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Driving Safety

Arriving Alive: Prom Night Safety for Teen Drivers

The prom is one of the biggest nights in a teenager's life but the event can become tragic if you don't drive safely. Night driving is an extra challenge of its own and a party with friends can cause distractions to a driver but you will have no problems if you follow these five tips.
The prom is one of the biggest nights in a teenager's life but the event can become tragic if you don't drive safely. Night driving is an extra challenge of its own and a party with friends can cause distractions to a driver but you will have no problems if you follow these five tips.

The prom is one of the biggest nights in a teenager's life but the event can become tragic if you don't drive safely. Night driving is an extra challenge of its own and a party with friends can cause distractions to a driver but you will have no problems if you follow these five tips.

1. Everyone Wears Seat Belts While an accident is the last thing that you want to happen during prom night it is always best to be prepared. If everyone is wearing a seat belt then you will greatly reduce the risk of someone getting injured should a collision occur.

2. Limit Distractions A distracted driver is far more likely to get into an accident than someone completely focused on the road. The best way to limit distractions while driving on prom night is by limiting the number of people you let ride in your car.

3. No Drinking and Driving Even if others tempt you to consume alcohol on prom night you should never drink and drive. Not only is drinking illegal for teenagers but it will also drastically reduce your reaction time when you are behind the wheel.

4. Don't Stay Out Too Late Driving while extremely tired has almost the same effect as driving while intoxicated. Every teenager wants to get the party going all nigh but there is no need to get back on the road after 2 a.m. You should either be done for the night or at your final location by this time to avoid getting into an accident.

5. Get a Limo The best possible option for arriving alive on prom night may be hiring a limo service. Not only will this allow you to spend the entire time with your friends but you will also eliminate all of the dangers of driving on prom night. It may require saving some money but a limo will allow you to party on prom night while still staying safe. You will be envied by every other kid at school when they see you pull up in a limo.

Driving at Night: How to Stay Safe While Driving After Dark

Driving at night
Driving at night is a lot different than driving during the day. At night, you have lower visibility as well as colder temperatures to contend with. What can you do to stay safe when you are driving after dark?

Driving at night is a lot different than driving during the day. At night, you have lower visibility as well as colder temperatures to contend with. What can you do to stay safe when you are driving after dark?

Never Stop For Strangers

It is never a good idea to stop for strangers after dark. While many people who ask for directions or need a ride may legitimately need help, there are also many stories of criminals gaining access to their victims by asking for help on the side of the road. If a police officer stops you, make sure to ask for ID. In some cases, criminals have posed as police officers to get their victims to stop and submit to them. Taking a DMV practice test before starting to drive at night can help you avoid being a victim.

Make Sure That You Know How To Use Your Lights

You should only use your high beam when you are driving by yourself on a dark road. If another driver is in front of you or driving past you on the other side of the road, make sure to turn them off. When it is raining or snowing outside, only use your standard lights. The snow or rain will reflect off of the high beam and make it even harder to see in front of you.

Keep An Emergency Kit Handy

An emergency kit consisting of blankets, food and a cell phone should be in your car when you are driving after dark. The cell phone enables you to call for help while the food and blankets help you stay warm and full until help can get to you. If you have to drive at night, take safety precautions to ensure that you don't get hurt. These rules will help you get home safely each time you venture out after dark.

Basic Vehicle Maintenance Tips That Every Driver Should Know

"Learning how to drive comes with a lot of responsibility. In addition to learning about the rules of the road as you prepare to take a DMV practice test, it is also important to learn about basic vehicle maintenance. Keeping up with the maintenance of your vehicle can possibly save you the time and expense of major repairs as well as keep you safe while driving. Here are four basic vehicle maintenance tips you should keep in mind.

Learning how to drive comes with a lot of responsibility. In addition to learning about the rules of the road as you prepare to take a DMV practice test, it is also important to learn about basic vehicle maintenance. Keeping up with the maintenance of your vehicle can possibly save you the time and expense of major repairs as well as keep you safe while driving. Here are four basic vehicle maintenance tips you should keep in mind.

Check Oil

Having the right amount of oil in your vehicle is necessary for the engine to function properly. It is important to check your oil levels on a regular basis to make sure that no oil is being lost through leakage. Dirty oil can also wreak havoc upon your engine. It is generally best to have your oil changed every 3,000 miles, although certain types of higher quality oil will not need to be changed as frequently.

