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    Should You Have an Extra Set of Car Keys?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Fri, Aug 19, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

    why_to_keep_an_extra_set_of_keys_andrew_g_gordon_norwell_ma.jpgHas anything like this ever happened to you???

    We were just settling into a day on the boat when I held a pair of sneakers over the side to empty out all the sand that was in them and out fell my car keys…..down into the bottom of the lake.  It all happened so fast that I did not have a second to dive in after them. 

    However, did I let this ruin my day?  Not a chance.  The reason being that I knew that in my locked vehicle back on the shore was a set of keys inside it; all safe and sound. I knew that when we got back in at the end of the day, I could call AAA .  They came out within 50 minutes and got into my car within 3 minutes. 

    The moral of this story is to have an extra set of keys made and keep them somewhere that you can get to them, especially if you are driving out of state.  Having a spare set in the drawer at home will not do you much good if you are miles from home.    My day may have ended a little earlier if I had the set of keys in a special magnetic key holder under the chassis of my car (but I have had those fall off in the past).  What I am going to do is make a set of keys and wire tie them under my car this time as well as a set inside!!

    My ending thought is that it is better to be safe than sorry; better to have an extra than nothing at all!!!

    Find out why AAA is helpful here.

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    Tags: AAA, auto safety, car theft

    Drunk Driving: Why Do People Do It?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Mon, Sep 02, 2013 @ 08:07 AM

    Drunk driving. Something that injures and kills innocent people everyday. Something that can be prevented. Something that doesn't have to happen, but still does.

    In the United States, one person dies from an alcohol-related car crash every 53 minutes or so. Think about that:  every hour at least one person dies. On average, one person gets injured in an alcohol-related car crash every 90 seconds. That's a minute and a half. By the time you finish reading this article, somebody has been injured.

    It is estimated that 1 out of every 2,000 road trips taken in the United States is driven under the influence of alcohol. How many cars do you pass on the way to work, to school, to the grocery store? Although time of day is definitely a factor, the statistics remain the same...there's a .05% chance that any driver is under the influence. Don't let that driver be you.

    Repeat Offenders in Massachusetts

    If you think driving drunk is scary, think of all the repeat offenders out there. They drive around completely intoxicated in one of mankind's greatest weapon: the car.

    In Massachusetts we have more than 20,000 three-time repeat offenders who have been caught. There are probably several thousand more out there who repeatedly offend this safety precaution that go uncaught and unpunished.

    Every time a drunk driver hits the road they do nothing but endanger. Uncaught drunk drivers may not have caused mayhem and chaos, but every time they go out and drive around drunk they risk safety and lives, including their own. Repeat offenders are lucky to be alive and/or unharmed; it's not typical for a drunk driver to have a clean, safe experience.

    Why Do It?

    Never drive drunk in your vehicle get auto insurance from andrew g gordon incAlthough you have the repeat offenders who drive drunk all the time because they feel invincible, at one point these drivers had to make their decision to do so. And what influenced their decision? Alcohol definitely had something to do with it.

    Alcohol influences judgement and decision making skills - everybody knows that - but not everybody knows how.

    In our bodies we have these chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters travel through neurons and synapses in our body to elicit reactions from us. Adrenaline that you get when doing something daring, such as skydiving, is an example of a neurotransmitter. Serotonin is another neurotransmitter that is associated highly with happiness.

    Alcohol also has a chemical makeup. The typical alcohol contains a hydroxyl group OH that is composed of oxygen and hydrogen. Other groups may be attached, but this isn't a chemistry class and you don't need to know that.

    The chemicals in alcohol interfere with proper processing of the other neurotransmitters in the body. This causes signals to not be fully delivered and otherwise messed up.

    The part of the brain does that performs the decision making is the frontal lobe. That's the very front of your head. If you place your hand on your forehead, your frontal lobe is just centimeters from your fingers, and is also protected by a thick skull. However, if you let alcohol inside your brain, no skull thick enough can prevent you from making terrible decisions using an impaired frontal lobe.

