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Category: Safety and Accidents

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Getting your teen to drive safely isn’t as hard as you think.

As a driver, you know there are a ton of distractions that can take your eyes and mind away from the road. Your teen may be aware of these distractions, but may not know how serious they can affect their driving.

Drivers under 20 are at the highest risk of distracted driving accidents, largely thanks to phones. Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident. In 2017, 100,687 crashes happened on Texas roads due to distracted driving.

One of the most important conversations you can have with your teen is about safe driving. Here are a few ways to positively encourage them to do so.

1. Lead by example

Kids learn behavior from their role models. They aren’t likely to stay off their phone behind the wheel if they see you on your phone behind the wheel. The earlier you can set an example, the better. If your teen has often seen you on your phone while driving already, tell them that you want to practice safer driving with them.

You can have them encourage you to stay off your phone or engage in other distracting behaviors while you drive, as you’ll do the same for them.

2. Give them the tools to succeed

Visual of the Drive Mode app that has big buttons with simple functions like calling and playing audio
Apps like Drivemode can simplify the most commonly used phone features for easy access and less time with your eyes off the road.

There are several apps that can help reduce your teen’s distractions. If your teen uses their phone for music or Bluetooth calling, they probably won’t want to put it away completely. Instead, help them set up an app to lock certain features or allow hands-free control.

Keeping your teen’s phone on a mount also helps them keep their eyes close to the road and minimizes the time their hands are off the wheel should they use it.

This isn’t the perfect solution, but especially as we are increasingly depending on constant-communication, your teen may be less inclined to turn off and stow their phone. But this way, you can allow them to use it in a much safer manner.

3. Peer influence

Peer influence also plays a part in distracted driving. Others in the car can be a positive or negative influence on the driver. A 2015 AT&T study showed that 85% of participants would download an app to block their phone notifications if one of their “top 5” closest communicators asked them to. Many drivers are receptive to those they care about – if only those people asked them to change their behavior.

Talk to your teen and their friends about how they engage with one another. Encourage them to support one another to make safe driving habits. It’s also important to talk to them about being aware of their behavior in the car to support safe driving.

4. Positive reinforcement

a young driver in a red checkered shirt sits with their hands on the wheel.
Encourage your teen driver with positive reinforcement.

New drivers hear a lot of negative comments concerning what they’re doing wrong. While this is often vital, they also need to hear positive reinforcement of their safe driving skills.

Both on and off the road, don’t be afraid to compliment your teen on something they did well. It could be the way they maintained the speed limit. Or how they told their friend to text them when they get home safely.

Even if they don’t seem receptive, small encouragements can help them see safe driving as an asset instead of an annoyance.

Some safe driving apps, like San Antonio-based Safe 2 Save, also reward you for staying off your phone, which also positively reinforces attentive driving. You can encourage them to earn rewards at local businesses, to give your teen incentive to stay off their phone.

You can even do it as a family and compete to see who can get the most safe-driving rewards. Again, your teen will have their good habits positively reinforced.

5. Practice practice practice

This is obvious, but for your teen to get better at driving, they need to spend more time on the road. Offer to let them drive if it’s just the two of you, and take them out to practice in heavier traffic. Often, teens don’t encounter difficult driving situations until they’re on their own. Having them encounter difficult driving situations with you there can help them in the long run.

For more teen driving safety, follow ProCare Collision on Instagram.

A person stands behind the hood of a grey car looking at the engine. They are stopped on the side of a small road surrounded by green grass.
Is it time for a new car yet? Costly repairs are a big factor in many car owners’ decision to buy new.

You love your car. You’ve been taking good care of it for years, but after the last accident, you’re not sure how much more repair you’re willing to pour into it. But buying a new is also a huge financial commitment. Here are a few considerations as to whether or not you want to commit to a new vehicle.

Safety

Obviously, newer cars are safer. They have the latest technology to keep you and your vehicle out of harm’s way. If your car is more than 5 years old, compare the safety features of your car to newer vehicles. Some things can be added on to your current vehicle, but others cannot. Features like automatic emergency braking, backup cameras, and blind-spot monitoring are almost standard safety now. If there’s a serious gap in the safety of your car and newer vehicles, it’s probably time to buy a new one.

