Category Archives: Tips and HInts

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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.

Please Read! Tips for Parking Your Cars!

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

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

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

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

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

Do you use child restraints properly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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’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.

Rain, Rain go away save your hail damage for another day!

Pretty clever title, huh?

Living in Texas, we are all too familiar with “Texas Weather”. To put it simply, it can and usually does change on a dime. Nice and sunny one moment and the next you are being pelted by penny to softball sized hail. I’d go as far as to say that the “Hail Sale” was invented here in Texas.

So what do you do of your poor new car gets pelted by an unexpected deluge ice nuggets and ends up looking like a golf ball? One of two things. You can watch the video below for a look at what it takes to get your ride back to it’s unblemished self. It shows the tools you’ll need and how you might want to go about prepping your dent removal project.

To keep it interesting, they challenged the tech to do 6 dents in under a minute. As a novice, I’d plan for a much longer amount of time for your project. Also keep in mind that this is just the hood. Chances are if you’ve sustained hail damage it will probably be on your roof and trunk as well…as this point, I’d really consider bringing it in to have a professional take a crack at it.

Check out the video:

As you can see, if you know what you are doing, restoring your car after a hail storm takes a little patience, the right tools and some mechanical ability (removing hoods, liners, paneling etc.).

If you’ve sustained any hail damage (it’s crazy weather season in Texas) and don’t want to tackle a dent removal project yourself, then don’t hesitate to give me a call and I’d be happy to help you get your pride and joy back too showroom condition.

 

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.