    How to Prevent Drunk Driving

    Drunk driving can be prevented so easily. All it takes is for a drunk person to not drive. Planning how to get home and how to do so safely before any event that involves alcohol is the key.  Some key elements of the plan include:

    • Having a designated driver (no alcohol for him/her)
    • If everybody is drinking, ask someone not attending the event to pick you up
    • Go to the event with the idea in mind that you will not be driving.  Being mentally prepared while sober will help you keep that idea true even when alcohol is in your system
    • Hosts may take away car keys so people do not have the option of driving themselves home
    • Hosts may have possible sleeping arrangements prepared just in case people are unable to leave
    • If you are trying to prevent others from drinking and driving, read our blog here which contains six easy steps

    Never drive reckless after drinking alcohol stay safe with auto insurance from Andrew G gordon incOther Effects of Alcohol

    People make the decision to drive under the influence because of impaired judgement. But other alcoholic effects occur while driving.

    If we go back to the whole neurotransmitter scene, we can figure out that all actions and muscle movements that people make are caused by these neurotransmitters. Driving requires mental and physical ability, and alcohol affects both. Judgement is affected (you might misinterpret a red light as green and drive right through a busy intersection) as well as physical ability (slower reaction times; you can't brake fast enough and end up crashing, you cannot turn down a side road, etc.).

    Legal Actions

    Because drunk driving is such a safety hazard, there are severe legal ramifications for doing so. The events and citations that could occur include

    • Vehicular homicide: killing a person using a motor vehicle while the driver is drunk
    • DUI Child Endangerment: operating a motor vehicle while drunk when a child is in the car
    • If your blood alcohol is over .08, you are considered "legally" drunk
    • Having an open container of alcohol in the car

    Penalties for these different crimes vary, but they are all very severe. They can range from a suspended license to a felony. For a list of Massachusetts alcohol-related infractions click here. Read our blog here that outlines the difference between a DUI and an OUI.

    The Trend

    If you are under the age of 21, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have a "zero tolerance" law that makes it illegal to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in your system.  In Massachusetts, sobriety check points are allowed.  These steps, along with stiffer penalties and a state wide mass media campaign against drunk driving have lowered MA fatalities due to alcohol impairment by more than 60% in the last 30+ years.  To keep this trend going in the right direction, the National Transportation Safety Board is pushing for a lower impairment threshold of .05%. 

    To discuss this topic further as it relates to your automobile insurance, please call the Gordon Atlantic Insurance professionals toll free at 1-800-649-3252.  Prefer to type instead of talk?  Use the form at the top left of this blog for a return phone call or email.  

    The Problem

    If you have a drunk driving event, there are additional regulatory burdens, including proof that you have liability insurance in the future.  There is a great article off site about the SR-22 at Consumer Advocates, linked here:


    Other driving related regulatory info

    If you are new to Massachusetts or are simply registering plates for a new vehicle or getting a new title, be sure to check out our article on the Massachusetts RMV-1 form.


    Contact Us

    Tags: DUI, safety, car accident, drunk driving, oui, auto safety, child endangerment, injuries, states, massachusetts, car safety

    Older Drivers and Emerging Vehicle Safety Technologies (Part 3)

    Posted by Guest Blogger

    Thu, Aug 08, 2013 @ 08:38 AM

    This article is third in a series of three articles. For the first part, click here. For the second part, click here.

    A False Sense of Security?

    Stay safe on the road with auto insurance for your elder driver car from Andrew G Gordon IncWhen these hi-tech vehicles are purchased by an older (or younger!) adult, what training will that person receive in the use of these modern-day advancements? Will the training be unique to the individual's cognitive and sensory abilities? To their vision and hearing? To their flexibility and reaction-times?

    Will the new car owner be required to train for x-amount of hours in a simulator? Will they receive an on-road demonstration by the salesperson? Or will the new owner simply be told "Be sure to download the video on how to use your car's new forward collision warning system... with auto brake!"

    Are these new technologies going to cause drivers to rely on emerging safety systems so much that they will feel freer to look away from the road, lessening their defensive driving skills? Will they give an older driver (and their adult children?) a false sense of security that will encourage driving during weather or traffic conditions that they would not normally subject themselves to?

