Auto

7 Common Car Accidents and How to Help Avoid Them

7 Common Car Accidents and How to Help Avoid Them

Let’s face it: accidents happen. And when they do, you might be looking at car repairs and injuries as well as possible increases to your insurance premium. Safe driving can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe and your premium in check. Here are seven common car accidents and tips on how to help avoid them:

REAR-END COLLISIONS

Rear-end collisions are a common reason for auto insurance claims. Whether you are the driver who hits a vehicle in front of you, or the driver who gets hit by a vehicle behind you, these accidents can often be avoided. Consider these tips:
Keep your distance
Drive far enough behind the car in front of you so you can stop safely. This is especially true in inclement weather. Stay at least three seconds behind the vehicle ahead of you, and longer if you’re in a heavier vehicle. Extend the timing when weather conditions are bad.

Drive strategically
Avoid situations that could force you to suddenly use your brakes. If a driver is following you too closely or isn’t paying attention, you might be rear-ended.

Don’t get distracted
Never take your eyes off the road to eat, read a text message or find your phone. If the driver ahead of you stops suddenly, it only takes a second or less of not paying attention to rear-end their vehicle.

Don’t drive when drowsy or under the influence. You’re more likely to make driving errors when you’re sleepy or impaired by drugs or alcohol.

PARKED CAR DAMAGE

Another common cause of auto damage: having a parked vehicle hit by another car. Whether you’re leaving your car in a parking lot or on the road, take steps to help avoid parked car collisions and claims. Here are some suggestions:

Go the distance
Don’t park in the busiest part of a parking lot. Instead, select a space away from heavy traffic. You’ll help reduce your chance of getting hit by another car.

Maximize the space
Always park in the center of a spot. Reposition your vehicle if it’s too close to a parking line. It will help keep your car from being hit by others pulling in to or out of adjacent spots. It can also help prevent dings from swinging doors.

Park in a garage, if you can
The idea is to put your car in a safe place when you’re not driving it.
Park street-smart. Try not to park near busy intersections, tight turns and driveways. Other drivers may not see your vehicle and could side-swipe it when passing by.

SINGLE-VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

Single-vehicle losses include collisions with road barriers, debris or animals, in addition to rollovers and accidents when driving off-road. It’s not hard to help prevent them.

Drive right for the weather
Even if yours is the only vehicle on the road on a rainy, snowy or icy day, drive at speeds that allow you to maintain control. Learn how to avoid hydroplaning on flooded roads and refresh your winter driving skills before the season begins.

Always pay attention
Just because you’re the only person on the road doesn’t mean it’s okay to text, make hands-on phone calls or eat while driving. You never know when conditions might change.

Don’t drive too fast
Speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities for more than two decades.1 Simply put, speeding is dangerous, even if there is no one else around you.

WINDSHIELD DAMAGE

Chips and cracks to vehicle windshields are a common auto accident that many drivers don’t realize they can help prevent. Most windshield damage happens when rocks and stones are thrown up in the air by other vehicles. Help prevent this damage by keeping your distance from cars and trucks.

Also, don’t drive behind snow plows when they’re dropping salt or other granular substances. Some pieces are large enough to cause chips and cracks.

CRASHES AT INTERSECTIONS

Intersections are another place where accidents frequently occur. Distracted drivers may miss traffic signals changing from green to yellow to red. Or they don’t notice vehicles pausing before making turns.

Practice defensive driving to help avoid accidents. Take a moment after the light turns green to make sure no one is coming through the intersection. Look out for drivers speeding to make it through a yellow light on a cross street. When you’re approaching a yellow light, be cautious rather than take chances.

PARKED VEHICLE THEFT

No matter where you park your car, there’s always a chance of a break-in. Still, there are things you can do to help prevent potential unnecessary damage to your vehicle. Keep in mind that items stolen from your vehicle could be a loss that you file under your homeowners insurance coverage. Damage that occurs to your vehicle during a break-in would be filed under your auto insurance coverage.

Never leave valuables in a parked car. Having them in view is an invitation to thieves. Take expensive things with you, store them inside your glove compartment or lock them in the trunk.
Never park in dark locations. Instead, find spaces in well-lit areas. Plan ahead if you’re parking prior to sunset.

BACKING COLLISIONS

Whether you’re backing out of a parking spot or your driveway, accidents can happen.

The best thing you can do to avoid accidents when backing up is to avoid having to back up in the first place. When possible, park in a way where you won’t have to back up into traffic, such as pulling through or backing into a parking spot.

