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Winter Driving Tips for Drivers in New Jersey

Driving in New Jersey gets a little stressful in the winter months when it sometimes feels as though the snow will never stop falling. While it is best to stay home when the weather is hazardous, it simply isn’t always possible to avoid driving when snow continues for weeks. Fortunately, a little practice and common sense goes a long way toward helping you stay safe on the roads, and these tips will provide you with greater confidence when you must drive in the snow.

Keep Your Car Maintained

The safety features on your car become even more important in winter weather. Make sure that the windshield wipers are in good condition to keep your view clear, and inspect the brakes to see if you need to arrange for car repair. Once you know the safety features are ready to go, take it one step further by making sure that your car’s tires and the battery are ready for the colder temperatures so that you don’t get stranded.

Adjust Your Speed

One of the most effective things you can do to avoid an accident in slick conditions is to simply slow down. When snow covers the ground, you may need to reduce your speed down from the recommended limit by as much as half. Try to plan to leave early enough that you are not pressured to rush and drive faster than is safe given the current road conditions.

Use Caution When Stopping

At our auto service center, we perform a variety of services such as rotor replacement that keep your brakes in good working condition. However, you must also know how to use your brakes correctly to avoid potential skids and spin-outs. Never slam on your brakes. Instead, apply firm, steady pressure with your foot on the pedal until your car stops. It is also best to avoid stopping on a hill if the road is covered in ice.

Know How to Get Unstuck

Sticking to plowed roads is the best way to avoid dealing with a stuck vehicle. Yet, you should also know how to get your car out of a snowdrift or past an ice patch if you can’t avoid driving into one. Carry kitty litter or sand in your car to use to generate traction on slick surfaces, and always remember to avoid spinning your tires since this tends to make you get stuck worse.

Leave Extra Room

In winter weather, one of the biggest hazards on the road is other drivers. Try to give yourself plenty of room on the road so that you have time to react if the car in front of you spins out or comes to a sudden stop. If people drive too fast for your comfort, then stay in the slow lane and turn on your hazards to alert other drivers that you are not going the full speed limit.

Keep safe this winter season by adding a few safety strategies to your normal driving routine. While it does take time to learn how to drive in snow or icy conditions, you will feel like a pro in no time with a little practice and careful car maintenance.

What Everyone Should Have in Their Winter Car Kits

New Jersey is known for its frigid winter weather that can quickly turn a minor car problem into an emergency situation. For this reason, we always recommend that every driver have a winter kit stored in their car that has everything needed to handle an unexpected event on the road. As you prepare to drive through the snow this season, use this guide to make sure your kit is fully stocked with winter gear.

A Small Shovel

Few things are worse than getting stuck in the snow, but this is possible if you swerve to avoid an accident or misjudge the lack of traction on a road. Your car kit should have a small shovel; you can easily find compact ones that fit in the back of any car. If you get stuck in a drift, simply use the shovel to dig the snow away from the tires so that you have a path allowing the tires to grip the pavement.

Traction Materials

In some instances, you might need to do more than just dig your way out, and this commonly occurs when your tires hit ice. Keep some type of material in your car that you can use to create more traction. A bag of sand, kitty litter, or small pebbles are all great materials that can be used to create traction.

Jumper Cables

When you take your car in for a complete oil change and tune up, be sure to ask our technicians about the condition of your car’s battery. During the winter, fluctuating temperatures can cause the battery fluid to get low enough that it no longer works properly. Once you know your car battery is in good condition, be sure to throw some jumper cables in the kit just in case you or someone else leaves the lights on.

Tire Changing Equipment

A flat tire is unsafe to drive on in any weather, but it is especially dangerous to try to maneuver your vehicle on slick roads with a bad tire. Make sure that your kit is equipped with a jack, wrench, and a strong set of gloves to keep your hands warm as you work. If there’s space, a portable air compressor is another item to add to your kit that can get you to safety if one of your tires gets low.

Warm Clothing and a Blanket

You should also be prepared to stay safe if you must wait on the side of the road for a member of our car repair company to come help. Add a warm coat, gloves, and hat to the kit for each member of your family, and consider adding snow boots and a waterproof jacket in case you must be outside in winter weather for any length of time.

Winter weather creates serious hazards on the road, and plummeting temperatures can escalate minor car problems, such as a cracked hose, into serious issues. Make it a habit to check your winter kit periodically to replace any items that are needed, and you will always be prepared to handle any roads

Road Safety Tips for Big Rig Drivers

As a big rig driver, you have a serious responsibility to watch out for everyone’s safety on the road. While proper training goes a long way toward decreasing your chances of having an accident, there are other factors at play that you must keep in mind. Always follow these road safety tips for truck drivers to ensure that you don’t get involved in a traffic accident.

