Ask any driver what they think of bicyclists, and you may get some not-so-nice answers. To many motorists, anyone peddling on the roads is more of a distraction and a nuisance than anything else. No matter what you think of cyclists, however, you still have to have the road with them, which means you need to know how to stay safe.
By keeping these three tips in mind, you should be able to expertly navigate the roads while still allowing cyclists their fair share of space.
1. Keep your line of vision open
Watching out for cyclists isn't the same as observing other cars. They can move faster in traffic, be temporarily hidden by other cars or follow their own rules of the road. As such, you have to be able to survey your entire surroundings to watch out for bicyclists. Check your mirrors constantly and make sure to look for these travelers behind other obstacles. You should also clean your windows, upgrade your wipers and fix your windshield if a quality boost is needed.
2. Defer to safety
Whenever you're in doubt about what to do, defer to the safest possible option. Slow down when you approach cyclists and leave a cushion of at least three feet when passing them. Always assume bicycles will be following their own rules – that way, you won't make a hasty decisions that leads to a bad collision.
3. Know how they operate
Rules regarding bicyclists are different in each region. For example, in New York City, peddlers are always supposed to be limited to the separate bike path in between the sidewalk and the roadway. There are also variances by state, as some allow bicycles to go through stop signs or even red lights if the traffic is clear, even though normal drivers have to stay put. Learn what the rules are for your area so you know what to expect from these individuals.
Are you looking to upgrade from a bicycle to a car? Look no further than New Jersey State Auto Auction. Our lot has hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans on the site, and you can browse through them all until you find the perfect fit. Need even more help? Then turn to our in-house finance department, who are available to navigate all of your loan and credit options.
Are you interested in buying a used car? Then you might be in luck. The economic landscape is currently very hospitable to prospective drivers, with low sticker prices, falling fuel costs and other financing options offering plenty of opportunities for savvy shoppers.
Used car prices
The Wall Street Journal reported that used car prices have fallen for four straight months. That included August, and with plenty of September sales and end-of-summer specials taking place, the trend likely continued throughout the month.
While the cost of these pre-owned vehicles is dropping, it's important to note that it is coming down from historic highs. So although the price of a used car might be less than what it was in the spring, it is likely still more expensive than in past years. Of course, this all depends on what makes, models and model years you're looking at, so there is sure to be plenty of ways to find great value.
Ownership costs remains manageable
Buying a used car is just the beginning. Drivers who find themselves behind the wheel also have to be ready to make monthly insurance payments, pay off loans and invest in any necessary maintenance. All of this can add up quickly, which is why you need to be smart about your investment.
For example, finding a used car with great fuel economy could save you money in the long run. According to a report from AAA, the national average for a gallon of gas consistently dropped throughout September, and as of Sept. 22 it sat at $3.34 per gallon. This figure continues to fall due to a decrease in demand, as many summer travelers are settling close to home for autumn, and the seasonal switch to less expensive winter oil. All of that may seem like just a lucky break, but it can actually mean major savings for people who get plenty of miles to the gallon.
If you're ready to buy a used car, consider turning to New Jersey State Auto Auction for help. This auction lot is packed with hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans – one of which could be perfect for your next ride. It also has an in-house financing team ready and willing to help you wade through the numbers and determine which buying option is right for you.
Drivers should know that they need to know how to handle themselves on the road at all times, but it becomes even more important when they are surrounded by large trucks. To convey just how essential this knowledge is, the American Trucking Association's professional drivers are participating in AAA Mid-Atlantic's IDrive program. The main aim of the initiative is to teach motorists about the importance of safety on the roads, particularly when driving alongside trucks or tractor-trailers.
"Safety is the trucking industry's most important value," said ATA president and CEO Bill Graves. "We're always happy for events like IDrive which allow our professionals to reach out to the public – particularly young drivers – and convey that important safety message."
Everyone who gets behind the wheel should keep these key tips in mind for driving among large trucks.
Give them room
One of the most important things drivers need to do is leave enough space for bigger vehicles. Trucks and trailers are heavier than traditional cars and therefore require more time and space to stop. It also takes them longer to accelerate. To ensure that these vehicles have the room they need to maneuver on the roads, leave a safety cushion of space. You should also avoid cutting in front of trucks or making sudden stops when around them.
