Vehicle Lights and Wipers: The Keys to See and Be Seen

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As the days get shorter, lights and wipers play a major role in safe driving, as the chance of an accident increases if you can’t see or be seen, according to the non-profit Car Care Council.

“With fewer daylight hours in fall and winter, it’s important to make sure your vehicle’s lights and wipers are working properly so your visibility is not compromised and you can be seen by others,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “From the driver’s seat, you may not notice a light that isn’t working, so inspect all of your car’s lights and replace those that are out. Also, inspect and replace wiper blades so you can see clearly when wet weather hits.”

Lights are normal wear items that require periodic inspection and replacement. The lighting system provides nighttime visibility; signals and alerts other drivers; and supplies light for viewing instruments and the vehicle’s interior. In addition to replacing dimming, rapidly blinking and non-functioning lights, the following tips can help keep you safe.

  • Keep headlights, tail lights and signal lights clean. External dirt and debris can dim operational lights from being seen by others.
  • Make sure that your headlights are properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.
  • If there is any doubt on whether or not your headlights should be on, turn them on. Lights not only help you see better in early twilight, they also make it easier for other drivers to see you.
  • Don’t overdrive your headlights; you should be able to stop inside the illuminated area, otherwise you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.

The wiper system keeps excessive water, snow and dirt from building up on the windshield, maintaining clear visibility. Many factors can accelerate the replacement interval of wipers, including operating conditions (winter conditions are tough on wiper blades), frequency of use, material and type of wipers and sunny weather. In fact, wiper blades can deteriorate faster and need more frequent replacement in desert states. Don’t forget to check the rear window wiper blade too!

“Some states have laws that require the headlights to be on with the wipers,” said White. “Keeping your vehicle’s lights properly cared for and replacing wiper blades periodically will help ensure a safer ride, keeping the road ahead well-lit and giving you a clear view.”

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9 Steps For a Winter Ready Car

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The last thing any driver needs is to break down in cold, harsh winter weather. A vehicle check now before winter arrives is a sensible way to be car care aware and avoid the inconvenience of being stranded out in the cold and with the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.

“Winterizing your vehicle before the temperatures drop is a wise idea,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “An investment of an hour or two to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of car trouble during severe weather.”

The Car Care Council recommends the following steps for winterizing your vehicle:

  • If you’re due for a tune-up, have it done before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.
  • Have the battery and charging system checked for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a general rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  • Make sure heatersdefrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
  • Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
  • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  • Check to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
  • Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Have your technician check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.

Motorists should also keep the gas tank at least half full at all times to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. Drivers should check the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, flares, blanket, extra clothes, candles/matches, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

How to Prevent Hackers from Taking Over your Car ?

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Nowadays, the cars that are being manufactured are nothing short of a technological marvel. It seems that each year there is another great feature that is engineered beyond our wildest imaginations. The cars can now do everything from transcribing your social media, text messages, and emails, to now parallel park themselves. And of course, the autonomous engineering is something we never thought would actually manifest. It just seemed like a really great idea!

However, with all the “Jetson-like” technology we’re experiencing, it makes your car extremely vulnerable to extremely scrupulous people who want to create mischief. The new threat that is affecting all of this wondrous technology is hacking, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

So what should you do as a car owner to prevent hackers from taking over your car?

For starters, keep in contact with your car manufacturer. And, if you’ve agreed to receive automatic email notifications, this is the one time that your spam folder should definitely be filtered correctly. Although the auto industry is in the infancy stages of getting a grasp on the hacking situation, rest assured there is a division of specialists devoted to information for consumers concerns. Staying in contact with the manufacturer is perhaps the most important thing you can do because it is the direct source of information. You also want to be sure that you provide them with updated contact information for recalls and system updates, which may be related to vulnerabilities for hacking.

As “they” say, it’s the little things that count, and when it comes to hack-proofing your car, the key fob is the little thing that hackers are looking for. Don’t worry, they don’t want to steal the actual fob, it’s the data inside that is important, and sophisticated hackers know how to get it. By using an electronic signal amplifier, a hacker can access your key fob signal from just 100 feet away and drive away with your car, while you’re sitting at the kitchen table. To prevent this from occurring, be sure to park your car in the garage while at home. But, for more advanced proofing, always place your key fob in a metal box. And when you’re not at home, be sure to use a metal key holder that you can carry with you that is specifically designed for preventing hackers from assessing the key fob signal. The holders are typically very inexpensive. And never let your guard down at other places, such as your place of employment, convenience stores, gas stations, or even while at a social event. Hackers will attempt to gain access to the signal from anywhere, and they’re constantly looking for a willing participant to show them any type of opportunity.

Another vulnerability is your Bluetooth connectivity, so be sure to turn it off when it’s not in use. Ideally, this should be done consistently, but especially at large places, such as shopping mall and grocery chain parking lots. With all its fantastic benefits for hands-free driving, Bluetooth is a hacker’s dream come true. Because of its wireless capability that has a very high-velocity, hackers can use the Bluetooth connectivity for data attacks, which is not only a security issue but could also cause the entire device to stop working and affect other systems configured for the device.

