Holiday Driving Tips

Snow Road

Photo by Thomas Quine (Flickr Creative Commons)

Are you and your family getting ready for that holiday drive to visit relatives? The days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are the busiest traveling period of the year. It’s important to make sure you’re ready for anything that might arise while traveling this holiday. Here are some helpful tips to get you prepared for your holiday journey.

Make sure your Chevy is ready to travel those long miles. This is easy to do. Start off by checking your wipers and fluids. Take a moment to get your radiator and cooling system serviced. These simple maintenance tips can prevent most of the problems that strand holiday travelers.

Plan ahead before your set out. Know your exits by both name and number along with watching for signs as you near your exit. A lot of drivers make last moment lane changes in order to reach their exit which often leads to accidents.

Don’t be that car that cuts in front of large trucks and semis. These vehicles are much heavier and take longer to break. Cutting in front of them could lead to collisions. Also remember while sharing the road with large semis and trucks to be aware of their blind spots.

Always make sure you’re traveling with an emergency kit. It should contain flashlights, a blanket, a battery powered radio, a fire extinguisher, bottled water, first-aid kit, non-perishable foods, a tire repair kit, flares and maps. Having an emergency kit properly stocked has been known to save lives.

Be aware of the weather. Weather conditions are constantly changing especially during the early mornings and evenings. Watch for snow and ice or any other weather related obstacles.

Leave early to help avoid risks. Everyone is worried about getting to their destination on time. Leaving early will help reduce feeling anxious about arriving late.

Don’t be distracted by what’s on the road. Distractions while driving is the main cause of traffic related accidents. Just two seconds of being distracted will double your chances of an accident. Don’t text while driving and if you have to make a phone call, pull over.

Always buckle up. Being properly buckled reduces the risk of a fatal injury by up to 45 percent. Buckling up is a simple way to increase you and your families safety during traveling.

Stay safe this holiday from your friends at SouthTowne Motors.

Preparing Your Car For Winter

Winter is rapidly approaching and now is the perfect time to prepare your vehicle for winter driving. This is an essential thing to do before the harsh winter months put unwelcomed demands on your car’s equipment and parts. Failure to do so could result in a devastating or even life-threatening situation. No one wants that especially during the holiday season. Here are some steps to help you through this winter.

Buy a set of winter tires. This is perhaps one of the best ways to help you battle snowy conditions. Snow tires will significantly improve your cars handling ability on slippery surfaces. It’s a proven fact that cars that have only two-wheel drive who have winter tires are better at stopping and maneuvering than cars with regular tires.

Along with a good set of winter tires, make sure the tire’s pressure is accurate. There is a misconception that reducing the pressure in your tires will increase the size of a tires contact, thus increasing its grip. This isn’t the case. It actually reduces stability. Look on your tires inside wall for its recommended PSI level.

Make sure your vehicle is equipped with an emergency kit. You never know what could happen out on the road. Even with every precaution taken, your car could still break down. Your emergency kit could end up being a life saver.

Carry extra warm clothing in your vehicle. Have you ever tried to change a tire in freezing temperatures? Be prepared with jackets and gloves. Don’t count on your car’s heating system to keep warm. If your engine fails, your heat will too. Carry a blanket, socks, and a warm winter hat.

Replace your windshield wipers and fluid. Your visibility is limited when driving in heavy snowy conditions. Using old windshield wipers will only make matters worse by smearing dirt and snow around rather than removing it. Making sure to have fluid will help remove slush that’s kicked onto your windshield by the cars in front of you. Invest in proper windshield wiper fluids that won’t freeze in extreme temperatures.

Check your coolant or anti-freeze levels regularly. You should have a 50/50 mix of water and coolant in your radiator. If water freezes in this part of your vehicle, temperatures will soar in your engine leaving you stranded and with a big expense.

Heed these tips from SouthTowne Motors and have a safe and fun winter.

Winter Storm Boreas: Prepare Yourself for Holiday Driving

Photo By: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigmike33x/

This Thanksgiving, holiday travelers are going to have more to worry about than gas prices and rush hour. With winter storm Boreas on the horizon, drivers will need to be more cautious on the roadways. Not only will driving conditions be poor during the storm, but the snow and ice will remain after the storm has passed.

