How Can Auto Accidents be Prevented?

Any driver who has been in an accident knows the feeling of surveying the damage afterwards and wondering whether it could have been prevented. Although there are times when there’s nothing you can do to prevent an accident because you’re the victim of another driver’s negligence, most accidents are preventable. Keeping yourself from getting in an accident not only saves you from having to make an insurance claim, but also protects your health and the health of others on the road. Here are some strategies to keep yourself from getting in accidents.

Don’t Multitask: Many accidents occur because of divided attention. If you’re trying to do something else while you drive, less of your mental focus is on the road, other vehicles around you, and traffic signs and signals. Therefore, if at all possible, avoid multitasking while you’re behind the wheel. This includes obvious culprits like talking on the phone, texting, and putting on makeup, but also some less obvious behaviors. Eating while you drive, talking with people in the car, and even changing the radio station can all take your attention off the road.

Learn Defensive Driving Habits: Taking a short online or classroom defensive driving course equips you with the basic skills to learn how to recognize and avoid potential accidents. In some cases, you’ll even qualify for a discount on your auto insurance after successfully completing a course. Some of the most important skills include scanning the road ahead of you for potential hazards (which include hazardous drivers), always having an escape route in mind, and driving in the center lane to give yourself more options for escape.

Know Your Condition: Never drive drunk, and when in doubt of whether or not you’re drunk, play it safe. In addition, don’t drive when you’re tired. That deductible on your policy, and the subsequent premium increase, is much more expensive than a night in a hotel in the middle of a long road trip.

Maintain Your Vehicle: A vehicle in good condition is more able to respond quickly in a situation in which an auto accident needs to be prevented. Replace your tires when they’re getting worn, maintain your brake pads and braking system, and check your fluid levels to keep your systems in top conditions. These will help your car respond as you’d like it to when performing accident avoidance maneuvers.

How to Prepare Driving in Bad Weather Before you Hit the Road

As a driver, preparing for bad weather road conditions is one of the most important responsibilities that you have. An amazingly high number of accidents are either caused by bad weather conditions, or may have been partially caused by poor weather. Knowing how to prepare is very important, and this is the main reason that we are publishing these driving in bad weather tips here. We want for you to know how to prepare! Read on to learn our top tips for how you can prepare and stay safe when the weather is poor.

Vehicle Maintenance Is Key!

Having a well maintained vehicle is vital. Regular maintenance may seem obvious, but the fact is that with the hustle and bustle of daily life sometimes things may fall by the wayside. When you have your oil changed, ask the technician for service recommendations. If they see major problems or developing issues, they can let you know so it can be fixed before problems start. This can include both bigger things and smaller ones, like needing new windshield wiper blades. Make sure that you also have all regularly scheduled major servicing for your vehicle. This can include tune ups and brake check ups. When your car is in great shape, you will be far more likely to avoid falling prey to poor weather problems.

Don’t Take Risks

Don’t take risks that are unnecessary: If the National Weather Service and your local news channels are recommending that you don’t drive unless necessary, take that seriously! No matter how good of a driver you are, or how well maintained your vehicle is, bad weather can cause a disaster in an instant. Icy roads, snowy roads, or rain-slicked roads can dramatically raise danger levels. Don’t take risks, it is not worth having an accident!

Before You Leave

Before you leave, make sure that every window is clear and that you can see well in all mirrors. If the windows are still defrosting, do not leave until they are totally defrosted, and never get on the road while it’s raining unless you have the windshield wipers going. When you can see well, you can react faster to potential dangers and you might be able to stop accidents in the making!

Why More States Cracking Down on Cell Phone use While Driving

Cell phone use is at an all-time high in the U.S., with an estimate 91 percent of all Americans using a cellular device. Although cell phones have certainly made communication easier, they have proven to be distractions to motorists on the roads. In fact, cell phones have become such a problem, that several states are cracking down on cell phone use while driving — limiting use, or even banning it altogether.

