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Tag: safe driver

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.

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.

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A glowing blue outline of a car sits on a reflective black surface.
A lot is changing in car technology, making repair more complicated than ever.

You may first be attracted to a new vehicle model because of the exterior design. Today’s cars consist of more than just looks and how it rides though. A variety of technology packages now available keep everyone in the vehicle safe. Technology and certified collision repair go hand-in-hand with new cars.

What is certified collision repair?

Certified Collision Repair means your body shop makes sure it’s employees regularly train with the manufacturers. Each manufacturer has different standards and specifications of repair. The certification makes sure techs are on the same page with the manufacturer about how to repair their vehicles – not just functionally, but exceptionally.

What does it have to do with my new car?

With increasingly advanced technology, techs need more training to keep up-to-date on how to repair that new technology. Manufacturer certifications help them understand new changes to the car’s body and technology.

If an accident damages a feature such as the automatic emergency braking (AEB), the technician must know how to repair it to the manufacturer’s standards so it will operate safely again. Repairing it with older methods may not fully repair the damage, or even make it worse.

Everyone gets in accidents, unfortunately. If you get in one, you’ll need a body shop that will get the job done correctly the first time.

When you’re looking for the right shop, ask questions. You should ask the auto body shop if the technicians are certified with your vehicle’s brand. Then find out how often the technicians train. Knowing that your body shop is up-to-date on training will give you extra assurance when you drop off your vehicle.

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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.

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