It’s often taken for granted the amount of time and mileage a mom travels in her car. Driving to school, work, practices, never-ending errands. It becomes her home away from home—hopefully with everything but maybe the kitchen sink. With the staggering hours per week spent driving, our mobile lifestyle demands efficient, safe and pleasant transportation. Every year with vehicle enhancements and technology advancements, it’s easier and easier to see how small investments for a mom’s vehicle can make a big difference in safety, reliability, entertainment and pure enjoyment of the ride.
As the car dealer review site for women buying cars, Women-Drivers.com talks to thousands of women and understands the need for better equipped vehicles for them and their families. Here is a list of the top choices:
- GPS Navigation and Mapping System – A must have. Either integrated into your vehicle or as an app on your Smartphone. Enough said.
- Tire Gauges – With a car full of kids, kids’ friends and maybe even pets riding on your four wheels, what could be more important than the integrity of your tires? A vehicle with under-inflated tires does not handle the road well. Properly inflated tires last longer and are less prone to hazardous blowouts. Be sure to know the correct air pressure for your tires, and keep handy a high-quality dial or digital tire gauge to check the pressure with regularly. To be sure, many new vehicles come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system that auto checks.
- Self-Charge Auto Jumpers – If the worst happens and the battery dies, you don’t have to be stranded. You can recharge your battery without ever opening the hood by plugging the auto jumper into your car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter and your battery will be charged in 10 minutes.
- Safety Kit – Don’t put off any longer having all those common sense items you know you should have in your car. A simple but crucial safety kit can be purchased at many retail outlets or you can put one together yourself. Bandages, antibacterial wipes, pain medication, instant ice pack, flares. You’ll simply feel better knowing it’s there.
- Back Up Sensors, Cameras and Alarms – Most newer vehicles have this device. As soon as the car is put into ‘reverse’, you can look on the screen (mounted on the car’s dashboard, rearview mirror or integrated into the GPS screen) to see what is directly behind you in that tough blind spot.
- Innovative technologies now detect and alert drivers when they are driving too close to another vehicle and some will even auto brake if needed.
- A Roadside Assistance Card – Many new vehicles come with roadside assistance as part of your purchase. If it didn’t or you are driving an older vehicle, get AAA. Trust us. At some point you will need it and you will be glad to have had it!
- Yellow Dot Program—Several states, including Pennsylvania, Illinois, Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Alabama and Tennessee have programs in place where vehicle owners display a yellow dot on their windshield. First responders then know to look in the vehicle’s glove box for important medical information. This is free and priceless, especially if a regular passenger in your vehicle has a medical condition or disability.
- OnStar’s FMV—OnStar has been available in non-General Motor vehicles for over a year. Their ForMyVehcile technology is located in a rearview mirror, and can be purchased and installed at many retailers. The cool factor? It allows for hands-free calling, turn by turn navigation, roadside assistance and a virtual advisor, keeping you up to date on the weather and stocks, etc. Now, get the app.
ENTERTAINMENT & CONNECTIVITY
- Keep the kids happy on long road trips with iPod or MP3 connectivity and DVD entertainment systems with rear-seat player.
- Bluetooth hands-free driving for safer, less distracted communication. If your car isn’t already equipped with this, you can buy a Bluetooth headset at many retailers.
- Hands-free Microsoft’s SYNC is used exclusively on many Ford automobiles. SYNC is a speech engine that provides the driver with voice control over the entertainment systems including external devices like USB and Bluetooth.
- Satellite radio with kid-friendly stations, and, head phone jacks come in newer models. Headphones are a must.
- Some navigation systems can subscribe to Traffic TMC or XM Radio Nav Traffic services that give real-time traffic and weather information to drivers. If you don’t have satellite radio, there are plenty of Apple and Android apps out there that can give you up-to-date information. One of our favs is Waze.
- Access to universal wireless with the portable MiFi network. Multiple users/devices can hook up mobile devices (laptop, netbook, and camera.) This device stores easily when traveling and provides 4 hours of internet surfing time. Approximately $99 at Best Buy stores with 2 year contract; $59.99 estimated monthly fee. Verizon’s hotspot has varying price ranges.
JUST PLAIN SMART
- Change of Clothes—Keep a chance of clothes for each kid in the back of your car in a labeled Ziploc bag. Even elementary aged kids. Trust us. You will use this more than you think!
- Blanket—Keep a water proof blanket in your vehicle. Priceless if you run out of gas or breakdown and have to wait for assistance in cold weather. Also comes in super handy when you forget your folding chair for the countless soccer, t-ball, lacrosse games and you need somewhere to sit!
- Reusable Grocery Bags—Not only will you not forget to take them next time you go grocery shopping, but they are super handy for collecting all the stuff that gets strewn about your vehicle
- Snacks—Fed kids are happy kids. Keep a few non-perishable snacks handy and give each kid their own water bottle.
- Antibacterial Wipes/Hand Sanitizer—Have we mentioned those? Keep them on hand. You will need them.
- Sunscreen—Keep SPF 50 in your car at all times. You and your kids will need it year-round. If it is in your safety kit, you can never forget it!
Of the countless important activities busy moms do every day, driving shouldn’t be left to the bottom of the list for technological enhancements. Keep your vehicle current and drive smart!
The pioneering resource www.women-drivers.com is meeting the demand for empowering women to have respectful and fair experiences at car dealerships across America each and every time. With the growing vehicle purchasing power of women, this one-stop site is filled with a dealer review system, tips to demystify the buying experience, and connects women to Certified Women-Drivers Friendly™ car dealers.