Cruise Easy as Wireless Tech Improves Road Safety

Imagine a futuristic transportation system  with “talking” roads and cars that instantly provide real-time updates on local weather, traffic and road conditions. Equipped with up-to-the-minute information, motorists could choose safer, more direct routes helping to reduce traffic congestion, shorten trips and reduce vehicle emissions.

The future is now, says Cinterion, a Gemalto company and the global leader in wireless machine-to-machine (M2M) communication technology. The technology needed for driver-friendly intelligent transportation systems exists today, and it’s being rolled out quickly – growing by more than 30 percent according to industry analysts.

Gear Up for Winter Driving This Holiday Season

The weather outside may be frightful, but your commute doesn’t have to be — that is, if you take the proper steps to prepare your vehicle for winter weather. Be prepared with Firestone Complete Auto Care’s winter driving safety tips to help make sure you arrive home safely for the holidays.

•    Be proactive! Winter only magnifies existing problems like pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling. Make sure your vehicle is mechanically sound before the temperature dips and the streets get icy.

•    Make certain the engine is in peak condition. Also, check the cooling system. Coolant should be replaced per the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule.

Before Summer Fun, Make Sure Your Vehicle Can Handle the Heat

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – In many parts of the country, the leaves have started to fall, and parents have sent their children back to school. Before the weather takes a turn, Firestone Complete Auto Care would like to offer the following car maintenance tips to get vehicles ready for the damp, cold road ahead.
Take your vehicle for a full check up. As the fall weather rolls in, it’s important to have the following items checked by a professional: battery cables and terminals, belts and hoses, air filters, windshield wipers and all fluids, including anti-freeze, oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, automatic transmission fluid and windshield washer fluid.
Take a good look at your tires. Are there signs of uneven tread wear? That could indicate under-inflation, unbalanced tires or misaligned wheels. Remember to check your tire pressure with a gauge at least once a month and regularly inspect the tread depth. Your tread will be even more important during the autumn months when wet, dead leaves cover the roadways.
Take care of your lights and turn signals. Fall, along with less favorable weather, also means it’s time to turn the clocks back for daylight savings. With a shorter day comes a longer night, so be sure your headlights, taillights and turn signals are in proper working order and shining at the appropriate levels.
Talk to your teenager. Have a teenager in the house? Worried about all the driving they will be doing during the fall? You can’t teen-proof your neighborhood, but you can talk to your teen about safe driving before they head to school. Teens Drive Smart, a teen driver safety initiative from Bridgestone Americas, the parent company to Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, which owns and operates Firestone Complete Auto Care, has tips and resources for parents to help start a conversation with their teens about smart driving. Visit for more information.
Remember, not only can taking these small steps keep your vehicle running newer, longer, but they can also help keep you and your family safe on the road.

A Helpful Tip for Summer Road Trips

<b>A Helpful Tip for Summer Road Trips</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – When 39-year-old Tricia Martin was a young girl, summer vacation often meant a three-day drive from the northwest suburbs of Chicago to Denver. It meant sweating in a station wagon without air conditioning, feeling carsick and fighting with her younger sister. It also meant lots and lots of fast food.

“We’d wake up and have a huge breakfast, stop at McDonald’s or Burger King for lunch and dinner,” says Martin. “It was the ’70s! My parents didn’t think about calories, much less trans fat. And gas was so cheap. It probably costs me more to fill up a tank [of gas] than it cost my parents to feed us the whole trip.”

When Martin hits the road with her husband and two children this summer for their first big driving trip, fast food is decidedly not on the menu. “We eat healthy at home. Why change on a road trip? We’ll pack a ton of good food and snacks, and stop at local markets to buy groceries along the way. It should be cheaper, too.”

She is not alone. This summer, when millions of families pack up their cars in the midst of a slumping economy, many will be looking for ways to cut costs. Savings likely won’t be found at the gas pump, as analysts predict a typical summer price jump.

