Winter Driving Tips

On February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow around 7:30 am and did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring for us all. We don’t think that Mother nature got the message. Take control of the winter roads with these Winter driving tips from the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Tires

Blog1

Regardless of the season, you should inspect your tires on a monthly basis and before long road trips.

  • Check your tire pressure – ensuring that your tires are inflated to your vehicle’s suggested PSI. You can find this information either in your owner’s manual or on the label inside your driver’s door.
  • All-season tires are not winter tires. All-season tires begin to lose their grip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and are not as effective in heavy snow and ice.
  • Tires marked with a snowflake are designed for snowy conditions and offer excellent snow traction performance. Winter tires provide better traction, handling and braking. They can shorten braking distances by as much as 25%.
  • Look closely at your tread and replace tires with uneven wear or insufficient tread.

Survival Kit

winter_safety_checklist_survival_kit_caa

No one expects to be stranded on the side of the road. Be prepared for winter driving by keeping a survival kit in your vehicle. Below are some suggestions of items you should keep in your trunk.

  • Gloves, blankets and extra cloths
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Know what to do in an emergency
  • Jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and markers
  • Extra food, water and first aid kit
  • Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper
  • Abrasive material, such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow

Check Your Vehicle

Blog2

Winter weather is hard on your vehicle and its engine. Here are some tips to help you make sure your vehicle is up to the challenge.

  • Service your vehicle with a Winter tune-up or other routine maintenance
  • Keep an extra jug of high-quality “no-freeze” windshield-washer fluid
  • Keep your gas tank at least half-full to prevent your gas line from freezing.
  • Check your battery
  • Check your cooling system
  • Check your windshield wipers and defrosters

Cleaning Your Vehicle

mohippo_barometerheroimage

Did you know that it is illegal in Maryland to drive with snow on the roof of your car? Safe winter driving starts before you drive off from your driveway.

  • Clear snow and ice from all windows, headlights, mirrors, hood and the roof. After starting your vehicle, wait for the window to defrost completely to allow clear visibility all around.
  • Snow or ice left on your vehicle will blow up onto your windshield while driving and will even blow off your vehicle onto the cars behind you potentially damaging their vehicle or blocking their view.

Practice Safe Winter Driving Habits

winter-road-maintenance

Since every vehicle handles differently during different road conditions, it’s important to take the time to get to know your vehicle under winter weather driving conditions,

  • Practice cold weather driving when your area gets snow, it’s best to practice on an empty lot in full daylight.
  • Drive slowly as it’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a snow-covered or an icy road.
  • If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, apply firm pressure, if you have non-anti-lock brakes, pump the brakes gently.
  • Steer into the skid. If you find yourself in a skidding, remain calm and ease your foot off the gas carefully steering in the direction you want the front of your vehicle to go.

Prepare for Driving

WinterDriving_iStockphoto-e1354551763637

The safest strategy is to avoid driving in bad weather conditions. If that isn’t a choice, plan before getting on the road. Driving in poor weather usually takes a lot longer and is more stressful.

  • Tell someone where you are going, your route and your estimated time of arrival.
  • Allow for extra to get to your destination.
  • Be alert, well rested and sober behind the wheel.
  • Wear your seat belt.
  • Stay on main roads and drive carefully by matching your speed to the road and weather conditions.
  • “Know Before you Go.” Call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit: http://www.md511.org for current travel information.

Winter is an optimal time to slow down and snuggle in. Doing so may not just make you feel happy; it might also help to keep you safe. So many collisions can be easily prevented by driving cautiously, alertly and patiently. It only takes a moment to change a life forever.

fireplace

Bob Bell Chevrolet of Bel Air                               Bob Bell Chevrolet of Baltimore
1230 Belair Road                                                        1 Kane Street
Bel Air, MD 21014                                                      Baltimore, MD 21224
(888) 844-0314                                                            (855) 978-9791

Source: Maryland Department of Transportation

 

Back to School Safety Tips

Back-to-school-safety-safety

As the school doors open, traffic gets a little heavier on our streets. People are back from holidays, school buses and public transit are on regular routes, and more people are walking, cycling or driving to school.

kidsgotoschool

We need to remember during this time to share roads safely. It’s important to slow down and stay alert near school zones and parks, especially before and after school!

Did you know that school buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today? The reality is, more children are hurt outside the bus than inside as passengers. For this reason, it is necessary to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses.

  • It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children – from all directions
  • The yellow flashing lights are to alert motorists that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload passengers
  • The red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm, signals the bus is stopped and that children are getting on or off the bus
  • Please leave at least 10 feet around a school bus
  • Be alert as children are unpredictable

dangerzone

Sharing the road safely with young pedestrians is just as important as school buses. All drivers should recognize the special safety needs of pedestrians, especially those that are children.

  • Drivers must observe school zone speeds
  • Crossing guards and school patrol officers are there to keep our children safe. If you come up to a set of lights, and the light turns green, but the crossing guard still says stop, follow their direction and not the traffic light
  • Kids are small and are easily distracted. Be observant and alert as you never know when a small child might step out from between parked cars or off a sidewalk
  • Please do not block a crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians

crossing guard

From all of us at Bob Bell, let’s all help everyone stay safe this school year!