    Successfully Morphing Older Drivers and New Vehicle Technologies

    In defense of older drivers, earlier this month this Missouri State University released a study titled "Study shows seniors navigate assistive technology with ease". Although the study did not specifically refer to driving, the researchers concluded that "Those aged 65 and older are accessing and effectively utilizing technology on a daily basis". That's certainly a good start. It is also gratifying to know that engineers from out most respected and trusted automobile manufacturers are very well aware of this interfacing concern and are working diligently to improve our likelihood of success in the world of new automobile technologies.

    In a 2009 report by the National Academy of Engineering, researchers explain "New in-vehicle systems create particular challenges for older drivers. Paradoxically, even though older drivers may find it more difficult to use these devices, they are likely to be the first to encounter them, because innovations are often initially introduced to high-end cars, which are usually brought by more affluent (and usually older) costumers. Thus the more mature driver population is often the first to encounter still immature systems."

    It is important to remember, too, that the American Automobile Association (AAA) has informed us that seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7-10 years, that's with or without intelligent brake lights.

    Managing the Situation

    On January 15, 2009, US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger successfully landed Flight 1549 in the frigid, wintery waters of the Hudson River, effectively saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew members onboard. Since the "Miracle on the Hudson", Captain Sullenberger wrote the New York Times best-seller Highest Duty, which is a memoir of his life and of the events surrounding 1549.

    In the book's chapter titled Managing the Situation, Captain Sullenberger writes about the application of emerging technologies in the cockpit. Sullenberger recounts a conversation he once had with Earl Weiner, Ph.D., a former Air Force pilot turned renowned aviation safety expert. Dr. Weiner explained that he was once asked to speak at a conference on "the role of the pilot in the automated cockpit", and offered the following:

    "Whether you're flying by hand or using technology to help, you're ultimately flying the airplane with your mind. The question is, How many different levels of technology do you want to place between your brain and the actual control surfaces?"

    There appears to be a strong correlation between Dr. Weiner's assessment of cockpit technology and the recent advances in emerging automobile technologies, and if nothing else, his comments are certainly cause for further consideration.

    Drive carefully with elder drivers and auto insurance for your car from Andrew G Gordon IncProceeding With Caution

    Tom Brokaw referred to older Americans as "Our Greatest Generation", and he was exactly right. Conceptually, the older drivers this article refers to includes individuals that fought for our country in world wars, they ended racial segregation, strategically maneuvered our country through the Cold War, put Americans on the moon, built the steel industry, and brought us the Golden Age of Television.

    Members of the Greatest Generation include such icons as Mickey Rooney, Bob Hope, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ross Perot, Jim Nabors, Barbara Walters and Neil Armstrong, and just as importantly... many of our parents and grandparents. We owe a duty to our older drivers not to leave them behind in the wake of new and advancing technologies. The adaptation of these new advancements need to involve our older drivers from the very early stages of initial concept, to product development, and lastly to successful training, acceptance, implementation and proper interfacing.

    These are very exciting times for new vehicle safety technologies. The landscape of in-vehicle technologies is changing daily as new components continue to be introduced. These advances, combined with roadway design improvements, the development of advanced traffic management systems, raised awareness and education, and a better understanding of driver factors will all work together to make our highways and communities safer places to live, work, and recreate for the next generation.

    The meshing of new technologies with current driver skills and abilities must be handled with care for both reasons of safety, and for reasons of taking care of those that have spent their lives laying the ground work so that we could enjoy the development of these new safety technologies in the first place. We wouldn't be where we are today without the miraculous achievements of "Our Greatest Generation".

    This article is third in a series of three articles.

    In addition to being a published author and an expert in older driver safety, Matt Gurwell is also the Founder & CEO of Keeping Us Safe, an international organization that provides practical, real-life solutions to older drivers and their families.

    Read Full Article Here

    Matt Gurwell Keeping Us Safe

    Tags: auto safety, elderly driving risks, keeping us safe, older driver safety, senior safety, car safety, elderly drivers

    Older Drivers and Emerging Vehicle Safety Technologies (Part 2)

    Posted by Guest Blogger

    Tue, Aug 06, 2013 @ 08:57 AM

    This article is second in a series of three articles. For the first part, click here.

