The Teenage Driver: Tips and Safety

Having a car means we have the freedom to get around where we need to go. We have to take care of the vehicle if we want it to last. We have to maintain it regularly, take care of any body damage or paint damage with paintless hail repair, and drive it safely. And then we have to worry about others driving our vehicle.

An Exhilarating Experience

A teenager, ready to get on the road, may view getting their driver’s license as a very exhilarating experience because freedom tends to follow as the next step. The parents of the teen driver may have mixed emotions when it comes to their loved teen driver. When safety tips and ideas are taken seriously, everyone will feel anticipation about this giant step in a teenager’s life. There are main safety tips for teen drivers to help them become good road citizens as they safely travel the highways and the less-traveled roads.

Number One Tip: Prevent an Accident

It is a fact of life, accidents do occur on the roads. The good news, there are many ways to prevent them. Adults can put in their own behavior strategies as an added prevention measure. There is much information available for an inexperienced teenage driver. Adults can reinforce many safe and sensible actions for teen drivers:

  • Don’t fully rely on driver’s education – the course is promoted for safety and new drivers. Every teen driver will need added input to ensure safe driving practices are going to be in place. This may include extra items outside of the course. Skid control is a good specialty class to consider. There are added safety maneuvers that can be taught to teen drivers. A specialized course will enhance driving skills. Parents can include added driving and practice time to reinforce skills and increase confidence
  • Don’t monitor the actual driving trip, monitor behavior instead – a large number of adults will monitor every detail of a driving trip. Road trips are a dream come true for many teens. It is more helpful to impose stricter limits on teen drivers. This should include setting limits on poor weather conditions for an inexperienced driver. Behavior monitoring will include limits on any drinking and driving from a teenager. Stress the dangers of this behavior and come up with strategies to prevent any drinking and driving from your teenage driver. If needed, law enforcement can be counted on to assist adults to prevent drinking and driving from their teen drivers
  • A limit on the number of passengers – teenagers are not known for sitting quietly while in a car. If adults can put a limit on the number of passengers allowed in a vehicle, this will be less distracting for the driver. Teenagers are known for goofing off at a drop of a hat. They can have limits placed on them to keep them safe while on the road. Fewer distractions add up to safer driving
  • Instill the need for safety belts – try to ingrain this in teenage drivers because it will prevent much harm
  • Sleep habits and driving while sleep-deprived – it is a good idea to monitor sleep habits because a tired driver will be less alert on the road

These tips and ideas will be a great start for any teenage driver. Focus on safe practices needed to follow through. Adults can be prepared to prevent accidents by sticking to the road rules and expecting their teen drivers to do the same.

The Art of Responsible Teenage Driving

Every adult can inform themselves of the driving teenage facts of the road because this will create a new generation of highly responsible drivers. In the past, teenage driving was not a priority in terms of added information. Most adults assumed that teenagers were ready for the reads at age 16. This modern age has shown society that added information has been needed because not all teenagers know how to prevent accidents without added guidance and reinforcement. 

Passing the driver’s test does not make every teenage driver a responsible driver. Many teens view a set of car keys as their keys to freedom. They are anxious to get on their way and see the world. It is exhilarating for many teenagers and it is an experience to savor for years to come. Every state may have its own set of teenage driving laws and it will be important to have an understanding of the laws that will apply to the teenage driver in your life. It is not difficult to spot a responsible teenage driver because they have a set of similar qualities:

  • they often have a positive and confident attitude toward driving
  • they are patient and not easily frustrated when driving
  • the display a disciplined approach toward driving
  • they are willing to take the needed time to learn how to handle all vehicles
  • they are not against following road laws
  • an alert demeanor (they listen and are engaged as they are learning)

Driving is an art and every teenage driver will continue to gain their driving experience as they grow and mature. Encourage and support their responsible actions.

Responsible and Relaxed Teenage Drivers

The tips and added information ought to lead to added safety. Everyone appreciates a positive outcome. The informed teenage driver will be responsible and relaxed on the roads.

Should You Buy a Carport or a Temporary Garage?

