5 reasons to drive safely (Hint: You could save on Atlanta car insurance)

Driving safe can help you save on your car insurance.

Driving in Atlanta is always a bit of an adventure. Narrow streets, roadwork, limited parking, and, of course, figuring out how to survive Atlanta traffic! Perhaps even more intimidating than driving in the city is car insurance. It’s important to learn about car insurance so that you can answer common car insurance questions, but you might dread thinking about auto insurance because the rates can be so expensive. But there’s a simple, easy way to save on your car insurance – driving safe. We’ll give you five car-insurance-related reasons to be a straight-A driver.

1. Your car insurance premium is directly related to your driving record.

When an insurance company goes to give you a quote on your car insurance, they look into your driving record. They’ll most likely check your record for accidents and tickets from the past three to five years. From your record, they’ll determine how much of a risk you and your family are to insure. The higher a risk you are, the more you’ll have to pay for insurance. Insurance companies consider accidents and tickets to be risky because statistically, drivers with tickets and accidents will have more tickets and accidents in the future.

2. If you have no tickets or accidents, you might be able to get lower quotes when you shop.

If you have good driving habits and have a clean record, your premium will reward you and you’ll end up paying less for your auto insurance. The quotes you’ll receive from auto insurance companies will be lower – you may even be pleasantly surprised!

3. After a few years of good driving, you may be able to get a discount on your rates.

If you go for a good amount of time with no tickets or accidents, you could qualify for a discount on your auto insurance rates (depending on your carrier, of course.) Insurance companies like to reward drivers who drive safely. The fewer claims you have, the better. You want to present as little risk as possible to the insurance company, and that means no accidents. And that means no distracted driving, speeding, drowsy driving, or other risky driving behavior. Sure, we can’t control the actions of other drivers on the road, but we can control our own actions. And that means making conscious choices to be a safer driver and avoiding distracted or unsafe driving.

4. By safe driving, you might be able to qualify for accident forgiveness.

Usually, having a car accident would make your rates go up – insurance companies don’t like risk, remember? If you’ve had a clean driving record for a good amount of time, your carrier might allow you to have accident forgiveness. That means that if you do happen to have a car accident, your rates would not go up. Ask if your carrier has accident forgiveness.

5. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to lower your deductible.

The deductible is the amount that you agree to pay if you have a claim before the insurance company will step in to help you cover costs. Of course, this all depends on your insurance company. But if your company does allow you to lower your deductible for having a clean driving record, that means less money out of your pocket if you ever have a claim.

Being a safe driver and keeping your full attention on the road is important to help you avoid a car accident. This is your health and life that we’re talking about, along with the safety of other drivers on the road. Apart from preventing accidents and injuries to yourself and others, being a safe driver can help you save on your car insurance. So, as you can see, there are many reasons to be a careful driver and avoid risky driving when you get behind the wheel.

Looking for a car insurance quote in Atlanta? We would love to help you get the car insurance you need so you can hit the road with peace of mind. All you have to do to get in touch with one of our insurance agents is fill out our online quote form or give us a call today – we’d be happy to help you with all of your insurance needs!

Did you know the answers to these ten Atlanta car insurance questions?

There are a lot of details that go along with car insurance.

Auto insurance can get confusing. You just want to be able to drive and get yourself to where you gotta go. It’s easier to put insurance out of your mind and assume that you’re covered for the what-ifs, but there are a few questions that you should know the answers to when it comes to car insurance. Knowledge is power, especially when you start talking insurance.

So here we go: ten questions about auto insurance and the answers – in fun-sized packages!

1. Is the minimum level of car insurance enough?

Probably not. The limits of car insurance that states require, called minimums, do give you some protection for your car. They might seem like a lot – for instance, Georgia requires $100,000 of bodily injury liability and $25,000 of property insurance. But if a serious accident happens, chances are that those limits will be exhausted quickly, leaving you to take the fall for the remaining amount. So, it’s up to you as far as what limits you want on your insurance, but you may want to consider going above the minimum.

2. Will bundling my home and auto insurance help me save?

Yes, it very well might! Insurance companies often offer a significant discount if you get both your home and auto insurance from them (this is called bundling.) Insurance companies love it when their customers like them so much that they get multiple products from them.

3. If a tree or branch falls on my car, am I covered?

Only if you have comprehensive auto coverage. This is different than the liability insurance required by the state, so it’s important that you know what comprehensive car insurance covers and if you have it. Comprehensive insurance covers your car if it’s damaged by something other than an accident. So, if a tree squishes your car into a pancake, you’d be covered if you had purchased comprehensive insurance.

