We Americans love getting out and doing stuff, whether it’s taking the boat down to the lake for some fishing, or taking the dirt bikes out on a trailer for a ride. Having the freedom to drive not only ourselves and our families around, but also our toys like boats and bikes is truly a privilege. Although a harsh reality of this is that there are over 50,000 accidents each year related to towing Mount Jackson VA, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA).
This shouldn’t (and probably wouldn’t) put you off though, instead, it emphasizes the importance of being careful when towing things. As a professional provider of towing service Woodstock VA, we believe we have the knowledge to keep you and your family safe when towing anything. By sharing with you how to go about safely towing trailers, boats, RVs, and anything else, we hope that we can limit your need to call on us for our towing service.
Here are some of our best tips on how to safely tow boats, trailers, and anything else.
Work With An Experienced Professional – Towing Mount Jackson VA
If it’s your first time driving with a trailer, then you may wish to ask around to see if anyone you know can sit in with you to help you build confidence.
Trailers completely change the weight distribution of your vehicle, and if anything they add a lot more length to your vehicle than most are used to.
Before taking the boat down to the lake with the family, you should get some experience with lighter trailers first followed by heavier loads. If your street is quiet that may be the best place to practice, graduating onto any nearby rural highways, and finally a freeway.
Sporadic behavior in a car is dangerous enough, but add a heavy trailer into the mix and you can really harm yourself, your passengers, and other people on the road.
One of the most important things to do when driving with a trailer is to take your time, this is because at higher speeds you will have much less control over the movement of the trailer, and it will retain momentum even if you brake suddenly.
When speeding with a trailer one will notice it starts to wobble from side to side, if you notice this don’t brake suddenly, instead calmly reduce speed. Towing speed limits are there for the safety of all people on the road and usually range between 55mph and 65mph depending on the state.
Respect the Capacity, and Distribute Weight Evenly – Towing Mount Jackson VA
Your trailer will have a carrying capacity that determines how much weight it can carry safely, which incorporates both stationary and in-transit. Exceeding the weight capacity of your trailer will affect the handling of your vehicle and limit the stopping power of your brakes. It can also damage the suspension, drive train, and engine, so be sure to respect your load restrictions.
On top of this, weight capacity usually refers to the entire flatbed and not any single point on the trailer, so be sure to distribute the weight of whatever you’re carrying evenly. Not doing so can affect the handling and brakes, and can drag you off the road or into oncoming traffic. You should also ensure that the load is secure so that the weight isn’t shifting while you drive.
Inspect and Maintain both Trailers and Vehicles
Regular inspection and maintenance of both trailers and vehicles can ensure that both are in working order and won’t suddenly cause an accident. There are many parts that can malfunction on both a trailer and a car, so enacting regular checks can greatly reduce the chance of an accident.
Invest in Relevant Equipment
While that NHTSA report makes it seem like trailers are unsafe, they are substantially safer than their antiquated counterparts. In fact, towing technology is constantly evolving and producing more equipment that can further enhance the safety of towing trailers. Things like tow mirrors can eliminate the blind spot caused by a long trailer, and safety chains can ensure the trailer doesn’t get embedded in the concrete if it does somehow come off the hitch.
Using Towing Mount Jackson VA
Even if you invest in the highest quality safety gear for towing, you may still find yourself a victim of another driver’s mistakes and end up in an accident with your trailer. Prepare for this by having relevant emergency equipment in your car at all times, including a first-aid kit and the phone number of a local towing service.
If you’re looking for a towing service Woodstock VA, then you’re in luck. We’re based in Shenandoah and have years of experience in towing, and can also offer both roadside repairs and in-house repairs at our autoshop. Be sure to write down our number to put with your first aid kit in case of an accident.
Traffic accidents are inevitable in this day and age, and can happen whether we do our best to avoid them or not. While many collisions are minor, it doesn’t take much to make a car unusable, which will then require some heavy lifting. That’s where towing New Market has come in handy, often only a quick call away, these trucks are specially-built to help move damaged vehicles.
Although a tow truck isn’t always the first thing someone thinks of calling, often people will try and start their car after an accident to try and move it. In some cases with just a minor collision, this is fine, but more serious crashes can make it dangerous for both you and other drivers on the road. Beyond this it’s relatively common for people to use their ute or truck as a tow vehicle, which can pose a range of problems to the driver, others on the road, and the vehicle.
As a towing service in New Market VA, we believe it’s important for our customers to know about these dangers and why they should instead call us.
Here is a look at the dangers of trying to drive a damaged vehicle or towing with a D.I.Y towing rig.
