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Spring Driving Tips

4/23/2012
Spring is here and we are already seeing many of the summer-only vehicles and motorcycles on the road. Which led us to spring (pun definitely intended) in to action with some tips for both your daily commuter car as well as that car that has been sitting in the garage all winter with the cover on it. Here are our tips:

Tires & Tire Pressure
Tires are the most important safety item on your car. They are what connects you and the car to the ground and what you will ask 100% from in an emergency situation (whether it be braking, turning or accelerating). By nature, tires lose air over time, which is why that hot rod that sat in the garage all winter probably has four flats on it. There is the old handyman’s tale of winter air and summer air for your tires and there is some truth to it due to ambient temperature. On average, for every 10 degrees of change in ambient temperature, your tires will change one PSI. So that all-season tire at 30 PSI on an 80˚ day has 26 PSI during a 40˚ winter day. In that case, it’s potentially underinflated, which means you run the risk of pulling the tire off of the rim in an emergency lane change situation. Make sure your tires have the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure and check the pressure at least once a month (those of you that are getting the sports car out to come to lap the track will want to put more air in the tire than the manufacturer recommends). Likewise, check the tire and tread depth on a regular basis to make sure the tire is not worn out or bald. Bald or worn out tires are more prone to hydroplaning in wet conditions which can cause a loss of control.

Pre-Flight Check
All pilots are taught to do a pre-flight check before takeoff. Most drivers don’t do a similar check prior to starting thier ride. When’s the last time you looked at the right side of your car and the right side tires? Now that you’re not in a rush to get out of the cold and into the car, it’s a good time to start a habit of performing a walkaround of your car before driving. Besides checking for flat tires, loose bumpers, lens covers or body panels, you can see if there are any small animals underneath or in a position where you might back over them.

Spares and Such
Much like it is recommended for winter driving to have blankets, flashlights and so on in your car, the same is true for the spring and summer. If you have an emergency kit, maybe go through it and discard anything old or expired and replace it with new items. The same goes for flares. Make sure the spare tire is not so old that it is cracked and low on air. Make sure the jack and lug wrench are in the car and secured, instead of in your garage.

Tune-Ups
Most modern cars tell you when you need to have it serviced, but as they say ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ Routine tune-ups and service will cost you less in the long run and will extend the life of your vehicle and your wallet. With gas prices rising daily, you will want to get every MPG you can.

Maximizing MPG
One of the key things we teach about driving on the street or the racetrack is using your eyes correctly. To maximize your fuel mileage, try to look far ahead, even around the cars in front of you. Speeding up and then braking and then speeding up and then braking, while in rush hour traffic hurts your fuel mileage as much as full throttle acceleration to merge on to the highway. If you can go with the flow of traffic, by just modulating on and off the gas and not braking you will drastically increase your fuel mileage. Ever wonder why the truck drivers leave such a big gap in front of them in rush hour traffic?

We hope you enjoy these driving tips and that they make your daily drive better, safer and more efficient. For more secret information about being a better street driver or to learn the techniques required to drive on the track, visit us at The Mid-Ohio School. Check out the schedule here.
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