Driving, no matter how often we do it, is a dangerous act that requires skill, attention, and multitasking. While most of us take to the roadways every single day, there are plenty of drivers who fail to observe the basic rules of the road. Due to risky drivers, amongst other factors, it’s important that all of us take part in defensive driving. Defensive driving essentially means to drive with correct habits, and stay alert to present, and potential, dangers in the roadway.
While most of us do this to some degree, there are many others who don’t understand exactly how to go about it. So, we’re here to help. Below, you will find some basic tips for defensive driving and protecting yourself from potential accidents…
Defensive Driving: Tips for Staying Alert and Safe
Focus on the Task at Hand
One quick way to put yourself at risk, is to stop defensive driving and become distracted. Distractions keep you from being alert in terms of road conditions, and drivers around you. Distractions are everywhere, and we often indulge just a little bit. From answering a phone call, a text, and changing the song on the radio— taking your eyes, or mind, off of the road can be quite dangerous. Instead, focus on your surroundings. Answer the call or text later, make your playlist ahead of time, and keep your eyes on the road.
When In Doubt, Yield
Many accidents come from uncertainty about who has the right of way. Should you go? Or is it their turn? An inability to make quick decisions, and slight hesitation, can lead to an accident in an instant. So, if you aren’t sure about oncoming cars, a stop sign, or a yield— wait for the space to clear, and then take your turn. However, there are plenty of defensive driving techniques and road rules as to how to handle these situations. If you find that you’re unsure, do a little research in your time off of the road.
One rule of thumb I always use for stop signs, is to ‘peel off layers’ of cars. The first person to make a full stop takes their turn, then another person, and continue this pattern from all sides of the stop. Take some time, learn standard protocol, and become a better driver. We can all do things to become better drivers.
Watch for Blind Spots
Blind spots are one of the leading causes in accidents. Therefore, you have to know where yours are located in your vehicles. For most cars, the blind spots exist on either side towards the rear of the vehicles. Most blinds spots are worse on the right side, being that it is one opposite the driver. Therefore, you should always check over your shoulder before merging or switching lanes. In addition, defensive driving requires you to be aware of other’s blind spots as well. By staying out of their blind spots, you reduce your chances of being in an accident.
Defensive driving is all about anticipating the moves of other drivers. When you anticipate their moves, you can help prevent yourself from being in harms way. So, pay attention to the roadway, prepare for potential danger, and keep your eyes on the road. An accident can happen in any instant, do what you can to prevent them on your end.
It can already be quite hard to drive in rainy or stormy weather. However, this weather could also cause flooded roads, which make it much harder to get around. Floods can appear even when you wouldn’t expect them, like during summer rainstorms. That’s why it’s important to know how to handled a flood while in your car…
Flooded Roads: How To Handle Them
Eyeball the water levels
Flooded roads can be a bit deceiving. Depending on where the road is or how shallow the land is around it, the flood might not seem as bad. However, this kind of assumption can be dangerous. That’s why it’s a good idea to perform an eyeball test before going near a flooded road.
Just 6 inches of water can cause damage to your car and lead to you stalling out. A foot of water could even cause your car to start floating! If the water levels appear to be 6 inches or deeper, it’s best to avoid heading down that road. Instead, try to find a safer, alternate route.
Take it slow
When it rains, the roads become more slick. As a result, your car tires lose some traction. That’s why slower speeds are generally preferred during poor weather. Going too fast could lead to hydroplaning, which could then lead to a potential accident. Flooded roads further increase this kind of risk.
The higher the flood, the less traction your tires will have on the road. If you try and speed through the flood, you might end up loosing all your traction and stall out. It also increases the risk of you loosing control of your car. That’s why it’s preferable to take it slow and keep your focus on the flooded road.
Watch for hazards
One of the main dangers from flooded roads it what they might be hiding underneath the water. It can be very difficult to see underneath the floodwaters, especially while driving. Combine this with the fact that the poor weather might have caused environmental damage, and their could be something in the water which could cause damage to your car.
That’s why you’ll want to scan the environment before you enter any flooded roads. Look for things like any fallen trees or whipped-up debris which might tip you off to a problem. Fallen power lines are especially dangerous, but also potentially easier to spot. If you think the road might not be safe underneath the water, look for another way around.
When it comes to visiting friends and family, for a lot of people that means it’s time for a road trip. Going to see family and friends can be a lot of fun, but getting there may take a while. A lot can happen while you’re on the road for many hours, so it’s important be ready. In that case, these road trip hacks can go a long way to getting you prepared...
Road Trip Hacks: Safe and Convenient Travels
Bring the Charger
Most important of all road trip preparation, is to bring the charger. At some point during the ride, a device will need a charge. If you’re traveling with others, they may use the same charger as you. So, try bringing a multi-port charger. That way everyone can use their own cord, at the same time. In addition, be sure not to leave the house without your phone charger. For most people, their phone serves as their main GPS. You want to make sure it doesn’t lose it’s charge. Furthermore, consider purchasing a solar, or battery, powered device for when all else fails.
Bring a Map
Next on the list of road trip hacks, bring a map. No matter how reliable you feel your phone is, it’s best to have a physical copy of a map. While this might seem old school, you never know what could happen. You could break your phone, lose it at a rest stop, or just lose battery power. For this reason, you should have a back up in the form of a physical map. In an emergency, this could come in handy.
Leave the Suitcases
Instead of carrying a large suitcase, try bringing a duffle bag. These are soft and pliable, making them much easier to pack. In addition, they tend to be much lighter than a suitcase. Therefore, this will help reduce the weight in your car on your road trip. Plus, if you have to store bags inside the vehicle, this bag will be much more comfortable for passengers than sitting beside a big suitcase.
