Category Archives: automotive

Best Practices for Driving Safe in Spring

In Canada, we face the most extreme weather

Winter can be as low as -40 C (even colder with the wind chill) and summer can be as high as +40 C. That’s an 80 degree difference, which is hard on the roads and our vehicles. It also creates new challenges for us in each season, since we have to get used to the quirks and challenges of driving during that season. In summer, we face the blazing hot and blinding sun. In the winter, we barely maintain control on snowy, icy roads.

But what about the spring?

As short of a season as it is in Canada, it still presents its own unique challenges. Here are some top tips to driving safer in springtime.

  • Remember the temperature differential between day and night. The day time can be sunny and warm, but the nights can be still quite cold. As a result, the roads can still be icy when we leave the house for work in the morning, even though the weather only seems to be “jacket weather”. Adding to the challenge is the fact that snowmelt can turn to water and run off of lawns and onto roads throughout the day and then freeze into deadly ice at night
  • During the day, vast amounts of water melting from the snow can lead to roadway flooding, which can cause your vehicle to hydroplane, or can mask potholes in the road. Drive carefully when you see standing water!
  • Snow banks might be melting, but they can still be tall enough for a child to go completely unseen until it is too late. With the weather as nice as it is, children are more likely to be outside. So drive cautiously and expect children to dart out from anywhere
  • Early morning fog from the sun and the humidity can decrease visibility. Be sure to drive with your lights on
  • Don’t neglect scraping off your windows of any ice that accumulated overnight. By springtime, no one wants to do it but an icy window reduces visibility
  • Increasing day light hours might mean that you are driving into the sun in the morning or into the sun at night, or you face the rapidly changing light conditions of driving during dusk. As a result, your ability to see far in front of you isn’t easy, and it changes every day
  • Now that winter is over, cyclists are reappearing on the street. Vehicles no longer have to share the road with other vehicles but also with bicycles — some of whom obey the rules of the road and some who do not

Spring is a wonderful time because the cold, dark winter is giving way to the warm sun and the promise of a wonderful summer. But springtime can be a challenging time to drive. Be careful on those roads!

Not Every Danger on the Road is Visible

Be aware of them and watch for them so you can avoid a collision when these invisible dangers are present

  • Vehicles in your blindspot. This is probably the best-known “invisible danger” and yet so many drivers fail to check their blindspots before turning. A quick shoulder-check gives you an opportunity to sweep your blindspots with your eyes to make sure it’s safe to turn
  • Children. Children are oblivious to the world around them. And they’re short. That’s a scary combination! Any snowbank, parked vehicle, or large tree could have a child standing behind it who is about to go running obliviously out onto the street. Spot those hazards and watch them carefully as you approach them
  • Anything to the left or right of your vehicle while reversing. There are several dangers that you can face while going forward. But there is one big invisible danger you face when reversing: It’s anything to the left or the right of your vehicle! As you back up, and presumably turn your wheel, the front of your vehicle swings in that direction… but most people’s necks are craned around so they can see out the back window at the time. A slight change in direction and you can knock the mirror off of your vehicle or dent your fender
  • Cyclists who don’t obey the rules of the road. Cyclists are required to obey the rules of the road. For the ones that do, we can appreciate their predictability. However, not all cyclists do and the ones that don’t are less predictable and therefore less safe to be around. Watch for cyclists, especially ones that don’t see to be doing the same things you are!
  • Parked vehicles that pull out in front of you. When you’re driving past a line of vehicles that are parked parallel to the curb, it’s easy to assume that no one is moving. After all, they’re parked. But vehicles might be pulling out of their space and they don’t have a lot of room to move… or to see you
  • Cell phone talkers. Many jurisdictions are banning cell phones while driving. But this doesn’t stop drivers from using them. When you see someone driving nearby with a cell phone, be aware that although you might be focused on the road, they are not! Drive accordingly. If you’re both driving side-by-side, headed in the same direction, consider accelerating a little to get out of the way in case they decide to switch lanes

