Winter weather rarely brings bad driving conditions to the Austin area, but when it does it finds many who live here unprepared for driving in bad weather conditions. Refreshing your memory about driving safely on icy and snowy roads can keep you from needing a visit to your local auto body shop.
How to Drive Safely on Icy Roads
1) Make sure your vehicle is properly equipped. Do your tires have plenty of tread on both the front and back? Poor tread means less traction and increased likelihood of spinning out. Are your windshield wipers and defroster keeping your windows clear for maximum visibility? Check your brakes before heading out to be sure they’re responding properly. If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, be sure you know how to properly activate ABS during a skid.
2) Drive slowly. Leave as much space as possible between your vehicle and those around you. Allow plenty of time for accelerating and braking and be very aware of your surroundings. Extra space can mean the difference between properly maneuvering your car to avoid a collision if a vehicle near you begins to slide.
3) Remember that black ice looks like regular water. What may look like a small puddle could actually be a hazardous patch of black ice. It’s most common during the early morning and late evening when the roads no longer absorb enough heat to keep water from freezing, but during extreme cold it can be present in the middle of the day. Read ahead on how to properly respond when you find yourself driving on black ice and your quick response could save you and your vehicle from being in an accident.
4) The safest way to keep from getting in an accident during bad weather is not to drive. Even if you’re prepared, those around you may have less experience driving on slick roads and if the vehicle next to you spins out of control, you can find yourself involved in a collision that wasn’t your fault.
Hazardous road conditions are pretty rare in Austin, but they do exist. Making sure your vehicle is equipped for driving on bad roads, taking extra time and being aware of how your vehicle responds differently on ice can help ensure that you arrive safely at your destination. If you do find yourself involved in a wreck, give us a call. We’re a locally owned body shop and we’ll get your car fixed up and back on the road with unmatched customer service.
There are several ways you can use the internet to determine whether the shop you’ve chosen, or the one that’s been recommended to you, is a good choice. Making the right decision will ensure that you’re back on the road in your newly repaired vehicle quickly and with very little headache. The ultimate choice about which body repair shop will work on your vehicle is up to you, so doing your research before you choose is a good idea.
If you own or drive a vehicle, chances are one day you’ll find yourself shopping around in Austin for an auto body repair shop. Trusting someone you don’t know to repair one of your most prized possessions after a car accident can be a daunting task.
By doing your research before going with the first shop you find or hear about, you’ll make the entire process go smoother and save yourself a lot of headache in the long run.
Your first stop should be the Better Business Bureau website. BBB was established to provide consumers a way to locate businesses that have proven themselves as trustworthy providers in their area. Most reputable businesses are registered with the BBB, and you can look up any business and see their rating for free.
2) Read Online Reviews
From there, check out online review websites. There are many to choose from. Yelp is a popular place for people to leave reviews. You can also learn more about the body shop you’re considering by searching their name with ‘Google Plus Reviews’ as part of your search. Google now promotes business ‘plus’ pages directly in search results, and they’re a great way for customers to read reviews about local businesses. Angie’s List is another reputable review site. It requires a paid membership to participate but provides more information and has a reliable network of qualified reviewers that many find worth the minimal subscription fee. Finally, don’t forget to check out the shop’s Facebook page. Recent changes mean that Facebook users can now leave a review with a rating of 1-5 stars, which shows up directly on the business’s Facebook page.
3) Ask Your Friends
Check with your friends, family and co-workers. Odds are most of them have had an experience with a body repair shop at some point and most people are happy to share their experience with you. Ask them about how comfortable they felt with the people working at the shop. Was the shop honest and trustworthy? Were the repairs completed properly and on time?
Once your car has been repaired after a car wreck, leave a review online and tell your friends about your experience. Pay it forward and help others benefit from your experience!
Owning a car means that at some point it’s likely you’ll need a trusted auto body shop in Austin to come to the rescue and repair damage to your vehicle. Many people wait until they’ve been in a car wreck to start looking for a collision repair center, but the best time to establish a new relationship is before you need it!
Any time your car needs repairs, whether they’re mechanical or involve body damage, it’s a stressful time. Dealing with insurance, car rental and the hassles of being without your usual vehicle can be a big inconvenience. Planning ahead and having a personal connection with a collision center in Austin will save you the headache of starting your search while you’re already stressed out.
Still not sure? Here are five compelling reasons to spend a little time doing your homework beforehand:
1) When you have a wreck, one phone call gets you a fast and free tow.
