Dead Car Battery? Here’s How to Jump Start It!

dead car battery

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You should always keep jumper cables (also called booster cables) in the trunk of your car. Available in varying lengths, 12 to 25 feet, jumper cables can really come in handy in the event of a weak or dead battery. You can also purchase a portable jump start instead, or in combination, of jump cables.

Follow these steps to jump start a dead car battery.

Step 1: Position the functioning car as close as possible to the vehicle with a dead battery. Nose-to-nose tends to work best. Turn off the engines, removing the keys, and open the hood to both cars. Locate the batteries and remove any plastic coverings.

Step 2: Attach the red, positive cable clamp to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery. Ensure you have a solid connection to the terminal by wiggling the clamps. Connect the other red end to the functioning vehicle’s positive (+) terminal.

Step 3: Attach the black, negative cable clamp to the live battery’s negative (-) terminal. Connect the black, negative cable clamp to an unpainted, metal part of the stalled car. This “grounds” it, ensuring a safe jump.

Step 4: Start the booster car.

Step 5: After five minutes have passed, try starting the vehicle with a dead battery. If the car doesn’t start, you can try waiting a few more minutes, or revving the engine of the working car. That should do the trick.

Step 6: Once the stalled car is running, disconnect the jumper cables, starting with the black (-) cable clamps on the stalled vehicle and then the working vehicle. The red (+) cable clamps should be disconnected last. Be careful not to let the jumper cables touch.

Step 7: Take a short, 30-minute drive, allowing the battery to build up a charge.

If that doesn’t work, or if the car starts but then quickly dies again, there may be another culprit at play. Most local replacement auto parts stores can conveniently test for several issues, free of charge, including:

  • a blown fuse
  • battery corrosion
  • a faulty ignition switch
  • a faulty alternator or starter
  • a battery that has lived past its prime (a battery lasts about three years in Arizona)
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Must-Have Vehicle Gadgets

Vehicle Gadgets

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Make your car smarter and safer in 2018 with the right products. These must-have vehicle safety gadgets, all of which can be purchased aftermarket, are designed to help you be better prepared for whatever the road may throw at you.

Here are just a few of our favorite vehicle gadgets.

Emergency Roadside Kit

A good emergency roadside kit should include:

  • Tow straps
  • First aid kit
  • Basic toolset
  • Car phone charger
  • A change of clothes
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Survival blanket or sleeping bag
  • Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
  • Jumper cables or portable jump starter kit
  • Flares or reflectors to signal for help and warn other drivers

You should also include tire chains, a snow/ice scraper, and a snow shovel if you live in, or expect to visit or drive through, Northern Arizona (where freezing temperatures, snow, and ice may exist or be forecasted).

You can either buy a pre-made emergency roadside kit, adding missing essentials as needed, or build your own using the above item suggestions. Already have a kit? It’s a good idea to review its contents, replacing anything expired or damaged, once every season.

Smartphone Mount

This easy one-touch mount is made to keep your phone handy while you’re on the go, making tasks, such as navigating to the nearest Starbucks and hands-free calling relatively easy (and safe!). It securely attaches to your dash or windshield via a sticky gel coated suction cup. Adjustable viewing allows you to extend and pivot its telescopic arm for a variety of optimal positions.

Emergency Radio

Whether you’re going mountain biking, hiking or camping, an emergency radio could prove to be a vital tool during an emergency. In an emergency, having access to light, NOAA weather information, and alternate sources to charge your phone can be invaluable. Typically, emergency radios can be powered by hand crank, built-in solar or with a battery. They are also compact enough to store in an emergency roadside kit.

Travel Tray

It’s inevitable. From the grocery store, pediatrician’s office or local amusement park, today’s families are always on the go. Make car rides easier with Travel Tray; an innovative two compartment snack and drink travel tray. It can be taken anywhere and fits conveniently into vehicle, car seat and stroller cup holders. 100% food grade safe; BPA-free, PHT-free, and PVC-free; and top rack dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

Dash Cam

A dash cam is to your car what a security camera is to your home. High-definition dash cams can help you prove who is responsible for a motor vehicle accident or record a memorable drive. Provides high-quality recordings during both the day and night. This dash cam features wide dynamic range, loop recording, and accident auto detection. It also automatically turns on and off when you switch the ignition on and off.

