Summer Driving Tips from eTags

Freedom of the open road. Side view of joyful young woman relaxing on the front seat while her boyfriend sitting near and driving their convertible

Not many people think about their driving habits when the seasons change, but certain temperatures and weather conditions are cause for some extra focus on the road. Surely the harsh winter months can make being on the road a pain at times and require its own driving specialized techniques, but eTags has broken down some Summer driving tips that you may have not known are important for even the sunniest of days.

Get Your Car Serviced

The summer heat can be rough on engines. Regular maintenance like tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks and tire rotations can all help prevent your car from breaking down during the summer. If your car is serviced per the manufacturer’s recommendations, you’ll be all the more ready to push on with your daily commute or travel. If you think you may in danger of having your car leaving you stranded on a hot summer day (or any day for that matter), schedule a preventative maintenance check with a mechanic. Also, eTags recommends you check for recall notices on your vehicle and make sure you get any necessary repairs on recalled parts that may affect safety measures in your vehicle.

Check Tire Pressure

Drastic swings in temperature can cause car tires to deflate. Sometimes, in the summer, the days can be stifling hot with the nights becoming cool and breezy. If the temperature swings more than 20 degrees within 24 hours, there’s a good chance your tires have experienced some air loss. Check your vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month and do so while the tires are cold (when the car hasn’t been driven for a few hours).

Make Sure Lights Work

Daytime is longer in the summer and so you may be driving less at night than you were earlier in the year but it’s important to make sure you can see and be seen when you do drive at night. Frequently check to see if your headlights, break lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and interior lights are all in working condition. If you tow something behind your vehicle, make sure the tails lights or added lights are working on those as well. This is particularly important in the summer when it’s more common to be hauling boats, RVs or trailers.

Check Cooling System

This is perhaps the most important safety tip for driving in the summer because it will affect whether or not your vehicle’s air conditioning works and how hot your engine gets. The radiator in your car needs water and antifreeze (coolant) to keep your engine functioning right. When your car hasn’t been running for a while and it’s completely cool, check to make sure your coolant reservoir is full. Furthermore, if your coolant is clear, looks rusty or has particles floating in it, it’s time to have the cooling system flushed and refilled.

Replace Wiper Blades

Summer rain storms can be treacherous and the only thing worse than getting stuck in one while driving is getting stuck in one while driving and having wiper blades with so much wear and tear that they can’t get the job done. Check your wiper blades to see what condition they’re in and replace them if need be.

Child and Pet Safety

It is important to keep in mind that you should never leave a child or pet unattended in a car during the summer months. Vehicles naturally experience the Greenhouse Effect and their interior temperatures can exceed those of outside. If you are traveling with pets, take them with you when you leave the vehicle or leave them at home if you think they won’t be able to enter certain buildings are areas. If you are a parent or guardian with a child, put your purse, wallet, or phone in the backseat when you are traveling with your child so that you don’t forget they are there. While it may seem inconceivable to forget your child in your car, it happens more than you think especially when there is a change to your daily routine.

 

eTags Offers Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe and Out of Hot Cars

Golden Retriever Looking Out Of Car Window

Have you ever opened your car door on a hot summer day and gone inside? Even for those few seconds before the AC gets kicking, the heat can be unbearable. Now think about that same heat if you had a coat of fur. Pets and hot cars do not go together, which is why eTags often talks about this issue on its blog about the dangers of hot cars for pets. While you can certainly take your pup with you on a day trip (he or she will probably love it), there are a few precautions eTags recommends you should make.

 

Unfortunately, there are very few laws on the books protecting pets in cars. Pets are more likely to be victims of heat exhaustion in states that do not have laws against leaving animals in unattended, confined vehicles. Even if there may not be any criminal charges pursued for such matters in many states, it is still strongly encouraged that you never leave your pet in an unattended vehicle in the summer. Here’s why:

 

  • Cars can heat up in as little as thirty minutes to unbearable temperatures. The first thirty minutes are the most intense regarding heat speed. No living thing should be left in a locked, unattended vehicle.

