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Category: Texas


Have you ever done something while driving and thought to yourself, “Is this legal?“. You’re not alone. We’ve created a list of driving law myths that may surprise you. Maybe your parents have been wrong all these years about leaving that interior light on while driving. Keep reading to find out the truth about some of the biggest misconceptions surrounding driving laws in Texas.

It’s illegal to drive with headphones: FALSE

While it’s legal for drivers in Texas to use headphones while driving, we don’t recommend it. Noise-canceling headphones don’t allow you to hear sirens or honking that could help prevent you from crashing with a nearby vehicle. There are some exceptions though, anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed to use headphones or any other wireless listening device while driving.

Neon underglow lights are illegal: FALSE

Some car-enthusiasts like to customize their ride with neon underglow lights. While these custom lights are legal in Texas, there are some exceptions. It is illegal for vehicles to have red lights of any kind in the front of part of the vehicle, as law enforcement and emergency vehicles use the colors red and blue.

Laser detection devices are legal: TRUE

While laser detection devices are legal in Texas, laser jammers are not. Laser jammers interfere and block the signals emitted from police radar guns. If you are pulled over and caught using a laser jammer, you could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor.

It’s illegal to drive a vehicle without a windshield: FALSE

While driving a vehicle without a windshield is completely legal in Texas, driving a vehicle with no windshield wipers is not. All vehicles with windshields must have working wipers and be without an obstructed view like a sticker or large crack. This law seems contradictory, as it’s one of the strangest myths to date.

Driving with a dog in your front seat is legal: TRUE

Let’s face it, we were all hoping this myth was true. As of today, there are no established laws stating you aren’t allowed to drive with your furry friend in the front seat of your car. But be aware, a pet on your lap can cause distracted driving and potentially be a safety hazard.

Driving barefoot is illegal: FALSE

Driving barefoot is legal in Texas and all other 49 states. While some don’t recommend it, you won’t be fined for it when pulled over.

It’s illegal to ride in the open bed of a truck: FALSE

We’ve all ridden in the bed of a truck at least once in our life. But is it legal? The answer is yes, but only if you’re over 18. Riding in the bed of a truck isn’t the smartest or safest thing to do, it’s better to grab a seat inside the vehicle with a working seatbelt.

Driving with the interior lights of your vehicle on is illegal: FALSE

This myth is old as dirt. Some grow up believing that driving with the cabin lights on in your vehicle is illegal, but the truth is, it’s not. Some say the light coming from inside the car creates a distraction for other drivers so it’s best to keep it off to avoid a hazardous scenario.

If you were aware of these driving law myths, take our quiz to see just how knowledgable you are about your state’s driving laws.

For more driving safety tips, follow us on Facebook.

an aerial view of two turn lanes and a white car pulling up to turn right

This may come as a surprise to Texans *wink*, but not all drivers know the rules of the road. So what can we do to make the roads safer? Brush up on those driving laws! Even if you are a safe driver, knowing how to react to certain situations could lead you to make a safer decision, and in a timely manner.

Take the quiz below and find out how you fare. Then, find some pointers on these laws below.

Driving in TX: Do you know state laws?

Some traffic laws vary from state to state. Do you know what to do if an emergency vehicle is parked on the side of the road? Or when to use (or put away) your cell phone? Take our quiz to find out how much you know.

 

Some of these laws are tricky, and some have even changed recently. Here’s an explanation for each of these questions, in case you missed it.

1. If an emergency vehicle is parked on the right side of the road with it’s emergency lights flashing, what should you do?

If the vehicle is parked, you don’t need to stop, but flashing lights indicate that there’s still activity going on on the road. This is why Texas law says cars must slow down to 20 mph under the posted limit. Most drivers are inclined to slow down when they see flashing lights anyway since they associate them with police. Keep in mind there might be debris from an accident, people walking close to the road, and/or stopped traffic ahead.

2. What should you do if a school bus has its yellow hazards flashing?Three teens exit a yellow school bus.

School bus hazards are used much like those of regular vehicles. The most common use is when buses stop for a train track. Busses are required to stop before crossing tracks and look both ways. Drivers in their personal vehicles may not realize, or forget, and could run into the bus if they’re not expecting to stop.

