Author: midwaynissan

Driving Slower

I drive slower these days. While I used to be a bit of a driving maniac (ask my wife), 1570950981_7a96f784d4_bpassing everybody and stepping hard on my accelerator, I would also get increasingly frustrated when people would drive slow and keep me from driving fast, or cut me off. Driving was a stressful experience.

Not anymore. These days, driving is a much more calm, serene experience, and I enjoy it much more.

I look around at other drivers and wonder whether they really need to get to where they’re going so fast, and whether they’ll slow down when they get there. I wonder if it’s really worth burning all that gas and getting so angry and risking so many lives. And then I think about other things, because driving for me has become a time of contemplation.

I heartily recommend driving slower — for many reasons, but one of the best reasons is that it has made me a much happier person. It’s such a simple step to take, but it makes an incredibly big difference.

Recently a reader named Vadim wrote to me with the following comment on speeding:

I have recently acquired a TomTom GPS in car navigator. Amongst its many astonishing features, it has a display on it that shows you your estimated arrival time for the route you are traveling … Now here is the kicker; I used to routinely travel at 130% of the speed limit everywhere … I thought that I was keeping myself alert and saving time. My TomTom, however, disagreed. In fact anywhere I traveled (and I routinely drive more than 100 miles) I would only shave off 5-10 minutes of the estimated arrival time! 5-10minuts of time that is then wasted because I wasn’t late to start off with!

Since then, I adopted a new way of driving, I never speed.

I love this comment, and it inspired me to write this post. People often think they’re saving time by driving faster, but it’s not very much time, and it’s not worth your sanity or safety.

Here are just 5 reasons to drive slower:

  1. Save gas. The best ways to save gas (besides driving less or driving a fuel-efficient vehicle) are to avoid excessive idling, more gradual accelerating and decelerating, and driving slower (see report on Edmunds.com). With gas prices so high these days, wasting gas by driving unnecessarily fast is something we can’t afford.
  2. Save lives. Driving fast can kill people (including the driver). Two stats: Traffic is the biggest single killer of 12-16 year olds. Surprisingly, at 35mph you are twice as likely to kill someone you hit as at 30mph. (Source) Faster driving gives you a shorter amount of time to respond to something in your path, and even a fraction of a second can mean the difference between life and death. Drive slower for your safety and that of those around you … especially drive slow around runners, cyclists, schools, and neighborhoods with kids on the streets.
  3. Save time? As Vadim pointed out in his email, while you think you’re saving time by driving faster, it’s not a lot of time. And that small amount of time you’re saving isn’t worth it, considering the other factors on this list. Better yet, start out a few minutes early and you’ll arrive at the same time as someone who drove faster but started later, and you’ll arrive much happier than that person to boot.
  4. Save your sanity. The above three reasons are very important ones, but for me the most noticeable difference has been the huge drop in stress levels when I drive. Far from being a crazy experience, driving is actually a relaxing and pleasant experience now. I no longer get road rage, because I simply don’t care whether other drivers are going slow or cutting me off.
  5. Simplify your life. This is related to the one above, but expanded. In addition to saving your stress levels, driving slower can reduce many other complications as well — the headache of accidents and speeding tickets, for one, going to the gas station too often, for another, but also the hectic pace of life. Why must we rush through life? Slow down and enjoy life more. If we’re always in a hurry to get places, when will we get to our destination and finally be happy? Life is a journey — make it a pleasant one.

OK, assuming that you want to drive slower, here are some of the tips that worked best for me:

