You Got Your License! 7 Places You Should Check Out in California

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You Got Your License! 7 Places to Visit in California | 911 Driving School

Getting a driver’s license means more freedom. If you live in California, there are a lot of great places you can visit, near your city or on a small road trip. From beaches to mountains, there are a variety of places to see, depending on your mood. Completing your driver’s ed online is something to celebrate, so get your parents’ permission or bring them along, and check out of these top 7 places you should check out in California.

1. Yosemite

One of the country’s most popular national parks, Yosemite is a beautiful piece of California. There are plenty of hikes, places to fish, and lessons for rock climbing. If you like camping, there are many options available. Don’t forget to check out the most popular landmarks- Half Dome and El Capitan- too.

2. Huntington Beach

While there are plenty of beaches in California, there is a reason that Huntington is one of the most popular. The sandy beach is well taken care of and is easy to access. The pier has interesting shops and delicious food to try but surfing or just jumping in the waves is fun too.

3. San Francisco

Before you choose to go to San Francisco, it is important that you are comfortable driving. There are a lot of people here and many hills to navigate. Some fun locations are here though with Fisherman’s Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge, and so many delicious new restaurants to try. Alcatraz Island is well worth the visit if you have the time.

4. Disneyland

Does this popular California destination really need an introduction? If you live close enough, you might want to invest in an annual pass because you have a driver’s license to get you there more often. With so many special events during the year and new rides opening, you will never get tired of visiting this theme park.

5. San Diego

With great weather all year long, San Diego is a popular vacation spot. Come enjoy the sandy beaches or check out one of the popular attractions such as the zoo, Sea World, or LegoLand. If you are looking for something more educational, check out the old missions or go through the USS Midway Museum. There really is something for everyone found in this popular city.

6. Lake Tahoe

If you are in the mood to experience the outdoors, Lake Tahoe is a great place to visit. During the summer, people come from all over the country to play in the lake, participate in water sports, hiking on well-maintained trails, and go mountain biking in this picturesque area. If you like downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or sledding, this is a great place to visit for a little wintry fun.

7. The Redwood Forests

Northern California is home to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which has plenty of redwood trees. There are hikes, biking paths, and even places to camp in the area. If you have time, stop by Fern Canyon and see some of the places where scenes for Jurassic Park were filmed. The climate is nice too, so you can go any time during the year.

These locations are just the beginning when it comes to seeing all that California has to offer. There is a reason it is called the Golden State with all its awesome beauty and diverse terrains. Now that you have your driver’s license, you can see and do so much more too. Be responsible with that freedom by making sure you are prepared before traveling, double-checking that the registration is in the car, you know basic car maintenance, and that you have an emergency kit in the vehicle. And don’t forget to bring along that new, shiny California license too.

You Got Your License! Here are 5 Places to Visit in Washington

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You Got Your License! 5 Places to Visit in Washington | 911 Driving School

Hooray- you have your driver’s license! One of the most memorable things you can do now is to travel around your state. After getting parental permission, or even having them come along for the ride, grab some snacks and get comfortable in the driver’s seat. If you are up for a road trip and have a Washington license, here are five great places you should add to your list of stops.

1. Snoqualmie Falls

This is a tourist hotspot in Washington for good reason. These falls are about 100 feet taller than Niagara Falls. Stop at one of the lookouts or put on your hiking shoes and hit the trails. Just don’t get caught up in the daredevil activities that sometimes occur here, like walking a tightrope across the canyon or even using a parachute to get a closer look.

2. Mount St. Helens

Here in Washington, the locals have always known about the majestic beauty of Mount St. Helens, but after the 1980 eruption, it gained a lot of attention. There is a National Monument in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, but there is more to see. There are hiking trails up to the top so you can see the partially imploded volcano. If you want to know more, there is a Science and Learning Center that teaches about the surrounding ecosystem.

