7 Tips for Planning a Safe Holiday Road Trip

Written by Central Body Co Inc on . Posted in Uncategorized

As Thanksgiving and other fall and winter holidays approach, many people leave town to visit their families. AAA Road Service estimates that 46.9 million Americans travel 50 miles or more for the Thanksgiving holiday alone. With so many people traveling at one time, the risk of an auto accident increases significantly.

If you are one of the millions of Americans planning on traveling this holiday season, start preparing now. Read on to learn how you can have a safe, fun drive this holiday season.

1. Check Your Car

Before you pack your car for your trip, make sure your car’s maintenance is up to date. Take your car to a mechanic to perform any needed maintenance and inspect your car for potential problems.

Along with taking care of any crucial car maintenance, perform a quick check of your car before you leave. Flash your headlights, check your brake lights, use your windshield wipers, turn on your heating system, check your tire pressure and tire tread, and test your car battery. If everything works normally, your car is ready for your long journey.

2. Wear Your Seat Belt

You should always wear a seat belt when riding in the car, but you should especially do so during every stage of a long road trip. Protect yourself and your loved ones by requiring everyone in the car to buckle up. Remember, a seat belt is the best way to prevent injury or death in a car accident. Before you pull out of the driveway, buckle your seat belt and then make sure everyone else does the same.

3. Plan Your Route

Plan your trip route before you leave, then check traffic and weather reports the night before to make sure you can follow your planned route. Heavy traffic, road work, or other road conditions could force you to take an alternate route, so make sure you have a backup route planned before you leave.

Even if you’re using a GPS for directions, bring a paper map just in case. Your GPS can always lose its signal or run out of battery. Plan your departure time around weather conditions and peak traffic hours to ensure safe, speedy travel.

4. Get Adequate Rest

Insufficient sleep can make you drowsy while driving and increase your risk of an accident. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that people who slept six to seven hours before their drive were twice as likely to be in a car accident as those who slept for eight hours or more. People who slept for five hours or less were four to five times more likely to be in an accident.

Pack all of your items the day before you leave so you can get a peaceful night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. Take frequent breaks to stay alert on the road, and always pull over and find a hotel or rest stop if you start to feel drowsy.

5. Follow Traffic Laws

Drive the speed limit and keep a few car lengths between you and other cars. Busy roads or adverse weather can force you to slow down, so make sure you drive at an appropriate speed for the circumstances. Drive defensively-if aggressive drivers try to force you to drive faster, let them pass you. It’s better to be safe than risk getting in an accident.

6. Pack an Emergency Kit

You hope your car won’t break down on the road, but if it does, be prepared to stay safe until help arrives. Pack an emergency kit with an automotive toolkit, first-aid materials, flashlights, jumper cables, and sand to create traction in icy areas. Since you’re traveling during the winter, you and your family members should bring extra pairs of warm clothes, gloves, and hats to stay warm while you wait.

Have your insurance card handy when you call for assistance. Once your insurance company finds you, a representative can help you find the assistance you need to get your car back on the road.

7. Secure Your House

Along with making sure you and your family travel safely, you want to keep everything back home safe while you’re away. Put all your valuables in a secure place before you leave your house. Use light timers to turn your lights on and off while you’re away to give the impression that you are home.

Don’t broadcast your trip on social media-wait to post photos until you get back. Thieves often prey on public information during the holidays to learn who’s away from home so they can break in without fear of getting caught.

Finally, before you leave for your trip, let someone you trust in the area know your itinerary. Ask a relative, friend, or neighbor to check on your house every day or so to make sure your home is safe.

Be Prepared For Anything

These tips play an important role in your road safety and protection during this holiday season. If an accident does happen in spite of your best intentions, though, it’s not the end of the world. After an accident, seek medical attention for your injuries and talk to your local auto body shop to see what repairs your car needs. Soon enough, your car will be ready for many more holiday road trips to come.

14 Must-Haves in Your Roadside Repair Kit

Written by Central Body Co Inc on . Posted in Uncategorized

One thing you’ve learned in your years as a car owner is to always be prepared. After all, accidents happen, and not just with other drivers. Gas runs out, a tire goes flat, or the engine dies. Owning and driving a car means that you’ll occasionally have to deal with an inconvenience or two.

Make sure that you’re always prepared for the unexpected with an everything-you-need roadside repair kit. This kit can help you get to a mechanic safely so your car can be taken care of by a professional. Stock your vehicle with the following essentials to ensure that you have what you need in an emergency.

  1. Cell Phone Charger

Not every break-down happens in a location with perfect cell service, and phone batteries can drain in an instant-especially when you use the GPS feature. Keep a cell phone charger handy so you don’t find yourself in a bad situation without a way to call for help.

