While researching the best vehicles to keep your family safe and sound, you’ve likely read dozens of reviews, browsed IIHS ratings
, and looked at NHTSA grades
. But as safety technology improves, so too do the number of recommended vehicles on those “safest car” lists, leaving you with more of a selection than ever before.
We call that scenario a “double-edged sword.” With too many options at your fingertips, how do you know which vehicle is right for you? Do you go with a Top Safety Pick+ SUV? What about that 5-star minivan? Ahhh!
Allow me to help you, stressed-out parent. Here are 5 essential automotive safety features you should look for when picking your family’s next vehicle.
Safe Exit Assist
An exclusive feature designed by Hyundai, Safe Exit Assist is the guardian angel every parent of a toddler needs. As your kids gain independence, they’ll begin doing things on their own—including opening the car door without assistance. Safe Exit Assist automatically locks the rear doors when approaching vehicles are detected, eliminating the risks of a nightmarish catastrophe. Continue Reading…
After so many years of driving, it seems as if it becomes second nature to you. You’ve gotten into the habit of driving the way you always have, and unless you’ve been pulled over and ticketed for anything, you most likely won’t consider adjusting and changing what you do when you drive. Whether you are new driver or a seasoned veteran in the driving field, there are at least five things that every driver should do. Perhaps you already do it, but if not, I suggest you add them to your driving routine.
1. Don’t focus on the car in front of you
Having tunnel vision while driving is one of the worst things you can do. If you are focusing on the car in front of you, you aren’t paying attention to things that are going on around you. To stay alert as a driver, it is important to pay attention to what is going on behind you and on both sides of you as well, as what is going on in front of you. If all of your attention is focused on the car in front of you, you could potentially miss traffic signals and signs.
2. Make sure your mirrors are adjusted properly
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, it is extremely important that the mirrors in your vehicle are properly adjusted. When you’re driving, you want to make sure that you can look in all of your mirrors and see what is behind you and to the side of you clearly. If your mirrors aren’t adjusted, you run the risk of getting to an accident.
3. Always use turn signals
Please, please, PLEASE always use turn signals! So many people forget or don’t care to use turn signals, which can be very dangerous. The last thing you want to happen is to get into an accident because you didn’t use your turn signal to alert the drivers around you. If you don’t use a turn signal, try getting into the habit of turning it on whenever you plan on making a turn.
4. Use your headlights
When it’s dark outside, make sure to turn your headlights on. It is important that you can see while driving, and more importantly, that other drivers can see you. If it helps, there should be an auto setting available that will automatically turn your headlights on and off when necessary.
5. Keep your distance between vehicles
If you stay at least 4 seconds behind a vehicle, you have a greater chance at avoiding an accident. Keeping distance gives you enough time to brake, should the car in front of you stop abruptly.
There is nothing more unruly and annoying than suffering from car sickness. Imagine planning a fun getaway road trip with friends, but dreading the actual car ride due to the motion sickness you know you will endure. Not fun! While it may be impossible to prevent car sickness from taking over, there are plenty of remedies that you can try to get yourself feeling better and able to enjoy a long car ride. Here are some ways you can survive car sickness:
Keep Air On You At All Times
It helps to have a vent pointing directly at you or have some sort of fresh air whenever you are experiencing motion sickness. The air keeps you cool and also helps distract from the nauseating feeling you may have.
Drink Cold Water
Better yet, sip cold water. The cold water will help to keep your stomach settled and keep you from vomiting in the car.
Do Not Read While The Car Is In Motion
If you’ve ever felt what it’s like to read in a car and look up and have a sudden wave of dizziness come over you, then you know that it is not a feeling that you want to experience again.
For some reason when you are reading in a car while it is moving, it is hard for your brain to decipher what it sees versus what it is feeling. If you suffer from car sickness then it is best to avoid reading during a road trip altogether. There are other ways you can help pass time on the trip that most likely won’t result in you getting sick.
Try Meclizine-Type Medications
Over the counter medications like Dramamine will help suppress and relieve nausea and vomiting you experience from motion sickness. Most of these medicines can be taken at least an hour before a trip and help to prevent you from suffering through any motion sickness.