Make Sure Lights Are Working

Lights are especially important while driving at night or in stormy conditions. Headlights and parking lights should be working properly so that you can see the road ahead of you. Taillights and brake lights make it easier for drivers behind you to see your vehicle. You should also make sure that your dome light functions so that you can see properly while inside your vehicle.

Check Tire Pressure Levels

Tires with too much or too little pressure can cause tire damage and put you in danger while driving. Adequate tire pressure can also help you improve your gas mileage.

Replace Air Filter

Air filters can help your vehicle by catching any dirt particles that are found in air that travels through the engine. According to Toyota, clogged air filters in older cars with carburetor engines can reduce gas mileage by as much as 14 percent. Dirty air filters can also decrease your vehicle's acceleration time. These basic maintenance tips are easy to follow and can prolong the life of your vehicle. Performing even the smallest maintenance tasks can make a huge difference in how your vehicle operates.

Texting and Driving in the News

Text and Drive
Texting and driving continues to make the news, especially since people still do it despites suggesting that it�۪s a bad idea. It�۪s also a hot topic because the New Year introduced new laws prohibiting texting and driving in several states, while other states still lack distracted driving laws. What�۪s the big deal, and what are states and cities doing about this? Here�۪s a quick news roundup of texting and driving.

Texting and driving continues to make the news, especially since people still do it despites suggesting that it�۪s a bad idea. It�۪s also a hot topic because the New Year introduced new laws prohibiting texting and driving in several states, while other states still lack distracted driving laws. What�۪s the big deal, and what are states and cities doing about this? Here�۪s a quick news roundup of texting and driving:

Fatal Distraction: Texting and Driving a ���Russian Roulette�۪ - Rock Center ��� The folks at Rock Center did a great piece on texting and driving, covering the real consequences of the action as well as why people still do it. To some, the penalties aren�۪t harsh enough, especially in states where texting and driving isn�۪t illegal. For more, check out the exclusive video on a texting and driving simulation, which demonstrates how hard it actually is to text and drive.

Texting While Driving Hands-Free Still Very Unsafe, Says Science ��� Gizmodo ��� California just enacted a law that says it�۪s okay to text and drive if you�۪re using a hands-free method, such as the iPhone�۪s Siri. However, there�۪s quite a bit of research that says you�۪re not any less distracted with a hand-free device. If the point of these laws is to prevent distracted driving accidents, then hands-free isn�۪t an improvement.

AT&T Produces Documentary To Curb Texting And Driving - K2 Radio - Even the cell phone companies are working to build awareness on this issue, as wireless provider AT&T has produced a 10-minute documentary showcasing the consequences of texting and driving. The video primarily features young people and their stories.

Lawmakers to Consider Stricter Texting and Driving Regulations ��� NBC29 ���n Having a texting and driving ban is a great thing, but what�۪s the penalty if you kill someone while texting and driving? How do the police prove that you were on the phone at the moment of an accident? Those are questions that need to be consider with texting and driving laws, and are stricter regulations are something that advocates have been wanting for a long time. In most cases, the penalty for texting and driving, even if someone is killed in the accident, is only a few days or a month in jail. This is because texting and driving is still considered reckless driving, a misdemeanor which carries a very weak penalty.

Highway Advocacy Group�۪s Report Card Grades States on Traffic Safety ��� National Safety Council ��� The NSC recommends 15 driving laws that would increase driver safety, including a law that would ban texting and driving for all drivers (not just teens or new drivers). Currently, 39 states have such a law in place.

12 Apps to Stop Texting and Driving ��� Turn Key Office.net - There are apps that can stop you or your teen from texting and driving, and these apps can do anything from stopping notifications or sending a text on behalf saying that you are on the road. If you or your kid is having a hard time putting the phone down while driving, then consider getting one of these apps to help you stay safe.

17 Tips and Tricks for Driving in Severe Weather

Tornado Highway
Severe weather (of all kinds) can cause many problems for anybody caught by surprise out on the road; here are a number of tips and tricks that you can use in order to stay safe.

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Severe weather (of all kinds) can cause many problems for anybody caught by surprise out on the road; here are a number of tips and tricks that you can use in order to stay safe.

