The things that people try to fit into their cars


What is wrong with people? Would you do this with your new car? A full-sized refrigerator is a pretty sizable appliance, usually requiring at least a van or pickup truck to haul to its destination. But some people, and there’s no good way to put this, some people are just idiots. The picture above is a real picture. Someone really tried to transport a refrigerator that way. It was also something the police in Richmond, British Columbia, had to remind a shopper who thought a few ropes and a prayer would get this fridge home in the trunk of a Honda Accord.

Police said they received a call of a dangerous driving situation outside a store called Liquidation World. As you can see in the above photo taken by the RCMP, the fridge — secured with ropes tied to the rear seat belts…SEAT BELTS! I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think this would instill a lot of confidence I I saw this guy in from of me on the Highway.

What was the craziest thing you’ve seen someone try to transport in their vehicle? Maybe they should consider coming to Freeman Grapevine for something a bit larger.

The factors that influence your insurance rates

There are many factors that influence insurance coverage

Love it or hate it, you are required to hold insurance on every vehicle you drive…period. Now don’t go trying to run to another state to escape having to hold insurance coverage, as every state requires it. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s say that you’ve got a good driving record and all of the added claimed factors that could mess up your insurance rates are absolutely in your favor. Yet, your car insurance is still high. . Yet your unemployed, accident prone, ticket collecting buddies across the US pay less for their car insurance?

Now, I know this doesn’t seem fair, but there are many factors that go into your car insurance rate. Some of it you can change and some of it you can’t change.

You can’t change:

  • Your age
    Dick Clark and Sophia Loren notwithstanding, aging is unavoidable. And while you may be a mature-looking teen or a youthful octogenarian, the oldest and the youngest drivers are far more likely to have accidents.
  • Gender
    Whether it’s the mothering instinct or fewer NASCAR fantasies, women statistically make safer drivers.
  • Marital Status
    OK, you can change this, but there have been no reports of people marrying simply to lower their insurance rates.

You can change:

  • Geography
    Where you live matters. For instance, those living in rural America are far less likely to have a collision or a stolen car than those living in a city. But, sometimes even just moving across the street can change your rate.
  • Driving violations
    Speeding tickets, running red lights, failure to yield, etc. all count toward your auto insurance rate.
  • Your vehicle
    If you must have that cherry red Corvette or the Ferrari GTO, be prepared to pay for it. Your insurance premiums will be higher.
  • Accident claims
    While you can’t change the past, keeping your slate clean and free of accidents will hold you in better stead than lots of fender benders.
  • Credit rating
    That’s right -” many insurance companies view having a poor, or even no credit history as suggestive of higher risk.”
  • Occupation
    A little easier said than done. Believe it or not, insurers have found correlation between your occupation and risk. Makes sense that the pizza delivery guy could be a higher risk!

Even when you think you have everything in your favor there are still a few other things that can affect your insurance rates such as:

  • Miles driven per year
  • Distance to work
  • Occupation
  • Years of driving experience
  • Business use of the vehicle
  • Whether or not you currently have auto insurance
  • Theft protection devices (often results in discounts)
  • Multiple cars and drivers (another opportunity for discounts)

Now that you are thoroughly overwhelmed, your best bet is to take your time and comparison shop. It will certainly pay off in the long run.

Can you pick out reckless drivers?

What is an unsafe or reckless driver? Think of it this way, is it someone who speeds or someone talking on their cell as they blow through a stop sign? It’s obvious the latter.

I’m not going to preach to anyone that ‘Speed Kills’ when it has been proven that speed on it’s own is not the killer. We all exceed the speed limit. It’s when you mix in your in ability to control your vehicle because you lack focus. Basically, it’s speed combined with any of the following

1) Drink or Drugs
2) Dangerous Driving
3) Reckless Driving

…. this is what causes the accidents and kills.

Please, always remember. Be safe, be alert, be cautious and arrive alive.

Now the general tone of this video was humorous, but trust me when I tell you that there are plenty more reckless driving videos on the net that I could have pulled up that would have ruined your day. For the time being I hope this video puts some people back in touch with reality when they get behind the wheel.

Focus. Be alert. Know your surroundings, including vehicles, pedestrians and objects. If you refuse to stay vigilant behind the wheel, then you are driving recklessly by default. Please drive carefully.

This is just a friendly reminder from your me and the rest of us at Freeman Grapevine.

Please Read! Tips for Parking Your Cars!

