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

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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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Convertible Top Care
While, convertible tops look great when a car is new, without proper care they won’t look nice for long. Material like fabric, clear plastic and vinyl are far more delicate and vulnerable to the elements than painted surfaces. Sunshine can be especially damaging. Here are some tips on to keep your convertible top looking like new.

You should thoroughly clean your convertible top at least twice a year, but more frequently if the car is parked outside. Make sure that you use a cleaning product that is specifically designed for convertible tops and, if possible, bio-degradable. Do not use detergents or powders that contain chlorine-based bleaching agents. These cleaners can remove essential oils in vinyl tops that are essential in protecting the vinyl against the sun’s UV rays.

Before you even wet the top, try to move the car out of the direct sunlight and make sure the top is cool. Once the top is wet, spray a light coating of top cleaner evenly across the top and gently work the cleaner using a soft sponge to remove dirt. Once the top is cleaned, rinse of the cleaner while brushing a using lots of water. You want to continue to until the water runs clear.

Now, you don’t need to use a top cleaner every time you wash your car. Usually you can keep it clean with water. But if it is dirty, just use a pH neutral car wash and make sure that you rinse it thoroughly.

When you are cleaning the window, you do not want to use ordinary glass cleaners if the window is plastic. They can cause damage to the plastic. You want to use cleaners and polishes that are specifically designed for plastic windows. They will remove minor scratches and dirt while helping to prevent the plastic from discoloring.

After the top has been cleaned, use a top protectant to preserve the color and texture of the top material. This will prevent fading and cracking, and help repel dirt, grease and oil. Should you get bird dropping on your top, remove them immediately. They are very acidic and can quickly damage tops.

Once the top is thoroughly cleaned, you want to let it dry before folding it down to prevent mold and mildew.

Here are a few extra tips to make your convertible top last:
  • If possible, park your convertible in a garage or carport. If not, then use a high quality, breathable car cover.
  • To prevent creasing and scratching plastic windows, place a soft towel or baby blanket over the plastic rear window before folding down the top.
  • Use a lint roller to remove dust and lint from the top and clean the plastic window without scratching.
See our expert tips!

 

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Best Driving Tips for New Drivers

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.

See our expert tips!

 

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Engine Oil Change and Fluid Level Check
There are many people out there that consider themselves DIYers. They would rather do things themselves than pay someone else to do it. Vehicle maintenance is one of those tasks that many of us try to do ourselves. While there are some things that should be left to the professionals, there are certain maintenance items that any DIYer can do.

Engine Oil and Filter Change

An engine oil and filter change needs to be performed regularly. That expense can add up over the long term. You can save a few dollars doing an oil change yourself. It is relatively simple to perform and does not require a lot of special tools. If you do decided to perform an oil change yourself, make sure to keep records of it. These records will come in handy not only when you decided to trade-in or sell the vehicle, they might be needed should you need a major repair performed that is covered under your factory warranty or extended warranty, if applicable.

Fluid Level Check

There are many components of your vehicle that require some sort of fluid. From your windshield washer to the brakes to the transmission. These levels need to be checked to ensure that each component has the correct amount of fluid in order to operate correctly. The transmission and engine both have a dip stick that allows you to check the fluid easily. The brakes, power-steering pump, coolant, and windshield washer fluid all have reservoirs that can be easily accessed checked. It is advised to refer to your owner’s manual to see what type of fluid is needed for each system and how much is needed.
See our expert tips!

 

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