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tips

Car fun

How to Make the Most Out of Your Roadtrip

January 5, 2017
Road trips can be long and exhausting. Whether you are by yourself or with a group of people, it can be easy to run out of things to do, making the car ride even more long and dreadful. It can seem like you’re in a car forever longing to reach your destination. I know this feeling, that’s why I wanted to share some ways you can make the most out of your road trip!
  • Road Trip Playlist Before you venture out onto the road, make a playlist of songs you want to hear during your trip. Add all of your favorite artists and fun tunes that will keep you in a good mood while in the car. Make a fun karaoke game out of it with your fellow passengers!
  • Make Road Trip Games Play word games like “Concentration,” where each person has to stay on beat while coming up with an answer to a topic. For example, if the topic is “fruits,” each person has to name a fruit, but cannot repeat a fruit that has been said or hesitate when answering. Games like this will keep you entertained and are sure to pass the time.
  • Make Pit Stops Have you ever seen those billboards encouraging you to visit the “World’s Largest” and “World’s Greatest” something? Make stops at those places! Visit and explore these small towns and eat at the local diners along the way to your destination. Make sure to take lots of photos too! This helps break the trip and add more memories.
  • Collect Souvenirs Make it a point to collect a souvenir from every town you visit. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it will help make the trip meaningful. If you’re traveling with friends you can make it a competition. Whoever collects the most souvenirs win!
Are you planning on taking a road trip this year? Let me know where you are going! Before you go make sure that your car is road trip ready!
Behind the Wheel

A Guide to Avoiding Blind Spots

January 3, 2017
Properly adjusting your rearview and sideview mirrors can be one of those things that is easily missed. It can be confusing and frustrating trying to get the mirrors as precise as possible in order to get the best view. It is important to know how to fix the mirrors accordingly so that you are fully aware of what is behind and on the side of you while driving. Here is what you need to do to properly adjust your mirrors: Adjust the Driver’s Sideview Mirror To adjust the driver’s sideview mirror you’ll need to be sitting in the driver’s seat. While seated, place your head against the window and set the mirror to where you can barely see your car in the right side of the mirror. Adjust the Passenger’s Sideview Mirror While seated in the passenger seat you’ll need to lean your head against the window. Begin adjusting the passenger mirror until you can just barely see your car in the left side of the mirror. Adjust the Rearview Mirror To adjust the rearview mirror make sure you are seated in the driver’s seat while doing so. Move the mirror around until you are able to see the entire rear window from where you are sitting. Now you’re good to go! Follow these easy steps to make sure your mirrors are adjusted properly for your surroundings.
Car Culture

Six Test Driving Tips You Need to Know

October 25, 2016
You’ve been researching getting a new car. You’ve done your homework, and now it’s time to finally see if that car you have been staring at on paper is actually what it seems. Make the most of your test drive by simply using careful observation and just knowing what to look for! I’m here to help you prepare yourself for when you finally take that new car out for a spin! Get acquainted. Come prepared to the dealership knowing what it is you’re looking for. Let the salesperson know you’re there to test drive and that you’ll be comparing models and prices at other showrooms. Starting off with this out in the open will help you to focus and respectfully let the dealer be aware you’ll take your business elsewhere if need be. Stay focused. Don’t bring the whole entire family to test out the car and crowd the place. While the car may be for them too, you need to focus on your drive. Bring the kids a second time for them to check out the back seats and see if they notice anything you didn’t. But, limit the amount of people that attend with you for the test drive so you can remain focused. If dealerships seem like a scary abyss to you, bring someone that can support you and ask questions you forget. Just remember what you came prepared with, and your visit will go smoothly!   Inspect the exterior. Don’t rush into your drive. Walk around the vehicle and observe it head to toe. Kick the tires, open the trunk, take note of the finish and general quality of the build. You want to make sure you don’t overlook something that could potentially bother you down the road. Inspect the interior. Now you’re finally inside the car, where you’ll be spending most of your time. So, take a moment here observing all the features and the general feel that surrounds you. Here’s some points to keep in mind when inspecting:
  • Was it easy to get in and out of? You’d hate to bump your head entering your car every day.
  • How is the leg room? Are the seats adjustable to your liking?
  • How does the steering wheel feel in your hands? Can you adjust the height?
  • How are the technological features? Actually plug in your music and see how it sounds.
  • Check out the cup holders, storage options, windows, wipers, and lights. You don’t want to overlook something that seems so simple, but could become a nuisance later on.   
  • What safety features is the car equipped with? How many airbags does it have?
Take your time. Now you’re ready to actually get behind the wheel and drive off. Be sure to try and test out the car on all road types, like highways, country roads, and hills. Also, be sure to try varying speeds. Stay focused, be observant of how the brakes, gears, and AC feel. How is the visibility? Are there blind spots that you notice? Is it comfortable for you to drive? Keep your eyes on the road, but try and stay conscious of these other aspects simultaneously. Don’t rush the actual drive. Reflect on your drive. Are all your questions answered by now? If not, ask them. Don’t be swayed to make a deal right when you step out of the car. Take your time. If you’re wanting to test out multiple cars, try and drive them as close together as you can so that you can compare each drive while they’re fresh in your mind. Sleep on it and see if you wake up the next day with any unsettled thoughts. Yes, buying a car can be a stressful, overwhelming experience… but keep these tips in mind as you’re testing the waters and it will make the process smoother. As long as you remain intentional and diligent with your search, it will make you more confident when reaching a final decision.
Behind the Wheel