Before Driving Away After an Accident – Towing New Market VA
Once you’ve shared relevant insurance information after an accident, it may be time to get back in your vehicle and drive away. Before you do so, you may want to check the following parts are still functioning so you know its safe:
- Headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals – these need to be in working condition to drive legally
- Mirrors – legally you need two functioning mirrors to drive, while the rear-view may not be damaged if you’ve lost both side mirrors you shouldn’t drive
- Leaking fluids – if your vehicle is leaking fluids driving it may pose certain risks. If it’s leaking coolant you risk overheating, if it’s leaking fuel you risk a fire.
- Bent or broken wheels – you should thoroughly inspect your wheels and axles for any signs of damage, and if it feels wrong, don’t drive
- Hood won’t latch – front on collisions will usually affect the hood latch which can then threaten to swing up and impair your vision while driving
- Broken glass – this will take some common sense, as a broken side window may not impair your ability to drive but any cracks in the windscreen will
It’s important to be able to use your judgment when assessing your vehicle after a crash to determine how serious it is. One great indication is any injuries you may have received, the more severe they are the more damaged your car is likely to be.
Dangers of DIY Towing – Towing New Market VA
If your vehicle is too damaged to drive, but you are keen to get it off the road or to a mechanic, you may wonder about the viability of DIY towing. Many modern utes and trucks are outfitted with winches which insinuate the ability, but do not come with the technology that tow trucks rely on. A common anecdote at our towing service Woodstock VA is having to take a couple of tow trucks out to pull a DIY tow vehicle out of a ditch, where the job could have taken one vehicle we now see 2 or more damaged.
There are a few major concerns when it comes to DIY towing, which we will explore below.
Tow trucks come equipped with all kinds of special equipment which aren’t publicly accessible or efficiently operable without relevant experience. Even with a tow rope and several hitches, most vehicles will struggle to safely move others and can threaten damage to either, or other vehicles on the road. Tow trucks keep vehicles at a safe distance behind them, and connect in more than one way to ensure the vehicle stays with the truck.
Exceed the Maximum Capacity
Vehicles are only equipped to carry so much, and when we exceed the maximum weight our vehicle is expected to carry it begins to create other risks to both vehicles as well as others on the road. If the max capacity is exceeded the towing vehicle may experience external damage where the vehicle is connected, or damage to the transmission or engine.
Working With A Professional Towing New Market VA
If you’ve ever driven with a trailer, then you’ll know that it is vastly different from driving a car alone. A common mistake we have heard about at our towing service Woodstock VA is that the DIY towing vehicle’s driver either under- or over compensated for the weight of the other vehicle. This can lead to fishtailing, and in extreme situations even more accidents and injuries.
Since their invention, cars have gone through a number of massive changes which have greatly improved their safety. Even such things as seatbelts are relatively new, having only been standard practice since 1964, when automotive safety became a priority. Since then, cars have gained a myriad of features which can help the driver to avoid breaking down, as well as getting into an accident. As a provider of a towing service in Shenandoah County, we’ve seen our fair share of both breakdowns and accidents, and are familiar with those features which can help. Although unless you’re a fan of cars, many of these features may seem a bit complex, given their misleading names. By understanding the relevance of each feature, you’ll be able to confidently seek out a car which is not only safe, but will hopefully stop you from ever needing to contact us about our towing service in Woodstock VA.
Here is an overview of the modern features in cars which help to improve their safety.
Airbags Can Prevent Towing
Like seatbelts, airbags were around for some time before they became commonplace in every car. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1990s, almost 40 years after they were invented, that driver airbags became a standard feature in low-end cars. Shortly after that in 1998 airbags became mandatory in all cars.
Nowadays cars are outfitted with a range of airbags to ensure the safety of the driver and all passengers should the car face any impact. You should find a car with:
- Driver airbag installed in the steering wheel, with thorax protection if desired
- Passenger airbag on top of the glove compartment, or in the upper right of the dash
- Side curtain airbags installed in the top of the door rails
- Center airbags installed on the inboard side of the driver’s seat
On top of these, you may also seek out knee-bolster airbags, seatbelt airbags, and pedestrian airbag modules. The safety of airbags has increased greatly, and they can save you and your passengers from death or serious injury.
Anti-Locking Braking Systems (ABS)
To the novice, brakes locking up may sound like enough to stop a car, although that’s exactly the problem. When brakes lock up in a car, the car may carry on its momentum and slide into more objects. ABS has stopped this by providing steering control while the car is braking on wet and slippery surfaces, allowing you to point the car to safety. This system can be expected in almost every new car, but be sure to ask whether any cars you’re considering have it.