4. Do I still need to keep my teen on my auto insurance when they go to college?

Yes. Your college student will still be driving when they’re home on breaks – chances are they’ll be begging you to borrow a car, so yes, they need to be on your insurance. You need to make sure your college student is properly insured.

5. Do I need to get rental car insurance from the agency?

Well, that depends on your personal auto policy. You may or may not need to get insurance from the agency – you’ll have to check your auto policy and see if your own insurance carries over to the rental vehicle, and you’ll have to decide what levels of coverage you’re comfortable with.

Rental car insurance will often be offered by the rental agency.

6. If I’m in an accident and have to rent a car while mine is being repaired, am I covered?

You would have to add rental reimbursement to your policy for a small additional charge for the rental car expenses to be covered. Cars are often in the shop for two weeks following an accident, so it might be worth it to think about getting this extra coverage.

7. What happens if an uninsured driver hits me?

Your uninsured motorist coverage or collision coverage would take care of it if you’ve purchased either of these coverages. Again, these are not included in the minimum liability insurance coverages required by many states, so you’ll have to make sure that you’re fully covered.

8. If I drive a friend’s car, am I covered?

Their insurance would follow the car and kick in if you’re in an accident, but you have to be extremely careful because if their limits of coverage aren’t high and the damage goes above them, your own insurance would come next.

9. And if a friend borrows my car?

The same goes if your friend borrows your car. If they’re just borrowing it a few times, your policy should cover them. However, if they start driving your car more than you do, your premiums could be affected – the premiums are based on the primary driver and the vehicle itself. If they’re borrowing your car and using it more than you are, you should have them added to your policy to prevent any coverage mishaps.

10. Will car insurance cover things stolen from my car?

No. The belongings that you have in your car may, however, be covered by your home insurance or renters insurance, which should follow your possessions regardless of where they happen to be. So, if you have a suitcase in the trunk and it gets stolen, your home or renters insurance would be the best place to start. But you’ll have to check your policy.

Now, as far as things like sound systems or radios go, those are not covered. So, if you’ve tripped out the stereo system in your car, you may want to consider purchasing additional insurance to make sure that it’s covered in case of theft.

Your home insurance, not your car insurance, may cover items stolen from your car.

Phew. Auto insurance can be tiring. You may have noticed that a lot of the above answers include a fancy form of saying “it depends.” You need to make sure that you’re familiar with your auto policy and the coverage you’ve purchased to know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for. Don’t take any chances when it comes to insuring your vehicle – accidents can become very costly, and you don’t want to find out the hard way that you don’t have as much coverage as you thought.

If you’d like to get some free quotes for auto insurance, we’d love to help you out with that! We can help you do your car insurance shopping. To get started with your car insurance quotes, all you have to do is fill out our quote form or give us a call today!

Atlanta car insurance: Collision coverage vs. comprehensive coverage for your car

Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage are both very helpful financially if something happens to your car.

What kind of coverage does your car have? Do you know what your auto insurance does and does not cover? A car is a pretty big investment…perhaps second only to the insurance! Insurance can get confusing, especially when it comes to vehicles. Today we tackle several questions relating to the car portion of your car insurance – meaning the segment that protects your personal vehicle, not you or other drivers (that’s liability insurance and a story for another day.) If you get into a car accident, your vehicle is going to need some hefty repairs before you’re ready to hit the road again. And that’s where collision and comprehensive insurance are helpful. Together, they are physical damage coverage.

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How to make sure your college student is properly insured

Make sure that your college student is properly insured.

Make sure that your college student is properly insured.

The moment has arrived. Your baby is headed off to college. They’re all grown up and ready to venture into the world. You know that it’s time for them to spread their wings. And you’ve got a lot on your mind, too, with your student heading off to college – dorm room decor, last-minute shopping, making sure that your student has all of their textbooks. The last thing you might want to think about is insurance, but it’s essential that your student is covered. We’ll give you some things to think about insurance-wise before your grown-up child starts their first semester and answer some of the questions you might have.

1. Will your home insurance cover your student’s belongings if they live on-campus?

That depends on your policy. Most policies will cover your students’ belongings if they’re in a dorm, so you might have coverage for disasters like theft and fire. You’ll need to do a review of your home insurance policy and think about the particulars of where your student will be living. Make sure that you know what is covered and what the limits of coverage will be for your students’ belongings.

