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!

PennDOT Releases ‘Winter Operations’ Video for Safe Driving

As you’ve probably already noticed, winter is well on its way. With temperatures quickly dropping, it won’t be long until we’re making our daily commutes on powdered roads. That being said, PennDOT recently released a video to educate PA drivers about their work during winter maintenance and provide some safe driving tips. You can find that video embedded in this post.

Last winter, PennDOT used more than 1.2 million tons of salt on PA roads. So far, they’ve stocked 639,000 tons and are still accepting deliveries. Motorists are able to check the conditions of roads, traffic alerts, and weather forecasts at www.511PA.com 24 hours a day.

We’ve summarized some of PennDOT’s most important winter safety tips as follows:

  • Store an emergency kit in your vehicle complete with water, blanket, phone charger, first aid supplies, and small shovel.
  • Keep in mind that major roadways will receive the most resources in major winter storms. Smaller roads may have more accumulation.
  • Slow down and increase following distance on icy or snowy roads. Last year, there were 427 crashes in winter conditions caused by aggressive driving behavior.

For more information on PennDOT’s winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, visit the department’s “Ready for Winter” website at www.dot.state.pa.us/winter.

The Most Stolen Cars in Philly

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a vehicle is stolen every 45 seconds. The question is, could the car you drive affect your chances of having your car stolen?

According to the Bureau’s Hot Wheels report, it could. The Bureau recently released its annual report and found that the most nationally stolen car was the Honda Accord, with almost 54,000 total thefts in 2013.

The Bureau released lists for each state, and the following infographic depicts the most stolen cars in Pennsylvania.

Stolen-Cars-in-Philly

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Please note that this infographic covers all of PA, but Philly experiences the highest level of vehicle theft. In fact, according to watchyourcar.org, the theft rate in Philadelphia is 6 times more than the state’s theft rate.

Here in Delaware County in 2013, 690 of 401,714 registered vehicles were reported stolen.

Tips for Keeping Your Car Safe

Having your car stolen is far from fun, and taking a few extra precautions could help you.

Follow the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s layered approach to keeping your vehicle safe.

1) Use common sense. Lock your car and take your keys with you. Close your windows and park in a well-lit area. Even if you’ll just be gone for a few minutes, don’t take any chances.

2) Use a warning device. Most cars come with a visible or audible device that warns of thieves. This may include audible alarms, brake locks, wheel locks, theft deterrent decals, and more.

3) Use an immobilizing device. Many new cars have a device which prevents thieve from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring your vehicle. These devices may come in the form of smart keys, kill switches, starter disablers, wireless authentication, and more.

4) Use a tracking device. A tracking device can emit a signal directly to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. This is a very effective way to help authorities recover stolen vehicles.

Have you had any experiences having your car stolen? What tips can you share with others?

 

Direct Paint Receives a Best of Delco Award

The Delco Times recently named Direct Paint and Collision as a recipient of its 2014 Best of Delco Awards for our collision repair services. We are very proud of this accomplishment, and would like to thank the Delco Times for acknowledging our commitment to quality service. We hope to make you proud!

At Direct Paint and Collision, we have over 30 years of auto body experience and make the collision repair process as simple as possible. We offer towing and rental cars in addition to repairs so we’re able to support our customers beginning at the moment of an accident. If you’re in need of a tow or repair in the tri-state area, be sure to contact us!

 

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Direct Paint Sponsors the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation

296032_10150490259033858_1540786339_nWe’ve recently become a sponsor to a very worthy, local cause. The Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation, located in Havertown, is a non-profit dedicated to conquering ovarian cancer in tribute of a strong woman who was lost to this disease in May, 2000.

This foundation keeps Sandy’s memory alive, while educating other women, medical students, as well as the general public about the signs and symptoms in order to catch the cancer in its earliest stages. The foundation also provides a support system for those who already diagnosed.

Get involved!

If you’d like to get involved with the cause, you can make donations, volunteer, or partake in organized campaigns. You can find all of this information on the website. There are also two upcoming events in the area you might enjoy.

1. Cancer Awareness Night with the Flyers

A portion of ticket sales for the October 14th Flyers game will benefit SROCF when you purchase using the link on their website. Tickets are only $55.

2. Shopping Benefit at J. Crew and Crew Cuts (King of Prussia Mall)

On November 13th, you can shop while being charitable. Between 4pm and 8pm, SROCF supporters will receive 20% purchases of $150 or more. You must RSVP to this event. More information here.

Check out the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation Facebook to keep up with events!

Haverford Township Day 2014

102_3729Last Saturday (September 27, 2014) was Haverford Township Day, and Direct Paint & Collision was there partaking in the festivities. This year’s theme was “Blazing New Trails,” in recognition of the newly developed trail network for both pedestrians and bicyclists.

This year’s Parade Grand Marshall was Rich Kerr, co-founder of Friends of Haverford Trails. This group was formed in 2011 to improve street safety and further trail opportunities within the township.

In addition to the annual parade, other events included free skating at Skatium, rides, face painting, jugglers, magicians, live music, and the Haverford Township 5k race. We had a great time and hope you did too!

