How To Combat Driving Fatigue

 

About a week ago a young, promising teenage boy was killed on my road. He was coming back from night fishing when his car veered off and hit a tree. He was killed instantly. There were no witnesses but everyone feels he may have fallen asleep behind the wheel. He was only 17 years old.

Driver fatigue is a dangerous game to play. You always think you can make it. Just 25 more miles, I am almost there. The unfortunate truth is that sometimes you don’t make it.

Wake up. According to the National Sleep Foundation, two-thirds of Americans have sleep-related problems at some time in their life and 23 percent have actually fallen asleep while driving. The National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) research shows that drowsiness and/or fatigue is a contributing factor in approximately 100,000 motor vehicle crashes annually and is a factor in nearly four percent of all fatal crashes.

Be kind to yourself and your loved ones — keep these tips from NHTSA in mind:

    • Set reasonable daily itineraries
    • Rotate driving shifts if more than one driver is available
    • Take regular breaks while driving (every two hours)
    • Restrict night driving
    • Plan for a good night’s sleep
    • Get some kind of physical exercise during the day
    • Maintain a healthy diet, without excessive fats or carbs. Also, avoid sugary foods; the initial rush is fine, but the “letdown” can make you feel worse than befor

Tips To Increase Gas Mileage

Although manufacturers have made tremendous fuel economy gains, and have improved overall performance, why waste money and natural resources when it’s so simple to improve fuel economy? The efficiency of modern cars means that a single change won’t bring about dramatic results, but a combination of small adjustments will noticeably improve fuel economy. Plus, it may help you get ready for the new international regulations about greenhouse gas emissions that should take effect in the next few years. Ultimately, we will pay more for gas, and all our current indifference to fuel economy may come to a screeching halt…. Check out the following twelve tips, then try a few that can be easily adapted to your driving and maintenance habits.

· Be a light foot: Smooth driving is an easy way to improve fuel economy. Hard starts and stops are wasteful. Look ahead and plan ahead: don’t race up to a red light only to stop and wait for it to change.

· Keep a log: Track fuel economy changes so you have a means of comparison. Check your gas mileage every time you fill up. Note new techniques to see if they work. A consistent, year-round log is best because winter weather can lower fuel economy. A fuel economy log is a great way to keep track of maintenance schedules. If you notice that mileage figures are falling, it’s probably time for a tune-up.

· Good inflation: Drivers waste millions of gallons of fuel each year due to under-inflated tires.optimum tire inflation is one of the best things you can do to increase fuel economy. Inflate your tires to the upper limit of the manufacturer’s recommendations. Check tire pressure when the tires are cold for accurate, consistent readings. Invest in a quality tire gauge like a dial model with a bleeder valve.· Weight watchers: It obviously takes more energy (gas) to move a heavier object. Inspect your trunk and remove any unnecessary junk. Don’t carry chains in the summer. When it snows, keep the snow off the roof and trunk of your car. Snow can be very heavy. Slush around the wheel wells is also very heavy.

· Fill it up, not over: When you buy gas, stop when the pump shuts off automatically (unless you know that it did so prematurely).

· Don’t be idle: Modern, fuel-injected engines do not need to be warmed up, and unnecessary idling wastes fuel. Just take it easy for the first couple miles.

· Stay in tune: Keep your car in top mechanical shape. It will run better, last longer, and return better fuel economy. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. You can check the air filter by holding it up to a bright light. If it looks clogged or obviously dirty, replace it. Air filters are very inexpensive at national chain stores such as K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and Target. Keep tabs on the fuel filter, also.

 

How To Drive In A Blizzard

Do you know how to drive in a blizzard? Now’s the time to learn, as winter conditions can be particularly dangerous if you’re not prepared for them. After all, no matter how good you may be at driving in the snow, you’ll be out there sharing the road with folks who may not have your skills. That’s why the No. 1 tip for driving in a blizzard is don’t do it. Of course, that’s not always an option, especially if the white stuff starts to fall when you’re already behind the wheel. And because you never know when that may happen, preparation is a vital part of the winter driving experience.

