Author Archive for Aaron Walker

How to Make Your Car Last Longer

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Our cars are one of the most expensive things that we own. We rely on them to get us to where we need to go and depend on them to keep us safe. Even though you can’t control ownership costs like gas, repairs and insurance rates, one thing that you can do is make your vehicle last longer. Use the tips below to make your car last longer, and help keep your ride in good condition.

Oil Change and Air Filter

One of the first things that your mom or dad taught you after getting your license was probably how to change your car’s oil and oil filter. Unlike the complex and long process of drilling for oil, which requires wire line wipers, changing your vehicles oil and oil filter should take less than a half an hour. All you need is a socket wrench, new oil filter and a quart of oil.

You know when you need to get oil changes, but do you know when you need to change your air filter? If your air filter is clogged, your engine will not be performing properly, and this will negatively affect your car’s fuel economy. To be safe, check your air filter regularly to make sure it is not clogged with debris.

Coolant

Another way to take care of your car and make it last longer is to maintain your coolant system. Make sure your car has the proper amount of coolant. By doing so regularly, you will avoid having to get your radiator repaired, which could cost you a nice chunk of change.

Under Pressure

Tires are one of the most neglected parts of the car. As a driver myself, I can say that I do not pay my tires much attention. Yet, it is very important to keep your tires at the right inflation pressure. It’s not only just a safety issue; when your tires are not inflated properly it will hurt your vehicles fuel economy.

Keep It Clean

You want to make sure that you take care of the exterior of your car. By regularly washing and waxing your vehicle, you will keep it looking good longer. This goes for the interior as well. Clean up stains and messes immediately, because the longer you wait the harder they are to remove. Use a vacuum to clean your floor mats and the carpet of your car. Consider using some car care products to help with your clean-up efforts.

Drive Safer and Smarter

If you didn’t know already, the way you drive also has an effect on your car. How you drive affects your gas mileage, and the wear and tear that your vehicle gains.  So, stop speeding up to stop signs/stop lights and slamming on your brakes. By driving smarter and safer, your vehicle and engine will last longer.

Complete Regular Checkups

One of the easiest ways to make your vehicle last longer is by taking it to get serviced regularly. Find a repair shop and mechanic that you trust, and let that repair shop service your vehicle all the time. Think of it as you going to see your doctor for your yearly checkups. When you get sick, you don’t go to different doctors each time, and your car shouldn’t either. By doing so, your mechanic will get to know your vehicle and be able to service it properly each time you bring it in.

The tips above are some of the easiest ways to keep your car running longer and safely. By checking your vehicle regularly, you will be more likely to avoid large repair costs. Think of it as a balance. You depend on your car to get you from point A to point B, and it depends on you to maintain it and keep it in good shape in order to run smoothly•

5 Unbelievable Future Vehicle Technologies to Start Believing

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Although we still don’t have flying cars or mainstream jetpacks, the present is quickly looking more like the future in the automotive world. We also don’t know exactly what the average production vehicle will include five or ten years down the line, however, there are a handful of ideas that appear to have a great chance of becoming a reality in the near future.

Whether they are for safety, entertainment or just plain cool, some new technologies can and should be on the road making our commutes, road trips and errand runs much better. Let’s take a look at the five best ones.

Communicating Vehicles

With testing currently going on, the idea of vehicles being able to communicate with each other seems both practical and awesome. Vehicle-to-Vehicle, or V2V, communication would work by way of sensors, signals and fancy algorithms being thought of at MIT. Vehicles on the road would have the ability to send information back and forth, such as speed, direction and location.

Think about how much safer the road could become. Just as better armadillo traps are now a more humane way to deal with unwanted animals without hurting or killing them, Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication has the potential to make the road more humane.

Instead of a car running a stop sign and t-boning another vehicle, V2V communication would allow those vehicles to “feel” or “see” each other and avoid one another either by alerting the drivers or by automatic braking. Rather than using horns to badger someone into moving over to give room for merging traffic, V2V communication could calm everything down by telling certain vehicles where others are and where to go.