Reasons Why More States are Implementing Cell Phone Laws

Nearly one in five accidents are caused by distractions, and according to researchers at the University of Utah, drivers are equally as impaired as drunk drivers when using a handheld device. Unfortunately, many of those drivers are responsible for roadway accidents that cause traffic fatalities. More than 3,000 people are killed every year in the U.S. due to distracted drivers. State by state, more and more laws are being passed to prevent these deaths from occurring.

All types of cell phone use are proven to be distracting, although some types are worse than others. Texting while driving for example, is by far the most dangerous, increasing the chances of collision 23 times. Similarly, talking while holding a cellular device is worse than using a hands-free device, although both are considered dangerous.

Laws by State

Cell phone laws are different in every state. As of July 2012, there are still no states that implement a complete ban on cell phone use while driving, although 10 states ban all use of hand-held devices. States seem to take text messaging more seriously, however, as 39 states prevent drivers from sending or receiving text messages while driving. Still, other states only place restrictions on certain types of drivers, such as school bus drivers or motorists under the age of 20.

How Long Does a Ticket Stay on My Driving Record?

How Long Does a Ticket Stay on My Driving Record?A traffic violation will undoubtedly negatively affect your driving record, but it doesn’t mean that you will be blacklisted by insurance companies for your entire life just for a speeding ticket you received when you were sixteen. In general, the length of time that a traffic violation stays on your record will depend mostly on the severity of the violation. Tickets for moving violations, such as speeding tickets and illegal U-turns, as well as minor car accidents will usually stay on your driving record for three to five years from the date of the violation. Major violations, including reckless driving, drunk driving, hit and run offenses, and driving with a suspended license, will stay on your record for seven years or more depending on the nature of the offense. Some state laws require drug and alcohol offenses to permanently remain on your record.

Some states may allow you to clear your record of minor offenses if you take the necessary steps to rectify the situation. For example, if you were cited for speeding, you can usually pay the fine and attend an approved driving school to have the violation removed from your record sooner than the three to five years it would normally stay on your record. Doing so would indicate that you have taken the appropriate measures to improve your driving skills, and are actively working toward becoming a more responsible driver.

The amount of time that a violation stays on your record will affect you the most when you purchase or renew your auto insurance, since your personal driving history will play a significant role in how your insurance agent will calculate your rate. Your insurance company will always consult your driver’s record before providing you with a quote; however, not all companies will order copies for the same period of time. For example, some auto insurance companies will only review your record from the past three years, while others may review your record from the past seven years or longer. Regardless, it is usually more effective to take the necessary steps to eliminate driving violations to keep your record clean and your insurance rates low.

Will My Insurance Rates Go Down If I Get Married?

Will My Insurance Rates Go Down If I Get Married?Based on several studies supporting the presumption, married couples are generally granted lower auto insurance rates due to the fact that they are typically more responsible, less likely to drive recklessly, and less likely to encounter auto accidents and traffic violations. However, the benefit of lower insurance rates will only apply to the extent that both parties in the couple have fairly good driving records. Personal driving history will usually have the biggest impact on insurance rates, which means that getting married likely won’t reduce your insurance rates dramatically if your driving history is filled with accidents and multiple filed claims.

Although you shouldn’t expect a huge drop, your insurance rates will noticeably decrease with any positive lifestyle event that may testify to your maturity. For example, you should always notify your insurance agent when any big milestone occurs, such as graduating college or having a baby. These milestones indicate that you are much less likely to file an insurance claim, which will be rewarded by your insurance company in the form of lower premiums. Alternatively, if your fiance or spouse has a poor driving record, this could negatively affect you both in terms of your auto insurance rates. Both of your rates could further be affected if one partner continues to get tickets or get into auto accidents. For this reason, it’s important that both parties encourage one another to drive responsibly to avoid insurance hikes.