3. Port Angeles

This is a mid-sized city that has optimum placement, right outside the Olympic National Park. From this city, you can see the ocean, Victoria, Canada, and long stretches of ocean. Stopping here on a road trip is great because you can take it easy, avoid the crowds, and just enjoy the beauty that Washington has to offer.

4. Leavenworth

This town has a long history in the state of Washington. It used to have a strong logging and sawmill economy, but it started to fail in the 1960s. For a time, this town was turned into a tourist destination to keep it going. Now it is known for their Christmas Lighting Festival, Nutcracker Museum, and the Bavarian-style buildings.

5. Seattle

This is a location that is full of fun things to do but usually is reserved for a more experienced driver. If you are up for a challenge, go downtown, grab some famous coffee, and see everything- the Space Needle, the museums, and the famous gum wall. If you’re up for walking around and really experiencing the local culture, stop in at Pike’s Place for some of the farmer market goodness. There are plenty of unique food options mixed with many fine dining experiences too. You can find just about anything in Seattle.

There are many more places you can add to your road trip plans, but this is a good starting point for hitting some beautiful areas of Washington. Road trips are more fun with company, so bring along a friend or bribe your family to come along. Make sure you always bring along some extra money for gas, souvenirs, and extra food because you will need it. Last, but certainly not least, bring along your shiny, new driver’s license too.

You Got Your License! 5 Places You Should Visit in Florida

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You Got Your License! 5 Places to Visit in Florida | 911 Driving School

Getting your driver’s license is a big deal. It takes a lot of work to earn, including taking online drivers ed classes, a written test, a road test, and many hours of driving practice. Once all the requirements are passed and you have your license in hand, you should take a road trip to celebrate. Living in Florida is a big benefit because there are plenty of great destinations for taking a quick road trip. Need some suggestions? Here are five of the top places to visit in Florida.

1. Dry Tortugas National Park

This National Park is in Key West has a unique form of ecology, the seven reef islands. These form an archipelago which is a special group of islands. This is a unique piece of ocean ecology for any budding ecologists, geographers, or oceanographers in your group. While in Key West, don’t forget to stop by the famous Key West lighthouse and the colorful marker for the southernmost point of the continental United States.

2. Daytona

One of the most popular events in Florida is the Dayton 500. This Nascar Race draws a crowd from all over the country to watch as racers drive their cars extremely fast around a racetrack. If you are looking to make a road trip in February, schedule it at a time to see the race. Not interested in watching the race? Daytona is home to some of the most beautiful beaches. Although, if you aren’t coming for the race, hold off until the area is less crowded.

3. The Colonial Quarter

Why not include a little education into your road trip? The Colonial Quarter of St. Augustine is a great place to learn about Florida’s history during the 1500s to 1700s. Stop in an see the different museums dedicated to Ponce de Leon and other maritime explorers. Visitors can even see a replica of a 16th century boat used by the famous travelers. Want a more interactive experience? Check out the Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park.

4. Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society

While you have probably been to plenty of zoos in your life, this one is a unique experience for everyone on your trip. Located in West Palm Beach, this location has more than 700 animals from all over the world. See animals in their habitats on a safari through the African animal areas. Interact with the animals at the petting zoo or by feeding the giraffes. There are rides and restaurants located inside too, so you can spend an entire day here.

5. Orlando

Once you have enough experience driving, Orlando is a definite must-do for a road trip in Florida. There is a reason this city is such a vacation hotspot for travelers. There are several great stops here, including Gator World and Universal Studios. The most popular place to go though in Disney World. No matter who is on your trip with you or what age they are, these places are a fun way to spend your time.

Having a Florida driver’s license means having plenty of opportunities to drive to fun locations. Once you have permission to take a trip, Florida has plenty of attractions, beaches, and National Parks for travel. These five destinations are just the beginning, with many more possibilities around the state.

