That is a great question that I am sure crosses every parent’s mind once their teen becomes a licensed driver. I am addressing this question in honor of National Teen Driver Safety Week, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-to 19-year-olds in the United States. In fact, in 2014 there were 2,679 teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 123,000 teens were injured. Parents need to take the time to talk with their teens about the many dangers of driving, according to the NHTSA. Those dangers include alcohol, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and extra passengers.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s NHTSA developed a campaign to help parents discuss five common sense, yet critical driving practices with their teenage drivers that can have the greatest beneficial impact to prevent a crash. The “5 to Drive” campaign gives parents and teens a simple, straightforward list that can help them talk about good driving skills and most importantly, prevent a tragedy before it happens.
The “5 to Drive” campaign encourages parents to discuss with their teens one safety topic each day during national teen driver safety week—or all at once. Try posting it on the refrigerator, leave a love note in the vehicle or include a reminder in their lunch. Most importantly, emphasize how much you love them and don’t want to lose them.
The “5 to Drive” campaign topics are:
1. No cell phone use or texting while driving. It’s against the law, however, in a survey by dosomething.org, 56% of teens said they talk on the phone while driving.
2. No extra passengers. The more passengers in the vehicle, the higher the risk of an accident. Try to limit one friend in the vehicle at a time. Peer pressure is a major contributing factor in teen crash deaths. Moreover, one NHTSA study found that a teenage driver was 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors when driving with one teenage passenger and three times more likely with multiple teenager passengers.
3. No speeding. Perhaps you want them to know that if your teen speeds and gets a ticket—there will be consequences. Insurance rates will go up and as a parent consider consequences affecting them such as paying for the increased insurance and losing driving privileges.
4. No alcohol. Also illegal for teens and they run the risk of losing their license with a DUI on their record, should they be stopped.
5. No driving or riding as a passenger without a seat belt. When the teen driver in a fatal crash was unrestrained, almost four-fifths of that driver’s teen passengers were unrestrained as well.
Lack of experience, judgment and maturity, as well as peer pressure contribute to poor choices among teen drivers. Teens also suffer from “It won’t happen to me” syndrome or delusions of “I’m a great driver!” It is only for those reasons that you need to discuss these teen driver statistics with your son or daughter:
• More than half of the teen occupants of passenger vehicles who died in crashes were not wearing seat belts.
• Speeding was a factor in 35 percent of fatal crashes involving a teen driver.
• At least 12 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.
• Despite the fact that all states have Zero Tolerance Laws for drinking and driving under age 21, 505 people nationwide died in crashes in which drivers 18 and under had alcohol in their systems.
• Only 44% of teens said they would definitely speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them. Make it comfortable for your teen to know if they don’t feel safe in a friend’s vehicle, it is okay to call you for a ride, no matter what time of night.
Another tip and manner in which you can be a role model, is to allow enough time to get to your destination. If you’re running late, do you speed? Instill in your teen that it is more important to arrive a little late than never arrive because of a crash, but more importantly, allow enough time to get to school or other destination on time.
Lastly, there are devices you can purchase and apps you can download to monitor your teen’s location and driving. That is certainly an option and an investment worth making. Check out all of the tips and devices on the web. You’ll be glad you did. After all, nothing is more important than the safe return of your teen every time they leave the house.
All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota wish you well as you are charged with the most difficult job in the world—being a parent, particularly to a teen. I am the parent of both a son and daughter and I understand the challenges, too!
As a parent, safety is the most important thing to me when purchasing a vehicle. What information is out there that I can trust about safety ratings?
There are two objective and unbiased national organizations that conduct safety ratings on all vehicles and this information is also available on line. The two organizations are the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (http://www.iihs.org) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (http://www.nhtsa.gov/). The National Highway Safety Administration has a special web site for rating vehicles based on crash tests. We are happy to report that the two most affordable Toyotas are listed among the 2017 honor of a 5-star rating—the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Yaris. The Toyota Prius with its new safety equipment is soon to be tested.
