Inspecting your car and making sure it is in great shape is an important thing to do before any road trip. You should consider an oil change (if you are anywhere near the recommended mileage), check your tire tread and tire pressure, make sure your AC is working properly, and even check your cabin air filters. High summer temperatures can be brutal if you’re stranded or stuck waiting for a tow or roadside service; so it’s also important to make sure your vehicle has a Summer Emergency Kit.
Being prepared for a roadside emergency is important. So, what should be in your vehicle’s Summer Car Emergency Kit?
- First Aid Kit: Make sure to include some bandages, ointment, gauze, adhesive tape and tweezers, single-use cold packs, sunscreen stick and for those with life-threatening allergies, include an EpiPen.
- Jumper Cables: A set of jumper cables is sure to provide an effective solution and is a key item! They are beneficial to have throughout the year, not just during the colder months!
- Flash Light: Always a great idea for owners to have in their vehicle.
- Items to Fix a Flat Tire: Carjack, lug wrench, and a spare tire are essential to your flat tire tools and are an important component of your Summer Emergency Kit. Packing a tire sealant and gauge to repair a small hole on your own can also be quite useful.
- Small Toolkit: You may not need a lot of tools, but keeping a small tool kit with basics such as a few different size screwdrivers and pliers and an adjustable wrench.
- Hazard Flares and Reflective Triangles: If you ever break down and need to work on your vehicle, Reflective Triangles, and/or LED flameless flare are essential items that will help to keep you safe.
- Non-Perishable Snacks: Car trouble can leave you stranded for a period of time. Pack non-perishable snacks that won’t melt; like crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts. Don’t forget bottles of water to stay hydrated.
Summer is here and many families will be traveling by car this year for their vacation or day trips. Prepare your vehicle and pack your Summer Emergency Kit today to ensure the safety of you and all your passengers for your next trip!
Winter is coming! With the possibility of snow (or, here in the Triangle, mostly slush and ice) looming, you need to know how to get around responsibly. A lot of common sense advice applies for winter driving, but there are some special tricks to make it easier…and some that are merely myths or misconceptions.
Myth: All-Wheel Drive Is All You Need
Whether you have a tricked-out Jeep or a humble Subaru, the snow is a great chance to feel some well-earned smugness about your purchase. As others cower indoors, you take to the city streets without fear…right?
Well, sort of. All-wheel drive is unquestionably better in the snow for getting traction. However, it does not help you stop, which requires both driver skill and capable brakes. You can still skid on ice or lock up the brakes. Some vehicles with part-time all-wheel drive (like the Honda CR-V) are also not true AWD, and only engage it when a loss of traction is detected.
The big takeaway here? Enjoy your advantage, but be careful.
Myth: Underinflate Your Tires for Better Traction
This myth is most amusing because it makes sense on paper. If your tires are less inflated, they’ll “sag” a bit, giving you a greater contact area with the road.
But like most armchair science, this doesn’t hold up in the real world. Where most of us live, the roads are plowed or at least pre-treated when snow’s in the forecast. So while that additional traction can help on gravel roads, even on a slightly icy road you actually lose that traction advantage. According to Car Talk, most modern tires are designed to cut through road snow at their proper inflation; underinflating them ruins that engineering and therefore their effectiveness.
Instead of DIY tricks, invest in a good pair of snow tires.
Myth: Always Warm Up Your Car
Do you let your car idle before you start it in the winter? Your heart is in the right place, but current technology means this is mostly unnecessary.
The myth comes from older cars with carburetors, devices that mix fuel and air for delivery to the engine. At chilly temperatures, carburetors could malfunction. Modern cars use fuel injection, which deals just fine with cold weather.
The myth also stems from oil circulation; many older engine oils were extra thick in the winter, and warming them up let them more evenly coat fragile engine parts. But newer oils are purposely designed for winter weather (that’s what the “W” in 10W-40 or 5W-30 means.) So while you should let your car idle for a little bit – maybe a minute – that’s all it needs. Just drive gently until the car is fully warmed up.
With summer ending and the start of school upon us, drivers need to do their part to keep kids safe as they walk and bike to school. Whether you are taking your kids to school or just driving through a school zone, you can do your part to keep kids safe.
Follow the tips below to make sure you keep your children safe while walking and biking to school.
Simple Reminders for Drivers:
- Slow down and be especially alert in the residential neighborhoods and school zones
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully
- Watch for children on and near the road in the morning and after school hours
- Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Put down your phone and don’t talk or text while driving
Reminder for your kids:
- They should cross the street with an adult until they are at least 10 years old
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks
- Never run out into the streets or cross in between parked cars
- Make sure they always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them
With more vehicles on the roads, it’s important to get your ride checked out to meet the demands of increased traffic.