Browsing the "Safety tips" Category

Roadside Preparedness: Tyre Change

July 14th, 2019 | by Wyatt Mcninch

Roadside Preparedness

Being prepared in an emergency, or even if it is less dire and you just become stranded, is an important part of being a responsible driver. Now it is likely that many motorists will have a mobile phone or GPS, so the idea of being stranded seems practically impossible, but it is not out of the realm of possibilities, so it is better to be ready in case that happens. Once a Roadside Preparedness Kit is assembled and placed in the vehicle and it will be there when it is needed.

Here are some things that every vehicle should absolutely have in case of an emergency:

  • Flashlight – try to find the kind that you wind to charge. That way you’ll always have batteries.
  • Multipurpose knife/tool – Swiss Army or Leatherman type with several different tools.
  • A pencil and paper – graphite in the pencil never dries out like ink would.
  • Roadside flares
  • Small First Aid kit – familiarise yourself with the contents and how to use them
  • Tire inflator
  • A rag or two
  • Tire pressure gauge (many people carry this with them in the glove box. Keeping your tires properly inflated gets you better gas mileage and can prevent unnecessary tire wear)

Tire changing equipment is not listed here, because that is an absolute essential  – don’t leave home without it – and most newer cars have a built in jack and lug wrench.

Other, less essential, but very handy things to tuck into a Roadside Kit are:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Blanket – put on the essential list in the winter months
  • Ice scraper – also essential in winter months)
  • Spray bottle with washer fluid
  • One quart of oil
  • Extra fuses
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Gallon of antifreeze
  • Help sign
  • Jumper cables
  • Pliers
  • Roll of duct tape
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Bottled water (These last two items have to be rotated out or they will spoil)
  • Snack or energy bars

All of these items can be contained in a heavy-duty bag and if packed tightly can take up less trunk space. Take a bit of time to learn how to use all of the items and take a look every so often, so that you remember what is in there. Other than that you can tick that off of your to-do list and rest easy.

Roadside tyre changing

When a flat or blowout occurs on the side of the road, taking a few steps to keep you and your passengers safe is a vital step to the tire changing process.

When possible, pull off of the road entirely to a flat surface such as a parking lot or driveway. If you are on the freeway, try to pull onto a side street where there is less traffic. But under all circumstances, try to get as far away from quickly moving traffic or vehicles as possible. If you are by yourself that means your attention is going to be on the task of changing the tire, and you won’t be able to keep an eye on cars coming toward you.

Changing a tire on the freeway is dangerous, so the task should be done as quickly, but as safely as possible.

After the car is in a safe place, be sure to put it in park, or with a stick shift keep it in gear. Apply the parking break. Locate the spare tire, the lug wrench and the tire jack. The spare tire should always be in good repair with the appropriately pounds per square inch of inflation.

Bring the spare around and place it near.  Loosen the lug nuts  in a star shape, keeping them on, but loose enough that you can remove them by hand when you are ready.

Taking the tire jack, place it close to the tire that is flat, but in a place under the car that can hold the weight when the jack is elevated. pump up the jack until the vehicle is elevated just enough to remove the tire.

Remove the lugs and replace the flat with the spare. Try to get the spare on as evenly as possible and put the lugs on – again in a star shape. Don’t fully tighten, but get them relatively tight. The spare should be in evenly, both on the bolts and front to back.

Release the car jack and lower the car back down to the ground. Tighten the lugs, again using the star shape and get them as tight as possible.

As you fully stand up, be sure not to step into traffic. Collect all of your belongings and put them in the vehicle. Safel pull back into traffic.

Don’t forget to repair or replace the flat soon after. If you get another flat, you want to be prepared.

Towing, hauling and strapping

July 14th, 2019 | by Wyatt Mcninch

Towing, hauling and strapping

Carrying cargo can be a daunting task. You have to be sure that your cargo is secure, alter the way you drive and be more aware of your speed and brake time. But by carrying more weight and possibly objects that can slip and cause serious damage to others on the road, a driver is responsible for making sure everything is in order before getting onto the road. Securing cargo and learning proper towing techniques is a must for a safe driver.

Strapping down and hauling cargo –

Each state has laws that were written keep the roadways clear of debris coming from the vehicles on the road. However, with a moment of planning, a driver can take some common sense steps to safe hauling.

  • Throw a tarp over the cargo in the back of a truck and secure it with rope or other tie.
  • If objects in the truck bed (or the objects strapped to the top of a car) extend past the bumper, then attach a red flag to the cargo. This warns other drivers to stay an extra distance back.
  • Drive slower than usual
  • Allow more room between vehicles and more time to stop the vehicle.

Towing –

Driving while towing a trailer or other vehicle requires thought. Some things work opposite than what you would think they would work, and an unprepared driver can cause damage to themselves and others.

Some of the tips for trailer hauling are the same as above; such as driving slower and keeping a lot of room between vehicles, but here are some additional tips. The best thing to do, however, is to

  • Share the road. If you have a parade behind you, pull into a passing lane or pull over to let people by.
  • Don’t be herky jerky while steering. The trailer can shift and become out of control. Drive as smoothly as possible.
  • Don’t brake quickly. Keep an eye on what is happening well ahead of you. Anticipate traffic lights.
  • Make turns carefully. Trailers cut the corners at a different angle than the pulling vehicle. The trailer can run into the hillside, vehicles in other lanes or curbs if the corner is taken too close.
  • Try to always pull into a space that you can pull out of in drive. Trailers are difficult to manoeuvre in reverse, especially for beginners.
  • Know your size. Allow for plenty of extra room when changing lanes or merging.
  • Use your mirrors frequently to check traffic conditions beside and behind you.
  • Trailers can act like sails, be careful when driving in wind.
  • Towing a trailer will guzzle more gas, always keep an eye on your gas gauge.

Plan out your course of action. Be safe when hauling or towing.

Share the road with bicyclists

July 14th, 2019 | by Wyatt Mcninch

Motorists have to share the road with many people under many circumstances. Keeping in mind the phrase “share the road” is important under all situations. When drivers forget this simple rule, it can lead to aggressive and entitled behaviour. Keeping a cool head and a generous demeanour keeps more people safe on the road.

Everyone should treat everyone else with the same respect that they would show their grandmothers, with patience, and with a basic understanding that if someone is in your way, they aren’t doing it to annoy you. It is likely that they aren’t even thinking about you. Just like you are not thinking about being in the way of the person behind you.

Bicyclists are in one of the most vulnerable positions when out on the road. For some reason, aggressive drivers see bicyclists as easy targets, so they will do harmful and potentially fatal things to them like yelling, throw objects, slapping them, or trying to push them off of the road. Motorists should remember that bicycles don’t have a crumple zone around them.

Besides the basics (referred to in the video), here are some safety tips for motorists:

  • Give bicyclists extra room in inclement weather.
  • Do not pass bicyclists when you are about to make a right turn.
  • Be extra aware of the cyclist after you pass them and decide to move into their lane.. If the person is riding faster than you think, you might not have completely passed them.
  • Yield to oncoming bicyclists just as you would yield to oncoming motorists. The vehicle code should be followed by both the motorist and cyclist.
  • Look for bicyclists who may be approaching before opening your car door.
  • Be extra careful around kids on bikes.
  • Don’t honk your horn, yell or whistle when driving by a cyclist. Scaring them could cause and accident.
  • Share the road.

Be kind to the people you encounter. You never know who might be able to reciprocate at a later time.

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