Thursday, April 28, 2016

Do You Have a New Driver?

It seems that as summer approaches, there are more young drivers on the road each year.  Receiving your driver's license is a huge milestone in many teens lives.  It means mobility and freedom.

Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens.(CDC)  However, there are some steps you and your teen can take to prevent car crashes and keep you and your loved ones safe.
  • Know Your Car: Make sure your teen is familiar with your car.  They should be familiar with the different features your car comes with and should always keep the gas tank at least 1/3 full.
  • Seat Belts: I can't stress this one enough!  No matter how you look at it, seat belts save lives.  A driver or passenger will always be safer when wearing a seat belt.  Encourage and set the example for your teen to always wear a seat belt.
  • Slow Down: Speed limits are there for a reason: to keep you safe!  Speeding is one of the main causes of fatalities in teen accidents.  
  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings: This can be anything from kids playing near the road, to a sunset that makes it hard to see.  You can't always assume a child will stay out of the road, or that another driver will see you even though you are blinded by the sun.  Take precautions, and drive carefully.
  • Distracted Driving: There are so many distractions as a person drives down the road.  You have your cell phone, your friends in the car, a catchy billboard, etc.  Always stay focused on the road and be aware of what's going on.
Having an extra driver in the house can definitely be a positive thing.  So take the proper precautions and enjoy watching your teen become more independent!

Is Your Car Ready for Your Vacation?

As summer approaches, many of you are planning or have already planned a family vacation.  You're ready for a break from school and work, and just want to spend some quality time with you family away from home.  According to a survey done by AAA, 35% of Americans will be taking a family vacation this year.  With the drop in gas prices this past year, many of those trips will be road trips.  Maybe you will drive up to your favorite camping spot.  Perhaps you'll have a family reunion at a national park.  Or maybe you'll take a long-awaited trip to a theme park.  Wherever you go, you will try and plan for any possible mishap so you can spend your time enjoying each other, instead of worrying about troubles.

One item of your trip planning to keep in mind is your transportation.  If you are taking a road trip, you will want to make sure that your vehicle is well-maintained and up for the trip.  Some of the preparation you can do in your own driveway.  Some things to check for are:

  • Check all fluids and filters (engine oil, coolant, windshield washer solvent, etc.)
  • Check hoses and belts (for cracking, wear, misshapen, etc.)
  • Check tires (pressure, balding, uneven wear)
  • Check wipers and lighting
  • Check brake system
  • Check batter connection (be sure that there isn't any corrosion)
  • Check gas cap and be sure it is not damaged 

You can also bring your car in for a Pre-Trip Tune-up.  “A pre-trip inspection provides the opportunity to have service repairs made at home by your own trusted technician who knows the vehicle, and helps reduce the chance of costly and dangerous trouble on the road,” said Rich While. (Be Car Care Aware)  You can also ensure that your car is running at it's most efficient capacity, to ensure better fuel economy and safety.

We all want to have a safe vacation, and usually all it takes is some planning ahead of time.  We hope you have a safe and fun summer!

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

As the temperature increases and the days become nicer all around, you start seeing more motorcycles on the road.  You'll see every type of motorcyclist out there.  You'll see the scooters, the commuters, the leisurely driver, the guy in leather, the guy with a helmet, and sadly the guy without a helmet.  Unfortunately, you won't always see a motorcyclist and so it's important to take precautions, especially if you are the motorcyclist.

The first step you can take as a motorcyclist is wear the proper gear.  Wear a helmet!  I can't stress this enough!  According to consumer reports, "riders without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries, than those with helmets."  Helmets have come a long way, and are lighter and more comfortable than they once were.  Also, wear protective clothing.

Another step you can take to protect yourself is to take a riding course with a nearby Motorcycle Safety Foundation.  The old adage is "Practice makes Perfect."  Why wouldn't you want to improve on your riding skill to be safe on the road.  There are multiple places you can take a course on riding a motorcycle.  These courses can also assist you in passing the motorcycle licensing test and help you become a more confidant and safe rider.

Watch for road hazards and bad weather.  A motorcycle is so much smaller than a car, that it reacts differently to some road hazards and bad weather.  A car can easily straddle pot holes in the road, but a motorcycle could be damaged and the rider hurt in the process if hit.  Also, be aware of the wind and rain.  Make allowances for unforeseeable mishaps.

As a driver in a car, there are also steps you can take to protect the motorcyclist driving near you.  First, be aware that he/she is there.  Always take time to look in your mirrors, and see those around you.  You are protected by the car, but the motorcyclist, not so much.  Be sure to check your blind spot when you change lanes, and leave enough stopping room when you travel behind.

We are all driving out there together, and it's important that we look out for one another.  If the roles were reversed, we'd want someone else watching our back.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Click It or Ticket

Every year in May, a couple of weeks are set aside to really focus on the wearing of seat belts.  This year the National enforcement period will be May 23-June 5.  Not only will police officers be enforcing the seat belt laws, but the law in Utah will actually change.  This year, as of May 12, a person can now be pulled over, just for not wearing a seat belt.  Previously, not wearing a seat belt could only be a secondary offense. (Utah Department of Public Safety)

You've been hearing it for years.  Wear a seat belt.  Buckle up your kids.  Make sure your kids are in the correct car seat/booster seat.

According to Click It Utah, "the seat belt has been credited with saving one million lives."  Even if your car has air bags, it's still important to wear a seat belt.  A seat belt will help keep you in the correct place to brace you for a crash.

According to Zero Fatalities the following statistics should motivate you to wear your seat belt if you are not in the habit of doing so:
  • Seat belts are the single most effective traffic safety device for preventing death and injury.
  • Wearing a seat belt also helps the driver stay in the driver seat and helps maintain control of the vehicle.
  • 3 out of 4 people who are ejected during a fatal crash die from their injuries.
  • Over the last 5 years, almost half of all people (45%) who died on Utah's roads weren't buckled.
  • When the driver is unbuckled, 76% of children also ride unbuckled. When the driver is belted, 87% of children also ride with a seat belt. Be an example and buckle up.
  • In a crash, unbuckled passengers can become a projective and increase the risk of hurting or killing others in the car by 40%.

Based on a survey prepared by the Utah Department of Public Safety, Utah's seat belt use rate in 2015 was 87.2%, which was 3.8% increase as compared to 2014. To read the complete survey please read more here. So the good news is on a whole, we are improving!  More people are wearing seat belts.  More people are buckling their kids up. Even when you are taking short trips, you still need to buckle up yourself, and your kids in the proper car seat.  It can save your life and the lives of your family members!

Summer Driving Series: Don't Leave Your Kids in the Car!

Summer is here!  You are hopefully enjoying your air conditioner as you drive through town. (If not, make sure you call Jake's Auto to h...