Category Archives: Safe Driving

How Often Do You Rotate Your Tires?

I would say that the majority of people know that regular scheduled maintenance is a necessity when it comes to owning a car to keep it running properly. One of the most common maintenance produces is getting oil changed. A no -brainer, right?! Well, you’d think so, but there are a handful out there that just don’t get their oil changed. And then they end up with some major, and sometimes even irreversible damage to their vehicles engine.

But enough about the importance of oil changes. Another important maintenance procedure you need to have done is getting your tires rotated. Now this one I can understand being overlooked….sometimes!  For some reason, people seem to always forget about the tires, which is crazy to me because they are the ones doing the ground work…no pun intended!

Keeping your tires properly maintained not only keeps you safe…very important, but also helps you to get the most wear out them as well.  And if that’s not enough, rotating your tires also helps you get better gas mileage as well  which all adds up to saving money, and, in this economy is a very important thing.

If you find that you have trouble remembering to rotate your tires, I suggest you add it in when you get your oil changed. To get the most of your tires, you want to keep them on a regular rotation so that they wear evenly. But even more frequently, you should at least check the tire pressure. Driving with low tire pressure is unsafe and can make your tires more susceptible to flats and punctures and can even make driving your vehicle challenging.

If you need a service shop, then of course I recommend giving Freeman Grapevine a try and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  And of course you’re always welcome to come check out our great selection of new and use vehicles too!

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Don’t Mess With Low Water Crossings!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/92795775@N00/5245640991/in/photolist-8Zxhj4-2W1Gg-4wn9j9-aVZpQi-aVZR2P-4VyHrz-gY9rGp-eZP3qR-bWKnKT-4TB3yX-7nfQ3J-7nfPq9-8ZQVjA-74pH8o-qF47qr-nRF2yr-7GE7Hm-aqesWE-aHBuu8-6kyKox-8S6FSf-oMi7Az-fXYURc-fQC6s6-4YjBcm-5XQgJZ-x2QrE-cBp56w-9z6YG9-5axk3q-8G3b69-fXCxq5-6pfYRJ-auk5da-e1kVW9-9aQCf2-ampfPs-gYaG2n-8KPtE3-79ifzS-92uU4K-pQMmfA-j4VCQQ-92y37G-92uVkH-92uW3k-92uUYX-92y363-92uUT6-7oJGBZ
Gavin Tapp, Flickr Creative Commons

And the hits just keep on coming!  Here we are feeling like we’re getting all our entire year’s worth of rainfall in just a couple months. A friend of mine texted me this morning and said, “My pool is about to crest so we got 4″ overnight”.

But on a serious note here folks, it’s been heavy rains all spring long, with the worst coming in this last month and a half. First responders are over-taxed with their regular work servicing car accidents and the usual problems associated with bad weather without having to add water rescues, or even worse, recoveries to their pile. You’ve seen the signs, billboards, and TV spots: “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” and “Arrive Alive”.

There’s a reason they have to tell you that bit of obvious information. It wasn’t so obvious to quite a few people before you. Moving water is a powerful force, that’s how hydroelectric dams work. Heck it’s how flour mills worked back in your great-great’s days. If flowing water can turn massive stone wheels to grind your great-great’s corn, or turn massive electric generators to create power…why would you think it couldn’t shove your car or truck around just a little bit?

So to beat this bit of obvious into your head a little bit, if there is flowing water over the road, find another way to your destination or just wait it out. There is nothing so important on the other side of the road.

Yeah, but…

But nothing. Even if your kids are in school on the other side of that low water crossing, the school KNOWS it’s raining and will plan accordingly. In these days of cell phones, there is almost nothing you cannot organize while you wait for the waters to recede. Don’t be selfish and put yourself, your property, or a first responder at risk by being in a hurry!

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Don’t Underestimate The Dangers Of Railroad Crossings

Freeman Grapevine is back with another tale of some really dumb driving.  As many of you already know, railroad lines tic-tac across the state in almost every city and town. Many of the crossings are clearly marked with lights and gates, however there are a few that aren’t as clearly marked as they should be and thus can pose a hazard to the unsuspecting motorist. I think, for the most part though that many of the collisions between cars and trains are a direct result of driver error. And in many cases, driver stupidity.