A key issue for driving in the snow is driving on the snow. That is, the snow—or ice or slush—that gets on the road. In those extra slippery conditions, having a vehicle with all- or 4-wheel drive can give you a significant advantage in traction. Now, you have to remember that these technologies won’t magically prevent all winter accidents, and they’re not replacements for learning how to drive in a blizzard. Yet they can help by detecting wheel slippage during wintery conditions and then redirecting engine torque to the wheels with the best grip.

Knowing how to drive in a blizzard also requires knowing when to switch to a set of winter tires. Again, this is in the “preparation” category, but it’s worth remembering because many shoppers may think that all-season tires can get the job done. They won’t, though, not in extreme winter weather. Nor were they meant to. All-season tires are generally engineered to cover the broad middle ground of driving conditions, not provide optimum performance at either end of the temperature spectrum. For example, winter tires leverage a different rubber compound that stays softer and grippier in colder weather, and they feature exclusive tread designs that are tailored to cut down on snowy buildup and cut into the ice for better traction.

Even if you’ve learned how to drive in a blizzard, you won’t get very far if your car’s not ready. This means doing things like making sure your windows are completely free of snow and ice before you begin a trip, and topping off your wiper fluid. Don’t forget the rear wiper, either, if you’ve got a vehicle with one of those. Winter rubber or no, your tires should be inflated to their proper pressure, as well; it’s a myth that under-inflating your tires enhances traction. Moreover, you should mentally recalibrate your approach to fill-ups, never letting your tank get much below the halfway point: Massive snowfalls can keep you on the road longer than you’d expect.

If there’s a chance you’re going to be caught in a big winter storm when driving, there’s the chance you’re going to get stuck, too—whether it’s your own car going off the road or the highway being closed down. As a result, not only should you know how to drive in a blizzard, you should know what to bring in case you have to stop in one: extra blankets, water, flashlights, gloves, hats, and food, for instance. Further resources to bring include items for your vehicle, such as a window scraper, extra wiper fluid, and a snow shovel. Perhaps the most important thing to have when driving during a blizzard, however, is a charged cell phone for 24/7 communication.

 

Amazing General Car Maintenance Tips

The vehicles being sold today are based on the evolution from over a century of progress. Through that time, cars and trucks have been radically designed for greater performance as well as reliability. Accomplishing new heights in automotive machinery, auto manufacturers and mechanics will quickly remind motorists modern vehicles need detailed maintenance.

Requiring motorists to adhere to a car care schedule, standard maintenance is too often neglected. The investment of a little time and a few hundred dollars in regular vehicle maintenance prevents spending even more money at an inconvenient time.

Monthly Maintenance

Checking tire pressures is a simple maintenance task which could noticeably impact a vehicle performance. Tire pressures react very sensitively to temperature changes and will even loss pressure As well as hurting fuel mileage, improper tire pressures will severely reduce the lifespan of the tire tread.

The motor oil inside a car’s engine receiving the most punishment of any fluid as it provides protection to parts moving at several thousand rpm. With oil changes due around every three months, checking oil through the dipstick will determine whether fluid levels are best protecting the engine.

Along with maintaining the physical operation of a vehicle, the vehicle’s aesthetic value deserves careful consideration. Washing the exterior of a car cleanses away dirt and winter road salts which will provoke the formation of rust. There more than enough products on the market for washing automobiles.

Maintenance Every 3 months

Motor oil protection degrades over a short time making it important to replace the fluid regularly. Oil changes in every three month or 3,000 mile intervals has been absorbed as a firm rule for engines running on conventional petroleum-based motor oil. Some automakers are now debunking this oil change ritual by indicating extended intervals. Toyota has now set oil change periods at every six months or 5,000 miles. As well, new General Motors vehicles adopt an electronic measurement solution warning precisely when the engine oil needs draining. Finally, synthetic motor oil is an alternative for increasing oil change intervals as well as vehicle performance.