Prior to crumple zones in cars, in the event of a crash, the momentum would transfer to those within the vehicle, leading to devastating results. Crumple zones are essentially parts of the car that would absorb some of the impact should you crash/be crashed into. This is achieved by identifying the weaker parts outside of the vehicle, and strengthening the inside. What this often means is that the front or rear end of the car will be crushed, rather than transferring the momentum to those inside.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) / Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
While many of us are familiar with the anagram of ESC as the “Escape” function on our computer, and the acronym of ESP being related to telekinesis, these features are imperative in the modern car. Electronic stability is a car safety feature which detects loss of traction to a car’s tires, and can also apply to the brakes to prevent skidding and aid the driver steer in a controlled manner. It first came about in 1983, and only took 7 years to become standard throughout the industry, saving countless lives.
While not so helpful during a breakdown or car crash, rear-facing cameras are an invaluable tool to those who have children and pets. They allow the driver to see exactly what is behind and seemingly beneath the back of the car. The first one goes back to a Buick in 1956, and although they’ve been around for some time, they still aren’t as common as they should be. These are a must-buy for parents and pet owners, and have undoubtedly saved families from immeasurable heartbreak.
Towing Service Shenandoah County
Having all the safety features in the world may not save you from the Fates which can throw anything at us at any time. As a provider of a towing service Woodstock VA, we are well aware of this, and are ready to help you during a breakdown or accident. Be sure to write our number down and put it with your insurance information.
Contact us today for our towing service in Shenandoah county!
Owning a car is quite different nowadays compared with much of the 20th century, when they were still a relatively new invention. These days however, cars are commonplace in most households, and are a commonly used method of transportation. As a provider of towing in Edinburg VA, we believe in maintaining your car to avoid having to call upon us unnecessarily. Most people will take their car for a ‘service’ annually, which usually involves checking the rudimentary functions of the car such as the brakes and headlights. Although depending on the age of the car and amount of use it’s getting, you may need to check it in between, if specific repairs or upgraded need to occur. Here is a look at the less obvious car maintenance checks which can keep your car going.
The Routine Checkup
As previously mentioned, most people will take their car for an annual checkup with their local mechanic. The following is what mechanics will evaluate when looking at your vehicle:
- Engine Oil and Filter – These usually need to be changed every 5,000 miles
- Coolant / Antifreeze – These need to be replaced annually
- Brakes – All elements of the brake system need to be checked annually, including brake fluid, brake lining, rotors and pads
- Tires – The pressure and condition should be checked regularly, with a tire rotation occurring every 5,000 miles
- Battery – Check that it’s mounted securely and not corroded
Many of the people who contact us about our towing service in Woodstock VA failed to check or maintain one or more of the above features. While ensuring these parts are functioning correctly can rule out a huge variety of problems, there are other parts which benefit from regular checking and maintenance.
What to Check Immediately
Modern cars have many lights and dials which can indicate to drivers the types of issues that are taking place. The two most common indicators are the ‘Check Engine Light’ and ‘Tire Pressure Light’.
Check Engine Light
This light indicates that the electronic control system in your car has run into a problem which it can’t fix. There are a variety of issues which could cause this light to turn on, including:
- Loose cap on the fuel tank – a common reason for the light to turn on which may occur immediately after filling up
- Catalytic Converter failure – this plays a critical role in the exhaust of your car and while it isn’t a complicated fix, it can be expensive
- Oxygen (O2) sensor fault – this can cause problems with the catalytic converter and should be fixed asap
- Ignition coil or spark plug failure – only a problem in cars which run on gasoline (not diesel), these problems can be mistaken for one another
- Airflow sensor failure – this checks how much air is entering the engine and tells the car’s computer how much fuel should go in. Problems with this are usually caused by the air filter
Tire Pressure Light
Unlike the check engine light, the tire pressure light indicates exactly what the problem is, namely that the tires are losing air. This could be due to a variety of reasons, and regularly checking and changing your tires can mitigate this problem.
Faulty Headlights or Indicators
If one of your lights goes out, check the fuse immediately as often that is the cause. If that doesn’t fix it make sure to replace the bulb as soon as possible, otherwise you may risk getting a ticket
Broken or Noisy Wiper Blades
A relatively common problem in older cars or those used heavily, the wiper blades are prone to malfunction and can cause a cacophony when left unaddressed. Thankfully, replacing wiper blades is generally affordable and easy, with most car part shops offering the service for a small fee.
Other Types Of Car Maintenance Checks
After all of the above checks, the final few are either specific to certain vehicles or certain circumstances. These can include:
- Automatic Transmission Fluid – only relevant to automatics, this needs be done while the engine is running and more information can be found in the owner’s manual
- V Belts and Serpentine Belts – these should be tight, if they’re frayed or worn then replace them
- Hoses – the various hoses underneath your car should be in good condition, any cracks and tears will require the hoses to be replaced
- Power Steering Fluid – check while the car is warm and top up if necessary, if top ups become frequent check for leaks
- Exhaust – inspect for leaks and damage and listen for any strange sounds it may be making, repair immediately if any faults are identified
- Chassis Lubrication – unless your car is “lubed for life” (check owner’s manual or online) then you may need to get the chassis, steering and suspension systems lubed.
