Category Archives: Driving Tips

Safer Driving Habits for New Year’s Resolutions

We all get used to driving after a certain point, especially if we take the same boring commute day after day. As a result, we stop paying as much attention as we should, or start cutting corners to get home faster. That’s why, if you’re still stuck on a resolution for 2017, you should consider making a goal to practice safer driving habits like one of these.

No Speeding: We’ve all done it. You may not think there’s much harm in going five or ten over the speed limit, but where do you draw the line? Slow down and pay attention to your surroundings.

Maintain Your Car: Keeping up with regular service appointments may seem like a hassle, but you’ll wish you’d done it when you’re on the side of the road with engine trouble.

Use Your Blinker: Don’t be that guy. When changing lanes or making turns, use your turn signal to let other drivers know where you’re headed.

Minimize Distractions: Messing with the radio, eating, drinking – all of these count as distractions behind the wheel.

No Phone Usage: This piggybacks off the last point. We know the hazards of texting and driving, but try to avoid phone calls, too.

Safer driving habits don’t just keep you safe, but they protect other drivers and model good behavior for your kids, too.

Should You Get Winter Tires This Year, and Why?

Get Winter TiresThe winter months are finally approaching, and you know what that means: snow, and lots of it. Luckily, there is one easy way that you can prepare for wintery roads, regardless of what sort of vehicle you drive.

With winter tires, your chances of driving through the snow without a slip or a loss of traction are much, much higher, especially compared to standard, all-season tires, with which most vehicles tend to operate.

Winter tires are designed specifically for snow and ice, though they also perform beautifully on dry roads. Compare this design to that of all-season tires, which aim to tackle each season as best as possible, sacrificing winter integrity.

Not only are winter tires better for driving in the snow and ice, but also, they are created with a different type of tread rubber that stays flexible at lower temperatures. Regular tires tend to freeze up and even deflate when the temperatures get cool.

If you drive on all-season tires this winter, you certainly won’t be doomed, but why risk it? If you are in a snowy area or have a snowy commute, consider switching it up this year with winter tires.

For more information on why you should get winter tires or to check out a winter-ready vehicle, contact us or visit us anytime at Wantagh Mazda.

5 Summer Essentials to Keep in Your Car

Now that summer is in full swing, your summer schedule is probably fairly routine, and may include frequent occurrences of the phrase, “I’m bored.” If you want to break out of your mundane schedule and add some spontaneous adventures to your summer, here are five essentials to keep in your car to make sure those adventures aren’t cut short.

summer essentials to keep in your car

  1. Sun protection. You don’t have to end a fun day at the park just because the sun came out. Keep a supply of sunscreen along with hats and sunglasses in the car to keep everyone’s skin protected.
  2. Snacks. Sometimes it seems as if kids can eat their weight in food in a single day. Make sure you have some heat-proof snacks in your car so you don’t have to spend a fortune at the drive-through. Snacks like graham crackers, nuts, and granola bars (without chocolate) are great choices.
  3. Water. Bring along a reusable water bottle for everyone in the family. You can also keep some cardboard juice boxes for emergencies when you can’t find a water fountain to refill your bottles.
  4. Insect repellant. If you want to take an impromptu hike through the woods, you’re going to need some insect repellant. This will also come in handy when you’re sitting in the grass and watching fireworks.
  5. First aid kit. Scraped knees and splinters are pretty much guaranteed to happen in the summer. Take care of these small injuries right away with your in-car first-aid kit.

Here at Wantagh Mazda, we want to know…. What summer essentials do you keep in your car?

Long Island Roads Made for Scenic Drives

Long Island in New York is famous for a lot of things — water sports, beautiful ocean views, and the hustle and bustle of the city are just a few. While the thought of regional traffic might typically deter you from taking a leisurely drive around Long Island roads, there are a few scenic drives in the area that give passengers a glimpse of the beauty of the island — getting away from it all, even just for a few moments.

One of the most famed areas in Long Island, New York is the Gold Coast. As the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, the Gold Coast is lined with beautiful mansions that call back the festive and glamorous era of the 1920s. Between the castle-like architecture, colonial-style harbor towns, and seafront views, you’ll have the drive of a lifetime.

Another recommended route is 25A, which stretches for 55 miles along the North Shore. It’s sure to wow you with beachside villages, sandy landscapes, and the natural, tree-lined views reminiscent of a countryside road. Also, to the eastern side of Long Island is the Great Peconic Bay, which splits the quieter North Fork and the more energetic, youthful Hamptons in half. With local shops, small villages, and beaches on all sides, you’re sure to stumble across Long Islands roads that suit you.

Three Simple Road Trip Guidelines

Maybe you’re the kind of person that believes when it comes to road trips, there should be no rules. Although celebrating liberty and being spontaneous is what hitting the road with friends and loved ones is all about, a few simple road trip guidelines can be extremely helpful in ensuring success.

# 1 – Choose your travel mates wisely

Nothing can ruin a road trip like disharmony among travel mates. Try to have some idea of how yours and your friends’ personalities might dovetail or clash on a trip. If you have a feeling that things could go awry because of wildly different tastes or personality flaws, reconsider your choice.

# 2 – Avoid under- and over-planning.

If you don’t create enough of a plan, you may not feel satisfied with your trip. On the other hand, if you plan too much, and don’t leave room for spontaneity, your trip may not feel exciting

# 3 – Create a budget.

When you spend too much money, you may not feel the sting when you’re on the road. But your return home is sure to be accompanied by some regret and concern. Also, don’t spend too much money too early. Then the latter half of your trip may be disappointing!

The perfect road trip is all about balance. Balance some simple planning with lots of spontaneity and you are on your way to making memories!