Advanced Navigation

The newest tech/safety feature on aftermarket navigational systems is a heads-up display. The idea behind this futuristic feature is simple: Eliminate distractions by displaying turn-by-turn directions directly in your line of sight. This tech attaches to your car’s dashboard and connects to your phone via Bluetooth, displaying maps, music, texts and calls on a transparent screen. Best of all, it can be controlled hands-free!

Tire Pressure Safety Monitor

Under-inflation is one of the leading causes of tire failure and poor fuel economy. Newer cars have a tire pressuring monitoring system (TPMS) that lights up a warning on the dash if low tire pressure is detected. While owners of older cars had to remember to check their tire pressure monthly, there are now aftermarket tire pressure safety monitors that can be purchased, and installed within minutes. This system includes four Bluetooth-enabled valve caps, a receiver, and a smartphone app.

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Safe Travels, Happy Holidays!

safe travels

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The holiday season is upon us, and with it, the busiest travel season of the year. Over 50 million people will journey away from home over the next few weeks. Enjoy all the tidings of comfort and joy in the company of friends and family with the following tips. Safe travels and happy holidays to you and yours!

Plan Your Trip

Map your route (even with GPS). By plugging your travel plans into an online route planner, you can get a good sense of what to expect, along with being able to determine your gas mileage and driving times. One of our favorite resources is Google Maps. In addition to turn-by-turn directions, which you can print or download, you can now find interesting places to stop along the way.

Vehicle Maintenance

AAA suggests completing the following vehicle maintenance:

  • Get an oil change
  • Test the battery
  • Replace wiper blades
  • Fill the windshield washer reservoir
  • Make sure your head, tail and brake lights all work
  • Check tire pressure and tread depth – you may also want to consider having your tires rotated

Emergency Road Kit

Before leaving home, prepare for the unexpected with an emergency car kit packed with all the essentials, such as jumper cables, a working flashlight and extra batteries, basic tools, a first-aid kit, blankets, water and nonperishable snacks (e.g., power bars, trail mix, peanut butter crackers, etc.). Already have a kit? Review its contents, replacing anything expired or damaged. Consider investing in road side assistance as well. If visiting Northern Arizona, make sure to pack snow chains!

Check Weather Reports

We are big fans of checking the conditions along your route, not just the weather at your home and destination. Winter storm headed your direction? Plan another route or, if possible, head out a day earlier to avoid it. Take a few minutes to check current and forecasted weather conditions with the National Weather Service.

Stay Focused/Alert

Any time you’re traveling a long distance, breaking up the drive periodically – every two hours or 100 miles – will help you remain focused and alert. Spend 15 minutes stretching your legs. When you stop for breaks, choose a well-lit, populated facility that offers a good cell phone signal.

Increase Following Distance

According to AAA, the three to four second following distance should be more than doubled to eight to ten seconds during the winter months; even more in severe weather conditions. You should also accelerate and decelerate slowly; avoid using cruise control; and avoid applying extra gas when going up hills.

Note: This blog has been updated for 2017. The original blog can be found here.

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Five Common Auto Insurance Myths

auto insurance myths

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There are many common misconceptions associated with auto insurance coverage. Protect yourself from future misunderstandings by familiarizing yourself with the truth behind these five auto insurance myths.

Myth: If you loan your car to a friend, their auto insurance will cover any damages in the event of an accident.

Truth: Your insurance policy is considered primary. As the vehicle’s owner, you are responsible for any damages resulting from a vehicular accident, regardless of who was driving. In other words, auto insurance follows the car, not the driver. Every state, however, has their own rules and regulations so make sure to research those before giving your friend permission to operate your vehicle.

