Category Archives: Safe Driving

Texas Laws Cracking Down On Cell Use In Cars

Freeman Grapevine knows that one of the most recently developed and dangerous habits that drivers do is talking, or texting while driving. Arlington, TX knows it. Apparently they are cracking down hard on using your cell while driving.  There are electronic signs placed in high traffic areas warning drivers that it is now illegal to text and drive in Arlington. Apparently, with more information coming out on the amount of accidents and fatalities caused by using your phone while driving, law enforcement offices across the country have stepped up efforts to cut down on phone use while driving.  Last year, a pilot program was started in New York and Connecticut to see if high visibility enforcement of these laws to stop drivings from continuing these practices.

Results have come back from these programs, and they look to be very promising.  Consumer Reports has a story about the program, and the results that have come from them.

A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that after four enforcement waves, running for a year starting in April 2010, hand-held cell phone use while driving dropped 57 percent in Hartford and 32 percent in Syracuse. Texting while driving declined 72 percent in Hartford and 32 percent in Syracuse. (The difference may be partially attributed to New York state’s texting law being a secondary offense, meaning police must pull over the driver for another offense, whereas in Connecticut it is a primary offense.) This information was determined through cell phone use observed by NHTSA before and after each wave.

The government agency also surveyed the public on their knowledge of the distracted driving program and found that awareness of the main “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” slogan increased from 5 percent before to 54 percent after the waves in Hartford and 5 percent before and 29 percent after in Syracuse. After the program, 71 percent of respondents in Hartford heard about the stepped up police enforcement and 76 percent in Syracuse.

After the one-year program, Syracuse police issued 9,587 tickets to drivers who were talking or texting on cell phones behind the wheel and police in Hartford issued 9,658 tickets.

This program may be implemented across the country, so be sure that you know the consequences if you are caught driving while texting or talking.

All of us here at Freeman Grapevine are serious about driving safety. You can’t pay attention to the road if you are paying attention to your phone. Be smart.

Freeman Grapevine: DFW Winter Driving tips

So far, this winter has been fairly moderate, but it’s still just the beginning and here in Texas, particularly Dallas and Fort Worth, cars fall easy prey to our sudden cold snaps. So, in keeping with the Boy Scouts motto, “Always Be Prepared” here’s just a little refresher on driving in foul Winter weather.

For those not used to navigating ice and snow covered roads, which is ALL of us, this can be, with little, doubt the most dangerous driving time of the year. Even those of you that have been raised in the Northern and Midwest states could take a few minutes and reflect upon some good safety tips and make sure we keep our precious cargo safe.

Getting Winter Ready

  1. Check you fluids — It is very important to have a well supplied anti-freeeze  resorvoir in cold weather. Wiper fluid is also often consumed in large quantities, and don’t just use water or it will freeze on you.
  2. Tires and Brakes – A good set of well tread tires can be the difference of being in the ditch or safely on the asphalt. Pressure must be kept up as well, since cold weather promotes flatter tires. Anti-lock brakes are the best for winter, but you should always have good brake pads for icy stops.
  3. Wipers- Nothing beats a set of maintained wipers in a blizzard or sleet storm. Rain-X is also a valid choice for extreme climate conditions.
  4. Battery and Engine — Good clean battery posts and a good charged battery are a must when starting in cold weather. Engine tune-ups and regular oil changes also are a must for reliable winter travel.

But that’s not all folks, there are a few other key points to remember.

  • Stay home if you can, as there is no substitution for safety
  • Know your route — research road closures and delays
  • Have plenty of fuel — this will provide much needed warmth
  • Have a well stocked safety kit — flashlights, jumper cables, water, etc
  • Cell phone – communications are important when stranded
  • Drive safely — keep plenty of space between you and cars or obstacles

You can stay safe during these winter months! See Freeman Grapevine with questions and feel free to share your driving experiences.

Dallas GMC Dealer’s take on surviving an accident Financially

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Have you been in an accident in your new car recently, are you suffering pain as a result of your car accident and it wasn’t your fault? Does this sound like an advertisement for an ambulance chasing lawyer? Well, regardless if it does or not, the fact of the matter is that this Dallas GMC Dealer believes you may have a good compensation claim against the other party.

Now, I hope you are never in a car accident accident and if you were I really hope that you don’t have to go through the stressful experience of a lawsuit of some kind. However, this is real life and things happen…here’s what to do if they do.

