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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October is Car Care Month: 10 basic maintenance procedures to keep your car operating at its best

In recognition of National Car Care Month, Gerber Collision & Glass wanted to provide our car enthusiast’s with some tips for how to take care of your vehicle.  This awareness campaign focuses on the importance of car care and maintenance, especially for those that have drastic seasonal changes.

The Car Care Council recommends 10 basic maintenance procedures to keep your car operating at its best for the long haul:

  1. Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  1. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  1. Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
  1. Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  1. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
  1. Schedule a tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy and produce the lowest level of emissions.
  1. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
  1. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
  1. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  1. Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

Tips to keep you safe if your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road

The side of the road is a dangerous place. No matter how well you maintain your car, the possibility exists that you’ll find yourself broken down on the side of the road. Gerber Collision and Glass wanted to share the following steps from AAA to keep you and your family safe in the event of your vehicle breaks down.

Tips to keep you safe if your vehicle breaks down:

  • Move your vehicle off the road safely away from traffic.
  • Stay inside your vehicle and make sure all passengers stay inside, too. Keep doors locked and only roll down the window enough to ask any passersby to call police.
  • If you can’t move your vehicle off the road, ask all passengers to exit the vehicle when it is safe to do so, and stand away from traffic.
  • If you must walk to a phone, keep your group together.
  • Warn other drivers by raising the vehicle’s hood, tying a white cloth to a door handle or using reflective triangles or flares. Warning devices should be placed far enough away from the vehicle to give oncoming traffic time to react. A good rule of thumb: three devices at 100, 50 and 25 yards from the vehicle – or 300, 200 or 100 feet.

Breaking down on a roadway provides safety challenges so it’s important to be prepared for safety.

Source: What to Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down, The AAA Guide to Trouble-Free Travel and others

Changing Your Oil

Changing Your Oil

Changing your oil is vital for your vehicle and it will help to avoid costly issues.  It is recommended that you change your oil every 3,000 miles.  The oil filter may also need to be replaced. 

A technician will select the correct grade for your car.  At most places you can get a courtesy check for the engine air filter, antifreeze, brake, power steering, and automatic transmission fluid.

An oil change will put fresh oil into your car and drain the old oil.  This is important because the old oil can become filled with dust, and metal particles.  Your gas mileage can lower and cause engine failure without an oil change. 

Gerber Collision and Glass recommend that you keep up to date with your oil changes.

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.

Driving in windy weather

Driving in windy weather

Every driver should know tips on how to drive in windy weather.  Drivers may encounter high gusts of winds while they are driving.  .

Start off by dropping your speed. Be careful of any branches or trees that may fall onto the road. Driving slowly can reduce impact when running into any unpredicted debris.

Trucks, buses or vehicles towing trailers are the most prone to being blown off the course by the wind.  Pay attention to those vehicles.   Always keep both hands on the wheel to make sure you have control of your vehicle.

Seek shelter if the high winds turn into a tornado.  Don’t ever try and drive faster than the tornado in your car.   If there is no shelter close, exit your vehicle and find a ditch to stay in until it is safe.

If you are home don’t get in your car if you know there is a tornado in your area.  Wait until the bad conditions subside.

Gerber Collision and Glass advise you to always proceed with caution when you are driving in windy weather.

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

Service your transmission

Service your transmission

We all know the drill.  Get your oil changed every three thousand miles.  You here this time and time again to maintain you’re your vehicles engine.  You may be overlooking another maintenance issue that’s just as important.  It is recommended to have your transmission serviced every twenty five thousand miles.  Typical service includes changing the filter and adding new fluid.  It is important to check your vehicles manual for service instructions for your transmission.  All vehicles have different guidelines on what mileage to bring your car in.

It is just as important to keep fresh fluid in your transmission as it is oil in the engine.  Over time, this fluid can turn brown and become less effective.  The more wear and tear on your car, the more your transmission is working overtime.  Gerber Collision and Glass recommend checking your transmission fluid every couple of months.  The fluid should be a reddish color.  If there are any brown spots it could be time for servicing.

Driving in the summer rain

Driving in the summer rain

Gerber Collision and Glass would like to suggest some safety tips for driving in wet weather.  It is imperative that you can see and be seen.  It is more difficult to see other cars and the road.  Please slow down because it takes more time to stop in rainy weather. 

Before you go, make sure you wipe off the bottom of your shoes.  Your shoes will be wet and could slip off the pedals.  Check all of your lights and turn signals to make sure they are working properly. 

Check your tires often.  Bald tires will reduce your traction on the wet roads.  You could end up riding on a layer of water. 

Make sure you replace your wipers once a year.  Bad wipers will distort your view in rainy weather.   Turn on your wipers during bad weather.  Wipers will clear the rain from the windshield with every sweep. 

Make sure you turn on your headlights.  It helps all the other cars see you on the road.  This will keep you safe during rainy weather.  Rain can cause windows to mist up inside the car.  Turn the defroster on and make sure it is on heat.   Drivers should clean their windshield and windows often to help them see well.

