What to Do if You Are Involved in an Out-of-State Auto Accident

Posted by Chris Medine on Sep 21, 2018 10:57:00 AM

out-of-state car accidentAuto accidents present a number of challenges and a large amount of stress no matter where they occur.  However, when you find yourself involved in a collision in an unfamiliar area, far away from home, these issues can easily be exacerbated.  What are the laws and procedures in this state?  Where will your car be towed?  Can you even find a rental nearby?  These questions and more swirl inside your head as you try to navigate a totally unfamiliar situation.  Fortunately, handing out-of-state car accidents doesn’t have to be so complicated.  In fact, the steps you take after these wrecks are much the same that you would at home.  Here is what you need to know to be prepared.

Initial Steps After an Out-of-State Wreck

Whether you are near home or across the country, the immediate steps you should take after an accident are the same.  If possible, move your car to a safe area.  Then, check yourself and all parties involved in the collision for injuries. After this, you should call the local police and emergency response if necessary. While waiting on the police, you should take photos of the damage for record and try to find any witnesses who can help in writing a police report.  Also, while waiting for the police to arrive, communicate with the other vehicle driver to make sure they are not injured as well.  Exchange driver’s license and insurance cards with the other driver, and take photos of their documents for your records.

Calling the Insurance Company When You Are Traveling Out of State

Once safety precautions have been taken and the police called, call your insurance provider. Most policies provide coverage in all U.S. states and some even in other U.S. territories as well as parts of Canada and Mexico. Regardless of where the accident takes place, your insurance company uses a network of tow trucks, adjusters, mechanics, and rental services, and while you are certainly not obligated to use any of these, such contacts may prove helpful in an unfamiliar state.

From here, you will be able to have the car towed and have an adjuster from your insurance provider assess the damage. If you need to get back on the road, you can have your insurance company help you to obtain a rental while these details are worked out and continue on with your vacation.

If the car is declared a total loss, you will begin a process of negotiation with your insurance provider to determine the vehicle’s value and your settlement amount.  Remember that you do not have to accept the first offer! However, if the car is not declared as a total loss, there are some potential options you may have. You can have the car repaired in the state the accident took place in and make arrangements to have the car shipped to you or to return to pick it up once repairs are made. The other option would be transporting the wrecked vehicle by means of a towing company, renting a towing vehicle, or driving the wrecked vehicle (assuming it is safe and street legal) back to your home state for repair.

How is an Out-of-State Car Accident Handled in Court?

Let’s say that the insurance company does not provide you with a reimbursement that covers the cost of the accident in full, whether it be costs of injuries, additional damage, towing, rental, or car replacement. Do you take legal action in your home state or the state where the accident occurred?

Though it may be inconvenient, any litigation or court proceedings will be handled in the state which the accident occurred. Each state has different laws when it comes to assigning fault and handling lawsuits involving car accidents. Each state also has different statutes of limitation, meaning the time you have to take action following the accident. If you believe that you may need to file a lawsuit in order to receive full compensation, you should contact an accident attorney who is knowledgeable of the state laws and licensed to practice there.

Near or far, Medines Collision is here to service the people of South Louisiana when it comes to collision repair. Explore our website for more information on what to do if you are involved in an accident, as well as safe driving tips or more. If you have been involved in an accident, contact us today for a free estimate.

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Topics: Driving Safety Tips, Auto Accident

Extending the Life of Your Car After Collision Repair

Posted by Chris Medine on Aug 31, 2018 3:51:00 PM

caring for car after body workWeeks can pass before your car is ready to be picked up from the body shop after an accident. The good news is that the first time back behind the wheel can seem like driving your car for the first time all over again. Once you have received it from the collision repair shop and see it clean and sparkling, you may begin to think about how you can keep your car for as long as possible. Fortunately, extending the life of your car is simple in most cases, but it requires you to stay on top of a few things. Follow these simple habits to keep your car running better for longer!

