Category Archives: Driving Tips

Navigating Top Driving Challenges

Swerve Driving School Navigating top driving challenges

Driving school will teach student drivers a myriad of skills. There are only so many situations you can prepare for before being in the situation and having to put those skills into practice. While driving teachers try to prepare students, there are still common driving challenges that require extra experience before feeling comfortable. Here are some of the most common challenges and how you can deal with them.

Bad Weather

One of the hardest driving situations is extreme weather. Driving in bad weather is always scary because of limited visibility and intense driving conditions. Whether you are driving through a blizzard, extreme hail or rain, fog, black ice, or dust storms. These types of situations all require the same driving tactics to keep you safe.

  • Reduce your speed. When major weather conditions hit, they all come with decreased visibility. When you cannot see as well, the best thing to do is drive slower. If conditions are too scary, pull off the road in a safe place.
  • Limit distractions. The most important time to stay focused on the road is when you can’t see as well and you’re feeling tense. Turn down the radio, ask your passengers to be quiet, and make sure you are keeping your eyes on the road.
  • Keep emergency supplies in the car. Having a blanket, some snacks, and water in the car so that if you ever need to pull off during extreme weather, you can be safe. Consider keeping an extra phone charger, tools, and a spare tire in your car too.

Drive Around Large Trucks

Large trucks on the road intimidate a lot of people. Truck drivers have a harder time merging because of their size, but they have bigger blind spots on both sides, the front, and the back of the truck. The best way to navigate around trailers is to avoid lingering in those blind spots. Be mindful and watching to see if they are attempting to merge and stay out of the way. Avoid trying to race past them or cut in front of them.

Heavy Traffic

Heavy traffic is common during rush hour and construction zones. These times are terribly inconvenient and usually happen when you are in a hurry. Remembering your basics during these times are important.

  • Use your blinker. Letting others know if you are trying to switch lanes or merge is important. Always use your blinker and proceed with caution.
  • Plan ahead. Do not wait to move across four lanes to exit until ¼ of a mile away from the exit. Start moving over when you know your exit is coming up.
  • Keep your distance. Even in slow traffic, you need to leave some room between your car and the one in front of you. If you are following too close when traffic starts moving, you need to have space for fast braking, if needed.
  • Obey all signs. Always obey road signs but pay extra attention to construction zone signs. These signs are often letting you know about new traffic patterns and changes to speed limits. Driving slower and more carefully will help keep everyone safe in construction zones, but it also prevents a traffic ticket, which are more expensive in construction zones.
  • Slow down. Try to remember that everyone is frustrated and impatient in these situations. Remember to slow down and remember that speeding and being impatient will not get you anywhere faster and the circumstances are beyond your control.

Aggressive Drivers

Avoid getting aggressive on the roads. Keep a level head and obey the driving laws. Do not race around drivers, engage in racing on the road, or slamming on brakes. Most people do not do things on purpose to make other drivers angry.

If an aggressive driver is pursuing you, ignore them. If they are relentlessly bothering you and putting you and others on the road in danger, it is important to call the police. Too often a situation will escalate and can turn dangerous. It is better to stay safe and call the police than end up with a physical confrontation.

Focus on the Road

In all these situations, there are basic driving skills every driver can fall back on in driving school. Even if you forget all the information you learned in class, remember to use your training. Do your best to remain calm and control the car. If you are remembering the basics, you can trust your instincts.

Tips for Improving Gas Mileage

Tips to Improve Gas Mileage- Swerve Driving School

Part of owning and driving a car is paying for all the expenses that go along with it. There are some costs that have little variation, like a car payment or insurance. One of the most variable costs that a driver can control is the gas budget. Each vehicle has a specific gas mileage estimate that is given when it is manufactured that is influenced by other factors. If you are looking to improve the gas mileage in your car, consider making some of these changes.

  1. Accelerate Slowly. When the light turns green, are you the type of driver that slams on the gas? If yes, this will burn up a lot of gas over time. Instead, accelerate slowly to gradually use the gas and extend the life of the fuel in the car.
  2. Brake slowly. Pushing on the gas pedal and then needing to brake quickly burns up all the gas in the system without using it. Instead, do not push the gas pedal and let the vehicle slow down naturally as long as it is safe before braking.
  3. Keep tires properly inflated. Physics show that slack on the tire can slow the car down, giving it a bit of drag. When the tires are properly inflated, the surface area on the ground is optimal for driving and getting more roll. The amount of tread on the tire can also make a big difference since manufacturers try to give a good grip on the road while also allowing it to not slow down the vehicle.
  4. Use the right fuel. When manufacturers test drive vehicles and determine gas mileage, they use the most premium type of fuel for the car. If you still have the owner’s manual in the car, it should say what the recommended fuel type is for gas mileage and optimal performance.
  5. Avoid idling. One of the worst things for burning up gas is idling. Whether you are sitting in traffic not moving or just your driveway, try to limit the amount of time spent idling. This uses gas but does not contribute to miles driven, decreasing the amount of mileage you get from your tank of gas.
  6. Limit stopping and going. Choosing a route that has a lot of stop signs, intersections, tolls, or construction can mean you are stopping and starting a lot. This uses up more gas than if you were to find a route that allows you to keep driving once you are going, like a freeway. Use a little planning by looking ahead for the best routes or adjust the settings on your GPS unit.
  7. Use Cruise Control. Driving for long stretches of street can involve a lot of increasing and decreasing of speed. As mentioned before, the best way to increase mileage is to keep the car moving once it is rolling. Using the cruise control setting keeps the car moving at an optimum pace without the driver paying as much attention to speeding up and slowing down.

