Articles

How to Reinstate a CDL in Arizona

A suspended CDL is the temporary removal of a driver’s privilege to drive commercial vehicles. A suspended CDL license can occur for various reasons including failing to maintain eligibility for authorization or committing multiple traffic violations. The suspension period can vary in length depending on the reason for the suspension. After the commercial drivers license suspension period has ended, it is the driver’s responsibility to apply for a suspended CDL license reinstatement. It is crucial that CDL-holders understand why a suspension could occur, how long the suspension can last and how to properly reinstate suspended CDL license to avoid further problems. Continue reading the sections below for more information.

Reasons for a Suspended CDL in Arizona

A commercial drivers license suspension means that the license is temporarily invalid and cannot be used by the driver to operate a vehicle. A suspended commercial driving license can happen for a few different reasons, including the following:

  • The driver did not complete the required CDL medical test and submit a current medical examiner certificate.
  • The driver did not submit any requested additional information or add restrictions to his or her license.
  • The driver did not meet the necessary medical standards to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Drivers can also have their CDL suspended for not paying taxes or assessments to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD). If a suspended CDL driver operates a commercial vehicle while under suspension, then he or she can receive a longer suspension or have the CDL revoked. Find out more about how Arizona commercial drivers license suspensions including how to have a CDL reinstated and the expected costs by downloading our comprehensive driving guide.

Procedure for Reinstating Suspended CDL License in Arizona

To reinstate suspended CDL license credentials, the driver must meet the requirements and pay applicable fees. Drivers must wait until after the commercial drivers license suspension period to reinstate their privileges. If the commercial driving license suspension lasted longer than a year, then the petitioner will need to retake all of the CDL tests and pay for a new license and the reinstatement fees. In some cases, suspended CDL drivers may be able to request a hearing.

Drivers can apply to reinstate suspended CDL license privileges online if they have a digital photo on file. However, if the driver does not have a digital photo on file, the application must occur in person at an authorized MVD office.

If the driver has a suspended CDL because a violation of vehicle insurance laws, a refusal to complete a drug or alcohol test or a court-convicted DUI, then he or she must also provide proof of financial responsibility, also known as an SR-22 form. It is very important that all suspended CDL-holders understand the full CDL reinstatement process to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

CDL Disqualifications in Arizona

A suspended CDL is slightly different when compared to a disqualified CDL. When a driver has his or her CDL suspended, it is temporarily invalid. However, a disqualification usually lasts at least one year and can possibly be a lifetime disqualification. Disqualifications are often determined by the court of law and frequently occur due to a driver being convicted of an offense when driving any motor vehicle.

Major offenses can cause a commercial driving license suspension or disqualification depending on the extent of the charge. The MVD may revoke or suspend CDL licenses for being convicted of being under the influence of alcohol, refusing to take an alcohol test and leaving the scene of an accident. For the first major violation, the driver will face either a one-year or three-year disqualification depending on the offense. The second violation will result in either a 10-year or lifetime disqualification of the CDL. If a driver is using any vehicle while committing a felony involving the manufacturing, distributing or dispensing of a controlled substance, then his or her CDL will be disqualified for the drivers’ lifetime with no option to have the CDL license reinstated.

The other type of violation that can cause a disqualified or suspended CDL license is a serious traffic violation, such as excessive speeding, reckless driving and driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL. Drivers may not have to reinstate a suspended CDL license after the first serious violation of traffic law, as they may not receive a disqualification for their first offense but a fine. However, the second time a serious violation occurs within three years there will be a 60-day disqualification. The third time a violation happens within three years there will be a 120-day disqualification. For more information on what specific actions or violations constitute the different disqualifications.

The last types of disqualifications that cause a suspended CDL license occurs when a driver violates the rules set in place for railroad crossings and/or out-of-service orders. Drivers will need to reinstate suspended CDL license credentials for violating a railroad-highway grade crossing (RRHGC) offense violating out-of-service orders (OOSO). Drivers will face a CDL suspension or disqualification for failing to stop at railroad tracks when they notice that a train is coming toward the crossing. An example of violating out-of-service orders (OOSO) includes a driver operating a vehicle after being told that the vehicle has out-of-service orders put in place due to maintenance that must occur on the brakes. It is crucial that the driver understands the various disqualifications so that he or she can avoid any violations that could potentially disqualify the CDL and/or cause a suspended CDL. If their license is suspended, then they will need to know how to reinstate a CDL based on the reason for the suspension.

Tips for Climbing the Corporate Ladder From an Entry-Level Position

The process of advancing your career within a company is known as “climbing the corporate ladder.” If you are starting from an entry-level position within a company, completing a climb up the corporate ladder may feel like a daunting task. However, it is possible for you to increase your chances of quick career advancement by performing specific tasks and taking certain actions to shine a positive light on yourself and your skills. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, holding a master’s degree is likely to offer you access to higher wages and faster career advancement, particularly if you work in a business-related field. Regardless of your chosen career path, higher education will almost certainly help you to climb the corporate ladder faster. Below are several other career improvement tips which may help you succeed in gaining momentum on your chosen career path.

