A Guide to Driving Your Kia Safely

safe-driving-tipsWhen you are driving on the freeways and open roads with the music up and the windows up, it is often easy to forget that you are travelling in quite the speed in a chunk of steel and metal. Although cars come equipped with plenty of advanced safety technologies, amenities, and features, nothing can make the difference between life and death – then to be extra alert and watchful while driving.

A simple distraction can result in you losing control of the vehicle and resulting in a crash. All around the world people die because of crashes and auto accidents. Therefore, it is only wise to practice safe driving and follow your state’s guidelines. Look below at these basic rules for safe driving:

Never Drive When Drunk

According to a study conducted by NHTSA, it was revealed that almost 30% of major automotive accidents in the US are caused by drivers being drunk on alcohol. Most of these deaths could easily have been prevented, if drivers more wary about their actions and simply hadn’t sit in the driver seat while drunk. Alcohol is linked to several impairments that can lead to serious car accidents.

It lowers inhibitions and reduces coordination and reaction time. It also blurs your vision and results in confusion. To avoid driving drunk and saving your own life, consider asking a sober friend for a ride or consider calling a cab. If you are planning to drink at a party or get-together, always make sure you have a designated driver who can get you home safely.

Avoid Speeding at All Costs

The old adage “Speed Kills” still goes true in today’s time, yet majority of people hardly pay any attention to the speed they are travelling at. Yes, it is easy to give into road rage and drive like a maniac. However, if you do not want to end up in a car crash, it is imperative that you be more responsible. Drive safely and at a stable speed.

According to NHTSA, 31% of all fatal crashes were caused by over-speeding in 2008. Almost 11,674 lives were lost because of this very factor. Over-speeding can increase the chances of a crash by almost 50%. Therefore, it is only wise that you take your time and obey posted speed limits. Even on long journeys, try your best to maintain a stable and reasonable speed.

Avoid All Types of Distractions

One of the main causes of accidents in the US resulting in more than 2,600 nationwide deaths per year is using cell phones while driving. In fact, these numbers may still be low, as the usage of cell phones behind the wheel has only increases. People get involved in texting and talking while driving, which most think not a big deal, until they end up in an accident.

However, it isn’t just cell phones, which are responsible for creating distractions. Interacting with passengers, fiddling with electronic devices, applying makeup, and eating while driving are all linked to diverting a drivers’ attention. All of these can result in potentially deadly accidents. The only tip to avoid distractions is to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road!

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Don’t Drive Drowsy

According to a study conducted by Virginia Tech, it was revealed that almost 20% of all accidents are caused by drowsiness, which is caused by sleepiness. The results are rather predictable, if a driver is too tired to fall asleep while driving. Even on a straight road, a sleeping driver will eventually bang into another car, roadside, ravines, utility poles, and trees, which can turn this simple mistake into a deadly scenario.

The solution is to get better and more sleep at night. Avoid driving when you feel drowsy because of sleepiness, as it will only make you lazy, distort your vision, or cause confusion. If you feel extremely sleepy, pull up to the side of the road and take some time out to get back to normal.

Always Wear Your Seat Belt

This may sound a bit cliché, but nevertheless SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES! When worn properly, you can prevent yourself from being injured, regardless of the intensity of the accident. The seat beat keeps your body intact in the event of a collision, preventing you and passengers from being thrown out the windshield. NHTSA revealed that majority of accident fatalities and deaths are a result of passengers and drivers not wearing seat belts. Bear in mind that you always have a chance of surviving, if you are wearing a seat belt at all times when driving.

Be Extremely Careful in Bad Weather

When it comes to driving on icy roads, heavy rain, in a snowstorm, or through fog, it is imperative that you be extra cautious and careful. In extreme weather conditions, it is advised that you always wear your seat belt, maintain extra space between cars ahead, be careful around curves, and drive below the speed limit, if necessary. Consider delegating some duties to other passengers. However, if the weather continues to worsen, do not take the risk of continuing to drive. Instead, find a safe place until the weather clears out.

Don’t Follow Other Cars Too Closely

Whenever driving on the freeway or on open roads, make sure that you are maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles on the road. Don’t drive bumper-to-bumper, as if the driver in front of you makes a sudden stop or turn, it can be extremely difficult for you to slow down or break in time. According to a research conducted by automotive experts, it was revealed that is best to follow the “three-second rule” of driving behind another car.

