5 reminders for new (and experienced) drivers

green volkswagen vanWhether you've been driving for three months or 30 years, these five driving tips are one-size-fits-all. What other tips do you turn to time and time again?

  1. Texting, tweeting, and posting can wait. Really, they can. The most important of all the points on this list is to drive free of distractions. Whether it’s putting your phone in airplane mode, or disabling functions using a blocking app, do what you need to do so safe driving is your only focus.

  2. Adjust your mirrors correctly, and don’t forget about your blind spots. If you can see the body of your car in your side view mirrors, experts say they're not positioned correctly. Blind spots are everywhere – merging, changing lanes, backing up. Don’t get lazy!

  3. Wipers on, lights on. This is actually a state law in some parts of the U.S., but Oregon and Washington’s lights guidelines are sunset-to-sunrise and when visibility is less than 1,000 feet. With inclement weather, plus misty spray making visibility worse, make a habit of turning your lights (both headlights and taillights) fully on. Don’t just rely on auto-settings.

  4. Assemble an all-weather emergency kit. Don’t wait until after you’ve had your first problem to start carrying essentials like a crank flashlight, water, tire chains, a first aid kit, and other items MacGyver probably wouldn't need.

  5. Check your tire pressure regularly. Invest in a digital gauge and make it a habit to check the pressure in all tires at each refueling. A digital gauge makes it easy to do a quick check and pass the time while the pump is running. For accurate readings, do this when the tires are cool, not after driving several miles. The recommended “PSI” tire pressure is usually printed on the inside of the driver’s-side door jamb. 

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