Stay Positive and Productive While Working

When you first step onto the corporate ladder, you may be looking at a long climb up. While you are seemingly stuck in an entry-level position, you must maintain a positive attitude and be as productive as possible. By displaying a positive attitude and doing your job well, you will gain attention from your supervisor and make yourself more likely to be promoted.

Use Mentoring to Your Advantage

When you are first starting out in the corporate world, it will be beneficial for you to find mentors who can help you learn about your chosen field and how the business world works in general. Mentors within the company can tell you a lot about the inner workings of the business. You may also choose to locate external mentors who will can offer you general business advice.

In addition to obtaining mentors for yourself, being a mentor to others as you climb the corporate ladder may also help you advance your career faster. When you develop a reputation as a leader and positive influence, you may be given new positions which allow you to lead teams of individuals. You may also develop valuable allies in the corporate world who will pass on knowledge of your leadership skills to managers in higher positions.

Learn New Skills or Improve Existing Skills in Your Spare Time

A degree can help you to advance in the business world, but you can also learn new skills or improve existing skills in other ways. The internet features many free educational courses and video tutorials that you can use to increase your knowledge base. Keeping informed on new technologies, techniques and trends that may impact your place of work will help you to make a better impression on company executives and departmental managers.

If you wish to develop your skills even further, attend conferences and use social media connections to stay informed about the latest industry updates. Being proactive about teaching yourself industry-related information shows your supervisors you are serious about staying in the industry and working your way up the corporate ladder. Your wealth of industry knowledge will turn you into an indispensable resource and provide you with leverage during activities, such as regular reviews and wage negotiations.

Express Your Opinions to Management

All the knowledge in the world will not help you to work your way up the corporate ladder unless your managers are aware of your knowledge level. Therefore, you must be willing and able express your opinions to your managers and make it known that you are constantly increasing your knowledge base. For instance, if you are aware of a company project which is proving to be problematic, use your skills to come up with and express a possible solution, even if the problem in question is not part of your current work load. Your solution may not be the best one, but expressing your opinions will let your managers know that you are willing to participate and think, as well as illustrate to them that you have specific skills and knowledge they can use to the advantage of the company on an ongoing basis.

Work with a Heightened Sense of Awareness Regarding the Company

If you want to be promoted at a faster rate, you must do your own job well. However, it is also important to have a heightened sense of awareness about what is going on within the upper ladder rungs of the company you are employed with. Learn about current company projects and, if possible, take further actions or make additional suggestions beyond the confines of your own job description or department. Showing this initiative will indicate to your managers that you care about the company, have taken the time to study company dynamics and are willing and able to make suggestions for improvement, making them more likely to promote you sooner. Additionally, if you have knowledge of the next rung of the corporate ladder already, it will make it easier for you to quickly adapt to your new position when you do receive a promotion.

Five Steps You Can Take If You Do Not Qualify for Unemployment Benefits

Arizona unemployment insurance (UI) may provide you with monetary benefits if you are unemployed and meet other eligibility requirements, including restrictions based on other income sources you earn. However, there are several reasons why your unemployment benefits claim may be denied in Arizona. For example, you may have been fired from your job for reasons such as misconduct. Alternatively, you may be denied UI benefits because you may not have earned enough wages during the base period used to calculate your eligibility for Arizona UI assistance. The Arizona Department of Economic Security may also deny your unemployment benefits claim if you have exhausted your available benefits for the current time period. You may only collect unemployment benefits in AZ for a maximum of 26 weeks per 12-month benefits claim. Regardless of the reason you do not currently qualify for unemployment assistance in AZ, there are ways in which you can improve your financial situation. Below are five steps you can take which will help you if you do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

Adjust Your Weekly and Monthly Budgets

It is unlikely that you will find new work immediately after losing your job. Therefore, you must anticipate having little to no income for at least a few months if you do not qualify to collect unemployment insurance in Arizona. To compensate for your lack of work, sit down soon after your job loss and make a detailed list of your weekly and monthly monetary needs. When you have a list of what you have been spending in front of you, it will also help you to find categories where your weekly or monthly expenditures can be reduced. Eliminate any unnecessary expenses, such as going out to dinner, from your budget to give yourself a greater monetary buffer while you look for new work.

Apply for Other State-Wide Assistance Programs Available in Arizona

The AZ Cash Assistance program is administered by the Department of Economic Security, just like unemployment insurance. Even if you cannot qualify for UI, you may still be eligible for AZ Cash Assistance based on your household income level.

