Tips to Avoid Distractions While Driving

We can all admit it – we’ve been distracted while driving. We don’t realize that we have stopped at a green light because we were distracted by something else. That’s why we’re here with helpful hints on ways to avoid distractions while driving

Distracted-driving

  • Give the road your undivided attention. Don’t let anything divert your attention, scan the road and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Make sure everything in your car is secured. Anything that is loose in the car can roll around and cause distraction. If everything is stored away you wont feel tempted to reach for them on the floor and seat.
  • Make adjustments before you head out on your adventure. Address vehicle systems like your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound system. Decide your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time.
  • Put away that phone! Don’t use cell phones while driving – hanndheld or hands-free – except in the case of emergencies. Never use text messaging, email functions, video games or the internet with a wireless device.
  • If there is another activity that requires your attention, pull over to a safe place instead of trying to attempt it while driving.
  • Snack smart. Eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving. On the road, avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage.
  • Don’t let your passengers distract you! Instead, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving.

Winter Weather Fuel Economy

The Jim Shorkey Auto Group has an ample collection of vehicles with a fantastic fuel economy, including the best-in-class Mitsubishi Mirage, both the Kia Optima and the Kia Optima Hybrid, the Chrysler 200, and any Ford vehicle with Ecoboost (and even some Ford vehicles without).

And as far as we can tell, there’s only one thing that puts these fuel-efficient cars to the test: cold weather.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F. It can even drop as much as 22% for very short trips, lasting about 3 to 4 miles.

But why?

Cold engine oil and other drive-line fluids cause engine and transmission friction to increase in cold temperatures. Also, it takes longer for your engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature when starting from a much lower temperature. This affects shorter trips more, since your car spends more of your trip at less-than-optimal temperatures. And don’t forget—those heated seats, window defrosters, and heater fans that you LOVE use additional power. Finally, colder air is denser, increasing aerodynamic drag on your vehicle, especially at highway speeds, causing it to work harder.

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What can you do?

Park your car in a warmer place, such as your garage, to increase the initial temperature of your engine and cabin. Try carpooling or combining trips when possible so that you drive less often with a cold engine. As much as we hate to say it, don’t use seat warmers or defrosters more than necessary. Check your tire pressure regularly to ensure proper inflation. Additionally, remove accessories that increase wind resistance, like roof racks, when not in use. Finally (and maybe most harshly), minimize idling your car to warm it up. Most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds. The engine will warm up faster being driven, which will allow the heat to turn on sooner, decrease your fuel costs, and reduce emissions.

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Tips for Driving in the Dark

As darkness falls, so does your ability to see on the road. Your depth perception, ability to distinguish color, and peripheral vision are all worse in low-light conditions. That’s why we’re bringing to you 5 tips on driving in the dark!

Dim Your Instrument Panel and Dash Lights
Did you know that if you drive around with the dash light on max, you can be compromising your forward vision? That’s why cars come equipped with dashboard dimmer switches. Racers take nighttime driving very seriously- in fact, endurance racers and rally drivers cover their dashboards with black felt to avoid stray reflections.

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Know What to Look for
On dark back roads, animals are everywhere. An encounter between wildlife and your car can result in injury, to both your car and the animal. A quick tip: You can often see the reflections of your headlights in an animal’s eyes long before you can see the animal itself. If you see pairs of tiny bright spots in the distance, this is a warning that an animal is in front of you or down the road.

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Don’t Stare at Oncoming Lights
This may seem like a no-brainier, but bright lights can seriously disrupt your concentration at night. Inside the car, your eyes are used to the dim glow of the instrument panel and the dark road ahead. When an oncoming car’s headlights are gleaming, it is easy to become distracted without even realizing it. Turn your gaze away from other lights on the road, and don’t look at oncoming high beams.

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Wipe down Your Windshield with Newspaper
Windshields that appear clean during the day may reveal streaks that can cause glare at night. A detailer’s trick is to polish glass with newspaper to remove residue. Try not to touch the inside surfaces of your windshield, side windows, or mirrors with your hands, even if it is to wipe off mist. The oil from your skin will smear, and light will glare when it shines through any place where you touched the glass.