Here’s what I mean. I was waiting at a rail crossing the other day, in fact I was the very first car in line. No big deal, sometimes you just have to wait these things out, besides, It would only be a couple of minutes out of my day to allow the train to pass by. And that’s when it happened, a car two vehicles behind my GMC darts out of line and attempts to navigate around the lowered crossing arms. I laid on my horn knowing that what this person was doing wasn’t only a danger to himself, but to those of us at the front of the line as well as the engineer.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! He made it around with just seconds between him and the passing train, made a right turn and continued down the road before the train ended up blocking my view.

I didn’t know if I was more scared, or furious that this individual would create such a dangerous situation. As I continued to think about it, the rail gates raised and I made a right, headed in the same direction as our train-dare-devil did and low an behold, who was stopped at the very next red light? You guessed it, our idiot driver. All of that, just to be stuck at the same red light I was at. Evidence that it simply doesn’t pay to take such dumb risks.

The following figures are courtesy of car-accidents.com:

According to the US Department of Transportation there are about 5,800 vehicle train crashes each year in the United States-usually at Railroad crossings. These accidents kill 600 people and injure about 2,300. More than 50% of all railroad fatal accidents occur at crossings with passive, or inadequate safety devices (often none at all!). During daylight about 75% of car train collisions involve the train hitting the car, while at night about 50% of the time the car runs into the train!

Car vs. Train accidents are very serious things. Do not attempt to outrun a train, or cross the guard barriers, you are tempting fate. Besides, what can be so important that would cause you to be so ridiculously irresponsible? The answer is: nothing. Respect railroad crossings, not just for your own good, but for the safety of those you should be waiting in line with.

If you have any stories about drivers you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to leave your recount in the comments section below. Freeman Grapevine cares about your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Proper Mirror Adjustment May Prevent An Accident!

As soon as you get into your car, and even before you crank that engine and start driving on metroplex highways, do you know what you should do?  It’s a very simple task that can  certainly help you prevent getting into an accident.  You should adjust your mirrors! Yup! A simple adjustment to your mirrors might mean the difference of seeing your blind spot and not! Further, you’d be surprised at how many people DON’T adjust their mirrors the right way.

It’s quite simple really. There are two easy adjustments that can be made to your mirrors.  First, you should focus on eliminating your blind spots. After all, it’s what you can’t see that you end up hitting. Here’s a video from Auto Focus on how to do this:

Don’t think that you can just set and forget your mirrors just once either. You should set them every time you get in your car.  I’m serious. You might think it’s overkill, but you may sit in a different position each time, or share a vehicle with a family member. If that’s the case, you’ll need to adjust them each time.  I’m sure you know many accidents are caused because one driver didn’t see the other.  So why not take a few extra seconds to set your mirrors properly.

Do you have any safety tips to share that are often neglected?  If so, let your Dallas Fort Worth Buick GMC dealer, Freeman Grapevine know.

This Is Your Car Accident Checklist

The Freeman Grapevine Service Department has seen a lot of vehicles come through our shop that have been in accidents. I always wonder how it happened, and hope those involved are OK. Then I got to thinking, and felt it was time for a refresher course on what do you do after being in a car accident? You may have been in an accident before, so you know how stressful it can be. Even in minor fender benders, there is important information that you’ll need to gather after you’ve obviously collected yourself.

*Before you do anything, make sure everyone is OK. Once all parties have ascertained that there are is no need for emergency medical assistance you can continue to obtain the information that you will need*

I pulled the following information below from Edmunds.com

1. Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Glove Compartment. Drivers should carry a cell phone, as well as pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera to take photos of the vehicles at the scene, and a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries. Also, keep a list of contact numbers for law enforcement agencies handy. Drivers can keep this free fill-in-the-blanks accident information form in their glove compartment. The DocuDent™ Auto Accident Kit ($19.95), supported by AAA and insurance companies, offers a comprehensive kit that includes a flashlight, reusable camera and accident documentation instructions. A set of cones, warning triangles or emergency flares should be kept in the trunk.

