auto body blog kansas city

When it’s Time to Stop Driving

Driving is freedom. Losing the ability to drive can be devastating for anyone. The ability to take care of oneself, to have no need to rely on anyone and to come and go as they please is one of the greatest examples of the kind of freedom that driving allows. Keeping that in mind, how do we know when it is time to consider telling an aging loved one that their driving days are over? Beyond that what can be done to help them cope with that decision?

This conversation might be the most difficult of any you’ve had with your parents or grandparents. Keep in mind that neither of you are alone. Even recent international news brought up the subject of aging drivers. After being involved in a car crash while driving, Prince Philip was soon convinced to give up his keys at the age of 97. Around 20% of American drivers are over 65 years of age though within that age range very few have been responsible for any kind of accident. The rate of crash related deaths sees a significant increase for those over 75 years of age, even more so for those over 80. Here in Missouri, 2017 saw accidents involving drivers over 65 result in 183 deaths and 736 severe injuries. Keep in mind however, health conditions that can impair driving can happen at any age, so exactly how do you know when it is time to intervene?

The good news is According to AAA, most senior drivers decide themselves to change their own driving habits. Many begin by avoiding high traffic times of the day, driving in bad weather and often keeping within a small range of travel. Also, in the state of Missouri, drivers over 70 are required to renew their license every three years to ensure their eyesight is sufficient for safe driving and the ability to recognize road signs. If there is still concern regarding a loved one’s safety on the road, AAA offers the following list of reasons to insure that a loved one no longer drives:

  • Delayed response to unexpected situations

  • Becoming easily distracted while driving

  • Decrease in confidence while driving

  • Having difficulty moving into or maintaining the correct lane of traffic

  • Hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up

  • Getting scrapes or dents on car, garage or mailbox

  • Having frequent close calls

  • Driving too fast or too slow for road conditions” ~ AARP.org Kyle Rakow

This article also includes this link for a free online seminar on how best to have that conversation. When and if this moment occurs remember to be empathetic to what they will be experiencing, the loss of what will feel like a main source of independence. Allow them to be a part of the plan for new means of getting around. It is also important to note that getting to doctor’s visits and the grocery store is just as important to your loved ones health as maintaining friendships and social opportunities.

Do the best you can to find out what their normal life routine is before driving abilities are removed to ensure they aren’t left in a lonely situation afterwards. Where again it might be one of the most difficult moments in your relationship with your loved ones, remember the loving care you have for each other will see you through just as it always has.

Blog References: Department of Transportation, Centers for Disease Control, Missouri Department of Transportation

Blog by: Allison Green

Managing Vehicle Recalls

There’s a little stack of recall notices on my small desk in the kitchen. At least one for each vehicle each family member owns. Two for the Jeep, three for the Toyota, two for the Dodge and one for the Ford. I’m pretty sure everyone’s airbags are recalled at this point.

It seems hardly a day goes by without the evening news including a vehicle recall notice, most recently that Kia and Hyundai engines can catch on fire.  I wonder, were these defects not noticed years back? Maybe it was harder to find owners to send the notices to if they were, or has the fast-paced world of pumping out the latest and greatest caused quality control to go out the window altogether?  

As it turns out there are two answers, and they both confirm that yes, we are seeing more recalls than decades past. The first reason is that, just like every complex machine we own from washing machines to motorcycles, many of the parts that make up these machines are coming from the same manufacturer. Brands are names and logos with some defining characteristics in what the products looks like on the outside, though under the hood and beyond the dashboard many of the gidgets and gadgets that make the machine run are somewhat standard issue. Take the washing machine for instance; you have a box with a drum inside. You push buttons or turn knobs at the top of the box, put the clothes in the drum, and viola- you’ll soon have clean clothes. Most washing machines spin that drum of dirty jeans into clean pants via a motor, pump, belt, transmission, and a computer board. Back in the day most of these components were made by the manufacturer of the box, the one with the brand and the logo. Today, that motor might be made by company ABC and happens to be the same company that makes the motors in half a dozen washing machine brands. Same story with the rest of the parts that make the drum spin. Vehicle manufacturing is no stranger to this modern mode of mass production.

A great example of this is the Takata Air Bag. Twenty-two separate vehicle manufactures are listed as having Takata air bags, I couldn’t find the list of how many in total have their air bags recalled or not. This is just one example how one part on one make/model could be a small part of a recall on thousands of parts in dozens of makes and models. The air bag recall affected 42 million vehicles made by everyone from Chrysler to Volkswagen.  Which leads us to the second reason we’re getting so many notices of these recalls- it’s too dangerous to not pay attention.

Too many recalls were being discovered after the defect had caused a tragedy. This lead to a demand for more oversight into the safety of our vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stepped up its efforts to find defects before more people got hurt. Now, it is up to us as car owners to stay on top of getting those recall issues taken care of.  It is also important not to assume that if you haven’t received a notice you don’t have a recall. 

Experts suggest checking your VIN number for possible recalls becomes a maintenance habit. Checking each time you change your oil for example will ensure you are staying on top of things. Heck, since we’re already thinking about it why not check now? Click here to enter the NHTSA recall search site. I need to get off this computer and get those appointments made.

 Blog by: Allison Green

 

When Water and Cars Don’t Mix

We see the scene on the news every time heavy rains come. The car, the police, the fireman and the water. Sometimes a flash flood will surprise a fully unexpected driver, though quite often this scene is the result of the driver thinking “I can get through that”. Followed by a call to 911. Our most recent statistics show 64% of flood related deaths happen to people in vehicles. A small car can be carried away by just 12” of moving water, nearly all vehicles can be carried away in 2’ of moving water. That one foot of moving water can create 500 pounds of force. 500 pounds.

