Recent Alaska Shipping News

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The zipper technique
Other unwritten rules of the road
Final word
 
road-in-alaska

 

The zipper technique

When it comes to being out on the road in Alaska or anywhere else in the country, there are a few unwritten but understood rules that the vast majority of drivers on the road will abide by. This makes things much easier in terms of general driving unless someone chooses to go their own way and ignore one of these unwritten rules of the road. Do yourself a favor, learn these rules and always follow them.

The first and one of the most important of these unwritten rules is known as “the zipper”. This refers to an instance where you have a busy highway with a lot of traffic congestion, and you also have a bunch of people simultaneously trying to merge onto that highway at the same time. This can easily lead to issues such as fender benders and road rage. However, these things are easily avoided when people use the zipper technique. This is when one car already on the road/highway being merged onto allows one car from the row of cars trying to merge to successfully and easily do so.

There is no law requiring that anyone do this. There is also no law that says a second vehicle from the row of cars trying to merge onto the highway cannot try and squeeze in right behind the one in front of it. However, almost everyone knows not allowing one car to merge or, conversely, trying to sneak in as a second car is frowned upon. Everyone knows it’s a figurative zipper – one car merges and the car that let that car in continues on behind that car, one from each side each and every time.
 

Other unwritten rules of the road

There are also several other unwritten rules of the road that you should definitely be aware of before you start driving again. The first is that you should never drive in someone’s blind spot for more than a quick moment in order to pass them. Although it is expected for all good drivers to always check their blind spot prior to changing lanes, we likely have all forgotten once or twice and had a blaring horn directed at us as a result.

Not cutting people off is another unwritten rule of the road, although this may be the most frequently ignored of any of these rules. You should always pay attention and plan your lane changes ahead in order to have enough safe time and distance to do so. Finally, as a driver you should never drive in the furthest left lane unless you are driving at a speed in which you are constantly and consistently passing cars in the lane next to you. People ignore this more frequently too, but they are rewarded with angry drivers tailgating them.
 

Final word

Unwritten rules can be looked at as an unspoken form of mutual respect through action between members of a community. For our purposes, our community encompasses everyone driving. There certainly are several very important unspoken rules of the road which you should always try to abide by. This includes using the zipper technique, not driving in someone’s blind spot or cutting them off and never driving slow in the fast lane.

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping

Jump to section:
Correct use of road flares
Road flare safety
Final word
 
road-flare-alaska

 

Correct use of road flares

Road flares are obviously only for use in situations where your car is not operational for one reason or another and you need to bring attention to your vehicle so other vehicles will not hit it as they drive by. They will also help first responders find you quicker if you need their assistance. However, not all situations will warrant using road flares. Typically, you should use road flares if you have been in an accident or broken down in or near the road at night, if your car is not operable for any reason on a blind curve, or if you are on a tight shoulder and cannot get your car to the nearest exit or turn off.

If you end up in a situation where you will need to use road flares, you should know exactly how to ignite them. In the case of traditional non-LED road flares, first remove the cap. Then, strike the end of the flare that was covered by the cap on the coarse surface attached to the end of the outside of the cap. This works the same way a match and a matchbook do. The flare will then be ignited. Put the cap on the end of the flare that is not burning. Then place the flare on the ground where oncoming traffic will see the ignited end easily. Repeat as needed.
 

Road flare safety

There are several things you must do in order to remain safe when igniting and placing road flares. First, when you are going to ignite the flare hold it away from your body. Once it ignites, avoid looking directly into the ignited portion as it can be so it bright it can hurt your eyes. Also, do whatever you can to avoid inhaling the smoke given off from the flare as it contains harmful chemicals.

When you place a flare, make sure it is not placed near anything or any flammable fluids. In addition, do your best to avoid igniting road flares near any heavily wooded areas such as a forest or areas with lots of brush. When you are placing a flare, remember to pay attention to oncoming traffic so as to not be struck while you are doing so. Finally, make sure all flares are extinguished and removed from the road prior to leaving.
 

