The citizens of New Orleans still havent forgot the drastic consequences of Hurricane Katrina. Only 11 years after Katrina disaster, the southern coast of the United States is nervously waiting for the arrival of Matthew and Nicole, the hurricanes that already created havoc on several Caribbean islands. If you live in a zone affected by hurricanes, you basically have two options: to hunker down, or to evacuate before it arrives.
Driving in a hurricane zone is definitely not the safest option. If youre stranded on the road when the wind and rain start lashing, you should immediately stop your car and go to the nearest shelter. If you by any chance need to drive through a hurricane area, youll need to take certain precautionary measures before you start your trip. These include:
1. Paper maps
Hurricanes often cause communication failures. When this happens, you wont be able to rely on your GPS navigation, which is why you should always carry a paper map of the local area as a backup. This way, youll be able to find your way and leave the hurricane area as quickly as possible.
2. Pack a special hurricane emergency kit
A hurricane emergency kit should contain:
- A space blanket it is light and it reflects heat, which means it is perfect for warming you up if you get wet;
- Towels to wipe yourself in case you get wet;
- A rain poncho to protect you from the rain;
- A first aid kit for cleaning and bandaging wounds and scrapes;
- A flashlight hurricanes often cause power cuts, so a flashlight can be particularly useful, as well as one or few sets of extra batteries;
- A Swiss knife it can be used for untying screws, opening bottles and cans, etc.
- A radio for listening to the NOAA weather forecast and determining a hurricanes path. You can also use your car or cell phone radio receiver;
- Food and water supply if you get stranded in a traffic jam for a long time;
3 Equip your car
Your vehicle needs to be well equipped for the hurricane season. If your car breaks down on a hurricanes path, youll be stranded at a very dangerous place. Thats why you should do a complete vehicle inspection on a regular basis.
The braking system is very important during wet weather rides. You should check brakes before the hurricane season. Pull on the side and press the brake pedal. If you feel that your pedal is too taut or you hear unusual squealing or grinding noises, take your car to a local car mechanic immediately. In order to make your rides safer, you should install top-quality bandix brakes.
Since driving on wet roads requires good tires, you should always have good all-season (or winter) tires with deep and solid tread patterns. Tire treads divert road water and protect your car from hydroplaning. When treads become shallower than 1/16th of an inch, you should immediately replace your tires.
4. Drive safely
If you by any chance find yourself driving in a hurricane zone, take these precautions:
- Slow down Leave a bigger buffer zone between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. This will give you more time to react if youre being buffeted by the wind.
- Grip the steering wheel firmly Grip it with both hands, keep your left hand in 9 oclock position and your right hand at 3 oclock.
- Expect wind gusts Sudden wind gusts can take you to the other lane. These usually occur when youre entering an exposed area, crossing an exposed bridge, driving a large or tall vehicle or sharing a road with large and tall trucks.
- Watch out for blowing objects and other road hazards Hurricanes can blow large and heavy objects into your path. Tree limbs can break your windshield and downed power lines can be very dangerous, especially if theyve fallen down on a flooded roadway.
Although some of these precautions can save you from road accidents and various other injuries, you should avoid driving your car in the areas affected by hurricanes. Finding a shelter by the roadside isnt easy, but you should have in mind that even the smallest shelter is safer than your car on the open road.
Even at the best of times, driving through a city is dreary, stressful and time consuming. The endless traffic jams, a red light every 50 yards and the occasionally oblivious pedestrian can all make commuting a frustrating and negative experience.
Luckily, there are some cars that make these sorts of journeys not only a little less taxing, but even fun - and the Fiat 500 is one of them. You may even start looking forward to travelling to your 9-to-5!
Full of Personality
With some cars you can sense that they have a real personality, and none are bigger than that of the Fiat 500. What it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in pep and sass. It’s bright, upbeat and cheeky, and this attitude is often transferred to the driver through the steering wheel.
When manoeuvring around corners the Fiat 500 adds a little bit of excitement to your trip. With it being close to the ground, generating a low centre of gravity and a narrower wheel base, the 500 is extremely agile around corners. An added bonus of this shorter wheel base is the turning circle, which in the 500 is very small. This means that having to turn around, which can be something of a nightmare on city streets, has been made that much easier and more straightforward.
