Ryan Lemcke - 1st Place
Dustin Alexander - 2nd Place
Dave Moore - 3rd Place
Ford’s free teen safe driving program is devoted to making the road a safer place
We know that behind the wheel, safety should always be the number-one priority. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America, killing nearly 3,000 teens annually, according to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. How do we combat such a tragic statistic? The only way to enact real change is to attack the two main contributors to driving danger: inexperience of young drivers and habits of distracted and impaired driving.
This approach is the main focus of Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) – Ford’s now international teen safe driving program. Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts established Ford DSFL in 2003, designed to teach newly licensed teens the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs.
The basic premise of Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process, providing new skills and information outside of basic driver education courses, free of charge. Training is conducted through a dual hands-on and web-based curriculum addressing both inexperience on the road and issues surrounding distracted driving. Over the past ten years, the results of this effort have been outstanding, especially when both teens and parents engage in the instruction together.
Ford DSFL helps young drivers improve their skills in four key areas that are critical factors in more than 60% of vehicle crashes including:
1) Hazard Recognition: identifying the point of no return, learning how to scan for trouble, minimizing distractions, approaching and turning left at an intersection, and being aware of safety zone, minimum vision, and lead time
2) Vehicle Handling: identifying contact road patches, learning how acceleration, deceleration, braking and turns affect vehicle balance, how to adjust to a vehicle's size and weight, how to recover from skids in both front- and rear-wheel drive vehicles
3) Speed Management: driving at a speed that doesn't endanger or impede others, using proper signals and covering the brake, working with conventional braking systems versus anti-lock braking (ABS) systems, learning emergency braking techniques
4) Space Management: maintaining space around, ahead of and behind the vehicle, learning how to adjust speed, maintaining a safe distance between vehicles, learning how to avoid being rear-ended or part of a head-on crash
The best part about Ford DSFL is that it’s FREE. The comprehensive program includes learning tools such as: Ride-and-drives with a professional instructor, the Ford DSFL interactive web site and the Ford DSFL Electronic Educator packet that can be used by students and parents at home, as well as educators in the classroom and community settings.
For more information about Ford Driving Skills for Life Academy’s calendar of events in your area, contact us and we’ll help you and your teen get on the road to safety for life.
Politicians often use tax benefits to influence consumer behavior. The government has already promoted the purchase of diesel and alternative-fueled vehicles and now offers attractive incentives for taxpayers to buy cars from a new generation of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Without tax credits, drivers were slow to adopt these new types of vehicles. Thanks to tax breaks, thousands of people have decided to give electric vehicles a try. Even drivers who do not buy a new breed of vehicle can claim modest benefits.
Electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles rank atop current tax benefits available for new car purchases. These tax breaks stem from the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 and were designed to make new eco-friendly cars more affordable to drivers. Like most government rules, the guidelines that govern tax breaks for electric and hybrids come with some caveats. For example, the car must be new.
Purchases must qualify. The incentives under the Clean Energy and Security Act expire as the auto industry achieves certain sales totals. Afterwards, the tax credits no longer apply. For example, tax credits for clean diesel cars, standard diesels, and standard hybrids have all expired, leaving tax incentives only for plug-in hybrids and electric cars as of April 2012.
Some motorists have purchased a Chevrolet Volt, hoping to cash in on the promised $7,500 tax credit. According to the IRS, some other requirements for the tax credit include:
- Vehicles must have battery packs rated with four kilowatt-hours or more of power.
- Batteries must be chargeable from an external source such as an AC outlet found in a home.
- The vehicle must have been made by an approved company listed by the IRS.
- Cars that weigh more than 14,000 pounds do not qualify for the credit.
- Taxpayers cannot buy qualifying cars with the intention of resale.
- Tax credits of up to $7,500 are available. Not every purchase qualifies for the full amount.
- To take the tax credit for a plug-in hybrid vehicle purchase, taxpayers must file form 8936 with their tax returns.
Taxpayers should check with their state governments to learn about state tax benefits for the purchase of new cars. Most states have some tax benefits and cost-relief programs in place that encourage businesses and individuals to buy electric or alternative-fuel vehicles. For example, California offers a cash rebate to people who buy an all-electric vehicle. Such programs can extend the total tax benefit for buying a new car to $10,000 or more.
