How Safe Are Traffic Circles?
How To Drive ‘Through’ Them
Car insurance NJ, PA and MD policyholders are likely familiar with traffic circles or roundabouts and as spring approaches and speeds increase, we want to remind drivers about their advantages and risks. As a cheap auto insurance provider in all three states with this intersection design, advising safe-driving practices that help raise awareness and reduce accident potential helps both our insured’s and IFA avoid accident claims.
Traffic Circles And Roundabouts
There has long been confusion about what to call these circular intersection designs. While the average driver calls them whatever is locally common, essentially the traffic circle and roundabout are one and the same except for size. Traffic circles are typically much larger with a substantial island in the middle while roundabouts are much smaller and may include a small island but often do not.
Initiated in the northeast, traffic circles and roundabouts have had cycles of design popularity in IFA’s service area. For example, New Jersey used to have as many as 101 traffic circles but dropped down to 44 over the years. Yet the smaller roundabouts have made there way increasingly back into updated intersections in IFA’s service area, including on NJ, PA and MD roads.
Are They Safe?
Why the reemergence of roundabouts? Urban legend aside, recent studies have shown they are safer than other intersection designs, especially in preventing rear-end and T-bone collisions, which cause many fatalities each year. This is due to the way traffic flows more efficiently, which precludes drivers knowing how to use them properly.
As a car insurance NJ, PA and MD provider, we naturally support any system and program that promotes safety. Given that, we are reminding drivers of proper driving protocol when entering and exiting a roundabout. The first rule is to enter in your own ‘space’ when merging into the circle. This means you do not drive beside another vehicle upon entering. This also means you may not have any vehicle on either side of you once inside the circle, which allows you to exit easier.
Further, it is essential to choose the correct lane prior to entering, since lane changes once inside can be dangerous and are prohibited. Instructions on how to enter the roundabout and which lane is appropriate for a particular direction or ultimate exit plan are typically posted prior to entering.
Remarkably, there is less waiting for openings in traffic circles and roundabouts than at conventional intersections. This makes them more efficient besides being safer to use. The most common accidents at conventional intersections occur when drivers are making a left turn at a traffic light (hence, the T-bone risk.)
Use Your Signal When Exiting
While not mandatory, it is a good practice to use your right turn signal when exiting a roundabout. That way, a driver entering will have foreknowledge so they can take their turn to enter. Using your turn signal also helps pedestrians know your intentions to leave the roundabout. Typically, there are no walk symbols or lights at roundabout entrances or exits.
Springtime Around The Corner
Offers Warm Weather Driving And Car Care Tips
It has been a long, hard winter for New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania car insurance policyholders and many drivers are ready for it to end. Once the weather stays warm consistently for a period of time, drivers are more than eager to change both driving habits and car care. For example, winter car washing requires professional washes indoors while during spring and summer, many car owners love to wash and wax their own vehicle in their own backyard. Yet, car insurance in NJ, PA and MD insured’s have other car care tasks that should be adhered to once the weather stays warm and the roads are dry.
Once the temperature heats up and you are free to wash your car more thoroughly, give it a good cleaning, including waxing it, to revitalize the paint after the punishing effects of winter salt and sand on the roads. Besides washing your car, Pennsylvania car insurance policyholders will also want to put summer grade oil in their engines, as it will perform better when it eventually gets hot. That also goes for coolant, which is essential when temperatures reach into the 80s and 90s or beyond.
In addition, spring is the time to remove snow tires and certain all-weather tires with softer tread, in favor of harder rubber tires. Why? Because winter’s softer compounded rubber tires (which are ideal for cold temperatures) wear down quicker when driving on warm and dry pavement. Before changing to spring/summer tires, however, ensure that the temperature consistently stays above 45 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 to 2 weeks.
Lighten Your Load
With winter in the rearview mirror, it is also time to remove unnecessary items from your trunk, items such as blankets, sand or kitty litter, shovels and scrapers and so on. In fact, you may want to make room instead for bottled water, play equipment and camping gear for those active spring and summer days ahead.
Occupations That May Save On Insurance
Professions That Help Reduce Rates
PA, MD and NJ auto insurance policyholders benefit from numerous discounts, some which offer direct percentages off your premium, while others are factored into the price quote. While it may be obvious that certain professions such as traveling salespeople are likely to drive more miles, running a greater risk of accidents, still other professions garner lower rates, which are reflected in a lower price. In fact, these kinds of rate reductions are subsumed in the quote, without providing an overt discount as part of the quoting process. Instead, they are factored in to the rating process as a whole yet can affect your final price by as much as 18%.
Consequently, cheap online car insurance often includes reductions for lower risk professionals. This is due to a certain fields’ tendency to file fewer claims compared to other professions. Besides professional rating benefits, rate discounts can also be incorporated in the final premium quote you receive for educational achievement as well. Some of the most common reductions subsumed in your quote include any of the following qualifying categories:
- Educators: Some companies offer direct discounts for school teachers and college professors while others include it as part of their rating structure when the application is taken.
- Scientists & Engineers: Insurance risk studies indicate that scientists have an above-average chance of avoiding collisions. Because of this, it has become increasingly more common for NJ auto insurance providers and cheap online car insurance companies as a whole to rate insurance policies with this reduced risk probability factored in.
- Law Enforcement & First Responders: Emergency medical personnel and police officers typically enjoy lower insurance premiums for several reasons. One is that they don’t drive their own vehicles on the job. A second is they typically live in or near the community they serve, thereby avoiding long commutes. Third, many are shift workers who rarely are driving to work during peak travel time.