Many compensation personal injury solicitors now work on a No Win No Fee basis meaning you don’t need to pay them a penny for their services. If you win your case you will not have to pay their legal costs and the fees and cost for helped you will be collected from the other party. If you lose your case , it is very likely to get nothing, that’s why they mostly take cases on they believe will win.

In regards to insurance, any medical costs from the hospital, health care and also any medicine you’ve had to purchase can probably be claimed. If any other costs have arose from this car accident then make it clear when you speak to your lawyer, they will need to know the full facts of the accident as well as the pain and costs you have or are suffering from.

Remember, every car accident compensation claim is completely different from any other. It depends on the injuries that were caused, any costs or medical treatment, time off work needed and much more. As well as the time it took them to close the case. It could take a few months or a couple of years, so just keep this in mind when choosing your compensation claim lawyer, get a good one.

Some good questions to ask are :

• Will I get the ‘whole’ of my compensation? If yes… continue
• Will I need to pay a fee? If no… continue
• Do you recover costs from the other side (i.e. people at fault)? If yes… continue
• Would I need to pay anyone any money once my claim is settled? If no… proceed.

Again,  Freeman Grapevine hopes you never have to experience any of the above. However, if you do, know that you have recourse to file claim against the offending party. Be wise in your choice of lawyer, he should have your best interest in mind…not his.

Forth Worth, Check Out This Car With Four Horns!

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An English man invented the car horn back in 1910 which is now required by law that every vehicle have one. Horns are mainly used to warn other Grapevine cars that you are there or that they are getting too close in order to prevent a collision.

There are tow type of people who use their horns. The one’s who use their horns when the person in front of them is not paying full attention to a green light, or just to give a little warning when an inattentive driver is moving into their lane.

Of course, this is TEXAS and there are those who really like to use their horn to honk at just about everyone for anything they deem is worth honking about! Which leads me to this guy in the video that you should really watch:

Sure traffic can be downright frustrating, but this guy takes dealing with his traffic frustrations to a whole new level. And by new level I mean a little on the crazy side! I just had to share this video because as a driver on the road too, this would pretty much freak me out.

This guy just has a little too much time on his hands. At first I thought it was pretty funny, but now imagining if I were driving on the roads and came into contact with him and his horns I don’t think it would be quite so funny.

In fact road rage has become quite a problem these days.  If you ever find yourself in a situation where the other driver is exhibiting signs of road rage, here some some things to do to get yourself safely out the situation or possibly create a hostile driving environment.

  • Be careful if you use your horn. You don’t know how others will react to it and using it could end you up in an unpleasant situation.
  • Avoid eye contact with the other driver. Making eye contact can convey the message of mutual aggression.
  • Don’t show any physical reaction to the other driver like putting your hands up, yelling, etc.
  • Keep control of your own temper and remain as calm as possible.
  • Try to increase the distance between you and the aggressive driver.

If you do ever find yourself confronted with an angry, aggressive driver it’s best to just let them have their way even though you may not even be a fault.  Taking the high road in this situation is the safest thing you can do. Always try to practice good driving habits and be courteous to other fellow drivers.

If you have any tips you’d like to share to get out of road rage situation we would love to hear from you! Post your comment below or come tell us at Freeman Grapevine today!

 

 

GMC Adds a Front Center Air Bag for Even More Protection, Ft.Worth!

At Freeman Grapevine, we know that you depend on your vehicle for a lot of things namely, transportation. However, another very important feature of a vehicle that is often taken into consideration before buying a new car is safety. Besides providing the some of Fort Worth’s best vehicles, GMC is also highly in tune with providing the most comprehensive safety system in the automotive industry.

Just recently GMC announced that it will offer a new layer of protection during collisions in their crossover vehicles. The new air bag will be centrally-mounted and is said to protect occupants in side-impact crashes better than before.

The new air bag will be located in the space between the driver’s and front passenger’s seats and will deploy during a  side collisions.

Check out the video demonstrating a crash without the airbag and a crash with the air bag:

Now, after watching that I’ll bet you are hoping that GM will extend it’s new air bag technology to other models.  I know I am. Look closely, that air bag can really save someone from some serious side whip lash.

GMC is leading the pack when it comes to the new air bag as it’s an industry first that is providing protection between drivers and front passengers.

By 2013, GM plans to have this new air bag as standard equipment on it’s crossover vehicles including the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia. This new air bag is not required by federal safety standards, but I have a feeling that with such a great safety advance, that will change.

