Although the calendar says winter in the Northern Hemisphere doesn’t actually start until Dec. 21, the weather forecast seems to communicate otherwise. The extreme weather in parts of the United States has even made headlines recently as “colder than mars,” according to figures from Nasa.
When extreme weather is headed your way, make sure you and your family are prepared for Old Man Winter’s worst. Ready.gov gives some helpful steps about what to do 1) before snowstorms and extreme cold 2) during snowstorms and extreme cold and 3) after snowstorms and extreme cold. When you receive a weather storm alert from the National Weather service, take heed of the following:
Be Prepared for Extreme Weather
Is your car ready for winter? As winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit and car:
- Rock salt to melt ice
- Snow shovels
- Emergency gear, like insulating blankets, crank flashlight, updated first-aid supplies
- Have your mechanic check antifreeze, heater and defroster and tires. For a complete list of items to check, visit https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather
Create a family plan
- Your family might be in different places when a storm or extreme weather hits, so know how you’ll contact one another if cell towers or internet isn’t working
- Remember pets: bring them inside during cold weather and you should have a plan for them, as well, and even make them their own emergency kit with extra food.
Know How to Weather the Storm
Try to stay indoors and off the roads, unless it’s necessary.
- If you do have to go out, stay on the main roads and never cross road closures or flooded roads! Let someone know when you’re leaving and expected arrival time. It’s a good idea to let them know your route, too, in case you get stuck and they need to send help.
If you’re stuck in a vehicle during a blizzard, pull off the road and turn on hazard lights.
- This is when your prepping will come in handy. You’ll likely be relying on the contents of your emergency kit to get you through until help arrives.
Most importantly, experts say you’ll want to learn from every storm. Keep your emergency supplies up to date and stocked in your house and in the car. For ready-made emergency kits stocked with our lifesaving tools and devices, visit our prepareme kits page.
We all hope that we will never have to deal with a mechanical malfunction while behind the wheel of a vehicle, but every driver should know what to do during an emergency such as when the brakes fail. While these situations might be rare, taking a little extra time to learn how to properly control a vehicle with no brakes will help you avoid a catastrophic accident.
Do Not Panic When the Brakes Fail
The situation might seem frightening at first, but you must stay focused, alert, and calm. Panicking will only increase your risk of making a mistake that could result in serious injuries. You can begin by simply taking your foot off the gas and glancing in all directions for nearby cars or pedestrians. If you have cruise control on, then you should calmly switch it off before doing anything else.
Check for Brake Pedal Blockage
In some situations, drivers are not able to press the brake because there is an object under the pedal. When brake pads or brake lines are damaged, the brake pedal generally feels soft or mushy. A stiff brake pedal is not typically the result of a mechanical problem. You should try to feel for any obstructions under the brake with your feet instead of taking your eyes off the road to look down. At no point should you lean down or look down to see if there is an object under the pedal.
Downshift Into Lower Gears
Downshifting can be done with automatic transmissions as well as manual transmissions. For an automatic vehicle, a driver should start by slowly shifting into the third or second gear. Once your vehicle has begun to lose momentum, you can then move to the first gear. By doing this, your engine’s transmission will actually become a brake. The exact same process can be done with manuals by slowly lowering gears until the vehicle comes to a stop. When doing this, you should remember that putting the vehicle in the lowest gear right away could compromise your control so make sure to downshift in stages.
Pump the Brakes
Many modern vehicles have anti-lock brakes that essentially “pump” the brake lines automatically. For those who have a vehicle without anti-lock brakes, gently pumping the brakes could build up enough pressure to stop the vehicle. Three or four pumps should create enough pressure in the line for the brakes to begin working. If the vehicle does not slow down after three or four pumps, then you should move on to using the parking brake.
Use the Parking Brake
The parking brake is designed to keep a vehicle from rolling down a hill after it is parked, but it can also be used when your brakes fail. Applying the parking brake must be done slowly and methodically as well. Those who pull on the handle as hard as they can, risk losing control of the vehicle. Parking brakes are typically nothing more than a second brake pad that applies pressure to one or more wheels. They can usually stop a vehicle if the brakes fail, although bear in mind that it will take longer than usual to come to a stop because they only stop the rear wheels.