- Medical Professionals: This work classification often receives either direct discounts or indirect benefit from a rating structure by most insurance providers. This category may include anything from doctors and nurses to therapists and emergency medical personnel.
- The Military: If you are in the military, most insurance companies offer either reduced rates directly or factor in less driving miles into your rates. This is particularly true when you are deployed and/or may even have a vehicle stored while overseas, or not driving on a daily basis. When insured with IFA cheap online car insurance, please let us know if you have a change in driving frequency due to military exercises or deployment.
In addition to either direct or indirect premium discounts on your insurance premium, IFA also offers group discounts that can receive up to 10% off insurance rates. For example, if a medical practice, hospital or police association wanted to save on premiums, arranging group rates on an already reduced risk, professional group can save you and your members even more. Finally, when shopping for insurance, ask each company if they rate certain professions higher or lower as part of their general rating structure.
Get Multiple Quotes
Always Compare Exact Items For Each Company
Even though Maryland auto insurance is one of the higher priced markets in the country, it is still more than possible to get excellent rates on low cost auto insurance by shopping around. And the best practices for shopping around include getting multiple quotes, at least 4. You will want to compare exact limits and parameters in the process too. That way, you will know which company is providing the best value for your Maryland auto insurance.
The above best practices additionally apply to low cost auto insurance quote shopping no matter where you live. The important thing to research if you live in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, for example, is what your state’s requirements and mandates are which can be found in the state resource sections of IFA’s website.
Maryland Auto Insurance
The state of Maryland mandates that each driver must carry 20/40/15 minimums on their vehicles. These figures represent $20,000 bodily injury coverage on each individual, with $40,000 for each accident. In addition, each driver must carry at least $15,000 property damage coverage for each accident. Further, Maryland auto insurance mandates also include the same coverage amounts for uninsured/underinsured bodily injury and property damage coverage, in addition to $2,500 for personal injury protection. Individuals wishing for higher coverage should always compare the same amounts for each category from one low cost auto insurance carrier to another.
Deductibles are very important to identify before getting your quotes since these could affect what you will pay for your insurance premiums. Best practices and their corresponding criteria include:
- Deductible Relationships: While higher deductibles may mean lower premiums, you may end up paying unanticipated out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident. What can you afford to pay if your insurance limits are too low? Decide on the best coverage for your situation, even if that includes paying higher premiums to protect you in the event of a claim.
- Range Of Benefits: Individual companies may offer additional benefits over their competitors. Know what you want in an insurance provider and what you can live without before making your decision to purchase low cost auto insurance.
- Customer Service: One very important element in choosing coverage includes how knowledgeable and accessible customer care personnel are at a particular provider. Also, some online insurance companies such as IFA also offer insurance through independent agents, which may be more suitable for a particular lifestyle. When getting quotes, we recommend contacting our customer service department and all customer service departments you are considering. That way, you can make a meaningful assessment of staffs’ knowledge, friendliness and accessibility in the event you have questions or need to file a claim.
In sum, shopping for the best deal on low cost auto insurance includes comparison shopping for exact amounts of coverage across at least 4 providers, knowing what deductibles you require for your individual situation, as well as customer service and convenience in being served. IFA welcomes all comparisons for each state in which we sell in insurance. Please visit our free quote section posted on the home page of this website.
Hybrid Vehicles Expected To Be Half Of All New Cars By 2040
Energy-Storing Panels Could Be Key
Since hybrid vehicles have been introduced to the automobile market, they have done nothing but grow in terms of market share and stature. Even more, people will continue to want and buy more fuel-efficient vehicles to cut fuel costs and protect the environment in the process. In fact, it is projected that as much as 50% of all new cars made by 2040 will be hybrids. Cheap online car insurance has witnessed the growth in hybrid popularity and given the projections, even more of them will be covered by auto insurance companies in NJ, MD and PA. One technology currently being developed and likely to be added to the mix is that of energy storing panel hybrids.
Since conventional hybrids operate drawing energy from braking power, they must house a large and heavy battery to store that energy to later draw on while being driven. Even though the lithium-ion battery carries less weight than conventional batteries, hybrids still outweigh vehicles in their size range and class. Given this drawback, a number of auto manufacturers in Europe and Japan are developing energy-storing panels, which could replace or reduce reliance on the hybrid battery.
These energy-storing panels are not only lighter in weight (by about 15%) but also charge much faster than the lithium-ion battery. What’s more, as part of the vehicle’s structure, no additional space is required since they are part of the vehicle itself. The panels are made of a polymer fiber, carbon resin combination, making them strong yet pliable as a molded panel, besides being more efficient as a rapidly charging mechanism.
How Energy-Storing Panels Work
Two different operational models are currently being designed and developed. The European panel model relies on regenerative braking to create energy, similar to the battery-stored hybrid only without the heavy battery. In addition, the panels could be plugged in and recharged overnight, feeding energy back to the vehicle when in use. The Japanese model has taken their development further in that they are researching solar-capturing technology for their panels, which would ‘fuel’ the vehicle when in use, as well as continually generating electricity.
In each case, the energy-storing panels would be lightweight and reduce the overall vehicle weight, thereby making hybrid cars much more efficient and environmentally-friendly to operate. It is likely cheap online car insurance policyholders will see even more hybrid innovation by the year 2040 as manufacturers seek new ways to produce fuel efficient cars for consumers