Before winter weather hits, you need to tune up your car. Follow this checklist as you prepare your vehicle to navigate cold temperatures and winter weather safely.
As the heart of your vehicle, the engine must be in good working order. Inspect it thoroughly and repair any faulty wiring or replace the spark plugs if necessary. Also, visually inspect the belts on both sides and make sure they’re not cracked, frayed or glazed. Inspect the hoses and tem if you see cracks or other wear, too.
Protect your vehicle from overheating when you maintain the radiator. Flush the entire system if it hasn’t been done in the past two years, and repair any leaks before adding fresh antifreeze.
Maintain power all season when you check your battery and its connections. Ensure the battery is free from corrosion and securely attached to the vehicle. Replace it if it’s older than seven years.
Your vehicle can’t operate properly without oil or if the oil system is dirty. Clean or replace the filter and change the oil now.
Not only do filters remove dirt and assist your vehicle in operating properly, but they can improve your gas mileage. This fall, replace your car’s oil, transmission and air filters.
Maintain control of your vehicle at all times thanks to power steering. If your vehicle is handling rough or groaning, repair this essential system.
Worn brakes reduce your ability to stop on slippery roads. Ask your mechanic to inspect the brakes and replace them if they’re worn or uneven.
Properly aligned tires with the correct pressure and adequate tread provide the traction you need. Take time now to inspect your tires. Rotate, replace or inflate them as needed.
Visibility is required for safe winter driving. Change the windshield wipers so that they make full contact with the windshield. Fill the washer fluid, too.
A safe exhaust system prevents dangerous carbon monoxide emissions. Repair any muffler or tail pipe system leaks.
Rust spots grow over time, especially when exposed to wet winter elements. Repair any rust spots as you protect your vehicle.
Taking care of your vehicle now ensures it’s protected all season. In addition to following this winter tune-up checklist, talk to your insurance agent. Ensure your auto coverage is adequate as you prepare for winder driving.
Rear-end collisions are the most common accidents between vehicles.1 They occur when drivers do not have enough time to perceive and react safely to slowing or stopped traffic. Increasing your following distance can help give you time to react when someone brakes in front of you.
The Three-Second Rule
Increasing the distance between you and the car ahead can help give you the time you need to recognize a hazard and respond safely. The National Safety Council recommends a minimum three second following distance.2
Determining the three-second gap is relatively easy. When following a vehicle, pick an overhead road sign, a tree or other roadside marker. Note when the vehicle ahead passes that marker, then see how many seconds it takes (count 1-1,000; 2-1,000; 3-1,000) for you to pass the same spot. If it is not at least three seconds, leave more space and increase your following distance.
Think of following distance in terms of time, not space. With a standard of 2.5 seconds, highway engineers use time, rather than distance, to represent how long it takes a driver to perceive and react to hazards. The National Safety Council also uses this standard (plus a little extra for safety) when recommending the three-second rule for following distance.3
Sometimes Three Seconds Is Not Enough
The three-second rule is recommended for passenger vehicles during ideal road and weather conditions. Slow down and increase your following distance even more during adverse weather conditions or when visibility is reduced. Also increase your following distance if you are driving a larger vehicle or towing a trailer.
Distractions, such as texting, reaching for a drink or glancing at a navigation device, also play a role in rear-end collisions. Even if you use the three-second rule, you may not have time to react to a hazard if you are distracted. It is another reason why you should avoid distractions while driving.4
Nine out of 10 Americans drive to their travel destination.¹
If you are among those planning to hit the road, remember: safe driving starts before you even leave the driveway. Securing luggage, maintaining vehicle balance and keeping clear lines of sight from the driver’s seat is key.
Learn how to pack your vehicle for safer travels in these videos with Travelers specialist Chris Hayes — and make your road trip a memorable one, for all the right reasons.
As a caring parent, you have tackled your share of difficult talks with your children, from bullying to underage drinking. Now, as your teen prepares to get behind the wheel, get ready to have “the talk” about safe driving. It may be the most critical conversation that you have with your child.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teen drivers, according to theCenters of Disease Control and Prevention.
