How to Cool Down your Car in the Summer

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Florida temps have been known to destroy cassette tapes and send the heat index inside the car through the roof.

In fact, every Florida driver knows the feeling of trying to sit on an unprotected car seat after a day parked in the hot sun. And you’re not going anywhere with a steering wheel that could lead to third degree burns.

Stay cool with these tips to keep your car from getting to the boiling point.

-Cover up.  Window visors or sunshades are the easiest and least expensive way to keep your car or vehicle from heating up. Don’t overlook a window visor in the back window as well.

-Open up. You will want to leave your car doors wide open for a minimum of 3 minutes before climbing in and driving off into traffic.

-Power up.  Solar-powered fans are all the rage these days and are perfect for older cars that are missing all the bells and whistles to cool down your vehicle.

-Protect your steering wheel. Sunshades can only go so far. That steering wheel can still heat up enough to melt your hands. A light-colored hand towel is all need to cover the steering wheel.

-Pick a parking garage over an uncovered parking space. Parking garages can save the paint on your vehicle and drop the level of heat in your car.

-Find some shade. Parking spaces under trees or any type of shade come at a premium. If you can find the time to find a space it will make a big impact on the heat index.

-Gadgets can get destroyed. If you still have a cassette collection or even a CD collection in your car you need to know that it will melt if left in direct sunlight. Smartphones or laptops can be damaged by high heat. It’s best to not leave cell phones or electronic devices in the car for any period of time.

-Cracking the windows of your vehicle actually works and allows heat to escape. Just make sure that you don’t lower them too much so that you don’t tempt a break-in.

Memorial Day Weekend 2017 Road Travel Safety Tips

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Memorial Day travel is expected to be at its highest since 2005, according to AAA. The recent spike points to growing consumer confidence and Americans are willing to loosen the grip on their wallets to enjoy this extended holiday weekend.

One staggering statistic is that there will be an additional million drivers on the road this year when compared to 2016.

Here are some Memorial Day Weekend Road Travel Safety Tips to help protect yourself and your family while driving on the road:

-Download a traffic and navigation app before hitting the road. There are many to choose from but one popular and free app is, Waze which tracks traffic and eases navigation through crowdsourcing.

Consider traveling during hours when less drivers are on the road. If you can adjust your travel plans, hit the road on Saturday morning before 7am. Thursday and Friday have the highest number of drivers on the road.

Designate two experienced drivers. This is not the weekend to allow teen drivers to take to the road. If you have at least two reliable drivers that are willing to take turns driving when one person gets too fatigued. Tired driving is considered one of the most dangerous states that can lead to traffic accidents and fatalities. If you are not able to switch off driving, DO NOT risk driving tired. Find a safe hotel and get some sleep and restart the next day fresh.

-Buckle Up and use proper safety restraints and seats for kids. NEVER drive without making sure everyone is properly secured and seat belts are clicked.

Never look down at your phone while driving. It goes without saying that texting and driving is a dangerous trend but even taking your eyes off the road for a second is equally as bad. If you are  traveling alone, find a safe place to pull off the road (do not use shoulder or emergency lane) and return calls, check your navigation or return a message. Otherwise, simply have one of your passengers check your phone for you.

Top 10 Safest Cars for Teen Drivers

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Nothing strikes more fear in the heart of a parent than a recently-licensed teen. In addition to higher auto insurance rates, there are the woes that they will be safe on the road.

One way to insure that they are at least safer while on the roads is finding the right car. We’ve come a long way since the days of automatic seat belts. Technology has been a game changer for the better or worse.

The worse? Smart phones have presented the challenge of driving while distracted. For the better? Technology has been integrated into today’s vehicles including back-up cameras, air bags and emergency braking that engages during an emergency.

However, there are also simpler options to consider when choosing the right vehicle for your teen driver. Organizations such as Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and The American Automobile Association all agree that mid-size sedans are the safest type of vehicle.

Some might argue that SUVs and pick-up trucks are just as safe but tend to rollover versus mid-size sedans. Other safety features to consider include: anti-lock brakes, a crash notification system and a collision warning system.

Edmunds put together a list of the safest sedans for teens to drive in 2016 broken down by make and model.

1. 2016 Chevy Malibu

2. 2016 Chrysler 200

3. 2016 Ford Fusion

4. 2016 Honda Accord

5. 2016 Hyundai Sonata/ 2016Hyundai Kia Optima

6. 2016 Mazda 6

7. 2016 Subaru Impreza

8. 2016 Toyota Camry

9. 2016 Volkswagon Jetta

Top 6 Most Bizarre Auto Insurance Claims

vw-volkswagen-trident-auto-sleeperInsurance adjusters see all kinds of claims: the good, the bad, the sad, the fraudulent and the downright bizarre.

Here is a compiled list of the most bizarre.

Subzero.   Forget the fender bender in the parking lot of the local grocer. This poor driver ended up getting hit by Navy submarine. A sailor new to his job of driving the sub ended up knocking a female driver’s car into the water. Thankfully, no one was hurt outside of egos.