Augmented Reality

This one really feels like the future. Augmented reality dashboards could make driving much safer by way of giving drivers information on objects outside the car. For example, augmented reality could see another car ahead and show the driver how far away it is right on the windshield for ease of seeing both the road and the information. If you are approaching that car too quickly and are about to rear-end it, the augmented reality system could show you an alert and guide you into another lane or to a safe area with arrows on the windshield.

This one doesn’t seem too far off either. BMW currently has a windshield display on certain vehicles showing basic information.

Airbags Inside and Out

We are familiar with airbags and how much they can do to prevent harm inside the car. Mercedes is now working on further injury-prevention through the way of airbags underneath vehicles. The airbags would deploy when an impact into another vehicle or object is imminent, causing the stopping power to double. The airbags would also keep the front of the vehicle from dipping from slamming on the brakes so that there would be more bumper to bumper contact.

Energy Panels

With more and more power coming from batteries, those batteries are going to need to be bigger or find other placements within a vehicle. That is why some auto manufacturers are testing body panels that can store energy. Those polymer fiber and carbon resin panels would be chargeable and would allow for more energy storage in a clever way.

Auto Pilot

One of the first things you might think about when you ponder cars in the future could be self-driving cars. Well, they may not be as far away as you thought. Google engineers are already utilizing and testing such vehicles with success. Radars, lasers and cameras will allow vehicles to understand road signs, street lights, speed limits, etc. allowing for the would-be driver to make better use of the trip. Also, with the average American spending 100 hours in traffic per year, self-driving would be both practical and awesome.

Technology is constantly evolving, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see these types of cars driving around in the near future•

What You Need to Know About Driving in Southern California

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The Los Angeles area has a terrible reputation with drivers because of the amount of traffic that is present. If you are visiting Southern California for the first time, you might be too intimidated to attempt to drive, but you should know that it is manageable if you are smart about it. Just like driving anywhere else, you can make it through Southern California’s traffic if you are aware of your surroundings and follow the rules of the road.

Be Prepared

Before leaving your hotel in the morning, prepare yourself for the absolute worst. This does not necessarily mean that traffic will be horrible for your entire stay, but leaving early and being aware that you might end up stuck in traffic can help to limit your frustration. Do not rush to get anywhere and enjoy the scenery along the way to maximize your experience in this beautiful part of the world. You can further prepare yourself by listening to a news radio station before leaving your hotel. That way, you will be aware of any road closures or accidents that might slow you down.

Plan Your Journey

It is very difficult to avoid traffic completely, but you can avoid traffic during less busy times of the day. For example, some will say that Los Angeles rush hour last between 4 AM and 8 PM, but there are breaks during the day that will allow you to travel more freely. For example, traffic tends to die down between 10 a.m. and noon, making this a good window in which to drive. Make sure that you have a GPS on board, so that you do not waste time trying to figure out which turns to make as you attempt to beat the traffic.

Choose a Lane

Your lane selection can make your trip much easier. Many of the freeways in Southern California are between six and eight lanes, so you will want to begin changing lanes well before your exit. You should also know that there are a number of exit only lanes on the right hand side of these freeways and that people drive extremely fast in the left hand lanes. Therefore, it is best to stick to the middle lanes until you need to get off the freeway, at which time you can begin moving over in your desired direction.

Be Ready to Brake

Traffic can stop at any moment, so do not get too comfortable with the speed that you are going. A traffic jam or an accident could occur miles ahead of you and the chain reaction could lead to you having to slam on your brakes at a moment’s notice. Do not tailgate the vehicle in front of you and give yourself plenty of time to stop if the flow of traffic comes to a rapid halt. This is especially true if it starts to rain, as you are much more likely to end up in a gridlock when it is wet outside.

Public Transportation

Southern California is very spread out so use of public transportation depends on your destination. You can take the subway between downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood or take the bus out to Santa Monica, which provides you with a break from the traffic and allows you to relax with your vision stardust clearomizer. If you want to visit some of the theme parks that are found in Anaheim or head to Long Beach for some seafood, public transportation is not your best option. In this situation, you are better off driving because it will save you time and money while you visit all of the region’s attractions.