  • Play relaxing music. My favorite is anything by Jack Johnson or Ben Harper. But anything that relaxes you is good: “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate, “Drive Slow” by Kanye West, anything by Otis Redding or Aretha, “Feels Like Rain” by John Hyatt, “Son of a Preacher Man” by Aretha or Dusty Springfield, Radiohead, Prince, Sade … Whatever you choose, enjoy it, and relax.
  • Ignore other drivers. This was my problem before. I cared so much about what the other drivers were doing, that it would stress me out. At times, it would cause me to drive faster to spite other drivers (awful, I know). Now, I just ignore them. Well, I pay attention so I don’t crash into anyone, but I don’t worry about what they’re doing or how dumb they are.
  • Leave early. If you speed because you’re running late, make it a habit of getting ready early and leaving early. Now you don’t have to worry about being late, and you can enjoy the ride.
  • Brainstorm. I like to use my drive time for contemplation. I come up with ideas for things to write about, I think about my day (either the day to come or the day in review), I think about my life as a whole and where I want to go.
  • Keep to the right. If you drive slower than the other crazy drivers out there, it’s wise to keep out of their way if possible and keep to the right. While I tend to ignore other drivers who might get mad at me for driving slow (I don’t care about them anymore), it’s good to be polite.
  • Enjoy the drive. Most of all, make your drive a pleasant experience — whether that’s through music or contemplation or however you want to enjoy the ride, remember that the ride is just as important as the destination.
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Winter Car Care

When it comes to winter car care, many motorists think of antifreeze and batteries, but winterize-car-snowvehicles need extra attention in winter, especially when a bomb cyclone hits and temperatures drop.

“Most people never heard of ‘bombogenesis” until heavy snow and dangerous cold recently hit many areas of the country, including several states that usually don’t experience this type of severe weather,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Making sure your vehicle is properly prepared for the elements will help you avoid the aggravation of an unplanned road emergency.”

The non-profit Car Care Council offers six quick tips to help your vehicle perform at its best during cold weather months.

  • Keep the gas tank at least half full; this decreases the chance of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing.
  • Check the tire pressure, including the spare, as tires can lose pressure when temperatures drop. Consider special tires if snow and ice are a problem in your area.
  • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
  • Allow your car a little more time to warm up when temperatures are below freezing so that the oil in the engine and transmission circulate and get warm.
  • Change to low-viscosity oil in winter as it will flow more easily between moving parts when it is cold. Drivers in sub-zero temperatures should drop their oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.
  • Consider using cold weather washer fluid and special winter windshield blades if you live in a place with especially harsh winter conditions.

Drivers should stock an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication. The Car Care Council also recommends a thorough vehicle inspection by a trusted professional service technician as winter magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.

2016 Nissan Juke SV SUV

2016 Nissan Juke SV White Pearl 1.6L I4 DOHC 16V 32/28 Highway/City MPG

Clean CARFAX. CARFAX One-Owner. MP3 PLAYER, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION, FUEL EFFICIENT, KEYLESS ENTRY & START, POWER WINDOWS, POWER DOOR LOCKS, BACKUP CAMERA, BLUETOOTH, 4-Wheel Disc Brakes, 6 Speakers, ABS brakes, Air Conditioning, Alloy wheels, AM/FM radio: SiriusXM, CD player, Dual front impact airbags, Dual front side impact airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Low tire pressure warning, Panic alarm, Power moonroof, Power steering, Speed control, Tachometer, Tilt steering wheel, Traction control, Trip computer.

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New Year’s Resolutions?

Is improving your fuel efficiency one of your new year’s resolutions? We can help with that.

1. Drive Less
Between the rising cost of gas and the slumping economy, there are a number of reasons why people are driving less today. It’s not so hard to do either. Combine your errands into one trip to avoid repeat drives into town. Consider walking instead of driving for nearby pick-ups, or drag out that bicycle that’s gathering dust in the garage or shed.

2. Warm Up Your Car for Shorter Lengths of Time
If you wake up to a cold morning, don’t warm up the car for longer than 30 seconds (up to one minute if you must). If you idle the engine for more than a minute, you waste fuel and pump nasty greenhouse gas emissions into the air. Engines of modern cars do not require the extensive length of time that older models needed to warm up.

3. Buy Gas Early or Late in the Day
Purchase gas early or late in the day, especially during warm months. Gas is cooler earlier in the day, and more dense. As temperatures rise, gas density falls and you get less of it when you pump.

Also, buy gas early in the week. Prices typically rise between Wednesday and Saturday, but stay lower during the early days of the week.

4. Slow Down and Drive Steady
Driving fast may be fun, but it also increases drag, which increases fuel consumption. Driving just below the speed limit and driving smoothly (not accelerating quickly) uses gas more efficiently, so you may have to fill up a lot less often.

