Tips for driving in a rainstorm – how should you handle wet weather driving

Tips for driving in a rainstorm – how should you handle wet weather driving

The most dangerous time to drive is during a rainstorm when it hits the hardest.  In stormy and rainy conditions, it is more difficult to see other vehicles, road signs and the road itself. It is critical to make sure you can see and be seen.

There are several measures motorists can take to avoid an auto collision during a rainstorm.  First, slow down.  It seems obvious, but many drivers are used to driving certain speeds on certain roads that sometimes they forget the need to slow down during a storm.  Next, turn on your headlights, even if it’s a light rain, this will not only help increase your visibility of the road but will also help other drivers see you better.  While driving slowly, stay in the middle lane, as the water tends to be heavier on the outside lanes and never drive through “moving” water.  “Moving” water can sweep your car off the ground and cause an auto accident.  While driving in wet-weather always maintain a proper distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you – if you need to stop quickly your brake pads will need that extra space to avoid the car in front of you and driving in the tracks of other vehicles can improve traction and help avoid hydroplaning.

With heavy rain, this is what you need to know before getting into your car.   Taking a few precautions and using wet-weather driving techniques will keep you from ending up sopping wet on the shoulder of the freeway, waiting for a tow truck. Or worse.

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How to prevent or discourage aggressive driving

To reduce auto collisions resulting from aggressive driving, Gerber Collision and Glass wants to help raise awareness.  There are a number of different ways that you can prevent or discourage aggressive driving.

To avoid being an aggressive driver always allow yourself extra time to arrive at your destination.  If you are in a hurry you’ll often find yourself running stop signs and red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, or making careless turns.  If you know you’re running late, relax – turn on the music to help calm your nerves and forget about the clock.  Fewer auto collisions occur when you are traveling the same speed limit as other motorists on the road – just be late.  You’re appointment will understand and be thankful that you made it safely.

If you are confronted with an aggressive drive first make every attempt to get of their way – don’t challenge them by attempting to “hold your lane”.  This gesture can cause more frustration to the aggressive driver.  Put your pride in the back seat and report aggressive drivers to the appropriate authorities, this will not only get you to your destination safely but also keep everyone else on the road safe that day too.

Aggressive driving has become a serious problem on our roadways.  Keeping your cool and adjusting your driving behavior are the best ways to handle aggressive driving.

Pet Safety in Vehicles

Pet Safety in Vehicles

 

Before you travel with your pet there are some important things to consider.  Check to see if the pet is covered by your insurance company.  Some insurance companies will pay a percent of the vet bill. 

Get dog ID tags that have your phone number.  This will help your pet get returned to you in case he or she sneaks out of your car. 

Pack a doggie bag.  Bring food, water, medications, togs and a first aid kit.  Feed them a few hours before you leave.  This will prevent them from getting sick in the car.

Keep your pet buckled up.  Have them wear a harness or put them in a crate.  This will keep them from flying around in the car. Without these safety precautions, the driver could become distracted and cause a collision.

Never leave your dog in the car.  They are vulnerable to heat stroke.  Even if it isn’t hot outside they can still be in danger of a heat stroke.  Don’t leave your windows open.  They could get stolen.  Gerber Collision and Glass want to keep your pets safe.

Back to School Safety

Back to School Safety

Children across the nation are heading back to school and drivers need to take precaution on the road.  Motorists need to be especially careful in school zones. Parents need to review safety rules with their kids about walking or bike riding. 

Children who walk to school need to use the sidewalks.  When there are no sidewalks, they need to walk on the side facing traffic.  Kids should always wear a helmet when riding a bike. 

When a child is taking a bus to school they need to stand away from the curb.  Bus riders should get on and off of the bus when the driver says it’s okay.  Kids need to stay seated until the bus has come to a complete stop. 

Children need to cross the streets using crosswalks.  They need to look both ways to make sure a car is not coming. 

Drivers can also practice safety measures on the road.  Be extra careful before and after school.  Don’t pass a school bus when its lights are flashing.  Always drive the speed limits.  When a driver is leaving their driveway, make sure there are no kids walking by. 

Gerber Collision and Glass would like to have a fun and safe school year for everyone.  Please review back to school safety rules.

Driving in thunderstorms and lightning

Driving in thunderstorms and lightning

 Driving in inclement weather is not fun.  It can become dangerous very quickly.  Heavy winds and sideways rain can move your vehicle all over the road.  Throw in some lightning and you’ve got a mess on your hands.  Gerber Collision and Glass want to go over a few crucial details everyone should know when faced with rough weather behind the wheel.