Taxpayers who itemize their tax returns can deduct sales taxes paid on the purchases of cars and other big-ticket items on their federal returns. This deduction can help make the purchase of almost any new car more affordable. Auto shoppers should ask their dealers about government incentives if they have any questions about buying a new car with an eye for tax benefits.
Simple precautions include taking care of little problems before they become big ones.
Although "walking in a winter wonderland" makes for a great song, driving in one presents special problems for your windshield—ice, road salt, and grit, for example. Here are some tips to protect your windshield this winter.
Remove ice safely. Though tempting, grabbing a random item like a spatula or a knife to remove ice from your windshield is not recommended. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also potentially damage or scratch the glass. A better option is to spend a couple dollars on a plastic ice scraper. Other options include spraying the windshield with de-icer to melt the ice. You may not even need the scraper and you definitely won't need the ice-scraping pitchfork your Uncle Glasschipper recommended.
Avoid sudden temperature changes. It looks like a decent option. It's about four degrees outside and you're running a little late, so you come up with this grand idea of boiling water as you get ready, with the intention of dumping it on the windshield for instant defrost. Sure, you'll get the instant defrost, but you might also get a cracked windshield, which means the instant defrost could be taking place on your dashboard or the passenger seat. A better option is to turn on the defroster and wait a few minutes.
Keep the windshield clean. Winter grime can lead to a greater need for windshield cleaning. But running the wipers or even using an ice scraper to remove stuck-on dirt and grime can lead to scratched windshields, so always be careful when attempting to clean yours. Make sure your window cleaner reservoir is full and think about installing new wiper blades as soon as cold weather approaches—dry, brittle blades can scratch the glass. If possible, opt for winter blades. They're constructed to better remove snow and ice.
Repair chips and cracks as soon as possible. You've probably seen a small window chip spread on a windshield. It starts out as a tiny nuisance in a seldom seen portion of the windshield and little by little, day by day it spreads until one day you notice a spider web of cracks, turning what was a simple, inexpensive repair into a windshield replacement. This crack multiplicative effect occurs faster once the temperatures drop. This little scenario, thankfully, can be avoided with early detection and treatment.
Our service department is happy to answer any questions you have about caring for your windshield in the colder months, so contact us or stop by soon.
Keep your cool on icy roads
When ice covers the neighborhood pond, it makes skaters happy. But when ice covers the roads and highways, drivers feel quite differently about the slippery substance.
Ice is a major cause of winter accidents because it's not always visible. Also, some drivers feel overconfident about driving on ice due to their car's high-tech safety features.
Overconfident drivers may end up ruing their lack of precaution, however, if treacherous ice causes them to slip, slide, skid and spin wildly out of control. These four tips will help you stay on solid ground even if it's a sheet of solid ice.
Buckle up and put on your defroster
You should wear your seat belt at all times, but especially during icy conditions when accidents occur at a greater rate than normal. Put on your defroster, too. Your defroster helps to keep your car windows from forming ice and melts snow if you're facing the double winter whammy of ice and snow.
You always need to keep your visibility clear but especially in bad weather. Prepare for the unexpected and be on high alert for potential dangers like skidding, slipping or stalled cars blocking the road.
Slow it down
Seems like all drivers should know it’s important to reduce their speed when driving on icy pavement, but some drivers think that snow tires, all-wheel drive (AWD) and electronic stability control (ESC) will eliminate slipping and sliding.
Good tires help to grip the pavement, AWD assists in accelerating and staying mobile, and ESC helps to avoid spinouts, but even improved traction won't keep you safe if you're traveling at speeds too high for icy conditions. By reducing your speed, you give yourself a better chance to stop safely, to stay on the road, and to get where you're going in one piece.
Don't stomp on the brakes
When the roads are icy, you have to drive with greater caution and with slower, gentler actions. Brake softly, and try to avoid sudden hard stops which can initiate a spin that you may not recover from. If you do find yourself skidding:
- Immediately, take your foot off the gas pedal or brake
- Let the car naturally slow down and gain traction
- Steer in the direction you want the car to go
- As your traction improves, gently brake or accelerate as needed
- Avoid over steering or sudden sharp turns
If you're walking on ice and quickly twist your feet in another direction, most likely you'll fall. That's why people walk cautiously and prudently on icy patches. Same thing goes for your car. Sudden, quick, steering maneuvers can create skidding just like over braking.
