Save Money by Slowing Down

Save Money by Slowing Down

One issue that plagues most drivers is speed. Although we have speed limits everywhere you go, the vast majority of drivers exceed these limits, sometimes significantly. However, just because many people do it doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do. 

Today we want to cover some of the primary benefits of slowing down and how it can help keep you and your car safe. 

Speeding Statistics

Although cars are always becoming safer, they’re still massive machines of metal and glass that can kill a person with enough force. Unfortunately, there has been a recent uptick in traffic fatalities,(1) and according to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding is a prevalent cause.(2) 

In fact, about 31% of all fatalities were caused by speeding, a figure that’s pretty close to drunk driving. This problem is so prevalent that about one in every six drivers on the road is pulled over for going too fast. Overall, about 41 million speeding tickets are issued every year in the US. 

Save Money by Slowing Down

Obviously, the dangers present in speeding are widespread, but most people believe that they can react in time to avoid a collision. However, if you think about the financial costs of speeding, you may feel differently next time you’re behind the wheel. Here’s how putting the pedal to the metal can cost you. 

Speeding Tickets

Depending on where you live, a ticket can be several hundred dollars. Remember, you have a one in six chance of being pulled over, so is it worth the risk? Just a couple of tickets in a year can set you back substantially. 

Insurance Rates

Insurance companies want to minimize their risk of paying a claim. While they can’t always monitor your driving habits, they can look at things like moving violations and speeding tickets. The more of these you have, the higher your rates will be. 

One thing that companies consider as well is how much you were going over the speed limit. For example, getting pulled over for going 40 in a 35 is not as bad as going 65 in the same zone. Higher speeds can mean bigger tickets, as well as more substantial penalties. 

Overall, going fast is not worth the risk. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you could be hurting your wallet too. Slow down, and you’ll avoid many of these risks. 

  1. 2015–2016 US Transportation Fatalities & 2016–2017 US Transportation Fatalities
  2. NTSB Aims to Reduce Speeding-Related Crashes

Avoid Deadly Distractions Behind the Wheel

Avoid Deadly Distractions Behind the Wheel

Many people have a limited definition of “distracted driving”: They think it only means texting behind the wheel.

There’s good reason for that, because texting requires visual, manual and cognitive attention – the same attention required for safe driving. But although texting is perhaps the most dangerous distraction, there are many others that can impact how you drive, whether you realize it or not. And they can be just as deadly.

How deadly? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2015 more than 390,000 people were injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers – with more than 3,200 killed. (Distracted Driving 2016 stats:

Here are just a few of the things that can distract drivers on the road:

  • Talking on the phone, even with a hands-free device.
  • Eating or drinking.
  • Talking to passengers.
  • Grooming (yes, there really are people who apply makeup or shave on their way to work).
  • Reading, including maps.
  • Adjusting the stereo.

Younger drivers are the most distracted of all – according to the government’s  website, people in their 20s make up 38% of drivers who were using cell phones before a fatal crash, and 10% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted, too.

With distractions more prevalent than ever (more than 150 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. every month), how can you, and those you love, be safer behind the wheel? Here are a few tips:

Don’t use the phone: This includes texting as well as talking, unless it’s an emergency. Even hands-free conversations can take your attention off the road.

Eat before you leave, or after you get there: Scarfing down that burger with one hand on the wheel means your focus is divided – and you probably don’t have as much control over your car as you should. Bonus benefit: Keeping your meals and your driving separate means you’re much less likely to get ketchup on your pants.

Know where you’re going: Nobody likes to be lost. But messing around with your car’s GPS (or the maps app on your smartphone) while you’re moving can lead to something you’ll hate even more – an accident.

Talk to your family about safe driving: Having a conversation with your spouse as they’re driving home? That’s a perfect opportunity to say, “I’ll let you focus on the road; we can talk when you get here.” And if you have young drivers in the household, be sure to have a conversation about their phones and other potential issues, such as their passengers – a key distraction for teens.

Watch for other distracted drivers: Just because you aren’t distracted doesn’t mean that other drivers are focused on safe driving. Stay in control and be vigilant – you’ll be ready to react when someone else makes the wrong move.

