Safe2Drive Blog

2/17/2020

How to Safely Travel with Your Dog

by Courtney Conley
Dog

Have you ever been stopped at a red light and looked over to the car next to you only to see an adorable dog hanging halfway out the window, happy as can be? Considering that around 63.4 million American households own dogs, it’s likely you’ve traveled with your own furry friend! While dogs make amazing companions, they aren’t the best co-pilots for traveling by car. Traveling with an unrestrained dog in the car is dangerous not only for the driver, but for the pet as well. As we celebrate National Love Your Pet Day this week, here are some ways you can love your dog by keeping them safe in the car.

First, let’s look at some statistics. According to a survey sponsored by AAA, 65% of respondents participated in a distracted driving activity while driving with a dog.

  • 52% said they have pet their dog while driving.
  • 17% let their dog sit on their lap while driving.
  • 13% admitted to giving their dog food or treats while driving.
  • 4% said they played with their dog while driving.
  • Only 16% said they use a pet restraint system while driving with their dogs.

As you can see, many people admit to distracted driving behaviors with their dogs in the car. This is a big problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed 3,166 human lives in 2017. When you’re paying attention to your pet, you’re not paying attention to the road, and you’re putting yourself and others at risk.

Most dog owners would agree that their pets are part of the family, and they would never want any harm to come to them. Here are our three travel safety tips for dog owners:

1. Know the law in your state.

Dog in Car

With distracted driving being such a common issue across the country, many states have new distracted driving laws. The laws vary depending on the state you’re in, but in general, it’s prohibited to drive while distracted. Some states have specific laws about traveling with pets. For example, it’s common for states to prohibit drivers from driving with a pet on their lap. A few states even require pets to be secured in a carrier or wear a seat belt. Make sure you’re familiar with the laws in your state before you get in the car with your pet.

2. Secure your pet.

An easy way to make sure your pet is safe while traveling is by making sure they are secure and don’t just have free reign of your vehicle. When your pet is allowed to roam the car at will, this puts them in danger. In the unfortunate case of a collision, your dog could be seriously injured. When you’re distracted by your pet, your chance of being involved in a collision increases. Minimize these risks by keeping your pet secure.

A well-ventilated carrier or crate is a great way to keep your pet secure in the car. Make sure the crate is an appropriate size for your dog. They should be able to stand, sit, lie down, and turn around in the crate. Keep the crate on a flat surface in your vehicle. You can also purchase a seat belt or safety harness for your dog. Make sure you research any product before you purchase it to make sure it’s safe for the size and breed of your dog.

3. Plan ahead.

Our final tip is to be prepared and plan your trip in advance. If your dog has never used a crate before, the morning of a six-hour road trip is not the ideal time to introduce her to a crate for the first time. Let your dog get familiar with your vehicle by taking short trips. When you’re planning a long trip, make sure you plan where you’re going to stop and make sure there will be rest areas for your dog. You can never leave your dog unattended in your vehicle, so make sure your stops are dog-friendly. Keep your car well-ventilated and remember to stop frequently for water and exercise breaks. If you plan ahead, your trip will go much more smoothly!

We hope these tips will help you travel safely with your beloved pets! If you’re interested in more traffic safety topics, consider taking one of our online courses. Click here to visit our website to see what courses we offer in your state!

Have you ever been stopped at a red light and looked over to the car next to you only to see an adorable dog hanging halfway out the window, happy as can be? Considering that around 63.4 million American households own dogs, it’s likely you’ve traveled with your own furry friend! While dogs make amazing companions, they aren’t the best co-pilots for traveling by car. Traveling with an unrestrained dog in the car is dangerous not only for the driver, but for the pet as well. As we celebrate National Love Your Pet Day this week, here are some ways you can love your dog by keeping them safe in the car.

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2/10/2020

3 Heart-Healthy Tips for Drivers

by Courtney Conley
Driver

February is Heart Month. Heart disease is the number 1 killer worldwide. Heart disease can affect your ability to drive safely. In addition to regularly visiting your doctor, there are many ways you can improve your heart health from home. We’re sharing three small things you can do as a driver to keep your heart healthy and happy.

