Monday, July 31, 2017

Staying Safe with a Soft Top Convertible

Owning a convertible soft top is a true pleasure that brings constant joy and relaxation. There’s no better way to enjoy the open road than to pack a bag, drop-the-top and go! But, don’t forget to take all the necessary steps to keep yourself and your convertible safe to ensure your experiences always end the same way they began – in one piece. We’ve put together a list of some of the most important steps you should take to stay safe.

Keep Belongings Locked Away & Out of Site

Soft-top convertibles are extremely versatile, but not impenetrable. If the local knife enthusiast walks by and sees something they want on your passenger seat or dashboard, they can find their way in. You’ll want to keep anything of value in the trunk of your convertible; this includes electronics, clothing, jewelry and even paperwork or documents. Even if you know that bag or purse has nothing in it, the few seconds it takes to toss it in the trunk is worth avoiding a possible broken window or slashed top. Your best bet is to buy a portable safe that can be mounted in the trunk or under a seat. This ensures that, even if a suburban samurai gets through your soft top, your valuables will be safe from theft.

Take Advantage of Increased Visibility

With your convertible soft top down, your visibility is greatly improved. You’re also more exposed to the elements than non-convertible drivers are. While you’re enjoying the wind in your hair, remember to take advantage of the increased visibility. There are no b-pillars or rooftops to restrict your view of the traffic around you, so use that open space to stay hyper-aware of your surroundings. It will make for a safer drive for everyone.

Be Prepared for Increased Noise

With the top down, you’ll inevitably find yourself hearing everything. Each fence post you zip by or semi that blasts by you may seem closer than it actually is. If you’re new to driving convertibles, it’s important to acclimate yourself to this new environment to ensure you do not become spooked or over-correct when you hear the inevitable loud road noises. Just stay calm, stay aware, relax and enjoy the ride.

Keep Your Soft Top in Safe Working Condition

Keeping your soft top looking great isn’t just about…keeping your soft top looking great. Small problems tend to turn into big problems when ignored and your soft top is no different. Any compromises in the convertible mechanism can damage the system’s motor, frame, or even the body of the car. Loose parts may break free at high speeds, damaging your convertible or causing havoc to drivers behind you. Take the time to clean, inspect and maintain your convertible to ensure a safe and great looking ride.

Drive Safely

As we all know, there are plenty of dangerous drivers out there; we don’t need any more. When you’re on the road, take every step to ensure that traffic flows smoothly and you and the people around you get home safely. In the end, all we are trying to do when we’re on the road is get closer to our loved ones. Be courteous to that driver who needs to switch lanes or make a left turn. Next time, it might be you.

Tell us your most important and helpful tips for convertible drivers in the comments! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Four Must-Drive Jeep Trails

It’s time to hit the trails! We’re sure you’ve already been making the most of this amazing Jeep weather (Isn’t all weather Jeep weather? Yeah, you’re right!). So, we wanted to highlight some of our all-time favorite trails to inspire our readers to venture out and enjoy a few new experiences. If you haven’t tried these trails yet, now’s the time!

Rubicon Trail - Georgetown, CA

The Rubicon Trail in north-central California is an iconic Jeep trail that dates back hundreds of years as an Indian trading route. The trail consists of over 22 miles and contains some of the most challenging and scenic terrain in the country. This course is a rite of passage for hardcore Jeep enthusiasts and is great for learning how to navigate a wide range of terrains from rocky, dry ground to powering through thick mud. The Rubicon Trail is a true treat for anyone with a Jeep.

Moab, Utah

Moab, Utah has hundreds of miles of Jeep trails for adventurers of every experience level. This incredible area is famous for its picturesque sunsets and pleasant weather, not to mention the extremely challenging terrain. Moab trails vary in difficulty to accommodate a wide range of experience levels, allowing Jeep drivers to sharpen their skills quickly. If you need to take a break to stretch your legs, Moab also boasts some of the most impressive bike trails in the nation.

Black Bear Pass - Telluride, CO

Black Bear Pass is a gorgeous 9-mile stretch outside of Telluride, Colorado. Overall, this trail is listed as difficult, but there is an almost mile-long stretch that is extremely dangerous. The trail boasts a series of dangerous switchbacks on the way down that does not allow for turning around. Therefore, once you reach the top of this trail, it is important to know your limits. While challenging your skills is an important and exciting aspect of Jeep ownership, there is no need to put yourself in a position of danger or uncertainty. Always proceed with caution.

