Automotive

5 late-summer road trip tips

8/2/2017

(BPT) - Last call for your summer road trip. Grab the family, call your friends: The Great American Road Trip still awaits. Don’t let summer fade into the sunset without a last hurrah.

According to the Auto Club, you won’t be alone: 37.5 million Americans hit the road during the Independence Day holiday this year, up 2.9 percent from 2016. And to no one’s surprise, the Auto Club says the old-school, family-type road trip and visits to national parks and theme parks remain the most popular types of vacations for families.

They say getting there is half the fun, so before you head out on a “roadie,” here are a few tips to make the trip safer and more enjoyable.

* Be flexible: It’s always wise to plan ahead, and leave a little extra time in the master schedule, especially if you’re traveling with kids. But it’s also fun to be spontaneous, so don’t plan too far ahead. Maybe you want to stop and see the world’s largest thermometer in Baker, California. Make time for the fun stuff that’s off the beaten path.

* Lost and found: There’s nothing more frustrating than being lost, especially while on vacation. Use apps like Waze and Google Maps to help you get around traffic and get to your destination.

* Must-haves: Don’t forget to bring: the cell phone charger, flashlight, batteries, bottled water/juice, first-aid kit, snacks, music and toys/games/videos for the kids.

* Clean sweep: Since your family or friends will be in your vehicle for several hours a day, be courteous and throw out the ancient Big Gulp cups, food wrappers, empty sugar packs, old gym clothes and all the junk you’ve tossed in your backseat the last few months. Besides, you’ll need to make room for all the silly souvenirs you’re going to buy along the way.

* Check, please: One thing you definitely need on a road trip is a reliable vehicle, so you’ll want to make sure yours is in excellent, road-worthy shape. Pre-check everything, from all the fluids to your tires. Especially your tires even the spare.

I can’t say enough about the importance of your tires, especially if you’re heading out on a family road trip,” says Fred Koplin, senior director of marketing and motorsports for Yokohama Tire Corporation, manufacturer of a variety of tires for passenger cars, SUVs and pick-up trucks.Tires are the only part of a vehicle that actually touches the road and they affect everything from braking and steering to comfort and handling.

Koplin says while it doesn’t matter what type of vehicle you drive, it’s super important that you have the right tires to get the best handling, ride and treadwear.

For a fun summer road adventure and daily driving, too Koplin recommends a touring tire, which combines the comfort and tread life of a passenger tire with the handling and sports-like feel of a performance tire. “The Avid Ascend is a great example of a touring tire,” says Koplin, because it offers exceptional all-season performance, remarkable treadlife and excellent fuel efficiency.”

To learn more about touring tires, Koplin says to check tire company websites like www.yokohamatire.com or your tire retailer’s website for more help.

Koplin offers more tire tips that will help you throughout the year:

* Check tire pressure at least once a month this takes about five minutes. Always use an accurate tire gauge and make sure the valve is free of debris and water. Consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual or placard on the driver’s door to determine proper tire pressure. The correct tire pressure is specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle, not the tire manufacturer. Tire pressure should be checked when the tires are cold at least four hours since the vehicle was last driven.

* Check your tread depth by placing a penny upside down into a tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tire’s tread has worn down to the legal limit and you need to buy new tires.

* Tires should be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch, the lowest legal limit. It’s best to replace them before they reach 2/32 for optimal performance, especially in bad weather.

* Rotating your tires regularly promotes even wear of the tread. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

* Check your alignment at least once a year or sooner, especially if the vehicle is pulling to one side. This will help avoid uneven wear on tire tread. Tire balance should also be monitored.

For more tire care and safety tips, visit www.yokohamatire.com/tires-101 or www.USTires.org.



5 tire safety tips for your next road trip

7/18/2017

(BPT) - Summer travel is off to a hot start, and with historically low gas prices and declining car rental rates across the country, Americans are opting for road travel to reach their summer destinations. Whether driving to a beach vacation, visiting family or exploring the back roads, drivers should consider the following tire safety checklist prior to departure to ensure safe, smooth and fun travel.

