Tag Archives: Driving 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 

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.


5 Driving Habits to Avoid

Everyone develops their own style of driving, which breeds both good and bad habits. Although most people are responsible and safe behind the wheel, there are pesky little tendencies we all have that can cause damage to your car. If you break these bad habits and change the way you drive, it can minimize the risk of having to deal with costly auto repairs. Check out these 5 Bad Driving Habits to Avoid!

Slamming on Brakes – Try to avoid tailgating cars and keep your eyes on the road for any quick stops. By slamming on your brakes, you’re wearing down on your brake pad, rotors and tire tread. Also, when going down a hill, avoid riding the brakes altogether if possible. Instead, shift into a lower gear that will slow your car down without having to use the brake pedal.

Fuel Levels – A lot of people tend to avoid filling up their tank until the very last minute. Running on empty is a bad habit that can result in damage to your fuel pump because it relies on high fuel levels to keep cool. If the fuel levels are low, your fuel pump can heat up and get overworked. To break this habit, try to fill up whenever you have a quarter left in the tank.

Flooring It – Let’s admit it, we’ve all punched the gas on our car at some point imagining ourselves as Batman or Jeff Gordon. However, gunning your car from 0 to 60 can take a toll on your engine as well as your tires. Not to mention it can be dangerous if you suddenly need to stop or if you somehow lose control. Avoid this bad habit by driving the speed limit and being

Rapidly Shifting Gears -Be cautious and make sure you’re at a full stop when putting your car in park, reverse or drive. If you violently change gears it can damage your vehicle’s transmission. This also applies to resting your hand on the shifter when you drive. The added weight and stress on the shift handle can have the same effect, so make sure you keep both hands on the steering wheel while you’re driving.

Hauling Too Much Weight – Take every chance you can to clean out any unnecessary clutter out of your car. All of this extra weight can impair your fuel economy and add stress to your brakes, suspension and transmission. In order to save money in this regard, keep only the essentials stowed away in your vehicle, such as a safety kit, tire changing tools, ect.

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 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 Winter Driving Tips


Goodbye fall, hello winter!

As we usher in this magical new season, there are many things to be excited about. Christmas is quickly approaching, the weather is getting cooler, and we’re approaching a new year. However, with all of the great things the winter season gives us, there are also some things we must be aware of and adjust to. Road conditions will drastically alter during this time and it’s important to make sure you understand how to adapt to these new changes. Here are the top 5 driving safety tips for winter!

Slow It Down- Usually speed limits are meant for dry pavement, so they don’t really apply when the roads are wet and scattered with ice and snow. Instead, drive 5-10 miles below the appointed limit to ensure that you don’t spin out of control or skid due to high speeds upon braking. This should also apply to turning, merging and taking exits on highways.

Ice Hazards – Although snow and ice can look beautiful during this time, they can also prove to be very dangerous. They can hide traffic lines, potholes, and other road hazards, so make sure that the road has your undivided attention. Also, be aware of your break pressure because stopping on ice can be extremely dangerous. Always drive with caution through these icy patches.

Road Awareness – Snow plows and salt trucks can sometimes be inconsistent with their road care, so it’s important to be alert at all times. Because of their unique air exposure, bridge surfaces usually freeze worse than normal roads. Also, some exit ramps occasionally receive less anti-icing material than the main highway, so make sure you slow down when exiting the main road.

Heavy Precipitation – Rain, snow, and frost are pretty prevalent weather conditions in the winter, so be on alert for these impending changes. Once the temperature drops, make sure that you’re on high alert for morning frost and icy spots on the road. Also, if you wake up to a foggy morning, make sure that you stick with your low beams and avoid using high beams. This will cause a disturbance in visibility by bouncing off of the fog and creating glare.

Traffic Adjustments – If there is heavy traffic, make sure that you look further ahead and keep a greater distance between cars than you’d normally do. This will give you extra time to react safely to kneejerk decisions by other cars and trucks on the road. Also, trucks take longer to respond to any action because of their large size, so drive with caution around them in these harsh conditions.

With the change of seasons, it’s also 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!