We Offer Towing in Edinburg, VA
For information about whether our auto repair facility can help with any of the above maintenance checks, or to find out more about our towing service in Edinburg VA, get in touch with Shenandoah Towing, today!
Whether it’s a small collision with another vehicle, or your car has simply cut out on the highway, accidents do happen. Realizing the normality of these situations before they occur can help you to mentally, emotionally and physically prepare for their occurrence. For most people, the extent of their current car accident preparation kit is usually just the scrawled name and number of a towing service. Residents aren’t strangers to the huge variety of problems that can occur on their roads, and some were able to give astute advice for things to have in an accident prep kit for towing Strasburg VA.
We’ve taken their knowledge and put some facts behind it to help you prepare an accident preparation kit which can save you time, money, and stress.
Have Your Papers In Order and Ready – Towing Strasburg VA
Whether you hit someone else, or simply damaged public property, an inevitable part of the post-accident process is the handing over of personal and insurance details. During this time directly after a crash, tensions are understandably high, and having to contact home or dig through your car to find your documents can be stressful for all parties involved. Make sure to have the following in a water-proof folder:
- Drivers License – you should have this on you at all times when you’re driving, as it is required by law
- Insurance Documents – have all relevant insurance information printed and ready, it may even help to have spare copies you can give to others if need be
- Relevant Emergency Numbers – this can include a family member or friend who can help in emergencies, as well as the number of your local mechanic and local towing Strasburg VA residents can use 540-481-0658
- Personal Medical Information – any personal medical information that you believe may be relevant can also be kept with this other information.
Have a First-Aid Kit Ready
While most car owners will know exactly where their first-aid kit is in their car, there are still many people who don’t realize their importance. Having a first-aid kit isn’t simply to try and fix any medical problems that occur, but they can buy you or others precious time while getting to the hospital. A good first-aid kit should contain:
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
- A digital thermometer
- Curved scissors (the medical kind used for cutting clothes)
- Adhesive Band-Aids for covering cuts
- Gauze pads for treating wounds
- Safety pins for closing bandages
- Adhesive tape
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic and hydrocortisone cream for skin inflammation and rashes
- Antihistamine for allergic reactions
- Antiseptic wipes to sanitize your hands
- Aspirin, Ibuprofen, or other pain relieving medication
- Aloe Vera to treat mild burns
- Insect bite relief pads
- A needle
- Hand sanitizer
- Saline solution for eye washing or cleaning wounds
Thankfully you won’t need to buy all of these items individually, they often come packaged and can be found in most department stores.
As one can imagine, regardless of how good you are at stress management, a car accident can be incredibly stressful and anxiety-inducing. If you’re prone to anxiety then you may consider preparing some things which can help you to calm down and remain calm. These could be:
- A bottle of water – hydration can help break through shock response
- Something sweet like chocolate or candy – these can cut through any dizziness you may feel after a crash
- A comforting smell – whether it’s your favorite essential oil or something that smells like your partner, smell is a great sense to use to ground oneself
- A stress ball – if you’re easily aggravated a stress ball can help you to focus on the matter at hand
- Spare anxiety relief medication – if you’re currently medicating for anxiety, putting one pill in your mental first-aid kit can give you the means to calm yourself down quickly
Unlike the first-aid kit, this can be made of whatever you want, and is only meant to help you to calm down enough to deal with the accident.
Other Useful Items
There are some other things which may help in certain environments, such as a warm blanket for those who live in a cold climate. You may also want to prepare a spare set of clothes just in case something happens to the ones you’re wearing and you can’t make it home to change immediately.
Car Accident Preparation: Towing Strasburg VA
Preparation is important, but accidents are sometimes unavoidable–especially those that are caused by other drivers. Having been in the industry for several years now, we’ve seen how people can make their situation exponentially worse by not dealing with their crash in a calm manner. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to help people find ways to prepare for what truly is inevitable, and to have more in the way of preparation than just the number of a towing service in Woodstock VA.
However, if that time should come that you need a tow or roadside assistance, contact us today!
If you’ve come across this article, chances are you’re looking for a local towing service for emergency breakdowns and the like. While it’s good to be prepared by having the necessary numbers for such services such as roadside Assistance in Woodstock, there is also wisdom in exploring preventative measures. Cars can stop working for any number of reasons, ranging from the mundane to the highly technical. Most modern cars claim to more-or-less look after themselves, which in turn has reduced general consumer competency when it comes to maintaining them. Doing these checks yourself can save you both time and money, as well as increase the longevity of your car.