2. What if my student lives off-campus? Will my home insurance still cover them?

If your student lives off campus in an apartment, your policy will most likely not cover their belongings. You may need to consider getting a renters’ insurance policy to make sure your student has the coverage they need. Make sure to spend some time talking about apartment safety before your student moves out.

If your student is living off-campus, you might have to consider renters insurance.

This will protect them from disasters like theft and fire, but it will also add liability coverage in case anyone gets hurt at their place. Renters insurance is not terribly expensive, so it might be worthwhile to look in to.

3. Do I need to keep my student on my auto policy?

Yes. Let’s be real – when your student comes home for winter and summer break, they’re going to want to borrow the car. And they need to be insured if they’re going to be cruising around town.

However, if your student goes to school over 100 miles away and does not take a car with them, you might qualify for a discount on your premiums. Discounts are always nice!

4. What if my student takes a car with them to college? How will that affect my auto insurance?

You’ll have to talk to your agent and tell them that your child is taking a car to school with them. It could impact your rates and the coverages that you need. It depends on your particular auto policy.

Your auto insurance might change if your student takes a car with them to school.

5. What about health insurance?

There are a few things to consider here. Your child can stay on your health insurance until they’re 26, so chances are you can keep them on your plan if that works for you. But if there aren’t in-network providers nearby, you might want to consider alternatives for getting health insurance for your student. It could get tricky if your student is going to college out-of-state, too.

Most universities offer their own health insurance plans for students, so that could be an option to explore. You can also think about getting an individual health insurance plan. There are also college student plans that are specifically for students. It all depends on the coverages that are offered, the cost, what you need, and the network of providers. Do some research on your options and figure out what makes the most sense for you.

Before your child goes off to college, make sure that they have the health insurance they need for if they get sick or hurt, especially if they’re going to be playing sports.

There are different options for health insurance for college students.

This is an exciting time in your child’s life, but it can also get stressful with all of the insurance details to consider. But just take it one day at a time. Check on your home insurance, auto insurance, and health insurance and figure out what’s best for your family, and you’ll breathe easier knowing that your student is covered while they’re at school. You’re about to be the proud parent of a college student, but they still need your help to make sure that they’re properly insured while they’re studying.

We can help you review your options for covering your student, and we can help you make sure that they have the coverage they need. All you have to do is give us a call or fill out our quote form – we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have and help you find some great rates on your insurance. Our goal is to help you protect your family.

What is personal umbrella liability insurance and why should you consider it?

Umbrella insurance provides additional coverage.

Umbrella insurance provides additional coverage.

You know how important it is to be insured. You have home insurance and car insurance. You’re happy with your coverage and your premiums. But have you ever considered if your limits of coverage on those liability policies are enough? What if there comes a day when you have a claim that blows those limits out of the water? That’s when you’d need a personal umbrella insurance policy.

What’s an umbrella policy?

Indulge us for a moment in a corny analogy.

Picture your home insurance (for example) as a raincoat. You wear it to protect you from any surprise rainstorms that could happen, so you’re covered. But what if it starts to pour all of a sudden and you’re trapped in a rainstorm that’s heavier than any you’ve ever experienced? Your raincoat might not be enough to keep you dry, and that’s why you’d want an umbrella to go along with it. It’s an added layer of protection against the unforeseen storm.

Okay, corny analogies aside, let’s give an example.

You host a neighborhood get-together at your place. You’re looking forward to it. You invite your guests for a good, old-fashioned barbecue and fire up the grill, employing all your grill safety skills. Everyone’s having a great time until one of your neighbors trips on an uneven board on the deck and falls into someone. They both go tumbling down the stairs and onto the concrete patio below. They’re both badly hurt, and they press charges.

You’re found responsible, so you’re now looking at medical costs and either a jury-determined award for damages and pain and suffering or an out-of-court settlement. The expenses quickly rise above what the liability portion of your homeowners policy will cover. The situation isn’t good. It means that your personal assets are at stake, including your wages.

Umbrella insurance can protect you against big losses.

What would umbrella insurance do?

Umbrella insurance kicks in where your standard policy (homeowners, auto, boat, etc.) left off. Instead of you having to cover all of the expenses from that lawsuit, your umbrella insurance would take care of it. You’d be protected. Don’t underestimate how expensive court costs and liability situations can be – the costs can skyrocket into the millions. Your umbrella insurance is there to take the fall for you. It fills the gaps in your coverage.