Safety 101: What to Do When You Hydroplane

what to do when you hydroplaneSpring means rain, and driving in the rain is hard enough, when visibility is low and everyone is somehow a worse driver than usual, without the reality of hydroplaning. But knowing what to do when you hydroplane turns a scary situation into something manageable, so follow these quick tips and you’ll have control back in no time.

First of all, don’t brake! Braking will just make you skid more. You want your wheels to continue turning so that they can regain traction.

The best way to get control back depends on what drivetrain you have. For front-wheel drive owners, pull into a lane with open space in front of you if possible and then slowly accelerate until your wheels are back on the ground.

Rear-wheel drive (only without traction control and ABS brakes) is more what you’d expect—since you don’t have control over your front wheels, you need to decelerate by taking your foot off the gas, not stepping on the brake, and steer into an open lane like you would with front-wheel drive.

Remember, don’t use cruise control in the rain! You need to be able to decelerate at will without braking!

The Dangers of Drunk Driving: Staying Responsible Behind the Wheel

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up soon—a great time of year to celebrate Irish heritage and have a good time. However, this is also one of the most dangerous times for drivers on the road, as drunk driving accidents tend to skyrocket around the holiday. The dangers of drunk driving can be serious.

dangers of drunk drivingThe CDC says that nearly 30 people die per day in the US as the result of an impaired driver operating a motor vehicle. In fact, this is one of the most common causes of death for people under 40, and is also especially dangerous for motorcyclists. In recent years, an average of 1.3 million drivers are arrested annually for driving under the influence. Don’t let it be you.

How can you avoid driving while impaired? The safest thing to do is avoid driving if you have had any drinks. Calling a cab is easier than ever thanks to apps like Uber, making it easy to find a ride home no matter what. Ignition interlocks are also available regardless of whether or not you’ve been arrested for a DUI. This device forces you to blow a safe blood alcohol concentration (usually around 0.02% to 0.04%) before it will start.

Know how alcohol affects you. Beer usually contains around 3.5% to 6% alcohol, wines have anywhere from 10% to 20%, and distilled liquors tend to have 45% to 80%. However, fortified alcohols can have increase these numbers, and some distilled beverages have as much as 95% alcohol (making them illegal in some states). Rate of consumption is just as important as alcohol concentration – know your limits.

These are just some of the basics when it comes to ways to avoid drunk driving. Try preparing for these situations by having a designated driver, taking keys from friends who are impaired, and offer alcohol-free beverages if you host a party.

Parking Lot Safety Tips

Whether you’re heading to the grocery store or the mall, odds are you’re utilizing the parking lot. Once you’re off the road, it’s easy to lose focus as you scan the rows for a parking spot. Other drivers do the same and the result can cost you both time and money. Even worse, you could make it in and out of the store only to find your car broken into. Don’t be a victim! Take these parking lot safety tips from us here at Wantagh Mazda!

  • Cargo Cover – If you have a lot of bags, it’s easy to drop them off at your car before heading back into the store. However, if you leave your purchases in plain sight, they become an easy target for thieves. Pulling out the cargo cover is an easy way to conceal your purchases and reduce your risk.
  • Parking Lot SafetyBack In – Pulling into a parking space is much faster than backing in, but your view is limited when leaving. Reversing is much harder than pulling straight out of a parking spot. When you first arrive, take the time to back into a spot.
  • Park Away – The closer your vehicle is to the store, the more people that will walk by it. As a result, your odds of becoming a victim of theft increase. Parking further away may mean more walking but it could save your possessions. Make sure the area is well lit for your own safety!

How The Difference Between Winter Tires and Regular Tires Can Keep You in Control

Now that the winter weather is starting to hit the area, it’s important to consider any changes you will make to your vehicle. One huge difference you can make it is to switch our your current tires for winter tires, also known as snow tires.

The difference between winter tires and regular tires is simple: While standard, all-season tires are decently equipped to function throughout the year, winter tires are made especially for snowy, icy conditions.

Winter Tires and Regular TiresThe tread on winter tires is specially designed to create maximum friction and grip on snow and ice with more, detailed siping – making it less likely that you will lose control of your vehicle.

Winter tires are also formulated with a different kind of rubber that remains more flexible at lower temperatures, and, the particular tread patterns within the rubber make it more difficult for snow to build up.

And when the highway is coated in a slick layer of ice – additional grip, flexibility, and lack of build-up can absolutely mean the difference between a car collision and smooth sailing.

For more winter weather driving tips, visit us anytime at Wantagh Mazda.

Winter Weather Driving Tips

The bone chilling winter weather is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to brush up on your winter weather driving. Driving in snow-covered or icy roads is unlike driving on any other terrain. Whether you’re a long-time veteran of the roads or a new kid on the block, we here at Wantagh Mazda have some winter weather driving tips to keep you out of harm’s way.

Winter Weather Driving Tips

  1. Keep Your Distance. When driving on unplowed or snow-covered roads, it’s best to keep at least seven car lengths from the car in front of you. Road conditions are ever-changing in winter, and you don’t know how other drivers will react to a given situation. Give yourself plenty of time to brake by keeping your distance.
  2. Brake Early. If you’re keeping your distance, braking early shouldn’t cause any problems. If you’re tailgating, you could be in for some trouble. By braking early, you allow yourself and, more importantly, your car more time to come to a stop. Roads tend to be slick in winter so braking early is necessary to avoid an accident.
  3. Keep Emergency Supplies. You never know when you’ll end up on the side of the road waiting for help. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep emergency supplies, like extra clothes, blankets, a flashlight and batteries, and jumper cables handy.