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Car Insurance

A Blog About Driving and Car Insurance in the USA

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Folks @ Farmers Insurance Offer Some Great Tips About Tire and Wheel Safety

How often do you check your tire pressure? How often do you rotate your tires? When you fill your tires with air, do you make sure to fill them with the right amount of air pressure?

Many drivers don't give tire safety the attention it deserves. Some tips from the people @ Farmers Insurance GroupĀ® can help you to save money and much more. Some good reading can be found in the following clip from today's press release:

"While most vehicle owners provide regular maintenance to their cars' engines, batteries and other under-the-hood parts, a Farmers Insurance Group(R) survey shows that many drivers ignore one of the most important safety features on their cars: their tires.

In a national survey of 1,001 individuals, more than 29% of the respondents said they do not check the treads on their tires more than once a year, nor do they have their wheels aligned and tires balanced more than once every two years.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire failure and blowouts contribute to approximately 414 deaths and 10,275 non-fatal injuries each year. Under inflated tires are one of the leading causes of tire failure, and since tires may naturally lose air over time, maintaining tire pressure is considered integral to tire safety.

'It only takes about five minutes to check the safety of your tires,' said Farmers spokesperson Jeffrey C. Beyer, chief communications officer & senior vice president. 'By doing so, you can reduce the risk of a tire failure accident, increase the life of your tires, improve your car's handling and even save money on fuel.'

In the survey, nearly one-fourth (24 percent) said they do not check their tire pressure more than once a year, and 14 percent admitted they never check their tire pressure. Furthermore, one-third (33.3 percent) of those polled said they do not even keep a tire pressure gauge in their vehicle.

'You can't usually tell if your tires are properly inflated just by looking, kicking or pressing on the tire,' Farmers spokesperson Beyer said. 'It's a good safety practice to keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle at all times.'

To get an accurate reading, measure tire pressure when the tires are cold; that is, when the vehicle hasn't been driven for at least three hours. Even driving one mile can heat up the tires, making an accurate measurement difficult.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tires should be replaced when the tread wears down to 1/16 of an inch, which can be easily measured using a Lincoln penny. Insert the penny so that Lincoln's head is pointing toward the tread. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, it's time to replace the tire.

Farmers Insurance recommends the following tire safety checklist:

-- Keep a tire gauge in each vehicle and make sure tire valves have valve caps.

-- Check tire pressure at least once a month, including the spare. Always fill tires to the pounds per square inch (PSI) number recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

-- Inspect tires for uneven wear patterns on the treads, as well as for cracks or other signs of wear or trauma. Also, check for stones, glass, metal or other objects that may be wedged in the tread.

-- Check tire pressure before going on long trips. Do not "bleed" or reduce air pressure when tires are hot -- it is normal for pressures to build up while driving.

-- Make sure the wheels are aligned and the tires are properly balanced. Check your owner's manual for information on how often your tires should be rotated and the best pattern for rotation.

-- Old, worn tires can cause accidents. Replace any tires that have been damaged or that have badly-worn tread.

-- Do not overload a vehicle. Check the tire information placard or owner's manual for the maximum recommended load for the vehicle.

-- When towing a trailer, remember that some of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle.

The Farmers Insurance GroupĀ® companies comprise the nation's third-largest personal lines property & casualty insurance group -- helping to restore the lives of over 15 million customers when the unexpected happens. Headquartered in Los Angeles and doing business in 41 states, these companies provide homeowners, auto, business, life insurance, recreational products and financial services to more than 10 million households through 17,000 exclusive and independent agents and district managers. For an agent near you, call 1-800-FARMERS or visit www.farmers.com."

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An Interesting New Way To Stop Car Thieves In The UK

The UK has a new system available for stopping car theft. It's a system called Auto-txt; with auto-txt, if someone tries to start your car and your cell phone isn't nearby, then your car is automatically reported stolen. So even if a thief manages to steal your keys, chances are that he or she won't get too far with your car. Sounds pretty cool, eh?

Details below in the snippet from today's press release:

"A new car security system that identifies car owners through their mobile phones is set to revolutionize the fight against car thieves.

Auto-txt immediately identifies a car as stolen if the car is started with the keys but the mobile phone is not present. Most significantly, when the police are following a stolen car, Auto-txt allows them to track the vehicle and prevent it restarting using remote wireless technology once the vehicle ignition is turned off.

It is also the first stolen vehicle protection and tracking system to have been awarded Thatcham's Category 5 accreditation, the new insurance industry standard that is supported by the police. Thatcham is the motor insurance industry research centre which aims to develop research and standards which contain or reduce the cost of motor insurance claims.

Auto-txt, which is available now for car owners, has been developed by Richmond Design & Marketing (RDM) Group, a Coventry based automotive supplier that has just raised funds of GBP4.75 million to further develop and roll out the system.

The flaw with most current car tracking systems for stolen cars is that they are activated by the driver's key or a device on the key ring. As a result, thieves are now targeting people's car keys - then using them to drive off in their car. In fact, this is now the UK's fastest growing type of car theft - having risen by 80 per cent since 2002 according to the Association of British Insurers.

Category 5 requires that for improved security you need something else in addition to the keys to prove that you are the car's legal owner. In the case of Auto-txt this is via the BluetoothTM facility on a mobile telephone.

Once a stolen car is stationary with the engine switched off, police can authorize Auto-txt to disable the vehicle using remote control wireless technology - without having to be with the car.

Jim Hammond, of the Association of Chief Police Officers says: 'Being able to remotely prevent a vehicle from being started using a Cat 5 approved device will help us enormously in the fight against stolen vehicle crime and may lead to a reduction in the need for police pursuits. This is one of the most important components of the new Category 5 standard systems as far as we are concerned.

'Category 5 is now the only stolen vehicle theft standard that is both supported by the insurance industry and conforms to police policy,' he added.

The Auto-txt product is from GBP279 for the standard tracking system and from GBP349 if the system incorporates the remote disabling feature. To buy an Auto-txt system (Version 8) or for further advice call 0870-190-0002, alternatively visit the website www.auto-txt.com."

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