Archive for the ‘driving’ Tag

How to Choose a Drivers Training Program

Whether you’re a teen driver, an adult ready to get your first drivers license, picking the right driver’s training program is nothing to scoff at. Learning how to drive properly and safely takes time and practice, therefore finding the best course and driving school — that is also state-approved — should be of the utmost of importance.

There are a few questions you should ask yourself when you start researching which type of driving lessons and training you should enroll into:

How much can I afford for this training?
How quickly do I want to complete the program?
How do I find a state-approved instructor and driving school?
Do I want one-on-one training, or can I work in a group with multiple students?
Is it possible to complete the classroom instruction online?

What to Expect in Driver’s Training School

Drivers Education

Most states require that every teen driver enroll into some sort of state-approved driver’s education course. Some states require that adults working toward their first driver license enroll, too.

Depending on your age, this training will require you to be in a classroom atmosphere to learn the ins and outs of driving safely. Sometimes, you can take the classroom instruction part of these courses online, but even if your state allows that, chances are you still must complete behind-the-wheel training with an instructor when you’ll learn and practice actual driving skills.

Driver Improvement

Driver improvement courses are a different kind of drivers training. Typically, these courses are designed to help drivers refresh their knowledge or even acquire knowledge they didn’t have before.

People enroll in traffic schools for numerous reasons, including to:

Lower auto insurance rates.
Satisfy a traffic ticket (or have points reduced or the ticket dismissed).
Sharpen driving knowledge for personal reasons.

Generally, these classes don’t require actual driving lessons; rather, they focus on knowledge of driving rules and regulations.

Tips on Finding the Best Drivers Training

Tips for finding the best drivers training for you depends on the reason you need a training course, but overall look for courses that:

Meet your state’s requirements. Unless you’re taking the course for personal reasons, chances are you must choose a course approved by whichever entity you’re working with (the state, the court, your auto insurance provider, etc.).
Fit your budget. You CAN shop around for driver training courses.
Work with your schedule. You might not have much wiggle room if you’re taking a course to get your driver’s license, but if you’re doing it for court or insurance purposes, you might find approved online courses that let you work at your own pace during times that are convenient for you.

Don’t forget to search for reviews. You can find these online and by talking to other drivers.

Read more at: http://www.dmv.org/articles/how-to-choose-a-drivers-training-program/

NHTSA encourages parents of teens to join the ‘5 to Drive’ campaign

Campaign gives parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the road

WASHINGTON – In recognition of National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 18-24, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges parents and guardians of teen drivers to discuss with their teens one traffic safety topic each day. Those topics, also the most risky behaviors among teens, include alcohol, texting, failure to wear seat belts, speeding, and riding with extra teen passengers.

“When parents model and reinforce safe driving habits, they equip their teens with the skills to safely navigate the roadways for life,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Parents need to take the time to talk with their kids about behaviors that will keep them safe, and those that create greater risk.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds in the United States. In 2013, there were 2,614 teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 130,000 were injured. Yet a survey shows that only 25 percent of parents have had a serious talk with their kids about the key components of driving. During National Teen Driver Safety Week, and as part of the “5 to Drive” campaign, NHTSA urges parents and guardians to make time to have these talks, and to continue those conversations throughout the learning-to-drive process.

The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers.

No alcohol – The minimum legal drinking age in every state is 21. However, in 2013, among 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in crashes, 29 percent had been drinking.

No cell phone use or texting while driving – Texting or dialing while driving is more than just risky – it’s deadly. In 2013, among drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 11 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use. In 2013, 318 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted teen driver.

No driving or riding without a seat belt – In 2013, more than half (55%) of all 15- to 20-year-old occupants of passenger vehicles killed in crashes were unrestrained.
No speeding – In 2013, speeding was a factor in 42 percent of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers.

No extra passengers – NHTSA data shows that a teenage driver is 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors when driving with one teenage passenger and three times more likely with multiple teenage passengers

“The ‘5 to Drive’ campaign gives parents and teens a simple, straightforward checklist that can help them talk about good driving skills, and most importantly, prevent a tragedy before it happens,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.

To address the issue of underage drinking, NHTSA has joined with the Ad Council to launch a new public service announcement campaign that targets new drivers 16 and 17 years old, and is built around the idea of “Underage Drinking and Driving: The Ultimate Party Foul.” The campaign includes a TV ad, a Tumblr site, web banners and outdoor advertising. A branded emoji keyboard will be available later on both the iOS and Android platforms. View the PSAs and learn more about the campaign.

