Tips for a Safe Super Bowl Sunday

super bowlNow that it’s officially Super Bowl weekend, you’re probably thinking about all of the great food, drinks, and football that will be at your party. Once you’ve got all of the essentials planned — like who’s bringing the wings, dip, hoagies, etc — you might also consider making a backup plan for those driving home.

Without a doubt, the Super Bowl is a time for celebration. There is no shame in celebrating a little too hard, as long as no one gets behind the wheel afterward. If you’re hosting this year’s get-together, here are some tips you can use to ensure your guests stay safe:

  • Take note of any designated drivers from the beginning of the night and make sure they’re the only ones with car keys
  • Offer food and non-alcoholic drinks
  • During the third quarter, throw on a pot of coffee and make sure there’s plenty of water available
  • Keep your Uber app and local cab numbers handy
  • Be prepared to set up the couch or air mattress for anyone who needs to sleep it off

If you’re the designated driver, be aware that not everyone on the road may be as responsible. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40 percent of all traffic fatalities that occur in the U.S. on Super Bowl Sunday are alcohol-related. Be on the lookout for any cars that seem to be swerving or speeding, and always buckle up.


Keeping Your Car Clean in the Winter

winter carIn the winter, it’s common to see cars driving around covered in road salt. This white dusting is unsightly, and often lasts long after the snow has melted. However, you don’t have to be stuck  with this corrosive coating all season. Here are some tips to keep your car clean even when the weather’s cold.

Invest in Rubber Floor Mats
Your slushy, salty wet shoes are bound to soak the carpet in your car. If you don’t want to be left with stains and a musty scent, it’s a good idea to lay down towels then place rubber mats on top. this way, you’re protecting your floor and can throw the towels in the wash if they get dirty.

Keep Up with Regular Washes
Most people are hesitant to wash their vehicles in the winter, but regular washes are really the only way to keep them clean. Whether doing it yourself or going to a car wash, be sure to do it in the daylight when the temperature is at least 40 degrees. Use warm soapy water, and a dash of baking soda may help to get rid of the salt.

Dry, Dry, Dry
We can’t stress this enough. After you wash your car, be sure to dry it thoroughly to avoid freezing. You’ll even want to leave the doors open while you dry so that water doesn’t pool in the crevices and freeze them shut.

Be Mindful of Where You Park
Instinct might tell you to park your car in a heated garage. However, these garages often cause slush to melt and corrode your car’s paint quicker. While parking on the street opens your car up to the elements, frozen salt may actually be the safer choice.

Winter Car FAQs

There are so many myths when it comes to proper car care in the winter that it’s pretty hard to keep them all straight. We often have customers ask us about the best ways to start their cars and get moving on cold mornings, so we decided to compile them all into one FAQ post.

Q. Should I let my car warm up before driving?

A. Unless your was built before 1990, the answer is no. Modern cars don’t have carburetors that need to warm up. Post-1990 vehicles should be ready to go in just 30 seconds. For more information, refer to a previous blog post.

Q. Should I start my car every day that it’s cold, even if it’s not being driven?

A. This is not necessary. In fact, there’s evidence that starting it without driving or taking short trips could cause damage to the vehicle. In any case, you’ll be needing more frequent oil changes.

Q. Do I need to drive around after getting a jump?

A. This one is true. After getting a jump, you should drive around for about 20 minutes to allow the battery to continue charging. Otherwise, you may have a hard time getting the car to start on your next errand.

We hope these answers put some family arguments to rest and allow you to operate your car confidently through what is left of winter. If you do get stuck out on the road, don’t forget to call Bob & Joe for a tow!

car in snow

Tips to Avoid Skidding on the Ice

winter drivingNow that it’s getting colder, you’re undoubtedly pulling out the gloves and ice scrapers to prepare for winter driving. If you haven’t, you should consider it. However there is one thing that all of the shoveling and scraping can’t save you from — skidding on ice.

It would be nice if road salt worked 100% of the time, but that just isn’t the case. Icy roads are one of the biggest hazards of the winter season. While it’s not always easy to see the ice before it’s too late, there are a few precautions you can take to skip the skidding altogether. Here are a few tips from AAA:

  • Avoid using cruise control in wet weather driving conditions
  • Look farther ahead and pay particular attention to “hot spots”: bridges, culverts, on and off ramps and elevated highways. Be alert for “Black Ice.”
  • Avoid unusual driving maneuvers that could induce a skid
  • If you find yourself beginning to skid, ease up on the accelerator, keep a firm grip on the wheel, and steer in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.