8 Ways You Can Drive Safer Right Now

Here are eight ways you can be a safer driver

  1. Slow down. Speed is one of the top causes of collisions. Actually, it’s not speed itself but it’s the reduced reaction time that you have when you drive above the speed limit. Speed limits are chosen for a reason, including the number of potential hazards you’ll face on a road and the distance you need to stop.
  2. Don’t call or text. Distracted driving is on the rise as mobile devices become more popular. We lead busy lives and feel the need to multitask in the vehicle while we drive. However, driving takes 100% of our attention.
  3. Slow down at crosswalks. Yes, you are already watching your speed (see #1) but slowing down at crosswalks is a good way to stay vigilant just in case a pedestrian steps out without properly signalling.
  4. Be aware of the danger zones. Danger zones aren’t necessarily places but times. There are certain times of the day when different hazards exist. For example, at dawn or dusk, animals might be more likely to roam the streets unseen. Also, just before or after school hours are prime times for kids to be running around. You should always be watching the road, but at these times it is prudent to watch the road for specific hazards.
  5. Harness your emotions. Driving seems to be an increasingly emotional situation – we have “road rage” and “intersection rage” and “parking lot” rage. Everyone rages because other people aren’t moving faster or more predictably. Although it might feel good to get angry at other drivers, the best thing to do is get control over your emotions and let it pass.
  6. Be predictable. While you might be raging at other drivers, it’s possible that you are not as predictable as you think you are. Check your signalling, turning, braking and your accelerating to make sure that other drivers know what you are doing.
  7. Plan ahead. Although it is tempting to speed, you can actually get somewhere faster by planning ahead. A quick check online of local road conditions and construction can reveal where the slow routes and the fast routes are.
  8. Stay focused and in control. Your vehicle is a machine and it requires your full attention and care in order to maneuver it. Driving haphazardly will relinquish control and it can turn your vehicle into a deadly weapon.

Most Dangerous Bad Habits of Seasoned Drivers

The combination of inexperience and peer pressure to occasionally do dangerous things is not a good combination when someone is behind the wheel.

However, that doesn’t mean seasoned drivers are necessarily safer. Seasoned drivers can still be unsafe drivers… But for very different reasons. For seasoned drivers, it all boils down to habits. Seasoned drivers might start off with good habits but over time it is easy to become lazy and let some good driving habits disappear, or even to fail to keep up to the changing demands of driving.

Here are some of the top ways that seasoned drivers are unsafe drivers

  • They fail to check their mirrors and/or blindspots as frequently as they are supposed to. Checking mirrors and blindspots ensures that the driver is aware of the location of nearby vehicles. Seasoned drivers who might have enjoyed years of collision-free driving, sometimes let this essential habit slip as they focus on other things – the road ahead or something going on in the vehicle
  • They fail to adequately control the vehicle. Although driving with “hands on ten and two” (the location of the hands on the steering wheel) might have been something they were initially taught, seasoned drivers might allow comfort rather than control decide on their driving skills.” Hands on ten and two” soon becomes one hand at twelve while the other one hangs out the window. Or, worse yet, one FINGER at six while the other hand sense text messages
  • They spend more time focused on things inside of the vehicle. Seasoned drivers have vehicles that can do more things – from controlling temperatures in zones to more selections on a satellite radio. Plus, seasoned drivers tend to carry more passengers that they pay attention to (specifically: a back seat full of children). Seasoned drivers can often divert their focus from the road to spend more time on things inside their vehicle
  • They rely on the safety features of their vehicles. Seasoned drivers might become used to the power steering and power brakes and other safety features of their vehicle and put their reliance on those things. Soon, those conveniences give the illusion of safety and real safe-driving skills can erode
  • They fail to keep up with the changes on the road. Seasoned drivers get used to driving on specific roads in a specific environment. The slightest change can disrupt their patterns and keep them from driving safely

There are safe drivers at all ages, and there are unsafe drivers at all ages. It’s easy to point to brand new drivers and blame them for being unsafe but seasoned drivers can be unsafe as well. It is everyone’s responsibility to choose to drive safely every day.

