Massachusetts Driving


Super Bowl Driving Safety Tips

Who’s excited for the Super Bowl?!

The Super Bowl is a true American tradition, and this year in Massachusetts there is an even higher level of anticipation than usual – the Patriots will face off against the Seahawks! Super Bowl Sunday can be one of the best days of the year, but have you thought about Super Bowl safety?

This Sunday can be a dangerous time for drivers on the road. Not only is Massachusetts going to be hit with more snow this weekend, making the road conditions worst (check out our safety tips for driving in the snow), but drunk driving on Super Bowl Sunday is rampant. More drivers are involved in alcohol-related accidents on Super Bowl Sunday than any day of the year besides St. Patrick’s Day, according to the Insurance Information Institute. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 48% of U.S. traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are alcohol related.

The best plan of action is to plan ahead. Have a designated driver. Plan to stay overnight at a friend or family member’s house. Book a hotel. Use public transportation. Call a cab or get an Uber. With so many options to travel safely, there is no excuse for drunk driving.

If you are hosting a Super Bowl Party, provide plenty of yummy food so guests don’t drink on an empty stomach. Search Pinterest or Google to find easy crowd-pleasing recipes! Also, offer non-alcoholic drinks for people to sip on throughout the game.

Whatever your plans are this weekend, MassDrive hopes your drinks are celebratory, and your Super Bowl safe! Lets go Patriots!

 

Super Bowl Driving Safety Tips

MassDrive Playlist for Your Thanksgiving Drive

Lately, we’ve been inspired by our neighbors at The Club. Not only do they offer awesome classes to help us get fit, but they also share monthly mixes on Spotify to get us pumped up both in and out of the gym – we’ve discovered so many great new artists and songs from their lists, which you can check out here.

This month, we made our own playlist and it is perfect for driving. We asked each of our agents to add a song, which has resulted in a unique mix of music of all genres and styles. This mix will get you grooving and soothe you, even in traffic.

Thanksgiving is just days away – and this week will have some of the busiest travel days of the year, as families and friends gather to give thanks and eat turkey on Thursday. In fact, there will be more people on the roads this Thanksgiving than any year since 2005! If you’ve got a drive ahead of you this week, these great tunes will help it go by faster, and make the traffic less road rage inducing, so follow the playlist now!

Tips For Taking A Road Trip With The Kids

road trip

Taking a road trip with the kids can really test your patience and planning skills.  Fending off constant questions like “Are we there yet?” and “When’s the next bathroom break?” can get old pretty quick, so you’ll want to make sure your kids have plenty of things to occupy their time while in the car.  To help you out, we’ve listed some tips that will definitely come in handy if you plan on road tripping with the kids this summer.

  • Make sure kids are comfy.  What your kids are wearing on their road trip can make a big difference to how the trip goes.  If kids are uncomfortable you’ll hear about it, probably over and over again.  Put them in something that they like to wear such as pajamas or shorts and a t-shirt, and save the dressy clothes for your arrival, odds are something will end up spilling on them anyways during the trip, so at least you won’t dirty up one of their nicer outfits.
  • Be strategic about your departure time.  It may be easier to travel with kids during certain hours of the day, for example, if your kids can sleep through the night in the car, you might want to wait until after dinner and drive through the night so you reach your destination by morning.  You’ll probably avoid tons of traffic too, which is always a plus.  Working with their schedules, nap times, and meal times will make the trip easier for you and them.
  • Keep them occupied.  This will help you keep your sanity and theirs, make sure you have plenty of coloring books, toys, games, movies, and snacks.  You’ll also want to charge any electronics they may use, such as tablets or portable DVD players before you leave.
  • Be prepared for anything, and we mean ANYTHING.  You want to make sure you have a first aid kit, wet wipes, paper towels, extra clothes, diapers, batteries, car chargers, trash bags, a flashlight, and extra drinks and snacks in case the ones you already packed spill.
  • Take a break.  It’s inevitable that little ones and even older ones will want to stretch their legs and take a break from the car.  Find a local park and have a picnic so you can have something to eat and they can run around and burn off some energy.
  • Get kids involved in the trip.  If your kids are old enough to suggest landmarks they want to see or places they want to visit, let them!  It will make the trip much more enjoyable for them and you may even visit a place that you wouldn’t have chosen on your own, and end up loving it!
  • Make sure your driver’s license, registration, and insurance are all up to date and haven’t expired.  These are all extremely important to have any day, but especially if you’re going to be driving a long distance.  If you don’t have a membership to AAA, you may also want to consider that.

