Tag Archives: Car Tips

Back To School Driving Tips

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 are 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

For more information visit thanksal.com

Follow us on our social media for additional tips @thanksal Instagram and Facebook 

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.

Smart Home Technology

Can Having Smart Home Features Save You on Your Home Insurance? Does a smart home sound crazy? What if incorporating smart home technology systems in your home could help you save on your home insurance premiums? The capabilities have been around for quite some time, but they are more affordable than ever. You don’t have to be a tech wiz to get started integrating technology into your home.

Here are a few advances that can get you started in the smart home realm:

  1. Installing smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors– if you can imagine being away from your home and getting notified directly on your phone that there is a fire in your home! First responders are notified immediately and hopefully are able to manage the fire before there is massive damage.
  2. Smart alarm systems offer you the option to see what is going on in and around your home directly from your phone. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth security cameras offer you the ability to detect a burglary or misconduct without being at home. Police are notified immediately and help minimize loss.
  3. Water monitors are being installed all across new home homes. Water detectors notify you if there is a leak and give you the option to turn off your water from a push of a button. Getting notified early can limit the amount of damage your home receives.

Other smart home systems just make for a seamless everyday life.

  • Climate control thermostats such as Nest, automatically adjust the temperature of your home in real time, saving you money and energy!
  • Smart locks are a seamless addition to your home. Forget to lock the door on the way out? Or need to let someone in? The smart doorbell has a camera that shows you who is at your door and gives you the ability to unlock and lock your door right from the palm of your hand.
  • Lighting control gives you the ability to turn on and off lights and appliances all over your home. You no longer have to run all around the house before heading out making sure everything is off. I bet you can imagine home much money you can be saving on your electricity.

However, transitioning to a complete smart home can be costly and can make you vulnerable to hackers. Install a strong password and ensure you have a secure connection. Implement a few at a time and incorporate Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home to give you seamless implantation.

Simple smart devices that warn of impending danger or destruction offer more comprehensive coverage and greater peace of mind. These installations minimize damage and risk, detecting issues immediately, making homes run more efficiently and ultimately lowering the number of claims that are made. Find out what kind of savings your Al Boenker Insurance agent can help you save, 1-800-thanksal.com or www.thanksal.com

5 Tips for Driving on Ice & Snow

Everyone knows that severe winter weather in Texas is fairly uncommon. Whenever the temperature drops below freezing and snow proceeds to fall, people tend to lose their minds. Just half an inch of snow will shut down schools and businesses for the day! With snow and ice in the upcoming forecast, we wanted to provide some helpful information on how to deal with driving in these nasty conditions. Here are five tips for driving in the ice and snow!

Always Be Prepared -Icy roads increase the risk of breakdowns and accidents. Due to this, it’s important to have supplies on deck in case you’re stuck out in the cold for a long period of time. An emergency kit during the winter should include: a flashlight, blankets, snacks, water, flares, ice scraper, shovel and a phone charger.

Navigating Hills – When approaching a hill or an inclined slope, make sure that you accelerating and gain momentum to carry you up. Try not to use the gas pedal as you climb the hill because it can cause your wheels to spin out in some instances. Once you’ve reached the top, lower your speed and descend the hill at a reduced pace.

Brake & Gas Pedals – Be sure to accelerate and decelerate at a slower rate than normal. This will allow your tires to gain traction easier which will prevent you from skidding. It also takes longer to slow down on icy roads, so ease on your brakes and take your time to stop when approaching a light or stop sign.

Turns & Skids – One of the main things you need to be on the lookout for is black ice, which is a thin coat of clear ice that appears glossy on certain parts of the road. If you ever find yourself skidding due to this hazard, be sure to steer your car in the direction you want to go and avoid hitting the brakes. Also, whenever you’re turning, make sure that you reduce your speed to avoid losing control on any icy surfaces.

Winterize Your Car – Make a note to replenish your car’s fluids and inspect it to see that the wiper blades, tire pressure, and battery are all functioning proficiently. You can also look into getting snow tires or placing chains around your existing tires to make navigating those icy roads a little easier!

With the New Year here, now is a great time to make sure that all of your insurance needs are up-to-date. Give us a call at 1-800-Thanks Al to have an agent review your policy to confirm that your auto insurance has the right amount of coverage for your family and your needs. We can also ensure that you are getting the best rate for your policy. You might even qualify for additional discounts, especially if you have your home insured through us!

5 Safety Tips for Driving at Night

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We’re a little over a month into the end of day light savings and it’s fair to say that most people are still trying to adjust to the time change. No matter how well or how safe you think you can drive, driving at nighttime always poses many challenges. Because of this, it’s a good idea to keep some safety tips in mind to make sure that you avoid any mistakes that can lead to an accident. Here are 5 tips for safely driving at night!

Stay Awake – This may be a very obvious tip, but you’d be surprised at how many people think they’re good to drive and then end up falling asleep at the wheel. Sitting still in dark environments naturally makes us sleepy, so it’s important to keep your mind moving to prevent dozing off. You can do this by chewing gum or ice, opening your windows or singing along to a great track on the radio.

Make Good Use of Headlights – This is another obvious, but vital point that ensures your safety while driving at night. Do whatever is necessary to make sure your headlights are operating efficiently. Replace your bulbs, clean them and test their levels so that you can see the road in front of you as well as all of the other drivers around you.

Keep Your Distance – Try to avoid tailgating the car in front of you as much as possible while driving at night. Depending on how close you are, your headlights could serve as a distraction to the driver in front of you and may blind their mirrors. Also, your visibility is lessened during the nighttime even with headlights, so it’s better to regulate your speed and drive defensively, so you’re ready for a quick reaction.

Stay Alert – Distractions pose a serious threat to your safety during the day and it’s only intensified at night. Make sure that you stay off your cell phone and give the road and other drivers your full undivided attention. With your visibility impaired, your chance of having an accident with your eyes off of the road is increased substantially at night.

Check and Use Signals – Signal and break lights are a key component to notify other drivers of your actions at night. Without them, they won’t know when you’re stopping or turning in the pitch black of night. Inspect your lights to make sure that they’re all working properly so that you can avoid any incident down the line.

The holidays are a great time to make sure that all of your insurance needs are up-to-date. Give us a call at 1-800-Thanks Al to have an agent make sure that your auto insurance has the right amount of coverage for your family and your needs. We can also ensure that you are getting the best rate for your policy. You might even qualify for additional discounts, especially if you have your home insurance with us.

We hope that these tips find you well and keep you safe during the upcoming months!