Here is some basic car maintenance you can do at home.
Checking and Changing Oil
If you don’t mind getting a little dirty, and are happy to invest in some tools that will pay for themselves in savings, then change your own oil and filter. Before doing any of this though, it’s important to consider the frequency at which oil should be changed. Experts will generally state that oil should be changed every 3,000 miles, but as I have a relatively new car I will usually change mine every 5,000 miles. The frequency you should change your oil depends on the age and condition of your car: every 3,000 miles for older cars; every 5,000 miles for newer.
Always make sure your engine isn’t hot when checking or changing oil, if you have recently driven to the store to buy the tools allow the car to cool down for an hour or two.
You will need:
- An old rag
- Pop the hood of the car and unscrew the dipstick, carefully pulling it out.
- Wipe the dipstick down with the rag and screw it back down, leave for a moment before pulling it out to check.
- There should be indicators on the dipstick to show you how much oil there should be, if you’re low it might be time for a change.
You will need:
- A car jack or a couple of small ramps which you can drive up onto
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil pan
- Make sure the engine has had plenty of time to cool first.
- Use the ramps or jack to lift the car, get underneath and locate the oil pan.
- Unscrew the drain plug and drain the old oil into your oil pan. Once it has all drained, replace the drain plug.
- Locate the oil filter in the engine and carefully remove using the oil filter wrench, mind the filter contains old oil too.
- Lubricate the rubber gasket on the new oil filter with your new oil.
- Fill the new oil filter to about two-thirds with new oil.
- Screw in new oil filter, hand-tighten only.
- Using your funnel with the engine with new oil.
And voila! You’ve changed the oil and are now slightly less likely to need roadside assistance in Woodstock VA. Locals that I’ve spoken with about changing oil have said they’re happy to help their neighbors, so don’t hesitate to ask around if you need any help.
After changing your oil, changing your air filter will seem incredibly easy. This should be done every 12 months or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Changing your air filter can be done with zero tools and experience, and can only take about 10 minutes.
Changing Air Filter
You will need:
- A new air filter for your car
- Pop the hood up and locate the air filter, it should be in a black rectangular box with metal clips on the side. Check your owner’s manual if you don’t see it.
- Open the casing and take a photo of how the air filter is sitting in the box, making note of which way it’s facing.
- Remove the old air filter and dispose of it appropriately, put the new air filter in exactly how the other one was set (refer to photos or notes).
- Close the metal clips and close the hood.
Other Simple Car Maintenance Checks You Can Do Yourself
Once you’re comfortable changing the oil and air filter, you may be keen to discover what else you can check on your car. There are a huge number of things which can be done with minimal tools and experience, just be sure to not overextend yourself and leave the big jobs to the pros.
Roadside Assistance Woodstock VA
Despite any amount of maintenance checks we do, accidents do happen. We here at Shenandoah are well aware of this, and are in the business of coming to the rescue with our professional towing, roadside assistance and repair in Woodstock VA.
Contact us if you’re ever in a pinch or would like to know more about our services beforehand in case such an emergency does occur.
Before calling us for our towing service and roadside assistance in Woodstock VA, it’s helpful to know whether or not your call simply needs a roadside repair. Breakdowns occur for any number of reasons, and there are usually some signs which can indicate why.
The price difference between a towing service and a roadside repair can be quite substantial. So knowing which one you need when your car breaks down can save you both time and money.
Here are some telltale signs of whether your broken down car needs a tow or a roadside repair.
Common Causes of Breakdowns
There are a handful of things which can account for a majority of cars breaking down on the side of the road. Recognizing signs of these can empower you to find your own solutions before needing to call for professional help.
Out of Gas
Running out of petrol or diesel is something that probably 90% of drivers will face at some point or another. The most common reason for running out of gas is poor planning, as your car’s tank will hold a certain amount of gas, which will take it a certain amount of miles. Whether you’re running late for work, on a road trip, or simply running around doing errands; it’s always important to keep an eye on your fuel gauge.
Some tips to help you from running out of gas include:
- Fueling your car up regularly on the same day at the same time each week.
- Checking how many miles your car does on a full tank, and recognizing each section of the fuel gauge as telling you how many miles you can drive.
- Filling your car completely when you do put gas in, instead of just putting $10 or $20 at a time.
- Having a jerry can full of petrol in your boot or somewhere safe in your vehicle.
The most typical cause of a flat battery is leaving the lights on when the engine’s off. Although driving lots of short journeys, having many devices plugged in, or small faults in the battery’s connection can cause this too.
