Safe Driving

Emergency Car Kits

emergency car kitYou never know when you will need an emergency car kit to help you when you are stranded somewhere. In most situations, there are other vehicles traveling the road or there are homes nearby. But what do you do if you are traveling in the country late at night? Maybe your traveling in one of the western states with few homes, towns or places you can go for help. On some highways, it can be over 100 miles to the next place with services. Having an emergency car kit in your car can make life much easier for you while waiting for help!

An emergency car kit Should Include

  • Food that won’t spoil such as granola bars (avoid provisions that may be difficult to open such as canned food)
  • Water—use plastic bottles that won’t break if the water freezes and make sure to replace them every six months
  • Blankets
  • Extra clothing and boots


  • First aid kit, including a seatbelt cutter(glove compartment)
  • Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush
  • Candle inside a deep can and matches
  • Wind-up flashlight
  • Whistle—in case you need to attract attention
  • Roadmaps


  • Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping) to help you out of a snow bank
  • Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid
  • Tow rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Warning lights or road flares
  • And of course, your cellular phone to call for emergency or towing services

Don’t get stranded on the road without these essentials. You never know how long you may need to wait for help especially during winter storms.

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Self Driving Driverless Cars for Senior Drivers

Self Driving Driverless Cars for Senior DriversA friend of mine just told me that he had to take his dad’s car because he could no longer drive and he had lost his license. It was actually a sad day for both of them. Recognizing that his father had lost his independence and needed more help was tough. It was even tougher for his father who now must rely on others to get around or take a taxi from time to time. This is where we think that self driving cars for senior drivers could be a solution to the aging problem for seniors and baby boomers in general.

Self Driving Driverless Cars for Senior Drivers – License

My friend’s father has already lost his license! Does this mean that if he owned a self driving car, that he could not operate it even though he was technically not driving? At the present time as we understand it, you must be able to take over the car and drive it in emergency situations. If you do not have a license, would this mean that he could not own a car or operate a self driving car?

A self driving car would certainly provide him with a degree of independence that he would not have. Many seniors facing this reality are very concerned about being able to drive, to get out, to buy groceries and to enjoy some entertainment. They do not want to be stuck in their homes.

It will be a few years yet before self driving cars are on the road in any large numbers, but this writer intends to have one sometime in the next 4 or 5 years! I love new technology and as a baby boomer, this car will likely drive better than I could in later years. So why not be safe and drive a driverless car. Or should we say operate a driverless car?

Self Driving Driverless Cars for Disabled

Self driving driverless cars for disabled consumers could bring a new level of independence! Imagine, your disability has prevented you from ever driving a car. With the introduction of this new technology, suddenly you can purchase a car that will drive you from point A to B and you do not need help from anyone, depend on a taxi or take a bus. This technology really has the potential to revolutionize car driving for disabled people, seniors who are uncomfortable driving and anyone who just wants to relax while traveling. But there are lot’s of hurdles to overcome and it may be a few years yet before this is a real possibility.

Self Driving Driverless Cars for Disabled – Issues

The technology still has a little ways to go. Google’s self driving car has over a million miles on it and most if not all car manufacturers have research and development projects to perfect this concept. It may be another 4 or 5 years before we see driverless cars on the roads, but they will be soon.

It is far more problematic to deal with the insurance and liability issues. Every city and government is struggling with how to handle the issues of a driverless car. Can anyone purchase and operate a driverless car? Do you need to have a driver’s license? Who is liable in accident? The owner, the car manufacturer, or the software supplier that is controlling the car?

What about hacking the car? There have been reports of so-called smart cars being hacked already. The hacker has taken over the car, the brakes etc and even stopped the car on the side of the road. This is another major area for manufacturers to think about and deal with.

Self driving driverless cars for disabled consumers would have a huge benefit for this segment of our population. Will they need to have a special drivers license? Will they be able to obtain insurance? There are lots of bureaucratic issues to be resolved before this happens. Rest assured that driverless cars are coming and these issues will get solved over time.

Self Driving Cars for Seniors

Seniors as a group, myself included are approaching the time when driving might no longer be an option. Slowing responses, nervousness and caution can sometimes lead to accidents with more aggressive drivers. Short city trips would be much less stressful if a car could drive itself to your destination. My wife would love this concept. Loss of independence is a big issue for many seniors. Self driving cars could address this issue. At age 70 the accident rate begins to increase. At age 80, the accident rate is similar to rookie teenagers who do not have the experience. For seniors it is response time, peripheral vision and even driving too slowly. This is according to major insurance companies who publish results of claims and accidents.