Funny Vehicle Safety Features That We’ll Never See

Although We Want Safe Vehicles, There Is A Limit

Here are some safety features you’ll never see:

  • Glow-in-the-dark vehicle: “But officer, I didn’t see the car” is a common complaint. This is solved if we all drove around in glow-in-the-dark vehicles
  • Sumo belts: Instead of a seatbelt, drivers get into those novelty sumo wrestling suits so that, in the event of a collision, everyone bounces around harmlessly inside the vehicle
  • Mandatory indicators: Who hasn’t seen drivers turn without signalling, or drivers who signal without turning. It’s a common sight on the road. Indicators and turning signals should be connected so that drivers cannot turn without first having their signal on, and drivers cannot signal without also turning
  • Giant indicators: Some collisions occur because one driver didn’t notice the other driver’s indicator lights. So giant halogen indicators that indicate every turn with clarity might actually be helpful
  • Balloon fenders: Our vehicles are becoming increasingly aware. So when they sense a collision about to strike, they deploy airbags outside of the vehicle to protect the vehicle against anything that might hit it
  • Following-too-close alarms: vehicles should come equipped with the ability to detect when another vehicle is following too closely and when it is traveling at an unsafely close distance, the vehicle in front should have flashing lights to warn the other driver to back up a little
  • A big sign on top of the vehicle: It’s easy for drivers to become fixated on the vehicle in front of them and ignore the much safer driving technique of watching several vehicles in front. That will become easier if every vehicle was equipped with a big sign on the top of the vehicle that showed the speed of the vehicle, turning indicators, and how many driving violations the driver has had
  • Following-too-close alarms: It wouldn’t hurt to have the same alarm inside vehicle, too, to warn drivers when they are following too closely to a vehicle in front of them
  • Giant blindspot mirrors: Drivers shouldn’t be able to make a lane change without first checking their blindspot
  • Mandatory two-handed steering wheels: vehicles shouldn’t be able to drive without two hands on the steering wheel

It’s not likely that these features will be included in our vehicles any time soon, but it is humorous to consider how different life would be (and how safer our roads would be) if they did exist.

Until these things are put into our vehicles, we’re stuck with the risk of collisions. So if you get into a collision, bring your vehicle to Boyd Autobody & Glass for a fast, safe repair.

Is Your Vehicle NASCAR Safe?

There’s the Nationwide Series or the bigger, faster, and more famous Sprint Cup Series. (There’s also a truck series and a Canadian NASCAR series, too). It’s a popular sport that can attract over a hundred thousand spectators to a single race. Every fan has their favorite driver and the roar of the crowd at those races is almost as loud as the roar of the engines.

In those races, the vehicles go very fast around a track, and in very close proximity. And sometimes, they collide for an explosive (and entertaining) collision that causes cars to go spinning around the track and over the grass.

But the drivers are very safe. Although there are injuries (and even the occasional tragic death), NASCAR cars are extremely safe. They have very strong cages that the vehicle is built around. The drivers are wedged in tightly with a lot of straps and protective padding. There are special “fins” on the vehicle that are built to keep the car close to the ground so that it is not likely going to flip over if it spins around. The barriers are made of foam and are highly absorbent. (Those “safer barriers” were put in place after Dale Earnhardt Senior lost his life in a crash several years ago). And there is a team of highly trained specialists who can respond to a crash in an instant. NASCAR drivers wear helmets and flame retardant suits because of the high temperatures that they experience in the vehicle.