What You Need to Know About Teaching Your Teen to Drive

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Young drivers have some of the highest crash rates globally, but parents can take the necessary steps to minimize these incidents. Generally speaking, this crash rate is high because teens lack the experience to get themselves out of dangerous situations while driving. They are also more likely to drive while distracted. If parents take the time to teach their teens how to drive before allowing them to drive on their own, many accidents can be prevented.

Start in the Parking Lot

Before permitting your teen to drive on the road, have them practice extensively in a parking lot. Make sure they can drive in a straight line both forwards and backwards before moving into more advanced techniques. Starting and stopping are also important skills to learn, as your teen should be able to accelerate and decelerate smoothly. The parking lot is also a great place to practice turning, as the teen should not cut corners or go too fast. Try to limit your parking lot sessions to about 20 minutes, then extend them as the teen becomes more comfortable.

Leaving the Parking Lot

Eventually, you can take your teen out of the parking lot and let them drive on the road. This is always a scary time for parents, but it is part of the driving process. To minimize the stress on you and your teen, determine the route that you will travel before you depart.

Stay away from busy parts of town. This allows your teen to slowly integrate into traffic. As they get more comfortable driving on the street in residential areas, you can begin taking them to business areas of town that have more traffic. Be careful that you do not overwhelm your teenager with this scenario and keep the route relatively short.

Bad Weather

If you live in an area with extreme weather, you might want to prevent your teen from driving in these conditions at first. Snow and ice are particularly dangerous; even experienced drivers can struggle when the road is slippery. This is another scenario where you should start in the parking lot and then slowly allow them to drive on the road. Taking your teen to the parking lot to get used to how the car handles snow gives them a good base from which to learn. It can also encourage them to be extra careful during these conditions.

Create Rules

As with anything else involving your teen’s behavior, it is important that you set boundaries. Begin by having rules that determine where your teen is allowed to drive and how late they are allowed to stay out. You might also want to restrict the number of passengers that your teen is allowed to carry.

More passengers increase the chances that your teen will become distracted while driving. Have a set list of punishments to be implemented if your teen breaks any of these rules. That way, they know what the consequences will be if they choose to ignore the guidelines that you have created.

Distracted Driving

In addition to driving with too many passengers, many teens now use their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. This is an escalating problem that causes numerous accidents every year. It does not matter if the driver is making a phone call, sending a text message or surfing the internet from behind a global VPN. Using a phone while driving is dangerous.

In fact, the FCC reported that over 400,000 vehicle-related injuries in 2010 were the direct result of driving while distracted. Also, 11 percent of all accidents involving drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 occurred, because one of the drivers was texting. By setting a good example when you drive, you can hopefully prevent your teen from exhibiting any of this dangerous behavior.

Automotive Trends for 2014

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With 2013 behind us, it is the perfect time to look ahead at what the year of 2014 has in store for the automobile industry. As modern vehicles continue to evolve every year, there are imminent changes on the horizon for companies, vehicles and even individual features. On both the large and small scales, 2014 will usher in new additions, as well as the demise of some things in the automotive world.

In With the New

Each and every year, the automotive audience waits eagerly for the newest vehicles and news. First of all, the upcoming year will see the resurgence of diesel-powered vehicles and producers beginning to focus on rolling them out. With a stronger performance than its more common counterparts, diesel engines will have drivers thinking that their vehicles could double as power systems once again.

Another major addition in 2014 will be an entire manufacturer to the forefront—Qoros. Although it is based in China, Qoros is an international producer that appears ready to break into the market with a sedan and crossover model. One more large-scale trend in 2014 will be collaboration between manufacturers. With Hyundai and Kia already set to build another plant together, we may also see joint efforts from GM and Ford, Toyota and Subaru, as well as others.

On a slightly smaller scale, the new year will see even more smart cars. It will be difficult to find a new car that doesn’t talk to you, or at you, either with actual words, like Siri reading your messages, or with noises, like that annoying beep when you get too close to an object. Even more advanced are the semi-autonomous vehicles that can perform some functions on their own, such as blind-spot detection and emergency breaking.