You may also apply for additional programs operating in Arizona that assist unemployed or low-income residents. One additional assistance program for which you may qualify is the Arizona version of federal SNAP, otherwise known as food stamps. In Arizona, the program is called Nutritional Assistance (NA). Under NA, you receive a set amount of credit that must be spent to purchase food at venues which participate in the Arizona NA program. Examples of such venues include certain grocery and convenience stores, as well as participating farmer’s markets. Having NA credits to use for food frees up more money in your budget for you to put toward paying other living expenses. You can also take advantage of other programs which will help you to reduce your monthly bills in AZ, including the Arizona Weatherization Assistance Program and the Arizona Utility Assistance Program.

Apply for Local Assistance Programs in Arizona

In addition to statewide AZ assistance programs, there are also many programs administered at the local level which can help you when you find yourself unemployed and unable to collect UI benefits. For example, there is a utility assistance program called the TEP Low Income Fund for Emergencies (LIFE) fund which may assist you if you live in Pima County, Arizona. You can contact your local Salvation Army, churches or other community charitable organizations for more information about local assistance programs you may be eligible for.

Contact Associates Who May Help You Obtain Work

Even after you reduce your monthly expenditures and apply for state and local assistance programs for which you qualify, you must still make finding work quickly your top priority. One way to increase your chances of obtaining a new job with relative ease is to take advantage of your network of contacts. Begin by contacting former coworkers at previous places of employment. Make it known to your former business associates that you are interested in any job openings which may arise within their present companies. Then, go through the same process with your personal contacts, such as friends and family members, who may be able to tell you if they hear about any open jobs in the local area.

Explore Different Part-Time Earning Opportunities

Obtaining a full-time job is not the only way you can earn an income. If you are unemployed and unable to collect Arizona unemployment insurance benefits, you must begin to explore different part-time earning opportunities that can provide you with the money you need to pay your bills in the immediate future. Depending on your background and skills you may qualify for such part-time or self-employment ventures as selling products online, providing freelance writing services or developing websites for businesses. Alternatively, you may choose to become a tutor or teach classes in an area in which you are familiar, such as dancing or playing a musical instrument. Any income source you can develop will help you until you find a new full-time position. Any part-time business venture you establish may also continue to supplement your household income even after you have obtained a new full-time job.

How to Design a Workout Routine That Works for You

In Arizona, paid gym memberships give individuals access to numerous machines and a plethora of workout options, but not everyone wants to go to a gym to exercise. For some, anxiety sets in when wearing workout clothing in front of others, making gyms a place to avoid. Working out at home may feel like a less stressful option. Exercises to increase muscle mass are not the same as those intended to reduce excess weight and beginning exercises are not as intense as advanced workouts. Young girls cannot follow the same exercises designed for adult males, just as a healthy 20-year old and a senior citizen would not follow the same routines. Personalizing a workout routine to fit the individual rather than lumping everyone into a single workout plan makes more sense for safety and results. Taking personal factors into account along with understanding what body parts different exercises target will help when attempting to develop the best workout with the most benefits. Once a workout routine is designed, be sure to find the motivation to continue exercising regularly.

Determine the Purpose for Working Out

While exercising regularly can improve overall health, it may not be the reason for making a personal workout routine. Personal motivation must be taken into consideration when developing an exercise regimen. If the goal is to lose weight, include fat burning and waist whittling routines. To improve balance and reduce the risk of falling, yoga may be the right choice.

Health Concerns

Individuals who have high risk of heart disease, diabetes or other major health concerns need to consult with doctors to determine if certain exercises need to be included or removed from workout plans. Someone with chronic asthma may need to steer clear of heavy aerobic activities since they are designed for moderate to more vigorous intensities and cause heavy breathing.

Disabilities do not prevent individuals from exercising. Design the workout around the disability by eliminating exercises that are physically impossible, such as squats for a paraplegic. The main idea behind exercise is to keep moving and being active.

Main Types of Exercises

There are four primary types of exercises: balance, endurance, flexibility and strength. Each type has its own merits:

  • Balance exercises: Healthy exercises designed to increase the body’s ability to maintain balance. Improving balance can help prevent falls, which commonly affects middle aged to elderly adults. Walking heel-to-toe, Tai Chi and standing on one foot are considered balance-building exercises.
  • Endurance exercises: Exercises meant to increase the heart rate and breathing. These types of exercises are beneficial for the circulatory system, lungs and heart. They work well to increase overall fitness. Dancing, aerobics, jogging and brisk walks fall into the category of endurance exercises.
  • Flexibility exercises: Designed to stretch muscles so the body can stay limber. Maintaining flexibility allows the body to move better in daily activities. Stretching arms and legs, shoulders and the neck are all flexibility exercises. Yoga is primarily composed of flexibility exercises.
  • Strength exercises:Exercises that focus on increasing muscle strength. These types of exercises help to build up resistance and allow individuals to remain independent longer. Weight lifting, using exercise equipment that provides resistance or using body weight (like pushups) are all considered strength or resistance training.

Experience Level

When someone has been inactive for a long period of time, he or she cannot jump right into aerobic exercise routines and expect to stick with it. A person who is out of shape must start slowly with simpler exercises in a shorter regimen. Rather than full sit-ups or pushups, he or she should start with modified versions. Someone who is very fit may need to intensify the workout by moving faster, exercising longer and increasing the difficulty of the routine.