Work Your Way Out of Traffic
Now that the vehicle has begun to slow down, you must try to work your way out of traffic. The best way to do this is to turn on your emergency lights to show the other drivers that you do not have complete control over your vehicle. When you are making your way toward an exit or off of the road, you should use your lights and horns to alert the other drivers. If the situation calls for it, then you might need to use guardrails, grass, or soft sand to slow down your vehicle with friction.
Pull Over to a Safe Spot
The vehicle should not be turned off until you are at a complete stop. Attempting to turn off your vehicle before you are at a stop could affect the power steering and make it difficult to turn. Drivers should avoid parking their vehicles around corners or blind spots if possible. Even if the brakes begin working again, you must not attempt to drive your vehicle. The entire brake system must be thoroughly inspected by a professional mechanic before getting back on the road.
The single best way to avoid a dangerous situation where your brakes fail is to have your car inspected and serviced as often as possible. As a general rule, drivers should have their brake pads inspected every time they change their oil. Depending on how often you drive, this maintenance might be necessary every 3,000 miles. Drivers should also be wary of any warning signs that their brakes might be damaged or worn. This includes a “soft” brake pedal, squealing sounds, and shuddering when the brakes are applied.
Author: David Moss is an automotive writer from Detroit
Would you be prepared if something went wrong while you were driving? We call it “car prepping” and luckily, just a few items can make you far more prepared should you encounter trouble on the road. So check out the 10 things you should always have in your car to guarantee you’ll be ready for anything!
Source: Driving Test VIC : Driving Test VIC is an online resource to assist people preparing for all three Victorian licensing tests. The site’s resources were designed to inform and motivate – giving you the best chance to pass on your first attempt!
Car prepping 101: The basics
Whether it’s to get you started after your battery goes flat or to help out another driver in need, jumper leads are a must have in all cars.
Spare tire (with tools)
A flat tire could leave you stranded. Making sure you have an inflated spare and tools to change a flat could save you hours of time and a lot hassle. This is a basic of car prepping.
Your phone is your most valuable lifeline in an emergency. A charger could be the difference between a minor inconvenience that’s sorted in minutes and a major hassle that lasts for hours.
Glove box or console
The simple items in a first-aid kit could help a first-responder save a life in an emergency situation. Outside of that, it’s always handy to have some medical supplies nearby. Um, car prepping 101.
Glove box or back seat
Water and non-perishable food
Depending on where you breakdown, help could be a while away. Being fed and hydrated during a long wait for help will make that stretch of time a lot more comfortable.
Cash for emergencies
Money is universal and will never be declined at the most inconvenient time. Whether it’s fuel, food or a phone call for help – emergency cash can save you in a pinch.
Glove box or console
Torch (Flashlight) and spare batteries
If you need to stop at night, you’ll want to be able to see. A torch is better than your phone’s flash and phone battery is best saved for other emergencies.
Glove box or console
Blankets and spare clothes
Blankets come in handy during a wintery night in your broken down car. After changing a tire in wet weather, the spare clothes will keep you warm and dry.
Pen, paper and disposable camera
These items will allow you to collect all the details and evidence you need for insurance after an accident. They’re essentially a backup in case your phone isn’t working.
Glove box or console
Remember, real preppers know how to read a map without GPS.
Although less and less common, physical maps and street directories never lose signal or run out of battery. Keep a good old-fashioned map of your state just in case.
Side door compartment
School is out and summer is the time when families hit the road together for that memorable family vacation. As you plan your road trip and route your destinations, make sure your car has the appropriate first-aid and emergency kit contents and do a maintenance double check to ensure your car is in tip-top shape for the open road.
Ever since I was little, I have always looked forward to vacationing with family and friends. Growing up, we took a lot of road trips because we lived in a very central location to many awesome places. Sure, flights will get you to your destination in a more convenient and sometimes cheaper way, but road trips are a perfect family bonding experience. Check out three road trips across America that you should take with your kids before they are too old to enjoy playing “I Spy” in the car.
