Whether you’re on a fast-moving highway on your way to work or cruising the back roads on the way to the cottage, a tire blowout can come as quite a surprise. Not only will it put a damper on your plans and delay your arrival time, but it could also cause damage to your vehicle or even lead to a collision.
The good news is that tire blowouts can usually be prevented by sticking with the manufacturer’s tire pressure recommendations, maintaining a reasonable speed, and avoiding overloading your vehicle with extremely heavy items or towing an overloaded trailer. But tire blowouts can’t always be avoided, so it’s best to understand what a blowout sounds and feels like, as well as the steps you can take to avoid a collision and prevent damage to your vehicle if you should ever experience one.
When your tire bursts, you’ll likely hear a boom, bang, or pop. Sometimes the sound of the tire bursting is so loud that it echoes through your entire vehicle. Then, you might hear a whoosh, which is the sound of all the air quickly leaving the blown tire. And finally: flip, flap, flop…the sound of the deflated tire hitting the road as your car continues moving.
If you’re driving fast when your tire bursts, you’ll probably feel your car start to slow down and pull strongly to the right or left, depending on which tire has blown. If a rear tire has blown, you’ll probably feel some pressure further back in your vehicle’s body. If a front tire has blown, you’ll feel more pressure in the front end as you try to steer straight ahead.
It only takes a split second for your tire to burst, and you should be ready to react quickly to prevent a collision or damage to your vehicle. When your tire bursts, it’s easy to feel like you’re losing control of your car — but try not to panic. Instead, keep calm and follow these steps:
Sometimes an accident happens, even when you’ve done your best to prevent it. Reach out to your licensed insurance broker to find out how your car insurance policy has you covered in the event of a blowout-related collision.
We’ve had a lot of rain lately and that got me thinking; what goes through a driver’s mind when they’re driving in the rain? Do most drivers just think about the fact they’re dry while inside their vehicle? Are they most concerned about their visibility or is it their traction? This intrigued me so I went out and asked a few random drivers their thoughts.
To not make it look too weird, I camped out at a local gas station during a rainy day. I struck up conversation with those pumping gas nearby and this is what they said. The most common answer I heard about what goes through their mind while driving in the rain was “Staying dry”. I think that goes without saying, unless you forgot to close your sunroof or forgot to put up the top on the convertible.
I did get “Being able to see properly” as another answer, but it wasn’t even a close second with 3 of the 15 people I asked giving that as their first answer. The third choice was a disappointment to me; “If I can I stop quickly enough” said by 2 people. Maybe since this answer was the third of all three answers given it may explain why rear crashes are in the multitude during the rain. Shouldn’t drivers think about their visibility and their traction and not just about staying dry?
When I followed up with each person and asked them how the rain affected their ability to stop. Most hesitated before answering but then most said their tires may not grip the road as well. I brought up wet brake pads as well and they all thought that was a good point. I took this opportunity to try to educate these few drivers about safe driving in the rain.
When I asked each of them when the last time they checked their tires for proper tread depth or inflation, they couldn’t tell me. One of those I spoke with actually went to the air pressure pump and checked their tires. Impressive! Did they do it because they felt obligated since I was wearing a Young Drivers of Canada shirt? Who knows; I’m just glad I made them think a bit more about the responsibility of driving safely in the rain.
I asked each of them if they drive differently in the rain and most said “A little more cautiously”. When I asked them what they meant by that they really didn’t have much of an explanation. I asked if they leave more space between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead of them. Most said they try, but that other drivers just end up taking away that space. To be honest, that doesn’t happen as much as people think it does. Give it a try and find out for yourself.
I had suggested they look ahead of the traffic pattern and if they see brake lights well ahead of them, they should begin slowing as well. Why wait until the driver directly in front brakes before they do? The driver directly in front may brake late and that would cause them to brake late, perhaps causing a collision.
Rain seems to be a distraction for many drivers. It also becomes an excuse during a collision. The rain and wet roads didn’t cause the collision. It was the driver not adjusting to the road conditions and the traffic around them. When driving conditions are not ideal, drivers need to adjust. Do you adjust appropriately?