Due to driving inexperience, teens are more likely to be involved in an accident than other drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
Based on research, here are five tips to help your “talk” about safe driving be more effective:
Be confident. Know that you can positively influence your child’s behavior behind the wheel.1
Be a safe driver yourself (if you are not already). Teens tend to follow your example.2
Know the facts about teen driving. Some teens increase their already high collision risk by speeding, drinking, driving at night, having peers as pass
engers, and being distracted. Your state likely has Graduated Driver Licensing laws to discourage such risky behaviors among new drivers. Learn about them. And resolve to enforce them, along with other like-minded parents.
Approach your talk like a great coach. Stay calm, and set clear expectations and consequences regarding dangerous driving behaviors mentioned above. Also, put expectations in writing in a simple parent-teen driving contract. And give lots of encouragement. Kids, including adolescents, respond best to positive reinforcement.3
Stay involved. Keep a close eye on your teen’s behavior behind the wheel – even after obtaining a license. Continue to coach them about how to drive more safely. Learning to drive safely takes time, experience, judgment and skill. You may want to consider installing a monitoring device; it provides data on driving behaviors that need improvement. And, understand that you will need to have multiple “talks” with your child.
1 B. Simons-Morton, M.C. Ouimet, “Parent involvement in novice teen driving: a review of the literature,” Injury Prevention, 2006; 12 (Suppl l)i30-i37; Ferguson SA, Williams AF, Chapline JF, Reinfurth DW, DeLeonardis DM. Relationship of parent driving records to the driving records of their children. Accid Anal Prev.2001;33 :229– 234 2 Ibid 3 A. Kazdin, “The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child,” New York, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2008.
Roadwork can be frustrating, but it is a necessary fact of life.
When you have to be somewhere and traffic builds because of roadwork, it can be easy to become impatient – which can be dangerous in a work zone. Did you know work zones are a major cause of auto accidents? During 2012, these accidents resulted in 609 fatalities and about 32,000 injuries.¹
Here are some tips that can help you and others stay safe when there is roadwork ahead:
Be prepared for the unexpected. Things can change quickly in work zones. Slowed or stopped traffic, a traffic lane closure, or equipment and workers on the roadway are all possible.
Slow down. More than one-third of fatal accidents in work zones are caused by speeding.² Obey the posted speed limit, even if you do not see any work currently in progress.
Keep a safe following distance. Rear-end collisions account for 30 percent of work zone accidents.³ Keep a safe distance between you and other cars and construction workers and equipment to help avoid accidents.
Obey road crew flaggers and road signs. Flaggers and warning signs are there to help all drivers move safely through the work zone.
Stay alert and focused. Your full attention should be on the road. Multitasking while driving is never recommended, especially through a work zone.
Keep up with traffic. Do not slow down to watch the roadwork.
Plan ahead. Before hitting the road, check a traffic report for delays. Be sure to plan enough time to help you reach your destination on time.
Be patient. While roadwork can be an inconvenience, remember that the crews are working to improve roads and make everyone’s drive safer.
Auto insurance can be a bit tricky when it comes to your employees. While you might think that they are covered under your basic auto insurance policy you have for your business when they are on the clock, there are times when your employees might not be. When using a business vehicle to complete business-related activities, your employees are covered if they happen to get into an accident or otherwise cause damage. When the same activities for your business are undertaken while they are using their own private vehicles or a rental car, though, the rules are a bit different. This is where hired and non-owned auto liability insurance kicks in.
Why Choose Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability Insurance
In most cases, your employee’s own private insurance will provide enough coverage to account for any damages that are caused while they are completing business. In today’s litigious-minded environment, however, the costs of any accidents or damage could easily exceed the limits that are in place on your employee’s coverage. Hired and non-owned auto liability insurance provides you with that necessary extra layer of coverage that protects your business.
Hired vehicles that are covered by such a policy include those that are borrowed or rented while the non-owned vehicles portion covers those vehicles that are owned by people besides the business — including your employee’s vehicle. While this type of coverage is usually added as a rider to your business insurance policy, your insurance company can also add it to your general insurance policy if you do not have a separate business policy. Doing so protects your business if your employees get into an accident while using a non-business vehicle and supplements the policies provided by rental car agencies.