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Cars > jennyrose’s Garage > Blog

 

8 Ways to Stay Alert on Long Drives

By jennyrose

Driving for prolonged periods of time can be extremely monotonous. The worst thing about driving at a stretch is that it can lead you to becoming inattentive, which takes your focus away from the road. Tiredness and drowsiness are other outcomes which are often found to plague drivers.

We all know and understand that losing focus when driving can result in fatal accidents. However, there are several steps you can take to stay awake and alert when driving long distances.

It isn’t always easy to figure out when you’re too weary to be driving. Mentioned ahead are a few signs that indicate that pulling over may be a good idea –

* Daydreaming and thinking about random things.
* Experiencing heaviness in the eyelids along with trouble focusing on the road.
* Constant blinking.
* Rubbing your eyes and/or yawning frequently.
* Difficulty remembering the last few miles driven.
* Skipping traffic signals and missing exit signs.
* Drifting from your lane or tailgating.
* Feelings of restlessness and irritability.

Driving when drowsy is extremely dangerous as it causes lapses in attention, thereby resulting in slow reaction times. While seemingly effortless, driving is a complex activity that involves quick and critical decision making. Many a times, the brain finds itself inadequately equipped to function optimally and tackle such decision making, even if you’re wide awake. Herein lies the importance of being alert when driving.

Think you can stay alert even when drowsy? Get this – the National Survey of Distracted and Drowsy Driving Attitudes and Behaviors in 2002 found that more than a third of adult drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in their lives.

Another study conducted in November 2014 revealed that drowsy drivers are involved in an estimated 21% of fatal crashes.

Concerned?

Here’s how you can increase your alertness when behind the while and stay safe on the road.

1. Find a Companion

When embarking on a long drive, it is best to take someone along so that you will have someone to talk to. This means both of you need to be awake throughout the drive and, if possible, even take turns behind the wheel. This is one of the easiest ways of staying awake.

Remember, if the passenger is feeling exhausted, chances are the driver is too. This is when you should pull over and get some much-needed sleep.

2. Turn up the Music

So you’re driving alone and have no one to talk to you and keep you awake? No problem! You can make music your best friend. Carry your playlist along and listen to some peppy numbers or engaging audiobooks. Still feeling dull? Crank up the volume a tad. This should pump you up. Don’t have a music system? Sing along. Loud!

3. Caffeine Helps

Drinking black coffee can do wonders when it comes to keeping you up and alert! Whether you brew it yourself or buy it, get your hands on some black coffee before you hit the road. Apart from acting like a stimulant, the coffee’s bitterness will give you the much-needed jolt before even entering your bloodstream. If you don’t drink coffee, consider sipping on an energy drink instead.

4. Healthy Eats

Snacking at the right time can provide you with the energy boost you’re going to need for the long drive. However, avoid sugary snacks. While they will provide you with an instant surge in your energy level, it will be followed by a low which can cause physical and mental lethargy. Think healthy food combinations such as peanut butter and whole wheat crackers/celery sticks, baby carrots and low-fat dip, or yogurt and fresh fruit/nuts.

5. Try Facial Exercises

While facial exercises are known to tone your face muscles and reduce wrinkles, you should also know that they can be quite effective in keeping you alert. The next time you go on a long drive, try these common movements -

* Extend your lower jaw out in the front, then move it side-to-side.
* Suck in your cheeks and hold them that way for about 10 seconds.
* Open your mouth wide, then tightly pucker your lips.
* Open your eyes wide, then raise your eyebrows. Repeat.

6. Get Some Fresh Air

Sitting in the same place and doing the same thing for extended period of hours can get dull and cumbersome. To add to that, the car enclosure and the processed air can make you sleepy. Switch off that air-conditioner and roll down the windows, open up the sunroof or drop the top and get your dose of fresh air (if the weather permits). It’ll breathe a new lease of life into you and wake you up.

7. Let There Be Light

Environments with dim lighting can incite weariness and sleepiness. Exposure to bright lights, on the other hand, can increase alertness. It is, therefore, suggested to keep the interior car light on when driving in the evening or at night. You don’t want to be negligent when driving in the dark. However, if you’ve been a victim of someone else’s negligent driving as a result of them driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal/dangerous drugs, do get in touch with a skilled lawyer to sort out the matter in a lawful manner.