Even if you’re staying in Atlanta for the holidays, you’ll probably experience some of the torrential rains and high winds that can make for tough travels around town. By following a few driving tips for these stormy conditions, you can keep yourself and your passengers safe and still make it to the dinner table on time.

Slow Down

It may seem obvious to drive slower in stormy conditions, but many travelers are in a rush during the holidays. There are deadlines and dinner times, but your safety is most important. Allow yourself more time to get to your destination, so you can drive slower and stay safe.

Go Easy on the Brakes

Start braking sooner in icy or wet conditions and brake slowly to prevent skidding out of control. Leave yourself three times the amount of space you normally would when stopping.

Keep it Clean

Before you hit the road over the holidays, make sure your headlights and windshield are spotless. Always clean your windshield when you fill up the gas tank and make sure the wheels and underside of your vehicle are free of snow and ice. Don’t forget to keep your headlights on for better visibility.

Your Vehicle Is Not Invincible

As your Cadillac, Buick, Chevy and GMC car dealer, we know that we sell the best vehicles for driving in all conditions. Although, no vehicle handles perfectly in all types of weather – even if it is four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, so drive with caution whether you’re in a front-wheel drive sedan or a four-wheel drive pick-up truck.

Service Your Vehicle

Stop by Southtowne Motors, your Newnan car dealer, to have your vehicle serviced before you hit the road. Make sure your vehicle is in top shape from the brakes to the windshield wipers, and most of all, please drive safely over the holidays.

Getting Ready For Holiday Travel

With Thanksgiving approaching, here are a few travel tips from SouthTowne Motors to keep in mind as you hit the highways toward your destination. Over the next several days, there will be an estimated 39.1 million Americans that will be traveling. Make sure that you arrive safely to your destination with our friendly and useful advice.

  1. Make sure to get plenty of sleep before hitting the road. The last thing you want is to be completely worn out and having to make a long trip.
  2. Make sure to map out your destination ahead of time. In case you don’t have a GPS system, there are multiple phone apps that can help you do everything from planning your route to find the lowest gas prices nearby.
  3. Make sure to thoroughly inspect your car before leaving. Make sure the tires are at their proper PSI, the oil is current or changed and the windshield washer fluid is full. Are your windshield wiper blades in good working order? If not, change them out for a set of new ones. Also, always make sure to have a spare on hand. Along with a spare tire, you will also want to have a jack as well. Do a walk around your vehicle checking to make sure all your lights and turn signals are in properly working order.
  4. Carry the necessary car essentials for your road trip. This will include a cell phone, phone charger, and your auto insurance card and registrations papers. You can never have too many good tunes to listen to. Bring along a few seasonal CDs to sing along to or use an iPod or MP3 player for music. This will help you stay alert during your drive and help pass the time.
  5. Never text and drive or surf the internet on your phone while operating a vehicle. It’s never worth risking your life and the lives of others on the road or in your Newnan Chevy. Also, in many locations, it’s prohibited to text and drive.
  6. If you’re driving for long periods of time, it can become tiring. Watch for signs of fatigue such as eye strain and drowsiness. Take regular rest breaks or share the driving. This way you can stay alert while driving and avoid any motor vehicle accidents.

Have a safe and happy holidays from SouthTowne Motors!

Tips For Staying Alert On The Road

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There is no doubt that road trips are enjoyable, at least the first few hours before fatigue begins to set in. Maintaining your awareness is crucial, especially on long road trips. Studies have shown that a drowsy driver is just as dangerous as a drunk driver. Falling asleep while driving contributes to 10% of all road accidents which result in as many as 300 deaths and multiple injuries each year. Don’t endanger yourself and others.

Your friends at SouthTowne Motors have a few tips to avoid this.

If you’re tired, don’t fight it

This is almost always the best option if you’re feeling yourself nodding off. There is no shame in pulling over to rest. This can be the most important thing you can do when driving for extended periods of time. Research has proven that even if you take a cat nap for less than an hour, your body receives vital rest it needs to help you stay alert and awake long into the night. So pull that Chevy over and take a 30 minute power nap.