Keep Track of Progress

When putting together a personal workout routine, take the time to note current body measurements (weight, girth, body mass), time spent walking around the block, pulse rate, how many exercises can physically be completed and what they were. This can help to track progress with the routine and allow the exerciser to learn whether or not health goals are being reached.

Finding Motivation

Creating a workout routine may be exciting and spark the desire to become physically fit. However, the new workout routine will not yield results without consistent motivation to stick with it. The plan needs to be reasonable and attainable for it to work. Remember to start slow and select exercises that are appealing. Shorter workouts may not carry the same physical benefit as longer workouts but they may be easier to stick with. Remember to use other motivational sources, such as friends or family, to encourage the strive to achieve workout goals.

Breaking Down Obstacles

It is not uncommon to create barriers or reasons why a workout routine cannot be done. Rather than letting excuses get in the way of fitness goals, work around them. Here are common excuses and workarounds for each:

  • Not enough time: If the idea is to work out in the afternoon, try changing the time to evening or right after waking in the morning.
  • Cannot afford a gym membership: Most exercises, such as walking, do not require gym equipment.
  • Lack of knowledge on how to exercise: Look on the internet or in magazines for exercises and instructions.
  • Insecurity about working out in front of others: Exercise can be performed at home and in private.

6 Advantages of Hiring a Professional Moving Company

With an influx of people moving to Arizona every day, the real estate market is buzzing. Phoenix has one of the largest real estate markets in the country, and both Phoenix and Tucson have been named as two of the nation’s top destinations for domestic relocation. More than 9,000 housing units are added to the Arizona real estate market each month and more than 7,000 are purchased. If you are planning your move into or within Arizona, you may be thinking about the daunting process of transporting your possessions from your old home to your new one. With the high costs associated with moving, it is often tempting to simply recruit friends and family to help you pack up and relocate. However, it can be hard to convince your friends to take on such a laborious task. There are several advantages to hiring professional movers to transport your possessions. The following guide discusses the benefits of using a moving company, including the company’s expertise, experience and professionalism.

  1. Packing ExpertiseWhile packing up boxes of clothes and kitchenware may be an easy Do-It-Yourself moving task, bulky items can sometimes pose challenges. Professional movers have the knowhow to quickly disassemble large pieces of furniture, bubble wrap oddly shaped vases or knickknacks and transport fragile items like flat screen televisions and. Furthermore, packing your own things may appear more cost effective because you save on labor costs, but it can cost you more money in the long run. Professional movers can look at a pile of stuff and visualize a mental game of Tetris to know exactly how to pack your things most effectively in the fewest number of boxes. Without this expertise, you may end up purchasing more boxes than you actually need. If you are not careful enough with foam and padding, your DIY packing could result in expensive damage of your valuables. Movers can also usually complete the job more quickly, saving you the excessive time of completing it yourself.
  2. Professional EquipmentProfessional movers are also helpful because they come with the right equipment needed for the job. For your heavy or awkwardly-shaped possessions, it is often useful to have tools such as dollies, hoisting straps, carts, cranes and custom ramps to load the truck. This not only makes the move easier, but also ensures your safety with heavy objects. You may have used a friend’s truck a thousand times for other DIY projects, but lifting your three-piece sectional sofa or solid oak head board into the truck bed might be more work than you bargained for. One improperly handled heavy load can cause permanent back problems that are best to avoid. Professionals are already trained to use the equipment and are practiced with lifting heavy objects. While renting your own equipment is always an option, it may not be feasible or practical.
  3. Cost EffectivenessWhether you are making a long distance or local move, using professionals is often more cost effective than hiring a rental van to make the move yourself. For local moves, consider using the professionals to simply transport your large items, like furniture and appliances, and taking multiple trips in your own minivan or pickup truck for boxes of housewares. If you are making a long-distance interstate move, moving companies will charge by weight and distance, which can add up if you have more to transport. However, when you consider what it may cost you to take time off from work to prepare for the move, to hire a baby sitter or boarder for your pet while you pack up the house or to rent special equipment, a long-distance move can sometimes be more cost effective. Choosing a moving company carefully and reviewing comprehensive estimates from several different sources allows you to select a mover that best fits your budget.
  4. InsuranceOne of the most important benefits of hiring a professional mover is the ability to insure your valuables and home goods during transportation. While the help of friends and family may be available at only the cost of a few pizzas, the risk of having your brother drop the crystal goblets you were gifted for your wedding may outweigh the benefits of DIY moving. Standard moving insurance should be offered in the mover’s official estimate and usually covers 60 cents per pound. If you wish to purchase additional insurance, be sure that you understand exactly what is included and how much it will cost.
  5. Neighborhood FamiliarityMoving companies make it their job (literally) to know where they are going. This is especially advantageous if you are making a long-distance move and are not familiar with the routes or the exact location of your new home. You can trust your movers to outsmart the GPS and ensure that your property reaches its destination safely and without delay.
  6. Flexible Storage OptionsLastly, if your home’s closing date changes and you reach your destination later than expected or your new home is not ready to be moved into by the time you arrive, using professional movers gives you the flexibility to store your possessions until you are ready for them. Most moving companies have their own storage facilities, saving you the stress of figuring out where you can keep your property on such short notice. While this does entail extra costs, you can be confident that your possessions are safe and secure while you wait for your move to be finalized, whether it is just overnight or for several months.