1. Tire pressure

Tire inflation has a direct impact on driver safety and performance, so it should be effectively maintained to ensure optimized driving, tire life and mileage. Tire pressure can decrease by one psi a month, and because inflation can also fluctuate with the outside temperature, it’s imperative to check tire pressure before every summer road trip. Over-inflated tires can result in excessive tread wear and can make the tires more vulnerable to road hazards such as potholes and road debris. Underinflated tires often result in decreased performance, lower fuel economy and shortened tire life. The optimum air pressure level for tires can be found on the inner side of the car door, inside the fuel cap or in the car manual. Before using an air pressure gauge to check the pressure levels, the vehicle should be inactive for at least three hours.

2. Tire tread

Vehicle traction is top of mind this summer, as 42 percent of Americans think about their tires’ tread when driving through rain, up or down hills and through hairpin turns, according to the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index. Ideal traction starts with healthy tread wear, as the deeper the groove (or tread), the better the tire grips to the road. To determine if a tire’s tread is too worn, simply take a penny and insert it heads-down into the tread of the tire. If Lincoln’s head is visible, it’s time for a new tire.

3. Wear and tear

While checking the tread, be sure to also inspect for bumps, bruises or other visible damage to the tires that could impact driving performance and tire pressure levels. A bulge or bubble on a tire’s sidewall is not easy to spot, but can indicate an air leak or tire defect, which can have a significant impact on performance and safety. If there is a defect, be sure to swap tires that match the driver’s vehicle, driving style and geographic location. Drivers who live in areas with varied weather should consider an all-season tire such as the Hankook Ventus S1 noble2. For drivers exposed to consistent warm weather conditions that can reach high-heat levels, a summer tire such as the Hankook Ventus S1 evo2 might be the best fit.

4. Tire alignment

Before embarking on a long trip, it’s smart to check the vehicle’s wheel alignment. Hankook recommends drivers check their wheel alignment during annual inspections or for every 12,000 miles driven. If wheel alignment is off, the tire life is shortened and mileage performance decreases. When properly maintained, wheel alignment helps prevent vibration, skidding, road noise and abnormal tread wear.

5. Spare tire

Drivers who end up on the side of the road with a flat tire will be thankful they checked their spare before leaving the driveway. Don’t take having a spare for granted. Thirteen percent of Americans either do not have a spare tire or are unsure if they have one, which can cause serious delays if faced with a flat. Check both the presence of the spare tire as well as its condition prior to departure. Since 60 percent of Americans are not comfortable changing a tire, it’s important to have a plan of who to call if pulled over on the side of the road. While 40 percent of drivers acknowledge their first call would be to AAA or an insurance company, it’s recommended to first notify local authorities who can help direct traffic and secure the area.

Take the travel stress out of vacation this summer by following these five tire safety tips.



Use a rack to haul your gear during a summer road trip

7/6/2017

(BPT) - Summer has arrived, and for many that means it's time for a road trip. In a survey conducted by the American Automobile Association, 80 percent of families surveyed said they are planning a road trip vacation this summer, a 10 percent increase from last year.

Those hitting the road may discover a need for additional space in the vehicle, whether it’s because the entire family is crammed into the car or because of the extra luggage and gear taking up space. A variety of accessories are available to make hauling gear easier. The Specialty Equipment Market Association, a trade organization representing businesses that manufacture automotive parts and accessories, recommends researching products based on one’s vehicle and personal needs.

Here are a few options to consider before hitting the road:

Trunk rack: If you want to take a bicycle or two along on the trip but do not have a truck to haul them, a trunk rack will do the trick. It is lightweight and mounts to the rear of a car with straps and hooks; however, this may mean trunk access is blocked until the rack is removed. Price will vary depending on its material and features, such as an anti-sway mechanism to keep the bikes from moving.

Hitch and spare-tire racks: If the vehicle has a spare tire mounted on the rear, such as a Jeep Wrangler or some SUVs, or a hitch receiver, you can use a spare-tire rack or a hitch rack. Either rack can be a simple single-bar mount that accommodates multiple bicycles or a basket to tow additional luggage. When using a hitch rack, ensure that the hitch receiver is compatible with the rack, including towing capacity, class and tongue type, among other specifications. A spare-tire rack is installed using a mounting plate, and like the hitch rack, it is easy to load.

Roof rack and cargo box: A roof rack is the most versatile option because it’s mounted on top of the vehicle — essentially out of the way — and can be adapted to transport a variety of items. However, you may need help loading the gear up top, and depending on the cargo, wind resistance may come into play. Also, while some roof racks can be attached easily, others may require some drilling. Once in place, a roof rack can accommodate a cargo box, a lockable storage unit that fully protects gear from the elements while on the road.