Crank up the music

Music will affect your mood and energy level. Put together a lively playlist for the road. Add your favorite hits that you love to sing along with. Studies have shown that music with fast and upbeat rhythms and high frequencies work best. Choose a lot of energetic and lively music to boost your feeling of alertness. This is your chance to really rock out on your road trip!

Cold air

This can be very effective in cooler weather or you can also turn on your car’s AC. Cold air shocks your senses giving you a temporary jolt which makes your body more alert. As most people know, warm air only enhances drowsiness.

Stretch

Get the blood flowing and the heart rate up by pulling over and doing some quick exercises. Anything works. You can do a little jog around the car or even a few jumping jacks. Anything that accelerates your heart rate will invigorate you and keep you awake.

Keep your taste buds alert

Eating tangy or tart fruits can wake up the taste buds and the mind. You can even suck on sour candies for this affect. Carrots can also be affective due to the extra effort and time it takes to chew them.

The next time you feel yourself feeling a bit drowsy, remember these effective ways to rejuvenate yourself. From your Newnan car dealer, have fun and stay safe!

Extending the Life of Your Brakes

Changing your brakes is inevitable. The grinding or squeaking sound your brakes give off is a clear indicator that you need to change them. But let’s try to keep them from making that sound as long as possible.

Here are a few tips and tricks to extend the life of your brakes from SouthTowne Motors, your Newnan car dealer.

Speeding destroys your brakes

Stopping hard from high speeds is the number one killer of brakes. Even speeding just a little will shorten the lifespan of your brakes. Braking at high speeds forces the brakes to dissipate one-third more energy, which causes heat due to friction when applied. This can drastically reduce the life of your brake pads. The extreme clamping force needed for a last second brake can also crack your braking pads. Simply being mindful of your speed can add months to the lifespan of your brakes.

Don’t ride the brakes

Avoid riding the brakes, especially when coasting down hills. This could possibly be the worst thing to do when trying to expand the life of your brakes. The best method is to alternate between coasting and braking, giving the brakes a chance to cool off so they won’t over heat and cause faster deterioration of the brake pads. The more coasting you do, the longer your friction materials are going to last.

Get them flushed

The brake fluids need to be changed periodically. Most mechanics call it bleeding and flushing. This can be extremely beneficial if you have an older vehicle, or if you purchased one used. By flushing the brake fluids, it will make the internal components last longer and the brakes function better. The older the brake fluid is, the higher the moisture content is within the fluid. Old brake fluid can result in failure of the wheel cylinders and brake calipers.

Get inspected

Everything wears over time and your brakes are no exception. Having a regular brake inspection performed will make it easier to note problems before they develop. The brakes will be able to tell you a lot about your car, for instance if your wheel alignment is off. It is important to get on a regular maintenance schedule with your car.

If it is time, however, for your Chevy brakes to be replaced or inspected, head south of Atlanta and come see us at SouthTowne Motors!

Air Bag Safety And Children

Air bags are designed to open on impact and to protect the driver and passengers in the case of a crash. Although new cars come standard with airbags because of their proven ability to save lives, their have been some concerns about their safety and effectiveness when it comes to children

Airbags are designed to protect large adults from the force and impact of a crash. As such they open with a large amount force, enough to seriously injure and possibly even kill a small child. In reaction to this discover the National Traffic Safety Administration has worked with car manufactures to set laws and guidelines that are designed to help reduce the number of injuries caused by airbags to children.

One of the biggest adaptations that auto manufactures have made to keep young children from being injured and killed by airbags is to put an on/off switch on airbags. If your car’s airbag has on/off switch it is highly recommend that you turn the airbag off anytime anyone under the age of 13 is sitting in the from seat. It may also be a good idea to turn off the airbag if a small adult is sitting in the front passenger seat.

Another precaution to take is to make sure that the person sitting in the seat with the airbag is sitting upright, in a comfortable position with their feet flat on the floor. It is especially important to make sure to teach your children to do this because when deployed the airbag could hit your child at the wrong angle and cause serious injuries. In rare cases, sitting with their feet on the dashboard where the airbag is located could cause them to deploy without there being an accident.

The best thing to do is to have your child sit in the back seat. Most states now have laws about how old a child must be in order to sit in the front seat. This is because of the damage airbags can have on growing bodies. It is important to follow these laws. Even if your child is old enough by law to sit in the front seat, in may be in their best interest to sit in the back anyway. Many children are smaller than their peers and could still be hurt by an airbag being deployed.

