Category Archives: Safe Driving

“Learn to turn” out of that skid

Sooner or later it’s going too happen to you, the dreaded “SKID”. Losing control of your vehicle suddenly is never any fun, but with a little reeducation you should be able to react without thinking and come out of the spin unscathed.

There is no secret to successfully navigating your way out of a “fishtail”. I’ll bet the phrase “turn into the skid” jumps to mind and that is absolutely correct. Take a look at the video below for a good reminder

Better yet, if you have a new driver in the family go and grab them and watch the video together. There is no substitution for having a good grasp on defensive driving and evasive maneuvers.

Remember, when you lose control of your vehicle staying calm is absolutely essential. Losing your composure could lead to over-correction and a total loss of control of your vehicle…at that point you might want refer back to this blog for a refresher. If you have any question, comments or need the number of a good body shop (kidding), give me a call.

The sad and VERY REAL Consequences of Drinking and Driving

It doesn’t get any clearer than this, folks!

How many times am I going to feel compelled to write about this subject? Does it take the death of someone with some fame to get the public’s attention? Apparently not, because once again Hollywood is setting a prime example of what not to do.

Following the horrific 2011 car crash of “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn, police uncovered that he was driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .196-two times the legal limit.
Dunn was purportedly driving 140 mph on a 55 mph road when he crashed his Porsche 911 GT3 through a rail and into the woods where it crashed into a tree and erupted into flames. Dunn and his passenger, Zachary Hartwell, died at the site. Wrecks similar to this serve as a tragic reminder of the risks of driving intoxicated.
It appears that, Dunn had an earlier DUI accident a few years before, but was in a position to clean up his record through court requirements and was not required to install an alcohol interlock machine on his automobile. If he had survived this collision, Dunn’s upcoming cars would’ve been mandated to possess this piece of equipment for at least one year following his license was reinstated.

What can you expect after a DWI?

Expect to prove you haven’t been drinking when you get behind the wheel! Alcohol interlocks are a technique the government is hoping will cut back the 11,000 deaths each year from drunk driving. Forty-nine states have some kind of interlock condition and 11 states have required provisions subsequent to the initial conviction. The driver has to blow into the machine to check for alcohol for their car will start.

What’s being done?

At this time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting their “Over the Limit, Under Arrest” operation through July 4th in an effort to tag intoxicated drivers before a deadly accident occurs. This week in addition to next week are filled with graduation events, 4th of July picnics, in addition to added summer revelry. Keep the streets safe by following these valuable tips…tips you should already know and be putting into practice.

  • If you are planning to consume alcohol, designate a sober driver ahead of going out. In the event you are impaired, don’t drive.
  • Hail a taxi, make use of mass transit, or phone a sober buddy or member of the family to get you home safely.
  • Plan in advance and stuff a bag to stay over someone’s residence should you know you might be drinking.
  • Report drunk drivers you observe out on the roads at once to the police by calling 911.
  • Always put on your safety belt while in a car or wear a helmet as well as protecting equipment while on a motorcycle.
  • If you happen to see someone about to drive intoxicated or travel with somebody who’s intoxicated, get the keys and aid them reach where they’re going unharmed.

..and I misspoke before…it’s not Hollywood’s problem…it’s all of ours!

What do you do after an accident?

First let me say that I hope you never get into an accident of any kind. They are monetarily and emotionally stressful. It’s not something that anyone looks forward to, let alone really prepares for. So what do you do, Fort Worth, if you get into an accident? I found a short, yet concise video you should take a look at. You might think, “Ozzie, it’s obvious what to do after and accident” that is until you actually get into one. Staying calm and keeping your wits isn’t always the easiest thing to do in that traumatic situation.

Here are 11 things to remember after you’ve been involved in a car accident I found here.

  1. Make sure everyone is ok – before concerning yourself with vehicle damage and exchanging insurance information, make sure that all parties to the accident are ok. If not, call 911.
  2. Save the apologies for another time – yes, politeness is an admirable trait, but in this situation, a simple “I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention,” can be seen as an admission of liability.
  3. Start talking – to witnesses, that is. Get all the relevant contact information of any bystanders that may have seen the accident.
  4. Call Your Insurance Company – report the incident to your insurance company, even if you are completely at fault. Also, keep track of the time and money spent pursuing your claim.
  5. Take Pictures – having proof of the damage to the car will help with insurance, and serve as evidence if there is a dispute down the line. One helpful tip is to always keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment for these situations.
  6. Take Notes – similar to pictures, detailing the accident and the nature of your injuries as soon as possible can serve to expedite the process.
  7. Get a Property Damage Figure from your Insurance Company – this valuation will serve as the amount you can recover or replace your car. If you are not happy with the figure from your insurance company, seek outside quotes.
  8. Careful Who You Talk To – if the other party’s insurance company contacts you, your best response is to get in touch with your insurance company or attorney. Why? Because they are better equipped to handle the situation.
  9. Don’t automatically accept the first estimate or offer you get – jumping the gun on the settlement can be a costly mistake.
  10. Get an attorney – if there is a dispute with your insurance company, or the seemingly simple car accident suddenly turns complicated, then seeking legal counsel is your best bet.
  11. Take a deep breath, everything is going to be ok.

