Tag Archives: drive safely

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The Driver’s Phonebook: Good Numbers To Have On The Road

Driving a car has long been considered a dangerous game. Unfortunately, however hard you work to be safe, you can’t control what other people do. Instead, you simply have to trust others on the road. It’s unlikely that you’ll die on the road. But, it’s also unlikely that you’ll never experience issues throughout your driving career, too. Most people get into little bumps or scuffs at some point. And, dealing with this situation is just a matter of knowing who to call.

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Even a small accident can make a car unsafe or unsuitable for the road. In a lot of cases, radiators get damaged in small accidents. This makes it very hard for the engine to stay cool, causing the potential for overheating. You should be ready with the number for a local auto repair shop, long before you ever hit the road. This will ensure that your car is safe before you drive. And, it will help you to resolve the issue before it becomes much larger.

Of course, though, not all repair shops will be able to move your car for you. And even if they can, their towing service might not be the cheapest. It’s not considered rude to have your car towed to the shop yourself. Plus, this is a great way to have more control over the whole ordeal. Towing companies can be found everywhere, with their services costing an array of different prices. Talk to friends and family to find the very best company near you. And always keep the number handy.

In the event of a collision on the road, most experts will tell you to seek medical aid if you sustain any injuries at all. This is to help you in court if you ever try to claim compensation for the accident. Most countries have non-emergency equivalents to their regular emergency service numbers. Using a number like this, you can call an ambulance without having to disturb the network designed for people in critical need of help. Take a look at your government’s websites to find the best number to call.

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The last number on this list could either be two or one, depending on how well your insurance covers you. Most insurance companies will ask to know as soon as possible about any accidents you’re in. So, it could be critical that you call them straight away. Along with insurance, a lot of people will choose to contact legal help when they are in an accident. Of course, this could be covered by your insurance, but it’s still worth being aware of the options you have to help you.

Hopefully, this post will help you to start handling your accidents as they happen. Knowing who to call in this sort of situation can make the whole thing a lot easier. You don’t have to deal with the unknown, taking away a lot of stress. And you don’t have to worry about forgetting something because you already know exactly what you have to do. Most people benefit greatly from this sort of effort. So, it’s worth putting the work in for yourself.

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Drive Local, Think Local

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In the modern world, people have to work together. To accomplish bigger and better things, it’s important that humans are able to overcome issues together. The challenges we face are getting bigger. And the routes to solving them are becoming more complex. People are having to think more and more like communities, impacting everything in life. One of the biggest areas being impacted by this is driving. As more people join the roads, they get less and less safe. But, these aren’t the only issues more cars can cause. To help with this, this post will be going through three ways you can support and work with others around you while you drive.

Safety will always be one of the biggest issues the human race faces. Unfortunately, as far as objects go, people aren’t particularly hardy. Instead, we rely on the people and materials around us to keep ourselves safe. Being safe on the road isn’t just about your own actions, though. Instead, it’s also about the actions of others. Most people drive most dangerously when they’re annoyed at other drivers. So, by driving safely and with great consideration, you can spread your influence to other drivers. Never react negatively to someone else on the road, either. These sorts of efforts will make a huge difference to the drivers around you. Along with this, you could also work on spreading the word in your local neighborhood. Not a lot of people actively work for safer roads in their communities. But, with the results it can bring, it’s well worth your time.

Congestion in major cities is becoming a much larger problem as more cars hit the roads. When most roads were built, cars either didn’t exist or were very rare. This has left most roads being unsuitable for the number of cars which need to use them. They can’t be made larger because they have buildings on either side. You can usually predict when roads are going to be the busiest, and plan your journeys around this. By doing this, you limit the amount of cars on the roads at busy times. And you’ll save yourself some time. Even better, though, would be ditching the car altogether for local trips. A pushbike can get you where you need to go in most cities, without slowing you down.