As a newly married couple, you can also receive insurance discounts by placing both of your vehicles under one policy. This would qualify you for a multi-car discount, which would result in lower rates overall. If you and your spouse have different auto insurance companies, it is always more financially beneficial to combine your auto insurance policies under one company. Another good tip is to combine all of your other insurance policies, such as homeowner’s insurance and commercial insurance, to enjoy savings on these policies as well.

Do Not Let a Stroke Stop Your Driving

Do Not Let a Stroke Stop Your DrivingAsk a stroke affected person how it influences every single aspect of their life, from eating to communicating, muscle contraction to driving car. Stroke can make all your activities treacherous. Especially for the drivers, who incurred stroke will have trouble in even turning the wheel, applying brakes, clutch and even difficult making sudden decisions in case of emergencies.

State laws do not let any driver affected by stroke to go behind the wheels. Physicians will generally be asked to report to the state department of motor vehicles on patients having serious medical issues. Further the patients will be taken for a driving test post which they will be certified if they can continue to drive on Michigan roads.

Tests for Safety

Fortunately, a stroke cannot stop you from your daily activities and all your privileges to drive. As per a study in Neurology, after a series of tests being conducted on a stroke person should help him to get back on wheels. The tests will be administered in doctor’s office. The patient will be assessed on traffic knowledge, road signs, visual abilities, mental speed, span of attention and spatial abilities. Only when the driver is able to pass all these tests, he will be allowed to drive.

As the decision to drive is a complex decision to be made, it happens gradually. If at all you fail to follow traffic rules and cause any accident, it will have an impact on your driving record and thus your car insurance premium will increase. Below are some tips which will help you to drive after a stroke.

  • Talk to your physician. The doctor will help you in determining your capabilities to drive again.
  • Start slowly. Drive short distances and check how far you will be able to handle it. Practice in empty roads first before getting on highways.
  • Always have someone beside you while driving. Do not drive alone unless you are confident. Ask for honest evaluation and then proceed.

Safe Driving tips for Older Drivers

Safe Driving tips for Older DriversDriving is one thing which even old people take as a challenge and drive. It is not enough if you just know the traffic laws and road signs; you should be very careful while driving the car. When you get older you will notice physical changes that makes you turn your head to look if there is any vehicle coming behind and even driving at night would be more challenging. Getting older does not mean that you should stop driving, you should be careful while driving. While buying a car people don’t bother about money and buy costly cars but they will be surprised when they have to pay monthly payments for their insurance premium.

  • Drive under optimal conditions : It would be safe if older people drive the car during day time, quiet roads, good weather and in the roads which they are familiar. Try to avoid rush traffic and plan your route. Drive slowly if the road is not clearly visible. Apart from road conditions, check whether your condition is safe to drive the car. Avoid driving the car if you are angry or tired and after drinking alcohol.
  • Plan ahead : Be prepared to drive as soon as you get inside the vehicle. Do not read a map while driving your car, plan the route you want to travel before only.
  • Being physically fit : Always stay physically active so that it improves your flexibility and strength and also helps you in driving while turning the steering. See to that you include physical activity in your daily routine.
  • Upgrade driving skills : Depending upon the insurance company you choose, you may even get discounts on your policy if you update your driving skills. Look for the courses through organizations that serve the adults.

Sudden Jerks While Driving

Sudden Jerks while DrivingDriving is always a part of your daily routine. While driving to school, work or even holidays, you will end up spending most of your time on roads. Do remember, there are instances where things do change in split seconds. A brake fail, tire blow out, a car ahead of you deviates from it’s path causing a jerk to you and your passengers and many more. You need to always be prepared to face such emergencies.

Blown Out Tires

This is a frequently occurring instance. Instead of sudden brakes in a situation where the vehicle is in speed, do the following:

  • Keep the gas pedal squeezed for few seconds and release it slowly.
  • Drive straight, do not take immediate turns until the vehicle slows down. When in speed, you tend to lose control over the vehicle when trying to take a turn.
  • Gently take your car towards the hard shoulder, preferably on same side of blown out tire.
  • When the car slows down, if necessary apply brakes lightly.

