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.  

How to Speed Up the Car-Buying Process:

You did it! You found the car of your dreams. you took it for a test drive. you know it’s the car you want to drive home. And now… you wait.

The used car-buying process can be agonizingly slow and drawn out since more times than not, it includes arranging financing, signing contracts, and determining what other aftermarket add-ons you may want for your vehicle. With newer technology becoming standard in vehicles, some of that lengthy wait can be chalked up to going over the navigation, audio, and entertainment systems.

However, the longest delays can happen when you show up with the wrong, expired, or forgotten documents. By following this checklist, you can avoid some delays and get on your way.

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Car-Buying Process: Document Checklist

  • Payments: You can use a bank check or credit union check for the pre-approved loan amount, or if you are financing through the dealership, you can use a personal check or even a credit card for your down payment. To know what checks are accepted at the dealership, call ahead of time and speak to the finance manager.  They will be able to tell you everything you need before stepping foot into the dealership.
  • Driver’s License: The dealership will need to know that you are legally allowed to drive the vehicle off the lot once it’s purchased, so be sure you bring a valid driver’s license. This will also service as a form of identification for your check or method of payment.
  • Title for Your Trade-In: If you are trading in a vehicle, you will need proof that you own the vehicle. This shows that you are the owners and are allowed to trade it in. If you had a co-signer on the trade-in, be sure to obtain their signature ahead of time. Tip: Be careful during this stage. If the title is signed incorrectly, it could be rejected by the dealership or motor vehicle registry. If you are unclear as to what needs to be signed, speak to someone at the dealership and they will be able to assist you.
  • Current Vehicle Registration: If you are trading in a vehicle, you will need the current registration. Be sure it is valid, up to date, ad the stickers on your vehicle match the documentation.
  • Proof of Insurance: In order to drive your new car off the lot, the dealership will need to see proof of insurance. Call your insurance company and inform them of your pending purchase so your policy can be updated quickly, as soon as you know what vehicle you are purchasing. In some cases, insurance companies will fax information directly to the dealerships, however, some dealerships just need visual proof that you have a current auto insurance policy.

car-buying process documents

  • Pay-Off Amount for Trade-In: If you are trading in a car that you still owe on, you will need to bring the payoff amount and loan information. If you are unsure how to handle this, call the lender and explain what you are doing. This type of transaction occurs regularly, so they’ll be able to walk you through the process.

Buying a used car doesn’t have to take all day. Come prepared and you will hit the road in no time!

Bold Move by Ford Mirrors the Change in Industry

Last week, Ford’s CEO, Jim Hackett, announced that in the coming years, Ford would be eliminating their extensive lineup of sedans and coupes.  

Over the past few years, sedan sales have plummeted and left automakers questioning the future of the automotive industry.  By 2022, the only passenger car that will be available by Ford will be the Mustang, which has gained a cult-like following since it’s debut in 1964.

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Time, money, and efforts are shifting to grand interest in SUVs, Crossovers, and the world-famous Ford Truck lineup.  By eliminating their full-size sedan, the Taurus, their mid-size Fusion, and compact Fiesta, Ford will be able to shift their sights to the rising trend of larger, family-friendly sport utility vehicles.  

“We’re going to feed the healthy parts of our business and deal decisively with the areas that destroy value,” said Hackett to NBC News.

Over the next two years, Ford plans on introducing 5 more SUV models to their inventory. Now that factory space at their Wayne, Michigan location is free from producing sedans, they will have the capability to support such a new line of vehicles.  Also in their Wayne, MI factory, Ford plans on bringing back new designs of the formerly dropped styles: The Ranger pickup truck, and the Bronco SUV.

The reemergence of these vehicles underscores the surge in light pickup and SUV sales – and not only from Ford. Automakers such as General Motors, Honda, and Toyota have noticed a large shift in sales in their light truck models.  

However, the real surge in new vehicle sales is coming from the utility sport vehicles and newer crossover vehicles.  In fact, these vehicles account for more than half of the new vehicles sold in America. Light trucks, SUVs, and Crossovers account for almost 65% of sales in the United States for new cars.  So it’s no wonder that automakers are focusing their attention away from sedans and coupes.