Myth: The color of your vehicle determines your policy rates.

Truth: The rate of your policy is determined by several variables. Among them are the make, model, body type, engine size, safety features, and age of the vehicle. Personal attributes that may also affect your rate include YOUR age, driving record, and credit history. Vehicle repair and replacement costs are also considered. Color is not considered when determining policy rates.

Myth: Your insurance company will pay off your loan if your vehicle is totaled in an accident.

Truth: Your insurance provider will pay fair market value for your vehicle in the event it is totaled. Usually, they determine fair market value by looking at comps; vehicles in your area that match your vehicle’s make, model, age, and condition. This is often, but not always, less than the balance of your loan.

In this situation, you, as the vehicle’s owner would be responsible for any remaining balance on the loan. For example: If you owe $10,000, but the fair market value is $7,000, you would be responsible for the remaining $3,000 on the loan. Therefore, you may want to consider purchasing GAP insurance, especially if you are leasing or financing a vehicle.

Myth: Thieves only steal new cars.

Truth: Vehicles with an established model line history, or cars that continually sell well year after year tend to be more attractive to thieves. Often, it’s more lucrative for a thief to steal a car for parts, than it is for them to try and sell the vehicle private party. Cars with an established model line are more abundant on the road, making it easier for thieves to find customers who are willing to purchase parts, no questions asked.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, these were the top ten stolen cars in 2016:

  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic
  • Ford Pickup (full-size)
  • Chevrolet Pickup (full-size)
  • Toyota Camry
  • Nissan Altima
  • Dodge Pickup (full-size)
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

Myth: Your auto insurance will cover items that were stolen out of your car.

Truth: Personal belongings, such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, purses and/or wallets are not covered under any auto insurance policy, including comprehensive. These items are not considered part of the actual vehicle because they are not permanently attached. Consequently, your insurer will not cover you if they are stolen from inside your car; even if the entire car is stolen. Instead, these items would be covered under your homeowners, renters or personal property insurance policies.

Familiarizing yourself with these auto insurance myths will help you purchase coverage that best fits your needs. For additional tips, we encourage to read our blog monthly. Click here to receive a free quote on auto, home, and/or business insurance. You can also contact us direct at (480) 820-2297.

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Choosing Smoke Detectors for Your Home

smoke detectors

It’s hard to overstate the importance of having working smoke detectors in your home. They provide an early warning of fire and, by law, are required in every dwelling. They are also a requirement of most home insurance policies. In 2009-2013, however, two out of five (38%) home fire deaths resulted from fires in which no smoke alarms were present at all.” [Source: NFPA] And, in even more instances, when the alarms weren’t working.

Here is some information to ensure working smoke detectors are present in your home.

Types of Smoke Detectors

Per the NFPA, there are three types of smoke detectors:

Ionization Smoke Detectors are designed to recognize fast-burning, flaming fires much faster than other types of smoke alarms. They’re equipped with a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates that ionizes the air. When smoke passes through the device, it disrupts the flow of ions, activating the alarm.

Photoelectric Smoke Detectors are better at detecting smoldering fires (those that produce a lot of smoke). These alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, light is reflected onto the sensor, triggering an alarm.

Dual-sensor Smoke Detectors are also available. These smoke alarms are the preferred choice by fire service professionals because they utilize both ionization and photoelectric sensors, so it can detect both fast-burning, and smoldering fires. They typically only cost a few dollars more than single-sensor smoke alarms.

Installing and Maintaining Smoke Detectors

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing a smoke alarm on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside every sleeping area. If you have a basement or attic, install one there too. On levels without bedrooms, install smoke alarms in your main living areas, and near the stairway leading to the next level.

You can never have too many smoke alarms! Mount alarms high on walls and/or ceilings. Wall-mounted alarms should be installed no more than 12-inches away from the ceiling. If installing a smoke alarm near the kitchen, it should be mounted at 10 feet away from cooking appliances, minimizing false alarms when cooking.