1. Don’t smoke or vape.

We always hear about the dangers of smoking and vaping in regards to lung health, but did you know that smoking damages blood vessels and can cause heart disease? The car is a common place for smokers to indulge their habit. Smoking or vaping while behind the wheel is also a big distraction from the task of driving. Quitting smoking or vaping, while on the road or otherwise, is a great way to keep yourself healthy.

2. Develop healthy eating habits.

Eating

We’ve all been on a road trip where our diet mostly consisted of fast food and convenience store candy bars. It can be difficult to commit to healthy eating habits while on the road, but it’s so important to try! Next time you’re packing for a road trip, prep your snacks before you leave. Some heart-healthy snacks that would be great for the car include grapes, carrots, unsalted nuts or seeds, bananas, cucumbers, rice cakes, and whole-grain crackers. Avoid messy foods or foods that involve utensils that are too difficult to eat when behind the wheel. For larger meals, try to avoid the drive-thru as much as possible. If it’s your only option, pick the healthiest option you can and eat inside the restaurant or in your parked car to help avoid distracted driving.

3. Know your stressors.

Eating

Driving can be a stressful activity even in the best conditions. Some people get stressed out in traffic, or anxious during inclement weather. As a driver, knowing what triggers your stress and anxiety is important so you know how to handle these situations while on the road. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can find healthy ways of coping with them.

Some stressors can be avoided. If you know that running late stresses you out, take steps to leave the house extra early. Avoid driving during storms if that’s a worry of yours. If traffic is a major stressor, try to find alternative routes or, again, leave the house early so that you have extra time built-in. If these stressors cannot be avoided, try to change your attitude about them. For instance, listen to your favorite music or audio book while you wait in traffic to try to make it a more relaxing, enjoyable experience. Adjust your expectations about the situation to fit reality. Unfortunately, there will always be traffic during rush hour. If you know to expect it and you come to accept it, then hopefully you’ll be able to manage your stress better. You can also try deep breathing exercises to calm down.

This Heart Month, take extra care of yourself by keeping these three tips in mind. Thank you for reading! Here at Safe2Drive, we offer online courses for traffic school and defensive driving, auto insurance discounts, driver education, and mature driver improvement. If you’re interested in finding out more about our online courses, please check out our website to see what courses we offer in your state!

February is Heart Month. Heart disease is the number 1 killer worldwide. Heart disease can affect your ability to drive safely. In addition to regularly visiting your doctor, there are many ways you can improve your heart health from home. We’re sharing three small things you can do as a driver to keep your heart healthy and happy.

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2/3/2020

Common Questions about the Texas Defensive Driving Course

by Courtney Conley

Are you a Texas resident who wants to get a ticket dismissed or earn an insurance discount? Do you have a busy schedule? Do you have a device that can connect to the internet? If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place! We’re answering a few common questions about our Texas Defensive Driving course below.

Driver

1. How do I take the course?

Our Texas Defensive Driving course is perfect for anyone with a busy schedule. This course is completed online. All you need is an internet connection, and you can complete our course from the comfort of home, or even on the go! It takes six hours to complete the course per state requirements, and you can do it all in one sitting or break it up into several sessions. You’ll take a short quiz after each lesson, and you just have to answer three out of four questions correctly in order to move on to the next lesson. If you happen to fail a quiz, you can retake it as many times as you need to in order to pass.

Ticket

2. Will my court or county accept the Safe2Drive course?

We’re approved in all counties, cities, and courts in the state of Texas. Each court has its own requirements for taking a Defensive Driving course for ticket dismissal, so you’ll need to check with your court to make sure you qualify. You have to request to take a Defensive Driving course for the traffic violation shown on your citation and then pay a fee to the court for permission to take a course.

If the court grants you permission to take a Defensive Driving course to dismiss your ticket, you’ll need to obtain a copy of your Texas driving record. Luckily, you can save time by having Safe2Drive order your driving record for you!