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The car industry has changed loads of cities and towns. Big businesses have been born overnight, giving locals huge amounts of support. But, nowadays, there’s a lot of competition. It isn’t hard to go to the next town over to get your car fixed by a big chain company. This sort of attitude makes it very hard for local businesses to get customers, though. Even when your local auto repair store is providing better work, they struggle to get the work they need to survive. Supporting local businesses like this helps the community as a whole. You open fairer jobs, stimulate the economy, and get to be prouder of the place you call home.

Hopefully, this post will give you some good insight into the work that can be done to make your driving locally-minded. It’s important that people work together to make our roads safer and easier to use. Otherwise, they could be much more dangerous for the next generation.

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Bad Driving Habits That Can Seriously Damage Your Car

Your car does a lot for you. It’s your trusty steed, your workhorse and your companion. You entrust it with the life and safety of yourself and your family. You make sure it’s cleaned, serviced, tuned and ticking over. You change the oil, rotate the tires and change the drive belts regularly because you recognize how important it is to ensure that your vehicle runs reliably and you understand just how catastrophic it can be when it fails.

All of this is entirely admirable, but here’s the thing…

You have bad habits!

I don’t mean that you pick your nose, leave the toilet seat up or spend too much on online shopping (I do all of those things by the way, there’s no judgment here), I’m talking about your bad driving habits. The little idiosyncrasies to your driving style that your driving instructor told you not to do but that you’ve left unchecked for years. These are the little habits that may not seem too damaging in and of themselves, but over time can do damage (in some cases serious damage) to your car if you don’t turn them around today before they cause a detrimental impact that no amount of car services or tire rotations will reverse. You may not even be aware of them, but they can damage your car, just the same. Let’s have a look at some now…

Resting your hand on the gear stick

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Okay, in the interests of full disclosure, I used to do this all the time! Why? Because when I was a kid, my uncle used to do it and I thought that it looked cool. Whatever your reason; whether it’s a matter of comfort, appearance or it simply being something you’ve done for so long you don’t even think about it, if you rest your hand on a manual gear shift then it’s a bad habit that’s got to go. Keep those hands on the steering wheel unless you actually need to change gear.

The effect: This increased pressure on the transmission’s bushings and synchronizers can cause internal wear within the gearbox. While wear on the clutch and gearbox is inevitable, the last thing you want to do is accelerate this.

The consequences: Over time you will find it harder to shift gears, even if you floor the clutch. Your gears and clutch will wear out and you may even start to leak transmission fluid. If any of this happens, you could end up having to replace the clutch and / or flywheel which is a very expensive repair.

Revving a cold engine

We all know a few gear heads who love to fire up the engine and let the whole neighbourhood know what their baby is made of with a few meaty revs of the engine from cold. Yeah, it might sound cool but those gearheads could be doing their beloved car more damage than they know.

The effect: Over-revving the engine when it’s cold causes abrupt temperature changes that can damage components as well as causing undue wear on parts of the engine that haven’t been lubricated by the thorough circulation of oil. This problem is compounded when it occurs in cold weather.

The consequences: While there’s little chance of any components being damaged on a one-off occurrence, there are a great many components that can be damaged if this is something that is being done on a regular basis. There are far too many to list here, but take it from us, it’s a good idea to let your engine idle for a few seconds before you hit the gas.

Switching from ‘Reverse’ to ‘Drive’ (or ‘First’) before coming to a stop

When turning in the road or maneuvering into a parking bay, many of us shift from reverse to a forward moving gear while still rolling backwards, little knowing that this can have disastrous consequences for the drivetrain.

The effect: Forcing the drivetrain to move in the opposite direction places a great deal of strain on it, and while the damage that can be done depends on the age of your car and existing wear on the drivetrain, the results are seldom good. Even if the gears don’t clunk or crunch in protest it could still result in severe or even catastrophic damage.

The consequences: Worst case scenario, your drive shaft could fall out, although this is usually something that only happens in particularly older vehicles. Nonetheless, it can cause some pretty serious issues with your transmission, none of which are cheap repairs.