3. Can you cross the median between freeway and frontage road in stopped traffic?

Crossing a median is illegal in all instances, but crossing between frontage and freeway (and vice versa) is a common maneuver for Texans. It may seem like a good idea to get off a slow road, but doing so puts other cars in danger when you merge in a location they aren’t expecting you to merge.

4. Which of these statements on handheld devices is true in Texas?

While Austin used to be entirely hands-free (no talking, texting, messing with electronic devices at all), Texas’ no-texting law overruled that one. Under this state law, sending and receiving messages is banned, but talking on the phone or using devices for other purposes is not.

However, drivers in school zones, drivers with permits, and drivers under 18 may not operate a vehicle and use handheld devices at all.

5. What do you legally have to do if you see a funeral procession?A motorcycle with an American flag pattern, and "funeral escort" on the windshield, leads a line of cars

It may be rude to drive past a funeral, but there’s no law against it. You don’t have to slow down if you’re not putting others in danger. The main thing is to be cautious and respectful.

6. When should you use a turn signal?

Even in a turn lane, you must use a turn signal, Texans. This signals your intention to cars around you. Even if you know you’re in a turn lane, other drivers may not.

7. What does the law say about using the shoulder lane on the highway?

Unsurprisingly, it’s illegal to use the shoulder as a passing lane. However, it’s perfectly legal (and encouraged) for slower drivers to move over into the shoulder lane to let faster cars pass on a two-lane highway.

8. Is it legal to parallel park facing oncoming traffic?

Even though this is common in residential areas, parallel parking the wrong direction is not legal anywhere in Texas. For one, you have to cross oncoming traffic to do so. Another obstacle is the way another parallel-parked car in front of you will block your view when you try to pull out.

No matter what direction you’re going in Texas, you’re sure to run into some exciting stops. You can spend months traveling the Lone Star State and never run out of new sights to see, places to eat, or events to attend. Here are a few good places along the road (between the big cities) that you may want to momentarily hang your hat on your next trip.

Scenery of sloping mountains with mixed desert and greenery.
Big Bend is one of Texas’ prized national parks.
  1. Big Bend (NPS Photo/Reine Wonite)

Big Bend is a hiking destination for many Texans. Nestled along the Rio Grande River, the national park has a variety of landscapes, from desert, to mountains, to river. The park also features several communities for park visitors to stay and plenty of activities for exploring the great outdoors.

Up close photo of sliced brisket on a white plate.
BBQ brisket from famous Black’s BBQ.
  1. Black’s BBQ, Lockhart

About a half hour outside Austin, Lockhart is a major BBQ destination. The town is known for its famous Black’s BBQ, but is also home to Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market, also serving up mouthwatering Texas BBQ.

A glass case displays rows of multicolored fruit kolaches.
Fruit kolaches are a must-have if you’ve never had anything but a glorified pig-in-a-blanket.
  1. Czech Stop

This convenience store is more than just an ordinary gas station. It’s a legendary snack destination. Czech Stop is often considered the best kolaches in Texas and come in a variety of satisfying flavors.

An outdoor seating area at dusk, and a old-Texas-style shop labeled with a neon red Weingarten sign.
Weingarten in Fredricksberg is one of many relaxing wine stops in the Hill Country.
  1. Hill Country (wine country), Fredricksburg

If you didn’t already know, the Texas Hill Country is the second biggest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the US and fifth in US wine production. Its go-to wine destination is Fredricksburg. With over 40 wineries to choose from, you’re sure to find a relaxing cup of wine with an amazing view. While you’re wearing off that wine buzz, you can go hike at Enchanted Rock or walk around Fredricksburg’s famous downtown shops.

Two white magnolia-labeled buildings sit in front of twin silos and a cloudy blue sky.
The Magnolia district has a plenty of food, shopping, and outdoor enjoyment.
  1. Silos Baking Co., Waco

If you love Fixer Upper, you’ll want to visit Joanna and Chip Gaines’ Magnolia district. The shop is filled with HGTV style and the outside square offers plenty of food trucks and space for the kids to stretch their legs. This is a great place to accommodate a variety of tastes, and maybe snag a delicious cupcake to go.

The interior of a tall restaurant with two upper levels visible from below.
The inside of the Gristmill is impressive, as is its view of the Guadalupe River.
  1. Gristmill River Restaurant, New Braunfels

The Gristmill is a historic building overlooking the Guadalupe River. The Gristmill is located beneath the Gruene (pronounce “green”) water tower, so it’s pretty hard to miss. Check out this historic mill while enjoying classic Texas favorites with a stunning river view.

