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Irv Gordon Offers 10 Tips for Safe Driving

The first three things Irv Gordon did 37 years ago after purchasing a shiny red 1966 Volvo P1800 were adjust his seat, check the mirrors and buckle up. After driving that same car more than 2.1 million miles, the 61-year-old native of Long Island, New York still abides by these rules.

Gordon gained worldwide notoriety last year by becoming the first person to drive two million miles in the same car. He takes delight in driving his Volvo to Philadelphia for lunch, Boston for dinner and Los Angeles for the fun of it.

Reaching his milestone has had less to do with good fortune than it has had to do with driving with patience and awareness and scheduling regular tune-ups on his car. With Volvo Cars of North America declaring the month "June for Safety Month," Gordon offers these safe-driving tips to fellow drivers:

  1. During long road trips, take frequent breaks. "This is not NASCAR; it's okay to take long breaks to stretch your legs, breathe fresh air and review your maps. It keeps you more alert on the road," Gordon says.
  2. Spend a few minutes each week inspecting your car. "Even the most mechanically challenged car owners can look for low fluid levels or deteriorating belts and hoses. Also look to see that the battery connections are tight and corrosion free. These are the most common sources of trouble on the road. And, walk around your car to ensure the blinkers, brake lights, etc., are in proper working condition."
  3. Adjust the mirrors. "Rearview mirrors aren't 'vanity mirrors' designed for admiring your hair or applying lipstick. Automotive engineers spent countless hours designing your car so that these mirrors would reduce blind spots when driving. Do the engineers a favor, and adjust your mirrors accordingly."
  4. Ensure proper tire inflation. "There is a reason all service stations have air pumps and every mechanic has a tire gauge in his or her shirt pocket. Having your tires properly inflated is as important as having oil in your engine."
  5. Don't drive if you can't stand the conditions. "Is it too late in the night? Too rainy? Too snowy? Too hot? Too cold? When you're driving, it's not the time to be daring. If you haven't gotten enough sleep, if the roads are too wet, or if anything else will inhibits your ability to drive safely, pull over at a rest stop or stay the night at a hotel. Maybe they'll have a swimming pool and a complimentary breakfast."
  6. When your car makes a funny noise, listen to it. "Don't turn up the radio and hope that knocking noise goes away. It won't. If your car develops a condition, take it in immediately. The longer you wait, the greater potential for danger."
  7. Expect other drivers will make mistakes. "Be observant of your fellow drivers. Don't assume a car pulling up to a stop sign will stop until you see it stop. Allow five to six seconds of time between you and the car in front of you. If a car is tailgating you, try to let him or her pass."
  8. Read the manuals. "Your owner's manual is packed with important safety tips specific to your car. Also, it's wise to visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles and grab a copy of the manual individuals study to obtain their licenses. Chances are you've forgotten a lot of information since the last time you read it."
  9. Weatherize your car year-round. "Prepare for the climate you'll be visiting and the season that is approaching, not just the one that's going on now. Have a qualified mechanic check your tire inflation, treads, brake wear, fluids, etc., and let him or her know the type of weather in which you could be driving. "
  10. Buckle up. "It's the most important thing you and your family will do on a roadway. Plus, it was a Volvo employee named Nils Bohlin who created the modern safety belt, which has been credited with saving tens of thousands of lives, so I'm a bit partial."

Gordon purchased his P1800 in June 1966 from a neighborhood Volvo dealership for $4,150. His 125-mile daily commute to and from work, his passion for driving and his meticulous care for his car enabled him to clock the miles. In 1998, The Guinness Book of World Records honored Gordon's car as the vehicle with the "highest certified mileage driven by the original owner in non-commercial service." Gordon breaks his own world record every time he drives his celebrated car.