car maintenance


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

Driving Back To School? Make Sure Your Car Is Ready!

Back to school season is officially here!  For those of you driving back to school, you’ll want to make sure your car is ready for the journey, especially if you have a long way to go.  Preparing your car is is essential for your own safety as well as the life of the car, if the car has not been properly maintained and is then put to the test during a long trip it could possibly lead to some big problems.  To avoid expensive repairs follow these simple tips to make sure your car is ready to hit the road!

Tires – Check the pressure on your tires before a long journey, if the tire pressure is too low it can cause heat build up which can cause the tire to pop at high speeds, this is extremely dangerous to both yourself and other drivers.  Your owner’s manual will tell you exactly what the tire pressure should be and most gas stations have an air pump you can use if the pressure is low.  You should also check the tread, which you can do 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.  Driving with bald tires is dangerous as they provide much less traction, especially in the rain and snow.  In case anything should happen to your tires, it is always a good idea to have a spare.  Make sure it is fully inflated and that you have all of the necessary equipment to change it.

Maintenance – If your car is scheduled to have anything done to it such as an oil change or tire rotation, take care of it before your trip.  You want to make sure that your car is in the best shape possible and getting these simple tasks taken care of can save you from some potential problems on your journey.  It’s also smart to have any major repairs done before you leave, you don’t want your car to break down in an unfamiliar location and then have to get it fixed.  There are a lot of other little things to look out for as well such as windshield wiper fluid, make sure that you are stocked up and have enough for a long journey!

Emergency Kit – An emergency kit can come in handy should anything happen to your car while driving.  Make sure that it contains a flashlight which can be handy in many situations, food, water, blankets, tools (such as a pocket knife), first aid kit, and lightsticks which are visible from a mile away and last from 8-12 hours.  You should also make sure that you have all important documents that you may need such as your owner’s manual and registration, you never know when they will come in handy or you may need them!

Pack Carefully – If you have a lot to pack, make sure that it is evenly distributed throughout the car to make sure that the car isn’t too heavy on one side.  If your car is too heavy it can tilt too far to one side when you are making turns and causes the tires to wear out differently.

Unless you’re a mechanic, there are certain tasks that may be difficult to do yourself.  Driving long distances can put a lot of wear and tear on your car so it is best to make sure it is in the best shape possible before you leave.  Taking your car to a mechanic to get checked out may be a good idea, they can also look at other important parts of the car such as the battery, air filter, engine, and check to make sure the engine coolant, air filter, engine oil, and transmission fluid are up to par before your trip begins.  Most importantly make sure that you are insured correctly before you leave!  You don’t want to get into an accident and then come to find out that you have to pay for something that you originally thought you were covered for!  Call or click on MassDrive for a quote today, we work with many major insurance carriers throughout the state and will work to give you the lowest quote we possibly can.

Other than those tips there is nothing left to say but enjoy your trip!  We wish everyone a happy and safe ride back to school this year!

Information from: Samarins.com

Photo By: sheadonato

 

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