Hopefully GMCs in Fort Worth will have the air bag before 2013, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that they will come out sooner than later.

What do you think about this new air bag technology?  We’d love to hear from  you. Just post your comment below or swing by Freeman Grapevine today!

Not just another Texting and Driving Article

texting and driving apps, grapevine cars, gmc fort worth, dealerships dfw, buick dealer, GMC dealer, used cars dfw, used cars fort worthI’ve written at least 3 articles in regards to texting and driving, so there’s no need to rehash everything I’ve already said. This post is actually about apps available for your smart phone device. I found this list while doing my research for this blog, so if you find something you can add here, please leave me a comment below.

Anyway, these are the apps I found that I hope you will look into to curb your phone use while driving:

DriveSafe.ly (Free)

This BlackBerry app called DriveSafe.ly reads your incoming text messages and emails to you thanks to its text to speech functionality. You can even create customizable auto-responses for your outgoing messages.

On the Move (Free)

This Android app, called On the Move, was developed to deter avid texters from checking their screens while driving. Acting as an auto-reply tool when you receive a message, On the Move tells the texter that you’re driving with a customized alert.

Otter ($4)

Not only does the Android-based Otter send auto replies to texters when you’re on the road, but you can also build custom quick responses, so you don’t waste time fumbling to text back on your small virtual or QWERTY keyboard.

ShoutOut ($1)

Called ShoutOut, this iPhone app dictates your speech to a text message, then sends it along to your chosen recipient. This app comes with a per-text cost though, with 50 voice-to-text messages costing $2, and 250 voice texts setting you back $5.

Type n Walk ($1)

Meant more for walkers than drivers, the Type n Walk app works with other apps and programs on your iPhone to give you a view of where you’re going so you can stare at your phone all the time. This way, you won’t run into telephone poles, mailboxes, and you know, other people.

Sprint’s Drive First App

Available for $2 a month in the third half of 2011, the Sprint Drive First App will lock up your phone while driving and route all calls to voicemail. Additionally, it will block all text message alerts and send an auto response saying the driver is unavailable, but still give you access to three main contacts, three apps, and GPS.

Again, I don’t want to get on my soapbox again about distracted driving, but if that text is so important that you just can’t stop yourself from texting and driving, I suggest you look into getting one of the apps mentioned above.

Of course, when you get into that fender bender because you were texting and rear-ended the car that suddenly stopped in front of you, you can always bring it into Freeman Grapevine…we see a lot of these types of accidents.

Apps to help curb Texting and Driving

There is no doubt that texting and driving is dangerous. In fact, I really wish Texas would clamp down on texting and driving by making it illegal. I talked about the dangers of distracted driving on numerous occasions and how texting is by far the worst on list of these distractions. Mainly because it involves all three types of distractions (visual, manual and cognitive). Yet, being almost totally disconnected from your task at hand (driving), it still isn’t enough to keep people from doing it.

So, until it becomes illegal to do so, people are still going to text and drive. What do you do about this? Apparently, if you are an app developer, you create new applications for our phones to help us sideline the texting and driving issue. GeekSugar.com has compiled a list of six apps we can use. Check them out!

DriveSafe.ly (Free)

This BlackBerry app called DriveSafe.ly reads your incoming text messages and emails to you thanks to its text to speech functionality. You can even create customizable auto-responses for your outgoing messages.

On the Move (Free)

This Android app, called On the Move, was developed to deter avid texters from checking their screens while driving. Acting as an auto-reply tool when you receive a message, On the Move tells the texter that you’re driving with a customized alert.

Otter ($4)

Not only does the Android-based Otter send auto replies to texters when you’re on the road, but you can also build custom quick responses, so you don’t waste time fumbling to text back on your small virtual or QWERTY keyboard.

ShoutOut ($1)

Called ShoutOut, this iPhone app dictates your speech to a text message, then sends it along to your chosen recipient. This app comes with a per-text cost though, with 50 voice-to-text messages costing $2, and 250 voice texts setting you back $5.

Type n Walk ($1)

Meant more for walkers than drivers, the Type n Walk app works with other apps and programs on your iPhone to give you a view of where you’re going so you can stare at your phone all the time. This way, you won’t run into telephone poles, mailboxes, and you know, other people.

Sprint’s Drive First App

Available for $2 a month in the third half of 2011, the Sprint Drive First App will lock up your phone while driving and route all calls to voicemail. Additionally, it will block all text message alerts and send an auto response saying the driver is unavailable, but still give you access to three main contacts, three apps, and GPS.