NHTSA has also partnered with the Ad Council to develop new English and Spanish TV PSAs that target motorists who text and drive. The new ads remind people that the kind of overconfidence displayed by those who text and drive is not only selfish – it’s dangerous. The PSAs also make it clear that no one is special enough to text and drive. View the PSA

Young Drivers Traffic Safety Facts Sheet


More information on NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” campaign and the five rules designed to help save the lives of teen drivers

Stay connected with NHTSA: Search for open recalls with VIN look up | Download the Safercar Mobile App for Apple or Android devices | Receive recall alerts by email | Visit us on Facebook.com/NHTSA | Follow us on Twitter.com/NHTSAgov | Watch 5-Star Safety Ratings crash tests on YouTube.com/USDOTNHTSA | SaferCar.gov

Read more at: http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2015/nhtsa-5-to-drive-campaign-2015

Labor Day Driving Tips

Labor Day weekend is one of the busiest weekends on the road, so planning ahead and being well prepared are essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. To make the most of Labor Day, it pays to know a few things in advance to avoid being stuck on the road on your way back home from a great holiday weekend.

The last thing you want on Labor Day is a car that breaks on the road. A routine check of the engine, radiator and fluids will go a long way. Tires should be well inflated and wiper fluid should be replenished. Also, check that the steering wheel and brakes work properly. A car emergency kit should include, at a minimum, jumper wires, a tire gauge, a flashlight, a tool kit with wrenches and screwdrivers, duct tape, rags and an emergency stop sign. Add a first-aid kit, a bottle of water, a blanket and some energy bars in case something happens and you’re stranded for some time.

Staying Safe

There are two major reasons for accidents on highways: losing concentration while driving and ignoring the risk of big trucks. If you are tired, had a drink or feel sick, either give the wheel to somebody else or postpone the driving. This is especially important coming back home on Labor Day, as many spend the day drinking and having fun, and chances are people are tired and moody. Monitor yourself and learn your limits, so you can head to a rest stop if you start feeling dizzy, confused or sleepy. Big trucks are especially dangerous if you cut in front of them quickly and unexpectedly, as trucks cannot brake fast enough to avoid a collision if things get tight. Also, trucks drivers have lots of blind spots, where they are unable to see you and thus avoid you. As a general rule, if you can’t see the truck’s mirror, the driver can’t see you either.

Avoiding the Madness

The most important thing you can do is leave early. Take on the highways early Saturday morning or before rush hour on Friday. If you’re driving on Labor Day, follow the same rules. Most people will brave their return home in the early evening or late afternoon. Try getting to the highways before 4 p.m. or after 10 p.m. and you should be in much better shape. Another important thing you can do to prepare for Labor Day driving is to plan your route well. Look for alternate routes, program your GPS or use a map to get you where you need to go as fast and efficiently as possible. You also can check online to see if the road you’re planning to take is undergoing repairs or has scheduled lane changes, so you can search for alternatives or plan for additional driving time.

Read more at: http://traveltips.usatoday.com/labor-day-driving-tips-21014.html

Driving in the “Cone Zone” Can be Tough on Vehicles

It’s bound to happen – that moment when you enter into the “cone zone,” road construction where you will likely hit a bump or two, or come across loose stones and other hazards. These rough road conditions can be tough on a vehicle’s steering and suspension system and can throw out the alignment, while loose stones have the potential to damage the vehicle’s exterior or windshield, according to the Car Care Council.

“Even the most careful driver, who is traveling slowly and carefully through road construction, can hit an unexpected bump or other road hazards,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “The key is to pay attention to your car and if you think there’s a problem, have it taken care of as soon as possible.”

The symptoms of steering and suspension or wheel alignment problems are uneven tire wear, pulling to one side, noise and vibration while cornering or loss of control. The main parts of the systems are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals or hub units and tie rod ends.

The council recommends that motorists have their vehicles checked out immediately if any of these symptoms exist, as steering and suspension systems are key safety-related components and largely determine the car’s ride and handling. Regardless of road conditions, these systems should be checked annually and a wheel alignment should be performed at the same time.

Motorists also should do frequent visual checks of their vehicle’s exterior and windshield to identify any chips, dings or cracks. These are small problems that can become costly repairs and safety hazards if they aren’t taken care of immediately.

Read more at: http://www.carcare.org/2011/05/driving-in-the-cone-zone-can-be-tough-on-vehicles/

Six Quick Tips for Sub-Zero Winter Driving

When it comes to winter car care, many motorists think of antifreeze and batteries, but vehicles need extra attention when temperatures drop below zero. The non-profit Car Care Council offers six quick tips to help your vehicle perform at its best during cold weather months.