Keep Your Vehicle Safe

This goes without saying in order to keep you and your family safe while driving, always make sure that your vehicle is maintained properly. Even the simplest of problems like underinflated tires can result in a serious crash. Therefore, make it a habit to inspect your vehicle for any problems before driving. Additionally, try your best to get your car analyzed by a professional mechanic every month. This way, you can get any issue repaired before they lead to an accident.

Therefore, now that you are familiar with the tips mentioned above, driving safe

How to Teach Your Teen to Drive in the Snow

Probably the scariest part of learning to drive as a teenager is being faced with learning to drive in the snow. If your teenager (or you are a teenager) is coming to driving age soon, they will probably have to learn to drive in the snow, as they are also learning how to drive.

When I took driver’s education, you could take it up to six months before your sixteenth birthday, so, being born in the late spring, I started learning to drive just before Thanksgiving, when the roads were already slick and wet from early winter snows. This is one of the most important skills that any driver who lives in a part of the country where it snows can have. Knowing how to stay safe on snowy, icy roads can keep you and other drivers alive. Here are some tips for teaching someone who is new to driving how to handle snowy conditions:

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1. Start with the right tires. All-weather tires might work perfectly fine on some vehicles, but if those tires are worn down or your teen drives a particularly light (read: high gas mileage) sedan, it is unlikely that your standard set of tires is going to do the trick. It might be time to invest in some snow tires—they really do make the difference. The newer the rubber is, the better it is at gripping the road, even when they are icy, and the deeper the tread is, the less likelihood there is of sliding and spinning out. The right tires can go a long way towards making a new driver feel safe on the road.

2. Make sure your car is equipped for snow driving. One of the best features of new cars, including those in the Kia lineup, are anti-skid and extra stability control, which make it much easier to first, know when you are losing control of a vehicle and then to regain control of that vehicle. Because most people, when they start to spin or slide, react badly (trying to turn the wheel in the opposite direction or stamp on the breaks) cars are now equipped with tools that make it much less likely that the driver can worsen the situation if something does go badly. A car that also has an exterior temperature meter can me a great way to give yourself some idea of what is going on outside of your vehicle.

3. Understand that AWD does not make a car impervious to icy roads. Where I attended college, the roads were packed with snow from the end of November until the beginning of April. While the rest of us were cruising around in our little junky sedans, trying to just stay moving in a straight line, there were a few notorious roadsters equipped with four-wheel drive that would zoom past. They acted like they were completely immune to the sliding and slipping that plagued the rest of us, though they eventually got into just as many accidents. All-wheel drive or four-wheel drive does not mean that you have better traction. If anything, it helps to prevent fishtailing. Slipping, sliding, and spinning are all still possibilities.

4. Turn on your lights and replace your windshield wipers. If you haven’t replaced your windshield wipers since the spring, now is the time to do it. Why? Because fresh wipers are going to be much better at clearing snow and scraping ice off of your windshield. That makes your teen’s visibility much better. Teaching him to turn on his lights while he drives will make him much more visible to other drivers, which ensures that even in heavy snow storms, he can be seen and avoided.

5. Pump the brakes, don’t stomp them. One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make when they feel their vehicle start to slide is to stomp on the brake pedal. This will cause the wheels to lock up, making it impossible for that vehicle to find traction. Instead, pump the brakes gently with your foot. This will avoid the locking mechanism and will help your tires find traction in the snow or ice again.

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6. Do not panic. Driving in the snow can be a stressful experience. The worst thing that you can do is start to get anxious and irritated. This will lead to poor driving decisions. Remind your teen as he is learning to drive in the snow that it is important for him to be alert, but relaxed. If he is tensed up, his reactions will be jerky and will probably make whatever situation he finds himself in much worse.

7. Encourage practice. Do you know what to do if you feel your tires starting to skid? The best thing to do is to take your foot off the accelerator calmly, to maintain your direction, and wait for the car to slow down. Once it has, you can correct your direction. Working this behavior into your teen’s muscle memory, so that he does it automatically when he feels himself starting to slide, is the only way to make sure he will be safe if he does encounter a problem. That requires extensive practice. One of the best places to practice is in an abandoned parking lot, where he can build up a little bit of speed, practice turning and handling in the snow or on ice, and carefully and safely practice what to do when he starts to slide or lose control of the vehicle.