That’s all well and good, but in all honesty I don’t think these apps should cost a dime! In fact, they should be technology that’s included in your phone. Now I know that isn’t realistic, but if apps like these can curb texting and driving accidents, phone manufacturers should seriously consider making them a standard inclusion, or at the very least educate the users on their existence.

Thoughts? Comments? Do you have one of these apps? Do you use it? If you don’t, does paying a fee for the app itself or any additional service deter you from adding it to your phone? Let me know, all of us at Freeman Grapevine are not only looking out for your safety, but also the safety of those you share the road with.

Fort Worth: More Car Theft Figures

Did you know that a car is stolen in Texas every five and a half minutes. More vehicles are stolen between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. than any other time. In 2003, more than 98,000 vehicles were stolen in Texas.In 2005, more than 93,471 vehicles were stolen in Texas.

In 2009, 76,617 vehicles were stolen in Texas, accounting for an economic loss totaling $736,487,759.  285,501 thefts from motor vehicles including motor vehicle parts offenses occurred in Texas, accounting for an economic loss totaling $220,315,208.
The top five stolen vehicles in Texas are: Ford Pickup, Chevy Pickup, Dodge Pickup, Honda Civic, and the Honda Accord.

Cars are getting more secure these days and thus harder to boost which is why we are seeing the numbers of car thefts decreasing. However, vehicle burglaries and break-ins are increasing due the fact that our cars are now filled with expensive GPS systems, iPods, Smart Phones, computers, handbags and a list of other things that are too hard for a criminal to resist when left out in the open.

Remember, take your valuables in with you or totally conceal them. All of us here at Freeman really want to keep you, your vehicle and valuables safe. Victims are usually the people who are not aware or alert…rendering them an easy target.

Be safe!!!

One Reason to Drive in Texas Is Great

The traffic!

“Really, Ozzie? Did you just say the traffic?”

Yup, I sure did! Think about it, for all of the congestion we sit in, for all of the hours wasted milling in a seemingly never ending sea of cars we still don’t have it as bad as some places in the US.

So where is the worst traffic in the us located? Well according to the New York Times…they do. That’s right, New York take a look:

This Thanksgiving weekend, more than 40 million people will drive more than 50 miles from their homes, according to AAA. That’s bad news for New Yorkers, according to Navteq, a map and traffic provider, which recently released its list of most congested cities in North America. Not only did New York City top the list, it also ranked No. 1 for the worst rush-hour roads, with the northbound lanes of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel coming in first, followed by the eastbound George Washington Bridge.

Worst Rush Hours in the United States

1. New York City
2. Washington
3. San Francisco
4. Seattle
5. Los Angeles
6. Philadelphia
7. Chicago
8. Dallas-Ft.Worth
9. Atlanta
10. Houston

Freeways with the Slowest Typical Rush Hour

1. New York City – Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (northbound)
2. New York City – George Washington Bridge (eastbound)
3. Montreal – Autoroute 15 – (eastbound)
4. Philadelphia – U.S. 202 (southbound)
5. Montreal – Route 138 (westbound)
6. New York City – George Washington Bridge (westbound)
7. Los Angeles – 1-10 (eastbound)
8. Boston – U.S. 1 (northbound)
9. Dallas – Texas State Highway Spur 366 (eastbound)
10. Toronto – Don Valley Parkway (northbound)

Hey would you look at that Dallas Fort Worth…we’re only number 8 on the list. That seems about right. Of course, sometime the amount of traffic outside of my dealership on 121 would make me think that DFW was higher on the list.

Asleep Behind the Wheel in DFW

This is a really simple post to write because I recently had a near miss with a drowsy driver. I could tell that it was fatigue because of his sporadic crossing into the left lane and then readjusting quickly. Remember folks, if you are sleepy or tired while driving, it is your responsibility to pull over and get rest. You are not only putting your life in danger, but also everyone you share the road with.

If you still think that you can get from point a to point b and that driving drowsy isn’t a big deal, then just take a look at the video below and maybe you will change your tune.

There is no quick fix

You may get a temporary feeling of alertness from turning up the radio or lowering the window for fresh air. Stopping for a coffee and getting some physical activity is also a common precaution, but as soon as you sit down at the wheel again the drowsiness will return.

Pull over and rest

If you experience any of the symptoms of fatigue, find a safe place to pull over and rest. Next time, get adequate sleep before you take to the road.