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Archives for August 2015

School Safety Zones

school safety zones mnWe all share the responsibility of keeping kids safe on public streets as they make their way to and from school. School safety zones are established to heighten awareness, control speed, and regulate safety precautions. Speed limits are a large part of school safety zones and have very specific times associated with them. For Minnesota drivers, you can read more about school safety zones and laws from MN DOT.

If there is an area in your community near a school that you feel isn’t designated a school safety zone, you can read more about how the MN DOT determines school speed zones and traffic studies by the Public Health Law Center.

Each fall National School Bus Safety Week aims to make everyone more aware of keeping kids safe. Every driver, bus driver, student, teacher, and parents needs to pitch in and keep our roadways and walkways safe for kids. National School Bus Safety Week this year is October 19-23, 2015. You can find more information and resources here.

How to Measure Tire Size

measure tire sizePeople often ask how to measure tire size. However, you don’t actually measure tire size. Instead, you determine what size tires you need for your specific automobile. To figure out the proper size tire for your car or truck you have a few options.

Option 1: Pull out your vehicle manual and look up the recommended tire size.

Option 2: Give us a call and we’ll ask a few questions and figure it out for you. Bloomington: 952-884-9343, Anoka: 763-421-2004

Option 3: Look on the sidewall of your existing tires. All the information you need is right on your tire! Find a number that looks like: P265/50/R20 This series of numbers refers to tread width, sidewall height, and rim diameter. Armed with this information you’ll know exactly what size replacement tire you are shopping for without having to do any “measuring”.

For more information on what all the markings on the side of your tires mean, read “How to Read the Side of Your Tires.”





Using the Express Lanes-Minneapolis

express lane minneapolisThere are lots of questions about who and how to use the metro express lanes that primarily exist on I-494, I-394, and I-35. The express lanes were designed to help with traffic flow and safety, while encouraging people to carpool. So, what exactly constitutes carpooling?

Who Can Use the Express Lanes in Minneapolis/St. Paul Area?

According to the Minnesota Statutes 2014, Chapter 169.011, Subdivision 14, is a “prearranged ride-sharing arrangement in which two or more persons travel together on a regular basis in an automobile, especially to and from their place of employment or to and from a transit stop authorized by a local transit authority.” Furthermore, the Minnesota Department of Transportation considers infants and children passengers, so those driving carpool with two or more persons can use the Express lanes and do not have to pay to use the lanes. Single drivers can get a MnPass and more information about paid use of the Express Lanes can be found here.

Carpooling Kids?

Here is our most recent guide to driving carpool with some hints for keeping your sanity.

Need more info on the EZ Pass for Minnesota?

Here is the link to Express Lanes & EZ Pass information on the MN DOT.

Guide to Driving Carpool and Keeping Sane

driving carpoolDriving carpool have you anxious? Whether this fall is the first time you’ll experience this parental right of passage or you’ve been driving carpool for years, there are a few tricks to help you ease into the routine of shuttling kids back and forth.

We’ve broken the tips down into four main key areas that will have you driving carpool like a pro in no-time, or at least appearing like you are.

Tip #1: Be Prepared! You’ve heard the phrase, “expect the unexpected” and it’s true for carpool. Anytime you have kids in a confined space, you’ll need to be ready. Here’s a list of items you should consider having in your vehicle:

  • Kleenix
  • Wet Wipes
  • Band-Aids
  • Garbage bag or container
  • Towel or rag for spills
  • Safety pins
  • Pens and pencils
  • Notepaper
  • AAA Card, Phone, Phone Book, & Emergency numbers

This article, “Car pool ideas for busy parents” has more ideas.

Tip #2: Plan Your Routes. Check ahead for any construction, detours, and other delays that may have popped up over the summer. Create a cheat sheet of school/after school addresses and start/end times in the car. If you frequently or periodically drive carpool for other kids, add their information to the list, and keep it in the vehicle, not your wallet or purse. That way if the need arises and a less familiar spouse takes over for a day, he/she has the information right there. Get a few more ideas here.

Tip #3: A Plan for a Clean Vehicle. Sorry to say it, but all the best efforts to keep your vehicle clean will not stop dirt, snow, dust, crumbs, etc from building up. If you allow beverages and/or snacks in your vehicle, keeping it clean is a never-ending task. Here are some DIY Tips for cleaning your own vehicle.

Tip #4: Travel Snacks. Now that you have a plan for keeping your vehicle clean, let’s work on getting it dirty again. Plan some travel snacks that work well for sleepy kids needing breakfast in the morning on the way to school, and hungry kids needing snacks after school or activities. We put together a bunch of travel snack ideas and resources.

“Basic School Carpool Rules” is a good article for establishing some ground rules too.

What would you add to this list? Make sure you are safe on the road. Have your vehicle serviced and tires checked. The TireZoo is here to help make sure your tires are safe. Let us know how we can help!