Out With the Old

Just as new things will be introduced on the macro and micro scale, so will some old things be on the decline. For instance, 2014 will witness the exodus of Mitsubishi as it follows the trend of manufacturers leaving the US market. Additionally, Toyota will be abandoning the Scion in the upcoming year as the manufacturer is giving dealers the option to not sell Scion products, as well as revealing that there will be no new Scion models coming in the near future. Another major trend of 2014 will be the loss of support for ethanol as fuel. Along with the rise of domestic oil production, the potential negative consequences on farming and food supply are encouraging a drop-off in the popularity of ethanol.

Some smaller trends, such as the fallout of several regular vehicle features, will also come in 2014. First of all, the CD player will begin to die out this year. Although it will be some time before we see the CD player become completely extinct, the popularity of XM radio and the ability to connect smartphones with personal music to vehicles are certainly making CD players a thing of the past. Manual hand brakes will also fade away in 2014; with the introduction and increase of the electronic emergency brake, manufacturers are beginning to leave out the old-fashioned hand brake.

Thanks to the emergence of advanced automatic gearboxes, manual transmissions will no longer be the preferred method for better fuel economy. Since carrying just one transmission option will be cheaper for manufacturers, the manual transmission will be trending downward in the upcoming year as it is supplanted by its automatic counterpart. Finally, and perhaps most disturbing, the trend of vehicles that consumers cannot work on themselves will be at large in this new year. Due to the fact that dealers and manufacturers don’t want people doing their own maintenance on vehicles, items like plastic panels are becoming more prevalent in new models to make it hard for anyone but the automakers to get to certain components, such as the engine.

 

4 Essential Steps to Storing Your Car in the Winter

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Some cars are just not meant for the rigor and abuse a harsh winter can deliver, so it’s into the garage for your baby. Whether you’re in possession of a classy BMW, an iconic ’69 Corvette Stingray, or you just don’t want to drive that Audi convertible through the salt-laden ice and snow, there are a few steps that you should take in order to stash your ride for a few months.

Winter can wreak havoc on a vehicle, even if it isn’t being driven. Just because you aren’t trampling over the dirt, grime, salt, rocks, moisture and dust doesn’t mean that your baby isn’t going to come into contact with these nasties. It is important that you keep this in mind, because there is a delivery method for winter problems: the wind.

When the wind whips up, it carries those particles, and they begin to accumulate on car surfaces. Also, critters are another concern, because your vehicle looks like a lovely home for them. There’s a good chance that you’ve experienced this before: the month of April arrives, you gleefully skip over to your pride and joy, remove the cover and find patches of rust and other cosmetic evils! How can this be?

Let’s avoid such a tragedy this year.

1. Store a Clean Car

Before your Chevy hibernates for the winter months, you need to clean her. No, we don’t simply mean just a quick scrub — we mean a thorough, total, elbow-grease-driven kind of clean.

Be sure to remove any problem areas that already show dirt, as this will attract and hold moisture like a sponge. Also, don’t allow any rust spots to persist, as these will only worsen over time, and especially over the winter. Similar to how that lovely-smelling ocean salt spray can damage your car’s paint job, the wind-blown salt from the roads will do even worse. That kind of salt is actually more damaging and will likely accelerate rust corrosion.

Next, protect your ride with a good, dirt-rust-moisture-repelling wax. If there are any exposed metallic surfaces, then be sure to hit those with a protective polish. Even WD-40 will do a fantastic job at keeping the evil grime-monster at bay.

Last, clean out the inside of your vehicle. Not only will it be nice to come back to a spic and span beautiful car, but leaving that old Twinkie rapper and bag of curly fries in the back seat could cause more than just a stench problem. It could toss up a flag that says, “Please live in me! I have food!”

2. Critter Proof

Now that we’ve gotten the hardest part out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about that other issue of winter storage: critters. Tiny rodent creatures will find just about any crack or crevice to turn into a lovely winter home. This might be convenient for them, but it could be very bad for you.

First, you will want to shove a sock in the tail pipe. This makes sure that nothing will live, or die, in there. The implications of a critter living in your tailpipe should be somewhat obvious.

Unfortunately, mice are also a major issue, but the biggest problem with them is their size. These guys can climb into just about anything. It’s said that dryer sheets and mothballs might do the trick of keeping them away. However, there really is no foolproof way of keeping them out. The key is to make it less inviting and a little bit harder to access.