2. Keep Safety First. Drivers involved in minor accidents with no serious injuries should move cars to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving cars parked in the middle of the road or busy intersection can result in additional accidents and injuries. If a car cannot be moved, drivers and passengers should remain in the cars with seatbelts fastened for everyone’s safety until help arrives. Make sure to turn on hazard lights and set out cones, flares or warning triangles if possible.

3. Exchange Information. After the accident, exchange the following information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver’s name is different from the name of the insured, establish what the relationship is and take down the name and address for each individual. Also make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color — and the exact location of the collision and how it happened. Finally, be polite but don’t tell the other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.

4. Photograph and Document the Accident. Use your camera to document the damage to all the vehicles. Keep in mind that you want your photos to show the overall context of the accident so that you can make your case to a claims adjuster. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information; they may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.

5. File An Accident Report. Although law enforcement officers in many locations may not respond to accidents unless there are injuries, drivers should file a state vehicle accident report, which is available at police stations and often on the Department of Motor Vehicles Web site as a downloadable file. A police report often helps insurance companies speed up the claims process.

6. Know What Your Insurance Covers. The whole insurance process will be easier following your accident if you know the details of your coverage. For example, don’t wait until after an accident to find out that your policy doesn’t automatically cover costs for towing or a replacement rental car. Generally, for only a dollar or two extra each month, you can add coverage for rental car reimbursement, which provides a rental car for little or no money while your car is in the repair shop or if it is stolen. Check your policy for specifics.

Remember, accidents happen. You can’t undo what has just happened, so there’s no reason to lose your cool or be aggressive. Accidents are just that…accidents. Also, remember, that it’s just a car, it’s replaceable…you are not.

If you have been in a car accident, and you need any repair work done, you can always call us here at Freeman Grapevine.

Be safe out there!!!

 

Do you know what to do after an accident?

If you are one of these unfortunate people, will you know what to do in the aftermath of a collision? How you react can prevent further injuries, reduce costs and accelerate the clean-up and repair process. Auto accidents take a tremendous toll on everyone involved, both financially and emotionally. If you’re one of the lucky ones who have thus far avoided a serious accident, hopefully the tips on prevention will help keep it that way. The chances are high, though, that at some point you will be involved in a minor accident. Just keep your head and make safety your primary concern. You’ll have plenty of time to deal with the consequences later.

I found some more information below at Edmunds.com.

1. Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Glove Compartment. Drivers should carry a cell phone, as well as pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera to take photos of the vehicles at the scene, and a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries. Also, keep a list of contact numbers for law enforcement agencies handy. Drivers can keep this free fill-in-the-blanks accident information form in their glove compartment. The DocuDent™ Auto Accident Kit ($19.95), supported by AAA and insurance companies, offers a comprehensive kit that includes a flashlight, reusable camera and accident documentation instructions. A set of cones, warning triangles or emergency flares should be kept in the trunk.

2. Keep Safety First. Drivers involved in minor accidents with no serious injuries should move cars to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving cars parked in the middle of the road or busy intersection can result in additional accidents and injuries. If a car cannot be moved, drivers and passengers should remain in the cars with seatbelts fastened for everyone’s safety until help arrives. Make sure to turn on hazard lights and set out cones, flares or warning triangles if possible.

3. Exchange Information. After the accident, exchange the following information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver’s name is different from the name of the insured, establish what the relationship is and take down the name and address for each individual. Also make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color — and the exact location of the collision and how it happened. Finally, be polite but don’t tell the other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.

4. Photograph and Document the Accident. Use your camera to document the damage to all the vehicles. Keep in mind that you want your photos to show the overall context of the accident so that you can make your case to a claims adjuster. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information; they may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.

5. File An Accident Report. Although law enforcement officers in many locations may not respond to accidents unless there are injuries, drivers should file a state vehicle accident report, which is available at police stations and often on the Department of Motor Vehicles Web site as a downloadable file. A police report often helps insurance companies speed up the claims process.

6. Know What Your Insurance Covers. The whole insurance process will be easier following your accident if you know the details of your coverage. For example, don’t wait until after an accident to find out that your policy doesn’t automatically cover costs for towing or a replacement rental car. Generally, for only a dollar or two extra each month, you can add coverage for rental car reimbursement, which provides a rental car for little or no money while your car is in the repair shop or if it is stolen. Check your policy for specifics.

