7 Tips For Smarter Driving

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Now that you’re away at college your thoughts have turned to your academic pursuits, perhaps allowing you some time to take in a sporting event, join a club or even pursue part-time employment.

Many students walk to wherever they need to go or take public transit to get to a job or classes across town. Some students are fortunate in that they have their own vehicle or family car at their disposal, giving them an extra measure of freedom miles from home.

Even as you pursue all things academic, don’t neglect your car. Likely, your vehicle was “road ready” before you left home, but that doesn’t mean you should drive it and forget.

The following are seven tips to help you own and drive your car wisely:

1. Know Your Owner’s Manual — You hit the books daily, but how often do you flip through the pages of your owner’s manual? Find out when oil changes are needed and other simple maintenance. Learn what that “idiot light” on the dash means and don’t forget to check battery connections, wires, your air filter and fluid levels at least once monthly.

2. Pace Yourself — You’re used to living life on the edge or at least waiting until the last minute to undertake a project or head off to classes. When driving, you’ll want to allow plenty of time for traffic and finding a space, so pace yourself by leaving early enough. A rushed driver is an anxious driver, likely to cause a crash if you feel the need to run a red light or roll through a stop sign.

3. Check The Weather — Road conditions can impact your driving. Even a slick road can be hazardous. You can’t change the weather, but you can change the way you react to what is falling from the sky and covering your roads.

4. Clean ‘N Go — Walk around your car before heading out, making sure that it is clear of debris. Remove leaves and dirt obstructing the headlamps and brush the snow off or your car completely.

5. Pay Attention — Texting while driving is out and there is really no reason why you should talk on a cell phone when heading down the road. Other distractions include your audio system, dash and steering wheel controls and the talkative passenger seated next to you.

6. Stay Alert — Other distractions have nothing to do with how you drive. Rather, they have everything to do with how you feel. You already know that it is sheer lunacy to drive with alcohol, but it is also not good to drive if you’re tired. Leave the wheels at home if you’re exhausted or simply not feeling your normal self.

7. Obey The Law — Stay within the posted speed limit, follow traffic signs and signals and be aware of your surroundings. A ball, pet or young child darting in front of your car means that you need to react quickly. Make sure your driver’s license is up to date, your registration is active and your insurance current.

Annual Maintenance

Finally, when you are home from college with your car, do the semi-annual or annual maintenance tasks that are difficult to do when you’re away. A well maintained car will serve you well and ensure that your ride is safe one.

Adv. — It isn’t too late to take a private student loan this semester. A Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan could be right for you, one way for you to close the college financing gap.

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Categories: Campus Cars