 

  • Leaving the windows cracked is not enough to prevent heat exhaustion. When tested, this did very little to reduce the heat speed. This may be due to several factors including how interior color can affect how heat is circulated and is trapped even with cracked windows.

 

  • Many pets are more susceptible to the heat exhaustion. For example, a pet with a short snout will have a tougher time breathing in a hot environment than other breeds. Pets with longer and/or thicker coats will overheat more quickly as well.

 

  • Finally, if you notice a pet in danger in someone else’s vehicle, you can call your local police or animal control for help. Wait by the vehicle until help arrives. Some states do have protections for Good Samaritans to break into a vehicle to safe an animal in danger but, before you do this, know your state’s laws.

Tips for Sharing the Road with Motorcyclists and Bicyclists

biker on road with helmet and wet asphalt

Each year, there are thousands of crashes involving motorcyclists and bicyclists all across the state of Florida. In an effort to curtail crashes that could potentially result in serious injuries and deaths, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers a number of safety tips for motorists to ensure they safely share the road with other riders. If you live in Florida or anywhere else and operate a motor vehicle, here are a few things to keep in mind to stay safe:

 

Don’t share the lane with a motorcycle. Even if you believe that there is plenty of room, this is a disaster waiting to happen. Drive safely behind the motorcycle as you would with any other vehicle in front of you. Motorcycles can stop much quicker than other vehicles, making it even more important to keep a safe distance.

 

Look very closely before pulling into an intersection or changing lanes. As motorcycles and bicycles are much smaller, you may miss them if you take a passing glance. Make sure to check your blind spots and don’t aggressively change lanes.

 

Be careful when passing a motorcyclist or bicyclist. You should give bicyclists three feet of clearance when passing them, and you shouldn’t pass motorcyclists too closely as the generated wind could cause them to lose control. Also remember that motorcycles can accelerate faster so make sure the motorcyclists is aware of your intent to avoid any confusion or, worse, a crash.

 

If there is inclement weather on the road, be more cautious. Always yield to a bicyclist in the turn lane when turning, keep more space between you and the motorcyclist or any vehicle for that matter, and avoid using high beams.

 

eTags reviews the latest safety information on their blog, and sharing the road is a very important part of maintaining road safety – no matter where you live. Keep these tips in mind the next time you are out on the road. And don’t forgt to Look Twice.

What It Means to Be a Safe Driver?

car rent or leasing concept, selective focus on eyes, special toned photo f/x

Uber recently suspended its self-driving pilot program after a vehicle in self-drive mode got crashed with another vehicle on an Arizona highway. Luckily, nobody was hurt, but this did cause Uber to decide to halt this program that was in progress in Pennsylvania, California, and Arizona. The crash occurred because a car with a human driver failed to yield to the Uber vehicle when making a turn. Although it is difficult to blame the computer as it seems the other driver may have been negligent, it does show that there is still inherent risk on the road – whether we’re talking about human and/or robot drivers.

 

How to Drive Safer

 

Being insured is part of being a responsible driver. There are some things you can’t control when it comes to your vehicle insurance. Age, gender, and location are all things you have no control over. However, there are many other things that you can control. One of those is your driving record. The fewer crashes and traffic violations you have had, the lower your insurance rate will be. In addition to offering online vehicle registration renewal services, eTags offers insurance quotes to motorists to help them find the best rate. Also by being a safer driver, you will reduce your risk of being injured or even killed in a crash or injuring or killing someone else on the road. But how do you commit to being a safer driver?

 

In addition to providing registration renewal service and insurance quotes, eTags promotes driving safety on their blog. Here are a few things to keep in mind about how to drive safer:

 

Obey the speed limit: When you speed, you are less likely to maintain control or react to something happening in front of you. Is it worth it to reach your destination a few seconds or minutes early when you increase your risk of causing or being involved in a crash?