Driving at night can be intimidating. With it being dark outside, you have to be even more cautious and alert while on the road. There are extra dangers to be aware of during the night, such as compromised visibility and impaired drivers. Here are a few tips that will help you to drive as safely as possible during the nighttime:
Keep Your Headlights and Windshield Clean
Your headlights come in handy during the night time. Dim lightbulbs or cloudy headlight covers can reduce visibility. Keeping them clean and bright will maximize your visibility while driving in the dark. Your windshield is also an important asset when driving. If your windshield is dirty or cracked, you won’t be able to see where you are going. It is already hard enough to navigate through the dark. Therefore, you should make it easier on yourself by keeping your windshield as clean and clear as possible.
Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Stay alert at all times. Try to take extra time when waiting at a stop sign and yielding. It is also important to pay attention to road signs. It doesn’t hurt to take the extra time to make sure you are aware of what is going on around you, especially if it is dark.
Try reducing your normal speed while driving at night. This will help you to be able to pay close attention of your surroundings. You should also avoid tailgating at all costs! There’s no need to rush to get to your destination. The best thing to do is get there safely, not in a hurry.
Avoid Using Your Phone
Though this should be a universal rule at all times, it is imperative that you do NOT use your phone will driving at night! Phones are an easy way to get distracted and end up in a terrible accident. Avoid this problem altogether by simply avoiding using your phone while driving at night.
The support system in a vehicle serves many purposes and can be known by a couple different names. You might be familiar with the “suspension system” in a car, which can be interchangeable for the overarching “support system” terminology. The main functions of this system contribute to the road handling, safety, and comfort of any vehicle. To understand the purpose of these functions, let’s delve into a better understanding of some different parts that make up the suspension system that contribute overall to support your car.
The frame. This is the structural, load-carrying component that supports a vehicle’s engine and body which the support (suspension) system then reinforces.
Springs. Nowadays, spring systems pretty much have four basic designs that contribute to the car’s balance and passenger comfort. The most common type of springs found in the support system are either coil springs, leaf springs, torsion bars, or air springs. You can find most springs located between the wheels and the frame of a car. Overall, they serve to compress and expand to absorb the motion of the wheels, thus contributing to the road handling and comfort results.
Dampers (i.e. shock absorbers). You just learned about springs, which allow the wheels to move up to absorb bumps in the road and improve the handling of the vehicle. Now we’re talking about dampers, which are commonly called shock absorbers and/or “shocks” or “struts”. They go hand-in-hand with springs to prevent your car from bouncing up and down. While the springs are necessary to deflect the bounce, your car would continue to bounce up and down if the reaction from these springs was not dissipated by dampers being in place. The “shock absorber” is a device that helps control this spring motion through an overall process known as “dampening.” Thus the term, dampers.
Stabilizers. These are found in most cars, however, not all. You can hear many different terms when it comes to stabilizers, such as anti-sway bars, sway bars, stabilizer bars, and anti-roll bars. These are all essentially the same thing. Stabilizers serve as a bar between the front wheels and rear wheels that provide another dampening function and overall structural car support. Stabilizers serve to prevent leaning/swaying of your vehicle during turns and resist the swaying movement to keep your car’s wheels at the same height. Depending on the make and model of your car, these bars will vary from a thick/stiff bar to less rigid bars (which are better for off-roading).
Tires and wheels. These obviously are an essential component that support your car. They help provide the traction, grip and friction that make movement of your vehicle possible.
Just like a human, a car is made up of different systems that coordinate to keep the car functioning. The electrical system is an important part of any vehicle. It consists of the battery, starter, and alternator. If any one of these parts stops working your car won’t start or run properly.
The battery is responsible for providing the electricity needed to power all of the electrical components of your car. This small part converts chemical energy into electrical energy— think of it as the heart of a vehicle. When the battery isn’t pumping electricity out, then the car will not start.
The electric power from the battery is transported to the starter which is what really gets the engine up and running. The starter rotates the flywheel to get the engine’s pistons moving. Think of the starter as an artery transporting blood to an important part in your body. Without the heart (battery) pumping blood to the artery (starter) the important body part (engine) cannot run. An alternator keeps the battery charged while your car is running, and supplies additional electric power throughout the electrical system. Think of an alternator as the blood that is flowing through the artery (starter) and heart (battery) to keep it going and able to perform its duties.
Now you have it! The electrical system is essentially what powers the vehicle. It’s important to make sure these parts are always checked. When they begin to wear out, your car battery will weaken and/or die, causing problems to other electrical system parts. Some signs that indicate attention needed to your battery include the check engine light, a slow engine crank, and low battery fluid level. If you are experiencing any of these issues, schedule your next service appointment now!