Self Driving Cars for Seniors

Although for some people who are control type individuals who might not like self driving cars, many seniors and other nervous drivers will appreciate the flexibility of getting into a car and telling it where to go. Programming a self driven car regarding the address to go to might be a problem that designers have not dealt with yet. For many people setting up their GPS is still a problem. Once set or a destination saved, it should not be a major problem for most drivers.

With accident rates declining for self driven cars, insurance rates should also decline. As the percentage overall increases for self driven cars and accident rates decline, insurance premiums should also decline. We are looking forward to the day when self driven cars are combined with all-electric cars to provide the ultimate transportation vehicle.

There will always be a small group of people who will resist purchasing self driven cars or will turn the option off. These will be consumers who like the thrill of driving and also like the control factor. The main issue as we see it is remaining alert ready to take over should some kind of emergency require it. I can see all occupants of a self driven car falling asleep while the car continues merrily along to the programmed destination. Imagine !!!!

Self Driving Cars will Change Retirement

About to lose your license! Afraid to drive! Maybe self driving cars are the answer for seniors and anyone who is uncomfortable getting behind the wheel! Baby boomers are retiring in droves and are still driving. In about 5 years, Google and others feel that the technology and the laws will be ready for main stream autonomous driving! This coincides with the older boomers nearing the time when driving becomes a problem. There could be a large demand from this market segment. In fact after age 70, the accident rate begins to climb and at age 80 the accident rate is the same as rookie teenagers. Maybe self driving cards will change retirement, cause fewer accidents and fewer people will die in accidents.

Self Driving Cars will Change Retirement

There is still a way to go yet. The software needs to be perfected to handle just about any situation. Initially drivers will need to be prepared to take over in special situations, however there is a lot of concern about this. How alert will drivers be after using a self driven car for some time. Initially they will pay attention, but after many uneventful rides or longer trips attentions spans will wonder and the car will need to deal with emergencies by itself which is the long term plan.

Another issues will be the difficulty that many people have in giving up control to a machine. Even boomers who should not be driving will still have this issue. Control is a big thing for many people. They just feel more secure when they are in control of a machine.

Perhaps five years is a bit ambitious, since the technology may be worked out, but it may take longer to work out licensing issues for the owners / operators. Then there is the liability issue when an accident occurs. Who is at fault, the operator of the car, the person who wrote the software or the sensors that perhaps did not do their job. A lot more to come but at least there is hope for the aging boomer population.

Tips For Safe Driving These Holidays

Tips For Safe Driving These HolidaysAre you planning on taking that long drive to your parents’ (or grandparents’) house for the Christmas holidays? Or that trip south to warm temperatures with the family? Or that trip to that ski resort with your friends!

You may have had all the reservations ready. The packing is done. The family is  just waiting for that day to arrive. Many people assume that since the car is working fine, that it does not need to be checked over. Make sure the oil is changed, tire pressure checked and all of the other fluids looked at. A quick walk around the car to check all of the lights are working properly is a good idea. Confirm that the spare tire actually has air in it would be a great idea.

Car Checklist for Your Trip

Here is a complete list of tips about what you should look at when it comes to your car being ready for your holiday trip:

  • Tire tread is sufficient for the conditions you will be encountering
  • Tire pressure is set at optimum
  • Tires are balanced
  • check all fluid levels
    • check oil level
    • verify power steering level
    • check brake fluid level
    • check antifreeze level
    • confirm windshield washer fluid level

Tips For Safe Driving These Holidays

Many organizations and groups who do advocate for better and safer driving despite winter road conditions are reminding the thousands and even millions of drivers in the nation to actually make sure that their vehicles are ready to take that trek. After all, the sudden drop in temperature could really do change the condition of your vehicle without you even noticing it. And yes, your vehicle could act up in the middle of your trip without even knowing that you are going to have problems.

Taking Trips with your Car

According to one expert in the auto field, the American Automobile Association (or the AAA), they do estimate that there are more than thirty-eight million Americans who will be taking that holiday trip. They would approximately take around fifty or more miles from their home. And most of these travelers would be taking their vehicles on their trips. These may seem like relatively short trips, however this is just the time when something can go awry and giving your car a quick check before you leave can save you a lot of difficulty.

