Tag Archives: Car Safety

Myth or Fact: Do Car Accidents increase in the Holiday Season?

Jingles, lights, shops, pumpkin spice drinks… Holiday season always seems beautiful and peaceful but like almost everything, there is a dark side: craziness, a lot of people shopping Christmas gifts and so on. Statistics show a hard truth, the holiday season is risky for drivers. But instead of worrying, let’s focus on facts, prevention tips and saving time on driving.

When we look for car crash statistics, each time we found a recurring fact, there are specific months that continue to have such a large average of car accidents: November and December.

This table below represents the activity in 2017, as you can notice October, November, and December have the highest number of crashes.

Total Crashes
Month Number Crash rate
per 100 million
Jan.528,000 216.00
Feb.467,000 206.00
Mar.557,000 208.00
Apr.522,000 191.00
May.571,000 201.00
Jun.522,000 186.00
Jul.488,000 170.00
Aug.537,000 190.00
Sept.522,000 199.00
Oct.593,000 213.00
Nov.570,000 221.00
Dec.575,000 216.00

Source: RS 2017 ARF, CRSS 2017; Vehicle miles traveled (VMT), Federal Highway Administration, Traffic Volume Trends, December 2018 (monthly) and 2017 Highway Statistics (VM-1) (annual). *Crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report.

But if we look at data in 2018 from the Texas Department of Transportation October, November and January are the risky months in Texas.

Fatal Crashes and Fatalities by month in Texas

MonthFatal CrashesFatalities
Jan.296322
Feb.259280
Mar.279309
Apr.258286
May291319
Jun.277313
Jul.293319
Aug.256280
Sept.232264
Oct.298332
Nov.302328
Dec.262287
Total3,3033,639

Source: Texas Department of Transportation

What is the cause?

There are many reasons to explain the data above. In November, for example, deer-related accidents increase. Also, Black Friday has a starring role with people driving radical to rush and take advantage of sales but believe it or not, it isn’t the craziest days for shopping. The worse day seems to be December 23. So, keep your eyes open if you decide to hit the stores in a last-minute dash.

Most of all, alcohol is the number one cause of fatal crashes and fatalities. Thanksgiving and Christmas can become worse than a nightmare due to the face that drivers don’t take designated a sober driver.

Data from 2017 report the percentage of car accidents during the holiday season caused by alcohol

New Year 31%

Thanksgiving 35%

Christmas 38% 

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Driving under the influence has terrible consequences and unfortunately, victims aren’t the only ones who drink, innocent people are also impacted. Damaged vehicle, bodily injury, getting arrested or death could be the terrible end of this sad story and nobody wants starring it.

Take it heart by following these tips to be safe during the holidays season and fully enjoy it:

  • Designate a sober driver before, if you don’t have anyone, request an Uber or Lyft. There are a lot of ways to avoid driving in bad conditions. 
  • Always wear a seat belt, whether you’re riding or driving.  
  • Do not exceed the speed limits
  • If you see impaired drivers call 911 until you’re sure they’re safe. Be an indifferent person is not the best way to prevent car accidents. The sooner you act, the safer everyone is.
  • Be sure you have the right auto insurance policy. Collision Coverage is the best option to protect your car after an accident but also think about getting Personal Injury Protection Coverage, it pays yours and your passenger’s medical bills, lost wages and nonmedical costs. All auto policies in Texas included it.

What time of day do most road accidents happen?

Sadly, car accidents happen all the time but it’s a fact that there are specific times when car accidents peak.

The National Highway Traffic Safety reports that Friday noon to 3pm, 3pm-6pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm is the risky time for drivers. This can be related to hours after work and people excited to be at home or have fun. Drive safely! Better to arrive late than never. 

Risky Hours to Drive at Christmas

Noon to 3 pm

3 pm to 6 pm

6 pm to 9 pm

Remember, be aware and cautious are the best way to enjoy the Holiday Season. Now, you know more about the topic, let’s spread the info, it could help more than you know. Also, do your part, take prevention, think safe and enjoy the holiday season with responsibility.

Back To School Driving Tips 101

School is back in session! The summer is over, and we are heading straight into a new school year. Back to school means there are more drivers on the road than usual during your morning commute. Most will purposely take alternate routes during the school year to avoid the additional slow down time. However, if you are dropping off a kiddo, there isn’t any other choice.

Here is our Back to School Driving tips from TXDOT.GOV to help make the commute a little easier and avoid fines.

Tips for Driving in School Zones

  • Put away your cell phone. Cell phone use is banned in active school zones, and violators face fines of up to $200 in school zones where signs are posted.

Take this tip very seriously. Don’t be the parent that completely forgot you entered a school zone and up getting a ticket for being on the phone. Check your city requirements- as some city ordinances have banned cell phone use while driving altogether.  

  • Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines usually double in school zones.

Even when you think there aren’t any police officers around, they’re there!  

  • Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.

