How to Plan Rest Stops for a Long Trip

How to Plan Rest Stops for a Long Trip

It’s great to visit family and friends residing in other places or states. You get to see the country and enjoy time with them. Before hitting the open road, make sure to check several things in your car.

Make sure that your vehicle’s tank is full. Prepare the apps that will help make your trip bearable and enjoyable. Download the apps and movies you need. This is even more important if you have small kids. Always perform the essential checks before a long drive.

Apart from these things, you also need to plan your rest stops along the way. It doesn’t matter if you will just be driving for three hour or 24 hours. It’s important to schedule breaks and rest to keep your journey safe. On long trips, you will need to stop every few hours to stretch your legs and arms. And if you are really sleepy and drowsy, a 15-minute power nap can be heavenly! Read more

What to Do If There’s a Burning Smell from Your Car

What to Do If There’s a Burning Smell from Your Car

These days everyone desires to own a four wheeler. However before hitting the roads, it is quite essential for you to understand the safety parameters of your vehicle so that you know exactly what’s going wrong with it, just in case. One of the most important safety parameters is to identify any burning odor from the vehicle and not to ignore it. Necessary steps should be taken to figure out the cause of the problem and to fix it. There are several reasons due to which a burning smell can occur in your car: Read more

What to do when you get stopped by a police or highway patrol?

What to do when you get stopped by a police or highway patrol?

There you were, driving on the road towards your destination when, from the rearview mirror, you spot the flashing red and blue light of a police car behind you. If you’ve been driving for a while, you may know what to do. But given the controversies surrounding police in the USA, you may become nervous, tensed, confused, or afraid. This may be truer if it is your first time to experience being pulled over.

What to do when you get stopped by a police or highway patrol?

Read on and heed these tips. Read more

10 Tips to Improve Your Car’s Fuel Efficiency

10 Tips to Improve Your Car’s Fuel Efficiency

Sure, it’s fun to go on a long road trip this summer. Lounging at the beach with your friends seems nice, but the high prices of petrol may make you want to postpone those plans.

You don’t have to break your wallet, because there are several techniques for you to squeeze more mileage out of your gas tank.

Here’s a list of 10 tips to improve your car’s fuel efficiency:

1. Know your car’s recommended octane level.

Fuel economy starts with choosing the right fuel. There’s a myth going around that says your car becomes more fuel-efficient if you load up with fuel that has a different octane than what is recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Don’t believe that, though. A lower octane will make your engine work harder, and may cause damage to it. Then a higher octane is just a waste, because your car will not be able to take full advantage of it. Read your car’s manual so you can stick with what’s recommended.

Read more

How to Deal with a Car Accident

How to Deal with a Car Accident

Car accidents happen all the time. In the United States, about 37,000 people die in a car accident every year. About 2.35 million are injured or disabled.

Pay attention to this, especially if you’re a new driver, around 8,000 people of people killed in car crashes are those who are 16-20 years old. Car crashes are expensive, too. They cost about $230.6 billion every year, or about $820 per person.

You do not want to be involved in a car accident. Nobody really wants that. But whether you like it or not, there are people who will speed up and beat the red light, do a rolling stop in an intersection with a Stop sign, and a lot of them who are just plain idiots in the streets.

Although you may be a careful driver, you cannot control other drivers. You may also become distracted, which could cause you to hit other cars.

Before you even get into an accident, make sure that you have an Emergency Kit in your car. There’s an Emergency Roadside Assistant Kit that costs about $60 on Amazon.

So here’s how to deal with a car accident.

Please note that most of these tips assume that you’re safe and not involved in a life-threatening emergency. If you are, you should call 911 and seek immediate assistance.

Keep Calm.

You might freak out if this were your first accident. Take a deep breath. Calm your nerves. One way to gain keep calm is to rehearse in your mind the steps needed to take in case of a car accident.

Check your safety and that of the other party.

Do a spot check. Do you have any injury? Is the person driving the other car okay? If the accident is really bad, check if there’s leaking gasoline that could be the potential cause of a fire.

If it’s just a minor accident, move the cars off to the side of the road so you won’t cause a traffic jam.

If the accident is bad and the cars involved need a tow truck, turn on your hazard lights and step out and go to the side of the road. If your car is in the middle of the road, make sure to check for oncoming vehicles. It’s bad enough that you got into an accident, you don’t want to be run over by other cars.

Take out the warning triangle and place those on the behind and in front of the car to help other drivers slow down and avoid the scene of the accident.

Take photos–lots of photos.

Since smartphones already have great cameras, take photos of the accident from different angles: front, rear, sides, and from above if you can manage it. The photos will show the extent of damage, and will provide important context to the accident. The photos will also help your insurance company adjust the claims. Take photos of skid marks, too, if they are present.

how to deal with a car accident
image credit: Gabriel Saldana via Flickr

Call the Police.

You, or the other driver involved in the accident might be tempted to settle things between you. Don’t. You should still call the police.

Some laws in your state require you to call the police only if someone is injured, if the accident is blocking traffic, or if there is property damage above a certain amount–in most states, that amount is $50. But even if that is the case, you should still call the police hotline and let the dispatcher decide if an officer needs to come to you or not. If the dispatcher decides that they don’t need to send an officer to the scene of the accident, you may be asked to file an accident report at a local police station or online.