I don’t know if people have stopped caring about how they park their cars or what, but I think a refresher course in parking is a must! Even if you think you are good at parking your vehicle I still think you should have a read of these great tips on how to correctly park your cars!

Something that I’m sure not only annoys just me is when is when people double park their vehicles. It always happens when you’re running late and that super close parking spot that would be just perfect for you is only half the size you need it to be because someone decided to use just part of it.

In attempts to rid of people of doing that, here are some great tips parking tips for your cars!  Some of these tips may be pretty basic, but heck, you’ve got to start somewhere!

  • Park where cars are allowed to be parked.
  • If there are painted lines for your parking spot, try to park in the center of them. Never park across them.
  • Use your parking brake. You never know when you might end up with an escape artist.
  • If you have an automatic vehicle, put it inpark. If you have a manual, leave it in gear.
  • If you park on flat surface leave your wheel straight. If you park facing downhill turn your wheels to the right (towards the curb) just in case your car gets loose it will just run into the curb and stop itself.
  • Park uphill by turning your tires away from the curb. Turn wheels to the right if you have don’t have a curb and are uphill.
  • When you are exiting your parking place always look out in the traffic before you move. And use your turn signal well.
  • Don’t try to squeeze into a parking space. This will only result in door dings and possibly some angry folks who can barely get into their own car.

Use common courtesy when it comes to parking your vehicle. Bad parking can ruin someone’s day and could even result in some unnecessary door dings. And no one likes door dings! If you have any parking tips or stories you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Comment below or stop by Freeman Grapevine Buick GMC today!

Do you use child restraints properly?

I found a perfect example of the how important it is to not only use a protective child seat, but to understand how to install it properly. Read below. I found this story at consumer reports. Not only does it emphasize the importance of child restraints, but also wearing YOUR seat belt as well!

You never think it’s going to happen to you. I was driving up to visit a friend for a playdate, both kids, 2 and 4, in the back. This was a tough winter in the northeast, and the roads were not perfect.

I was trundling along at the speed limit, not talking on the phone, not texting, when I hit some ice on the road. I completely lost control of the car, which hit the snow bank on the side of the highway. The car rolled one-and-a-half times and ended up upside down on the side of the highway.

I was trapped in the seatbelt (thank goodness!) and the kids were suspended from their carseats. Four or five cars stopped, reaffirming my faith in human nature, and helped us all out of the car, which was totaled. The kind strangers stayed with us until the police and ambulance arrived. Bottom line, we were all OK (except for the car).

This is what I took away from the incident: We were very lucky, but it wasn’t just luck that protected us that day. I was driving a Consumer Reports recommended vehicle. The kids were in Consumer Reports’ top-rated, carseats, which happen to be inexpensive. The seats were properly installed. The kids were correctly buckled in. My 4 year old, being just under 40 pounds (he’s a skinny one), was still using the 5-point restraint.

Things could have been, and likely would have been, very different if I didn’t use Consumer Reports ratings and follow Consumer Reports advice. My kids and I walked away from a horrific accident without a scratch. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I owe my life and my family to the people here who work day in and day out to provide this information to the public.

This is just one story out of the 1,000’s of serious accidents that happen every year. Luckily, this one had a happy ending, but not all are as lucky.

A properly used and installed car seat is paramount when driving with children. Further, you can teach them the importance of using their seatbelts as they get older. Hopefully, by the time hey start driving, using their seatbelt will be automatic.

Just have a baby? If you have any questions on how to properly install your car seat, swing by and we’ll show you!

How’s Your Timing with Changing your Timing Belt

Q: What’s one of the worst things that can happen to your engine?

A:  Really poor “timing” changing your timing belt.

Let’s say that your vehicle is roughly 6 years old. You’ve never had any issues mechanically and as far as you are concerned, the engine purrs like a kitten. You may even pop your hood every now and then to tug on your fan belt, fill your wiper fluid, heck, maybe you can even change your own oil. However, there is a engine killer that lurks in the dark that rarely gets checked or is even remembered. It’s your timing belt.

Here’s the rub when it comes to changing your timing belt at the manufacturer’s prescribed intervals. Let’s say, for years your car has just been the perfect vehicle. Until one day you are cruising along and the engine suddenly goes dead silent. Guess what? Your vehicle’s timing belt failed!