Final word

Road flares can be a literal lifesaver. If you are in a situation where you cannot move your car and it is in or near the path of traffic, flares can be the difference between traffic being able to see you or not. This can be the difference that spares a dangerous accident. If you ever do need to use road flares, use extreme caution and do so safely as road flares can start fires, cause burns and toxic smoke inhalation if used haphazardly.

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping

Jump to section:
Mufflers and cold weather
Keeping your muffler working well
Wrapping up
 
car-muffler-alaska

 

Mufflers and cold weather

Your muffler is the part of your car’s exhaust system that will greatly reduce the would-be loud sound of harmful gasses being released from the car’s engine. Without the muffler, your car would be extremely noisy and illegal to drive. As it does with so many other things in terms of driving, winter weather will complicate things with your muffler.

When it is cold out over the winter, your car will take longer to warm-up to the point where it can function as normal. Because of this, shorter trips in the winter are not a good idea. When you make these shorter trips in the winter, water in the muffler will not have time to burn off and will lead to rust on the inside of the muffler.

Also, in the winter in Alaska, you will inevitably have snow. Sometimes, the snow can build up in the tailpipe which is the final portion of the exhaust system after the muffler. If this happens, the toxic fumes that get eliminated by your exhaust system can build up in your car and seriously injure or kill anyone inside of the car.
 

Keeping your muffler working well

Caring for your muffler will be easy. For the most part, it will just entail getting it replaced if it is not working or it is too rusted. However, you still can check it regularly for rust, make sure that the tailpipe is not getting clogged with dirt or snow and that you take your car in for service if you smell anything weird when your engine is running.

If you do need to get your muffler replaced, odds are that you will find out from your mechanic after you take your car in for some routine maintenance. This is one of the reasons why taking your car in for service at least once or twice a year is so important. Replacing your muffler will likely run you about three hundred to six hundred dollars depending on what type of vehicle you drive.
 

Wrapping up

The main purpose for your muffler is to reduce the very loud noise of your exhaust system at work so that you do not upset your neighbors or get a ticket. However, if it gets clogged it can be extremely dangerous for you and any passengers you have in your car. As long as you take occasional looks (always when there is snow) to make sure the tailpipe is not clogged with dirt or snow and you take your car in for regular service each year, you should not have to worry. If you need to get your muffler replaced, do so. It will not be too expensive and could prevent your exhaust system from failing.

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping

Jump to section:
The risk of a left turn at a four-way intersection
Making your turn safely and legally
Final word
 
four-way-intersection-alaska

 

The risk of a left turn at a four-way intersection

When you are trying to turn left at a four-way intersection with a traffic light in Alaska, the risk of a collision is an ever-present danger. Oncoming traffic can hinder your view of the traffic behind it. On top of that, other drivers can speed or even blow through a red light. More than half of fatal accidents at or near intersections according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association. Four-way intersections are the most dangerous because there is the maximum amount of traffic present for any intersection.
 

Making your turn safely and legally

In order to both safely and legally make a left turn at a four-way intersection with a traffic light, you will need to do a few simple things. First, you will need to put your signal on several hundred feet before you reach where you will be physically turning. When you do reach that point, ensure that you can still see the traffic signal, so do not pull too far under or past it.

When you are waiting to turn, be sure that you keep your tires straight. This is because if your wheels are turned in the direction of your turn before you actually start turning and you are hit from behind, you will be pushed quickly into oncoming traffic which will not only make the damage much worse but that can easily lead to multiple fatalities including yourself. Always keep complete focus and attention on the oncoming traffic. Only make your turn when there is enough space in order to safely do so. If you see the light is turning red, do not try to turn quickly to beat it. Getting a simple red light ticket versus getting tee boned or into a head-on collision is not a worth while risk to take at all.
 

Final word

Making a safe and legal left turn at a four-way intersection with a traffic light is no easy task and can be quite dangerous if you do not do so with the proper care. Oncoming traffic will make the possibility of a collision much higher. Always signal prior to arriving at the physical point of the turn, always keep your wheels straight until you actually start turning and always stay focused and pay close attention. Never take any unnecessary risks in order to make your turn prior to the light turning red.