Keep an Eye on Vehicle Fluids

Keeping the fluids that run through your car clean is very important. Motor oil is one of the essential elements in engine life. Your oil should be changed every 3,000 miles or every three months. This will help fight the formation of oil deposits and sludge and keep the moving metal parts in your engine from wearing out too quickly.

Transmission fluid is another important one to keep in mind. Most manufacturers suggest that it be changed every 70,000 miles. This process is a bit more labor intensive, so the fluid may cost a pretty penny.  However, failure to keep up with fluid changes could cause the transmission to fail or become damaged over time. Transmission repair is one of the costliest repairs on any vehicle, so taking diligent care of your transmission is very important.

Other fluids like your brake fluid and coolant should be topped off and checked regularly as well. Many oil change services will inspect your levels and alert you if they are lower than they should be.

Perform Auto Repairs Immediately

This may seem like a no brainer, but you should never drive your car if you notice something is not normal. You can easily cause a domino effect of damages to your car if you ignore a necessary repair. This means that misfires, strange noises, loose belts, overheating, leaks, and other issues should never be ignored. It is best to get these types of problems inspected and repaired immediately in order to avoid a situation where your car is damaged further.

Clean Your Car Regularly

Not only does this make your car appear to be in better shape, but removing dirt and grime is good for the body of your car as well. Pollutants and salt in the air as well as other factors like rain and humidity can damage metals or paint on your car. A simple soap and rinse is plenty!

Keep Up with Car Maintenance

Brake pads, tires, wipers, sparkplugs and filters are all pieces of your car that will not last forever. Look and listen for signs of wear on these parts. Keeping up with simple maintenance techniques can save you thousands of dollars down the road and failure to keep up could potentially cause an accident.

Staying on top of maintenance and giving your car a little TLC is the best way to ensure that it remains in the best running condition possible. If you have any questions on how to keep your car in prime running condition, call Medines Collision today!

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Topics: Collision Repair

5 Ways to Stay Safe During a Car Accident

Posted by Chris Medine on Aug 27, 2018 3:41:00 PM

Safety during an auto accidentWe often discuss what to do after a car accident when it comes to dealing with insurance, collision repair, rental services and many other agents. While the financial and material aspects that follow an accident are something to be prepared for, keeping yourself safe from physical harm during the wreck itself is more important than anything.

Here are a few rules, tips, and tricks to keep yourself as safe as possible in the event of a car wreck.

Safety features on your vehicle are there to protect you. Use them!

Your car likely has tons of safety features installed by the manufacturer that are designed to keep you safe in the event of a crash. You should never allow the number of passengers in your car to exceed the number of seatbelts, and each passenger should wear one at all times. Failure to buckle up is not only against Louisiana law, it puts you at risk of being ejected from the vehicle in the event of a crash.

Other safety features in most vehicles include airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic skid protection, and stability control. These features should be checked regularly to ensure working condition.

Secure objects within the vehicle. 

Many people involved in car accidents can become injured by the objects inside of their car. When the vehicle experiences the abrupt changes in force that come with collision with another object, the items in your car may remain in motion and become projectiles. Most objects are better off placed in the trunk of the car, rather than the back seat for this very reason.

Know how to brace for impact during an auto accident.

If getting into an accident becomes inevitable while you are driving, it is important to know how to prepare for impact. All vehicles will respond best to smooth braking and steering, so stomping the brakes and cutting a sharp turn on the wheel is never your best bet, even though it is the first instinct of most drivers.

Try to stay calm and avoid tensing up. Tightened musculature is easier to injure when introduced to outside force and can result in broken bones. If possible, avoid hitting stationery objects such as buildings or trees. Colliding with something strong and immovable will cause you and your vehicle to absorb most of force created from the impact. Side impacts should be avoided as well, due to the structural weakness of the side panels of your car and proximity to the driver or passengers.

Avoid secondary collisions.

If you have been involved in an accident, you should immediately move out of lanes of traffic if possible. Shut the car off and remain inside.  Do not smoke, as gas or fumes may have leaked, and an open flame could cause a fire or explosion. Stay inside of the vehicle, administer first aid if necessary and call the police.