Depending on the interplay between many factors, you might be better off with either a carport or a temporary garage. Both are highly convenient, easy-to-assemble storage options that provide effective, long-lasting protection for your car against extreme weather and harsh pollutants. But that’s just about how far their similarities go. Each one comes with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages you need to consider carefully before choosing between them. 

A temporary garage, also called a portable garage or a detached garage, is a multifunctional storage unit that you can erect temporarily or permanently on various types of outdoor surfaces to secure your valuables, including your cars, equipment, sports gears, etc. It’s usually made of either fabric or steel and can be fitted with a lock and key for extra protection against theft. 

A carport can also be erected temporarily or permanently on any outdoor surface, but it’s a semi-covered, open-style structure. It comes in a variety of styles, the most popular being lean-in carports, attached carports, and freestanding carports. Read on to find out how carports compare head-to-head with temporary garages.

Installation

Since carports are a semi-open structure with no windows and doors, they’re much easier to install compared to temporary garages that are fully-covered. Assembling a carport can be as simple as preparing the foundation, mounting the frames, and then covering the roof, though those with more intricate designs may require professional assistance.

Garages come with more intricate installation requirements. You need to erect four walls fitted with windows and a door. This can take anywhere from a few days to many weeks to assemble, whereas carports can be assembled in just a matter of a few hours. 

Security and Protection

This is perhaps the starkest differences between temporary garages and carports. While both can provide adequate protection against extreme elements, carports are nowhere as safe as temporary garages. Carports are normally used to create an extra shelter to hold items in patios, outdoor workspaces, DIY pavilion, etc. However, an open-style structure like a carport cannot offer protection against threats like theft and the elements at the same level as fully-covered portable garages with lock and keys. 

Appearance

When it comes to style and aesthetics, you won’t run short of options for both carport and portable garage. Both usually come either in fabric or steel materials or a combination of both. You can even use bricks and stones to build either of them. As such, you can leverage on a wide breath of design options to help ensure your carport or temporary garage blends seamlessly with your property. You can also choose either to have them attached directly to your house or any existing structure or to erect them as a freestanding structure.

Ultimately, the type of carport or temporary garage that’s best-suited for you depends on your unique preferences, taste, security needs, and budget. If you’re just looking for an outdoor shelter for your car and other belongings in a highly secure environment, then carports will serve you well. But if you need to secure your car not just from the elements, but also from theft as well, you might want to consider a temporary garage instead.

Still not convinced about which of the two is best for you? You can reach out to us today for professional advice on how best to protect your car. We’ll help you choose and set up a carport or a temporary garage that’s right up the alley of your vehicle storage needs.

How to Keep Your New Driver Safe on the Road

When your child gets their driver’s license, they will probably be ecstatic about their newfound independence. While this is a milestone to be celebrated, it can cause anxiety for parents. The road can be a dangerous place, and it makes sense that you would want to protect your new driver.

There are a few ways you can make this stage of life easier. With the following strategies, parents will feel assured they have taken the right steps to keep their child safe on the road.

Get Insurance

Before your child drives for the first time, make sure they have an auto insurance policy. Accidents can happen, and if an incident does occur, the right insurance coverage will offer financial protection. Look for a solution that covers both the vehicle and bodily damage, regardless of who is at fault. You may also benefit from coverage for fire, theft and weather damage.

Reputable insurance companies will often have a family discount and protection for uninsured passengers.

Choose a Safe Car

The vehicle your child drives is just as important as their driving abilities. A safe, well-maintained car will help them get from A to B without the fear of breaking down. If your child is lucky enough to have access to the family car, you can avoid the arduous task of shopping for the perfect first car.

For those who are helping their child find a preloved set of wheels, look for a car that has low miles on the odometer. Before you commit to the purchase, you may like to find a mechanic who can look over the vehicle to ensure it does not have any underlying issues.

Give Them Training

New drivers can benefit from additional training. Formal safe driving programs can give them the skills and confidence they need while on the road. Participating in driver training could even save you money on your auto insurance policy.

In addition, you can help your child by giving them opportunities to experience different roads and weather conditions. A road trip is a chance to spend time together while they practice driving long distances. When you are in the car, make sure they are following the road rules, wearing a seatbelt and checking their blind spot. 