Truck rack: For those with a pickup, a truck rack helps increase the cargo capacity already provided by a truck by mounting above the bed, with some racks extending past the roof of the truck cabin. Installation and removal is simple, plus they are easy to load and can support a greater amount of weight.

These are but a few of the many types of racks available in the automotive aftermarket industry that can help increase the amount of cargo a vehicle can haul. Be sure to take some time to research what’s available.

Manufacturers introduce new racks and many other products annually at the SEMA Show, the leading trade-only show for businesses in the automotive industry. Consumers can connect with some of these businesses at the official SEMA Show after-party, also known as SEMA Ignited, where one-of-a-kind custom vehicle builds featuring the newest aftermarket products parade out of the convention center before making their way to the ultimate car show open to the public. For more information, visit www.semaignited.com.



3 tips to ensure you're ready to hit the road safely

6/29/2017

(BPT) - Temps are higher, the days are longer and road trips are planned.

When it comes to getting our cars ready for the road, we habitually adjust our rear-view mirror and double-check fuel levels before putting the car in gear. We sometimes change our engine oil and refill the windshield fluid. Yet we often overlook one of the most important safety features on our vehicles — the tires.

With a little preparation and the right tire maintenance know-how, major issues on the road can be largely avoided. Follow these simple tips to ensure your rubber is ready to meet the road:

1. Choose the right tires for the season.

There are many different tire categories, from ultra-high performance (UHP) tires designed to ensure performance vehicles handle flawlessly at high speeds to highway tires built to provide a smooth, comfortable ride and predictable handling.

It’s important to work with a professional tire technician to decide which tires are best suited for your vehicle and style of driving.

“Today’s tires are available in thousands of fitments providing varying performance, comfort and safety features, making it absolutely necessary to discuss your wants and needs with a knowledgeable tire sales person to ensure you’re getting the desired results,” says Matti Morri, Nokian Tyres technical customer service manager.

For example, a driver looking for balanced performance on varying surfaces — from hot and dry to cool and wet — would be happy with something like the Nokian zLine A/S UHP, designed to perform safely and precisely in variable conditions.

2. Give your tires a once-over for correct air pressure.

One of the easiest ways to extend the life of your tires is to regularly check them for correct air pressure.

Low and uneven inflation will cause a number of problems for your vehicle, including poor handling and reduced comfort, increased fuel consumption and an overall unsafe driving experience. Tire pressure should be checked once a month and always before longer trips. You should always check tire pressure before hitting the road because driving causes tires to heat up and air pressure to increase. Consult the vehicle’s manual for proper inflation pressures.

3. Check your tread depth.

Tires with inadequate tread are susceptible to poor handling, hydroplaning, reduced gas mileage and more. In fact, tires are considered legally worn out when they reach 2/32 of an inch.

“To ensure your tires will perform safely, it’s crucial to monitor for worn treads,” Morri says. “Nokian Tyres’ products are equipped with Nokian’s Driving Safety Indicator (DSI), which indicates what percentage of tread depth remains, as well as a water drop stamp that disappears when tread is reduced to the point where the risk of hydroplaning is increased.”

Pro tip: A penny and a match are both easy tools to check your tread depth. Stick a penny, facing you, upside down in the tread on multiple spots around the tire. If Lincoln’s head is completely visible, your tread is too worn and you should replace your tires. Similarly, if you stick the head of a match in your tread and the tip is not completely hidden, your tread is too worn. These are both signs of ultimate worn tread, and you may want to consider new tires before reaching this point.

Before you hit the open road, remember that minor issues can become major roadblocks in the blink of an eye — or turn of the wheel. Take a little extra time to follow these simple tire tips and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is the wind messing up your hair.



Family fun: 5 tips for going off-roading

6/14/2017

(BPT) - Summer’s here and it’s the perfect time for the family to hit the road … off-road, that is. From Connecticut to California, there are scenic off-road trails of all varieties — rock, sand, dirt, water and mud — that are ideal for a family off-road excursion. Call it an off-the-beaten-path vacation.

“Leave the electronics at home, grab some supplies, engage the 4x4 system, and see where the adventure takes you. Off-roading is not only an extremely enjoyable way to appreciate the great outdoors, it offers a chance to strengthen family bonds and make memories that will last a lifetime,” says Christian Hazel, editor of Petersen’s 4-Wheel and Off-Road.

