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The Perzel Agency Blog

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Mar 24 – Deter Distraction

Used Car Lot

Phones away, eyes on the road

By Rachel Adelson

We know it’s dangerous. But we still do it – talk, text and read while on the road. Here are a few ways to curb ourselves, safely.

Lock your device in the glove compartment. Why fight temptation?

Make a statement. Avoid responding to incoming calls or messages; let them go to voice mail while driving.

Record an outgoing cell message: “I’m driving now and can’t answer. Please hang up if you’re driving or leave a message if you’re not.”

Don’t talk to risky drivers. Ask callers if they are driving. Say: “Please call back later.” Hang up. Text messages are tricky: If they are obviously sent from the road, ignore them and (later) tell that driver to stop. Social disapproval is a good way to encourage others not to text while driving.

Pull over. If you must talk, or must use a device that requires your visual attention, pull off the road. If you’re on the highway and must place a call or send a text message, or look at something inside the car for more than a couple of seconds, get off at the nearest exit. Weigh the risk of not calling (or doing the task) versus the risk of losing control and endangering others on the road or in your car.

Never, ever, text while driving, period.

Curb your teen’s temptation. Younger, less experienced drivers already have the highest crash rates, yet they are more likely to carry mobile devices into the car and send texts from them. They often receive their devices as gifts. If they have a device, discuss their use the way you would any other critical safety issue. Set limits and be a model of responsible driving.

 

CONTACT: The Perzel Agency, 800-440-3480, http://www.PerzelAgency.com/

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Mar 19 – Pros and Cons of New vs. Used Cars

Used Car Lot

New or used?

According to cars.com, drivers will buy about 14 million new cars in 2013. If you think you might be among those shopping for a brand-new vehicle, consider a few things first.

New Car

Pros

Cons

    • Newer safety features.
    • Customizable.
    • Better warranty.
  • Typically has better fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
    • More expensive to insure.
    • Maintenance costs required to maintain warranty.
    • No record of reliability.
  • Higher taxes.

Also know that a new car isn’t out of the question if you’re shopping largely on price. “Most people think used cars are less expensive, but that’s not always the case,” says Montoya. “Many used vehicles are priced high because of shortages due to people keeping cars longer in tough times. This makes their prices comparable to new cars.”

Before you go through with a new car sale, keep these things in mind:

  • Many car manufacturers offer rebates on new cars, so ask your dealer about them.
  • Check your invoice for added costs or fees, and talk to the dealer if you see things you didn’t request such as fabric or rust protection. Most dealerships charge destination charges to deliver your car to the dealership – but some will waive it.

If new is not your thing, consider used—after all, nearly 37 million previously owned vehicles changed hands in 2011.

Used

Pros

Cons

 
    • Less expensive to insure.
    • More car for your money.
  • CarFax® vehicle history report provides detailed history of the car.
    • Older safety features.
    • More frequent repairs.
  • Not customizable.

Remember to also:

  • Research the vehicle’s history. Many dealerships offer CarFax® vehicle history reports to give you peace of mind. “All vehicles have issues,” Montoya says. “Finding out what you can deal with is the key.”
  • Ask about a warranty. Some used cars come with the factory warranty while some don’t. Better to ask than to assume.
  • Beware of the extended warranty. Many dealerships offer them (but not all buyers need one) while other certified used vehicles come with an existing warranty. In the long run, you’re usually better off saving for expenses than shelling out for an extended warranty.

Whether buying or leasing, be sure you’re prepared to pay taxes and registration fees, which can amount to thousands of dollars depending on the cost of your vehicle. And always get the facts. “Resources like edmunds.com and the Kelley Blue Book are very helpful in assessing the value of a vehicle,” Freeman says. “And don’t overlook the help your ERIE Agent can give you about the final price of a vehicle, how to properly insure it and what the difference in insurance will be if you’re deciding among several vehicles.”

 

CONTACT: The Perzel Agency, 800-440-3480, http://www.PerzelAgency.com/

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Mar 07 – Beyond The Belt

Beyond The Belt

Fifty years after the seat belt made its debut, today’s vehicles keep you safe in ways you may not even be aware of. Hop in and check them out…
By Rachel Adelson

Beyond the Belt

How safe is your car? As roads get more crowded, traffic speeds up and the weather’s more intense, new and improved safety technologies help us cruise without crashing. Want to learn more? Fasten your seat belts.

Yes, first buckle up. Introduced in 1959, the 3-point seat belt saved an estimated 255,000 lives from 1975-2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s getting smarter, too: electronically controlled pretensioners (first installed in luxury cars more than a decade ago and now becoming more widespread) are designed to tighten or loosen your belt when sensing something is wrong, adjusting for body size.