The best way to stay safe from car accidents is safe driving.

Safe driving is your best defense against car accidents. Avoid distractions like eating or cellphone usage while driving a car. Be mindful of traffic laws, signs, and speed limits, as these are all implemented to keep the roadways safe and accident free.  Always be mindful of weather and road conditions, and never drive drunk or inebriated.  Your motor skills and reaction time will be impaired, and you are putting yourself at serious risk of causing a collision if you choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence of a controlled substance.

While Medines Collision is here to keep you safe from the insurance company and to get you back on the road after an accident, we believe that protecting yourself from physical harm is most important. If you have any questions about your vehicle’s safety features or how to use them, Medines is happy to help. Contact us today or visit our website for information about road safety and car accidents.

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Topics: Driving Safety Tips

Delay, Deny, Defend: An Insurance Tactic You Need to Be Aware Of

Posted by Chris Medine on Jun 19, 2018 12:36:00 PM

delay deny defendCar insurance premiums are an investment. We pay them for the security that, following an accident, we will be taken care of by our insurer, and we will be put back on the road in a timely and fair manner.

However, many people find themselves in sticky situations following a car accident. The stress of what follows can be staggering. You are likely dealing with body shops, collision centers, and rental companies.  You may even be shopping for a new car or possibly doctors and specialists for any injuries you may have sustained during the collision.

Although your insurance company is supposed to be there, a common tactic that these companies use is called “delay, deny, defend,” and it’s about as comforting as it sounds. It’s important to understand this tactic so that, in the event of an accident, you can be equipped to conduct yourself in a manner that will ensure t you will be returned to your pre-loss condition with the settlement and claims you deserve.

What is Delay, Deny, Defend?

Very quickly during the claims resolution process, you will likely notice your insurer’s tactic to delay paying out claims, even though they may be justified. This aggravating ploy is used in hopes that you will become impatient and frustrated and thereby willing to accept less when your settlement is offered.

While the insurance company is taking their sweet time, they are also seeking out any legal loopholes that can allow them to deny your claims. Although these claims are likely completely justified, your insurance company may attempt to deter you from seeking out the compensation to which you are entitled.

When your settlement is issued, and it is far less than what you need, deserve, or were expecting, you will then be forced to pay out-of-pocket or seek out legal counsel in order to defend your claims in court. Court costs are expensive and may end up hurting you in the end. There is no guarantee that you will win your case which could leave you still behind on the settlement but also having to pay legal fees and the lawyer hired for your case.

Why would an insurance company Delay, Deny, and Defend?

There is a simple answer to this question: money. The less an insurance company spends on claims, the more profit they gain. Insurance companies are a business at the end of the day, and the higher the profit, the more that they can spend on things like advertising, new facilities, perks and bonuses. Suddenly, the company you’ve been paying to protect your assets seems less like a good neighbor and more like a big bully.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself Against the Delay, Deny, Defend Tactic?

Awareness of this tactic is your best defense.  Know that the claims process can be arduous and time-consuming and that the initial settlement offer will rarely be the best you can get.  Most importantly, understand that no matter what, you are in control. Your insurance company, despite any attempts to intimidate or persuade you, is legally required to meet all justified claims and restore your vehicle to pre-loss condition.

While we at Medines cannot be there for every step, we can at least be a breath of fresh air following the chaos of a car accident. We can’t guarantee your insurance company will treat you fairly, but what we can guarantee is quality repairs, complete transparency, and knowledgeable aid in the confusing world of insurance claims and consumer rights.

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Topics: Insurance

Post-Repair Inspection of Your Vehicle: What to Look for

Posted by Chris Medine on Jun 14, 2018 12:13:33 PM

Mechanic showing the car wheel to a client in a garageThe time after a car accident can be stressful. Between dealing with insurance companies, possible injuries, rental agencies, and many more small factors, getting your car back from the collision center can be a huge sigh of relief and feel like the end of this hectic chapter.

