Winter Tire Tips

Do You Need Winter Tires? You know it’s coming. Snow and slush. Freezing rain. Maybe even black ice. But do you know if your tires are ready for all of that? When driving in New Hampshire in the wintertime, your tires just might be the most important safety feature on your car. The right ones can get you to your destination safely. The wrong ones? Well, just look over in the ditch during the next storm. So how do you figure out what’s best for your vehicle? Here are five things to know about winter tires: 1.Winter tires really are different than regular tires. Winter tires have deeper tread, along with siping (slits in the tread blocks). This increases the number of edges that touch the road, resulting in better traction and handling. They also stay softer than other tires do in cold weather, thanks to special rubber compounds designed specifically for winter use. That helps increase traction as well.  2. If your area regularly drops below 45 degrees, you probably need winter tires. Winter tires don’t just perform better in snow and ice. They are better for cold weather in general. So if you get some chilly days where you live, consider a set – a full set. Installing just two winter tires can cause handling problems. 3.There are two main categories. Studless snow and ice tires are designed for extreme conditions. They are better in deep snow than performance winter tires, which are for light snow and ice. What about studded tires? Well, they give you great traction on ice but also damage roads. And some experts...

Hang Up and Drive: Don’t Be a Distracted Driver

For many Americans, especially those under 40, using a cell phone while driving seems perfectly normal. And considering that there are more than 236 million cell phone users, it’s safe to say that there are many on the road. But is it safe? Statistics say no. Studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that more than 25 percent of all police-reported vehicular accidents are caused by this behavior. The problem? A driver using a phone is a distracted driver. Although many people claim that “multi-tasking” has no effect on concentration, tests have repeatedly proven this false. For instance, one University of Utah study revealed that a young person on the phone has about the same reaction speed as someone over the age of 70. Other research and highway law enforcement observation commonly compare drive-and-chat performance to drunk driving. Excessive slowness, inattentiveness to traffic conditions, and lane-to-lane weaving are all dead giveaways. The consequences, too, are predictably similar. Phone-distracted motorists hit more potholes, miss more warning signs, and generally fail more often to process their surroundings, compared to alert, fully-focused drivers. The problem is most serious when pedestrians are involved. By law, a car must yield the right of way to all pedestrians at all times, but when a driver’s attention is diverted, this rule is one of the first to be forgotten. No Hands? No Better! Many cell phone users believe that hands-free devices remove the dangers of distracted driving. However, this is typically not true, as it isn’t the phone that causes mishaps, but rather it’s the conversation itself. Simply listening and processing information...

6 Snow Plow Safety Tips

Snow plow safety is a priority here in New Hampshire, given the significant amount of snowfall that must be cleared from the roads each winter. Even for the experienced driver, safely maneuvering a snow plow vehicle is a challenging job. If you are plowing this winter, use the following snow plow safety tips from MMG Insurance to keep yourself and everyone else on the roads safe this winter: Get adequate sleep – many times a snow plow operator must be ready to get started without much notice. Getting adequate sleep plays an essential role in safe vehicle operation. Understand all necessary operating procedures – make certain that you understand how each portion of the plowing equipment operates; always check to be sure all lights and signals are operating correctly before plowing. Keep the salt spreading machinery clean – to properly dispense road salt and sand materials, as well as to lengthen the life of your equipment, keep the salt spreader and other machinery clean and free of obstructions. Perform a head check – although side and rear-view mirrors supply some visual assistance, it’s best to turn around and look out the side or rear window when making lane changes, executing a turn, or backing up. Acquaint yourself with your surroundings in advance – familiarizing yourself with the grounds before the snow accumulates helps you ensure that you plow the proper areas, limiting unintended damage to property and/or landscaping on the premises. Plow during low traffic hours – if conditions permit, it’s safest to operate a snow plow vehicle when there is little to no traffic. When high winds, low...