Does anyone have any other advice to give? Remember if you need a little help after an accident, give us a call and we can walk you through the steps it takes to get you back out on the road again in a flash.

Are Red Light Traffic Cameras Helping or Hurting

I think a lot of us have tried to beat the light and been caught by that dastardly “Red Light Camera Cop”. So it got me to thinking, if you are approaching a street light with a camera and you suddenly realize you don’t have time to make it through and you slam on your brakes to avoid getting that ticket, what do you think is going to happen to that car behind you that’s not ready for you to come to a screeching halt?

Well I found a report on National Motorist Association from Baytown, TX, on the results of the city’s red light ticket camera program.

The camera proponents are going to be hard pressed to lavish praise on the results:

  • 40 percent increase in total accidents
  • 75 percent increase in injury accidents
  • 37 percent increase in “t-bone” right angle crashes
  • 83 percent increase in rear-end collisions

These disastrous results should really be no surprise. Independent studies (no financial interest) of the automated intersection ticketing programs have repeatedly shown an increase in rear- end collisions, more injuries, and contrary to the claims of ticket camera proponents, no reduction in right-angle crashes.

But, tomorrow, just as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west there will be a government official or clueless reporter making the claim that red light cameras improve traffic safety.

Baytown officials are being presented with a petition to put ticket cameras to a vote .

These numbers are happening all over the United States:

There’s certainly two sides of this argument.

So, what do you think, Fort Worth? Are red light camera cops a good thing or a bad thing? Have you or anyone you know ever been involved in an accident due to the mere presence of a red light camera? I’m curious, drop me a line!

Improve Your Windshield’s Visibility

So….When was the last time you changed your wiper blades? 2 years? Then you’ll want to watch this. If you don’t know where your Wiper blades…get a bus pass.

…or, you can always go the Red Green way of getting the most out of your windshield wiper components.

If you can’t bring yourself to stop at an auto parts store to buy new blades, then the next time you are in for service, make sure you get you wiper blades changed. In all seriousness, this will really improve your visibility, especially at night as poor blades tend to leave streaks and make the headlights from on coming traffic even more of an annoyance than they already are.

Need help? Swing by my place!

How to Install an Infant Car Seat

The best way to learn is by example. I can give you all sorts of statistics about the mortality rate of children who are not properly secured in their car seats. Instead though, I think I’ll just make this a “How To…” post and focus on saving your child’s life rather than use fear to help you realize the importance of securing your child in your car properly. Remember, most accidents happen within 5 miles of your house, so buckle them up EVERY time they are in the car.

Watch the video below, it contained a surprising installation technique that I didn’t think about.

If you have any questions, or want step by step installation instruction, Freeman Grapevine Service would be happy to walk you though it.

Tips for Vacationing in Your New Car

Thinking about taking “The Family Truckster” on the road? Here are some guidelines to get you and your vehicle geared up for the trip.

* It’s a good idea that, before you hit the road, get your vehicle inspected. A basic inspection is not very expensive and will cover the brakes, tires, suspension, lights, cooling system, and other basic drive train components

* Make sure your tire pressure before you leave on a road trip. Most tires require between 30-32psi.

* Pack an emergency kit with you. A good emergency kit should include a flashlight, a first aid kit, jumper cables, gloves, rope, and power point tire pump.

* Always bring extra water. Although you may be traveling on major roads, you’ll be thankful if you have a flat tire or breakdown miles from the nearest exit.

* Learn how to change a flat tire before you leave! Practice in your driveway a few times before you head out on your trip.

* While on the road, try to take a 15 minute break every 2 hours.

* this is probably the most important tip…Pack plenty of entertainment for children! Travel toys and games can help pass the time.

* Whenever you travel make sure that everyone has proper identification and required documentation.

A road trip can be a fun experience. Follow these tips to make sure it’s a safe and enjoyable journey.