8. Stop. Stretch. Rest. Repeat.

Regardless of how much of a tearing hurry you may be in, it is crucial that you make frequent, short stops to rest and stretch. Make it a point to make hourly pit-stops at an eatery, gas station, or rest area to get some fresh air, stretch your limbs, take a quick nap, or do whatever it takes to recharge yourself for the next hour.

Conclusion

A lot of drivers think that they can keep their mind alert even when feeling drowsy or sleepy. The truth, however, is that the urge to sleep is a natural phenomenon, one that is powerful enough to take control of even the best driver. An important part of being alert is realizing when you need to stop and rest. This is the most effective way of staying safe. Plus, the above tips should go a long way in helping you dodge the sleep bullet and have a pleasant road trip.

Preventing Winter Driving Hazards: 7 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid

By jennyrose

Imagine this - you are on your way to work; something seems diabolical about the unusually cold winter morning, and before you realize it, your car’s windshield has been blanketed under a thick carpet of snow. This happens within split seconds and bam! Your car crashes right into the vehicle ahead of you!

According to a study conducted by the University of California, poor weather is associated with 7,000 fatalities, 800,000 injuries and more than 1.5 million car crashes nationally each year in the U.S., with an estimated economic toll of $42 billion.

Slush, sleet and slippery streets are a part and parcel of winters, and before you know it, a snowy jaunt may turn into a dangerous drive. You cannot prevent the occurrence of these elements. However, you can save yourself from being in an accident by avoiding some common driving errors during inclement weather.

Here are seven mistakes you should avoid to steer clear of trouble.

1. Not Matching Speed to Driving Conditions

Driving without following the specified speed limit is the deadliest mistake a driver can make.

In winters, driving too fast reduces the amount of time you have to react to road situations and increases the magnitude of a crash.

It is, therefore, important to match your driving speed with the weather conditions. Lower your speed if the conditions are challenging due to slippery road surface or reduced visibility. You should be extra cautious when driving on hills and around turns/corners.

2. Not Checking the Weather Conditions before Leaving

Assessing the road conditions before setting out to drive is essential. You can check with the local radio stations and the news channels for the latest on weather warnings, traffic and road conditions.

This information will help you make the right decisions related to changing the route, watching out for snow or cancelling the trip altogether. Most importantly, it will help you avoid getting stuck in an unforeseen weather gridlock.

American Automobile Association suggests postponing road trips if bad weather seems likely.

3. Not Carrying Emergency Supplies

The following items can be extremely important if you get stuck in snow or experience car trouble during chilly weather:

* Flares
* Blankets
* Compass and road maps
* Extra pair of gloves and boots
* Long-lasting foods like nuts, dried fruits or granola bars
* Radio
* Engine oil
* Washer fluid
* Coolant
* Flashlight
* Snow shovel and ice scraper
* Water bottle
* First-aid kit

4. Not Gearing up Your Car for Winters

Several drivers find themselves caught off-guard as the frosty weather approaches. Preparing your car and brushing up on your winter driving skills is important.

Follow the essentials to prepare your car:

* Make sure your car tires are adequately inflated.
* Check your car battery for signs of fraying or corrosion.
* Fill your engine with oil with low viscosity, in order to ensure that it functions smoothly.
* Use the appropriate amount of antifreeze and water in the radiator.
* Check the belts and hoses for signs of wear and tear and replace them, if needed.
* Have your car’s four-wheel drive inspected by a mechanic.

Most importantly, remember, winterizing your car won’t prevent you from accidents altogether. It is a safety measure you should take, but you should also have a trustworthy car insurer and a lawyer by your side.

If you’ve been a victim of an accident or car damage due to another person’s negligence, consult a reputable car accident attorney. He/she can help you claim the compensation you are entitled to. Online search can be quite helpful. You could search online for a car accident lawyer and this will provide you with a list of several lawyers.

5. Driving with Poor Visibility

Not being able to see clearly when driving can result in disastrous consequences!

Good visibility plays a crucial role in driving safely. Windows, lights, windshield and wiper blades should be cleaned regularly and kept in good shape so that drivers can see and be seen without difficulty.