Know their blind spots
Because trucks take up so much space, they have larger and different blind spots than typical vehicles. Keep in mind that if you can't see a driver or mirrors, then the driver probably doesn't see you either. By leaving plenty of space around trucks and using appropriate driving signals, you can guarantee that you're communicating with them effectively and providing them time to react.
Focus at all times
There's no excuse for being distracted behind the wheel. A smart driver knows how to block out unnecessary noise to focus on the road ahead, but unfortunately, it's not always that easy. To eliminate some of the distractions, turn off or silence cellphones and other electronic devices. It also helps to square away some details before you start driving. Fix your mirrors, adjust the seat and choose a radio station prior to pulling out onto the road, which ensures you'll have fewer distractions when it matters.
Ultimately, the best thing drivers can do is make sure that their car is safe enough to drive. Keep up with necessary maintenance by scheduling appointments at a local garage, such as the Total Car Care Center at New Jersey State Auto. That facility caters to the public and can help keep a vehicle running at a high level.
Teen drivers make up a significant portion of people on the roads, especially now that school is back in session and they have to shuttle themselves to school and extracurricular activities. Before these young drivers can feel totally comfortable behind the wheel, however, they have to get used to the rules of the road – an effort that can be helped by formal courses such as driver's education.
In New Jersey, teenagers must complete these classes before obtaining their license. While the process may be a pain for some, it also comes with a slew of benefits that will definitely help drivers in the long run.
Driver's education helps teens
According to a recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teens that do not take part in driver's education are more likely to be involved in car accidents. They also accrue more traffic violations than their peers – and the margin is not small. AAA found that completing driver's education decreased the number of convictions by as much as 40 percent.
"This research confirms what conventional wisdom tells us – driver education makes a difference," said Dr. William Van Tassel, the manager of driver training programs for AAA. "Despite recent declines in participation, the overwhelming majority of Americans believe new drivers should take part in this critical step of the learning-to-drive process."
Learning to drive in Jersey
Luckily for all motorists, New Jersey is one of the states that requires teenagers to complete a driver's ed course. As part of this, a driver must rack up six hours of behind-the-wheel practice with a licensed instructor. Additionally, they must pass a knowledge test and a vision exam. Of course, they also have to present some sort of proof of enrollment for a driver's training course in the state.
Is your teen ready to drive? You'll want him or her to have a vehicle that is dependable on the roads and equipped with top-notch safety features. It may sound like a tall order, but you could find just what you're looking for at New Jersey State Auto Auction. The lot has hundreds of Carfax-certified vehicles for you to consider, plus an in-house finance team that will help you figure out how to afford another ride.
Recent initiatives have placed the spotlight on the importance of buckling up before hitting the road. Before children can learn the importance of buckling their seat belt every time they get in a car, they have to be firmly secured in a car seat. Kids don't have the power to place themselves in these protective devices, so it's up to you to put in the leg work.
As you make the final decision on which car or booster seat to buy, you should keep a few key points in mind. Here are three of the most important:
1. You need to do some research
Choosing the right seat involves a lot of background research. Look into the history of possible car seats to find one that has a clean bill of health – no recalls, no involvement with accidents or crashes, and recent upgrades if applicable. This is easy with resources form the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which recently released a Car Seat Finder Tool that allows users to search for just the right product.
"The first step for a parent is finding the right seat and our new Car Seat Finder Tool helps sort through the numerous options in car seats to ensure they're making the best choices for their child passengers," said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman.
2. Use a professional
There are instances when you'll need the help of a professional for your vehicle, and dealing with a car seat is no different. If it's been a few years since yours was used and you want to get it checked, head to an inspection station. There, a technician can examine the seat for any defects and show you how to correctly use it.
Experts can also help you keep the car running smoothly. Schedule regular appointments at a garage like the Total Car Care Center at New Jersey State Auto Auction to stay ahead of the curve with regard to your vehicle's maintenance.
3. Stick to the guidelines
A car seat will only be as effective as you make it. To ensure you're creating the safest environment possible, follow all of the directions included with the device. This includes the installation of the seat, use of the harness and the angle it's set at. Those aren't the only rules you need to remember, either. Too many parents move kids from car or booster seats before they're ready. Wait until children are of the proper height and weight before taking the devices out of the car.