2 Ways to Send out New Address Notifications After a Move

One in seven individuals change his or her address every year, creating a challenge for the United States Postal Service. There are a few simple steps that can be taken to ease the burden on them and the resident who moves. There are numerous reasons why an individual moving should consider changing his or her postal address to the new address right away. For example, the mail recipient may have important and private information arriving in the mail, such as bank or loan statements, and delivering this mail to the new resident may be a security risk.

There are a few different ways to send out a new address notifications after moving. First, the mover can change his or her address with the Arizona United States Postal Service by requesting mail going to the old address be forwarded to the new one for a certain period of time. The second way is to change the address on all important accounts by contacting companies directly.

Changing an Arizona Address With the United States Postal Service Directly

There are a few different methods for changing an address with the United States Postal Service. The first method is to fill out an official change of address request form, the PS 3575 form, in person at a local post office. This form can be filled out online or over the phone as well. However, the most popular way is to fill out the form at the local post office.

The United States Postal Service admits there are complications with the change of address process occasionally. While office employees are directed to reject forms without proper signatures, some unsigned forms may still be processed. The post office recommends changing an address over the phone or on the internet instead. Digital methods are electronically matched against a requestor’s credentials, resulting in a secure transition. This is important because unauthorized changes of address may result in mail being directed to locations where identity thieves can find sensitive information.

Once a change of address form has been processed, a Move Validation letter is sent out within three to 10 days of request approval. This letter is sent out to the old address to notify the mover the request has been processed and his or her mail will be diverted to the new address. However, if an individual were to receive one of these letters in the mail and did not request a change of address, the postal service should be notified immediately that a potentially fraudulent situation may be occurring.

Changing an Arizona Address by Contacting Companies

The other method to changing an address is to notify important companies directly of the address change. In many cases, this should be done in addition to a form being filled out at the post office to avoid any confusion. The form filled out at the post office simply notifies the post office worker to forward the mail, but companies should still be contacted to change the addresses they have on file. Some important companies to consider contacting immediately include government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, State Motor Vehicle Agencies and State Election Offices.

There are a few different methods to changing an address with one of these government agencies. For the Internal Revenue Service, a form, tax return, written statement or oral notification will complete the change. The Change of Address form, Form 882, must be completed and submitted. When filing a tax return, use the new address when filing. To change the address using a written statement, be sure to include the mover’s full name, old address, new address, Social Security Number and a signature with the written statement. To use oral notification, either visit an Internal Revenue Service office or call and be sure to have the mover’s full name, address, date of birth and Social Security Number available.

If an individual is receiving Social Security benefits, Department of Veterans Affairs information, or U.S. Citizenship or Immigration Services information, he or she can go online, call or mail in a form to change his or her address. In addition, he or she should contact the local Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles to request an address change on a photo identification card or driver’s license. The state election office should be notified to change the resident’s address on his or her voter registration record.

Lastly, be sure to contact any creditors or utility companies, such as a cell phone company, to be sure the bill is sent to the proper address. Utility companies need to be notified of cut-off dates and provided with a forwarding address for any remaining bills. Start-up dates should be arranged with new companies and new addresses provided for future bills. Banks should be notified of an address change either over the phone or through the mail to ensure statements arrive at the proper address. Insurance companies, medical companies, credit card companies, investment companies, lawyers, realtors, accountants, workplace and any associations should be notified over the phone, through the mail or in person of an address change. Some of these companies may allow address changes to be made online with a simple electronic form. Finally, when a piece of mail comes in that was marked forwarded from the old address, contact the sending company and provide it with the new address.

Must-Have Safety Features in Modern Vehicles

Regardless of whether you are shopping for a new or used car, it is important to take the time to make sure the vehicle is safe. In addition to taking a test drive in the car, check all of the seat belts to ensure that they work properly before purchasing the vehicle. Head restraints, windshield designs and roof structures should also be inspected for their potential to cause blind spots while you are driving. Safety in modern vehicles has progressed far beyond just those simple assurances. Some vehicle designs offer a wide range of “bells and whistles” when it comes to optional safety features and packages. Most include the usual safety features, such as air bags and seat belts, but beyond that there are many other safety features to consider. Read the following information to determine which safety options are needed, which are the best to ask for and which may simply be money-makers for the dealerships.