According to studies, the average home contributes more to global warming than the average car. This is partly because the energy used in homes around the nation comes from power plants running on fossil fuels.
Many people have taken the earth’s resources for granted, and it continues to become apparent that we need to change how we live to conserve our planet for future generations.
Turn Off the Lights
Use Electronics Efficiently
Use Less Paper
Conserve While You Eat
Modify Your Commute
Green Cleaning Products
Use a green dry cleaner that only uses natural products.
If the three most important determinates of the real estate market are location, location and location, then timing might be said to be the location of car shopping. While haggling over a new vehicle is a cultural cornerstone in Canada, the price of your vehicle is determined by more than just rhetorical mastery. Obviously, the model of the vehicle is the primary factor of the cost, but if the real estate proverb can ignore the dichotomy of mansions vs. shanties, we can still assert that timing is absolutely key.
So what distinguishes a good time to buy from a bad time? There are a few different factors to keep in mind when you’re looking for a new vehicle.
Dealerships have quotas they want to fill, so sometimes they will get a little desperate near the end of the month. It’s not like they’ll give you a free truck just because they’re a couple sales short of their goal, but chances are they will be more flexible.
Likewise, individual sales people may have a quota to hit. This could be for performance measurement, or if you’re really lucky, a personal bonus. If someone knows one more sale is standing between them and a lucrative bonus, chances are high they’ll be amenable to offering some discounts.
For the same reason, shopping near the end of each quarter can lead to discounts. March, June, September and December are when many dealerships assess their numbers, so the need to make some last-minute sales is palpable.
Different dealerships offer promotions at different times of the year, so keep your eyes open. Of course, some promotions are better than others, so a little comparison might be in order. Don’t forget that just because a vehicle is marked down, it doesn’t mean that its sale price has to be the final price.
New models come out in the fall. For example, in the fall of 2017, most 2018 vehicles will be released. This gives you two opportunities.
First, new models offer new features and upgrades, so shopping in the fall gives you the chance to get in on these things. It’s a little sad if you buy a new car and a week later the newer, better version comes out. By waiting until the fall you can get a superior vehicle from what is available in the summer.
The second opportunity is that you can get the previous year’s model at a reduced cost. Dealerships have to make room for new models by getting rid of the old ones, so they are eager to replace the current additions with next year’s, once the latter has been released.
If you're surprised by this last one, you're confusing "most desirable" with "best."
Spring is probably the most exciting time to purchase a vehicle. The snow is gone, summer road-trips are just around the corner, the sun is sparkling off the shiny exterior of every last car on the lot...and that’s why it’s more expensive to buy in the spring.
Spring time is a popular time of year to shop for a new vehicle. The demand gives the upper hand to dealers during negotiations, and usually eliminates their need to lower prices in order to fill a quota. Try resisting the temptation of spring time car shopping. It could keep a few thousand dollars in your pocket.
“Replacement cost” and “actual cash value” are two of the most common calculations insurers use to determine the amount a customer will receive if they make a home or car insurance claim. In other words, you could either be reimbursed for the cost to replace the lost or damaged item or its actual cash value, depending on what it says in your policy. So, what’s the difference? And how do these calculations really apply when you make a claim? Let’s have a look.
If your policy says it will cover the replacement cost of an item that is lost or damaged, the dollar amount you’ll be paid is equal to the cost you’d need to replace that item with a new, similar product of like kind and quality. Since insurance is designed to get you back to the same position you were in just before a loss, your insurer will do some research and determine how much it would cost to replace the item with a new one that is as comparable as possible — no more, no less.
Actual cash value
If your policy is set up to cover the actual cash value of an item that is lost or damaged, the dollar amount you’ll be paid is equal to how much the item is worth today. This considers the original price you paid for the item, but it also considers depreciation (the natural decrease in an item’s value over time, usually due to wear and tear) and the physical condition the item was in on the day of the loss. Most insurance companies will use standard guidelines (known as “depreciation tables” in the insurance world) to determine an item’s actual cash value — or they’ll contact a professional retailer or appraiser to determine what a similar used item would cost to buy.