3. Car Cover

This step is arguably the most important. You need to get yourself a car cover that will fit your particular vehicle and not leave any surface material exposed. The car cover will not only keep out the rain, ice and snow, but it will also make it just that much more difficult for a critter to find a home in your baby.

There are plenty of nifty custom car covers that will fit snuggly over your vehicle. The best part about them is that they give your ’72 Corvette a snazzy place to hibernate for the winter.

Unfortunately, car covers will not block out the wind, which means they won’t be able to keep all moisture out, but it is certainly better than exposing your car to the elements.

 

Defensive Driving: 5 Tips That Could Save Your Life

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Defensive driving is the process of taking precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers when you are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. This means going above and beyond the rules of the road to remain alert and one step ahead of possible dangers. Preparation and practice will lead to a style of driving that gives you the best chance of avoiding an accident or other hazards. In order to improve your driving habits, here is a list of five defensive driving precautions and tips.

1.    Eliminate Distractions

While you can’t control every distracting element that can pop up while you drive, you can certainly take precautionary steps to prevent many of them. Avoiding food in the car, keeping music volumes low and staying away from multitasking are just a few ways to eliminate distractions while driving.

This also means avoiding cell phones, one of the most dangerous distractions while on the road. This is a mistake that drivers make every day despite laws that make talking or texting while driving illegal. Save your cell phone use for when you reach your destination in order to avoid reckless driving, an expensive ticket or worse.

2.    Avoid Other Driver’s Blind Spots

Checking your blind spots is a basic and well-known driving safety tip. While this is an important precaution, there are two sides to this coin as you can make it easier on other drivers by avoiding their blind spots. No matter how careful you are, there’s no way to ensure that another driver will check their blind spot before changing lanes on the highway. Avoiding this area will ensure that your safety doesn’t depend on the awareness of another driver.

3.    Avoid Tailgating

Once in a while you might find yourself frustrated by traffic or the speed of the driver in front of you. While your first instinct is likely to tailgate behind this individual in order to save time and encourage them to speed up, this is a dangerous habit. Tailgating decreases the time and space that you have to brake if the driver in front of you comes to a stop. It also decreases your visibility of the road ahead as you are too close to another vehicle.

This tip is especially important if you notice that the driver in front of you is driving erratically. Keeping your distance from unpredictable drivers will keep you from having to suddenly brake, swerve or make other adjustments while driving.

4.    Always Yield

Although rules exist dictating which driver has the right away, other drivers often ignore these rules. Rather than assuming that another driver will respect your right of way, airing on the side of caution is the best approach. Four-way stops, intersections and situations in which another driver has a yield sign are all instances that should be approached with caution. Taking the time to see whether or not another driver plans to yield for your vehicle can be the difference between having an accident and continuing on your way.

5. Take a Defensive Driving Course

While making a conscious effort to drive defensively is certainly a good start, taking a defensive driving course is the best way to improve your driving habits and knowledge. Just as you might seek out the best web design company to create a website or the best carpenter to build your kitchen, defensive driving classes present themselves as the best option available.

Defensive driving courses are usually offered by schools and can also be found via your local Department of Motor Vehicles. They offer a mix of instruction and driving practice that will make defensive driving habits second nature. The certificate that these classes produce will also reduce your insurance fees, ensuring a safer and cheaper experience on the road.

 

Luxury Cars For The Winter

Hi there,

Hope you’re week is starting off great!

In relevance to your website, I have an article on must have luxury cars for the winter time.

These are some of the best looking cars out there. The article tells us about what car can increase your driving range or outrun the snowstorm , etc. You should check it out!

I would love to send over my article for your review. Let me know your thoughts either way.

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Cheers!
Gizelle

Hi Gizelle,

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Best Regards,

Darren

Tips for Decreasing Your Risk of Distracted Driving

Remaining attentive and staying focused are important factors in promoting driver safety. While we are well aware that becoming distracted while driving is dangerous, it is something that happens far too often. Cell phones and other devices stretch our attention while passengers and multitasking also take our focus away from the road. In order to avoid distracted driving, here is a list of helpful tips.

