Safe2Drive Blog

3/5/2018

10 Tips for Driving in the Fog

by Penny Beaty

10 Tips for Driving in the Fog

Fog can create extremely dangerous driving conditions that can come upon you quickly without warning. Fog is a cloud covering the ground formed when warm moist air mixes with cold air causing visibility to drop in a matter of minutes.

The number of pile-ups caused by fog is staggering. More than a thousand trucks and cars have stacked up on the nation’s highways over the last two years. When fog creates dangerous conditions on the road, it is best to pull over in a safe parking area and wait until the fog clears. If you must continue driving through the fog, keep these driving safety tips in mind:

Make your vehicle visible

Drive with low beams and fog lights on. High beams can worsen visibility because they reflect off the fog, making it more difficult for you to see what’s ahead of you on the road. Avoid using flashing lights while driving in the fog.

Minimize Distractions

Turn off your cell phone and the stereo. It is critical that drivers stay focused on the road to stay safe.

Listen

Roll down your window to help you hear other traffic on the road.

Turn on Your Windshield Wipers

Use windshield wipers and defrosters to limit excess moisture on the window.

Reduce Your Speed

Slow down and allow extra travel time to reach your destination. When you can’t see other vehicles or the road, a low speed can help you react safely. Use your speedometer as a guide to regulate your speed, because thick fog masks the sensation of speed by removing visual indicators of velocity.

Turn off Your Cruise Control

Turn off cruise control to give you more control of your vehicle.

Increase Your Following Distance

A safe following distance is crucial in fog. Drivers tend to "bunch up" during foggy driving conditions because they feel it’s easier to see. Following too closely is one of the big reasons why massive pile-ups occur. Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to account for sudden stops or changes in the traffic pattern.

Stay in Your Lane

To ensure you are staying in the proper lane, use the right-side pavement line as a guide. Following the lines and reflectors on the road will help you navigate the turns and twist in the road.

Use Your Signals

As always, you should use your turn signals. Other drivers may be using your taillights as a guide, so alert them that you’re pulling off the road.

Do Not Stop on the Road

When visibility is severely limited, find a safe place to park away from travel lanes and wait for conditions to improve. If you can’t see, neither can anyone else. Pull off away from the road. If drivers can’t see the shoulder, they likely won’t see your vehicle either. Turn on your hazard lights to help other drivers know you’re stopped.

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Fog can create extremely dangerous driving conditions that can come upon you quickly without warning. Fog is a cloud covering the ground formed when warm moist air mixes with cold air causing visibility to drop in a matter of minutes.

The number of pile-ups caused by fog is staggering. More than a thousand trucks and cars have stacked up on the nation’s highways over the last two years. When fog creates dangerous conditions on the road, it is best to pull over in a safe parking area and wait until the fog clears. If you must continue driving through the fog, keep these driving safety tips in mind:

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2/22/2018

How To Navigate Through A Roundabout

by Penny Beaty Back to TopRead More
2/16/2018

Tips for Defensive Driving

by Penny Beaty

Distracted Driving Tips

Defensive driving is about anticipation -- knowing what's going on around you, predicting what might happen and knowing how to react quickly when another driver catches you off-guard. It's also about protecting yourself so that you're less likely to be injured in a crash. Something as simple as putting on your seat belt could save your life in an accident.

Be in Control. Taking any medications or controlled substance could slow your reflexes and your judgment enough to cause an accident. Avoid alcohol and drugs when you know you have to drive. Over-the-counter medications or simple cold or allergy medications can cause drowsiness and affect your driving, so it’s important always to read the label of any medication you take before driving.

Being in control allows you time to react quickly to any potential obstacles in the road, like when traffic in front of you suddenly comes to a stop.

Be Well-Rested. Sleepiness is a danger on the road. Driving drowsy causes nearly 2 million accidents. It is like getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol level of 0.08. Get a good night’s sleep before you drive and if your eyelids are starting to droop, take a break, pull off the road and get out and stretch or take a nap.

Be Prepared. Set yourself up in the right driving position: Adjust your seat so you are at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel and your hands are at 9 and 3 o’clock on the steering wheel. Adjust the height of your seat and steering wheel so that you can comfortably see.

Set up your mirrors to reduce your blind spots. Position your rear-view mirror so that it best covers your view straight out the rear window. Then, tilt your head until it almost touches the driver’s side window. Next, adjust your left side mirror so that you can just barely see the side of your car. Finally, position your head so that it is centered in the middle of the car above the console of the car and adjust the right-side mirror so that you can just barely see the right side of your vehicle. When your head is perfectly upright, you should not be able to see the sides of your car.

Pick out your favorite CD, or set your radio or MP3 player before driving.

If you need directions, set up your route in your phone or GPS before you start your car. Use a smartphone app to guide you around traffic jams.

Check the weather and road conditions and make any needed adjustments to your route.

Be Aware. You could be the best driver in the world, but you still need to look out for other drivers. Always put extra space between your car and the one in front of you so that you have enough space to stop quickly if you need to. Watch as far down the road as you can and check your mirrors constantly to know what is behind you. Always be planning an escape route you can use quickly in an emergency.

Do Not Assume Other Drivers Will Always Follow the Rules of the Road. Imagine that the car next to you will change lanes or that an approaching car will run the stop sign. Planning for the unexpected means you won’t find yourself reacting in a panic. Plan your movements, anticipating the worst-case scenario.