 

A full auditorium watches an outdoor performance in front of the backdrop of a desert plateau.
TEXAS The Musical takes place entirely outside in beautiful Palo Duro Canyon.
  1. TEXAS Outdoor Musical, Palo Duro Canyon

 This performance is a truly unique experience. The show happens during the summer in a completely outdoors auditorium, featuring over 60 musicians, singers and dancers. Celebrating Texas history, this show is for the whole family and includes a firework show.

 

a photo of a white-sand beach with sloping dunes and a clear sky above the water.
Visit South Padre’s National Seashore near Corpus Christi for a relaxing outdoor adventure.
  1. Padre Island National Seashore

If you’ll be anywhere near Corpus Christi, you might want to take a detour to this popular park. This is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. Aside from beautiful scenery, this island also offers a multitude of family activities, including watching sea turtles hatch, camping, kayaking and even wind surfing.

 

A small shaggy dog sits behind a bag of Buc-ee's Beaver Nuggets, licking his nose.
Even your four-legged family will appreciate you stopping at Buc-ee’s.
  1. Buc-ee’s

If you live in Texas, you’ve probably come across a Buc-ee’s at some point. There are over 30 locations in Central and East Texas, all conveniently located on major travel thoroughfares. Stop in for some fresh tacos, an endless variety of beef jerky, or a Texas souvenir for your out-of-town family.

 

A bundt cake topped with whole pecans sits on a tin plate next to a plate of strawberries.
Pecan cake from Colin Street Bakery.
  1. Colin Street Bakery, Corsicana

Colin Street Bakery is known around the world for its fruitcake and Texas pecan pies. The shop has been open since 1896 and has been featured on big media outlets like Food Network and USA Today. The original is on I-45 in Corsicana, but also has locations in Waco, Lindale, and Greenville.

auto body repairs regulation

We all know that each shop management has its own standard of customer service and shop maintenance. But have you ever wondered who requires collision repair shops to be in compliance with legal regulations?

The real answer is that there is not a comprehensive law in Texas that governs collision repair. However, there are still certain inspections and regulations that must be met.

Anytime you have an issue with auto body repairs made to your car or the process to make those repairs, you should always speak with the management first. Often, a shop will immediately attempt to address the issue to your satisfaction. If this doesn’t solve your problem, depending on the issue, there are state agencies and organizations that can assist.

Not what you paid for

It’s always good practice to review your bill before paying and take a close look at the work that was completed. If you believe unnecessary repairs were made, you were charged for an incorrect part, or charged for something you didn’t receive, you can contact the Texas Attorney General’s office. They can determine if your circumstance falls under the Deceptive Trade Practices – Consumer Protection Act.

This is important to be reviewed because it’s possible this may have happened to more than one customer.

Requirements for body shops

All collision repair shops have to follow regulations set forth by state agencies. Body shops also have to follow environmental rules established by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

These rules focus on air quality, proper waste disposal, water, and other regulations that body shops must comply with every day. The agency ensures shops follow these rules and makes the necessary adjustments if they violate these rules.

Fogle Collision Centers welcome feedback from customers so we can continuously improve what we do. We strive to provide you with the best quality collision repair.

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 deer munches some grass on the side of the road, near a tree.
Be on the lookout for deer when you’re on the highway.

There are more than one million deer-related accidents a year across the country. Deer are plentiful in the Central to Eastern parts of Texas, and many roads should be driven with caution. Swerving is likely to worsen your odds of an accident. Instead, here are some tips to avoid hitting a deer.

Pay attention

Any time you are driving, it is important to keep your eyes on the road and pay close attention when driving in wooded areas. Here, deer may suddenly come out and run toward cars.

Deer typically roam more often during dusk or dawn, so pay attention if you are driving during these hours. If you are not familiar with the area where you are driving, look for caution signs that alert drivers to deer in the area.

Remember, deer often travel in packs, so if you see one deer there may be more nearby.

Make a bright path

If the roads are not well lit and you do not have oncoming traffic, use high beams to create a brighter path. This will give you a better opportunity to see a deer before you come upon it.

Keep control

If you see a deer, slow down and brake firmly, but don’t swerve. Swerving can cause you to hit another car or lose control.

