Deadly Driving Habits to Avoid

Nine of the ten deadliest days for teen driving occur over the summer, between May and August, according to a post by Bac Track. With Spring right around the corner, now is a good time to refresh your knowledge about safe driving habits. In the infographic below, you will find several pieces of information that will help you enjoy safe driving through the spring and summer.

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Tips for Driving in the Wintry Mix

winter drivingEven worse than the cold weather is the mixture of snow, ice, and rain that makes driving on West Chester roads a dangerous feat. According to the AAA Foundation, about 46% of bad weather crashes happen in winter. In other words, this is the worst time of year for driving in less than ideal conditions. Follow these tips from AAA for safe driving in a wintry mix:

  • Look farther ahead than normal and pay particular attention to: bridges, culverts, on and off ramps and elevated highways which freeze first and may remain frozen when roadways are clear.
  • Be alert for “Black Ice”
  • Slow down and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Shift into a lower gear to reduce speed if needed.
  • If your car skids, look and steer in the direction you want your car to go.
  • Don’t let frigid temperatures tempt you into starting your car in a closed garage or idling your engine for long periods with the windows closed.
  • Frozen door locks can be overcome by carefully heating the end of a key with a match or lighter. A squirt of de-icer spray is another quick method.
  • Remember not to leave the de-icer in your car as you won’t have access to it if your locks freeze; keep it in your home, office, purse or briefcase. Do not pour hot water over a frozen lock or ice-covered vehicle, as it could damage your car.
  • Make certain cooling system antifreeze is mixed with an equal portion of water for maximum protection.
  • Clear windows, mirrors and lights with an ice scraper, brush or spray de-icer. Make certain windshield wipers and defrosters are in good working order and that washer reservoirs are filled with no-freeze windshield washer fluid.



How to Avoid a Multi-Car Pileup

PileupWhat’s your worst nightmare when driving down icy highways at rush hour? For many, it’s a pileup — and for good reason. Pileups are very dangerous, and oftentimes they’re preventable. Here are some tips to keep you out of harm’s way:

  • In bad weather, remember to take it slow — even if you’re in a rush.
  • You should never tailgate, but it becomes even more dangerous when ice is involved. Leave extra space between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
  • In an emergency, hit the brakes fast and hard. With anti-lock and ABS brakes, pumping the brakes is no longer ideal. Stopping quickly may be the only chance you have from slamming into the car ahead of you.
  • Don’t oversteer. Pulling the wheel fast can cause you to skid and lose control of the car. Instead, keep the steering to the absolute minimum possible.
  • Consider snow tires. They’re optimized for braking and traction, which is exactly what you’ll need when slamming on the brakes in a hurry. According to a CBS local station, all-season tires have about twice the braking distance as snow tires.

Although some of these tips may seem like common sense, they’re not always something we consider during our daily commutes. We could all use a refresher — especially as temperatures in this area continue to drop so low. We hope you stay warm and safe!


Tips for a Safe Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl SundayDespite the fact that the Eagles will be sitting this one out, we’re all excited for Super Bowl Sunday this weekend! Nothing brings all of America together for a fun time quite like this Sunday. However, we do need to remind drivers to be cautious when travelling between destinations this weekend. Whenever there is a popular celebration day, there are bound to be intoxicated drivers out on the roads. When that celebration happens in winter, there is also the added danger of potential inclement weather.

If you don’t have the luxury of enjoying the game at home, here are some tips to keep you safe on the road:

  • If you’re driving, don’t drink. And make sure your friends get home safe too. You can even brag about being the responsible friend on Twitter by using the official hashtag #designateddriver.
  • If you’re planning on drinking, please be sure to designate a sober driver before the game starts. Just in case, make sure you have a local cab number saved in your cell phone.
  • If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, stop serving alcohol at the beginning of the third quarter. Also, make sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks high protein foods available.
  • Be aware that even if you’re not drunk, other drivers could be. Create plenty of space between yours and other cars, and be especially careful to stay within your own lane.
  • Do your best to make any trips before 5 pm, as most drunk driving accidents tend to happen at night.
  • Don’t rush. On big party days like this one, it’s a good idea to give yourself extra travel time. Traffic, weather delays, and even sobriety check points could slow you down.