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping

Jump to section:
The advantages of power windows
Keeping your power windows working
Conclusion
 
power-windows-in-alaska

 

The advantages of power windows

Power windows are not something new. Most vehicles from the past twenty-five years came with power windows automatically. They replaced the old manually “rolled down” windows. The most obvious reason for this was convenience and ease. However, there are some more specific reasons to having power windows with your car in Alaska.

First, not having to physically roll the window all the way up or down will allow you to keep both hands on the wheel as you drive. With manual windows, you would have to take one hand off the wheel for several seconds each time you rolled the window up or down. To put it simply, when you use only one hand to steer, even momentarily, you are sacrificing control of the vehicle.

Another advantage of having power windows is that, in most modern cars, it will give you one-touch control over all the windows of the vehicle. The most important part of this advantage is that if you have kids in the car, you will be able to prevent them from playing with the windows which can burn them out and/or throwing things out of the windows.
 

Keeping your power windows working

Power windows can become a big inconvenience rather than an advantage if they stop working because then you will not be able get them up or down at all. It is rare that your power windows could stop working but it is certainly possible. Typically, if this happens it is because the mechanism for them has been burnt out by overuse. Regular use or even frequent use will not lead to this but some one playing with the windows could, so be sure you do not allow that in your car.

You should also make sure that your door rubbers are always clear of any dirt and or grime. If they are not, your windows might have a more difficult time getting up and down which could lead to too much stress on the mechanism. Finally, if any of the buttons for your windows are get stuck, make sure you fix it or take it to the shop in order to get fixed. If you leave a button stuck it will continuously draw power and that can also burn out the mechanism.
 

Conclusion

All cars have power windows these days with very few exceptions. Your vehicle’s power windows will allow you to take a fraction of the time to get a window in your car up or down in comparison to manually powered windows which will allow you to focus on driving and steering. It is important that you not allow any children in your car to play with your windows, that you keep your door rubbers clean and that you get any window buttons that are stuck unstuck because all of these things can stress the window mechanism and lead to the windows not working.

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping

Jump to section:
Precipitation in Alaska
Keeping your wipers working well
Final word
 
alaska-wipers

 

Precipitation in Alaska

Precipitation in Alaska will vary in a very big way depending on the particular area that you are talking about. Up in the artic region precipitation is only about six inches annually whereas in the southeastern panhandle precipitation is typically about two hundred inches each year. Much of this precipitation can be snow.

Either way, you should be prepared by having a good and reliable pair of windshield wipers. If you have the original wiper blades that came with your vehicle and they are working fine, you should keep them. The original manufacturer wiper blades are always the best option. However, if you need to replace your wiper blades, do not go too cheap. Cheaper wiper blades could end up hopping and or streaking when you need them the most. If that occurs during a serious rain or snowstorm, you could end up with considerably lower visibility which is quite dangerous.
 

Keeping your wipers working well

Once you have a reliable pair of wiper blades in place, you will just need to be sure that you are taking the proper steps to keep them going for as long as possible. This will start with keeping your windshield clean. This means you should get your car washed at least once a month but also be sure to pull over at a gas station and wipe off any tougher dirt or debris instead of letting your wiper blades go back and forth over it. You should also make sure you scrape and defrost the windshield in the winter months before you use your wiper blades at all.

Also, make sure that you never run your wiper blades on a dry windshield because they will wear out much more quickly if you do. Only use them during rain or snow or when you are using your wiper fluid. Finally, do not use them at their highest speeds unless it is completely necessary to do so.
 

Final word

With all of the precipitation that can occur in Alaska, your windshield wipers will be a big asset in terms of being able to drive your vehicle safely. Make sure that you take care of your windshield wipers by keeping your windshield clean, scraping and defrosting your windshield in the winter and by avoiding improperly using them. If you need a car moved to or from Alaska, call the vehicle transport professionals at Alaska Car Transport for a free quote today at (907) 331-3100!