Depending on the terrain, you can go off-roading in your daily driver — almost any four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive SUV, crossover or light truck can handle it. You’ll be out in the wilderness for several hours, so some basic tips include:

* Bring plenty of food and water.

* Pack extra clothes in case temperatures drop as the sun goes down.

* Take along a flashlight (with new batteries) and a basic safety kit with bandages, sunscreen, gloves, etc.

* Research the area/trails where you’ll be off-roading. You’ll most likely be out of cell phone/GPS range, so it’s always good to know where you’ll be driving and what the roads will be like.

* Make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape, especially the tires.

“Off- or on-road, tires are super important,” says Fred Koplin, senior director of marketing and motorsports for Yokohama Tire Corporation, manufacturer of a variety of tires for SUVs, pickup trucks and passenger cars. “They play a vital role in braking, steering, comfort and handling. Doesn’t matter if you’re in a Jeep or family wagon, the wrong tires can result in a disappointment with the handling, ride and treadwear.”

For off-roading, Koplin says you’ll need something extremely durable with great traction. “It all depends on what you drive and what you plan to do, but you can either go with a top-notch all-terrain (A/T) tire, which is very versatile, or a super strong mud-terrain (M/T) tire like our new, rugged GEOLANDAR M/T G003. Both types of tires are also designed for highway use and daily driving, too.”

Maintaining your A/T or M/T tires for daily use is essential, too, says Koplin. This includes taking five minutes a month to check your tire pressure. “A tire that’s underinflated will affect your drive and the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Keeping them properly inflated will give you a better ride and save you some at the gas pump,” he says.

The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) recommends checking the tires when they are cold — at least four hours since the vehicle was last driven. Koplin says to always use an accurate tire gauge and make sure the valve is free of debris and water. The correct tire pressure is specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle, not the tire manufacturer. The proper inflation levels can be found on a placard on the inside of the car door and/or in the owner’s manual.

Koplin offers more tire tips that will help you throughout the year:

* Check your tread depth by placing a penny upside down into a tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tire’s tread has worn down to the legal limit and you need to buy new tires.

* Tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch (the lowest legal limit). It’s best to replace them before they reach 2/32 depending on your drive (geographically and based on the type of streets).

* Rotating your tires regularly promotes even wear of the tread. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

* Check your alignment at least once a year or sooner, especially if the vehicle is pulling to one side. This will help avoid uneven wear on tire tread. Tire balance should also be monitored.

For more tire care and safety tips, visit www.yokohamatire.com/tires-101 or www.USTires.org.



Moving tips, services to make military families' moves go smoothly

6/6/2017

(BPT) - Moving is hectic for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for military families. Frequent relocations, sometimes across the country and often with short notice, can make it difficult for military families to build the kind of friends and family support teams that civilians rely on to help them move.

While military branches offer support programs and monetary allowances to help service people and their families move, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of relocating, military families can feel like they’re on their own. However, from hotels to moving companies, many moving-related businesses offer discounts and support to military families. For example, Penske Truck Rental not only offers military families a 20 percent discount on moving truck rentals, they have a dedicated call center for U.S. military moves.

If your family will be relocating this summer because of new orders, the moving experts at Penske offer some tips that can help make the move go smoothly:

* Plan ahead — Sometimes you might know in advance when and where you’ll be moving, but other times you might have short notice. Keep a folder of important information, such as phone numbers, contact names, checklists and bank accounts that will need to be moved. Having everything in one place before your orders arrive means you won’t be scrambling to locate important information at the last minute.

* Visit your Relocation Assistance Office — Military and Family Support Centers have relocation assistance offices that can help you navigate your move by connecting you with resources, helping you create a personalized moving calendar, contacting the support center at your new installation and connecting you with a sponsor there.

* Get to know your sponsor — When you move to your new installation, you’ll be assigned a sponsor who’s already working there. Generally, the military tries to pair sponsors who have something in common with the incoming personnel, such as the same rank or family background. Your sponsor can help make you feel welcome in your new location, share information about your duty station, and answer questions you and your family may have.

