If You Must …

Inclement Winter Weather Driving

Dirt covered SUV on a muddy road

Increased risk for accidents is a given during inclement weather conditions.  That’s why the best advice when dealing with snow is to avoid driving altogether.  If you must drive in the snow, extra safety precautions are necessary.

If you live in an area that gets snowy weather, you should always carry chains in your vehicle and put them on your tires prior to driving in snow.  Also steer clear of the shoulder of the road.  Snow can build up the most here, and the shoulder is for emergency situations.

Heavy snow can make it difficult to see lane markings, so try to position your vehicle to stay in line with the tracks of other vehicles ahead of you.  Speed must be decreased and following distance should be doubled to at least eight to ten seconds.  Accelerate and brake very slowly.  Turn on your low beam headlights to make yourself more visible to other drivers.

If you are having difficulty with visibility, such as during a white out, pull into a safe parking area if possible.  Do NOT stop on the traveled portion of the road.

It’s true, blustery winter weather can be stressful.  To best cope, be prepared ahead of time, and stay alert, calm, and patient.

Pinching Pennies

FREE Ways to Make Your Vehicle More Fuel-Efficient


Our wallets are already tight, and especially so this time of year.  We know you want to save however you can, so read ahead for simple techniques to optimize your fuel – for free!

1) Use your cruise control!   Cruise control reduces fuel consumption by maintaining the same speed and controlling throttle.  On average, most vehicles get the best gas mileage between 50 – 55mph.  You can also practice coasting when you are not driving on the highway.  If a red light is up ahead, take your foot off of the gas pedal and let your car coast.  This way you will be using the gas you already burned to continue moving forward.  You’re going to have to stop anyways, so why waste more gas hurrying to a red light only to hit the brakes?

2) Lighten your load!  Take any extra weight off of your vehicle.  Don’t lug around heavy items every day in your car if you don’t have to.  You can even remove seats that aren’t being used to reduce your fuel consumption.  If you have to transport something heavy, use the trunk.  A roof rack that’s loaded down can really cut down on fuel economy, especially in smaller vehicles.

3) Get gas smart!  Always keep your gas tank above 1/3 fuel.  Being low on fuel can put stress on the fuel pump and the engine may not receive the steady supply of gas it needs to make your car most fuel efficient.  Another way to reduce weight in your vehicle is by not filling your gas tank all the way.  The best time to fill up is early in the morning and late in the evening.  This is typically when gas is most dense.

There you have it!  Three easy and FREE ways to save a little money by being conscious about your fuel consumption.  What do YOU do to maximize fuel-efficiency when you drive?


Don’t Lose Your Cool This Winter

aggressive-driver-webThe holiday season is a stressful time of year for many, and the roadways may get more congested than ever.  Frustration and anger can make for some nasty driving behavior, so if you’re feeling like steam is about to blow out your ears, TrafficSchool.com has 5 pointers for maintaining your calm to avoid becoming an aggressive driver (and to avoid a ticket!)

1) Relaaaaaxxx – taking slow, deep breaths and concentrating on your breath can help calm down angry feelings.  Listening to a calming CD can also curb agitation. Or put your favorite music on to make your car time more enjoyable.

2) Drive the speed limit – fewer accidents occur when vehicles are traveling at or about the same speed.

3) Find alternate routes – You may find a route that is less congested, more enjoyable, or at least a nice change from your usual everyday trips.

4) Take advantage of public transportation when you can and avoid dealing with traffic altogether!

5) Just be late.  If you are not going to make it to your destination in time, just accept that you will be late.  Simple as that.  Better to arrive late safely than to put yourself and other drivers at risk.


‘Tis The Season!

How to Keep Your Holidays Merry and Bright

’Tis the season for holiday celebrations!  But hold on there…we want to remind you ’tis also the season to be extra cautious on roadways.  December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention month, and what better time to address dangers of driving intoxicated than now?  This month abounds with lots of food and lots to drink.  We know it’s easy to get caught up in all the cheer and merriment of the holiday season, and that’s why it’s a really good time to remember the consequences of driving impaired.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), data shows that the holiday season is a particularly dangerous time on the roadways:

  • In 2011, 760 people lost their lives as a result of drunk-driving-related crashes during the month of December alone.
  • Nearly 30% of the 14,318 December crash fatalities from 2007 to 2011 involved drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.

It may be easy to tune statistics out, but take a moment to really visualize the risks of drunk and buzzed driving and how you’ll be affected.  A DUI conviction stays on your record indefinitely, affecting your home life, your work, and just about every other aspect of your life.  Being convicted of a DUI comes at great cost: monetary loss due to legal fees, lost wages, and potential civil lawsuits — not to mention a significant increase in your auto insurance rates.  If you believe putting yourself at risk isn’t that big of a deal, then at least think of the innocent people who could be injured or killed because of YOUR bad decision.  Living with the aftermath of such incidents is devastating.  How could you ever make it up to them?  No matter how you look at it, driving under the influence of even ONE drink is not worth the risks.

The best decision you can make is one you make before partaking in any consumption of alcohol.  If you are attending a party or event where alcohol will be present, decide beforehand to either abstain from drinking completely or to abstain from driving.  You must decide on your plan BEFORE you begin enjoying the festivities, especially if you tend to have trouble abstaining even when you know you need to drive.  Once alcohol hits your system, you’re a lot more likely to make poor decisions.

If you’re going to be with a group of people, select a designated driver.Print  There are several organizations that participate in a designated driver program, with many establishments offering incentives like complimentary non-alcoholic beverages for the DD.  Who doesn’t love FREE?

In case you can’t find a designated driver, or if your designated driver fails to maintain sobriety, have a taxi cab number on hand to call at the end of the night to pick you up and drop you off.  It’s a lot less expensive than a DUI.

Now … go drink and be merry!  Just remember – your drink doesn’t have to be alcoholic, and never should be if you plan to drive.