Auto and Driving Safety Tips

Driving in the rain. Most people don’t realize how much wet roads affect their driving. When roads become wet, it takes longer to stop and more time to react, making it more important than normal to pay attention to your car and other drivers.

For the average driver, getting to the bottom of things first—starting with the tires. Here are some tips to help:

•  Check the tires regularly for tread wear and pressure. Different seasons and temperatures will affect tires, so it’s a good idea to check both.

•  Slow down. Traction is negatively affected as soon as it starts raining, so taking your time is paramount. It only takes a small amount of water to mix with oil and dust to create slick roads.

•  Pick the right tire. A tire with a grip designed to handle wet roads, can be the difference between arriving safely at your destination or getting in an accident. This tire has a unique rubber compound engineered to maximize traction, and two sets of grooves to help wick water away from the tires to maintain traction. The second set of grooves is hidden when the tire is new, but emerges as the tire wears. This distinctive design feature maintains the tire’s ability to funnel water away, even when worn, which prolongs the life of the tire and raises driver safety.

•  Know your car. Take time to learn how your car responds on wet roads. If the steering seems looser, if you’re sliding when you brake, or if the ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) is kicking in, your tires could be losing their grip. In this case, slow down and get your tires checked as soon as possible.

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Giving a 16-year-old their first set of car keys can feel like one or both of you just went skydiving without a parachute. As a parent, you’re relinquishing a certain amount of control when your child climbs behind the wheel. And that can be terrifying.

Car accidents are the number-one cause of death among teens in the U.S., so when it comes to driving, the majority of parental fears are warranted. It’s also important to remember to communicate the seriousness of the sudden responsibility. A suggestion to making teen driving safer is to encourage parents to have a sit-down discussion with their children before they start driving.

To help make that conversation a little easier to navigate:

• Seatbelt – Teenagers are more likely to shuffle through their iPod in search of a suitable playlist before they think about putting on their seatbelt. Be clear that fastening your seatbelt should be the very first thing you do before keys are even in the ignition.

• Texting – There are enough distractions outside of the vehicle, so explain the importance of paying strict attention to the road at all times. Cell phones, music and passengers can be huge distractions, especially texting on your cell. Every second a teen takes their eyes of the road could be an opportunity for a terrible accident.

• Drinking and driving – Make it known that no one under the age of 21 should be drinking. But teens will be teens, so emphasize the necessity of always having a designated driver. Make sure they understand it’s never too late to call for a ride home.

• Defensive driving – New drivers should be hyper-sensitive to all surroundings, since they’re still developing basic skills and habits. Teach teenagers to watch out for other drivers and be aware of their reactions to avoid collisions.

• Penalties – Discuss the fines associated with tickets, share a personal experience you had getting a ticket and sitting in traffic court. Let them know they will be responsible for any monetary repercussions or other consequences.

• Roadside emergencies and maintenance – Go over what to do and whom to call in an emergency. Do they have roadside assistance and insurance information readily available? Make sure they know not to lose that information—it’s best to always keep it in the car. Introduce them to basic car maintenance, too, by taking them along for regular oil changes, tire rotations and inspections. That way, they can start scheduling their own appointments when necessary.

Engage in this conversation often to drive these points home and help teens make good decisions.

 

 

 

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