Inexperienced Drivers and their New Cars

While ignorance is often bliss, when it comes to driving a car, ignorance is the passenger you don’t want to ride with.
It is so important for young drivers to get not only the necessary driving experience, but also a good background understanding safety issues, as well as being responsible for maintaining their new car

Young drivers between 16 and 19 are far more likely to be one car accidents than any other age group. Excessive speed, not knowing vehicle limitations and inexperience are the culprits.  Just because you pass your driver’s test doesn’t mean you are a pro behind the wheel just yet. There’s still a lot to learn.

Car Maintenance

Simple basic car maintenance such as checking the tire pressure and making sure that all the bulbs work correctly should be a “no brainer”. The young new car driver needs to get in the habit of checking and changing oil regularly. Knowing how to change a tire or headlight bulb is mandatory.

The Reckless Youth

I remember the days when I thought I was invincible, too. The years when you start gain responsibilities but neglect the rules.  The reckless youth ignores important road rules such as speeding, driving without a valid license, insurance, texting, talking on the phone, horsing around with the passengers, taking unnecessary risks…we’ve all been there.

If you drive a car you must always remember this: You are on your own.

It is important to remember that there are new car drivers and those that just have licenses. Having the freedom to drive is a terrific thing and a major part of growing up. It should be embraced and encouraged as long as it is NOT done at 120mph.

Ok, that’s the end of my rant. I remember how exciting it was when I got my first new car, so enjoy it. I welcome all our young people to share the roads, but do so in such a way that you aren’t a danger to you or the drivers around you.

The Potential Danger of Rubber Mats in your New Car

This is a potentially dangerous problem.

Can All-Weather Rubber car mats be a danger in your new car? The simple answer is, “Yes.”

Even the most conscientious drivers could find that they are in danger as a result of something that should be protecting their car. All weather car mats are great for keeping dirt off of the carpets and they can still be used, a simple measure can ensure that you remain safe while your carpets remain clean.

The infamous, “sticky gas pedal” might not be as infamous as we thought. In many, many cases, new cars which were reported to have sticky pedals had in fact simply been trapped underneath all weather rubber car mats. The advice is, that if you intend to use rubber new car mats you must first remove the new car’s factory carpet mats, as stacking them can obstruct the pedals. This advice is relevant to any car make and model.

Pedal entrapment may also occur if the new car’s mats are not correctly fitted. Universal new car mats are prone to slipping and sliding and gathering which is a serious hazard. It is always advisable to buy tailored car mats from a reputable car mat manufacturer who can precisely cut the mats into the right shape for your car model.

If you have any questions about the safety of your new car’s floor mats, swing by and we’ll take a look at them.

5 Potential Risks of Driving With Your Pets On Board

Photo Courtesy of Hillary Hartley/Flickr
Photo Courtesy of Hillary Hartley/Flickr

Driving, it itself, is a complicated process. Your eyes have to be scanning for potential problems, keeping tabs on the cars in front of, behind and beside you, calculating distance with our eyes, etc.. The list goes on and on. Just because we do it every day and mostly without incident does not mean that we can introduce another factor without risks. It may seem like a good idea to let your dog ride with you in the front seat, or in your lap, but there are plenty of problems that can arise from it. Here are 5 risks that you put yourself in danger of every time you let man’s best friend ride along.

1. Distraction

Your dog has no idea how to drive and they know nothing of the attention and concentration it takes to maneuver through traffic. They will jump in your lap, bark at passing motorists or jump from seat to seat, all causing you to take your eyes off the road, even for a split second. Which could be tragic.

2. Airbag deployment

There’s a reason we do not recommend having children in the front seat. The same goes for dogs. It’s the airbag and it could cause serious injuries or death in the event of an accident that causes them to be deployed. Being an animal lover, I don’t even like to think of this scenario.

3. Rescue Aversion

If you are in an accident and you’ve got your pooch with you, you run the risk of stalling rescue efforts. Accidents are a high-stress event and if your dog is trapped in the vehicle with you , it may retaliate and attempt to bite anyone coming to rescue you.

4. Tickets

Many states have laws in the books for allowing your pet to roam around the car, unrestrained. If you let your dog sit on your lap, stick its head out the window or roam around the bed of your truck, you could very easily get pulled over and handed a hefty fine. Play it safe, keep them restrained.

5. Stepping On Power Window Switch

I’ve seen this one firsthand! In the days of the crank windows, this was not a problem, but now with just about every car manufactured, your windows can be activated by the push of a button. While you’re headed down the highway, your dog could easily figure out that button and if that happens, it could be extremely dangerous. Always be sure your child locks and window locks are activated to eliminate that problem.