Your vehicle might be able to handle or pull that much weight though only when the tires are gripping the ground. Moving water doesn’t allow for any kind of control no matter what type of vehicle you may be driving. Discover what to do if you find yourself caught in a flood event at the American Safety Council site. So, everyone reading this- you’ll never attempt to drive through water right? Great! Moving on to other water woes…

Wet roads

Any amount of rain, especially after a dry spell can create an oily mess on the surface of roads. Experts recommend you don’t use cruise control, reduce your speed and increase traveling distance between other cars to avoid an accident caused by either yourself or someone else hydroplaning. Obviously as in any inclement weather, check tire pressure, wipers and use your headlights.

Car damage

Over one million vehicles were damaged by last years hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Without doing a little homework, one of those vehicles could be your next used car purchase. Flood damaged cars can have electrical damage that may not start creating problems for months as well as trapped mold and mildew and rusting to many of the car’s components.

Understanding rivers

Just because it isn’t raining doesn’t mean your nearby river won’t flood. The Missouri River for example starts in the Rocky Mountains, flows east to North Dakota then south to the Mississippi River. A heavy rainstorm anywhere along that route can increase the rivers levels further down. Tributaries to the Missouri River will drain quickly into the Missouri until the high water pushes flooding back into those smaller rivers and streams. A small stream can easily go from a quaint walk-able waterway to a raging river during flooding, then just as quickly back to the peaceful stream you know and love.  

Other causes of flash flooding

Concrete doesn’t absorb water, so as rain falls on largely developed areas that water keeps moving looking for its eventual path to the ocean. Our States, Counties and Cities do their best to prevent flooding with smart planning and engineering, however mother nature will and does remind us we always have more to learn.

So the next time you clean out the car and come across that little window breaking tool in your drivers side door, remember some common sense can help keep you from ever having to use it. May all your travels be safe and dry!

*If you have flood damage to your vehicle call Richards’ Collision Center for quality, reliable auto body services: 816-767-0707. We work with your insurance company.

Blog by: Allison Green

 

 

New 2018 Vehicles to Dazzle Your Holidays!

New 2018 Vehicles to Dazzle Your Holidays!

Whether you're a driver that prefers a sedan, coupe, convertible, SUV, truck, pickup, van, minivan, crossover, wagon or hatchback, charting all of the redesigned changes can lead you to pick out the best new vehicle option to suit your preferences. Some models are all-new while others are redesigns.

Our Love of the First Car!

Cars and trucks may come and go over our adult life, and yet there’s just something about that first (and sometimes second) car that remains a point of attachment for all. Ask anyone what their first car was and you’ll receive no hesitation and no difficulty in remembering. Instead a literal off the cuff automatic response of a year, a model, make and color. If you’re lucky…a story and there’s no better place to find a few of those than in a coffee shop on a Thursday morning.

Cliff’s first car was a Mercury four door painted black metallic, which didn’t exist at the time so he had to make it out of aluminum paint. His second car however (as turned out to be the case for many I talked to) was his favorite. A black 1953 Mercury of which he pulled the motor and replaced it with an Oldsmobile motor to make it run fast. In 1959 Cliff and his car could be found speeding down a quarter mile drag race strip at Front Street and 435 in Kansas City. Though the original was replaced he still has the car to this day.

Steve started off his driving years with a 1955 Rambler which he described the top as an “upside down bathtub” and the seats as capable of folding all the way down. His second car was a 1965 red Olds Cutlass. Hence a love for that car ever since. He’s owned five of them now.

Steve’s wife Sue’s first car was a 1958 Nash Rambler, and the second she verbalized this the room responded in awe and a few “Really’s ?!”.  Apparently the car only fit a few people comfortably though she once managed to fit 8 people in it. Oh to the days of high school car clowning. Sue’s next car was a 1964 Ford Thunderbird, and yes she still has it in the garage. The Silver exterior, black top and black interior remains in perfect condition although the engine and transmission have been removed.

Bob’s first car was a 1956 2 door Ford custom sedan. His second a 1954 pink and white two-door Ford Continental he picked up for $3000 in the 60’s. It actually had a glass top and power seats. The car managed to even survive running into a ditch when he let a friend drive it. Bob survived the potential backlash of his father seeing the damage.

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John’s first car was a 1967 Mustang 289 automatic with a center console that rolled open. This gem was painted Oldsmobile blue with blinkers in the hood and to this day still in his garage. His father brought it home for him in July of 1986 leaving him to only dream of driving it for a month and a half until he turned 16.

Gina’s first car was as she put it “Nothing to talk about”, however the young man who drove a 1974 Plymouth Satellite was. It was the car she fell in love with at the same time she fell in love with the driver. He bought this first car when he was 16 after finding it out in an old country field on a local farmers land. The front fender was rusted as well as the left passenger door, including a few dents. Keith worked hard to be able to restore the car himself. As for Gina, she became his wife.

My first car, a 1980 sun faded blue Dodge Challenger didn’t show up in my life until after I was married. We bought it for $300 in 1993 and drove it for six years including two trips back from a hospital with a new baby in the back seat. The clutch cable snapped one day in the middle of nowhere on I-70 in Western Colorado. My husband in quick action removed the lace from his boots, tied up the clutch and got it home. I truly wish I still had it.

Often a first car is whatever you can afford that will get you where you want to go. For many it’s the first taste of personal freedom and independence while saving up for the second car- the one you really want. What was your first/second car? Do you still have it? We would love to hear your story!

By: Audrey Elder - Past to Present Research