I’m not sure if I should be saying Happy New Year or Happy BRRRRR Year! Yikes, the January freeze has really kicked in, even down in Florida this year!
A few weeks ago, I put out a call to my Facebook friends asking if anyone knew or could recommend someone from law enforcement for an interview on safe driving techniques. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any takers, but a friend of mine sent me the funniest You-Tube video where a law enforcement individual demonstrated the “miracle stick.” You know, the little stick that protrudes from your steering wheel column and when you lift it up, it indicates that you are turning right (or changing lanes to your right),and if you push it down, it indicates you are turning left (or switching lanes to the left).
It was done tongue and cheek, but I thought it was hysterical (google it if you want to see if for yourself). It did make me think further about how safe driving can not only affect your physical safety, but also your pocketbook!
Triple-A recently sent out their Winter 2017 edition of Member Connections and one of the articles they published was on this same topic, “Take it slow on ice and snow.” Yes, that is an obvious statement, but we all get into routines that allow for a certain amount of time to get to our destinations and weather should be taken into consideration in all seasons.
For Winter driving where snow and ice can be an issue, don’t forget to clean off your vehicle. The drivers behind you will greatly appreciate it and it will prevent a possible accident for both them and you as that “roof” snow can also slide forward if you have to stop suddenly, leaving you blind. Also make sure to increase your distance between the vehicle in front of you, even good tires need additional time to stop in ice and snow.
That’s not to say the warmer climates are off the hook! It’s not uncommon for trees to be “shedding” throughout the fall in winter. This creates obstacles to dodge and the wet leaves can make the roads just as challenging. If you ever step on a wet leaf, you slide and so do tires. Warmer climates also tend to get very busy during the winter months (aka snow-birds) and that increased volume can cause a number of traffic delays and accidents.
Some action items for you to consider:
Review your insurance policy for “roadside assistance” coverage and find out from your insurance company what that means. Is it only within a certain distance or State?
If you don’t have the “roadside assistance” coverage, find out how much it would cost to add it, sometimes it is very affordable. Compare this to the cost of organizations like Triple-A, and ask the question is it the driver or the vehicle that falls under the coverage.
Also check to see if you have rental car accessibility in the event you are in an accident, and if you don’t, find out how much that additional coverage might cost.
ALWAYS were your seat belt!
Stay focused on the driving. Many of the new cars will automatically send a response text when you receive a text, that states you are driving and will get back to the sender later.
Never drink and drive!
Accidents do happen, so it’s important to “be prepared” with a plan. What would happen to you if you were in a car accident? I know that is not a very pleasant thought, but isn’t it better to pull out a checklist of what to do in a situation like that? Would your mind be clear if that actually ever happens (mine wouldn’t!)? Here is a mini-checklist that you should have in your automobiles as part of your plan, some of these may seem obvious, but panicked minds are trying to process and the simple things should not be overlooked:
If you have passengers, assess them.
If possible, stay in your car until help arrives; if another vehicle is involved, take photos of their license plate if possible, but do not allow for confrontation to happen (if no plate is visible, take as many photos as possible anyway)
For your safety DO NOT discuss the specifics with anyone other than law enforcement
Document the time and location of the accident and the best description you can provide
Once law enforcement has arrived:
Take photos of the damage for your records as well
If another driver is involved get the following information:
Phone Number and other contact information (if they give you a cell number – TEST IT)
License Plate State and Number, make and model of the car
Their insurance company and policy ID
Document any witnesses and passengers in the other vehicle
Get the officer’s name, badge number, police report number
A list of emergency contacts:
Any Medical Conditions
All of these will help you properly file a claim and protect your pocketbook by gathering all the facts for the claims processor and possible legal action.
For more great information on this topic, read “What to Do After a Car Accident” by Edmunds.com.
I know, always the bearer of good cheer aren’t I? For clients, we will be addressing this issue during our first quarter review meetings, so you’ll notice on the pre-meeting agenda’s that I’ll be asking for some of this information.
Wishing all of you a safe and healthy 2018, but wanting you to always be prepared too!
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