Being aware of small changes can help a driver pay more attention to their overall driving. Developing better driving habits helps improve driver safety and extend the life of the vehicle too. Using less gasoline is also great for the planet and the wallet. Getting better gas mileage might only save a few dollars at the pump, but over time, those savings add up to make a big difference. When a driver uses all these tips, they become a more responsible driver overall.

Staying Safe on Your Next Road Trip

Swerve Road Trip Safety

As the weather warms up, many people start planning road trips. There are so many things to do and see around the country and a road trip helps hit up a lot of things that are on the way to a final location. The best way to have a great trip is to be safe. Here are some basic safety tips to help you have a safe road trip no matter where you are going.

Prepare for Emergencies

The best way to avoid a vehicle emergency or break down is to have the car checked out before leaving. Prevention is a great place to start. There are some basic things you can check to give your vehicle the best chance to run well on the trip, including:

  • Oil and fluid levels
  • Belts, caps, hoses, and filters
  • All lights including headlights and blinkers
  • Tire pressure
  • Brakes

While preparing the basics, include other items that may be necessary on a road trip, like blankets, and everything to change a flat tire (including a spare tire). Keeping a little bit of money in cash, water bottles, and maybe even extra snacks are all good things to put in the trunk too.

Let Someone Know Your Plans

Arrange to have someone be your check-in contact. Give them a rough idea on the route you will be taking, stop you may take, and check in each night when arriving at the hotel. Service can be spotty on road trips because of long lengths of undeveloped road between cities. If something were to happen like a problem with the car or you get lost, you may not be able to call for help. Having someone who is expecting a check in call and knows your approximate location gives helpful information when looking for you.

Road trips are often known for unexpected detours and fun, random stops. Having a route mapped out doesn’t have to kill that feeling. You can still have a rough plan while adding in extra fun stops that come up. If something bad were to happen, the possible locations you could be would still be narrowed down.

Avoid Drowsy Driving

Being well rested is essential for a road trip. When the brain is tired, cognition and performance are impaired, much like being drunk. In 2017, drowsy driving claimed 795 lives. While many people will try to push through their fatigue, it is better to address it before it gets serious. Some ideas to avoid drowsy driving are:

  • Keep a caffeinated drink in the car. That way you have something if in between cities with no gas station around.
  • Talk to a passenger in the car to stay active and alert.
  • Roll down the window or blast some music. Having cold wind hit your face or music filling your ears can help provide cognitive stimulation.

If none of these strategies are working, switch drivers or pull off the road in a safe location to take a quick nap. Usually only 15 to 30 minutes is needed to get a good enough rest to get back on the road safely. This is important to keeping yourself and others on the road, even if it makes you reach your destination for the night a little bit later than planned.

Be Extra Vigilant

While roads are generally the same throughout the country, there are subtle changes to watch. Changing speed limits, different types of interchanges, and varying road hazards are all differences you may see on your trip. Not paying close enough attention to these small differences can lead to a car crash. While every driver should be paying attention to the road, it is especially important in a new and unknown area.

Small Steps Create Big Differences

Whether you are a new driver heading out on your first road trip or a road trip veteran, taking some simple steps for safety can help a lot. You can even brush up on your knowledge on our driving resources page. 

Everyone wants their road trip to be memorable because it was fun, not full of problems. While the preparations may seem like a pain, they will pay off in the end.

Drowsy Driving vs. Drunk Driving: Which is Deadlier?

drowsy driving and drunk driving blog image

Not getting enough sleep is a common problem for the average American. Being overly tired leads to all kinds of health problems, but it also leads to major problems on the roads. According to 2018 data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, not getting enough sleep makes a driver four times more likely to crash than a driver who has slept from seven or more hours the night before. 

The Drunk Driving Equivalent

Since stopping drunk driving has been a point of interest and campaign for years, most drivers are aware of the dangers associated with it. While new drivers receive instruction on the dangers, the same level of attention hasn’t been applied to drowsy driving for the public. Most will acknowledge its danger, yet up to a third of those surveyed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety admitted to driving when they were dangerously tired in the last month.

The root of the drowsy driving problem is that people are too busy to spare time in their schedules to get enough rest. Looking at phones or screens right up until bedtime, trying to get too much done during the day, and not allocating enough time to sleep all contribute to drivers feeling overly tired. When starting on a long drive, drivers get relaxed and their body is finally not moving as much, leading to the body trying to get needed sleep.

