There's a whole new year stretching out in front of us and we want to help you to make it a great one. Many people make ambitious resolutions at the start of the year, like losing weight, eating better, hitting the gym, or spending more time with the family. Statistics show that most people fail to accomplish those goals, but we have an easier list of automotive related resolutions that could be just as beneficial in the long run. Some of these are changes to your driving habits over the course of the year, while others are simply items to put on your automotive to do list:
1 - Pay More Attention
We all think we are above average drivers, but logic would indicate that is just impossible. The truth is most of us are only average, and then only when we are paying attention. Being a better driver is easy enough though, just start paying attention more! Lock your phone in the glove box and keep both hands and your eyes on the road.
2 - Take a Class
We may not be as good as we think we are behind the wheel, but the good news is that getting better is actually fun. Taking a class in high-speed car control at a race track will help you on the road in emergency situations, but you might forget that it is educational because you are having so much fun. You may also find that there are local classes in winter driving, given on a slippery parking lot, that are as much fun as sledding when you were a kid.
3 - Use Your Turn Signals
Lately, there has been an almost evangelical call via social media for people to use their turn signals properly, and who could possibly be against that? In fact, proper turn signal usage would most likely prevent a lot of the road rage that makes people drive angry. Put your blinker on early enough to let surrounding drivers know what you are doing before you do it.
4 - Catch Up On Maintenance
We all fall behind on the regularly scheduled maintenance for our cars, and now is a great time to catch up. Check all the fluids and top them off. Check the tire pressure (which goes down naturally with temperature) and tread wear. Check your brake pads and shoes for wear. Have your battery tested (or do it yourself with a multimeter). Make sure your belts and hoses are all in good shape. Breaking down in summer is inconvenient, but getting stuck out in the cold of winter can be dangerous.
5 - Don’t Hog the Fast Lane
Also coming up a lot on social media these days, besides turn signal usage, is a call for proper lane discipline. Don’t just cruise in the fast lane at the speed limit. Move over to pass, and then move back to a travel lane. There will always be someone who wants to go faster than you, and they shouldn’t have to go around you or flash their lights. Of course, this doesn’t apply to most big city expressways where traffic is bumper to bumper in all lanes most of the time.
6 - Get Rid of The Junk
Do you still have gear in your trunk from your summer vacation? Are you hauling boxes around to donate to charity, but never seem to get around to donating them? Is the floor of your car a sea of receipts and fast food wrappers? Do yourself and your passengers a favor and clean all of that junk out of your car. Your car will smell better, you’ll enjoy driving it more, and you may even get better fuel mileage, depending on how much extra weight you were carrying.
7 - Fix Annoying Little Problems
If your car is old enough to be out of warranty, chances are it has some small problems that don’t stop you from getting around but can be a thorn in your side. Is there a light in your dash that won’t light? Is your CEL lit because of some minor issue? Squeaky hinge? Phantom rattle? Chances are it isn’t going to be as hard to fix as you thought, and like a dripping faucet, you don’t realize how much it is affecting you until it is gone.
8 - Drive a Track Day
Seriously, if you have a car that is the least bit sporty, chances are you’ll have fun with it at a track day. Whether you go to a local street legal night at a drag strip in the family minivan, a dirt rallycross in your pickup truck, or an open track day at the local road course, you will have fun. Much like taking a driving class, driving your car on a closed course as fast as you can will teach you a lot about yourself and your car while having a blast.
9 - Take a Road Trip
Remember when you were young and getting your first car and license meant the freedom to go anywhere? Rekindle that romance with a road trip! Break out of the day to day, same every day commute, and take your car out for a drive someplace just for the heck of it. Point the bumper at the horizon and just follow the road to the end, or until you get sleepy, or hungry for lunch.
10 - Don’t Drive Angry
This is another easy one, if you get rid of the little annoyances, and everyone else starts using their turn signals and left lane properly. You'll be happier if you stop taking traffic slights personally, take a deep breath and let the rage subside. Nobody wins road rage except maybe the body shop. If you have to, pull over and get out of your car for a minute until you no longer feel the urge to tailgate, honk your horn, or flash your lights, in revenge for a minor breech of motorist etiquette. But, if more people on the roads follow our first 9 suggestions, there is going to be a lot less to get enraged about.
Get out and have some fun in your car instead of treating driving like a daily chore to suffer through. Who knows how much longer us humans have behind the wheel, before the car starts driving us around and we're simply passengers.