Archive for the ‘travel tips’ Tag

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

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10 tips for driving on ice and snow

Whether you are a new driver or an experienced one, poor weather conditions can test your nerves and skills on the road. We have already had a few days of white-knuckle driving this season as winter storms have pounded areas across the state. And there are sure to be more stormy days to come.

Studies show that nearly one-quarter of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement. But there are a few steps you can take to ensure you, and your vehicle, are ready for these adverse road conditions. Following these tips can help you get to your destination and back home safely.

Regular Maintenance Safe winter driving begins before you even get into your vehicle. Following the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule is important, but it carries more weight during the winter season when being stranded is not only inconvenient, but downright unpleasant and even dangerous.

Remove ice and snow from your vehicle

Clear all snow and ice from the entire vehicle – hood, roof, trunk, windows, lights and signals. It’s important to make sure you can see and be seen by other drivers. Inspect your vehicle.

Check your tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts and hoses. Make sure tires are properly inflated and the tread is in good condition. Cold temperatures can lower tire pressure. Check monthly and top off as necessary.

Keep your gas tank at least half full

Following this rule of thumb is good practice every day of the year to avoid the bad experience of running out of gas. But in cold weather months, you may need to change your route or could find yourself caught in a traffic delay, and you do not want to have the needle resting on empty in these scenarios.

With the car prepped for travel, keep these 10 driving tips in mind.

Safety On The Road

Reduce your speed. Adjust to changing conditions and allow extra time to reach your destination.

Keep windows clear. Switching on the air conditioner can remove moisture from inside the vehicle and improve defroster performance.

Give the car ahead of you extra space. Braking on a slippery surface requires more distance, so increase your distance with the car ahead. The recommended following distance on dry roads is three to four seconds. This should be increased to eight to 10 seconds for wet or icy roads.

Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Use lower gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

Make smooth, careful movements. Avoid skids by anticipating lane changes, turns and curves. Steering in icy conditions requires smooth and careful movements. Abrupt movements break traction and can start a skid. If your vehicle starts to skid, steer into the direction of the slide.

Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly when pulling out of the driveway or from a stop sign is the best way to regain traction and avoid slipping or sliding. It also takes longer to slow down on icy roads. So at intersections, allow for long, slow and steady stops to avoid skids.

Know your brakes. Locked wheels can make your vehicle slide or skid. If your vehicle has antilock brakes, which newer model cars have, push the brake pedal firmly and hold it down. The pedal will vibrate and pulse against your foot, but this is normal. Do not pump the pedal or remove your foot. The system is working as it was designed to work. If you do not have antilock brakes, still apply firm, steady pressure.

Do not use cruise control. When driving on a slippery surface, such as rain or ice, never use cruise control. You want to be able to respond immediately, if you start losing traction.

Use extra caution on bridges, ramps and overpasses. These areas are likely to freeze first and stay frozen during a winter storm.

Stay focused, alert, and aware. Be aware of what’s going on around you. Actions by other vehicles may alert you to problems more quickly or give you time to react safely.

Handling an Emergency

While preventative measures go a long way to keep you safe on the road, unexpected weather or vehicle problems still arise. If an emergency should develop on the road, an emergency roadside kit with winter supplies is a valuable asset. Kit contents can include a cell phone and car charger; blankets; flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; a small shovel; a sack of sand, cat litter or traction mats; windshield scraper and brush; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.

Driving on ice and snow can be challenging, but it is possible to be a safe and prepared driver despite winter’s less than optimal driving conditions. The key is to be aware and adapt to the conditions. And if it is really bad outside, and you do not have to go out, stay in. Enjoy the snow from indoors.

Read more at http://www.ksl.com/?nid=151&sid=23732091#YHLwlGUsbtYywTb3.99