Earthquakes

1) Movement of the ground while driving can disrupt the vehicle's ability to remain stable and grip the ground, so it is important to gradually slow down. Decreasing speed too quickly can further weaken the vehicle's grip and may increase the chances of collision, especially if other drivers are also having a difficult time controlling their vehicles.

2) Furthermore, earthquakes can cause structural damage that may lead to the collapse of buildings or items such as trees and power lines falling over, so it is important to remain in the open as much as possible. No structure should be assumed safe until it has been examined.

Flash Floods

1) Flooding may occur as soon as a few minutes after a downpour begins, and can come unexpectedly. If there is significant water on the roadway (6+ inches), avoid driving into it. Water can hide depth, so even if it looks shallow enough to cross, it may not be safe.

2) If possible, drive to higher ground and wait for the flooding to subside.

Hail Storms

1) Trees are not safe during heavy hail, but buildings are. Drive under a shelter to help minimize damage to the vehicle; shelters include parking garages, overpasses, tunnels, and similar places.

2) Set your headlights to low beams and drive slowly. Driving in hail is similar to driving in the rain, but the ice has a greater chance of causing damage (including smashing windows) and can be difficult to drive on, particularly when thick.

Extreme Winds

1) Be aware that larger vehicles are more affected by the wind than smaller ones, and give extra room around other vehicles. It may be difficult for drivers to maintain a straight heading; the winds may push them towards other lanes, and remaining close can significantly increase the chance of a collision.

2) Much like earthquakes, is is often important to drive slower during high winds. Sudden changes in wind speed can cause you to over-correct your speed or heading, but driving slower can help reduce the problems this causes.

Thunder and Lightning

1) Remember that flashes of lightning can blind you and make it so that you cannot see hazards. As with the winds that may accompany it, slowing down will help, and so will pulling to the side of the road and turning on the emergency flashers. This will help ensure that other drivers can see your vehicle.

2) Furthermore, you should remain inside your vehicle and avoid touching metal. Cars are actually a very safe place to be during a thunderstorm, especially if parked, even if lightning hits the vehicle.

3) Do not remain under trees. They can be struck by lightning and collapse on top of your vehicle; it is much safer to be in the open, even if there is a higher risk of the vehicle being struck by lightning.

Tornadoes

1) Do not drive during tornado conditions. Tornadoes can easily lift vehicles into the air and fling them considerable distances. However, if you are already driving when the conditions begin, then...

2) Do not attempt to drive away from a tornado. They can change speed and direction very quickly. It is much safer to abandon the vehicle and get as low as possible, preferably into a ditch or other area below ground-level. Some forms of severe weather can be driven in, but tornadoes are not one of them.

Winter Weather

1) Ice can make it difficult to see, so clean the windows. Do not use hot water to melt the ice; it may re-freeze. Instead, use a scraper, defrosting chemical, and heat the inside of the vehicle. This may fog up the windows, but they should be clear by the time you begin driving.

2) Remember that snow and ice can make gripping the road difficult, but you can drive only as fast as is safe. This may be only a few miles per-hour. However, you may also have chains or studded tires that can help with driving on ice; do not assume these will work perfectly, however.

In All Circumstances

1) Avoid downed power lines. You should always assume that the wire is live, and stepping on the ground near a downed wire can be extremely dangerous. If you have the contact information for your local electrical department, you may wish to inform them of the downed line so they can take care of it as soon as possible.

2) During most forms of severe weather, turn on the radio when it is safe to do so. There should be an emergency channel that will provide information on where storms are headed, what areas are dangerous, and similar items that will be important to know.

Deadly Distractions on the Road

Watching YouTube videos of cats swimming in a pool, backyard wrestling, or babies dancing can do wonders for passing the time. Doing it while driving can cause a multi-car pile-up, then a reunion at the pearly gates with your late Aunt Mildred.

Watching YouTube videos of cats swimming in a pool, backyard wrestling, or babies dancing can do wonders for passing the time. Doing it while driving can cause a multi-car pile-up, then a reunion at the pearly gates with your late Aunt Mildred.

I told you so, she'll scold you, with her finger annoyingly waiving in front of your nose.

Distractions are the leading cause of accidents on the road today and they are completely avoidable. Everyone has seen a driver feverishly texting on their cell phone as their car veers off the road oblivious to an impending disaster.

Whether you are working towards your license, already have one, or are an alien just visiting from Venus and driving on our beautiful planet, you may find it beneficial having this list of driving distractions.