Fall can be a wonderful time of year. Whether you're a fan of football games or pumpkin spice everything, the season is packed with plenty of fun and excitement – but this doesn't often extend to your car. However, if you're ignoring your ride in favor of apple picking and tailgating, you could be setting yourself up for disaster, as taking care of vehicle maintenance is essential during the fall.
"Getting your vehicle ready for winter while temperatures are still mild is a proactive approach to preventive maintenance that helps ensure safety, reliability and fewer unexpected repairs when severe winter weather strikes," said Rich White, the executive director of the Car Care Council.
The organization recommended giving your tires some attention before the temperature drops. Here are a few things you can do to prepare for the chillier weather:
Keep an eye on tread
Autumn weather may seem perfect, but you still need to prepare for some extreme conditions. Heavy rains lead to slick roadways, while piles of falling leaves can also cover a surface and make it difficult for tires to get a good grip. To battle against this, you'll want tires with a thick, deep tread. This allows the tire to funnel water away from the vehicle. It also decreases the chance that a stray object or debris in the road will puncture the equipment, causing a blowout and potential loss of control.
You already know that speeding leads to some major problems. If the roads are slick, it could even put you in some dangerous situations. To stay safe – and protect your tires – you must remember to slow down. It's going to take you much longer to come to a complete stop. In fact, wet surfaces could quadruple the amount of time and space normally needed to brake. By reducing speed, you're not only being safer, but you're also reducing the stress on your tires and other gears.
Invest in maintenance
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is ensure that all aspects of your car are functioning properly. Luckily, the team of experts at NJ State Auto's Total Car Care Center can help. This garage caters to the public and can address any issues you may have, getting your vehicle ready for fall and winter weather.
Having extensive car repairs done to your ride can be a pain, even if you find a great garage to take care of your needs. For example, while New Jersey State Auto Auction offers the Total Car Care Center for the public, it would be much easier to simply organize regular appointments with the crew there rather than rushing in with extensive damage.
To avoid costly damage to your vehicle, dedicate yourself to maintaining the car throughout your time as owner. By paying attention to these three areas, at the very minimum, you can decrease the odds that you have to empty your wallet to fix a problem later on.
Fixing windshield cracks
There may come a time when a small pebble or stray object gets flung at your windshield, causing a tiny crack. At first, this may seem more like an inconvenience than anything, especially if the mark is outside of your normal field of vision. However, a seemingly miniscule scratch could quickly expand, obstructing your view and branching off into more cracks. Instead of letting it spread and having to replace the entire windshield, get it patched up for much less.
Your tires require a lot of care. It's not just about checking the tread and air pressure, or replacing them as necessary. You also need to be regularly rotating and aligning them. Proper rotation ensures that all tires are wearing at an even pace, which in turn avoids poor driving performance. For example, you could find that the car begins to drag or pull to one side while on the road, which could be a sign of poor alignment or uneven wear. Although this could be a simply annoyance in the beginning, it could lead to more problems or expensive repairs down the line.
Replacing the oxygen sensor
According to a report from CarMD, the No. 1 reason a car's check engine light turns on is due to a problem with the oxygen sensor. It could be an easy fix, but if left unattended, it may lead to a 40 percent drop in fuel efficiency – adding even more money to the cost of repairs and gas. To prevent this money pit from opening, take your car into a shop soon after the alert comes up and spring for a sensor replacement if necessary.
There's an unfortunate stereotype that people from New York and New Jersey have a bit of an attitude. While we won't stipulate about any kernel of truth behind these rumors, one organization decided to see if the dramatic edge extended to the roads.
Drivers see road rage all the time
Plymouth Rock Assurance recently conducted a study that examined instances of road rage in New Jersey. According to the data, a whopping 99 percent of drivers throughout the state have witnessed at least one incidence of road rage. In most cases, the anger manifested itself in the form of honking horns, but swearing, making obscene gestures and flashing headlights were also common, with more than half of respondents reporting that they had seen these behaviors.
Only 11 percent of people had ever seen drivers physically engage with each other, while about 35 percent stated they had witnessed some kind of "uncontrollable anger." However, a large number of motorists said they saw other types of behavior that may ignite an angry reaction. For example, about 96 percent said they saw people disobeying posted speed limits on highways, 89 percent reported drivers changing lanes without using signals and 59 percent saw others use insulting gestures, according to the study.
