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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!

Winter Road Trip Safety Checklist

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Getting your vehicle ready for holiday travel doesn’t necessarily require the skill of a professional mechanic. In fact, with these nine tips you can easily prepare your car for a winter journey yourself! But don’t wait until you’re ready to hit the road. Do these safety checks now so you can make any necessary repairs before the big day.

 

1. Inspect windshield wipers.

Damaged windshield wipers can reduce visibility. Make sure your car’s wipers are in good condition and operating as they should. If they are streaking or skipping across the windshield, replace them.

2. Top off windshield washer fluid.

Windshield washer fluid helps your windshield wipers perform at their best during wintery weather. Before heading out, fill your vehicle’s windshield washer reservoir with high-quality, “no-freeze” fluid — and keep an extra gallon stored in your car just in case.

3. Gauge tire pressure.

Proper tire pressure helps maximize your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, stability, and can reduce the risk of a flat tire or a blowout — all things that are particularly important during a long, wintery drive. Check each tire and make sure it is filled to the manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure specified in your owner’s manual. Keep in mind that as the temperature drops so will tire pressure, so check your tires periodically throughout your trip.

4. Check tire tread.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average winter holiday road trip length is 275 miles. Whether or not your road trip will be that long, make sure your tires are prepared for the journey by ensuring the tread is 1/16 of an inch or greater. If it isn’t, the risk of hydroplaning increases and your car’s traction and braking ability diminish.

There are a few quick and easy ways to check tire tread depth. One way is to insert a penny into the tire’s tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, the tire should be replaced.

Tip: If you’re going to face harsh winter road conditions, winter tires may be a worthwhile investment. When compared to traditional tires, winter tires offer better grip, improved stopping power, and better all-around control when roads are wet or snowy.

5. Stock your vehicle with essentials.

Before you embark on a long road trip this holiday season, put together a car emergency kit. At minimum, your kit should include an ice scraper, a flashlight, a blanket, jumper cables, abrasive material like sand or kitty litter, a small shovel, and winter boots if you aren’t wearing them already. Of course, you’ll also need food, water, and any necessary medications.

6. Ensure lights and signals are in working order.

Walk around your vehicle and check that the headlights, taillights, break lights, turn signals, and hazard lights are working properly. You’ll also want to be sure the lights are free of debris and take time to clean them during your trip as built-up snow, ice, and dirt can reduce their effectiveness. Then be sure to have your lights on at all times while driving!

7. Add roadside assistance to your auto insurance policy.

Most auto insurance policies offer roadside assistance plans. If you’re not signed up for roadside assistance, consider adding it to your coverage before your trip. In addition to services like towing, flat-tire repair, and lock-out assistance, some roadside assistance plans also offer travel interruption reimbursement, as well as hotel and car rental discounts.

 

With everything else on your to-do list, it’s easy to overlook car care. But if you face winter weather conditions during your holiday road trip, you’ll feel more secure knowing your vehicle is up to the task.

Pre and Post-Repair Diagnostic Scan and Calibration

 

In our world today, technology is advancing rapidly! In 1971, the first computer was sold. The first iPhone was sold in June 2007. And now we live in a world where the technology you would see in a movie actually exists. There are phone with a holographic display, smart glasses, and even technology that will fold your laundry for you. For companies to remain successful and competitive, they have to look into how to incorporate advanced technology in product. This includes the Auto Industry.

Currently, each vehicle has an average of 60-100 sensors on board. Because cars are rapidly getting “smarter” the number of sensors is projected to reach as many as 200 sensors per car. These numbers translate to approximately 22 billion sensors used in the automotive industry per year by 2020, according Dr. Mike Pinelis (President and CEO – MEMS Journal, Inc).

It is important to have all of these sensors running properly to insure the vehicle is running safely. With there being so many sensors on a vehicle, it is hard to know if a sensor was damaged or needs realignment by manually analyzing the vehicle. An advance scan is needed. This is where the pre and post-repair scans come in. The purpose of the pre and post-repair scans are to insure the sensors are calibrated properly.

 

Why does it matter to have the sensors properly calibrated?

The following statements are from Master ASE Technicians and trainers, Eric Mandoza and Bill Zilastik from Toyota’s collision repair and refinish training center. Eric is a Toyota Collision repair and refinishing training assistant manager and Bill is a Lexus technical and collision repair training manager. They have provided some examples that explain why it is important to have the pre and post-repair scans done to have the vehicle running safely.

