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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.

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281-378-3868