Discount

3. How can I get an insurance discount?

Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who complete a Defensive Driving program. Discounts can be as high as 15%! Check with your insurance provider prior to signing up for our course to make sure they offer this discount. If they do offer the discount, select the "Insurance Discount" option when you register for the Texas Defensive Driving course. When you successfully complete the course, we’ll send you a Certificate of Completion, which you can send to your insurance company to get your discount.

Online

4. How do I get my certificate?

When you’ve successfully completed the course, you’ll get your Certificate of Completion emailed to you instantly! If you’re taking the course for ticket dismissal, you’ll need to sign the certificate and deliver it to your court. If you’re taking the course for an insurance discount, sign your certificate and deliver it to your insurance provider. We provide an extra copy of your certificate that you can keep for your records.

Still have questions? Check out our website for more information on the Texas Defensive Driving course. You can also watch the informational video below!

Are you a Texas resident who wants to get a ticket dismissed or earn an insurance discount? Do you have a busy schedule? Do you have a device that can connect to the internet? If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place! We’re answering a few common questions about our Texas Defensive Driving course below.

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1/27/2020

When Is It Time to Stop Driving? 3 Warning Signs

by Courtney Conley
Driving

Is there someone in your life (such as a parent, grandparent, or even spouse) who you are worried about behind the wheel? Driving is a skill that many people have been doing for so long that they don’t even really think about it anymore. This can be dangerous as drivers get older and may start facing health problems. Alzheimer’s Awareness is important for drivers who may be affected by the disease, as well as their loved ones who may recognize the signs before they do themselves. Dementia is a heartbreaking thing to witness in those we love, and while it affects everyone differently, it can be very dangerous when mixed with driving. Sometimes a loved one can spot the warning signs before they are caught by a doctor. Here are three things that may be a sign it’s time for your loved one to stop driving on their own:

1. Tickets, unexplained vehicle damage, or collisions

Ticket

If your loved one has never gotten a ticket in their life, and suddenly is getting one every week, that might be a sign something is wrong. There could be some unexplained damage to their vehicle from hitting a curb or sideswiping another vehicle in a parking lot, or even more serious collisions. While these things on their own may not be a cause for concern, increased instances of vehicle damage could be an indicator that it’s time to step in.

2. Short trips take a long time to complete.

If it is taking your loved one two hours to drive to the drug store and back when it should only take twenty minutes and they cannot explain why, it could be a sign that they are getting confused or even lost while out on the road. Distractions can also be a problem, and people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia symptoms can experience slowed reaction times. Having slower reaction times is incredibly dangerous when mixed with driving as it can prevent drivers from appropriately reacting to hazards on the road.

3. They are having trouble controlling their emotions.

Changes in mood and personality are a common symptom in those who live with Alzheimer’s. Abrupt mood changes, especially bouts of anger and aggression, can cause problems behind the wheel. If your loved one has been experiencing big mood swings or rage, they may be more prone to road rage when driving. Road rage is a danger to themselves and other roadway users.

How to Help

If you notice the above traits or other warning signs in a loved one, it’s time to act. It can be a difficult conversation to start, but an important one. Driving is often associated with freedom, and the loss of driving privileges is never easy, but the safety of your loved one is what’s most important. It’s normal to feel uneasy about broaching this topic. Ask for support from your health care provider and take the necessary steps to get the care your loved one needs and deserves. The sooner Alzheimer’s is detected, the better.

Is there someone in your life (such as a parent, grandparent, or even spouse) who you are worried about behind the wheel? Driving is a skill that many people have been doing for so long that they don’t even really think about it anymore. This can be dangerous as drivers get older and may start facing health problems. Alzheimer’s Awareness is important for drivers who may be affected by the disease, as well as their loved ones who may recognize the signs before they do themselves. Dementia is a heartbreaking thing to witness in those we love, and while it affects everyone differently, it can be very dangerous when mixed with driving. Sometimes a loved one can spot the warning signs before they are caught by a doctor.

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