1) Keep the gas tank at least half full; this decreases the chance of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.

2) Check the tire pressure, including the spare, as tires can lose pressure when temperatures drop. Consider special tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.

3) Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.

4) Allow your car a little more time to warm up when temperatures are below freezing so that the oil in the engine and transmission circulate and get warm.

5) Change to low-viscosity oil in winter as it will flow more easily between moving parts when it is cold. Drivers in sub-zero temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.

6) Consider using cold weather washer fluid and special winter windshield blades if you live in a place with especially harsh winter conditions.

“Sub-zero temperatures can have a real impact on your vehicle,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling, and very cold temperatures reduce battery power. If you haven’t had your vehicle checked recently, a thorough vehicle inspection is a good idea so you can avoid the aggravation and unexpected cost of a breakdown in freezing weather.”

As a precaution, motorists should be sure their vehicle is stocked with an emergency kit containing an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit http://www.carcare.org.

As read on: http://www.carcare.org/2015/01/six-quick-tips-sub-zero-winter-driving/

Safe Kids Releases First-of-Its Kind Halloween Research Study

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“Twice As Many Child Pedestrians Are Killed While Walking on Halloween” ~ SafeKids.org Press Release 10/20/2011

Washington, DC – New Safe Kids research shows only one third of parents talk to their children annually about Halloween safety.  To complete this first-of-its kind study on Halloween-safety, Safe Kids commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a poll of 935 parents with children ages 12 and younger to assess their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related to Halloween safety.

On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.  On this potentially dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians, Safe Kids strongly recommends that parents prepare children to behave safely and for drivers to take extra precautions.

While most of the parent participants in the study have talked to their children about Halloween safety at some point, many have not made it an annual conversation.  Safe Kids urges parents to engage in repeated discussions with each child, every year to reinforce safety messages and safe behaviors because of the risks they face on Halloween.

“Given children’s limited attention spans, repeated and consistent messages about safe behaviors are key to preventing injuries,” says Kate Carr, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “By following the basic safety tips provided by Safe Kids, Halloween can be a fun and safe night for children of all ages.”

According to the study, 40 percent of parents allow their child to use one or more unsafe item on Halloween such as a mask, loosing fitting clothing, and / or a sharp object – any of which could contribute to falls, burns or pedestrian injuries.  These are preventable hazards that could be avoided by following Safe Kids’ safety tips.

Another key finding of this report shows twelve percent of children five years of age or younger are permitted to trick-or-treat alone.  Not only should these young children be accompanied by an adult, but it is also recommended by Safe Kids that no child under 12 years of age spend Halloween night navigating the streets unsupervised.  This recommendation was made to protect children who often lack the maturity and cognitive ability to make appropriate decisions to accurately judge speeds and distance.

“It is alarming to hear that children ages five years and younger are trick-or-treating without adult supervision,” added Carr.  “If they are old enough and mature enough to trick-or-treat without an adult, parents should make sure children go out in groups and stick to a predetermined route with good lighting.”

In preparation for Halloween, Safe Kids coalitions across the country will team up with Walk This Way program sponsor FedEx to provide kids with reflective materials to promote visibility, including zipper tags that can be attached to costumes and trick-or-treat bags, as well as important safety information to children, parents, and drivers.  The Halloween study was made possible through funding provided by FedEx.

To ensure a safer celebration of Halloween, Safe Kids and FedEx recommend the following tips to parents and caregivers:

Trick-or-Treating Safety:

Children under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult.
Always walk on sidewalks or paths.  If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, choose light colored costumes that fit properly and avoid carrying sticks, swords, or other sharp objects.
Check treats for signs of tampering before children are allowed to eat them.  Candy should be thrown away if the wrapper is faded, torn, or unwrapped.

What Drivers Need to Know:

Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods.  Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
Anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on early in the day so you can spot children from greater distances.
Remember that costumes can limit children’s visibility and they may not be able to see your vehicle.
Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

For more tips on how to help kids become safer pedestrians on Halloween, as well as throughout the year, visit http://www.safekids.org and visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/safekidsusa.

In 1999, Safe Kids Worldwide and program sponsor FedEx created the Safe Kids Walk This Way Program in the United States to teach safe behaviors to motorists and child pedestrians and create safer, more walkable communities.  This year will mark the twelfth yeah anniversary of the program.

As read on: http://www.safekids.org/our-work/news-press/press-releases/safe-kids-releases.html