Because we in the Rogue Valley live so close to California news that the Golden State had banned the use of all hand-held cell phones by drivers a few years back made local headlines. Not long after, Oregon followed suit with a similar ban. But what about cell phone laws in other states? Washington and Nevada also ban the use of hand-held devices on the road. But the rules radically change the further east you go. Before traveling by car this summer, take some time to check the legalities of using your cell behind the wheel at all locations between home and your destination as some city regulations differ from those of the state. And then, even if the laws do allow you to use your phone, consider imposing a ban of your own. After all, the ultimate measure of any good road trip is that you return safely home.
Cell phone laws by state: http://www.iihs.org/laws/cellphonelaws.aspx
Summer’s a’comin’! So, it’s time again to treat your vehicle to a little TLC. Last November, we posted a list of everything you might need to tackle winter driving conditions. Now that the studded and snow tires have (hopefully) been removed, here’s how to travel worry free into the warmer months:
1. Check tires. Remove and store your winter tires, and rotate all-season radials.
2. Check tire pressure. And check again. Because air pressure increases with temperature you’ll want to check your tire pressure more frequently during the summer months.
3. Check brakes for noise. You’re looking for grinding, squealing, screeching or chatter. Excessive amounts of any or all mean it’s time to invest in new ones.
4. Replace windshield wiper blades. They took a beating over the winter.
5. Wash it! And not just the parts you can see. Spray the underbody and undersides of both bumpers to get rid of build-up. As for the body, wash it in the shade. Then wax it. But wait until it’s completely dry before doing so.
6. Apply “sunscreen”. Hours in the sun can result in the cracking of any vinyl surface or the fading of cloth. Apply a protectant… reapply when needed.
7. Clean – and clean OUT – the interior. You don’t want your old trash blowing around when it’s finally warm enough to drive with the windows down.
8. Change the oil. Consider synthetics… they’re specifically designed for warm weather engine protection.
9. Check all fluids. That means brake, transmission, coolant, power steering and windshield washer fluid. Replace, or refill, to proper levels.
10. Test the AC.
11. Examine belts and hoses for wear or deterioration.
12. Consider assembling a car care kit, if you don’t already have one. Include a couple large bottles of water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit. Maybe throw in a blanket, just in case.
Finally, be aware that heat often makes people uncomfortable and thus, irritated. Irritated drivers tend to be impatient and less apt to pay attention. Give drivers their space and stay alert.
Now all that’s left to do is plan a road trip! Happy travels!
(To read up on Winter Driving Preparations, visit: http://butlerautogroup.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/oh-no-snow-everything-you-and-your-vehicle-need-for-winter-driving/)