But paying for empty calories and saturated fat is not the only option. In lieu of the drive-thru, many families are now bringing food along for the ride. And they’re turning to products like California Innovations’ insulated coolers to keep their meals fresh. Their collapsible coolers have high-density thermal insulation that keeps food and drinks cold for an entire day of driving. And once the contents are gone, they can be collapsed and stored under a seat to save precious cargo space.

Many families pack a smaller cooler, like the Zipperless Hardbody, for snacks. With its easy-access lid, drivers can reach in and grab food or drinks without taking their eyes off the road. Both products have easy-clean, leak-proof linings so they can be wiped down and refilled for the next day of driving. Offered in a variety of styles, sizes and colors, California Innovations coolers give families a new way to eat better and cheaper on the road this summer.

When the Martin family takes off for vacation, it will be in an air-conditioned car with plenty of healthy meals and snacks. “I just don’t want my kids getting hooked on fast food,” Martin says.

For information about California Innovations coolers, visit

Weather April Showers by Properly Preparing Your Vehicle

<b>Weather April Showers by Properly Preparing Your Vehicle</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – While it may be true that April showers bring May flowers, rain also creates wet roads and low driving visibility. To better weather the spring storms, Tires Plus recommends the following:

Keep the pressure on. Now is the time to pay close attention to your tires. Regularly check your tires for proper inflation, rotation, repair and replacement. Checking tire pressure is important; both under- and over-inflation lessens a tire’s gripping action. Further, rotating your tires can help correct irregular tire wear. Enlist the help of your local automotive technician in order to select a tire made for wet-weather driving and enhanced traction.

Wipe away the problem. Take a few moments to check your windshield wipers; they don’t last forever. If the rubber feels rough or is cracked, replace the wiper blades — in most climates about every six months.

Take tread seriously. Familiarize yourself with the “penny test” as a way to check your tire tread. Insert a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tread is worn, and the tire probably needs to be replaced. Your passenger tires should have at least 2/32 inch of tread depth; anything less is hazardous on the wet roads.

Avoid potholes. Hitting a pothole can damage your tire and/or the wheel of your vehicle. The sharp impact can cause immediate tire/wheel failure or internal damage that can lead to tire failure weeks later. Keeping your tires properly inflated will help reduce pothole damage and other road hazards.

Whether you are preparing for a long-awaited spring vacation or just everyday driving, don’t forget to properly prepare your vehicle to weather any storm. Take every precaution while on the road, and when experiencing wet road conditions remember to keep in mind that stopping distances will be longer than usual. And, finally, do not forget that proper vehicle maintenance can help your car stay newer longer this spring season.

Remember Your Vehicle This Thanksgiving

<b>Remember Your Vehicle This Thanksgiving</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – We don’t always realize just how important our vehicles are to our everyday lives. Our cars get us to work, drop our kids off at school, help us transport groceries and take us on road trips. Without our cars, trucks and SUVs, many of us couldn’t complete our everyday tasks or make ends meet.

This holiday season, consider getting a vehicle inspection and tune-up. Not only can a tune-up help keep your vehicle running longer, it can help you save money.

Experts at Firestone Complete Auto Care recommend the following tips to maximize the life of your vehicle:

– Change the engine oil. Use the recommended grade of oil for your vehicle, and change it according to your vehicle owner’s manual. Prolonged driving without an oil change may cause severe engine damage.

– Check and replace the air filter regularly. Air filters keep impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only can replacing a partially clogged filter help improve gas mileage, it can help protect your engine.

– Maintain your tires. Check the tire inflation pressure and tread depth monthly, make sure your tires are properly balanced, rotate the tires according to the maintenance schedule and have the alignment checked at least once per year.

– Check your vehicle’s fluid levels. Check the transmission, brake, power steering and windshield washer fluids and coolant to make sure they’re filled to the proper levels.

– Establish a relationship with a trusted service center. Get your vehicle inspected and serviced regularly by a professional — look for the ASE logo. Keep records of all completed work, because if you ever sell your vehicle, records can help raise its market value.

