Category Archives: Automobile Safety

tips for summer drives

20 Tips for Summer Drives

It is that time of year, vacation time. Are you preparing for summer adventures across several states? Not only do you need to have a plan for your summer travels such as what to bring, where you are staying, food, entertainment, and more you need to consider your long drive ahead.

We put together 20 tips to consider as you get ready for your trip that will help you keep your eye on the road and ensure a safe, happy and memory of a lifetime trip!

  1. Get plenty of sleep the night before your long drive.
  1. Make sure your vehicle is in condition to take you on a long trip. This includes filling its gas tank and properly inflating its tires.
  1. Have your phone fully charged before your trip. In case of a problem, you can call emergency services right away.
  2. Have snacks with you to keep up your sustainability. Do not consume caffeinated drinks if you are driving, as their effects only last temporarily and get worse over time.
  3. Do not drink before driving. Even though you will not get erratic behavior after just one drink, it will cause you to become drowsy.
  4. Fasten your seatbelt to not only stay safe on the road but to also avoid a ticket from a police officer.
  5. Pull over every few hours and get some rest, get out of the car and stretch your legs, or stop somewhere and eat.
  6. If you have kids, make sure that they have something to occupy themselves with, such as novels or crossword puzzle books.
  7. If possible, share driving responsibilities with another person that you are driving with.
  8. Turn on the radio and/or listen to music to help you stay awake.
  9. Do not use your cell phone while driving. If you are using it as a GPS, keep it in a safe place within your reach, yet out of your line of sight.
  10. In cases of extreme traffic, use your GPS to find a detour that you can use to keep moving and not get stuck.
  11. As a backup plan, bring a traditional map with you, in case your GPS fails or is not reliable.
  12. Sign up for AAA or a roadside assistance program from your insurance provider.
  13. Conserve gas by going at the speed limit. It requires less fuel to drive slower.
  14. Stop at a gas station and refill your tank once you have 25 percent remaining.
  15. For food, avoid convenience stores and gas stations, and instead stop at a grocery or drug store, as you will get a larger and healthier selection of food.
  16. In case of a large storm, pull over and stop on the side of the road. Resume driving once the weather improves.
  17. Keep all valuables in either the trunk or glove compartment, this includes money that you may have to pay for parking or toll roads.

 

The key to a great trip is to plan ahead. Take your time and have fun! We would love to hear from you, do you have any special tips that you do to prepare for your vacations? Comment below.

Thanks for reading and happy travels!

 

Safety first, message on the road. Concept of safe driving and preventing traffic accident.

Five Conditions Affecting Driving During Fall Months

Fall is a favorite time of the year for many of us. If you’re fortunate to live in a climate that is conducive to the beauty of the changing color of leaves, it can also be a time of increased vehicular traffic on your streets. In fact, there are a number of conditions that transpire during Fall that can affect safety on the roads. Here are five that deserve your attention in regards to being safe when driving no matter what your age.

The Return of School Days

Fall means that children, adolescents, and young adults are back in school. This tends to have an impact on traffic conditions as school buses and an increase in vehicles will be apparent on roadways, especially near neighboring schools. Not only that but pedestrian traffic increases due to children walking to school or to and from their school buses.

Follow these safety suggestions to avoid dangers to yourself and others:

  • Be extra cautious when driving because children just back to school after summer break might not be as aware of vehicular traffic as they should be.

 

  • Do not under any circumstances pass a school bus that has stopped to pick up or drop off children. Look for flashing lights and extended “Stop” arms on the bus. Even if they’re not present, it’s better to be safe and stop until the bus resumes driving.
  • Teen drivers, statistically speaking, can be a danger to themselves and others, so be on your guard as you encounter them driving to and from school.

Changing Weather Conditions

In many climates, Fall means weather conditions can change dramatically and rapidly. Best to be aware of how it might impact driving conditions and prepare accordingly.