How to Teach a Teenager to Drive

Anyone who’s ever had to teach someone else to drive knows that it can be an exceedingly time consuming and stressful process. It doesn’t have to be time consuming or stressful, however. In fact, it could easily be fun. While driver’s education can be a great resource for teaching a teen the fundamentals of driving, driving is best learned through practice, which very few driver’s ed classes can offer, especially to a large group of kids. This leaves the parents with the responsibility. If you need to teach your teenager to drive, here are some tips to make this process easier:

1. Get the proper hand positions. As your teen learns to drive, he will probably naturally find the most comfortable and maneuverable places for his hands on the wheel. Until he start to build his own habits, encourage him to put his hands at nine and three (yes, nine and three, not ten and two). This is the ideal spot for the best control over the vehicle.

2. Relax those arms. Anxiety and stress are the enemy of learning and the enemy of safe driving. Also, having tensed shoulders, arms, and hands are less likely to react well to danger or even just to clearly communicate what the driver wants to do to the wheel in front of him. Help your teen relax and make sure that his arms are relaxed to.

2015 Kia Cadenza3. Encourage focused driving. The pull of the smartphone can be too much for some teenagers. For those that can’t seem to keep their hands off of their cellphones while driving, it might be best to leave the phone at home while learning how to drive. Seriously, texting and talking on the phone while driving are two of the worst habits that a teen can pick up. Don’t just discourage these bad habits—encourage the good ones.

4. Try to keep the mood in the car positive. One of the most difficult things about learning to drive a manual is how tense I could feel my father getting in the passenger’s seat. Every time I would stall out, he would grip the door handle and grit his teeth. I eventually gave up even trying to learn to drive that car and had to wait until college to learn in a friend’s car who wasn’t nearly so anxious. Teens respond well to positive reinforcement and very negatively to scolding, so maybe leave the scolding at home.

5. Praise him when he does well. It can be easy to just say nothing when he’s doing a good job and to only provide correction. Unless the correction is absolutely necessary (he consistently fails to notice that he is riding the center line, for example), stick just to praising him when he does well. Everyone makes mistakes—it’s important not to make a big deal out of them while he’s learning or he’ll lose his enthusiasm for learning.

6. Teach him what a car in crisis feels like. He will learn perfectly well on his own how a car behaves when it is being driven well. He won’t learn, however, what to do in an emergency, especially if he doesn’t know whether or not he is actually in an emergency. If he is learning to drive in the summer, it might be impossible to show him what it feels like to slide on the ice, but you can show him what to do when his car is skidding across asphalt or how the car reacts to slamming on the brakes.

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7. Teach him when he should hit an animal and when he should swerve. It’s almost always a better idea to hit an animal that’s run out in the road than to jerk the wheel and try to swerve around it. In the moment, you might not realize that there is a car coming from the other direction or that there are trees right off the side of the road. It’s not pleasant to hit an animal, but it’s better than endangering your life and the life of others in your car or on the road just to save the life of a rabbit or a deer.

8. If possible, teach him to drive a stick. While not exactly necessary anymore, especially since even manual transmissions are now easier than ever to drive, it could still be valuable to teach your teen what it feels like to drive a stick. Once he’s built the muscle memory, it will be easier for him to drive a manual if there is ever an emergency and that’s his only choice.

9. Encourage him to speed up. Most new drivers are very cautious when it comes to high speeds (which may be anything over twenty miles an hour). They’ve likely never piloted a machine that can go that fast. Simply driving around a parking lot going fifteen miles an hour isn’t going to teach him very much about how to behave on a road. At some point, he will have to get out of the parking lot, drive on a residential road, and then even drive on a highway. If there are rural roads around you with high speed limits and little traffic, these are great places to start.

 10. Give directions well before they are needed. This is something my parents are guilty of—they won’t tell you that you need to turn right until you are already at a stoplight, in a left-hand lane. This can be nerve-wracking for a teenager who is learning to drive (and any adult). Give directions in plenty of time for your teen to actually follow them.