The best thing you can do to avoid this is to get into the habit of turning your lights off the second you arrive at your destination. Also getting your car regularly serviced, and not being shy about buying a new battery every few years if your current one seems worn at all. Also having jumper cables in your boot will allow you to bring your car back to life with the help of a nearby “good Samaritan”.
Another painfully common cause of breakdowns, a flat tire can occur for any number of reasons. It could be due to something sharp on the road, or perhaps the tread has worn down too much. Regularly checking your tread, as well as replacing your tires with high quality replacements can help to avoid this problem. Also be sure to have a good quality spacer easily accessible somewhere in the car, as well as the tools to change it.
All of these problems can be solved by oneself on the side of the road, but there are many other causes of breakdowns which can’t. Here are some of the bigger problems, and whether you should call for a towing service or roadside repair. We offer both roadside assistance in Woodstock VA, so having our number written down can be a great help.
- Too much or too little engine oil can cause a range of problems – depending on the severity of the problem, roadside assistance can top your engine up. Otherwise a towing service can take you to a mechanic to have the engine flushed and oil refilled.
- Engine overheating – as with engine oil problems, overheating can have a few different causes and effects. If there’s steam coming from your engine get in touch with a nearby towing service, and don’t touch your bonnet!
- Traffic accidents – regardless of who is to blame, traffic accidents happen, and your first concern should be your own safety, then that of the people in the other vehicle. Depending on how bad the accident was you may need to call a towing service to move your vehicle.
Roadside Assistance Woodstock VA: If You’re Not Sure, Give Us a Call!
If you’ve had a breakdown and none of these given problems are to blame, then you may want to give us a call. We provide both roadside assistance in Woodstock, as well as a professional towing service.
So if you need help, give us a call today!
Although many drivers in Virginia may argue this point, evidence continuously points to drivers of this great state being some of the worst in the country. Our experience in roadside recovery in Shenandoah County shows us just how many incidents occur on a given day.
A recent survey by insurance company QuoteWizard in October 2020 placed Virginia as the 2nd worst drivers in the country. This was based on two million insurance quotes for driving incident factors including accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs and other citations like texting and driving.
So how do we fix this? Instead of proposing stricter laws and higher fines as many politician-types may consider, we here at Shenandoah Towing believe in the power of the community. By looking at common traffic accidents and their causes, we can help one another to behave better on the road and make our great state safe again.
Here are the causes of common car accidents in VA and how we can avoid them:
(All statistics given here were based on the Virginian Department of Motor Vehicle report from 2019 which can be seen here.)
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there were 24,739 speed-related crashes in 2019 which made up about 19.3% of all crashes. This resulted in 13,289 injuries and 349 fatalities; a level of devastation that no speeding-driver could justify.
Why People Speed
The causes of speeding have been studied, and it’s been found that drivers can be split into three categories: compliant drivers, moderate speeders, and excessive speeders. The biggest sign that someone may fit into one of these categories is their personality. Speeders are often people who have thrill-seeking or aggressive tendencies, or those with chaotic lives that struggle to keep up with their routine.
How to Stop People from Speeding
To combat this habit of speeding, it may be best to make clear the personality traits that a person shows, and relate it to their habit of going over the limit. Thrill-seeking individuals can find safer outlets for their desire for excitement with such things as extreme sports or even go-karting.
Those with aggressive tendencies may benefit from an anger management course, or an introduction to a spiritual practice like meditation or yoga. Whereas those with chaotic lives may simply need some help making sense of their daily routine.
Virginians driving distracted caused 23,246 crashes in 2019, which made up around 18.1% of crashes that year. This resulted in 13,258 injuries and 120 deaths; which reflects the very serious nature of becoming distracted while driving.
What Distracts Us
The most commonly thought-of distraction is of course our cellphones. Although the DMV listed “eyes not on road” and “looking at roadside incidents” as more common distractions for 2019.
Driving requires an immense amount of focus, even at its most boring moments, as anything can happen and one should be prepared to react appropriately.
The main reason we become distracted is usually our human nature which wants to make sense of the world around us. By considering the things that may distract us, we can train our minds to focus on the task at hand.
These are some common distractions and how to avoid them:
- Cell Phones – putting your phone on silent while you drive can keep you from checking it every time it rings or beeps. Otherwise safely pull over to check your messages or take that oh-so-important call.
- GPS – as helpful as they are, they can draw our attention from the road, so make sure your GPS is mounted where you can easily see it.
- Applying makeup or grooming of any kind – adjust your sleeping patterns to ensure you have ample time to do this before you drive.
- Adjusting music or other controls – ask your passenger to do this for you, otherwise safely pull over and do it yourself.
