Spring Forward and Drive Safe, Everyone

Don’t forget, Pittsburgh: We’re springing forward this weekend! And while setting your clocks forward an hour can be painful in the morning, it’s one of the first signs of Spring. With the changing the seasons, comes new weather patterns. Below we have some driving tips from AAA to help you battle Spring weather. Fingers crossed it will be here soon!

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  • Slow down on slick roads, and increase your following distance even when mist begins to fall. Keep in mind that even a small amount of water can mix with oil and road dust to create slippery conditions.
  • Be sure your vehicle is ready for rain by replacing your windshield wipers at least once a year. Don’t drive faster than your wipers can clear water from the windshield.
  • Avoid driving through large puddles, which can impair your brakes, cloud your vision, or cause you to hydroplane and lose control of your vehicle. If you can’t avoid a puddle and find your vehicle hydroplaning, gently ease your foot off of the accelerator; do not brake.
  • Share the road. Warm weather brings motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians out on the roads. Because more and more pedestrians have developed habits of texting, talking on cellphones, and listening to music, they can be unaware of the traffic around them. Be extra cautious around intersections and in residential communities.
  • Understand the impact of medications on driving. New spring growth often causes seasonal allergies, so keep in mind that over-the-counter allergy drugs can have side effects or interact with other medications to cause drowsiness or diminish your driving ability.
  • If possible, go around potholes. Potholes-an after-effect of winter weather-can hurt your tires or throw your car’s front end out of alignment. If you can’t avoid a pothole, try to slow down, as the damage can be costly to fix.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can reduce damage from potholes, uneven pavement, and other road hazards.
  • Change your car’s cabin air filter if you suffer from seasonal allergies. The cabin air filter, which removes pollutants before they enter your vehicle, can be essential in minimizing the amount of dust or pollen that enters your vehicle, thus relieving your allergies during travel.
  • Spring weather can be temperamental, so be prepared for quick changes by taking the proper precautions. To learn more about protecting yourself, your family, and your vehicle all year round, consider registering for a driver-improvement course, such as the classroom or online courses offered by AARP Driver Safety.
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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

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  • 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.

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!

Tips for Driving on Black Ice

The winter season is here, and for as pretty as the snow is when it covers the trees and roads, it brings many dangers for motorists, with one of the most threatening being slippery and hard-to-spot black ice.

Black ice forms when the air is at 32 degrees or below at the surface and rain is falling. The ground temperature causes the precipitation to freeze upon impact, thus creating the ice.

Due to complexion, black ice is very hard to spot, but using a car thermometer as an initial gauge can be helpful in determining the road conditions. A car thermometer is made to find the air’s ambient temperature. So if a vehicle’s thermometer is close to freezing, the car driver should be cautious on the roads.

BLACK ICE

However, dude to the restrictions of a car’s thermometer, the best way to know if the roads are icy before heading out is to be aware of how, where, and when black ice forms. The prime time for ice to develop are around dawn and in the late evening, when temperatures are typically the lowest. During the day, the best thing to do before getting in a vehicle is to take a look at the pavement. If the pavement is dry but you see spots of pavement that look dark and glossy, there is a great chance that it is black ice. The most common locations for black ice to appear are shaded or tree-covered parts of driveways and roadways due to the lack of sunlight and bridges and overpasses because of their ability to freeze quickly.

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While driving on black ice is similar to snow, the big difference between the two is the amount of traction the vehicle retains. Due to lack of traction a car has on ice, the basic rule for driving is to stay calm and let the vehicle pass over it.

Other tips for driving on black ice:

1. Do not hit the brakes, instead keep the steering wheel steady

2. Lift your foot off the accelerator.

3. Do not overcorrect your steering if you feel your car sliding

4. Use extreme caution on bridges and overpasses

5. Never use cruise control

6. Avoid unnecessarily changing lanes

7. Drive, turn, and break slowly

8. If you have anti-lock brakes, do not pump the pedal

9. Use your low-beam headlights

10. Remember, four-wheel drive doesn’t help you stop any faster.

Our service departments are here to get your winter ready