  • When Fall rains combine with cooler temperatures and then mix with leaves that might be present on the roadways, you need to be extra cautious when driving as the damp leaves might cause your vehicle to skid.
  • It’s not unusual to see an increase in fog during Fall, especially during early morning hours. Be aware and drive accordingly, leaving a little more space between vehicles than usual. Do not use your high beams as this only adds to conditions of glare that affect visibility.
  • With the drop of temperature during Fall, it is not uncommon for ice and frost to become more prevalent. Extreme caution regarding these conditions should be followed, especially on bridges and freeway overpasses. Be aware that visibility is often reduced during conditions of ice and frost.

Glare on Roads

Fall is known to increase glare on roadways due to the sun moving closer to the horizon. This is especially prevalent when the sun is setting behind the driver. It is also advisable to be aware that sun glare can affect the visibility of traffic lights. Keep your vehicle’s windows clean and free from debris and grime, both inside and out, because a dirty window combined with excessive sun glare can increase the likelihood of hazardous driving conditions.

Changes in Light

Fall is the time of year when our clocks typically fall back to standard time. This means that evenings grow darker sooner, and this can have a big impact of the safety of the roadways. The end of daylight savings time combined with early sunsets can greatly reduce visibility when you’re driving.

Beware of Animals

If you live in an area where deer are prevalent you can expect to see an increase in activity from them during Fall, often on and near roadways. Because deer mate during the month of November, more of them are hit by vehicles as they dart onto roadways in order to cross to different terrain than at any other time of the year. If you see deer crossing signs posted, slow down and be extra careful so as to avoid hitting one.

Fall is a great time of year, however, it does come with some valid safety concerns when you drive a motor vehicle. Being aware of the factors that might affect your safety will go a long way in preventing accidents.

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Saving Gas Money with 6 Automobile Tips

Saving Gas MoneyIt’s hard to believe it, but spring is already right around the corner. As winter starts to release its icy grip, it gets easier and more tempting to get in your car and head out on an adventure of some sort. Whether it be across town or across the state, the open road calls to us as the weather begins to warm up. As you know, though, with nicer weather comes higher gas prices as well. If your hopes are on saving gas money at the pump but you’d still like to take that road trip you’ve been looking forward to, don’t get discouraged just yet. We’ve compiled a list of ways you can stretch your gas dollars a bit further this year.

Here are 6 Ways You Can Start Saving Gas Money:

1. Maintain Your Vehicle

A poorly performing vehicle is a recipe for fuel efficiency nightmares. Clogged filters, low fluid levels, and older parts can make your engine work harder, which burns more gas. In addition, these problems can lead to serious engine trouble later on, which definitely doesn’t help the budget. The smaller investments towards repairs today will prevent the much larger expenditures down the road.

2. Inflate Your Tires

Did you know that poorly inflated tires will severely hamper your fuel economy? Lower tire pressure not only wears out your tires quicker but can increase friction with the road, which leads to loss of miles-per-gallon (MPG). One tire underinflated by 10 PSI can cost you as much as 5 MPG — and that only increases if other tires are also low. The transition from winter into spring still includes chilly days. Low temperatures can deflate tires more quickly, so routinely check the PSI of all four tires during colder months.

3. Drive Sensibly

Seriously… take your foot off the pedal once in a while! Most cars have a “sweet spot” where they are most efficient. This spot is usually somewhere between 55 and 66 MPH. Going faster than that can hurt your overall fuel efficiency, as the amount of energy required to maintain a constant speed begins to seriously increase the faster you go. And those of you that like to drive slow aren’t off the hook either, as driving too slow can also cause you to waste gas.

4. Coast More

When you see a red light or stopped vehicle in front of you, be smart. Rather than accelerating as long as you can and then stopping on a dime, just coast. You’ll still make it to the light while using less gas in the process. If traveling on a downhill road, remove your foot from the accelerator and let gravity do the work. Chances are that pressing the gas pedal while traveling downhill will cause you to exceed the posted speed limit anyway, so try to lay off of it.