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping

Jump to section:
When you should start winterizing your car
What you will need to do to winterize your car
Final word
 
winterized-car-alaska

 

When you should start winterizing your car

Snow is possible in Alaska in most places from October through the middle of the spring. That is why you should have your car completely winterized by the end of September. Considerable amounts of snow can fall from the middle of October on. However, rain can still occur earlier than that and freeze overnight on roads in certain instances. So, it would make sense to have your car winterized with trustworthy tires by then.

You should note that if you are considering the use of studded tires as a part of winterizing your car in Alaska, state law forbids using them prior to September 30th in the south and September 15th in the north. If you are pulled over with studded tires prior to these dates, you can get a hefty fine. We do recommend some kind of winter or studded tire in Alaska because they greatly improve traction on snow and ice.
 

What you will need to do to winterize your car

Winterizing your car will not be that difficult. It will cost some money, but you should be able to keep it to one or two hundred dollars. That is a small price in comparison to the possibility of totaling your unprepared vehicle in winter weather.

In order to winterize your car in Alaska you will need to start with your wipers and tires. There are special winter weather windshield wipers the same way there are special tires made for driving in winter conditions. In terms of winter tires, you will have a few choices. There are studded tires as we have already mentioned and there are studless tires as well. Overall, both are great solutions for snow and ice in Alaska. The difference is that you will have to change out the studs on the studded tires or remove them completely. We recommend “Studless ice and snow” tires if you can find them for these reasons.

You will also need to get your car serviced in order to have it completely winterized. This will include getting your brakes, battery, hoses, belts and overall engine health checked prior to October. If anything needs to be replaced soon, get it replaced as soon as you find out.
 

Final word

Getting your vehicle winterized in Alaska should be a priority before it starts snowing. You should have your car fully winterized in Alaska by the end of September or, at the very latest, the middle of October when heavier snow can start falling. Your car winterization checklist should include but not be limited to wipers, tires, brakes, belts, hoses, and battery.

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping

Jump to section:
Maximizing seatbelt safety
Maximizing seatbelt comfort
Final word
 
seatbelt-safety-alaska

 

Maximizing seatbelt safety

Wearing your seatbelt is second nature for many people but it should be second nature for all of us. Seatbelts greatly decrease injury and death in the case of car accidents. In fact, according to the CDC, seatbelts reduce the risk of death and serious injury by almost fifty percent. However, you must make sure that you are using your seatbelts properly in order to get the highest level of safety out of them.

First, you must make sure you have your seatbelt on prior to putting your vehicle into drive. You must also be sure that the buckle has been securely buckled so that the seatbelt will not come off as you start driving. Be sure you wear the lower portion of the belt over your hips and under your stomach. If you wear the lower belt over your stomach, you risk serious injury if you stop short or get into an accident. The upper portion of the seatbelt is to be worn over your shoulder not on your neck. If there are any issues with your seatbelt such as it is too loose or it is not buckling properly and you are unable to adjust it, bring your car into a service center to get the issue fixed.
 

Maximizing seatbelt comfort

Once you have ensured that your seatbelt can provide a maximum amount of safety, you will want to maximize your comfort while wearing it. This will start with your seat position. If your seat is too far forward, the belt will be too tight. Thus, you should move your seat back until it is still secure to your body yet comfortable. If regardless of your seat position your seatbelt is too tight, you might be able to adjust the amount of length the belt has by referring to your vehicle owner’s manual. If that does not work or you are unable to figure it out, you might need to purchase some sort of an extender of have a new seatbelt installed. Finally, you also have the option of purchasing and installing a seatbelt tension adjuster which will decrease the amount the seatbelt presses onto you.
 

Final word

Your seatbelt is a literal lifesaver. It is the difference between just damage to your car in an accident or serious injury and death. You have to make sure that in addition to always wearing your seatbelt that you are always wearing it properly. That means wearing it in the proper position and securely. You will also want to ensure that it is not causing you any discomfort as you drive. If it is, adjust it accordingly or buy a device such as an extender or tension adjuster to ease any discomfort.

