Vehicle recalls happen when a manufacturer or the government determines that a car has a safety defect. Recalls rarely mean that a car will be replaced, but often the repairs needed to fix or replace the defect may be covered at the manufacturer’s expense.
If there is a recall on your vehicle the manufacturer is required to send a letter to all owners of that particular vehicle. The mailing addresses they use are generally those that come from the DMV or where the car is registered, so it’s important to keep your mailing address updated when you register your vehicle each year.
If you purchased a used vehicle, you can check the NHTSA’s website for recalls as you may not receive a letter if it had already been sent to a previous owner. The recall letter or information provided by the NHTSA will include what the next steps are in handling the recall. Normally the information will have you make contact with the closest dealer that services your make of car to set up repairs.
Please note that a safety recall does not mean that driving your vehicle will place you in immediate danger. Generally it is safe to continue to use the vehicle until it can be taken in for repairs. However, the severity of the issue will be listed in the letter or on the NHTSA’s website, and that should be your first indication of how immediate the repairs are needed. Of course it’s best not to tempt fate, so if there is a recall of any sort on your vehicle it should be taken in for repairs as soon as it possibly can be.
Another item of note is that any recalls that have not been repaired appropriately may affect your car insurance rates, as a safety defect can raise the liability for which you are responsible if an injury or accident occurs. To be sure that the recall won’t affect your insurance premiums, it is best to contact Bob Johnson Insurance as soon as you receive the recall notice for recommendations about what should be done.
We want to finish out our Travel Safety Series with a quick tip about insurance.
Getting your car and yourself ready for a vacation should involve more than just packing a bag and filling the tank. Do you know what will be covered if something happens along the way? What if you get into an accident in another state or country? What about your home while you’re gone? Do you have traveler’s insurance?
One of your pre-vacation steps should be to check with your insurance agent to ensure that you have sufficient coverage in case the worst happens while you’re out and about on your adventure. Do a thorough insurance review of your policy and let your agent know what your plans are to ensure that you will be covered in case things go awry along the way.
Don’t wait until you’re stuck on the side of the road to find out whether your coverage is sufficient. Give us a call (865-922-3111) or use our contact form. Doing a review doesn’t take long and our experienced agents can help you understand the coverage you have and what you might need as well as answer any questions you may have.
Spending more time with your family is one reason to take a long vacation together, but having little ones in tow can be challenging, to say the least. Even if you’ve taken your toddler on trips before, he or she can still have a hard time with the changes to his or her daily routine. As such, you want to keep these considerations in mind.
- Plan for extra accommodations. When going over your itinerary, make sure to think about things like diaper changes (or potty breaks), children-friendly restaurants, and other amenities that can make your trip that much easier.
- Prepare to deal with sickness. Your toddler will be exposed to all kinds of things along the way, which means that some of those germs can turn into a cold or something worse. Just in case your little one will get sick at some point during the trip, bring appropriate items to care for him or her.
- Keep a first-aid kit handy. New environments and experiences mean that your toddler will be trying things for the first time. In some cases, these could lead to accidents, such as bumps, bruises, and cuts. Be ready to handle all of those by having a small kit nearby.
- Bring lots of snacks. Your toddler will frequently be hungry, so never leave without bringing a few options for him or her to eat during the trip. Water and juice is also a must.
- Be patient. You should already be able to manage the stress of being a parent, but when you’re on vacation, there are so many different things happening that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If possible, divide parenting duties between you so that you don’t have to be “on duty” for the whole trip.
No matter where you’re headed, chances are that you’ll be staying in a hotel for the night. Whether it’s a four-star resort or a motel on the side of the highway, it’s imperative that you keep you and your family safe during your visit. For the most part, hotels are secure and provide peace of mind, but that doesn’t mean that you should get too complacent. Usually, the problems that arise at hotels are theft, fraud, and lack of security precautions.
So, with that in mind, here are some considerations to make when stopping for the night.
- Park your vehicle close to your room. If possible, make sure that you can see it from the room without having to open the door. This will ensure that you can keep an eye on it at all times.
- If possible, go to a hotel with added security measures. These options can include restricted access between floors or limited access after hours. Being able to enter your room from an interior hallway (instead of outside) usually adds an extra level of safety. Having these measures in place can ensure that only guests are present on the property.
- Use “do not disturb” signs. If you’re worried about theft of personal belongings, then it can be a good idea to avoid having too many people going through your room.
- Call the front desk and see if they provide your room number. Hotels are usually strict about giving details of guests. If they give you the room number for where you’re staying, choose a different hotel.
- Don’t leave valuables sitting out. Whether it’s a wallet, ID, or other items that can be valuable to someone else, make sure that it isn’t sitting out when you’re not there. Identity theft is a real threat, and it doesn’t take much to get your personal information.
Rest Areas and Stops, Be Alert and Choose Wisely
One of the great things about traveling along US highways is that there are designated areas for stopping and using the facilities. However, many of these stops are in remote sections, which means that they are not always safe, particularly at night. If you are planning on traveling late into the evening, it’s imperative that you be smart about how and when you utilize rest areas to your advantage. Here are some tips.
● Stay in well-lit areas. Not only can dangerous people be lurking in the shadows, but some animals may be wandering the area as well. Don’t go into a bathroom or facility that doesn’t have sufficient lighting.
● Keep your car in sight. Even if it’s going to be just a few minutes, you want to make sure that your belongings are kept safe.
● Don’t sleep in your car. Unless it’s necessary because you’re by yourself and it’s really late, try to avoid stopping at a rest area for a nap. You never know what could happen.
● Don’t wander off. Stay close to the rest area so that you don’t get lost, especially at night.
If you’re going to take your car on your vacation, then you want to be sure that it’s ready to handle that much driving. Not only that, but you have to prepare yourself as well since most of us don’t spend more than a couple of hours behind the wheel in a single day.
With that in mind, here is a checklist of things you should do before your trip to ensure that everything runs smoothly. (You can download this checklist with the link at the bottom of the page.)
- Get a tune-up. Make sure that all of your car’s internal mechanisms are working properly, and be sure to check the fluids, particularly the oil and brakes.
- Make sure your spare is ready to go. You never know what can happen on the road. If it’s been years since you’ve used your spare, make sure that it’s inflated and free of damage.
- Get a full night’s sleep before heading out. Drowsy driving is unsafe driving, so be sure that you won’t fall asleep on the road. If you’re traveling alone, this step is even more crucial as you can’t ask someone else to take over when your eyelids are getting heavy.
- Pack an emergency kit. You should already have one in your car, but make sure that you have the following components: flares, tire iron, car jack, tire pressure gauge, and jumper cables. It may also be a good idea to toss an empty gas canister in there as well.
- Pack a cooler. Spending hours on the road can be exhausting, so make sure that you’re prepared by packing water, snacks, and other essentials to keep yourself fueled along with your car.
Last, but definitely not least, make sure that your insurance coverage is up-to-date and adequate for your needs on the trip. A quick phone call to review your coverage takes only a few minutes: 865-922-3111.
Free Download: Travel Safety Checklist