Have a Discussion

Before your child starts driving independently, take the time to discuss the risks. Remind them to get enough sleep before traveling, and to avoid alcohol if they are planning to drive. You can show them the right way to behave while driving by being a good role model.

Distractions can cause accidents, and you should reinforce this with your child. For example, you can suggest they turn their phone to silent or place it out of reach when they are behind the wheel. Driving can be stressful, but with your support, your child can learn to be calm while on the road.

Keeping Your New Driver Safe

Getting a driver’s license is an accomplishment, but driving requires maturity. If you are worried about your new driver on the road, you can help to keep them safe.

Have an open dialogue about the dangers of distractions, and make sure they have adequate auto insurance. Find a safe vehicle for your child to drive, focusing on reliability rather than looks. To increase their skills, you can sign them up for a driver training program and take a trip together to give them time to practice.

Finding the Perfect Floor Mats for Your Car

In the search for the ideal floor mat for your car, there are a few key things to keep in mind: the fabric of the mat, color, dimensions and warranty information. Being informed about what to expect and what to look for will make your mat buying experience easier and give you the confidence to get what you need.

Shopping for Materials and Colors

Most car floor mats are made of carpet, though all-weather mats are another popular choice. When comparing the two, there are some big differences. All-weather mats are made of rubber and come in custom-fit size. All-weather mats can also be a bit more affordable and provide durability and stain resistance. Carpet mats, on the other hand, usually have a larger variety in colors and a more natural appearance when paired with most car interiors.

Ultimately, the choice of car floor mats comes down to preference and circumstance. For people who commonly deal with mud, rain, or other weather conditions, all-weather mats are a natural choice. In other cases where dirt and grime are not as big of an issue, carpet mats might provide a better overall experience.

Warranty and Stain-Resistance

It’s necessary to look over warranty information when shopping. Make sure that you’re covered for any unseen circumstances for an amount of time that seems comfortable to you. Keep in mind that warranties might not always cover things like general wear and tear or stains. You can look into stain-resistant mats if you’re anticipating damage from spills or dirt. Both all-weather mats and carpet mats have stain-resistant options available, and clear mats are also worth a look in this case. Both a warranty and stain resistance are smart steps to take if you’re worried about the longevity of your car floor mats.

Anchor Point Compatibility

It’s also worthwhile to look into anchors when shopping for car floor mats. Anchors serve as an anti-slip measure, forcing the mat to stay in place so that it doesn’t drag when you’re entering or exiting the vehicle. Your vehicle might come with pre-installed anchor points and you want to make sure that any rubber or carpet mats you purchase are compatible with these anchor points.

Your choice of car floor mat depends both on your needs and aesthetic preferences. Whether you’re shopping for rubber mats or carpet mats, with the right preparation you’re sure to find something that suits your vehicle.

Waxing Nostalgic

mazda protege

Another goodbye.
You’ve all seen my many posts about this car by now, she’s been a staple on this blog and for me for the longest time.
She brought all my kids home. To this house. All the dogs, too.
Drove more road trips then I can count, many featured here on this site and beyond. A whole lot of friends have spent time in that little car. She has acted as a barricade, been to Standing Rock, driven the entire east coast.
Drove me home from my wedding in 2005, and then from my divorce in 2019.
2 car accidents, a million camping trips, a thousand beach days and carpools and carseats and sick days and work days.  Two massive vomit incidents that required professionals. So much sand and wet kid and sunblock streaking and dog fur, but no worries here.
Bringing my beautiful Chaac to the vet to be put down after cancer treatment failed, and to be buried afterward.
I have only 2 friends I’ve had longer than this car.
Then recently, I was hit so hard by an errant driver, neither of us has been right again, but she can’t be fixed.
My first “new” car, the only new car I’ve ever had.
So many memories in this car.
Waxing nostalgic.

What To Do When There’s An Accident

On a list of things that could happen to ruin your day, an automobile crash has to rank towards the top. Most of the time, they arise out of nowhere with little to no warning. Most are minor, yet some can be utterly catastrophic. Car crashes can and do happen to everyone. Whether you are on vacation, commuting, or just taking a leisurely drive, a crash can happen. 

It’s helpful to know a few things that can make what happens after an accident go a little more smoothly. Make sure you know what to do after a car accident not your fault, not sure, or when you are at fault. 