Let’s get going. We back out of the garage; it’s raining. Is that Joe back there walking the dog? Wide-view mirrors, camera systems and radar or ultrasonic sensors — once improved to limit distortion and bypass bad weather — promise to alert us to objects near the rear bumper, helping prevent the kind of backover crash thought to take more than 200 lives and cause more than 14,000 injuries each year (mostly to children and older adults). Currently, these tools seem to curb collisions with cars better than with people, so it’s still up to us to walk around the car first, train kids in driveway safety, go slow and be extra vigilant.

As we turn into the street, daytime running lights make our car easier to see, significantly curbing daytime head-on and front-corner collisions.

Dang, but the road is slippery. The rain is picking up and the wet leaves of autumn don’t help. Thankfully, the tires are properly inflated, thanks to a tire-pressure monitoring system (required by federal law in all new models since September 2007) that warns of severely under-inflated tires.

Onto the highway we go. Shift into high gear. That SUV in the next lane is weaving in and out of traffic. That could be dangerous, but this SUV has electronic stability control (ESC), a proven effective vehicle control system. ESC’s sensors and microcomputer monitor how the car responds to steering, selectively braking and modulating engine power. ESC helps prevent sideways skidding and the loss of control that can lead to rollovers, especially during emergency maneuvers when drivers can’t help but spin out.

ESC can also cut the risk of fatal one-vehicle crashes in half, and cut one fifth off the risk for a fatal multiple-vehicle crash for cars and SUVs, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Federal law will require ESC in all cars, SUVs, pickups and minivans by the 2012 model year, but it’s already in many used and new vehicles on the market.

“ESC saves a lot of people who don’t even realize they’ve been saved,” says David Zuby, chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Back to the road. Why is traffic slowing? We could check local traffic radio or satellite, but hey — this baby came with a first-gen DSRC receiver. DSRC, or Dedicated Short Range Communications, is used by first-responders for radio communication. The DSRC frequency band holds up in bad weather and supports messaging from traffic controllers to cars, or even cars to other cars. The news: Jackknifed tractor-trailer two miles ahead. Best to get off at the next exit.

But, yikes! Listen to those squealing brakes. The guy in the next lane’s skidding. Sheesh — he hit the car in front, we have to stop. Look at the front airbags—they worked. Almost instantly, these rapid-fill cushions kept all those heads from smashing into windshields, and reduced whiplash forces on their heads and necks. In a side collision, side airbags — soon to be required — would inflate, too.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that, as of Jan. 1, 2009, more than 28,000 people were still alive after a crash because of frontal airbags — most of them drivers.

Dave Freeman, ERIE’s vice president for Personal Lines Underwriting, says. “It’s hard to make a completely risk-free airbag given the need for rapid inflation, but engineers have been reworking them to find the right balance, and shorter drivers are warned to sit at least 10 inches from the steering wheel.” Freeman notes that engineers’ attention to crumple zones and crash zones also makes the passenger compartment much safer.”

Out in the rain, everyone seems okay. Just need, as witnesses, to wait for the cops. Maybe this accident could have been prevented by a forward collision warning/mitigation system. Predicted to be as helpful as ESC, forward collision warning systems are already in some high-end cars and expect to help prevent the most common type of crash.

Cops come and go. Back in the car, wet and chilled through. Slowly cut over two lanes to catch the exit. Bing! Bing! Car nearly drifted onto the shoulder. Bing! Steer back in to the lane. Thank you, lane departure warning/prevention system. You may have saved a life.

Lane departures cause the most fatal crashes. “These often involve people running off the road due to fatigue, bad weather, distraction, inattention,” says Zuby. “Drivers go off the pavement and then over-correct; the vehicle shoots across the lane, and if they don’t recover, they crash into a roadside object or another vehicle.”

As for us, it’s time to get the groceries, end this bad trip and head home by local roads. The worst is over…or is it? As we head toward a traffic light, the car in front stops short. Hit the brakes…but there’s less grab on a slick road. Emergency brake assist kicks in, compensating for the fact that “a lot of people don’t brake hard enough,” according to Zuby. When you hit the brake fast, sensors in the pedal boost the stopping force.

Finally, there’s our street; we make that old familiar turn into the driveway. It’s been a trip to remember, but—thanks to the seat belt, airbag, running lights, warnings systems, brake augmentation, and all-important driver awareness — we’re home safe. Now it’s time for just one more bit of technology, but it requires some effort on your part: pressing the garage-door remote.

CONTACT: The Perzel Agency, 800-440-3480, http://www.PerzelAgency.com/

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Posts In March

Deter Distraction

Pros and Cons of New vs Used Cars

Beyond The Belt

 

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