Also at this term, the monthly car washing should include waxing the body panels. Car wax provides a protective coating to guard a vehicle’s finish against sun and moisture.

Maintenance Every 6 months

While a tire rotation should be involved with all vehicles, two-wheel drive configurations require rotations the most. The purpose is to insure even tire wear which improves tire longevity. With different tire rotation patterns, refer to the owner’s manual to get the precious instructions before swapping wheels.

At this distance a battery inspection is also performed. While the battery itself can operate for 3-7 years, attention must be paid to the voltage and the electrical connections.

Maintenance Every 2 Years (Vehicle Tune-up)

A generation ago, the engine tune up was a very different job for a mechanic as valve timing and the carburetor balance needed to be properly recalibrated. That adjustment and the traditional notion of tune ups are largely obsolete for modern cars thanks to overhead camshaft and variably valve-timed engines. The modern tune up is a heavily comprehensive inspection of engine-related issues. Hoses, belts, brakes, and some ignition components are checked for wear and may be replaced if necessary.

During a modern vehicle’s first engine tune up service, the only items that need to be changed is the engine coolant and air filter as well as the fuel filter. Though standard spark plugs are also replaced, a more premium variety of platinum-tipped spark plugs can endure several tune ups without swapping.

Familiar with the details to car maintenance, many vehicle owners realize complete comfort once locating a reliable, professional auto mechanic to perform the messier tasks. On the other hand, automotive maintenance is the perfect opportunity for the do-it yourself mechanic to emerge.

Winter Shopping For Your Car

 

Winter can pose many hazards to people that must leave the confines of home and venture out into icy conditions on roadways and into cold weather temperatures that could make shopping almost impossible. To make winter outdoors shopping more bearable, many townspeople will go outdoors shopping for salt spreaders that will keep the roadways near their home free of ice. Some town governments might go winter outdoors shopping and buy snow plows to clear the roadways everywhere.

People that live in areas where snow falls most of the year will get quite accustomed to going winter outdoors shopping even if it is summer or springtime. The items that they are intent on buying are those that will winterize the house and the items that they will be intent on buying are the ones that are designed to keep the warm air inside the home during winter, and ones that keep the cold inside the house during the summer. People will purchase weather stripping to keep drafts out of any room in the house at all times of the year.

People who live in rugged terrain areas need to have certain essentials in the car when they leave the house after a deep snowfall. If the automobile has been outside for a while, there is a good possibility that the electronic jump starter bought on a winter outdoors shopping trip will come in very handy when the automobile owner tries to crank it up and leave the driveway to get more shopping done before the Christmas holiday arrive.

Some winter outdoor shopping trips will be earmarked for buying things that will keep the family warm and safe, should the car break down on an isolated roadway. Some engines might not freeze up if the automobile owner had thought ahead and purchased an engine heater when the car was purchased many years before. Even if the automobile did break down, the heated cushions on the car seats could make things seem quite cozy until help arrives in the knick of time.

The automobile is a great asset to own but some things that are purchased on winter outdoor shopping expeditions will make owning it even more enjoyable. People can find great bargains on ski racks at internet retail sites and have enough money left over to make the ski resort reservations into two rooms or more. The wintertime provides sports enthusiasts with many opportunities to own gear that makes playing in the snow a brand new experience each year.

People that love playing in the snow might use the outdoor shopping sales to buy snowmobiles, snowboards and snow shoes to keep out the chill. Every snowmobile will have its own cover because the winter outdoor sales priced them with great discounts. A recreational vehicle owner might use the sales ads in winter to buy RV covers and a new set of windshield wiper blades. These items are all essential to vehicles be ready for the road when the idea of a ski trip happens one weekend.