Archive

Help Decrease Traffic Jams by Using the Zipper Merge

April 9, 2017 - 12:04 pm

When you are on a highway and there is a lane closure up ahead, it is best to use all lanes until you reach the closure. Do not merge early! This adds to a traffic backup and can also lead to more accidents. Each car merge can be thought of as a separate intersection. Intersections slow things down. That’s why highways are so fast in general, there are on and off ramps but no intersections. When many cars decide to merge along different points on the same lane, this creates many mini-intersections, backing up both lanes of the highway. Instead, use all lanes and merge closer to the lane closure creating just one intersection. This method looks like a zipper, and so it is called the “zipper merge”.

Watch: MnDot Zipper Merge Video
Read more: MnDot Zipper Merge

Safe driving,
-Midway Driving School
“Training designed for nervous adults”

What is “The Blind Spot?” And How Can I Manage It?

March 25, 2014 - 7:17 pm

You’ve likely heard the term “blind spot” from other drivers, or a driving instructor. So what is it, exactly? Very simply, a blind spot is any spot on the road that isn’t visible to a driver under normal driving conditions. Usually, it refers to the spaces to the rear of either side of an automobile as its traveling forward.

So, how can we combat this potentially dangerous part of driving? Thankfully, the folks over at the CarTalk.com website created a great step-by-step procedure for helping to mitigate blind spots by adjusting your mirrors. We’ve posted the link below.

Remember though, nothing replaces looking over your shoulder quickly before merging into another lane.

Happy safe driving,
-Midway Driving School

Winter Driving Tips

- 7:14 pm

Minnesota winters are long and tough. But Minnesotans are tougher! We still maintain our daily routines of work travel, outdoor activities and socializing. We’re mobile in the winter! However, the bitter cold, heavy snowfall and rapid swings in temperature make driving especially difficult. Here are a number of helpful tips to keep in mind as you venture out onto the roads during the cold and snowy months.

Make a Car Safety Kit

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety hundreds of Minnesotans become stranded on the road during bad winter weather. It is important to be ready for an unexpected delay due to a flat tire, car trouble or impassable conditions. Make sure your car has a dedicated place to store these items: jumper cables, a fleece blanket, a bottle of water, a flashlight, windshield scraper, a length of sturdy rope, a bag of sand, a first aid kit and, if space permits, a small shovel. It can also be helpful to place a few candy bars in your glove compartment, in case you’re really stranded.

Take Your Time

Plan to give yourself extra time on the road when you’re traveling during the winter. Accidents often occur when drivers are rushing to get to their location and push their driving ability past its limits. Peace of mind is worth those extra fifteen minutes!

Don’t Follow Too Closely

This is a great rule for every time you’re behind the wheel, but it’s doubly important during the winter. Because road conditions are unpredictable, give yourself an extra buffer between you and the car in front of you. A good rule for freeway driving is “the ten second rule.” When the car in front of you passes a sign, begin counting. If you pass the same sign before you reach the number ten, you’re following too closely.

No one can guarantee an accident-free winter of driving, but following these tips can go a long way towards improving your chances of having a safe winter on the road.

Happy and safe winter driving,
-Midway Driving School

Summer Road Trip Planning

July 11, 2013 - 12:21 pm

It finally happened. Summer FINALLY showed up in Minnesota.

Summer in Minnesota means something different to everyone. For you it might mean outdoor barbeques, being eaten alive by mosquitoes, or summer road trips. Well, the bad news is you’re on your own for grilling tips and bug spray. The good news is that the good people at safecar.gov have assembled some useful Summer Driving Tips to help you make your summer road trip a success!

Here are some of the key things for you to keep in mind:

Before you go

Nothing kills a road trip quite like car trouble.

Road trips should be fun for everyone involved, but keep in mind that you’re really asking a lot out of your car. Make sure it’s ready to handle anything the trip throws at it. Tires, wiper blades, fluid levels, cooling systems, lights and air conditioners are great places to start to prevent any future car-related headaches.

If you’re not car-savvy, do yourself a favor and get your car checked out by a professional before you leave.

Safety First

If you followed the first step, your car should be happy and ready to go. Great job! Now, how about all those people inside the car? Yeah, they’re usually pretty important too.

If you’re traveling with children, make sure you’re fully aware of all the safety precautions that come along with that. For starters, small children should be in car seats, all children 13 and younger should be in the back seat, and EVERYONE, young and old, should be buckled up.

Make sure you plan your route beforehand and don’t forget to schedule frequent breaks to keep yourself happy and alert, especially when travelling with children. If you’re traveling in a group with other adults, driving in shifts is a great way to reduce the burden of navigating a long road trip on any one person.

Also, keep in mind that, being summer in Minnesota, it will more than likely be HOT. Make sure you’re prepared to deal with the heat and always be mindful of how quickly vehicles can heat up to dangerous temperatures in hot weather.

You should plan for a safe and happy trip, but be prepared for the worst case scenario. A roadside emergency kit will be worth its weight in gold should anything go wrong.

On the Road

Finally, you’re on the open road! Now that your road trip is underway, it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings.

Don’t forget to share the road. Summers, especially in Minnesota, mean more bicycles, more motorcycles, and more pedestrians. Keep everyone in mind when driving (especially those that may be harder to see).

As always, practice safe driving habits and stay alert. Don’t drive if you’re too tired. If you’re unsure, take a break. Especially when travelling with children, frequent breaks make the experience more pleasant for everyone.

In an Emergency

Well, darn. You got a flat tire. Now what?

On any trip, you’re going to want to make sure you have a cell phone with you in case a call for help is necessary.

Remember the roadside kit I mentioned earlier? I hope so. That’s going to come in handy now. Make sure to take all the safety precautions when doing any type of roadside repair. If you’re unsure whether or not you can handle a repair yourself, play it safe and call for help.

With smart planning and preparation, car troubles don’t need to derail your vacation.

Most Importantly…

While following all the rules of the road and keeping you and your party safe, don’t forget to have FUN on your trip! It is a vacation after all!

To see a more complete summer check list and get the full interactive experience, check out: http://www.safercar.gov/SummerDrivingTips.

Have safe, confident and happy summer driving!
-Midway Driving School