- Handling children or pets – make sure you secure them appropriately before driving anywhere.
- Talking to passengers – as natural as it may feel, there are times when it can cause an accident, so communicate clearly to your passengers that you need to focus.
- Not looking at the road – as stated it’s within our nature to be curious, when this happens remind yourself where you are and what you’re doing.
Other Major Causes
Obviously, alcohol and other intoxicating substances play a big role in many traffic accidents these days and the need for roadside recovery. By planning a sober-driver or calling a taxi you can not only save your own life but also the lives of others on the road.
Roadside Recovery Shenandoah County
Sometimes accidents happen for reasons beyond our control, and as scary as they may seem, it’s important to try and be level-headed when these inevitable situations arise. Depending on the nature and severity of the accident, emergency services may need to be called to save a life or apprehend a criminal.
In the event that you have been in an accident and need to move your vehicle, you’ll need to call a towing company.
Here at Shenandoah Towing, we provide towing services, roadside repairs, and of course roadside recovery in Shenandoah County. For our towing service, Woodstock VA is our headquarters. We also service Shenandoah County, Warren County, Frederick County, and Page County as well as both Interstate 66 and Interstate 81.
Write down our name and number on paper and put it in your glove box just in case!
When you get behind the wheel of your car, it’s usually with the assumption that you’ll get from point A to point B without any trouble. But every so often, trouble pops up. Some things, like traffic jams and accidents, you just can’t help. And sometimes your car runs into mechanical issues that you can’t diagnose on your own. Then there are some issues you can fix on your own. While our roadside repair in Woodstock, VA is happy to help drivers no matter their need, we’re here to let you know that there are some car emergencies that aren’t as dire as they seem.
Fixing a flat tire
Whether it’s due to damage sustained on the road or a leaky valve stem, flat tires are one of the most common problems drivers face.
And while dealing with them is stressful — especially in the case of a sudden blowout — fixing them is easier than you might think. All you’ll need is a spare tire, jack and lug wrench, and a brick if possible.
Start by putting your car in park — with the emergency brake engaged — ideally away from traffic and on a level surface. Put the brick behind the tire opposite the one you’re about to replace to prevent the car from rolling.
Once you remove the hubcap, you’ll find the lug nuts. Loosen them slightly with the wrench, but make sure they stay attached to the fire for now. Place the jack under the body of the car in a way that it is against the car without risk of falling. From there, jack up the vehicle and remove the lug nuts.
Replace the old tire with your spare/new tire and tighten the lug nuts. You should do this on alternating sides. If your tire has five lug nuts, tighten them in a star pattern, starting at the top, moving downward on a diagonal, then back up, etc.
After you’ve lowered the jack and the car is on the ground, tighten the lug nuts once more for good measure.
Jumpstarting a battery
You’re at the grocery store, loading bags into your car when a lady parked next to you asks for help jump starting her car. If you know what you’d do next, feel free to skip ahead.
If not, here’s how to restore a dead car battery to life. Jumper cables aren’t something to fool around with. They can be dangerous. Follow the directions on their packaging, or get another driver with more experience lead the way.
Start by making sure both cars are parked facing each other, hood to hood. Keep the jumper cables unbent at all times to prevent shocks.
When you open the hood, you’ll see terminals marked positive (plus sign) and negative (minus sign). Once you know both cars are off, jump the battery with these steps.
- Connect the positive cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery. In most sets of jumper cables, the positive cable is red.
- Connect the other positive cable to the positive terminal on the live battery.
- Connect the negative cable to the negative terminal on the live battery. Negative cables are normally black.
- Connect the other end of the negative/black cable to a metal section under the hood of the car with the dead battery. This metal surface must be unpainted and away from the battery.
From there, let the battery charge for five minutes, then see whether the car will start. If the car doesn’t start, let it charge for a few minutes more and try restarting the car with the dead battery. Assuming the jump was successful, detach the cables in this order:
- The negative cable attached to the unpainted metal section
- The negative cable attached to the live battery
- The positive cable attached to the live battery
- The positive cable attached to the car that was jumped
If neither you or the other driver are sure about this process, don’t hesitate to call your local Woodstock VA roadside repair service. It’s better to admit you don’t know how to do something than put yourself or another driver in danger.
Running out of gas
“I have enough gas to get me home,” you tell yourself before setting out on a long drive down a rural stretch of highway.
As it turns out, you don’t. Miles before your destination, your car starts to sputter and die, the fuel gauge on “E.”
When this happens, here’s what to do:
- Pull over. If your car has stopped and there’s not enough fuel to get you to the side of the road, shift to neutral and — when you know it’s safe to do so — push the car to the side of the road, switching on your hazard lights to let other drivers know you need help.