In the case of the falling neighbors, your homeowners liability would cover expenses up to its limit, and then the umbrella policy would take care of the rest (up to its limit.)

How much umbrella insurance do you need?

To determine how much umbrella insurance is right for you, you have to consider your assets and your risks. For example, do you have a teenaged driver? Run a home-based business where people visit your property frequently? Have a dog that could bite someone? Have a pool? Own a boat? (By the way, dogs and home insurance don’t always get along. Umbrella policies can help dog owners mitigate their risk.)  Basically, think of things that could put you on the receiving end of a lawsuit – in other words, personal risks that you face in your day-to-day life.

Keep in mind that umbrella policy limits start at $1 million and go up to $5 million.

How much does umbrella insurance cost?

When you think about how much extra coverage umbrella provides, the extra cost to your premium is very reasonable.

Two factors that contribute to the cost are:

  • The value of the policy (premiums will usually go up by about $50 or $75 for each million)
  • Your personal risk factors. For example, do you have driving tickets on your record? What does your credit score look like? (Yes, your credit score has an effect on your insurance.) The cleaner your record, the less of a risk you are to an insurance company.

Pro tip: To save money on your umbrella policy by possibly getting a discount, get your umbrella policy from the same company that writes your standard policies.

Get peace of mind with umbrella insurance.

Even though homeowners and auto insurance provide a certain level of liability protection, there are many disastrous situations that might completely exceed the coverage you currently have. Imagine the unimaginable. Would your current policy be enough to cover all the expenses? Or would you be left to foot a hefty portion of the bill? An umbrella policy will protect you from a major loss.

If you’re interested in getting a personal umbrella insurance policy, let us know! Just fill out our quote form or give us a call today and we’ll be happy to help you with any of your insurance needs. We want you to be able to enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re protected from any big disasters that come your way.

Four tips to choose the best tow truck company

In an emergency, how would you pick the best tow truck to help you?

Nobody ever plans on breaking down on the side of the road, do they? After all, who wants to get a flat tire? Run out of gas? Have a broken ball joint? Get into an accident? Nope, no one looks forward to having to call a tow truck. It might seem like they’ll never get there to rescue you. But when they do, there’s no sweeter sight in the world!

So, how do you go about choosing the best tow truck company? Well, first of all, it depends on why you need a tow truck in the first place.

1. Why do you want a vehicle towed?

Being stranded on the side of the road is only one reason to call a wrecker. There are a bunch of other situations in which a tow truck could come in handy.

For instance…

  • Jump starts
  • Running out of oil and needing an oil delivery
  • Getting locked out of your car – oops
  • Battery installation
  • Flat tire
  • Transporting a vehicle to another state
  • Flatbed towing
  • Equipment towing
  • Off-road recovery
  • Private property impounds
  • Boat towing
  • Motorcycle towing
  • Heavy truck towing

Did you know that some tow truck and wrecker services specialize in a certain area? That’s why it’s important to choose the right company for the job. They’ll have the proper equipment and experience to help you out with your specific need.

For example…

  • It’s 2 am and you run out of gas. You’ll need a 24-hr roadside assistance service.
  • If you’re moving out of state but have more than one car to move, you’ll run into a bit of a problem because you can only drive one car at a time. But an interstate long-distance car carrier will be able to help you out!
  • If you drive a semi-tractor trailer, you’ll need a company that moves heavy equipment.
  • Someone has illegally parked their car or abandoned their car in your restaurant’s parking lot. You need to call an impound service.

How can you tell who specializes in what areas? You can look up the company’s website and check out their About or Services page for details. You can also call and speak to the dispatcher and they will let you know if they are equipped to assist you.

2. Choose your towing service wisely.

There are good guys and bad guys in every industry, and tow trucks are no exception. Thankfully, there are plenty of tow truck heroes out there to help us when we get stranded.

Our suggestion is to choose wisely. There are a few things you can do to help you narrow your search.

  • Talk to family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. They might have a suggestion for you if they’ve ever had a tow-truck-worthy mishap on the road.
  • If you’re out of town, the local police department might be able to give you some recommendations.
  • Look for reviews on sites like Yellowpages, Angieslist, Yelp, Google, and Yahoo. People just like you have used the towing service and left honest reviews of them on these websites. Take your time and read some reviews. You might want to focus only on 4 or 5-star customer service ratings.
  • Pick an annual service like AAA so that you’re already set.