While this is certainly a bold move by Ford, they are by no means the only automakers following the trends.  This will only make the industry harder, since the market for SUVs and crossovers will be so heavily saturated.

Other automakers following suit are Chevrolet, who is eliminating the Cruze, to free up factory space in order to meet the demands of the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 Crossover. The fate of the compact Sonic hatchback and mid-size sedan, the Impala, are being reviewed.

Over time, the industry may shift back to a popularity of sedans due to a potential rise in energy prices, but trucks and SUVs are becoming more fuel efficient as technology advances. In fact, the new F-150 is estimated to reach 30 miles per gallon, and the introduction of new hybrids and electric SUVs and Crossovers could take fuel out of the equation entirely.  

Sedans are far from extinct – but America has spoken – and automakers are listening.  

Top 5 Myths About Buying Used Cars

Buying a used vehicle isn’t rocket science, and shouldn’t feel like it.  However, with so many misconceptions and myths there are about buying used cars, it can seem like a very stressful process.  We hear a lot of the same myths over and over, and there is rarely any truth behind them. Let’s take a look.

Top 5 Myths About Buying Used Cars: BUSTED!

Myth 1: Used Cars Aren’t Reliable

Nowadays, cars are built to last.  It isn’t uncommon to see a vehicle reach upwards to 200,000 miles before it finally bites the dust. Modern technology and advances in machinery are keeping vehicles on the road for longer.

Keeping on top of regular maintenance (oil changes, tire rotations, daily upkeep) will help any vehicle run smoothly for as long as possible. If you are looking for a vehicle and want to know the general reliability, check a trusted source like NADA or U.S. News and World Report.  They’ve used customer surveys, satisfaction reports, and buyer behavior to give every vehicle a reliability score.

Myth 2: Used Cars Don’t Have Any Resale Value

When cars are properly maintained, vehicles will hold onto their value a lot longer. Regularly scheduled maintenance will help a vehicle maintain its integrity and things like safety, fuel economy, appearance, and reliability.  

After a few years, if you have kept your car well-maintained and decide to sell, there is a better chance you will be able to trade it in or sell it for a good amount of money. Since you purchased it as a used car, you won’t need to sell it for as much in order to make a profit.  

Myth 3: There’s No Way to Tell if You Are Buying a Quality Used Car

This myth is simply not true. Any certified mechanic will be able to tell if the car has been properly maintained during its lifespan.  When the previous owner ignores dashboard warning lights, skips oil changes, or doesn’t take the care in for routine maintenance, there are clear signs that any trained and experienced mechanic can see.  

Used cars all have a history report that outlines their accident history, any damage that was given.

Myth 4: A Lower Payment is Better

When purchasing a car, it’s smart to think about your budget and what kind of payment you are comfortably able to make each month. So when you are presented with finance options and you see a low monthly payment, it may look very appealing.  But beware. Auto loans are typically front-loaded on interest payments, so it you are paying a lower monthly payment for a longer loan term, there is a good chance you are paying more than the vehicle is worth in interest alone.

Before signing anything, make sure you know the bottom line and you are aware of how much you will be paying for the car in the long run.

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Myth 5: Never Finance at the Dealer

Like all myths, they should be taken with a grain of salt. There is a hint of truth here, especially if your credit score is bad.  However, if you are interested in a 0% downpayment, you won’t be able to find that at a local bank – because they won’t make any money off that deal. If you are looking for the best interest rates, explore your options at the dealership.

Most dealerships have a wide variety of banking institutions and credit unions that they work with in order to get the best rates for their customers.  Dealerships can offer those coveted 0% loans because they will still make a profit off the sale of the vehicle. Even if you choose to go with your own financing option, you may be able get a few points off of what you already thought was an excellent deal.

At the end of the day, the car-buying process is simple – research vehicles, get attractive financing options, and negotiate a price. These myths make it more complicated than it needs to be, and that why we are busting these myths wide open.