Tag Archives: driving

Know your driving rules

Bus-Clip-Art1

Au Pairs often find themselves driving the kids around to activities. Be sure to know the rules of the road in order to be safe and avoid getting a fine.  The rules regarding stopping for school buses are:

  • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. You should slow down and prepare to stop the car.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.
  • It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and its’ stop arm is extended. Vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway. Failure to stop can result in high fines which the au pair has to pay, not the host family.

http://blogs.aupairinamerica.com/mdf/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2011/09/school-bus-stop-300×199.jpg

What to Keep in the Car Glove Box

If you are like me, you probably have napkins and straws from fast food restaurants and other assorted items in your glove box in the car.  It can be a nifty storage place, but it’s main purpose is to keep some important documents related to the car. glove box

It is very important that you keep all of the necessary documents in the car glove box. These items will be necessaryif you are stopped by a police officer or have an auto accident. Not having these items can result in your receiving a ticket (citation) from a police officer.

Essential Documents

*Some host parents may tell you to carry these in your wallet instead of keeping them in the car. Follow their instructions.

Helpful Extras

  • Flashlight
  • Tire Pressure Gauge
  • Vehicle Owner’s Manual
  • Map or GPS
  • Tissues and Hand Sanitizer
  • First Aid Kit

In Your Wallet
Carry your Maryland license or country driver’s license and international driver’s permit with you at all times, especially when you are driving. You should leave your passport and Social Security Card and other documents at home, to reduce the risk of losing them.

Safe Driving in Winter Weather

Winter Driving Tips
You are likely to find ice and snow on the roads in many parts of the country. There are some basic rules to remember to stay safe in the car in difficult driving conditions:

  • Start early and take your time.
  • Accelerate slowly, especially on hills
  • Drive slowly to avoid having to stop while going up a hill, as it will be hard to start again.
  • Don’t make any sudden turns or stops.
  • Be sure that the mirrors and windows are always free of snow and ice.
  • If you skid, try to steer in the direction the car is sliding to regain control.
  • The changes in temperature sometimes cause potholes in the streets. If you don’t see the pothole in time to steer around it, apply the brakes before hitting the pothole and release them just before you reach the pothole. If you keep the brake on as you hit the pothole, it will do more damage to the tire.
  • Try to keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • If your wheels spin on ice, switch to low gear, even on automatics.
  • Leave extra space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Remember that bridges and exit ramps are icier than roads.
  • Ask what kind of brakes your car has and how to use them in case of a skid.

Wet Weather Driving Tips (from www.nyAAA.com)

  • Summer rainstorms can quickly reduce visibility and create dangerous driving conditions.
  • In stormy conditions, it is more difficult to see other vehicles, road signs and the road itself. It is critical that motorists take steps so they can see and be seen.
  • Drivers should regularly clean their windshield and windows, on both the inside and outside. Drivers who smoke should take extra care to make sure their interior windows are clear of a buildup of smoke residue.
  • AAA also suggests that motorists regularly check that headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are working properly.
  • As soon as rain begins, AAA recommends drivers turn on headlights and windshield wipers. Many states require headlights to be turned on when it is raining or if the visibility is reduced to less than 500 feet.
  • When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at a rest area or other protected location. If the roadside is your only option, AAA recommends pulling off as far as possible, preferably past the end of a guardrail. Keep headlights on and turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers.
  • In addition to reducing visibility, rain creates slippery roads that require motorists to use extra caution. AAA suggests that when driving in rain, motorists slow down and increase the distance between vehicles to compensate for reduced tire traction.

Miscellaneous Expenses

There are different ways to handle the little expenses that may come up.  Things like when an au pair takes the kids out for ice cream or picks up a gallon of milk.  Some families keep a cookie jar fund, a little cash that they set aside weekly or monthly for this kind of expenses.  Here are some suggestions for avoiding problems with that.

Host Families

  • It’s important to be clear about how long this money should last and what types of expenses are approved.
  • Let the au pair know whether or not you expect receipts.

Au Pairs

  • Only spend the money on approved expenses.
  • If it is something you are not sure about, ask first.
  • Put your receipts in the cookie jar in place of the money to avoid any confusion.

Gas and Fare Cards

Host families are responsible for the au pair’s transportation costs:

  • to and from classes and cluster meetings
  • driving the kids

It is a good idea to figure out how much gas an au pair will use for these trips and either put gas in the car or give a gas allowance.   If your au pair is riding to classes or cluster meetings with another au pair, you should offer to share the cost of gas.

Au pairs are responsible for their own transportation at all other times.  You should replace the amount of gas used for personal use.

Step by step guide to obtaining a PA Drivers License

DRIVING IN THE USA

According to the Geneva Convention, visitors are permitted to drive in the USA for up to 1 year with the following 4 documents: an international driver’s license, a home country license, a J1 visa and a DS2019 form.

All au pairs should be sure to have the following documents with them when they are driving:

1. International Driver’s License

2. Home Country Driver’s License

3. Vehicle Registration

4. Vehicle Insurance Certificate

5. Copy of J1 visa

6. Copy of DS2019 form

How to get a PA drivers licenseBlank Drivers License

Follow these steps to obtain your Driver’s License in the state of PA.
  After reviewing these steps, please click on the PA DMV attachment 
below. This will give you the most up to date information directly from 
the DMV.

1. You need to apply for your Social Security number in order to get
your driver’s license. Visit this link:  http://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp.

2. Next, you need to get a medical physical done. Print out this form and see a doctor to confirm that you are in good health. http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/dl_forms/dl-180.pdf.

3. After you get your physical, begin studying for the learner’s permit.  
This is a written test that you can take on the computer at a Driver’s
License Center.  You can click on this link to practice for the test. http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/young_drivers/crossroads.shtml

4. Visit a Driver License Center with: * the completed DL-180 * your visa,
your passport, and 1-94 * Two acceptable proofs of residency, listed on
reverse side of DL-180, if you are 18 years of age or older. * Your
Social Security card. * A check or money order payable to PennDOT for
 the appropriate fee. (Cash is not accepted.)  Fact sheet for foreign
applicants:  http://www.dot3.state.pa.us/pdotforms/fact_sheets/pub195nc.pdf

5. After you get your permit, you can schedule your driver’s license exam.
 This test will be in an actual driving test in a car. Call 
1-800-423-5542. Scheduling is usually done several weeks in advance so 
it is important to start the process early.

If you feel that a driving lessons or an evaluation would be helpful, here are two schools recommended by current host families:

– Cantor’s Driving School.  Phone  610-277-1050