5. Decrease Drag

Friction and drag are the enemies of efficiency. So, the trick is to make your car as frictionless as possible. Rolling up the windows and taking cargo off the roof is a good way to begin. (Side note: It is true that the A/C also uses gas, which makes it tempting to roll down the windows instead. The general rule is to roll down the windows in town, and use the A/C on the highway). Also, decrease drag by cleaning out your trunk. The heavier the car, the less efficient it is for saving gas money.

6. Avoid Highway Gas Stations:

More often than not, gas stations located on long highway stretches charge significantly more for fuel. Whenever possible, avoid these gas price hikes by topping off your tank prior to any extended trips and/or make plans to pull off the highway into a nearby town en route to your destination.

Bonus Tip!

New England may be approaching warmer conditions, but here is one thing to keep in mind for next year or during the random cold front in March. Obviously, the longer that a car runs, the more gas it uses. It may be tempting to warm up your car for an extended period of time until it’s nice and toasty inside, but limit the amount of time you leave your car running whenever plausible. If your vehicle requires more than five minutes to warm up, there’s a good chance that it needs a maintenance check.

And just like that, you’re on the road towards stretching your dollars and getting the most bang for your traveling buck! Ultimately, the absolute best thing you can do for saving gas money is consistently monitoring and maintaining all facets of your automobile.

Northeast Insurance loves saving folks money on not only insurance products, but also with helpful every day hacks like the list we’ve compiled above. For more insurance related information, up-to-date local and national news and more ways to keep your wallet full, check us out on Facebook!

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Spread the Word: December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

National Impaired Driving Prevention MonthThe holidays are upon us, and Americans are excitedly traveling to family homes, shopping hotspots and friendly parties. It is a wonderful time of the year for celebrating and being with loved ones. That is why it is so important to be aware of the dangers that impaired driving present during the holiday season.

While most Americans have a general awareness of these threats, there are still many who are uneducated about how this easily preventable problem could affect them and their loved ones on a personal level. That is why President Barack Obama designated December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

What is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month?

This special proclamation by the president was enacted to warn and educate all Americans of the dangers that impaired driving can create for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Through this effort, Obama and the U.S. government hope to promote responsible choices and prevent this deadly behavior that robs people of beloved family members and friends.

Although impaired driving presents a constant threat all year long, there is a noticeable spike in road traffic during holiday travel. These numbers go up even higher in the month of December as families go on shopping trips and family outings ahead of the big travel days to spend time together. It is also a time when increased celebration also means increased alcohol consumption, and it is the hope that NIDPM can help Americans to realize the importance of not mixing travel and alcohol.

National Impaired Driving Prevention Month was first recognized in 2012 when impaired driving accidents were becoming an epidemic that especially affected young people. In 2013, over 10,000 people were killed in an accident involving a drunk driver; that is one person every 53 minutes. The number had decreased slightly by 2015, but still, 28 people die every day as a result of drunk driving crashes. By far, the highest percentage of these were young people. In 2011, the percentage of impaired driving accidents involved:

  • 32 percent between ages 21 to 24
  • 30 percent between ages 25 to 34
  • 24 percent between ages 35 to 44

Although these numbers do not account for drivers under the legal drinking age, many of them are involved in crashes involving other substances. A survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that in 2010, 13.2 percent of drivers over age 16 operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Meanwhile, 4.3 percent of those people ages 16 and older drove under the use of illicit drugs in that same year.

Due to increased traffic and celebration, these numbers significantly increase during the holiday season. It is important for all Americans to be aware of the dangers of impaired driving and educate family members, especially the youth of America. Through education and prevention efforts like NIDPM, we hope that everyone will have a happy and safe holiday season in 2016 and bring in a safer year in 2017!

