Many modern cars come with a range of different “modes” to alter their performance. If there’s one mode many drivers don’t understand, it’s sport mode. Therefore, it’s helpful to know what this mode does, how it works, and when it’s best for you to use it…
Sport Mode: Optimize Car Performance
What it does
Drivers can usually turn on sport mode by pressing a button or twisting a dial. You might wonder, then, just how much the mode can change? In fact, it actually does change your car’s performance in three distinct areas: the engine, transmission, and suspension.
In this mode, your car’s engine will be more “sensitive” to the throttle, increasing its acceleration. It’ll also increase revving capacity by extend the automatic shift points in your car’s transmission. You’ll notice too that the suspension tightens up and will feel a bit more “stiff.” This improves performance on paved surfaces, especially on highways.
Use in cars
In the past, you’d usually only find sport mode as an option in higher-end cars. The most common usage was in sports cars, hence the name. However, recently many other cars have had this mode included stock. For instance, tucks, SUVs, and even minivans can all be found with sport mode features!
No matter the car, the results of the mode are generally the same: your car becomes more responsive than when you drive it regularly. This is why so many manufactures are including it in all their vehicles. Plenty of drivers describe the mode as “fun” or “thrilling”, so having it included gives them another feature to draw customers in with.
While sport mode does come with some improvements, it also has some downsides. The increased engine power will mean more gas consumption. This will lessen the usual MPG that your car gets compared to when driving it normally. Plus, the extra performance can mean extra wear on your engine and tires.
You also need to make sure that you’re aware of when you should use sport mode. Using it in poor weather conditions and on roads with sharp curves/turns can be risky. Instead, it’s safest to use it on days with clear weather and on more open and straight roads.
For new drivers, highway driving can be the cause of a lot of anxiety. The faster speeds and increased traffic can make them worry about if they’ll be able to manage. However, keeping a few important things in mind can help them ease into it and get more comfortable…
Highway Driving: Pull It Off Safely
Pick a good time
Timing is very important for a person’s first highway driving experience. For instance, you won’t want to practice your driving early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This is when there’s a lot of heavy traffic as people are rushing to and from work. You’ll also want to make sure the weather is good before doing any driving.
In general, it’s good to try and practice say in the mid-afternoon, when not too many people will be driving. Ideally, this will also be on a bright and clear day without any risks of rain, snow, or fog. That way, you can clearly see and won’t feel as much pressure.
Stick to the right lane
Your lane choice is also important for when you start doing highway driving. The right lane is intended to be the general travel lane. This is where most drivers should be while on the highway. The left lane is the passing lane, allowing for other drivers to pass ahead if say there’s an accident, or if someone is going well below the speed limit.
For a new driver, it’s best they stay in the right lane. That way, they can stick to the speed limit without worrying about those behind them getting frustrated. Should they ever need to use the left lane, it should only be to pass someone. After that, they’ll want to get back into the right lane.
Keep calm and focused
The biggest thing about highway driving is staying calm and focused on the road. It’s important not to take things personally when driving out there. For example, if someone cuts them you off, don’t get upset. Instead, let it go. It could be the case that they genuinely did it by mistake!
Also, avoid unnecessary distractions while you drive. This especially includes your cell phone. Things can change very quickly on the highway, so you always need to give it your full attention.
When you’re new to motorcycle riding, you might want to find a community to enjoy your hobby with. Group riding is a popular pastime for many, especially as you’re getting used to riding regularly. However, there are a few simple rules that you might want to follow in terms of group etiquette…
Group Riding: Make It Easier
Meet ahead of time
Before doing any kind of group riding, it helps to meet up ahead of time. Riding with just one other person can become confusing if you aren’t on the same page. As you’d expect, the more people you add in the group, the more of a problem this becomes.
Having everyone meet up beforehand will ensure you all know what’s going on. That way, you’ll know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. This is also a good time to coordinate any stops, to ensure that no one ends up lost or out of the loop.
Watch your group size
It’s also important to watch your group size when doing group riding. Having too large of a group can end up being a safety hazard. What you’ll find is it’ll be hard for everyone to keep up and have enough space, increasing the chances of someone either splitting from the group or getting into an accident.
In general, it’s good to max out your groups at seven riders. Anything more than that, and you should consider making subgroups instead. Be sure that the most experienced riders lead and sweep the group from the back, to help keep everyone else together.
Stagger your formation
Group riding is all about making sure everyone has enough space. Bunching up will make it harder for everyone to react safely to changes on the road. In turn, you could end up in a pile-up due to everyone being too close together.
A staggered formation can help make sure this sort of situation is avoided. The leader will ride on the left side of the lane, and the second rider will ride a few motorcycle lengths behind on the right side. Repeat this pattern for the rest of the group, and go into single file if the road is curvy or conditions get dangerous.