While airbags are important safety features that have saved many lives, they are designed to protect adult male bodies from the impact of a collision. This is why it is important to follow all laws and guidelines when children are riding in the car.

Building A Car Emergency Car Kit

Here at More Miles with Mader I like to provide you with a variety of auto related and area information. I think it’s part of what a car dealer in Atlanta should do. This time around I am going to talk about creating your own emergency car kit. I’m not just going to talk about the basics. I also think I may have some good ideas for things you may not have even considered.

The place to start though is with the basics. I would consider the basic to include some sort of medical emergency kit. It should at least include a few bandages, tape, gauze and some packets of those disposable wipes you find at a rib or wing place. The basics should also include:

  • A flare or flares
  • Reflectors
  • Can of Fix-A-Flat
  • A Blanket
  • Jumper cables
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Flashlight
  • Plastic Poncho

If you travel alone frequently or travel out in the country quite a bit you may also want to consider these items.

  • A charged but out of service cellphone. These phones can still be used to call 911.
  • A tire repair kit. They are inexpensive and if you can find the hole, you can fix it at least well enough to get where it can be attended to more permanently.
  • Maps. Even if you have a GPS, keep a map available.
  • A bottle of water or two. You never know how long help may take to arrive.
  • A small air compressor. These can help fill a tire with a slow leak, or a inflate a repaired one.You can generally find these for under $20.
  • A portable self-contained power pack. These allow you to jump your car without help or even recharge your cellphone. These can cost anyway from about $40 on up, but can be invaluable.
  • WD-40. This can really help if you experience a tough lug-nut.
  • Duct tape. Hey, you never know!
  • A $20 bill hidden in the trunk or glove compartment. Again, you never know!

With cellphones, todays road emergencies can generally be minimized but it is always best to be prepared. You may look back on this and be thankful you put together your own emergency car kit.

If you are looking for a new car take a quick trip to Southtowne Motors of Newnan. We offer Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevy and GMC cars and trucks. We also offer used cars and trucks as well. Enjoy the road and remember to check back for More Miles with Mader!

Blind Zones, Where Are Yours

Blind zones are serious business. All drivers have them. All cars have them. Do you know where your blind spots are? How often do you check them? How many times have you been driving down the road, check your mirrors and make your move only to have a horn blared at you because you moved directly into the path of a car that was in your blind spot.

The video below was originally aired on the CBS News and discusses the dangers of not recognizing your blind zones. The video shows clearly how blind zones work against you.

Every trip out in your vehicle can result in a scenario that you may not have been prepared for, such as not paying attention to your blind spot and becoming a road hazard. Don’t just rely on your mirrors. Turn you head over your shoulder and physically look at on coming traffic to make sure the coast is clear. The problem with not understanding where your blind spots are means that you might be bringing your Buick, GMC, Chevrolet or Cadillac in from some body work before your know it.

Keep Your Eye On The PSI To Save You Gas

Can buying the right tires save you in extra fuel costs? Can keeping your eye on the PSI (pounds per square inch) save you gas? The simple answer is, “Yes”. Rolling resistance and friction play a huge part in the amount of fuel you save. Simply speaking, the more rolling resistance and friction, the less miles per gallon you are going to get out of your car. If your tires are inflated to the right pressure, then a tire with low rolling resistance can give you as much as an additional 3 miles per gallon in extreme cases.

Under the weight of your car the tire is distorted with every turn of the wheel. Now, when your tires are under-inflated, the rubber distorts under the heavy weight of the car and bells out and more surface area of the tire touches the road. It stands to reason that your car will have to generate more energy to create continuous forward movement. The more rubber on the road, the more fuel your engine needs to move the car and the less you save in gas.

This video explains further the physics behind rolling resistance and how it affects your gas mileage.

Even being under inflated by a few pounds, your tires are not going to perform the way they should. If you don’t think that the inflation of your tires plays such a definitive role in keeping money in your pocket, think again. If you need more proof, I’d be glad to discuss the benefits of keeping a watchful eye on your PSI here at your Cadillac, Buick,  GMC, Chevrolet dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore.