Memorial Day Weekend: The Most Accident-Prone Weekend of the Year

Memorial Day Weekend marks the [un]official start of summer and that means trips to the beach, day trips, and lots of heavy traffic on the roads.  The holiday weekend runs from Friday May 25 at 6pm to 11:59pm on Monday May 28th.

Drivers are in a hurry to get where they’re going, frustrated sitting in traffic, and when drivers are aggravated, they’re 20% more likely to get in an accident.

In general, summer is the most deadly driving season – more deaths occur during the three summertime holidays – Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day – than the rest of the year’s holidays.  According to the National Safety Council, each summer holiday typically claims over 110 lives each day, the highest average per-day fatality rates.

Research shows that red-light violations are 27% higher on Memorial Day Weekend than compared to the average holiday weekend with over 2.3 million drivers in 18-states running red lights on the holiday weekend last year.  That averages 1.2 red-light violations each second of the weekend.

The increase of distracted driving certainly plays into this – just one glance at your phone can result in running a red light, crossing into another lane, or worse – hitting an innocent bystander.

If we pay attention, slow down and be courteous, we can increase our changes of making it to picnics, beaches, and barbeques rather than emergency rooms,” says Deborah A.P. Hersman, the President and CEO of the National Safety Council.  

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Safety Tips for Drivers on Memorial Day Weekend

Pay Attention At All Times.

If you are sitting in stop-and-go traffic for a long time, it can be easy to get distracted and start fidgeting with the radio, playing on your phone, or even just getting carried away with your passengers. It’s very important that you stay fully alert and pay attention at all times so you see merging cars, pedestrians, or emergency vehicles that are navigating their way through traffic.  Don’t allow distractions to be the cause of reckless driving while you are on the way to your destination.

Allow Extra Time for Travel

It’s better to arrive at your destination safely, rather than on time.  There will inevitably be more traffic on the holiday weekend, so plan accordingly – leave earlier than planned, take an alternative route, and know it will take longer to get to your destination than on any other weekend. Don’t rush traffic lights or speed to make it there on time, drive safely and cautiously to prevent accidents due to being in a hurry. 

Get Out and Stretch

If you are traveling a far distance for the holiday weekend, plan breaks every few hours to get out and stretch.  Stretching your legs and giving your brain a break will allow you to stay more alert when you are back on the road. If you stop to get food, park further away so you have to walk a little more.  

Know The Risk is Higher

Plan your travel around the times when risk is lower on the roads. Friday afternoon poses the greatest risk since people are getting off work and are ready to enjoy their long weekend. During these times, there is a higher risk for accidents since people will likely be hungry (which can contribute to stress levels). Be sure your visor doesn’t block the roadway and you stay alert and focused.

It’s always sad to hear about accidents that could have been prevented.  We wish everyone a safe and accident free Memorial Day Weekend!

Pros and Cons for Trading in a Vehicle

Trade-ins are fairly common. The process is quick and it is quite possibly the easiest way to get your old car off your hands. However, some people choose to sell the car privately and avoid bargaining with a dealer. But before dismissing the idea of trading in a vehicle, let’s look at some of the advantages of going that route and risks you can potentially avoid by selling a vehicle privately.

Advantages of Trading in a Vehicle

It’s quick and convenient

When you sell a vehicle privately, it can take a lot of time – you have to meet with potential buyers, weed out the good and bad leads, and the process of transferring of the title and ownership. When you trade-in your vehicle, the dealership handles transferring everything and you can get rid of your car in a day or two.

It reduces the price of your new car

The trade-in value of your old car goes towards the price of your new vehicle, lowering the amount that needs to be financed. If you own the car outright, not only will your financing be lower, but you’ll also get a tax break on your new vehicle since the dealership was able to knock off thousands off the sale price.  For example, if your purchase a vehicle for $20,000 and your trade-in was worth $6,000, you’ll only need financing and pay taxes on $14,000.

You only have to deal with the dealership

If you don’t have time to market the vehicle for yourself, trading in your vehicle is the easiest option, since you only have to deal with one person – the dealership! All you need to do is show up, negotiate the deal, and you’re one step closer to buying a new car. There may be benefits to working with a dealer.

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Disadvantages of Trading in a Vehicle

You may get less money for the car

When you trade-in your vehicle, the most money you can hope to get get from the dealership is the car’s wholesale value. Before you go to a dealership, be sure know the value of your vehicle by using Kelley Blue Book or NADA evaluations. This will prevent you from accepting just any offer and having the dealership buy the car from you for a lot less than it’s true value.