The last time you thought about hiring a tow truck was probably during an emergency or another mishap. If you wait until you face your next disaster to do some tow truck research, you’ll wind up having to decide under duress. So do the research and find a reliable tow truck operation now. Yes, it might take some time, but it’ll pay off the next time you’re faced with car troubles.

3. Consider the true cost of towing your vehicle.

Beware of choosing solely on price. We say this because while the majority of tow truck operators are reputable, nobody likes to overpay, do they?

No one wants to feel like they’ve been taken advantage of. Here’s something to be aware of – you have to consider both the hook-up fee and the price per mile. 

Hook-up fees: The hook-up fee covers the cost of attaching your vehicle to the tow truck. Here’s the thing to watch for – some tow truck companies will offer a really cheap hook-up fee in order to get your business. Many people mistakenly assume this is the only fee they have to pay. But you also have to pay the…

Price per mile: Do you want your car towed around down the street to the nearest station or do you want it taken to your favorite mechanic many miles away? Or maybe you want the car brought all the way home. The point is that miles add up quickly when your car is being towed.

While some operators offer a cheaper hook-up fee, they often charge a higher price per mile to make up the difference. Take the time to find out the hook-up fee and the price per mile fee beforehand. Also, ask if there are any hidden or additional charges.

In case you’re wondering, Angieslist tells us that the average nationwide cost for a tow is $109.

What else could impact the cost, you might ask? There may be additional towing costs during nights, holidays, and weekends. If you’re stuck in a ditch, off road, or perhaps somewhere in the mountains, then be prepared to pay a little extra as these all require a lot more work and time to help you.

4. How do they treat you over the phone?

Is the dispatcher knowledgeable and helpful about your problem? Remember that bad customer service on the phone is usually an indication of what’s to come once you hire them. Listen to your gut instinct and look for someone else to help you if you’ve got a bad feeling.

There you have it – four ways to help you choose the right towing company. We hope you’ve found this article on how to get the best tow truck service helpful! Although we hope that you never find yourself stranded on the side of the road, with these tips at least you’ll be prepared to find a reputable towing company. 

Need insurance for your car, home, or life? Let us know – we can help you out! We’ll even get you a free quote if you fill out our quote form or give us a call today.

Looking for a new way to get around Atlanta? Try the Relay Bike Share Program!

For all bicycle lovers living in the Atlanta area, we’ve got some great news! Relay, Atlanta’s bike-sharing service, recently expanded in a big way.

Earlier this month, the program went from having 100 bikes at 22 locations scattered around the city to having 500 bikes at 65 locations! The program has been able to expand into new locations and different parts of the city, bringing convenient access to bikes to more people. There are now bike stations spreading through the eastern parts of the city, West End, Vine City, and Midtown.

This is only continuing a trend of growth that the program has enjoyed. When the project launched in Downtown Atlanta less than a year ago there were only 100 bikes at 10 locations. The program has really taken off, which is great for Atlanta’s citizens and the environment!

There was even a celebration of the expansion on Wednesday, April 19th. An article in the AJC reported that the event took place at Piedmont Park and that Mayor Reed was in attendance, eager to spread the word about the bike share program. According to a Patch Atlanta article, Reed and his administration are “committed to making Atlanta a top bicycle-friendly city in the nation.”

If you’re interested in trying it out, there are different ways to go about getting a Relay bike.

Option 1: You can visit their website and find a station on the map. The site will tell you how many bikes are available at that station. You tell it that you want to rent a bike from that location, then carry on from there—it’ll prompt you through the rest!

Option 2: Or you can download the Social Bicycles app (available through Google Play and through the Apple Store) that will help you find a Relay bike and manage your account.

Once you have located and secured a bike, you will use a 4-digit PIN code to unlock your bike and away you go! You cruise around the city and when you’re done you return the bike by locking it into a station. Pretty simple!

Now, how much might this cost? Getting a bike from Relay is affordable. There are different plans that you can choose. If you’re visiting the city or you’re just out for a ride to enjoy the beautiful day, you can choose a Pay as You Go plan. If you live in the city and want to ride, you can choose either a Monthly Pass or a Yearly Pass. There’s also a student plan, a corporate plan, and a low-income plan. Check out more about the payment options on Relay’s website.

So, bottom line, the Relay bike program could be an option for you to get around town—and avoid the headache of sitting in Atlanta traffic! You might even consider using Relay to bike to work. If you’re looking for a way to beat traffic and get some exercises, Relay’s something to explore.