 – Do not drive unless it is totally necessary.

 – Always allow extra space for breaking.

 – Turn on low beam headlights

–  Pull off on the shoulder and away from any trees or other things that could become flying projectiles

– Stay in your vehicle with your emergency flashers on

– Keep the radio on to a weather channel for updates

– Approach intersections with caution and come to a complete when   approaching traffic lights

– Your best protection against lightning is your vehicle

– Stay away from flooded streets and downed power lines

– Tire pressure and windshield wipers should be checked weekly

Pedestrians have the right of way

Pedestrians have the right of way

The streets in our neighborhoods should be safe places for people to walk.  But many face traffic dangers just because they’re walking somewhere.  Pedestrian fatalities make up about 12 percent of all traffic fatalities and there are approximately 4,000 pedestrian deaths.

The Federal Highway Safety Office has been working to decrease pedestrian deaths.  They are providing extra resources to the cities and states with the greatest pedestrian fatalities.  They also offer free assistance and courses to all of the states.

Parents need to protect their children from moving vehicles.  Each year, nearly 900 pedestrians younger than 19 years are killed. In addition, 51000 children are wounded as pedestrians.  Parents should keep their kids safe from cars backing out of the driveway.  Parents should always hold their children’s hand in the parking lots.  Explain to your child to never run out into a street for a ball, a pet or any other reason.

Adults need to keep safe when walking too.  Cross streets safely by using the crosswalks.  Look both left and right before you cross the road.  Walk on sidewalks and paths. 

 Drivers need to be on the lookout for pedestrians.  Always let the walker cross.  On behalf of Gerber Collision and Glass, please help keep our pedestrians safe.

The leading cause of death for children is car accidents: Car Safety Seats

Car Seat Safety

The leading cause of death for children is car accidents.  Sadly enough, we lose 3 to 4 children in car accidents every day.  The best way to keep our kids safe is to properly install a car seat.  There are many avoidable mistakes we make with car seats.

Many people buy the wrong weight and height car seat for their child.  Parents need to make sure they get the correct one, and to buy a new one when their child outgrows it.  The car seat needs to be installed the correct way.  Read your manual and check with a professional to make sure it is in the correct way.  Make sure the harness fits correctly.   It should fit very snugly to your child’s body.

Many parents change their rear facing car seats to forward car seats to soon.  The American Academy of Pediatrics advise parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2 or until they exceed the height or weight limit for their car seat, which is typically 20 pounds for an infant seat, and 35 to 40 pounds for a convertible seat.

Children are supposed to be in their car seats when they go on an airplane.  The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board all recommend that children ride in car seats on airplanes.

Make sure you use the car seat every time. 60% of crashes involving children happen within 10 minutes of home.  More than three-quarters of them happen when the speed limit is 45 mph or less, and almost all of them happen when the driver is familiar with the route.

On behalf of Gerber Collision and Glass, please adhere to all car seat safety rules.  We love our kids and want to keep them safe and sound.

How road rage can affect car insurance rates

How road rage can affect car insurance rates

Road rage is regrettable, you know that. What you might not know is that both succumbing to and avoiding road rage can impact what you pay for car insurance. We’re here to explain — and even give a few tips on finding your inner Zen the next time someone cuts you off.

A rapid road-rage review

For that first driver in existence, nothing was more relaxing than a drive through the countryside. But along with the inevitable second driver came traffic, accidents, stress — and road rage. Though this phenomenon probably isn’t new to you, it helps to review.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, road rage is subtly different from aggressive driving. Aggressive driving violates traffic laws, whereas road rage involves more serious criminal actions that knowingly endanger other drivers and passengers. Running a red light to make a date is aggressive driving — running that light to tailgate a car you think cut you off is road rage.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety places aggressive tailgating, headlight flashing, and deliberately blocking other cars among the most frequent expressions of road rage.

How road rage can impact your premium

The primary reasons to avoid road rage are safety and general decency. A little further down the list is controlling what you pay for car insurance.

Because your car insurance rate is partly determined by your driving history, a road-rage incident, when it shows up on your record as a criminal offense, is a serious red flag. Insurers may charge more for the policy to cover the added risk posed by a driver with any kind of criminal driving history.

Road ragers may also have difficulty getting full payouts for their car’s damages. Most insurers restrict coverage for deliberate or reckless actslike road rage.

