Tag Archives: defensive driving

What Makes a Car Totaled After a Wreck?

When most people picture a totaled car, they picture a car crunched like an accordion or a car that is in pieces all over the road. While a car in this condition is undoubtedly totaled, a car that appears to have minor damage may also be declared totaled as well.

How is that possible?

Well, whether or not your car is totaled has a lot to do with the value of your car. Basically, if it will cost the insurance company more to repair your car than it would to replace it, then they will declare your car a total loss. A lot of times a car can look like there is no way it could be totaled, but when repairs start to take place, unseen damage can be found in the engine that can quickly make the repair costs add up. In most cases, if the repairs equal 70-75% of the car’s value, it will be declared a total loss.

Even if your car has a high value, it may still be considered totaled if the damage that occurred cannot be repaired to a safe state. In fact, some states even require that a car be totaled if the amount of repairs reaches a certain threshold.

Sweet, so then the insurance company will replace my car?

If only it were that easy. Insurance companies are actually only required to pay you the actual cash value of the car, which they get to determine. They will look at what similar cars are selling for in your area, as well as sources like Kelley Blue Book. But if your car has unusually high mileage or any pre-existing damage, you can expect your settlement amount to be even less.

Whether this is good or bad for you depends on your financial status with the car. If the car is paid off and you were considering getting a new car anyway, getting your car totaled can be a blessing in disguise. However, if you still owe on your car, the insurance company will only pay what they consider the actual value of the car, not the amount you owe. Yes, that means you may have to keep making car payments on a car that is no longer drivable.

Do I have any other options?

Actually, yes. If for financial or sentimental reasons you would rather keep your car, then that is an option as well. Insurance companies sell totaled cars to salvage companies, so they may as well sell it to you instead. In that case, the insurance company will deduct an agreed upon salvage amount from your settlement payment. However, keeping a totaled car is risky business. After all, it was declared totaled for a reason.

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How Do I Remove Points from My Driving Record?

So you made a mistake and got a ticket. You paid the fine and vowed never to speed again. Now you’re in the clear, right? Well, that depends. If you live in a state that implements the driver point system, you have a long way to go before you are in the clear. When you got the ticket, you also received points attached to your driving record, points that stay on your record for several years. These points accumulate, leading to fines, license suspension, and increased insurance premiums. Guess you should have thought twice before speeding, huh? But wait, there is some good news. There is a way to remove these points from your record.

 

There is? Sweet! What do I need to do?

 

Well, for starters you can keep your promise to never break the law again. This is a sure-fire way to eventually get the points removed. Each state is different in the length of time the points stay on your record, but in Texas they will be there for three years.

 

Three years? That’s crazy! Isn’t there a faster way?

 

We are so glad you asked! Actually, there is a much faster way. Most states allow you take a defensive driving class to reduce the amount of points on your record. In fact, in Texas, if you take a defensive driving class you can completely eliminate the points from a moving violation. As long as the course is approved by the state, you are good to go.

 

That all sounds great, but who has that kind of time? Maybe I’ll just risk keeping the points.

 

That would be a big mistake. You never know what the future holds. Do you really want to risk potential fines and license suspension?

 

Plus, at defensivedriving.com we make it so easy. There is no physical classroom that you have to worry about driving to. Our class is all online. That means you can complete the class at home in your pajamas or even at the office during a boring staff meeting. And if your boss catches on, don’t worry. You can start and stop the course as many times as you want as long as it is completed within 90 days. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate showing just how educated you are. This certificate is your ticket to point removal and lowered insurance premiums.

 

If you have received a moving violation, do not just sit back and succumb to the fact that the points have to stay on your record for several years. Be proactive and complete one of our driving courses today!

 

Don’t talk to me about work

This might be the new catch phrase for managers who have employees out on the road.   In our hyper wired society, the mobile office just became a little more complex.   Does your organization have a comprehensive driver safety policy in place?

Scenario number one, Joe is a driver for a company that delivers medical equipment to customers homes.   He is on his cell phone with the office as they are trying to arrange another stop for him, when he “accidentally” runs into the rear end of a vehicle at a stop sign.

Scenario number two, Jenna is on her way from the airport to the hotel in a rental car in Boston, on her first day of a week-long installation she is doing for a customer.   She is on her cell phone with her boss confirming the contacts and versions she is installing when she “accidentally”  hits a pedestrian.

Scenario number three, Howard is the office manager of a large law firm, from time to time he runs errands for the firm in the ordinary course of business, and he is running an errand for a partner when he is struck “accidentally” by a distracted driver and killed.

Each one of the scenarios pose risks and questions for companies and their risk managers, underwriters and Human Resource professionals.   These scenarios emphasize the need organizations have for a well thought out and comprehensive corporate driver safety training program.

These are the questions organizations have to be asking and answering appropriately if they have employees who regularly drive in their ordinary course of business.  Was the employee having a “work” related cell phone conversation?   Did the accident happen during work related hours or in course of the employees employment?   Is the employee allowed to spend company time running errands in a personal vehicle for company purposes?   Does the company have a cell phone and driving policy in place?   Is it in writing?   Is the employee in violation of this policy?  Have they been before and it was not addressed?

