When it comes to winter holiday travel, airports and flying get a lot of the attention. But the majority of people who travel during the winter holidays pack up the car and drive to their destinations.
Before starting the journey, drivers should do some car maintenance and check on state laws that might change the way they drive, AAA says.
Here are some tips to help you hit the road:
Get all your basic maintenance done
AAA suggests giving yourself a week to:
— Check tire pressure and tread depth — Replace wiper blades — Fill the windshield washer reservoir — Test the battery
Even if you’re already behind on your to-do list, now is the time to take care of it. Don’t leave home without an oil change or brake check, too, if you’ve been putting those off.
Make an emergency road kit
According to AAA, a winter emergency kit should include a first aid kit, jumper cables, an ice scraper and snow brush. You should also carry:
— Sand, cat litter or traction mats — Small shovel — Gloves, hats and blankets — Flashlights with fresh batteries and warning flares or triangles — Shop rags or paper towels — Drinking water and nonperishable snack bars — Warm clothes — Basic hand tools — Chargers for your phone
Map your route
Know how you’re going to get to your destination and have an alternative route in mind, AAA advises. Be prepared for busy roads. Check your smartphone app for heavy traffic ahead. If possible, leave really early in the morning or really late in the evening when traffic is generally lighter.
Check on the weather
Know what kind of conditions you might be driving through, not just the weather at your home and your destination. You may be going through mountain passes between your starting and stopping points.
Take a few minutes to check current weather conditions and forecasts with CNN Weather or your favorite weather site or app.
Brush up on your winter driving techniques
Increase your regular following distance. Rather than three to four seconds, make it eight to 10. Avoid skids by applying the gas slowly to accelerate. Above all, be patient and don’t let yourself get distracted, AAA advises.
Secure your valuables
The holidays are prime time for thieves, and a vehicle full of items in plain view will attract them. Don’t make yourself a tempting target; keep your valuables and wrapped Christmas presents in the trunk or a covered storage area.
Keep the kids busy and safe
Use books, games, DVDs — whatever will keep the kids comfortable and stop them from distracting the driver. Remember, they will need snacks and will need to make stops, so be prepared to spend more time on the road if you’re traveling with children.
And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds guardians to buckle children in the vehicle using safety seats, booster seats or seat belts depending on their height, weight and age.
Take a break every two hours or 100 miles
Adults need to stop, too. Breaking up the drive periodically will keep you more alert while you’re on the road, Green said, which will help you arrive for Thanksgiving dinner in one piece.
The world’s first car accident occurred in 1891 and involved 2 Ohioans and a tree, but the world’s first car insurance policy wasn’t written until 1897. That means for 6 (doubtlessly crazy) years, people were driving hither and yon in their fancy new horseless carriages without a drop of coverage. Compound that with the fact that safety measures like stop signs, right-of-way, and driver training had not yet been invented, and you can begin to imagine the chaos of a world sans car insurance.
It’s not like the idea of insurance didn’t exist. As a concept, insurance had begun long, long before then. But perhaps more than anything, the mass production of the automobile in the early 20th century helped to revolutionize the industry — making it as standard today as that requisite new-car smell.
Legends, licensing, and liability
Since cars first started rolling off Ford’s legendary assembly line in 1903, we’ve been driving them, decorating them, sleeping in them, and, yes, crashing them. But while more and more cars were hitting the road, early drivers were hitting trees, wagons, horses, and inevitably, each other as well.
In 1930, roughly 110 people were killed per day in car accidents. In 2000, with nearly twice the national population, fatalities per day increased by only 4 to 114. That’s approximately 10 times more fatalities per registered vehicle back in 1930.
And while this figure is staggering, it’s not altogether surprising if you consider that most drivers in the early days were untested and virtually untrained. Back then, they didn’t have driving schools, driver tests, or driver licensing laws any more than we have hovercar training today. Massachusetts and Missouri were the first to establish driver licensing laws in 1903, but Missouri had no actual driver exam law until 1952.
In the early days, instead of standing in line for 2 hours at the DMV and taking numerous tests just to wait several weeks for your license to arrive, you could simply walk into your local licensing office, plunk down 50 cents (or so), and walk away the proud owner of a driver’s license. Almost as easy as getting one from a Cracker Jack® box.
But as we know all too well, simply having a license doesn’t necessarily make you a good driver. And imagine what the roads must have been like at the turn of the last century. The combination of amateur drivers and unpaved, unmonitored roads proved tragic and highlighted the rapidly growing need for liability insurance.