Need insurance for your home, business, car, rental property, or life? We’ve got you covered! Fill out our quote form or call us today and we’ll be happy to help you with any of your insurance needs.

Sources:

http://www.ajc.com/news/local/city-atlanta-expands-relay-bike-share-program/ymjG1RinYFiEIS26Q4oYUL/

https://patch.com/georgia/atlanta/atlanta-expands-bicycle-sharing-program-65-locations

http://relaybikeshare.com/#findbike-anchor

Atlanta traffic woes – and a possible solution

If you live anywhere in the general vicinity of Atlanta, you’ve heard about all of the disasters that our roadways have been facing over the past month. For kicks and giggles, let’s go over them all again:

Good grief.

On the bright side, the Georgia DOT says they’re on-track with repairing I-85. Plus, GDOT has announced that they’re repaving it while the road’s out of commission anyways, according to a WSB article. That’ll be nice when the highway does reopen.

The good news: an ABC News article says that GDOT estimates I-85 will open again on June 15th*. The bad news: it’s only the end of April.

So, what are we all supposed to do until then? That’s two months’ worth of horrible traffic that we can all look forward to. With disasters hitting the city’s roads left and right, it’s time to take action to do what we can to thwart the worst of the traffic. Not beat it, perhaps, but we can try.

An app called Waze provides traffic updates and reports to help you find the best route to get to your destination. It works be creating a community of drivers who share each other’s pain and allowing them to connect with each other to share data about traffic.

It’ll give you route options and estimate how much time it’ll take you to get to where you’re trying to go, so you can pick your battle when it comes to the traffic. All you have to do is open the app while you drive, and you’re contributing lots of valuable traffic info to the community.

Plus, other users can help by sharing about routes or tricks that you might not have known about or considered before. You can share traffic info, tips, and updates through the app, and, likewise, you can see what other people have talked about, so you have a heads-up about any areas in particular that you may want to avoid. The app will even give you a new route if it senses that there’s a better way to go while you’re commuting.

Interested in learning more? Watch this video about the Waze app! Or you can visit the Waze website to read all about what the app can do for you. Ready to download? You can get Waze through Google Play and the Apple App Store if you want to start outsmarting the traffic.

For more help with combating the Atlanta traffic, check out this article about tips for surviving a rush hour commute. The key is to lower your stress level. The traffic isn’t going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean that it has to ruin your day.

Need insurance for your car, home, small business, or rental property? We can help! Contact us today through our quote form and we’ll be happy to help.

*Article updated on 04/27.

 

How to handle Atlanta rush-hour traffic

home insurance in atlanta

If you live anywhere in the Atlanta area, you know how awful the traffic gets near the city. No ifs, ands or buts. It seems like it’s hardly safe to venture out on the roads any time from about 6:30 – 9am or 4:30 – 7pm, the peak rush-hour crunches. No matter how much you love Atlanta, it only takes sitting on 400 or 85 once to realize that you have to learn to accept how much Atlanta loves cars. And Atlanta traffic only gotten worse now that 85 has a gaping hole in the middle of it! 

It’s kind of scary to take a look at how much time Atlanta drivers spend stuck in traffic. We might not want to know that Atlanta’s ranked fourth-worst in the country and eighth-worst in the world for traffic (yikes.) According to INTRIX, a company that examines traffic rates, Atlantans spent an average of 71 hours stuck sitting in peak traffic in 2016 (sorry to have to be the one to tell you.) All said that’s 10% of total drive time, regardless of traffic.

With all the time that we spend dealing with traffic, what can we do to be safer during our lengthy and often very frustrating commutes? According to drive-safely.net, one in four accidents occur during rush hour. The sheer number of cars, slow movement of traffic, and distractions all play a part in this statistic.

Since the congestion isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, here are some tips to survive the chaos that is Atlanta traffic.

1. Keep calm and carry on.

Yes, traffic is frustrating. It can really raise your blood pressure when you look out your window and realize that you could walk faster than your car is moving. It’s important to stay relaxed and calm while you’re driving so that you don’t get distracted and lose your focus. Keeping a level head reduces the chances of an accident. Take a deep breath and try not to get upset by the actions of other drivers (even if they do cut you off.)

2. Plan for the traffic and give yourself lots of time to get to work.

Yes, it’s a drag to get up earlier, but giving yourself more time will really help you reduce your stress level while you’re commuting – especially considering that 85 is out of commission for the time being. It’s easier to handle traffic when you’re not worrying about getting to the office late. Traffic is one of those things that’s both predictable and unpredictable. You know when it will happen, but not how bad it will be. Some days are worse than others due to accidents or lane closures, but if you’ve got extra time you won’t be stressed about it.