One major task that is a must for your 2017 to-do list should be making sure that all of your insurance policies are updated. If you wish to review your current policy or want to inquire about purchasing new coverage, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (800) 443-7007 or receive an online auto insurance estimate by clicking here.

Texting Teens: Addressing the Distraction Behind the Wheel

Texting TeensThe new school year is officially underway, and thousands of teenagers are enjoying the freedom of driving themselves to and from school, sports, and other activities. Many of them are also glued to their mobile devices, waiting for that text from a crush or a friend to arrive. However, for teenage drivers, in particular, it’s crucial to remember how dangerous texting while driving can be. Every year, texting and driving (also known as “distracted driving”) causes numerous accidents that could otherwise have been avoided. Many of these automobile incidents have even resulted in one, or in some cases, multiple fatalities.

Numbers Never Lie:

Car accidents are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and in general, being on the road carries a heavy potential for danger if traffic laws are not properly followed. Over 2.5 million people in the U.S. are involved in road accidents each year. However, of these, 64 percent (1.6 million) have a cell phone involved in them. It’s clear that driving while using a cell phone strongly increases the chance of getting in an accident. In fact, about 421,000 people are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver each year, with over 330,000 of these classified as serious injuries.

When it comes to texting and driving specifically, statistics show that the activity is much more dangerous and more prevalent than most people think. One out of every four car accidents in the U.S. is caused by texting while driving. This is because distracted driving is 6 times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. Texting while driving increases the chances of getting into a crash for any reason by 23 times.

Teenage Texting While Driving:

Unfortunately, teenagers often become the victims of distracted driving for several reasons. They are part of a generation that is more active on mobile phones in general. Furthermore, teenagers’ brains and reflexes have still not fully developed, and they don’t have enough experience on the road to operate a motor vehicle safely while dealing with multiple distractions, such as texting.

As a result, 11 teenagers die every day because of texting while driving. This number constitutes 21% of fatal accidents involving teenagers every year, and it’s so high because teenagers are four times more likely to crash while texting and driving than adults are. Even more frustratingly, 94 percent of teenagers say that they understand the consequences of texting and driving, but 35 of them still do it.

How Can I Address This Issue?

So what can parents do to be proactive in preventing their teen from texting while driving? First, have a conversation with them and be direct about the immense responsibilities that come along with possessing a drivers’ license, as well as the serious consequences that texting and driving could carry. Then, come up with a system: for example, they leave their phone in the backseat when they drive so they are not tempted to check their text messages. For those who may still be tempted to reach for their phone when they hear a message alert, turning the phone off completely while driving would be a preferred method. Depending on the maturity level of the teen, a parent may even want to consider requiring them to store their phone in the car’s truck or another lockable compartment to minimize the temptation of even glancing at their phone.

Taking your eyes off of the road for mere seconds while driving could mean the difference between a safe journey and a preventable tragedy. Always remember, NO text is worth a life!

We hope that all parents of licensed drivers explain the severity of texting while driving to their teen, as well as heeding the same advice themselves. If you found the above article helpful, we encourage you to check out more just like it on the Northeast Insurance Facebook Page!

15 of the Most Unusual U.S. Laws That Still Exist Today

Unusual LawsThe summer months are filled with holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, not all of the fun and games end well. This season finds police officers on high alert in protecting the public and ensuring that all of the festivities remain safe and within the guidelines of state law.

However, it may surprise you that some U.S. laws are so strange that they are sure to cause uproars of laughter. Concentrated in the New England states and surrounding areas, we’ve compiled 15 state laws that can serve as a humorous anecdote at your next summer shindig.

CONNECTICUT

Warm up the grill, round up the burgers and throw a pickle on the patio to test its authenticity. In Connecticut, a pickle must bounce for it to be officially considered a pickle.

DELAWARE

The state of Delaware claims no official state dog. Perhaps, this indicates the value of all dog breeds. Just check their books and you will find it unlawful to sell the hair of any dog.

