Friday, July 29, 2016

Back to School-Carpools

It's that time of year when the stores are filled with notebooks, backpacks, and new pencils.  You are probably already starting (or have started) the preparation to send kids back to school.  It may be just another school year, or you might be sending you first child to college, or as in my case, your last to kindergarten.

Depending on where your kids attend school, you may be driving carpools again this year.  Do you get stressed out with carpools?  It seems that everyone wants to be in the exact same parking spot at the exact same time, and right as the bell rings and chaos ensues!  Here are just a couple of tips to make your carpooling a bit easier this year!
  • Keep your car maintained.  We all know someone who has been late to pick kids up, or been stuck in the parking lot due to a broken down car.  Be sure that major repairs are done ahead of time, so that they can be planned for.  Otherwise we all know Murphy's law just happens to take control in the moment that is least convenient, and that might be when you have a row of honking cars behind you trying to get past to pick up their kids!
  • Safety first. Carpools are always a time saver for everyone involved.  You take turns with your neighbor down the street, and with the people who live behind you, so that in reality you won't have to stop everything you are doing to go pick up/drop off kids twice a day.  However, be sure you have enough seat belts for everyone in the car.  In most cases, you are just driving a few blocks, but in one survey 52% of people reported accidents happening within 5 miles of their home.  Be safe, buckle up you and each one of the passengers in your car.
  • Have a plan.  Like we stated before, carpools should be a time saver.  Have a designated spot for the kids to meet, and for you to pick them up at.  Be aware of which kids will take a little longer, and which ones will be the first ones out.  Know which kids aren't at school that day, or won't need a ride home.  
  • Drop-offs.  Be sure to watch each child go into their homes.  Know if a parent is home, or if you need to send a quick message to a parent that isn't home to assure them their child made it home safely.  
The start of school is usually such an exciting time for the whole family.  It seems to be a rite of passage of sorts.  Enjoy the time you get to spend with all of those young people, sometimes for just a few minutes of car ride each day.

Back to School-College Bound

So, your high school graduate is about to head off to college, huh?  There might be some excitement, and nervousness.  It's probably their first time to live on their own. You might be wondering if you have prepared them enough for this. Your new college student will probably head out, naively thinking they can conquer the world, and really what could go wrong?  You and I probably had those some ideals, and look, we turned out just fine, so will they.

Besides preparing them for harder classes, balancing their time, and living on their own, you should also gently remind them how to take care of that car, that will provide some freedom to get away from classes and campus from time to time.  Here are some gentle reminders for your college student to keep in mind, to ensure their safety while driving away from home.
  • Check fluids, oil, windshield washer fluid, etc. Some fluids, like oil, need to be changed regularly, and can easily be forgotten if a schedule isn't set.  Other fluids, like windshield washer fluid can simply run out, and not noticed until it's needed most.  If your child isn't sure how to check fluids, always recommend that they take the vehicle in to a credible repair shop regularly to have it checked.
  • Keep gas in the tank.  Don't wait until the "empty" light comes on.  It's a good rule of thumb to always put gas in a vehicle when it's half full.
  • Learn how to drive in different seasonal conditions. Your child might be attending school in a climate different from what he/she is used to.  Can you picture a California kid attending school here in the Rocky Mountains and driving in snow for the first time?  Even if your child is comfortable in driving in the snow, do they know how to drive in the rain or fog?
  • Remind your son/daughter if they are drinking, to never drink and drive.  Call a friend or a cab to come pick them up.  Always remember safety first.
  • Follow the laws.  College towns usually have a ton of pedestrians.  Help educate them to speed limits, parking, and pedestrian laws.
  • Road Side Assistant Programs.  It might be a good idea to enroll your child in a road side assistant program, such as AAA.  You may not be able to get to your child immediately in case of an emergency, and it will bring peace of mind, to know that your son/daughter won't be waiting on the side of the road until you can.
Exciting times are ahead for your children.  We hope they will have a safe an enjoyable college experience, and these tips will help them get off on the right start.


When was the last time you checked your tires?  Nowadays, many vehicles are equipped with tire monitoring systems.  This might give you a false sense of security.  The sensor alarm may not alert you until it's too late.  It's always a good idea to check your tires regularly, just as you would any area of your car.

Keep a record of the age of the tires.  Over time, the rubber wears and begins to degrade.  A good rule of thumb, is to have your tires checked if they are 5 years or older.  You can look for cracks and tears also.  This can cause blow outs, something no one wants, and can be particularly dangerous, especially at high speeds.