Also, if you are looking for your teen driver, safer cars are the way to go. Anything that helps an inexperienced driver navigate the road will benefit them.

Saving money

If you find yourself at the repair shop often, you may feel like your car is costing you more than it’s worth. However, the cost of a new car is much more burdensome. Not only would you probably be paying more in monthly payments, but you’ll also pay more in insurance and registration fees.

A new car loses about 20 percent of its value in a year. This can leave you “upside down” in payments before long: You’ll owe more than what it’s worth. While this is a normal part of getting a new car, you’ll likely be stuck with it when this happens – for better or worse.

However, if your current vehicle is a gas guzzler you’ll likely save money on fuel by switching to something more efficient. This would be a great reason to trade in your vehicle.

Peace of mind

A pair of legs with white tennis shoes stick out of the drivers window of a car.
Knowing you have a safe vehicle with a current warranty can help you enjoy your car rather than avoid wearing it down.

Sometimes the worry of an old car breaking down is not worth holding out to buy a new one. Repairing an old problem doesn’t guarantee another major problem won’t happen sooner than later.

You may just be fed up with an ongoing problem in your vehicle: An annoying engine noise, a broken radio, worn upholstery…there is a multitude of everyday annoyances and worries getting a new car can fix. Constant trips to the repair shop are stressful and can leave you several days without your vehicle.

Buying new comes with the peace of mind that you’ll probably not be in the shop for a repair. And if you do, you’ll probably have a warranty to cover it for several years to come.

Sentiment

If you’ve had a car a long time, you may have a sentimental attachment to it. Saying goodbye can feel like abandoning an old friend. While this isn’t necessarily a big reason to keep the vehicle, it may influence a decision to keep your old car. Think about it this way: Sentimental value makes the car more valuable to you than it would to anyone else.

Making a decision

While multiple factors have to be considered in your decision, there are a few instances we’d recommend buying new:

a woman smiles thoughtfully behind the wheel of a car
Your commute doesn’t have to cause you stress. Use these mindful tips to help you have a happy drive.

 

Let’s be honest. Central Texas’ worst drawback is the traffic. Whether you’re driving into San Antonio, Austin, or just trying to get through town in San Marcos, congestion is abound. That’s why it’s smart to have a plan to kick the stress for your mid-week traffic jam.

Not only will calming down help you cope with a frustrating traffic situation, but people who are stressed or angry tend to exhibit reckless driving habits. This is dangerous for you and the cars around you.

Here are a few ways you can de-stress behind the wheel and get some enjoyment out of an otherwise stressful commute.

1. Listen to a podcast or audiobook

Preferably, your listening material shouldn’t be high-energy or aggressive, as we can often channel into our behavior. Instead, listen to something that takes your mind (partly) off the traffic around you. Listening to engaging audio could help your mind stay alert while distancing yourself from the stress at hand.

2. Turn your phone off

Someone behind the wheel looks at a smartphone.
Turn your phone off while driving. Alerts can be stressful, especially while you’re paying attention to the road.

Using a phone while driving is illegal in some places, but ultimately your phone is a major stress machine. If you’re driving and hear several alerts going off, you’ll likely feel an urgency to check it. Turning it off doesn’t give you the option to feel this way.

3. Do some yoga

Yes, you read that right. Practice some yoga as you drive. Some stretches are best done when the car is fully stopped, while some, like practicing your breathing, can be done while driving. Start by sitting up straight. Roll your neck and stretch your muscles gently, and slowly. Focus on your body and you’ll soon feel calmer.

4. Let it go

Sometimes we let ourselves get carried away. Who hasn’t let a bit of road rage fester while you’re driving? But the key to staying calm isn’t not to feel that way. It’s to choose to let those feelings subside. Anger is a natural reaction when someone cuts you off, but to reject that feeling will help you stay calm and focused. Remember that you have no control over the actions of other drivers. The best you can do is observe and react as safely as you can.