Although a good repair shop would ensure that your vehicle is in like-new condition, it is still important that you perform an inspection before driving off. This will protect you and your vehicle from any potential damages and loss caused by a shop that has cut corners or that is passing off poorly performed repairs.

What You Should Look for In Your Post-Repair Inspection?

One of the most important steps you can take is to be open and clear with the body shop about which repairs are to be made. Knowing what work should be done beforehand, better equips you to ensure it has been completed to your standards after the fact.  That being said, there are still a few specific areas to which you should pay close attention when looking over your newly repaired vehicle.

First, you should conduct a basic visual examination of your car. Check to make sure that paint matches in both texture and color to the rest of your car, and ensure that your car is clean. It is standard practice that the shop will wash, vacuum and clean the interior of your vehicle upon returning it to you.

The next thing you should look at is to see that the airbags were replaced and that the alignment is placed evenly. Most cars have a light that indicates if your airbag is in properly and ready to deploy in the event of impact. Alignment is another common issue. Drive your car around the lot, or take it for a short test drive around the collision shop. If your car is pulling in a way that it was not before, the shop may not have properly realigned your tires, which will cause uneven wear.

You should also check for new welds in an area that you never noticed before. In the past, some shops have participated in a practice called clipping. This is when an entire portion of another, similar model of car is used to replace the damaged portion of another. This is not as common now, but it is very dangerous. It can cause structural flaws in your car that make it very dangerous to drive.

Torque can be another problem when repairs are made. Make sure that any bolts or screws that were replaced are not stripped and were torqued to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Bolts applied too loosely can cause parts to come off too easily, while too tightly could cause the bolts to be stripped if they need to come out again.

Lastly, check to see that original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts were used for replacements wherever possible. Medines only uses OEM parts when available; however, some shops will try to pass aftermarket or used parts on your repair to cut costs. Unless you have specified that you would like to use aftermarket parts for your repairs, ask to see the parts invoice and make sure that only OEM parts were used in replacements.

Using Wreck Check to Diagnose Repair Problems

While following the above steps is important, it can be difficult for anyone who is not a professional auto body repair technician to determine whether or not their repairs have been done properly.  Fortunately, there is another valuable tool at your disposal in the form of a Wreck Check Car Scan.  These scans use 3D dimensioning equipment to help technicians review all aspects of your vehicle and its repair, ensuring that it was restored to the manufacturer’s specifications.  In Baton Rouge, Medines is the one and only certified Wreck Check Car Scan Center, helping drivers get back on the road with the peace of mind that their vehicle is structurally sound.

For quality repairs or even assessments of repairs performed by others, you can always count on Medines Collision Center to deliver both excellence and honesty. Click below to request a free estimate, or call us today. 

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Topics: Collision Repair, Wreck Check

The Three Categories of Auto Parts: OEM, Aftermarket, and Recycled

Posted by Chris Medine on May 4, 2018 11:54:45 AM

Mechanic lying and working under car at the repair garageAmong the many confusing elements to consider during the insurance claim and collision repair process for your vehicle is which parts will be used.  Your insurance company may recommend one type and your body shop another.  So, what’s the difference, and how are you to know which is really the best for your car?  In total, there are three categories of parts that can be used to repair a vehicle.  We’ll define them here in order from most desirable to least.

What are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Parts?

Just as the name would suggest, OEM parts are those produced by the manufacturer of your particular vehicle.  When it comes to auto part replacements, OEM parts are the gold standard.  They are specifically designed for your vehicle, so they will fit seamlessly and, in turn, offer the highest level of safety and cosmetic appearance.  However, insurance companies rarely use these parts for repair estimates despite the benefits to the consumer, as they are a higher cost option.  If you have been in an accident and would like to use OEM parts for the repair, check your policy.  You may already be paying for an OEM rider policy that guarantees these parts will be used whenever available.

What are Recycled or Reconditioned Parts?

Recycled or reconditioned parts are also parts that may be original to your vehicle’s particular make and model.  The catch is that they have been previously used.  Still, these parts undergo some rigorous steps to ensure their quality and safety.  Before being offered for sale, they are cleaned, serviced, and tested to ensure quality and integrity.  When OEM parts are not an option, recycled and reconditioned parts are the next best bet and are available for a lower cost.