You Got Your Driver’s License! 5 Places You Should Check Out in Colorado

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You Got Your License! 5 Places to Visit in Colorado | 911 Driving School

The day is finally here- you have finished your Online Drivers Ed courses and you’ve passed all your tests. Wondering what you should do with that brand-new Colorado license? Hit the road and see the state! Colorado has so many beautiful sights and landmarks that are known all over the world. Now that you have a bit of freedom, check with your parents and plan a road trip. Here are five great places to consider.

1. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

If you are heading to the southeastern portion of the state, you should add this national park to your list. There are forests, lakes, and the continent’s largest sand dunes. This means that there are many types of activities available here, including hiking, playing in the sand, fishing, camping, and sledding. There is a lot of open area here which is great for newer drivers to get experience without all the traffic.

2. Mesa Verde National Park

Colorado has ancient roots throughout the state, but none are more evident than this southwestern section of Colorado. With plenty of museums, hikes, and well-preserved cliff dwellings, this is a unique historical marker. The most famous dwellings here, Cliff Palace, are open for closer looks with scheduled hikes and tours. There are other archaeological sites, overlooks, and petroglyphs throughout the park that you won’t want to miss either. While you can see everything in a day, you might want to spend a little longer if you plan on doing all the tours.

3. Aspen

One thing that Colorado is well-known for is skiing. There are plenty of places to hit the slopes in the state, but Aspen is one of the most recommended areas. This is a charming place to visit with great shops, food, and lodging available if you are traveling from a distance to visit. Whether you are just learning to ski or are already a pro, there are opportunities to improve your skiing skills here.

4. Colorado Springs

A good, mid-sized city to visit is Colorado Springs. There are many museums to see here, plus you can tour the University of Colorado or Air Force Academy campuses here too. Stop by the ghost town and learn more about Colorado’s history or visit Pike’s Peak. Also available just outside of town is Garden of the Gods. It is a privately-owned park with paved trails for hiking or biking. Colorado Springs has some unique stops, so don’t forget a camera.

5. Denver

Once you have a little more experience and feel ready to drive in a bit more traffic, Denver is a great place to visit. This is Colorado’s cultural hub with plenty of museums, sports venues, shopping, and dining. Whether you bring your family, friends, or a date, Denver has a lot to experience. If you want to see one of the more beautiful sections of Colorado, take the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, just outside the city.

Colorado is truly an amazing state to live in. Now that you have a bit more freedom with that license, show you are responsible. Plan out a road trip and take your plan to your parents. Pack an emergency car kit and fine-tune your car skills with knowing how to do basic car maintenance as you learned in your Teen Drivers Ed class. Now that you can drive, get out there and explore the great state of Colorado.

You Got Your License! 7 Places to Visit in South Carolina

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You Got Your License! 7 Places to Visit in South Carolina | 911 Driving School

One thing a new driver loves to do is drive as often as possible. The freedom that comes with a driver’s license is exciting. If you have recently received your South Carolina license, taking a road trip is a fun idea, with parental permission of course. For some ideas on where to go, here are seven of the best places to see in the state.

1. Myrtle Beach

One of the most popular places in the state is Myrtle Beach. There are sandy beaches, great restaurants, and even the famous Boardwalk with the Skywheel Ferris Wheel. Spend your day in the water with friends, family, or take a date. On bad weather days, there are museums, galleries, and indoor recreation facilities that can fill up your day.

2. Fort Sumter

The beginning of the Civil War occurred at Fort Sumter, located here in South Carolina in 1961. Taking a guided tour of the area is well worth the time to learn more about the details involved in this monumental event. There is also a sightseeing boat tour that takes you to the Fort Sumter National Monument. Everything is well preserved and the education center for visitors is worth the visit.

3. Caesars Head State Park

If you are looking for a great place to view some of the prettiest parts of the state, this is a great destination. There are places to fish, large overlooks, and fantastic photo ops. If you like to hike, take the Raven Cliff Falls Trail to find South Carolina’s tallest waterfall. For some fun swimming holes, check out the Jones Gap Trail.

