9 Holiday Driving Tips To Keep You Safe

A truck is driving in a high snow area during the holiday season

The holiday season is upon us once again, and with it comes holiday traffic. As more people get on the road to reach their holiday destinations, it is important to always stay safe and aware during this hectic holiday season. According to the National Safety Council, around 39 thousand people died as a result of vehicle accidents in 2019. Whether you’re driving across the country or across town, follow these tips to keep yourself and others on the road out of harm’s way and begin your festivities safe and sound.

Maintain Your Vehicle 

Before heading out on the road it is important to make sure your vehicle is maintained. Double-check your tire pressure and confirm the tire tread depth is in good condition. Additionally, you want to test your car’s battery, inspect your brakes, and check the wiper blades. Ensure all these components are working properly before you begin your journey.

Do NOT Drink and Drive

While this should be applied every day of the year, it should be stressed during the holiday season. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 29% of vehicle fatalities in 2018 were caused by drunk driving. So if you’re attending a holiday party this season, please get a designated driver or get a ride home through ride-sharing services like Lyft or Uber.

Plan Ahead

Take a look at your route before heading out to understand how to get to your destination. If you come across an area with no cellphone service you’ll want to ensure you don’t get lost. If you can, try to leave earlier than usual to avoid heavy traffic.

Check the Weather 

Apart from checking the weather for your holiday destination, check the weather forecast for the areas you’ll be driving through. This will keep you prepared from any unexpected weather conditions.

Get Some Rest 

Try to get plenty of rest the night before you leave. Not getting enough sleep will affect your driving skills, fatigue will impact your reaction time on the road. If you start getting tired while driving take a break, stop and stretch, or get a coffee or energy drink. If you can, switch drivers after a few hours to always have an alert set of eyes on the road. If not, try breaking up the trip into more than one day, better to arrive late than not at all.

Secure Your Home and Car 

Make certain that all entry points to your home are locked and secured. Unfortunately, home burglaries increase during the holidays as more people are away from home. Furthermore do not leave valuables unattended in your car or in plain sight. If there is room try to store them in your trunk to avoid any unfortunate situations.

Have An Emergency Kit 

In case of emergency make sure you are prepared by having an emergency kit handy. Items in your kit should include

  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Ice scraper
  • Sand, cat litter, or traction mats
  • Flashlights, flares, and hazard signs
  • Drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • Warm clothes and blankets
  • Tools
  • Cell Phone chargers
  • Roadside assistance contact information

Take Care of the Kids

If you’re traveling with kids make sure they’re secured in their appropriate seats, this will greatly reduce the risk of serious injury in the event of a crash. Use car and booster seats in the correct way, do not strap kids in with jackets and coats on. These clothes prevent the harnesses from tightly securing the child and will become loose. Instead, follow the CDC’s tip and buckle the harness first, then put the coat, jacket, or blanket on top of the child to keep them warm.

To avoid distractions to the driver make sure the kids have plenty of distractions to keep themselves busy. Use games, books, or movies to make the drive more enjoyable for everyone. And NEVER leave kids unattended if you have to stop at a rest stop, gas station, or side of the road, always keep an eye on them.

Stay Within the Speed Limit

With more cars on the road, it is best to increase your stopping distance during the holiday season. Harsh winter conditions such as icy and wet roads will also impact your stopping distance so keep this in mind as well. Additionally, highway patrols use speed traps during the holiday season to keep everyone on the road safe, according to CARFAX.

Repair Your Car At Ric’s Body & Paint

While these tips will take you a long way in ensuring you and your loved ones arrive safe and sound at your destinations we know accidents can happen. If you have suffered from a collision our team at Ric’s Body & Paint will carefully repair or replace all damaged parts. Contact us today!

6 Questions to Ask Your Collision Repair Expert

A repair expert is working on a car in a auto body shop

You depend on your vehicle to pick the kids up from school, go shopping, make it to work, and go on vacation. So when it’s damaged in an accident, you are understandably stressed. After searching for a reputable collision repair shop, then comes many questions that must be answered. That is why we’ve put together six important questions you should ask your collision repair expert to ensure you’re getting a fair deal.

Can I Get a Written Estimate?

Depending on the level of damage, you may be looking at a sizable sum to fix your car. It is perfectly reasonable to expect a free, detailed written estimate from your auto body center of choice. The written estimate includes an itemized list of everything that needs to be done to the vehicle, as well as hourly rates, days to repair, and the cost of replacement parts. 

It is important to note that an estimate is based on the damage that can be seen, meaning there may be more damage than meets the eye. A good estimator will usually be able to give you a heads up if they believe there is additional damage during the estimate that wasn’t initially visible, like frame damage. Once the technician tears down the vehicle, they will be able to provide you with further information.

Can You Match My Paint?

Are you worried about your paint job not matching? If you’ve chosen a trusted collision repair expert, don’t be! 

Several collision repair centers are specialists at paint matching. Their technicians will restore the vehicle’s paint to manufactured specifications by painting a card with the proper code and take it and the car into the sunlight to see if it is a viable match. The painter will also bend into adjacent panels to ensure color matching quality. Expert painters have developed an excellent spraying technique to provide the best coverage for a seamless application of your new paint.

Will You Work with My Insurance?

It’s helpful going to an auto body repair expert who has a working relationship with your insurance company. This should speed up the claims process and make it easier for you to finish the process. By making sure your auto body shop works with your insurance, you can ensure the car’s repair goes as efficiently and smoothly as possible. 

By using a body shop your insurance recommends, they are guaranteeing the work of that establishment. If the shop is not a part of your insurance company’s network, make sure the shop warrants their work. 

At Ric’s Body & Paint, we work with all insurance companies, but we are not a direct repair shop (DRP) with all insurance companies. We also carry our own warranty on services giving you peace of mind knowing we’re here to help you. 

How Long Will the Repair Take?

Since you depend on your car in your daily life, it’s a reasonable question to ask how long the collision repair may take to finish. It’s usually subjective due to several factors:

  • Make/Model of Vehicle
  • Severity of Damage
  • Scheduling availability 
  • Mechanical or technical issues 
  • Skill-level of Technicians

At Ric’s Body & Paint, we use an estimating tool to figure out how long it might take to finish servicing your vehicle. We input in the tasks for the project and we can identify repair times that are based on industry standards.  

Does the Auto Body Repair Expert Have Any Certifications?

Certifications are a good sign that the technicians handling your vehicle are knowledgeable in auto body repair. Look out for key certifications such as I-CAR and ASE. The I-CAR Gold Class certification is the highest training achievement in the collision repair industry. This means a collision repair shop trains its technicians every year. Moreover, accreditation designates experts to be highly skilled in four key collision repair roles. These roles include estimator, non-structural technician, steel structural technician, and refinish technician. 

Does the Repair Shop Offer Warranties?

When going to an auto body repair expert, it’s always essential to go to technicians who are confident in their work to offer a warranty. Ask them if they provide one,  what kind they offer, and how long it will last? Warranties can cover repairs for work involving fit, functionality, finish, and overall quality.

Reliable Auto Body Repair Experts at Ric’s

As an I-CAR Gold Class repair shop, Ric’s Body & Paint is your trusted source for collision repair. We strive to provide excellent service through estimates, warranties, and paint matching services. We will work with all insurance companies, so come in anytime for evaluation and receive a lifetime warranty on the fit and finish of your collision repair. Contact us today to let us know what we can do to get your car back in tip-top shape.