* Be mindful of rental truck weight — Military rules require you to certify the weight of your rental vehicle when it’s empty and after it’s fully loaded. The weight affects travel reimbursements, as do your rank and number of dependents, so it’s important to estimate the weight of your load ahead of time. Generally, you can expect 1,000 pounds per room, excluding bathrooms and storage areas. Add in the estimated weight of large appliances, garage items and things in storage, then compare that number to your allowance so you can be sure to avoid overweight costs. Penske offers a Certified Public Scale locator tool online to help movers in finding weigh stations.

* Make an inventory of your belongings — Before you load your rental truck, be sure to make an inventory of everything you’re putting on the truck. Consider taking pictures of any high-value items. Mark each box with your family name, destination, the room the items will be going to in your new home, and a general idea of what’s inside the box.

Moving is an inevitable part of military life, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. With some planning and support from resources like Military One Source’s moving pages and Penske Rental Truck’s dedicated military call center, you can make your family’s move as smooth as possible.



3 tips when buying a used car

5/25/2017

(BPT) - If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, the car-buying process can be both an exciting and daunting experience. Whether you are a first-time buyer or looking for a different model, a car is one of the largest purchases you will ever make. It’s not only important to make sure you have the right car for your lifestyle, but one that makes the most sense for your personal financial situation.

If you are one of the millions of Americans looking to buy, here are some tips to consider.

Get pre-approved

Similar to buying a house, it’s important to know what you can afford before you start hunting for your dream car. If you will be financing a vehicle, getting pre-approved for a car loan may save you a lot of heartburn during your car search.

Interest rates continue to be at historic lows, but it’s important to check in on what rates you may qualify for and how it will affect the price of what you can afford.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of looking for a new car and forget about the affordability piece,” says Renee Horne, vice president of Consumer Lending at USAA. “Before you even begin your search, give your lender a call to see what you can actually qualify for and what will fit in your budget.”

A good tip to keep in mind is to not let your car payment exceed more than 15 percent of your monthly net income. While you don’t have to stick to it, this rule will help give you a rough estimate of what you may be spending each month.

Know what you can afford

Knowing what you can afford reaches beyond your car loan payment. Although used cars are typically less expensive, they may have more maintenance and ownership costs.

“It’s important to look at the total cost of ownership,” says Heather Pollard, vice president of Auto Experience at USAA. “Everyday expenses such as gas, insurance, taxes, maintenance and future repairs are all associated with owning a vehicle.”

Knowing a rough estimate of these expenses will help you stay on budget in the long run. Simple online loan calculators, like this one at USAA, can help give you an idea of how much you can afford.

Narrow your choices

With countless choices available, finding the right car for you can be a challenge. Your budget should help narrow some of your choices, but consider your lifestyle as well.

Do you have young children or plan to start a family soon? Then you might want to consider the highest IIHS safety ratings. Do you frequently travel for work? In that case, improved gas mileage and reduced emissions are important factors. Remember, all those extra upgrades come with a higher insurance price tag and are depreciating assets once you drive off the lot.

Although you may be more inclined to go after a new car with the latest cutting-edge technology, a pre-owned vehicle may be the better alternative for your lifestyle and budget. Better still, used car prices are the lowest they have been in years. Even if you opt for a slightly older version of the model you’re interested in, many used models still offer similar advanced features while saving you thousands of dollars in the end.

Need help finding the right car for you? The USAA Car Buying Service can help.



4 quick tips to keep you safe on the road

5/23/2017

(BPT) - The warmer weather means longer days, backyard barbecues and weekends away. Before setting out on the open road, make sure you and your vehicle are ready for the journey ahead. Hankook Tire took a look at driving trends and behaviors to identify what drivers do (or forget to do) to keep safe on the road this season.

1. Keep your eyes on the road.

One of the easiest ways to avoid accidents, wrong turns or other highway mishaps is to stay focused. Cell phones are most often responsible for distracted driving, according to the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index. One-third (33 percent) of Americans regularly take phone calls while on the road, and one in 10 drivers (11 percent) admit to texting while driving. To help put this risk into perspective, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports texting while driving on the highway is equivalent to driving blindfolded for the length of an entire football field. Promising news for drivers is that the Gauge also found that nearly one-half (49 percent) of drivers use Bluetooth, dictation or do-not-disturb features while driving to maintain better focus while on the road.