4. Visit a Plantation

There are more than 2,000 plantations in South Carolina. These historic sites have some of the most spectacular gardens you will find along with grand historic homes. Some of the most notable plantations to visit are Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation, Drayton Hall, and Boone Hall Plantation. No matter where you live in the state or how far you’re looking to travel, there will be a plantation worth visiting that meets the criteria.

This city offers a great mix of outdoor activities, educational stops, and the arts. While you might be excited to use your driver’s license to get here, the downtown area is very walkable or enhance the experience with a free trolley ride. If you are coming to town, check out the different local performing groups’ schedules and get tickets.

5. Hilton Head Island

For a beach option that isn’t Myrtle Beach, this is a great destination point. There are several quality beaches to choose from with all the water activities you would expect. Schedule in time to check out the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge for some hiking and unique nature-watching.

Another quintessential South Carolina city is Charleston. There are many cultural events, museums, and educational experiences available. See a recovered 1864 submarine, learn about the local Naval base, or see a museum full of vintage and new fire engines. While this is a bigger city, it still boasts the slower life you expect in the South.

South Carolina is a state with a lot of history, which means there are a lot of places to visit throughout the year. No matter who you are traveling with or how long it has been since passing your online driver’s education classes, taking a road trip can be a great experience.

You Got Your License! 5 Places to Visit in Ohio

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You Got Your License! 5 Places to Visit in Ohio | 911 Driving School

Getting a driver’s license is a big deal. There are Online Drivers Ed classes to take, written exams, and a driving test to pass, not to mention the hours of practice behind the wheel.

Once receiving an Ohio license, take a road trip to celebrate. There are so many things to see here that you don’t even have to leave the state. If you need some ideas on where to go, here are five of the best places in Ohio to visit.

1. Brandywine Falls

Located inside Cuyahoga National Park, this spectacular waterfall is a sight to behold. The tiered rocks under the falls make for a beautiful and unique look. There are three levels to hike that each give a different perspective of the falls and each one is worth the trip. The best time to see the falls is in the spring when the run-off provides a lot of water through the area.

2. National Museum of the US Air Force

This specialty museum is a great stop in Dayton. There is a wide variety of airplanes on display that have descriptions on their uses and why they were used. If you have ever served in the Air Force, have a family member who served, or just want to learn more about this branch of the military, plan a visit to this museum.

3. Toledo Museum of Art

Dubbed one of the best art museums in the world, the Toledo Museum of Art features paintings by Renoir, sculptures by Alexander Calder, and a stunning collection of glass. If you are bringing children on this road trip, look at the schedule for some of the free art activities. There is also an on-site café that has different tasty selections available. The best part is that the museum is always changing so even if you have been here before, it is worth another visit.

4. Historic Kirtland

A highly rated stop on travel sites, this city is a travel back in time. See how many of the former residents of the city lived in the 1800s. During Christmas time, there are nativities on display from all around the world with beautiful detail. Take a free guided tour throughout the immaculate grounds, buildings, and learn about the former ways of life that once existed.

5. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

For a stop that is both fun and educational, check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. This has one of the biggest collections of rock memorabilia with instruments, art, and videos. Stop in the theater for a seat-shaking experience watching legendary performances. Exhibits include different periods of rock and roll, specific artists, and even a feature for the 50th anniversary of Rolling Stone Magazine in 2017.

Using your driver’s license for a road trip is a great way to put it to use. If needed, get your parents permission and map out the path. Make sure you bring along your license and registration, an emergency kit, and plenty of snacks. Put your new-found freedom to use and hit the open road.

A Checklist to Master Driving Skills

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A Checklist to Master Driving Skills | 911 Driving SchoolTaking an online drivers education course is great for learning how to drive. The information that is critical for driving is taught at a pace that fits each student individually.