Now is when the real pain starts. Not only do you have to pay for the tow and the belt replacement, but also a costly valve job due to the damage the broken timing belt has caused. You’re one of the unfortunate car owners with an “interference engine” …A What?– That is an engine that can leave one or more valves still propped open far enough to contact a piston with valves and the belt parts. Sadly, car sales brochures don’t list whether or not an engine might suffer catastrophic damage if the belt goes. But trust me…a broken timing belt will leave you with considerable more expenses. In fact, you might have to replace your engine all together.

Check out the video below for more…engine terror:

So, as you can see the mere act of reading your owners manual and paying better attention to your maintenance schedule can save you from making a costly mistake of omission. Remember, in most cases, the broken timing belt unpleasantness could have been prevented with timely maintenance. I can’t say this enough: Replace the timing belt according to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended schedule. It’s just that easy.

If you’d like to avoid a catastrophic engine seizure or your manual (hint, hint) says it’s time for a change. Don’t wait. Call me so I can save you time, money and all of the headaches that also come with a broken timing belt.

Do you know how to handle a tire blowout?

If you’ve never experienced a tire blowout, let me just tell you that it’s beyond scary. This is especially true if you don’t know how to handle the vehicle in this situation. There are several reasons a tire may blow out. The two most common reasons have to do with the air pressure.  Too low of pressure causes the tire to flex more than they are designed to, and if the pressure if too high, the tires a stressed beyond the designed limits.

The easy way to avoid a blowout, is to check your tire pressure at least once month (especially during the summer). However, checking the tire pressure is not a sure-fire way to avoid a blowout. There could be a defect in the tire itself or the wheel, in which case you’d be none the wiser.

The best thing I can suggest to you is to be prepared. Know what to do and what to expect when it happens.

Step 1: Stay cool.

Ignore your natural instinct to hit the brakes or jerk the steering wheel when you have a blowout.

Step 2: Accelerate slightly.

Accelerate slightly to maintain control of the vehicle. Keep going straight.

Tip: Hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands at 10 o’clock and two o’clock on the wheel to avoid losing control.

Step 3: Decelerate.

Ease off the accelerator slowly.

Step 4: Coast.

Maintain your course while the vehicle slows.

Step 5: Apply brakes.

Apply the brakes gently when your car slows to 30 miles per hour.

Step 6: Turn on right turn signal.

Tip: Never stop on the left side of the road, if possible. This is the most dangerous place to be.

Step 7: Pull over.

Pull your vehicle off to the side of the road, and breathe a sigh of relief…you’ve just survived a blowout.

[How Cast]

Are Self-inflating tires a myth?

Science Fiction, or Science Fact? The self-inflating tire: I know we’ve all heard of it’s purported existence, but now it looks like it may come to fruition. That means no more loud compressors, say goodbye to leaky hoses and inaccurate tire gauges. The good people at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company have apparently developed a system which will allow tires to self-inflate automatically.

The technology that Goodyear has developed is called Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) and is completely self-contained, without any need for external pumps or electronics.

“While the technology is complex, the idea behind the AMT system is relatively simple and powered by the tire itself as it rolls down the road,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear senior vice president and chief technical officer.

Here is some theory behind the science.

Now that you know that self-inflating tires are indeed Science Fact don’t bother searching the net just yet for this new tire technology, Goodyear has yet to provide any costs, or even an estimate when the technology will become available to the public. However, don’t let that crush your self-inflating dreams. Goodyear has received grants from the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technology to help further development.

Aside from the “cool” factor, keeping your tires at optimal operating pressure delivers lower emissions, longer tire life, enhanced safety and improved vehicle performance.

Stay tuned for further details. I’ll keep an eye on this topic for a future post. How great would it be if keeping your tires at optimal pressure just meant a quick trip to the corner store for some milk? It’s just one less maintenance issue you will be responsible for in the future.

What you SHOULDN’T do when encountering a tornado on the road

…to seeking cover under an overpass during a tornado

The misconception is that the wind associated with a tornado is confined to within the visible funnel cloud. Unfortunately, a tornado is not a vacuum cleaner hose hanging out of the sky. One possibility why many people think that being under an overpass offers protection is that with something above them, the bridge will prevent the wind from going ‘up’ underneath the overpass. This simply is just not true.

There is no doubt that essentially living at the southern tip of tornado alley we get to see our fair share of destructive tornadoes. Being in your home is one thing, you can take shelter in an interior room. However, what do you do if you are caught out on the road? I know every one’s first instinct is to protect their car and themselves and their first instinct is to take shelter under the nearest immovable object like an overpass. If you know anything about physics, you should rethink this tactic. The fact of the matter is that you may have just made your situation much worse.

