Always be prepared

Jan. 12, 2018, 1:36 p.m. | By Madeleine Tilley | 4 years, 5 months ago

What to know as a student driver in order to drive safely

It's impossible to tell when your car will break down far away from the nearest tow truck or town, so it's better just to be prepared.
In an increasingly mobile society, almost everyone has a car or knows how to drive. With an increase in cars, however, comes an increase in accidents; whether its a multiple car crash or is just a single car malfunction, being stranded on the road is dangerous.

Prepare for any weather
Some good things to keep in your car that aren't normally included in case anything happens are:
A rain jacket or umbrella
A blanket
Flashlight with working batteries
First aid kit

Accidents can happen any time of the year, with any weather. In case it is raining or hailing, it is wise to have a rain jacket or umbrella in your car to keep you dry if you are required to get out of the car for long periods of time. Certain things, like a blanket and gloves, are not entirely necessary if it is not winter, but in early spring and late fall, the temperature can drop drastically after the sun goes down so it's better to always have these items in your trunk.

In case you are required to wait on the side of the road and it is dark outside, it is also wise to keep a flashlight with working batteries in your car. While most phones have a flashlight feature, it is better to use a real flashlight to keep your phone charged if you need to call stay in contact with someone.

How to change a tire
An important skill to have as a driver is being able to change a tire. In most cases, you would be able to look it up on your phone, but there is always the off chance it isn't charged, is out of service, or you forgot it at home. Flat tires can happen everywhere, and it is better to be prepared and know how to change a tire without the help of a cell phone.

To change a tire, you will need:
Lug wrench
Fully inflated spare tire
Vehicle owner's manual
Wheel wedges

Photo: These items are essential when changing a tire, and should already come with your car. Photo courtesy of Bridgestone Tires.

Most of these items should come with your car, but you may need to purchase your own wheel wedges to ensure that your car won't roll anywhere as you change the tire.

How to change your tire:
1. Find a safe location
2. Do not brake or turn abruptly. Drive slowly but cautiously and try to find a straight, level stretch of road with a wide shoulder, or a parking lot.
3. Turn on your hazards
4. Apply the parking brake
5. Place wheel wedges next to tires
6. If you're changing a rear tire, place the wedges in front of the front tires. If you're changing a front tire, place the wedges behind the rear tires.
7. Remove the hubcap or wheel cover
8. Some cars do not have wheel covers, but for those that do, owners should look in their owner's manual for instructions on how to remove their specific wheel cover.
9. Using the lug wrench, loosen, but do not remove, all of the lug nuts
10. This will require a lot of force; use your foot or all of your body weight if necessary
11. Raise the vehicle with the jack
12. Place the jack under the vehicle, and follow the owner's manual for instructions on where to place the jack. Once the jack is properly positioned, raise the vehicle about six inches off the ground.
13. Unscrew the lug nuts completely
14. Remove the flat tire
15. Grip the tire by its treads and firmly but gently until it's completely free from the vehicle. Place it on its side so it can't roll away.
Mount the spare tire
16. Push gently until the lug bolts show through the rim
17. Tighten the lug nuts by hand
18. Lower the vehicle and tighten the lug nuts again
19. The spare tire should only be resting on the ground but the full weight of the vehicle should not be on the tire. Tighten the lug nuts with the wrench as much as you can— use your full body weight.
20. Lower the vehicle completely and replace the hubcap
21. Stow all the equipment and the flat tire
22. Check the pressure in the spare tire - If you have a portable tire pressure gauge with you, follow your car's owner's manual instructions on how to check tire pressure. If you don't have a pressure gauge, try to find the nearest gas station to check your tire pressure.
23. Take your flat tire to a technician - Spare tires are not made to drive long distances or at high speeds, so take your car to a professional to either get the tire fixed or a completely new tire.

It is important to know how to change your own tire and to keep emergency supplies in your car in case of any incidents. Accidents and incidents can happen at any time to anyone, so it's best to always be prepared. Have fun and drive safe!

Tags: cars prepare

Madeleine Tilley. Hi, I'm Maddy. I enjoy rowing for the Blair Crew team and spending time with my dogs. More »

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