Driving Tips: Intersection Safety and Red Light Cameras

Driving is something that we all do, and we all think that we have it down pretty well. After all, we drive to and from work, when we go out to eat, and many other times throughout the day. If we were terrible at it, wouldn’t we be getting into wrecks every time we hit the road?

Well, as excellent as you may be at driving, the fact is that there’s always room for improvement. Not only that, but what about your new teen driver? Are you doing enough for him or her to understand the rules of the road?

With that in mind, over the next few weeks, we will share a number of helpful tips and information regarding our most abundant pastime. Whether you’ve been driving for years or you’re just learning how to do it, these tips will help you make the most out of every trip.

Intersection Safety

This is one area that we all seem to take for granted. In many cases, an intersection has signs or warnings to help you understand what to do and when to go. Stop signs, traffic lights, crosswalks, and turn signals are all elements that could be present at an intersection.

Unfortunately, however, it’s this abundance of safety precautions that leads to problems. We are so dependent on others following the signs and rules of law that we tend to forget to do the one thing we always have to do behind the wheel: pay attention.

Thus, here are some critical things to keep in mind next time you’re sitting at the intersection.

●      Don’t Assume Anything: drivers run red lights, pedestrians cross against the signal, and people ignore stop and yield signs all the time. No matter how many postings there are, all it takes is one person not paying attention to cause a collision. Don’t be that person.

●      Look Both Ways: whether the light’s green or you came to a full stop at a sign, that doesn’t mean that you’re clear to move forward. Always check your surroundings before crossing any intersection, particularly one that is busy.

●      Don’t Push Yellow Lights: too often we tend to try and rush through a yellow light. However, it could turn red before you know it, and then you may wind up in a bad spot. Don’t put yourself in that kind of position.

●      Be Ready to Yield: if you come to an intersection at the same time as someone else, you will likely have to let them pass. Don’t put yourself in danger by being in a hurry.

Red Light Cameras

These are a different animal altogether. If you’ve been tagged by a red light camera (and paid the subsequent fine), then you know how disruptive they can be to your wallet. They may seem annoying, but they are there to help protect you and keep you out of danger. Don’t believe us? According to statistics, over 200,000 people were injured in 2015 from cars running red lights.

●      Be sure to slow down on a yellow light. You will get tagged if any part of your vehicle is at the intersection when the light turns red.

●      Come to a complete stop, even if you’re turning right.

●      Not all cameras are noticeable. Even if you think there isn’t one present, don’t take the risk.

What If… My Car is Getting Old?

What if...

Cars get older every day they’re removed from the factory, and that age carries some serious liabilities with it. Older cars are harder to repair, and they need more frequent maintenance as the parts start to break down and fail. There comes a point when it’s time to ask yourself, what should I do with my old car?

If the maintenance costs per year are becoming more than the monthly payments for a new vehicle would be, then replacement is the best option. Why spend more for less, when it’s clear that you are already going to have to put the money out there one way or the other.

If the car has been well maintained and isn’t costing much from one year to the next then it may be worth it to fix those little issues that could use some attention. The old adage of “if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it” can be applied to cars by saying “if it isn’t broken then don’t replace it.”

Another aspect of car ownership that has to be considered is registration and insurance. These bills pile up every year, and in some states the registration fee can get worse with older vehicles than with newer ones. Likewise, if you’re paying for additional insurance that may not be necessary or worthwhile in the case of an accident then you may be throwing money away as well. (This is something your agent can help you determine during your annual insurance review.) If your car is paid off, you should give your insurance agent a call without a doubt to see if there is somewhere you can save money or determine if it may be more worthwhile to upgrade to a newer model after all.

While many cars become classics as they age, there are many more that just become scrap. While it’s tough to know what will become a valuable vehicle when it ages, sentimental value may be a reason to hang on to the car.  If you’re lucky then that sentimental value could turn into a return on value for that car you cared for.

Ultimately, knowing what to do with an older car comes down to understanding the cost of that car. If the car is becoming more costly to maintain and register than it should be, then the choice is clear. If you want to preserve your car and keep it as it reaches classic status then it’s important to care for it correctly. Either way, knowing all the costs from registration fees, maintenance costs and insurance costs are critical to making the right decision. Your next step should be to check in on those fees with the DMV and your insurance agent so you can start planning what to do with that old car.