Before the accident

Believe it or not, there are steps you can take to prepare for a crash before it happens that can make the entire ordeal a little less stressful. These include:

  • Remove potential flying objects
  • Print out your states DMV Crash checklist
  • Have a first aid kit

Remove anything from your vehicle that could turn into a projectile. Remember that loose objects in your vehicle travel at the same speed as you do. In the event of a crash, the objects will continue moving at driving speeds until it strikes something to make it stop. For example, say your child left a marble in the back seat. You’re driving down the highway at 60 mph. It’s setting harmlessly in the back seat then you are struck by an oncoming vehicle. It launches forward at 60 mph and strikes you in the back of the head. Not so harmless anymore is it?

The DMV accident guide can help you to organize your thoughts after a crash so that you don’t forget anything in the ensuing chaos.

The first aid kit should contain bandages and sterile wipes at a minimum but can consist of more should you so choose.

Immediately following the crash

Stay safe! The last thing you want to do is to put yourself in any more danger. Reconstitute yourself and become aware of your surroundings. If you are on a busy freeway, stay in your vehicle until it is safe to exit. Check yourself; see if you have any injuries. With all the adrenaline coursing through you it is very common not to know that you are injured until minutes later. Check on any passengers that were traveling with you. Call 911 to inform the police and get an ambulance en route, if needed.

What to do next

After you are safe and first responders are on the way, you are going to want to start collecting information if you are able. Start by taking pictures and exchanging insurance information. NEVER ADMIT FAULT. Be polite, but saying it was your fault isn’t going to help the situation any. It is not your job to determine who is at fault; admitting fault could cause you unnecessary financial burden. Make sure you write down anything that could become important such as your speed or what you noticed just before the accident. Take note of anything that the police may need for their report.

Contact your insurance company and answer any questions they have and follow all instructions. It is imperative that you answer their questions thoroughly as this information can become crucial if you are taken to court. Your insurance company will be able to assist you in making sure that you have covered all of your bases.

On the thought of court, make sure to call your lawyer. Hiring a good attorney can be critical in saving you from financial harm. If you do not have an attorney already, I suggest that you begin researching and trying to find a good one. Besides being sore or recovering from the crash, an attorney should be at the forefront of your thinking. Always be honest and open with your attorney. No attorney can help you if they do not have all the necessary information.

As stated earlier, a car crash is never pleasant. There is nothing about an accident that makes you say “hmmm, now that sounds fun! I think I’ll crash today!” But taking steps to be prepared for a crash before it happens and knowing what to do after is sure to ease the headache that is a car crash.

Top 10 Tips for Driving in Winter Weather

As temperatures drop and roads get slippery with ice and snow, even the most experienced of drivers can face challenges. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are over 1.2 million weather-related vehicle crashes across the U.S. each year, with 18% of them occurring due to adverse winter conditions. This year, Rand McNally’s road trip experts have compiled a list of tips to help keep drivers safe and road-ready.

1. Know the meaning of different winter weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). Make sure you know the difference among the various alerts before you hit the road:

a. Winter Storm Warning: This warning is issued when a significant winter weather event occurs, including snow, ice, sleet or blowing snow. The NWS advises against traveling; if you must drive, bring a winter survival kit (see point No. 5) in your vehicle.
b. Winter Storm Watch: This alert means that severe winter conditions may be in effect and could make travel treacherous. You can expect heavy sleet, heavy snow, ice, blowing snow, and poor visibility.
c. Winter Weather Advisory: The advisory is announced when wintry conditions are expected, but conditions are not as hazardous as the warnings or watches. Be alert and careful on the road at all times.

2. Slow down and proceed with caution. If the roads are icy, it can take longer to brake, so make sure you are going at a speed that allows you to maintain traction and avoid skidding. Also, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to stop at intersections. Allow for three to twelve times more stopping distance than in normal dry conditions, depending upon the size of your vehicle.

3. Pull over if it’s too difficult to safely drive, such as in whiteout conditions, or if you’ve had an accident. If you unexpectedly find yourself unable to drive, try to pull over and park your car out of harm’s way. Do not leave your vehicle, sit tight, and wait for help or until the dangerous conditions have passed. You can safely run the heat in your car for 10 minutes every hour to help warm up and keep the battery charged, but ensure that your exhaust pipe is free of snow to avoid any harmful carbon monoxide incidents.