What are Aftermarket Parts?

Aftermarket parts fall at the bottom of the list.  They may be the cheapest available option, but there is a reason for this.  These parts are mass produced by third parties to fit a variety of vehicles, not just one make and model.  This means that, even though they may come close, aftermarket parts will never fit your car the way an OEM or reconditioned part would.  They may not necessarily be poorly produced, but even slight differences in fit can have an impact on both the way these parts look on the vehicle, as well as the level of protection they are able to provide.  These parts should be considered a final option when a better alternatives are not available or affordable.

At Medines Collision Center, we understand the importance that well-fitting, quality parts make in a repair.  That’s why we will always do our best to ensure that your vehicle is fitted with OEM parts whenever possible and recycled or reconditioned parts when OEM is unavailable.  The quality of your vehicle’s repair is a direct reflection on our business, and even if it means helping you get the parts you deserve covered by your insurance provider, we will do everything in our power to give you and your car the very best.  Contact our shop today to learn more about our repair process or to schedule your free estimate.

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Topics: Collision Repair, Auto Parts

4 Steps to Choosing a Collision Center [Infographic]

Posted by Chris Medine on May 1, 2018 12:32:46 PM

As though there isn’t enough to be overwhelmed with following an auto accident, you quickly find yourself in the position of deciding which collision center should perform your repairs.  Chances are, you have many options.  You may have been given one name by your insurance company, another by a friend, and then there’s the one you are always seeing ads for.  So, which should you choose?  Before you decide, keep in mind that this will be one of, if not the, most important call you make following your accident.  Not only does your choice here determine the quality of work your car will receive, it could also be the difference between having an advocate in your corner versus the insurance company’s corner.  That’s why Medines is here to help you make the best decision for both you and your vehicle with these four important steps to choosing a collision center:


4 Steps to Choosing a Collision Center from Medines Collision Center



Know Your Right Guide from Medines Collision Center

Topics: Choosing a Collision Center

Fact vs Fiction: What Your Auto Insurer Tells You Following an Accident

Posted by Chris Medine on Apr 9, 2018 12:00:00 AM

Car Insurance - Business Concept. Blue Arrow with "Car Insurance" Words on a Grey Background.Following an auto accident, you’ll likely hear a lot of conflicting statements.  You may have a different account of the event than others who were involved; you might hear differing pieces of advice from friends, and you may even get inconsistent statements between your insurance company and other service providers involved in your claims process.  It’s something we encounter frequently at Medines.

A major source of pride for us is that we are not a “preferred provider” for any agency and are therefore accountable only to our customers.  However, this also means that we frequently clash with insurers when we hear statements that are misleading to our mutual clients.  Here are just a few that come up often:

Fiction: “Insurance won’t warranty or guarantee your repairs not done at a preferred shop.”

Fact: The collision center warranties their own work.

It is true that your insurance company will not warranty repairs done to your vehicle if you do not use one of their direct repair shops.  However, what is misleading about this statement is that insurance never provides the warranty, even on work done within their network of body shops.  Instead, it is the collision center who provides the guarantee, and this will be the case no matter their affiliation with insurance.  Medines, for instance, has no affiliation with any insurer, and we provide a lifetime guarantee on all of our repairs.

Fiction: “That shop charges too much, and you may end up with some out-of-pocket expense.”

Fact: Your insurance provider is required by law to pay for the repairs necessary to restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition.

The initial estimate from insurance is rarely adequate to fully cover all necessary repairs.  In nearly every case, supplements will need to be written after technicians have been able to break down the vehicle and fully inspect the extent of the damage.  However, once it is proven that these additional costs are needed in order to properly repair the car to its pre-loss condition, they are obligated to cover them, less the cost of your deductible.

Fiction: “That body shop takes too long to complete repairs.”

Fact: Delays at non-preferred body shops nearly always come on the part of the insurance company.