What To Do After a Car Accident

No driver ever expects to be in an automobile accident. However, accidents can happen to the best drivers and there is likely to be confusion in the moments immediately following the collision. As a result, it is not always easy to know what to do next. Assuming you are not gravely injured, below are a few steps you should take after a car accident that will get you on the right track to recovery quickly: Contact the police immediately – Even minor accidents need to be reported to the police. Your insurance agency will look to this report when handling your claim. Do not admit fault – Discussing the accident with other drivers or witnesses is more harmful than helpful. Do not discuss the events with anyone but the police. If necessary, return to your vehicle and remain inside with the doors locked. Collect information – Collect the following information from any other drivers or passengers involved and, if possible, any witnesses to the accident: Full names and addresses Telephone numbers and email addresses Insurance company’s name and phone number Insurance policy numbers Stay calm – After an accident, emotions will be running high and people may be upset. Remain calm and be polite throughout the documentation, police interview, and information collection process. Take pictures – Using your mobile phone or other camera, take pictures of all the property damage resulting from the accident. Remember to take pictures of any physical injuries as well as damage to all vehicles and property. Contact your insurance agent – Call your insurance agent as soon as possible to relay the information you...

How to Build a Winter Survival Kit for Your Car

When a vehicle breaks down in the slippery winter season, freezing temperatures, precipitation, icy roads, limited visibility, and weather delays can strand motorists in life-threatening situations. Having a well-stocked winter survival kit in your vehicle will help you remain safe in this type of situation until help arrives. Preparation and attention to detail are crucial to ensuring that you and your passengers remain safe in the event of an emergency. Whether you purchase a pre-made emergency kit or assemble your own, use the following checklist to ensure that your winter survival kit contains all of the essential components. Items to include: Battery-Operated Radio First Aid Kit Jumper Cables Paper Maps/Road Atlas Matches/Lighters/Candle Sand/Kitty Litter Gloves/Hand Warmers/Hat Flashlight & Extra Batteries Snow Brush/Ice Scraper/Shovel Road Flares/Signaling Device  Including the items above will prove sufficient for building a basic winter survival kit for your vehicle. However, some drivers have longer commutes and travel through rural areas, which creates additional risks, as roadside assistance may not be able to arrive as quickly. Including the following supplementary items in your winter survival kit will help you ensure that you are prepared in the event that you are stranded for several hours or even overnight. Fire Extinguisher Warm Blankets Non-Perishable Food Items/Water Cell Phone Chargers Extra Clothing & Footwear Tool Kit & Knife Always check the weather forecast before leaving on a road trip or commute. Winter weather is surprising and dynamic; driving conditions change and deteriorate rapidly. Keeping a winter survival kit in your vehicle at all times will help you ensure that you and your passengers remain safe during the treacherous winter...

15 Factors that Can Cause Auto Insurance Premiums to Increase

It is no surprise that insurance companies prefer to insure safe drivers. From the insurance company’s perspective, fewer accidents mean fewer claims and fewer claims lead to significant savings. As a result, insurance companies often reward safe drivers with lower premiums and enticements like vanishing deductibles. On the other hand, drivers who have received moving violations or have been involved in an auto accident may see rate increases when their auto insurance policy renews. Since every accident is different, if a collision causes little property damage for instance, the insurance company may not penalize the driver with a rate increase. However, most moving violations will result in rate increases. Understanding why your auto insurance premium may have increased will help you improve your driving habits and get back on the road to savings. Below are several specific factors that may cause auto insurance premiums to increase:                                       Photo Credit: Joe Damadman •   Severity of any automobile accidents you are involved in •   Cost of your claims or the cost of claims of other drivers involved in any accidents •   Type and number of moving violations on your a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) •   Your level of fault in any auto accident recorded on your  MVR •   Number of years you have maintained an accident-free driving record Maintaining Your Motor Vehicle Record Like your personal credit report, obtaining and monitoring your MVR plays a crucial role in keeping your auto premiums low. Mistakes found can be corrected, enrolling in a safe driving course may erase demerit points, and moving violations can be changed to non-moving violations in some cases. Click here...