Running on low fuel

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When you spend a lot of time on the road, it’s all-too-tempting to leave it right up to the last minute before stopping to gas-up. Nobody welcomes the interruption of their journey, especially when time is of the essence. Unfortunately, this can lead to some nasty consequences that will cause far more disruption than stopping for a few minutes (you should be stopping every few hours anyway).

The effect: Most fuel pumps are cooled and lubricated by being submerged in fuel. By driving without enough fuel in the tank to fully submerge the pump, you run the risk of overheating it, causing it to wear more quickly. Over time, the sediment and dirt in your fuel tank sinks to the bottom and driving while low on fuel can cause blockage of the fuel filter or the dragging of dirty fuel into the engine.

The consequences: Most likely your fuel pump will fail, resulting in an imbalance of the fuel / air ratio in the car’s engine. This will result in difficulty starting, misfires, massive reduction in fuel efficiency and persistent stalling. The fuel pump will need to be replaced. While you may be able to limp through a few days or even weeks, we would recommend replacing the fuel pump as soon as possible to avoid further damage. If dirty fuel gets into the engine, it can result in blockage of the injectors which may also need to be cleaned or even replaced (also not a cheap repair).

Riding the clutch

When waiting at lights, a great many enthusiastic motorists drop the clutch partially, holding the car at it’s ‘bite point’ ready to dash away when the lights change. This is known as ‘riding the clutch’. My driving instructor used to absolutely chew me out for this (which surprised me as I thought he’d be impressed by my clutch control), and now that I know more about cars, I understand why.

The effect: This behavior isn’t too damaging when done once in awhile but, again, if you’re doing it every day then it can put added pressure on the clutch plate creating additional friction and causing it to wear out quicker.

The consequences: All clutches are finite but when they wear out, it can make gear changes difficult and eventually impossible, which can have serious safety consequences. The clutch will need to be replaced (possibly along with the plate and even flywheel), at a sizeable cost to yourself.

‘Dragging’ the brakes on a steep decline

If you’re navigating a steep decline, it’s perfectly natural to want to control your speed, but too many of us are doing it the wrong way. Controlling your descent solely with your brakes is a surprisingly wasteful way of doing this that can cause disproportionate and unnecessary wear that you’ll inevitably find yourself picking up the tab for.

The effect: By slowing your descent solely with your brakes you will cause strain and heat build up that will cause excessive wear on the brakes and rotors. Your brake discs may also become warped by the heat if this is prolonged. To take the strain off the brakes, drop into a lower gear to slow your descent through ‘engine braking’ which is just as effective and far less demanding on your brakes.

The consequences: Fortunately, the consequences are fairly minor, although nobody likes having to pay for replacement discs and pads any more often than they have to. However, if by virtue of moving house or job you find yourself traversing steep hills and mountains regularly, you’ll be surprised how quickly the mounting costs of repeatedly replacing your brakes mounts up!

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Ignoring the warning signs

Remember that episode of The SImpsons where Lisa alerts Homer to the blinking red light on his dash that says “check engine”? The lovable patriarch reasons that the tape must have fallen off, retrieves a patch of electrical tape and puts it over the light, triumphantly declaring “problem solved”. While it’s doubtful that any of us have ever done that, we can all relate to the experience of ignoring potential warning signs of problems to come, be they warning lights, strange noises or subtle changes in how the car feels when driving.

The effects: Car trouble never goes away by itself. Letting intermittent noises or warning lights go unchallenged again and again will only exacerbate the invisible problem, often with disastrous consequences. If your car sounds or feels different, get it looked at by a trained professional.

The consequences: There are too many to name, but chances are that they will present themselves at the worst possible opportunity. Don’t let them be the reason you missed a job interview or weren’t able to pick the kids up from school. The only thing you’ll have to show for your inaction is a huge bill!