With these tips, your next family road trip should go smoothly and be a blast for everyone!

Photo By: Deb

Travel Tips For Memorial Day Weekend

driving

Memorial Day Weekend kicks off the beginning of summer, and if you’re planning a fun weekend getaway, you’re not alone.  There will be millions of drivers on the road this weekend and all of them will be eager to get to their destination.  Everyone wants to make good time during travel, but it’s more important to be safe and prepared for anything.  Keep these tips in mind this weekend and your drive should go smoothly, safely, and hopefully quickly!

  • Make sure your car is in tip top shape.  If you’ll be traveling a long distance, get an oil change, make sure you have enough windshield washer fluid, make sure all of your headlights and blinkers are working properly, and make sure your tires have enough air in them.
  • Be prepared.  Holiday travel can be very stressful, there are tons of other people on the road and anything can happen.  Make sure you’re prepared by keeping an emergency kit in your car.  It should include first aid, a flashlight with extra batteries, equipment to change a flat tire, water and food such as granola bars, a fire extinguisher, reflective cones, jumper cables, duct tape, and a blanket.
  • Plan your route.  Make sure you know how often you will need to stop for gas and bathroom breaks, and map out potential rest stops and gas stations where this would be possible.  It’s also a good idea to download traffic apps as many of them will tell you where these things are along your route.  You also want to make sure your auto insurance is up to date and that you have all of the proper coverages you need.
  • Get an E-ZPass transponder.  This will make your life much easier when it comes to tolls, you can just quickly pass through the toll without having to stop which will definitely save you some time compared to those drivers without an E-ZPass.
  • Obey the law.  Make sure everyone in your car is wearing their seat belt and that you’re obeying all posted speed limits.  The other thing that we want to stress is to avoid distracted driving at all costs.  This can be extremely dangerous not only for yourself but for other drivers as well, so if your phone is going off or you need directions, ask the person in the passenger seat to do it and avoid getting yourself a hefty ticket.  Police officers will be out in full force this weekend so make sure you’re obeying the law.  Nothing like getting a ticket to start your weekend off on the wrong foot.
  • Use a designated driver.  If you plan on drinking this is a no-brainer.  Technically the legal limit is a blood-alcohol level under .08.  Drunk driving tends to increase over the holiday weekend, and as we said police will be out in full-force looking for drivers endangering themselves and others.  We want everyone to have an enjoyable weekend, but we want them to do it responsibly.

This weekend is sure to be full of family, friends, food, and fun in the sun!  Enjoy the weekend but make sure you’re prepared for anything and most of all drive responsibly!

Photo By: Land Rover MENA

Motorcycle Riding Safety

motorcycle rider

Now that the weather has warmed up, motorcycle riding season has begun!  If you’re a bike owner, you know that cruising on the open road with the wind in your hair can be an exciting experience, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful.  We’ve come up with a few tips to keep in mind so that you can be as safe as possible on the road.  Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a new rider, it’s always helpful to have a reminder of some basic safety tips!