In all three scenarios, a company could be found negligent or liable for injuries, property damage or loss of life.   While DefensiveDriving.com’s corporate driver safety program and driver training does not guarantee you will not have accidents, having a corporate driver training program is an essential part of educating and keeping your employees who drive safe.   The establishment of a comprehensive driver safety policy, which includes the ban of cell phones (which must be consistently enforced) while driving, along with a company driver training program help company’s minimize risk and significant loss of life or capital.

Let DefensiveDriving.com help you today in establishing a driver safety training program as part of your overall comprehensive driver safety company policy.

Drive Friendly!

20,000 Times in a lifetime

I was listening to a local radio station the other day and they were having an odd trivia contest where the listeners were competing against each other with other hosts.

One of the questions they asked was a multiple choice question about what the average person will do 20,000 times in their lifetime… the answer, funny or sad, was curse at another driver. 

20,000 times in your lifetime, on average, another driver will do something to you while you are driving which will cause you to either swear at them, yell at them, wave hello with one finger or worst case, engage in a physical confrontation due to an incident related to driving on the roads.

Our emotions play an important role in our ability to maintain a mature driving attitude.   How we react to other drivers on the road plays an important role in our driving habits and behaviors, and their reaction to us is critical in our own safety.

Do you ever see that driver on the road…with his window down screaming and pointing at another driver?   Feel safe don’t you! 

No, a mature driving attitude is seriously important in preventing accidents and potential conflicts with other drivers. 

DefensiveDriving.com’s award winning safety driving video illustrates the important role your emotions play in driving and how they impact our ability to be a safe driver.   Our online driver safety courses provide suggestions and alternatives for emotional driving, which could keep you safe and will most definitely lower your blood pressure! 

When you think about it… if the average driver curses at another driver 20,000 times in their life time, that means the average driver swears at another, once a day, every day, 365 days a year, for 54 years!

As DefensiveDriving.com’s video below illustrates, there are very specific strategies with respect to driving and your emotions.

http://youtu.be/x8jf0cbusOI

Windshield Wipers, the basics

Winter has been with us awhile and you have no doubt been overwhelmed with information about winter driving. Leave an appropriate space cushion, your speed should meet conditions, make sure you have proper tire pressure, tire tread and depth, that you have all the necessary emergency gear in your trunk and that you know the route and weather conditions along route.

All of these are great guidelines to arriving safely to your destination during the winter months.

You should always properly maintain your vehicle, regardless of time of year, but it is especially important during the winter months.  Depending on what part of the country you reside, the winter months either mean snow, ice or rain, there is an important piece of equipment on your vehicle which greatly impacts your ability to see.  As DefensiveDriving.com discusses in its online driver safety course, vision is an important aspect of safe and defensive driving.  Vision, how much you can see, literally should decide the speed in which you travel as your reaction time as a driver is impacted by your field of vision.  If you are able to see potential driving hazards in front of you without obstruction, your reaction and the time your need to react are increased.  It goes without saying, if you cannot see well, you might not see a hazard or react soon enough to avoid the hazard.

The windshield wiper is a vital part of your vehicle. Your windshield wiper is part of a system when properly maintained and when properly functioning, allows you to be able to see and increases your field of vision in variable weather conditions. Have you ever tried to drive in a hard rain, or driving snow or sleet without a properly functioning windshield wiper?  It is nearly impossible in the best case, extremely dangerous in any case.

The original windshield wiper was invented in 1903 but it was not until cars started to be enclosed to protect the passengers, that a need for wipers was realized.   Initially, wipers were powered by a hand crank on the inside of the vehicle but they were replaced by the automatic windshield wiper system – which was powered by the air from the intake of the engine. The latest windshield wiper, the intermittent powered blade was patented in 1967 by Robert Kearns for Ford Motor Company. These systems have been the predominant wind shield wiper systems until very recently, with the invention of optical and rain sensing systems, which automatically turn on and adjust the speed of a windshield wiper blade, based on the presence of moisture.  One system detects the moisture itself, the other detects if its optical sensors are blocked which activates the system.

The windshield wiper system is composed of the windshield wiper arm and the windshield wiper blade. Both are essential to proper function of the system.  A very simple test will tell you when you have a problem.  If you spray your windshield wiper fluid on your windshield and the windshield wipers leave streaks, it is time to replace either the blade or arm.

Most manufacturers of windshield wipers list the life span of a wiper blade to be six to twelve months.  Over time, the blades crack and wear due to normal usage, extreme heat or cold and because they are made of rubber.  Replacing the blade is generally the most cost-effective, but you should always check to see if the arm is good working condition.

The arm essentially holds the blade on the windshield to allow it move away snow, rain and sleet.  Sometimes, snow, ice, dirt or mud become lodged in between the arms connectors causing the arm to bow or lose pressure on the windshield over time.  Usually, you can visually see this and if the arm is not applying good pressure, regardless of how new the blade is, the windshield wiper system will not work as intended.  Winter windshield wiper systems are designed with a particularly strong-arm which prevents the buildup of snow or ice within the windshield wiper arm.

Any number of auto parts stores have the parts you need, the part is typically listed by make and model and any decent auto parts store will actual replace the arm and blade as part of their service.

Remember, the majority of any driving decisions you make are based on good clear visibility.  Anything that takes away from your visibility and your decision-making ability should be fixed as soon as possible, especially something so simple but necessary as a windshield wiper!