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping

Jump to section:
How to yield to an emergency vehicle
The penalty for not yielding
Final word
 
emergency-vehicle-hawaii

 

How to yield to an emergency vehicle

If you are driving and you see an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance or police car with their lights and or sirens on behind you, then you must yield to that vehicle. That essentially means get out of their way as long as it is safe for you to do so. You should do whatever you can to yield to your right side so the emergency vehicle can pass on the left, but if yielding left is all you can do, that is better than doing nothing.

Be sure if you are changing lanes and/or pulling over that you do so safely. Check your blind spot and mirrors before you do, make sure that you signal before you do and do so at a safe speed. Keep in mind, yielding to an emergency vehicle who has their lights or siren on is the law and there are penalties for failing to do so.
 

The penalty for not yielding

In Alaska, failure to yield to an authorized emergency vehicle is a serious offense. You will be fined two hundred and fifty dollars as well as get six points on your license. The point system in Alaska for traffic violations dictates that any driver who gets twelve points on their license in twelve months or eighteen points in twenty-four months will have their license suspended for up to a year.

For example, that means if you get a failure to yield to an authorized emergency vehicle ticket in January, and then you are caught driving over the speed limit by only ten miles per hour twice in the next eleven months, your license will be suspended.

You might question “What exactly counts as an emergency authorized emergency vehicle?” Well, in Alaska, the following vehicles are considered authorized emergency vehicles: all ambulances, all police vehicles, all fire trucks and vehicles, all corrections vehicles, all armed forces vehicles, all blood delivery vehicles, all hazardous materials and all sanitation patrol vehicles. In short, if you see flashing lights on a vehicle behind you then yield.
 

Final word

Yielding to an emergency vehicle in Alaska is important because you can slow a first responders’ response to an emergency. For example, you need to let an ambulance by because it might be EMTs responding to a heart attack victim. Regardless, when you do yield to an authorized emergency vehicle, you should always do so safely. If you do not yield to an authorized emergency vehicle in Alaska, the penalty will be steep with a two hundred and fifty dollar fine as well as six points added to your license.

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping

Jump to section:
How tire pressure affects safety
What else does tire pressure affect?
Final word
 
tire-pressure-alaska

 

How tire pressure affects safety

Having the correct amount of air in your tires (otherwise known as maintaining the right tire pressure) will put you at much lower risk of safety issues directly related to your tires occurring. This works both ways. So, it is dangerous to have both under or over inflated tires but for different reasons. It only takes a few minutes to add air to your tires or to let some out, but it can be what prevents you from getting into a serious accident.

The danger of underinflated tires is that when your tires do not have enough air (pressure) in them they lose their grip on the road as well as their overall stability. This means overall handling of your car will be more difficult and maneuvering will take more time. This includes when you are braking. This can obviously be disastrous if you need to brake quickly in an unexpected situation. Overinflated tires put you at risk of a “blowout” which is when your tire bursts and you consequentially lose complete control over that wheel until you come to a stop. If you are driving at moderate to high speeds and experience a blowout, the results can be deadly.
 

What else does tire pressure affect?

Beyond posing serious safety risks, improper tire inflation can adversely affect you in a few other ways as well. If your tires do not have enough air pressure, they can end up decreasing gas mileage which means you will have to fill up more often. In 2022 and beyond, this will be quite costly and quite the unnecessary expense.

Both over and under inflated tires can cause your tires to wear out faster which will mean you will need to replace them more frequently. Finally, you will risk more frequent flat tires with improper tire pressure because the ability of your tire to be penetrated by something is increased by less than or more than the correct pressure.
 

Final word

Always be sure that your tire pressure is in the proper PSI range as recommended by your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Improper tire pressure can pose several safety hazards such as decreased ability to handle your car, blowouts and more. Incorrectly inflated tires will also lead to other issues such as bad gas mileage for your car, increased tire wear and more frequent flat tires. This can all be easily avoided by keeping your tires at the right air pressure.

Posted in: Alaska Car Shipping