Washington D.C. is the perfect road trip for kids because it combines learning with fun. There is an abundance of museums, monuments, attractions and sporting events available in D.C. for your whole family to enjoy. There are so many kid-friendly attractions that offer hands-on experiences.
What to See and Do: Smithsonian Museums, American Art Museum, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, National Museum of the American Indian, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, The Korean War Veterans Memorial, Pentagon Memorial, The National Zoo, The National Archives, The International Spy Museum
Road Trip to the Coasts
I have very fond memories of enjoying summers at the beach. Whether you decide to road trip it to Florida, the Carolinas, or California, you are bound to have some fun in the sun. The great thing about going to the beach is that they are in abundance across the U.S. so you can choose the one closest to you. Just grab your swimsuit, sunscreen and sunglasses and be a beach bum with your family!
What to See and Do: the ocean, mini-golf, outlet shopping, ice cream shops, the pool, seafood restaurants, ocean activities: parasailing, kayaking, banana boat rides, scuba diving, dolphin watching
Disney World or Disneyland
Who doesn’t love Mickey and Minnie? While you can enjoy Disney at any age, there’s nothing like seeing your child’s face light up when they see their favorite Disney character in person. Visiting Disney World and Disneyland can be quite an expensive trip, so opting for a road trip instead of flying can save you a lot of money and help you cut some expenses. The Disney experience is a trip that your family will never forget!
What to See and Do: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, character experiences, water parks, restaurants, shows, parades.
Be Sure to Prepare
So, in order to make a road trip successful, proper planning ahead and smart packing is important. Because you will be spending a lot of time in your car with your family, you should bring safety items like an emergency kit as well as snacks, blankets, and items to keep your kids entertained. You should make sure that your kit includes first aid items as well as items like a flashlight, whistle, and jumper cables as well as a spare tire in case your car breaks down.
Rest and Relaxation v. Drowsy Driving
Be sure that you get proper rest before getting on the road, because long periods of driving can cause you to be drowsy. Also, try to make sure there is as least one person awake with the driver to keep their mind occupied to stay safe and prevent accidents. A good option to have in your car is an alertme “stay awake” device that can help alert you if you dose off. The alertme is also included in some of the kits.
Now that you’re fully prepared and inspired to take the road trip your kids will be talking about for years, take a photo of your family with your resqme tool, use #resqme, and show us what’s on your keychain!
Happy road tripping!
Author: Samantha Tung handles online media relations for Caliber Collision. She regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and automotive blogs, and in her spare time, she enjoys taking road trips and traveling.
Flood Safety Awareness
Recent flooding around the country claimed the lives of many folks who potentially had very bright futures. Flooding can happen in an instant, quickly overtaking your car, but often people ignore road closure signs and drive into flooded roads at their own peril. And when your vehicle becomes stranded in water, it can be easy to panic and make a deadly mistake. Do you exactly what to do if you’re vehicle loses power in the water? Follow these exact steps and share this lifesaving message with your community.
Know the Facts and How to Escape
Lifesaving Testimonial: 16-yr-old driver flips car upside down into water and escapes using her resqme tool to break the window and crawl out!
Her father sent this testimonial to us: “I just wanted to thank you for making this product. Your glass breaker saved my 16 year old daughter today. She rolled her car into a brook and the car went down and if it wasn’t for this product she may have not been with us anymore. She quickly pulled it off her keychain and broke the side window and climbed out. Thank you”
As a car owner, you dutifully schedule your tune-ups at a local mechanic, take your vehicle in for service when the tires are low and call for help when the battery is dead. While mechanics are great for fixing more serious issues with your vehicle, there are several DIY auto fixes and general maintenance that even beginners can successfully tackle. Check out the following three DIY auto fixes:
Check the Oil
Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. Without it, the engine will not be well-lubricated and can become damaged. As The Savvy Gal notes, checking your oil on a regular basis is one of the smartest and easiest things you can do for your car. All that you need is a clean rag and a level parking spot. Make sure your engine has cooled for at least one hour and then open the hood. The oil dipstick is often orange and has the word “oil” clearly marked. Pull the dipstick out, wipe it clean and put it back into the oil container. Remove the dipstick a second time and look for two marks near the bottom—the visible oil should be between the two of them. If it’s below the bottom mark, your car needs a good drink of motor oil. Check your owner’s manual for the type and amount of oil, and add in one quart at a time, up to about three-fourths of what the manual suggests.