5. Take a break

An interior shot of a cafe with communal seating and people sitting and working on computers in the background.
Stop by a cafe to break up your commute and take a breather. Getting off the road for a few minutes can lower stress.

If the traffic is making you feel anxious or too stressed, you can always pull over if you need to. Try stopping at a coffee shop or convenience store for a snack and a proper stretch. You might even hang around for a bit while traffic subsides.

Texas has miles and miles of highways. With all those roads, thankfully the Lone Star State does not rank at the top for the most dangerous highways in the country. California ranks number one in that category. But maybe you’re curious, what are the most dangerous roads in Texas?

If you travel near any of the major cities, take note of some of the most dangerous highways.

A Texas state road sign with blue sky and clouds in the background
Texas has many highways, but some of the most dangerous happen to be in the Central Texas area.

Topping the List in the San Antonio Area

A recent study showed that a 14-mile stretch of I-410 claimed most of the 176 fatalities that occurred from 2013 to 2015. The study also showed that I-35 is on the list and in the San Antonio area, there were nine accidents near mile marker 101 that resulted in 13 fatalities. Eleven more crashes occurred near mile 128 that resulted in 11 total fatalities.

Two areas of Interstate 10 also ranked in the top 25 on the list. U.S. Highway 90, FM 2252, SL 13, and SL 1604 were also on the list. As many San Antonio residents may know, some of these are in high traffic areas which increases the risk for major collisions.

What drivers can do on dangerous roads

Knowing which areas are at a greater risk for accidents can help drivers be more aware and possibly avoid the need for auto body repair and reduce the risk for injury or death. They should always be aware of their surroundings and other vehicles.

In high traffic areas, it’s especially important to watch your speed, watch for road signs, as well as erratic or careless drivers. High speed can lead to serious accidents (and we know how SA drivers love to speed). Slowing down can give you more reaction time if you need to drive defensively.

At ProCare Automotive and Collision we not only work in San Antonio, but we also live here. We care about our neighbors and our community.

For more safety information, follow us on Facebook.

close-up of a tire on a black vehicle
Taking care of your tires can prevent accidents.

Maintaining good quality tires on a vehicle is something car owners must do. Insufficient tread or air pressure leads to more than just a flat tire. In 2017, tire-related crashes resulted in 738 fatalities nationwide. While the number of tire-related crashes has dropped in the past decade, they can still happen and cause serious damage.

Proper tire maintenance is one of many steps car owners can take to prevent an accident.

Proper tire tread

The tread on tires can vary depending on the type of tire and the type of vehicle. You want enough tire tread to allow water on the road to go through the tread. This gives your car traction.

There is a quick test you can do to check your tread. Insert the penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head pointed down into the tread. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the worn tires on your vehicle.

If you don’t have change, look for the tread wear indicator bars which are located on several areas of the tire.

Check the tire pressure

The tire pressure for every vehicle can vary but is typically between 30 and 35 psi. Make a habit of checking your tire pressure routinely and it is especially important to do this before you drive on slick roads.

While most newer vehicles are equipped with tire sensors, you do not want to always rely on that in case the sensors malfunction. Under-inflated and damaged tires are leading contributors to a blowout, which can result in a serious collision.

For more car care advice, follow us on Facebook.

A car sits on the side of the road with tall flames coming out of it, and a plume of dark smoke.
You might have a feeling your car is totaled, but you can still have its value assessed by your insurance.

You step out of your car, and you take a look at the damage to your vehicle. That’s the moment you know it’s more than a fender bender. You may ask yourself “Is my car totaled?”

It’s unlikely you’ll find out at the scene of a crash: The car’s value and body shop repair cost determines if it is repairable. It’s also important to know your insurance policy and the process to file a claim for repairs, which can make the process of repairs more affordable and/or timely.

 

What to do with a car totaled accident

The repair team will inspect the damage, complete the repair estimate, and compare it with the car’s current value. If the repair estimate is more than the current car value, the insurance will not qualify it for repair.

For example, a car with a value of $5,000 that needs $7,000 worth of repair will not qualify.