5. Monitor When and How You Brake
Braking excessively wastes gas and causes your brake pads to wear out quickly. Maintain a safe distance between yourself and the car in front of you when you’re in heavy traffic – that way, you won’t need to brake as often as if you were tailgating.

Also, by keeping a bit more distance between you and the car ahead, you can begin braking earlier, especially when approaching a traffic light. By not having to slam on the brakes at the last minute, you’ll improve the efficiency of your car and save gas.

Holiday Road Trip!

It’s official, the holiday season has arrived. Besides the traditional Christmas shopping, it’s also time to start prepping for the annual holiday road trip! Whether you’re driving several hours to spend time with family or braving the roads for last minute gifts, you need to be prepared. These 10 simple, but important tips, will help make your holiday road trip a safe and happy experience.

1. Check your vehicle maintenance list twice

Make sure you fully inspect your vehicle before leaving the driveway. To start, you want to ensure all your lights are in working order, tires are properly inflated, windshield wipers are operational, and there is enough wiper fluid for the long road ahead. Keep an extra bottle of wiper fluid in the trunk, just in case. For additional maintenance tips check out our article on how to properly prepare for winter.

2. Avoid fuel hikes at the pumps

Rising fuel prices typically come hand-in-hand with the holiday season so keep an eye out for low prices if you know you’ll be travelling a lot. Try to fill up earlier in the week – generally as the week progresses you will see a steady rise in gas prices.

3. Watch out for speed traps

Just because Santa can break speed records as he rounds the globe in one night, that doesn’t mean you should attempt the same. The holiday season is prime time for highway patrols to set up speed traps as they look to slow down frantic shoppers and holiday road trippers. It’s best to follow the posted speed limit to not only ensure your safety, but also the safety of those around you – especially when you factor in icy and less than ideal road conditions.

4. Get a good night’s sleep and avoid fatigue

Make sure you get a full night’s sleep before departing on any major family trips. Not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your motor skills, slowing down your reaction time out on the road. It’s best to be well-rested and alert at all times while driving, especially during extended periods of driving. If you find your concentration slipping, take a break, grab a coffee, get out and stretch or go for a brisk walk. When travelling long distances, take turns driving with a passenger. If this is not an option, consider turning the trip from one day to two days, and spend an evening in a hotel to maintain your alertness and energy throughout your trip.

5. Remember to secure your home and vehicle

The holidays are a time for getting together with family, sipping hot chocolate by the fire, opening up presents and…getting burglarized? Unfortunately, yes this is also the time of year when burglaries are on the rise as hooligans and criminals seek to loot homes and cars in search of expensive gifts. As a precaution, it’s always best to double check your locks before leaving your home or car to ensure both places are secure. It’s also a good idea to hide your valuables – draw the curtains or stash your presents in the trunk if you can’t store them elsewhere at the mall or when visiting family.

6. Plan your route

If you’re venturing out on a family road trip be proactive and plan ahead, taking into account local traffic and weather reports. Know your route and arm yourself with a map or GPS in case you get off track.

7. Be prepared for emergencies

With winter weather comes an unfortunate increase in vehicle emergencies. These could come in the form of an accident, a dead battery or a vehicle stuck in the snow. When situations like these occur, it’s best to be prepared – you should travel with a fully-stocked emergency roadside kit in your vehicle at all times.

8. Avoid the rum and eggnog

If you’re going to be driving during the holidays, don’t drink and drive. This is the season for family get-togethers and company Christmas parties and if you think you might be tempted to let loose with a beverage or two, plan ahead with a designated driver or take a taxi.

9. Leave early

Whether it’s a trip to find the family tree or a Christmas shopping excursion, remember that the roads will be full of people doing the same thing, and they’ll all be in a hurry. Leaving earlier than you need to not only ensures you arrive on time, but helps alleviate the hustle and bustle during the holidays.

10. Finally…enjoy!

The holidays are a great opportunity to celebrate and spend time with loved ones. By planning ahead, driving safely and having a little extra patience when out on the road, you can ensure that this Christmas season is a safe and happy one with plenty of comfort and joy.