For the 2016 models, Jaffarian Volvo Toyota models were listed in nearly every category of IIHS – all as Top Safety Picks + as follows:
• Minicars—Toyota Scion iA
• Small cars— Toyota Prius
• Mid-size —Toyota Prius V and Toyota Camry
• Mid-size luxury— Volvo S60 and Volvo V60
• Large Cars— Toyota Avalon
• Luxury Large Cars— Volvo S80
• Small SUVs—Toyota RAV4
• Mid-size SUVs—Toyota Highlander
• Mid-size Luxury SUVs –Volvo XC 60 and XC 90
According to the IIHS, to qualify for 2016 TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests and an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. Models that earn TOP SAFETY PICK+ or TOP SAFETY PICK are the best vehicle choices for safety within size categories.
Size and weight influence occupant protection in serious crashes. Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones.
We are proud to sell both Toyota and Volvo, because overall they rank highest for safety. My grandfather focused on quality many years ago when he researched automobile manufacturers. He started with Volvo and then added Toyota. Please visit us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota and we will help you choose the safest vehicle in the category that best suits your needs and budget.
What are the most important elements of scheduled vehicle check-ups? My challenge is evaluating preventive maintenance recommendations while not wanting to pay for work that could be deferred.
That is a common challenge and we are committed to helping you make an informed decision. Just like managing our own health, there are important elements of a vehicle that you want to maintain regularly to protect your safety and your pocketbook. Preventive maintenance will save you money and the hassle of being stranded or at a minimum inconvenienced by having to ‘force’ repairs to be made to be back on the road. Following the recommended maintenance schedule will also keep your warranty protection intact.
Below are the 6 Items to Maintain and to Not Defer Taking Action If Identified to be an Issue:
1. Oil changes and fluids need to be checked every 5-10,000 miles, depending on the type of oil and manufacturer’s recommendation. Most newer models use synthetic oil and only require an oil change every 10,000 miles. Though synthetic oil costs more, it needs changing less often and it lubricates better, creates less sludge, performs better in extreme temperatures and is better for your engine, according to AAA experts. The engine is the heart of the vehicle. It needs to be taken care of.
2. Brakes: Replace brake pads early. By replacing brake pads early for less than a hundred dollars, you can help prevent expensive damage to the rotors.
3. Tires: Check your tires and keep them properly inflated. Not only do worn or improperly inflated tires result in lower gas mileage, they are dangerous, especially in poor driving conditions. Your brakes and tires are among the most important safety mechanisms for your vehicle.
4. Be certain that all of your lights are properly working, including brake lights, turn signals, tail lights and headlamps. If they are not, there is a good chance you’ll be stopped by the police which may cost you in terms of a citation. Don’t wait for your yearly inspection to check them. Keep the lens on your headlights clean by using a polishing compound or glass cleaner. Headlight lenses start deteriorating in about five years, according to a recent AAA study, making it harder to see at night and causing glare for oncoming drivers.
5. Replace a dirty cabin air or engine filter at least yearly or about every 12,000 miles. It’s a low-cost item and keeps the air in your vehicle clean. For those who suffer from allergies, it is even more important to change it yearly as it collect allergens along with dirt.
6. Keep the body clean to prevent rust. This is something you can do yourself, at the local carwash or for convenience, bring it to the Jaffarian Auto Spa. We offer a full menu of services including protecting the exterior and undercarriage.
So how do you know if you really need work done? Most of our customers are not mechanics or car people like we are. We understand that and are committed to investing in certified technicians, technology and processes that will help our customers have peace of mind that what is being recommended is needed. Below are two ways we SHOW you why the work is recommended:
1. Video – a certified technician at Jaffarian completes a review of your vehicle and records a brief video for you. This video is sent to you via text confirming the work you asked to be done (let’s say your vehicle is in for an oil change) and then will share with you an assessment of your tires, brakes, and overall vehicle condition. If any items are discovered in this initial diagnostic, the technician will identify them and briefly explain the recommendation. Your video will conclude with affirmation of the work to be done or request you contact the dealership to discuss additional recommendations. This provides you with visual confirmation and verbal confirmation of what the technical is seeing and enables you to speak in more detail with an advisor and the technician to better understand, evaluate your options and make an informed decision.