You Create the Style
With a wide range of trim levels, options and colours, which reaches a staggering 500,000 choices, you can add your own personal touch to the 500 and make it a home away from home. This includes the Pop, Cult, Colour Therapy, Lounge and S, each with the option of a wide range of colours and optional extras such as a chequered roof graphic.
The surprising performance that the Fiat 500 unleashes out of its modest four-cylinder engine certainly packs a sizeable punch, even to the most hard-core of petrol heads. Although the output from the 1.4 litre engine might not sound too impressive; 101 BHP, peaking at 6,500 RPMs, and 98 foot-pounds of torque, at 4,000 RPMs; the performance it achieves far exceeds the raw numbers. Around town, the 500 feels exceptionally quick. This is in part due to its lightweight body, helping the Fiat 500 reach a speed of 60mph from a standstill in a time of just over 9 seconds. This beats similar cars with a comparable size engine such as the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208 for sheer pace.
City driving doesn’t just hit you physically and mentally, it also hits your wallet. With the constant stop-start of driving in a town comes a huge hit in gas usage. The average car can see its fuel efficiency plummet by as much 60 %, and while the 500’s economy does drop, it still boasts impressive figures. Starting with a highway figure of 40 mpg, this falls only slightly in an urban environment to 31 mpg, making city driving a little more care free.
The Fiat 500 is a small car, but one that comes with a huge personality. It boasts a unique and stylish exterior retro design based on the classic sixties 500. This, coupled with its comfortable and spacious interior, makes it a pleasure to drive and be a passenger in. No longer will driving in a city be tedious or dreary, well, not if you’re behind the wheel of a Fiat 500 anyway.
In my last blog I mentioned the trials and tribulations of a drag racer in the world of commercial truck drivers. I am not an expert on laws regarding transportation. I am just a drag racer who wants to be legal and I am writing this to show a real world experience of what it is like behind the wheel of a big rig. I have a huge amount of respect for commercial drivers, but it was never my goal to be one. I am not sure why I didnt become one as I really enjoy driving cross country and seeing new things and meeting people. But nowadays, if you are a professional drag racer, and drive a rig bigger than a pickup and an open trailer, you have to become a commercial driver. The Department of Transportation (DOT) officers have taken a good, hard look at us and decided we need to become classified as professional truck drivers. They feel that we need to pay our fair share. They have suffered budget cutbacks and they have large pensions to pay, so they need new ways to bring funds into their departments. So they passed a few laws that incorporate us drag racers into their programs, and once you are in their program, you pay and pay.
Remember, I am writing this blog as a racer driving on the road. I am the guy pulling into the weigh stations because if I drive by I could get pulled over. I know a lot of guys just drive by the scales and inspection stations, and I used to also. But now I have a huge Currie Enterprises logo with pictures of race cars on the side of the trailer, and it is kind of hard to say I am not a pro driver. Now I get to interact with the DOT officers and when I get pulled in the first thing they want to see is my Commercial license (CDL) and my DOT and IFTA paperwork. Then they want to see my log book and maybe my medical card.
Last month, while driving through New Mexico, one of the DOT officers decided to put me through a safety inspection. She weighed the truck, checked all the lights, windshield wipers, lug nuts, brakes, steering and everything under the hood. She wrote me a fix-it ticket for my window washer being out of fluid. Then she gave me a lecture on my log book being too sloppy. Sure, the info was correct and filled out, but she didnt like the way I did it and insisted that I buy a ruler so I could fill it out in a more orderly manner. I asked her if it was incorrect, and she answered, No, I just dont like the way it looks. You can see that a lot of the rules depend on how that officer feels that day.
Stay tuned for my next blog as I will tell you a story that has racers shaking their heads in dis-belief. I will share just how crazy the DOT officers can get, and how the power has gone to their heads. Look out, racers; they want your money and they dont care how they get it.
Testing, 123 is this thing on?
Not happy about missing the race this weekend. Was fun last year. Driving is all about moving at a comfortable speed unless you HAVE to drive fast and then come to a halt due to unforseen circumstances.
Unforseen circumstances just suck plain and simple. So while not actually driving, I have a project car of my own. It is the best to watch the cars zooming by everyday outside ye ole merry apartment even tho there are no wheels of my own to be parked YET. My project car as of late is in the infant stages. Just a question, does anyone know anything about car batteries?