Friday, June 26, 2015

My #FirstCarMoment: The Ultimate Hand Me Down

Being the third in a line of four brothers meant that hand me downs were an inevitability. I inherited their snow boots that were too tiny, their clothes that they grew out of, and their old baseball mitts when they got new ones. I actually liked it and took in interest in anything they had in their rooms often asking if they were done with this or that just like any little brother should.

Our driveway was always so filled with cars that any thought of a  basketball game near the garage had everyone scrambling for their keys to put them in the street. Cars in our family had a series of lives with new owners once they had "outgrown" them.

My parents, like many parents in the 70s had a station wagon but my very first car driving experience was in a 1976 Monte Carlo which we lovingly called The Woobie. I learned how to drive sitting in the laps of my older brothers in the cemetery near our house long before seat-belts were required. At least I couldn't kill anyone there.

Growing up with my older brothers driving around in their cars while I waited for my turn. When I was sixteen it became my moment when the 1983 Honda Accord hatchback my oldest brother was driving was suddenly an option. He sold it to me for $100.  It was my first car moment like this video from Michelin.

The Honda and I did everything together. It took me to school. I was so glad to be off the bus and picking up my friends in it. It took me to work at Dairy Queen and later when I became a stock boy at a local general store, I used it as a delivery vehicle for the pharmacy.  I remember when 5 bucks from tips could fill a third of my tank with gasoline and I could rock out to the sweet tape deck that automatically flipped the tape! I was extremely proud of my ride.

My first car, a 1983 Honda Accord hatchback
But like any teen with a license to drive, I soon had my very first accident in the Honda turning left on a green while waiting for oncoming traffic to pass. I made a bad judgement call and nicked the corner of a woman's car.With all the freedom I didn't realize just how much my responsibility needed to be heightened when it came to caring for my car and keeping it safe on the road.

Part of that was learning to maintain my own car to help prevent accidents. Michelin wants us to know that the cold, hard reality is that automobile accidents are the number one killer of teens in America. They account for a shocking five thousand deaths annually. In fact, did you know that the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers, based on accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council?

All drivers and especially teens should treat their car with the same reverence they would for their own body getting regular checkups and making sure all its features, especially the tires are in tip top shape. Because it doesn't matter what kind of car you drive, it's the tires on the car that make the difference. It's where the term "where the rubber meets the road" comes from. After all, what matters most to you is riding on those tires. In fact, the only thing holding your car to the road is an area on the tires that’s the size of a hand!

Michelin, a tire manufacturer focused on road safety for over 125 years wants us to know that 12% of the 2.2 million accidents that occur each year with inexperienced drivers are due to tire-related issues. Most of those are due to low tread depth and improper tire pressure. Luckily, there are easy steps to prevent these accidents.

Two easy tasks to maintain your tires include checking your tire pressure with a pressure gauge monthly and learning the proper way to check tread depth (See the Penny Test) Both can help you correctly maintain your tires and contribute to overall vehicle safety. Not only that, but I would personally throw in having your tires rotated and aligned will help with the wear and tear they will have over time. Protect everything you have riding on your tires by maintaining them so we can cut down on these preventable accidents and keep our #FirstCarMoment intact.

All cars I inherited or drove. Apparently, I was born a van man.

    Looking for more tips on car safety? Visit Michelin's Car Safety Website for more information.

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