The Streets Could Be Scary this Halloween; Drive Safe

HalloweenAs with any holiday weekend, Halloween is certainly a time to enjoy yourself but to also beware of impaired drivers on the road. No mask, makeup, or costume, will be able to disguise the dangers of drunk driving. This year, the Philadelphia area is lucky enough to have a Temple football game happening the same night so that even those who don’t enjoy Halloween will have something to celebrate.

If you’ll be hosting a Halloween party this weekend, make sure all of your guests have designated drivers. Uber is always an option as well! If you happen to be the designated driver of the evening, keep these tips from AAA in mind to spot impaired drivers on the road:

  • Driving too slow or too fast for conditions.
  • Crossing the center line repeatedly.
  • Signaling inconsistent with driving.
  • Swerving, weaving or drifting between lanes and the sides of the road.
  • Accelerating and braking rapidly.
  • Driving with the headlights off at night, or failing to dim high beams.
  • Making wider turns than necessary.
  • Responding slowly to traffic signals (sudden stops, delayed starts).
  • Driving into opposing traffic.
  • Driving too closely to other vehicles or objects.
  • Stopping without cause.
  • Turning abruptly or illegally.

If you see any drivers exhibiting these behaviors, do your best to stay away from them and contact police. And most importantly, enjoy your Halloween!

Do You Understand All of the Safety Features in Your Vehicle?

DashboardRecent studies have shown that many Americans don’t fully understand the ways the technologies in their vehicles are keeping them safe on the road. In fact, many reported feeling caught off-guard when these features kicked in, thinking the vehicle may have malfunctioned.

According to a study from the University of Iowa, 40% of drivers have reported their vehicles reacting in “unexpected” ways. The majority of respondents were familiar with at least one of the nine safety features included in the study, but were not familiar with all of them. The following features were included in the study:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Anti-lock Braking Systems
  • Automatic Emergency Braking System
  • Back-up Camera
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Traction Control
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert

You can find the full published study, which examined both knowledge of safety features and the use of defensive driving techniques, here.

In order to address the issues brought to light by this survey, the University of Iowa partnered with the National Safety Council to create a national campaign to help educate consumers. MyCarDoesWhat.org offers consumers information about safety features, as well as instructional videos to show how these features work. The campaign also plans to develop graphics, animation, social media, a game, and even an app to help educate drivers.

Border-to-Border Initiative Stresses Seat Belt Use in PA

seat beltPerhaps you’ve already seen parts of this initiative taking place around Havertown, but PennDOT, state and local police are taking part in a nationwide Border-to-Border initiative to “Click it or ticket.” The initiative began May 18 and will run through June 7.

Pennsylvania is one of 16 states, along with Ontario, Canada, to take special action to enforce seat belt laws during this time. Enforcement is being stressed at state borders, as well as during nighttime trips and on roads known to have high unbelted crash rates. Traffic in these areas may move slowly, as officers look out for unbelted drivers and passengers. Those pulled over for not wearing a seat belt will receive a traffic violation.

Click It or Ticket

PennDOT reported that unrestrained fatalities dropped from 425 in 2013 to 383 in 2014. They stated that the statewide number of unbelted crashes had dropped as well. Despite this improvement, officials say there was still a significant number of crashes and deaths where a seat belt would have made all the difference. There is still room for improvement.

As a reminder, Pennsylvania law states that all motorists and passengers both under and over the age of 18 must be wearing a seat belt. In addition, children between the ages of must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat. Kids under the age of four are required to be in a child safety seat. (Did you know that 3 out of 4 car seats are installed wrong?)

We hope you buckle up everyday! But please be sure to pay special attention to your passengers’ seat belts for the next week, otherwise you could end up with a fine.

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.

Maintenance for your Next Vacation

people-23789_640Now that it’s summer, there is one thing on all of our minds: vacation. While vacations are something we look forward to all year, they can also be pretty rough on our cars. That’s why we’ve compiled some simple maintenance tips you use before you leave. The following will help to keep you on track during your travels:

  • Search your battery for corrosion and consider replacing if more than 3 years old.
  • Check your oil and change if needed. Your owner’s manual can tell you often you need to change the oil.
  • Look for even wearing, correct air pressure, and plenty of tread depth on your tires.
  • Assess the conditions of your wiper blades and wiper fluid. Typically, wiper blades have a lifespan of about one year.
  • Be sure you have your spare tire in the vehicle, and that it is properly inflated. Also, you’ll need the proper tools should you have to use it.

We hope these tips help you to better enjoy your vacation. Imagine how much fun having car trouble with a car full of kids on the way to the shore would be…or not.