On the flip side, drivers who abstain from road rage will probably have a better shot at avoiding needless accidents.

How to avoid road rage (with advice that’s sage)

There’s a lot of well-worn guidance on road rage: don’t retaliate, don’t take it personally, get plenty of sleep, etc. While valid, you’ve probably heard it all before.

So here are a few pointers you may not have considered to help keep aggressive drivers at bay and stop you from becoming one yourself.

  1. Leave space to pull around the car in front of you. Seems simple, but in heavy traffic, people tend to drive bumper-to-bumper. Leaving some wiggle room can reduce vulnerability if the driver in front of you gets aggressive.
  2. Ease your grip on the wheel. All that churning of the steering wheel, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, can cause headaches, making a bad situation worse.
  3. Crank some tunes, not the engine. Instead of listening to your own muttering, try listening to music as it can help keep you calm.

Source: http://www.esurance.com/safety/road-rage

 

Get your car in summer shape

Get your car in summer shape

Well, it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer out there. The temperature is starting to rise. The kids are almost out of school. The barbecue grill is getting ready for weekly cookouts. Yes, summer is almost upon us once again. It also means the start of another rainy season. Have you thought about if your vehicle is prepared for the wet conditions? Now is a good time to get that car in summer shape.

Check your tires. Bald tires are very dangerous, especially in rainy conditions. Have your tires balanced and rotated. This will help the car grip the road better. Make sure all your lights are working properly. During summer rainstorms Gerber Collision and Glass advise drivers to use their headlights. Remember, you can barely see the road in most summer storms, headlights are critical in avoiding a collision.

Have your brakes checked. Make sure the pads are not worn. Check your windshield wipers. Chances are, if they haven’t been replaced since last summer your vehicle is due for a new pair. Be smart out there this summer. Driving in heavy rain is dangerous. Keep your speed low and your attention high.

Seatbelt safety during pregnancy

Seatbelt safety during pregnancy

 Surprisingly, many pregnant women don’t wear their seatbelts.  They think it will put too much pressure on their abdomen if they get into a car accident.  Others find it too uncomfortable with their bellies.  A recent study shows that 12% of pregnant woman are not buckling up.

It is very important for pregnant women to wear their belts.  It is a dangerous decision not to.   Unbelted women are nearly three times more likely to lose their baby in a motor-vehicle collision than those who were wearing a seat belt.  Car accidents are the leading cause of fetal death.  Women who are in a car accident and didn’t wear their seatbelt are more likely to have excessive bleeding during labor.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that seat belts be worn during pregnancy, with lap belts placed under the abdomen and shoulder belts strapped diagonally across the chest.  They make maternity seatbelts for women who think it too uncomfortable to wear them.  Gerber Collision and Glass give thumbs up to pregnant women who are buckled up.

Child seats and safety

When it comes to your child and hitting the road, there is no excuse for not having them in a safety seat.  Select a seat based on your child’s age, height and weight.  Children under the age of one should always ride in a rear facing child seat.  It is a good idea to obtain a mirror so that you can see your child when in a rear facing seat.  It is also urged to keep your one to three year old in a rear facing seat.  Until they meet the height requirements, they should remain in them.  The next step for your child would be a front facing seat.  They may be required to travel in them until age seven, depending upon your state’s law.  Children age’s eight to twelve may need a booster seat depending height.  Again, check the laws in your area for further assistance.              

The NHTSA reports that crashes are the leading cause of death in children age three to fourteen.  Gerber Collision and Glass strongly urge parents to practice safe driving, especially when transporting kids.  Even a minor collision can cause serious harm to a child that is not in restraints.  So before you buckle up make sure your child is secure.  Double check their belts and make sure they are not too tight or too loose.  Always use common sense when driving with children.  Remember this phrase.  If they’re not in their OWN seat, they’re not in the RIGHT seat.

Share the road

We see motorcyclists everywhere.  Cruising down the highway or revving their motors at a stop light.  We see them parked at a bike shop or displaying their Harleys’ at a motorcycle show.  We see them all the time, day and night, but are we really aware of them.  We must share the road with motorcycles.  There are some issues that rarely get talked about when you are driving near them.  These tips can help motorists and bikers maintain safety while driving.

