Safe2Drive Blog

1/23/2023

Here's Why You Should Start Planning Your Vacation Now

by Courtney Conley

For many of us, the new year means a new bank of personal days at work. The last Tuesday in January is National Plan for Vacation Day. If you’re thinking it’s a little early to be planning your vacations that are months away, keep reading to find out the benefits of planning early.

1. Your employers will have plenty of notice before your absence.

One study found that an average of 55% of paid time off (PTO) went unused in 2022, which is a drastic increase from previous years. Sometimes, workers feel uncomfortable taking time away from work if they’re worried that their coworkers will struggle in their absence. Everyone’s job handles time off a little differently, but in most cases, letting them know well in advance will help your employer plan accordingly.

2. You’ll have more have time to search for the best deals.

Have you ever been in a time crunch to make a purchase, then ended up buying the first thing available even though it was more than you intended to spend? We’ve all been there. If you start planning your vacation now, you’ll have much more time to look for deals and bargains!

3. Travel will be smoother when you have a detailed plan.

Whether you’re flying or driving, give yourself plenty of time to plan how to handle the travel portion of your vacation. If you’re flying, you’ll need to decide how you’re getting to the airport. Where will you park? Or, who will drop you off at the airport? How are you going to get around once you land? Will you rent a car, call an Uber, or something else? It’s a good idea to look into all your options so you can plan for anything.

For those who are planning road trips, you’ll need even more time to prepare. As soon as you know the dates of your trip, start thinking about how you’re going to handle the driving journey. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re planning your road trip:

  1. Make sure the vehicle you’re using is in excellent condition. You do not want to experience a breakdown on your way to your vacation spot, or on your way home. If you’re not sure if your vehicle will be able to handle a long road trip, consider renting a vehicle instead. Better safe than sorry!
  2. Pack an emergency kit. You should always have some basic supplies in your vehicle (e.g., a spare tire and the tools to change a tire), but you’ll want to beef up your stash before heading out on a long trip.
  3. Keep up on your vehicle maintenance. Check your owner’s manual to see what the recommended maintenance schedule is for your vehicle, and make sure to follow it!

Make good use of National Plan for Vacation Day by starting your vacation planning now! Everyone deserves some time to relax and rejuvenate throughout the busy year ahead. Knowing that everything is already planned and taken care of well before your vacation starts will help your piece of mind and allow you to focus on the fun things in store!

Are you interested in traffic safety?

Are you looking for defensive driving and traffic school courses? Do you want a discount on your auto insurance? Do you know a teen who’s ready to take an online driver education course?

Safe2Drive is here to help! We offer convenient online courses for drivers of any age! Visit our website today to learn about the online courses we offer in your state.

For many of us, the new year means a new bank of personal days at work. The last Tuesday in January is National Plan for Vacation Day. If you’re thinking it’s a little early to be planning your vacations that are months away, keep reading to find out the benefits of planning early.

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1/17/2023

5 Tips for Driving in Extreme Weather

by Courtney Conley

This winter has been rough. From snow storms and tornadoes across the Midwest to cyclones and severe storms on the west coast, many of us are dealing with weather that makes our daily routines much more difficult. Driving in extreme weather can be stressful and dangerous, and it’s best to avoid it as much as possible. Sometimes, though, extreme weather is simply unavoidable on the road. With that in mind, here are our top tips for driving in some of the most dangerous conditions.

1. How to Drive in the Snow

Car Stuck in Snow

First, let’s look at some safety tips for driving in the snow:

  • Increase your following distance.
  • Slow down to help your tires maintain traction on the road.
  • Keep your windshield clean. Salt and debris on the road can dirty up your windshield quickly, making it impossible to see.
  • Keep emergency items in your trunk (e.g., blankets, first aid kit, windshield scraper flashlight, booster cables, and reflectors or road flares).

Look out for ice in the winter. Be especially careful when temperatures are around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, as the combination of ice and snow will reduce your vision and make the road slippery.

Keep an eye out for black ice. Black ice looks like regular pavement but a bit glossy. If you hit a patch of black ice, try to remain as calm as possible and avoid sudden maneuvers.

2. How to Drive in the Rain

Pedestrian in the Rain

California has been hit with intense storms and cyclones this year. A cyclone is a large, rotating system of wind that often brings heavy rain. You should never drive during a cyclone. Stay inside and take shelter.

Even a small amount of rain can make the road a dangerous place. Here are some tips for driving in the rain:

  • Use your headlights, windshield wipers, and defrosters to help your vision.
  • Slow down and pay extra close attention to drivers around you. Be prepared to stop suddenly.
  • Stay on the pavement and drive in the tracks of the vehicle ahead of you when you can. This helps your tires maintain traction with the roadway.
  • Slow down when driving on curves and hills.
  • Use the radio. The radio can be a valuable tool during adverse weather. Instead of streaming music, consider turning on the regular radio and tuning into the weather station for real-time watches, warnings, and advisories while on the road.