2. Diagnostic reports – in addition to the video, upon picking up your vehicle, your service advisor will review with you written diagnostic reports completed on your vehicle. These highly visual, easy to understand reports are another source of information about your vehicle’s overall health. Jaffarian has invested in state-of-the-art technology for alignment checks. Many people only think they need an alignment if their steering wheel is noticeably ‘crooked’ when driving. While that is an indicator, front and back alignment issues can present themselves without detection. Poor alignment can be minor, but it may also cause serious issues such as uneven tire wear.
During your service or as you check out, you will be informed and advised of what services can wait and what needs attention for your safety and for proper operation of your vehicle. At the Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Service Departments, we are proud of our Service Advisors and our certified technicians and it is our commitment to share with you all the available information to help you make an informed decision. AAA has declared October Car Care Month, with it being a great time to have your vehicle serviced before winter. Jaffarian Service Departments are open six full days a week for your convenience and we have an on-line scheduler as well. Check out our service specials online to protect your wallet and . Like Jaffarian, AAA experts are believers in the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
In addition to recommending regular preventative maintenance, I also recommend you carefully choose where you service your vehicle. Are certified technicians working on your vehicle? Are genuine parts being used to keep your “Toyota a Toyota” and your “Volvo a Volvo”? Do business with people you like and trust so you feel good about the advice they are sharing and the supporting detail they are providing to put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to properly maintaining your vehicle.
Enjoy this crisp autumn weather!
You usually suggest some interesting autumn day trips. Any new ideas this year for a day trip in this beautiful weather?
I would be happy to recommend some beautiful and fun places to visit with the wonderful cause of supporting local farms. This year more than ever, we believe it is important to support our local farmers who have experienced many challenges given the drought conditions. Like Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, an independent, family-owned dealership for four generations, most farms in the area are family-owned, independent businesses. What better place to buy fresh apples, baked goods, vegetables, and pumpkins, than a local farm?
For fun things to do for the family close to home:
Smolak Farms at 315 So. Bradford St. in North Andover (http://www.smolakfarms.com/news-events) offers so many activities geared toward children—apple-picking, corn maze, pumpkin patch, ice cream, American Girl Parties, hay rides, Halloween treats, pies and candy apples and more so much more!
Roger’s Spring Hill Garden and Farm Center (http://rogersspringhill.com) at 1269 Boston Road, Bradford, Mass. Has been a family favorite for 25 years. They offer pick your own apples and pumpkins, school tours, hay rides and a gift shop. Check their web site for special events.
Cider Hill Farm (http://www.ciderhill.com) at 45 Fern Avenue in Amesbury has the best cider—both hot or cold! You can pick your own apples, visit the bakery, greenhouse and farm store. They offer hay rides, fresh popped kettle corn, cider donuts and caramel apples. The farm store offers meat, maple products, local dairy products and vegetables.
Mann Orchards (http://www.mannorchards.com) at 27 Pleasant Valley Street in Methuen by The Loop is by far my favorite place for cider and pies. They are the most popular in the area for Thanksgiving pies in various fruit flavors! They have a wonderful bakery and great sandwiches in addition to gift baskets. They offer farm to table salads, sandwiches and soups. What a treat-the aroma of apples fills their showroom!
Tendercrop Farm at 108 High St. on Rt. 1A (http://www.tendercropfarm.com) at the Newburyport-Newbury line has a wonderful market with their own fruits and vegetables, meats, soups, cheeses and gourmet, prepared foods and bakery items, in addition to a wonderful gift shop full of home décor and locally grown dried flowers. You can pick your own apples.
Ingaldsby Farm on 14 Washington St. in Boxford, offers pick-your-own apples on weekends, pies, fresh cut flowers, pumpkins, vegetables and fruits. There are small farms animals roaming around too!