Also, deer may move if they see or hear you. Honk your horn to try to scare a deer out of your way. Swerving may still make you run into the deer if they start to move out of the way.

If you are about to hit a deer, turn slightly right before you collide to hit the deer at an angle. This way the deer won’t flip up onto your windshield.

Don’t approach an injured deer

If you do get into an accident and the deer is on or near the road, do not approach it. Call law enforcement and the local game warden. An injured deer could potentially injure you, and it’s best to have trained professionals care for an injured deer. If the deer is dead, it is OK to move it off the road, but it is against the law in Texas to take the deer with you.

If you have an accident and need auto body repair, Fogle’s Online Estimating Tool offers fast and free estimates directly from your Smartphone.

 

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 driver behind the wheel holds the steering wheel in one hand and a smartphone in the other.
Distractions like texting take our eyes and minds off the road.

Distractions are everywhere. They demand our attention throughout the day, including when we drive. Texting

while driving has become such an issue that starting September 1, 2017 in Texas, it will be illegal to text and drive.

Campaigns are also in place by several organizations nationwide and major cell phone providers to send a constant reminder that using a phone while driving leads to injuries and fatalities. Every week, Houston body shops repair cars involved in distracted driving accidents.

Distractions, distractions, and more distractions

There is a long list of what can distract a driver, but there are only three types of distraction that interfere with concentration – cognitive, visual, and manual. An example of a manual distraction would be a driver removing hands from the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions take the driver’s focus away and visual takes the driver’s eyes off of the road.

Other actions that keep someone from focusing solely on driving include changing the radio station, looking at a map, talking on the phone or to others in the car, and eating. A recent survey showed that more than 60 percent say they have watched a driver apply makeup while driving, more than 50 percent witnessed someone reading, and more than 20 percent have seen a driver take a selfie while behind the wheel.

Although these tasks were not high scoring in the survey, people also witnessed drivers putting in contacts, flossing teeth, and actually putting on a costume.

Real risks

A few seconds of a distraction behind the wheel can be deadly. Nationwide, there were 3,477 people who died in accidents in 2015 that were caused by a distracted driver.

Don’t get distracted

Most distractions are preventable. It starts with the driver making a conscious effort to focus only on driving. As a driver gets into the car, that is when any seat or mirror adjustments should be made, plus setting the radio and GPS.

If you find yourself taking your eyes off of the road to look at your phone, put it somewhere in the vehicle that you can’t reach while driving. Make a firm commitment to yourself that you will only check your phone once you get to your destination.

At Fogle Collision Centers, we hope everyone drives safely. If you are involved in a collision due to distracted driving, we can take care of your auto body repairs. Our technicians will perform high quality repairs to your vehicle so you can get back on the road.

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A red, Houston Texans themed car with a logo and racing numbers.
Think you’re a big enough fan to drive this through town?

Fall has officially arrived, but before the official start of fall, there was the official start of football season. Dedicated fans know when and who their favorite team will play. Then there are the diehard Houston Texans fans who think about the team all year long. They do more than wear a jersey. They take their vehicles to an automotive paint shop for a customized, Houston Texans paint theme.

Ride like the NFL

The trend to have a car customized with a NFL paint theme is popular nationwide, and not just among fans. Many players also show who they proudly represent in the NFL with their team colors and logo. Former Green Bay Packer Chris Johnson, took his 1970’s Chevrolet and had it decked out with the team’s green and gold colors. Taking it a step further, Cam Newton also took a 1970’s vehicle, an Oldsmobile Cutlass, and had it completely customized in a Carolina Panthers theme.

NFL players are naturally committed to their teams, but for a fan to take a vehicle to a paint shop for a custom NFL paint theme, it takes genuine loyalty. The Houston Texans, just like other teams, have many of these dedicated fans.

Houston Texans Themed Cars

The Houston Texans are the newest team to the NFL, hitting the turf in 2002, six years after the Oilers left Texas for Tennessee. While the Texans haven’t been playing as long as other teams, they still have a strong fan base.

It didn’t take long for some fans to determine the Texans are their number one team. From newer cars to older vehicles, some Texans fans chose the Toro logo and Texans colors to be prominently displayed on their vehicles every day.

The best part is that the paint can be as elaborate or simple as the fan desires. Fogle Collision is your paint shop to customize your Houston pride on your car. Contact one of our highly trained paint technicians today to have the most impressive car at the game.

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