All posts by Mandy Beroza

Traveling With Your Pet

Summer is here! Time for mini vacations and camping trips with the WHOLE family! Here are our xpert tips and reminders for traveling with your furry family members!

  1. Secure your pet – whether a harness, carrier, or crate, securing your pet while in the car is crucial for the safety of both your pet and the people inside the vehicle. As tempting as it is to have your pet curl up in your lap while you drive, it is putting both you and your pet in harm’s way. A sudden stop, even at low speeds, can seriously hurt your pet as well as other passengers in the car if your pet is not secured in a harness or confined in a crate.
  2. Never leave your pet unattended in a car; on a hot summer’s day, the interior of a vehicle can heat up to unsafe levels in less than 10 minutes.

 

Here are some important reminders!

Before You Go

Make sure your pet is healthy. Check with your veterinarian and renew any shots that are due. Also, give your pet a treatment of flea and tick medication. There may be parasites where you are headed that are different from where you live. Some parts of the country, especially wooded areas, may be infested with fleas and ticks.

If your pet is not accustomed to traveling in the car, take several short trips several weeks ahead of your travel. (Be sure and use the harness, carrier or crate at this time.) Go somewhere fun like a local dog park so that your pet will associate the car with a positive experience. If your dog has not been crated before, set the crate up in the house and leave the top half of the crate off. Put favorite treats and toys there and offer lots of encouragement. After several weeks, put the top of the crate on but leave the door open.

Getting The Car Ready

Make a place where your pet can ride safely and still see out the window if possible. Locate your pet where you can touch them to reassure them that you are closeby. They will also need access to their water. A favorite blanket or pet bed would be helpful to take so they feel “at home.”

If you cat is traveling with you, make a place for the kitty litter. Behind the front seat will do well in some cars. First put down a piece of plastic (a trash bag will do the trick.)

On The Way

Chances are your pet will sleep ninety percent of the time when they are not looking out the window or getting some attention from you.

Make sure your air conditioning is working properly and that you use it while driving. Don’t roll down the windows and let your dog hang its head out of the window, and never have your pet in the back of a truck.

Be sure and schedule frequent stops to allow your pet to move about and relieve themselves. Be sure and attach a leash before letting your pet out of the car and hold on tight. Some pets will bolt from nervousness or excitement when in unfamiliar environments. After a walk, offer your pet hydration and congratulate them for their good behavior. Respect other travelers and keep your pet close to you.

Overnight In A Pet Friendly Hotel

When checking in, get clarification on the hotel’s pet policy. If the hotel or motel charges a pet fee, pay it. Don’t try to hide your pet or smuggle them into your room.

Most accommodations ask that you do not leave the pet alone in the room for obvious reasons. You may have to order “take out” or room service. Ask at the desk if there are any restaurants with outside dining nearby and check with them to see if pets are welcome on their patio.

Be courteous to other guests in the hotel and keep your pet leashed, quiet, and well behaved while you are there. Walk your pet in designated areas and be sure to clean up after them.

You Have Arrived!

Take your pet around their new “home” and show them where you have placed their food, water, and bedding. Introduce your pet to the neighbors, and ask if there are parks nearby where your pet can exercise. Take them for a walk so they can explore the smells of the new area.

Waxing Your Vehicle: Xpert Tips and Common  Questions

First, your vehicle should be waxed on a consistent basis. When you don’t wax your car, the grime left on the paint can damage it. The wax literally serves as a topcoat over the protective clear coat that is meant to keep your paint color from fading. However, the clear coat is prone to scratching, which can dull the finish.

In time, some factory sealants can break down from factors such as acid rain, UV rays, or road salt, thus making the paint even more vulnerable. Waxing will help protect the clear coat by preserving oils that can prevent oxidation.

Think of a coat of wax as a shield for your car’s sensitive “skin” when exposed to sun, snow, ice and salt. How often you need to apply that extra shield mainly depends on climate, type of wax, and your personal preference, along with budget.

 

Climate

Generally, vehicles exposed to harsh weather, including rain, snow, salt, and dirt will need to be waxed more often. Even the sun causes oxidation and premature fading of paint. Still, the less exposure to any type of extreme weather is the best option. Vehicles parked in a garage can go longer between polishes.

 

Type of Wax

Car waxes come in paste and spray varieties. Keep in mind when it comes to purchasing wax, a higher price doesn’t always mean the wax is a higher quality, so you don’t need to spend big bucks. And it is best to find a nonabrasive car wax, which can be bought at stores like Advance Auto Parts, NAPA, or AutoZone.

The key is in how you wax. To start, be sure to have all the necessary equipment such as a good soft wash mitt and microfiber drying towel, which can bought at any auto parts store.

Wash off all contaminants first with a clay bar and take your time when waxing. Wax in a shaded area or garage to prevent it from caking and drying too quickly. Apply the product in a thin, even layer (too much wax will not add extra protection and could end up caking in small surface fissures and cracks in the car’s paint) and use a circular motion.

 

How Often

If you have consistently waxed your car over the years, then the good news is that you will have to do it less often. The general consensus from auto experts is to wax about every three months. There are exceptions where vehicle color is concerned. If your car is a darker vehicle, then three to four times a year is best, according to FinishLineAutoDetailing.com.

No matter your car’s shade, a more substantive option is to wax every 4-6 weeks during the summer; every 8-12 seeks during the fall; every 4-6 weeks in the winter; and every 8-12 weeks in the spring, writes James Dudra from Eco Touch.

Depending upon your personal preference and budget, if you want to maintain the minimum number of two times a year, then wax once in the spring just before summer and in the fall just before winter.

