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.

Tech To Bring Music to Your Ears and Light Up Your Life

As we spend more time outdoors, we look for ways to bring some creature comforts with us.  Check out some of the gear that makes outside a little more modern.

Do you love a good run? Maybe hike, kayak, or even just some time in the gym. Finding good earphones that can deal with sweat is not always the easiest task, but most of us like to bring music (or some form of audio) with us for our workouts. The new PaMu TWS wireless earphones are easy to wear, truly have no wires (really, Pinocchio) until you have to charge them, of course, and are sweat-proof and water resistant. They have some must have features, including Hi-Fi Sound, Auto-connects,Touch Control, Auto Pairing that lets you make calls and listen to music while your phone is in your pocket (or beyond), an In-Ear Mic, they come with a portable Charging Pod that neatly fits your buds and doubles as a travel case, and more. They are reasonably comfortable for ear buds. To me, while wearing them, they reminded me of a Dr. Who episode of Cybermen- that’s how it all started. Giant ear buds, then you become a Robot working for your new alien overlords. Ah, maybe not- but it makes me laugh. You can grab yours before they even hit shelves on indiegogo.

Always on the go?  AdventureJumpStart is a great option for those of us who are constantly on the move- it can not only recharge your tablets and smartphones, but it also has the ability to jump start most cars, trucks, boats and ATVS. Really. And? It’s small. Best. Gift. Ever.

It comes with everything you need- the charger, recharge cable, Detachable Jumper Cables, and Quick Start Guide. It has the smallest and lightest powerbank with the highest lever of safety, as well as keeping it’s battery life from one charge up to one full year if not used. It also charges incredibly quickly, which we all know is a huge plus. That’s pretty amazing stuff right there- great for people to have on hand for a roadside emergency.  This is one you will want to have for innumerable reasons. Pick yours up for $100 at https://mycharge.com/collections/adventure-series/products/adventurejumpstart

If you need a smaller charger, one for your pocket, there is always the Flip 30 RechargerThis mini charger is about the size of a pack of gum, but can charge your phone up to three times per full charge of it’s own (or a tablet once) making it an easy way to keep your electronics ready to go while you are on the go.  It fits easily in most purses or pockets. Several color options are available, this rechargers costs $49.95 athttps://www.goalzero.com/shop/flip-family/flip-30-recharger/ .

Like to camp? Or maybe you just hate being caught in the dark. The Lighthouse Micro Flash is perfect to keep in the car, a drawer, or in your purse for emergencies. No need for batteries, it is rechargable by USB and has a dimmable lantern as well as a built-in 120-lumen flashlight. If on it’s lowest setting, it can run for up to 170 hours. It is tiny, about the size of a finger, and weighs just over 2 ounces but is not light on power. Get yours for $24.99 at https://www.goalzero.com/shop/lanterns/lighthouse-micro-flash-lantern/ .

How To Get Instant Towing Service

It has happened to the best of us before – you are on the road and everything is going smoothly, when your car stops running.You are now stranded and you have nowhere to go. If you are close to home or work, you could always call a taxi and get out of there. But you will need to do something about your car, and you may be in a situation where calling a cab is not the ideal option. That is where a towing service can help you.

Find The Best Towing Companies

The best way that you are going to get an instant towing service is by knowing who is offering this service. Even though you could just do a search on your phone when you get into trouble, we recommend making a text file where you have the list of the top five or six towing companies in the area. That will ensure that you can call the likes of Fast Melbourne Towing the second something happens. And since Australia mandates reasonable towing costs, you will not have to pay very much for the service.

Ask About The Waiting Times

A lot of people make the mistake of not asking a towing company how long it will take. They just assume the towing company will arrive in 15 or 20 minutes. When you are calling the first towing company, ask them how long it will take. If they give you a figure over 30 minutes, try a few other companies before you commit to one of them. It may be annoying to make these phone calls, but it could save you valuable time that is being spent waiting for a towing truck on the side of the road.

Sign Up For A Towing Plan

Many of the best towing companies in the area may offer a service where you can pay a small fee each month to receive free or discounted towing services. Not only will this mean that you will get a lower price each time you need a tow, but many companies put these customers on priority over random calls they get during the day. So if you are ever stranded you will know that you can call your towing company and they will send a truck to your location within minutes. So long as you are in or near the city, it should not take them very long to reach you.

Stay Safe

There is no need to take a risk when you are calling a towing company. If it is the middle of the night and you are alone, do not sit by your car on the side of the road. Either get in your car and lock the doors or see if there is a nearby business where you can wait. You can always have the towing company call you when they arrive or pick you up at the location where you are waiting. This is a lot safer than potentially getting robbed or attacked on the side of the road at night.