Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall Driving Safety Tips

As weather and road conditions change with the season, following fall driving safety tips will help keep you safe as you enjoy the cool crisp air and the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves.

The Dangers of Leaves on the Roads
When leaves accumulate on the roadway and become wet, they can get extremely slippery, making the driving conditions similar to driving on ice. If the temperature drops below freezing, the wet leaves will freeze and turn into dangerous icy leaves on the roadway. Besides reducing the car's traction, causing skidding and the possibility of losing control of the vehicle, leaves often cover the painted road markings, making it difficult to know the locations of the lanes.

  • Slow down if you are driving on a road covered with leaves, especially when driving around turns.
  • Allow yourself plenty of room to stop in an emergency. Keep a greater distance between you and the car in front of you.
  • Leaves make it difficult to see potholes and bumps in the road.
  • A pile of leaves raked to the side of the road is an inviting place to a child. Children enjoy jumping into the leaf piles or burrowing down into them and hiding. Never drive through a leaf pile. Use caution going around turns and where children are playing.
  • Keep your windshield leaf free to avoid wet leaves getting stuck under the windshield wiper blades.
  • In order to avoid the possibility of a fire hazard from the exhaust system or catalytic converter, never park your vehicle over a pile of leaves .

Changing Weather Conditions
In many areas, autumn is a damp, wet season. There are many rainy or foggy days and nights. As the temperatures drop, frost often coats the ground at night.

  • When driving in fog, set your headlight to low beam. This setting aims the beam of light down toward the roadway.
  • In the fall as temperatures drop, frost often forms on the roadway, causing hazardous driving conditions. Drive slowly and break gently at overpasses and bridges as these areas frost over more quickly than other roadway surfaces.
  • Be aware of areas where black ice forms on the roadway.

Adjust for Fewer Hours of Daylight
In the fall there are fewer hours of daylight. In the earlier darkness it is common to see children outside playing or riding their bicycles. People are walking their dogs, jogging or taking late afternoon or evening walks. In the fading light of dusk it is more difficult to see the children and pedestrians.

  • Watch out for children at their bus stops in the morning and as they return home in the afternoon.
  • Halloween is a fun fall holiday. Take special care where children are out trick or treating. They may be wearing masks or costumes that limit their visibility.
  • Always drive defensively.

Vehicle Maintenance

  • Keep your headlights cleaned and in proper working order, making sure they are aligned.
  • Replace your windshield wiper blades if they show any signs of wear.
  • Keep an emergency car safety kit in your vehicle.

Additional Fall Safety Driving Tips

  • Always keep a pair of sunglasses in your vehicle. Fall sunrises and sunsets can be very brilliant. The bright sun often creates a large amount of glare, making it difficult to see other vehicles, the roadway or the road's shoulder. Wearing sunglasses during these times reduces the danger.
  • If you live in an area where there are deer, they are more apt to run into the roadway especially at dawn and dusk since the fall is an active breeding time. If you see a deer cross the roadway, proceed very slowly as they often travel in groups.

Naturally safe driving practices are essential all through the year. However, being aware of the unique autumn driving hazards and following the fall driving safety tips here will make you a safer driver.