If the rain is so heavy that you have no visibility, then it is time to pull over.   Stop at a protected area like a rest area.  If your only option is the roadside, then pull off as far as possible.  Alert other drivers by turning on your emergency flashers. 

Summer is here and so are the rains.  Always use common sense when driving in the rain.  Every driver can make a difference in the rain!

Cleaning Your Car Engine

A car owner needs to periodically clean the engine compartment.  This will prevent rust, help find belt wear, and look for oil or fluid leaks.  The proper temperature for cleaning the engine is warm.  You do not want it too hot. 

When the engine is warm, you need to spray it with a non-petroleum based degreaser.  In order to avoid getting degreaser in your face, you should start at the bottom and work your way up.  The degreaser should sit for five minutes.  Use a towel to remove the soiled areas.  After you have cleaned the engine rinse it with water. 

Remove the plastic bags and rubber banks once the engine compartment is clean.  Dry the battery and any puddles.  Start the engine to dry the rest of it.  Wax the painted areas of the engine.  Do not wax the engine itself. 

Disconnect the battery cables and clean the terminals and the battery posts.  You can use a wire brush to do this.  Check all the hinges, shocks, and throttle cables.  Make sure they have a thin coat of non-silicone lubricant.  Check all fluid levels.  Once all these tasks are done, you have completed cleaning your engine.  Gerber Collision and Glass encourage you to clean your engine compartment.

Rainy Summer Days

Rainy Summer Days

The rainy summer days are ahead of us.  We need to drive smart in stormy conditions.  It ismore difficult to see other cars and the road.  Practicing extra safety precautions during a rainy road trip will keep you and others safe. 

Keep the proper distance from the car ahead of you.  It takes longer to stop in wet weather.  The 3 second rule or longer should be followed.  Slow down your driving speed.  Accidents happen more in wet weather.

Turn your headlights on even in a light rain.  They will help other drivers see you.  If your vehicle has daytime running lights you still should put them on, so vehicles behind you can see you better. 

Replace windshield wipers at the beginning of the season to prepare for the weather.  Bad wipers can distort your view in rainy weather. 

Check your tires frequently. Bald tires significantly decrease your traction on wet roadways.  If your tires are bald, the water has no place to go and you end up driving on water, and have a chance of hydroplaning.

Gerber Collision and Glass would like you to enjoy your summer with your family and friends and keep safe on the roadways.

 

 

Teen Car Collisions

Teen Car Collisions

Teenage car accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths. Teenage car collisions are an enormous problem. Understanding the causes of teen car accidents is the first step to help our teenagers.

Most teenage car accidents happen because teen drivers lack experience. They are not prepared for situations such as bad weather conditions, night time driving, and road rage.  If a teenage driver is immature they are more likely to act irresponsibly behind the wheel and cause horrible car crashes.

Almost one third of all fatal teen car crashes involve speeding.  Many teen drivers speed. Some of them are trying to show off to their friends or seek thrill.   Speeding is very dangerous for teens.

Drinking and driving is becoming an increasing problem with teenagers. They lack the experience of how alcohol affects their body.  They get behind the wheel and cause dangerous accidents

Many teenage drivers get very distracted.  They text and drive, talk on the cell phone and change radio stations.  The distraction level goes up when there is passengers in the car.  Their friends can be loud.  They dare them to do risky behavior.  Statistics on teen car accidents have revealed that the number of fatal car crashes among teenage drivers increase with each additional passenger.

Teenage drivers are the least likely to wear a seatbelt.  Approximately two thirds of teenagers who die in fatal car accidents were not wearing a seat beat.

Gerber Collision and Glass hope that parents take action to help prevent teenage car accidents.  Let’s keep our teenagers safe.

Proper Tire Maintenance

Proper Tire Maintenance

Tires are the only connection between your car and the road.  Taking good care of them is such an important obligation by any car owner.  Do not let your tires get neglected. 

Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure.  Not only are under inflated tires more susceptible to destruction and failure, they can lead to greater fuel costs.  Balanced tires are vital for a smooth ride and long tire wear. Tires are out of balance when one section is heavier than the others.  Balancing tires is done by positioning weights on the wheel to counterbalance heavy spots on the wheel-and-tire assembly.

Good wheel alignment is critical for getting the most tread wear and life from your tires. Wheel alignments adjust a vehicle’s suspension so the wheels are positioned correctly relative to the vehicle’s frame. This modification maximizes the life of your tires and prevents your car from veering left or right when traveling on a straight level road.  If your car pulls or goes sideways from a straight line then you might need an alignment.

Tire rotation is crucial for improving a tire’s lifespan. Rotating tires on a consistent basis improves wear across the complete tread pattern.  Rotate your tires at least every 6,000 miles, or earlier, depending on tire wear.

Tire maintenance is really imperative for ensuring your safety while you drive. Your tires are what let you move.  However, a tire failure will forbid this, and it will likely happen while you are driving.  Gerber Collision and Glass urge you to take care of your tires.

