Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Ideas for Celebrating National Motorcycle Week

Photo: Dissolve

August 14-20 is National Motorcycle Week—a celebration of the motorcycle and all the lifestyle entails. Whether you’re a full-time rider or a weekend warrior, your motorcycle is probably a big part of your life. What could be better than a whole week devoted to your favorite pastime? But if you can’t spare a whole seven days, there are still a few ways you can make the most of this national occasion. Below are a few ideas.

Attend a Bike Night or rally. Sometimes local groups hold Bike Nights as fundraisers or annual community events. These events allow bikers to meet and talk about their rides, and usually include bike runs, food vendors, music, and other activities.

Buy some new gear. If you’re going out to a Bike Night or other event, you need the proper riding gear. A helmet is a must—according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries.  Boots, goggles, and gloves are other essentials. Cover your arms and legs completely by wearing heavy leather or denim.   

Take a ride. Or, just spend some time on the open road, either solo or with your fellow biker friends. Riding solo gives you the time and space to just relax and watch the world go by; riding with others builds camaraderie and gives others the chance to “have your back” and keep each other safe as you travel.

Buy insurance! There’s more than one way to stay safe as you head out. Besides wearing the right gear and following the rules of the road, motorcycle insurance gives you even more protection.   

Here at ETA Benefits Group, we work with several motorcycle insurance carriers and can shop around to find you the best coverage that meets your needs and your budget. Contact us to learn more! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What to Do if Your Car Breaks Down

Photo: Crash Services

It can happen to anyone. You’re in your car, driving along, minding your own business, maybe singing along to the radio, when suddenly your car makes a funny noise and stops. Or you hit something and get a flat tire.

Do you know what to do?

Move your car to the shoulder of the road or a safe location out of the flow of traffic if you can, especially if you’re on a highway.  If your car dies right in the middle of the road, stay in the vehicle.

If this happens during the day, put on your emergency blinkers (4-ways) to alert other drivers that you’re having car trouble. If it’s at night, open the door not facing traffic so your interior overhead light comes on.

If your tire is flat, don’t try to change it unless you’re in a safe location and the flat tire is on the side away from traffic.

Call for emergency assistance. If you belong to AAA or another motor club, give them a call and they can send a tow truck. They’ll ask your location and what’s wrong with your vehicle, so if it’s something other than a flat tire, try to pinpoint the problem before calling.

You should have an emergency kit in your car for times like these—breakdowns can happen to anyone, at any time, so it’s always good to be prepared. According to the DMV’s website, an emergency kit should include:

  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher (ideally a small one that's easy to store)
  • Road flares (if not already in your tire-changing tools)
  • Jumper cables
  • Rain ponchos
  • Tarp
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Rags
  • Duct tape
  • Scent-free baby wipes
  • Drinking water and non-perishable snacks.
  • Multipurpose tool
A breakdown can be a harrowing experience, but if you stay calm, put safety first (yours as well as your passengers'), and follow the steps above, you'll make it through the incident just fine.

Would you add any other tips to the list? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Do's and Don'ts During Thunderstorms

Summer can have some unexpected (and dramatic!) weather, from hurricanes to tornadoes and massive flooding. These major weather events can cause extensive damage to people and property, but a common lightning storm can leave a devastating impact, as well. Lightning can pose serious safety risks, but there are precautions you can take to protect yourself and your property until the storm blows over. Below are a few basic do’s and don’ts to keep in mind during a thunderstorm. For more helpful safety tips, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s website.


      Stay inside.  There’s no guarantee that lightning won’t affect an enclosed shelter, but you’ll be much safer inside.  A house, business, office building, or car with a hard top would all be considered enclosed shelters.

Stay away from windows.  It seems like a no-brainer, but make sure all entryways to your home are shut tightly so the rain won’t get in and cause water damage.  Once the windows are shut, move away from them. The lightning could travel through the metal in the window frame.  
Stay away from electronic equipment. If possible, avoid watching TV, using any electronic device or appliances during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel through a house’s electrical system or TV and radio connection systems (and you can get a serious jolt if you use any of the above electronics). Invest in whole-house surge protectors to keep your electronics and appliances safe.


 Go near water. As mentioned above, don’t use your washer or dryer, but also avoid washing your hands, doing dishes, or taking a shower during a thunderstorm, as lightning can travel through a building’s plumbing.

Seek shelter in an open structure or space. If you’re outside and caught off guard by a sudden thunderstorm, try to get to a sturdy, enclosed structure rather than one that’s open, such as a pavilion or gazebo.  Also avoid waiting it out in a vehicle like a convertible or golf cart.  If you’re outside with no visible means of shelter, crouch down as low as you can, with as little of your body touching the ground as possible.

Use a phone with a cord. Corded phones are a bigger safety risk because lightning can travel down the phone cables. Cordless or cell phones are safe to use.

Go outside.  Watch the weather forecast and take weather alerts on your electronic device seriously. If there’s a storm in the forecast, be prepared to delay, postpone, or cancel your outdoor plans. Take the time to secure or bring in outdoor furniture or other lightweight items that could blow away when the storm finally hits. Bring pets and plants inside and be prepared to wait it out.

Lightning is impressive to watch (when you’re safely inside, at a distance) but it can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Choosing the Best First Car for a New Driver

Photo: MOTOsafety

Getting your driver’s license is an important milestone for teenagers. It’s the first taste of real independence, but a bittersweet moment for parents, who’ve spent countless hours playing chauffeur to various appointments, games, practices, and other commitments.  Teen drivers will quickly learn just how big a responsibility is to get behind the wheel.  Safety (of the driver, passengers, and other drivers) is the main priority, not a cool car or impressing your friends.

If you’re shopping for a reliable new or used car for your teen driver, look at the following:

Safety features. They can vary widely, but most models come with the following basic safety gear:

·         Seat belts
·         Airbags (front-side airbags have been standard on all new cars since 1998)
·         Anti-lock brakes
·         Traction control

Of course, the newer the car, the more safety features it will have.  “More” isn’t always better, but when it comes to your vehicle, you really can never be too safe. Talk to your new driver about the importance of everyone in the car wearing a seat belt (this simple act alone can protect them from serious injuries or worse) and using the other features as needed.

Price. A generation or two ago, parents passed their car down to their new driver and bought upgraded wheels for themselves. That’s not always the case today, as many new drivers often get a brand-new car from Mom and Dad.  Whichever you choose, parents want a vehicle that’s not only safe, but cost-efficient (unfortunately, most new drivers won’t get the brand-new sports car right away).  Models like the Honda Civic and Toyota Celica are common first cars for new drivers, as they are reliable, with good safety records, and usually don’t put too much of a strain on the average household budget.

Gas mileage.  Longtime drivers know to keep a close eye on gas prices; new drivers will quickly learn why their parents stress about it so much. It will depend on the type of vehicle you drive, but usually 25MPG (miles per gallon) is considered good gas mileage; electric or hybrid vehicles usually average 40 to 50 MPG. This is a good question to ask the car dealer or person who’s selling the car.

You always remember your first car. Help your teen driver create happy memories by choosing one that’s safe and reliable.

What other tips would you add for new drivers buying their first car? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!