Look at the tread.  Try the penny test if you are unsure. Put a penny next to the tread, head down.  If you can see Lincoln's head, it's definitely time for new tires.  If most of his head is covered up, you are probably okay.

Evaluate any uneven wear.  If you can see places that aren't wearing evenly, you may have a problem.  This might include sloping on one side of the treads, or chunks or pieces missing on tread.  This could be due to a misalignment, (in that case, Jake's can fix that with an alignment).  Rotating tires can also help prevent uneven wear.

Check tire pressure.  Gas mileage and overall comfort increase as you keep your tires inflated to the manufacturers' specifications.

There is a lot of weight resting on your four tires.  Take care to ensure their durability and safety, and you will have a much more enjoyable and safe trip every time.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

For many, summer is a time of relaxation, vacations, and parties.  It's a time to get together with friends and family and celebrate just being together and taking it easy.  At many of these get-togethers, alcohol may be served.  It's always fun to party together, and relax, just make sure you and those around you are drinking responsibly.

Friday, August 19, 2016 through Monday, September 5, 2016 (Labor Day) is the national enforcement mobilization "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."  On average, more than 10,000 people die every year due to drunk driving. Drunk driving is one of the most deadly and common crimes committed. No one wants to receive a call stating a loved one has been killed due to drunk driving.

The good news is, there are some things you can do to prevent drunk driving.  These are basic ideas that we all probably know, but the reminders are always helpful.
  • Drink responsibly.  Know when to call it quits, or have someone who hasn't been drinking drive you home.  Never drive yourself or someone else anywhere if you are impaired.
  • Never encourage or endorse underage drinking.  If you know about it, put a stop to it immediately, call kids' parents, and take the proper steps to ensure it won't happen again and to keep kids safe.
  • Never get in the car with someone who is impaired due to drinking.  Encourage the intoxicated person to hand the keys to someone else or to call a cab.
  • Make a plan beforehand.  Ask someone ahead of time to check on you, to be sure you are not going to put yours, or someone else's safety in jeopardy.
As summer begins wrapping up, stay safe and drink responsibly.

Monday, July 4, 2016

July is Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

Let's face it, our cars are indispensable.  We rely on our car(s) to get us places, keep us cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and safe year-round.  We expect routine maintenance to be done and always hope that we won't have the unexpected breakdown.  It's hard to be without our cars when we rely on them so heavily.  However, how often do we think about being without a car due to theft?

July is Vehicle Prevention Month.  According to a car is stolen every 45 seconds in the United States.  The estimated total value of vehicles stolen is more than $4.5 BILLION!  Also, nationally, nearly 45% of vehicles stolen are never recovered.  

Those are some scary statistics!  The good news is, that half of all vehicle theft is due to driver error.  This means we can do something about it!  Most of the following items to take into account will take less than a minute to even complete to ensure your car is right where you left it.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.  I know during the summer months, it's tempting to leave windows open to cut down on the stifling heat, but studies show you'll be safer in the long run if you close and lock them!
  • Park in well lit areas.  Also park in busier areas, rather than secluded areas.  
  • Never leave your car while it's running.  I know it's tempting to leave it running when you know you are going to be very quick, especially with the heat of summer, you want your car to stay cool.  A vehicle can be stolen so quick.  In the winter, it seems like we always hear stories of people who have left their car warming up, while they finish getting ready, only to find their vehicle is gone when they are ready to leave!
  • Never leave your keys or valuables in your car.  If you must, be sure they are out of sight.
  • Keep your car in your garage if possible.  You know the old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind."
  • Have an anti-theft device on your vehicle.  We've all heard those annoying car alarms that go off at the most inopportune times, but they help.
Finally, if you happen to be the victim of vehicle theft, know what steps you should take.  
  1. Call the police.  Let them know what has happened, and they can start looking for your car.
  2. Call the insurance company.  You want to make sure that any damage done will be covered.
  3. If you find your car before the police, be sure to call them, and the insurance company and let them know the good news.
More good news is Utah is not among the top 10 states for vehicle theft.  We live in a really good area, yet we still need to be careful and take precautions.  Enjoy your summer, by taking a couple of extra minutes to ensure the safety of your car.

Summer Driving Series: Don't Leave Your Kids in the Car!

Summer is here!  You are hopefully enjoying your air conditioner as you drive through town. (If not, make sure you call Jake's Auto to h...