emergency kit

What You Need To Keep In Your Car This Winter

car in snow

During the winter, the combination of snow, ice, sleet, and slush makes driving much more dangerous than it usually is.  That’s why it’s so important to be prepared for anything!  We’ve come up with a list of everything you should keep in your car this winter should you encounter any unexpected driving incident.

  • Blanket – This is extremely important to have handy should your car break down or refuse to start.  If you’re waiting in freezing temperatures for a tow truck, you’ll definitely want to have a blanket with you to keep warm.
  • Hand Warmers – These are available at camping stores and are extremely useful if you’re stuck outside trying to change a tire or look underneath the hood.  You just have to shake them and keep them in your gloves or pockets and they’ll release heat to help keep you warm.
  • Flashlight – If you’re stranded somewhere at night and need to change a tire or look under the hood, it’ll be pretty hard to see what you’re doing without one of these.  It can also be used to signal your location to a pick up truck.  Make sure you bring extra batteries as well.
  • Cell Phone Charger – Having a car charger for your phone is good to have should your phone start dying if you’re stranded and waiting for assistance.  You don’t want to be unable to communicate with anyone, especially if you’re stuck somewhere after dark.
  • Kitty Litter – Believe it or not, kitty litter is a great item to have should your car get stuck in snow or ice.  It provides traction and can help your vehicle get unstuck, not to mention it’s much quicker to do this yourself than to call a tow truck.
  • Shovel – Much like kitty litter, a shovel can come in handy if your car is stuck in a large amount of snow.
  • Light Sticks – These are inexpensive and can be worn if you need to step outside of your vehicle to fix a spare tire or shovel some snow out of the way.  They will help you remain visible to other drivers and avoid a collision.
  • Ice Scraper/Brush – This is a no-brainer, unless you want to clean snow and ice off your car with your hands.
  • Jumper Cables – Sometimes on cold mornings, if batteries become too cold your car won’t start.  Not to worry though, getting it up and running is easy enough if you have jumper cables and another driver willing to give your car a jump.
  • First Aid Kit – This is good to have on hand should anyone have a minor injury from an accident.  Make sure you understand how to use all of the contents of the kit.
  • Snacks – If you find yourself stranded somewhere for a long period of time, you’ll definitely want to have some snacks with you.  Granola bars or items such a beef jerky are good choices because they have a long shelf life and are a good source of energy.
  • Tool Kit – Even if you’re not a car expert, make sure you know how to change a tire and tighten any loose hoses under the hood.  You’ll also want to make sure you have all of the necessary tools to do so.
  • Flares – These can help motorists find you should you be pulled over in distress.

All of these items can come in handy should you wind up stranded on the side of the road this winter.  They will allow you to stay warm, dry, signal for help, or dig your car out should your wheels get stuck.  Make sure to have them inside your vehicle this winter, and stay safe!

Photo By: haven’t the slightest

car in snow

Be A Force Of Nature!


Did you know that we’re in the middle of National Severe Weather Preparedness Week?  Perfect timing considering this storm that’s currently hitting the east coast!  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnered up to designate the week of March 3-9th as National Weather Preparedness week and are urging Americans to Be A Force Of Nature.

There are three steps to being a force of nature; first you need to know your risk.  Here in Massachusetts, our biggest risks are from snow and flooding.  Storms can have a major impact on families across the state; from losing power, to damage caused by the wind and flooding, there are many risks that come along with these storms we have here in Massachusetts!  Make sure you are checking the weather reports regularly as well, we all know how unpredictable the weather in New England can be.  Click here to find out how you can protect your family and be better prepared for emergencies!

The next step to being a force of nature is pledging to take action!  Sign the Pledge To Prepare and take the first step to making sure you and your family are prepared for severe weather in your area.  This pledge includes filling out your family communications plan, putting together an emergency kit, and keeping important valuables and papers in a safe place.  Another tip to keep in mind; make sure you have multiple ways to get weather alerts!  You should make sure that your phone is able to receive wireless emergency alerts and sign up for alerts from different emergency management officials.  You might also consider obtaining a battery-powered radio that you can listen to for updates if the power goes out.  You can sign up for email and SMS alerts from the National Weather Service and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration here.

Finally, be an example!  Once you know your risk, and have taken the pledge to Be a Force of Nature, be an example!  This is the final step of being a force of nature and is arguably the most important.  Share your knowledge on any and all social media sites and let your friends know what you’re doing to prepare for upcoming storms!  Social media and today’s technology make it easier than ever to share our experiences and knowledge with friends and family, so spread the word!

Know your risk, take action, and be an example for friends and family!   Another way to prepare for a storm?  Give us a call at MassDrive and get a quote for homeowner’s and auto insurance! Extreme wind and flooding can cause major problems for you, your home, and your car so make sure you have the appropriate coverages in the event of any damage!  Achieving a Weather-Ready Nation is a major goal, but it’s possible with help from all of you!

Photo By: Cara StHilaire



Perfect Car Gift Ideas Right In Time For Christmas!

For all of you trying to squeeze in some last minute shopping before Christmas, have you thought about getting some car related gifts for your loved ones?  Many of us (especially the men in our lives) love our cars.  It’s not too often that people get to splurge and deck out their ride, especially when everyone is so busy decking the halls this time of year.  Why not pick out one of these items for the car lover in your life, it’s a nice thought and they will be sure to think of you (in a good way), next time they go out for a drive!