3. Do not get distracted.

Phones and food are both extremely tempting distractions. Resist them. Stay strong against the urge to check your phone, text, or even call anyone. The same goes for food. It’s important to stay focused on the road, as even a momentary lapse of attention can lead to an accident. Eyes on the road.

4. Map a different way to get to work.

If you can figure out a new way to get to work that avoids the worst of the traffic, try it out and see how it goes. Maybe you’ll find that it’s a less stressful way to go, even if the distance is slightly longer. While your new path might not be as the crow flies, it may end up saving you some time if there’s less traffic. This is especially important since you can’t cut through the city on 85 anymore. You might be forced to take a different route than normal. 

Be conscious of safety while you’re thinking about a new route. If there are any dangerous segments, turns, etc. that make you nervous, try to avoid them.

5. Increase the fun.

Huh? Commute? Fun? Yes. Believe it or not, they’re not mutually exclusive. Bring along your favorite music or book on CD to help pass the time. It can even be as simple as preparing a travel mug of coffee. Your day will be much better if you have something you enjoy to cheer you up, and it’ll keep you calmer in the post-85 chaos. Do something to make yourself happy.  

6. Make sure to take good care of your vehicle.

Choose a car that has strong safety ratings. You want a car that will protect you if you ever get into an accident. Make sure that you take good care of your car and keep it in good repair. Having something go wrong with your vehicle while you’re commuting could be extremely dangerous, especially where the brakes and gas are concerned.

7. Stick with the middle lane, but know where you have to get off.

Chill out in the middle lane on the highway. The right lane is usually stop-and-go because of merging and the left lane is used for passing, so neither of those are ideal. If you’ve got some distance to cover, stay in the middle.

Be aware of how close you’re getting to your exit. The more time you give yourself to change lanes to get off the highway, the less stressed you’ll be—and the safer you’ll be.

8. Be aware of when you’re driving.

The sun is not your friend when it’s shining right in your eyes. Commute time is at sunrise in the morning and sunset at night, so chances are you’ll get stuck driving with the sun in your eyes. So, get a pair of sunglasses to make it easier to see.

Also, condensation can be a major obstacle in the morning, when the temperature is cool but the day is starting to warm up. Make sure your defrosters work properly and clear the car of any condensation before embarking on your adventure.

9. Take extreme care when changing lanes.

Lane changes are a very hazardous thing. The chances of an accident are higher when you’re shifting into the next lane. Remember that your turn signals aren’t just there to look pretty—use them. Even if no one else on the highway uses them, use them. That way other drivers know what you’re going to do.

Be aware of any blind spots your vehicle has. There are usually spots at the rear corners where cars behind you can unintentionally hide, so be careful of those spots while you’re looking to see if it’s safe to change lanes.

10. Remember that you’re not the only driver on the road.

Well, if you were that would make the traffic a lot better. Be alert to what the cars around you are doing—rush hour makes people do strange things as they’re driving.

Make sure to give plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. If they have to brake suddenly, you’ll be able to stop safely and avoid a rear-end accident. Plus, if you were to get rear-ended you wouldn’t go flying into the car in front of you.

 

There are lots of things to love about Atlanta. Traffic is not one of them, especially with 85 out of commission for the foreseeable future. These tips will help you make the commute more bearable and help keep you safer while you’re getting to and from work. The trick is to reduce your stress level as much as possible and to drive safely.

Need insurance? Great! We love insurance. Let us know how we can help you by giving us a call or filling out our quote form – we can get you a free quote for your auto or homeowners insurance!

Sources:

http://www.11alive.com/traffic/new-study-ranks-atlanta-congestion-among-worst-in-the-world/409821836

http://www.drive-safely.net/safe-driving-rush-hour/

 

Why you should bike to work and how to stay safe while you do

Commuting to work can try anyone’s patience, especially with all of the road problems Atlanta has been facing lately. Atlanta traffic can be really awful at the best of times, and that traffic can be costly in terms of gas and car repairs. But we’ve got a solution to this problem that will help you be healthier and save money.

You can ride your bike to work.

The benefits of biking to work:

There are lots of reasons that biking to work is a good idea. Sometimes being on two wheels is just better than being on four. It’s not a bad idea to consider digging your bike out of the garage or storage room and dusting off your old helmet. Here are 4 reasons that you might want to bike to work.