For more safety advice, be sure to check out our tips from last year’s Winter Driving Awareness Week. Stay safe and warm!

Protect Yourself from Drunk Drivers this Holiday Season

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s no secret that drunk driving becomes a big issue beginning the night before Thanksgiving and ending on New Years Day. So much traveling and an abundance of holiday parties often leads to more drivers on the road who may have had one too many drinks. While police presence is usually puffed up during these times, they may not necessarily be able to catch all of those drivers before you encounter one.

In this post, we’d like to help you detect drunk drivers before it’s too late and provide some tips on how to avoid them. Of course, you should call the police and report the driver as soon as you are out of harm’s way.

Drunk Driver Warning Signs

While on the road, beware of drivers exhibiting the following behaviors:

  • Driving too slow or too fast for conditions
  • Swerving and drifting between traffic lanes
  • Driving without headlights on at night
  • Accelerating and braking abruptly
  • Reacting too slowly to traffic signals

Preventative Actions You Can Take

Of course, the best action you take is to avoid the roads at night and especially on holidays. However, that’s not always plausible. If you do have to drive on a big drinking night, follow these tips:

  • Stay to the right of your lane. Drunk drivers often have difficulty staying within their lane. When they are in opposing traffic, they could very well drift to your side of the road. Leaving a little breathing room could save you from collision.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Just because a driver has a turn signal on doesn’t necessarily mean they will turn, in that direction, at the next cross street. It’s hard to anticipate a drunk driver’s actions, so it’s always better for you to err on the side of caution.
  • Avoid rural roads. Country roads are often dimly lit and winding, making for poor visibility. This is exactly what you don’t want when potentially sharing the road with drunk drivers. Try to stick to major roadways.

The holidays are a time for celebration, so we hope this information allows you to enjoy them safely. At Direct Paint & Collision, we’re wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!

Tips to Make Your Holiday Travels Easy

christmas giftsThe holidays are a joyous time of year. We’re meant to focus on our family and friends and celebrate with cheer. However, the holidays can also get pretty stressful between shopping, wrapping, traveling, and simply finding places to store everything.

We’ve compiled a list of tips to better organize your holiday car duties and, hopefully, alleviate some of your stress. These should help you ring in the New Year happy and healthy.

Stock Up On Emergency Essentials

Double check that you have everything you might need — an ice scraper, jumper cables, road flares, road salt, a flashlight and even some blankets. With extra trips, cold weather, and a ton of drivers out on the road, you’ll want to be prepared for anything.

Check Your Tires

At this time of year, it’s vital that your tires have the proper traction and inflation to avoid skidding on snow or ice. A good rule of thumb is to put a penny in the tread of your tire. If you can see any of Abe Lincoln’s face, the tire may be too bald.

Use Your Tetris Skills to Pack the Trunk

There is a delicate science to fitting everything in the trunk without breaking a gift in your travels. Try using your heaviest packages as a barrier as far forward as possible to prevent them from crushing more delicate items. Store the other items in rows going from left to right then right to left in almost a brick pattern to prevent shifting. Lightweight and odd shaped items should be secured safely on the sides.

Of course, the most important tip of all is to appreciate spending the holidays with your loved ones!

New Research Suggests Ways to Extend the Driving Age

backup cameraAccording to new studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, emerging automotive technologies and safe driving habits can help older drivers remain behind the wheel longer. Being that seniors who give up driving are almost two times as likely to develop depression and five times as likely to enter a long-term care facility, this information is of great importance.

The researchers examined 16 advanced vehicle technologies and determined that six of these can provide high value for older adults by potentially reducing crashes and improving the ease and comfort of driving:

  • Forward collision warning / mitigation: These systems can help prevent crashes by warning drivers of a potential collision or by automatically applying the brakes. For older drivers, this technology can improve reaction times and reduce crashes by up to 20 percent.
  • Automatic crash notification: These systems automatically alert emergency services in the event of a crash. Older drivers are more likely to suffer from the serious effects of a crash because of their age, which means these systems can provide a greater safety benefit to seniors.
  • Park assist with rearview display: This technology includes backup cameras and obstacle-detection warning systems, which can help prevent crashes when pulling out of a parking space. About 95 percent of seniors want these systems in their next vehicle, while 55 percent reported that it can help reduce driver stress and workload.
  • Parking assist with cross-traffic warning: These systems utilize radar sensor technology to notify drivers of crossing vehicles when backing out of a parking space, and on some vehicles, the systems automatically can apply the brakes to prevent a collision.
  • Semi-autonomous parking assistance: These systems take over steering while moving into a parallel parking space, which can reduce stress and make parking easier for older drivers.
  • Navigation assistance: Turn-by-turn GPS navigation systems can provide older drivers with increased feelings of safety, confidence, attentiveness and relaxation, which can help seniors remain focused on the road and comfortable behind the wheel.