Your car battery is an important part for keeping things running properly. However, when it comes to replacing car batteries, many drivers don’t know when the time is right. Knowing the signs and factors of failing batteries can help you replace them before die for good. After all, routine maintenance is what makes a car go a long way…
Replacing Car Batteries: When is it Time?
Signs of a dying battery
Knowing what a dying battery looks like is an important part of replacing car batteries. There are a few signs that you can check for even without going under the hood. For example, if your car is cranking slower or your check battery light is on, that can indicate that your battery is in need of change.
There are also some more obvious signs of a dying battery as well. A bloated battery case is a sign of an internal issue with the battery. Having battery leaks or residue buildup on the battery are also signs of your battery needing to be changed.
The climate can also have an impact on replacing car batteries. High temperatures can evaporate the water in your battery’s acid, hurting its performance and lifespan. It also can lead to increased corrosion both inside and outside the battery.
However, cold temperatures can be just as harsh on car batteries. Cold weather means your battery has to work harder to keep things running. It also can make your engine oil thicker, adding even more strain on your battery.
Know your driving habits
How you drive certainly plays a large part in your battery’s life. Constantly taking short trips prevents your battery from having time to recharge. This can lead to an overall decrease in battery life and performance.
Even not driving can lead you to needing to change your battery. Your car batteries will continue to drain even when not in use. If your car hasn’t been used in a while, you might need to check if your battery still has some juice in it.
Driving with a dying battery can be quite risky. You run the risk of being left stranded if it dies while you’re driving. Knowing when and why you might need a battery change is helpful for avoiding this potential outcome.
When it comes to traffic laws, we often pick and chose the ones we want to obey. For instance, we may try not to speed but probably don’t worry much about coming to a full stop. Instead, we just roll through the intersection or turn by doing a rolling stop. While this can seem like a small violation, it can actually be a very bad habit.
Rolling Stop: Why to Avoid
Give Yourself Time to Judge
The rolling stop can be rather dangerous because you don’t give yourself enough time to judge. When you come to a complete stop, you can assess the intersection or turn. Is another car coming? How far away is it? How fast is the car traveling? Do you have enough time to pull out safely without cutting the car off?
These are all questions that should run through your mind at a stop. Before you make the next, you should answer each one, allowing yourself to judge whether it’s safe. However, if you only do a rolling stop, you don’t give yourself enough time to judge any of these questions.
It May Cost You
The law requires you to come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign. Therefore, a rolling stop or a failure to stop counts as a traffic violation. That means you could face a ticket if an officer stops you. That ticket will cost you in fines and fees. In some cases, too many violations can lead to an increase in your insurance premium.
How to Prevent It
At times, it can be hard to prevent a rolling stop. You check quickly and don’t see anything or feel you have enough time. So, you just keep rolling through without thinking much about it. But coming to a complete stop requires a conscious effort. When you approach a stop sign, give yourself a three second count.
First, allow your tires to completely stop turning. That indicates that your car is at a complete stop. Once your tires stop spinning, count three seconds. During this time, judge any oncoming traffic and assess if you can move safely. If so, after the three seconds you are free to go. When you stick to a three second rule, you can be sure you’re coming to a full stop.
With springtime in full swing and the winter weather long gone, you might think driving will be a bit easier. However, spring driving comes with it’s own hazards that you’ll want to watch for. Being mindful of these risks will help keep you safe and enjoy the spring weather while on the road…
Spring Driving: What To Watch For
Rain & floods
If winter is a time for snow, then spring is a time for rain. Springtime rain will make the roads wet and slippery, making your spring driving much more dangerous. Rain itself accounts for almost 50% of weather-related accidents. This rain could even cause flooding, which could completely block off roads and water-log your car. That’s why it’s important to know how to handle this kind of weather. You’ll want to watch your speed and give plenty of following distance when driving in the rain. This will allow you to slow down and stop safely as well, preventing potential hydroplaning. If the rain really bad, it’s probably best to just stay off the roads until it passes.
Road wear & tear
Winter weather can cause some serious damage to roads. Ice can cause cracks and holes to form in the asphalt, which remain well after the ice is gone. Snowplows, salt, and sand can also tear up the roads, causing potholes and other problems. As a result, your spring driving could be taking place on some pretty worn-out roads. Due to these less-than-ideal roads, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the roads ahead. Try to be on the look for any potholes or cracks which could cause problems for you. If you can, try to avoid these hazards. When you can’t, slow down and drive over them slowly to avoid serious damage to your tires and suspension.
Spring also brings about some increased activity on the roads. Bikers, cyclists, and even animals will be much more common on the roads now. That’s why you’re going to want to be extra attentive when doing your spring driving. Make sure to share the roads properly, and avoid any distractions which could lead to accidents.