The pre-collision system uses a millimeter rate radar sensor that is behind the grill in the car that looks through the Lexus or Toyota emblem and looks ahead of the car to see where the car is going and is very good at spotting items in front of the vehicle and is able to spot where the car is going. And if it sees something in the cars path that it thinks it might pose a problem or collision hazard, it can alert the driver, pre-charge the brakes, and pre-tighten the seat belt. So if there is a collision, the collision won’t be as severe as it might have been without this technology. It is an excellent safety system. The pre and post-repair scans will verify the sensor is working properly.

The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System uses the same sensor as stated above and that system will keep you at a specific distance from the people in front of you using cruise control so the vehicle in front of you slows down you slow down as well.

 

What is the difference between a pre and post-repair scan and why does it matter to have both done?

Pre-Repair diagnostic scan is a complete health check of your vehicle and provides the repair shop (and insurance company, if applicable) a complete report on the number of computer modules on board, as well as any diagnostic trouble codes (DTC’s) that could indicate pre-accident and/or accident related damage. This essential step eliminates unnecessary delays waiting for parts and/or additional insurance authorizations, and identifies issues with the vehicle that could be missed without a pre-repair diagnostic scan.

Post-Repair diagnostic scan ensures that all systems on your vehicle are in proper working order prior to delivery. It is important to note that the majority of DTC’s do not result in a malfunction indicator lamp (dashboard light). Failure to perform a post-repair scan by trained professionals with factory scan tools significantly increases the risk that your vehicle may be returned with malfunctioning, or inoperable, safety and convenience systems. A post-repair diagnostic scan is the single best way to ensure that your vehicle is returned to pre-incident condition.

After a vehicle is in an accident, it is important to make sure the vehicle is repaired correctly and is safe to drive again. That is why the original manufacturers and collision repair centers are now implementing pre and post-repair scans as a new step in the repair process.

December Newsletter

Scan Class

On November 14, we held a seminar on Vehicle Scans and Calibrations. All Auto Body Xperts staff, local insurance partners, glass companies, and more attended the event! Continuing education is very important to Auto Body Xperts! With vehicles advancing in technology and features, we want to make sure we are up to date on Original Manufacturer policies for safely repairing vehicles!

Closed for the Holiday

This year we will be closed on Monday Dec 24 (Christmas Eve), Tuesday Dec 25 (Christmas Day), Monday Dec 31 (New Years Eve), Tuesday Jan 1 (New Years Day) so our staff can spend time with their friends and family.

We WILL be open Dec 26-28.

Shields of Hope – Heroes Holiday

We partnered this Christmas with Shields of Hope (an organization who helps families who are battling cancer) to help them with their Heroes Holiday Program! Heroes Holiday started in 2014 as a way to support local families struggling around the holidays with much-needed supplies, household goods, and gifts. Each year at least 5 families are selected through a 3rd party nomination process. This year, they were able to help 16 families!

To learn more about Shields of Hope, please visit http://shieldsofhopewestmi.com/ for more information
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Save The Date!

Our summer events are coming back this year! Be sure to save the dates!

June 18: Auto Body Xperts Car Show, now in Hudsonville by Gemmens!

August 7: Zeeland Open House

August 21: Hudsonville Open House

September 21: Allendale Fall Festival Car Show
Visit www.autobodyxperts.com for more information!

Thank you for your interest in attending the Vehicle Scan Seminar hosted by Auto Body Xperts! MAS (Mobile Auto Solutions) will be the speaker for the night, if you want to learn more about MAS, please visit www.masllc.net .

 

We will be discussing:
  • “No Scan Codes” does not mean that a calibration is not required
  • What damage can I see?
  • What damage can I not see?
  • What has to be removed during repairs?
  • What does the manufacturer say needs to happen?
  • When in the repair process should the calibration occur?
  • Can the calibration occur in house or off site?

 

FREE for insurance agents

 

Sign Up Here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfJh-ID78IWoalNLPI4dNFe-YA010uNFWcqbjdbVBms_fVaQA/viewform?usp=sf_link

Or mail in this form: (PDF Version: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1dXoICR2TT_6azoWsnU6e-SDo4J-JL6VX)

Vehicle Scans Seminar Sign Up Form-page-001

This seminar is free to all insurance partners and $25 per person for everyone else. You can mail a check to Auto Body Xperts (3483 Highland Dr, Attn: Marketing, Hudsonville, MI 49426), pay online at paypal.me/AutoBodyXperts, or pay at the event.

If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact Elizabeth at (616) 669-6692 or marketingcoordinator@autobodyxperts.com

Click here to watch a video that explains why Pre and Post Scans Matter!