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WHEN ACCIDENTS HAPPEN

WEBER AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE

How to Respond in a Tough Situation

Being in a car accident is the last thing anyone wants - but when it does happen, there are ways of making sure that the legal and insurance issues are handled with as little stress as possible.

  • First of all - stay calm.
  • If someone is injured, be sure to call for medical help.
  • Make sure you call the police.
  • Don't publicly make any statements where you either accuse the other person of causing the accident or take all the blame yourself. It could open you up to legal problems.
  • Whatever you do, don't leave the scene until you've had a chance to talk with the officer and you've gotten their name. It's important to make sure that your side of the story goes on the record. Afterward, it's a good idea to get a copy of the police report.
  • Make sure you have a pre-printed copy of your insurance information in the glove compartment, along with a camera you can use to provide pictures for the insurance company. A disposable camera with a flash for nighttime or interior shooting is usually best for this.
  • In dealing with the other driver, make sure you get their name, address, driver's license number and insurance information - and that they get the same information from you.
  • Also, make sure to get information from any witnesses as well.
  • Make sure you get pictures of any physical evidence of what could have caused the accident.
  • Write down pertinent details such as where the accident took place, what the weather was like, etc.
  • Once the information's exchanged, report the accident to the insurance company immediately, even if it's not your fault.
  • Make sure you understand how you're covered, and don't be afraid to ask the insurance company to explain the conditions of your coverage and payments.
  • Don't be afraid to seek legal advice - and don't sign anything if you don't understand it.
  • When you're using a body shop to get repairs to your vehicle, be aware that the insurance company can recommend a shop, but you are under no legal obligation to use its services. You have the legal right to choose the shop to do your repairs.
  • Also be aware that insurance companies sometimes try to dictate what type of parts are used in a vehicle's repair. They might insist that a shop not use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, as they are more expensive.

    You have a right to know what kind of parts are being used on your vehicle, and to know if your insurance policy dictates what kind of parts can be used in your car. If your policy lets you choose, you have the right to decide for yourself.
  • An insurance company also has the right to inspect your vehicle, but it is not required to do so. In addition, they cannot require you to visit one of their own claim centers.
  • And finally: Make sure you learn from this accident, but also let yourself move on from what happened. Everyone has an accident once in a while - it's just something that happens.

Remember - Drive Safely!

Want more information on your rights? To make an appointment, call us at 847-965-3400 or make an appointment online!

Associations

  • ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
  • ALL-DATA
  • IATN (International Automotive Technicians' Network)
  • Car Care Aware

Vehicle Tips

  • According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect.
  • The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of coolant should be checked. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.)
  • Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled. The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual, or more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage or tow a trailer.
  • Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended, or more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard stops, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; let the tires cool down first. Don't forget your spare and be sure your jack is in good condition.
  • Check your owner's manual to find out what fuel octane rating your car's engine needs then buy it.
  • Keep your tires inflated to the proper levels. Under-inflated tires make it harder for your car to move down the road, which means your engine uses more fuel to maintain speed.
  • Lighten the load. Heavier vehicles use more fuel, so clean out unnecessary weight in the passenger compartment or trunk before you hit the road.
  • Use the A/C sparingly. The air conditioner puts extra load on the engine forcing more fuel to be used.
  • Keep your windows closed. Wide-open windows, especially at highway speeds, increase aerodynamic drag and the result is up to a 10% decrease in fuel economy.
  • Avoid long idling. If you anticipate being stopped for more than one minute, shut off the car. Contrary to popular belief, restarting the car uses less fuel than letting it idle.
  • Stay within posted speed limits. The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. For example, driving at 65 miles per hour (mph) rather than 55 mph, increases fuel consumption by 20 percent.
  • Use cruise control. Using cruise control on highway trips can help you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, reduce your fuel consumption.
  • Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.
  • Inspect the engine's belts regularly. Look for cracks or missing sections or segments. Worn belts will affect the engine performance.
  • Have the fuel filter changed every 10,000 miles to prevent rust, dirt and other impurities from entering the fuel system.
  • Change the transmission fluid and filter every 15,000 to 18,000 miles. This will protect the precision-crafted components of the transmission/transaxle.
  • Inspect the suspension system regularly. This will extend the life of the vehicle's tires.