6. Not Knowing How to Control a Skid

If you feel your tires are starting to slip, slamming your brakes is a strict no-no. Not only will it remove traction from your tires, but also make it difficult for you to control your vehicle. Instead, you should ease off the accelerator and let the car slow down on its own.

When driving through snow-covered corners, you should begin to apply the brakes slowly yet steadily as you approach the turn. Once in the corner, ease off the brakes and use the car's remaining traction to steer through the turn.

7. Tailing the Vehicle in Front of You

Tailgating is dangerous, regardless of what the weather is like. But, in winters it can pose more risks for the driver as well as others.

Why, you ask?

It takes four to ten times longer to brake on icy or snowy pavement than it does on dry asphalt road. That gives you less time to react in case of an emergency, so make sure to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you.

Conclusion

Winter can bring along a plethora of adverse weather conditions such as snow, fog, rain and ice. Driving in chilly weather is not only cumbersome, but also dangerous. You need to be vigilantly attentive. Even a second of inattention while driving could lead to a disaster or even cost a life. Avoid the above mentioned mistakes and driving in winters won’t seem so arduous. Remember, merely knowing the safety measures is not enough. Follow them religiously and you will save you a lot of hassle.

Have your car look spanking new: DIY makeover

By jennyrose

So your car has increasingly been looking worse for the wear, even though it is hardly a year old. You also keep finding new scratches on it each morning that seem to have appeared out of nowhere. If you have any sort of emotional attachment to this vehicle, you must find such a state of affairs mildly despairing, if not depressing.

Giving your car a makeover is an excellent way to rectify the above. You can employ garage services for this, except it won’t be easy on your pocket. Your car might not even need all of the services mentioned in a makeover/makeover package, but you will pay for them regardless.

Save that money for yourself. Read on for ways in which you can have your worn-out car lookingspanking new again. Consider it a DIY job that won’t take up more than a Sunday morning.

Learn what the garage service providers use

No one will tell you what they use to make the cars gleam like they do. No worries. Employ your research skills to find that out. Excellent research is a great way to produce excellent results.

Also find out where you can buy that raw material. This is easier than it sounds, trust me. Just get to it.

Invest in a car polishing kit

A car polishing kit (could be known differently in your area)is nothing short of a magic kit. It typically does the following:

- The polish gives the car’s surface a finish worthy of a showroom.

- The kit contains scratch-removal liquids that work like a charm.

- Not only that, they also make the car scratch-proof (to a certain extent). This is the best and the easiest way of ridding your car of those pesky scratches that seem to have a mind of their own.

- The wax/polish cleans the upholstery, too. You will see layers of dirt and grime literally disappearing in front of your eyes, revealing the upholstery underneath looking brand new.

- The polish also makes jaded plastic, like the dashboard, the steering wheel, etc. look sparkling new.

- It does an equally brilliant job of cleaning the glass – the windows, the mirrors, and the lights.

The liquids and the wax are used so sparingly that one kit can be used for multiple makeovers.These kits are also easily available. If you do not find them on the Internet or at your local store, ask your local garage service provider to sell it to you. They will be happy to oblige.If you can’t find a kit, you can purchase the items separately.

Vacuum the car floor

Depending on how badly the floor has been abused a vacuum job may work wonders. If not, you may have to buy new floor mats or liners. If it’s only a matter of cleaning the debris and the waste on the floor though, a good vacuuming session will give you excellent results.

Can I fix broken tail lights, too?

No, you cannot. You should not even attempt to. Physical damage of that kind should only be looked at by professionals. Also, make sure you are adequately covered for such damages. Check out car insurance quotes on the Internet to see if you can do one better on your current policy.

Accessorize

One can get rather creative with car accessories;look to the Internet for some interesting options. You could buy electronic gadgets like new speakers, Bluetooth, and new headphones for your car. Other accessories you might want to consider (depending on the make and model of your care) are window signs, bug shields, air filters, cargo liners, sun shades, dash covers, storage cases, under seat consoles, etc.

Get oil or air-based fresheners to keep your beloved car smelling awesome. Make use of the car cover every day even if you feel too lazy to do it. Keep the car in a good condition. That starts with being responsible toward it, and while you are on the road. Little things add up over time and can make a tremendous difference to how a car ages.
 

Cars > jennyrose’s Garage > Blog

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