Source: safety.lovetoknow.com

Monday, August 31, 2015

2016 Volkswagens to Have Technology Features Previously Available On Premium Vehicles

In separate announcements, Volkswagen of America revealed that its 2016 model year vehicles will support both Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto, along with crash avoidance systems and other driver assistance features that were only previously available for the premium Touareg SUV.
Volkswagen introduced its MIB II infotainment system, an all-new system that lays down the foundation for the company's Car-Net connected vehicle services platform.
MIB II will also be offering one of the most comprehensive suites of features and services for connected vehicles in the entire automobile industry, with its App Connect system allowing users access to the seamless integration of their smartphones to the vehicle using Apple's CarPlay, Google's Android Auto or Mirror Link.
In addition to App Connect, other systems that MIB II also offers are Security & Service, which includes various services for connected cars and advanced telematics, and Guide & Inform, which improves the navigation capabilities of the vehicle and provides users with an advanced infotainment interface.
Volkswagen said that the company has decided to collaborate with leaders in the technology industry for the identification and integration of the most recent innovations into its vehicles, as opposed to attempting to control all developments for car connectivity within their products.
The first 2016 models that will be bearing MIB II and the compatibility with both Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto will begin to be released in showrooms of dealers in late July of this year.
In addition, Volkswagen also announced the addition of several new features to 2016 model year vehicles. These new features include front assist systems, adaptive cruise control, park assist systems and lane assist systems.
The front assist system will warn drivers of a possible front-end collision through a sound alert and a warning symbol that will appear in the vehicle's instrument cluster. If necessary, the autonomous emergency braking system will be activated to prevent the vehicle form crashing in the event that the driver fails to hit the brakes on time.
Adaptive cruise control will assist drivers in maintaining a steady speed and distance from the vehicle at the front, with the driver setting the speed and desired distance through the multifunction steering wheel of the vehicle. The driver can override the speed and distance settings at any time using the accelerator pedal, brake pedal or steering wheel.
In addition, an automatic post-collision braking system will also be included for certain vehicles, with the system applying the brakes of a vehicle upon a crash to prevent the motion of the vehicle in leading to more damages and injuries.
The vehicles that will offer these features, depending on the model and trim level, are the Beetle, CC, Golf, Golf GTI, e-Golf, Golf R, Golf SportWagen and Jetta.
Source:  www.techtimes.com

Thursday, August 27, 2015

10 Safe Driving Tips for Fall Weather

Fall means a number of wonderful things, like warm, comfy sweaters, foliage, and baking pumpkin pies. For drivers, fall also brings unique dangers to the roads. Find out what makes fall driving dangerous and what you can do to keep yourself safe.

Why Driving In The Fall Can Be Dangerous

Weather conditions can be unpredictable in the fall. A bright, beautiful afternoon can turn rainy and cold in minutes. And with days getting shorter, you could find yourself commuting to or from work in darkness.

Back-to-school traffic
Fall means back to school for kids, which means more cars and buses on the roads. Drivers also need to watch out for increased pedestrian traffic in the morning and afternoon as children walk to and from school and their neighborhood bus stops.

The first rain in a few weeks can be particularly dangerous, as water pools on top of dust and oil that haven't had a chance to wash away and makes the pavement extremely slippery.

Leaves (and leaf peepers)
Fall foliage is certainly beautiful, but as leaves begin to fall, they litter the roads, making streets slick while obscuring traffic lines and other pavement markings. They also hide potholes and other road hazards. And when it rains, it can make those wet leaves on the roadway as dangerous as ice.

And where there are turning leaves, there are leaf peepers. These leaf-peeping drivers tend to crawl along the roads and make unpredictable stops to admire the changing foliage. If you're driving behind a car with out-of-state plates, give them a little extra space just in case they stop short for a photo.

Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Fog tends to occur in low places or areas surrounded by hills, water, mountains, and trees. One common mistake drivers make during foggy conditions is putting on their high beams instead of staying with their low beams. This only makes visibility worse because your high beams will bounce off the fog and create glare.

When driving through fog, slow down and stay well behind the car in front of you so you'll have adequate time to stop if you need to.

During the fall, temperatures tend to drop dramatically during the night, which can lead to morning frost and icy spots on the road. This is especially common on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas of the road.

Sun glare
Fall is also a bad time for sun glare on the roads. Sun glare can impact your sight for seconds after exposure, making it hard to see pedestrians, oncoming traffic, or the car in front of you. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers describe being "blinded" after exposure, and this sometimes leads to accidents or near misses.

Sun glare can also cause problems when the sun sets behind drivers. In this case, sunlight can bounce off your rearview mirror or reflect off traffic lights up ahead, and this can blind you for a split second while your eyes adjust. It can also make it hard (or impossible) to see traffic lights, which can prevent you from knowing if you're supposed to stop or go.

The fall season brings an increase in deer activity because it's their time for mating and migrating. If you live in a deer-heavy area, watch for darting deer, especially when driving at night.