Installing a combination of battery-operated and hardwired ionization and photoelectric or dual-sensor smoke alarms ensures your home is fully protected. However, it’s also important to ensure your home’s alarms are maintained according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Test monthly, regardless if it’s battery-operated or hardwired.

Replace batteries once per year if battery-operated. If hardwired, replace the unit once every 10 years. Replace sooner if the alarm’s warning signal goes off or according to manufacturer recommendations.

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July 4th Events

July 4th Events

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With July 4th – which marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence, just four days away, have you cemented your plans for the evening? Perhaps you’ll be among the reported 44.2 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more away from home to honor the red, white and blue?

There are a number of July 4th events in town, however, that never fail to be well-attended. Each of the following events not only promise family-friendly activities, but you’ll also find live entertainment, festive food and spectacular fireworks displays. Here are just a few of events happening around town.

Monday, July 3

Anthem’s Independence Day Celebration | 6-10:00 p.m.

Community Park

41703 N. Gavilan Peak Pkwy.

Anthem, AZ 85086

Fireworks commence at or around 9:30 p.m.

The whole family is invited to attend this free Independence Day event. Family-friendly activities, patriotic themed events and live entertainment will be on hand for the celebration, which is scheduled to take place from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Families can bring blankets or lawn chairs and sit back to enjoy the spectacular event. All you can ride bounce bracelets are available to purchase from the Community Center.

Light Up the Sky | 6:30-9 p.m.

Maryvale Baseball Park

3600 N. 51st Ave.

Phoenix, AZ 85031

Fireworks commence at or around 9:10 p.m.

The annual Light Up the Sky event takes place from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Attendees can expect live entertainment, an inflatable fun zone for the kids, local sports mascots, community resource booths, family-friendly activities on the baseball diamond, food and drink available for purchase, and so much more. Free admission.

Tuesday, July 4th

Fabulous Phoenix 4th | 6-10:00 p.m.

Steele Indian School Park

300 E. Indian School Rd.

Phoenix, AZ 85012

Fireworks commence at or around 9:30 p.m.

Enjoy the Southwest’s largest fireworks display with two international recording artists performing at this year’s Fabulous Phoenix 4th event. Now in its 32nd year, the free family-friendly event features a variety of vendors offering festival-style food and beverages, arts and crafts, interactive exhibits, and a classic car show. Youth activities, rides and inflatables, as well as a water spray zone will be part of Kids’ World.

July 4th Fireworks Spectacular | 5-10:30 p.m.

Tumbleweed Park

2250 S. McQueen Rd.

Chandler, AZ 85286

Fireworks commence at or around 9:00 p.m.

This annual event, which takes place from 5:00 to 10:30 p.m., kicks off at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler. Produced by R-Entertainment, attendees can enjoy all the amenities of this award-winning park in addition to live entertainment, games, and face painting, as well as a variety of food and beverage trucks. Admission is free. Parking is $5 per vehicle (cash only).

Fourth at the Fountain | 6-10:00 p.m.

Fountain Park

12925 N. Saguaro Blvd.

Fountain Hills, AZ 85268

Fireworks commence at or around 9:00 p.m.

Put on your red, white and blue, and join the City of Fountain Hills for music, kids bounce houses, and a rock climbing wall. DJ Steve Grosz will keep the whole family moving and grooving with great tunes, prizes, and giveaways throughout the night. A firework display over the park’s picturesque lake begins at approximately 9:00 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is available throughout downtown Fountain Hills.

July 4th Events for the City of Casa Grande | 10-10:00 p.m.

Fireworks commence at or around 9:00 p.m.

Family Fun Day at the Pool

The day’s events kick off at 10:00 a.m. at the Palm Island Family Aquatics Park (1150 N. Brown Ave.) for a Family Swim Day until 2:00 p.m. Activities and games will be held throughout the day. Admissions fees are reduced: $1 for adults and 50$ for children 17 and under. Food and beverages are available for purchase.

