Highway Driving: First-Time Prep

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.

Group Riding: Planning Ahead

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.

Car Batteries: Replacing & Routine Maintenance

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.

Climate implications

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.

Rolling Stop: A Small, But Easy to Get Violation

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.

Spring Driving: Seasonal Hazards

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.

Increased activity

​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.

Car Breakdown Management

No one likes to think about what happens when things go wrong while on the road. However, it always helps to be prepared just in case of emergencies. That’s why it’s important to know how to handle a car breakdown. That way, you can keep yourself safe even when on the busier roads…

Car Breakdown Management: Roadside Trouble

Get off the road

The first thing you’ll want to do when handling a car breakdown is to get off the road as soon as you can. You should turn on your hazards lights to let other drivers know something is wrong. That way, they’ll know they should give you some space for you to get off the road. You’ll want to keep your hazards on until your car is either fixed or towed. 

Ideally, you’ll want to pull over on the right shoulder of the road in the event of a car breakdown. This will give you the most space away from the road. If that’s not an option, try and get into the right lane and look for a place to pull off if you can. Only go onto the left shoulder if you have no other options. If you’re in a residential area, then you can try to pull into a parking spot or lot.

Make sure you’re safe

Once you’ve pulled over, your priority should be making sure you’re safe. Make sure that the coast is clear before you get out of your car, especially when on a busy highway. It might be a safer idea to stay in your car instead, for example if the weather is poor. However, if you see any fire or smell smoke during a car breakdown, you should get out of your car quickly.

Once you’re safe, you can give your car a look over. You can try to see if there are any obvious signs of problems. Popping the hood is handy not only for checking your engine, but also as a universal signal to others of a car breakdown.

Call for help

​Once the situation is under control, it’s time to call for help. Much like with other car problems, you won’t want to handle a car breakdown by yourself. If you have a roadside assistance provider, then you’ll want to give them a call. If that’s not an option, then a local towing company or even 911 can help you with getting yourself and your car to safety.