The premium you pay when you have an actual cash value policy may be lower since the reimbursement you’d receive in the event of a claim is generally much less than you’d receive with a replacement cost policy.
How do replacement cost and actual cash value work in real life?
Keep in mind that these examples are intended to give you a basic understanding of how actual cash value and replacement cost work. If you have specific questions about your policy, please talk to your licensed insurance broker.
A pipe in your basement springs a leak and damages the sewing machine you purchased 30 years ago for $500. After consulting a professional sewing machine technician, your insurer informs you that the machine is damaged beyond repair. So, how much will you be reimbursed?
A rear-end collision on your way home from work lands your two-year-old SUV in the shop. After receiving an estimate for the repairs, your insurer decides your vehicle isn’t worth repairing. How much will you be reimbursed?
Want to learn how your own coverage works or find out how your deductibles might apply in situations like these? Reach out to your licensed broker today.
Written by Stephanie Fereiro
When it comes to your vehicle, a “modification” is anything that alters its look or the way it drives. From purely cosmetic to performance-enhancing, vehicle modifications can include things like aftermarket window tinting, special exhaust systems or mufflers, lifted or lowered suspensions, custom paintjobs and banners, spoilers and skirt kits, wheelchair lifts and hand controls, nitrous oxide, low-profile tires, and under-body lighting. Whatever you’re planning to do, it’s important to learn how it could impact your car insurance.
Will my insurer cover my modified vehicle?
If you’re thinking about modifying your vehicle — or if you’re thinking about buying a vehicle that was modified in any way after it left the manufacturer — be sure to reach out to your licensed insurance broker ahead of time to find out if or how your insurance could change.
Your insurer will likely consider these five questions when determining how a modification might impact your coverage or premium:
Keep in mind that all modifications should be installed or inspected by a qualified professional to ensure your vehicle’s safety standards are up to snuff. The rules for vehicle modifications vary by insurer, so be sure to ask your licensed broker before installing any type of modification — and once the job is done, notify your broker so they can make sure you’ll be covered in the event of an accident.
Have you ever been driving during a downpour and felt your wheels lift and slide across the road, even just for a second? Or maybe you’ve driven through a big puddle a little too quickly and felt your back wheels sway from side to side? If you’ve felt one of these sensations while on the road, chances are your car was hydroplaning — or riding on the surface of the water instead of on the pavement. Learn how hydroplaning works, how to prevent it, and how to handle your car to avoid a collision.
What is hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning happens when a sheet of water comes between your tires and the pavement, causing your vehicle to lose traction and sometimes even spin out of control. It’s most likely to happen in the first few minutes of a light rain, when the rain mixes with oil residue on the road, creating slippery conditions.
Hydroplaning can also happen when water can’t drain off the road quickly enough (during a heavy downpour, for example) or when there are low spots in the road that allow puddles to form. In these situations, your tires hit the water faster than they can push it away, causing them to ride on top of it, which can cause a loss of control.
How can I avoid hydroplaning?
To avoid hydroplaning, take these three tips for a spin:
What should I do if my vehicle is hydroplaning?
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, hydroplaning is unavoidable. If you feel your wheels skidding or sliding, try not to panic. Take these steps to get back on track and avoid a collision:
Sometimes an accident can happen, even when you’ve taken all the right steps to prevent it. To learn how your car insurance could come into play in the event of a hydroplaning mishap, call 1-800-661-1518 today!
In addition to a good spring cleaning, make sure your car is up to the task of getting you where you need to go safely after a season of harsh winter conditions. Some of the following tips will require a mechanic, while others may only need you to follow the instructions in your owner's manual.
A mechanic is your car's best friend and it's generally recommended that you take your car in for an inspection every three months, or about every 5,000 to 6,000 kilometers driven. Your mechanic will look over more than what's listed here, including your car's battery, hoses, and belts—all components that can really take a beating over the winter. A springtime visit to your mechanic means that you may be able to fix minor maintenance issues, before they become a major headache.