November is for traveling, so be prepared!

November 1, 2013
If I were a certified fortune teller, I’d tell all of you that November is going to be the BEST month EVER! October is great, and I had a blast on Halloween, but November is the month of family, food and unnecessary Christmas music! So let’s get it going! To start off the month, I’m suggesting a few tips for car care before you start traveling around and head home for Thanksgiving! 1. Check your tires! There’s a couple things to do:
  • It’s as easy as pie: take the penny test (see picture below) to make sure your wheels are in prime condition. Simply placing a penny upside-down in one of the crevices of your wheel will tell you what you need to know: If the top of Lincoln’s head is covered, you’re fine; but if you can see his entire head, it’s time to renew your tires!penny
  • Having your tires rotated will extend their life as much as possible. Take care of it now at the beginning of the month before it’s too late and you’re supposed to start road tripping tomorrow.
  • Invest in a tire air pressure gauge and before every trip, make sure your tires are inflated to the proper amount. Good news is, air for your tires is free and can be found at most gas stations! (I’m heading on a little trip tomorrow, so I’ll be checking my pressure tonight!)
2. Replace any burned out bulbs. I know we’ve all been procrastinating this forever, but today is the day! Either have an auto mechanic do it, or head to an automotive store to buy your own bulbs. Regardless of how it gets done, it needs to. It is 100% necessary to have fully-functional headlights and blinkers. 3. Oil change, duh! I know a lot of you folks are avid do-it-yourself-ers, and this project won’t tear you away from your ways! It doesn’t take long, so spend some solid time in your garage and ready your oil so everything is in pristine condition! Those be but a few tips for car care, but they’re important! Make sure you cross these doings off your checklist earlier than later, so you don’t end up on the side of the road with a broken car and mashed potatoes getting cold in the back seat.
Behind the Wheel

