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Category: Technology and Efficiency

a hand holds a phone with text messages pulled up in front of a steering wheel

If you have a teen driver, you’re probably worried about your teen and their newfound freedom. Teen drivers are inexperienced, and therefore less likely to know how to avoid accidents. Only practice will fortify their driving skills, but in the meantime, you can help reduce their risk of an accident by giving them hands-free tools for the road.

Drivers under 20 are at the highest risk of distracted driving accidents, largely thanks to phones. Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident. In 2018, 4,637 people died due to driver cell phone use.

Luckily, there are quite a few hands-free tools to help your teen driver keep their attention on the road.

1. Bluetooth audio for hands-free calls

bluetooth adapter options on Amazon
These are a few top-rated Bluetooth receiver options from Amazon.com

If your teen’s vehicle is not already connected for Bluetooth, there are affordable adapter options for older vehicles. Bluetooth allows for hands-free calling, audio control, and voice-to-text.

For cars that are already connected with Bluetooth, make sure your teen knows how to pair their devices to use these capabilities. Newer cars also have the option of controlling volume and audio tracks from buttons on their steering wheel – so their hands don’t have to leave the steering wheel.

Though we still recommend that teens keep this usage to a minimum, it offers a safer way to communicate than grabbing for their phone.

2. Earn points with a driving app

Safe 2 Save is a Texas-based app that rewards you at local businesses for safe driving. For every minute you drive hands-free, you earn 2 points. That adds up to some great rewards at your favorite places.

Some insurance companies, like State Farm, also have their own app for safe drivers, often providing discounts on insurance for safe drivers.

3. Simplify basic apps for driving

Visual of the Drive Mode app that has big buttons with simple functions like calling and playing audio
Apps like Drivemode can simplify the most commonly used phone features for easy access and less time with your eyes off the road.

Drivemode is another helpful app that can greatly reduce distraction. The app controls your messages, music, apps, and navigation, and simplifies them. This allows for a few simple, easy-to-see controls, as well as voice commands.

4. Easy-to-use dash mount

A small mount on the dash hold a smartphone
Use a magnetic phone mount to keep your teen’s phone near their line of vision instead of them looking away from the road to check it.

One of our biggest recommendations is that if you are going to use your phone at all while you drive, have it somewhere stable near your line of vision. These handy magnet mounts make setup effortless and come with more than one magnet for another device (like a GPS).

The magnets are slim and fit into your phone case, and are also strong enough to hold your phone securely through the case.

5. An organizer for essentials

When your teen is driving, make sure they know to keep things they need accessible. If they will be going through a drive-thru, they’ll probably need their wallet, or a place to drop spare change. Using a front-seat organizer can help keep them from reaching around the car unnecessarily.

Again, while this should be kept to a minimum, it’s likely your teen will want to grab something they use frequently. It could be a water bottle, lip balm, a snack bar – keeping these sort of items in a convenient space, within reach, could save your teen from spending unnecessary time looking away from the road.

For more teen driving safety tips, follow Fogle Collision on Facebook.

distracted driving car accidentScreens in cars located between the driver and passenger, often referred to as vehicle infotainment systems, are becoming a common feature on most cars. Like many other technology, including cell phones, these are adding to driver distractions and accidents.

The AAA Foundation conducted a study recently that showed while the technology is convenient in some ways, it results in some startling statistics related to distractions while driving.

New law in the Lone Star State

The most commonly talked about distraction while driving is using a cell phone. That’s why legislation was created to address this issue. As of September 2017 in Texas, it is against the law to text message on your phone while driving. This law refers to wireless communication devices but does not address the in-car systems.

Drivers should be focused on the road while operating a vehicle. Law enforcement can also pull over drivers who are reckless or distracted in general.

Greater chance of a collision

AAA studies found if a driver stops focusing on the road for just two seconds, they double the chance of having a wreck.

The most recent study found that when drivers use the in-car technology systems, on average, they had more than 40 seconds of mental and/or visual distraction. About 40 percent of drivers nationwide use these systems. The study compared drivers using 30 different types of systems, including those that allowed web surfing and checking social media sites.