This is a hard one to follow, especially at the beginning of the school year. The pickup and drop-off line will get better. It always starts out rocky, but the process does get smoother. Avoid parking down the road and encouraging your schooler to meet you elsewhere. Your tax dollars pay for the cross guard and the necessary crosswalk to ensure your child’s safety, utilize it.

  • Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.

We all know how dreadful it is to be stuck behind a school bus as they make each stop, but remember it is unlawful to pass a school bus when they have their flashing lights on.

  • Be alert for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.

Be cautious of that Wilding!

Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School

  • Always cross at intersections and designated crosswalks. Look left, right and then left again before proceeding.
  • Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Always obey crossing guards.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

Remember these safety tips as you approach a school zone. Don’t end up in a situation that could cost you hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly injure someone. School is just beginning, and we wish everyone a great and safe year!

Your Local Independent Agent,

Al Boenker Insurance

 

Recreational Vehicle Insurance 101

School is out, and vacation and travel are on everyone’s summer list. RV’s, boats and watercraft just give you all the summer feels. Loaded down and in route to a favorite destination where your family is going to make memories is one of great gratitude! However, with all good things, we must prepare for the not so pleasant. Knowing the amount and type of coverage you have in case of an accident can give some peace of mind.

So what kinds of insurance coverages do you need? Here is quick break down on coverages for the different type of vehicles.

BoatThere are widely different coverages for different styles of vehicles. The most standard coverages you are going to seek is for:

  • Physical damage (motor, vessel, anchors, and onboard equipment)
  • Liability (in case your boat injurers someone else or their property)
  • Additional coverages can be offered for storage, fishing equipment, and personal items stored on board.

Motor Home/RVYour motorhome or RV is more than just a vehicle and needs more than just standard auto insurance. Motorhome coverages include:

  • Comprehensive and collision- this protects from direct damage, accidental loss, collision, fire, smoke, flood, wind, theft, fallen debris, and lightning.
  • Coverage for attachments such as awnings and antennas.
  • Additional coverages including, towing, total loss replacement, emergency lodging in case your rig is being repaired to campsite liability.

5th Wheel- Your auto policy doesn’t cover your haul like you may think. Here are some standard coverages your 5th wheel will need.

  • Comprehensive and collision- this protects from direct damage, accidental loss, collision, fire, smoke, flood, wind, theft, fallen debris, and lightning.
  • Coverage for attachments such as awnings and antennas.
  • Additional coverages including, towing, total loss replacement, emergency lodging in case your rig is being repaired to campsite liability.

5th wheels have similar coverage to your motorhome or RV but due to its attachment style, there can be different needs.

Personal Watercraft- PWC insurance helps ensure you and your personal watercraft against accidents, vandalism, and liability. Typical coverages include

  • Collison, theft, fire, vandalism, water damage, and storm damage. Your standard coverage is meant to ensure risk to the PWC and owner.
  • Expanded coverages include medical bills, full replacement cost, towing and roadside assistance.

Off-Road Vehicles– ATV’s are a guaranteed fun time! However, protecting yourself cannot be guaranteed. Off-road vehicles are considered to be a little more dangerous and in return protect against accidents, injury, and theft. Here are the standard coverages offered to ATV’s

  • Liability Coverage- covers the cost of bodily injury and property damage.
  • Collision- will assist in paying for damages to the machine after an accident
  • Comprehensive and under/uninsured motorist are additional coverages that can cover you from theft, vandalism and weather damage.

As you can see, there are several different coverages and possibilities that you might need. Each recreational vehicle has different parameters and restrictions. The best choice to determine the right amount of coverage is to speak with your Al Boenker Insurance agent. Their expertise and knowledge will help you determine the value of your rec vehicle and its content and help make you make the best-informed decision. Being informed is empowering! Now take your knowledge and have a safe and fun summer!

 

5 Summer Weekend Getaways

Say, “Hello” all across Texas this summer. A nice weekend exploring one or all of these destinations will have your family eager to pack up the car and hit the road!

Garner State Park, Concan
Garner State Park is a must! The cool temps of the Frio River will keep you cooled off all day. There are several activities to do including hiking, camping, tube floating, kayaking and paddle boarding. Get this trip on the calendar soon as campsite and cabins begin to fill up for the remaining summer months. To make reservations and check out the complete list of activities, click here.

Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs
Take a dive into the 12-foot-wide cove at Hamilton Pool Reserve in Dripping Springs. Reservations are required as they only allow a limited number in from 9-12pm and 1-5pm.
Call ahead or visit them online to reserve your time spot. The oasis has public bathrooms and hiking trails. However, there is not any food or drink stops, so pack a light bag of snacks and water. Hamilton Pool only excepts cash when paying on site. This refreshing hole is the perfect getaway right outside of Austin city limits. Will your gang make that jump?