Your insurance company and that of the other driver will determine fault in the accident. Both companies will rely on a police report to establish liability. This is better than relying on the statement of either party. If you were the one hit, you would definitely need a police report. You never know if the other party is honest or not. And there had been instances where the party at fault denied the accident when the insurance company calls them.

To be on the safe side, call the police!

Police can protect you from fraud and they can also help everyone involved remain calm and collected.

Get the information of the other driver. Share yours, too.

Get the information of the other driver:

Phone number & Email
Driver’s license number
Insurance company
Policy number

To protect yourself from fraud, don’t give your Social Security Number. You can say no to a police officer and just say that the SSN is not needed for filing insurance claim. Same thing goes for you–you don’t need the other driver’s SSN.

Write down important information related to the event:

Time and place of the accident. Look for highway markers nearby. You can also draw a sketch of how you think the accident went.

Write the description of the other car: make, model, year, color, license plate number, and any damage you notice. Lastly, write down description of the other driver and any passenger who may be riding in the other car.

Get witnesses.

If there are people nearby, or any other motorist willing to serve as a witness, get their names, address, phone number, and email address. This will help determine liability.

If you cannot find witnesses, a dashboard camera will come in handy. More and more drivers have saved money and proven their story related to accidents, thanks to dashcams. Do check out our best dashcam reviews article.

Neither admit nor assign blame.

Robert Fulghum will probably not agree because you should say sorry if you’re at fault. But in the case of car accidents, it’s better to let the police and insurance companies do that. Don’t even say “I’m sorry” because that would be an admission of fault.

If the other driver is alright and you are, too, exchange your information and don’t engage in a lot of discussion. Remember the Miranda warning usually given by the police: “you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and may be used against you…” Same thing applies here. Reserve your comments and statements to the police and your insurance company.


image credit: Chris Short via Flickr
image credit: Chris Short via Flickr

Call your insurance company.

Right after the accident, call your insurance company and let them know what happened. This will put your side of the story on their file before the other driver calls them.

If the other driver was at fault, you also have the option to call their insurance company (assuming that you got that information from them). But it would be better to let your company file the claim. The two insurance companies will then engage in the process of trying to pay as little money as possible. This process could be time consuming, it’s better to let the two insurance companies fight it out.

When you call your insurance company, give them the information you have collected and tell them the details of the accident. Let the agent be aware that you have a police report and that you took a lot of photos.

An insurance claims adjuster will then visit you to look at the car and provide an estimate of the damage sustained. The other driver’s company may also do the same. The two companies will then negotiate to come to an agreement of the amount you’ll get.

After the insurance companies sort it out, you will be told to take your car to a particular shop for repairs. While it is being repaired, the insurance company will most likely provide you a rental car, and hopefully, soon enough, your car and your life will be back to normal.


Younger Drivers More Open to Self-Driving Cars

Younger Drivers More Open to Self-Driving Cars

Artificial Intelligence is all the rage these days–especially because a lot of tasks are now being automated. Google has recently launched its self-driving cars, and other companies have followed suit.

Self-driving car technology will keep improving, that’s for sure.

But will consumers and drivers actually buy these self-driving cars when they arrive? Would drivers still be called ‘drivers’ when all you’d do is sit and let your car take you to your destination?

image credit: Ed and Eddie
image credit: Ed and Eddie

A recent study, conducted by JD Power, found that trust in self-driving cars is very much dependent on age–young people are more open to self-driving cars:

More than half of Gen Y (56%) and Gen Z (55%) vehicle owners say they trust self-driving technology, compared with 41% of Gen X, 23% of Baby Boomers and 18% of Pre-Boomers. Further, only 27% of Gen X, 18% of Gen Y and 11% of Gen Z  consumers say they “definitely would not” trust the technology, while 39% of Baby Boomers and 40% of Pre-Boomers say the same.
Gen Y and Gen Z vehicle owners are twice as likely as Gen X and five times as likely as Boomers and Pre-Boomers to show interest in certain alternative mobility types, such as mobility sharing/co-ownership, journey-based ownership and mobility on demand. Furthermore, the study finds that 59% of Gen Y vehicle owners say they are “definitely” or “probably” interested in fully automated vehicles and 32% of them would pay $3,000 or more for the technology. Among the four alternative mobility types, interest levels are highest among all generations for unmanned mobility.

This isn’t really surprising since most new technologies are embraced by young people while a lot of older folks tend to adapt to new technologies once it has become mainstream.

There are several questions worth raising, though.

One is the cost and availability of getting these self-driving cars. In the future, would these be expensive or affordable? Young people from a lot of cities also tend to be comfortable not owning a car, as long as they can move around through a good public transportation system, or by using apps like Uber and Lyft.

When these cars go mainstream, would there be a business model like Uber and Lyft, which will enable people to ride these kinds of cars without really owning them?

Secondly, how will manufacturers address issues of hacking, privacy, and inter-connectivity? As cars become connected to the Internet, reports of hacking are also on the rise. If a car is connected to your mobile phone and online accounts and it gets hacked, then it’s not just your identity that’s at risk but your physical safety, as well.

If you’re wondering how it feels like to ride a self-driving car, check out the video below:

When self-driving cars start rolling into the market, will you ride one?