GPS


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

Save At The Pump With These Gas Station Finder Apps!

gas station

I’m sure all of you have noticed the recent spike in prices at the pump.  We know that every penny counts, especially if you are a frequent driver which is why we’ve come up with a list of the top gas station finder apps!  Check these out and scroll through the listings of nearby stations until you find the best price available. Prices don’t appear to be changing any time soon (unless they keep going up) so download one of these apps and start saving!

GasBuddy – If you’re against paying for a gas app, this is the one for you.  GasBuddy has all of the typical components of a gas app, it utilizes the GPS in your smartphone to determine your location and the location of gas stations in your area.  It lists the gas prices and also lists any amenities at the station such as bathrooms, pay at pump, and food.  You can sort your search results by price or by distance if you’re simply looking for the closest station.  Once you select the station you want to visit, you can get directions to the gas station via the iOS’s built-in Maps app.  Users can create accounts with this app and update prices and amenities of the gas stations in the area.  This is a great resource, however, updates are not always timely or accurate and sometimes nearby gas stations are missing from the list all together.

SmartFuel – This is one of the best gas station finder apps out there, IF you are willing to pay.  You do get a free 30 day trial with this app, but after the 30 days is up you need to subscribe to the service, which ranges from $4.99 for 6 months, to $14.99 for 24 months.  While the price can be a turn off, if you subscribe for 24 months that only costs about 62 cents per month.  If you’re a frequent driver you will likely save more than that by using the app anyway!  Reviews describe this app as being highly accurate, and drivers can even bookmark their routes to make the search process easier.  The listings even have the prices for all types of gas at the station, whether it be regular, mid-grade, premium unleaded, diesel, or E85 ethanol.  If you’re willing to pay, this app could save you big bucks in the long run.

Fuel Finder – Fuel Finder has the same features mentioned in the apps above; nearby stations based on GPS, directions to these gas stations, and pricing of course.  Nearby stations are displayed in a list or as nearby points on a map, and you can search up to 10 miles away.  Fuel Finder does have a very unique feature called “On Fumes” which really sets it apart from other apps.  This feature is something you can utilize when you’re running extremely low on gas.  You simply tap the “On Fumes” button and it will provide you with directions to the nearest gas station regardless of price, and also provides a directory with phone numbers to helpful services such as AAA and insurance company help lines.  While you don’t have to subscribe, you do have to pay a one time fee of $2.99 to download the app.  While it does have occasional errors and sometimes fails to list certain gas stations it is typically reliable and the “On Fumes” feature is something you won’t find in other apps.

RoadAhead – Not only does this app provide you with listings for the nearest gas stations sorted by price, but it also lists nearby hotels, rest stops, and restaurants!  If you’re on a long drive, this app will definitely come in handy if you’re looking for a snack or need to use the restroom.  The app typically relies on GPS to locate you, however if you can’t get a signal you can select the state you’re in, the highway you’re on, and the next exit.  Some complaints about this app are that the GPS sometimes fails and there are occasional crashes.  If you can deal with that, then this app is a great resource whether you are driving cross country or just on a day trip to the beach.  The best part?  It’s free!

Once you decide which app is right for you, download it and hit the road!  All of these apps will help you find the nearest gas station, or you can sort through them by price.  Whichever one you choose, you will definitely be thankful you have it when you need to fill up!

Photo By: valeehill

 

 

 

Perfect Car Gift Ideas Right In Time For Christmas!

For all of you trying to squeeze in some last minute shopping before Christmas, have you thought about getting some car related gifts for your loved ones?  Many of us (especially the men in our lives) love our cars.  It’s not too often that people get to splurge and deck out their ride, especially when everyone is so busy decking the halls this time of year.  Why not pick out one of these items for the car lover in your life, it’s a nice thought and they will be sure to think of you (in a good way), next time they go out for a drive!

Emergency Kit – This idea is practical and easy to make on your own if you don’t want to risk ordering it and not having it delivered in time for Christmas.  There are many different great brands available on Amazon and it is convenient having a kit already put together, but if you want to guarantee that it will be here in time for Christmas then why not build your own?  The majority of these items can be found at your local hardware store and typically include; a reflective vest, first aid kid, jumper cables, roadside flares, blanket, flashlight with extra batteries, all in one screwdriver, bungee cord, extra quart of oil, tire pressure gauge, duct tape, a pocket knife, and some bottled water and energy bars should you get stranded for a while.  This is something every driver should have in their car and the recipient will definitely be glad they have it should they break down this winter!

Phone Gadgets – These days, people use their phones for everything!  Directions, music, and of course communicating with friends and family are a must, and there are so many cool accessories out there that make it easier than ever!  One great item that anyone would love is an iPod or MP3 Player Car Connector, it allows drivers to plug this device into their car and then connect it to their iPod or MP3 player and enjoy their own music without having to sit through commercials on the radio!  There are many different types of adapters, for older cars, the easiest one to use is most likely a cassette adapter which is put into a tape player like a tape, and has a cord that connects to the audio jack on your listening device.  There are many additional options for newer cars that do not have a cassette player, and BestBuy has a great selection of adapters that would work for all cars and MP3 players.  Another great gift idea?  A docking station that allows drivers to mount their phone on their dashboard lets drivers to keep their phone in view and easily accessible, BestBuy has a great selection of these as well.

GPS – This is something that every car owner should have!  You never know when you may find yourself headed down a dark unfamiliar road, and in that situation you would definitely want to avoid getting lost and driving in circles.  This would also be a great gift if you know someone who is moving or going away to college in a different state.  Some of the most popular brands are Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan and prices typically range from $100-$200 although there are some that are more expensive and have advanced features.  This article from CNet outlines the top 5 GPS navigation devices on the market this year and details their features and benefits which makes your research much easier!

Accessories – We know that guys are not exactly concerned with picking out the perfect belt or watch to wear out on Friday night, but when it comes to cars they love accessories as much as the ladies so you can’t go wrong with some car bling this year.  Why not grab some classic sheepskin seat covers or a steering wheel cover?  Floor mats are also a great gift to help keep the car clean.  You can usually find them with some type of design on them if you so desire, and guys will love the selection of sport-themed floor mats that you can find on sportsfloormats.com.  They have mats with the logos from the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA and even Military themed mats.

You can’t go wrong with any of these gifts, all of them are practical and easy to use, even for those that aren’t so tech savvy.  These are also great options for last minute gifts if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, so get out to the stores and finish up that holiday shopping before time runs out!

Photo By: AMagill

 

 

 

 

 

 

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