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Clean and Adjust Your Exterior Mirrors
Dirty mirrors reflect the lights from cars behind you in a wider, diffused shape that can produce glare in your eyes, so we suggest you give your mirrors a wipe down frequently. Aim your exterior mirrors so that you can move your head out of the path of lights reflected in them.

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Do you know any other tips for driving in the dark? Share them with us below!

Preparing Your Jim Shorkey Vehicle for Pittsburgh’s Winter Weather

Living in Pittsburgh you grow accustomed to beautiful summers and terrible winters, but have you done what it takes to make sure your car lasts this winter? Checking your car is a smart and safe route to take to avoid any troubles or problems you may encounter during the harsh winter times. The last thing you want is to break down on the side of the road during a cold winter night, so here are something’s you should check regularly before the winter starts and during the winter.

  • One of the first things you should ask yourself before winter starts is when was the last time my car had a tune up? If you cannot remember than you should get one as soon as possible. The winter time exposes problems that you may have not known existed; such as bad performances or hard starts.
  • The car battery and electrical systems are next. The winter time is hard on car batteries and electrical systems forcing the two to work twice as hold during cold weather scenarios compared to any other times of the year. Cold weather affects the chemical process in the battery which reduces the batteries ability to hold an electrical charge.
  • Antifreeze is another big one during the winter times. Failure to check your antifreeze can lead to a very expensive problem for you in the long run. Cold weather can cause cracked hoses, ruptured radiators and even water pump failure; so if you do not know when the last time you changed your antifreeze than maybe it’s time to do so now. (Clean and Flush)
  • Check all wipers and defrosters regularly, just to make sure everything is working properly and if you happen to get stuck one night you will not freeze to death. (Side note: your windshield wipers should be changed every six months).
  • Check tired tread and make sure your tires and up to good standings while driving in the snow. Also, take note that just because you have new or snow tires, this does not mean it works on ice. The tires are used for traction on snowy surfaces not ice on the roads. Make sure you also check your tire pressure (Weekly). Winter time can release the pressure in your tires more rapidly than other times of the year.
  • Brakes are something you should be well up to standards with during the winter; the last thing you want is to be going down a snowy hill and your brakes giving out on you. Make sure you get your brakes checked so that this does not become an issue for you. (Check out another one of blogs about how to extend your brake life).
  • Make sure you check your exhaust system to make sure no carbon dioxide is leaking in your car while the windows are closed.
  • Check your lights, body and windows during the winter; the winter time can create cracks that are not visible from far distances.
  • Lastly is your oil and filter; old oil can cause you a lot of trouble during the winter time. Make sure you get a regular oil check and if necessary change to your oil to “winter weight” during this time of the season.

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This time of the year can be brutal on your car, but it is up to you to make sure your car is in good health. You must protect it and take care of it and if you need any assistance do not hesitate to stop by at one of our Jim Shorkey Family Auto Group services with any help or checkups.

Ranked: Top 10 Roadside Attractions

You’ve packed the family in the wagon for a cross country road trip, and along the way you see billboards for road side attractions “Worlds largest….” “Worlds most famous….” and the list goes on and on. But, when you finally decided to stop at one, the worlds biggest ball of string wasn’t as exciting as you thought. That’s why we ranked the top 10 roadside attractions that are actually worth stopping for.

Roadside Attractions

1. Cabazon Dinosaurs, Cabazon, California

Hop in that Jeep Wrangler your just bought at Jim Shorkey Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and check out this real-world Jurassic park, where you can climb to the top of a life-size Tyrannosaurus Rex for an up-close and personal view of its teeth. You can also purchase souvenirs at a museum shop located inside Ms. Dinny, a 150-ton Apatosaurus conditioned the largest concrete Dino in the world.

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2. Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska

Okay, it might not be England’s Stonehenge, But it is 38 old cars painted gray that form a replica of England’s Stonehenge. Additional sculptures include “Four Seasons”, representing the seasonal changes of the landscape.

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3. Enchanted Highway, Regent, North Dakota

Lining a 32-mile stretch of highway in southwest North Dakota, stand seven sensational scrap metal sculptures, including the world’s largest scrap metal sculpture,“Geese in Flight”.

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4. Hole n’ the Rock, Moab, Utah

This is the only place you can walk through a modern cave home with 14 furnished rooms carved out of Utah sandstone.

