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Is it almost time for your kid to get behind the wheel of a car? In this time, parents can be a bundle of nerves, but their teen is excited and ready for a new freedom. Even though this a scary time, the best you can do is give your teen guidance and a good driving school. Driving school allows your teen to learn with trained professionals and earn their permit.

The concept of a driving school has been around since before the 1940s. Here is a presentation about the history and evolution of driving education to give you a little more information.

The History & Evolution of Driving Education Schools from JW Surety Bonds
Find a school

There a few different driving schools in the area. Here are our top driving schools around the Houston area.

Houston Driving School

Houston Driving School has three different locations on the west side. This school has an average of 3.7/5 stars on Google.

Champions Driving School

Champions offers teen, adult, and defensive driving courses, both in-person and online. They have two locations – one in Pinehurst and one in Cypress. They have 4.2/5 stars on Google.

Cy Fair Driving School
Cy Fair has 5 locations, including Sugarland and Katy. They offer Texas Education Agency approved courses for both teens and adults. They also have classes available in the following languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Bengali, Farsy, Hindi, Urdu, Burmese, and Chinese. They have a 4.8/5 stars on Google.
Cypress Driving School

With over 25 years of experience, Cypress Driving offers teen, adult, and defensive driving courses. They have four locations in NW Houston.

Monroy Driving School

Monroy offers both teen and adult driving classes. They have one location in SE Houston with 4.8/5 stars on Google.

MVP Driving School

MVP offers classroom teen driving instruction, behind the wheel lessons, as well as adult instruction and road tests. MVP has 4.7/5 stars on Google.

QL Driving School

QL offers teen, adult, and defensive driving courses. They also offer Spanish and online courses and 4.7/5 stars on Google.

Road Ready Driving School

Road Ready is located in the galleria area of Houston. This company emphasizes teen safety and also provides adult permit classes. They have a 4.5/5 star rating on Google.

Stay Safe Driving School

This school offers an online course option and emphasizes space management to teach teens to be aware of the space around their vehicle for safety. They have 3.8/5 stars on Google.

Tony Driving School

Tony Driving School specializes in students who have already taken and failed the driving test, as well as immigrant students who may have difficulty learning the rules of US roads. They have 4.1/5 stars on Google.

West Houston Driving School

West Houston is a driving school in Richmond, accepting students 14 years old and older. They administer the permit driving test and the Department of Public Safety road skills test. They have 3.5/5 stars on Google.

 

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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.

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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 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 close-up of the front right tire of a dark car parked in a garage
Tire quality can greatly affect the safety of your vehicle.

Car owners are responsible for maintaining their vehicles’ tire quality. Insufficient tread or air pressure leads to more than just a flat tire. In 2017, tire-related crashes resulted in 738 fatalities nationwide. While the number of tire-related crashes has dropped in the past decade, they can still happen and cause serious damage.

Every car owner should take a few routine steps to check and maintain the quality of the tires on a vehicle.

Maintain proper air pressure

Experts recommend checking your air pressure once a month, and every time before you take a road trip. Most vehicles have a tire pressure sensor, but it is best to manually check.

You can find your recommended air pressure on the tire, the inside of the door frame, or in your owner’s manual. Under-inflated tires can lead to tire damage, and over-inflated tires can lead to a blowout.

Measure tread

Good tire tread is necessary for traction and to maintain the durability of a tire. When tires look smooth, they need to be replaced.

A simple way to measure the tread is to insert a quarter with George Washington’s head facing down into the tire. If the top of his head shows, the tire is worn and should be replaced.

Having tires rotated regularly helps them wear more evenly and not as quickly.

Good alignment and balance

Maintaining proper alignment and balance on a vehicle can prevent a tire from wearing excessively. If your car doesn’t track in a straight line when your hands are off the wheel, you might need an alignment. Signs you may need your tires balanced include steering wheel or floorboard vibrations.

At Fogle Collision Center, we recommend everyone to maintain their tire quality to prevent a blowout. If you do get in a collision, contact our expert team to vehicle repaired and get you back on the road.

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A dusty old mustang sits in a repair shop with tools in the foreground
Cars end up in a body shop for a variety of reasons. Here are the biggest causes of accidents.

The Greater Houston area is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country and it’s no surprise that Harris County has the most vehicle collisions of any Texas county every year. In 2016, there were more than 112,000 car accidents, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). This keeps auto body repair in demand for Houston and surrounding cities such as Cypress, League City, and Katy.

With so many cars on the roads in this area, accidents will happen. The reasons for collisions may not come as a surprise.

Common causes of accidents

There are a number of causes of accidents. Weather can always be a contributing factor, but more prominent is speed and intoxicated driving. In Harris County in 2016, there were 1,573 speed-related crashes. DUI accidents were slightly higher the same year with 2,941 crashes in 2016.

Distracted driving was the second-most cause of accidents, with 14,804 wrecks in Harris County last year. It is the second highest factor for collisions in Texas’ urban areas. This can be texting while driving, talking on the phone, or any other type of distraction. Bexar County, or the San Antonio area, had the most distracted driving collisions with more than 26,000.

Across the state, speeding was the number one cause of car wrecks. These accidents also caused the most fatalities on Texas roads.

What to do after a collision

If you, your passengers, or anyone else involved in the accident has injuries, call 9-1-1 immediately. Law enforcement must be notified if there are injuries, deaths, or property damages. Exchange insurance and contact information with other drivers.

Then, give Fogle Collision a call. We have convenient locations in Houston, Cypress, League City, and Katy. Our highly trained technicians will repair your car with the attention to detail you deserve and get you back in the road.

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