Another risk that comes along with driving in the rain is flooded roads. It can be tempting to just drive through standing water (especially if you’re driving a large vehicle), but you should never attempt to drive through flooded roads. Here’s why:

  • Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control and possible stalling.
  • Twelve inches of water will float many cars.
  • Two feet of rushing water will carry off pick-up trucks, SUVs, and most other vehicles.
  • Water across a road may hide a missing segment of roadbed or a missing bridge.
  • Floodwater weakens roads. Drivers must proceed cautiously once waters have receded, since a weakened road may collapse under a vehicle’s weight.

If you find yourself unexpectedly stuck in floodwater, the best thing you can do is to get out quickly and move to higher ground. Floodwaters can rise rapidly and sweep a car and its occupants away with little warning.

Finally, be careful of hydroplaning when driving in the rain. Roads are at their most dangerous during the first five to ten minutes of a rainfall. As rain mixes with dirt and oil on the road, a slippery film forms, which makes it harder for your tires to grip the road. Your vehicle then skims across the water rather than the road’s surface, limiting your ability to control your vehicle.

If you start to hydroplane, do not panic and slam on the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the brake. If you do need to brake, push down gently until you feel the wheels reconnect with the roadway. The best way to prevent hydroplaning is by making sure your tires are inflated properly and have a good tread so they have good traction.

3. How to Drive in High Winds

A lot of extreme weather includes high winds. Here are some tips for driving in high winds:

  • Slow down and keep extra space between your vehicle and those around you.
  • Keep a firm grip on the wheel.
  • Don’t panic and overcorrect your steering if you get blown off course by gusts of wind. Instead, keep your wheel as straight as possible and pull over in a safe place if you need to.

High winds are especially dangerous for motorcycles, large trucks, and other high-profile vehicles. Be mindful of large vehicles and motorcycles when driving in high winds and give them plenty of extra space.

4. How to Drive in Fog

Foggy Road

Fog can turn your usual morning drive into a nightmare. Roads you drive every day suddenly look unfamiliar, and other drivers are unpredictable. In fog, you can’t see the road ahead and may not be able to stop before hitting another vehicle, person, animal, or object. If you notice fog before heading out, consider postponing your trip until conditions clear.

If you do have to drive in fog, here are some tips:

  • Use your low beam headlights. Low beams are aimed closer to the road, which can help you see the road under fog. High beam headlights will just reflect off the moisture in the air, causing light to reflect back on you, reducing your vision even more.
  • Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you.
  • If you must stop for an emergency, pull as far to the right as possible. Do not stop in the middle of traffic, as other vehicles may not see you in time to avoid a collision.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Speeding is always dangerous, and speeding in fog is a disaster waiting to happen.

5. What to Do If You’re Stuck Driving During a Tornado

The first thing to know about tornadoes is the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning:

  • A tornado watch tells you that the conditions are right for a possible tornado, though no tornadoes have been spotted.
  • A tornado warning is issued when tornadoes have been spotted in the area.

If you’re driving during a tornado warning, do not try to "race" the tornado. If possible, exit your car and seek shelter in the closest building.

If you’re not able to exit your vehicle, do not stop under an overpass or bridge. Tornadoes have strong horizontal winds. This means that even if you're under an overpass, you could still be struck by debris. Find a spot to pull over and turn off your vehicle. Keep your seat belt on and put your head down as far under the windows as possible. Cover your head with a blanket, cushion, or jacket--whatever you have available to you to help keep any broken glass from contacting your skin.

The bottom line is, the safest approach to driving in extreme weather is to simply stay home. If you absolutely have to get on the road, or if you get caught in surprise extreme weather while already on the road, use these tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe.

Want to learn more?

If you’d like to learn more about handling driving emergencies, check out our free driver resources center! We have detailed guides on many driving topics, including what to do during driving emergencies.

Are you looking for defensive driving and traffic school courses? Do you want a discount on your auto insurance? Do you have a teen who’s ready to take an online driver education course?

Safe2Drive is here to help! We offer convenient online courses for drivers of any age! Visit our website today to learn about the online courses we offer in your state.

This winter has been rough. From snow storms and tornadoes across the Midwest to cyclones and severe storms on the west coast, many of us are dealing with weather that makes our daily routines much more difficult. Driving in extreme weather can be stressful and dangerous, and it’s best to avoid it as much as possible. Sometimes, though, extreme weather is simply unavoidable on the road. With that in mind, here are our top tips for driving in some of the most dangerous conditions.