2) Once your car is in the shop, they’ll help you find a rental car and be on your way as quickly as possible.
3) An established relationship with a trusted collision center means you don’t have to waste time asking all your friends and reading online reviews. You’ll be back on the road sooner if you already know who to turn to!
4) As a valued customer, you know you’ll receive the best possible service. No waiting around wondering if there will be delays.
5) Working with a local business provides peace of mind that you’re supporting your local economy.
Spend a few minutes today to look up online reviews and check out what’s available. Google+ is a great way to find out which body shop is closest to home. You can also find valuable information on auto body shop reviews on Yelp and Angie’s List. Make a quick note in your phone contacts or on your tablet device and you’ll be ready to get help when you need it. Your Austin body shop should be a trusted ally, not a headache waiting to happen. Arm yourself with some research and information beforehand and you’ll have an established friend ready to help when you need them.
Almost everyone agrees that talking on your cell phone while driving is dangerous. Texting while driving is even more hazardous. That doesn’t stop people from doing it, which means car accidents as a result of distracted driving are on the rise.
The statistics about car accidents caused by distracted driving are startling.
Most drivers think any cell phone use while driving impairs your ability to drive as safely as if you were undistracted. Yet 52% admit to using their cell phones while driving. Austin car accident incidents increase when people use their cell phones while driving, it’s that simple.
TxDOT reported that distracted driving, including cell phone use, contributed to over 90,000 car accidents in Texas in 2012. These accidents resulted in 453 deaths, many of which could have been prevented if drivers had been responsible cell phone users.
What is a responsible cell phone user?
Operating a vehicle is an activity that requires concentration and attention. To effectively navigate safely to your destination without getting in a car accident it’s important to remain undistracted.
Tips to be a responsible cell phone owner while driving:
1) When using GPS to navigate, program your device prior to driving. To prevent car accidents, don’t alter its programmed destination without pulling over.
2) Put your cell phone where you can’t reach it. Place it in the back seat or trunk. It can’t distract you if you can’t see it.
3) Turn off the sound. No text message, phone call or e-mail is so important that it can’t wait until you arrive at your destination. None of those messages or calls will matter if you don’t arrive safely and without getting in a car wreck.
4) If you must use your cell phone, find a safe place to pull off the road. Studies have proven that even voice activated texting and hands-free talking while driving are not safe alternatives.
5) Ask a passenger to answer your phone or respond to text messages on your behalf while you’re driving.
6) Install an app that prevents you from using your phone while your vehicle is moving. If you don’t trust yourself to resist the temptation, there’s an app for that!
7) Join thousands of others who have taken the pledge to not text while driving. A popular local Austin television station recently ran a lengthy campaign in support of ‘X the Text’ hoping to reduce the incidence of Austin car accidents.
In addition to safety concerns, in many areas using your cell phone while driving is against the law. If you live in Texas, you can learn more about texting while driving laws in Texas by visiting the TxDOT website.
Safer driving means fewer Austin car accidents. Don’t try to defy the odds, increase your odds of arriving safely by being a responsible cell phone owner while driving.
Brakes are one of the most important mechanical functions our vehicles perform. They are used multiple times every time we get in the car. We rely on them to be responsive when they’re needed. All this wear and tear means that making sure our brakes are working properly is very important.
Due to the frequency of use, brakes are designed to alert the driver when they need to be replaced. One of the most common symptoms of brakes that need to be replaced is a squeaking or grinding noise when stopping. This is caused when the brake pads have been used so many times that they begin wearing out.
In the early stages, the sound means the brake pads are wearing low and should be replaced soon. Continuing to drive your car can cause more extensive damage as the brakes start wearing on the rotors.
Ignoring the warning signs and damaging the rotors means much more costly brake repairs. In addition, poorly functioning brakes can lead to car accidents. Equipment failure, such as brakes going out, accounts for a large majority of the wrecks caused as a result of mechanical problems.
As brakes wear out, they become less responsive. In heavy traffic, like we frequently see in Austin, car accidents can happen if you need to stop quickly but your brakes don’t have the ability to stop your car fast enough to avoid an accident.
If an accident occurs as a result of your inability to stop, it’s likely you will be liable for the wreck and therefore responsible for collision repair on not only your vehicle, but the other driver’s car too. It’s much safer and cheaper to be aware of the warning signs that your brakes need repair and to address them quickly. Proper car maintenance will keep your car running smoothly and will save you money in the long run.