  • Get your bike ready!  It’s been a long and cold winter, and your bike may need a few adjustments to get it rider ready.  You’ll want to check the oil and fuel levels, make sure the headlights and turn signals are all working, and check all cables to make sure they’re not frayed.
  • Get yourself some good gear.  Having the right gear for riding a motorcycle is extremely important.  When you’re on the back of a bike, there’s not much between you and the pavement, which is why having the right gear is so important, especially if you were to ever crash.  Wearing leather is your best bet, bikers don’t just wear it for style, it’s for protection too.  Leather is extremely tough and durable, and in the event of an accident it’s strong enough to protect your skin from the road surface.  It’s also a good idea to get non-slip gloves and boots that cover your ankles.
  • Wear a helmet!  For starters, it’s the law here in Massachusetts that all motorcycle riders need to wear a helmet.  This is the most important safety tip to remember when it comes to motorcycle riding.  Your head needs to be protected in the event of an accident, and not just any helmet will help with that.  Look for a helmet that has been approved by the Department of Transportation, and ideally one with a face shield to protect your face from bugs and gravel.  You also need to make sure that it fits properly and doesn’t obstruct your vision.  Having a good helmet can mean the difference between life and death if you’re in an accident, so make sure you take the time to find the right one!
  • Watch the weather. Before you go out for a ride, you need to make sure heavy snow and rain aren’t in the forecast.  Riding on a motorcycle is much less stable than riding in a car, and not to mention the fact that you’ll be directly exposed to the elements.  We suggest opting for a car or staying indoors if that’s not an option.  If you must take your bike out in the rain, make sure to leave extra space between your bike and the car in front of you should you need to stop.
  • Know your limits.  You need to not only know your bike’s limit, but you need to know your own limits as a rider.  Becoming an expert rider takes time and experience to build those skills, and if you’re a new rider you may not be able to quickly weave in and out of traffic or maneuver your bike on extremely windy roads.  Take time to build up to these skills and even consider taking an advanced riding course, many motorcycle dealerships offer them and they’re a good way to practice your skills in a controlled setting.
  • Always follow the rules of the road.  From going the speed limit, to always using turn signals, the rules of the road are there to protect you and your fellow drivers, so follow them.  Don’t weave in and out of lanes, and always make sure you’re leaving enough room between yourself and the car in front of you in case you need to brake suddenly.  Make sure your fellow drivers can see you and you’re not riding in their blind spot.
  • Make sure you look twice.  Before changing lanes, crossing an intersection, or going through a light, make sure to look twice before you cross.  Other cars may have difficulty seeing motorcycles since they are smaller, so always double check before you hit the gas.

Motorcyclists are exposed to more dangers than the typical driver, but if you keep these tips in mind and drive responsibly you’ll stay as safe as possible on the road.

Photo By: Rob Swyston

Buying A New Car? Keep These Tips In Mind

car lot

If the time has come for you to buy a new car, it can be both exciting and stressful.  There are a lot of things you need to keep in mind, but not to worry, we’re here to help!  We’ve come up with some tips for you to review before you head to a dealership, and if you follow these guidelines you’re sure to walk away with a car you love at a price that won’t leave you with a case of buyer’s remorse.

