Back to School Driving Tips

school driving tips

Between rainy weather, falling leaves, and shorter days, driving to school in the early morning can be difficult. Whether you’re a parent with a car full of elementary school kids or you’re a teenager driving yourself to school for the first time, we have some back to school driving tips to help you get there safely.

There are all kinds of hazards to keep track of when driving to school. One thing you have to watch out for is young pedestrians and bicyclists. Especially in low light, it’s important to drive slowly, obey speed limits in school zones, and be watchful for children crossing the street or biking ahead of you. If a car in front of you has stopped to let pedestrians pass, don’t go around them.

It’s also important to reduce the number of distractions in your car. Have the radio turned off or keep the volume low; put your phone away until you’ve parked; and don’t eat while driving. Wake up early enough to get ready and eat breakfast before you leave, with plenty of time to get to school. Rushing will make you drive faster and more recklessly.

Finally, if you’re dropping your kids off, there are some drop-off lane rules to observe. Setting up a carpooling schedule with other parents is a great way to reduce the number of vehicles in line, making things safer and faster for everyone. Don’t double park, as it hinders visibility for pedestrians and other drivers, and always drop kids off right in front of the school, not across the street.

To make sure your car is ready to handle the demands of driving in fall, schedule a maintenance check at Gjovik Chevrolet Buick GMC.

Winter Driving Tips and Tricks

The harshest season of the year has arrived and if you haven’t been hit with freezing cold winds, ice, and snow yet, there’s still time left to freshen up on proper winter driving etiquette. Driving during winter is unlike any other season and taking to the road unprepared poses more dangers than ever. Here are a few winter driving tips and tricks from us here at Gjovik Chevrolet. Stay safe this winter!

  • Service – One of the best ways to avoid any mishaps on the road is to keep your car in peak operating condition. That means getting all of the regular maintenance, like oil changes and battery checks, out of the way. Make sure to have your tires inspected for any defects or potential problems. The last thing any driver wants is to be is stranded in the snow!
  • Slow Down – Driving in winter is unlike hitting the road in any other season. Everything takes longer, which can make speeding around turns a major hazard. Make sure to leave early and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Fuel Level – Experts suggest keeping your fuel tank at least one-third to halfway full to avoid any problems with the fuel pump or lines. While it may seem like a hassle, more gas means there’s a greater chance your car will start in the icy cold weather!

Tips on How to Drive More Safely

Driving Safely
No matter how safe you drive, you have to be thinking about everyone else on the road too. Here are a few tips for driving safely.

While many people out on the road are excellent drivers, there are plenty of people who motor around like they never went to driving school. Unfortunately, no matter how safe you drive, you have to be thinking about everyone else on the road too. Here are a few tips for driving safely.

Use Your Turn Signals

It may seem a bit elementary, but there are a lot of people out there who simply do not use their turn signals. Just like there are communication breakdowns when talking with people, there are communication breakdowns on the road which can lead to accidents.

Slow Down

Driving over the speed limit on the highway can be tempting, but speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents. In reality, going over the speed limit might only get you to where you’re going a few minutes early, so don’t risk your life and the lives of those around you for those few extra minutes.

Don’t Text and Drive

This one can’t be stressed enough. There is no text worth taking your eyes off of the road to read, so just wait until you get to your destination to read your texts and respond. If it really can’t wait, invest in a car that has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

As technology improves, we get safer and safer. However, it’s still important that you follow these few simple rules on the road.

2015 Buick Encore’s 5-Star Safety Rating Seals the Deal for Buick

The 2015 Buick Encore may be small in size, but it offers a lot when it comes to safety. Recently, the Encore earned a 5-Star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—the highest score awarded by the federal government.

2015 Buick Encore’s 5-Star Safety Rating
2015 Buick Encore’s 5-Star Safety Rating

Encore’s 5-Star Safety Rating

With the addition of the Encore’s 5-Star safety rating, the entire 2015 Buick lineup has now received a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score, including the Enclave, LaCrosse, Regal, and Verano.

“Consumers are consistently surprised to discover Encore provides the characteristics they expect in our larger offerings – style, sophistication, connectivity and comfort,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick, in a statement. “NHTSA’s evaluation affirms Encore lives up to Buick’s safety reputation.”

Making the Encore so strong is its high- and ultra-high strength steel body structure. It also comes equipped with 10 standard air bags to keep all passengers safe. Available safety features include rear cross traffic alert, side blind zone alert, front- and rear-park assist, forward collision alert, and lane departure warning.

To see even more of what the 2015 Buick Encore has to offer, come take it out for a test drive today at Gjovik Auto.

New 2015 Chevy Safety Features Earn Four Top Safety Pick Awards

2015 Chevy Spark - 2015 Chevy safety features
2015 Chevy Spark – 2015 Chevy safety features earn top marks

Chevy has done it again – this year it won four Top Safety Picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2015 Spark, Volt, Malibu, and Equinox were all awarded the prestigious title for their innovative safe design and new features.  Here at Gjovik Auto ,we were glad to hear about the success of the new 2015 Chevy safety features.