To make sure that you are safe and sound and would arrive at your destination still in one piece, one thing that you should check is your tires. Make sure that they are just right for the winter travel. There are different types of tires and these have been made not just to catch your attention but for safety and for various types of weather and road conditions. If snow will be involved make sure your tires are up to the snow conditions.

Before you take your vehicle for that trip to your holiday destination, check the air pressures of the tires. Make sure that they are not over inflated and also not under inflated. If you drive a vehicle with such tires, chances are that they might not work out just right and could also lead to a blown tire. Plus, your expenses on gas could also go to escalating heights.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System Sensor

Many new high end and medium end cars are now equipped with a  tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). It  is an electronic system which Tire Pressure Monitoring System Sensormonitors the level of air pressure in your vehicle’s tires and reports that pressure to you on your dashboard. This is a truly great system. It flashes a warning on your dash if one of your tires is low in air pressure. Some air pressure systems will tell you which tire is low. While others will only tell you that one of your tires is low in air pressure.

I actually prefer the one that does not tell you which tire is running low on air. It means you actually have to go and check the pressure on each tire and pump up the one that is low. Perhaps also top up the other tires as well. They might have been slightly low on air, but not enough to trigger a dash alarm to you.

There is a strong reason that I feel this way about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. It turns out on the cars that I have that the warning only comes on when the pressureh as declined by about 4 pounds pressure. Which is enough to effect your gas mileage as well as handling at high speeds. When that light comes on you really want to check all of your tires. Make sure they are at optimum pressure settings and not down a pound or two. In fact you should be checking your tires pressure at a minimum of once per month.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System Sensor – Driving Safely

Your vehicle’s tire pressure monitoring system has been actually created not just for you monitor your tire pressure,  but to actually help you save your life. Poor handling at high speed or worse a blow out at high speed due to a low pressure tire over heating can cause a bad accident. Avoiding an accident at any time can potentially save your life!

The tire pressure monitoring system is made up of just four little sensors , one on each tire, that you can find on your vehicle. When one of your vehicle’s tires suddenly starts to lose air, the system would actually alert you while you are driving so that you would know about your tire’s situation.

Pull off the road and check the pressure immediately. You might only have minutes before the tire goes completely flat.

Check Out Your Car’s Manual about TPMS

New car owners should read the manual and become familiar with how the system works, what will cause an alarm and how low the pressure in your tire is before the alarm is triggered.

You can depend on the tire pressure monitoring system to tell you when a tire is getting low on air pressure, however most will not tell you when a tire is slightly below optimum, so we still feel that it is a good idea to routinely check the air pressure in your tires at a minimum of once per month.

These are great systems and they are worth the money. Appreciate your comments on your experience with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

For more posts about safe driving topics, click here.


Tips For Safe Driving These Holidays

Whether it is for Christmas holidays, a family vacation or just a trip to see your  parents’ (or grandparents’) house for the holidays, safe driving tips Tips For Safe Drivinginclude making sure that your car is ready to go and in good shape for the trip. Maybe you are making that trip to that ski resort with your friends? Or perhaps taking the family down south to warmer climate for the holidays. Either way if you are driving it is a good idea to make sure that you have a car that is ready and also safe to drive. Here are a few Tips For Safe Driving.

You may have had all the plans done, the reservations, the packing ready and the family is just waiting for that day to arrive. However, have you ever checked if your car is ready to go?  If not, then perhaps it would be time to do a thorough check or have your mechanic do it for you.

Tips For Safe Driving – Tire Tips

The following is a list of tips and things to check on your car if you are planning to head off on a family vacation driving trip:

  • Tire air pressure
  • Balance tires
  • Tire tread
  • Fluids
    • Engine oil
    • Brake fluid level
    • Power steering fluid
    • Cooling fluid
    • Windshield washer fluid
  • Lights
    • Headlights
    • parking lights
    • Brake lights
    • Turn signal lights
    • Emergency lights
  • Brakes
  • Muffler system
  • Engine air filter
  • Any unusual noises should be checked out

Doing all of these checks will take less than half an hour, or you can arrange for your mechanic to perform all of these checks for you. You can leave on your trip with the confidence of knowing that all systems have been checked on your car and it is ready. Of course there can be break downs while you are traveling, however at least you have done all you can to be sure you will have a safe trip with your car.