Fall Driving Tips
  • Being prepared for fall's inclement weather and hazardous driving challenges is half the battle.
  • Watch your speed: Drive a bit slower when faced with fall driving hazards, especially if you're driving around a school bus.
  • Keep your distance: Leave a little more space between you and the car in front on rainy or foggy days, during dawn or dusk, and in areas with wet leaves. This will give you more time to react.
  • Stick with low beams: Keep your headlights on low when driving in the fog (and rain). High beams will only cause glare.
  • Clear frost away from your windows: Frost can reduce visibility and response time on the road.
  • Approach traffic lights carefully: Sun glare can make it harder to see traffic lights change, so approach them with more than the normal care.
  • Avoid using products that increase gloss: Washing and waxing with these products can magnify the fall's sunny glare and make it hard to see.
  • Clean your windshield, inside and out: When your windshield's illuminated by sunlight, dust particles, streaks, and smudges become magnified, making it hard to see the road.
  • Watch for wildlife: especially in the early morning and evening hours.
  • Check your tire pressure: Since fall weather rapidly changes from warm to cold, your tires will often expand and contract. This can lead to a loss of pressure.

Source: www.esurance.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Getting Your Teen Their First Car: A How-To

Make sure you're setting them up for safety right from the start.

1. Choose the Right Car

Let's face it, if you left the decision up to your teen, you would probably end up with either a huge SUV or a suped up sports car, neither of which is particularly safe for a young, new driver. However, there are plenty of options out there to make both you and your teen happy. And with the right research, you can find a car that is not only fun to drive, but also safe and reliable, too.

Choosing a midsize car is the best way to go, according to The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the Insurance Information Institute. Depending on your budget, you can opt for either a new or used model - just make sure the car is in good condition with updated safety features like airbags and electronic stability control. Also, you'll want to check out crash test and safety ratings before making your final purchase.

Fuel efficiency is another important factor to consider, especially in today's economy. Unless you're willing to cover the cost of filling your son or daughter's tank each week, buying your teen a gas guzzler is probably not a good idea.

2. Get the Best Auto Insurance Rate

The truth is that no matter what car you choose, insuring your teen driver will increase your auto insurance rates. But there are some things that you can do to make these costs as manageable as possible. In fact, another great reason to opt for safety first at the car dealership is that it can help keep your auto insurance premiums down. Because safer cars tend to have a lower accident risk, they are usually less expensive to insure.

Another way to get the best auto insurance rates possible is to scope out potential discounts. If your teen is a full-time student, for instance, he or she may be eligible for a good student discount. Researching your options beforehand will help you to make an informed decision when trying to find the right car for your teen.

3. Set Boundaries

Choosing a good car and purchasing the right auto insurance are only the first steps in keeping your teen safe on the road. Talking with your teen about safe driving and setting clear rules and guidelines are also important. To ensure that your teen stays safe behind the wheel, you can:
  • Limit the number of passengers your teen can have in his or her car at any one time;
  • Establish a "no cell phone" policy to ensure that your teen does not text or call while driving;
  • Discuss what to do in cases of emergency, including accidents and adverse weather conditions.

Resource: Allstate Insurance Co.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Regular Car Checks Recommended During High Summer Temperatures

Staying on top of your car's systems during the height of summer can help ensure a comfortable and safe ride.

Summer can be tough on cars, especially during high temperatures when heat can destroy batteries and stress the cooling system and tires. As a precaution, these vehicle components should be checked periodically during summer to help avoid breakdowns and car problems, according to the Car Care Council.

Excessive heat and overcharging shorten the life of a battery. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which then damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, which will eventually destroy a battery.

To get the most life out of a battery, the council recommends having the electrical system checked to make sure it is charging at the correct rate. If your car's battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it often, especially in hot weather and add distilled water if necessary. Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt can become a conductor, which drains battery power. If corrosion accumulates on battery terminals, it becomes an insulator and inhibits the current flow.

The cooling system also works harder during hot temperatures to prevent overheating of the engine. To keep the cooling system working effectively, the coolant and distilled water mixture for a vehicle's radiator should be 50:50. As a reminder, never open a hot radiator cap when checking the coolant level in the reservoir.