Change a Tire
As anyone who has ever gotten a flat tire in the middle of nowhere knows quite well, it is not a fun experience. While you can call for help, you’ll get back on the road a lot quicker if you can change the flat yourself. The best way to prepare for this experience is in the comfort of your own driveway on a day when the weather is pleasant. Print out instructions from the DMV website on how to change the tire, and check out YouTube for a video or two that shows you exactly what you need to know. Then, roll up your sleeves, grit your teeth and practice jacking up your car, removing the tire’s lug nuts and taking off the old tire. Check the spare to be sure that it’s well-filled with air, and put it on your car. Try this a few times until you are comfortable with the process.
Change the Air Filter
It’s important to change the air filter in your vehicle’s engine regularly. Dirty filters cause poor engine performance and lower gas mileage. Your mechanic typically changes the filter during regularly scheduled tune-ups, but it’s certainly a task you can master. Check the owner’s manual for how often the air filter should be changed and which type is best for your car. Open the hood and look for the filter. Cars that are less than 20 years old usually have their filter in a black casing with clips on the side. Remove the clips and note how the filter is placed in the case, and remove the dirty filter. Put the new filter back in and replace the lid and the clips.
A Few Words About Tools
To do these car maintenance repairs, you need the proper tools. Dummies.com has a great list of suggested supplies, including a durable plastic tool box and a variety of tools including Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a socket wrench set and several other wrenches, including combination, torque and adjustable varieties. To shop for these tools, check out the Sears website. The company offers a huge selection of wrench sets that are ideal for DIY auto maintenance as well as all the other tools you need to keep your car happy and healthy.
By Social Monsters
Getting a driver’s license does not guarantee that you will be safe on the road. Even experienced drivers can falter when driving. For new drivers, navigating the road can be risky since they’re bound to face several unexpected situations. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of U.S. teen deaths, finds Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System). And the problem is big enough.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2,163 U.S. teens aged between 16 and 19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2013. It also indicates that another 243,243 teens in the U.S. were admitted to the emergency departments for treating car crash related injuries in the same year. This means, almost six teens between 16 and 19 are killed daily in the country due to motor vehicle accidents.
CDC’s reports also suggest that although young people aged between 15 and 24 represent just 14% of the country’s population, they account for around $19 billion (30%) of the total costs related to motor vehicle damages among male population and $7 billion (28%) among females.
It is also found that young male drivers and passengers aged between 16 and 19 are mostly at risk; in fact, almost two times compared to their female counterparts. Car crash risk is extremely high for newly licensed drivers, particularly during the first months of their licensure. To help in this regard, this post presents a few tips that can make driving a relatively safer proposition for new drivers.
1. Get More Training
Even after you have passed your license test, you need to get more training to really start pulling away alone on a busy street. When you are preparing for your licensure and/or learning to drive, instructors usually show you the ropes in all possible conditions. But in real life you won’t be driving through quiet back streets but in busy towns and motorways. In addition, you will have to drive in bad weather as well as at night too. More often than not, you need to drive in less than favourable environments on a regular basis.
To be on the safer side, always opt for some further driving education workshops, either through your insurance company or a local safety organization. Completing advance level training helps you learn to drive on motorways, in busy towns, at night, in all kind of weather and in almost all sort of stressful environments that you are likely to experience in real life. It will not only help you become a better driver, these advance level training classes also help you find a cheaper insurance premium as they reduce your chances of getting involved in a car accident.
2. Follow the Safety Rules
No amount of training can help you on the road if you fail to follow the safety rules. And there are certain rules you must never break for you will not only be penalized for disobeying them if caught, they may even cost you your life. You should, for example, always wear your seat belt and make sure your passengers have buckled up before you start the car.
There are some other rules as well that you must always follow. These include:
- Never cross the speed limit. Exceeding the speed limit is one of the major reasons for teen car accidents as excess speed gives you less time to react or stop your car.