    Fighter Pilot Information Overload

    For decades, the military has been conducting research on the experience known as 'fighter pilot information overload'. This phenomenon occurs when the pilot becomes so inundated with information produced by intelligence gathering technologies within the cockpit that his or her mind loses the ability to properly analyze the incoming data. Worse still, sometimes that overload of information can become so intense and overwhelming, and in such a short period of time, that the results can almost immediately turn disastrous.

    As drivers, are we going to find themselves overwhelmed by the bombardment of new technology commands such as audio warnings, alerts, tones, and visual cues, etc? Are entering into an era of 'older driver' information overload?

    Who Buys These Technologically Advanced Vehicles?

    In a 2013 study by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), researchers concluded that "Adults under 50 have long been the ideal target group for automobile advertisers, but when it comes to buying new vehicles, older consumers may be a marketer's best bet. The emphasis on this relatively older age group is further supported by the expected continuation of the greying of the population and the consequent continuation of the increase in the number of older licensed drivers."

    The automobile industry and the engineers and developers behind these new technologies quickly remind us that these new developments are designed to make vehicular travel safer than it has ever been before, particularly for our growing population of older drivers (aka new car customers).

    The Real World

    Be wary of older drivers with auto insurance from Andrew G Gordon IncAs the developer for the "self-assessment program" for older drivers, I have worked with older drivers that will undoubtedly adapt to these new technologies with ease. They possess the cognitive abilities to handle these emerging technologies without ever missing a beat. I know of older drivers that will bask in this new era and would even serve the rest of us very well as instructors for this new gadgetry.

    I have worked with just as many older drivers that shouldn't so much as have the AM radio turned on while driving.

    I have ridden shotgun with older drivers that did not realize their outside mirrors were adjustable, or that they could unlock their vehicle by simply pushing on one of the key's little black buttons. "Amazing!" one older driver told me after I showed him how to unlock the car remotely. There are drivers who do not know how to activate their four-way flashers in case of an emergency, and have always wondered "what that red triangle button was for".

    I once enjoyed the good fortune of riding with an older driver that asked me "what is that funny clicking sound... is that your phone making that noise?"

    "No ma'am" I replied, "that's your left turn signal... it's been on now for several miles." Acknowledging the error, she promptly turned the left turn signal off and was immediately pleased with herself. Now we were driving down the road with our right turn signal on, and she seemed to no longer notice that "funny clicking sound".

    Drive safely with senior citizens and auto insurance from andrew g gordon incI have spent time with more than one older driver that has become lost while driving blocks from their home of 50 years. When that happens, older drivers seemingly fall apart cognitively. On more than one occasion I have been with a lost, older driver who has found himself as the lead vehicle stopped at a red traffic signal. In the mounting confusion, they have sat though the entire green cycle because they were so distracted and confused that they could not process that the signal changed from red to green (this despite the sounding horns from the cars driving around us).

    Many older drivers purchase vehicles equipped with in-dash navigation systems to help keep them from getting lost, but have no idea how to so much as turn it on. "They showed me once, but I forget". One elderly gentleman explained that he gets lost often, so his adult children purchased a GPS unit for his dashboard. He then explained, "I don't use it though, it's too distracting."

    One has to wonder how this same driver would respond to an emergency audio alert being chirped or chimed from the vehicle's lane departure warning system.

    To say the least, interpreting warnings from multiple systems may be confusing or even completely distracting or overwhelming for some older drivers. For some older drivers, their insurance agent might be well served to actually raise their client's premiums (just joking) if their new vehicle is equipped with these fancy, electronic safety "distractions".

    This article is second in a series of three articles. The third part is scheduled to be published Thursday, August 8, 2013.

    In addition to being a published author and an expert in older driver safety, Matt Gurwell is also the Founder & CEO of Keeping Us Safe, an international organization that provides practical, real-life solutions to older drivers and their families.