Check out our gallery below:

Dandelion a Possible Substitute for Tire Rubber?

dandelions-66719_640The tire industry uses up two-thirds of the world’s rubber supply, and it depends on very few countries in Southeast Asia to grow the rubber tree for raw materials. A Dutch biologist believes she and her team may have found a sustainable alternative to rubber — dandelion.

Dandelion-based rubber would give the tire industry a better handle on rubber supplies. According to an MSN article, brands like Bridgestone and Continental are putting millions into this research.

Dandelion Tires?

The taproot of a type of dandelion native to Kazakhstan is said to produce a fluid that contains tire-grade rubber particles. Unlike tropical rubber trees, dandelions are a pretty tough plant. As anyone who’s ever put up a strong fight with these weeds knows, they grow in any soil and climate. Although rubber trees originated in South America, a fungus made it impossible for them to be reestablished there. Some scientists worry that the same thing could happen in Southeast Asia.

Although it’s doubtful dandelions will ever fully replace rubber trees, they could still be an excellent, natural substitute. Should fungus or any other force threaten rubber tree supplies or rubber cost, U.S. companies would be able to cheaply produce this substitute right here at home.

How do you feel about dandelion tires? We want to know!

PA DUI Laws Don’t Always Keep Repeat Offenders Off the Road

100_1498Pennsylvania law states that any DUI re-offenders must serve two months in jail for the second offense and an additional year for every following offense, in addition to having his or her license suspended. However, this law hasn’t prevented a former CNN courts commentator from being arrested for drunk driving five times within a year, and never serving more than 10 days in jail.

According to an article on Philly.com, Joseph Lawless was able to find a loophole in the law that allowed him to plead guilty as a first time offender for each case of DUI. In addition, he was driving with a valid license for each of these arrests. This was possible because the law only requires license suspension after an offender has been CONVICTED of DUI. In other words, drivers have free reign of the roads while awaiting trial.

In comparison with other states’ DUI laws, Pennsylvania seems pretty lax despite recently lowering the blood alcohol requirement to be considered an impaired driver and increasing jail time for repeat offenders. In 41 states, authorities immediately suspend the licenses of drivers who fail sobriety tests. Thirty-one states, but not PA, require the use of an interlock device after the first conviction. These devices don’t allow drivers to start their vehicles if they are drunk and DUI rearrests are said to fall two-thirds when they are used.

According to the article, the biggest PA loophole abusers can be found in Philadelphia. Philly.com states that one in every four DUI offenders gets away without punishment, mostly because they just don’t show up for court. Philly traffic court is so backed up that it isn’t always prepared to effectively go after offenders.

Be sure to read the article to get the full story of Joseph Lawless and to see how harshly DUI re-offenders have affected local families.

September 11th Remembrance Day in Delaware County

download (1)Delaware County’s annual Remembrance Day Ceremony will be held at Rose Tree Park in Upper Providence Township this Thursday on the 13th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m., and will be hosted by District Attorney Jack Whelan. Other speakers will include NBC10 reporter Harry Hairston, Delaware County President Judge Chad F. Kenney, and Delaware County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle. Kenney will also talk about Officer Edward Wehe, who suffered a fatal heart attack while on duty last November.

During the ceremony, wreaths will be lain at various memorials including the Delaware County Victims of September 11th Memorial, the Delaware County Law Enforcement Memorial, and the Delaware County Fallen Firefighter and EMS Memorial. Delaware County chooses to perform this ceremony annually to not only pay tribute to the fallen first responders and over 3,000 victims of the tragedies of September 11th, but to also thank those currently serving our community.

Another Delaware County commemoration ceremony will be held at Aston Township Memorial Gardens at 7 p.m. Called the Patriots Day Ceremony, Boy Scout Troops plan to honor local police officers, firefighters, and EMS workers.

We at Direct Paint & Collision are grateful to our first responders everyday, but especially on this anniversary. Your commitment and sacrifices do not go unnoticed!

Preparing Students to Take Cars to College

Students_work_on_robots_at_Cañada_CollegeAs August comes to a close, it doesn’t just signify the end of summer. Tons of college students are heading back to dorms and apartments, many of whom are living on their own for the first time. In addition to living apart from their parents, these students now have to care for their vehicles as well.

According to AAA, there are several common mistakes that college students make when it comes to cars. If you or your child are leaving for college soon, be sure to consider the following “Rookie Mistakes”:

Letting a friend borrow the car- Not everyone at college has a car, so friends asking to borrow isn’t uncommon. However, car insurance sticks with the car not the driver. If a friend gets in an accident, it will affect the owner of the vehicle. In the cases of many college students, the owner is Mom or Dad.

Ignoring regular maintenance- Students might try to save money by avoiding small maintenance without realizing that doing so could contribute to a bigger, more expensive problem. Talk to your son or daughter about knowing when to change oil, rotate tires, and how to check tire tread.

Not preparing for roadside emergencies- Another aspect to consider is that college students can’t always call home when they have car trouble. Some type of roadside assistance service, like AAA, could help them with car trouble and even find a trustworthy auto shop in the area.

Discussing these mistakes with your college student might help to avoid some pesky, pricey accidents in the future. Also, you’ll be giving him or her a great lesson in vehicle responsibility.