Learning to play nice, biker vs. driver

August 7, 2013
There’s a saying that goes something like, “When I’m a pedestrian I hate cars, and when I’m in a car, I hate pedestrians; but no matter what, I’ll always hate bicyclists.” As humans, we’re born to focus on our immediate situation. On the road especially, this often results in road rage and lack of understanding between yourself and other drivers. While this is always a dangerous mentality to have, it’s especially scary when you’re up against bikers. So listen up! I’ve gathered some simple rules of etiquette that’ll keep both drivers and bikers safe and happy! 1. Simply put, cars are big metal objects powered by their own machinery, while bikes are 20-pound frames that exist to be powered by humans. Playing chicken never results in the biker’s victory, and more often than not, the bicyclist always comes out more injured than anyone in the car. As a driver, appreciate the fact that though bicyclists may be annoying, they’re a lot more vulnerable than you. As a biker, realize you’re not invincible. 2. Believe it or not, drivers, bikers have their own laws to abide by and rights to fulfill. On the road, bikes are considered vehicles. In print, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says cyclists 10 years and older should behave as though they were vehicles on the street, riding in the same direction as traffic that’s going their way and following the same traffic rules. As a driver on the road, it’s important to remember that this is a written lawbikes belong on the road. Every state has written laws encouraging the safety of co-existing bikes and cars on the road, most of which promote looking carefully for bikes when turning, merging and opening car doors on the road. 3. Time to embrace the equality mentality! Drivers, remember that bikers are equals on the road! If you’re ever frustrated with a bicyclists, pretend that biker is a family member or friend on an important errand, or put yourself in their situation. 4. Think positive! One more biker on the road means one less car on the road, AKA less traffic for you to deal with! And not only do bikers decrease the amount of traffic, but they also help the environment more than your car does! 5. It’s important to give bikers a three foot bubble of space. Whether this is in front of, behind, or beside, don’t scare them by riding their tail or brake checking all of a sudden. 6. Left hook, right hook. In a car, you always think you have more time than to turn you do. Oh, that biker is pretty far down the road — I’ve got time! That’s not always the case. When in doubt, play it safe and yield to the bike. Don’t let your last thought before you hit a biker be, shoot, I thought they were going a lot slower than they actually were… 7. Get off your phone on the road! This post only encourages the idea that texting and driving is a huge no-no! Not only does it distract you, but it also lessens your reaction time to potential emergencies like a sudden biker pulling in front of you, etc.
Behind the Wheel

Driving safely in the rain

July 24, 2013
The weather in Kansas City is looking a little rough and stormy this weekend, so I’m offering up what safety advice I have, as well as any comments you guys posted on my Facebook page, concerning driving in the rain! For the most part, your (very helpful!) comments suggested keeping your headlights on, keeping your wipers on, driving more slowly than you normally would, and keeping a bubble of space between your car and the car in front of you. Very great and very safe advice — thanks so much! Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 1.54.31 PMScreen Shot 2013-07-24 at 2.35.56 PM Now to expound on your advice, as well as some of my own! 1. Headlights on: Yes, it’s easier to see when your lights are on, not only when it’s nighttime, but also in foggy or overcast weather. BUT it’s also important to not just consider your own car, but other cars as well. Keeping your headlights on allows other cars to see you better. 2. Keep your personal space: This is important, especially during rainstorms. With water on the road everything is a lot more slick, meaning it takes quite a bit longer to do anything, namely stop. It’s recommended to keep five cars’ space between you and the car in front of you. Also, keep an eye not only on the car’s brake lights in front of you, but also a few cars ahead as well. That way it’s easier to know when people are stopping. 3. Hydroplaning: The first time I ever hydroplaned, I had no idea what was going on, and it was the scariest thing. “Hydroplaning occurs when water on the roadway accumulates in front of your vehicle’s tires faster that the weight of your vehicle can push it out of the way. The water pressure can cause your car to rise up and slide on top of a thin layer of water between your tires and the road.” To avoid hydroplaning, it’s important to not make any sudden movements; stop sooner and start slower. That will prevent skidding as well! 4. 20/20 vision: If it’s foggy or chilly out, make sure you hit your windshield defroster so as to avoid any obstructed vision. Perfect vision through your windshield is a number one priority when driving in the rain! 5. Windshield wipers: Make sure your wipers are in shipshape! As soon as you start noticing signs of them becoming streaky or ineffective, it’s time to get new ones! This goes back to having clear, unobstructed vision while driving. 6. No cruise for you: Cruise control isn’t recommended while driving in the rain. Keeping it on means your car is focused simply on keeping that speed up. Keeping your car on cruise control means you aren’t fully focused on your own speed, and it might draw your attention elsewhere. 7. Know your limits: If the rain is really coming down, don’t be ashamed to pull over and wait out the rain. I’ve been in some crazy rainstorms, and yes, I’ve pulled over before because I just didn’t feel safe driving. No one is going to judge you for staying safe. Be careful out on the road, folks!