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5. Lucy the Elephant, Margate, New Jersey

Lucy the elephant is America’s oldest example of zoomorphic architecture. This 130-year-old, 65-foot pachyderm is actually a building that once served as a summer cottage.

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6. Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood, California

This larger than life donut was built in 1952, and has earned celebrity status by appearing in films (Mars Attacks), videos (Randy Newman’s “I Love LA”), and Hollywood dreams of sweet treats.

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7. Paul Bunyan, Minnesota and More

Paul Bunyan, America’s most famous mythical lumberjack, capable of felling entire forests with his powerful ax, has a long reach. Bunyan makes a mark in places all over the US including; Akeley, Minnesota; Bangor Maine; and Portland, Oregon. His trusty sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox, is on the action with colossal statues in Klamath, California, and Bemidji, Minnesota

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8. Foamhenge, Natural Bridge, Virginia

Okay, so it’s still not the actual Stonehenge, but this replica is as close as it gets! Foamhenge sits on a tufted hillside in the Shenandoah Valley, and makes for a mystical roadside diversion.

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9. Hood Milk Bottle, Boston Massachusetts

If your looking for ice cream that will make you scream, head to this 40-foot-tall snack stand at the Boston Children’s Museum. Not so much a roadside-attraction – but more of a waterfront sight – this 80-year-old icon has delighted lactose loving families for ages. Fun fact: is this were a real life milk bottle it could hold 58,620 gallons of milk!

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10. Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Created in 1974 by a group of artists, this graffiti-spattered homage to American road travel breaks the dusty Texas horizon with the force of an 18-wheeler. The ten half-buried roadsters, slanted in a perfect row into an Amarillo cow pasture, have been featured in many movies and referenced in songs.

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Whats your favorite roadside attraction? Share it with us in the comments below!

Jim Shorkey Brands Take Over Motor Trends’ Top 20 Selling SUVs List

The SUV isn’t exactly a hard sell. These road warriors are usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road capabilities, and often include the towing capacity of a pickup truck with the passenger-carrying space of a minivan or large sedan. However, the current automotive market is saturated with SUVs, making your decision a little more difficult.

Motor Trend recently ranked the top selling SUVs, and one thing is for certain: People are buying Jim Shorkey brands. From the Jeep Cherokee to the Dodge Journey, check out which of our SUVs made the list and what Motor Trend has to say about them.

20. Jeep Patriot: 84,028

With a brand dedicated to SUVs, it’s no wonder Jeep has four models in the top 20. The Jeep Patriot is the least expensive way to get into a Jeep model. Two four-cylinder engines are offered: a 2.0-liter (158 hp, 141 lb-ft of torque) or a 2.4-liter (172 hp, 165 lb-ft). A five-speed manual is standard and a six-speed auto is available. Front-drive is standard, and two four-wheel-drive systems are available: Freedom Drive I and the off-road-oriented Freedom Drive II.

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19. Dodge Journey: 85,151

Although five-passenger seating is standard, the Dodge Journey is one of the most affordable crossovers available with a third row and seating for up to seven passengers. Powertrain offerings include a 2.4-liter (173 hp, 166 lb-ft) inline-four mated to a four-speed auto or 3.6-liter (283 hp, 260 lb-ft) V-6 mated to a six-speed auto. Front-drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

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13. Ford Edge: 100,924

The Ford Edge sits between the compact Escape and three-row Explorer in the automaker’s lineup. Ford offers three engines. The base is a 3.5-liter (285 hp, 253 lb-ft) V-6, and a 2.0-liter (240 hp, 270 lb-ft) EcoBoost I-4 and a 3.7-liter (305 hp, 280 lb-ft) V-6 are optional. All engines are mated to a six-speed automatic. Front-drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available with the V-6 engines. The Edge’s advantage is much more interior volume than the smaller Escape, as well as the available V-6 engines.

9. Jeep Cherokee: 160,793

The all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee effectively replaced the Liberty in the SUV-maker’s lineup. The Cherokee is available with a choice of a 2.4-liter (184 hp, 171 lb-ft) I-4 or 3.2-liter (271 hp, 239 lb-ft) V-6 and three four-wheel-drive systems, including Jeep Active Drive I, Jeep Active Drive II, and Jeep Active Drive Lock. A nine-speed automatic is the sole transmission. Despite controversial looks and an unconventional transverse powertrain, Jeep sold just 532 fewer Cherokee models than the traditional Wrangler.