Check your insurance policy to know what you should expect with a vehicle that is not repairable. In most cases, the insurance company will issue you a check for the value of the car. If you do not agree with the amount, you can get quotes from used car dealers, view prices online, and note any additional or special features on your car. Show this documentation to the insurance company to dispute the amount.

Keeping a totaled vehicle

Cars hold sentimental value for many and some choose to repair a totaled vehicle.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. The insurance company will subtract the vehicle’s salvage value from the amount it planned to pay you. To drive the car again, you need a salvage title. Repairs are your responsibility.

If you want a totaled car fixed, find a body shop you trust to provide an accurate estimate to repair the vehicle.

At ProCare Automotive and Collision in San Antonio, we have experienced and trained technicians who know exactly what it will take to repair the vehicle back to a safe and drivable condition again.

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No parent wants their teen to have an accident and wind up searching for an auto body shop. Driving for the first time can come with mixed emotions for any teen. They can be extremely excited, nervous, or overwhelmed. Parents can also feel similar emotions as they teach a teen safe driving.

There are a few ways to demonstrate good driver responsibility to your teen.

stress safe teen driving to prevent visit to auto body shop san antonio tx

Drive by example

AAA recently surveyed driving instructors. According to the survey, parents today do not prepare their teen drivers as well as parents did a decade ago. The instructors reported parents setting bad examples through their own driving behaviors. Research shows that young drivers will mimic the driving of parents and other family members.

Remember when your child gets closer to learning how to drive to be aware of how you operate a vehicle. Re-familiarize yourself with traffic and safety rules. Reduce behaviors you wouldn’t want your teen driver to do. This includes reducing distractions like cell phone use and obeying the speed limit.

Having a soon-to-be driver in your car can help you get back in the practice of responsible driving.

Practice, practice, practice

As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” The more experience that your teen can get behind the wheel will help your new driver respond better to a potential accident. It is better to expose them to different driving situations with you in the car next to them so they can learn from you can put your guidance into practice in the future.

Young drivers often do not get enough practice in inclimate weather, night driving, and heavy traffic – situations where they’re most likely to get into a crash.

Encouragement is important

Every parent knows that praise is helpful when their teen is doing the right thing, especially when they are driving safely behind the wheel. Positive reinforcement of good driving can be encouraging and help your teen build driving confidence.

But encouragement in other ways is also important. Have discussions with your teen to let him or her know it is a good thing to speak up if they don’t feel safe driving or to also speak up with their peers about unsafe driving. Sometimes discussing what to do or say in social situations can help your teen set boundaries (and a good example!) with other young drivers.

For more tips on safe teen driving, follow us on Facebook.

A woman sits in the drivers seat of a grey car with the keys in her hand. She's leaning out the window, smiling.
Finding a safe vehicle for your teen may feel overwhelming, but a good place to look is IIHS safety ratings.

When searching for a vehicle for your teen driver, you want to find the safest option possible. Not only are teen drivers inexperienced with many dangerous driving situations, but driving on busy San Antonio roads means a greater chance of an accident.

Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announces the cars for its Top Safety Picks. IIHS looks at two main aspects of safety: crashworthiness and crash prevention. “Crashworthiness” is how well the vehicle protects the occupants of the car. Prevention looks at technology that could mitigate or lessen the severity of a crash.

If you plan to buy a new vehicle, look at the list of Top Safety Picks.

Safest vehicles for 2017

If you want a pre-owned vehicle from 2017, the IIHS considers these cars as the safest models: Chevrolet Volt, Volvo S60, Toyota Prius Prime, Subaru Impreza, Genesis G80, Genesis G90, Volvo V60, Nissan Maxima, Lexus RC, and the Subaru Legacy.

  • 2017 Nissan Maxima

Safest vehicles for 2018

For 2018 models, the IIHS ranked these vehicles as the safest: Kia Forte, Kia Soul, Subaru Impreza, Subaru WRX, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Toyota Camry, BMW 5 series, Genesis G80, Genesis G90, Lincoln Continental, Mercedes-Benz E Class sedan, Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Mercedes-Benz GLC.