Fogle Collision Centers has been part of the Houston area for many years. We work and live here, and we care about our community. No one wants to experience an accident caused by distracted driving. It is our hope that all drivers in our area drive safe and focus on the road at all times.

a pair of hands cups a bit of soil with a sprout growing from it.
Eco-friendly paints aren’t just better for the environment, they’re better for your car.

Quality has always been a top consideration for collision repair shops when purchasing paint. But shops must also think about safety to the environment.

Choosing body shop locations that will provide the quality you expect and be friendly to the environment takes research. When you inquire with body shops you are considering, ask if they use water-based paints.

Using waterborne paint

Waterborne paints have benefits beyond being safer to the environment than lacquer-based paints used in the past. Waterborne paint has heavier viscosity and applies three coats of coverage in nearly half a mil thickness. This means less clear coat is needed to even out the surface.

Only paint technicians trained to use waterborne paint should perform the paint job to a vehicle for a quality result. Imperfections will appear easier and the paint is sensitive to humid conditions. Different blends are available in more humid climates. If a technician is not used to working with water-based paints, the paint can have a different hue when it dries.

The difference of waterborne paint

Some body shops still use solvent-based paints. This type of paint has higher levels of organic solvents, and when it dries it releases Volatile Organic Compounds into the air. VOCs are toxic to humans and the environment.

Water-based paints have improved over the years and are quickly replacing the use of solvent-based paint. Waterborne paints feature acrylic emulsions that offer a faster drying time, similar to solvent paints. It also has less odor and greater durability.

Our team at Fogle Collision Centers is trained to provide an exceptional quality paint job to your vehicle using waterborne paints. Give us a call today for a free estimate and we’ll give your car a fresh look that is safer to the environment.

The camera looks at a driver and passenger from the backseat. They appear to be driving on an open highway and the driver is using his cell phone.
Find out how Texas’ new texting-while-driving law affects you.

Texas’ new texting and driving law is cracking down on distracted drivers. It is now illegal to write, send, or read on your phone while driving. In 2016, distracted driving accidents killed more than 450 Texans, and the number of accidents increased by three percent.

Understanding the new law is not only important to avoid a fine and ticket, but also for safety.

Steps to quit texting and driving

If you are a driver who feels the need to immediately respond to a text or social media message, it is time to get in the habit of not using your phone while driving. The easiest way to avoid the temptation is to commit yourself to safe driving and place your cell out of reach. Try putting your phone on silent in the glove compartment, or in the backseat.

Some phones and/or applications allow voice-to-text features that will allow you to respond to messages without touching your phone. If you have a long commute or feel an urgent need to respond to messages, you might consider an application that will both read your new messages and allow you to respond via voice command.

Bluetooth connectivity also allows for in-car phone calls. Though Houston does not require hands-free calls, it may be easier to call than it is to respond via text. It is also safer than holding the phone and taking one hand off the wheel during your call.

Know the law

With the new law, drivers can still make and receive phone calls, however, if you are making a call while driving it must be hands-free. Use a voice activated feature on your phone to dial the number for you.

Unlike many states, the law does not prevent you from texting or reading while stopped at a red light. Once the car is in motion you must put the cell phone down.

If an officer sees a driver looking down or the car not maintaining a lane, they can pull the car over to determine if the driver was texting.

We know accidents can happen, but texting and driving accidents can be prevented.

If you are in an accident, our team at Fogle Collision are here to help make the repair process efficient. We’ll get you an estimate so you can get your vehicle repaired and get back on the road.

a technician looks under a raised vehicle, near the front right tire
Know whether a vehicle has flood damage before you buy.

Hurricane Harvey left behind a widespread path of damage in the Greater Houston area. Thousands of Houstonians lost everything they owned, including their cars. When it comes time to replace those vehicles, car owners need to do their homework to make sure their next automobile isn’t one that has flood damage. It’s important to check that the car wasn’t flooded and repaired just enough to pass inspection so it can be sold.