Prepping for Spring: Easy Ways to Get Your Car Ready for Spring

Prepping your vehicle for Spring

Cars are a very important part of our daily lives, and as such they should be well maintained and ready to tackle every new season that rolls along. Getting your car ready for spring is a snap, if you pay attention to these tips.

Check on Your Tires

As winter comes to an end, it may be time to change from snow tires back to summer tires. If not, then it’s still a good time to check out your tires to make sure the air pressure is still adequate and the tread is good for another season. After winter driving it can be worth it to have tires balanced and rotated as well, as the changing road conditions could have an impact on how well they ride.

Give the Battery a Once Over

 Popping the hood to see if there’s any built up corrosion, road salt or mud where it shouldn’t be is a good idea. Cleaning the battery terminals and checking the strength of your battery along with that is a great idea as well. Batteries with corrosion won’t work as well, and over time their strength dips, so making sure your battery is ready for spring should be part of a regular spring cleaning routine.

Consider Replacing Wiper Blades

Winter freezes and snow can be a nightmare for wiper blades. Take the time to make sure they are free of cracks, breaks or brittleness to make certain they can handle those spring showers. If there are signs of damage, or if it’s been awhile since they were replaced, including new wiper blades with your spring shopping list can save you the hassle of not being able to see in the rain later.

A New Season Should Mean New Oil

Depending on your manufacturer’s recommendations, it’s likely time to replace the oil in your vehicle as well. While the three month rule has been pushed to the wayside a bit with modern cars and engines, it’s still a good idea to check on the oil now, and it doesn’t hurt to have it changed to keep your engine running at its best for the coming summer months ahead.

Double Check Your Paperwork

While you’re doing spring cleaning on your car, it’s a good time to clear out the glove box and make sure that only the most current registration and insurance paperwork are inside. Having old paperwork can lead to mistakes if anything happens while you’re on the road, so it’s best to get rid of outdated documents. It will also remind you to make sure the registration hasn’t expired.

Did You Do Your Insurance Review?

An insurance review is when you sit down with your insurance agent and go over the specific details of your policies. It’s best to do this with all of your insurance so that you can catch any gaps in coverage and solve that issue immediately. If you didn’t do an insurance review in January, then this is a good time to call Bob Johnson Insurance to see if any changes should be made to your policy. (865-922-3111 or toll free 1-800-624-3339)

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Prepping for Spring: Getting ATV’s and Offroad Vehicles Ready For Adventure

Tips to Ensure Your ATV is Properly Insured

Taking the time to get your offroad toys ready for summer can help them last longer, and be safer while you’re out playing.

Inspect the Fuel Lines

Anything with an engine that has been stored over the winter should always have the fuel system fully inspected before use. Along with checking the lines for damage and wear, the fuel itself likely needs to be replaced. Make sure fuel line fittings are tight, check for hose cracks or brittleness and make sure any fuel filters are replaced and ready to go. If the gasoline was left sitting all winter without treatment, then it’s best to empty and clean out the tank thoroughly before refueling.

Check the Fluids

Make sure fluid levels are all topped off and ready to go. This includes radiator fluid, oil and brake fluids. If anything is surprisingly low, check for leaks and other issues that may have led to the drop. It might also be a good time to change the oil and oil filter if you can’t remember how much time has been spent operating on the oil from last year.

Check the Battery

Be sure the battery is charged up and ready to go. Being out in the field or on the track with a low battery can mean that you won’t be starting up your ride while you’re out there. Batteries typically lose about 10 percent of their charge per month while in storage.

Examine the Tires

Remember to check on the tires and make sure the air pressure is where it should be for the season. Having too little air pressure after winterizing a bike or atv is a common issue, but it only takes a moment to handle it.

One Last Thing

One last thing to note is that many insurance companies offer atv, motorcycle, utv and other offroad vehicle coverage. These vehicles aren’t cheap, and if anything happens to them it can be frustrating and even more expensive to fix. Give Bob Johnson Insurance a call (865-922-3111 or Toll Free 865-624-3339) or click here to learn what we offer in protection before hitting the trails.

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