Here is a list of some common distractions that are most likely to cause an accident. Study up, then prove Aunt Mildred wrong by abiding by them. The other drivers on the road will thank you as well.

Adjusting the Music

Changing the radio station, swapping in a new CD or fiddling with an iPod can distract you long enough to lose your focus on the road. All it takes is a split second of distracted concentration for disaster to strike.

Applying Makeup

Every woman knows that making herself pretty in the car on the way to work saves valuable time. It is also a great way to completely lose track of the road and cause a pile-up.

Road Rage

The road can be a blistering inferno of anger, even for the most god-fearing, kind, and law-abiding individual. Cutting off or passing a driver are two examples of how to turn a polite motorist into an enraged demon hot on the pursuit of revenge. When you are not yourself on the road, poor judgments are made. Two wrongs don't make a right. (See, this blog is filled with life lessons). If someone cuts you off, take a deep breath and think before you do anything crazy. Chances are the person made a mistake and didn't mean to cut you off.

Fiddling with Cell Phone, GPS, other electronics

Now that hands free earpieces are available, it has cut down on cell phone related accidents but they still account for roughly 18 percent of fatalities on the road. Texting, more capable internet-enabled phones, and camera phones have led to new dangers, but accidents can be avoided if phones are left out of reach.

Working on car while driving

Unless you are driving on long trips on a daily basis, your car is sitting at rest for the majority of the day. Use that time to adjust gauges, seats, clocks, mirrors, and other general maintenance for your car, not while on the road.

Eating

No one wants to let their Big Mac get cold after departing a drive-thru, but eating in the car can be a dangerous habit. It is easy to avoid. Put that burger down. You're welcome.

Talking with Passengers

Sure, you may want to hear what is going on with Tina from Geometry class as much as the next person, but listening to friends in the car can lead to lost focus and that's when problems arise.

Pets

The in-thing these days is to have a pet that can fit snuggly inside your purse, backpack, or shirt pocket. When these fluffy friends aren't secure in a cage, they can become quite the distraction in the car.

Scolding Kids

Are we there yet?

I need to use the bathroom.

I'm hungry!

Parents have heard it all, and sometimes even Mary Poppins can lose her cool at times. Attempting to teach your children a lesson in the car for misbehaving can distract you for far longer than the moment of time it takes for your car to head off course.

If you stay away from some of these simple distractions the road will be a better place, and you will live another day on this Earth.

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Whether contemplating a new car or getting your current car ready for the road, these tips will help you drive safely this winter.Front, Rear, All, and Four Wheel Drive: Which one is best for winter travelGetting the Best Performance from Your Vehicle


Whether contemplating a new car or getting your current car ready for the road, these tips will help you drive safely this winter.Try a Winter Driving Safety Quiz

 

Front, Rear, All, and Four Wheel Drive: Which one is best for winter travel?

 

In order from worst to best:

Winter Driving

A rear wheel drive vehicle with an open differential can't put down power if one of the rear wheels starts slipping. Fortunately, these are only seen today on base model trucks and vans.

Most newer rear wheel drive vehicles have a limited slip differential. If one drive wheel starts slipping, power is redirected to the other wheel.

A front wheel drive powertrain gets better traction because the weight of the engine and transmission is over the drive wheels.

When engaged, a four wheel drive system sends power to every wheel. This even power distribution can get the vehicle unstuck when the front or rear wheels are in a place that they can't get traction. However, this also means they can't compensate for different wheel speeds when turning, which can make handling unpredictable on dry pavement.

An all wheel drive powertrain automatically adjusts power to each wheel, allowing for both the traction capabilities of 4WD and the predictable turning behavior of 2WD.

Just as important are electronics systems: ABS can keep the wheels from locking under braking, traction control can keep the vehicle from spinning out while moving from a start, and electronic stability control can keep power in check while making a turn. Having these systems will improve traction with any drivetrain.

 

Getting the Best Performance from Your Vehicle

 

Winter Tire Safety

There is nothing that improves winter driving more than the right set of tires: While all wheel drive and advanced computer aids will get a vehicle moving, its the ability of the tires to grip the road that determines stopping distances.

While all-season tires are far better than summer performance tires in the snow, they're a far cry from true winter tires. The "M + S" label found on many all season tires stands for "mud and snow," but all that means is they have a thick tread depth. After just 20% of the tread has worn off, these tires lose 80% of their grip on ice and snow.