Regular vehicle inspections and maintenance can go a long way toward maximizing the life of your vehicle and staying safer on the road. Treat your vehicle to a tune-up this Thanksgiving.

Don’t Get Spooked – Drive Safely This Halloween

<b>Don’t Get Spooked – Drive Safely This Halloween</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Halloween is one of the most anticipated nights of the year -; it’s also one of the most dangerous for pedestrians. As children take time to pick out the creepy costumes they’re going to wear, adults should spend some time thinking about Halloween driver safety.

Firestone Complete Auto Care gives a few tips to help drivers avoid a scare this Halloween:

– Make sure the monsters can see you. Jack-o-Lanterns aren’t the only items that should be illuminated on Halloween. Before getting behind the wheel, drivers should make sure they have optimal visibility by ensuring their vehicles’ lights are in working order, the defroster is working properly, the windshield wipers are in good condition and the windshield washer fluid is at an appropriate level. Many children wear masks and costumes that obscure their vision, so functioning lights will also help make the vehicle more visible for pedestrians.

– Don’t drive fast to escape the ghosts. On Halloween, many children run from house to house eager to yell “Trick-or-Treat” and fill their bag with candy. Slowing down will help drivers focus on their surroundings and allow them to stop more quickly if need be. Slower speeds also save fuel.

– Listen for creepy noises. Instead of listening to the radio or talking on a cell phone, a driver should listen to what’s going on around him or her. Avoiding distractions allows a driver to keep his or her eyes and ears open for the witches, royalty and superheroes who may be crossing the street.

– Get a grip. As a tire wears, its ability to grip the road in adverse conditions decreases. Stopping on wet roads can take up to four times the normal distance of stopping on dry roads. If the tread on the tires is worn, the tires may hydroplane (skim over the surface of the road with little or no traction). Drivers should check their tire inflation pressure as well as tread depth and wear at least once per month to make sure their tires are gripping the road properly this Halloween.

These driving and maintenance tips can help promote Halloween safety for years to come, so be sure to share them with friends, family and neighbors. A quick check of your vehicle can help make sure any frights are reserved for the holiday, not for the road.

Keep Road Trips Fun by Avoiding Blowouts

<b>Keep Road Trips Fun by Avoiding Blowouts</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Now is the time for road trips. But before heading out of town, it’s important to prepare your vehicle. Overlooking something as simple as a vehicle’s tire pressure can cause problems.

“Many people don’t realize that tire pressure affects steering and braking control,” said Roger Fournier, regional vice president for, part of America’s largest independent tire and wheel retailer. “A tire’s worst enemy is heat, and when warm weather sets in and seasonal driving increases, motorists need to ensure they are properly maintaining their tires to avoid blowouts.”

Under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). Each year, nearly 700 fatalities and over 30,000 injuries result from car accidents due to under-inflated tires.

Drivers also tend to overload their vehicles on road trips. Excess weight can take an unnecessary toll on fuel economy and tire wear. And when a vehicle is riding on under-inflated tires, along with heavier passenger and cargo loads, the chance of a road accident increases.

Here are five tips to keep your tires in shape for road trips:

1. Get Pressure Right. The specific inflation pressure number can be found on the vehicle placard located on the driver’s side doorpost or glove box door, fuel door or in the owner’s manual. For accurate pressure, check tires when cool. Don’t forget the spare. Custom tires and wheels may change standard air pressure requirements, so if you customize, have a pro check them out before you start your long drive.

2. Don’t Overload Vehicle. Overloading decreases fuel economy due to increased wind drag and cargo weight. Handing, control and braking are also lessened.

3. Rotate Before You Go. Regular rotation helps achieve uniform tire wear and improve road performance. Tires rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles last longer. It makes sense to get a tire inspection when you rotate. Retail stores for provide free tire inspections.

4. Straighten Up. Proper tire alignment provides safe, predictable vehicle control as well as a ride that is smooth, comfortable and free of pulling or vibration. Proper alignment helps tires wear evenly and last longer.