July 4th Fireworks Spectacular

Beginning at 7:00 p.m., bring your lawn chairs and/or blankets to Paul Mason Sportsplex in Casa Grande (2525 N. Pinal Ave.) for a night of family-friendly activities, including relay races, bouncers and games. Food and beverages are available for purchase. Admission is free.

Arizona Celebration of Freedom | 6-10:30 p.m.

Mesa Convention Center Campus

263 N. Center St.

Mesa, AZ 85201

Fireworks commence at or around 9:30 p.m.

You’ll find fun for the whole family at the annual Arizona Celebration of Freedom. Entry into the event and activities are free. The event features family-friendly activities, musical performances, and a reenacting of the Revolutionary War. There will also be a military vehicle showcase, KOOL zone, and Yankee Doodle Kids’ Zone.

Tempe Town Lake Festival

620 N. Mill Ave.

Tempe, AZ 85281

Fireworks commence at or around 9:15 p.m.

In its 66th year, Tempe Town Lake in partnership with Kiwanis Club of Tempe, presents the best fireworks show in the Valley shot from Mill Avenue Bridge. Featuring an inflatable village, rock climbing wall, various food and beverage vendors, and a Kid’s ID tent there is something for the whole family. General admission is $5 for per person. Children 12 and under are free. VIP garden tickets are also available for $60 (adults) and $30 (children ages 5-12).

Have a Happy July 4th, and as always, be safe!

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Save Lives! Prevent Distracted Driving!

distracted driving

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The term ‘distracted driving’ is used to describe any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. Behaviors such as smoking, using electronic devices, eating and drinking, programming navigational systems, and adjusting the audio or climate controls puts your life and the lives of others in danger.

In 2015, distracted driving related crashes caused more than 391,000 injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (which is where we collected much of the information posted here) and the U.S. Department of Transportation. An additional 3,477 were killed. More statistics can be found here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describe three types of distractions while driving. Visual distractions cause you to take your eyes off the road, manual distractions cause you to take your hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions cause you to lose your focus.

Distracted Driving Activities

  • Texting
  • Smoking
  • Drowsy Driving
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Programming a navigational system
  • Adjusting the audio or climate controls
  • Talking on the phone (yes, even if using a hands-free device)
  • Grooming (e.g., applying makeup, shaving, tightening your ponytail, etc.)

How You Can Prevent Distracted Driving

#1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind. When you’re driving, set your phone on silent or better yet, power it down. Keep it in your purse, briefcase or backpack to avoid temptation from incoming calls and text messages. Many smartphones now have a driving mode setting that automatically forwards all calls to voicemail and replies to text messages alerting the sender you’re driving and will call back later. If you need to make an urgent call, move your vehicle off the road. Never park on the shoulder or in the breakdown lane for any reason except an emergency.

#2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep. Most people know that getting a good night’s rest is imperative to their health, but too often life’s commands or stimulants, such as coffee and energy drinks get in the way of us getting in the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended 7 to 9 hours (for adults). A recent report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that drivers who slept less than seven hours, and drivers who have one or more hours less than their usual amount of sleep in a 24-hour period have significantly higher crash rates, than drivers who slept for their body’s normal rest time. If you become sleepy while driving – especially on long road trips – safely pull off the road and take a nap.

#3. Before putting your car in drive, you should:

  • Store loose gear
  • Secure children and pets
  • Program your navigation system
  • Adjust seats, mirrors, and audio or climate controls
  • Finish personal grooming (i.e., shaving, applying makeup, finishing hair, etc.)
  • Worth repeating – put away your electronic devices including your phone
  • Give your full attention to the road in front of you; no exceptions

For additional safety tips, we encourage you to read our blog monthly. Click here to receive a free quote on auto, home, renters, and/or business insurance. You can also contact us by calling us at (480) 820-2297.

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Rental Insurance | A Smart Investment

rental insurance

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You don’t need to own your home to benefit from insurance.