Distracted driving isn’t just “one of those things” that happens, like a tire blowout or mechanical failure that isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s 100% preventable – and by committing to avoiding distractions while you drive, you’ll help make the road safer for everyone.

Dangers When Driving at Night

Dangers When Driving at Night

Although most of us drive after the sun goes down, we usually don’t realize how dangerous it can be to do so. At night, you have to be extra cautious because you may run into problems that wouldn’t be present during the day. In fact, more than 50% of all accident fatalities happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., showing that nighttime can be dangerous for everyone. 

So, to help you stay safe, we want to cover some of the most significant issues you may encounter out on the road. 

Some of the More Significant Nighttime Driving Issues

Decreased Visibility

Even if you drive in the city, you’re not going to get as much light at night. Not only that, but your eyes work differently in the dark, meaning that you’re already at a disadvantage when you get behind the wheel. 

What’s the result? You may not notice obstacles in your way, especially when turning and merging into traffic. It’s much easier to get into a collision when you can’t see anything. 

Overdriving Your Headlights

If you haven’t heard this term before, it means that you’re driving too fast to react to anything that shows up in your headlights. Most drivers create this problem without knowing it. In short, by the time you see anything, it’s too late. You’ll either hit what’s in front of you, or you’ll swerve violently to avoid it, which will likely cause you to hit something else. 

How do you avoid this situation? Drive slower to give yourself more time to react.

Impaired Judgement

There are many reasons for impaired driving judgment after sunset. Nighttime is when most people go out and celebrate. Staying out late with friends increases the chance of driving while tired. In addition, when traffic is less abundant, people can tend to get a little more relaxed and a little less cautious.

Even if that doesn’t sound like you, consider that you’re not the only car on the road. Be sure to drive defensively.

Suggestions to Stay Safe

Increase Your Visibility

Keep your headlights in good condition. Most older cars have lights that don’t provide as much illumination. This means that overdriving can be more of an issue. Replace dim bulbs. Also, keep your headlights clean.

Give yourself extra time when turning and merging to make sure that no other vehicles are in the space where you are going.

Use Good Judgment by Knowing When Yours Isn’t

Avoid driving when your judgment may be impaired. Whether you are tired or for any other reason, let a friend drive you home or call an Uber.

Be Aware of the Road and Other Drivers

Stay vigilant. As we mentioned, a lot of people lower their guard at night when there are fewer cars on the road. Don’t be one of them. 

Night driving doesn’t have to be dangerous. As long as you’re aware of the issues that come with it and you’re prepared, you should be fine. However, if something happens, you’ll be glad that you have the correct coverage for the situation. Give us a call at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us. It only take a few minutes to review your coverage and make sure it matches what you need.

4 Ways to Avoid Parking Lot Fender Benders

4 Ways to Avoid Parking Lot Fender Benders

Christmas is done for this year, and, for some of us, it’s time to return the ugly sweaters, odd-looking socks and other gifts that don’t quite fit what we are looking for.  Often, we tend to take the parking lot for granted. While we may be cautious and careful on the road, we may drive a little bit more recklessly when we are trying to find the perfect spot. 

So, it’s not too surprising to know that many minor collisions and accidents happen when we’re not paying attention, which can be a lot of times when we’re in a parking lot. Thus, with that in mind, we want to share some ways that you can avoid getting into a fender bender. 

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

One of the primary reasons why the parking lot can be such a hazardous place is that objects can be all around us. People walking behind the car, shopping carts in our blind spots – there are many more things to pay attention to than when you’re on the road. 

The best way to stay aware of what’s happening in your vicinity is to use your eyes and your mirrors. Be sure to turn around and look in the direction you’re moving, especially when backing up. Even if you have a rearview camera, it may not provide the complete picture. 

Slow Down

While it may be obvious on the surface, too many people will try to zip through a parking lot, especially if it’s not too crowded. However, because there are so many hazards (see above), this can be a dangerous move. Yes, you may be in a rush, but that’s no reason to drive recklessly. 

Increase Space

One of the most common dangers in a parking lot is people walking. Because we’re not used to following pedestrians on the road, it can feel a lot slower than average. Still, now’s not the time to tailgate. You don’t know what they’re going to do, and they don’t have a blinker to inform you of their next move. Simply put, give them some space. 