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8. Jeep Wrangler: 161,325

The Jeep Wrangler could be considered the last hardcore off-road SUV left on the market, thanks to its body-on-frame construction and solid front and rear axles. Power comes from a 3.6-liter (285 hp, 260 lb-ft) V-6 mated to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic. And of course all Wranglers come with a standard four-wheel-drive system with a 2WD High, 4WD High, Neutral, and 4WD Low ranges. The Wrangler is the only choice for serious off-roaders.

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7. Jeep Grand Cherokee: 166,610

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the SUV brand’s most luxurious offering. And with the SRT model, it’s also the fastest and most powerful. Four engine options from mild to wild are available. The base engine is a 3.6-liter (290 hp, 260 lb-ft) V-6, and a 3.0-liter (240 hp, 420 lb-ft) EcoDiesel V-6 and a 5.7-liter (360 hp, 390 lb-ft) Hemi V-8 are optional. The SRT model is powered by a 6.4-liter (475 hp, 470 lb-ft) Hemi V-8. All engines are backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Grand Cherokee is available with rear-drive or all-wheel drive.

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6. Ford Explorer: 172,707

At one time the Ford Explorer was the best-selling SUV in the U.S. by a wide margin, selling more than double what it has sold this year. The Explorer is offered with two engine options, and the Explorer Sport is offered with a third, more powerful powerplant. The base engine in the Explorer is a 3.5-liter (290 hp, 255 lb-ft) V-6, and a more fuel-efficient 2.0-liter (240 hp, 270 lb-ft) EcoBoost I-4 is available. Front-drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available with the 3.5-liter. The Explorer Sport is powered by a 3.5-liter (365 hp, 350 lb-ft) EcoBoost V-6 and a standard all-wheel-drive system. All models feature a six-speed automatic. The Explorer seats seven passengers in three rows.

2. Ford Escape: 280,609

Since its last redesign, the Ford Escape has gained in popularity. With three engine choices and several trim levels, the Escape offers lots of choices for consumers. A 2.5-liter (168 hp, 170 lb-ft) is the base engine, and two EcoBoost engines are available: a 1.6-liter (178 hp, 184 lb-ft) I-4 and a 2.0-liter (240 hp, 270 lb-ft) I-4. All engines are mated to a six-speed automatic. Front-drive is standard, and the EcoBoost engines are available with all-wheel drive.

Trading In Your Vehicle Offers Convenience over Selling Privately

When looking to buy a new car, you undoubtedly face many options. One option, in particular, is what you should do with your current car: trade it in or sell it privately. While there are a variety of factors involved in each scenario, we have some advice.

If you decide to sell your vehicle privately, then you are likely going to have to post an online ad or newspaper ad and wait for calls to come in. This means you will have to field calls from various people and negotiate the price with them—something that most people do not find too appealing. That being said, you will probably deal with many different people before you find one serious about the purchase. Is it possible to get more money selling privately than via trade in? Sure, it is. However, all that extra work likely won’t be worth any small gain. By trading your car in, you can complete the entire transaction of selling and buying a new car usually within a single day.

And at the Jim Shorkey Auto Group, with locations in Irwin, Uniontown, and East McKeesport, we are more than happy to help. Stop by one of our lots or give us a call—our team will be glad to chat with you about your trade-in and negotiate a price that works for you. With the trade-in completed and your new car selected, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is where you want to drive to first.

Car Buying at Jim Shorkey Family Auto Group

10 Car Hacks You Need to Know

We know times can be busy and hectic, and car maintenance is far from your mind. That’s why we’re bringing you 10 car hacks that will immensely improve your car.

1. Hand sanitizer is a fast and easy way to unlock a frozen door.

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2. Toothpaste helps get rid of scuffs

3. Dryer sheets help keep your car smelling fresh

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4. Use a shoe organizer to keep important items nearby

5. Make a trash bag holder from an empty canister

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6. A cereal container makes for a portable trash can

7. A coffee cup makes a great tissue holder

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8. Invest in a swivel tray for all your dining needs

9. Use an empty gum container to keep loose change

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10. Add a hanging tennis ball to the top of your garage to help prevent bumping into the garage wall

Do you know any other car hacks to improve your car? Share them with us in the comments below!