                Motorcycles are visually smaller than automobiles, so it is extremely important to check your blind spot when changing lanes.  Many drivers do not anticipate a motorcycle.  Always be aware of the possibility that one could be present.  It is recommended that motorcyclists drive with their lights on.  This gives an extra measure of safety.  Gerber Collision and Glass strongly recommend installing blind spot mirrors.  However, drivers still need to look for themselves.  Use the mirrors as a double check tool.  We must be courteous to bikers and be aware of their presence.

Road Safety Tips: What to Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down

Having your vehicle break down while driving is not a fun experience.  With the following Road Safety Tips from Gerber Collision and Glass you’ll be prepared in the even that your vehicle does break down while driving.

It may seem obvious, but the first thing you want to do is pull off the road.  Often in a panic, drivers will just stay in the lane where the car has stopped, but you want to pull as far away from traffic as possible to prevent an auto collision.

Next, alert other motorists that your vehicle is not drivable by using cones and emergency signals.  This will help drivers who are traveling at high speeds see your vehicle off to the side from a far distance and be able to switch lanes.

Always, remain in your vehicle.  Safety experts agree that under most circumstances if you are able to pull away from traffic, it is safest to remain in your vehicle until a law enforcement officer or road service provider arrives.

Finally, call for assistance.  If you have a emergency road side service or insurance policy that cover’s auto breakdown it’s best to contact them right away so they can send help.  Keep in mind that some service plans may only cover specific vehicles, so ask while you are on the phone with them.

Following those few safety tips in the event of a vehicle break-down will make the process a bit easier for you.

Teen Driving: How to begin teaching your teenager to drive

Teen Driving: You are not alone as you prepare your teen to be a safe and smart driver and Gerber Collision suggests taking the first step in preparing your teen to drive – being a role model.

Even though we don’t think our teens listen to us, according to research, teens value the opinions of their parents most of all.  That’s why sharing your knowledge of driving, car crashes, and road rules is so important as your teenagers learns to drive. Be a role model:

  • Always wear your safety belt.
  • Obey traffic laws.
  • Do not use a cell phone while driving.
  • Watch your speed.
  • Don’t tailgate.
  • Use your turn signals.
  • Don’t drive when angry or tired.
  • Talk to your teen about being a safe passenger

Being a role model will not only avoid dangerous auto collisions for you and your family, but the  earlier you address safety, the smoother the teaching process will be.

Be prepared in the event that you are involved in an auto collision accident

According to the National Safety Council, one in every eleven drivers will be involved in an auto collision this year. Gerber Collision wants to make sure you are prepared in the event that you are involved in an auto collision with the following 11 recommendations from the NSC.

1. Stop your vehicle if it is clear, safe and legal.

2. Move the vehicle out of the traveled roadway, if it is clear, safe and legal. (In some states it is against the law to move the vehicle from the place where the crash occurred. Know the ordinance in your area.)

3. Turn off the ignitions of the cars involved.

4. Make a first aid check of all persons involved in the crash.

5. Call the police and, if necessary, emergency medical services.

6. Mark the scene of the crash with retroreflective triangles.

7. Gather the names of all persons in the motor vehicles and people who witnessed the crash.

8. Make a quick diagram of where the vehicle occupants were seated and indicate the vehicles’ direction of travel and lane. Also note the date, time and weather conditions.

9. Ask to see the other driver’s license and write down the number.

10. Exchange insurance company information. Do not discuss “fault” or make statements about the crash to anyone but the police.

11. Get a copy of the police report of the crash from the local precinct.

The National Safety Council 2009.

Auto Collision during Rain, Snow, or Sleet

Motor Vehicle Crash Data recently reported that and estimated 5,505,000 auto collisions had property damage to their vehicles in a single year. Of that number, 620,000 were during rain storms and 184,000 were during snow/sleet.

So what can you do to avoid a collision during rain, snow, or sleet? Gerber Collision and Glass recommends the following:

1. Learn your car. Since each will handle differently, practice driving in winter conditions on roads that are familiar to you  – not on a main road.  Sharpen your winter weather skills and learn how your vehicle reactions to snowy conditions in places that are full light during the day such as an empty parking lot.

2. Drive Slowly.   It is much more difficult to suddenly stop on slick or snowy roads and also be sure to give plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

3. Stay Calm.   If you find yourself skidding during a rain or hail storm, gently ease your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want the front of your car to go.  Do not press on either the brake or gas until you have control of your car.

Those three tips will help drivers avoid auto collisions and if you find yourself driving in severe road conditions, pull over and wait out the storm, you’ll be glad you took the time.  And don’t forget to get your car serviced now to ensure optimal driving conditions.