Toying with you.   One man tried passing off a fake claim by submitting polaroids of his car with the alleged missing exterior parts. His claims were later denied after upon closer look, the images were of a matchbox toy car. Hey, at least his car and his toy car were the same, color, make and model. Let’s hear it for die cast metal.

It’s all in the details.   If you are going to stage the theft of your automobile at least know the details of the make, model and year of your car. After asking for a payout for his alleged stolen Toyota Avalon, one driver left out one very key distinct detail: his Toyota Avalon did not have a keypad entry. Insurance adjusters caught on quickly and his false claim landed him one year in jail.

Extra credit.   One high school chemistry teacher had the perfect subject for her two students. She decided she would give them passing grades….but, they had to steal her car and set it on fire. The assignment failed and the teacher lost her job and freedom for 90 days.

At least pretend you’re hurt.    Perhaps one of the worst cases of auto insurance fraud in recent history involved a claimant that was allegedly so injured that he needed the organization Meals on Wheels to cook and deliver food for him. In spite of being allegedly confined to a wheelchair, he managed to use his legs to complete triathlons and get out grocery shopping. After being outed by a friend, he claimed that he was actually one-half of a twin. Thankfully, no one was buying it.

Backwards.   One claimant supposedly tried getting a claim in place as their car burst into flames. A good rule of thumb is to get your auto insurance in place before you drive your car—anywhere. Otherwise, leave it parked.

7 Ways to Instantly Lower Your Auto Insurance Rates

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If one of your New Year’s resolutions included saving money, you can start with slashing your auto insurance rates. We’ve compiled a list of the easiest ways to cut your rates. These tips are in addition to your age, driving record or your gender.

1. Raise your deductible:   If your deductible is on the low end, then your rate is most likely on the high end. For instance, a $250 deductible means that you are spending quite a bit on your policy. Pushing it to the $1,000 ceiling could save you up to 40 percent on your policy. However, just make sure you have the savings in the bank for that rainy day.

2. Your vehicle might be the culprit:    Insurance companies make the assumption that if you purchase a sports car you will be a fast driver. Additionally, the newer the vehicle, the more it will cost to insure it. This is also a good time to make sure that your vehicle is properly classified by your insurance company. You wouldn’t want to pay the rate for a sports car if you don’t even drive one.

3. Take account of the age and worth of your automobile:  Collision and comprehensive coverage is always a good idea to have unless your car is worth less than what you are paying. To find out, simply add your collision and comp coverage and multiply by 10. If your car is worth less than your math, ditch it.

4. Monitor your credit score:  Drivers with a good credit rating tend to get a good rate on auto insurance as well. If it’s been awhile since you checked your score, now is the time. If your rate has gone up since you originally obtained your policy, let your insurance agent know as well. This is cause for celebration.

5. Group insurance discounts:   Are you a veteran, belong to the Rotary, or an educator? Let your insurance know as well. You will likely qualify for an additional discount.

6. Mind the gap:   Gaps or lapses in insurance coverage does you know favors from an insurance company’s perspective. Keep your coverage in check at all times.

7. Low-mileage:   Do you work from home? The less miles you clock on the odometer, the less you pay for auto insurance. Ask your agent about discounts related to low-milage drivers.

Got more questions, Florida drivers? Feel free to reach out to us on our StateFarm Insurance website.

Law Enforcement Losing Battle Enforcing Distracted Driving

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Nearly every state in the United States has some sort of law aimed at preventing texting and driving. Actually, forty-six states to be exact—although we are not sure why four other states would hold out on such a dangerous, widespread habit.

However, lawmakers in fourteen states were listening when they got the call about the statistics surrounding looking down at your device while driving and banned even chatting on your cell phone while driving. But, we digress.

The biggest issue…well, aside from getting drivers to break the habit of checking their phone screens while driving has been actually enforcing the law or laws. Over the past five years, police officers have gotten pretty creative with how they bust those texting while driving.

From patrolling in a tractor trailer to disguises from costumed animals to homeless men, the results have been mixed and mostly ineffective.

Sadly, the number of traffic deaths related to distracted driving keeps rising up from an estimated 3,200 in 2014 to nearly 3,500 in 2015 in the US and Puerto Rico. Adding to the problem is the amount of drivers that would rather not divulge that they were answering a text when they slammed into that car ahead of them.

Florida drivers get an even easier pass. Basically, drivers have to be caught speeding or breaking another traffic law in addition to texting and driving before they can be pulled over.

Digital safety experts offer the following tips to help you keep your eyes on the road and off your phone:

-Keep your cell phone on silence and away from where you can grab it and check for messages. Intentional or not, our brains are programmed to look at our phones when it rings or we hear an alert.

-If you have a co-pilot or passenger designate them as your official text checker.

-Plug in GPS directions before you even pull out of your driveway for parking lot.