Follow the skidding advice above, because it doesn't' matter how or where you're attempting to steer the car's wheels if they have no traction. Only when the tires are gripping the road and actually rolling can turning the steering wheel alter their direction and yours.
Be aware of road conditions
Check social media, TV or the radio to see what meteorologists are saying about the weather. Low temperatures and even a few droplets of precipitation can make ice. Also, keep in mind, black ice may look like an innocent puddle, but if you know it's 31 degrees outside and there's light rain, you should treat the roads like a sheet of ice whether you can see it or not.
If you were to ask a person why they don’t regularly work out, he or she is likely to give you one reason – they’re too busy. With many people working 40-plus hours per week, who also have families at home, it can be hard to find 30 minutes, let alone an hour, out of the day to drag their butts to the gym.
But does that mean people have to just accept that they’ll never reach their target weight because they simply don’t have time to work out? Absolutely not. Just because you don’t have time to get to a gym, doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Do you have a dog? Do you have a friend who has a dog? Take the dog for a walk. In the morning, take the dog for a walk before you go to work and then again when you come home at the end of the day. Or you could even walk the dog right before bed. This can be a solid 30 minutes of exercising, depending on how long a walk you take. Here’s a hint: taking the dog down the street isn’t far enough. Walk the dog around the block.
When you arrive at work in the morning, do you try to find the closest parking spot you can find to the door? Why not park further away? Yes, seriously. Park further away and you’ll burn more calories walking to the front entrance of your office building. It’s a small thing but can really go a long way since you do it five days a week.
Do you find yourself snacking at work? Make sure you keep your work area or refrigerator stocked with healthy snacks. Throw out the cheese doodles and the chocolate and replace them with trail mix and carrots.
Instead of sitting in the cafeteria or the break room during your lunch hour, take a walk around the building a couple of times. Why not bring a co-worker? You can set up a regular routine where you and a few co-workers walk around the building during lunch either before or after you eat. This will give you an opportunity to stretch your legs and get some of that much needed exercise you have been missing.
You can also try doing some simple exercises at your desk. Why not put a phone book or dictionary on top of your feet and do leg lifts under your desk? While you’re talking on the phone, lift a hand weight with the arm that isn’t holding the phone and then switch.
Just because you work full-time and are chained to a desk doesn’t mean you can’t stay fit. You just have to look for some unique ways to squeeze in exercise.
All Star Ford Congratulates the Seattle Seahawks for their dominant performance at NFL Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday evening!
Corned beef hash is meat and potatoes, Irish-style. This savory, filling meal is perfect for dinner with a side of salad or for brunch with fried eggs. Note that the corned beef must cook for three hours before preparing the hash, so you may want to boil it the day before if you plan on serving this dish at breakfast.
Corned Beef Hash
Total prep time: 3 hours
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Yield: serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1 1/2 pounds corned beef
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 small green pepper, diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fill a stockpot with water and stir in the mustard. Bring the water to a boil and add the corned beef. Reduce the heat to a slight simmer and cover. Allow the corned beef to cook over low heat for up to three hours. When it is done, the meat will slide apart, along with the fat.
Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
Place the potatoes on a baking dish and brush them with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle the potatoes with the salt and pepper and place them in the oven to bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until just barely fork-tender; they should still be a little undercooked when they are removed from the oven.
When the corned beef is done, drain the water and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Dice the meat into small chunks, discarding the fat. Allow the potatoes to cool before dicing them into the same sized chunks as the corned beef.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pepper and onion and cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables are soft. Mix the cooked pepper, onion, potato, corned beef, and minced garlic together in a large mixing bowl.
Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Press the corned beef mixture into the pan, creating an even pancake that covers the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook for at least five minutes, or until the bottom of the pancake is crisped and brown. Carefully flip the hash with a spatula and repeat the process on the other side. Remove from the heat and serve warm.
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