Best Driving Tips for New Drivers

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When your teenager finally gets behind the wheel of a car, their main concern is driving without the supervision of an adult. As a parent, your main concern is their safety on the road. It is important for your teen to know that with the freedom of driving also comes significant responsibility. Here are some basic driving tips that parents and new drivers should keep in mind.

Keep Your Hands on the Wheel

Many drivers, new and old, have trouble following this simple suggestion. Before you even leave the driveway, check and adjust your mirrors, seat, and anything else you may have to before taking off. Doing these steps before you even leave the driveway will prevent you from having to make these adjustments while driving, which can easily take your eyes off of the road and create a dangerous situation.

Turn Your Cell Phone Off

Like oil and water, texting and driving do not mix. Studies have shown that driving while trying to send out a text message is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Do everyone a favor and turn your phone off or on silent. Turning it off or putting it in silent will help you to avoid distractions from incoming calls or messages. If you should  need to use your phone in an emergency situation, pull over first.  Not only is talking on the phone while driving distracting,  in some states, it is illegal and a ticketable offense.

Wear Your Seat belt

Wearing a seat belt has been scientifically proven to help prevent injury in an accident. Plus, not wearing your seat belt is a ticketable offense in 49 states. Save yourself the hassle and just wear your seat belt- it could save your life.

Obey the Speed Limit

Nowadays, it seems like everyone is in a hurry. It’s no wonder that speeding is a major cause of traffic crashes. Plus, more drivers are convicted of speeding than any other offense. Always obey the posted speed limit and slow down in rain, fog, snow and ice.

Stay in Your Lane

Drifting into the other lane can cause several problems. You could run into another car, cause an accident by cutting another person off, or even backup traffic. Make sure you pay close attention to what lane you are driving in and cars in other lanes to avoid these issues. Also, be sure to check your blind spots before you switch lanes.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to arrive to your destination safely. You’ll be safe and save money on traffic tickets and car insurance.

Be Prepared

You should always be prepared for a roadside emergency. Have a well stocked emergency kit in your car at all times. You should also make sure that you have an inflated spare tire and jack, and know how to safely change a flat.

 


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Road Safety for Back to School and More Back to School Tips

It's that time again! The children of our community are on their way back to school, which means we have to be extra cautious on the roads in the mornings and afternoons.To help you prepare for the season ahead, we have a few driving and general tips to make the first days of school run smoothly. Here’s to an A+ in Back to School Readiness!

 

Driving Tip #1: Get an Early Start

 

If you are rushed in the morning, you may want to leave a few minutes early, especially if you pass through a school zone. Or you may want to find an alternate route to avoid traffic congestion.

 

Driving Tip #2: Take a Second Look

 

Look twice before backing out of driveways and parking spaces, and go slowly.

 

Driving Tip #3: Watch for “School Zone” signs

 

    Watch for signs indicating schools zones and obey posted speed limits.

 

Driving Tip #4: No Texting or Talking in the School Zone

 

    Don't talk on the phone or text while driving.

 

Driving Tip #5: Maintain a Safe Distance from School Buses

 

Keep your distance behind school buses, and never pass a bus when it's loading or unloading.

 

Driving Tip #6: Watch for Children at Intersections

 

    Take an extra moment to look for children at intersections, crosswalks and bus stops.

 

Driving Tip #7: No Tailgating!

 

    In heavy traffic, maintain a safe distance - at least three seconds - behind other cars.

 

The following are general tips to make sure that both you and your children are prepared for a successful school year.

 

Tip #1: Re-establish School Year Routines

    

Use the last few weeks of summer to get used to the school-year schedule. Re-establish bed times and practice getting up and getting dressed at the same time each day. Start eating meals on aschool day” schedule as well. If possible, plan an early morning trip or two to get the kids accustomed to getting out of the door in a hurry.

 

Tip #2: Nurture Independence

 

Your child will need to manage a lot of things on her own while in school, so prepare her by giving her age-appropriate responsibilities. These can include organizing school materials, bringing home homework, etc. A younger child can practice tying his own shoes or writing his name.

 

Tip #3: Create a Launch Pad

 

    Designate a space in your home where backpacks and lunchboxes are kept so that they can easily be located. A list of things to take to school each day can be posted in the same location.

 

Tip #4: Set Up a Time and Place for Homework

 

Establish a time and place for studying at home and make yourself available to monitor your child’s progress, as your schedule allows.

 

Tip #5: After-School Plans

 

Since most children finish school before their parents get off of work, determine where they will spend the hours immediately following school.

    

Tip #6: Make a Sick-Day Game Plan

 

Before the school year begins, line up a trusted babysitter, family member or parental group to assist when your child gets sick. You may have to sign forms ahead of time listing the people who have permission to pick up your child.

 

Tip #7: Attend Orientations to Meet and Greet

 

Attend the orientation and information sessions that your children’s school hosts at the beginning of the year. This is a prime opportunity to meet the teachers, administrators and front desk personnel that are responsible for your child(ren) during the day.

 

Tip #8: Talk to the Teachers

 

When you talk to your child’s teachers, ask about their approach to homework: Is it given as a means of practicing skills or will the assignments be factored into the child’s grade? Ask for a schedule of tests and major tasks so that you can help your son or daughter to manage his or her time.

 

Tip #9: Make it a Family Affair

 

Involve your child in preparing for his success in school. Work together to create a routine chart or schedule: After school, will she engage in recreational activities or homework first? The more input your child has in the planning process, the more likely he is to succeed.

