Posts Tagged Tips
On average, there are an estimated 6 million car accidents per year in the United States. How can you stay safe when you get behind the wheel? Follow our ten tips below to help get to your destination safely and keep those around you safe as well.
1. Use signals: Letting other drivers know what you’re about to do is one of the simplest ways to avoid collisions. Get in the habit of always using your turn signal, even when no one else is around. Be sure to signal at least 3 seconds in advance of a lane change or 100 feet before a turn. But be aware that other drivers will not always use their turn signals!
2. Don’t tailgate: Leaving space between you and the car in front of you can make all the difference in avoiding a rear-end collision. The general rule of thumb is to leave a car length for every 10 miles per hour you are traveling. If you’re driving 60 mph, try to keep six car lengths of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
3. Maintain your vehicle and know its limits: A well-maintained vehicle is a safe one. Make sure your brakes are in top working order to allow you to stop suddenly to avoid an accident. Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned for best handling response. And maximize your visibility with a full reservoir of washer fluid and properly-working windshield wipers. In addition to vehicle maintenance, be sure you’re familiar with your car’s limits for braking and handling and drive accordingly.
4. Be aware: Awareness is key to avoiding accidents. Keep an eye on your mirrors, blind spots, and the road up ahead. Watch out for sudden road distractions like children, animals, and drunk drivers. Exercise extra caution at intersections, as many accidents happen here. Look out for red light runners, and look both ways when your light turns green.
5. Avoid distractions: Keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel is one of the easiest ways to get to your destination safely. Phone calls, texting, eating, putting on makeup, adjusting your stereo, reading a map or programming your navigation system can all distract you and put you and others in danger. When you’re driving, focus on driving and pull over if you need to handle anything else.
6. Be courteous and drive defensively: Get out of the way of tailgaters or aggressive drivers, as they are much more likely to cause an accident around you. Drive defensively and always watch out for other drivers’ mistakes to keep yourself safe. And keep the road friendly by driving courteously.
7. Stay Alert: When you get behind the wheel, stay completely alert and focused on the task of driving. Mostly importantly, do not drive if you are drowsy. Sleepy drivers are twice as likely to cause an accident than non-drowsy ones.
8. Adapt to weather and time of day: Adjust your driving to account for weather conditions. Visibility and road conditions are greatly affected by rain and snow, so be sure to slow down and accommodate for the hazards of weather. Even nighttime driving in perfect weather has its downfalls; be sure to allow for decreased visibility at night as well as other drivers who may be sleepy.
9. Follow laws: Laws are set up for your safety, so following them is an easy way to stay safe while driving. Obey posted speed limits and other signs, wear your seatbelt, don’t drink and drive, don’t pass when it’s prohibited, etc. Not only will you avoid getting a ticket by obeying the law, you can keep yourself and other drivers safe!
10. Leave early: Driving in a rushed manner can severely affect the safety of your trip. Leave early and allow plenty of time to reach your destination. This way, you can drive relaxed and focus on safety rather than the clock.
Whether you’re driving across town or across country, everyone wants to save money at the pump. You might think your gas costs are solely at the mercy of pump prices or your vehicle’s mpg stats, but being mindful of your driving habits and monitoring a few key vehicle components can improve your fuel economy and save you big bucks at the pump. Check out our tips below to start driving more efficiently and thus saving more money.
1. Mind Your Tires: Be sure your tires are inflated to your manufacturer’s specified level. A properly inflated tire has minimized friction with the road, therefore improving your gas mileage. Proper tire alignment can also reduce the strain on your engine and save you even more money on gas.
2. Check Your Air Filter: Your air filter is like the lungs of your vehicle, and keeping it clean is not only beneficial to a well-running engine, but it can also improve gas mileage by as much as 10%. It’s an inexpensive part, and recommended replacement is about once per year.
3. Slow Down: Everyone wants to get to their destination quickly, but as your speed increases, so does your aerodynamic drag. For every 5 mph you reduce your highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7%. Slow down and save money!
4. Drive Smoothly: Driving smoothly can increase your fuel economy by as much as 20%. Avoid sudden stops and starts, and brake and accelerate slowly and steadily for best results. When you hit the open highway, use cruise control to maintain a consistent speed and help use your fuel more efficiently.
5. Don’t Idle: If you anticipate being stopped for more than one minute, turn off your car. Restarting it uses less gas than letting it idle for this length of time. Additionally, in the winter, there’s no need to warm up your car for it to run safely, so you can save big on fuel by bundling up and hopping right in.
6. Lighten Your Load: Clean out your trunk and leave only the necessities. For every 100 extra pounds you cart around in your vehicle, there’s a loss of 1 to 2% in fuel efficiency. When you pack for a road trip, travel light to save on gas.
7. Mind Your AC and Windows: Cranking the air conditioning puts extra load on the engine forcing more fuel to be used, so roll your windows down or use your AC sparingly to improve fuel economy by up to 20%. Be mindful of your windshield defroster as well, since this can similarly decrease fuel economy. However, when you hit the highway, roll those windows back up to decrease drag and increase fuel economy.
8. Fill Up Smartly: Be sure to choose your gas station wisely to find the best price possible, and fill up your tank all the way on your visit. Smaller stints of refueling can negatively affect your vehicle’s emissions system, not to mention waste your time with multiple visits to the pump. And make sure you don’t let that needle get too close to “E” before refilling, as running a vehicle on low gas can shorten the life of the electric fuel pump.