Parlee Farms (http://parleefarms.com) in Tyngsborough offers pick-your-own berries, peaches, apples, pumpkins and flowers from spring through fall. They also have hayrides and visit Mary’s Country Kitchen and Bakery.
Nashoba Valley Winery and Orchard (http://nashobawinery.com) in Bolton, Mass., offers a corn maze, food truck event, apple picking, music, wine tasting, a restaurant and function rooms with loads of special events this autumn.
Close-by in New Hampshire:
Applecrest Farms (http://applecrest.com) in Hampton Falls, N.H. is the oldest apple-picking farm in the nation and celebrating their 103rd anniversary. There is also a farm-to-table bistro. Like us, they are a four-generation family business.
Mack’s Apples at 230 Mammoth Road in Londonderry is easy to find off Route 93 for apple picking and pumpkins galore!
Please check out this NECN article on “Where to Go Apple Picking in New England?” listing too many farms to name in various parts of the state and throughout New England at:
A great sign of Fall is the arrival of fairs and festivals. The Topsfield Fair is a great event to enjoy the season with its exhibits, rides, shows and special events! It starts tomorrow and runs through October 10th. There are so many beautiful places to visit locally as you enjoy Fall in New England. Whether you head to the Cape, Western Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont or Rhode Island, buy local and support local. And of course, make sure your vehicle is serviced so you enjoy your drive and are safe and sound.
Before you head out on a road trip, you may want to get your vehicle serviced so there is no chance of a break-down, or to get an oil change to keep your vehicle under warranty terms. Jaffarian Volvo Toyota’s Service Department is open six days a week for your convenience. You can schedule your appointment 24/7 using our online scheduler or call 888-355-1041.
Be sure to take great photos to share your Fall outings! Share them with us on our Jaffarian Facebook page and add other local farms that you have visited! If email is easier, email us a photo to AskGaryJ@gmail.com Perhaps you can even include your vehicle in the photo! Set your GPS and go! Enjoy the drive in this beautiful weather as well as time with your family in a meaningful way!
Are there any new laws or reports on an infant facing forward or backward, in the front or back seat in a car seat?
The laws are not new, but your question raises an important issue that warrants reminders – especially this week being National Child Passenger Safety Week. One of my team members commented on driving past a car on Route 128 just last week that had two unrestrained young children in the back seat of the vehicle. One young child was trying to throw things out the open window of the vehicle. While thankfully not common, this situation is very dangerous.
Every 33 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a crash. Fortunately, deaths and injuries are frequently prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts. Of those children ages 8 and under who died in vehicle crashes in 2014 (the latest stats available), 26 percent were not restrained by an age-appropriate device such as an infant seat, booster seat or seat belt. Children should ride in a vehicle back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
The requirements are as follows:
• Infants – from newborn to two years old need to sit in the back seat and be in rear facing car seats. This dramatically reduces the number of injuries or severity of injuries in case of an accident.. Rear facing provides an infant with additional support for his tiny head, neck, and spine, according to pediatric specialists. Premature newborns can be placed in special car beds made for preemies. They key is not only to place the infant in the rear-facing seat, but to secure it properly by tightening the strap. There are videos on line to teach parents how to properly secure the car seat.
• Children Ages 2 – 5 can be front facing but should remain safely secured in the back seat. It is recommended to check with your pediatrician, as smaller children may be in a rear-facing seat longer and depending on the child’s size may be safer in a car seat as opposed to moving to a booster seat.
• Children 5 and up to age 13 should remain in the back seat for safety reasons. Specifically, airbags may injure children given the force of when an air bag is deployed. It is one of the many times I’ve used the old saying, “Better safe than sorry.” Children vary considerably in terms of height and weight during this age range so it is advised to only move out of a booster seat only when the child can be securely fastened by the seatbelt.
“Safety First” covers the Child Passenger Restraint Laws in Massachusetts and New Hampshire: Children must ride in federally approved child safety seats until they are at least 8 years old or over 57 inches tall (4′ 9″). Children older than 8 years old or taller than 57 inches tall must wear safety belts.