- Use your smartphone or a good old fashioned map to figure out where you’ve stopped.
- Be sure your phone has a proper charge. You might be waiting a while, so you’ll need a way to communicate.
- Find a local gas station. Failing that, call a towing company or roadside assistance service.
An overheated car
Having your car overheat can be scary. One minute you’re driving along normally, the next your engine is hissing and smoking. When this happens, take control of the situation by:
- Switching on your heater. This might sound funny, but having the heat on pulls warm air away from your engine, easing the pressure on your car’s cooling system. Sometimes this is enough to bring the engine temperature down. You’ll know it’s worked if the warning light shuts off or the temperature gauge returns to its normal position.
- If turning the heater on fails to cool the car after a few minutes of driving, it’s time to pull over and shut off the car. It’s the safest and most effective way to bring the engine temperature down. Call roadside assistance if you have it, or get in touch with your local Woodstock, Virginia roadside repair service.
- If you don’t have access to roadside assistance, be patient. Give your engine at least 15 minutes to cool down. The coolant in an overheated car is EXTREMELY hot. You’re als in danger of burns from hot water or steam.
- Once you’ve given the engine time to cool, add some coolant. Consult your owner’s manual to find your coolant reservoir.
- If the temperature gauge returns to normal, you can proceed with caution. Keep in mind that this is a temporary fix. You’ll need a mechanic to find what caused the car to overheat in the first place.
Roadside Repair in Woodstock, Virginia
We should stress once again that if you don’t feel comfortable addressing any of these DIY car repairs on your own, Shenandoah Towing is here to help.
Our roadside repairs include tire repair and replacement, battery jumpstarts and more. And with our own on-site repair facility, we can serve whatever mechanical issues we aren’t able to address at the site of your breakdown. Contact us today to learn more about our Woodstock VA roadside repair services.
What do you have in your car? Maps? A cell phone charging cord? Maybe a jacket? Far too many drivers neglect stocking their vehicles with the things that can help them — or assist other drivers — in case of an accident or breakdown. It’s something we see all too often as a Shenandoah, VA roadside repair service.
Ask yourself if your car contains the following items:
Avoid Needing a Roadside Repair Service: Things to Address Basic Problems
Any driver who finds themselves stranded on the side of the road will want to have:
- Flares/emergency reflectors
- Jumper cables
- Motor oil (2 quarts)
- Antifreeze (1 gallon)
- Brake fluid
- Extra gas tank
- A small fire extinguisher
- A flashlight
We realize that the advent of the smartphone has made flashlights seem unnecessary, but we’d argue it helps to have one on hand to make minor repairs — like fixing a flat — in the dark. A flashlight will provide you with more light than your phone, and allow you to conserve your battery in case you need to search for Shenandoah, VA roadside repairs.
Tools for Temporary Repairs
Your emergency toolkit should contain things like:
- Adjustable wrench
- Vise grips
- Duct tape
- Small compressor for tire inflation
- Extra fuses
- Pocket knife
- Pressure gauge
We realize that not everyone is a professional mechanic, but even if you’re not sure how to make car repairs, having those tools can help if you run into someone who is a little more mechanically inclined.
Emergency Items for Your Car
You might run into problems on the road that have nothing to do with car repairs. Whether you’re crossing state lines or just commuting to work, you have no way of knowing what you might run into, whether it’s a crash or driver in distress.
Pack an emergency kit that includes:
- Medical tape
- Antiseptic creams
- Latex gloves
- Aspirin/pain relievers
- Instant ice and heat compresses
- Paper towels
Your emergency kit should also include items to help you in case you’re stranded due to extreme weather, an accident, or mechanical failure. Protect yourself while you wait for help to arrive by packing:
- A large bottle of water
- A blanket
- Non-perishable food like granola bars
- Charging cables/battery back-ups for cell phones
Keep all your emergency items and repair supplies together so they’re easy access when you need them. Keep them secure inside your trunk in a box with a lid to prevent tools or other small items from rolling around in the vehicle.
And finally, don’t just pack your emergency kit and forget about it. Take some time to familiarize yourself with everything so know where everything is stored and how to use it in case of an accident or break down.
You might even want to practice things like replacing a flat tire, or reviewing common engine issues that might leave you stranded. Lots of things can happen when we drive, but with the right amount of preparation and the right equipment, you can handle almost anything.
Shenandoah VA Roadside Repair Service
And when you run into a problem you can’t handle, contact Shenandoah Towing. Our Virginia roadside repair service is equipped to deal with problems big and small. When we can’t address your issue on the side of the road, we can take your vehicle to our repair shop to diagnose the trouble. Contact us today to learn more.