More Tips on Traverse City Driving|Keep Your Insurance Rates Down

Senior Drivers:

Encourage regular sight and hearing exams.

Make sure eyeglasses, windows, and mirror are clean.

Listen carefully for horns/sirens/ Keep radio turned low or off.

Check mirrors often and avoid frequent lane changes.

Always use turn signals.

Increase distance between you and the car in front to allow ample time to stop.

Try not to drive long distances at dusk or night. If you do, give your eyes a few minutes to adjust to the darkness before starting.

When Bumpers Meet Antlers:

You can avoid an unplanned collision with a deer, moose, or elk. Here’s how:

Be aware at dusk and dawn when these animals come out to feed.

Pay attention to “deer crossing” signs. Look well down the road and off to each side of the roadway. At night, use your high-beam lights if possible to illuminate the road’s edges. Be especially watchful in areas near woods and water. If you see one deer, there may be several others nearby.

If you see a deer, moose, or elk on or near the roadway and think you have time to avoid hitting it, reduce your speed and tap your brakes to warn other drivers, and sound your horn.

If a collision seems inevitable, don’t swerve to avoid the animal – your risk of injury could be greater if you do. Keep the vehicle under control if you strike the animal and report the accident to the police.

Fall is the peak season for deer – car crashes.

Broken Windshields due to Rocks:

Reduce your speed when traveling on gravel, sanded, or salted roadways.

Keep a two second distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, especially large trucks. If the truck is hauling rocks, try to keep as far of a distance as possible from the vehicle.

Weather Conditions:

In ice or snow, bridges and overpasses may freeze before the roadway. Slow down and take extra time to get to your destination.

Avoid sudden changes in speed or direction.

Keep windows clear of snow and ice.

Use brakes cautiously. Abrupt braking can cause loss of steering control.

With anti-lock brakes, press firmly on them to allow the system to work and prevent skidding. Don’t “pump” your brakes.

Maintain more distance between vehicles than normal.

Don’t assume drivers around you can stop at intersections.

In a hail storm, find shelter by driving under an overpass or bridge.

When it rains, water mixes with road oils and dirt to make roads slippery and can cause your vehicle to hydroplane. Slow down.

Turn on lights. Use your vehicle’s air conditioner and the defogging systems to keep windows and mirrors clear.

When it’s foggy, stay to the right of the roadway in your lane and turn on your headlights. Avoid using your high beam lights, as they will be less effective and can cause less viability.

If you can’t see the road or traffic ahead of you due to the weather conditions pull off the right side of the road out of the traffic lane and turn on your emergency flashers.

Never try to outrun a tornado. If you see a funnel cloud or if there is a tornado warning in your immediate area, get out of your vehicle and seek a safe structure or lie down in a low area with your hands covering the back of your head and neck.

Owner’s Manual:

Become familiar with all safety features and proper use of the vehicle.

The manual provides information on maintenance and safe operation.


Check hoses, brakes, belts, lights, turn signals, wiper blades and cooling system in accordance to your vehicle’s owner’s manual maintenance schedule.

Check engine, transmission fluids and washer fluids periodically and before any long trips.

Check tire pressure. Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failures.

Check tire alignment, rotation and tread. Rotate tires to achieve uniform wear. Advanced tire wear can reduce the tread’s ability to maintain proper traction with the road and the vehicle to stay under your control.

Emergency/Safety Items to Keep in Your Vehicle:

Jumper cables

First Aid Kit



Fire Extinguisher


Protecting Your Vehicle in the winter:

Check anti-freeze. Make sure the windshield washer fluid contains additive to prevent freezing.

Make sure the battery is well charged.

Keep windows and lights clear of snow and ice.

Lubricate door and trunk locks to prevent freezing.

If you use studded tires, use them on all four wheels to minimize loss of control.

Check your tire pressure. Over-inflated tires can reduce your ability to keep your vehicle under control during poor weather conditions.

Carry an ice scraper and gloves.

Before You Buy a Vehicle:

Consider the safety record of the vehicle you want to purchase. Check published reports of how well the vehicle performs during a crash.

Check the available safety features such as air bags, electronic stability control systems and passive/active head restraints.

If you’re buying a used vehicle, check the condition carefully. Is it road worthy? Does it have updated safety equipment or air bags? Does the safety equipment work? Have there been any recalls on this particular vehicle? Consider obtaining a loss history report on this vehicle.


Use low-cost common sense measures to avoid the financial loss and hassle of a stolen vehicle.

Don’t leave keys in the ignition. Lock the car and lock the garage.

Park in well lit areas. More than two-thirds of auto thefts happen after dark.

Use a steering wheel lock. Install a car alarm with a kill switch.

Never leave a wallet, package or other valuables within plain sight.

CDs and other audio/video media may attract thieves, so keep them out of site. Also, this property is not covered by your auto or homeowner’s insurance policy, so you’re carrying at your own risk.

If buying a vehicle, look for one with a factory-installed alarm/content theft deterrent system.

Park with the front wheels turned sharply to the right or left, and apply the emergency brake to prevent an easy tow.

Infants: Birth until at least 20 pounds AND at least 1 year old

Use rear-facing infant seat or rear-facing convertible seat.

Route harness straps in lower slots, at or below shoulder level.

Fasten the top of the harness clip at armpit level.

Never place a rear-facing infant in the front seat with an active airbag.

Keep harness straps snug.

Toddlers: Over 20 pounds and over 1 year old – Up to 40 pounds
(Once rear-facing infant seat or rear-facing convertible seat is outgrown)

Use forward-facing car seat.