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1/9/2023

It's Time to Ditch Puffy Coats

by Courtney Conley

Everyone knows how important it is to bundle up their little ones before heading out into the cold. Seeing a toddler wobble around in a puffy coat and pom-pom hat is adorable! There’s one place, though, that your little one shouldn’t wear a wear thick coat this winter: in their car seat or booster seat.

Sleeping baby

Child safety seats are designed to keep children secured in their seat in the event of a collision. The straps need to be snug against the child’s body. When the child is wearing a bulky coat, there’s much more slack between the harness and the child’s body. The more layers there are between your child’s body and their seat belt or harness, the more danger they’re in if you get into a collision.

So, what should you do instead of buckling up with a bulky coat? There are several options.

For babies in car seats, you can strap them in as usual and tuck a warm blanket around them on top of the harness. This will keep your little one warm and safe.

Another option is to let your child wear their coat while walking out to the car, then taking it off before buckling up or getting in their child safety seat. Once they’re safely strapped in, they can wear their coat backwards over the chest straps. This is a great option for kids who may forget their coat if it’s not attached to them!

This applies to anyone in the car. Bulky coats and jackets will flatten out on impact, leaving way too much space between your seat belt and your body. It may be a little inconvenient to take your heavy coat off when you get in the car, but it will be more than worth it in the event of a collision.

Stay warm (and safe!) this winter season!

Want to learn more?

Are you looking for defensive driving and traffic school courses? Do you want a discount on your auto insurance? Are you a mature driver interested in a discount on your auto insurance? Do you have a teen who’s ready to take an online driver education course?

Safe2Drive is here to help! We offer convenient online courses for drivers of any age! Visit our website today to learn about the online courses we offer in your state.

Everyone knows how important it is to bundle up their little ones before heading out into the cold. Seeing a toddler wobble around in a puffy coat and pom-pom hat is adorable! There’s one place, though, that your little one shouldn’t wear a wear thick coat this winter: in their car seat or booster seat.

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1/3/2023

How to Ship Your Vehicle

by Jeff Chapman

Moving long distances can be daunting, especially when transporting your car. The process may initially seem overwhelming, but we’re here to help!

To Start, Do Your Research

You can look online for different car shipping companies. Take a look at the services they offer (air, truck, train, or ship), timelines, customer reviews, and pricing. You can find several to compare by searching "car shipping companies" on Google or Yelp. Make sure you delve into the reviews before you make a choice.

You can also compare prices online by getting several car shipping estimates from different companies. It is important to remember that cheaper quotes sometimes means you’re compromising on the level of service, so make sure you read reviews before making a decision.

Know What to Ask

When researching a service or company, it is essential to know what questions to ask to get the most accurate information. To ensure that all your important questions are covered, list the most important ones before meeting with professionals. This way, you can be confident that you will obtain the necessary information through your conversation.

Some of the most frequently asked questions include:

  • What method will the company use to ship your vehicle (truck, rail, etc.)?
  • How does drop-off and pick-up work?
  • What happens if there is any damage to your vehicle in transit?
  • How much will it cost, and how long will it take?

By asking these questions, you will better understand the company and its services and whether it is the right fit for you. So, remember to make a list before you call!

How does shipping your car work?

You have a few options depending on where you’re shipping your car and how quickly you need it to get there. You will prepare your vehicle based on the list of tasks given by the company you choose and schedule a pickup time.

The list of things the company will ask you to complete before you pass your car over to the transport company can include the following:

  • Clear all loose items from your car’s interior so they do not get lost, stolen, or broken in transport.
  • Take aftermarket parts and external decorations off of your vehicle.
  • Take your car for a general tune-up, and let your mechanic know that you’ll be transporting your car with a shipping company. They will be able to put the proper amount of fluids in for you.
  • Clean your car inside and out. When your vehicle is covered in dirt, it may be difficult to see any pre-existing damage. By cleaning your car, you’ll be better able to identify any damage that might occur in transit and have it assessed.
  • Take photos of any pre-existing damage and generalized photos of the inside and outside of the car in case of damage.
  • Run all but 1/4 of the fuel out of the car before dropping it off at the terminal. Shipping with lower fluids prevents spills and adds less weight to your car package.

Next, the company you’ve hired will pick up the car. When you arrive at your new destination, you may have to pick up the car from a specific drop-off location, or the company may be able to deliver it straight to you.

Will I need special paperwork or insurance coverage?

While you technically don’t need any special coverage on your car, standard comprehensive and collision coverage will help protect your vehicle should anything happen in transit. Your transport company is legally required to have coverage, but carrying your own is an extra layer of protection.

Can you ship your car internationally?