  1. Twenty Bucks

A little cash can make a big difference during an emergency. Keep twenty dollars in small bills on hand in case you need to purchase gas, food, or another necessity.

  1. First Aid Kit

Always keep a first aid kit in your vehicle. Fill it with bandages, adhesive tape, gauze, antiseptic cream and wipes, scissors, aspirin, instant ice and heat compresses, latex gloves, and at least two doses of any prescription medication you need.

  1. Jumper Cables

Keep your 12-foot jumper cables in your car so you can jump your car after the battery dies (or help someone else out when it happens to them).

  1. Spare Tire and Related Equipment

Most cars have a spare tire already stored in the trunk or hatchback, but you should ensure that they are there. To change a flat tire, you need a tire jack, a spare tire (that is already inflated), a tire iron or lug nut wrench, and a leverage pipe. Additionally, keep a tire gauge so you can check your tires’ pressure occasionally.

You should also consider putting a pair of heavy shoes or boots in your flat-tire kit, just in case you’re wearing flimsy dress shoes. You’ll need a

thick, sturdy shoe to help you stomp on the lug nut wrench and remove the flat.

  1. Flares

Have at least two 15-minute roadside flares handy. These flares can signal that you need help, warn other drivers of your presence, and give you needed light.

  1. Small Fire Extinguisher

A Class B fire extinguisher can fight fires caused by flammable liquids like gasoline and diesel fuel. If there are flames around your car, get away as quickly as possible. But a small flame can be taken care of quite quickly with a fire extinguisher.

  1. Roadside Triangle Reflectors

If you’ve pulled off to the side of the road (or can’t leave the lane you’re in), triangle reflectors can help other drivers stay safe, slow down, and move to a different lane. Packaged roadside emergency kits have one triangle, but we recommend three.

  1. Oil and Antifreeze

The DMV recommends that you always have two quarts of oil, one gallon of antifreeze, and 12 ounces of brake fluid stored in your car. Keep a funnel and rags stored as well.

  1. Tow Strap

Your tow rope should be able to tow at least 6,000 pounds. This tool is especially helpful for drivers who drive around ice-when your car slips off of an icy road, a tow strap can help you get back on the road safely.

  1. Flashlight

If your cell phone is dead, you’ll need a battery-operated flashlight to help you see beneath the car or assess damage in the dark.

  1. All-Purpose Utility Tool

A Swiss Army knife or similar tool can be extremely helpful, especially when you don’t have your toolbox in the car with you.

  1. Water and Snacks

A few water bottles and some healthy, nonperishable snacks (like protein bars) can help you fight boredom while waiting for roadside assistance. In case of a real emergency, these provisions also give you needed energy and calories.

  1. Cold Weather Necessities

If you live in an area where snow and ice can be problems on the road, keep a small snow shovel, warm blanket, and windshield ice scraper in the trunk of your car. And don’t forget kitty litter or sand. These materials act as traction under your wheels in case you get stuck in a snow bank. Other Important Items

If you have room in your repair kit, add in the following items:

  • A rain poncho
  • Gloves
  • Extra batteries (for your flashlight)
  • Screwdrivers (both Phillips and flat head)
  • Duct tape
  • Paper towels
  • Pen and paper
  • Tools (like pliers, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, and vise grips)

We also recommend that you keep contact information for your insurance company, roadside assistance, mechanic, and auto body repair specialist handy in your glove box.

Place all of these items in an easily accessible box or bag in the trunk of your car. You won’t be able to fit everything, so customize your kit to your specific climate, car, and needs.

Above all, be safe out there. Use your roadside repair kit to help you get to a mechanic, who can help your car return to top safety condition after an accident. For even more tips on roadside repairs and emergency preparedness, contact an auto body repair shop today.

Seasonal Dangers That Damage Your Car

Written by Central Body Co Inc on . Posted in Uncategorized

As car owners, we work hard to maintain our vehicles. We wash them on the weekends, keep the interiors clear of garbage, and drive them safely so they don’t get chipped or scratched. It’s safe to say that we take pride in our vehicles and that we’d do anything to preserve or improve how they look.

But hidden hazards pose a threat to this goal. And no matter what time of year we drive in, our cars are always at risk. Read on to learn about various seasonal dangers and the damage they cause.

4682 Leavenworth, Omaha, NE 68106
Phone: (402) 551-3177
Fax: (402) 551-1642

1401 S 16th Street, Council Bluffs, IA 51501
Phone: (712) 352-0099

Omaha Location

Council Bluffs Location