Emergency Kit – This idea is practical and easy to make on your own if you don’t want to risk ordering it and not having it delivered in time for Christmas.  There are many different great brands available on Amazon and it is convenient having a kit already put together, but if you want to guarantee that it will be here in time for Christmas then why not build your own?  The majority of these items can be found at your local hardware store and typically include; a reflective vest, first aid kid, jumper cables, roadside flares, blanket, flashlight with extra batteries, all in one screwdriver, bungee cord, extra quart of oil, tire pressure gauge, duct tape, a pocket knife, and some bottled water and energy bars should you get stranded for a while.  This is something every driver should have in their car and the recipient will definitely be glad they have it should they break down this winter!

Phone Gadgets – These days, people use their phones for everything!  Directions, music, and of course communicating with friends and family are a must, and there are so many cool accessories out there that make it easier than ever!  One great item that anyone would love is an iPod or MP3 Player Car Connector, it allows drivers to plug this device into their car and then connect it to their iPod or MP3 player and enjoy their own music without having to sit through commercials on the radio!  There are many different types of adapters, for older cars, the easiest one to use is most likely a cassette adapter which is put into a tape player like a tape, and has a cord that connects to the audio jack on your listening device.  There are many additional options for newer cars that do not have a cassette player, and BestBuy has a great selection of adapters that would work for all cars and MP3 players.  Another great gift idea?  A docking station that allows drivers to mount their phone on their dashboard lets drivers to keep their phone in view and easily accessible, BestBuy has a great selection of these as well.

GPS – This is something that every car owner should have!  You never know when you may find yourself headed down a dark unfamiliar road, and in that situation you would definitely want to avoid getting lost and driving in circles.  This would also be a great gift if you know someone who is moving or going away to college in a different state.  Some of the most popular brands are Garmin, TomTom, and Magellan and prices typically range from $100-$200 although there are some that are more expensive and have advanced features.  This article from CNet outlines the top 5 GPS navigation devices on the market this year and details their features and benefits which makes your research much easier!

Accessories – We know that guys are not exactly concerned with picking out the perfect belt or watch to wear out on Friday night, but when it comes to cars they love accessories as much as the ladies so you can’t go wrong with some car bling this year.  Why not grab some classic sheepskin seat covers or a steering wheel cover?  Floor mats are also a great gift to help keep the car clean.  You can usually find them with some type of design on them if you so desire, and guys will love the selection of sport-themed floor mats that you can find on sportsfloormats.com.  They have mats with the logos from the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA and even Military themed mats.

You can’t go wrong with any of these gifts, all of them are practical and easy to use, even for those that aren’t so tech savvy.  These are also great options for last minute gifts if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, so get out to the stores and finish up that holiday shopping before time runs out!

Photo By: AMagill







Driving Back To School? Make Sure Your Car Is Ready!

Back to school season is officially here!  For those of you driving back to school, you’ll want to make sure your car is ready for the journey, especially if you have a long way to go.  Preparing your car is is essential for your own safety as well as the life of the car, if the car has not been properly maintained and is then put to the test during a long trip it could possibly lead to some big problems.  To avoid expensive repairs follow these simple tips to make sure your car is ready to hit the road!

Tires – Check the pressure on your tires before a long journey, if the tire pressure is too low it can cause heat build up which can cause the tire to pop at high speeds, this is extremely dangerous to both yourself and other drivers.  Your owner’s manual will tell you exactly what the tire pressure should be and most gas stations have an air pump you can use if the pressure is low.  You should also check the tread, which you can do by placing a penny (the edge with Lincoln’s head pointing down) in one the grooves of the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires.  Driving with bald tires is dangerous as they provide much less traction, especially in the rain and snow.  In case anything should happen to your tires, it is always a good idea to have a spare.  Make sure it is fully inflated and that you have all of the necessary equipment to change it.

Maintenance – If your car is scheduled to have anything done to it such as an oil change or tire rotation, take care of it before your trip.  You want to make sure that your car is in the best shape possible and getting these simple tasks taken care of can save you from some potential problems on your journey.  It’s also smart to have any major repairs done before you leave, you don’t want your car to break down in an unfamiliar location and then have to get it fixed.  There are a lot of other little things to look out for as well such as windshield wiper fluid, make sure that you are stocked up and have enough for a long journey!

Emergency Kit – An emergency kit can come in handy should anything happen to your car while driving.  Make sure that it contains a flashlight which can be handy in many situations, food, water, blankets, tools (such as a pocket knife), first aid kit, and lightsticks which are visible from a mile away and last from 8-12 hours.  You should also make sure that you have all important documents that you may need such as your owner’s manual and registration, you never know when they will come in handy or you may need them!

Pack Carefully – If you have a lot to pack, make sure that it is evenly distributed throughout the car to make sure that the car isn’t too heavy on one side.  If your car is too heavy it can tilt too far to one side when you are making turns and causes the tires to wear out differently.

Unless you’re a mechanic, there are certain tasks that may be difficult to do yourself.  Driving long distances can put a lot of wear and tear on your car so it is best to make sure it is in the best shape possible before you leave.  Taking your car to a mechanic to get checked out may be a good idea, they can also look at other important parts of the car such as the battery, air filter, engine, and check to make sure the engine coolant, air filter, engine oil, and transmission fluid are up to par before your trip begins.  Most importantly make sure that you are insured correctly before you leave!  You don’t want to get into an accident and then come to find out that you have to pay for something that you originally thought you were covered for!  Call or click on MassDrive for a quote today, we work with many major insurance carriers throughout the state and will work to give you the lowest quote we possibly can.

Other than those tips there is nothing left to say but enjoy your trip!  We wish everyone a happy and safe ride back to school this year!

Information from: Samarins.com

Photo By: sheadonato


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