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Tag Archive | "driving"

Here comes the rain: Expert tips for wet weather driving


(BPT) – When it comes to driving in the rain, windshield wipers, headlights and brakes will only get you so far. More than 1 million car crashes occur each year as a result of weather conditions, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Most of them have to do with wet roadways, and many of them could likely be prevented by the right set of tires.

As El Niño looms in the West, and the inevitable April showers approach elsewhere, drivers across the United States should turn their attention to the rubber that meets the proverbial—and also very literal—wet road.

Nearly a quarter of all car crashes are caused by weather, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of those, nearly three quarters can be attributed to wet pavement. When roadways are slick, dangers such as skidding and hydroplaning quickly become concerns. Tires can be the best defense against such hazards, as a healthy, reliable set of tires will give your vehicle the traction it needs to safely stop and corner on slick roadways. Before the tires can do their job, drivers will need to take a few steps of their own.

Before you hit the road, know what to look for on your tires.

Tire tread helps to channel rainwater safely between your tires and the road – but only if there’s enough tread available to do so. When new, tire tread runs 9/32 of an inch deep. Tires are legally worn out with just 2/32 of an inch of tread remaining, but this doesn’t leave enough depth in wet conditions.

Tire Rack, America’s largest independent tire tester and consumer-direct source for tires, makes an even safer recommendation. “When rain is a concern, as it will be for much of the U.S. throughout the spring, drivers should replace their tires when they reach 4/32 of an inch of remaining tread depth,” says Woody Rogers, product information specialist at Tire Rack. “By the time you reach 2/32 of an inch, your tires won’t have enough tread to avoid hydroplaning.”

To make sure that your tread is deep enough to keep your tires firmly rooted on the surface of the road, Tire Rack recommends a simple quarter test. Place a quarter upside down into the grooves on your tires. If some part of George Washington’s head is covered by tread, then you have at least 4/32 of an inch left. “The difference between 2/32 of an inch and 4/32 is admittedly very small,” Rogers says, “but the impact on safety is quite large.”

If hydroplaning occurs, coast carefully.

Hydroplaning happens when water on a roadway and vehicle speed combine to cause one or more of your tires to lift from the surface of the road. When this happens, the vehicle’s steering wheel will likely jerk, and the vehicle could pull abruptly toward the puddle.

“Slowing down in rainy conditions is always a good idea, but it may not be enough for the surprise waiting up ahead. Having the appropriate tread depth is a must for preventing hydroplaning,” Rogers says. “If you do hydroplane, grasp the steering wheel firmly and avoid slamming on the brakes. Braking could end up worsening the skid, causing you to lose even more control of the vehicle.”

Driving in the rain is never fun, but with the right tires, it can at least be safer. When the rubber meets the road, make sure it’s up for the job. Tire Rack offers more expert tips and finds the right tires for your vehicle at www.tirerack.com.

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Four tire tips for teen drivers


(BPT) – Getting a driver’s license is a pivotal moment for many teens, and with the privilege of driving comes greater freedom and independence. For parents, this can be both a moment of great pride and overwhelming anxiety.

In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that drivers 19-years-old and younger were more likely to be involved in motor vehicle collisions than any other driver on the road. According to NHTSA, teens are three times more likely to get into an accident than drivers over the age of 20.

It’s not surprising that teen drivers fall into a higher collision risk category given their inexperience. Additionally, teens are more likely to speed, text, drive without a seat belt and they typically maintain a closer following distance than more seasoned drivers.

“Taking the time to talk to teens about their driving practices can help prevent accidents,” says Bob Abram, product planning manager for Yokohama Tire Corporation, maker of a variety of truck and car tires. “Teaching teens about proper vehicle maintenance, especially tires, is also important and often overlooked.”

Abram says tire maintenance is crucial because tires have an enormous effect on braking, steering, comfort and handling. “Unfortunately, tires are not always top-of-mind when it comes to routine vehicle upkeep. When tires are inflated appropriately and wheel alignment adjusted correctly, the driver has better control. Improper alignment causes uneven tread wear and reduces the life of a tire.”

Underinflated tires can also increase the stopping distance of a vehicle, warns Abram. “Taking care of your tires properly can help prevent skidding, aid in emergency stops and traffic avoidance maneuvers, as well as provide more traction on wet roads.”