Be Respectful

Finally, you want to make sure that you’re giving the same respect to other people in the parking lot as you would expect from them. Avoid the road rage, even if someone did steal your spot. Think about it like this – what’s the worst thing that could happen? You may have to walk a little further? That’s no reason to make the parking lot more hazardous than it should be. 

At Bob Johnson Insurance, we want you and those around you to be safe. These tips (above) will help. However, sometimes parking lot fender benders happen. Having the right insurance coverage is important. Give us a call at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us. We are glad to help.

3 Ways to Reduce Car Crash Risk

3 Ways to Reduce Car Crash Risk

If you’ve been driving for a long time, then odds are that you’ve gotten into some sort of collision. Unfortunately, with so many people on the road and so many distractions, it’s inevitable that you may get involved in a fender bender (or worse). 

However, just because the odds are not on your side doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to getting into a crash. Today we want to go over some simple methods that can help you stay safe on the road. The safer we are, the fewer collisions there will be, and everyone wins. 

Avoid Cell Phones

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 660,000 people are on their mobile devices while driving. That’s an astonishing number, and it can present a lot of dangerous situations out there. You don’t want to be a part of that statistic, nor do you want to be part of the 1.6 million crashes caused by cell phones each year. 

Drive Defensively

Over 10,000 people die each year from drunk driving. Even if you were not drinking, other drivers may have been. Pay attention to what other drivers are doing and be more vigilant late at night, especially during holidays.

Slow Down

For many people, speed limits seem like an easy way for cops to pull you over and give you a citation. However, there’s a reason that they’re in place. Like drunk driving, over 10,000 people die from crashes caused by speeding motorists, so you want to avoid becoming one of them. 

The dangers of speeding are exacerbated in times of low-visibility, so be sure to slow down when it’s raining or dark out. You can’t always rely on other people to be using their headlights, nor can you see pedestrians until it’s too late. 

Overall, be smart and cautious behind the wheel, and you can make each drive a lot safer. Remember, it only takes one time to change your life, so pay attention. 

Make Sure You Have Enough Coverage

While insurance coverage won’t reduce the risk of a car crash, having the right coverage and enough of it is important in case you find yourself in a fender bender or worse. Checking your coverage (as well as your potential discounts) only take a phone call or email. Give us a call at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact us.

Driving Distracted May Mean More Than You Think

Reaching in the back seat while driving

We most often hear that texting and driving being distracted driving, but it is far more.  Do you realize that distracted driving has been happening for decades?

Most people don’t think about switching music being a distraction.  In the 1970’s it was changing 8-tracks; in the 80’s it was changing cassettes; in the 90’s, it was changing CDs; and now, it is scrolling through music on your phone or mp3 player.  Throughout the whole time, changing the radio station can be a distraction.  Music and texting are not the only ones either.

What is Distracted Driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.”  For example, the average text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds.  If you are driving 55mpg, “that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

Do you want to drive safely? Driving needs your full attention.

There are three primary types of distraction:

  • Visual– taking your eyes off the road;
  • Manual – taking your hands off the wheel; and
  • Cognitive – taking your mind off the task of driving.

Examples include:

  • Texting
  • Talking on a phone
  • Eating or Drinking
  • Shaving or Applying Makeup
  • Reading
  • Using a GPS
  • Adjusting your music (such as changing the radio station, inserting a CD, or scrolling for music on your MP3 player)

For many people, driving is the most dangerous daily activity.  That’s why it is important to pay close attention at all times when you’re behind the wheel.

Small Changes to Make a Difference

Here are some ways that you can be sure to stay attentive when you are driving.

  1. Turn off the phone while in the car or use your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature.
  2. If you have you receive a phone call while driving, pull over to answer the call or, if there is a passenger, ask them to answer for you.
  3. It’s better to not send text messages while driving.  If you must, pull over to send text messages.
  4. Know how to use your car’s features.  Be able to turn on your wipers, heat, air conditioning and other equipment without taking your eyes off the road.  If you get a new car, park and practice finding using your features with your eyes closed.
  5. When using a GPS, enter the address or location coordinates before starting your trip.  During the trip, if you need to enter information, pull over and stop to do so.  Also, keep the audio turn-by-turn directions are on and easy to hear.
  6. If you get upset, frustrated or angry before driving, take a few minutes to regain your focus and composure prior to getting on the road.
  7. If you need to address back seat situations with children, stop at a safe location.  Never drive while looking or reaching into at the back seat.
  8. Secure your pets. Do not let them roam free in the vehicle while driving.
  9. Get an adequate amount of sleep.  Avoid driving tired.
  10. Never drive with your knees.