1. Biking to work can save you money.

It’s true. Biking to work is more economical than driving. When you take your car to work, you face gas expenses (which go up the longer you have to sit in Atlanta traffic.) You burn through a lot of fuel when you’re crawling along.

You can also save money on parking costs. It’s hard to find parking in the city. And when you finally find that coveted parking spot, you might be dismayed at how much you have to pay for it. You might need to rent a space in a parking deck downtown, which gets extremely pricey. Even public parking lot costs add up after a while. Save yourself the trouble of trying to find a parking spot. And the trouble of having to pay for it.

You’ll also save money on car repairs and maintenance. If you give your car a much-needed rest, you’ll put less wear and tear on it.

2. Biking is better for the environment.

Have you ever been driving to work and noticed the haze of smog hanging over Atlanta? Air pollution is a huge problem, and cars are a major pollutant. Atlanta’s really in love with cars, meaning that tons of gross emissions and gasses are being pumped into the air. These emissions lead to smog, and smog makes it hard to breathe. Bikes are emission-free, and if you bike you’ll contribute to cleaner, safer air.

3. Biking is great for physical fitness.

It’s nice to get a workout in without having to go to the gym. Most of the US population lives within a five-mile radius of where they work, which by bike isn’t really that far. To do some quick math: if you bike at 10-12mph, you’ll get there in about half an hour. Not bad, considering that you get to exercise for close to the same amount of time that you’d be stuck in traffic. Biking is nice and healthy for your body, and you can set your own pace. There’s no need to be an Olympic cyclist on your way to work.

4. You’ll develop good habits.

Biking doesn’t have to stop with your commute to and from work. You can take your bike to run your errands, and if you get used to roaring around town on your bike it’ll become a natural reaction to reach for your helmet instead of your keys.

Stay safe while you’re biking to work.

If we’ve convinced you to try biking to work, it’s important that you stay safe. We’ve put together some safety tips to help you have a smooth ride to work.

1. Wear a helmet.

Seriously. Helmets are cool. Here are some things to keep in mind about your head gear:

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission even took the time to create standards to regulate helmet safety—that’s how important helmets are. So make sure your helmet has a fancy CPSC sticker or proof of approval from the CPSC. Your helmet should cover your forehead and you should always buckle up your straps.
  • To improve the effectiveness and life of your helmet, have a place to store your helmet. Don’t toss it around when it’s not on your head.
  • You can also make yourself more visible to drivers by putting reflective stickers on your helmet.
  • If you’re in a crash or if you have a fall, you may need to replace your helmet. It might have been damaged, so if you were to have another accident it might not do its job and protect you.

2. Try to stick to bike paths/routes as much as possible.

Map out a route that allows you to stay on bike paths. This will keep you safer than if you have to share your space with drivers.

3. Practice your path ahead of time.

Once you know the route you want to take, give it a try, preferably on the weekend. It’s best to be familiar with your route.

4. Learn the laws of the land.

You’re subject to the same rules of the road that drivers are. Follow the rules so that you lower your risk of a crash.

5. Brush up on your hand signals.

It’s important that motorists know what you’re planning to do. Know how to signal a turn or a stop, and get into the habit of using these signals.

6. Dress to impress.

First, wear bright colored clothing. Drivers can see you more easily if you’re wearing bright or reflective clothing. You can always bring a change of clothes to work.

Second, wear sneakers when you bike. Bring along your work shoes and stash your sneakers under your desk.

Third, don’t wear loose clothing or let the straps of your backpack fly around. You don’t want anything to get caught on your bike, as this could cause you to fall or spiral out of control.

7. Be aware of your surroundings.

That means keeping an eye on the cars around you. Make eye contact with drivers to make sure that they know what you’re planning. If you come to a busy intersection, hop off and walk your bike through it instead of riding. 

Also, look at the road ahead of you. Make sure that the road’s clear. It wouldn’t be fun to hit a bump or pothole. You could end up airborne. Not good.

8. Don’t try any stunts.

Keep your hands on the handlebars.  Make sure that you keep control of your bike. Steering is important.

9. Bring H20.

Make sure to stay hydrated by bringing water with you for your ride, especially if the temperature is going to be hot or humid—does that sound like a city you know?

Biking to work can save you money, help the environment, and help you stay fit. Even if you don’t bike to work every single day, planning to bike a few times a week is good for you. But remember—safety first.

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