Tag Archives: safety

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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3 Tricks to Keep Your Kids Safe This Halloween

Halloween is full of goblins, monsters, and witches. And hopefully, most of them are fake. However, there are some real goblins and monsters out there that you want to protect your kids from while they are out trick-or-treating. If you follow these 3 tricks you and your kids can make it home safely with lots of treats.

Make Your Kids Visible

Trick-or-treating takes place at night, of course! It wouldn’t be near as spooky in the daytime. Unfortunately, this darkness can make it difficult for drivers to see your kids. You should put reflective tape on your kids’ costumes and candy buckets. For extra protection, give them each a little flashlight to carry as well. It will make them more visible and make it easier to see where they are walking.

Wear Costumes That Fit

No matter how scary or adorable (depending on what you are going for) your kids’ costumes are, they need to fit well. If they are too long or loose, they may cause your children to trip. Additionally, try to avoid masks because they tend to impair vision. Instead, break out the makeup and try to recreate the finishes touches to your children’s costumes yourself.

Walk Smart

First off, never send your child alone to brave the goblins and monsters of the world. Even if you can’t go along with your kids, send them with a large group to help keep them safe. It is also important that your kids stay on sidewalks when possible. And remember, they are not called sideruns. Walking is always the safest form of transportation. Always look both ways before crossing the street and use crosswalks. Jumping out from behind parked cars may be fun for scaring the other kids, but it is not fun for the safety of your kids. Finally, never go up to dark houses. While they may seem a little spooky, they are better off left alone.

What Should You Do Right After You Get in a Wreck?

You see it happening right in front of you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. In what seems like slow motion, your car collides with another car. And suddenly your car is no longer moving. You have just been in a car accident. Now what? What you do next can make a big difference on your safety and the outcome of the accident.

First, you need to take a minute for yourself.

Take some deep breaths and try to take in what just happened to you. The last thing you want to do is to get out of your car and start going crazy. This will not accomplish anything but giving your friends something to laugh at for many years to come. After you have taken some time to gather your thoughts, you can then start taking action.

Start by calling the cops.

After making sure everyone in your car is okay, it is time to call the police. Even if you are afraid of getting a traffic ticket, it is very important that you do not skip this step. Not only is it a law in most states, it can also save you down the road. Without a police report, it is just a he-said, she-said battle for liability. And never admit that you did anything wrong. No matter what. The cops are trained to assess the situation and properly determine what happened and whose fault it was.

What about the car?

After the cops are on the way, it is time to assess your car and your surroundings. Does your car have minor damage? Then drive it out of the roadway to prevent another car from hitting you. If it is not drivable, put on your hazard lights and keep on your seatbelt. Unless you are in the middle of nowhere, it is a good idea to remain in your car regardless just to prevent any further injuries. Once the cops arrive, you are now free to get out of your vehicle.

Now it is time to become your own detective.

Everyone knows you need to exchange insurance information with the other driver, but you also need to do a little of your own recon work. You never know what information you may need in the future. Take pictures of all vehicles involved, street signs, and current traffic conditions. Not only that, but you should immediately write down any details of the accident that you remember. Even though it may seem unforgettable, the small details will quickly become fuzzy in your memory.

How to Combat Highway Hypnosis

You get in your car, put your keys into the ignition, and the next thing you know you are at your destination. But how did you get there? Well, of course, you drove there, but you don’t remember ever changing lanes, turning, or stopping at any lights. If this sounds all too familiar, then you are suffering from highway hypnosis, otherwise known as driving without attention mode (DWAM). Highway hypnosis may cause you to question your sanity for a second, but then you probably continue on with your day not thinking much more about it. Well, it is time to start thinking about.

What is highway hypnosis?

Highway hypnosis is a serious condition that is potentially life threatening to you and the people driving around you. It is when half of your brain is doing the driving while the other half of your brain is literally zoned out. If your brain is not fully aware and alert when you are driving, it is almost impossible to have the stellar reflexes needed in the case of an accident.

What can I do about it?

Luckily, highway hypnosis is not some debilitating disease without a cure. It is simply a state of mind that is easily controllable. Being aware of your situation is the first step. The rest is easy.

  1. Frigidity is your friend. As nice as it is to be warm and cozy while you are driving, this only relaxes your body and your mind. Instead, turn the a/c on or roll down a window. While the goose bumps may not be fun, they may save your life.
  2. Have a dance party. Yep, that’s right. Put on some good tunes and have a little dance party with yourself. By keeping your body moving, you will keep your brain alert. So what if the car next to you thinks you are a little weird? If only they knew how much fun you were having.
  3. Phone a friend. This is not just a lifeline on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” It may also be your actual lifeline. Engaging in a lively conversation with a friend will keep your brain awake and responsive. However, it is important to only use this option if you have a hands-free headset or Bluetooth available.
  4. Make a pit stop. When all else fails, pull over. Get out of the car and move your body. This will reboot your brain so you can start your drive anew. It is always better to safe than sorry.

Changing Leaves, Changing Driving Conditions

We have passed the hot days and crazy road trip traffic of summer and are not quite to the days of snow drift and icy roads in winter, but autumn is also a season that poses dangerous driving conditions that need to be observed with caution. Fall is a season of change, and this goes for the weather and road conditions. At Defensive Driving, we believe in being prepared and aware at all times out on the roads, so follow these tips to ensure your fall travel is safe and sound.

Check your Headlights and Taillights
Daylight savings is just around the corner, and with that comes shorter days and morning and evening commutes taking place in the dark. Ensure your headlights and taillights are in good working order and don’t hesitate to use them, even at the early parts of dusk. Keep a flashlight in your car in case you need to check on anything while driving in the dark hours.

Be Aware of Wet Leaves
Fall foliage is a beautiful aspect of the season, but leaves that fall to the roadways can pose a danger to drivers. These piles of leaves are especially dangerous when wet, so be sure to slow your speed if it begins to rain or you are driving in an area with recent rain or frost.

Check your Tire Pressure
Fluctuating temperatures are commonplace in the fall months, and these drastic changes can negatively affect your tire pressure. Check the pressure before heading out on a long trip and throughout the season to make sure the tires are maintaining a safe amount of air pressure.

Watch for Animals
Fall is prime time for animals such as deer and antelope to increase their activity and start moving to new locations for the winter months. Pay extra attention in wilderness areas where they can unexpectedly spring in front of your car. According to Drive Safe PA  the morning and evening hours are generally when the animals are the most active.

Prepare for Harsh Weather
The days of fall can still be warm and sunny, but the winter months are not far off, and oftentimes the weather can change quickly, so prepare yourself for unexpected winter weather. Ensure that your car has adequate tread on the tires and your heater is in working order. Create a winter safety kit including water, blankets, non-perishable food and a flashlight to prepare you for the possibility of being stranded.

~ R. Quick