The short answer is that yes, you can ship your car internationally. The variance in how you send your vehicle will come from where you send it. Options are available for flight, train, and shipping, depending on which is the fastest and most efficient.

What are my options for shipping my car?

If you’re moving overseas, you have a couple of options.

  • You may ship the car on a cargo plane; this is the most expensive and fastest shipping option.
  • You may transport your vehicle on a cargo ship, among other cargo transport. This is common because it is the least costly option for overseas transport. It is also one of the slowest methods, so you’ll need to plan for the delay in delivery.

If you’re moving across the country or country lines but not overseas, you have the above options and a couple of additional choices to consider:

  • Train transport has been popular for everything from people to supplies, and now your car. This option is reasonably inexpensive compared to the others.
  • Truck and trailer transport is another option where your car is loaded onto a large commercial truck and trailer explicitly designed for this purpose.

Once you know what services are available, you can determine which type best suits your needs. If you’re shipping your car via truck, train, or ship, you have two other choices: open carrier or enclosed carrier.

Open Carriers and Enclosed Carriers

Open carriers mean your vehicle is not enclosed in anything – it may be exposed to wind, rain, or other elements. Conversely, enclosed carriers mean your car will be protected from the elements. Enclosed carriers also provide extra security from theft or vandalism.

Open carriers are cheaper and primarily used for standard vehicles like cars and SUVs. Closed carriers are often used for luxury vehicles or classic cars requiring special care during transport.

Why should I ship my car rather than drive it or tow it?

There are many reasons to ship your car. For one, driving your car cross-country can be expensive when you factor in the cost of gas, necessary car repairs, hotels, and food. It can also be a significant time commitment, as it can take several days to make a cross-country voyage.

If you’re traveling internationally, you may have no choice but to ship your car.

Lastly, if you have a specialty car, a collectible car, or other hard-to-drive vehicles, you may want to avoid putting extra miles on the engine. For some vintage car owners, trailer transport or cargo transport are the only options for a long-distance move according to insurance requirements.

How long does it take, and how much does it cost?

How long it takes to ship your car depends on several factors, including which method you use to send your vehicle (air, train, ship, or truck). Air transport is the fastest option but not the least expensive, and moving your car by train or ship takes longer but is more moderately priced. Truck shipment is the slowest option but often the least costly, and it is an excellent choice if you’re not relying on your car in your new destination for the first couple of weeks.

How much it costs to ship your car also depends on various factors, including which method you use to send your vehicle, whether or not your car will be in an enclosed carrier, and whether you’re paying for an expedited process.

You’ll need to call around and ask for quotes to get a more accurate idea of how much to budget. Some shipping companies offer estimates online, but your best option for a precise quote is to call and talk to one of their professional representatives, as many factors can affect the final price.

How can I find a good company to ship my car?

The first step is to call around, get different quotes, read reviews, and ask your friends, family, and other acquaintances what options they used.

Remember to read positive and negative reviews to get a feel for how the customer service team handles flawless transports and negative experiences. Further, remember that not all reviews are valid and legitimate, and some are the result of paid reviewers or upset previous customers or employees. Reading reviews from several platforms can help you get a balanced feel for the company.

In addition to Google and Yelp, you can find valuable resources for this process through consumer review sites, such as Forbes, Move.org, and Consumer Affairs.

What factors should I consider when choosing a company to ship my car to?

There are a few red and green flags when hiring a company to ship your car.

Check For Insurance Coverage

It is essential to make sure that any company you work with has proper insurance coverage in case something unexpected happens along the way, such as a breakdown or an accident involving your vehicle during transit.

Some companies also offer additional insurance coverage, so ask about this when comparing prices and services from different companies. Read all the fine print related to insurance coverage before deciding which company to use for shipping your car.

Technology and Tracking

You’ll want to ensure that you can track your car’s movement so you can prepare for the arrival date, or make accommodations if the vehicle is delayed.

The Cheapest Option Isn’t Always the Best Value

Saving money on transport is only a good thing if the car is not damaged. Consider the costs around damages, late arrivals, car rentals, and potential insurance denials for damages incurred in transport.

Further, as mentioned above, you should make sure the company carries insurance and that you talk to your insurance agent about the coverage you have on your car for extra protection.

Shipping Your Car Should Make Your Move Easier - Not More Stressful

Picking the right company for shipping your car can be a smooth experience if you take the time to research beforehand and compare prices and services from different companies before deciding who will transport your vehicle long-distance.

This will ensure you get the best possible service at a price that fits your budget while providing adequate protection for your vehicle during transit! With these tips in mind, you can be confident that you’re picking the perfect company for shipping your car.

Moving long distances can be daunting, especially when transporting your car. The process may initially seem overwhelming, but we’re here to help!

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