Abram reiterates that parents should teach teens about tire care to optimize vehicle control and maximize safety. Here are a few of his rules of thumb concerning tire care:

  • Tires must be replaced before the tread wears down below 2/32 of an inch. A quick and easy tread test involves placing a penny into the grooves of the tire. If Lincoln’s head is completely visible, the tires should be replaced.
  • Check tire pressure at least once a month. Consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual or placard on driver’s door to determine proper tire pressure. Tire pressure should be checked when the tires are cold.
  • Alignment should be checked at least once a year or if the vehicle is pulling to one side to avoid uneven wear on tire tread. Tire balance should also be monitored.
  • Regular rotation of tires promotes even wearing of tread. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

For more tire care and safety tips visit www.yokohamatire.com or www.rma.org.

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Still texting while driving?

Quitting might be easier than you think


CAR-texting(BPT) – Most Americans know texting and driving is dangerous but it continues to be a problem, especially for young drivers. While 97 percent of teens agree that texting and driving is dangerous, 43 percent still admitted to continuing to do it, according to a recent survey.

The 2012 AT&T survey of teen drivers also found 75 percent of teens say texting while driving is common among their friends and the majority of respondents said they have texted when stopped at a red light and often glance at their phones while driving. While teens might be the worst offenders when it comes to texting and driving, plenty of adults are guilty too. As the evidence continues to mount concerning the dangers of texting while driving, 39 states have made it illegal. Whether it’s legal or not in your state, here are three good reasons to quit once and for all:

* Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident, according to Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research.

* Texting while driving is distracted driving. Distracted driving is a factor in 15 to 25 percent of all crashes, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

* Each day, an average of more than 15 people are killed in crashes that result from distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

How to stop texting while driving

To help people break the perilous habit of texting and driving, technology companies are coming up with unique and practical solutions for drivers. For instance, Xperia SmartTags by Sony give you the ability to turn off all distractions from your smartphone with just a simple touch. These small tags can be put on a dashboard or a set of car keys and allow you to change your phone’s settings for driving by simply touching your NFC-enabled smartphone to the tag.

Smartphone applications can make this process even easier. When paired with AT&T’s free Drive Mode app, you can automatically disable your phone’s texting and calling capability. The app can also be programmed to include an automatic message that’s sent to anyone who texts you while you’re behind the wheel, letting that person know that you’ll respond when you are finished driving. You can program this app to run when you tap your phone to your SmartTag, while also setting your phone up to automatically run GPS programs and engage your car’s Bluetooth system for both safety and convenience.

While messages from your friends and family are important, nothing should take precedence over safely getting yourself and your passengers to your destination. To help make your driving experience safer, outfit your car with tools such as SmartTags, which you can learn more about at www.sonymobile.com, and don’t forget to take the pledge to never text and drive again at www.itcanwait.com.

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Roger on Main StreetLiving well
Hey, old folks. I’m celebrating my good health! I’ve noticed that lots of people in the obituaries didn’t make it to my age. So far I’ve had no hip or knee replacements. No sign of cancer yet. Not one of the myriad diseases that creep up on us and bring us to the end. Except for that little kidney problem, which dialysis takes care of with an inconvenience I’d call minor for my age. It’s good to be here.

If my body were a car, this is the time I’d be thinking about trading it in for a newer model. I’ve got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish and my paint job is getting a little dull. My headlights are out of focus and it’s especially hard to see things up close.
My traction isn’t as graceful as it once was. I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather. My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins.
The worst of it is, my fuel rate burns inefficiently. It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. And don’t expect me to start up before noon.

Driving, No. 1
A couple, traveling on the Kansas Turnpike, bucking a 30 to 45 mph crosswind, came to a tollbooth. “What do you people in Kansas do when the wind quits?” asked the driver.
The tollbooth attendant didn’t miss a beat: “We take the rocks out of our pockets.”

Driving, No. 2
An off-duty police officer, familiar with radar guns, drove through a school zone, within the legal speed limit, when the flash of a camera went off, taking a picture of his license plate. The officer, thinking the radar was in error, drove by again and even more slowly. Another flash. He did it for a third time, at an even slower speed. Same result.
“These settings must be screwed up,” the off-duty officer thought.
A few weeks later when he received the violations in the mail, he discovered three traffic tickets: each for not wearing a seat belt.

Driving, No. 3
A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead all work at the same office for a female boss who always goes home early. “Hey, girls,” says the brunette, “let’s go home early tomorrow. She’ll never know.”
So the next day they all drive away right after the boss does. The brunette gets some extra gardening done, the redhead goes to a bar, and the blonde goes home to find her husband playing patty cake with the female boss. The blonde quietly sneaks out of the house and drives back home at her normal time.
The next day the brunette says, “That was fun. We should do it again sometime.”
“No way,” says the blonde. “I almost got caught.”

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