Houston Museum District, Houston
The Child’s Museum of Houston, voted “America’s No. 1 Children’s Museum”, by Parents Magazine, is the ultimate kids getaway. With 19 museums in the area, your gang will have a ton to do! Stop by the Houston Zoo and wander onto Waugh Street Bridge to watch the bats emerge at nightfall! Get all the details here.

BSR Cable Park, Waco
Want an adult weekend getaway? Barefoot Ski Ranch is the new hot spot this summer! The Cable Park just opened Summer 2018 and is home to America’s longest lazy river at nearly one-mile long. Take a plunge on the Royal Flush slides or enjoy the surf wave cable park. If your kids are dare-devils and can hang, bring ’em along for the fun at the adventure park. Want to slow down a little? Spend Sunday afternoon at Magnolia Markets, wondering through the Silos and shops. Regardless of your preference, Waco has grown into a popular weekend destination spot for all.

Krause Springs, Spicewood
Krause Springs is privately owned by the Krause family and was founded in 1955. The well-known camping and swimming site is located in the hill country about 30 miles west of Austin. Reserve a camp spot for a weekend stay and visit the 32 springs on the property. Did I mention there are a beautiful waterfall, grotto, and natural pools? Explore the butterfly garden, hike through trails or take a dip in the manmade pool that is fed by the springs. This weekend getaway will be one for the books! Book a camping site here.

Where ever your family goes this summer, remember to give your car a quick checkup (check tire pressure, oil level, and coolant levels) to ensure your safety. Go with confidence with auto, RV, boat or ATV insurance today! Contact your Al Boenker Insurance at 1-800-thanksal or online at thanksal.com.

5 Tips to Help Keep Your Teen Safe On the Road

Getting a license is one of life’s major milestones. There’s no doubt that FINALLY being able to drive on your own is something every teen cannot wait to do. But how sure are you that your young driver is ready to take on the road all on their own? We look for the best car seat, the best daycare, but when your kids are ready to learn to drive, parents should help them the best drivers they can be. Safe driving is really about judgment. At the start of their driving career risk management and decision making while driving has not developed yet. Your teens biggest threat is their inexperience.

Did you know that the #1 threat to your teen’s safety is driving or riding in a car with another teen driver? (cdc.gov).

Here are 5 tips to help keep your teen safe on the road:

  1. Utilize the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program– this gives a driver the opportunity to improve their driving skills over time. Phase One is the learners permit. Which must be held for 6 months prior to obtaining a provisional license. Phase Two is the provisional license. Drivers education and time behind the wheel are required prior to taking the driver’s test. Once these are completed a driver can graduate with a provisional license. At this stage, drivers are allowed one passenger under 21 who is not a family member in the vehicle and must be off the road between midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless certain circumstances. Individuals under 18 are restricted from using a cell phone including hands-free devices until they reach 18. The graduate program is required by law for drivers under the age of 18. To get all the details on the program click here.
  2. Let Your Teen Drive– the best thing you can do for your teen is let them drive! Young drivers need to gain confidence behind the wheel. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss different driving scenarios and to pass on your driving knowledge. Practice driving in different weather conditions in large parking lots to get a feel for driving in rain or snow. Parents play a key role. When asked whose opinion they listen to, teens mostly said their parents. The biggest challenges are inexperience and distractions.
  3. Set Rules and Expectations– from the get-go your teen needs to know that you want them to the safest driver they can be. Sit down together and set some ground rules and expectations. For example, no cell phone use while driving, no food in the car, no passengers for a certain period of time, setting a driving curfew, always wear a seatbelt, no reckless driving, and no impaired driving. Being involved in their driving development holds your child accountable. When they show progress, good skill and driving maturity certain privileges can be added over time.
  4. Set Up Consequences– Your teen needs to understand that driving is a privilege. Go over the rules and expectations together. Write them down and set up consequences. Your teen will respect the rules and expectations when they know they are being monitored and there are consequences. As parents, it’s important to show your teen you care about their safety. Lose of driving privileges is a big one. Come home after curfew and you lose the right to drive. Whatever the consequences are, stick to them.
  5. Be an example, set up an agreement and be open– the best thing we can do for our new drivers is be the best example. Kids learn from their parents. Set up an agreement with the expectations and consequences. Refer and adjust it when necessary. Kids understand that there is a major risk when driving a vehicle. The challenge is when they are at the moment they may make the wrong decision. Be open and transparent with them, ask them their fears. Help them practice their driving even after graduating periodically. Copy of an agreement can be found here.

Parents play a key role in their child’s driving progress. Overall, showing you care, offering them guidance, listening to their concerns, setting expectations and being authoritative can be the difference in life and death. Progressively give them privileges as they show they can handle the responsibilities. Your teen will feel more confident behind the wheel and in return be a safe driver. For more details on how to be the key in your teens driving visit https://www.cdc.gov/parentsarethekey/

Visit us online at thanksal.com or gives us a call at 1-800-thanksal to see what kind of safe teen driver discounts we offer.