Bob Bell Chevrolet of Bel Air                           Bob Bell Chevrolet of Baltimore
1230 Belair Road                                                   1 Kane Street
Bel Air, MD 21014                                                 Baltimore, MD 21224
(888) 844-0314                                                       (855) 978-9791

Source: Maryland Department of Transportation

GM & Safe Kids Worldwide Mark 15 Year Alliance

The General Motors Foundation, General Motors and Safe Kids Worldwide celebrated 15 years of the Buckle Up program last month.  The program has helped reach millions of parents and caregivers and their young passengers during a rapid evolution in auto safety technology.

The Safe Kids Buckle Up program began with a focus on child safety seat checks at GM dealers. Over the past 15 years, it has grown into a multifaceted program that addresses child safety in and around vehicles. To date, certified experts at nearly 80,000 car seat checks have inspected more than 1.5 million car seats for proper installation. Additionally, more than 550,000 car seats have gone to at-risk families, many at no cost through the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza; and more than 22 million people have been exposed to the program’s events and outreach activities.

The Buckle Up program also includes:

  • 118 mobile child safety vans, completely equipped to conduct child passenger safety events;
  • 500 permanent child safety seat inspection stations, including at GM dealerships;
  • Spot the Tot and Never Leave Your Child Alone, programs aimed at preventing fatalities and injuries to children in and around vehicles;
  • Safest Generation (for kids 11 and 12) and Countdown2Drive (ages 13 and 14) to address the needs of older children and their families; and
  • Activities that advocate for stronger state child passenger safety laws.

“The safety initiatives created through our partnership help ensure that our nation’s youth are protected from the time they are infants to teenagers getting behind the wheel for the first time,” said GM Foundation President Vivian Pickard. “These initial lessons instill good safety habits that last a lifetime.”

For parents who want assistance, Safe Kids hosts car seat inspection events across the country throughout the year. Parents are invited to bring their car, child safety seat and child to an event in their area where certified child passenger safety technicians provide one-on-one “hands-on” help with installation. Parents and caregivers can locate an event in their community by visiting the Safe Kids website.

Bob Bell Chevrolet of Bel Air
1230 Belair Road
Bel Air, MD 21014
(888) 844-0314

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   foursquare   |   Map & Hours

Child Seat Installation

When it comes to keeping your kids safe, don’t risk installing their seat incorrectly. Here are a few easy steps to installing the seat correctly.

Before you even think about putting it in the vehicle…

  1. Read the manual.  Now, I know most people loath reading instructions… but I would hope that in this case you would make an exception. Read both your vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat manual from the manufacturer. You’re not only looking for proper installation, but also information such as the weight and height limits for the seat.
  2. If you are borrowing a car seat, or have bought one second-hand, be sure to check the seat carefully, and ask if it’s been in a vehicle during an accident. Make sure it has all the instructions and hardware, it has no discolored stress marks or cracks, the harness is not worn or torn, and it has a properly working buckle and latch. Also look for the sticker from the American National Standard Institute and expiration date. If the seat of over 7 years old, toss it. NEVER USE A SEAT IF IT HAS BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT.
  3. Choose the right seat. Car seats are made to fit children at different ages and heights. A baby under 20 lbs and under 1 year, should always travel in a rear-facing seat. Toddlers who weight between 20 – 40 lbs and are over the age of 1 should ride in a forward-facing seat. Pre-school kids between 20 – 80 lbs, and those shorter than 4.75 feet should use a booster seat until the age of 8.  All children under 13 should ride in the back seat.

Time to install the seat…

  1. Anchor the car seat. All vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2002 are equipped with the Universal Anchorage System (UAS) and lower anchorage bars for securing the seat. Then properly thread the seat belt or UAS through the child car seat, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Apply a lot of pressure. Kneel on the child seat to push it into the vehicle’s seat. Use your muscles to tighten the seat belt or UAS. Then grab the seat and try to move it side to side, don’t go easy on it either because you want to make sure it won’t move if you have an accident. It shouldn’t sway more than an inch in any direction.
  3. Tighten the straps on your child. Check the tension on all straps – they should be tight enough so you can only fit one finger between the child and the straps.  All straps should lie flat against the child’s body and the chest clip should be positioned at armpit level. If your child whines don’t give in and loosen the straps – the result could be deadly in a collision.

If you are still unsure of how to correctly install your child’s safety seat, or you want someone to double-check your work, you can take it to a child car seat inspection station.  Certified technicians will inspect your child car seat, in most cases, free of charge – and show you how to correctly install and use it. Follow the link provided to find one near you. http://www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm

One last point… you may want to put a blanket or towel under the child seat to protect your vehicle’s seats from spills, crumbs and whatever else your child may throw its way.

Bob Bell Chevrolet of Bel Air
1230 Belair Road
Bel Air, MD 21014
(888) 844-0314

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   Map & Hours