    Read Full Article Here

    Matt Gurwell Keeping Us Safe

    Tags: auto safety, elderly driving risks, keeping us safe, older driver safety, senior safety, car safety, elderly drivers

    Older Drivers and Emerging Vehicle Safety Technologies (Part 1)

    Posted by Guest Blogger

    Fri, Aug 02, 2013 @ 01:35 PM

    Keep everyone safe with awareness of elder drivers and auto from andrew g gordon incAccording to the Federal Highway Administration, there are well over 2 million licensed drivers in the United States over 85 years of age, and with the impending "silver tsunami", that number is expected to grow significantly over the next several years. Seniors are living longer and are more active than ever before. This is the first generation in which almost everybody earned a driver's license during adolescence and has been driving ever since.

    Today's 85 year old driver probably began driving at around the age of 15 or 16, which dates the start of one's driving career back to 1943-44, at the height of WWII. In 1943, the Pentagon was completed and became the largest office building in the world, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and there were only 48 states in the Union. Gasoline prices rose to 18 cents a gallon, and construction on the country's first interstate highway would not begin for another 13 years. It would be another 26 years before seatbelts would start appearing in cars.

    In January of 2013, FoxNews reported on Edythe Kirchmaier, a great-grandmother from California, in an article titled "105-year-old California woman relieved to pass driver's test with flying colors". Mrs. Kirchmaier took her driver's test the day after she turned 105, making her driver's license valid until 2017.

    Just last month, New Zealand's Bob Edwards turned 105 years old, and is considered to be the country's oldest driver. Mr. Edwards says he has been driving for 88 years and has "no plans to get out from behind the wheel".

    In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)'s Older Driver Five Year Strategic Plan (2012-2017), they estimate that by 2020, there will be more than 40 million licensed drivers 65 and older.

    Stay safe while driving with senior citizens on the road with auto from Andrew G Gordon Inc insuranceAn Evolution of Vehicle Safety Enhancements

    Almost like aviation safety, vehicle safety advancements have made almost unbelievable progress over the past half-century. Many of us remember when cars were not yet equipped with padded dashboards, lapbelts, rounded door handles, hydraulic brakes, automatic transmissions, or emergency brakes.

    Most of us remember the addition of new safety features like back-up lamps, hazard flashers, 3-point safety belts, laminated windshields, airbags, smoother dashboards with recessed controls, bumper shocks, disc brakes, a driver's side airbag, antilock brakes, GPS, collapsible steering columns and heads-up (HUD) displays.

    Many of today's vehicles are adorned with such advancements as adaptive headlamps, back-up sensors and cameras, adaptive cruise control, a third brake light, traction control systems, electronic stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution, cornering brake control, electronic tire pressure monitoring, advanced navigation systems, hydrophobic windows, crumple zones and safety cells, black box recorders, and smart supplemental restraint systems.

    Emerging Vehicle Safety Technologies

    And now we are entering what I like to call the Paleo-Jetson era. Purchase a new vehicle today and you may be equipped with such advantages as intelligent brake lights (brake lights that communicate with other vehicles), smart windshields (augmented reality), night vision enhancement, automated parking systems, lane departure warning systems, crash notification and avoidance technologies, electronic blind-spot detection, back-over prevention systems, fatigue warning systems, forward collision warning with auto brake, and now... the advent of self-driving cars.

    This is All Good, Right?

    There is much debate amongst automobile design engineers, psychologists, industry safety researchers, geriatricians and neurologists, et cetera, on how well the processing abilities of older drivers is going to be able to keep up with the cognitive workload being required by these new technologies.

    For example, most crash avoidance technologies rely on drivers to take immediate action. The effectiveness of these systems depends on whether drivers accept the technologies, understand the information from the reporting systems, and respond appropriately. Often times, in order to be effective and safe, the processing of these new sensory inputs will need to occur in well under a slit-second of time, and that's quick.

    This article is the first in a series of three articles. The second part is scheduled to be published Tuesday, August 6, 2013.

    In addition to being a published author and an expert in older driver safety, Matt Gurwell is also the Founder & CEO of Keeping Us Safe, an international organization that provides practical, real-life solutions to older drivers and their families.

    Read Full Article Here

    Keeping Us Safe

    Tags: auto safety, elderly driving risks, keeping us safe, older driver safety, senior safety, car safety, elderly drivers

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