With 2013 just around the corner, you might be compiling your list of New Year’s resolutions. While you’re making plans to get healthier or more organized, consider applying some of these resolutions to your car. Paying mind to your vehicle in your resolutions list can keep your car running smoothly all year long and beyond.
Stay Healthy: Many New Year’s resolutions include hitting the gym or eating better, and your vehicle can benefit from a healthier lifestyle too. Resolve to keep your car in good shape by sticking to a maintenance schedule and addressing mechanical problems promptly. Get your oil changed regularly, monitor fluid levels, check tire pressure and rotate tires, get regular tune-ups, and address your “check engine light” if it comes on. These are just a few simple steps you can take to keep your car in good health. Check your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance regimens.
Go Green: Going green is great New Year’s resolution, and applying this mindset to your vehicle doesn’t only help the environment, but it can also save you money. Aggressive driving and speeding can increase your fuel consumption by up to 35 percent, and letting your car idle for 10 minutes a day produces almost a quarter ton of carbon dioxide emissions and costs you more than $80 every year. Pay mind to your driving habits and you could save on fuel costs while being kinder to mother nature.
Keep Organized: Getting your household or finances in order might be on your resolution list. Consider applying the same organizational motivation when it comes to your car. Keep your maintenance records organized, lay out a maintenance schedule for the year, be sure your loan and insurance payments are made on time.
Stay Clean: Does your resolutions list include cleaning out the basement or the fridge? Don’t forget to include your vehicle on those cleaning sprees. Regular cleaning of your car’s exterior can help maintain your paint job, and keeping your interior clean can reduce wear and tear and staining. Extra clutter in your back seat or trunk is not only unsightly, but the unnecessary weight can reduce gas mileage. Clean up for a more pleasant and fuel efficient ride.
Be Safe: Resolve to be a safer driver in 2013 and protect your own well-being as well as those of your fellow drivers out on the road. Obey traffic laws, buckle up, avoid cell phone use and distracted driving, replace worn wipers to improve visibility, and stay home in bad weather.
A car’s battery is like its heartbeat; nothing works if the battery doesn’t. Minding a few simple battery maintenance tips can prolong the life of this important vehicle component, and may save you from being stranded in a parking lot with a dead battery. An average car battery lasts three to five years, and here are five tips for making yours last to its full potential.
1. Keep it clean: Every few months, clean your battery terminals with a solution of baking soda and water. Your battery terminals are what transfer energy from the battery to your car, and any crust buildup on these components can dampen the connection. It’s also recommended to keep the car battery case clean.
2. Keep it secure: A battery that is not securely installed can vibrate while your vehicle runs, causing loose connections and battery failure. Be sure you have the properly sized battery for your vehicle and that it is installed in accordance with your manufacturer’s recommendations.
3. Disconnect when not in use: If you won’t be driving your vehicle for more than two weeks, disconnect your battery to prevent a gradual loss of charge.
4. Avoid draining: Everyone is guilty of leaving on headlights or an interior light from time to time and draining the battery, but it’s best to be mindful as frequent drainings can reduce the overall life of your car battery. Be sure to do a quick check each time you leave your vehicle to make sure everything is turned off.
5. Limit short trips: A car’s alternator automatically charges the battery while the car is being driven, but the car must be on for at least 20 minutes to fully recharge. Thus, if you make a lot of short trips, your battery will often be below the ideal charged specification. Frequent repetition of this cycle will shorten the life of your battery.
If you would like to get your battery checked out at no charge, visit Rogers’ Service Center in Chicago at 2720 S Michigan Ave.
Summertime means roads trips and carefree vacations, but it can also mean harsh driving conditions for your car. Just as essential as preparing your car for the nasty elements of winter is getting it ready for the extremes that come along with the summer season. Taking a few simple precautions can keep your vehicle running and looking great, no matter what time of year.
Winter is fast approaching, and while your mind might be on Thanksgiving dinner or holiday shopping, it’s important not to forget about preparing your car for the winter season. Following a few easy steps in advance can help keep your car safe and reliable in the face of the harsh conditions up ahead.
1. Pre-winter Maintenance: A quick check of your vehicle’s basic systems can go a long way in the wintertime. Get your oil changed, top off fluids, check your coolant system, and make sure all exterior lights are functioning. Attention to regular maintenance is a good idea for your car any time of year, but is especially important for seasons with more extreme conditions and temperatures.
2. Check Your Battery: A car battery can die without any notice, and extremely cold temperatures can reduce a car battery’s life by up to 50 percent. Get your battery tested, and replace it if recommended. When it comes to your car starting, you don’t want to take any chances.
3. Inspect Your Tires: Make sure your tires have adequate tread and replace them if necessary. Follow your manufacturer or mechanic’s recommendations for tire rotation, balancing, and tire pressure. You’ll want your tires at optimum performance level when it comes to navigating over slushy, icy roads. Be sure to check the pressure in your spare tire as well.
4. Check Your Wipers and Washer Fluid: Your windshield wipers and washer fluid are one of your first lines of defense when driving through snow, sleet and other wintry precipitation. Be sure your wipers are in good condition, and consider upgrading to blades made for the winter season. Also ensure your washer fluid reservoir is kept full at all times, and keep a jug in your trunk as a backup.
5. Pack an Emergency Kit: In the event that you do get stuck out in the elements, having essential supplies on hand could make a huge difference. Keep the following items in your trunk in case of an emergency: Blanket, flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, matches, flares, jumper cables, bottled water, energy bars, and a small shovel. You never know when you may need them!