The summer holidays have drawn to an end, and to the disappointment of children and relief of parents, a new school year is upon us. The uniforms have been bought, the shoes polished and lunch boxes, bottles and PE kits dealt with. Now it’s back to setting the alarm clock and getting the family up, breakfasted and out the door. Although many school children will travel to school by bus, bicycle or on foot, a significant number will still be dropped off by their parents. If you are one of the many parents who drive their children to school, read on for some top tips on how to keep you, your children and other road users as safe as possible.
1. Check your car seats
If your children are older and in secondary school, then this section may not be relevant to you, but if you have a younger family, now is a great time to make sure that your car seats are of the correct size and set up correctly for your children. Ensure that any seats or bolster cushions are appropriate for the height and weight of the child using them, and before each use, check that they are correctly fitted. Restraints and seat belts can easily be loosened by the movement of a child getting in or out of the car, and there is also the possibility that a child may have released the seat belt that holds their seat in place. Make it a habit to conduct a quick check every time you put your children in the car.
2. Check your tyres
As we’ve mentioned on many of our previous posts, your tyres are the most important safety feature of your car. Before you begin the school run, take a moment to make sure that all of your tyres are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure. This will ensure your car benefits from the best possible handling and braking – especially important when driving near schools. As an additional bonus, running your tyres at the correct pressure will also help to ensure that your fuel consumption is not higher than it should be.
- Visible bald patches
- Deep cuts/scratches
- Bulges in the tyre walls
- Embedded objects such as stones, screws or nails
- Uneven wear
- Tread depth
3. Check your coolant
Both commuting to work and doing the school run inevitably involve waiting in traffic – and this can cause your engine to heat up, mainly due to a lack of air movement through the radiator. Although modern cars rarely overheat, if your engine coolant is older then it may lose its effectiveness and this could put your engine at risk. If you find that your car is regularly reaching a higher than usual temperature when idling in traffic, start by getting your coolant changed. If you continue to experience problems, it is recommended to seek advice from a mechanic.
4. Check your lights
Once the children go back to school, the days will very quickly become shorter, with both mornings and evenings soon getting darker. You may recall being taught the words “Be Safe, Be Seen” at school – this is as true of pedestrians and cyclists as it is for drivers. Make it a regular habit to check your car’s lights to ensure that they are all in order, to keep you and other road users safe as autumn approaches.
5. Check your oil
As the weather rapidly becomes colder, more strain will be placed on your car engine, particularly when you start it for the first time each day. Engine oil thickens in cold conditions. This can lead to friction between moving parts in the engine and transmission system, meaning your car will burn fuel unnecessarily and could eventually shorten the lifespan of your engine. Making sure that your oil is changed at the appropriate frequency will ensure it continues to do its job as effectively as possible and help to avoid such problems.
At Tyreland, as well as offering the very best range of budget and performance tyres at extremely competitive prices, we can also look after a wide range of your motoring needs from bulbs and batteries to oil and antifreeze. Call now on 01 860 20 20 to discover our full range of services and find your nearest location.