In Pennsylvania, AAA’s RoadWise Driver is a PennDOT approved course to help senior drivers freshen their knowledge and skills, as well as learn ways to reduce risk while on the road.

Black Friday Driving Tips

black fridayDid you know the name Black Friday originated in our very own Philadelphia? It was originally used to describe the heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic on the day after Thanksgiving.

Now, we don’t blame you for putting your life in danger of anxious, overly-caffeinated shoppers running on nothing more than a few hours of sleep and a belly full of turkey, because we have all participated in the madness at some point. Who doesn’t love great deals and the not-so-subtle unwrapping of the holiday spirit in the form of bright lights and giant Christmas trees?

The truth is that the most terrifying part of Black Friday is the driving, especially those parking lots. Nothing can put a damper on your holiday spirit quite like a car accident. That being said, here are some of our Black Friday Driving Tips to keep in mind:

Philly traffic Patch

Photo Credit: Greater Philadelphia Patch

On the Road

  • Stay alert. Many other drivers are going off little to no sleep, so pay attention and drive defensively. Don’t position yourself near an erratic driver.
  • Put the phone down. Of course you want to use all your deal-hunting apps while simultaneously sending a text to your kids, but don’t do it. Distractions can wait.
  • Maintain a distance. You also might be tired yourself, so leave extra room between you and the car in front of you.

In the Parking Lot

  • Park at the side entrance. Many malls and bigger stores have side entrances that are less crowded. It will be easier to get in and out without running into problems.
  • Walk off the side dishes. Don’t wait around for the best spot in the parking lot. Parking a little farther away may mean more walking, but the spots will be less crowded and easier to manage.
  • Use your headlights. Even during the daytime, keeping your headlights on reduces your crash risk.

Be safe and take our advice. You could just avoid the day altogether and buy yourself (or your loved ones) a new auto paint job from Direct Paint.

If you do end up with a Black Friday accident, be sure to give us a call.

Before and After Fender Bender

This 2013 Kia Sorrento 4X4 SX recently came into our Collision Center after an accident, and luckily everyone involved was okay. As you can see in the photos below, the vehicle suffered significant damage to the bumper area on the driver’s side.

With over 30 years  of auto body repair experience, the team at Direct Paint and Collision was able to get our customer back out on the road quickly. We offer collision towing and rental cars in addition to auto body repair to make a stressful process simpler. In fact, we can bring a rental vehicle along with the tow truck to an accident site so that you’re able to continue on with your daily routine until your vehicle is repaired.

See the before and after photos below:

To reach our body shop, give us a call at  (610) 449-9162!

AAA Supports Bill to Change Child Passenger Safety Law

baby on boardAlthough it’s recommended you keep your child in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, it’s not actually required by PA state law. Pennsylvania requires that all children under the age of four be properly restrained in an approved car seat in the front or back of a car, but it does not specify which direction the seat faces.

House Bill 1551, which was referred to the House Transportation Committee on September 29, 2015, would require all children under one year of age be secured in a rear-facing safety seat, and AAA is voicing its strong support in hopes that the legislation will be reviewed soon.

Child Safety Guidelines

car seatChild restraint guidelines made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend that children remain rear-facing until they weigh at least 20 pounds and are at least one year old to prevent injury in a crash. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear facing car seat until they are at least two years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.

“Numerous studies confirm that children are safer in rear-facing car seats, as they do a better job protecting the head, neck and spine of an infant during the impact of a crash,” said Jana L. Tidwell, Manager of public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “Crashes are often outside parents’ control, however, properly securing a small child in a vehicle should be a parent’s number one priority. Therefore AAA strongly encourages the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee to amend HB 1551 to correspond with guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, rear facing until children are two years old, the safest way to transport a child.”

Although car seats have been around for years, evidence shows that many of us still aren’t using them properly. In fact, up to 75% of car seats may be installed improperly. For more information and tips on installing your car seat, check out a previous blog post.