Tips For Safe Driving

Tires are among the most important element of your cars systems. If the tread on your tires is getting low, you may need to invest in a new set of tires. Also take into account were you are driving. Snow conditions really require snow tires, while even heavy rain situations require tread that will move the water away from the tire and avoid the tires skimming along on the road and losing traction all together.

None of these things are really that expensive unless you have been neglecting your car. Tires can run $500 to $600 and if you need a full set of brakes, you may need to spend a lot more. Better to be safe than sorry!

Leave a comment and add your tips for safe holiday driving.


Tire Pressure

tire pressureYour vehicle’s tires are actually synthetic rubber which has been shaped into a form to meet the specifications for your vehicle. It covers the circumference of the wheel of your vehicle and provides traction in all kinds of conditions from dry payment to snow and ice conditions. Your tires must be at the recommended tire pressure for them to provide the best traction possible in all conditions. Keep your tires properly inflated at all times.

Your tire has many functions.

A few of them are :

  • Dampens any strong shocks or forces that could be the effects of any irregularities on the road surface like bumps or potholes.
  • Tires also protect the wheel itself from wearing out too soon.
  • Your wheels  provide traction on all kinds of road conditions
  • Tires are designed to release air slowly with minor punctures
  • Specialized tires are designed for high-speed conditions, slippery conditions and many more situations
  • There are summer tires, all season tires and winter tires

That is why it is of utmost importance that a car owner should take extra care when it comes to choosing the right tires and maintaining his tires. One of the most common ways of keeping a tire in good shape and condition would be to maintain the proper air pressure, balance and alignment.

Routine Tire Pressure Checks

Make this activity a routine and do it regularly. Check your tires air pressure  to taking long drives. During the summer months, be sure that you check the tire pressure when the tires are cold for the air inside expands when the tires are hot so you would be getting a different reading. During winter, the air condenses so your tires may seem low or flat even though they are not leaking.

Review your car owner’s manual for the right amount of air needed for your tires? For example this document holds pertinent information regarding anything and everything about your vehicle. In addition this includes the recommended tire pressure. Or you can also check the label found in the glove box or in the driver’s side’s door latch. You see, if a tire has just the right of pressure, they are more likely to last longer and less likely to fail you while you drive and they provide you with much better gas mileage.

Check Tires for Uneven Tire Wear

Make sure that your tires are wearing evenly. If not, there might be a problem with how you drive or with the wheel alignment or even how they are balanced. Have your car checked by a mechanic if you feel a vibration while driving. This is likely badly balanced wheels, while uneven wear on one side or the other represents alignment issues.

Running tires at low tire pressure can cause all kinds of problems from uneven wear, to poor maneuverability to even blowouts at high-speed. In addition low pressure tires will cause your car to not handle as well.

Now, if you see tread wear warning bars running across the tire, do not think twice about replacing that tire. Purchase new tires immediately.  It means that the tire has reached the end of its lifespan. For example bald tires are actually unsafe on any kind of road.

If you have comments on tire pressure or other topics about tires, feel free to leave a comment. All constructive comments that are valuable to readers will be considered for posting. For more safe driving ideas, click here.


High Performance Tires

In the early 1980’s Goodyear Tire prepared a few high performance tires for high performance cars, mostly the Chevrolet Corvette. The tire’s roots were based in formula one racing which demanded a tire that could withstand high speeds for an extended period and deliver excellent traction at those speeds. The tire’s design was very different from most passenger car tires and was an overnight victory with devotees of the race car.

The tire featured a low profile side wall, large tread blocks for good dry traction grip, a very stiff sidewall and a nylon cap over the steel belts to hold the tire together at high speeds. The tire received a unique sidewall rating and it was designated with a “V” which meant the tire had been safely tested in the laboratory to stay together at speeds as high as 149 mph. This is the first time the high performance tire was made in America and they were here to stay in America.

Cost of High Performance Tires

This tire was an instant hit and were also very costly, even by today’s standards. It was not uncommon for them to cost over $200.00 each. This was an immense price for a tire considering the average tire cost around $45.00 at the time. Even today, high performance tires are much more expensive and consumers are still being hit with a surprise when it comes to replacing their tires.