 

Wear your seatbelt: It might be the law in your state. If it isn’t, it’s important to know that wearing a seatbelt can significantly reduce your risk of dying in a car crash – as much as fifty percent in some cases.

 

Keep your focus on the road: Don’t text and drive. If you need to talk to someone while driving, wear a bluetooth headset or use the in car Bluetooth that your vehicle may be enabled with. It’s important to note though that you are still being distracted by carryon on a conversation if in hands-free mode. Eating while driving is not recommended either. A few distracted seconds could result in a crash.

 

Four Tips for Driving in the Snow

Driving in snowstorm
Driving in snowstorm

 

We’re right in the middle of winter, which for many of us means snow. Even if you avoid driving in winter weather as much as possible, a quick storm or wrong weather forecast could force you to drive when road conditions are dangerous. We understand that driving in the snow can be scary for someone who isn’t used to it. That is a common reaction, which is why knowledge is important to mitigate the dangers as much as possible.

 

Obviously, if you can avoid driving on the snow or ice, please do so. However, this could be unavoidable at times, which is why we have provided the following tips to keep in mind when you encounter snow or ice on the road:

 

Slow Down: We understand that you want to get home as soon as possible, but it’s important to keep in mind that you cannot drive at normal speeds on snowy and icy roads. You can veer off the road or lose control on ice at as slow as ten mph. If you are going over 45 and it’s snowy and icy, please slow down. If you are sliding at all as you drive, you’re going too fast.

 

Wear Your Seat Belt: This is something you’ll want to do when driving in any conditions, but this is especially important when the road conditions are treacherous. Even if you going slow and are paying attention, you can’t control the actions of other drivers. Play it safe and wear a seat belt.

 

Turn toward the Slide: If you begin to slide, turn the steering wheel in the direction the rear tires are sliding. Don’t oversteer though because you might start sliding in the opposite direction. If that does occur, you must correct the slide in that direction. Driving through this kind of occurrence is difficult for even the most skilled drivers so the important thing is to stay calm while trying to straighten out your vehicle.

 

Don’t Brake Too Often: It’s a common reaction. You start to slide and then you brake. However, this could cause your brakes to lock up which could lead to losing control of your car if it begins to slide. Go as easy on your brakes as possible and just take it slow to avoid losing control. This is easier to do if you are adjusting your speed for the road conditions.

 

For more tips, please visit eTags’ blog for the other winter driving tips and other safety-related information.

 

Four Bad Driving Mistakes to Avoid

Texting and Driving

For many drivers, operating a car becomes second nature. However, no matter how much experience you have being behind the wheel, you still be making one of these common driving mistakes.

Driving Distracted

The use of a cell phone or any other device while driving is one of the leading causes of auto crashes. Simply reading a text while driving is the equivalent of driving the full length of a football field while blindfolded. Cell phones are not the only form of distraction and drivers may find things like loud music and even passengers to be distracting enough to make driving dangerous. Avoid any distraction at all costs and focus on the road. Turn your phone off, put it on silent, or download an app to limit cell capabilities while the vehicle is moving.

Not Wearing a Seat Belt

While many people are well accustomed to wearing a seat belt, many others neglect to buckle up when getting behind the wheel. Whether you’re driving or sitting in the passenger’s seat, it’s always important to wear a seat belt. A seat belt significantly reduces your risk of injury and death in the event of a crash. If you’re the driver, make sure everyone is buckled up before hitting the road.

Driving On an Empty Gas Tank

Don’t wait until your gas tank is at or near empty before filling up. Driving on empty can wear down the fuel pump and filter faster. Not to mention, you could run out of gas and end up on the side of the road. Always fill up once your task is one-quarter full to prevent breakdowns and premature vehicle damage.  There are even apps that help you find a gas station with the cheapest rates near you so you can fill up when you need to without feeling like you have overpaid.