Components That Make Your Vehicle NASCAR Safe

You might not be driving a NASCAR vehicle and you’re not going to be going nearly as fast but you have a lot of similar features built into your vehicle. Your vehicle is built around a special cage designed to protect the inhabitants of the vehicle. As well, the engine compartment and trunk are designed to crumple and fold up like an accordion instead of pushing into the passenger compartment. As well, the strong engine and the spare tire both offer additional protection in the event of a collision. Although our roads don’t have special “safe barriers” on them, most vehicles do, in the form of airbags. You also have a seatbelt to keep you in place. Your vehicle’s glass is designed to crumble instead of shatter to reduce injury when it breaks.

Although you may never drive as fast as those race car drivers do, your car has many of the safety features that are found in a NASCAR vehicle.

If you find yourself in a collision, the collision repair experts at Boyd Autobody & Glass are like your own personal pit crew, dedicated to repairing your vehicle and getting you back on the road quickly and safely.

Your Vehicle’s Glass is a Key Component to Your Safety

Your Vehicle’s Glass Is A Key Component In Your Safety

Even if it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Here’s why:

  1. You vehicle’s glass is very strong and takes a beating, protecting you from wind, dirt, dust, rocks, bugs, snow, ice and rain
  2. Your vehicle’s glass is part of the structural integrity of your vehicle. Most people don’t realize this but your vehicle’s windows are designed to help maintain the shape of your vehicle and to keep the roof from collapsing in on the occupants in the event of a collision
  3. Your vehicle’s glass is specially designed to be crumble instead of shatter in the event of a collision. Although this glass can still potentially cut you, it is designed so that it turns into tiny pebbles instead of dangerous, knife-like shards

Your vehicle’s glass cares for you. Here’s how to care for your vehicle’s glass…

  1. Keep your windows clean. Whenever you pull in to a gas station to fuel up, wash the outside of your windows. Dirty windows keep you from seeing properly and can create blindspots which can lead to collision. Be sure to wash the inside of your windows periodically, too, because even dirty windows on the inside can keep you from seeing out easily, especially when it’s sunny
  2. When you see a crack or chip in your glass, get it repaired right away. Although these are small and seemingly harmless, your windows take such abuse all year ’round that those chips and cracks can spread. And the result is: Your windshield’s strength is compromised and it doesn’t provide the same level of strength that it once did
  3. In the winter, make sure you completely clear the snow and ice off of each window. Many people only chip a small amount of snow or ice off of their windows but they leave most of their windows covered, turning their vehicles into giant blindspots

Your vehicle’s glass is an important component in your safety. Take the time to care for the glass so you can stay safer on the road.

If you do get a chip, crack, or broken window, bring your vehicle into the glass repair experts at Boyd Autobody & Glass. We’ll repair or replace your window quickly to restore the safety of your vehicle once again.

How to Stay Safe While Driving Next to the Parking Lane

Here’s how to drive a little more safely when there’s a parking lane to the right of you

  • Look ahead to take in the full line-up of vehicles, don’t just look one or two vehicle lengths ahead
  • If possible, pull over just a little to your left (while remaining in your lane) to give yourself just a little extra room
  • Slow down slightly to give yourself some time to react in case someone makes a sudden movement
  • Watch for indicator signals of vehicles that are pulling out of the parking lane into your lane
  • Watch for movement as vehicles break the pattern of being lined up with the curb, and watch for turning front tires as vehicles start to edge out into traffic
  • Look through the rear windows of each vehicle to watch for the silhouette of someone’s head in the driver’s seat. This isn’t fool-proof (they might have tinted window or they might be too short for their head to appear over the headrest) but it can give you an indication of a parked vehicle that might pull out into your lane
  • Looking for heads in vehicles is also a great way to watch for the risk of doors opening up in front of you
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians: Watch for feet by looking underneath some of the parked vehicles ahead of you and watch for heads by looking above some of the parked vehicles ahead of you. This is more difficult when there are kids. Slow down slightly because kids can run out from between parked vehicles without considering the danger. Pay particular attention to the risk of running children during the summer and during the time that kids might be walking to school or home after school
  • Stay several vehicle lengths back from any vehicle that is driving in the lane ahead of you. If they stop suddenly and start to back up into a spot, you’ll want time to slow down (plus you’ll want to give them enough room to back up)

Parking lanes might be full of stopped vehicles but that doesn’t mean that the risk of collision is gone. In fact, quite the opposite: Parking lanes present a number of potential collision scenarios that safe drivers watch for, and even expect.