Since then however, the high performance tire has made its way onto almost every modern car. This is because automobile manufacturers found that high performance tires helped cars handle better. They corner better, stop better, steer better, were safer and worked well with anti-lock brake technology. These tires also appealed to the public’s imagination and romance. Many people wanted to have high performance tires. Because it made them feel a little better than the average driver who just drove his car on regular tires.

Touring Tires

During this time tire manufacturers began to produce a multitude of intermediate high performance tire known as “touring” tires which were designed to accede to high performance demands and lessen ride and wear issues. Within a few years, there was an entire list of high performance tire categories. Which include Ultra-high performance, performance, touring, cosmetic performance, touring performance, etc.

As technology advanced, automobile manufacturers began to equip nearly everything with a performance tire. Even the mini van because of one simple reason. They help sell cars because they are attractive. Also because of the benefits they add to the cars steering and braking.

The problem of this was that a consumer would buy a family sedan. Then end up unexpectedly having to pay up to $700 dollars for replacement tires. Performance tires in Canada are even more expensive with the same tires costing up to $300 more for a set of 4 tires.  This creates problems because consumers don’t want to pay. Because they don’t believe they are “performance” drivers. So, instead of replacing them, they end up driving on bald tires.

But the fact is that we are all performance drivers. Everyone profits from performance tires. They are safer, stop better, react quicker, steer better and are less likely to blow out on the highway. They react and work better with modern car systems. It is a good idea to look into getting performance tires, if not for your flashy sports car, at least for your own safety.

For more sports car information, click here.


Dealing with a Flat Tire

Flat TireDealing with a flat tire can be a troublesome event if you are not prepared. When your car’s tire goes flat, this kind of situation should not be a problem for you as long as you are properly prepared. After all, most cars already come with spare tires and a jack, along with other odds and ends that would help you facilitate changing your tires in no time at all. If you are uncomfortable with changing a tire or calling a friend, calling CAA in Canada or AAA in the US as long as you are a member will lessen the task for you.

Dealing with a Flat Tire Yourself

For some it might even be appropriate to try changing their tire when it is still inflated and under perfect conditions as a test run, so that you know how to change the tires. A neighbor had to call his oldest son to come and help him one night at 2 in the morning, because he could not figure out how to change the tire on his car.

There are proper ways to change a tire. Always make sure that you are doing so with safety in mind. To change a tire or a couple of tires, park your car first in an area where the ground is level. This helps to lessen the chance of the car rolling forward or backwards off the jack. Always place  parking brake on before you do any work at all. If your car is equipped with a manual transmission system, place it in gear. Always turn off your engine for there is no need for it to be turned on and running.

However, if you have no choice and have to park in an area where there is an incline, put a huge rock or a wheel chock beneath the opposing wheel. So that you would not find your car rolling down the incline.

In fact whether you are on an incline or not, it is always a good idea to block the wheels. You will stop the vehicle from moving for any reason. Also make sure you are well away from traffic so you can change the tire safely.

Changing Your Flat Tire

Remove  your spare tire as well as a tire iron and the jack from the trunk. Remove the hub cap if there is one. Then, loosen the lug nuts on your wheel while the wheel is still touching the ground. Do this before you jack up your car. Make sure that you loosen each and every lug nut that connects your tire to the wheel without unscrewing them completely. As long as the lug nuts are loosened up and not unscrewed completely, there is no chance that the wheel can come off by accident.

Following the instructions in your cars manual, place the jack in the proper location and  start jacking up your vehicle. Although we are repeating this point again, it is one of the most important things you should do. Check your car owner’s manual for the specifics on the location as per where you should put your jack.

When you jack your car, make sure that you raise your car a little higher than needed so that you can not only remove the old flat tire but you can also install the new inflated tire.

Once the car has been jacked up,  unscrew completely all of the lug nuts. Remove the flat tire and place it to the side. Roll your new tire into position and mount it on the lug bolts. Then, place back the lug nuts and tighten them up as tightly as possible without turning the wheel.

Now lower the jack until the wheel is contact with the ground. But not bearing the full weight of the car. Tighten the lug nuts one more time and then lower the jack completely and remove it. If you have a hub cap, you can now put it back on.

Repair Your Tires Immediately

We suggest that you have your spare tire repaired as soon as possible. Since you never know when you might have another flat tire. Also check the inflation on the spare tire as soon as possible since most tires will lose a little bit of air over time.

We are glad to receive comments from our readers and suggestions about dealing with flat tires. For more safe driving ideas, click here.


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