"Considering the legal and potentially fatal consequences of aggressive driving behavior, the frequency and types of actions reported in our latest study are unsettling," said Gerry Wilson, CEO of Plymouth Rock Management Company of New Jersey. "We also found that nearly half of New Jersey drivers are concerned about their safety on our roads – we want those drivers to know that they are not alone and that there are ways to deter and avoid road rage."
How to avoid an anger strike
Just because anger is so prevalent on the roads doesn't mean you have to fall victim to it. Plymouth Rock Assurance recommended avoiding eye contact with other drivers on the roads and breathing deeply to stay calm, even in stressful situations.
You can also avoid infuriating scenarios by making sure your car can handle any and all circumstances. Getting headlights and taillights fixed, checking turn signals and ensuring that the vehicle can reach highway speed are all important tasks, and they also have an added bonus of helping other drivers as well. Schedule an appointment at NJ State Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center is you notice that some area of your car needs a little attention.
No one wants to think that they'll be involved in an auto accident. But while it may seem like an unlikely scenario, in reality there are a number of factors that could cause you to collide with something or someone. Regardless of who or what is at fault, there is a certain protocol you should follow in the event of an accident.
Don't say a word
You've likely heard the phrase "You have the right to remain silent" hundreds of times in movies and on television. While you may not be getting arrested after an accident, it's a good idea to keep the mantra in mind anyway. Blaming someone right away – or worse, admitting your own fault – could come up again should the situation go to court. Rather than say something you regret, don't comment on the accident at all. Check in and verify that any other parties are physically OK, and then move on and mind your own business.
Document the scene
Once you've checked that all involved parties are physically fine, it's time to do the same to your vehicle. Even if you don't see any obvious damage, be sure to document everything with pictures and possibly video. Smartphones are a huge help in this regard, as it's easy to snap a few photos and save them in case the images are needed later on. You should also take pictures of any bodily harm. The smallest scrapes or bruises could wind up being important, so be thorough in your investigation. Don't limit the photos to just your vehicle either – snap a few of any other involved cars, just in case.
Taking pictures is part of the process of collecting information, but there is definitely more to it. You must exchange details including names, phone numbers, addresses and insurance information. Any police officers or claims workers called to a scene will get the 411, but keeping it for your own records is a good idea – as well as a solid backup plan in the event something goes wrong.
The damage from accidents can range from innocent fender benders to a completely ruined vehicle. Whatever the end result, know that you can turn to the team at New Jersey State Auto Auction. The lot here has hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans, and one of these vehicles could be right for your next purchase. We even have an in-house finance department, which is ready and able to help you pay for the investment.
The dog days of summer may be in your rearview mirror, but the threat of major storms and natural disasters is just beginning. Hurricanes can strike New York and New Jersey area throughout September and October, and the arrival of the fall season means that other rainstorms and even blizzards are on the horizon.
Mother Nature may have a mind of her own, but you can still come up with a few ideas to try to thwart her. If you don't have a personal weather machine handy, however, you may have to settle for taking action to prepare for the worst.
Prepare for natural disasters
The Car Care Council cited a few areas that drivers should make sure are up-to-snuff before nasty weather hits. Near the top of the list are tire tread and pressure, as they are needed to grip slick or icy roadways. Similarly, motorists should have their brakes serviced. You never know what a storm will throw at you – literally or figuratively – but having the brakes checked out can ensure you're ready to stop at a moment's notice.
"Emergencies and natural disasters come in a variety of forms, and you don't always have time to prepare," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "It is important and gives you peace of mind to know that your vehicle is always ready for the task."
Have an emergency kit
You might not be able to control the weather, but you can control how you react to problems. Your response starts with having an emergency kit ready to go in your car. The most basic pack should have a flashlight, jumper cables, an area map and a first-aid kit. More prepared individual will also have blankets, nonperishable foods and bottled water, along with road flares, which can alert others in the area as to your immediate needs.
Kits may come in handy in the event of an emergency, but there are other things you can do to make sure your ride is ready for anything. The team at NJ Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center can help. These professionals are able to address any problems you may have with your vehicle, ensuring that every aspect of your ride is doing its job. If all else fails, you can search through the hundreds of options on the lot to find a used car that fits your needs.