Bent Car Frame | Your Hometown Body Shop

How Can I Tell If My Frame Is Damaged?

You should always take your car to an auto body shop after an accident regardless of whether there is an appearance of major damage or not. Major problems like frame damage can go undetected and if you wait too long after a crash, you may find an issue with getting your insurance to pay for the collision repairs.

Alignment Assessment

Your vehicle’s alignment can be disrupted with a bent frame. Does your car pull to one side? Do you have to turn your steering wheel in order to drive straight. If you’ve recently had your alignment fixed and the problem is persisting, it could be a sign of frame damage.

Tire Track Evaluation

If your vehicle has a bent frame, you may notice that it “crab walks” – this happens when the rear tires don’t follow in line behind the front tires. If you aren’t sure if this is happening, get all four tires wet, drive it straight across dry pavement, park your vehicle, and observe the tracks.

Parts Assessment

The frame of your vehicle is its foundation. If it is bent, many other components may not fit properly. You may notice this if you try to open and close a door unsuccessfully or if the body panels don’t line up properly.

If you have any questions or concerns about your vehicle’s frame, call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop today!

Vehicle Infotainment System | Your Hometown Body Shop

New Vehicle Infotainment Systems Create Increased Distractions Behind the Wheel

New vehicle infotainment systems take drivers’ eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel for potentially dangerous periods of time, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Drivers using in-vehicle technologies like voice-based and touch screen features were visually and mentally distracted for more than 40 seconds when completing tasks like programming navigation or sending a text message. Removing eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk for a crash, according to previous research. With one in three U.S. adults using infotainment systems while driving, AAA cautions that using these technologies while behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.

AAA has conducted this new research to help automakers and system designers improve the functionality of new infotainment systems and the demand they place on drivers.

“Some in-vehicle technology can create unsafe situations for drivers on the road by increasing the time they spend with their eyes and attention off the road and hands off the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “When an in-vehicle technology is not properly designed, simple tasks for drivers can become complicated and require more effort from drivers to complete.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned researchers from the University of Utah to examine the visual (eyes off road) and cognitive (mental) demand as well as the time it took drivers to complete a task using the infotainment systems in 30 new 2017 vehicles. Study participants were required to use voice command, touch screen and other interactive technologies to make a call, send a text message, tune the radio or program navigation, all while driving down the road.

Programming navigation was the most distracting task, taking an average of 40 seconds for drivers to complete. When driving at 25 mph, a driver can travel the length of four football fields during the time it could take to enter a destination in navigation—all while distracted from the important task of driving. Programming navigation while driving was available in 12 of the 30 vehicle systems tested.


Distracted Driving

In 2015 alone, 391,000 people were injured and 3,477 lives we lost due to distracted driving. Research conducted by AT&T found that nearly 4 in 10 social media users go on their social media while behind the wheel. The risk of a crash increases by 23 times if you text and drive.

If these statistics scare you, they are doing their job. None of those 391,000 injuries or 3,477 deaths would have happened if people just did not drive while distracted. Distracted driving is a huge issue that is completely avoidable, yet extremely prevalent in today’s society. We must handle the issue of distracted driving before it takes even more lives and injures even more people than it already has.

The most important question is what is distracted driving? There are three different kinds of distracted driving. Visual, when you take your eyes off the road, Manual, where you take your hands off the wheel, and cognitive, which is when you take your mind off driving. Some kinds of activities that would count as distracted driving include, going on your phone while behind the wheel, eating, even using in-vehicle navigation or radio systems.

It is not fair to your, the passengers in your car, or the other drivers on the road if you distract yourself while behind the wheel. You are not only putting yourself in danger but every single other car that is on the road as well. Do not be someone who adds to the already long list of fatalities caused by distracted driving. 1 out of every 4 car crashes that happen are due to texting while driving, a very prominent form of distracted driving.

If you find yourself guilty of distracted driving, help make a change and save lives and vow to stop distracted driving now.

Summer Safety Tips

With the weather starting to heat up, long car trips to your ideal vacation are inevitable. With the snow and ice gone, you might think that the worst driving conditions for the year are over. While summertime eliminates the dangers of ice and snow, it does not eliminate road work, dangerous drivers, or vehicle malfunctions. Below are dangers of the summer roads and how to prevent yourself from falling victim to these predicaments.

