Bad Driving Habits and How to Correct Them

We all have bad habits behind the wheel, and we at Gossett Kia South have created a list of bad driving habits to correct. For example, speeding is something a majority of drivers admit to, yet it can significantly reduce your gas mileage and increase the risk of a collision.

Bad driving habits - Gossett Kia South - Memphis, TNSecond, never use your cell phone while driving. For many, this is easier said than done. Cell phones have been shown to cause distracted driving, which significantly increases the risk of an accident. One tip to reduce cell phone use is to turn off your phone and put it in your glove box while you’re driving to eliminate the temptation. You can also download apps (like DriveSafe Mode) which disable your phone while a car is in motion.

Next, cut back on aggressive driving, such as tailgating and speeding. According to I Drive Safely, aggressive driving serves little purpose other than venting your rage. Therefore, to cut back on speeding and tailgating, one solution may be to seek alternative forms of stress relief. A stress relief ball might do it for some, but others may need to take up yoga, meditation, or a new sport in order to really help with this one.

Avoid parking in illegal areas. Some drivers think it might be ok to park in a fire lane or in a spot labeled “No Parking” if they simply put their hazards on, but this too is still illegal. It doesn’t matter if it’s just for five minutes—parking in restricted areas is not only thoughtless, but also dangerous. Even if you have to walk a little more, try to make an effort to park legally every time.

If we can all make these changes, the road will be a much safer, calmer place to be.

Safety Tips for Winter Driving

 

Wintertime is the most dangerous time of the year to be on the road because of a whole bunch of bad weather conditions, including snow and the scariest of all, freezing rain. There are ways to navigate winter weather safely, though, so follow these tips to keep your car on the road in any conditions.

Always drive slowly on bad roads, but don’t just drive slowly—do everything else slowly too. Give yourself enough room to coast to a stop and ease on the brakes instead of slamming them, and never tailgate. You want plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you in case you have to make a sudden stop, which doesn’t work too well on slick roads.

When it’s raining, foggy, or snowing, turn on your headlights. If other drivers can’t see your lights this means you’re putting yourself and others in serious danger. You should also avoid distractions like your phone and avoid driving when you’re very tired.

Always clear off all your windows so you have the best possible visibility before hitting the road. Keep track of traffic and weather instead of getting caught unawares in a storm or rush hour traffic. If you come across a flooded road, then turn around and find another way!

Finally, keep up with scheduled maintenance. Properly inflated, even tires, fresh engine oil, and good brakes are the best defense against crashing. Drive safely!

Dashboard Warning Lights: What Do They Mean?

dashboard warning lightsWhen a dashboard warning light comes on, this is a signal from your car to let you know that something might be wrong. While this can be frustrating or nerve-wracking for some drivers, it is important to know what to do depending on the specific warning light you see. While some warning lights may be dangerous, others simply let you know when there is a minor problem.

According to AutoZone, many lights are divided into three categories based on color.

  • Green or Blue – a normal system is operating (cruise, high beams, etc.) or off.
  • Yellow – there may be an issue down the road. Service when possible.
  • Orange or Red – take extreme caution, and have your car inspected ASAP.

These are general guidelines for dash warning lights; nevertheless, you should always follow the instructions found in your owner’s manual.

The most common light you may see is the Check Engine or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL). This is set off when the engine computer sets a Diagnostic Trouble Code—often related to emissions or general engine problems. The most common causes can be a loose gas cap, faulty O2 sensor, a bad catalytic convertor, or engine misfire among other things.

A Coolant Temp Warning light appears when the engine temperature exceeds normal operating ranges. This can be caused by a coolant leak or clog, bad fan, loose radiator cap, faulty water pump, or bad temperature gauge.

The Oil Pressure Warning usually indicates a loss of oil pressure, which is due to leaks or low oil levels. This can lead to serious issues if left unattended.

If you see the Brake System or ABS Warning Light, you may need to pull over. This could indicate that your parking brake is still on, or you may have brake failure. The brake fluid could also be low. Be sure to have your car inspected by a certified tech as soon as possible.

The Battery Charge Alert lets you know that there is an electrical issue. This can be caused by a dead battery, bad alternator, corroded wiring, or a range of other issues. Electricity is needed for basic operations, as well as engine combustion, making this a serious issue.