Liability Required (mostly)
In 1927, Massachusetts became the first state to make liability insurance required by law. By the 1940s, with the end of WWII and a subsequent surge in automobile production, most states had passed similar laws. Today, New Hampshire remains the only state in the union without compulsory liability laws. (The whole “Live Free or Die” thing.)
In An Accident But Didn’t Get Any Insurance Information. What’s Next?
If you get into a car accident that isn’t your fault, then the law is on your side. This is the purpose for car insurance and it should then follow that the driver that was to blame will pay for the damage and for any medical costs through their insurance. It is a legal requirement that drivers should have insurance and therefore you should be able to safely presume that the other party will have the available funds to pay for the damage and you should be able to get back onto the road and afford any medical costs without any personal financial loss.
But of course it doesn’t always work like that. For example, what happens if you are in a car accident and the other person drives away? What if you are the victim of a hit and run?
In these cases, you won’t be able to get the costs paid by anyone else and you’ll be left to deal with them. This can be a very frustrating and upsetting experience as you now not only have the shock and trauma of being in a car accident but also the stress and inconvenience of having to pay for damage that was not your fault and that may have been outside of your control.
So, what do you do?
Your Rights As A Driver
If you have been in a car accident and the other driver did not stop to exchange details, then that is technically classified as a ‘hit and run’. This is an infraction and means that the other driver will face charges if they are eventually caught.
A hit and run is any kind of accident in which one party intentionally leaves the scene without providing contact information. If they haven’t stopped to ask if you are alright and to offer to exchange insurance details/contact information, then they have broken the law. Even if the accident was your fault!
The First Steps After Getting In An Accident
The first thing to do if you are the victim of a hit and run is to assess the local area and to see if there is any information that can help you to catch the culprit.
First, assess your own memory. Can you remember the make and model of the vehicle? Do you remember what the other driver looked like? Write down these details while they are fresh in your memory and it may improve your chances of tracking down the driver. Police may be able to narrow down potential culprits by looking at who is in the local area and drives that car. Of course, if you can get a number plate down on paper then that will be even better.
Another good idea is to get out the car (making sure it is safe to do so) and see if there were any witnesses who might be willing to give a statement. Ask if they saw the number plate and ask if they would be willing to give you their contact details to help you catch the culprit. If it ultimately comes down to your word against theirs in a court of law, then this could help sway the decision in your favor.
Likewise, try to look for any other evidence. Skid marks on the road and the nature of the damage to your car will help you to demonstrate what happened (even when you catch the driver, that doesn’t mean they will admit fault). Better yet, try going into local stores in the area and asking if they have security camera footage that they would be willing to let you use. These days there is almost always some form of security camera or CCTV in built-up areas and even motorways will often have recording devices in place.
One thing you must never do is to try and pursue the person who hit you. If you do this, then you risk causing further accident and you will lose the opportunity to follow the steps outlined.
Getting Compensation After The Hit-And-Run
Following this, you can then file a police report. The police will then be able to use the information you have given them and any other details in order to try and track down the guilty party. From here, you may be able to get compensation from the driver either through their insurance, or out of their own pocket (if they don’t have insurance). Even if they aren’t successful in apprehending the culprit, simply having a police report on file can help you legally in a number of ways.
In Virginia, your auto policy should include ‘uninsured motorist coverage’. This will cover hit and run accidents in many cases and that means you will only have to pay the agreed excess.
If you need auto insurance in the state of Virginia, please call 434 979 0814 in Charlottesville or 894 741 6305 anywhere in Central Virginia OR
If you are looking for the lowest prices, there are some guidelines worth following as you do your research. Here are 8 ways to get the cheapest auto insurance.
1. Don’t assume any one company is the cheapest
Some companies spend a lot of money on commercials, trying to convince you that they offer the lowest car insurance rates.
The truth is that prices individuals will pay for the same coverage at the same company vary widely, and no single company can claim to be the low-price leader. The insurance company that’s cheapest for one person in one place might be the most expensive option for another driver. Some insurance companies have also developed complex predictive models that may charge you higher rates if they show you are unlikely to switch providers. Your best bet is to get quotes from different companies, including independent agencies, and compare for the best.
2. Don’t ignore local and regional insurance companies
Just four companies control nearly half the nation’s car insurance business: Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm. But smaller, regional insurers, such as Able Insurance, often have higher customer satisfaction ratings than the big names and they deliver great lower rates, too.