Insurance companies cannot legally require you to have your vehicle repaired at a particular shop.  Instead, they get around this by misleading consumers into believing that the work will be completed faster at a direct repair shop.  They may tell you that the adjuster can get to your car more quickly at these shops or that others simply take too long.  In reality, the process at non-direct repair shops may take longer, because insurance companies typically begin with inadequate estimates and then extend the process of writing and approving the necessary supplements. 

Fiction: “The collision center is charging for parts and work that aren’t needed.”

Fact: The collision center is pushing for the best parts to repair your vehicle.

Another common corner-cutting tactic employed by insurance agencies is to use recycled or refurbished parts in order to reduce costs.  However, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are always preferable.  Not only will they fit seamlessly in appearance, they are more structurally sound for your particular vehicle.  You may even being paying a premium for your insurance to guarantee repairs with OEM parts!

Keep in mind, it is typically more expensive for your insurance company to have to cover repairs from a shop that is not in their pocket.  Therefore, it is in their best interest to encourage you to choose one of their direct repair facilities.  However, this is rarely in your best interest.  They may resort to statements meant to mislead you and prey on the fact that few consumers are well-versed in the laws to regulate insurance.  At Medines Collision Center, we have made it our job to not only expertly repair vehicles but to prevent our clients from being taken advantage of during a very difficult and vulnerable time.  If you have been in an accident, contact us to learn more about your options and rights when it comes to your auto repair.

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Three-Quarters of a Car: Deciphering the Insurance Jargon

Posted by Chris Medine on Apr 5, 2018 11:49:23 AM

Deciphering Insurance JargonYou’ve seen the commercials and heard the taglines of insurance companies promising that they will take better care of you than the competition.  You’re in good hands!  They’re like a neighbor!  The other guys will leave you driving three-quarters of a car!  Amidst all the finger-pointing and self-praise, it can be difficult for consumers to decipher between the insurance they truly need and the fluff that will only serve to increase premiums with no real benefit.

The bottom line is that we all need auto insurance.  Not only is it required by law, it just makes good sense to protect your investment and your assets should an accident occur.  But, what about all those extras that some insurance companies are pushing at you?  New care replacement sounds good.  Better car replacement sounds, well, better.  So, what does these terms really mean, are the policy add-ons worth the price, and how will they come into play should your vehicle be totaled?  Let’s take a closer look.

Doesn’t Insurance Fully Replace My Totaled Car?

The amount that a driver will receive from their insurance provider after their vehicle has been totaled will depend on the actual cash value (ACV) of the car.  This process involves proprietary software and comparison with like vehicles listed in your area, and unsurprisingly, the ACV as determined by insurance is rarely as high as drivers believe it should be.  If you owe more on the vehicle than it is deemed to be worth, this means you could be left financially responsible for remaining payments on a totaled car.  It’s a frustrating scenario and one on which insurance companies frequently capitalize in order to sell additional policy add-ons.

What Does New Car Replacement Mean?

Cars, particularly new cars, lose value quickly, making the above scenario a very real possibility. One of the available add-ons that many insurers provide to “protect” against this situation is new car replacement.  In a nut shell, this coverage allows for the replacement of your totaled vehicle with a new one of the same make and model without decreasing your payout for depreciation.  Not all insurance companies provide this option, but for those that do, it is typically only available for cars that are no older than one to two model years, and many place mileage limits on the coverage as well.  Additionally, this coverage is going to result in increased premiums, although by how much is a factor dependent on the insurer.

What Does Better Car Replacement Mean?

Better car replacement is an option currently offered by only one insurance company.  With this coverage, the insurer will replace a totaled vehicle of any model year with one that is at least one model year newer and with 15,000 fewer miles.  Of course, it sounds like a great deal, but there is always a catch.  In this case, the insured should note that the replacement vehicle will be in the same class and body type as the totaled vehicle, that their deductible still applies, and that this add-on is likely to increase premiums significantly.  While the exact amount is unavailable, some estimates show this coverage increasing rates by as much as 40 percent, a hefty price to pay on the off-chance that your car is totaled when far less expensive options are available.

