Category Archives: Safe Driving

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!

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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.

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.

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]

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’s the right Child Safety Seat for your Baby?

Researching information regarding safety for children, I came upon an article written by the American Academy of Pediatrics on car seats and wanted to share it with you.

All parents have the same worry when traveling with children – safety. What happens if I am in a car accident, will my child be safe? Every year we have accidents that injure or kill young children.  It goes with out saying that the proper use and installation of child safety seats have helped keep children safe. Now, the question is, with so many safety seats being sold, which no doubt overwhelms most new parents, which seat is the right one for your child? The article helps with many questions a parent may have regarding safety seats.

The right safety seat for your child depends on several things like child’s size and type of car you have.  Below is a quick guide produced by the American Academy of Pediatrics on the different types of car safety seats to help you start your search.  But you still need to read more about the features and how to use your car safety seat.

Age Group Type of seat General Guidelines
 

Infants

 

Infant seats and rear-facing convertible seats

 

Infants should ride rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. At a minimum, children should ride rear-facing until they have reached at least 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds. When children reach the highest weight or length allowed by the manufacturer of their infant-only seat, they should continue to ride rear-facing in a convertible seat.

 

 

Toddlers/preschoolers

 

Convertible seats and forward-facing seats with harnesses

 

It is best for children to ride rear-facing as long as possible to the highest weight and height allowed by the manufacturer of their convertible seat. When they have outgrown the seat rear-facing, they should use a forward-facing seat with a full harness as long as they fit.

 

 

School-aged children

 

Booster seats

 

Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car safety seats. Children should stay in a booster seat until adult belts fit correctly (usually when a child reaches about 4′ 9″ in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age).

 

 

Older children

 

Seat belts

 

Children who have outgrown their booster seats should ride in a lap and shoulder seat belt in the back seat until 13 years of age.

 

 

If you have any questions about proper car seat installation, you can always swing by and I’d be more than happy to show you the right way to secure the seat and keep your child safe.

How to Escape a Sinking Car

how to escape a sinking car

This is something we hear on the news from time to time. A car loses control, crashes through a retaining barrier and into a body of water. Would you know what to do if this happened to you?

This type of accident is rare, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you. Thinking back on what you know or what you’ve heard, do you think that you would have the presence of mind to recollect the escape tactics that you’ve “heard” about and not panic? For sake of argument, I’m going to say “no”, you won’t. That’s OK, because until I did a little refresher research, I would have fallen into the same category as you: Knowing the theory of escape, but that’s about it.

Check out the video for a visual refresher:

Here’s a website dedicated to this very subject written from a person who’s experienced being trapped in a submerged car first hand. It’s definitely worth looking at.

The bottom line is that you have to remember to stay calm and memorize this simple course of action:

Here’s one more thing to consider. There are small, inexpensive, and convenient-to-carry tools available to the public that are made specifically to shatter a car window to free a trapped victim. I suggest you look into getting one for your vehicle.

From Saveyourlife.us

One is called a LifeHammer. It is only 7 ½ inches in length and weighs 4.9 ounces. It is shaped like a small hammer but with a dual conical shaped hardened steel point at one end. A strike with medium force will shatter a side window. I had my 10 year old daughter try it and she broke the window on the first try. The LifeHammer also has a seatbelt cutter built into the other end. The LifeHammer should be mounted in the vehicle either on the side of the console or anywhere it can be easily reached in an emergency. You can view one by clicking anywhere you see the word “LifeHammer”.

The other tool is called ResQMe. It performs the same functions as the LifeHammer but it is only 3 inches long, weights just over ½ oz. and easily attaches to your keychain. One advantage of ResQMe is that it can go with you wherever you go as long as you have your keys. You can view one by clicking anywhere you see the word “ResQMe”. The Life Hammer is a little more robust and can be used to clear out some of the shattered glass once the window is broken. I keep ResQMe on my key chain and a LifeHammer in my car.

Be prepared, stay calm and know your escape routes. If you have any questions or comments, let me know. If you’d like to share any experience you may have had that is similar, tell us that too…you may save some one’s life one day with your information.

Everybody, drive safely.