- Your windshield must also be clear as a dirty windshield will not only impair your visibility, light reflecting of them during sunrise and sunset can blind you momentarily.
- Never drink and drive. Driving under the influence is another reason for teen deaths in the U.S. You are not only putting your and your passenger(s) life at risk, but are also jeopardizing others on the road.
- Make sure the height of the headrest of your car is behind your head and not your neck. This will help you minimize whiplash, if you get into an accident.
- Stay away from distractions while you are driving. Distracted driving, which involves any other activities while driving that take your focus off the road, is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents in the country. A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report found that distraction causes 58% of teen driver car accidents.
In addition, there are other safety rules you need to follow while on the road. In case you get involved into a motor vehicle crash, remember that the other parties involved in the crash will try to blame it on you even if they were at fault. And disobeying any of these rules and others will only give the opponent party’s car accident lawyers the much-needed opportunity they will be looking for to save their client’s skin.
3. Know Your Car
Before driving your new shiny car, take some time to get know it. Sit in your new car and turn it on and enjoy the feel. Take a look at the various buttons inside and learn about their functionalities. Where are the switches for your vehicle’s front and rear light or the hazard light? How do you switch on your corresponding warning lights? How do you turn your radio and GPS on/off?
You need to know these little things before you start driving down the street. In fact, you need to be absolutely sure about these features as activating/deactivating any of them in a hurry can take your focus away from the road, leading to an accident.
4. Take Care of the Blind Spot
Every time you turn right or change lanes, check your blind spot. This is the area that’s outside of your peripheral vision and your blind spot is a pretty large area where cars and bikes can lure undetected until it is too late. So whenever you are changing lanes or turning right, make sure you check your blind spot properly to avoid crashes.
Also, never drive in other driver’s blind spot. Not everyone is careful enough to practice defensive driving while on the road, but you can always put the onus on yourself and stay clear. For example, if you are driving to the right of and somewhat behind another car, the driver perhaps cannot see you. In such situations
5. Your New Car is Your Friend
Enjoy your new car – it will be your buddy for a long time and you’ll have many adventures together and everyone remembers the their first car. As a new driver, you probably lack the experience but you can always be diligent to avoid accidents and unfavourable situations while behind the wheel. You’ll obviously want to keep your car in good shape for a long time, so following these tips mentioned above will help you save your life, your car and your money. Also, remain calm in frustrating situations as it is better to accept small delays than jeopardizing your life and those of others on the road with reckless driving.
Author Bio: Rachel Oliver is a thought leader in the field of Law. She is keen on gathering information and sharing her opinion on personal injury law, employment law and likes.
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“Using a Maintenance Checklist to Keep Your Car Safe: 6 Items to Check”
And make sure to watch the video at the end featuring resqme on the “Today Show.”
“Using a Maintenance Checklist to Keep Your Car Safe: 6 Items to Check”
Eighty-four percent of vehicles on the road need parts or servicing, according to a 2014 Car Care Council survey. Performing routine maintenance checks on your car is the best way to avoid these issues and make sure you and your family stay safe on the road. Here is a checklist of some of the most important maintenance items you should maintain to keep your car safe.
Maintaining your car’s braking system is the most vital part of keeping your vehicle safe, says Autos.com, which provides a comprehensive safety maintenance checklist. Bad brakes can cause you to slide into a car in front of you, into an intersection or off the road. You can do a simple check of your brakes by pumping them several times with the engine off until you feel the pedal become firm. You should be able to hold the pedal for 10 seconds without feeling movement. If you feel movement or softness, get your brakes checked.
Keeping your tires in good shape is vital to maintaining control of your vehicle on the road. Bad tires can cause you to skid or swerve, which can be especially dangerous in bad weather.
Begin your tire inspiration by checking the sidewalls for nicks or bulges. If your tires are worn, they need to be replaced. Finally, check the pressure with a gauge and inflate if necessary. Check your tires once a month or before you go on a long trip, and replace them at least once every 10 years.
