When Your Teen Starts Driving…

7979444605_1e68ec954f_oIt’s a bittersweet feeling for every parent. You’re happy your child is gaining more responsibility and independence, but the thought of your teen out on the road is worrisome. Luckily, the AAA blog has some advice to walk you through the process.

Young drivers never realize how inexperienced they are, and their excitement to be on the open road sometimes causes them to get distracted from the task at hand. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers are two to three times more likely to be involved in a car accident than adults. As a parent, here’s what you can do to make sure your son or daughter is well prepared to take the wheel:

Create a Driving Agreement

Many parents of first-time drivers find it useful to make a written agreement between both parties. This way, if the young driver breaks the agreement they know the consequences. In this agreement, you might include clauses such as no texting while driving, no speeding, or no driving past 11pm. If these rules go ignored, your teen could lose driving privileges.

Give Privileges Gradually

A great way to ensure your teen is ready for all driving situations is by phasing in more responsibility. For example, only begin letting your son or daughter drive with passengers after they’ve demonstrated sensible driving skills. The same idea could be used for driving at night or far distances.

Set a Good Example

Your child is less likely to respect your rules if you’re not following them as well. Wear your seat belt and obey the speed limit. Also, be open to talk about driving mistakes you’ve made in the past. This way, communication will be open should your teen experience something similar.

To prepare your new driver for all conditions, read our winter driving safety tips or new years driving resolutions posts.

PennDOT Wants You to Become an Organ Donor

Pennsylvania-Drivers-License-1 (1)In honor of National Donate Life month, PennDOT is reminding residents how simple it is to become an organ donor. In the short 90 seconds it takes to check the box online, you could potentially be saving a life. You don’t even need to pay a replacement ID fee since the process is online.

According to PennDOT, 46% of Pennsylvanians with identification cards are organ donors. However, there are still 8,500 people in our state waiting for organ transplants. If you’re still not convinced to become a donor, Donate Life offers the following facts to educate you:

  • Any person of any age, race, or medical history can be a donor.
  • All major religions in the United States support organ donation.
  • Every ten minutes, another name is added to the organ transplant national waiting list.
  • Each day, 18 Americans die while waiting for an organ transplant because of an
  • Right now, more than 120,000 men, women, and children are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.

To become an organ donor, visit the PennDOT site and choose “Donate Life Pennsylvania.” After registering, you’ll receive a temporary card to prove your status until you renew or replace your license. Also, every registered PA driver is given the opportunity to donate $1 to the Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund when applying, registering, or renewing a license. The proceeds are used to spread organ donation awareness through non-profits.

Life Hacks for Your Car in Winter

Blizzard_aftermath_car_+_23.5_inches_of_snowHave you ever come across a life hacks page online? Well, we decided to come up with a few hacks of our own to help with annoying winter driving. We hope these simple tricks make your icy travels a bit smoother.

1. Frozen windshield wipers?

Soak the blade in rubbing alcohol to keep it from freezing to your windshield. Not only will it stop the freezing, but the alcohol will also cut grime to stop squeaking in warmer weather.

2. Icy door lock?

If your lock freezes, don’t waste time and energy fiddling with your keys. Instead, squirt some hand sanitizer into the keyhole and you’ll be on your way in no time.

3. Foggy headlights?

If your headlights seem a bit foggy, don’t waste money on a professional-grade cleaning. Instead, grab some toothpaste from your bathroom and go to town. Rub it on with a cloth and wash the toothpaste off with water. You’ll be impressed with how well it works.

4. Stuck in the snow?

We’ve all been there. Late for work, ready to go, but your tires keep spinning in the snow and ice. Most professionals recommend carrying kitty litter to give yourself traction, but if you’re unprepared you can always use a floor mat. Place it under your tire with the rubber side facing up to get moving.

5. Scraping too many windows?

Clawing at ice in the mornings can get old fast. Instead use an area rug or rubber bath mat to shield your windows from the ice and snow. You can just toss it in the trunk and go. This item could even be reused during life hack number four.

For more all-weather car hacks, read Motoring About’s blog.

Drowsy Driving More Dangerous than Drunk Driving?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou’re probably aware that fatigued driving isn’t the best decision, but did you know that it could just as — or more — fatal than drunk driving?

How could anyone know?