Winter tires are more than just deep treads: the compound has a special compound that wicks away water created when the warm tire melts the ice it's riding on. The compound also stays pliable in very low temperatures, and is soft enough to handle the bumpy surfaces left behind by compacted snow.

Studded Winter Tires

 

For most drivers, studless winter tires are the best choice as they can handle slick roads without majorly compromizing dry surface performance. Studded tires have better ice performance, but they're terrible on dry roads, and are outlawed in many areas because they rapidly wear to road surfaces. A new category, winter performance tires, is biased more towards dry road performance. These are available in the low profile sizes popular on sports cars. Here's a helpful Winter Tire Decision Guide

 

There are a few more things you should consider when getting your car ready for winter travel:

 

Batteries take cold weather the hardest, losing 35% of their cranking power when it dips below freezing, and 50% once the temperature reaches 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 degrees Celsius.) While most new batteries are sealed "maintenance free" units, they can still benefit from having clean terminal contacts. If the battery is a few years old, take it into a parts store for a load test. If it doesn't pass, it's better to get a replacement now instead of being stuck in a parking lot.

For severe cold weather, you may need to switch to a lighter oil. The "W" on the label of multi-grade oils doesn't stand for "weight," it stands for "winter." These oils have been tested to flow at the rate in front of the W at freezing temperatures: A 5W30 oil will flow like a 5 weight oil when cold, thickening to a 30 weight oil once the engine is up to operating temperature. Information on the proper oil weight for winter temperatures will be listed in your owner's manual as well as a sticker underneath the hood.

The resistance of the engine's coolant to freezing is dependent of the age and quantity of antifreeze mixed in with the water. Temperature testing can be done at an auto shop, or with a floating ball gauge available at your local parts store.

Wiper fluid is key for keeping the windshield clear of water and road salt. Look for wiper fluid designed for cold use and avoid any that is marked "summer mix." Likewise, winter wiper blades are designed with joints that resist ice build-up and heavy duty low temperature rubber for the blade surface, helping them cut through windshield build-up at any temperature.

What to Do In Case of an Accident

It's called an accident for a reason. We don't plan on getting hit by another vehicle or on running into that tree or pole. But, they do happen, even to the best of drivers. Which is why it's important to know what to do in case of an accident. There's no use panicking, so read and memorize these steps if you ever, God forbid, get into an accident. These steps are adapted from the recommendations of the National Safety Council:

It's called an accident for a reason. We don't plan on getting hit by another vehicle or on running into that tree or pole. But, they do happen, even to the best of drivers. Which is why it's important to know what to do in case of an accident. There's no use panicking, so read and memorize these steps if you ever, God forbid, get into an accident. These steps are adapted from the recommendations of the National Safety Council:
 
1. Bring your vehicle to a stop, and as much as possible, move it out of the way of traffic. This is so the situation doesn't get any worse by putting more motorists and pedestrians in harm's way. Turn off the ignition for safety.
 
2. Do a first aid check. Check yourself as well as everyone else involved in the accident.
 
3. Call the police, and emergency medical services, if necessary Yes, this is step three in the whole process, not step one. The absolute first this to do is to assess the situation by getting people and vehicles out of harm's way and by doing a first aid check. Knowing this information will also be helpful to police and medical services.
 
4. Mark the scene of the accident. If possible, turn on your emergency lights. Put our flares and/or retroflective triangles on the ground for increased visibility. DO NOT go into the road or use yourself as a way to mark the scene. If you don't have flares or triangles, then stay on the side and wait for the police.
 
5. Gather the names and information of all those in the motor vehicle and who witnessed the accident. Especially for the drivers, information should include insurance information and the driver's license number. DO NOT discuss fault or make statements. Simply collect information.
 
6. Wait for the police to arrive. After the police and emergency services arrive, follow their instructions about what to do next. They'll ask for statements regarding the accident and probably advise you on what to do about your vehicle and your family members. Make sure to get a copy of the police report for your own records, and for working with the insurance companies.
 
Even though a majority of accidents are preventable, they do still happen and the best case scenario is to know what to do when you get into one. If you know what to do, then you have a better chance of remaining calm and in doing what's necessary to make sure everyone is okay and that all the information is gathered so everyone can proceed appropriately.

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