Remember, accidents happen. Keep you cool. You can’t undo what has just happened, so there’s no reason to be unruly or be aggressive towards the other person who share in your misfortune.

If you have been in a car accident, and you need any repair work done, you can always call Freeman Grapevine. There’s no shortage of cars on the roads these days and that means there’s not shortage of accidents, as well.

Texas Heat, Cars and Pets Don’t Mix

“…not even for a minute”

With Summer temperatures recently reaching over the 100 degree mark all across Texas, our cars are easily reach temperatures of 150 degrees or more. That’s hot enough to melt plastic and is certainly not an environment for your pets to be in.

I don’t like the fact that I have to write articles like this, but every year it seems that Texas drivers and pet owners need a reminder. It pains me…strike that…INFURIATES me when I see dogs left in cars by themselves. First off, your dog’s temperature is already roughly 100.5°F to 102.5°F. In order for them to diffuse heat, they have to pant and cool the blood flow through their tongue since they have no sweat glands and do not perspire. As if that isn’t enough, they are wearing a fur coat!

What many people don’t know is that even on moderately cool days, the temperature inside a car can be fatal. Even when its only 70 degrees outside, in just one hour, the temperature inside a car can soar to over 110 degrees, and cracking the windows doesn’t really help.

If you think that your four-legged friends would be “OK” for a few minutes as you ran in to a store, think again. In fact, don’t think about it. Go ahead and sit in your car with no air running for 10 min. and then see if you feel the same way. I’ll even let you crack the windows. Sweat much?

No one is immune to catching a case of “the stupids”. You may think it will only take a few minutes to grab those groceries or chat with a friend, but that few minutes can translate into life threatening heat exhaustion for your best friend:

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

If your dog has heat stroke he will progressively show these signs:

  • Excessive panting;
  • Pale gums, bright red tongue;
  • Disorientation and your dog doesn’t respond to his name;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Thick saliva;
  • Vomiting;
  • Breathing difficulties;
  • Collapse;
  • Coma;
  • Death

Dogs Prone to Heatstroke

  • Young puppies and older dogs;
  • Overweight dogs;
  • Dogs with an existing illness or recovering from illness or surgery;
  • Dog breeds with short faces – Bulldogs, Shar pei, Boston Terriers, Pugs – have narrow respiratory systems that easily get overwhelmed in hot and humid conditions;
  • Double coated breeds such as Chow Chows; and
  • Dogs bred for cold climates such as Malamutes, Huskies and Newfoundlands.

If you suspect that your dog may have heat stroke:

Make sure your dog is out of the sun and has access to water but don’t let him drink too much.

Cool him with cool/tepid water – either immerse him in a bath, gently hose him or apply cool towels to his body. Importantly do not leave wet towels on your dog and do not use very cold water – both prevent your dog form being able to cool himself.

Move your dog to an area where there is cool air circulating, such as an air conditioned room or stand him in front of a fan. The cool circulating air will help your dog to reduce his temperature.

Remember, your dog can’t tell you that he is uncomfortable, so you’ll have to use common sense. Under no circumstance should you leave your dogs unattended in a car. Regardless of how hot you believe you car will “actually” get, you are going to be wrong. Then you will be left with a tragedy that is not only emotional, but quite possibly legal as well. You will get fined for endangering an animal by leaving them in a hot car, or could even be arrested for animal cruelty if they die.

Keep your pups safe, keep them out of your hot vehicles. If you have any comments, questions or advice, leave a comment below or see me at Freeman Grapevine!

Keep your dogs safe in your car during travel

dog safetyTraveling with your pets can be easy and enjoyable, but it can also be dangerous for you and them without the proper restraints. You wouldn’t drive around without using your safety belt and the same should hold true for your dogs while traveling. Unrestrained pets cause more than 30,000 accidents annually, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), and the Travel Industry Association of America says 29 million Americans have traveled with a pet on a trip of 50 miles or more in the past five years. With those kinds of numbers, it’s important to remember that pets have special needs on the road.