  • Know your budget.  It’s important to know exactly how much a new car is going to cost you each month.  Not only does that include the monthly payment on your new ride, but it also should factor in the monthly cost of gas and your auto insurance bill, which may change once you update your policy with your new vehicle. Edmunds.com is a great resource to help with this and get reviews on different brands and models.
  • Narrow down your options.  You don’t want to go into a dealership without having an idea of what you’re looking for.  Create a list of cars you’ve seen on the road that you think you would like.  Research them on the manufacturer’s website and independent websites as well.  Read reviews from current owners and make sure that you can afford them based on your budget.
  • Know the invoice price. The invoice price is what the dealer pays the manufacturer for the car.  Once it reaches the dealer’s lot, the sticker price may be thousands of dollars higher than the invoice price, meaning the dealership will be getting all of that as profit.  If you let the dealer know that you know exactly what the invoice price is, it will show them that you came here knowing what you’re talking about and you expect a good deal from them.
  • Timing is everything.  Car salesmen are all about making their numbers, and at the end of the month they may be more likely to give you a better deal just to make the sale.  The day of the week that you go may make a difference as well.  Dealerships tend to be busier on weekends, but if you were to stop by on a weekday, they may be more likely to bargain with you as there are fewer  customers and therefore fewer chances of making a sale.  If you come at them asking for a reasonable discount, they may be more likely to comply.
  • Research any and all discounts.  Dealerships often advertise cash-back deals or rebates for buyers, which can be very helpful and may even enable you to buy a model with a few extra features that you would not have been able to afford without said discounts.  Some even offer discounts depending on who is purchasing the car, such as students or members of the military, so be sure to inquire if you think you may qualify.
  • Get quotes from multiple dealers.  It’s important to compare your various options, and if dealers know you’re comparing their prices to others, they’ll be more likely to give you their best price right out of the gate.  Starting off with their best offer only gives you more wiggle room to negotiate for an even lower price as you continue your shopping.  Make sure that you factor in any discounts they would be giving you when comparing prices.
  • Take your time on the test drive.  Remember, you’re going to have this car for years to come, so you want to be happy with it!  Take your time to fiddle with all of the features and controls, make sure you’re comfortable driving the car, and make sure that all of your typical cargo, such a passengers, pets, car seats, and anything else you typically drive with will fit comfortably in your potential new ride.
  • Make an appointment with the sales manager.  When the time comes for you to actually go ahead with your purchase, call ahead to make an appointment.  This will show that you’re a serious shopper and are ready to negotiate.  Keep all of the potential discounts, and the invoice price in mind during your negotiations.  If you plan on trading in your old vehicle to get money off of your new one, know the value of your current car so that you won’t be short-changed.  Although you likely won’t get the full value of your current car, if you know the full value you can negotiate as close to that price as possible.  Keep in mind that having new parts recently installed, and even certain colors (neutral colors are always popular), can get a few extra dollars added on to what the dealer is willing to give you.
  • Research your financing options.  Typically, car dealerships will give you an interest rate that factors in a profit for themselves as well.  You will likely be able to get a better deal from a local credit union.

If you keep these tips in mind for your next car purchase, you’ll be on your way to getting a great deal.  While prices do vary depending on many factors such as supply, and demand, these tips are good to have up your sleeve next time you need to go car shopping.

Photo By: Ingy the Wingy

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

Thanksgiving Travel Tips

traffic jam

As Thanksgiving approaches, friends and families are finalizing their travel plans for the big day.  Driving during the holidays is hectic, crowded, and also dangerous because there are so many additional cars on the road.  To help combat the craziness, we’ve come up with some tips to make your journey as safe, and stress-free as possible.

Avoid Peak Travel Times – The busiest travel days for the Thanksgiving holiday are Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday.  If you want to avoid traffic, we suggest you leave as early as possible.  If you have to work or have other obligations that will keep you from hitting the road early, we suggest waiting until at least 8 PM.  Traveling on Thanksgiving day will not be as hectic traffic wise, and if you’re driving on Thanksgiving night you’re in luck!  State service plazas will be giving out FREE coffee from 10 PM that night until 5 AM on Friday morning.

Factor The Weather Into Your Trip – Weather can have a major impact on the traffic patterns and may require you to take extra precautions on your journey.  As New Englanders we’re used to crazy weather, but we may have a huge storm headed our way just in time to make holiday travel even more hectic than it usually is.  High speed winds and precipitation are expected so we can’t stress enough how important it is to leave as early as possible.  It’s also important to remember basic safety tips for driving in inclement weather, if you need a reminder check out our blog on Winter Driving Safety Tips.

Avoid Major Highways – While this might be the most direct route to your destination, major highways in Massachusetts are going to be jam packed with traffic over the holiday weekend.  Not only will there be the typical holiday traffic, but it will be made that much worse due to the inclement weather that is heading our way.  Map our alternative routes that follow back roads, not only will you avoid the traffic on the highway, you’ll also get to take in some scenic views!  If you can’t avoid highway travel and happen to be passing through Exit 19 at the Allston/Brighton interchange from 3 – 4 PM on Wednesday, your toll will be free thanks to our friends at Plymouth Rock Assurance!

