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.

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

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 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

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!

Effects of Acid Rain on Cars

Effects of Acid Rain on Cars

Acid rain is the deposit of damaging toxins.  These pollutants can be wet or dry.  When the rain dries it leaves the acid.  The acid rain stays on the car.  Acid rain can cause damage to a vehicle.   It corrodes paint and makes cars look dirtier.  For the most part, acid rain damages the flat surfaces of a vehicle.  These areas include the trunk, hood and roof.

Avoiding some of the worst acid rain will help save your car’s paint.  Try and park your car in a covered area or a garage.  Have your car regularly washed and hand dry it.  Darker-colored cars will display wear sooner than a light-colored car.  Some manufacturers use acid resistant paints.  Clean your tires to avoid cracking from acid rain. 

You might have acid rain buildup on your windows and windshield if it has a filmy look.  Clean it with a vinegar and water mix.  One cup of vinegar to one quart of water should do the trick.  Hire a professional to have your paint cleaned up that has been exposed to acid rain.  Gerber Collision and Glass would like you to keep your car acid free.

Driving during a Tropical Storm

Driving during a Tropical Storm

Well it’s that time of year again.  It is time to go to the hardware store and get supplies like batteries, flashlights, and wood to board the windows.  If you live in the South or by the Coast you know exactly what we’re talking about.  You guessed it, hurricane season is upon us.  Florida just got pounded with heavy rains and winds for about five days from Tropical Storm Debby.  The accidents in the Orlando area were beyond belief.  A major stretch of Interstate 4 had nearly thirty collisions due to the wet conditions on the roads.  Is there anything we can learn from this? How different should we drive in tropical conditions?

                First off, if you have to be on the roads, you must drive slowly.  Speeding is the leading cause of accidents during undesirable conditions.  Vehicles can lose all traction and hydroplane when water is present on the roads.  Flooding can become a major concern, and it can happen quickly.  Roads can become hazardous within minutes of a heavy rainstorm.  You must proceed with caution.  Debris such as tree limbs can make the highway seem like an obstacle course.

  Winds can play tricks with your vehicle and make it unstable.  Gerber Collision and Glass have seen the results tropical weather can put on a vehicle.  Use common sense and always drive as slow as possible.  Check your local weather report before venturing out in these extreme conditions.  The smartest thing to do is stay off the roads if winds are strong enough to affect your driving.  Be smart and stay safe out there during hurricane season.

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.

Check your lights

Check your lights

Before venturing out these hot summer nights, make sure all your vehicle’s lights are working properly.  You should test out your lights every week.  Make sure all the blinkers are coming on.  The hazards should blink properly as well.  Test the headlights and the brights.  If they are dim, you may need to replace a bulb.  If any lights are out, check that the fuse is not blown.  Most importantly, the tail lights and brake lights should be illuminating properly.  Failure to have these working can result in a collision that is your fault.  Gerber Collision and Glass want you to stay safe this summer.  A safe vehicle is a properly maintained one.

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.

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.

10 things your car would tell you

10 things your car would tell you

 

 

 

 

1.  Change my engine oil

2.  Change my air filter

3.  Rotate my tires

4.  Change my fuel filter

5.  Replace my belt and hoses

6.  Give me a tune up

7.  Check and clean my plugs

8.  Replace my spark plug wires

9.  Check my PCV valve

10.  Keep me clean and in good condition

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.

School Zone Safety

School Zone Safety

          Over the past few years, safety in school zones has been going through a dramatic decline.  More and more we are seeing careless accidents in school zones. We see drivers going too fast or not stopping at crosswalks.  We need to focus on the issues that have led to this downfall of safety.  Children’s safety should be our top priority.

         Parents and guardians should remind their children that many drivers can be dangerous.  They should also remind their children to cross the street only at crosswalks and intersections.  Urge them to look both ways and use caution.  Children should not try and board a bus until it comes to a complete stop.  After exiting the bus they should only cross the street when in full view of the bus driver. 

                Drivers must remember that children have the right of way.  Stop at all intersections in school zones.  Remember kids don’t always cross where they are supposed to; it’s up to all drivers to be aware and use caution.  Drivers must also stop for school buses when their lights turn red.  Do not try and pass them before the lights change.  Remember you must also stop on both sides unless the lanes are divided by a barrier or median.

                Slow down when entering a school zone.  Obey the posted speed limits.  You will usually see flashing lights with a speed limit posted.  Gerber Collision and Glass cannot stress this issue enough.  Please slow down.  There is no reason that school zone safety should be on the decline.  If we all do our part we can make sure our children make it to and from school safely.

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.

Distracted Driving: Tips for Managing Distractions

Distracted Driving: Tips for Managing Distractions

Distracted driving is unsafe, irresponsible and in a split second, its consequences can be devastating. According to US Department of Transportation, in 2010 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving collisions.

Distracted driving consists of three areas: Manual, Visual, and Cognitive.  Manual, meaning a driver takes their hands off the wheel.  Visual, a driver takes their eyes off the road. And Cognitive, a driver takes their mind off the road.  All types of distractions can result in an auto collision and endanger the driver, passengers, and any other bystanders.

Some typical distractions include:

  • Texting or Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating, drinking, grooming
  • Talking to passengers
  • Reading, including maps such as a GPS
  • Watching a video, Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

To prevent distracted driving it begins with things you do BEFORE you get behind he wheel …

  • Preset radio stations, MP3 devices, and climate control.
  • Secure items that may move around when the car is in motion.
  • Send the messages you need before you leave and turn off or silence your phone.  It will prevent you from picking up the phone when you here it “beep” or “ring”.
  • Eat or drink before you hit the road.
  • Do your personal grooming at home – not in the car.
  • Review maps and driving directions before hitting the road
  • Ask a passenger to help you with activities that may be distracting.

Distracted driving causes auto collisions and is very serious safety problem.

What to do when you get a flat tire while driving on the highway

Having a flat tire when driving is not only frightening but also dangerous.  If you’re driving down the highway and notice that something isn’t right with your tires, grip your steering wheel and avoid slamming on the brakes.  Instead, Gerber Collision and Glass suggests that you should take your foot off the gas and let your vehicle slow down naturally.

To avoid a rear-end auto collision, steer your vehicle as it slows down into a safe place and then brake lightly until your vehicle comes to a complete stop.  You can always drive on a flat tire if you are at a slow speed.

Also all interstate highways and major roads are patrolled regularly and some even offer a call box phone.  If you’ve changed a flat tire on your own, it’s important to have a mechanic check the vehicle to ensure that no damage as been made to the vehicle in the aftermath.

Child Safety Seats – The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act

Many parents think they have installed their child safety seat correctly, but according to SAFE KIDS USA, 84% of child restraint systems installed have at least one critical misuse.

The Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act states that any person who is transporting a child under the age of 8 years in a non-commercial motor vehicle on the roadways, streets or highways of this State, shall be responsible for providing for the protection of such child by properly securing him or her in an appropriate child restraint system.

Gerber Collision urges parents and caregivers to visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Information for more information on child safety seats, laws, and safety technicians in your area. Certified child passenger safety technicians can inspect car seats and provide hands-on advice free of charge.