Frequently Asked Rental Insurance Questions

Can I afford rental insurance?

The average rental insurance policy in the U.S. is only $190. This breaks down to a little more than $15 per month or the cost of three Grande Caramel Macchiatos. When you consider the alternative – paying out of pocket to replace all of your personal belongings (i.e., your jewelry, electronics, furniture, clothing, etc.) – you should really be asking yourself if you can truly afford NOT to purchase an insurance policy.

What does it cover?

Depending on the policy you choose, rental insurance may provide financial reimbursement for your lost or damaged possessions after your deductible has been met. It may also provide liability coverage for legal costs in the event you’re sued by someone who was hurt in your home. Additionally, if you can’t stay at your place after a covered incident, it can help pay for a hotel.

Covered incidents typically include fire, explosions, smoke, vandalism, theft, burglary, falling objects, freezing, hail, and damage caused by water not resulting from a flood. The true beauty of rental insurance is that it protects your possessions wherever they may be – whether they’re at home, in the trunk of your car or in your backup during a trip to Italy.

How much coverage do I need?

Taking inventory is a good way to determine how much coverage you need. This inventory lists your personal belongings including clothing, along with details about their age, purchase price or current value, as well as other identifying information. Document the items with receipts or pictures when possible. Once you’ve completed the inventory process, total the amounts to determine coverage, keeping a copy in a safe place.

Choose the Coverage That’s Right for You

The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends getting quotes from at least three insurance companies to compare prices. Keep in mind, however, that not all policies are created equal. Never select a policy based solely on price. An independent insurance agent can compare prices from a number of different insurance companies to find the best possible value for you. For more information, including a free quote, visit us at or contact us at (480) 820-2297.

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Car Emergency Kit Essentials

car emergency kit

Imagine, you’re driving on a lonely, dark road when suddenly your car becomes difficult to control. Managing to safely ease the car to the side of the road, you turn on your hazards, and get out to investigate. If the problem is a flat tire, and you’re prepared with a well-stocked emergency kit as well as a spare, you should be on your way in no time at all. For those situations that don’t involve a flat, you can use your cell phone and call roadside assistance; which we highly recommend having. Many auto insurers offer this.

Although you can certainly purchase a well-stocked pre-packaged emergency kit, the best value and most comprehensive kit is going to be one you create yourself, using many of the items mentioned below. Even if you decide to purchase a packaged kit, like this one for $87.95 from, you’ll want to beef it up to ensure you are always prepared for the unexpected. You should also consider weather conditions in your area; packing accordingly. Here are some essentials for your car emergency kit.

First Aid Kit: In addition to an assortment of bandages, include disposable gloves, adhesive tape, sterile gauze pads, painkillers, antiseptic cream or ointment, alcohol-free cleansing wipes, a thermometer, antihistamine tablets, tweezers, scissors, distilled water for cleaning wounds, insect bite/sting spray, skin rash cream, and anything particular to you and your family. You may want to consider purchasing everything latex-free.

Food & Water: If you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere, the first priority is maintaining hydrated, and fed – especially if you have little ones. Have non-perishable food items and bottled water on hand. High-calorie options such as energy bars, almonds, nut butters, dried fruit, beef jerky, trail mix, and crackers are all great solutions. It is important to pack enough water for each of your passengers as well.

Flashlight: You should always include a good-quality flashlight in your emergency kit. It will come in handy whether you’re inspecting your car at night, need some extra visibility when changing a flat tire, or when having to take your son or daughter to use the bathroom off the road. You won’t want to forget to pack extra batteries as well! You should also make sure to pack flares in the event your car does breakdown.

Woolen Blanket: Whether it is pouring, sleeting or snowing, a wool blanket can help you and your loved ones stay warm and dry until roadside assistance arrives. We recommend purchasing a wool blanket over a blend or fleece option, as not only are these blankets extremely warm, they are also flame and odor resistant. Consider packing one in the truck of your car for each member of your family.