Be Prepared – On long journeys, it’s important to be prepared for anything.  That means checking out all aspects of you car before you hit the road, including tire pressure, fluid levels, and making sure you have a full tank of gas.  It’s also a good idea to carry an emergency kit in your car at all times.  This should include a flashlight, batteries, blanket, jumper cables, a first aid kit, warning devices (such as flares or reflective triangles) and extra food and water.  You may also want to break out that ice scraper since there may be some snow and ice heading our way!  If you have young children, you may also want to be prepared with entertainment for a long car ride so you can avoid constant questions like “Are we there yet?”.

Keep these tips in mind and your holiday travel plans should go off without a hitch!  As always, we want to remind all drivers to behave responsible, do not drink and drive, and if you’re feeling drowsy, pull over and take a nap.  We want everyone to have a fun, and SAFE holiday!

Photo By: Kristin Nador

 

 

 

Driving In To Fenway? Check Out These Tips!

fenway driving

Driving in Boston can be overwhelming for even the most experienced of drivers, but driving near Fenway Park is a whole other ball game.  Not only is it over crowded on game days, but finding parking can be a nightmare.  If you’re going in for a game, these tips may come in handy, so keep them in mind!

Directions:

  • When you’re driving in for a game, make sure to leave early.  There will most likely be traffic outside of the city and then even more once you get closer to Fenway (traffic near the park usually begins 1 hour before the game).
  • If you’re coming from the North, you can take either I-93, I-95, Route 1, 1A, or 128 towards Boston.  From there, take the Storrow Drive westbound exit and follow that to the Fenway exit.  Once you get off turn right on Boylston St. and start looking for a spot!
  • If you’re coming from the South, take  I-95 towards Boston, then take 20A to Route 9 East towards Boston, turn left at Brookline Ave, then right onto Boylston and begin the search for parking.  You can also take I-93 towards Boston and get off at Exit 26 towards Storrow Drive, follow that to the Fenway exit, and then turn right onto Boylston St.
  • If you’re coming from the West, take the Mass Turnpike East towards Boston and get off at Exit 18 at the Brighton-Cambridge tolls and head towards Cambridge.  Turn right onto Storrow Drive East and get off at the Fenway exit, then turn right onto Boylston St.

Parking:

  • If you don’t mind walking, park as far away from the park as possible.  Parking anywhere in Boston can be expensive, but especially near Fenway.  Parking downtown or near a green line T station is a good option.  A great hidden gem is the Boston Common Parking Garage, which is right under the Common.  It’s only a short walk from the Park St and Boylston St Green Line T Stations.  The Green Line, C train- will drop you off at Kenmore only a few blocks from the park and you’ll get to walk down Yawkey Way and grab some food or souvenirs before the game starts.  If you’re on the D train the Fenway stop is an option as well.
  • The Prudential Center is another great parking option if you don’t mind a 10 – 12 minute walk to Fenway.  Parking is only $16 for night games and weekends, which is a great deal in Boston!
  • The Garage At 100 Clarendon is the official garage of the Boston Red Sox, and for night or weekend game attendees it only costs $10 to park!  All you have to do is bring your ticket stub the the Garage Office (ticket stub date must match parking date) and you’ll receive a validation.  The garage is only a 15 minute walk to Fenway Park and is the only garage in Boston with access to the Mass Pike!
  • If you do need to park as close to the park as possible, you can find a list of parking garages near Fenway on the Red Sox website.

We know how stressful driving in Boston and finding parking near Fenway can be, but hopefully these tips will make the process a bit easier!

Photo By: zaigee

The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist!

road trip

Road trips are a fun way to spend the day during the warmer weather.  You get to see new places, make new memories with family and friends, and of course crank some tunes. Whether you’ll be in the car for hours, or only for a quick drive, having the right music can make the trip much more enjoyable.  To help you avoid digging through CD’s and scrolling through all of your songs on iTunes, we’ve come up with a play list of classic songs and newer hits that are sure to be popular with all ages.

With a mix of oldies, newer pop songs, and classic rock, this playlist is sure to please everyone in the car during your trip, no matter how long it is!  So roll the windows down, blast the speakers, and enjoy!

Photo By: Aidras

 

 

 

 

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