Always remember, your safety is important to you, your family, your friends, and to Bob Johnson Insurance!

What If… I am in a Car Accident?

What if...

Accidents are one of the biggest dangers while driving on the road, and it’s important that everyone knows just what to do in case they find themselves involved in one.

Start by moving your vehicle to a safe area, if possible. Leaving the car in the way of other traffic can add to the problem and adds danger to those still on the road. Unless the vehicle is disabled completely or it would be unsafe to move the car out of traffic, pulling into a safe area is the best course of action. If the car can’t be moved then ensure the hazard lights have been turned on to help warn traffic of the upcoming problem.

Shut off the vehicle and exit it if possible. Once the vehicle has stopped, for safety purposes it’s best to set the car in park and/or place the parking brake, take a few calming breaths, check to be sure it’s safe to exit the vehicle and then get out. This is in case the vehicle may pose any dangers. It’s also important to grab flares or triangles to help set up hazard identification for those that may be driving up on the accident.

Check on everyone involved in the accident to see if emergency care is needed. Finding out if fellow passengers, people in other vehicles, pedestrians or other bystanders need help is the next step. If there are injuries be sure to call 9-1-1 immediately and try to render first aid if possible.

Call the police to the scene to file an accident report. Accident reports are important to insurance companies and in the case of any criminal activity. It’s best not to blame others for the accident to the police, nor should you admit blame, as their investigation will allow them to make a reasonable assessment of the situation and who to assign fault to, if necessary.

Collect as much information as you can, and provide all of your information to others involved in the accident. Getting other driver’s names, license plate numbers, insurance information, car information, the accident location, witness and police contact information and anything else that seems pertinent will help you resolve the accident more swiftly.

Call your insurance provider to see what they’d like to have done. Take photos, write notes, save information and let your insurance agent know exactly what happened. From there let the insurance companies figure out what needs to be done so that you can get back to driving your car as soon as possible.

Have questions?  Give us a call us at 800-624-3339 or click here to contact Bob Johnson Insurance.

Beach Safety Guide: Before You Go

Beach Safety Guide

For most families, going to the beach is a fun and relaxing way to spend your time. Whether you’re going for the day or taking a vacation against the sand and surf, the beach can be both rewarding and exciting. However, just because there are a lot of great things to do there, doesn’t mean that it’s without any possible downsides.

From getting swept away by the ocean to getting a nasty sunburn, there are more dangers than you might think when you plan your next trip to the beach. So, to help ensure that you and your family don’t have to worry, we’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks, and advice to help you get the most out of your next excursion.

Preparing Your Vehicle

For many people, planning a trip to the beach requires more preparation than heading down the street. If you don’t live close by the water, it could be a relatively long journey before you feel the spray of the sea in your hair.

As such, it’s imperative that you prepare your car beforehand so that you don’t run into problems later on. Some things to think about before you head out:

  • Check Your Fluids:if it’s been a while since you’ve changed your oil, brake fluid, and other liquids in your car, then you want to make sure that you don’t run out on your journey. Coolant is especially crucial if you’re going to a hot climate.
  • Clean Your Car:both the inside and out of your vehicle should be close to spotless before your trip. The reason for this is that it will be much easier to manage the sand that you will inevitably bring inside. If your car is currently messy, it will only get mixed in with the rest of the dirt, making it harder to see.
  • Check Your Tires: some beaches allow you to drive on them, which enables you to better access to the water and ensures that you have a place to set up camp for the day. However, if your tires are not in excellent condition, you could lose traction and wind up slipping and sliding on the sand.

Download a free Travel Safety Checklist at:

Summer Travel Safety: Checklist for Before You Leave

Summer Travel Safety: Be Safe at Rest Areas

Rest Area Safety

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.

Summer Travel Safety: Checklist for Before You Leave

Prepping for Spring

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