If you do encounter trouble on the road, we offer towing and auto body work.

New Study Says Young Drivers Still Don’t Wear Seat Belts

car-44127_640A study produced by the Governors Highway Association in Washington D.C. shows that there has been a nationwide increase in teenaged drivers fatally injured while not wearing a seat belt. In Pennsylvania, 106 teenagers were killed in car accidents in 2012. Of that 106, 92 were not wearing seat belts.

Nationwide that same year, more than 51 percent of teen drivers killed in fatal accidents were not wearing seat belts. Since 2010, this number has been on the rise. More than 60 percent of passengers killed weren’t wearing seat belts. However, the percentage of adults 20 and over killed while not wearing seat belts was less than half.

In the United States, car crashes are still the number one cause of death for teenagers. Although the number of fatal car crashes has dropped dramatically in the past decade, the number of teens riding without seat belts involved in those crashes has risen. This fact alone says something serious about how important seat belts are to our safety — and the safety of our children.

However, this group did credit Pennsylvania as one of the 12 states with increased efforts to encourage teen drivers to buckle up. Some of these efforts include education initiatives and ticketing individuals who ride in a car unbuckled. Most notably, the group mentioned the three-week campaign called, “Teen Seat Belt Mobilization.” During this campaign, there is serious educational outreach followed by heightened legal enforcement. This campaign was repeated in 2013 and 2014.

For more information about this study, check out the article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Driving Resolutions for the New Year

new yearAs this year comes to a close, you may be thinking about possible resolutions to improve your lifestyle. While promising to eat healthier is noble, you should also consider kicking some dangerous driving habits. Consider these safer driving resolutions:

Put the phone away. According to Distraction.gov, 21 percent of distracted drivers ages 15-19 involved in fatal car accidents were distracted by cell phone use. Keep your phone in a purse or glove compartment so you’re not tempted to text or make calls while driving.

Don’t drive tired. You may not think it a big deal to get behind the wheel while feeling drowsy, but fatigued drivers are not alert enough to drive safely. Your reactions will be slower and your decisions less thought out. If you don’t get enough sleep at night, take an occasional nap throughout the day. If driving for a long time, make a stop so you can get out and stretch your legs.

Leave on time. Most people speed when they are running late, a major cause of automobile accidents. This year, give yourself plenty of time to make your trips and find parking. Don’t let your lateness be an excuse for possibly injuring yourself or another.

Don’t let your safe driving knowledge slip in 2014. Make a resolution, stick to it, and make the roads a safer place.

Winter Driving 101

winter drivingAs anyone who has been out on the roads lately knows, snow and ice can make driving frightening, dangerous, and difficult. Sometimes we are not inspired to learn correct winter driving techniques until it is too late. Take the following advice and keep yourself and loved ones safe this year.

  • Follow further behind vehicles in front of you: In snow, braking can take longer or cause your car to slide. You will want to give yourself more stopping time to avoid collision. Rather than the 3-5 second rule applied to normal driving conditions, try giving yourself 8-10 seconds.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half-full: Smaller amounts of liquid could freeze in your gas line.
  • Never warm your car in your garage: Enclosed spaces will fill up with poisonous gases. You should also check that your exhaust is not covered with snow or ice to avoid carbon monoxide from being pushed inside your car.
  • Reduce your stops: Stopping then starting can become dangerous in ice or snow. Try your best to roll slowly instead of stopping.

To find more driving safety tips, visit the AAA blog

Securing your Christmas Tree For a Safe Trip Home

When preoccupied with holiday cheer, sometimes we forget about the not-so-cheerful things, like driving safety. Winter weather can sometimes make for some treacherous driving conditions, but even more so when transporting your newly purchased Christmas tree home from the lot. Remember the following tips to ensure your holiday season remains cheery and bright.

1. For optimum safety, use ratchet strips instead of bungee cords to secure your tree in the trunk or on the roof. Commonly used by bicyclists, these straps remain sturdier on impact than bungee cords.

christmas tree

2. Be sure that the trunk of the tree is facing forward and the top of the tree is closer to, or inside, the trunk. This will keep most of the weight centered for any turns or stops. Still, you should drive slow and maintain a safe distance between yourself and other cars.

3. Place a blanket or towel beneath your tree. This will prevent pine needles from scratching away paint on your roof or falling all over your backseat/trunk.

Keep these tips in mind and remember to have fun when choosing your tree. If you’re unsure of where to find the perfect one, check out a spot at the corner of Lancaster and Ardmore Avenues in Ardmore or Linvilla Orchards in Middletown Township.