As a parent of a teen driver, one of the best things you can do is take your student out driving to make sure they are getting in the practice required to feel comfortable behind the wheel. To help aid in those efforts, here are some skills that you can work on with your student so that they will be ready for their driving test.

They are split into three individual lists- beginning, intermediate, and advanced.

Beginning Driving Skills

This list is intended to help new drivers who are just driving for the first time or are not prepared enough to drive on the road in traffic yet. Here are some of the suggested beginning skills:

  • Pre-vehicle inspection: this includes doing a walk-around of the vehicle, making sure areas are clear from debris, hazards, and small children.
  • Reading dashboard gauges: noticing gas levels, how to read the speedometer, and knowing if there are any warning lights are on.
  • Review of all buttons and levers: Know where everything is located, such as turn signals, windshield wipers, headlights, hazard lights, etc.
  • Properly adjusting and using mirrors
  • Accurate, smooth maneuvering of the vehicle
  • Smooth turns done at an appropriate speed
  • Backing Up
  • Proper driver posture and positioning: hand position, foot position, etc
  • Controlled, smooth stopping
  • Parking in a marked stall
  • Turning off the car

Intermediate Driving Skills

Once the beginning skills are mastered and the driver is comfortable with the basics of a vehicle, it is time to move that experience on to the road. Note the level of traffic and don’t attempt driving while there are too many cars out. Ensure that visibility is good too with clear weather and good lighting. It is also important to make sure there is a good level of mastery for driving laws and knowing what signs mean. Here are the intermediate driving skills to work on:

  • Yield to right of way to vehicles and pedestrians
  • Keep a safe, 2-second minimum following distance between cars
  • Anticipate hazards and actions of other drivers
  • Communicates with other drivers
  • Acknowledges and can state the meaning of road signs
  • Obey speed limits
  • Use turn signals appropriately
  • Park vehicle on a curb
  • Park vehicle at an incline
  • Park at an angle
  • Enter and exit roundabouts correctly
  • Enter and exit intersections correctly, following traffic signals if applicable
  • Uses passing techniques properly and controlled
  • Keeps attention on the road

Advanced Skills

Once the beginning and intermediate skills are mastered, it is time to move on to the advanced skills. Each section should build on the other and the new driver should have a good level of comfort executing the prior skills. Here are the skills to work on with your advanced student driver:

  • Driving calmly and correctly in rush hour traffic
  • Adjusts driving during bad weather and bad or low lighting
  • Driving on expressways with proper entering and exiting
  • Cautious driving around semi-trucks
  • Uses caution around motorcycles and bicycles
  • Able to handle complex driving situations
  • Handles multiple driving hazards
  • Uses proper defensive driving techniques
  • Looks ahead and plans for escape routes
  • A solid knowledge of emergency procedures

Time for the Driving Test

Once a new driver has mastered the above lists, they are ready for a driving test. Identify skills that can use more practice, but also make sure you are encouraging and acknowledge areas of improvement. Whether you are helping a student with teen driver’s education or you are taking adult drivers education, doing an evaluation with this driving skills checklist can improve the chances of passing the driving test for licensing.

Routine Car Maintenance You Should Know When Owning a Car

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Owning a car is a big responsibility. Not only does this vehicle mean freedom, but it also means taking care of it so that it runs well. Whether you need to know when to get it done by a professional or just want to handle the smaller things yourself, the more you know, the better.

Here are some basic parts of car maintenance that every car owner should know.

1. Changing the oil

Oil is an essential part of any vehicle. It lubricates the engine parts to prevent damage. If there is no oil, parts grind together and ruin the engine.

Dirty motor oil can also damage the engine because it causes build up on the parts, creating friction from parts rubbing together. Make sure that you check your owner’s manual for what kind of oil is best for the engine before you put any oil in your vehicle.

2. Checking tire pressure

The wheels are the only thing keeping your car moving. Keeping them functioning well is vital to preventing many different forms of damage.