Seat Belts

For years seat belts have been one of the most basic safety features in cars. If you are ever in a crash, working seat belts can prevent the riders from being ejected from the car or through the windshield. Good seatbelts are designed to keep you from colliding with the dashboard or the steering wheel. Upgrades to seat belts in modern vehicles include belts that can be adjusted to accommodate varying heights and weights. Many have built-in features that include a pretensioner, which automatically takes the slack out of the seatbelt.

Head Restraints and Head Rests

Head rests are extensions to the seats and are designed to limit head movement in the event of a rear end collision. They were created to reduce the probability of injury to your neck. There are specific strength and size requirements for front seat head restraints, but not the back seats. Dynamic head rests in some modern vehicles adjust automatically based on the seat settings.

Air Bags

Air bags are included as standard in all modern vehicles. They offer additional protection in the event of a front-end crash. They keep you from hitting the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield. Some modern vehicles also include side air bags for passengers in the front or back seat. They are intended to be used in conjunction with seat belts, so if riders are unbelted when airbags deploy, they may actually cause more damage. Children can also be significantly injured by airbags, but most modern cars allow the airbags to be deactivated in areas where children are riding.

Anti-Lock Brake Systems

Anti-lock brakes save you from yourself in many respects and are included as standard in all modern vehicles. Anti-lock brakes keep the wheels from locking up when you panic and suddenly hit the brakes. This also allows for more steering control during an emergency situation. Some additions to the newer anti-lock brake systems include brake assist features. This feature detects the force at which the driver depresses the brake and boosts the power when it is needed. It can reduce the stopping distance and possibly save lives.

Traction Control Systems

Most modern vehicles come with traction control systems, which allow drivers greater stability. The traction system adjusts the engine power output automatically, and in some vehicles, applies the force to the brakes on selected tires. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are better safety options to select if available.

Electronic Stability Control Systems

This type of stability control is different from traction control. Electric stability control systems help drivers to maintain control when steering cars in extreme circumstances. The sensors in the system note when a vehicle is losing control (or spinning out) and it applies the brake for the driver to a single wheel. This reduces the likelihood of a severe crash where the vehicle flips or rolls over. However, this system does not help if the driver is operating the vehicle at excessive speeds.

All-Wheel Drive Systems

When you have an all-wheel drive system, the power is distributed to both the front and back wheels of the vehicle, maximizing your traction on the road. This allows you to have greater control in bad weather and is especially helpful in rain and snow.

Comfortable Seats

Safety features can be as simple as having comfortable seats. You will spend a lot of time in the car and if you are uncomfortable comfortable, it can quickly become a safety issue. Purchase a vehicle with seats that can be adjusted to accommodate your height and weight. Some seats adjust automatically while others must be manually situated.

Hands-Free Controls

Most states have passed laws that require the use of a cell phone be contained to hands-free operation. Many modern vehicles also have options that will block signals while they are in operation, so drivers are not distracted while driving. Having basic Bluetooth capability with hands-free operation, or voice control, is a safety feature that should be opted for if it is not included as standard.

Automatic Headlights

Obtaining a car that automatically turns on the headlights when they are needed, and off when they are not, is not only convenient, but is also helpful for your safety and for the safety of your fellow drivers. Many accidents occur because drivers have forgotten to turn on their lights or they thought they had their low beams on when they only had daytime driving lights engaged.

Six Ways a Vision Impairment Can Endanger You on the Road

It is vital to have good eyesight if you are planning to drive a vehicle. In fact, good vision is so important for the driving process that you cannot legally obtain a driver’s license without passing a vision test. For example, in Arizona you must demonstrate that at least one of your eyes has 20/40 vision or better to be issued a driver’s license. If you cannot meet that goal without some form of vision assistance, you must get corrective glasses or contact lenses. You will then be issued a class B Arizona driver’s license, which restricts you from driving without wearing your corrective lenses. If you are pulled over by a police officer and found to be in violation of your class B license requirement, you will receive a ticket. You may also be pulled over and ticketed by a police officer if you develop a vision impairment after getting a driver’s license and choose to drive with an undocumented and uncorrected vision impairment. However, the risks involved with vision impaired driving extend far beyond the legal implications. Below is a list of six ways vision impairment can endanger you on the road.

Decreased Color Differentiation May Lead to Misinterpreted Traffic Signals

Although color blindness does not legally prevent a driver from operating a car, it will cause him or her to have greater difficulty identifying color-related signals while driving. Such signals include traffic lights and brake lights on other vehicles. The increased time it takes to interpret such signals may lead to traffic accidents. There are also other eye conditions which can lead otherwise healthy drivers to suddenly have less ability to interpret color quickly, such as cataracts. A sudden loss of the ability to interpret color may increase a driver’s risk of getting into an accident.