Thieves stealing older cars

Thieves stealing older cars

Would a car thieve rather steal an old car or a new one?  Surprisingly, thieves tend to steal older cars because they are easier to snatch.  There is also a demand for their parts.  They don’t steal a car because they want them or because they want to sell them.   Car thieves usually steal in order to strip the car and sell its parts off piecemeal, generating far more funds than the car itself is worth. The majority of stolen cars go to chop shops.

There are a few things you can do to prevent car theft.  Don’t leave your car unlocked or hide your keys in your favorite hiding spot.  Always roll up your windows and keep your keys with you.  Install a car alarm in your car.  Place a sticker on the outside of your car so everyone knows that you have an alarm in your car.

Add a steering column collar to prevent hotwiring, a steering wheel lock, and get a smart key to keep your ride safe.  Many car thefts know how to steal a car even with an alarm, so get a vehicle recovery system to track a stolen car.

If you have safety devices in place, many car insurance companies will give you a discount.  Please do your part in protecting your car from theft to help keep insurance rates down.  Gerber Collision and Glass direct you to always lock your doors.

Catalytic converter theft on the rise

Catalytic converter theft on the rise

Throughout the United States, the theft of catalytic converters is skyrocketing.  They are pipes underneath your vehicle that help reduce pollution.  The reason for the alarming trend is that the converters are made from precious metals.  These metals are being scrapped for as much as two hundred dollars, per pipe, by the thieves.   As the value of these metals rise, so has the theft of them.

There are a few ways you may be able to protect your vehicle from this type of theft.  Have your license plate number engraved on the catalytic converter.  This will deter the robbers from stealing it because it could be easily traced by the police.  You may also want to check with a reputable muffler shop to see the cost of having it welded to your vehicle.

 Vehicles that are higher off the ground are more susceptible to this type of crime. Park your car in well-lit areas to fend off thieves.  You can also purchase a security system that has sensors underneath the vehicle.  Gerber Collision and Glass want to ensure the safety of you and your vehicle.  The cost of replacing a catalytic converter can run upwards of two thousand dollars.  Be aware of this growing crime and take the proper precautions to protect your vehicle.

Emergency vehicle kit

 

`Emergency vehicle kit

We may not all be experts, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have the best tools in case of an emergency with our vehicle. Here are some things you should have in your emergency car kit.

A good vehicle tool kit includes:

    * Jumper cables
    * Screwdrivers—Phillips and flat head
    * Pliers
    * Set of socket wrenches
    * Duct tape
    * Electrical wire tape
    * Electrical wire spray
    * Flashlight with extra batteries
    * Small fire extinguisher

 

Gerber Collision and Glass recommend every vehicle be equipped with a vehicle tool kit.  Be prepared and avoid being stranded without any means to repair a broken down vehicle.

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.

Love Bug Season

Love Bug Season

Well, it’s that time of year again.  You all in the south know exactly what we’re talking about.  You got black stuff all over the windshield.  You have to use your wipers every other minute to clear your view.  You also find black stains all over the front of your vehicle.  If you guessed love bug season, then you have experienced this nuisance a time or two.  Is there anything that can be done to help your vehicle through this mess?  Let’s take a look at a few steps you can take to make love bug season a little better for you and your vehicle.

First off, you are going to want to wash and wax your vehicle often during love bug season.  Use a high quality wax with a polymer. This will make it easier to remove the bugs.  Make sure your radiator is clear and that no bugs get through.  You may also want to apply a “bra” on the front of your car to protect the paint.  Love bugs have a very high acidic residue that can damage the paint.  Take every precaution you can.  There are also products out there that can help your windshield.  Gerber Collision and Glass recommend visiting your local automotive store and get the best windshield treatment solution available.  If you get stuck in a love bug swarm, these tips will help you get through another love bug season.

Summer is on the way

Summer is on the way

Well, it’s almost the end of another school year.  It’s time to start the barbecues and pool parties.  It’s also time to prepare your vehicle for the summer heat.  Heat can put tremendous pressure on your vehicles engine.  Your car needs to stay cool just like we do, especially during the brutally hot summer months.  Make sure your radiator is cooling your vehicle properly.  Check the temperature gauge and make sure you are not running hot.

Gerber Collision and Glass strongly recommend having a certified mechanic inspect your radiator and thermometer before the heat arrives.  It is also recommended to have your battery tested if you have not replaced it within a few years.  It is just as important to prepare your vehicle for extreme heat as it is with the frigid cold.  Stay cool this summer.

Keep your speed down

Keep your speed down

Speeding tickets can be very expensive and give you unwanted points on your license. Drivers need to make the smart decision and obey the speed limit. Law enforcement is looking for speeders and giving them harsh penalties.

Pay attention to the speed limit signs on the side of the road. Check your speedometer to make sure you are not going over the limit. Don’t get distracted by talking on the phone or doing something that takes your focus away from the road.

Gerber Collision and Glass have seen the aftermath of vehicles involved in accidents. More often than not, these vehicles were speeding or hit by someone going over the limit. Be smart out there on the highways. The road is no place to lose your patience.