It costs a lot to drive a car in Ontario. There’s auto insurance, regular maintenance, and gasoline to name just a few expenses. This spring however, there’s one less expense you’ll have to pay for when it’s time to renew your vehicle’s registration: the fee for the Drive Clean emissions test you’ll need if your vehicle is seven years or older.
As of April 1, 2017 you’ll no longer have to pay the $30 fee for your Drive Clean emissions test. Instead, the province will cover the cost, but just for the first one. If your vehicle fails the initial emissions test, you’ll have to pay for the repairs needed to ensure your vehicle meets the province’s emissions standards, as well as the fees for the re-test.
Drivers of heavy-duty vehicles still have to pay for the test. The fee is only waived for drivers of cars, vans, SUVs and light-duty vehicles (those with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,500 kg or less).
Once your vehicle is seven years old, you’ll be notified by the province that it’s time for a Drive Clean test; you’ll see an asterisk (*) on the notice form that the Ministry of Transportation sends you when it’s time to renew your registration.
According to the province’s Drive Clean website, the emissions test is required every two years once a vehicle is 7 model years old. This applies to most light-duty vehicles, including cars, vans, SUVs, and light-duty trucks. However, heavy-duty vehicles (those weighing more than 4,500 kg) are tested on an annual basis.
Car insurance rates often change and the provider who offered you the best premium last year, may no longer offer you the best deal on car insurance this year. Make sure you’re not overpaying for your car insurance and compare auto insurance rates today.
Life is busy, I get that. Taking the opportunities to get things done when you get the chance is part of our daily routine. However, chances are being taken that can create major problems that many fail to realize. What am I talking about? Many people are still texting in the vehicle, but not just while in motion, but also texting while stopped at a red light. But is that so bad?
A recent Canadian poll conducted by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) asked over 2000 drivers if they text while stopped. Roughly a third of those polled said they do. The plus side is that roughly two-thirds of those polled say they do not. Whether or not those who said they don’t text while stopped are telling the truth is another story. (Information can be found here https://goo.gl/ymIaOr)
Is it a big deal if you’re stopped at a red light and you check your phone for messages? BIG. Your mind is now taken away from the entire driving environment. You’re distracted. When you look up and see traffic moving, you’ll move instinctively, but it may not be safe to do so. It’s a reaction, not a thought-provoking decision.
Many times over the years I would see traffic stopped at a red light. Traffic in the left turning lane would have an advanced green light and they begin to move while the rest of us have a red light. Suddenly, a driver facing the solid red light begins to move and goes straight through the intersection on a red light. Why? Because they looked up and saw traffic beside them moving. Yes, they were moving, but they had the light that allowed them to make that left turn.
The driver who was distracted with their cell phone looked up and was disorientated with their surroundings. You may have done it yourself. It will generally take a few seconds to get your mind back on track after focusing on something else for a few seconds. Luckily, some of those drivers who went through the red light went through without incident, but that doesn’t always happen.
Think of this; you’re the first person in line at a red light in the right lane. You look down to your phone to text or read a text. You look up to see a green light and hit the gas because you feel you’re already late in moving. The only problem is that it wasn’t clear to proceed. A pedestrian or cyclist wasn’t through the crosswalk yet, but you hit the gas. Your mind was on. You jeopardized the safety of other road users.
Checking the phone for messages while stopped still may not seem like a big deal to many drivers, but after getting into the habit of checking while stopped, things can escalate. The next thing they’ll do is check their phone when they’re traveling the speed limit with no one around them, maybe as they drive on a quiet residential street. After that, they’ll begin checking their phone when traffic is near them. It can start small and then grow into major issues.
So why is it so important for some people to check their phones while driving? They often feel like they’re missing out on something. In many jurisdictions using a hand held device while in the driving position is prohibited by the law. A charge can come with a big fine and demerit points. But people still do it. Being stopped at a red light or stop sign is you still being in the driving position. You’re still in control of your motor vehicle – theoretically. Wait until you’re safely parked before checking your messages. Trust me, your messages can wait. Our lives are more important.