Actually, the interaction between a tornado and an overpass is much more like this.

…and here’s a visual reference behind the science.

This is why one of the first and foremost rules in general tornado safety is to get as low as possible, because that is where the wind speed is the lowest! By climbing up underneath the overpass,  you are moving into a place where the wind speeds are typically higher. In addition, under an overpass, it is possible in some situations that when air is forced through the narrow passage underneath the bridge, this might cause an increase in the wind speeds (as mentioned earlier). Further, under different circumstances, the area beneath and just downstream of an overpass might become a debris deposition zone, where piles of debris accumulate. Think a hard rain is uncomfortable? Try being pelted with glass, shards of metal, splintered wood, hail and everything else that’s been hurled into the air.

Information from tornadochaser.net

If on a road, hide under an overpass if a tornado approaches.
The sad fact is this idea has caused many deaths of motorists already. The worst thing you can do is hide under an overpass. Winds can actually be worse under an overpass which makes it a bad place to go. Please listen, never use an overpass for protection.  

Open your windows during a tornado?
Scientists once thought that the low pressure in a tornado caused the normal air pressure in
houses to explode out. It turned out that the strong winds from the tornado destroyed the
houses, not the pressure change. If the tornado wants your windows open, it will open them for you.

The southwest corner of a basement is the safest place to go during a tornado.
The best place to go during a tornado is in a center room of the basement, like ones that are usually found under the stairs that lead down to the basement. I was once thought that the SW corner was the best place to go, but it was found the debris collects it the corners which makes it a bad place to go.

Tornadoes can’t cross water or where rivers meet.
Many tornadoes have crossed rivers & lakes, with out any effect to the tornado.

Tornadoes can not cross big hills or mountains.
Tornadoes have made damage paths up and down the side of 10,000 foot mountains, in Wyoming so the hills in eastern Kansas will not protect you.

Tornadoes can’t/don’t hit big cities.
Miami, FL, Nashville, TN,  Wichita, KS, Fort Worth, TX, and Oklahoma City  have all been hit by tornadoes in the past few years. Take shelter if a tornado warning is issued for your city.

To see what happens when you take shelter under an overpass take note of the people the pass before under the overpass and again after they drove back through.

So far, this has been the deadliest year for tornadoes across the US. North Texas and specifically DFW (none of us forget the tornado that his Fort Worth) are susceptible to extreme weather. It’s my responsibility to make sure that all of you are provided with the best information possible about your car, driving, etc. However, it’s just as important , if not more-so, that you understand the appropriate action to be taken should you ever encounter a tornado while on the road…What you decide to do or not do can potentially have fatal outcomes. I hope you will remember this article if you ever are in this situation.

What would your vanity plate say?

“You’re so vain!”

We all seen them. You may actually have one. The Vanity license plate. It can say a lot about the driver who owns the plate. I’ve personally never owned a vanity, but I’ve certainly seen my fair share.

Well, as it turns out, the vanity plate has come a fairly long way in a relatively short period of time. What was once an fairly low cost way to personalize your vehicle has now become big business.

After years of selling vanity plates as a modest sideline — charging as little as $5 — states think there’s more money to be made in whatever drives people to buy them. Facing budget crunches, states are raising surcharges or proposing annual fee hikes for custom plates.

Texas has gone a step further. It hired a private company to raise $25 million over the next five years by auctioning off vanity plates.

“People like to express themselves, especially in Texas,” says a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

In fact, vanity plates can boost self esteem for the simple reason that vanity plates say “who I am and what I want people to know about me”. It’s like a mission statement.

In turn, a paper published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology in 2008 found that drivers with vanity plates, bumper stickers and other “territory markers” were far more likely to use their vehicles to express rage — by honking, tailgating and other aggressive behavior.

This year, at the nation’s first such auction, Texas sold 33 plates for $139,400. That’s a hefty chunk of change!

However, don’t think that you can just get anything on those plates. I believe all states who allow vanity plates also regulate what you can and can’t express. States have long denied certain combinations of letters or numbers considered obscene or inappropriate, sparking battles with motorists….and well, some are just down, right dumb like: “3XWYVS,” “H8CATS” and “TROFYWIF.”

So, if you were going to get a vanity plate, what would it say? Leave me a comment below, let’s see how creative you can get!

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