  • 2018 Mercedes Benz GLC

Other considerations

A safe car can only do its job if your teen follows the rules of the road. Your teen should know that just because they have an excellent safety-rated car doesn’t mean that they need to be any less alert while driving. Obeying traffic rules, putting away their cell phone, and using their seatbelt are still of greater importance to their safety.

An outside view of two dash cameras attached near the top of a windshield.
Dash cameras are becoming increasingly popular, filming the outside or inside of a car while driving.

We live in a world where much of what we do in public is on camera. If you go inside a business, you may be on a security camera. When attending events, you may be in someone’s video from a smartphone. And now, more drivers use dash cameras than ever before. Many people use them in their personal vehicles to capture various perspectives while driving.

There is not a specific law in Texas that pertains to dash cameras. However, there are privacy and driving laws that drivers using a dash camera should know.

Privacy rights

With cameras that surround us in public and people using their smartphones, it is easy to forget that we do have rights to our privacy.

Recording video from a dash camera while driving is not against the law in San Antonio, as long as it is hands-free. Mount the camera on the dash and never maneuver it while driving. If you are recording audio, remember the privacy laws in Texas regarding consent to being recorded with audio.

Also, it is not against the law to record a traffic stop, or any interaction with police, in Texas.

Keep a clear view

If your dash camera is mounted on the dashboard or on your windshield, do not put it in a location that blocks your view. Make sure your camera doesn’t prevent you from seeing vital road signs, pedestrians, or other vehicles.

Also, never depend on a dash camera as your view for driving. The camera can serve as a different perspective of what you see while driving and can become an extra set of eyes, but should not be relied upon for safety.

Benefits of dash camera video for a collision center

Close-up of a front bumper and headlight, dented and misaligned.
Dash cameras can help drivers when talking to car repair technicians and their insurance.

Drivers who get into a wreck can provide the video footage to their body shop for repair technicians to review. Technicians can then have a better understanding of the impact to the car and possible damage.

The video can also be helpful for insurance agents, determining blame for an accident, or viewing your driving behaviors that may have caused the crash.

At ProCare Collision, a body shop in San Antonio, we have provided high quality collision repair to vehicles for more than 60 years. The more details you have regarding the accident can help our technicians provide the most accurate repairs to your car so you can get back on the road.

Visit us on Facebook for more car tips and safety information.

towing to local auto body shop
Figure out your options and coverage when it comes to towing.

When you get in an accident, it feels like everything is happening at once. Law enforcement is asking what happened, you have questions from the other driver, and your insurance company needs details. Additionally, you have to determine if you need towing services.

You have towing options

A tow truck may arrive to the accident scene as a request from law enforcement. Or, a truck could show up unsolicited after hearing about the accident on scanner traffic. Just like choosing body shop locations that you want to use, you have the right to select the towing company. Whether or not there is a tow truck on site, you can choose whichever service best fits your needs.

Know Your Insurance Policy

Know what your insurance policy covers when you sign up. Go back and review your policy from time to time to remember what is covered, including roadside assistance coverage. If you have that, your insurance company will cover the cost of the tow, but the coverage may likely have a maximum number of miles it can be towed. If you do not have coverage for towing, this will be an expense you need to pay out of pocket.

Also, keep in mind if your insurance company does not cover towing, you may have benefits from other places, including AAA, that may keep you from paying for that tow. Some credit card companies also offer roadside assistance.

Understand the Costs

Be specific when asking questions from the tow truck driver about all fees involved with the towing process, including where it will be towed and if there are storage fees associated. Do not allow the company to tow your vehicle without a clear understanding of the cost and if possible, request a printed invoice with the detailed pricing with the towing fee, storage fees, and any other charges. The printed invoice will be necessary to provide to your insurance company for reimbursement, if you have roadside assistance.

If you need assistance getting your car towed and you want to rest assured it will be towed to a secure location, give ProCare Automotive & Collision a call. We will schedule the tow and help you through the repair process so you can get back on the road.

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