Of course, the best place you can keep them is in a secured crate, but there are many harnesses on the market that can secure your best friend in the back using your backseat seat belt.

One of the biggest hazards, not only to pets but also to their owners and even other drivers, is the motorist who insists on keeping Fluffy on their lap, which makes it impossible for drivers to respond immediately to road emergencies. The animal can also be hit by passing cars if it bolts out of the vehicle after a crash.

It also goes without saying that you should never leave an animal alone in your car unattended. We’ve all heard countless stories about how hot your vehicle can get and how quickly it can get there. Having a dog succumb to heat exposure isn’t just dumb, it’s cruel. So think first before you leave Fido in the car, even if your errand takes just “a second”.

Questions? Comments? Leave them here!

 

5 Tips For Driving In The Rain

These past couple of weeks we have seen a bit of rain, to say the least. It has put a good amount of water on the ground and snarled traffic all throughout the metroplex. I happened to get caught in the rain and it got me thinking. Some people just don’t know how to drive safely in the rain. I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 tips for driving in the rain.

  1. Turn on your headlights. If your car has daytime running lamps, then there’s a good possibility that your rear lights are not on. Be sure to turn them on so people who are behind you can see where you are!
  2. Slow down! This is a no-brainer. The faster you are going, the less time you have to react to someone hydroplaning or slowing down.
  3. Don’t follow large vehicles. The spray from their tires reduces your visibility drastically. If you must pass them, do so quickly.
  4. Replace your old windshield wipers. I cannot stress this enough. Wipers are the key to your visibility in any amount of rain. If you can’t see, you shouldn’t be driving.
  5. Don’t be afraid to get off the road. If you don’t feel comfortable driving, no one will think less of you for pulling over and waiting for the rain to let up.

The weather in North Texas can be unpredictable much like the downpour we have seen these past couple of weeks. Knowing how to drive in sudden rain-storms is a very valuable skill that we all need to have. There are so many more factors that go into driving safely in the rain, this list is just the tip of the iceberg.

Whatever you do, don’t be this guy!

Do You Know The Real Use Of The Left Lane?

How long has it been since you taken a driving course? Unless you’ve had to take some sort of defensive driving class for a traffic violation, then I’m guessing it’s probably been awhile. I swear, 98 percent of the population thinks that they are an amazing driver. Then you have the other two percent who will willingly admit they are terrible drivers and even go on shows like America’s Worst Drivers. Pretty entertaining show by the way if you haven’t seen it.

Imagine a world where everyone remembers every single thing they learned from driver’s ed and applied it to their everyday driving. Pretty sure we’d see a significant drop in cases of road rage. I’m a realistic person, though, and I know that’ll never happen. But in the meantime, I can share some mini refresher courses on the areas I think need the most attention — starting with the rules of the left lane.

Left Lane Rules

When it comes to the left lane, there are two things people seem to forget: how to use the left lane and how to pass someone in the left lane.

  1. Usage of the Left Lane
    Driver’s ed taught us that the left land is for faster-moving traffic and passing.  You probably don’t belong in the left lane if one or all of the following three things occurs: someone is dangerous tailgating you, one or more cars is weaving in and out of traffic in the other lanes just to land themselves directly in front of you or you see the person behind you making hand gestures or yelling at you. Regardless of how fast these other drivers may be going, the proper thing to do is yield to faster moving traffic in the left lane. Failure to do so results in impeding the flow of traffic, which is not only dangerous, it’s also illegal in most jurisdictions.
  2. Left-Lane Passing
    Have you ever been stuck on a four-lane highway or road because two vehicles are driving at the exact same speed? This is one of my biggest pet peeves and is usually a result of the “cruise control pass”.  Here’s how this happens… John Doe decides that he wants to pass Joe Black so he pulls into the left lane to do so. However, John Doe is attempting to pass Joe Black with his cruise control set at 65 mph. Since Joe Black is only going 62 mph, it takes forever for this pass to be complete which is only two mph faster than the car he is attempting to pass. Remember, when passing someone in the left lane, you must speed up sufficiently enough to get past the other guy quickly.

So there you have it, the rules of the left lane. Know them, learn them, live them. Stay tuned for more lessons in driving.