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A history of roads in Virginia: Fundamental questions remain to be answered

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The future of transportation is not yet in focus.

The larger questions remained, however. How would multimodalism be incorporated into transportation networks? How would those networks serve a continually expanding global economy? Should changes in those networks redistribute populations and relocate business and residential centers? Would motorists’ love of the open road continue to be paramount in the American psychology? Or would transportation be gradually reinvented?

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Check the AC in your car before summer

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You may not have used the air conditioner in your car for a few months, but you’ll probably need it soon. The last thing you want is to discover that it isn’t working on the first hot day of the year. To avoid frustration, test the system before you need it.

How to inspect your air conditioner
The simplest way to make sure your air conditioner is working is to turn it on. Cold air should come out of the vents and the temperature and flow should increase and decrease when you adjust the settings. If everything’s working well, all you’ll need to do this spring is change the filter to ensure you breathe clean air all summer long.

Signs your air conditioner isn’t working
Air conditioning problems are most commonly caused by leaks. Either the coolant is dripping or damaged seals are allowing air and water to seep into the air conditioner’s components. Signs of an issue include the following:

• There’s no air at all

• The cooling is sporadic

• The air isn’t cold enough

• It makes loud noises when it’s on

If there’s a problem with your car’s air conditioner, you’ll be happy to have caught and fixed it before the start of summer.

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4 things to assess when buying a used car

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Used cars are more affordable than new ones, but you still need to do your due diligence as a buyer. Here are four things to assess if you’re purchasing a second-hand car.

1. How it looks
Do a thorough inspection. Evaluate the wear on the tires, check the fluid levels and keep an eye out for rust, dents, and scratches. The costs of new tires, fluid changes, repairs and so on should be deducted from the asking price. Inspect the condition of the inside of the car too, from the upholstery to the multimedia system.

2. How it runs
Check the dash lights. All of them should come on when you turn the key to the on/run position and turn off when you start the engine. During the test drive, listen closely for noises that may indicate problems, such as rumbling, rattling or whining in the engine.

3. How it feels
Does the car handle well and does the steering feel easy and natural? Is the interior comfortable and are the controls user-friendly? Ensure that you feel comfortable with the way the car feels and drives. Also, make certain that the brakes are responsive without being too touchy.

4. What you’ve heard
Research any car that you’re considering buying. Find out what past owners say about the model and determine whether or not it commonly has parts that fail, premature rusting or safety defects.

Finally, before purchasing any vehicle, be sure to get it inspected by a trusted mechanic and to ask the owner for all maintenance records. Taking these steps will guarantee that you get a vehicle that’s as reliable as it seems.

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Distracted driving by the numbers

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Distracted driving remains a serious issue. While fatalities caused by inattention at the wheel are down, there’s more to do in order to ensure America’s roads are safe. Here are some numbers about distracted driving.

3: the number of seconds within which 80 percent of accidents occur.

9: the estimated number of people who die every day because of a crash caused by distracted driving.

20: the percentage of teens who admit to having long, multi-message text conversations while driving. Ten percent of parents report that they do the same.

27: the number of seconds you’re still distracted after using a hands-free device. Switching between tasks is demanding and increases your risk of crashing.

43: the number of states that have enacted a ban on texting and driving for all drivers, along with the District of Columbia.

55: the percentage of teens who think they can manage texting while driving. Only one out of five teens believe using a phone behind the wheel impacts their driving performance.

90: The percentage of road accidents that could have been prevented.

94: the percentage of teens who recognize that texting while driving is dangerous. Thirty-five percent of them admit to doing it regardless.

2,841: the number of people killed in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving in 2018.

21,000: the approximate number of accidents caused by cellphone use in 2018.

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4 things to maintain on your EV

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While electric vehicles (EVs) don’t require as much maintenance as their gas-guzzling counterparts, there are a few components that need regular attention. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

1. Rotate the tires
Every car needs to get its tires rotated, but it’s particularly important for some EVs. This is because the battery pack can be very heavy and consequently exert a lot of pressure on the tires. This can cause them to wear prematurely.

2. Flush the brake fluid
Most EVs rely on regenerative braking, meaning they don’t actually use the mechanical brakes all that often. That said, EVs still have traditional brakes and therefore require hydraulic fluid. If you don’t flush it regularly, it might corrode the brake system’s components.

3. Service the brakes
Brake pads and discs need to be inspected, although the frequency will depend on your driving habits and the conditions in which you usually drive. If you tend to ride the brake, get the pads and discs checked when¬ever you get the fluid flushed.

4. Check the coolant
The battery cooling system is a crucial component that prevents your battery from overheating and potentially catching fire. It’s therefore important that the cooling system is regularly inspected.

Finally, remember to familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual as it’ll tell you when each of these tasks should be carried out. It’ll also provide crucial battery care tips.

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3 signs your car needs a wheel alignment

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A suspension alignment, more commonly known as wheel alignment, keeps your tires pointed in the right direction and ensures a smooth ride. However, any type of impact, such as driving over a pothole or into a curb, can affect your car’s alignment. Here are three signs you should have yours checked.

1. Uneven tire wear
Tread that’s worn on just one part of the tire or that’s dissimilar on the different tires can indicate a problem with your car’s alignment.

2. A vibrating or loose steering wheel
When you’re driving on an even stretch of road, your steering wheel should be perfectly still and straight. In addition, your car should be responsive when you turn the wheel. An alignment problem can make your steering wheel vibrate or feel loose.

3. The car pulls in one direction
If your car swerves or drifts to one side when you relax your grip on the steering wheel, there’s an issue. You shouldn’t have to steer to keep the car pointed in the right direction when driving in a straight line.

Don’t ignore the signs that something’s wrong with your suspension. Alignment issues can decrease your car’s fuel efficiency, increase wear and tear on the vehicle and make it more difficult to steer or to brake.

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Tire maintenance: 3 steps to take in spring

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In many parts of the country, winter can take a toll on your car’s tires. Here are three tire maintenance tasks you should perform every spring

1. Change your tires
Winter tires perform poorly on hot, dry roads. If you used them over the last few months, now’s the time to switch back to all-season or summer tires.

2. Check the pressure
Cold air causes the pressure in your tires to decrease, deflating them and making them unsafe to drive on when the weather is warmer. Check the owner’s manual to verify the exact pressure range that’s best for your tires and inflate them accordingly.

3. Inspect the tread
No matter what type of tires you use, it’s their tread that provides the necessary traction to stop your car from slipping and sliding in wet and icy conditions. Many tires have tread wear indicators inside the grooves. If your indicators are flush with the grooves, the tires are no longer safe to drive on.

Finally, visually inspect your tires. If you notice uneven wear, cuts, bulges or other irregularities, it may be time to replace them.

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