Impaired Depth Perception May Increase Accident Risks

Depth perception is the ability to tell how far away objects are. A driver uses his or her depth perception for almost every aspect of driving. If a driver has poor depth perception, he or she may not be able to easily determine how fast other vehicles are moving or how close obstacles ahead actually are. Such interpretation issues may be problematic in situations such as merging from an on-ramp onto a highway, changing lanes while driving or recognizing when it is safe or unsafe to travel through an intersection. Any one of these depth perception-related issues may lead to an increased risk for traffic accidents.

Decreased Peripheral Vision May Make Objects Approaching From the Side Difficult to See

Peripheral vision refers to being able to see objects that are off to either side, as opposed to directly ahead. If a driver has impaired peripheral vision, he or she may have difficulty seeing vehicles, deer, or other animals, people or other objects that are approaching from the side of his or her vehicle. Traveling with poor peripheral vision is particularly dangerous for a driver at night when the field of view is already reduced and less light is available, making collisions with animals and other types of accidents more likely.

Decreased Contrast Sensitivity Causes Multiple Problems

Drivers rely on contrast sensitivity heavily to help them distinguish objects which would otherwise blend into the background. For instance, if a pedestrian is walking along the side of a road at night, it is contrast sensitivity that allows him or her to be seen clearly by drivers. Decreased contrast sensitivity can cause drivers to not see pedestrians and many other objects which blend into the background, leading to accidents. Decreased contrast sensitivity may also make it difficult for drivers to spot small landmarks in the dark, causing them to get lost while trying to reach their destinations.

Light-Sensitive Vision May Lead to Increased Hazards Associated with Glare

Glare is a hazard to all drivers on the road, especially at night when oncoming drivers forget to turn their high beams off while approaching. However, drivers living with preexisting vision impairments that cause extra light sensitivity are more prone to being temporary blinded from sun glare during the day or headlight glare from other vehicles at night. In addition to the immediate danger of colliding with other vehicles, trees or objects, prolonged exposure to glare at night can also cause drivers to become drowsy, making falling asleep while driving more likely. Actions such as wearing protective sunglasses can help some light-sensitive drivers reduce glare-related distractions while driving.

General Visual Impairment May Make Road Signs Difficult to Read

Many of the conditions discussed above, as well as other forms of visual impairment, can make certain types of road signs difficult for drivers to read. Depending on the types of visual impairment involved, drivers may also have general trouble reading all road signs at a distance. Since trying to read road signs closely while moving can be problematic, drivers with general visual impairments may easily become lost if they cannot read road signs at a distance. Important information about hazards or inconveniences such as ramp closures or construction notifications may also be missed, leading to additional road dangers. Due to decreased available light and other factors, many drivers tend to have more trouble reading road signs at night than they do during the day. However, daytime road sign reading difficulties can also occur.

Four Ways Tire Size and Type Can Affect Your Drive

Each time you get into your vehicle you are relying on your tires to get you where you need to go safely. Having the right tires installed on your vehicle and making sure those tires are in good condition is vital if you want to stay safe on the road and travel efficiently. Determining which tires are the right tires for your vehicle may be difficult at times because different tire sizes and types are designed for certain vehicle types and driving conditions. For example, it is known that tires which work fine in summer weather on flat roads are often not suitable for off road-activities or winter travel. However, even though you know switching tires may be necessary at times, you may not understand why that is the case. Understanding your vehicle’s tires and how they work is vital to making each ride as safe and smooth as possible, as well as preventing unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle and reducing accident risks. Below is a list of four ways tire size and type can affect your drive.

Tire Size Impacts Speed and Load Bearing Capabilities

Each tire that is installed on a vehicle or is sold separately as a replacement tire has a series of numbers that communicate specific ratings. The numbers on each tire represent how much weight that particular tire can support and the maximum speed that tire model can handle, assuming it is bearing the maximum weight. The tire’s speed and weight bearing capabilities are directly influenced by the diameter and general size of the respective tire, which are also listed on each tire. The information listed on the tire can be used to determine which tire size is appropriate for the respective vehicle when shopping for replacement tires.

When a new vehicle is sold, it is typically already equipped with the optimum tires based on calculations made by the company executives when the vehicle was manufactured. When it is time to replace the tires on your vehicle, you may choose to get the exact same models to avoid speed and load bearing issues and to keep the buying process simple. However, you can opt for a generic brand or a slightly different tire model if you want to change the performance of the vehicle to some extent or if you would like to reduce your costs.

Tire Type Directly Affects Traction

Choosing the proper type of tire for your vehicle is also essential because each type of tire has a different tread design and depth. The tread of a tire allows it to grip the road, giving the vehicle essential traction needed during activities such as braking or turning. Deeper tire treads help the vehicle to maintain a higher level of traction, especially during wet weather. Deep tire treads can also help off road vehicles to navigate over muddy or rocky terrain successfully.

The depth of tire tread you need for your vehicle depends on the type of vehicle you own and the conditions under which you intend to drive. However, the law dictates that for safety purposes, you must have a tire tread depth of 2/32 inches or greater. You must also be mindful of the fact that tire tread wears out over time, which means that your tread will get shallower the more you travel. Additionally, it is possible for one of your tires to develop uneven tread wear due to rolling over potholes or other obstacles, causing eventual vehicle performance issues.