Most Police Departments and some hospital offer safety seat checks by appointment. If you are looking for one in Massachusetts, visit the Mass. Department of Executive Office of Public Safety and Security website for locations in your area by clicking here.
Some safety seat checks in the Jaffarian Volvo Toyota area include:
Lawrence General Hospital at 978-683-4000.
Haverhill Police Department at 978-373-1212
Merrimac Police Department at 978-346-8321.
If you are not 100% sure your child’s safety seat is properly fastened or used correctly, do not hesitate to ask for a consultation. Frequently there are free checks across the region to assist parents, grandparents and caregivers in ensuring their solution is safe and sound. All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota want your children and infants to be safe. As a certified dealership for both Volvo and Toyota and achieving the designation of IIHS (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety) Top Safety Picks for most models, we are proud of the safety records and innovations of both car manufacturers. Volvo is also piloting a program to include built-in passenger safety seats. We will keep you posted on this innovation.
How can I avoid becoming a victim of road rage when I’m the one who drives the speed limit and some people get impatient with me?
I was quite discouraged to read the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report stating that nearly 80% of drivers expressed some anger or aggression on the road this past year; and 7% of U.S. drivers engaged in some extreme form of anger which we know as “road rage.” This term refers to drivers who confront other drivers or ram their vehicles into other vehicles purposely or even try to run them off the road.
Surprisingly, the AAA report found that drivers in the Northeast were more like to yell, honk, and gesture angrily at other drivers than drivers in other parts of the country. In fact, Northeast drivers were 30% more likely to inappropriately gesture than drivers living elsewhere. In other studies, the cities with the most aggressive drivers are Miami, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. It is easy to understand that cities with their dense populations, traffic congestion, cultural diversity and various age groups would have the most aggressive drivers. But this also happens in local cities and towns every day.
Other studies found the road rage problem to be even more serious than screaming, swearing or gesturing. They found:
• 1 out of every 2 drivers who are the recipient of an aggressive behavior while they are behind the wheel will respond the same way.
• Over a 7-year study period, there were over 200 murders associated directly to road rage. 37% of the aggressive driving incidents involved at least one firearm.
• More than 12,000 preventable injuries have occurred because of road rage incidents.
• 2% of those who have someone driving around them aggressively have admitted to trying to run that vehicle off of the road.
Most often, experts believe road rage is based on people who have problems in other areas of their lives and the anger or frustration manifests itself while driving. In most cases, the victims of road rage either did nothing wrong or something very minor occurred that would not annoy the average driver. According to Lloyd Albert, Senior V.P. of Government Affairs for AAA, “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”
If you drive too slowly, or perhaps just drive the speed limit, you may find there is an impatient person behind you that will purposely tailgate. If you stop short, or even just stop at a red light or stop sign, you run the risk of being rammed from behind. Because of the stress of daily lives, most people in the AAA study believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than it was even three years ago; and 90% felt that aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their own personal safety. It is a simple problem to understand—more traffic, more stress, less time to get somewhere or do what we need to do—more road rage.
While I dislike stereotyping, studies show male and younger drivers 18-39 were the most likely to engage in aggressive behavior, particularly males 16-19. Also, male drivers are more than three times more likely to get out of their vehicles and confront another driver or ram another vehicle than a female driver. The more aggressive drivers are also more likely to run through a red light, speed or cut off other vehicles on purpose. Others who exhibit road rage are often victims of depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem. They are “acting out” while driving.
Now that we understand the scope and cause of the problem, there are ways to avoid being a road rage victim by doing the following:
• Don’t intentionally brake or slow down, forcing the person behind you to swerve, change direction or suddenly change their speed and have to brake.
• Be tolerant, patient and even forgiving of a stranger who may be having a bad day. Don’t take anything personally. It’s not about you or even your driving skills in most cases.
• Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver.
• Don’t make any rude gestures.
• Maintain the proper amount of distance between your vehicle and the next.
• Don’t block someone from being able to change lanes.
• Do not change lanes without signaling.
• Do not keep your high beams on when passing another driver.
