Hi, I'm Debbie Nol, and I married a car guy. My 14 years of working at Arie Nol Auto Center has been an incredible journey, building amazing relationships with customers and learning so much from our experienced technicians.
Now I'm launching a blog to share what I've learned about cars and some of my most memorable customer stories. Hopefully you will find my blog both helpful and entertaining!
There is a lot of chatter about self-driving or, autonomous cars. There are articles in trade magazines talking about their possible capabilities and what being a passenger in an autonomous car may look like.
April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month. It could be called ‘Pay attention, you’re driving a giant chunk of metal!’ month.
Most people that have a cell phone have done it. You’re driving down the road and your phone notifies you of an incoming text, email or call. You know you shouldn’t respond but you do. I’ve done it. I think I have all my attention on the road. C’mon, I’ve been driving for years! I can multitask. I can handle glancing down at my phone and watching the road.
But science and statistics prove we can’t. In my perusing of the vast knowledge base that is Google, one study actually said that the better you think you are at multitasking, the worse you probably are at it. And no, you aren’t the exception. If you are a teenager, you aren’t good at it either. Even though you’ve grown up with cell phones, etc. Your brain still isn’t capable of processing a text and driving at the same time. One of those things will get all of your attention and it’s probably not the road in front of you.
It seems that every day there is an accident blamed on a distracted driver. I don’t want it to be me. I don’t want to think that the last thing I do in my life is text, “I’m stopping to get cat food before we run out.”. My cats may think that it was worth it but my family wouldn’t.
This winter hasn’t been too bad. The roads however, started out bad and winter weather always makes them worse. We’ve been having some customers come in after reporting hitting pot holes. We’ve all done it. Driving down the road and all of the sudden you are trying to avoid a pothole without hitting the cars around us. As your tire rolls into the hole in the road, you calmly begin hoping there is no damage.
Maybe not so calmly, because unfortunately, those holes in the road can cause a lot of damage. According to the annual TRIP study, the average Michigan motorist pays an additional $686.00 annually in repair and fuel dollars due to the bad roads.
Your best bet is obviously to avoid the potholes. If that isn’t possible and you’ve hit one with your car, you need to pull over. Take a look at your tire and look for damage. Is there tread damage or a bulge on the side of the tire? Look at the rim of the tire and see if there is any damage. If you don’t see any damage, then drive your car. Does your steering feel off or is there a pull to one side? If your vehicle feels or drives differently, you should get it checked out.
An automotive shop isn’t going to think you’re being over cautious. We’ve seen far too many vehicles that have had serious damage that made the car unsafe to drive. I believe it is always better to be safe than sorry and it also gives you piece of mind.
We have a customer that has been driving for 58 years and has never gotten a ticket. Not one for speeding or parking, nothing. He also has never been involved in an accident. When he stops in to chat with Jeff and they have an ongoing conversation about this milestone.
When you watch people on the road today, it's amazing how much driving has changed over the years. When Bob started driving, drivers paid attention to the road. There were no cell phones, GPS technology, Starbucks coffee in the cup holder, no distractions.
We hear all the stories about someone's last text before they crashed their car, or the “almost” accidents when someone chatting on their cell phone cuts another driver off on the road. Sometimes we are that person and understand what we're doing when we look up and realize we weren't paying attention to our driving as much as we thought we were.
I read something when I was a teenager that said you should drive as if every car on the road was out to hit you. Defensive driving requires eyes on the road. I've been guilty of paying attention to something else in my car or reaching for my cell phone whenever I have a text. We all have this idea that we are the exception and that we’re perfectly capable of multitasking and doing several things at once. Research shows that we don't actually multi-task but switch our attention rapidly from one task to another. If you are texting, you are not paying attention to your driving. You may think you are but you're not.
Bob has reminded me that our job on the road is to drive. Not schedule appointments, take selfies or post to Facebook and Instagram. Ironically, if I answer a text from one of my kids or my husband while driving I put myself and those on the road at risk. Somehow we managed our lives before cellphones, and we should revert back to that time when in the car.
Congratulations to Bob on a stellar driving record. He's a good reminder of what you can accomplish by being a responsible driver.