Monday, November 24, 2014

Prepare an Emergency Kit for the Holiday Roadtrip | Amarillo Hyundai

Anything That Can Go Wrong, Will

Imagine you're on a road trip with your family. You have planned and prepared for this trip for weeks, and you're finally on your way. The car is packed to the roof with suitcases and various other vacation essentials, but as you wind your way along that steep mountain road deep in the hinterland of your favorite national park, you hear a terrible sound, feel a thump, thump, thump, and realize that you have a flat tire. 

You pull to the side of the road, unload the suitcases that are covering the spare tire in the back, only to discover that the tire is flat and the jack is missing. As the sun slowly sets behind the mountain ridge you began to scramble around looking for that flashlight. As you flip open your cell phone to call for a tow truck, you see that the battery is almost dead... 

OK, this may be a worst-case scenario, but it might have even been worse. The adage that says, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," while cliched, is true. Had this family taken a bit of time to assemble a basic roadside emergency kit, their journey would have been far easier that day. 

What to Put In Your Kit

Your trunk space is limited―especially while traveling ― but there are certain items that you really should carry with you in the event of an emergency. 

You can assemble these items yourself at an auto supply store, or department store, or purchase a pre-assembled kit online. The American Red Cross offers an emergency kit, and the website Outdoor Lodge recommends the following list of items:
  • Flashlights and extra batteries.
  • A folding camping (Army) shovel.
  • Jumper cables (8-12 feet long).
  • Set of tire chains. Know how to install these beforehand.
  • Fuses. There are several types, so make sure you have the right ones for your car.
  • Tools: pliers, flat and Phillips-head screwdrivers, and an adjustable wrench.
  • Wool blanket.
  • All the necessary fluids for your car, including 2 quarts of motor oil, brake fluid, power-steering fluid (if applicable), automatic transmission fluid (if applicable), a gallon of water, and a gallon of antifreeze. Also include a funnel, and keep a few rags handy in case of spills.
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Road flares.
  • Gloves, wool socks, and a pair of boots.
  • Electrical and duct tape.
  • WD-40.
  • Knife.
  • Bright cloth or emergency road sign to display in your window in case of trouble.
  • Other items to consider are:
  • Non-perishable food items and a can opener
  • Rain gear
  • Extra clothes
  • Folding chair(s)
  • Pillows
  • Sleeping bags
  • Snacks
  • Books and games
  • Toilet paper
As our example illustrates, it's important to make sure your cell phone is charged up before you hit the road on a long trip. Having a car charging cord is a great idea if you will be driving for several days at a time. Another item that would be useful to have in your car in case of emergency is a first aid kit. A small manual with instructions on how to do some basic roadside repairs is a good thing to have in your kit, as well. 

Be sure to walk through changing a tire in the safety of your driveway, so you know how to do it before you are called upon to do it in the dark in the driving rain. 

Check the contents of your kit when the seasons change. The blanket, chains and ice scraper are important for winter driving conditions, but you may not need them in August.
Keeping a roadside emergency kit in your car will arm you with both peace of mind, and the tools you'll need to rescue yourself in the event of an emergency during your travels. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What Do After and Accident can Make a Big Difference | Amarillo Hyundai

Scenes like this are all too common on American highways. Accident prevention is important — but knowing how to react is also essential.

Each year, thousands of people are involved in traffic accidents during the holiday weekends. If you are one of these unfortunate people, will you know what to do in the aftermath of a collision? How you react can prevent further injuries, reduce costs and accelerate the clean-up and repair process. If you are involved in a traffic collision, try to remain calm, and follow these steps: 

Action Plan to Deal with Accidents:

1. Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Glove Compartment. Drivers should carry a cell phone, as well as pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera to take photos of the vehicles at the scene, and a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries. Also, keep a list of contact numbers for law enforcement agencies handy. Drivers can keep this free fill-in-the-blanks accident information form in their glove compartment. A set of cones, warning triangles or emergency flares should be kept in the trunk.

2. Keep Safety First. Drivers involved in minor accidents with no serious injuries should move cars to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving cars parked in the middle of the road or busy intersection can result in additional accidents and injuries. If a car cannot be moved, drivers and passengers should remain in the cars with seatbelts fastened for everyone's safety until help arrives. Make sure to turn on hazard lights and set out cones, flares or warning triangles if possible.

3. Exchange Information. After the accident, exchange the following information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver's name is different from the name of the insured, establish what the relationship is and take down the name and address for each individual. Also make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color — and the exact location of the collision and how it happened. Finally, be polite but don't tell the other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.

4. Photograph and Document the Accident. Use your camera to document the damage to all the vehicles. Keep in mind that you want your photos to show the overall context of the accident so that you can make your case to a claims adjuster. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information; they may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.

5. File An Accident Report. Although law enforcement officers in many locations may not respond to accidents unless there are injuries, drivers should file a state vehicle accident report, which is available at police stations and often on the Department of Motor Vehicles Web site as a downloadable file. A police report often helps insurance companies speed up the claims process.
Texas law requires that a Crash Report, Form CR-2, be filed when an accident occurs that results in injury or death, or when damage to property or vehicles is more than $1,000. If law enforcement does not come to the accident scene or complete a report.

6. Know What Your Insurance Covers. The whole insurance process will be easier following your accident if you know the details of your coverage. For example, don't wait until after an accident to find out that your policy doesn't automatically cover costs for towing or a replacement rental car. Generally, for only a dollar or two extra each month, you can add coverage for rental car reimbursement, which provides a rental car for little or no money while your car is in the repair shop or if it is stolen. Check your policy for specifics.

The final question in dealing with an accident is usually who will pay for the damages? If the accident was minor, you and the other drivers may decide to handle the damages yourselves without the involvement of an insurance company. But this isn't always the best idea, for several reasons.

While the other driver may agree to pay for the damage to your car on the day of the accident, he may see the repair bills and decide it's too high. At this point, time has passed and your insurance company will have more difficulty piecing together the evidence if you file a claim.

Also, keep in mind that you have no way of knowing whether another driver will change his mind and report the accident to his insurance company. He may even claim injuries that weren't apparent at the scene of the accident. This means that your insurance company may end up paying him a hefty settlement, or worse yet, you could be dragged into a lawsuit. So make sure that your company has your version of what happened and check your policy — if the damages paid out by your insurance company are below a certain amount, the accident may not be considered chargeable. And you will avoid the penalty of a premium hike.

Auto accidents take a tremendous toll on everyone involved, both financially and emotionally. If you're one of the lucky ones who have thus far avoided a serious accident, hopefully the tips on prevention will help keep it that way. The chances are high, though, that at some point you will be involved in a minor accident. Just keep your head and make safety your primary concern. You'll have plenty of time to deal with the consequences later.