If this happens to a vehicle, there is no guarantee the quick repairs were made correctly. Most newer vehicles are entirely computerized. If a car was immersed in water for a period of time, the damage may be far more extensive than what is immediately noticeable.

Know the history of the vehicle

The car’s history may possibly tell you if the car was flooded. Vehicles that are totaled after a flood are issued flood or salvage titles. If the car was repaired to pass inspection and sell, it may have a rebuilt title. But the title may not give you the complete details you need to be confident of a used car purchase.

It is a good idea to have a used car inspected by a certified auto technician to determine the complete extent of vehicle damage.

Get a pre-owned car inspected

Unlike most damage, flood damage is not always visible. Mechanical components and the electrical system should be looked at by a highly skilled technician. Just because parts turn on or appear to operate, they may actually have damage. The undercarriage and engine need to be inspected as well to guarantee that it is properly working.

Fogle Collision are the experts you can trust to make sure you are getting a reliable vehicle.

A grey electric charger is plugged into a black car.
Electric vehicles have some amazing benefits. Collision repair may not be one of them.

To most, it may seem as that car collision repairs are universal, but not all cars are created equal. That is why many auto technicians go through regular training and earn certifications. They need to be knowledgeable about the latest industry standards on various vehicles makes. Different types of vehicles, including electric and hybrid, come with their own set of repair obstacles.

Electric vehicles, and hybrids, have tremendous benefits including fuel efficiency. But with that cost savings comes a trade-off to potentially higher costs in other areas, including collision repair.

Additional cost of EV repair

One of the few drawbacks to owning an electric vehicle (EV) is that collision repair could potentially cost more.

Firstly, the expensive battery packs can be damaged in an accident, potentially costing you upwards of $1,000. Most battery packs have a long life, but can easily be damaged in a crash.

Also, because some parts to hybrid vehicles are harder to find, it may increase the repair cost. The complex hybrid drive components also cost more to manufacture and assemble.

If the battery packs were not damaged in the accident but panels near the packs were damaged, the battery has to be removed for safety which leads to some additional labor.

Auto technicians go through specialized training to repair an EV. Their technology and functionality is different than traditional vehicles. There is also an increased risk of electrocution because of the high voltage in hybrids that technicians must know how to avoid. Additional training and safety can be expensive for auto repair shops, which could be reflected in your bill.

Solution for hybrid repair

If you’re looking for a body shop for your electronic vehicle, it is important to ask if the techs have been trained on them. Since EV and hybrid technology is constantly changing, it’s important to find a repair shop that regularly undergoes training to work on these vehicles.

Fogle Collision undergoes yearly I-CAR training to keep our techs up-to-date on the latest technology and industry trends. Call us for a free estimate on your EV or hybrid vehicle.

For more helpful info, follow us on Facebook.

A teen sits behind the wheel, wearing a backwards cap and sunglasses.
Teen drivers often look for the car they want based on look, but here are some vehicles you may want to consider for their safety.

Every parent has concerns when their teen starts driving.

Even if they are a safe driver, teens aren’t likely to know how to react quickly to dangerous driving situations. This comes with experience. Until they gain experience, you can further protect them with a vehicle with a high safety rating.

New cars for teens

If you decide to purchase a brand new car for your teen, the good news is that safety features improve every year. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) chooses its Top Safety Picks every year. Vehicles must earn good ratings in five tests to be considered a Top Safety Pick.

Several affordable cars in the small car category made the list, such as the Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Civic, and Mazda 3. There are also midsize cars, small SUVs, and midsize SUVs on the list. Many of the vehicles on the list offer optional safety features such as front crash prevention.

Safety features to consider for a teen driver

Many parents opt to buy used or pass down a vehicle to their teen driver. Knowing the teen could potentially put some dings and dents in the vehicle, this is a common option.

There are a few safety features worth considering in an older model vehicle. According to AAA, they suggest a midsize vehicle for teens since they offer more protection. Other safety features to consider are a forward collision warning system, a system to notify authorities of a crash, and a backup camera to give more visibility behind the vehicle.

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