Intersection Etiquette

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Gridlock

3 Second StopDriving in the city has many hazards including traffic. Heavy traffic can lead to gridlocked intersections. As frustrating and tedious as it is to have a green light and no room to move, remember that legally you cannot enter an intersection if you are not able to completely cross before the light turns red. In other words, being stopped in an intersection is a big no-no. The best thing to do in this situation is stay calm and wait your turn safely behind the crosswalk.

Where the Rubber Hits the Road

New Year, New You

It’s a brand new year and that means New Year’s Resolutions. Here are five driving decisions you can take to heart in the year ahead.

  1. Pay Attention: Texting and driving is getting a lot of attention, which is good because it is bad. But it is also good to note that anything that takes your attention away from driving is dangerous, whether it is talking to a passenger to grabbing a snack.
  2. Take Your Time: We all have places to be and a time to be there. However, the important part is to actually get where you are going. Give yourself plenty of time.  Speeding is not an answer. And, if you are running late, be late.
  3. Strap In: Seat belts save lives and take very little effort or time to fasten. Buckle up every time you are in a vehicle. Your life could depend on it.
  4. Heed the Signs: Traffic signs and signals are on the road for a reason. They tell us when, where and how fast to go. They also more importantly tell us when we need to stop. So be attentive and obey the signs.
  5. Be Courteous: Remember we all need to share the road. Showing courtesy and respect to everyone on the road helps ensure that we can all arrive at our destinations safely. Use your turn signals, don’t tailgate, and don’t weave in and out of traffic.

Have a happy and safe 2015!

Driving with Diligence

Collision Prevention

hands on steering wheelsRoad safety starts with you, the driver. Here are a few defensive driving pointers to help you stay safe and sound while on the go.

Scan the road ahead looking for possible hazards so you have time to react to them. Also, regularly check your mirrors so you know at all times what potential obstacles surround your vehicle.  If your view is blocked by a hill or a curve proceed with caution.

Keep a space cushion of 3-seconds between you and the vehicle you are following. Sometimes you may need to add additional space, such as when following large trucks or motorcycles, and when the weather and/or road conditions are less than ideal. Also, keep a space cushion to the side and rear of your vehicle so that you have room to maneuver should an obstacle present itself.

Follow the basic speed law; don’t drive faster than the conditions of the road and weather allow. This may mean you need to drive slower than the posted speed limit. You must decide what the safest speed is under the current conditions.

Being a responsible driver includes being fully aware of all traffic laws, right-of-way rules, and street signs.  Many drivers make poor driving decisions because they don’t know the law.

Avoid distractions. A distraction can be anything that takes your mind off of the task of driving, whether it’s a cell phone, the radio, passengers, even food. Driving has to be the number one priority every time you are behind the wheel.

Last, but not least, don’t drive under the influence, whether it is alcohol or prescription drugs from your doctor. Even a small amount of drugs or alcohol can affect depth perception, speed perception, coordination, reaction time and vision, all of which are essential to driving.

Give Big Rigs Their Due

Share the Road

share the roadSemitrailers operate a little differently than your car, so let’s take a moment for a few friendly reminders on sharing the road with large trucks.

Give them extra space in several ways. Don’t cut in front of a large truck. They are heavier and take longer to stop than the average car. You should see the front of the truck in your rearview mirror before moving into the lane. Also, when following a trailer truck the truck’s size can block your view; increase your following distance so that you have more reaction time and room to brake.

Stay out of the truck’s blind spots. Large trucks have large blind spots on all sides. If you can’t see the driver in truck’s side mirror, then the truck driver can’t see you. If you are going to pass a semi, do so quickly and on the left side. Lingering in a truck’s blind spot is dangerous.

Pay close attention to a trucks turn signals. Be aware that rigs need extra room to maneuver turns. They tend to swing wide to execute right turns. Don’t squeeze between the curb and the truck; you could end up getting crunched.

Keep these tips in mind next time you are on the road and remember in a collision with a big rig you’ll find you are the loser.

Driving with ABS

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)

How does ABS break system work3 Second StopYour car’s ABS helps you stop shorter and maintain steering control while braking, especially on slippery surfaces. The key to proper ABS success is driver education.
In an emergency, or ‘panic stop,’ you should press your brake pedal once, holding it firmly. Never pump the brakes — Anti-lock brakes can sense when your wheels are locked and electronically pump your brakes 10 times faster than you — This is what causes the vibration in your brake pedal and the ratcheting noise when the ABS is engaged. Whenever you feel the brake pedal pulsing, press even harder.

Spring Break with a Plan

Fun, Sun and Safety

For many families it is Spring Break which means it’s time for a family vacation. Here are a few tips to make your travel plans a little safer and less stressful.

road-trip

  • Get a Tune Up. Make sure your car is in good working order before hitting the road.
  • Pack Thoughtfully. Keep safety and economic benefits in mind when you are loading up the family van. Also, prepare for the unexpected by packing an auto safety travel kit with useful items in the event you run into a problem.
  • Research Your Route. Find out before you leave what the road and weather conditions will be like.
  • Don’t Be In a Rush. Allow enough time to get to your destination safely. Planning ahead will help avoid aggressive driving and road rage.
  • Stay Connected. Let a friend or other family member know your travel plans.

All that is left to do now is sit back and enjoy the ride!

Drive in the Rain? Use Your Brain.

Driving in the Rain

Unlike the popular 80’s song Blame it On the Rain, don’t. What did rain ever do to you besides water your garden and kind-of wash your car?? Though rain is blamed for a gazillion accidents each year, most of these fender-benders are preventable and not the rain’s fault at all. Rather, the true culprits of foul-weather flip-overs are un-brainy drivers failing to concede that they need to save their normal driving habits for another un-rainy day.

Here are a handful of wet-road-reminders for those days when the rain won’t go away:

  • Be very cautious when it first rains after a period of dry weather. Oil and grease gradually build up on the road and when it rainfall hits, your joyful ride can instantly turn into a not so fun slip and slide.
  • As they say, “When it rains, bad traffic pours.” You know traffic will be congested in inclement weather, so give yourself a few extra minutes to arrive safely to your destination.
  • Tailgating, is bad enough. Tailgating when the roads are slick? That’s just plain idiotic. Give yourself bigger space cushions with the cars ahead of you so you have more time to stop safely. Braking by slamming on the brake pedal will make your already rainy day even rainier.
  • Go ahead, show off! Yes, we want you to draw attention to yourself, really!! When it’s raining, everyone’s visibility is hampered. Remember to turn your headlights on (low beams please) and keep your windows defogged. Also, be on the lookout for cars without lights on, pedestrians, and other road hazards that might get lost in the rainy shuffle.
  • Unless you drive a hovercraft, the inner lanes of the road are probably your best bet. Most roads slope downward toward the curb where you’ll find those deep, hard to avoid puddles.
  • You cruise, you lose. If you hydroplane while using cruise control, your car may suddenly and abruptly speed up. Good luck to you When your tires return to the wet road at an accelerated speed. Hopefully you remembered to wear your seatbelt.
  • If your car does start to hydroplane, don’t freak out: jerking the wheel or hitting the brakes are BAD ideas! Instead, ease your foot off the gas and hold the steering wheel firmly until your car regains traction with the road.

What did we learn? Driving conditions will be less than ideal as long as raindrops keep falling on your hood. If you can, stay off the streets when the weather takes a turn for the wet. If you have places to go and people you must see, just remember that not all driving situations were created equal, and when it comes to wet roads, you need to carry yourself with a little extra common sense!