5. Bald Isn’t Beautiful. Without tread, tires cannot grip the road. Make sure tires do not have uneven wear, high or low areas or unusually smooth areas that can increase the risk of road accidents.

The Road to Safety: Driving Tips for Teen Drivers

<b>The Road to Safety: Driving Tips for Teen Drivers</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Receiving a driver’s license is one of the most exciting rites of passage in a teen’s life. However, it can also be an extremely nerve-racking experience for both the new driver and his or her parents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for 15-to-20-year-olds. In order to help combat this alarming statistic, here are a few tips to help your new driver stay safer on the road:

Follow the speed limit. Driving too fast and driving too slow can both be dangerous. Not only will driving the speed limit help you stay in control of your vehicle, it can also help you save fuel.

Avoid distractions. With cell phones, iPods and GPS, teens might seem like pros at multitasking, but driving is not the time for distractions. Taking your eyes off the road for just one second to send a text or change songs can make a huge difference in your response time for avoiding a collision.

Pay attention to your surroundings. Not only should you pay attention to the road directly in front of you, but make sure to check your rearview and side mirrors regularly. If you’re on a residential street, watch for children playing in the road and other pedestrians.

Speak Up! If you’re in a vehicle with a friend who is driving too fast, constantly switching lanes, tailgating or not paying attention to the road, tell him or her you’re uncomfortable. They may be trying to impress you, and a simple request will encourage them to stop driving dangerously. If they refuse, ask them to drop you off at a safe location so that you can call someone to pick you up.

Buckle Up. According to NHTSA, “Increasing seat belt use is the simplest and least expensive way to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads.” In fact, NHTSA found that more than 75,000 lives were saved between 2003 and 2007 by wearing a seat belt. Taking two seconds to buckle up is the simplest action you can take to stay safer on the road. Plus, it’s the law in many states.

Many organizations offer resources and comprehensive safe driving information for young drivers. For example, Bridgestone’s Think Before You Drive program,, offers a wealth of driver safety tips and games for young people, as well as information on free, innovative programs like Driver’s Edge (, Safety Scholars ( and Firestone Complete Auto Care’s Car Care Academies (

Tips for Fantastic Summer Road Trips

<b>Tips for Fantastic Summer Road Trips</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The summer road trip is an American tradition. Each year, families across the country pack up their belongings and brave the roads to visit relatives, explore national parks and snap family photos at popular tourist destinations. Before departing on this year’s family road trip, make sure that your vehicle is in proper working order by following a few important maintenance tips:

In order to avoid costly repairs, Firestone Complete Auto Care recommends having an ASE-Certified technician perform a complete vehicle inspection as well as an air conditioning check on your vehicle at least once per year, and before you depart for a road trip. This service will help identify any potential issues and can help save you money and frustration in the long run.

Before getting on the road this summer, it’s important to check your vehicle’s fluid levels, lights and windshield wipers. Check the engine oil, brake fluid, windshield washer and coolant levels when the engine is cold. Once your vehicle is warmed up, check the levels of your transmission fluid and power steering fluid. If any fluid is low, consult your owner’s manual for instructions on how to properly add fluids to your vehicle. In addition, make sure to check your lights and windshield wipers. Windshield wipers should be replaced at the first signs of trouble, like streaking or noisy operation, in order to provide the best visibility while on the road.

One of the most important, and most overlooked, components of vehicle safety are the tires. Make sure to check your tire pressure on all of your tires, including the spare, with a tire gauge at least once per month, when the tires are cold or have been driven less than three miles. The recommended tire inflation pressure for your vehicle can be found on the driver’s side door jamb, fuel filler lid or glove box or in the owner’s manual. In addition to checking your tire-inflation pressure, have an ASE-certified technician inspect your tread depth and tire condition regularly.

Making sure your vehicle is in tip top shape before leaving for a road trip not only will offer peace of mind, it can help you avoid an unnecessary detour to an auto repair shop.

Trisha Hessinger is a former racecar driver and nationally recognized automotive education specialist for Firestone Complete Auto Care.