  • Vehicle Malfunctions: Vehicle malfunctions can happen suddenly, leaving you stranded on the side of the road waiting for assistance. This may make you late to check-in or unable to enjoy your vacation. Before leaving, be sure to check your vehicle to be certain that your vehicle is working properly. Look at things like fluid levels, lights, and tire pressure. Make sure to take care of parts that are costly and would be time-consuming to repair before you leave, or you will not be able to fully enjoy your time off.
  • Overheating and Fatigue: Staying alert is impossible when you are focused on how hot your vehicle is or how tired you are from driving such a long distance. You can either roll the windows down and let the wind cool you down, or you can turn the air conditioner on high before leaving and let it run for a few minutes to make sure the air coming out of the vents is cold. You can then adjust the flow of the air once the cab becomes cold. This will assist in battling fatigue from the heat. However, if you do feel fatigue, do not force yourself to keep driving. Combined with the heat, fatigue is worsened, so do not push your body to its limit. You should have frequent rest stops built into your drive, so make sure to assess yourself before leaving these rest stops. Take enough water with you to last the trip. If possible, bring a cooler for the water and freeze a few bottles to put in the cooler. This will assist in cooling down your body.
  • Restlessness and Distraction: Keep your phone out of your hands and out of your mind while you are driving. Do not eat, drink, or smoke behind the wheel. Always pull over or stop at a rest stop to do these things. To combat restlessness, take a brief walk at each rest stop and stretch. Sitting in your vehicle for so long may cause you discomfort, so be sure to move when you have safe opportunities at rest stops. Do not let your restlessness manifest itself in reckless driving.
  • Detours and Road Work: Prior to leaving on your trip, check for road closures and traffic. Be sure to accommodate time due to delays if you are on a strict schedule. Even if you do not see any closures or major traffic, expect there to be some anyway and prepare accordingly. Identify alternate routes to your destination just in case. If you have one, be sure to have your GPS charged before you leave.

Stay alert on the road and be sure to buckle your seatbelt. Even though summer is here, do not let yourself neglect road safety, especially on long trips.

Driving in the Rain | Your Hometown BodyShop

Driving in the Rain

Nervous about driving in a downpour? Many accidents occur as a result of the rain, as rain makes it easier for your car to slide due to lost traction. While you should try to refrain from driving in heavy rain, sometimes a commute is unavoidable. Keep yourself safe from the dangers of spring showers with these tips for driving through downpours:

  • Keep Your Vehicle Up-to-Date: Make sure to replace windshield wipers if need be. Visibility is essential to avoiding accidents. Turn on your headlights to further increase visibility. Assess your brakes to avoid slipping. Finally, check the tread on your tires to avoid hydroplaning. Precautions like these make any accidents less likely to occur.
  • Be Cautious: Never drive through a large collection of water, especially if it is moving and you cannot see the bottom. If the water comes up to the opening of your door, do not continue in that direction. Instead, find an alternate route. Be sure to slow down in the rain, since it is more difficult to stop quickly if you are moving at a greater speed. Furthermore, leave more space between your vehicle and other drivers in case one of you slip or have to stop suddenly.
  • Avoid Putting Wheels in Rain: When possible, move to the middle lane or try to drive in the tracks of the car in front of you. The edges of the road are where the most water collects, as the road has a slight curve to create runoff. By staying in the middle, you can reduce the amount of water your tires will have to fight against. Driving in the tracks of the car in front of you achieves the same effect, as these spots have had a momentary lapse of rain from the car in front. However, do not drive directly behind the car in front of you; be sure to leave space so that you may both slow to a stop safely.
  • Turn Off Cruise Control: Cruise control prevents your car from quickly accelerating or decelerating. If you need to speed up, slow down, or stop suddenly due to the rain, you will not be able to do so if cruise control is still on. Cruise control is not to be used in the rain, as it may reduce the traction of your tires and cause you to get in an accident.
  • Don’t Panic: The worst thing you can do in any dangerous situation is to panic, as it inhibits decision-making. Stay calm if your car begins to slide. Do not oppose the direction the car is going in quickly, as it could cause your vehicle to turn over. Ease your foot up off the gas to stop the incident from worsening. Avoid braking suddenly, as this will make the car more difficult to control as a result of the instantaneous shift in balance. Slowly steer in the direction you wish to go to prevent the car from flipping.

Spring Cleaning for Your Vehicle

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your home. Your car also needs a little extra care in the spring! Keep your car running efficiently as the warmer weather approaches by following these tips.

You’ve likely had to use a lot of fluids throughout the winter to keep your car running properly. As the weather gets nicer, it’s imperative you get the fluids checked and refill those that are low.

While Spring brings warmer weather, it also brings rain showers, which means it’s important to ensure your windshield wipers are working properly. You do not want to get stuck in a down pour with windshield wipers that don’t work! For your safety, windshield wipers should typically be replaced every six months.

Your tires are likely to contract in the cold winter months, however in the spring, they’re more likely to expand in the warmer weather. These changes mean you should check and rotate your tires to ensure you are getting an even amount of pressure on all sides.

While these tips are helpful for keeping your vehicle running properly, they also serve as safety tips. If you have any questions or are in need of a collision repair center, please feel free to reach out to one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop!

Teen Driving | Your Hometown BodyShop

Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Drive

If you have a teenager learning to drive, you know that many rules and tips for the road have changed since you were in driver’s education class and getting behind the wheel for the first time.  For that reason, we compiled a list of a few driving tips to pass along to your millennial teen.  Ingraining these tips from the beginning is the best way to ensure lasting, good habits and safe driving practices.

One of the most noteworthy laws that has been put in place in the past 25 years is the mandating of seatbelts.  While it is important for your teen driver and all occupants of a car to wear a seatbelt, there are many other safety guidelines and laws for driving today that didn’t exist just a few years back.  Restricting cell phone usage is a great example of this.  Using a phone while driving is extremely dangerous and, in many states, a punishable act.  It’s important to set rules and expectations with your teen surrounding cell phone usage in the car.  As it is smart for your young driver to have a phone with them in case of emergencies or for directions, it is useful to map out guidelines for when and where using a phone is appropriate and safe.