The Coast

Visiting your favorite (or nearest) coastline is a great way to enjoy off-roading within just a few minutes or hours of your home. Sand dunes are always changing and you never truly visit the same beach twice. This makes for a truly unique experience each time you visit.

If you plan to enjoy any of these trails or new trails in your area, make sure your Jeep has all the gear you need to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. You’ll want to be equipped with the tools necessary to help you out of a jam including (at least) a wench and towline, a snorkel system if deep water will be encountered, at least one spare tire and tire repair kit, a CB radio or safe means of communicating with civilization, additional gas if necessary, a reliable compass and first-aid kit.

What are your favorite trails and gear for off-roading? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Summer Driving Hazards & How To Avoid Them

Summertime brings with it images of endless hours of fun in the sun. Some say that a little bit of summer is what the whole year is about! Whether that rings true for you, this time of year is not all fun and games. The sunniest of seasons can also be blamed for heat exhaustion, overheating and a higher crash percentage rate during hot July and August months. We’ve pulled together common driving hazards that occur during the summer and tips for avoiding them so you can stay safe all summer long!

Hazard 1: Car Breakdowns
If you’re planning a road trip in the next couple of months, avoid a possible breakdown by conducting thorough maintenance on your vehicle, such as an in-depth tire and fluid-level check. 

When it comes to tires, be sure to maintain appropriate tire pressure and thread height. You can easily check your tires’ wear when they’re cold. Inspect for serious wear by placing a single penny into the thread of your tire with President Lincoln’s head upside down. If you’re able to see the top of his head, then it’s time for new tires! If your tires still have some life to them but you notice some uneven thread, it’s time to have them rotated. Also, by keeping tire pressure at your manufacturer’s recommended level, it can actually increase your fuel efficiency—by as much as one mile per gallon of gas! Since tire blowouts are much more common during hot weather, pay extra attention to all of your tires during the summer.

If your oil needs changing, it’s a great idea to ensure your other fluids are replaced or refilled as well. Check your car’s transmission oil, brake oil, power steering fluid, windshield fluid, water and antifreeze to keep your car’s internal systems functioning properly.

If you are driving for an extended period, pack a road trip essentials kit that includes a spare tire, jumper cables, tools, a first aid kit, water, extra bottles of antifreeze and a flashlight. It’s best to be over prepared!

Hazard 2: Road Glare & Road Slickness
The sun has a way of playing tricks on your eyes. You’re able to manage glare by keeping a pair of polarized sunglasses on hand to minimize sun haze.

Roads can also become extra slick when it rains. Sun showers are actually quite common and can lead to danger when rain mixes with oil on the road. Remember that it takes roughly half an hour for steady rain to wash oil off the road. Beware of these slippery roads to avoid hydroplaning.

Hazard 3: Two-Wheeled Vehicles
Nicer weather leads to more bicyclists and motorcyclists out on the road. If you’re not hyperaware, you can easily miss a two-wheeled vehicle riding alongside you. These types of drivers are much more vulnerable, so be sure to always signal before you change lanes or merge with traffic. Leave at least a three-second delay when driving behind or near a motorcycle and no less than three feet when passing a cyclist.

Hazard 4: Young Drivers
According to statistics, summer months are the deadliest months for young teenage drivers.  While adults can just as easily be distracted, teenagers do tend to be attached to their cellphones. Not only are they less-experienced drivers, they are also more easily distracted. In addition to increased cell phone use, young drivers can be distracted while eating, drinking, talking or using in-vehicle technology. Lower your risk by being more mindful. Wear your seat belt and keep calm. Saturdays and early evenings tend to have more crashes than any other time of day.

Hazard 5: Children in and Around Cars
School is out for millions of children across the United States during summer. This means increased outside playtime for children on lawns, in front yards and in streets. While many vehicles nowadays have side and back cameras, children may not always be in view. Back out slowly and only when you’re certain there is no one around you. Slow down around parks or areas filled with pedestrians. Kids have a tendency to be oblivious about what’s around them and often take off running or playing without being cautious.

Heatstroke is always a heightened danger during the summer and can occur when a child is left unattended or unsupervised in a car. Even with the engine on, a car can quickly heat up in minutes, even when it seems the temperature outside isn’t so hot. It’s vital to realize that a child’s internal body temperature can rise about three times faster than an adult’s. Avoid this by taking your children with you each time—no matter how fast you think you’ll be.

With proper preparation and precaution, you can ensure a fun and safe summer next time you hit the road! Where are you going this year? In the comments below, let us know how you stay safe!

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