MAINE

Call this Pine Tree State Scrooge, if you will, but all Christmas decorations must come down before January 15 to avoid a fine.

MASSACHUSETTS

No pranks or plotting allowed. Owning an explosive golf ball in Massachusetts evokes the wrath of the law.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

While the state motto may claim, Live Free or Die, this freedom does not extend to the beach. Picking up seaweed in New Hampshire proves illegal.

NEW JERSEY

While state laws on driving under the influence of alcohol are understandably strict, New Jersey socks it to offenders. Driving drunk removes your right to ever apply for personalized plates again.

NEW YORK

Beware trick-or-treaters. In New York state, any two or more masked people gathered together gain police attention and consequence.

NORTH CAROLINA

Senior citizens need to find alternative activities in North Carolina. No Bingo game may last over five hours except at a fair.

OHIO

Keep your beer to yourself. In Ohio, the police officials pick you up for intoxicating fish with alcohol.

PENNSYLVANIA

A fortune teller may foretell secrets, but do not return the favor in Pennsylvania. Sharing with a medium the location of buried treasure equals criminal activity in the Quaker State.

RHODE ISLAND

As if a bouncing pickle test seemed odd enough, Rhode Island takes things to a new level. Throwing pickle juice on a trolley lands you in trouble with the law.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Leave the retro gaming to those old enough to handle its intensity. Pinball machines remain off limits to those under 18 years of age in South Carolina.

VERMONT

The hermit thrush claims the spot of top bird in Virginia. However, all species gain a bit of honor in this state as shooting any bird simply for amusement is considered “fowl” play, according to the law.

VIRGINIA

All wildlife take a day of rest from hunters on Sunday in Virginia. All animals, that is, except raccoons. In this state, the raccoon remains fair game until 2:00 a.m.

WEST VIRGINIA

While residents can gain a permit to conceal and carry, be sure to keep it in check if you hold political aspirations in West Virginia. No person ever involved in a duel may run for public office.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these whacky state restrictions throughout New England and its surrounding states. Just remember that any and all laws should be abided by and respected not only during summer celebrations but all year long.

Before embarking on any short or long distance driving adventure this summer, make sure to review and update your automobile insurance policy. Looking for a change in your current policy? Get a free auto insurance quote from Northeast Insurance Agency by clicking here.

5 Tips for Holiday Safety

Woman-Serving-Thanksgiving-TurkeyThe Holiday season is a time for joy – but it’s also time for caution. For instance, it’s estimated that some 400,000 home burglaries occur between November and December each year – a generous spike in home invasions compared to the rest of the year. Drunk driving also spikes around the holidays, as it’s estimated that alcohol is responsible for some 1,200 traffic deaths during the season thanks to big-party holidays like Christmas and New Year’s.

So how can you stay safe on the roads and at home during the holidays, so they truly live up to their reputation as “the most wonderful time of the year?” Here’s a look at five tips for holiday safety:

Here’s a look at five tips for holiday safety:

1. Home Security:

A home security system can go a long way toward not just holiday safety, but year-round safety. In fact, home security systems are said to be the No. 1 deterrent for burglars.

2. Travel Responsibly:

Never post travel plans or dates to social media, as your expected absence can be an advertisement to potential thieves. Additionally, if you are going to be away, contact your local police department – many offer daily courtesy patrols around the holidays if requested.

3. Drive Responsibly:

If alcohol is involved in any way, always designate a driver prior to the holiday party to get everyone home safely.

4. Be Alert on the Roads:

Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving are all dangerous days to drive, due to drunk driving. So if you’re on the roads, be alert. Stay away from erratic drivers, always plan to take a safe route and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by passengers and technology.

5. Be on the Lookout:

Finally, use common sense. If something appears to be suspicious, call the police and report it. Also be mindful of holiday scams and try to avoid shopping alone.

The holidays should be a fun, relaxing and enjoyable time! Be sure that you’re taking the necessary safety measures to keep them that way.