Tire Types Impact General Handling and Driving Comfort

Handling is the general term used to describe how comfortably and quickly your car responds to your steering actions. If the tires on your vehicle are not optimal for the size and style of the vehicle, the handling may become sluggish, causing your car to have difficulty braking or turning smoothly. You may also find that your general comfort while driving is reduced if your tires are not the proper types for your vehicle. Tires that are too large or otherwise incorrect may make your ride feel far bumpier than it usually would. For example, if you use base model tires on a sports car, you will notice a more sluggish response time than your vehicle would give you if the proper tires were installed.

Tire Types Impact Seasonal and Situational Safety

The vehicle industry has designed certain types of tires to be used for specific purposes. For instance, snow tires, which are tires with specially designed and typically deeper treads, may be particularly helpful to you if you plan to travel in snowy or icy conditions. If you are planning to travel in the summer, all-season or summer tires may be sufficient because they handle well in most conditions except for snow, ice and excessive mud. Equipping the right tire for the season or purpose of your driving trip is essential for your safety. Having the wrong tires for the season or conditions may lead to your vehicle becoming stuck in mud or snow. You may also lose control of the vehicle, causing it to skid off the road or into other vehicles, which may result in property damage, injuries or deaths.

Easy and Affordable Bonding Activities for Families

A few short decades ago family bonding time was a daily occurrence simply due to the way of life. Work days and school days were shorter, neighbors were friendlier and life was generally less demanding. However, the introduction of personal computers, smartphones, video games and other technologies changed the way modern families interact. Today you may find that your family members have become unintentionally disconnected from each other. If so, you are not alone. Combine increased technology with more scheduling demands and tight budgets and it is easy to see why family bonding has become practically non-existent in many U.S. households. However, there are many family bonding activities that you can still enjoy together and many of these activities can help you to learn a lot about your family members and become closer to them. Below is a list of easy and affordable bonding activities for families that can help you reestablish or strengthen your family ties.

Cards, Puzzles and Games

Staying home and taking advantage of simple indoor bonding activities is a great way to keep your costs down while still spending quality time with your family. Open your closet and dust off your board games, puzzles and decks of cards. Alternatively, if your entire family prefers technology over old-fashioned entertainment, consider playing the same video games or smartphone games together in an effort to bond more. Many electronic games are cheap or free.

Bowling or Billiards

Almost every town has a bowling alley or a pool hall, and many of them offer special discounts for families all the time or there may be specific days and times when bowling or billiards are more inexpensive for families. The best thing about playing billiards or going bowling with your family is that both activities provide plenty of opportunities for chatting and learning about each other, as opposed to activities such as going to the movies where talking is frowned upon. Your family can also enjoy hours of fun for very little money. If your home is large enough, you should also consider purchasing your own pool table so you can enjoy billiards with your family for free whenever you need a little family bonding time in the future.

Outdoor Sports

Participating in outdoor sports with your family will certainly strengthen your family bonds. For the most part, taking up a family sport also involves limited expenditures. For example, if your family wants to take up bike riding, you will have to buy the equipment, but the bikes, helmets and protective pads will last for a long time. Other types of inexpensive family sports you can enjoy together include swimming, hiking and basketball.

Museums

No matter where you live, it is likely that you are within driving distance of many educational and interesting museums. Many museums offer free admission on certain days or free admission for children. Some museums also offer free admission to students or senior citizens. Therefore, you can easily take every member of your family and learn about many different subjects, such as art or history, without breaking the bank. A trip to the museum may also help you to learn about the types of things that interest each member of your family, creating tighter family bonds.

Camping

Camping is one of the best ways to disconnect from technology and reconnect with your family. The costs of camping may vary depending on how far you travel. However, it is likely that there are camp grounds in your local area so you will not have to worry about high gas costs. You can also combine camping with other bonding activities like sports, games and family hikes.

Volunteering Together

Volunteering together in your local community is an excellent way to bond with your family. It costs nothing to volunteer and your whole family will learn about the value of helping others. Depending on the type of volunteering you choose to do, you may also find that your family learns how to work better together to complete common goals, such as serving meals or distributing clothing or other essential items to needy residents. Skills and empathy developed while volunteering as a family will come in handy during other family situations in the future. Additionally, encouraging your children to volunteer at a young age may cause them to each want to volunteer their time to help other people when they become adults.

Crafting

Doing crafts together as a family is not only a great bonding experience, it is also an excellent way to keep your kids entertained on a rainy day. A bonus advantage to doing craft projects with your kids is that you will have plenty of time to talk to them and learn about the things they like. There are also many kid-friendly craft projects to choose from. A quick online search will yield hundreds of age-appropriate options. Additionally, you can order discount craft supplies online so you do not need to go shopping with your kids or spend a large sum on craft supplies.