When the body is overly tired, the reaction times slow down drastically, just like in a drunk person. Getting in the driver’s seat is extra dangerous in this condition. Plus, with being tired, sometimes the eyes will close for seconds or a person can nod off without meaning too, leaving the car uncontrolled. All it takes is a few seconds of being distracted or asleep for a serious crash to happen. Most responsible drivers would agree that it isn’t worth the risk.

Signs You’re Drowsy Driving

The biggest problem with driving drowsy is the same as driving drunk; drivers think they can push through and handle the situation. Most drivers who are overly tired think they can just push through the fatigue and get to their destination safely. Signs you are too tired to drive include:

  • Struggling to keep eyes open and focused
  • Frequent yawning
  • Drifting within the lane
  • Tailgating unintentionally
  • Feeling irritable and restless
  • Zoning out and missing signs or turns

If you notice that you are exhibiting these signs, it is time to pull off the road. Don’t try to push through it. Instead, wake yourself up by:

  • Parking in a safe place and walking or running around the car
  • Stopping and getting something to eat or drink, particularly something with caffeine if needed
  • Find a safe spot to take a quick nap

Taking a 20 to 30-minute nap might delay arriving at your destination, but it is worth the pause to make sure you get there safely. Since drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, it is important to recognize your limitations. Do the responsible thing and take the necessary steps to keep everyone on the road safe.

Safer Parking: What You Probably Didn’t Know

Many drivers don’t give a second thought to parking, but it is an important part of being responsible.
While most people don’t consider it dangerous to park, there are risks to not parking correctly. The
National Safety Council shows that more than 50,000 crashes happen every year in parking lots and garages. This adds up to more than 60,000 injuries. So, what are the dangers involved in parking and what can you do to avoid them?

Common Parking Dangers

Parking lots and garages are areas where people drive slower. There are a lot of pedestrians, people pulling their vehicles out, and limited visibility. Unfortunately, it is also the time that people let their guard down because of the slower speeds. 

Some of the most common dangers include:

  • not looking for approaching drivers when pulling out of a spot
  • driving too fast
  • not watching for pedestrians
  • getting aggressive over parking spots

Another common, serious problem is being distracted. When surveyed by the National Safety Council, many drivers said they are comfortable using their phones in a parking lot. Here are the activities they said they do while driving in parking lots and garages:

  • Making phone calls (66%)
  • Programming a GPS (63%)
  • Texting (56%)
  • Using social media (52%)
  • Sending/receiving email (50%)
  • Taking pictures or watching videos (49%)

These are big distractions when not pulled into a parking spot. Distracted drivers are dangerous at any speed, in any location. Even if you are stopped and waiting in line, it is important to still pay attention to the road. Staying aware of surrounding, being mindful of other drivers and pedestrians is essential to keeping everyone safe.

How to Avoid Dangers

Knowing common problems in parking lots and garages can help each driver be more self-aware of their behaviors and habits. It is also helpful to know what other drivers are likely doing to be on guard. These safety tips are always taught in new driver training courses, but they are important to review:

  • Always look around for oncoming traffic
  • Slow down
  • Watch for pedestrians, especially for kids who are shorter and may run out between cars
  • Don’t fight over a parking spot. Parking a little farther away only takes a few extra seconds and can be good exercise.
  • Keep your phone put away until the car is in park
  • Don’t cut through parking lots or parking rows. Stay in the driving lanes.

Other good safety practices are parking in well-lit spots for added safety at night. Lock your valuables in your trunk, or at least make sure they are out of sight. Keep your car locked so it is harder to take items. Before getting in your car to leave, walk around your car. Inspect the ground for anything that may puncture your tire.

Parking safely also has a lot to do with situating a car in the stall correctly. Try to get the car in the middle so everyone in the vehicle can get in and out safely without hitting a vehicle on either side. Pull all the way into the stall (without crossing the line) so your vehicle isn’t sticking out into traffic creating a hazard or making it harder for people to see around.

As a responsible driver, it is important to always be safe. Don’t let yourself get comfortable in slow speeds or are about to park. Be committed to safe practices getting in the car until you leave it.

SWERVE Kicks Off Nationwide Expansion Plan

swerve-driving-schools-october-fd

SWERVE Driving School is known for inspiring, educating, engaging and motivating drivers to perform their best behind the wheel.

Now, SWERVE is taking its mission to the streets – specifically, to new markets nationwide. The brand recently announced an initiative to expand its footprint from Northern California to Southern Texas.

“We’re thrilled to be expanding into new states with SWERVE Driving Schools,” said Joe Giammona, CEO of SWERVE. “Each of the markets in these states have been hand selected by our team of experts as prime areas to bring our services into. Now we’re just looking for the right people to embrace business ownership and make SWERVE their own.”

Complete with thorough training, site selection support and marketing programs, the SWERVE Driving Schools’ franchise business models have been cultivated to attract individuals or teams with an ambition to succeed, strong values and solid community connections.

To learn more about SWERVE Driving Schools’ franchise opportunities, contacts us today.