The most basic form of tire maintenance is checking the pressure in them. The recommended PSI for tires is located on the driver’s door jamb, owner’s manual, and often on the tires themselves. Check the pressure about every month and do it before driving more than a mile to get an accurate reading.

Another good tip is to check the pressure in your spare tire while you’re in tire-checking-mode.

3. Jumpstarting a car

Batteries die sometimes and require a jumpstart. Rather than calling roadside assistance every time it happens, carry jumper cables in your car and know how to use them.

Find someone with a vehicle who is willing to loan you their battery. Put both vehicles in neutral and turn off the ignition. Attach one of the red clips to your battery’s positive terminal and the other red clip to the other vehicle’s positive terminal. Then, attach one of the black clips to the other car’s negative terminal, with the other black clip attached to an unpainted metal surface. Turn the ignition on your vehicle and it should start.

Remember not to turn your car off until you reach your destination.

4. Check fluids

Checking the motor oil level is good, but there are other fluids that need your attention too. Transmission fluid is another vital fluid that requires regular checking. It also has a dipstick that you check under the hood. Make sure the levels are steady and not leaking.

Other fluids to inspect are the coolant, brake fluid, and washer fluid. Each has a cover under the hood that needs to be removed and inspected. For the coolant, it is best to check levels in the transparent refill container, never through the radiator cap.

5. Keeping the battery clean

Knowing how to change a battery is one thing that most drivers should know how to do, but not everyone does. When doing all your other under-the-hood inspections, just make sure the battery is free from corrosion.

If you notice build up, mix baking soda with a little water and use a wire brush to apply a little solution and scrub. This will keep your battery functioning better and ready to shock if you need to jump it.

6. Examine belts and hoses

Most cars and SUVs use belts in the engine to keep it going. The timing belt is especially important. Check all belts for tears, rips, cracking, glazing, and any chunks missing.

If you see any of these problems, it needs to be replaced. Hoses also need to be checked since they prevent over-heating. Look closely to make sure there are no cracks, leaks, or bulges. If you find any, get them replaced.

7. Changing the windshield wipers

Windshield wiper blades are so important but rarely do drivers notice they need to be replaced until they are in the middle of a storm and can’t see clearly.

Check your windshield wiping blades a few times a year to make sure they wipe completely without leaving streaks and that they aren’t screeching when in use. If you notice either of these problems, replace them.

 

Once you have mastered these must-know car maintenance items, work to learn more. Understanding the basics about how a car functions can help you better take care of your vehicle. Not every car owner wants to do these jobs themselves, but it is important you know the basics.

Many driver’s education courses teach you the basic information, but getting out and trying it is the best teacher.

Emergency Preparedness Kits for Your Car: What You Should Have in Yours

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Emergency Preparedness Kits for Your Car | 911 Driving SchoolPeople depend on their cars to be reliable, but sometimes emergencies happen. It is a good idea for drivers to prepare for the worst by keeping an emergency preparedness kit in their car. If you have never made one before and need a little help in thinking of items to stow away, here are some great items to go in your kit.

A First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kit in your car comes in handier than you think. There are plenty of pre-packaged first aid kits on the market, but if you want to make your own, it isn’t too hard. Some items to include are band-aids, antibiotic ointment, hand sanitizer, gauze pads, an ace bandage, pain medication, bug spray, burn cream, tweezers, sunscreen, and antiseptic.

Having these items is helpful if you come upon an injury or just scrape your knee at the park. Since there are so many small items in a kit, make sure you store them in a container and leave it in your vehicle.

Breakdown Supplies

If your car breaks down, it is important you have the tools to fix it. Even if you don’t know what to do, having some basic items on hand will be helpful if someone comes along to help that does know what to do. Some items you should keep in your car are a spare tire, a tire iron, flashlight, jumper cables, and road flares.