Waiting To Renew Your License And Registration

Believe it or not, it’s common for drivers to operate a vehicle with an expired license and/or vehicle registration. It’s critical to renew these items before they expire. It’s the law to have these items in your car and up-to-date; otherwise, you risk getting a traffic citation or even having your vehicle impounded. Many drivers put off renewing these items for as long as possible because they dread going to the DMV. However, services like eTags.com provide a convenient platform where you can renew these documents online, without having to leave your home.

Why You Might Want to Skip that Fast Food Meal When You Drive

Young man driving his car while eating food

 

Let’s face it. All of us are quite busy in our everyday lives. In fact, we’re so busy that many of us have probably dined in our car as we raced from one job or errand to another. There’s a reason why fast food restaurants started drive-thru. However, while it might be more convenient to eat in your car when you’re busy, you should also know that eating while driving can be incredibly dangerous. There was an article that was first featured in Spoon University and later in USA Today that discussed the inherent dangers of eating when driving.

 

According to most research out there, eating while driving is almost as dangerous as texting when driving. This is because eating reduces your attention, which increases the risk that you’ll get into an accident. Most experts agree that it takes only three seconds of lost focus on the road to cause an accident. Eighty percent of accidents are caused by those three second of diverted attention. Just about the amount of time it would take to look down and grab your sandwich from the bag.

 

In order to reduce accidents and prevent people from being distracted on the road, some states are even considering amending distracted driving laws to restrict eating and drinking while driving. Although it is impossible to determine whether or not these pushes will lead to legislation, the dangers still do exist. So, just as you should wait on texting until you make it to your stop, you should also avoid eating as you drive as well. It might even save your or someone else’s life.

 

We understand that time is an important commodity. eTags.com was founded, for example, to help people save time spent waiting at the DMV. But there are some time-hacks that aren’t simply worth the risk. Texting while driving is one. Eating while driving may be another.

Five Fall Driving Safety Tips

Driving at a wheel the car. Travel countryside. Fall. The photo is tinted in a retro style.

 

After a long (hot) summer, is there anything better than a crisp fall day? However, fall does present some challenges that motorists must be aware of before they get behind the wheel. Number one, students are back in school, so you should always give yourself a few more minutes on your morning commute in case you find yourself behind a bus or driving through a school zone. In addition to that, make sure to pay attention as you drive in residential areas as more kids will be on the sidewalk and side of the road.

 

Another thing to be aware of is the weather. A warm mid-afternoon could easily turn into a cold and rainy night a few hours later, causing unfavorable conditions for those out on the road.  And it gets darker sooner, meaning visibility isn’t as great as what you became used to during the late afternoon hours in the summer. Always try to put a little more distance between you and the next car if it does start to rain in case there is a quick stop. And, in the evenings, keep your low beams off, so you don’t blind other drivers.

 

In addition to sticking with the low beams and keeping your distance, clean your windshield regularly, so you can spot a slippery area before it becomes too late. Get more driving tips as well as information about vehicle registrations on the eTags’ Blog.

How Do You Register a Nonresident Car in California?

The young man at the machine

Have you just moved to the great state of California? You might be wondering what you will have to do to register your vehicle. Before anything else, you will need to provide evidence that you are a resident of California and live in the state for more than six months out of the year. Luckily, there are a number of criteria that can be used to verify your residency. You can provide your place of business’s location, schools attended by your dependents, the address of your residence in California, your California driver’s license, or proof of payment of resident tuition to a California college or university.

 

When you go to the DMV to register your nonresident vehicle (a vehicle that was previously registered in a different state) be sure to have one of these criteria as well as other required documents specified by the DMV. Required documents include an out-of-state title, a verification of vehicle form, the last issued out-of-state registration certificate, and a completed application for title or registration form. You will also be required to pay any associated fees.

 

Once your vehicle is registered in California, you will be required to renew the registration every year and complete a smog check every year. For a more convenient renewal option, visit eTags.com to take advantage of expedited registration renewal service the following year and avoid spending time in the DMV in the futur