Another helpful tip: drive vehicles that have a backup camera. If your car doesn’t have one, you can have one installed.

If you drive a car that’s not equipped with a backup camera, here are some other suggestions of what you can do:
• Before getting into your vehicle, look around to assess your surroundings and traffic patterns.
• Back out using the shortest, most direct route possible.
• Reverse in a straight line, turning only when clear of parked vehicles or any other obstructions.
• Back out slowly while continuing to check traffic around you.
• Use your mirrors and brakes until you’re completely out of the spot and integrated into traffic.
• Never do anything distracting while backing out.
• While there are many things you can do to help prevent collisions, theft, injuries or damage to your vehicle, it’s not always possible to avoid the unexpected. Contact your local independent agent or a Travelers representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage to meet your needs.

Sources:
https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/speeding
https://www.travelers.com/resources/auto

Posted by admin in Auto
Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. We are looking to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and encourage motorists to reduce distractions behind the wheel. Generally speaking, distracted driving refers to any activity that may interfere with a driver’s attentiveness on the road, whether that entails changing the radio station or interacting with their smartphone.

A new Agency Forward study from Nationwide found drivers are practicing poor driving behavior despite fears of others driving dangerously. What’s worse, more than a third of drivers (34%) believe it is safe to hold your phone while driving.

Distracted driving poses major safety hazards and contributes to a significant number of accidents. In fact, more than 2,800 people are killed and 400,000 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver each year—equating to approximately eight deaths and 1,095 injuries per day. To make matters worse, motorists’ driving behaviors have become increasingly risky since the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially heightening the likelihood of distracted driving incidents.

Distracted driving trends

Despite two-thirds of drivers (66%) saying that holding a cell phone to talk, text, or use an app while driving is dangerous, half (51%) reported doing this in the past six months, with Millennials doing this more than any other age group (67%).

Although fewer drivers have been on the road in the last couple years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of fatal accidents has soared. In 2020, a total of 38,824 deaths occurred on U.S. roadways. Taking a closer look at that total, it represents a fatality rate of 1.34 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which is more than a 20% increase from 2019 and the highest rate recorded since 2007.1 In 2021, this rate surged an additional 18% in just the first six months of the year.2

This increase in fatalities has been linked to a rise in unsafe driving behaviors. Specifically, motorists may have gained a sense of false confidence in the presence of fewer vehicles on the road, prompting them to adopt dangerous habits. Nationwide’s latest research supports these concerning trends. According to this data, driving has become considerably more dangerous than it was before the pandemic, compared to 2020 data:

  • 81% think drivers are more aggressive
  • 79% think drivers drive faster
  • 76% think drivers are more reckless

What’s particularly concerning is that 85% of motorists rate their driving as excellent or very good, but only 29% give the same rating to other drivers around them. While riding in the passenger seat, consumers have witnessed drivers engaging in a variety of distracting activities on the road this past year, including texting (35%) and checking social media (27%). 

Fatalities are one the rise:

Nationwide Research Methodology
Edelman Data & Intelligence conducted a national online survey of 1,000 U.S. adult (ages 18+), car-owning consumers on behalf of Nationwide. The study was fielded from March 4 to March 11, 2022, and has an overall margin of error of ±3% at the 95% confidence level.

Posted by admin in Auto
Cars Most Likely to be Stolen

Cars Most Likely to be Stolen

A recent study on car theft has just assured me the likelihood of someone stealing my Honda Fit is refreshingly low. The same study provides one of the few convincing reasons to outfit yourself with this compact Honda instead of a Hemi—or an Infiniti Q50.

The Fit’s unfitness for hotwiring isn’t only due to its available manual transmission; not a single subcompact is on the HLDI’s list of the 20 vehicles most likely to be stolen. 

Instead that list dominated by luxury vehicles, pickup trucks, and cars and trucks that have engines powerful enough to provoke envy and spontaneous searches for wire hangers. Almost half of the 20 vehicles leading the likely-to-be-stolen list are also equipped with all-wheel drive. (For getaway scrambles across highway medians, perhaps?)

However, the shining stars of the theft frequency list are the Dodge Charger Hemi and Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Interestingly, no other muscle cars compete with these Hemi-powered Mopars for their status atop this list, and are accompanied instead by an unlikely third-wheeler: the Infiniti Q50. This triad has the dubious distinction of being stolen at more than five times the average theft rate for 2016–2018 model year vehicles. 

“The models most likely to be stolen tend to be powerful, pricey, or pickups; but vehicle theft is also a crime of opportunity,” Matt Moore, the institute’s senior vice president, said in a statement. “Better security features on all vehicles would be the best way to address the problem.”

