarette lighter and buckle up for a warm and relaxing ride!

Ice Scraper


Scraping ice off the windshield could rank among my top ten least favorite things to do. Whether I have gloves or forgot them and therefore am subjecting myself within the reaches of frostbite, it is a cold and tireless activity, rarely met with success until the car warms up enough to melt the ice off instead. You get my point. Those gloved scrapers are a stroke of genius, but I’ll raise you one higher… THE BEAR CLAW. Behold! If you have to scrape ice off your car in the freezing cold, you may as well look badass doing it. You’ll deserve that heated massage from your seat cover after you attack that windshield!

Heated Ice Scraper

Maybe you are not fierce enough for the Bear Claw ice scraper and need an alternative (I’d say I understand, but I just do not. That thing is cool!). Enter the heated ice scraper. This genius invention blasts through even thick ice, making the entire scraping process less painful. It does need some time to heat up and operates using the cigarette lighter, so you’ll have to put your seat heating on hold, but the ice blasting prowess and the shortened time you’ll spend de-icing that windshield are more than worth it.

Extendable Brush

Can’t reach the snow off the top of your SUV? Stopping short with all that snow on top of your car is a great way to break your windshield wipers (this happened to my friend, not me, I swear!). Avoid any snow toppling disasters with the incredible extending powers of this 60″ Snow Broom. Equipped with hand grips, a pivoting head and a FeatherTip brush that won’t scratch paint, this thing is a god send for the vertically-challenged or the lazy.

Whatever you need to ready yourself for the road this winter, it certainly seems like there’s a tool to help make your ride safer and warmer. How better to make yours one of the best cars for winter driving with something fun? What’s your favorite winter tool for your car?

Snow Day? Try Out These Indoor Activities for Kids

Snow Day with the Kids?

While we continue to patiently wait for a snowstorm this winter in Massachusetts, there is one question on the minds of many – will we ever get a snow day?  With rumored snowfall for tomorrow morning, your little ones may be getting excited for the possibility of a snow day, but are you prepared? It’s the announcement that every student hopes for the morning after a storm, however, for parents who are home with their kids, keeping them occupied all day at a moment’s notice can be a challenge.

When it is too dangerous to drive and families are stuck in the house all day, children can become anxious and hyper. Luckily, we have comprised a list of winter activities for children to keep your kids entertained and happy, and all of these can be done with everyday household items.

  • Build a fort.  Children can be entertained for hours building, and hiding out inside a fort.  Set aside some pillows, blankets, and chairs and they will be able to set up shop for the day, or at least a few hours.
  • Have an indoor picnic.  Kids love changing up their everyday activities and having a picnic indoors is the perfect way to occupy them on a snow day.  Have them set up a blanket and place settings while you prepare the meal.  Including winter themed foods will also make it more seasonal and exciting; think hot chocolate, popcorn, pigs in a blanket, grilled cheese and tomato soup.
  • Play “Pass the Snowball”, a winterized version of hot potato. Use an oversized white Styrofoam ball as the snowball, or get adventurous and bundled up to head outside and use an actual snowball.
  • Create an indoor bowling alley by setting toilet paper rolls up like bowling pins at the end of the hallway. Use balled up socks as the bowling ball and let them play.
  • Arrange and indoor scavenger hunt by placing winter clothing (hats, mittens, boots, etc) throughout the house. Provide clues as to their location, and once all the clothes have been found send your kids out to play in the snow.
  • Use computer paper and scissors to have your children create their own snowstorm! Creating different snowflake shapes and designs will enhance their creativity while the real snow builds up outside.
  • Bake together!  Baking can occupy a lot of time depending on the recipe; have your kids choose their favorite and work together to create the finished product.
  • Acting out a play is a great way to spend a few hours. Find some old clothes or Halloween costumes for them to wear and let the show begin!
  • Break out the board games! There are probably a few games around the house you haven’t gotten the chance to play as a family yet, so make sure to try them out! If you’re feeling especially creative, use pieces from different games to create your own. There are sure to be plenty of laughs as you figure it out!
  • Provided you don’t lose power, movies, TV and video games are another way to stay entertained during a snow day. This is a great opportunity for you to get involved with what your kids are watching and playing and maybe learn a game or two.

Surviving a snow day with the kids can be a challenge with everyone cooped up inside for hours on end, but these ideas for children’s games and more will hopefully keep everyone busy and having fun! Before you know it the storm will have passed and they will be back to school, so enjoy the time together. If you’re hoping for a snow day tomorrow, as the snow starts falling tonight, make sure to put those PJ’s on inside-out and sleep with a wooden spoon under your pillow – they’re supposed to bring good snow day luck!

Photo by moonlightbulb

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