3. Check for discounts
Insurers provide a variety of discounts, including price breaks for customers who:
Bundle car insurance with other policies, such as homeowners insurance
Insure multiple cars with one policy
Have a clean driving record
Pay their entire annual or six-month premium at once
Agree to receive documents online
Own a car with certain anti-theft or safety features
Are members of particular professional organizations or affiliate groups
4. Pay your bills on time — and not just your insurance bills
Your credit is a significant factor in the car insurance quotes you’ll receive. Insurance companies say that customers’ credit has been shown to correlate with their risk of filing a claim. Improve your credit — and lower your premiums — by paying your bills on time and reducing your debt. Track your progress by checking your credit reports at least once per year.
You probably already pay attention to factors such as fuel efficiency and repair costs when deciding which car to buy, but you should also consider insurance premiums, which can vary between popular models. On a review of rates for best-selling vehicles in 25 cities found that the Toyota Camry, for example, cost an average of $187 per year more to insure than the comparable Honda Accord. Similarly, a Toyota RAV4 cost an average of $201 more to insure than a Honda CR-V.
6. Skip collision and comprehensive coverage for your clunker
Collision coverage pays to repair damage your vehicle receives in an accident involving another car or an inanimate object. Comprehensive pays to repair vehicle damage caused by weather, animals or vandalism, or reimburses you for your car if its stolen. But both will only pay up to the value of your car. If yours older and has a low market value, it may not make sense to shell out for the two policies.
7. Consider raising your deductible
If you need to carry comprehensive and collision — because your car is a later model or your lender requires it — you can save a substantial amount of money by raising the deductibles. A NerdWallet study of rates in Florida and California found that customers who increased their deductibles from $500 to $1,000 saved about $200 per year on premiums, while those who increased them from $500 to $2,000 saved $362 per year. Keep in mind that this will mean you’ll pay more out of pocket if you do make a claim.
8. Consider usage-based plans, especially if you don’t drive much
If you’re a safe driver who doesn’t log very many miles, consider a usage-based insurance program. By signing up for these programs, you allow your insurer to track your driving electronically in exchange for possible discounts, based on how much you drive, when you drive and how well you drive.
Able Insurance is always here to help you make the best decisions based on your individual needs, current situation, and long-term goals. If you’re looking for affordable term coverage for temporary needs, or a permanent policy, we can help with solutions that meet your needs and budget. No matter where you are in life, one thing is certain: if someone depends on you financially, you need life insurance.
If you have gotten your license suspended or revolked, you may require an SR-22 filing in order to drive legally again. The state of Virginia uses the SR-22 form to help protect its citizens against problem drivers by monitoring their insurance. It requires the auto insurance company to file the SR-22 form as a proof of a problem driver’s financial responsibility, stating that his/her auto insurance liability is in effect. The state does not send notifications and it is the responsibility of the driver and the auto insurance company to submit the form as well as the renewals, to the state, if required.
What Is A SR-22 Form?
There are three different types of SR-22 forms:
The Operator’s Certificate covers the financial responsibility in the case the motorist does not own a vehicle.
The Owner’s Certificate covers the financial responsibility for vehicles owned by the motorist.
The Operators-Owners Certificate covers financial responsibility for all the vehicles that are owned or non-owned by the motorist.
When Is A SR-22 Required?
The SR-22 financial responsibility Insurance form is required in the following cases:
In case of a driver’s license suspension as a result of a conviction for a major offense such as manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle, making a false affidavit during driver license application or vehicle registration, failure to stop at the scene of an accident that resulted in death or injury, or a second conviction for operating a passenger vehicle without a valid license.
If you have any unsatisfied judgment suspensions. For example, if a driver involved in an accident in the past has an unsatisfactory judgment entered against him then he or she needs to fill the SR-22.
In case of an uninsured motor vehicle suspension.
Certain convictions such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving with a suspended license will require filing of an FR-44. This is a more stringent version of the SR-22 under which the amount of minimum coverage is doubled.
Filing For The SR-22
Contact a state-authorized insurance agency to request for a SR-22 filing.
Pay the correct processing fee to the agency. The fee amount may vary between agencies. You can request an insurance quote from our Virginia auto insurance page and companies such as Esurance will allow you to request an SR-22 filing automatically.
As per the State laws of Virginia, the minimum amount of coverage should be $25,000 for one person killed or injured, $50,000 for two or more persons killed or injured and $20,000 for property damage.
Upon receiving the request from the agent the central office then sends the SR-22 directly to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. SR-22 filing may be carried out electronically, in which case your records will be updated almost instantaneously.
The SR-22 has to be maintained for a minimum period of 36 months. If the motorist does not renew it at least 15 days before the expiration date the agency notifies the State. The State may then suspend the driving record of the motorist until the insurance is reinstated.
Owners of business vehicles may choose to go for self-insurance by furnishing a surety bond. For more information regarding self-insurance, contact your nearest DMV office.
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