Tag Archives: safe driving

road trip 2It is no secret we love our cars. Most of the nation, especially Southern California residents, loves to head out on the highway. What better opportunity to take it all in than a long weekend? If you do decide to take a road trip, be prepared to have lots of company.

The Automobile Club of Southern California (www.calif.aaa.com) projects the biggest Memorial Day Weekend travel holiday since 2005 among SoCal residents. The motorist organization expects 2.89 million Southern Californians and 4.67 million statewide are expected to take a long weekend getaway – a 2.5 percent increase over the number of 2015 travelers.

It’s the largest number of Memorial Day travelers since the all-time record of 3.2 million in the Southland and 5.18 million statewide, which was set in 2005. The good news is Gas prices are expected to be more than $1.10 a gallon less at most local stations than a year ago at this time, when the ExxonMobil refinery explosion forced the Los Angeles-Long Beach average price over $4 a gallon.

The Auto Club offers the following tips for those heading out in vehicles this weekend:

-Travel during off-peak times to avoid congestion.

-Check your vehicle’s fluid levels, belts, hoses and tires.

-Pack plenty of fluids and activities for youngsters for long trips.

-Plan your route ahead of time and bringing along a map in case you need to choose an alternate route. While GPS services and smartphone apps are helpful, they may not always be operational or accurate.

-Take care with children by properly using safety belts and car seats, and accompanying them into the restroom during travel breaks.

-Choose a well-lit, populated area for rest stops when driving at night.

Have a safe drive!

rain driving 2As we await the next round of winter storms here in California, the last one reminded us why we need to take extra care and drive safely during and after a rain or snow storm. According to the Federal Highway Administration, Nearly one-quarter of weather-related vehicle crashes occur in bad weather like rain, snow, winds, slushy or icy pavement, resulting on average in 1,300 deaths and 116,800 people injured annually.

Naturally, the top of any suggestion list is to slow down. By driving at lower speeds, you are in a better position to be prepared for sudden stops due to debris and other wet-weather driving hazards. Something else to do is check brakes after driving through puddles or other water hazards. Give them a tap or two when it’s safe. Speaking of water, it’s best to use the center lane when you can. Avoid outside lanes where water tends to collect. Also be wary of pooled water on the road as it may be concealing a deep pothole.

Before swerving around a pothole, check the surrounding lanes to be sure they’re clear. Don’t brake directly over a pothole.  Applying brakes causes the car’s weight to shift to the front of the vehicle and can increase damage from the impact. Potholes are another reason to leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you, as you will have extra time to identify and avoid these road hazards..

Be sure to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. On wet pavement, a car needs two to three times more stopping distance than dry. Add ice to the equation and multiply that figure a bit more. Extra distance provides a buffer zone in case of skids – you or the vehicle in front of you.  If the car skids and control is lost, do not slam on the brakes. Instead apply the brakes with a steady, light pressure. DO NOT pump the brakes on ABS-equipped vehicles. Remember to steer in the direction the car is sliding.

If your area is experiencing inclement weather, you need to turn on your headlights. Even if isn’t raining or snowing that minute, it is an extra safety precaution that takes seconds to do. Not only is it easy, it is California state law.