You can always test your car to see if it needs waxing by noticing if the water bubbles on the surface when you wash it. If not, then it needs to be waxed.

Keep in mind that waxing is not recommended if your car has the rare matte or flat finish.

Regular waxing will add the glimmer to your vehicle and much more. Preserving the paint and minimizing potential scratches through waxing serve as an investment for future resale value.

The Importance of Replacing Car Seats

Did you know that car seats expire? Yes they do and it is very important that you are aware of the expiration date on your child’s car seat. There is a reason that car seats have an expiration date and you should pay attention to them.

Car Seats Do Expire

Each and every car seat has an expiration date which is listed on a sticker somewhere on the car seat. The car seat expiration is based on the date of manufacture not the date of purchase or beginning of use. Most car seats expire in 5 years some in 6.

Car seats can become unsafe when they expire. There is a reason why car seats are given an expiration date and it is not just to get your money. The car seat does become damaged in ways you may not see. The plastic shell degrades and warps due to the changing conditions, the harness begins to wear and the Styrofoam can degrade. All of these things make your child less and less safe. The plastic can even become so brittle that is shatters on impact.

Replace Your Car Seat After an Accident

Minor fender benders do not count but anything remotely damaging to the car could be very damaging and compromising to the car seat. Good news though most insurance companies will pay to replace your car seat when you have been in a crash.

Facts

In these tough economic times, a hand me down car seat can seem like a dream come true but be careful. Make sure you check the expiration date and get a full crash history. Saving money is not worth risking your childs life.

Not sure if your car crash warrants replacing the car seat? Here are the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) guidelines for reference: NHTSA recommends that child safety seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. NHTSA recommends that child safety seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash. Minor crashes are those that meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site
  • The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged
  • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants
  • The air bags (if present) did not deploy
  • AND There is no visible damage to the safety seat

Updated Michigan’s Move Over Law

Michigan’s Move Over law was expanded early this year to help further protect emergency responders on area roadways. Since 2001, the law has required drivers in the lane closest to those stationary emergency vehicles to move over, if possible, to give those responders more room to work.

Now, the law also requires that all drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles with lights flashing to slow down to at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit. The law now also applies to any maintenance and utility vehicles such as tow trucks, construction vehicles, garbage trucks.

Lt. Mike Shaw, spokesperson with The Michigan State Police, said this law is about drivers paying attention and being aware of what’s happening around them.

“If you see someone on the side of the road, move over a lane and give them a chance to get done what they have to do,” said Shaw. “If you end up driving down the roadway and killing an emergency responder, it’s not only the fines and prison time that will get you. You will have to deal that for the rest of your life.”

Anyone who breaks this law could receive a civil infraction subject to a $400 fine. Significant fines (up to $7,500) and prison time (up to 15 years) could happen if the violation results in the injury or death of a emergency responder.

Shaw said with an increase in distracted driving comes a decrease in the number of drivers moving over. “People are sticking their cellphones out the window trying to record whatever is happening on the side of the road,” said Shaw. “If you’re not paying attention, you will inevitably hit someone out there.”

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people were killed in accidents related to distracted driving in 2016. Thanks in part to driver awareness and legislation, that number fell to 3,166 in 2017. However, it’s likely that number isn’t accurate, given that drivers are often reluctant to admit that they were distracted at the time of the accident. Agencies, such as the NHTSA, suspect the actual number of deaths is much higher.

Though you should be mindful of common driving distractions year round, take this month to remind yourself of common driving distractions and how you can avoid them. Here are a few of the most common distractions for drivers.

Cell Phones

Cell phones are obviously one of the biggest when it comes to distracted driving. You might think that glancing at your phone for a few seconds can’t be that bad, but if you’re driving 55 miles an hour, in the five seconds it takes you to glance at your phone, you will drive the length of an entire football field.

Many states have passed laws regarding distracted driving that prohibit texting and/or talking on a cell phone while driving, especially for novice drivers. Regardless of what the law is where you live, it’s important to avoid using your cell phone while driving as much as you possibly can. Many cell phones now have an option to automatically turn on a “Do Not Disturb” mode while driving. This can be a huge benefit to drivers who feel they’re often distracted by incoming calls, texts, or other notifications on their phones.

Food and Drink

Anything that prevents you from having your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel can be a driving distraction, and eating or drinking while driving qualifies. Aside from requiring the use of your hands and your eyes, eating or drinking while driving can present the additional risk of causing a spill, which creates another distraction that can catch drivers off guard.

Other Passengers

Talking to other passengers is another common distraction for drivers. Children are a common distraction, particularly younger children, as they often divert their parents’ attention from the backseat.

Audio

Getting too absorbed in whatever you’re listening to, adjusting the volume levels or changing the station or audio source can all be sources of distraction for drivers.

Certain states have outlawed the use of headphones, earbuds, or other kinds of headsets while driving due to their potential to distract drivers or inhibit their auditory awareness of their surroundings.

Zoning Out

Zoning out and being generally distracted or lost in thought is one of the biggest causes of distracted driving related crashes. Many drivers have experienced what’s known as highway hypnosis, a phenomenon in which the driver travels a distance and arrives at their destination having no recollection of how they got there. This kind of behavior is especially common with routine commutes. Often, the driving seems so comfortable and routine that our mind wanders, rather than paying strict attention to the task at hand.

These are just a few common distractions drivers face, but there are numerous other things that can distract drivers. Be mindful of what your common distractions are and make an effort to reduce them, for Distracted Driving Awareness Month and all year round!