Whether you are driving or parked, collisions can still happen. If they do, bring your vehicle to our team of collision repair experts at Body Autobody & Glass.

As Vehicles Get Safer, We Get Unsafer

Today, things have changed

Roads are paved. We don’t share the road with horses. Vehicles are enclosed, much faster and built to be safer.

But is it making us unsafe when we drive?

Since vehicles are enclosed and built to be virtually soundproof, we can drive very fast without realizing it. We don’t experience the feeling of speed because we are safely cocooned inside our quiet, smooth vehicle. (Compare that to our great grandparents who drove slowly because they would feel like they were driving in a windtunnel if they went too fast).

Today’s wonderfully modern vehicles make driving comfortable, safer and more enjoyable. But they keep us from fully appreciating the breakneck speeds that we travel. We feel confident that the innumerable safety features of the vehicle will keep us safe in the event of a collision. We get distracted by the even more complex vehicles we drive today (compared to the much simpler vehicles our great-grandparents drove).

Today’s highly advanced, safer vehicles can actually make us drive less safely because we can’t fully appreciate the danger of our decisions.

Although today’s vehicles are much safer, drivers need a wake up call in terms of discovering just how dangerous their driving can be. They need to discover the rush of speed or the danger of splitting their focus between the road and the zone climate controls or their mobile device.

To get a truer sense of what our forefathers (and foremothers) felt when they drove a vehicle, we need to cycle very quickly down a hill. That level of speed and that sense of vulnerability at being just a slight mishap away from a painful crash is what we should feel when we get behind the wheel and drive faster than the speed limit.

Vehicles will continue to get safer and at the same time continue to get more complicated. As a result, drivers will become increasingly less safe to drive.

Slow down. Drive safe. Arrive at your destination alive. Resist the urge to feel comfortable when behind the wheel.

If you do get into a collision, the collision repair experts at Boyd Autobody & Glass have locations throughout Western Canada and they can help repair your vehicle so you can get back out on the road quickly and safely.

5 Ideas for an End-of-Summer Road Trip

Here are a few tips to enjoy one last end-of-summer weekend road trip

These iseas won’t break the bank or require that you burn up any more vacation time, but will put the finishing touches on a great summer.

• The explorer. Get out the map and sit down with your travel partner and find a place that is a three to six hour drive away… but it must be a place that neither of you have ever been to. Call ahead to locate a place to stay. On Saturday morning, head out on your trip and discover an entirely new place! Return home Sunday morning but take a different route.

• The scavenger hunt. This is a day-long in-town road trip! You and your travel partner each write out a secret list of 20 or more things you might see around town and put each item on a separate 3×5 card. (Some ideas include: a pond, a cathedral gargoyle, a sequence of street address numbers, a cell phone tower, a mailbox of a specific color, etc.). On your “road trip”, the driver pulls a card from the secret list created by the passenger and goes off in search for that item. Once the first item is found, switch seats and the new driver pulls a card from the secret list created by the new passenger.

• The wanderer. Identify a number of small towns in a big loop that starts and ends where you live. Drive from one to the next, taking a picture of you and your travel partners in front of each town’s sign. Spend a few minutes exploring the town before moving on.

• The movie star. Choose a nearby destination then search for that location on IMDb.com (by using their location search at this link: http://www.imdb.com/search/text). Watch the movie first before you visit the destination and then see it in real life.

• The new you. Rent a vehicle that you don’t normally drive — perhaps a classic vehicle, a convertible, a luxury vehicle, or a sports vehicle — and hit a rural highway for the day. Enjoy the quiet ride, take in the scenery, have a coffee or ice cream at a destination, and return by the end of the day.