Extra Clothing

There are several reasons to keep clothing in your car. There is the practical side of knowing you have extra clothes for work, school, or social events if you spill something on your clothes, but there is a better reason.

If your car breaks down or you get stuck in bad weather for a long time, you can layer up clothing to stay warm. You never know where you will get stuck or what you will be wearing. Keeping a spare jacket, coat, or rain poncho in the trunk is great if you aren’t sure when you will be stranded.

Food and Water

Keep at least a few water bottles in your trunk, along with snacks. If you ever get delayed, stuck in traffic, or stranded somewhere without food to purchase, you will be grateful to have something to eat.

Some items to consider are granola bars, fruit leather, jerky, gum, and hard candy (to suck on for a long time). Since food is perishable, make sure you are rotating these items so that you don’t have to eat food that has gone bad.

Other emergencies

Other items to consider keeping in your car for miscellaneous needs and emergencies are: a fire extinguisher for flames, a blanket to keep warm or wrap around a serious injury, a roll of duct tape for random needs, and baby wipes to clean up spills.

Keeping a little extra cash in your kit is a good idea too, just in case you forget your wallet or have an unexpected need come up without a credit card.

Extra Items that Fit Your Situation

No one is going to know your situation better than you do. If you are a family with small children, you might want to pack an extra pack of diapers and wipes, spare formula, and extra pacifiers.

If you have small kids, consider adding toys or coloring books. If you are a single young adult, you don’t need those things in your car, so find items that work for you, like a spare phone charger.

 

Another important thing is to cater to your environment. Are you in the middle of winter in the Midwest? You might want to pack a lot of extra blankets. If you live in southern Texas, you might want to pack a lot of extra water bottles and a hat.

Consider your own situation and location and find what works for you. Having an emergency kit in your car will not only make you more prepared but also give you more peace of mind.

How to Prepare Your Car for Winter

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How to Prepare Your Car for Winter | 911 Driving SchoolChecking your car regularly is important to keep it functioning correctly. As the weather gets warmer and colder, it acts as a reminder for you to do some work on your car. Since both hot and cold affect your car differently, here are the three things you should do for the winter weather.

Get a check-up

Taking a trip to the mechanic is a great first step. A professional inspection will go over the basics. The first step is checking your oil. When the weather cools down, the oil will thicken and make it harder to lubricate your engine properly.

The other important fluid to check for cold weather is the antifreeze. If the mixture isn’t right, the water might freeze in your radiator, causing some serious damage.

Next, your belts and hoses will be checked. Since winter is hard on these parts, it is important to make sure they are in good enough condition to last the winter.

Lastly, it is important to verify that your tires are ready for winter with enough air pressure and tread. Both play an important part of having good traction on wet and icy roads.

Test basic functions

Two things that anyone can do, regardless of car expertise, are to check your wiper blades and four-wheel drive. Finding out that either one of these doesn’t work while in a storm can create a dangerous situation.

Make sure your blades completely clear your windshield. If they don’t, change them out for new ones that can do the job.

Checking your four-wheel drive is also important to do before you are in a storm. Remind yourself and the other drivers in your home how to turn it on and off. Make sure it engages and disengages smoothly. If there are any problems, get it fixed before you need it in a storm.

Prepare for the worst

No matter how much you check and get maintenance done, there is still a possibility that you will end up in an emergency. Stocking your car with some essentials can really help you out if it happens. To start, always make sure you have the tools necessary to change a flat tire, including a spare. Carry other essentials such as a flashlight and external charger for your phone, in case you need them.

Other things that are good to have in your trunk are water bottles, snacks, a blanket, ice scraper, and windshield washer fluid. During the winter, you can also add chains for your tires, just in case you need them for traction.

 

Depending on where you live, you might not need to complete every step on this list. However, if you live in an area where it does get freezing, it’s important to prepare every year. Keep a list of the work you do so you can refer to it the next year. If you don’t live in an area where it gets cold, do this work before you head to a colder climate for the holidays.