4. Before heading out, be sure to tell a friend or family member your travel schedule and route. This is especially important if you are driving in rural areas or on lightly-traveled roads.

5. Make sure your car is stocked with the proper gear to handle winter driving-related tasks, as well as emergency supplies. The National Safety Council recommends that you have certain items on hand, such as a small shovel; jumper cables; a bag of kitty litter to create traction if you happen to get stuck; a flashlight; a small tool kit; an ice scraper; a first aid kit; matches; blankets; non-perishable, high-energy foods like dried fruits, and water.

6. Regularly check your windshield to ensure that the washer reservoir is full – and stash an extra bottle of fluid in your trunk. Be sure to buy fluid with extra alcohol or de-icer, to ensure that it works at lower temperatures.

7. Keep your gas tank full. Cold temperatures can cause condensation to form on the walls of a low fuel tank; the water may then find its way into the fuel lines, freezing and blocking the flow of fuel to the engine. If this happens, you could find yourself stuck and racking up some pricey repair costs.

8. Check your tire pressure before you leave. When outdoor temperatures drop, so does inflation pressure. Lower pressure can close up the tread and decrease traction, which can increase the likelihood of skidding on snow and ice and getting into an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends checking your tires at least once a month and before long road trips – it only takes a few minutes and you’ll be glad you did. Many cars provide low tire pressure warnings; if you receive such a warning, stop as soon as possible to check your tire pressure.

9. Remember, safety first. Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure that all other passengers in the car are buckled up in the appropriate way based on their age and size. According to the NHTSA, car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13 – so make sure that kids are in the right car seat and that it’s installed correctly.

10. Keep your cell phone charged and keep a spare charger in the car. If something happens, you’ll want to make sure that you have a way to reach someone, including emergency responders if cell service is available.

Severe weather can be challenging for drivers, but it’s manageable if you prepare in advance. That way, you’ll be ready for anything that Mother Nature throws your way.

How do you know if you need new tires on your car?

  1. Everyone knows that car tires need to be replaced at some point. If you do not replace the tires on your vehicle when necessary, you will find that your car does not handle as it should. You could also be putting yourself, and any passengers you may have, in danger. The problem is that not everyone knows how to tell if the tires on their car need to be replaced.
  2. The big brand models, such as Goodyear tyres, are hard wearing, but you still need to buy new ones at some point, so when should you do this?

Examining the tread on tires

It’s important to examine the tread on your car’s tires on a regular basis; once a month, or more often if possible. If the tread is less than 1.6mm in depth, then you need to buy a new tyre. If the tread is less than 1.5 mm in depth, it’s not legal to drive the car until the tyre is replaced. Not only is it illegal to drive a vehicle with severely worn tires, it’s also very dangerous. The tread helps to keep your car on the road. Once it wears away, you lose that ability to grip the road and you do not have the same level of control over the vehicle.

Checking the sidewalls of tyres

The sidewall of a tire is prone to damage; after all it can take a lot of punishment. There should not be any significant damage to the sidewall, such as bulges, cuts or cracks. If any of these are present, the tire has to be replaced. You may be able to see this type of damage, if it’s obvious. However, there could be damage to the sidewall that is not immediately recognizable but which could be dangerous. If you hit an object hard, such as when you reverse into a curb, there could be internal damage to the tire. For your own peace of mind, it often pays to have the tires on your car checked by a professional, if you have any doubts.

Protecting your tires

If you spot any of the signs we have discussed, it’s time to get the tires on your car replaced. You can make sure that this happens as infrequently as possible be taking certain steps:

  • Keep tire pressures at the recommended level.
  • Drive at or under the speed limit.
  • Keep braking to a minimum; only do so when necessary.
  • Make sure that the wheels of your vehicle are correctly aligned and balanced.

All of these measures can help you preserve the condition of car tires for as long as possible. Make sure that you keep a careful check on the tires, so that you can see when their condition is deteriorating and when they need to be replaced. Doing so helps you to continue to drive safely and legally.