2. Take advantage of tech.

As automotive technology continues to advance, cars are constantly updated with the latest and greatest to make your time behind the wheel more comfortable, more efficient and safer. Over one-third (34 percent) of drivers reported their vehicles are equipped with a rear view camera, and 26 percent have adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain a safe driving distance. While 73 percent of Americans find these enhanced safety features very useful, the Gauge Index found that more than half (57 percent) of drivers don’t actually use them. Regardless of the features in your car, it’s important to not let the summer fun distract you from checking rear and side view mirrors, blind spots and speed.

3. Don’t tread lightly.

Before a road trip, most people fill up the tank, gather snacks and make sure the kids are set up with movies and games. What about your tires? Americans are mostly likely to check the condition of their tires if they appear to look low or uneven (65 percent) or if a warning light appears (49 percent).

Even if not prompted by a warning light or unusual sounds, always double check your tires’ air pressure and tread depth before an extended trip, as healthy tires improve gas mileage and save money at the pump. In addition to the financial benefits of healthy tires, Americans also recognize the importance of tire tread in providing safety and control, as 75 percent of drivers think about how effective their tire tread is when driving through heavy rain, and 61 percent are mindful of their tread when driving on a hairpin turn. Additionally, close to one-fifth (18 percent) of Americans believe enhanced tire grip provides more safety on tough turns than wider lanes, reduced speed limits or road sign warnings.

4. Who ya gonna call?

Even the most prepared and proactive drivers can end up on the side of the road because of unforeseen driving events. Whether it’s a flat tire, dead battery or overheated engine, 41 percent of Americans listed an auto club as their first phone call, followed by their significant other at 27 percent, according to the Gauge Index. Only 3 percent of respondents recognized that their first call should be to local authorities, who can update traffic information, create a safe roadside situation and send the proper help to get you back on the road safely.

By following these quick tips and guidelines to safety, you can go full steam ahead to wherever your destination this summer may be!



Transportation safety: How seniors can maintain independence outside the home

4/27/2017

(BPT) - It can be hard to admit your vision isn’t what it used to be, especially when it comes to driving. Maybe you’ve noticed some difficulties reading traffic signals, or you’ve found it challenging to drive at night.

If you’re a family member noticing these warning signs in a loved one, pointing out these challenges may seem like a daunting and delicate undertaking. But when it comes to being on the road, safety is one thing you can’t ignore.

Encouraging your loved one to prioritize safety can be hard, especially when it feels like their independence is at stake. That's why it's important to have an open and honest discussion to determine the best options for maintaining independence outside the home.

Step 1: Address driver safety

Vision is the most important sense for driving safety. Annual vision screening is important for everyone, but it is especially critical for older people, since the sensory data used for driving is predominantly visual.

For seniors still able to drive, a defensive driving class can be beneficial. These classes allow students to brush up on skills while gaining confidence and introduce them to alternative transportation options for the times and locations of their preference. What's more, many insurance companies provide discounts to seniors who complete these courses.

Giving up driving doesn't have to mean choosing between all or nothing. For example, start limiting driving to daylight only, non-rush-hour periods. Then look into supplementary transportation options that eliminate the need to drive while still allowing you to get where you need to go.

Step 2: Research transportation options

It's important to educate yourself or your loved one about locally available transportation options for seniors. When you know there are reliable, cost-effective transportation options available, it can help maintain a high level of independence for a trip to the grocery store or a doctor's appointment.

Rides in Sight is a nationwide, online database of senior transportation options built by ITNAmerica, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing sustainable transportation options for seniors. Visit www.ridesinsight.org and enter basic information like your state or zip code, and you can find the ride option that’s best for your situation. If you prefer to access information by phone, call 1-855-60-RIDES (1-855-607-4337).

Rides in Sight makes it easy to find customized transportation, no matter what a person's needs. For example, you can find wheelchair accessible transportation options or door-to-door driver assistance if that’s what you need.

Step 3: Implement a trial period

Giving up the keys is easier if you do it over a period of time. Pick a date and schedule your first ride with a transportation service during a time you normally drive. Any change takes time to adapt to, so try it out for a while before reassessing and making any necessary adjustments. After this trial period, you should feel more comfortable with someone else driving you, and you get to be in control of your mobility.

For older Americans, it's important to be able to maintain independence when they limit or stop driving. When they are encouraged to create their own driving transition plan, more emphasis can be placed on finding new passions and activities to engage with their communities. The result is a positive impact on people of all ages.

To have that impact, reliable, secure transportation is essential. Having the necessary conversations and researching appropriate transportation options helps keep everyone happy, healthy and safe.