In general, car theft is on the rise. Though modern cars are more theft-resistant than older vehicles, many of them also come with the convenience of push-button starting. Lazy drivers often drop their high-tech, security-defeating key fobs in the console or cupholder when they run in Wal-Mart, making theft absurdly simple.

HLDI’s figures are based on the probability of the vehicles being stolen. The study compares thefts with sales rather than tabulating the gross number of thefts; that’s why some vehicles with relatively low sales appear on the most-likely-to-be-stolen list.

It may surprise enthusiasts who place the BMW 3 Series high atop a pedestal, but car thieves are apparently not into mass-market Bimmers. The 2016–2018 3-series tops a different list as the vehicle least likely to be stolen, and is followed by two Teslas: the Model S and Model X. The HLDI speculates that Teslas sport such a the low theft rate because they are typically parked either in garages or close enough to a house to reach an AC outlet or charger. A HLDI report from last year also showed that electric vehicles had relatively lower theft rates than conventionally powered cars and trucks.

One prominent dropout from the most-stolen list is the Cadillac Escalade, which used to lead the HLDI’s rankings for total vehicle theft. The Institute attributes that to both more competition in the luxury SUV segment (the Infiniti QX80 and Land Rover Range Rover are now on the list of 20 most stolen vehicles) and the fact that Cadillac started adding more robust anti-theft features in 2015.

None of us would put ourselves above enjoying some subtle envy when rumbling around in a Hemi, but with great power comes… great responsibility. There’s a reason Andrew Garfield’s Spiderman jumps a guy hijacking his way into a 7 Series. 

Most frequently stolen vehicles of the 2016-18 model years:
Dodge Charger HEMI
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
Infiniti QX50 
Infiniti QX80
GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab
Dodge Challenger
Nissan Maxima
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew-cab
Chrysler 300 four-wheel-drive
Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan AWD
Dodge Charger AWD
Dodge Durango AWD 
Land Rover Range Rover
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew-cab 4WD
Dodge Charger
Nissan Titan crew-cab short bed
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
GMC Sierra 1500 crew-cab 4WD
Audi A7 AWD
Infiniti QX80 AWD

Least frequently stolen vehicles of the 2016-18 model years:
BMW 3-series four-door
Tesla Model S AWD
Tesla Model X AWD
Chevrolet Equinox AWD
Buick Encore AWD
Subaru Legacy with EyeSight
GMC Acadia
Subaru Forester with EyeSight
GMC Acadia AWD
Volkswagen New Beetle
BMW 3 Series AWD
Subaru Outback with EyeSight
BMW X5
Subaru Crosstrek
Chevrolet Traverse
Subaru Crosstrek with EyeSight
Lexus RX 450h AWD
Honda Odyssey
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Cadillac XT5

Content provided by Hagarty

Posted by admin in Auto
The 5 best roadsters

The 5 best roadsters

There is no feeling like the brush of cool air coming over the windscreen as you motor down the roadway. Almost every manufacturer has produced a roadster at some point, so we asked Hagerty members which one is their favorite. Here are the most popular answers.

Honda S200
Packing nearly 100 horsepower per liter, the Honda S2000 is a feat of engineering. The two-seater is sleekly styled and while small, is packed with function. The entire cockpit is driver-centric, and the rear-wheel-drive platform paired with a manual six-speed transmission promises a lively driving experience. They appear to be only going up, might be the time to shop for one now.

Mazda Miata
Embodying all the enjoyment—even the exhaust note—of a little British car, but with traditional Japanese reliability, is a sure fire recipe for those who like fun to drive cars. The Miata hit that nail square and hard, making itself a favorite of those in the search for a modern roadster. The first generation from 1989-97, also known as NA, are typically favored by those seeking a pure experience, but the subsequent generations are still wonderful cars to enjoy.

Morgan
We expected a wide range of responses, but we will say we didn’t expect a pack of Morgan lovers to come out of the woodwork (pun intended) to declare their love for open top motoring. A pure British roadster, this fits the traditional definition by leaving the side windows behind. The majority of the responses calling for inclusion of the Morgan nameplate made reference to the Plus Four, a more powerful version of 4/4 model, which was built from 1950 to 1969.