These are just some of the many warning lights you may see. If you need assistance with vehicle repair or diagnostics, bring your car into Gossett Kia for reliable service and affordable prices.

To Avoid Burns, Don’t Forget to Wear Sunscreen in the Car

2016 Kia Optima in the SunEveryone knows to wear sunscreen during a long day at the beach, but should you wear sunscreen in the car?

If your skin is going to be exposed by the sun’s UV rays for any amount of time, it’s always a good idea to stay protected. And unfortunately, most vehicles do not provide the protection necessary.

While windshields themselves are actually quite good at blocking UV rays–impeding about 100% of UVB rays and 98% of UVA rays–side and rearview windows cannot say the same, with some only blocking less than half of UV rays.

This means that, wherever you are sitting in a car, you are constantly exposed to a solid amount of UV rays, likely from the side. If you’re the driver during a long road trip, this can be particularly treacherous.

To solve the issue, simply apply a liberal amount of sunscreen to your exposed skin, and consider keeping a spare bottle in the car, just in case!

How to Deal with Road Rage

drivingWe’ve all experienced those brief moments of anger at somebody else’s bad driving, or experienced anger targeted at us. But it’s important to keep our road rage in check to avoid unnecessary accidents.

How to Deal with Your Own Road Rage:

  • If you get angry at someone else’s driving, deal with road rage by first recognizing that you’re getting angry. Take some deep breaths to try to calm down; if that doesn’t work, pull over. It might be best to distance yourself from that driver.
  • Don’t tailgate, even if you think the other driver “deserves” it. You might end up hitting them and would be at fault.
  • Listen to music, because it’s pretty hard to be angry when you’re belting out your favorite song.

How to Deal With Someone Else’s Road Rage:

  • If someone is trying to get your attention, avoid eye contact with them. Acknowledging them says to them that you want to “participate” in a fight.
  • Drive defensively because some people with bad road rage could try to hurt you or your car.
  • Note the car’s plate number because if they act very aggressively, you’ll want to report them later.
  • No matter what, try to get away from them, even if it means arriving to your destination late.

Debunking Traffic Ticket Myths

police officerDebunking the many traffic ticket myths you have heard over the years could very well mean the difference between getting a $250 fine and being let off with a mere warning.

  • Never ask to see the radar! There is a certain myth that says you have a right to see the radar gun when pulled over for speeding. Not only is this completely untrue, asking to see it may even aggravate the officer.
  • You must pay a ticket issued in another state! States have agreements to share traffic information. Your home state will inevitably find out about your transgression and the next you’re stopped, it may not be very pretty.
  • Red cars don’t get pulled over more! If you think you can speed freely because you drive a black, blue, yellow or otherwise non-red car, you are dead wrong. com talked to the vice president of the Insurance Information Institute and Insurance Trade Association and she said it’s a bunch of baloney.

Let’s face it. Debunking these myths can go a long in way in helping you avoid a ticket, but the best way to do that is to obey the traffic laws!

What Is Hypermiling?

gasolineEvery vehicle that hits the market comes with EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers. Most people will expect to meet—or at least come close to—these estimates. And yet for others, they accept these numbers only as a challenge to be bested. These people are hypermilers.

What is hypermiling? According to CleanMpg.com, it is “a variety of techniques to improve a vehicle’s fuel economy.” These techniques include:

No Idle

EPA tests include idling. Therefore, if you can avoid idling, this will help you beat the estimates. CleanMpg suggests turning off your engine if you are going to be motionless for more than 7 seconds.

Take It Easy, Man

Basically, if you want to save fuel and make the EPA look like a bunch of fools, drive like your grandmother. Avoid quick acceleration and heavy braking.

Slow Down

Try to avoid driving at high speeds, usually above 60 mph. High speeds introduce aerodynamic drag and mechanical friction.

Stay Warm

Stay away from mechanical and electrical accessories. Air conditioning is for your comfort but not for your fuel economy. Running the AC on max can reduce mileage by 5-30%. The same goes for your car’s heater.

It’s All a Game

A lot of people who get into hypermiling see it as a fun game. As long as you keep it safe, you can’t really lose.