3) Lights and Signals
Your lights and signals let other drivers know where you are and where you’re going. If these indicators are not working, another driver might not realize you’re about to turn, or they might miss you in the dark. A comprehensive check of your lights and signals should include your brake lights, front and rear blinkers, front and rear hazard flashers, rear reverse lights, side marker lights, and high and low beam headlights.
Maintaining proper fluid levels will help you avoid mechanical problems. It will also keep you from getting stranded, which can become a safety issue in bad weather or driving in the desert. A general inspection of your fluid levels should cover your brake fluid, engine oil, engine coolant, transmission fluid and power steering fluid.
5) Electrical and Safety Systems
Checking your instrument panel can give you an early warning of issues such as engine problems. Check to make sure no warning lights are on, such as lights to check your engine or airbags. Make sure all dash and accessory lights work properly. You should also check safety features, which include your seatbelts and horn. If you have a small child, check the car seat.
6) Engine Issues and Other Items
The checklist covers the most essential safety maintenance items, but there are a number of other issues that come up periodically. For instance, if your engine isn’t running properly, you might need to pop the hood to give it a look. Items you can glance at include your radiator, belts, hoses and spark plug wires, among others. Occasionally, engine valves may need maintenance. Most valves use nitrile-based seals. These can become brittle from long-term overheating, causing problems such as low lubrication or flooding. Eric the Car Guy demonstrates how you can do a compression test to check the condition of your valves. It’s a good way to get a baseline of the mechanical health of your engine.
Source: Ruth Ann Monti/Social Monsters. Ruth Ann provides copywriting and content development for all things webby. Her interests include content development and SEO topics and small business issues, including technologies that support them.
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Autumn is here and the nation is cooling off. We’re falling off Daylight Savings Time (except in Arizona, Hawaii and most U.S. Territories), so it’s getting darker sooner, too. While many of us welcome cooler weather, you need to adjust your driving behavior and make sure your teen drivers are doing the same. Winter brings pretty much all the dangerous conditions for the roads: ice, sleet and snow. Throw in holiday shopping traffic and it’s quite a challenging mix.
Talk About Cold Weather Driving with Your Teens
Driving in cold weather is an experience that can’t be easily replicated, so you need to have a serious conversation with the younger drivers in your home.
You have already discussed the dangers posed by distractions, speeding and alcohol with your teens, but now it’s time to discuss the challenges posed by the end of Daylight Savings. Remind them that driving in the dark requires more concentration to see what’s out there and because roads start to freeze over when the sun goes down.
- They must drive more slowly when roads are icy or wet.
- Everyone must wear seat belts.
- Apply brakes sooner and more gently in icy conditions.
- Put more distance between the car and the vehicle in front of it.
- If they start to spin or slide, turn the wheel into the direction the car is going. It doesn’t sound right, but it’s the only way to get the car to straighten out.
Look Over Your Car With Your Teens
Before you take the car in for a seasonal tuneup, check it over yourself with your teens. DriveTime suggests a few basic things to review:
- Check wiper blades, which degrade more quickly in hot weather.
- Test your heater and defroster.
- Make sure there’s enough antifreeze.
- Verify all the lights are working, particularly backup and brake lights.
- Perform some basic battery and tire maintenance.
Once you have an idea about the shape your car is in and have done whatever maintenance you can on your own, schedule an oil change and tire rotation. Most shops do free checks on larger systems as well. Then show your kids the bill, so they understand the expenses associated with car maintenance.
Put Together a Car Emergency Kit
You should have basic emergency tools in your vehicle, even if you only drive locally. While you can buy kits online or at auto part stores, they often include items you have at home, such as a blanket, waterproof rain jacket, drinking water, duct tape, tools and flashlights. DMV.org lists 30 items you can easily put in a milk crate or sturdy box and put in your trunk. Buy items you don’t have at home, including charger cables, towing ropes, light sticks, emergency triangles and emergency instructions (you can download these from sites like the Red Cross and Popular Mechanics).
Review your first aid kit. If you haven’t checked yours since last year, pull it out and replace items that have frayed, melted or expired. Or buy one of our auto emergency kits for your teen driver today!
Source: Social Monsters