Chevrolet Corvette
The second-generation Corvette is best known for the one-year-only split-window of 1963, as it was a gorgeous design and also the first Corvette without the option to remove the roof (the convertible, of course, wasn’t a split-window) Arguably the most American roadster (we would accept arguments that the ’32 Ford is a tie for the spot), the Corvette is the quintessential roadster for those who want an exhaust note that sounds as good as the American flag looks. Barring a few years after 1976 when no American production cars had the convertible option, the Corvette has always had the box on the order form for a drop top. We hope it stays that way.

Triumph TR3
The term LBC encapsulates a lot, but when you break it down to Little British Cars, to us there are few that fit the term better than the Triumph TR3. Hagerty members mentioned a number of Lucas-electrics-equipped cars, but the most support seems to lean on the curvaceous TR3. While British in heritage and production, between 1955 and 1957, 90-percent of TR3 production was shipped to the shores of the U.S.

Posted by admin in Auto
5 Simple Modifications You Can Do In Your Driveway

5 Simple Modifications You Can Do In Your Driveway

Factory stock condition is good enough for most people, but if the desire to make your car unique overtakes you, it’s best to start with simple modifications and leave the engine swaps and custom suspension for later. Here are five simple modifications that you can do in your driveway—no garage or special tools required.

EXHAUST
A rowdy exhaust note has been the sign of performance for decades, and with the multitude of options for mufflers there’s no shortage of different options to create a system for just the sound you want. We do advise to be careful and not go too extreme and annoy the neighborhood or make your car virtually undrivable due to the interior noise. While rusted exhaust hardware is one of the biggest headaches of automotive repair work, it can be done while lying on the pavement with a car supported by a good set of jack stands. Just make sure your new parts bolt on before you remove the old exhaust and find out you’ll need to learn how to weld.

SHIFTER
When it comes to changes on a car, making adjustments to items that the driver directly interacts with will feel much more significant than others. A short throw shifter or other upgrades, like better bushings in the linkages, will increase the positive feel of a manual transmission shifter.

WHEELS
Changing the appearance and stance of a car can be as easy as bolting on a new set of wheels. Proper sizing is key, of course, as to not detrimentally affect the vehicles handling, but there are more tools than ever available to enthusiasts to ensure proper fitment. Additional benefits can also be gained by dropping wheel weight or changing the size to allow for more tire options, which leads to the next item below.

TIRES
Tires are one of the easiest and most significant ways to change your car’s performance. Only drive in the summer? No need for all seasons. Want authentic experience from your first-generation Miata? There is an option for that too. Needless to say, proper tire selection can make the car behave just the way you want it.

BREAKS
Modern brakes are almost always very good from the factory, but occasionally those on vintage cars leave something to be desired. Properly adjusting a set of drum brakes is a great start, but the next step is replacing parts. You don’t need big changes to make a difference. Upgrading to an improved formula brake shoe material in drum setups or a pad replacement for disc brakes can significantly improve feel and stopping power. A fluid flush and refill will also often give the brake system a refreshed feel and more confidence from the driver’s seat.

Happy tinkering!

Posted by admin in Auto
Spring Tune-Up Advice

Spring Tune-Up Advice

Spring has sprung! The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and it is time to get your special cars back on the road!
 
Here are five easy tips for waking your car up from a long winter’s nap.

Power up
Put the battery back in place. If the car is a newer model abounding in electronics, the battery may have been left under the unlatched hood with the charger’s cables hooked up, not only keeping the charge fresh but also providing minimum power to the digital processors. Oh, and look at those terminals, wiping away any buildup.

Inspect the tires
Tires were “aired up” a few extra pounds in the fall to prevent flat spots. Now the sidewall rubber should be inspected for cracks or bulges. Adjust air pressure to the recommendation. How old are the tires? Even if tread depth is substantial, rubber breaks down after a few years and tires need to be replaced. Maybe this is the year.

Walk around the car
Inspect for signs of corrosion or rodent mischief. Mice love wiring! Traces of their activity will have collected on the plastic sheet that was laid out on the garage floor. If the tailpipes were blocked up with steel wool to foil the critters, it should come out now. Check all belts and hoses for cracks.

Check the Oil
If indeed it was changed in the fall, the level should be good and lubrication properties uncompromised. If it wasn’t changed, now’s the time. Although leakage of coolant or hydraulic fluid would be pretty obvious, it can’t hurt to double-check the levels.

Start it up
The engine may splutter after startup. Check the instrument panel for warning lights. Once the engine settles into a rhythm, the car can get under way. Take it easy in the first few miles until fluids and lubricants come up to operating temperature. Components like valve seals and suspension bushings will be grateful.

Now let ‘er rip, and enjoy a safe driving season.
Posted by admin in Auto