• Distracted drivers (talking on the cell phone or reading texts) and slowing down, swerving, etc. is a cause for others to become angry with those drivers. As I often write about the dangers of distracted driving, this is another reason to drive without distraction—as to not annoy other drivers who may become enraged.
• Always stay in your vehicle with the windows up. Contact the police if you feel your safety is being threatened. Don’t argue with or provoke another driver who may have wronged you.
Understand that none of us are perfect; we can all make mistakes on the road. When someone annoys you on the road, take a deep breath and assume it was not intentional. We are all unique and not everyone has the same driving habits. Perhaps they are upset, lost a loved one, just received bad news —it’s about their issues—not yours.
All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota hope that you are not the victim or road rage nor the cause of road rage or aggression while driving. We want you to be safe on the roads and enjoy these beautiful late summer days.
I like to do the maintenance on my vehicles. As vehicles become more complex, what maintenance can I realistically do myself?
This is a great question. My brothers and I grew up tinkering with cars and trucks. We completely understand the person who likes to service and maintain their own vehicle. But, as you noted, vehicles are becoming more complicated incorporating advanced technologies and that does present challenges to the do-it-yourselfer.
According to AAA, the objective expert in the consumer automotive industry, the five maintenance projects they recommend for a do-it-yourselfer, that have not been significantly affected by technology, are the following:
- Oil changes
- Replacing air and cabin filters
- Replacing the drive belt
- Replacing the hose; and
- Replacing engine coolant and windshield washer fluid.
It is important to note that you may be able to perform the above services and be good to go. The challenge is if there are other issues that may be difficult to detect without the proper diagnostics to read other sensors and indicators.
According to the AAA expert “Car Doctor,” John Paul, new technologies are affecting typical maintenance jobs. That is why if your vehicle has a service need, it is best to trust an expert like the certified mechanics at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota. We now leverage video to walk around your vehicle, identify the item or purpose for your service and use video to show you cause and effect whenever possible. Whether you like working on vehicles or have no interest, our commitment is to leverage technology to be able to show you what service is needed and why to give you peace of mind and confirmation of the work to be performed.
The “Car Doctor,” John Paul recommends the following maintenance and repairs are performed by an expert:
- Batteries— Some luxury vehicles now have a power adjustment system. If this is not set correctly, it may wear down sooner than needed.
- Brakes— You may change your own pads, however dangerous it is to be under the vehicle, but you must be so careful not to get even a speck of dirt into an ABS system that could trigger a warning light if it makes its way into the hydraulics.
- Fuel filter— New model vehicles have filters that require tools that the average do-it-yourselfer wouldn’t own.
- Headlights – you may have done that in the past, however, now it is difficult to get into the headlight socket. New headlights, known as “adaptive headlights,” need system reprogramming. If not installed properly, they may stop turning on. This type of headlight, when properly installed, helps to improve visibility around corner, so they are very beneficial.
- Tire rotation— There are sensors that monitor tire pressure. These sensors are very expensive and we frequently see customers who have damaged them or serviced at outlets where the technician was not properly trained. At best, If not reset properly, drivers could mistakenly be alerted to low pressure. Worse case, you are facing a significant expense to repair important technology that your vehicle included for your safety.
I am not one to discourage someone who enjoys working on their vehicle! However, as vehicles become more technologically advanced, the reality is that service and maintenance has also become more complicated. While working on a vehicle is for many enjoyable and a hobby, the complex technology presents challenges that may make the hobby frustrating and potentially expensive. Also keep in mind the importance of your own personal safety. Many people are injured working on vehicles at home because they do not have the proper equipment or lifts properly anchored.
If you enjoy working on your vehicle, come on in and visit our Parts Department to get the genuine parts you need to keep your Toyota a Toyota or your Volvo a Volvo. If you need service, you can schedule online 24/7 or call us at (888) 355-1041. We’re here to listen to your service needs and provide you with the best solution cost-effectively. We shop our competitors to be certain our prices are competitive. Check out our “Dare to Compare” board in the service area and online.