Be Prepared for Winter!

Winter has arrived. Keep the following tips in mind to make sure you and your vehicle are prepared for winter emergencies.

  • Preventive maintenance prior to the winter season is the best way to ensure safe travel. Regularly check fluid levels such as power steering, brake, windshield washer and oil.
  • Make sure the antifreeze is strong enough to prevent freezing of the engine and fresh enough to prevent rust.
  • In cold weather, you may also want to change the windshield washer fluid to one containing an antifreeze agent.

While proper maintenance is key, knowing how to drive in adverse conditions can also keep you safe. The Parent’s Supervised Driving Guide offers the following tips for driving in different weather conditions.

Wet & slippery roads:

  • Turn on the wipers as soon as the windshield becomes wet.
  • Turn on the low-beam headlights; this helps others see you.
  • Drive 5 to 10 mph slower than normal and increase your following distance to 5 or 6 seconds.
  • Be more cautious, and slow down on curves and when approaching intersections.
  • Turn the defroster on to keep windows from fogging over.
  • If you must make adjustments while driving, make sure the road ahead is clear before looking down at the dashboard – and look away for only a second or two.

Snow

  • Make sure your vehicle is clear of snow and ice before driving. Driving can cause snow/ice to slide and block your view, or fly off and strike other vehicles.
  • When starting to drive in snow, keep the wheels straight ahead and accelerate gently to avoid spinning the tires.
  • Decrease your speed to make up for a loss of traction. Accelerate and decelerate gently, and be extra careful when braking.
  • Stopping distances can be 10 times greater in ice and snow. Begin the slowing-down process long before a stop. Brake only when traveling in a straight line.
  • Look ahead for dangerous spots, such as shaded areas and bridge surfaces that may be icy when the rest of the road is clear.

Lastly, check out the Auto Emergency Prepardness Kit Checklist from the Michigan State Police and see what you should have in your vehicle in case you are stranded.

Special thank you to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson for her content.

Hidden Risks Lurk in Rental Cars for Travelers this Holiday Season

During the holiday season, many travelers rely on rental cars to reach their destinations. Many of today’s cars are designed to make hands-free calls, stream music, and even access the internet — but one has to connect to an infotainment system first.

But in order to do this, the infotainment system may store personal information kept on a driver’s phone, says AAA.

“The stored information in mobile devices is vulnerable to theft. If you sync your mobile phone to a rental car, you open yourself up to having your personal information stolen,” Lori Weaver Hawkins, Blue Grass AAA, said in a statement. “It is possible for an unauthorized person to gain access to things like home address and the code for your garage door opener.”

Know Your Risks:

There are currently no industry or government standards for vehicle infotainment systems, but the first step to safeguarding your personal data is to know the type of information an infotainment system may store.

Potentially stored information:

  • Home address, work address, and other saved or frequently used GPS locations.
  • Home phone number.
  • Call and message logs.
  • Personal contacts.
  • Garage opener programming.

Reducing Your Risks:

To avoid a data breach of any kind, there are a number of steps drivers can take.

  1. Purchase a phone charger for your phone that plugs into the cigarette lighter adapter port rather than the USB port. The lighter adapter port does not access your information.
  2. Use your phone’s GPS without syncing up with the rental car.
  3. Check your phone’s permissions to learn what information your car can access. When syncing your phone, if your infotainment systems allows you to choose which types of information you share, restrict it to only what’s necessary. For instance, if you’re only syncing your phone to play music, the car only needs access to your music library, not your personal contacts or other data.
  4. Before handing your keys over to a valet, check to see if your car’s infotainment system has a valet mode you can set that will protect your sensitive data.
  5. Before trading in your car or returning a rental car, go to the settings menu on the car’s infotainment system to find a list of synced devices. When you find your devices, follow the prompts to delete them. If you can’t figure out how to do this, check the owner’s manual or an online tutorial.

Special Thanks to Denny Jacob for his content.

Winter Storage Advice

We know many of you have already put away vehicles, motorcycles and boats for the winter.  We wanted to pass along this good information as you continue to prepare for winter storage.

When Andrew Singer brought home his newest collectible car in the spring of 2017, it failed the sniff test. Sugar, the Singer family’s terrier, threw her paws over the left front fender of the 2006 Lotus Elise, and the yellow roadster advanced no further into the garage. Sugar smelled the spice of mice.

During the winter, as the result of the previous owner’s careless winter storage, the little rodents built a nest in the dashboard behind the speedometer. “They hadn’t damaged anything—just were hanging out,” Singer said. Over a long winter, rodents can wreak more automotive misery per ounce than any car deserves, chewing up wiring, upholstery, and fabric. A popular mouse-fighting measure is to put dryer sheets in the passenger compartment. But some experts dispute the effectiveness, saying the smell may only offer an initial defense before mice get used to it. Mousetraps and mothballs on the garage floor may prove little more effective.

Singer has found an altogether foolproof defense for his collection. “The cat patrols the garage after dinner,” he said. Rodent protection is just one consideration for those who decommission their vintage and collectible cars during the winter. Here are a few other tips for protecting that special car:

Wash & Wax
Wash and wax the body and give the interior a once-over to remove specks, globs, and splats that might have a corrosive effect.

Fuel Tank

To prevent varnish from forming, fill the gas tank and add fuel stabilizer. Doing this will thwart contaminants. One source recommends running the engine a few minutes to circulate stabilized gas through the fuel system.

Oil Change

Change the oil and filter, which are likely to have corrosion-causing agents. Top off the levels of other fluids. Changing engine coolant, transmission fluid, and differential oil is optional and proves just how meticulous one can be.

