Phones Down– It’s The Law

Did you know that as of April 2023 it is illegal to use or hold a cell phone or electronic device while driving? If an officer of the law sees a violation, they can pull you over. Drivers 18 years old can make or receive calls via hands-free devices. However, drivers under the age of 18 are still restricted from using their devices and any way, including hands-free feature.

Enforcement of this law began on October 4, 2023 and penalties include:

  • 1st offense in two years: 2 points assessed to driver’s license, up to a $150 fine.*
  • 2nd offense in two years: 3 points assessed to license, up to a $250 fine.
  • 3rd or more offense in two years: 4 points assessed to license, up to a $500 fine, possible suspension of driver license.
  • Fines doubled if the violation occurs in a work zone.

*Completion of a distracted driving course can help avoid the fine and points.

Read more about this law here, and please share with friends and family.

Prepare an Emergency Plan

We all think it couldn’t happen to us, but accidents do occur. We hope you never experience a problem, but we always suggest that you develop and implement an emergency preparedness plan for the various disasters and emergency situations that could arise. These plans should include evacuation routes and informed decisions on what to do and where to go should disaster strike.

Here are some considerations for you to include in your plan. No matter what the situation, safety for all involved must come first.

  • Call fire, emergency squad and/or police if necessary. Keep emergency numbers readily available. Stay away from downed power lines and electrical systems. Call your local power companies to inform them of downed lines in the area.
  • If you experience property damage, secure your property from further damage if possible. Do not take risks. Your safety is most important.
  • If you have water line damage, turn off water at the main source if it is safe to do so. Call a water damage team to mitigate water backup and water damage.
  • If needed, call a contractor to provide temporary roof tarp and window board-up services. For fallen trees, call a tree removal team.

Winter Weather Driving Tips

Winter road conditions present unique challenges to driver capabilities and vehicle performance. according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 15% of weather-related crashes occur in snow or sleet, and another 13% on icy pavement.

A few safety and preparation tips for winter

  • Inspect brakes and tires.
  • Inspect battery.
  • Add lubricant to door locks to prevent freezing.
  • Replace windshield wipers and de0icing fluid as necessary.
  • Add antifreeze.
  • Ice forms first on bridges, overpasses and shaded areas. Do not slam on the brakes when driving over ice. Decelerate slowly, holding the car steady.
  • Adjust the speed to fit the weather conditions and remain a safe distance behind other cars.
  • If the care begins to skid, remove your foot from the gas pedal but do not hit the brakes. Steer gently in the direction the front of the car should go. As the car straightens out, traction and control will return.
  • Keep blanket, a first-aid kit, flares, jumper cables, tire chains, a flashlight, ice scraper and gloves in the car.
  • Keep the gasoline level as high as possible to prevent water condensation in the tank.

Most importantly, during any season wear a seat belt and make sure all your passengers have their seat belts fastened, too.

You can find more tips and information at the NHTSA website.