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
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
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
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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Screens 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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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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.