Control Your Speed. Don’t drive too much slower or faster than traffic flow. If you drive slower than everyone else, or faster than everyone else, the differences in your vehicles speeds will give you less time to adapt to what other drivers are doing.

Follow the 3-second rule. Since the greatest chance of having an accident is in front of you, using the 3-second rule will assist you to establish and maintain a safe following distance providing adequate time for your vehicle to come to a stop if necessary. When following a large truck or motorcycle, driving at night, or in inclement weather, increase your following distance an additional second.

Look Ahead. Looking ahead means more than watching the car in front of you. It means looking as far ahead as you can. Looking ahead will help you spot any hazards lucking in your path ahead.

Scan the Road. Be aware of your surroundings by constantly scanning the road ahead, looking in your side mirrors and rear-view mirror. Have the full picture of what’s happening around your vehicle to determine possible hazards and to plan ahead.

Have an escape route. The best way to avoid possible dangers in all driving situation is to keep your vehicle positioned where you have the best chance of seeing and being seen. Having an alternate path of travel is also essential, so always leave yourself an escape route, a path to move your vehicle if your immediate path of travel is suddenly blocked.

Stay Focused. You have many things to think about when you’re behind the wheel: road conditions, your speed, and observing traffic laws, signs, signals, and road markings. Staying focused on driving and only driving is critical. Distractions while driving are everywhere: your phone, the radio, your fellow passengers. If you’re running late, you may be tempted to put on your makeup or finish breakfast while driving. Studies find that almost 80 percent of all crashes involve some kind of distraction in the three seconds immediately before the accident.

Put your cell phone out of your reach, even if it’s hands-free. When you’re driving, the only thing that should be on your mind is the road in front of you. Any extra activity can take your concentration off the road. Pull over to talk and text, eat or put on your makeup.

Stay Calm. It’s hard to keep your cool when you are faced with an aggressive driver who is tailgating or cutting you off, but that is exactly what you need to do to stay safe. If possible, allow the aggressive driver to drive ahead of you and distance yourself from their vehicle as much as you can. Staying calm while tempers flare can not only save you from an unwanted accident but a road rage incident as well.

Use Proper Safety Equipment. Make sure your car is properly equipped with safety accessories like airbags, ABS brakes, and traction-control systems. Check your fluids, tire pressure, and lights before you hit the road. Lock your doors, wear your seatbelt at all times and make sure your passengers do the same. Children should be in age-appropriate car seats.

By following these tips, you’ll become a better defensive driver and help to keep yourself and everyone else out on the road safe.

Defensive driving is about anticipation -- knowing what's going on around you, predicting what might happen and knowing how to react quickly when another driver catches you off-guard. It's also about protecting yourself so that you're less likely to be injured in a crash. Something as simple as putting on your seat belt could save your life in an accident.

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1/31/2018

Mastering Parallel Parking

by Penny Beaty

Easy Steps to Mastering Parallel Parking

Parallel parking may seem intimidating at first, but it’s an important maneuver for all drivers to master. Here are a few tips to make the process easy.

Steps to Parallel Parking

  1. Choose a space big enough for your vehicle. The parking space should be at least one and one-half the times the size of your vehicle.
  2. Signal to show the cars around you your intention to park.
  3. Pull up even to the vehicle in front of the space where you wish to park with about two feet between you and the other vehicle. If your vehicles are different lengths, line up the back bumper of your car with the back bumper of the front vehicle.
  4. Stop and turn your front wheels all of the way right and drive backwards slowly toward the curb.
  5. When your front seat is opposite the rear bumper of the front vehicle, quickly turn your steering wheel all of the way to the left.
  6. Back up slowly toward the vehicle behind you without touching it. You should be about six inches from the curb.
  7. Straighten your front wheels, and pull into the final parking position. Center your car in the space.
  8. Check to make sure your right wheels are close enough to the curb. Parking out into the roadway too far can interfere with traffic.

Common Mistakes:

Here are some common mistakes to watch out for when parallel parking:

  • Not using your turn signal to show the cars behind you your intent to park.
  • Choosing a space that is too small for your vehicle. The space needs to be one and one-half times the size of your car to allow you to maneuver well.
  • Incorrect starting position, being too close to the car beside you or not far enough ahead of the parking spot to begin the parallel parking maneuver.
  • Straightening out the wheel too soon when backing in, which positions the car too far off the curb.
  • Bumping the car in front of or behind your vehicle.
  • Thinking you can pull forward into a parallel parking space instead of backing in.

Remember:

  • Park with your right wheels close to the right curb. Don’t park facing oncoming traffic.
  • Spacing and timing are very important while parallel parking. If you are too close to the car ahead, or if your wheels cut to the right too soon, you may hit the rear bumper of the car in front of you.
  • If you are too far out from the car in front, you won’t get your wheels close enough to the curb.
  • If you cut your wheels to the left too soon, you’ll hit the curb.
  • Parallel parking takes practice. Don’t be discouraged; you’ll get it!

Finally, each time you leave a parallel parking space, make sure you signal first, watch for oncoming traffic, and move slowly.

Parallel parking may seem intimidating at first, but it’s an important maneuver for all drivers to master. Here are a few tips to make the process easy.

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