You limit where you can buy a new car

If you get a vehicle appraised and traded-in at one dealership, they may require you to purchase your next car from them.  If the dealership doesn’t have the car that you want to purchase, then you can’t trade-in your car.

The dealership may not want it

This was common in 2008 during the surge in gas prices – dealers didn’t want trucks and SUVs because they weren’t popular with the public.  Dealerships don’t like to gamble of vehicles that won’t make them a profit. Another reason the dealership may not want your trade-in vehicle is because they have multiple vehicles like that on their lot.  

Motorcycle Safety: 6 Tips Seasoned Riders Swear By

You can learn a lot about motorcycle safety in a motorcycle safety course, and it is certainly suggested that every rider takes one. However, there are some safety tips that are best learned through experience. Seasoned riders often have the best advice and tips for riding safely and navigating the road.

Motorcycle Safety Tips from Seasoned Riders

Wear the proper gear

While this may seem like common sense, you will see many riders wearing shorts and a t-shirt riding their bikes on the road. This will not keep you safe if you get in an accident and puts you at higher risk and subject to terrible injuries.  Wearing motorcycle gear (pants, jacket, vest), approved helmets, and gloves can prevent further damage and injury on the road.  Look for thinner gloves as to not affect your reaction time and allow you to maintain control.

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Never Ride Tired

If you are traveling a long distance, it is recommended to that you stop every 75-125 miles to refresh and stretch. Every rider knows their tolerance, but it’s best to not push the limit and stop long before you are feeling tired.  Stretch your legs, refresh your brain, and only being riding again once you feel thoroughly awake.

Be Cautious of Large Trucks and Semis

Large trucks have low visibility, so when you can, ride within view of their mirrors so the driver knows you are there. Pass only when it is safe. Semi trucks cause wind turbulence than can be unsettling to riders so it is safest to not ride next to them or behind them when possible.

Only Ride According to Your Skills and Ability

If you are in a group of riders and they are traveling at a pace faster than you are comfortable with riding, hang back. It’s better to be cautious and safe than to go faster than your abilities allow. All riders need to be fully aware of their abilities, capabilities, and reaction time when riding in a group.

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Keep a Clear Line of Sight

If you are looking at a curb, chances are, you’ll hit the curb.  Keep your eyes on the road and where you want to go. Look for clear paths, look through turns, and keep your field of vision on where you want to travel. Safely avoid road hazards, potholes, or any debris in the road by keeping your line of sight clear.

5 Tips all Car and Truck Drivers Need to Know About Motorcycles

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and as the temperatures get warmer and we draw closer to summer, more and more motorcycles will be out on the roads.  As car and truck drivers begin to share the road with their 2-wheeled friends, there are some things they need to know in order to keep everyone safe.

1. Motorcycles’ Small Size Make it Hard to See Them

Because of the narrow profile of a motorcycle, motorcycles can be easily hidden in blind spots or objects along the road at intersections like hedge rows, bridges, and fences.  Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles. Again, due to the smaller size of motorcycles, they may seem further away than they really are. Take time to double check before changing lanes or turning at an intersections. 

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2. Turn Signals are Not Self-Cancelling

Motorcyclists often change their position in a lame to account for road bumps, potholes, or debris. By no means does this mean they are making room to share a lane with a vehicle or allowing a car to go around.  Turn signals on motorcycles are not self-cancelling like in cars or trucks, so their drivers (especially beginners) may forget to turn them off after changing lanes. Be aware of what a motorcycle is doing on the road.

3. Easy Maneuverability

Due to their small size, motorcycles can maneuver traffic a lot easier than 4-wheeled vehicles.  However, they can’t always dodge out of the way, so give motorcyclists more space in to avoid an accident.  

4. Motorcycles Don’t Stop Short

Just because motorcycles can maneuver traffic with greater ease doesn’t mean theycan stop on a dime – especially if road conditions aren’t ideal.  If the roads are bumpy, uneven, or slick, motorcycles will have a harder time slowing down. Allow more distance between yourself and a motorcycle to account for perhaps a longer stopping period. Motorcyclists often slow down by rolling back on the throttle or by downshifting, so you may not see brake lights. Again, another reason to leave more distance between you and them.motorcycles-share-road

5. Accidents are More Fatal

Over half of the fatal motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle. This is because of all the things mentioned above (lower visibility, longer stopping distances, etc.) but also partially due to the fact that there are simply more cars and trucks on the road than motorcycles.  

Keeping everyone safe this motorcycle season is important, which is why these tips can help save lives. By being aware of your surroundings and watching for others, we can work to avoid the reckless accidents between 4-wheeled cars and trucks and motorcycles.