That’s right, AAA reported that about 17 percent of fatal accidents are caused by drowsy drivers. While it is more difficult for police to determine sleepiness as a cause for an accident than drunk driving, there are certain road clues that lead to that conclusion. For example, drivers who fall asleep tend to be in the car alone, drive into barriers instead of other cars, and show no attempt to veer back in the right direction.

Has this theory been tested?

Don’t believe it? Mythbusters Tory Belleci and Kari Byron even confirmed it. The two took two driving tests meant to test ability as well as attention span. First, they drove both courses alert and sober t o gauge their typical driving tendencies. Next, they each drove the courses after taking a few shots. Their driving was clearly impaired, but not nearly as bad as the last time around the courses. After staying up for 30 hours, Tory did 10 times worse driving sleepy than he did tipsy. Kari’s driving was about 3 times worse. While drowsy driving isn’t exactly illegal, some states will charge drivers with criminal negligence if someone else is killed or injured as result. We hope this post inspires you to catch some extra z’s before your next road trip.

Pothole Misery

800px-Short_Neron_PotholeAs we’re sure you’ve noticed, local roads are looking more and more like an obstacle course lately thanks to the myriads of potholes. In some areas, the morning commute follows a zig-zagging pattern within each respective lane. Not only are the potholes inconvenient, but they’re also dangerous. Try your best to avoid them. Click here to see or add to a map of some of the worst potholes in Havertown.

If you can’t completely avoid a pothole, drive through as slowly as possible. In a press release earlier this week, AAA confirmed that assistance crews responded to more tire problems in the Philadelphia 5-county area in February than in any month before. Tire-related calls topped 10,300 in just 28 days. Even one of the AAA battery trucks was damaged by a pothole while en route to help another stranded victim.

Even if you’re capable of changing your own tire, you should be aware that potholes can cause much more extensive damage. Other common damages include:

  • Suspension damage
  • Steering misalignment
  • Bent or dented rims
  • Exhaust system issues
  • Engine damage

If you suspect your vehicle has sustained serious damage, bring it into a mechanic right away. Here at Direct Paint, we’re able to handle collision repair.

PA Drivers Learn Safety Tips

highway

About a week ago, every Pennsylvania driver’s nightmare came true when a pileup on the turnpike involved 100 vehicles. Drivers involved in the crashes or stuck just behind the five-mile jam were stranded on the road for hours waiting for emergency personnel to clear the road.

If you didn’t hear about the accidents, here is a summary. The morning after a big storm had dropped about a foot of snow in the area, commuters between the Bensalem and Willow Grove exits of the highway reported very slick driving conditions during rush hour. According to ABC News, one witness reported that the roads appeared wet but were actually covered in ice. This led to two major pileups and a few minor accidents, involving 100 cars altogether. Thirty people were removed from the road in ambulances. Luckily, none of the injuries reported seemed major. The majority of the accidents happened around 8:30 am, but officials weren’t able to reopen the turnpike until around 4 pm.

During this time, drivers with stranded. Many did not have food or water and most were concerned about dwindling cell phone batteries. In essence, the scene was something those involved surely will never forget. Still, it has other PA drivers concerned about future scenarios. Given that it’s only February, it’s a safe bet that our area will see more snow this season. That’s why NBC came up with some driving safety tips, and we decided to incorporate some of our own in this list as well:

  • Reduce speed and drive cautiously in bad weather. It’s better to be a little late to work than risk getting into an accident.
  • Increase the following distance between cars; drivers need more time to brake when the roads are slippery.
  • Clear snow off of your car to improve visual conditions for yourself and other drivers.
  • Call police if you see something dangerous such as a tree limb out on the road.
  • Keep a bottle of water and a nonperishable snack in your glove compartment and blankets in your trunk or back seat.
  • If you are stuck on the road, stay in your car but turn off the engine to conserve fuel. Also, use your cell phone sparingly.

Storm Aftermath

treecarAfter Winter Storm Pax just made its way through the area, we are all left to deal with the aftermath. In many cases this means lots of snow and ice, but for others it means down power lines and fallen trees. But what do you do if one of these items causes damage to your vehicle? Here are some tips to navigate you through a confusing and stressful process:

According to AAA, you should file a claim using your policy’s comprehensive coverage should a tree limb fall on your car. However, you should contact your insurance company and take pictures of the damage before you attempt to get it repaired. Additionally, vehicle damage caused by severe weather such as flooding or heavy winds is typically covered under an optional part of your auto policy.