Bring an Emergency Kit
Last on the list of road trip hacks, you should bring an emergency kit. This should include basic tools such as a flash light and screw driver. Also, include some duct tape and super glue in case you need to patch something quickly. Not to mention, you may want to include an empty gas can in case you end up needing fuel. As a rule of thumb, you should also always include a spare tire and tools to change it in your emergency kit.
In short, road trip hacks are all about preparing for the unexpected. So much can happen while you’re on the road that you can’t prepare for everything. But you should do your best to be ready for an emergency.
As all bikers know, motorcycles come with problems. Any hobby vehicle, actually, will have a problem or two at some point. Sometimes, you have a problem occur that is uncommon and unheard of. However, other times, you have one of the common motorcycle problems that riders face every day. Check to see if your problem is one of the common ones!
Common Motorcycle Problems & Prevention
You should always check your tire pressure before you ride. If you have improper tire pressure, you could cause your tires to wear out too quickly. In addition to this, you should check the tread on your tires. One of the common motorcycle problems riders face can be simply traced back to the tires on the motorcycle. Because the tires take all of the pressure from the bike, they need to be checked often and thoroughly.
Chain Lubrication Problems
A defective chain could cause you to have a major accident, causing harm to you and the bike. Having a properly lubricated chain will avoid chains breaking or the drive train locking up. Chains snapping are amongst the most dangerous of the common motorcycle problems riders face daily.
Dirt and Debris
If your bike is running poorly, give it a good cleaning. One of the most common motorcycle problems is also one of the easiest to fix. Check your maintenance manual first, but it could be as simple as cleaning a spark plug. Sometimes they just need a good clean to make it run smoothly again. This can also help if the bike is not starting.
Motorcycle batteries have a short lifespan compared to other vehicular batteries. Because of this, it ranks high on the light of common motorcycle problems. Make sure you are charging your battery at the end of each ride. Your owner’s manual will also have tips on how to keep it charged.
Replacing the hoses on your fuel-injected motorcycles regularly will keep them from drying out and cracking. Just like with anything, proper and routine maintenance will keep you from facing the common motorcycle problems that every rider faces.
We all try and take steps to be a good friend to the people we love. Whether that means being there when our friends need us, answering calls, or delivering food when sick. Everyone’s love language is a little bit different. But, there will come a time in every friendship where we will have a choice to make: who is going to be the DD this evening? We’re all going out, we all want to have fun, but someone has to get us home safe. Your friend Sara did it last time, so it’s your turn. Being a designated driver is difficult for a number of reasons, but there are a lot of unsung benefits to taking this route, versus taking an Uber or risking the drive home…
Designated Driver: The Benefits
1: You save money
Going out for a night of drinking with friends can be a ton of fun. You drink, you dance, laugh, and have a great time with friends. While nights like these are always fun, they can also be quite expensive. Between buying drinks, ordering Ubers, and the inevitable drunken snack— the cost adds up quickly. While you likely have fun money set aside in your budget, you don’t want to spend it all in one place. This is where being the designated driver can really be useful to your finances.
2. Avoid Hangover
One of the worst things about drinking, is your body taking revenge the day after. You wake up with a headache, stomach ache, and not wanting to drink ever again. However, when you decide to be the designated driver, you aren’t drinking. And I shouldn’t have to tell you how not drinking can prevent even the nastiest of hangovers…
3. Keep friends safe
One of the best things about being the designated driver, is you know for a fact that your friends are going to make it home safe. Because, well, you’re the one ensuring their safety. While you don’t want to be the responsible one on your weekend, there are some pretty inevitable upsides. Not to mention, your friends will be eternally grateful.
4. You won’t have to do it next time
Lastly, and most importantly, by taking on the DD responsibilities, you know that you won’t be the one stuck with the duty next time around. Plus, if you have a large group of friends, you might not have to do it for quite a while.
Being a designated driver can seem like all downsides, but when you think about it— there are a lot of good things about taking your turn behind the wheel on a Friday night.
We’ve all heard about some wacky laws. For example, you can only have silly string in a private home in a part of Connecticut, not in public. Little known traffic laws in South Carolina are a little less silly, but still sometimes come as a surprise to some. If you’re a South Carolinian or going to be visiting the state soon, make sure you know about these laws to prepare yourself!
Little Known Traffic Laws: South Carolina
This is one of the extremely helpful little known traffic laws for those crossing the South Carolina border. In the state, it is illegal to have bumper stickers on your car that display “obscene or indecent” words or pictures. If written a citation for this, the fine could be up to $200. Don’t worry, though. This citation is rare.
You must pull over to the far lane for emergency vehicles. While this is probably the more popular of the little known traffic laws we are discussing, it’s very important. If you cannot pull over, you must slow down. The fine for failing to do so can cost anywhere between $300 and $500.
Motorcycles and Red Lights
If you ride a motorcycle and have found yourself waiting at a red light too long, you’ll be happy to hear about little known traffic laws that let you break the law, kind of. If you are waiting at a red light and it has failed to turn green after 120 seconds, you may proceed with caution and proceed. Keep in mind, if your action causes an accident, you’ll be found at fault. This will come with a $100 and four points on your license.
It is illegal to drive slowly in the left lane. Specifically, this is one of the little known traffic laws that actually prohibits you from stayingin the left lane. Slower traffic must stay in the right lane to keep from traffic building up behind both lanes.
Some little known traffic laws are not actually laws. For example, you should pull over for funeral processions as a courtesy, but it’s not a law. Similarly, driving with headphones in is not illegal, but dangerous. These actions will not get you a ticket, but out of respect or safety, it is best to avoid these behaviors.