 

Tip #10: Create Calendar Central

 

Create a centralized space in your home for all family calendars and schedules. This is a great way to coordinate school events, after school programs, volunteer work, medical appointments and more.

 

Tip #11: Plan Before You Shop

 

Take a day and assess each child’s clothing needs before shopping for new uniforms or outfits. Have a super laundry day (or two) to make sure that everything is clean and ready to go. If there are items that can be recycle from an older child to a younger child, do that as well. As for school supplies, make sure that you have an up-to-date list from the school and shop early!

 

Tip #12: Gather Your Papers

 

Be sure to have your immunization and medical records in a convenient location. Also keep a copy of your child’s birth certificate handy, just in case it’s needed for school registration.

 

Tip #13: Make a Practice Run

 

Before school begins, make a practice run to get kids ready and out the door on time. If they are walking to school, be sure they know the the route that they need to take. If they are a part of a car-pool, be sure to leave enough time to account for rush-hour traffic. If they will be riding a bus, make sure they know the location of the bus stop and when it is scheduled to pick them up.

 

Tip #14: Spiff Up Household Systems

 

The laid-back days of summer are a thing of the past, so it’s time to get better organized in general. Work on discovering ways to clean fast, get healthy meals on the table in record time, and stay on top of the paper overload that usually occurs when children start bringing assignments home. A little preparation time now will save you lots of time later.

 



Here’s to an awesome school year, both on the road and at home!






 
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Five Easy Auto Fixes
Even with the advanced technology and computerized automotive systems that most vehicles come equipped with, there are still simple maintenance tasks that you can do that will save you time and money.

This list of DIY car maintenance projects requires few tools and no experience. If you've hung a picture or pounded a nail, you can tackle any one of them. By doing these jobs yourself, not only save money, but there are added benefits. And who knows, you just might like the hands-on experience enough that you'll move on to other DIY projects.

Check Your Tire Pressure and Properly Inflate Your Tires

The average consumer doesn’t realize the importance of properly inflated tires. If your tires are under-inflated, it can decrease your fuel economy, costing you hundreds of dollars. Take 15 minutes, once a month and make sure your tires are properly inflated. All you need is a tire pressure gauge and an air pump. If you don’t have an air pump, you can usually find one at a gas station.

Reducing fuel cost should not be the only reason you keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can improve safety by improving handling during emergency braking and cornering, prolong tire life.

Tire Rotation

Tires tend to wear differently depending upon where they are on the vehicle. Front tires often wear faster than rear tires because braking and cornering is more demanding on them. Plus, you can save approximately $120 a year and all you need is an jack stand, tire iron, car jack, and about an hour of your time.

When rotating your tires, be sure to follow the rotation pattern laid out in your owners manual. Also, check for defects and premature wear. You may be able to spot a foreign object in your tire that is causing a leak.

Change Your Air Filter

Changing your air filter only takes five minutes and will keep dirt out of your engine and improve fuel economy. Plus, it can save you $60 in labor costs. All you will need is an air filter, which you can pick up at any parts store, and a screwdriver. To find out how often to change your air filter, refer to your owners manual. If you live in an area with lots of dust, you will need to change your air filter more often.

Replace Bulbs and Fuses

While it may not cost much for a mechanic to change a bulb or fuse, many shops markup the price for the part. Plus, you have to drive to the garage and wait around. Instead, just pick up the bulbs and fuses from you local automotive parts store and look at refer to your owners manual.

Before you begin changing any bulb, review the instructions and take a look at the access point first. If it looks a little too tight, then take your car to the pros and let them change the headlight or taillight bulb for you. On the other hand, the fuse compartment in easy to reach. You may have to look at the electrical chart in your owner’s manual in order to find the right fuse.

Engine Oil and Filter Change

An oil change is one of the more advanced item on this list, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Anyone with a little mechanical knowledge and the right tools can change their own oil. Plus, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars a year by doing it yourself. All you need is:

  • A Car jack
  • Oil pan for Catching the Old Oil
  • Socket Wrench
  • Oil-filter Wrench
  • Recycling Bottles for the Oil
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plenty of Rags
  • Engine Oil
  • Oil Filter
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Brake Pads and Rotors
There are many components to the breaking system, and while all these components may seem daunting, the braking system is DIY friendly, especially the brake pads and rotors. Brake pads and rotors are two components of the braking system that need changing the most. Brake pads tend to wear down due to the friction that they encounter when the drive presses on the brake pedal. If they wear down enough, they can wear grooves into the rotors which will mean replacing or turning the rotors as well.

DIY Brake Pads

When it is time to change your brake pads, you don’t necessarily have to take the vehicle into the shop. A brake pad replacement is something that you can do yourself. While it may seem a little daunting, it is actually quite easy. Brake pads are easily accessible aren’t a hassle to change. They are the perfect maintenance item for a DIYer to tackle.


DIY Brake Rotor

When brake rotors are damaged by worn brake pads or road debris, they will either need to be turned or replaced. Sometimes turning rotors will be sufficient enough smooth out the grooves within the brake rotors. If the rotors need turning, then the vehicle will have to be taken to a repair shop to have a mechanic turn the rotors. But, if they need changing, then it is a task that you could do yourself. There are no special tools that are needed and as long as you have a jack, they are easily accessible.

By changing the brake pad and rotors yourself, not only can you save tons of money, but you can also help to maintain the validity of your factory warranty and extended auto warranty if applicable. If something within the braking system fails due to the lack of maintenance of your brake pads and brake rotors, then your warranty may not cover the cost of repairs. So, if you are up for the task, then tackle the brake pads and brake rotors and maintain your Do it Yourself (DIY) status.

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