Whether you and your family are driving to the zoo, the lake, or visiting relatives, you are part of the American tradition of the road trip. Part of the appeal of a road trip is all the fun along the way. So, to make sure you’re prepared for your spontaneous adventures check out these tips:
1. Take your vehicle in for maintenance
Oil changes, tire rotations and brake pad replacements are all great ideas before your big trip. Tell the mechanic about your road trip plans and approximately how many miles you plan to travel in your vehicle. They may be able to spot potential issues before you leave to avoid a problem on the road.
2. Review your auto insurance policy
It’s a good idea to review what your auto insurance covers before you hit the road. Things like road trouble service and rental car coverage may be important to know if they are included on your policy.
3. Check the weather at home and your destination
In the days before your trip, you’ll probably watch the weather forecast for your destination and route. However, it’s also a good idea to check the upcoming weather for your home.
The last thing you want is to come home and find that a tree has fallen on your house, or that your basement has flooded. See what the forecast says and ask a neighbor to check on your house once a day, especially if there’s bad weather. Be sure you leave them a reliable contact number.
4. Renting a vehicle? Make sure it's covered
If you decide to rent a vehicle for your road trip, contact your local insurance agent to learn about rental car coverages. Most rental companies will ask if you want to purchase insurance for your rental car. But, you may not need it. Your independent agent can check your existing auto policy for any coverages that may apply and can discuss coverages you may be able to add. One coverage to ask about is rental gap coverage.
Unless you've read the fine print on the rental contract you probably haven't heard of this coverage. Your local insurance agent will know and can help you feel confident signing your rental agreement.
Rental Gap Coverage: Let’s say you crash your rental car and it’s worth $20,000, but the rental company decides to sell it for $10,000 instead of fixing it. Without rental gap coverage, you are responsible for the difference.
5. Arrange roadside help before you go
Roadside trouble service can be a vacation saver and you don't have to be a member of an auto association to get it.
If you have any questions whatsoever, call Theodore & Associates today and we'll get you road trip ready!
If you’re like most people, you start up the car every morning and get ready to fight traffic on your way to work. But wouldn’t it be nice to read a book on your commute instead? Or check your email? Even send a few texts?
Today, that’s not possible for drivers. (Actually, it is possible, but it’s dangerous. And way too many people do those things and worse behind the wheel).
Tomorrow, however, self-driving cars might give us all the ability to do those things safely. And two amazing concept cars at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas provided a glimpse of an exciting future.
Each January, thousands of people from across the world attend CES to see the latest innovations in technology. Sam Affolter, senior director of research and innovation at Safeco, was there this year — and he’s intrigued by where the auto industry is headed.
“One of the coolest displays at CES was Toyota’s Concept-i car,” Affolter said. “It has a digital assistant called ‘Yui,’ an artificial-intelligence personality that customizes itself based on the different people in the car.”
With inward-facing cameras, Yui (pronounced “U-E”) identifies who’s in the car and where they’re sitting, and will recommend switching to autonomous mode when its facial-recognition technology senses the driver is distracted or sleepy.
It also learns your habits and preferences, Affolter said. “I prefer to be moving rather than stuck in traffic — and Yui will pick up on that and recommend routes that may be longer but with less congestion.”
Honda also made a big splash at CES with its NeuV, which stands for “New Electric Urban Vehicle.” Private vehicles are not in use 95% of the time, and Honda says the NeuV (pronounced “New-V”) could make good use of that extra capacity. It can function as an automated ride-sharing vehicle, picking up and dropping off customers at local destinations when the owner is not using the car. And when it’s idle, the NeuV even can sell energy back to the electric grid.
“It’s important to note that neither of these cars is rolling off the assembly line,” Affolter said. “They’re just examples of the possibilities.”
That may be a good thing, because it’s going to take time for people to get used to the idea of giving up control.
Both Yui and NeuV help break this barrier by acclimating drivers to the AI system in ways that can build trust, according to Affolter. Providing accurate, helpful information and recommendations over time increases the chances you’ll say “OK” when Yui or NeuV offer to take the wheel when you look tired or appear distracted.
“These innovations are paving the way to a more driverless future,” Affolter said. “It’s going to be really interesting to see where it leads us.”
Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.
You’ve heard all the talk about driverless cars — but unfortunately, we’re still years away from living in a world where you just tell your car where to go, kick back and relax with a book (or, more likely, your phone).
But even though our driverless future has yet to arrive, and you still have to pay attention when you’re behind the wheel, technology actually plays a big role on the road already. And nowhere is that more apparent than the new safety features that make today’s cars safer than ever.
Those features might be even more important now, because drivers aren’t necessarily better these days. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2015 ended a five-decade trend of declining traffic fatalities — the 7.2% increase in deaths from 2014 was the largest jump since 1966.
Of course, we all know the basics of being a good driver: be alert, don’t speed, avoid distractions, remain mindful of the conditions, etc. While newer safety features aren’t a substitute for any of those things, they can be an excellent supplement to good driving habits.
So when you’re shopping for a new (or new-to-you) car, look for vehicles that have the following options recommended by the NHTSA. They might even help you save on your insurance!
Forward collision warning: These sensors in the front of the vehicle will warn you of an impending collision, giving you a chance to brake or steer clear.
Automatic emergency braking: Working with forward collision warning sensors, this will automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision.
Lane-departure warning: This uses cameras to keep track of your car’s position on the roadway; if you begin to drift from your lane unintentionally, an alarm notifies you.
Backup camera: These cameras, which are becoming standard equipment in more vehicles, automatically activate when the car shifts into reverse, giving you a view behind the car.
Electronic stability control: This is now standard on models 2012 and later, but if you’re purchasing a used car, consider one that offers this feature. It helps you keep control in slippery conditions and on curves — according to the NHTSA, it reduces the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash by about 50% and the risk of a fatal rollover by 80%.
Other features that may be available, depending on the make and model of car you choose:
Finally, don’t forget things that have little to do with technology, but still have a big impact on safety — such as the car’s size and weight, structure and restraint systems, and its NHTSA safety rating. To look up the cars you’re considering, visit Safercar Safety Ratings.
Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.