Storage

A nice, dry garage is ideal for winter storage. Even if the car is garaged, a vapor barrier on the floor prevents condensation buildup on the underbody and suspension. Sheet plastic or a tarp will do the job.

Tires

“If your car will be in storage for more than 30 days, consider taking the wheels off and placing the car on jack stands at all four corners,” says Edmunds.com. Where winter isn’t too long, adding extra air to the tires will serve to prevent flat spots.

Parking Brake

Leave a car with automatic transmission in “Park.” Leave a car with a manual transmission in neutral and chock the wheels. Either way, do not set the parking brake, which would result in brake pads “freezing” against the drums or rotors because of corrosion.

Battery

Remove the battery and put it on a tender until spring.

Car Cover

Car covers are worth the expense. Our favorite purveyor of upmarket car-care items describes their triple-layer cover in technical terms that made us think we’d found NASA’s website by mistake. The cover should be breathable and have a soft inner layer to protect the paint.

There are more elaborate schemes for preserving a special car in the winter. Some owners are so fastidious, they might advocate having it shrink-wrapped and sent to the International Space Station. But the list we present here is just right for the average person’s Saturday afternoon and will keep 99.5 percent of the problems at bay—especially if, as our friend Andrew Singer attests, the dog and cat are living up to their end of the bargain.

Special thanks to Hagerty for their content.

Thank you for your business!

Olivier-VanDyk Insurance

Multitasking is a Myth: Focus on the Road to Save Lives

Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Distracted driving is a public health issue that affects us all. It is a major contributor to the 40,000 people who were killed on our nation’s roadways last year. However, each death is 100% preventable.

Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are a few examples of distracted driving. Any of these distractions, even if done for just one second, can endanger the lives of the driver and others.

Driving is a visual task and non-driving activities that draw the driver’s eyes away from the roadway should always be avoided. As of July 1, 2010, Michigan law prohibits texting while driving. Motorists can be fined between $100-$200 for offenses.

Continue reading “Multitasking is a Myth: Focus on the Road to Save Lives”

FMCSA puts final nail in the coffin for restart regs

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration confirmed on its website that the 2013 regulations on the 34-hour restart will not go back into effect, given the results of a study released this week.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has notified Congress that the required study of the those regs revealed they provided no safety benefit. The notification verified a DOT Inspector General notice issued last week on the study’s conclusions. Continue reading “FMCSA puts final nail in the coffin for restart regs”

Safety Inspection Blitz Oct. 16 to Oct. 22

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will ramp up enforcement activity starting Sunday for its annual Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement blitz.

From Oct. 16 to Oct. 22, law enforcement agencies across North America will engage in heightened traffic safety enforcement and education aimed at unsafe driving by both commercial motor vehicle drivers and car drivers. Continue reading “Safety Inspection Blitz Oct. 16 to Oct. 22”

DOT Proposes Speed Limiter Rule

Federal safety regulators are proposing that heavy-duty vehicles be equipped with speed-limiting devices set to a specific maximum speed. A notice of proposed rulemaking was issued jointly on Aug. 26 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The NPRM comes after a decade-long push by trucking and safety advocates to put such a requirement in place for trucks and other commercial vehicles. Continue reading “DOT Proposes Speed Limiter Rule”

Brake Safety Week Inspection Spree Set for September 11-17

Inspectors will be keying in on brake safety again this September when the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Week takes place Sept. 11-17.

Across North America, law enforcement agencies will conduct inspections on commercial vehicles to look for out-of-adjustment brakes, and brake system and anti-lock braking system violations during the week. Continue reading “Brake Safety Week Inspection Spree Set for September 11-17”

FDA finalizes new requirements for food haulers

The federal government’s Food and Drug Administration released April 5 a Final Rule that sets new sanitation-related standards for food haulers and others in the supply chain, like shippers, who deal in the transportation of food products.

The rule does, however, have a notable exception for small companies: Carriers, shippers and receivers who bring in less than $500,000 in total annual revenue will not have to abide by the rule’s new procedures.

The rule’s key requirements for carriers include: (1) That carriers and drivers ensure their refrigerated trailers are pre-cooled prior to loading food, carriers/drivers provide upon request by shippers and receivers proof they’ve maintained the appropriate temperature for the food they’re hauling and (3) carriers develop and implement procedures that specify their practices for cleaning, sanitizing and inspecting their equipment.

The new rule also requires that shippers inspect carriers’ trailers prior to loading food products and requires any entity subject to its requirements, such as carrier personnel and drivers, to “take appropriation action to ensure that the food is not sold” if they become aware of any indication that a shipment of food was not kept at the proper temperature throughout its shipment.

Shippers will now also be required to give carriers written sanitation requirements for their vehicles and require shippers to keep records showing they’ve done as much.

The FDA says the rule likely won’t change carrier and shipper practices, saying it essentially only codifies already existing best practices for food shipments.

The rule will take effect a year following its April 6, 2016-scheduled publication date in the Federal Register.

– See more at: http://www.ccjdigital.com/fda-finalizes-new-requirements-for-food-haulers-excludes-some-small-carrier-operations/?utm_source=weekender&utm_medium=email&utm_content=04-10-2016&utm_campaign=Commercial%20Carrier%20Journal&ust_id=034425e741c076dfe7e53d53de72fea6#sthash.4OItQXUA.dpuf

The federal government’s Food and Drug Administration released April 5 a Final Rule that sets new sanitation related standards for food haulers and others in the supply chain, like shippers, who deal in the transportation of food products.

The rule does, however, have a notable exception for small companies: Carriers, shippers and receivers who bring in less than $500,000 in total annual revenue will not have to abide by the rule’s new procedures. Continue reading “FDA finalizes new requirements for food haulers”