Optimal hand placement on the steering wheel has also seen a few updates in recent years.  It’s likely that you were taught to place your hands at 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock on the wheel, but experts have now agreed that placing hands at 3 and 9 are safer in case of an accident.  Bent and relaxed arms at 3 and 9 provide a lower chance of arms being injured by airbag deployment, as they would be on the outer edge of the bag, not the top as they would be if placed at 2 and 10.

Also, recent studies have shown that having other teens in the car creates the most dangerous driving condition for a young driver’s safety.  Please make sure to discuss focus and responsibility while driving with friends.

We wish you the best in your coaching! If you have any questions regarding teen safety while driving or collision repair, please contact one of the members of Your Hometown BodyShop!

Winter Driving | Your Hometown Body Shop

Winter Driving

Driving in the snow can be a daunting task that many people avoid at all costs. Drivers should always be cautious, no matter the road conditions, but it is even more important in severe road conditions.  Here are several tips to make driving in the snow less frightening and dangerous.

Accelerate and decelerate much slower than usual. Accelerating slowly from a stop will help you gain traction

Keep a further following distance. In dry conditions, the distance is 3-4 seconds, but in snow you should increase that to 8-10 seconds

Break effectively. If you have an anti-lock brake system (ABS), then all you need to do in the event where quickly stopping is necessary, is to slam the brakes. However, if you don’t have ABS, you should firmly squeeze the pedal, without slamming it, right up to the limit of the tires’ traction. Do not brake any harder or you will lock your steering wheel up and lose all control of the car.

Approach hills with caution. You should avoid applying extra gas when proceeding up a hill. Begin your ascent with some momentum and slowly drive without stopping if you can.

We urge all drivers to always use caution when navigating in severe weather conditions and if conditions are extreme it is best to just wait until roads improve.

Windshield Repair | Your Hometown Body Shop

Auto Glass Repair

Windshield chips and cracks are some of the more common things that send people to auto repair shops. Without proper care, small cracks, scratches, or nicks can easily develop into larger (read: more expensive) repairs! You’re also putting yourself in harm’s way if your vision is impaired as a driver by a crack in the windshield.

Do you have a chip or crack in your windshield or one of the other windows in your vehicle? Get the repair done sooner to avoid a more expensive fix and potential issues down the road.

Often times, a crack smaller than a dollar bill can be repaired, whereas a larger crack will require full glass replacement! The members of Your Hometown Body Shop can quickly assess the damage to your car and give you an honest estimate.

If your windshield can be repaired, the process is simple and you can expect to drive out of the repair shop in about an hour.   The technician uses a small suction vacuum to remove any water or other matter from the crack then injects resin to fill it.

Whether you need a windshield/glass repair or replacement, the process can be performed in under an hour. Auto glass repair is also often covered by insurance providers, making the process quick and easy for you!

If you have any questions, please reach out to any of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop.

Driving in School Zones

School is back in session. Most drivers tend to dread this time because it means that school buses may begin to clog up their morning commute. However, it is a big responsibility to make sure you’re aware and alert of school buses, school zones, and children when driving. Here are some helpful tips that will either help or refresh your knowledge!

  • Know when you’re in a school zone
    • In the morning, it is easy to overlook certain road signs that you may not find essential in your commute. It is also easy to become more distracted in the morning too due to a general increase in cell phone activity among the population. Most school zones now are equipped with flashing lights and more noticeable signs to warn drivers that children are in the area.
  • Reduce Speed in School Zones
    • Most School Zone signs now have a speed limit on them as well. Not only that, but now schools have upped their safety game by including speedbumps, rumble strips, and additional safety signs in the proximity of the school zone. This is done so that drivers aren’t slamming on their breaks in a school zone, but instead make a nice transition to a slower speed in order to increase safety.
      • Additionally, fines are always much higher in a school zone and the police will not hesitate to catch you for speeding.
    • Expect More Traffic
      • If you drive through or near a school zone, then your commute is going to be longer due to an increase pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Plan on leaving a few minutes earlier in the morning to compensate for the expected increase in traffic. Crossing guards and lights are meant to favor students over motorists. Not just walking students, but buses and parents dropping off their children are also going to slow down your route. Bring some coffee along on your commute, leave a little earlier, and relax.
    • Be on the Lookout for Buses
      • Even if you’re not necessarily driving through a school zone, you may find yourself driving near residential areas that have bus stops. It is very important to know the laws regarding school buses and when to stop. Unless there is a physical barrier separating the lanes between you and the school bus, then you must stop. Not stopping for a school bus is a very severe fine, often double or even tripled the normal amount. Additionally, it can be up to five points on your driver’s license. When in doubt, if you see a bus, slow down and be prepared to stop. You will potentially save the lives of children, and save yourself a hefty fine.

You should always be aware of your surroundings when driving, especially when driving in a school zone. If you have any questions regarding driving in school zones or where to bring your car after an accident, please call one of the members of Your Hometown Body Shop.

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