As a rule of thumb, the coolant should be changed annually on most vehicles. This will keep the cooling system fresh and clean inside, which helps prevent corrosion and assures that the coolant has the proper boiling point and protection. A pressure test, thermostat test, a cooling fan test and a visual inspection for leaks and corrosion should also be done annually. Hoses and drive belts should be checked for cracks, bulges or frayed edges.

The radiator should be kept clean by periodically using a garden hose and a soft brush to carefully remove bugs, dirt and debris.

Tires also need special care in warmer weather as high temperatures put added stress on them. To maximize tire life and safety, check the tire condition and inflation pressure monthly, and have the tires rotated every 6,000 miles. Summer heat will cause the pressure within a tire to rise, therefore, it's important to check the pressure when tires are cold. The owner's manual includes the recommended air pressure for your vehicle's tires.

"It takes very little time and money to make sure your car runs properly during summer, and although breakdowns happen, they can definitely be minimized by taking a few extra preventive maintenance steps," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The council reminds motorists that the vehicle's exterior also can be damaged by sunlight, UV radiation, acid rain, salt, dirt and air pollution. To protect the paint and finish, vehicles should be washed weekly and waxed every six months.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council's Car Care Guide or for more information, visit 

Source: Car Care Council

Monday, June 29, 2015

2016 Audi A4 is larger, lighter

The 2016 Audi A4 arrives with a bang, but no surprises. We say that because the formula for creating the news A4 one we know all too well. Make it larger, add a bunch of content, reduce weight, and improve both power and efficiency. It's a recipe for success, and this fifth-generation A4 looks to be a solid contender against its chief rivals, the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The shape hasn't changed; it's immediately recognizable as an A4. Instead, this new model updates that familiar design with sharper lines, similar to what we've seen on the new Q7, or even the R8. The big story here is that the 2016 A4 is up to 264 pounds lighter than its predecessor, depending on trim and engine. Additionally, the A4 is the most aerodynamic car in its class, boasting a drag coefficient of just 0.23.

A fresh, modern cabin lies within that lighter shell – one that looks decidedly more upscale than the last A4. Many elements are reminiscent of the Audi Prologue Concept that we first saw (and drove) in Los Angeles last year – specifically, the steering wheel, and the new MMI controls. In fact, Audi has positioned its infotainment controls closer to the center console – in front of the gear selector. This reminds us of the current A8, where Audi specifically designed its shifter to act as a sort of wrist rest. You can rest your arm on the gear lever and still access all of the MMI functionality. Speaking of which, that's the latest generation of Audi's MMI interface, packing navigation, touch capability, LTE connectivity, and WiFi in the 8.3-inch color display.

Audi isn't saying which engines will come to the United States right now, but when the new A4 launches, it'll be offered with three gasoline and four diesel engines in Europe. Our best guess is that the US-spec car will come with the latest 2.0-liter TSFI turbocharged inline-four with 272 horsepower, as well as Audi's tried-and-true 2.0-liter TDI diesel four. Front- and all-wheel drive will be available, and for the first time, two-wheel-drive models will get a proper dual-clutch transmission – no more CVT.

Camp in style with the new Volkswagen California

Now in its fourth generation, the California is still unique in the camper van world as it is designed and built in house, by VW itself.
Based on the equally new Volkswagen T6 commercial vehicle, the latest VW camper van gets the option of four-wheel drive and a paddle-shift gearbox for the first time and the vehicle can be specified with adaptive suspension for greater comfort even when fully loaded.
There is also a range of safety systems including Driver Alert -- which monitors activity to make sure the driver is awake -- brake assist for performing emergency stops more rapidly, and post-collision braking for bringing the California to a complete halt immediately after an accident.
In terms of camping comforts, the California can sleep four, has a pop-up roof for improving headroom and concealing a double bed, a fridge, stove, sink and a host of ingenious storage solutions.
The California will be offered in two trim levels -- Ocean and Beach -- and the first deliveries are expected this summer.
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/