USB Battery Pack: While your phone is probably on your person, or nearby, you should also carry a USB battery pack in your vehicle. This should be in addition to a 12-volt car charger. Ensuring your phone is charged, and that you have a way to charge it should the battery run low, may make all the difference between getting help…fast…and not getting any help at all.

Fire Extinguisher: When purchasing a fire extinguisher for your car, look for one that is rated for both Class B and Class C fires by the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA. The NFPA states that Class B fires are those that involve flammable or combustible liquids, such as gasoline and kerosene, whereas Class C fires involve energized electrical equipment including panel boxes and batteries.

Winter Essentials: If live in an area prone to snow, or icy roads, you may need to consider packing some winter essentials in your car during the winter months. You knew know when you’ll need a folding shovel, ice scrapers, heavy socks, snow boots, chains, a change of clothes, and a pair of gloves is going to come in handy. You can carry all these items and more in a clear Rubbermaid box in the trunk of your car.

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Travel Safety Tips for the Holidays

travel safety tips

from your friends at Hegarty-Haynes Insurance, Inc!

The holiday season has officially arrived, and with it, the busiest travel season of the year. Many will hit the open road and skies over the course of the next month, because as we all know, no holiday would be complete without being in the company of friends and family.

Although we are sure plates stacked with mountains of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie provide good reason to travel as well. In fact, according to AAA, 50 million people are expected to hit the road this very week in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Traveling during the holidays, however, can cause the best of us to stress as we are met with transportation delays and heavy traffic at every turn. We did mention there are going to be 50 million drivers all trying to make it to their family’s dinner, and perhaps, Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales, right?

The following travel safety tips for the holidays will ensure that you arrive safely at your final destination, so that you too can enjoy being in the company of those closest to you this season, while also avoiding many of the stressors associated with holiday travel.

#1. Motor Vehicle Safety

Please don’t go anywhere in your car until you’ve ensured it is properly maintained. At the very least, you should have your car, tires, lights, and fluids professionally inspected before hitting the open road for the holidays.

#2. Mind Mother Nature

Check the weather along your route and plan accordingly. Winter storm headed your way? Find another route or, if possible, head out a day earlier to avoid it. You can check the weather by visiting the National Weather Service’s website.

#3. Tell Someone of Your Plans

You should always inform someone, preferably a close friend, family member or neighbor, of your travel plans. However, we do caution against posting your absence on social media. If something were to happen, your contact person would be informed, which could make a world of difference.

#4. Don’t Drive Distracted

When you’re driving, 100% of your attention must be on the road at all times, thus ensuring your safe arrival. This includes driving while using cell phones for both talking and texting (both hands on the wheel). It also includes checking when a store opens for Black Friday. Not paying attention while driving can lead to people getting hurt.

#5. Avoid Driving Fatigued

It sounds simple enough, but a good night’s sleep before departing can make for a more enjoyable, and safer drive. Be sure to take regular breaks during long road trips to avoid becoming overly tired. Pull over in a safe, well-lit area if you’re tired, or around every 100 miles or 2 hours.

#6. Follow the Rules of the Road

Follow posted speed limit and other signs. You should also refrain from tailgating, driving defensively, and responding to aggressive drivers: It’s far less frustrating to let an aggressive driver pass you than to become aggressive yourself. Like you, everyone is trying to get somewhere, and get there safely.

#7. Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Keep a blanket, boots, extra pair of gloves, change of clothes, flashlight, flare, jumper cables, jack and a supply food/water in the trunk of your vehicle in the event of an emergency. Traction mats, kitty litter or sand can be used to improve traction on icy roads, should you get stuck.

#8. Don’t Leave Your Pets or Children in the Car

While this should go without saying, yearly statistics necessitate the need for reinforcing the importance of taking your pets and children with you, rather than leaving them in the car. In the winter, both children and pets are at risk of hypothermia, frost bite and, unfortunately, even death in extreme conditions.

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