Avoid Cell Phones

Given the increasing number of laws preventing the use of cell phones while driving, it is no secret that cell phones are one of the leading causes of distraction in a vehicle. You’ve probably seen the commercials presenting terrible stories of accidents in which a cell phone distracted a driver. While these commercials are dramatic, they raise a valid point.

Talking on the phone or texting takes away from the amount of attention that we can allocate to the road. Instead of having all of our senses focused on the task at hand, they are skewed as we attempt to simultaneously operate our vehicle and carry on a conversation.

Rather than running the risk of getting a ticket or causing an accident it is a wise choice to avoid cell phone use in the car. While certain things may need our immediate attention and demand cell phone use, there are ways around this. For instance, if you needed to make an important call to your boss at Bortek Industries you could pull over to make the call or call before you begin driving.

The same concept goes for sending text messages and checking your phone for email and other information. If utilizing your phone is important, take care of your business before you begin driving or pull over. This is your best bet for ensuring the safety of yourself and those around you.

Avoid Other Devices

While cell phones may be one of the central culprits for distracted driving other electronic devices are also dangerous. iPods and navigation systems are examples of distracting devices that are commonly utilized in vehicles.

In order to avoid the risk of becoming distracted behind the wheel, taking precautions with these devices can be beneficial. Rather than trying to input information into your navigator while driving you can do so before beginning your trip. The same goes for iPods as you can select playlists prior to driving on the road. These preliminary steps will prevent you from needing to take your eyes off the road to select songs or to input your desired destination.

Multitasking

Aside from operating an electronic device, there are multiple other dangerous forms of multitasking when it comes to operating a vehicle. Reaching for an object, doing your make up and eating food are all examples of tasks that take your attention away from the road. Also, tasks of this nature require you to take your hands off the wheel and make it difficult to adjust to situations.

It’s pretty difficult to swerve away from debris or to when your hands are busy eating French fries or reaching for an item you dropped. Whether or not you choose to perform one of these miniscule tasks while driving can be the difference between a safe trip and having an accident. The positive aspect of this issue is that these are all things that can wait until you reach your destination. Pick up your wallet later, fix your make up in the parking lot, wait on enjoying your fast food and devote your attention to driving.

Passengers

Ensuring that your passengers don’t become a distraction is another important aspect of safe driving according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Encourage friends to be respectful of your current task and teach children that driving is a serious activity that needs your full attention.

In terms of pets, keeping them in the back seat or utilizing transportation crates are methods for preventing them from interfering with the driving process. While we all love our pets, having your dog or cat crawling around beneath your feet while you drive presents a risk that you don’t need to take.

Decreasing the number of factors that distract you while you drive involves decreasing the number of activities, objects and companions that you allow to influence you. Keeping your car free of distractions and choosing to perform other tasks before or after your drive are keys to encouraging safer driving. While the aforementioned tips only cover a small number of issues in terms of distracted driving, they serve as a solid starting point for making your car a distraction free zone.

Driving School Sydney

The blind spots are the areas that a driver does not have visibility whilst driving.
Its the spots that are missed by the rear view mirrors or side mirrors.
One of the most common errors drivers make is not checking their blind spots.
A driver should ensure that they check their blind spots and mirrors every time they
want to merge left or right. The most common blind spots are those areas that are
towards the rear of the vehicle. The cars driving in the adjacent lanes in the rear quarter
of the vehicle cannot be picked up by the drivers rear and side view mirrors, therefore it is
necessary for the driver to check their blind spot by turning their head briefly towards the side
that they want to merge to when the driver wants to change lanes, turn left or right, passing
through or before opening the door when parked next to traffic.
Always maintaining visibility of all areas when driving will ensure the drivers safety. That
includes scanning forward, checking rear and side mirrors and always checking their blind spots for
unseen vehicles.
Drive Safe NSW will incorporate in their lesson structure ways for you to be able to recognise blind spots
and administer them in your everyday driving.

The blue car’s driver sees the green car through his mirrors but cannot see the red car
without turning to check his blind spot. *Image and quote from Wikipedia
Book with this reputable driving school in Sydney to learn what you need to know to drive safely.