We hope you all have a great, safe Super Bowl Sunday!



Advice for Long-Distance Winter Driving

driving-38346_640The holidays are a time usually spent with family, which can sometimes mean a road trip or two. Add some wintry weather to the mix, and your travels could potentially become dangerous. Of course, we have to advise delaying your trip during a winter storm but sometimes the weather catches us by surprise. Before heading out on your next trek, take a look at these tips from AAA just in case:

  • In addition to the typical emergency kit, be sure to program emergency numbers like AAA into your cell phone should you need them.
  • Keep at least half a tank of gas in your car at all times.
  • If you get stuck in the snow, try not to over exert yourself in your attempts to dig out or push.
  • Don’t leave your vehicle if you become snow bound. It will provide shelter if you get stranded, as well as make it easier for rescuers to find you.
  • Make sure your exhaust pipe does not become clogged with snow, ice, or mud. Otherwise, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Tie a cloth to your antenna or roll it in your window if you get stuck. At nighttime, try leaving on the dome light so rescuers will be able to see you. The dome light uses only minimal electricity.
  • If you need to stay warm, use anything you have on hand. Even floor mats and newspapers will do.

Hopefully, you never get put into these types of situations. Still, it’s always better to have a plan in case of emergency.


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What Do You Do After Hitting a Deer?

White-tailed_Deer_Crossing_a_Road_Kensington_Metropark_MichiganIf you read our last blog post, then you already know it’s deer mating season. While it all may sound very romantic, this is the time of year when most deer-involved car accidents occur. Last month, we provided our readers with tips to avoid collisions with deer. Now, we’re sharing information about what to do if an accident does occur.

If you are going to hit a deer, it’s best to avoid swerving. Keep your car facing forward and brake to a controlled stop. After the collision, follow this advice:

  • If the deer is not dead, do not go near it. Even injured, deer may still be very powerful. A swift kick could land you in the hospital.
  • Only move the animal to the side of the road if you are positive it is dead. However, AAA recommends that you still keep your distance for safety reasons. You can call PennDOT at 1-800-FIX-ROAD to report a dead deer for removal.
  • Be sure to take photos to document the accident. You may also call police to file an accident report and get help at the scene.
  • You are not required to report the accident to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, unless you wish to claim the deer meat.
  • If you hit a buck, the antlers must be turned over to the Pennsylvania Game Commission
  • Call your insurance company as soon as possible.

Be very careful on the roads over the next few months, especially at dusk and dawn. According to the AAA press release, Chester County was the Pennsylvania county with the highest number of animal strike insurance claims last year. Delaware and Bucks County were also in the top five.

If you have damage from a deer collision, be sure to contact Young’s Auto Body for repairs.


PA Turnpike Commission Advocates Caution After Deadly Accident

New_Jersey_Turnpike_Reduce_Speed_signThanks to the new Pennsylvania transportation plan, we’re going to have to get used to driving through work zones on highways this year. Just because we may be passing construction sites on a regular basis does not mean we should take these sites lightly.

Last week, equipment operator William McGuigan of Malvern was the victim of a fatal encounter while working just east of the Downingtown Exchange on the PA Turnpike. McGuigan was killed when a tractor trailer entered the closed off lane he had been working in. In light of this tragic accident, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is warning all drivers to obey all traffic laws and exercise caution when driving through work zones.

CEO Mark Compton is reminding drivers that there are more than cones and barrels in those closed off lanes. Whether you see them or not, people are just inches away from your vehicle and following the law could be the difference between life and death. When driving by a work zone, be sure to follow the reduced speed limit and be aware of any lane changes or narrowing.

William McGuigan is the 34th worker to be killed on the Turnpike since it opened in 1940. According to PennDot, there have been 10 incidents and 32 “near misses” reported due to vehicles improperly entering work zones so far in 2014. Already, this near misses number is higher than the entire year of 2013.

Unfortunately, road work will be a daily occurrence for PA drivers over the course of the year. Be sure to take all safety precautions while driving to maintain your own safety, as well as the safety of those around you.


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