Route harness straps in designated reinforced slots, at or above shoulder level.

Fasten harness clip at armpit level.

Keep harness straps snug.

Young Children: Over 40 pounds and up to at least age 8, unless 4’9”
(Once forward-facing car seat is outgrown)

Belt positioning booster seat with a lap and shoulder seat belt.

Place shoulder strap over the shoulder and snug across the chest.

Place lap belt low and tight on the hips, NOT over the stomach.

Make sure shoulder strap is never across the neck, face or arm.

Older Children: Over age 8 or taller than 4’9”
(Once belt-positioning booster seat is outgrown)

Use a lap and shoulder seat belt.

Shoulder belt fits over the shoulder and across the chest.

Lap belt should fit low and tight on hips, NOT over the stomach.

Shoulder belt should NEVER be placed under arms or behind back.

Recommendations based upon National Highway Safety Administration Guidelines.

Safety Belt Use:

Make sure all safety belts are in operating order.

Wear a safety belt every time you sit in a moving vehicle.

Make sure all children are sitting in seats appropriate for their ages.

Make sure infants are in the back seats of the vehicle to protect then from airbag deployment.

If You Are in an Accident:

Stay calm. Check for and attend to injuries.

Call the police.

After confirming that no fuel spill exists and there is not a potential fire threat, warn oncoming traffic, if possible, with flares, or by signaling.

Write down other driver’s name, license plate numbers, vehicle descriptions and insurance companies. Also, get the names of the passengers in the other vehicle.

Get the names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses.

Take notes. Make note of damage to all cars involved, as well as road and weather conditions.

Report the accident to your insurance agent/company.

Don’t admit liability, sign agreements, or make commitments.

Don’t leave personal belongings in the vehicle.

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Tips on Driving in Traverse City MI

Drinking and Driving:

Alcohol impaired driving accounts for about 40% of fatal crashes.

Never drink and drive.

Celebrations are part of our lives and sometimes they include alcohol. Decide who the designated driver is before the party starts. If you’re impaired, make the safe choice – ride with a designated driver, call a taxi, stay where you are, or call a sober friend or family member.

Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs often display certain characteristic driving behaviors. Keep these in mind to avoid a dangerous situation.

Weaving, swerving, drifting or straddling the center line.

Driving on the wrong side of the road.

Driving at a very slow speed.

Stopping without cause or braking erratically.

Turning abruptly or responding slowly to traffic signals.

Driving with the window down in cold weather.

Driving with headlights off at night.

If you spot an impaired driver, keep a safe distance from their vehicles. Alert the policy that there is an unsafe driver on the road.

Aggressive Driving:
If you encounter an aggressive driver, remember:

If someone provokes you, take a deep breath and resist the urge to retaliate.

Don’t “punish” slow drivers by tailgating.

Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver.

Don’t make or return obscene gestures.

Use your horn sparingly.

Don’t block passing lanes.

Signal before switching lanes.

Never try to beat a yellow light.

Do not “Piggy-back” on a car ahead of you at a four-way stop.

Don’t weave in and out of traffic.

If you are upset or angry, don’t get behind the wheel until you are calm.

when parking, don’t take up more than one space. Don’t allow your door to hit the car parked next to yours.

If you think someone is driving dangerously and may be breaking the law, consider reporting that driver to the authorities. If you have a cell phone and can do so safely, call the police.

Loaning Your Vehicle:

You are responsible for who you allow to drive your vehicle.

Know the person that you are lending your vehicle to. Never allow an impaired driver to operate your vehicle.

If another driver wrecks your vehicle, you are responsible for filing the claim and paying any applicable deductibles.

If the damage exceeds policy limits, you may be held liable for the additional monetary damages.

Staying Alert:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that at least 100,000 crashes, 1,500 deaths and 40,000 injuries are caused each year due to drowsy driving.

Get a good night’s sleep before starting a long drive. Avoid driving during your body’s natural “down time” when you’d normally be sleeping.

If you become tired while driving, stop. A short nap (15 to 45 minutes) and consuming caffeine can help temporarily.

Avoid taking medications that make you drowsy.

Keep the temperature cool. Listen to the radio.

If possible, take a companion along to help you stay awake and possibly share the driving on long trips.

Sit up straight while driving; don’t slouch. Don’t stare straight ahead for prolonged periods of time; scan the road and check your rear and side view mirrors regularly.

Stop at regular intervals when driving long distances. Get out of the vehicle every 2 hours to stretch and walk briskly.

Some warning signs that you may be experiencing fatigue and drowsy driving:

You can’t remember the last few miles driven.

You hit a rumble strip or drift from your lane.

Your thoughts are wandering and disconnected.

You yawn repeatedly.

You have difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open.

You tailgate or miss traffic signs.

You have trouble keeping your head up.

You keep pulling your vehicle back into the lane.

If you’re tired and are in danger of falling asleep, then you cannot predict when a “mini” sleep may occur. Getting enough sleep will not only help you feel better, it can save your life.

Teen Drivers:

Set a good example – children learn by imitating their parents.

Discuss driving rules and attitudes.

Discuss safety, drinking, speeding, and seat belt use.

Set driving curfews for teen drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; 53% of all teen-age motor vehicle deaths occur on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; 43% of these accidents occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Discuss peer pressure and unsafe driving actions.

Limit distractions by keeping the number of passengers to a minimum, only talking on a cell phone while driving if it is an emergency, and adjusting radio/CD controls only while the vehicle is stopped or have the passenger make the adjustments.