Stay Safe During the Holiday Season

Stay Safe During the Holiday Season

 

Did you know there are more alcohol related accidents during the holidays than any other time of the year?  There is going to be many Christmas and New Year’s parties in the coming weeks.  Now is the time to prepare yourself for the events that you may consume alcohol.  Get together with your group of friends.  Talk about getting a taxi lined up.  Going in on a taxi van together is rather cheap and can save your life.  If you know someone is not going to be drinking, ask them to be your designated driver.  Never be embarrassed about asking someone. 

Gerber Collision and Glass wants you and your family to have a joyous holiday season.  Never drink and drive.  Don’t let any of your friends behind the wheel if they have been drinking. Set up a safe party.  Many companies are implementing them.  The liabilities of serving alcohol at work related parties have grown in recent years.  As the holidays approach, remember to have a plan.  Stick to it and have a safe New Year.

Always Travel Pet Friendly

Always Travel Pet Friendly

Did you know that 84 percent of pet owners drive with their little friend beside them at some point in their life?  This is a staggering statistic and a topic rarely discussed.  Let’s take a look at a few tips that will help your pet adjust to life on the road.

If you plan on having your pet drive with you it is best to start them out at an early age.  Take them for short trips so that they get used to the routine.  A car sick pet will make any travel experience miserable.  Use an upholstery protector to save your vehicle from any accidents.  A waterproof seat cover will make any clean ups much easier.  Keep some wipes handy for a quick cleanup.

Safely secure your pet while traveling.  It is recommended to put a dog in a harness or use the seat belt.  Cats are best protected in a crate.  Animals can become deadly projectiles in the event of a collision.  Do not attach a restraining device to your pets’ collar. This can lead to choking or neck injuries.  Never allow your pet to stick their head out the window.  Any flying debris can severely injure them.

Always have a supply of water on hand.  An animal confined in a car can become overheated very quickly.  Make sure they do not over eat before a trip.  The vibrations from the road will upset their stomach, especially if they are full.

Gerber Collision and Glass recommends your pet always travel with their identification tag on.  If you have to stop for them, they can become excited with the freedom.  Never leave your pet in a parked vehicle.  They can overheat three times quicker than a human.  Remember they are always wearing a coat, even in the DOG DAYS of summer.

Check Your Brakes Regularly

Check Your Brakes Regularly

Do you check your brakes regularly?  They seldom become an issue until there is a big problem.    Do not take this stand when it comes to your brakes.  Checking your brakes will alleviate costly repairs and dangerous driving conditions.  There are a few tips to consider that will put you and your family at ease.

Gerber Collision and Glass deal with many vehicles that are involved in accidents.  A number of these vehicles have less than satisfactory brakes.  It is essential to have them checked at least once a year.  Get the pads changed before they start digging in the rotors.  If you hear any squeaking, you are overdue.

If the brakes start sticking they may be failing to release.  Touchy brakes that engage with the least amount of pressure indicate a problem with lack of grease or loose components.  If they require a lot of pressure to engage this indicates a power brake flaw, frozen calipers or wheel cylinders, restricted hydraulic lines or damaged lines.

If you have a low peddle this may need some adjusting and can activate your brake warning light.  You may also notice your vehicle pulling to one side. This could be an under inflated tire or misadjusted brakes.  A vibration may also occur which may indicate that the disk brake rotors may need to be resurfaced.  If your vehicle experiences any of the occurrences, Gerber Collision and Glass recommends having a professional diagnose the condition of your brakes.  It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially with your vehicles brakes!

Driving in Rainy Weather

Driving in Rainy Weather

Being behind the wheel during a rain storm is no one’s ideal traveling day.  Moreover, rain contributes to many accidents every year.  It is dangerous and Gerber Collision and Glass urge you to use safety precautions while driving in the rain.  

Do not use the brakes if your car starts to skid. Steer in the direction that your car is skidding and slowly pump the brakes. Hydroplaning is common during wet weather.  This is when the car loses traction on the road.  Don’t brake if this happens.  Keep going slowly until the car regains traction. 

Make sure you turn on your headlights so other drivers can see you.  Put your windshield wipers on the correct speed when it is raining.  It takes longer to stop during a rainstorm, so never tailgate another vehicle.

Keep your vehicle maintenance in check in case you ever face a rainstorm.  Make sure your windshield wipers are working properly.  Always check your tires to make sure they are in good condition.  Always remember to drive at a slower pace when it is raining to avoid auto collisions.