Failure of Brakes

When car brake fails, do not panic. Instead follow the below steps:

  • Quickly pump the brakes trying to build up a residual pressure.
  • Pull to lower gear. Due to friction and wind pressure, the car will slow down.
  • Using hand brake would bring you vehicle to safe mode.
  • Find some bushes, fence or even guard rails on road to rub your car against them to bring your vehicle to a halt.

Sudden Stop

Few situations where a bicyclist interrupts your way, a vehicle ahead of you meets with an accident or applies sudden brake, a pedestrian passes by, causing a sudden brake to your vehicle. You should know how to stop your vehicle quickly, yet safely. If you have anti lock brakes installed, then you can slam on it and hold to it until the car completely stops. Anti lock brakes helps in controlling the steering. If, you do not have the safety device installed then, gently squeeze brakes to ensure the wheels do not skid. Until the vehicle comes to halt, do not try to turn the wheel as brakes locked will block the steering and an attempt can make you to lose control over your vehicle.

Your Teen and Their Driving School

Team and their Driving SchoolAs a parent, your peaceful mind would take a toll when your teen gets on to the driving seat and drives off all by themselves for the first time ever. Such occasions causes stress on any parent. Your stress can find a relief only when your teen has rode a vehicle good number of times or attended a driving class. Finding a good driving class is also a task which is not easy as it’s the basic foundation for any learner, specially when he or she is a teen.

Here is a resource which can help you to find a better driving school. The Better Business Bureau, on entering the name of the driving school you opted for, you can find all the negative feed backs or complaints if any against the school. This makes your search easy and efficient. You can also check for the list of driving schools licensed under your state department of motor vehicles, which can be an added advantage as those schools meet with the state’s requirements. Every state has defined set of rules which a driving school has to abide, say, conduct a minimum of 25 hours of class room session, provide internet training to the teens and also a minimum of 5 hrs of training on roads behind the wheels.

On Completion of Search

Once you have chosen a driving school, contact them and ask few questions to clarify your doubts. Visit their school to have a look at it and know how the training will be conducted. On visit, check for the books, guides and other training materials provided by the driving school to your teens. Also check if the materials are as per the AAA standards. Take a look at the vehicle which will be used to train your teen, the make and model, safety features and year built. You can also ask for a test drive to ensure the quality of the program.

Before you are asked to sign on the dotted line, check for price, if any additional charges are implicable. Understand the policy’s terms and conditions and also make sure that you check how the policy works if your teen had to miss a class or training program. Remember, all this effort will fetch benefits while obtaining a car insurance policy by giving you discounts on factors such as teen’s driving course and good grades.

Driving Under Influence and It’s Effects

Driving under influence & it's effectsProtecting you and your family members from financial losses which occur due to an accident is possible by having a car insurance policy. The losses can be medical bills, car repair and other services mentioned in your policy. One major factor which determines whether car insurance policy will be offered to you or not, is when you commit an accident when under intoxication.

Hard Effects

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI), a terminology used for drinking alcohol and driving. It has a simple fact behind that drinking and driving can result in death of yourself or other people on Nevada roads. Every state in US has brought out stringent measures and set a limit of 0.08% of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for those who drive under the influence of alcohol. Commercial drivers have a limit of 0.04% and for those who are below 21 age, the limit is set to zero and if found to cross the limits, will be arrested.

A DWI arrest can be very expensive and might lead to worse consequences where you can be put behind bars, have license suspended, heavy fine or even cancellation of license. If at all the DUI accident resulted in someone’s death, the end result is even worse. Strict measures over transportation of alcohol has been made where it has to be carried over in trucks and has to be sealed, if found having an alcohol bottle illegally and open, then get ready to face the worst of situation.

At every county, law enforcement officers have set up a check point to perform a thorough check on your vehicle and the driver. These check points are active all through out the year specially on weekends and holiday season. You could be stopped at these points and asked for many questions, and a sobriety test might be performed on you. If this test confirms that you are on high and under intoxication, you will be sentenced to jail.