Plan Your Route Carefully

Avoiding hazardous driving conditions can prevent many accidents. Before you climb up into the driver’s seat, take a few minutes to research the route. If your intended route is covered in snow or filled with heavy traffic, then reassess the situation to determine whether or not an alternate route is available that is safer. You should also plan plenty of time to arrive at your destination safely so that you are not tempted to speed.

Always Conduct a Pre-Trip Check

Your big rig must undergo regular professional inspections to drive legally on public roads. Yet, many things can go wrong between trips. Always begin your drive with a pre-trip check of all of the essential components of your big rig. It’s always better to discover that you have a brake leak or damaged tire before you are barreling down the freeway. This way, you can arrange for the repairs to be done at our auto service center so that you can get your truck safely back on the road as soon as possible.

Monitor Your Truck’s Space Cushion

When you drive a big rig regularly, it is easy to forget the size of your vehicle. Always watch to make sure that the top, bottom and sides of the vehicle do not get too close to other cars or objects. Be familiar with the height of your truck as you drive under bridges or through tunnels, and use caution as you change lanes to avoid hitting cars that are in your blind spots.

Know When to Reduce the Speed

Hitting deadlines on time is part of a trucker’s life. Yet, you must always be careful not to let a looming deadline cause you to speed. Remember that the posted speed limit may still be too high if you are driving through hazardous road conditions, around a curve or in a work zone. Be prepared to slow down, but do not go so slow as to impede traffic. You should also remember that taking a ramp too fast is a common cause of rollover accidents. Stay aware of where you are going, and always reduce your speed as you drive up or down a ramp.

Take Care of Yourself

Drivers sometimes forget that they are one of the most important safety features of their vehicle. Never drive your truck when you are tired, and double check those safety features before you head out. If you do notice a problem when you are driving, pull over to a safe place on the side of the road so that you can wait for our heavy duty towing service to arrive.

When you love driving, a career as a truck driver opens up many opportunities to travel. By making sure that you always stay safe on the road, you can look forward to many more years of driving your big rig.

5 Tips for Maintaining Your Brake System

The brakes on your car are one of the most important features for keeping you and any passengers safe. While most people keep up with their oil changes, it is common for the brake system to be neglected until it shows signs of a serious problem. Proper care of your car’s brakes will not only keep you safe, but regular maintenance can also reduce the wear and tear that leads to more frequent replacements. Use these tips to keep your brake system maintained so that you can feel confident that your car will stop every time you press the pedal.

Check the Brake Fluid Level

You should check your brake fluid regularly to make sure that it is not low or absorbing water. Begin by looking at the reservoir to make sure that the fluid falls between the two lines that indicate whether it is too high or too low. If the brake fluid is low, then it needs to be filled to the appropriate level. However, you should be wary if it is extremely low because this could indicate a leak somewhere along the system. Cloudy or dark brake fluid also indicates a need to take your car to the auto service center for an inspection.

Keep Up With Fluid Changes

The brake fluid should be changed regularly to ensure that contaminants do not get into the system and that it has the proper viscosity to do its job. Follow the recommended time schedule for fluid changes that is provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer. In most cases, this will be based upon the mileage or a specific period of time.

Schedule Regular Inspections

Your brakes should be checked every time you have your tires rotated. During this inspection, the fluid, rotors and pads will be checked to see if they need to be replaced. In most cases, you will need to have this done every six months, but the system may need to be inspected more frequently if you drive long distances regularly or you drive a vehicle with a heavy load such as a large truck.

Watch for the Brake Warning Light

With every new car, you should familiarize yourself with the warning lights that are displayed on the dashboard if something goes wrong. Never ignore a brake warning light because this could indicate that you might not be able to stop your vehicle. If the warning light comes on, then contact a tow service that can safely transport your vehicle to the repair shop.

Know When a Replacement is Needed

At some point, every brake system needs to be replaced. For instance, the pads may begin to emit a noise when they are worn down too much to help the car stop. When a replacement is needed, take your car to a certified auto repair company that always uses quality parts so that your new brake system is more likely to go the distance.

Well-maintained brake systems are critical for keeping everyone safe in your vehicle, and you should be able to trust that your car will stop when its time. Make sure that brake maintenance and inspections are a part of your car care routine so that you hopefully never see that dreaded warning light.