June 20, 2003

Two million mile driver offers safe driving tips

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New York – 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

  • 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

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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.”

  • 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. ”

  • 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.

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