If you are driving on ice and cause damage to someone else’s property, your property damage liability coverage should cover these costs. This is also true for public property such as traffic lights or buildings. If your vehicle is damaged from flipping over, riding over potholes, or colliding with another car, your collision coverage should then pay for the damages.

Of course, you should bring your car to a professional if it has sustained any flood damage. It may not be safe to drive.

As always you should contact us for collision repair, auto detailing, or paint jobs needed after bad weather. We also offer 24 hour towing services from our Havertown location. Contact us if this winter weather has caused damage to your vehicle.

Keep it Clean This Winter: Wash Away Road Salt

salt truckWith one storm right after another lately, you’re probably used to a thick coating of road salt covering your shoes, floors, and especially your vehicle. It seems just about impossible to keep our cars clean these days. Occasionally, you may feel relief when it rains because your car will finally be salt-free. However, the possibility of paint damage can actually be the same or even greater after the rain. Confused? We’ll explain.

As you probably already know, salt residue left on your car can cause rusting and ruin the paint finish. To avoid this damage, your best bet is to wash your salty ride as soon as possible and NOT wait for the rain to wash it away.

Without soap, much of the salt residue is left behind after rainfall. Also, rain in the winter typically means warmer temperatures which will only expedite salt’s damage. However, you might think about washing your car yourself instead of taking it to a car wash. Why? Well, after a while the rocks of salts may stick to the brushes used in the car wash which would then be rubbed back onto your car. You might even think about having it waxed after washing, to be preventative before the next storm. For more preventative measures, read this DMV article.

Don’t forget about your car’s interior, though. Be sure to vacuum or shampoo the salt out of your car. This will certainly help keep up the resale value. If you need help with this, bring your vehicle into Direct Paint & Collision. Click here for a list of our detailing services.

Confused by the Dashboard Light?

66ChargerDashWe all experience it every once in a while. We’re innocently driving along when a little icon lights up on the dashboard. At first you feel panicked, but then you start to wonder if this is really an issue that requires your immediate attention. And which lights mean it’s unsafe to continue driving? In this post, we at Direct Paint and Collision hope to inform you about your dashboard lights and give some guidance so you can get these issues safely taken care of.

Check Engine Light

This light illuminates when an issue is affecting your car’s exhaust emissions. While there is no need to drive immediately to the nearest auto repair shop, you should definitely make an appointment in the near future. However, if the light begins to flash you should seek immediate service from an auto repair professional.

Oil Pressure Light

This light may be a symbol or simply the word oil. If it turns on, that means there is an issue with the oil pressure in your vehicle and that there is a possibility of serious mechanical damage. Once this light comes on, you should pull over at the earliest possibility and call for roadside assistance.

Charging System Light

Typically, this light looks like a battery. If it comes on, you should turn off any unnecessary electrical components like a GPS system or the radio and head to a mechanic. If your battery is no longer being supplied power, you may have trouble starting the car once it is turned off. In that case, you would need a jumpstart and possible work on your battery.

 

We hope these descriptions help minimize your panic and keep you safe when on the road. If you end up in an accident in the Havertown area, be sure to call us for towing and collision repair.

Driving With Man’s Best Friend

safe driving direct collisionSome pets just can’t wait to go for rides in the car, especially so they can stick their heads out the window and feel the wind against their furry faces. Taking animals along for car rides is convenient and sometimes unavoidable. However, it can also be dangerous for the both of you — unless the proper safety precautions are taken.

In a survey sponsored by AAA and Kurgo Pet Products, 65 percent of respondents admitted to at least one type of distracted driving while riding with a pet passenger. AAA described these distracted driving behaviors as:

  • Petting your dog while driving
  • Allowing your dog to sit in your lap
  • Feeding your dog
  • Playing with your dog

Now, if talking or texting on a cell phone can distract a driver enough to cause an accident, we’re willing to bet that playing with an animal can be just as dangerous. When your dog is unrestrained during the car ride, the danger becomes even greater. Your pet passenger has the ability to jump around in the car, possibly bumping the driver. Also, an unrestrained pet is at high risk of injury in the event of a crash. Air bags can be deadly to animals, especially those moving around during a car crash. In order to keep your dog safe during road trips, you should show him or her the same courtesy you do yourself. After all, you wear a seatbelt.

There are a number of pet restraint systems available. Smaller dogs can be kept in a carrier held in place by a seatbelt, similar to the way a child’s carseat works. Certain companies also make harnesses that latch onto seat belts and will keep your dog in place without confining them too much. And remember, pets should always ride in the backseat.