Are you interested in learning more about protecting your car from hackers? Reach out to the staff at Midway Nissan for additional information. Call us, or simply stop by Midway Nissan. Since 1984, our dealership has been committed to providing 100% customer satisfaction, from the car buying experience to the service experience and anything in-between. Let us know how we can assist you! It is our pleasure, and we hope to hear from you soon!

10 Tips for Dealing with Heavy Traffic (Part Two)

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  1. Know Appropriate Distances

It’s recommended to keep 3 seconds between you and the driver in front of you. A good way to measure this is with steady objects. Begin counting when the car in front of you passes a light pole, and if you get to three before you pass the same light pole, you’re in the safe zone.

Keep your eyes open for brake lights as well. If the driver in front of you starts to slow down, the same distance should be kept.

 

  1. Drive Proactively

Always expect the unexpected. Just because you’re practicing safe driving doesn’t mean that everyone around you is. Sometimes it’s malicious, sometimes it’s just a mistake. Either way, being ready to avoid others is crucial in heavy traffic situations.

 

  1. Stay Cool

The worst thing you can do while driving in traffic is lose your patience and get angry. Getting angry on the road can lead to aggressive and irresponsible driving, putting everyone on the road in danger.

 

Some tips for keeping yourself calm could include:

  • Listen to music you like
  • Have an audiobook playing
  • Listen to a podcast that calms you down
  • Take 3 deep breaths

Realizing the road is a public good – it was made for everyone – can also help you stay a little more calm.

 

  1. Don’t Stare/Gawk

It’s commonplace for heavy traffic situations to be coupled with a crash or emergency. If this is the case, don’t let that change your focus. Keep your eyes on the drivers around you and road in front of you. Don’t turn your head to stare at a crash that isn’t involving you

 

  1. Take a Break if Necessary

If you feel yourself getting anxious, angry, or impatient, take a break. Pull off at an exit and stretch your legs and take a few deep breaths. The extra minute or two you take will make a world of a difference.

 

Hopefully armed with these tips, you can conquer the next heavy traffic scenario you’re faced with. Remember, getting to your destination safe is the number one priority for all drivers on the road.

10 Tips for Dealing with Heavy Traffic

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Few things are more frustrating than getting stuck in a massive traffic jam. Whether it’s caused by a crash on the road, construction, or general rush hour backup, driving in traffic is less than ideal and can also be dangerous. Here are 10 tips for dealing with heavy traffic.

 

  1. Slow Down

When there are more cars than usual on the road, it will naturally slow you down. While you might be tempted to try to drive faster to avoid delays, that can cause a crash. Always remember to proceed with caution – obstacles can come out of nowhere. Keeping your eyes peeled at all times will keep you safe.

 

  1. Don’t Weave

Don’t weave in and out of other cars; rapidly switching lanes to try to get ahead of the traffic is very dangerous. Other drivers can’t predict what you’re going to do, so they may change lanes as you’re approaching. Likewise, you don’t know what other cars are doing, so the safest move is to stay in one lane unless it’s necessary to move.

 

  1. Use Indicators

At times it seems like many drivers don’t use signals on the roads. When there are lots of other drivers around, it’s important you let them know what you’re doing. While you shouldn’t be weaving in and out of lanes, sometimes you do have to get over. Letting people know what you’re doing is not only safe, but will also make it easier for you when a driver lets you in front of them.

 

If you are changing lanes or turning, remember that almost all states have a 100-foot (typically 5 second) limit for turning on your blinker.

 

  1. Plan Ahead

Proper planning can keep you from having to deal with heavy traffic all together. A few variables to keep in mind include:

  • Weather – inclement weather (snow, rain, fog) can all lead to backups.
  • Road Construction – It seems like there are two seasons when it comes to driving – winter and construction season. Know the areas with road construction so you can avoid them and keep your trip shorter and more enjoyable.
  • Events – Festivals, game days, holiday parades, etc. can cause heavier than normal traffic.
  • Time of day – Simply planning around rush hour (AM & PM) will lead to a much more enjoyable commute.

Even if you do plan for all of these, you can still run into traffic. That’s why it’s best to always have an alternate route to your destination. Ideally, knowing a highway & side-street route so if one fails you, the other can step up.

 

  1. Remove Distractions

It seems obvious, but it still needs to be stated – no one should ever text and drive. Stay focused on the road at all times. This is even more important when driving in heavy traffic. Just because you’re moving slower doesn’t make driving less dangerous. A large change occurs when moving from a slower speed to a dead halt.

 

The average text message takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. With a lot of other cars on the road, this small amount of time is enough to cause a major crash. Avoid sending texts, checking emails and even changing radio stations when in traffic. If you do have to send a text or make a call, get off the road first.

Nissan Auto Loans in Phoenix, AZ

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At Midway Nissan, we are committed to helping our valued Phoenix area customers take ownership of a new or pre-owned vehicle that meets all of your needs, and that may even exceed your high expectations in some areas. For many of our customers, applying for an auto loan is an essential part of the buying experience. Regardless of whether you have good or bad credit scores, our financing department can help you explore auto loan programs that may be a good fit for your current financial situation.