2015 Chevy Safety Features: New Standards for  Safe Driving

2015 Chevy Malibu - 2015 Chevy safety features earn the car Top Safety Pick honor
2015 Chevy Malibu – 2015 Chevy safety features earn the car Top Safety Pick honor

According to Chevy, the industry has nearly doubled the number of awards from last year, meaning the entire market has introduced some innovative new features. In particular, Chevy has made forward collision alert, blind-spot warning, and new engineering techniques the new standards for safe driving.

“Receiving this recognition from IIHS for the 2015 Spark, Volt, Malibu and Equinox is great news for Chevrolet and even greater news for our customers,” said Steven Majoros, director of Chevrolet Cars and Crossover Marketing.

2015 Chevy Equinox
2015 Chevy Equinox

As one of the world’s largest car brands, it’s refreshing to know that Chevy isn’t just focused on performance and fuel economy, but safety as well. You can rest assured when buying a Chevy, thanks to the new award-winning features.

Visit Gjovik Auto today to test drive any of these fine Chevy vehicles!

Winter Driving Tips for Sandwich, IL Roads

Winter Driving Tips from
Tip #1: Stay home

Driving in wintery, freezing, wet, and slick conditions can not only be stressful, but downright terrifying.  Before you hit the road this winter season, avoid stress by making sure you are prepared for anything. Here, we’ve provided a few winter driving tips that will help you (and your car) to safely navigate hazardous road conditions.

  1. Stay home. If and when you have the luxurious option of staying off the roads altogether, that’s your best bet. Cozy up with your favorite little beings, a good book or movie, get the fireplace roaring, and stay put. Twist your arm, right?

Ok, ok. So you just have to get where you’re going.

  1. Make sure you have good—no, great—tires. A set of good snow tires is the single most important factor on snowy roads (besides your expert control of the vehicle, of course). In rural areas, we suggest snow tires, while in the city (where roads are usually cleared), you can probably get away with all-season tires. Your tires help your car to grip the road and reduce slipping and sliding, so don’t skimp.
  2. Don’t skimp. That brings us to our next point. When purchasing winter tires, buy all four. Snow tires installed on just the front wheels of a front-wheel-drive car can make it prone to spinning out in the snow, and snow tires on only the rear wheels of a rear-wheel-drive car can make the car especially difficult to turn.
  3. Another Winter Driving Tips: The 2015 Chevrolet Equinox comes equipped with ESC and all-wheel drive@
    The 2015 Chevrolet Equinox comes equipped with ESC and all-wheel drive!

    ESC (Electronic Stability Control) is as important as airbags. ESC stabilizes your car in the event you lose control. Don’t get behind the wheel in slick or hazardous conditions unless you have it. All cars manufactured after 2012 are required to have it, and for good reason.

  4. AWD is helpful. AWD is designed to help you get going and keep moving in deep snow, and also helps you to turn when roads are slippery. Keep in mind that AWD isn’t a miracle worker, and only offers a fraction of the performance that winter tires do. AWD is well-worth having, but drivers should be aware of its limitations.
  5. Go slow. Take it easy out there. Being late is almost universally acceptable when it’s your safety versus punctuality. In the event you absolutely cannot be late, leave early. Don’t follow too closely, assume roads are slick, and pull over if you need to.

Head over to for more winter driving tips and tricks.

If you need a reliable car to help you get through tough the winter months, stop by Gjovik Auto today!

Tips for Driving on Black Friday

Driving on Black FridayIt’s hard to resist the deals offered the day after Thanksgiving. Known as Black Friday, it’s a day when a lot of people get a lot of Christmas shopping done very cheaply. But the truth is, the crowds can make for some seriously dangerous driving conditions. Luckily, USA Today has compiled a few tips for driving on Black Friday.

  • This is a day to turn off the radio and keep your cell phone out of your hands (although, to be fair, you should always keep your cell phone out of your hands while driving). Distracted driving is dangerous driving, so make sure you focus on your surroundings.
  • Since you will be entering and exiting a number of parking lots, try to make it so that you never have to back up. Visibility is never perfect when in reverse, so try to avoid it if you can.
  • Try to plan your route so that you never have to make left turns out of parking lots, even if it makes your trip a little longer.
  • Lastly, make sure your car is up to snuff. Check the tires, oil, and windshield washing fluid (this is good advice for any driver at the beginning of winter, even those who do not partake in Black Friday shopping).

We here at Gjovik Auto wish you a safe and fruitful Black Friday!

Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain receive Top Safety Pick+ rating

Chevrolet Equinox Wrecks and IIHS calls it ‘Good’
Chevrolet Equinox Wrecks and IIHS calls it ‘Good’

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently wrecked a Chevrolet Equinox and really liked what happened.

14 mid-size utility vehicles were put through IIHS’s small-overlap frontal crash test.  Only the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain received the highest rating of ‘Good’.  (While the Chevrolet Equinox was the only vehicle tested, it and the Terrain share the same design features.)  For the 2014 models, the front structure and door-hinge pillars were modified.

The Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain received IIHS’s highest rating of TOP SAFETY PICK+.  The TOP SAFETY PICK+ award is given if a car receives:

  • Good (or Acceptable) rating in small overlap crash test
  • Good ratings in four other occupant protection tests
  • Basic or higher rating for front crash prevention.

Of the other tested models in the small overlap test, one received an ‘Acceptable’ rating and all others received ‘Marginal’ or ‘Poor’ ratings.  That’s a little scary to us.

GMC Terrain 2014 model
The GMC Terrain is the Equinox’s twin.

A frontal crash is the most common collision resulting in fatalities so the small-overlap test is designed to be difficult to pass.  It replicates what happens when the front driver’s side of a vehicle collides with another car or with a stationary object.  Like when your teenager hits a light pole in the mall parking lot or a tree jumps out in front of them.

IIHS’s front crash test is designed to avoid the crumple zone which typically absorbs the crash impact.  Since its not absorbed by the front end crumple zone, the energy from the crash reaches the passenger cabin, resulting in injuries to the occupants.

During the small-overlap test, the car travels at 40 mph toward a five foot tall barrier. 25% of the car’s width strikes the barrier on the driver side.  A dummy sits in for the driver to replicate an average size man.  Since passengers move both forward and sideways in a crash, some airbags and seatbelts find the test challenging.

Got 9 seconds? 
See what happens during a small-overlap crash test.

Got 120 seconds?
Hear from directly from IIHS why the Equinox and Terrain got the highest rating. Includes lots more crashing!

Needless to say, Gjovik Auto does not recommend anyone perform their own crash tests. We’re just happy to know that our customers will be safer should a traffic accident happen.

But the mall’s light pole may not fare as well.

2014 Buick Encore Rainsense: Even the windshied wipers are smart

When it starts to rain, the first question asked is always: ‘Is it raining?”  The drops of water falling from the darkly clouded sky are never enough evidence.  The 2014 Buick Encore, though, can be equipped with new Rainsense wipers which not only know when rain hits the windshield but also automatically turns on windshield wipers.

And it does all this without asking any stupid questions.

How is this technology any better than Chicken Little?

Rainsense sensor for Encore
Not as cute as a chicken

The rain sensor has the ability to detect light that the human eye cannot.  As rain hits the windshield, the water refracts light at a small wavelength.  The Rainsense light sensor can detect it by using infrared light beams.

It even works at night.  While the human eye ‘sees’ darkness, a raindrop will still refract some infrared light that the sensor can detect.

I bet this involves science.

A sensor is placed behind the rearview mirror, a great location for other safety features like the Encore’s Lane Departure Sensor.  Software in the Rainsense sensor understands different environmental conditions thanks to input from other systems in the car.

The speed at which the 2014 Buick Encore is traveling will affect the wipe frequency as will low light levels – the sensor automatically adjusts to nighttime condition.  The sensor takes a reading every 40 milliseconds, about the time it takes a hummingbird to flap its wings once.

How the 2014 Buick Encore Rainsense works

Sounds simple enough.

So why don’t all Buick cars have Rainsense wipers?  Each car requires a multi-stage process and an enormous amount of testing hours, explains Matt Piazza, General Motors’ global design engineer for rain sensor technology.   “Each vehicle is unique and there are a lot of factors like windshield pitch, rain intensity, vehicle speed, and light conditions, that all have to be accounted for and validated.”

Buick’s website contains more in-depth details about the 2014 Buick Encore Rainsense feature and the testing process.


What else can the 2014 Buick Encore do for you?  Contact Gjovik Auto today.

National Teen Driver Safety Week: Gjovik’s Tips

In case you hadn’t heard, this week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. That means it’s time to go over the rules of the road with your teen, in order to make sure he or she is aware of safe driving practices and the dos and don’ts of manning a vehicle. If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t panic. Gjovik Auto has the basics covered, so you can use our handy guide as a starting point in opening a dialogue with your teen driver.

  • Consider a parent-teen driving contract. Go over your expectations about important things, such as refraining from texting or using a mobile phone while driving, or wearing a seatbelt at all times. As you go over the contract, you and your teen should sign each section, and review it frequently as your teen becomes a more experienced driver.
  • See if your car’s manufacturer offers in-car monitoring. All GM vehicles that offer OnStar come with a service called Family Link. For $3.99 per month, you can check on your car’s location using the Vehicle Locate feature. This allows you to keep tabs on where your teen is driving. You’ll need an OnStar subscription if you want to take advantage of Family Link.
  • Buy your teen a car that comes with excellent safety ratings. Check the IIHS and websites to see how your car rates, or to research a new or used car before purchasing.

Remember that you are the best influence on your teen’s driving habits, so taking the time to have an adult discussion about the realities of being  a driver can help shape your teen into a safe, responsible driver. Let’s make National Teen Driver Safety Week the starting point for these conversations, and keep them going throughout the year!

National Teen Driver Safety Week
Use National Teen Driver Safety Week at a starting point for a discussion with your teen.