Are Car Replacement Add-Ons Worth it?

While some believe that these policy add-ons are worth their price tags, they aren’t right for everyone. Factors that should be considered are the overall rate increase, age of the vehicle, and any amount still owed to a lender.  Additionally, drivers would be wise to consider all of their options and not just those being pushed by sales people or television commercials.  Gap insurance is typically less expensive and covers the difference between actual cash value and the amount needed to pay off the vehicle.  Likewise, policyholders should know that the value of their totaled car is negotiable and that the ACV first presented can nearly always increase with some research and smart negotiation tactics.

While dealing with insurance can certainly be a headache, don’t allow avoiding that aggravation to become a selling point for features you don’t need.  While some policy add-ons make sense, there are many others that only serve to line the pockets of insurance providers.  Conduct your own research before determining which policies to purchase and understand what the law requires of your insurer in the event of an accident.  And, while we hope you never require our services, Medines Collision Center is always available after an accident to not only repair your vehicle to its best possible condition, but to help you navigate the daunting insurance claims process as well.

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Safe Driving Tips for Baton Rouge Traffic

Posted by Chris Medine on Mar 20, 2018 12:00:00 AM

Drive Safely in Baton RougeAsk any Baton Rouge resident, and they can tell you a few things that our city is synonymous with: the state capital, LSU, and traffic.  Heavy braking, rubberneck delays, and poorly designed infrastructure all contribute to regular traffic headaches.  Beyond simply frustrating, however, these commonly occurring traffic jams can also be dangerous to drive in, and when accidents occur, they cannot only result in injury or damages, they also contribute to the ever-growing problem.  As a driver in the Baton Rouge area, cautious driving is an absolute necessity, and the following tips can help ensure that you and your passengers navigate this traffic gauntlet safely.

Keep Calm During Heavy Traffic

Being stuck in a traffic jam is enough to try anyone’s patience, and when we become impatient, we tend to make more impulsive decisions.  It’s easy to speed around slower cars, switch lanes quickly, follow too closely to vehicles that aren’t keeping the pace.  However, keeping a cool head and avoiding such maneuvers can help you avoid an accident that will cost you far more time and frustration in the end.

Keep Your Focus on the Traffic Ahead

It can be easy to focus on what is directly in front of you, but keeping a watchful eye on what’s happening up ahead is important too, particularly in heavy traffic.  When you see brake lights two or three cars ahead, begin to decelerate in preparation.  Just this one simple act can help avoid a situation where you must brake suddenly and a potential rear-end collision.

Follow Cars Ahead at a Safe Distance

When the traffic is congested, it can be tempting to follow too closely.  However, this is yet another situation that can put you in a precarious situation for a sudden collision.  Stick to the old rule you learned in driver’s education to allow at least 3 seconds between your own car and the one directly in front of you.  A moving vehicle doesn’t stop as quickly as you may think, and those 3 seconds can make the difference between hitting the brakes or hitting the vehicle in front of you.

Remember What You Learned in Driver’s Education

Just like the 3 second rule, there are a lot of rules learned initially that seem to eventually fall by the wayside for many drivers.  Go back to the basics by making sure your mirrors are properly adjusted, keeping both hands on the wheel, and using blinkers to signal your intent to turn or make a lane change at least 100 feet before doing so.  You would be surprised just how much these simple rules can help and how easily many accidents can be avoided by using them.

We fully understand the frustration that can come with Baton Rouge traffic, but it’s important to not let this frustration impact safe driving practices.  Of course, it’s impossible to control other drivers on the road, and unfortunately, many will find themselves in an accident that is due to the negligence of another at some point in time.  If this happens to you, don’t be rattled.  Focus on what you can control: selecting a collision center that will repair your car back to its pre-loss condition and help you navigate the insurance claim process as needed.   Just like those old driving rules can make a big difference in keeping you safe on the road, choosing a body shop like Medines can make a big difference in getting you back on the road.

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