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Are you doing illegal things while driving?

In Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

A lot happens behind the wheel. In order to safely reach their destination, motorists need to monitor other road users and be prepared to take action at a moment’s notice.

An important part of using the road is avoiding doing illegal things while driving. So, what’s considered illegal? We’re here to provide some examples, some of which you may not know about.

Distracted driving has become a major problem. Drivers can easily become preoccupied by talking to other passengers, helping their children, or using technology. This pulls their attention away from the task at hand and increases their chance of getting into an accident.

In 2020, more than 3,100 people died because of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Around 424,000 people across the United States were injured as a result of distracted driving in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Some types of distractions are listed below.

Examples of distracted driving

Texting

In Virginia, it is illegal to hold a handheld device while driving. However, that doesn’t stop travelers from using them to perform various tasks, such as texting. Some of us have seen people swerving and – when we pull up next to them at a light – notice that they are typing out a message, even with children in the car.

Recording TikTok videos

Using social media is another task people perform while behind the wheel. TikTok has grown in popularity over the years. So has many of the trends associated with the platform. To be a part of it, some people will record TikTok videos while driving. 

Eating and drinking

It doesn’t seem like there’s enough time in the day and, sometimes, we use driving as our chance to catch up on tasks, especially when we’re running late. A lot of people will temporarily take their eyes off the road to eat or drink something.

Focusing on your appearance

Are you having a bad hair day? Is your makeup smudged? These are some concerns we may have when heading to a presentation for work or trying to look our best for someone special. So, we tend to do them on our way to our destination.

Illegal activities aren’t limited to distracted driving. There are also various tasks that are performed on the road when drivers aren’t looking at a screen, or taking care of their physical needs.

Other illegal things while driving

Speeding through school zones

We see it all the time – motorists driving quickly through school zones, despite the flashing yellow lights indicating that the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Remember, during the times listed on school zone signs, the reduced speed comes into play. 

Not clearing your windshield

We were a bit surprised to find that having a dirty windshield is against the law. But it makes sense when you think about it. Not having a clear windshield makes it more difficult to see and is, therefore, unsafe.

Hanging items from the rearview mirror

A lot of people have things – graduation tassels, for example – hanging from the rearview mirror. Like a large crack in the windshield, it’s illegal to hang objects from the mirror because it’s obstructing the driver’s vision.

Trash on the side of the road.

Throwing items out the window

If you’re paying attention, you may see litter on the side of the road. Throwing items – whether it’s cigarette butts, fast food containers or dirty diapers – out the car window is another illegal thing that people do, sometimes without even thinking about it.

Driving without a front bumper

There are many components your vehicle needs for you to drive it legally. You’re supposed to have a front and rear bumper that is rated for a certain crash and mile per hour. Putting up a 4-by-4 board may not be legal in your state.

There are some ways you can drive more safely (and legally). 

Steps you can take

We’ve explained a lot of things that are illegal to do while driving. But is there anything that can be done to better protect yourself and your passengers? Here are a few things you can do to make your travels less distracting and more safe:

  • Create rules for yourself and your kids to follow when you’re behind the wheel
  • Get an app that lets people who are calling you know that you’re driving
  • Make sure that you can see clearly while driving and your vehicle is following Virginia safety inspection standards

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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What can cause an airbag light to come on?

In Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Airbags are an important safety feature that protect you and your family in case an accident occurs.

Sometimes, the airbag light will come on. This occurs whenever the airbag system senses a problem. 

The light can turn on for a few reasons:

Airbag module is damaged: An airbag light can turn on if the airbag module, which stores information, is damaged because of rain or flooding. If this is the case, the airbag module will need to be replaced.

Airbag backup battery needs recharging: Has your car battery died recently? If so, the backup battery for the airbags could have drained with it. The issue may become resolved when the car battery is charged, or the airbag backup battery might need to be recharged. 

Sensor not working: There are various sensors connected with parts of a car, including the airbag. For example, some vehicles have a sensor that measures the weight in the passenger seat. If a sensor is going bad, the airbag light could be triggered.

Bad airbag clock spring: Vehicles have an airbag clock spring that links the steering wheel with other components, such as the airbag. The airbag clock spring could stop working properly.

Other problems that may trip the airbag light include a broken wire and a bad resistor in the seat belt buckle.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics. 

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Servicing vehicles with driver assist

In Alignment, Maintenance, Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Today, many vehicles use Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS).

For the automotive field, servicing vehicles with driver assist has started to become a challenge, even when it comes to regular maintenance.

Parts of the ADAS system can include: adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, pedestrian detection, collision avoidance, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, cross traffic alert, surround view, blind spot detection, park assist, rear collision warning, and rear park assist/back up park assist with surround view.

Some of the things that work with the sensors are: long range radars, LIDAR, cameras, short-medium range radars, and ultrasound.

Driver Assist

Depending on the vehicle, there are different levels of ADAS system resets — some of them are passive, some are hard resets where you have to use targets.

Some vehicles have different radar set ups and blind spot detection, which require different targets on certain vehicles, and they can be kind of tricky to reset.

Replacing a windshield with the incorrect kind of windshield may not allow the ADAS system to work correctly.

Even body shops putting metallic paint on a car can impact the sensors located on the front bumper.

An ADAS system reset may also be needed after a wheel alignment or if technicians remove the bumper to replace the timing belt.

Another challenge is that a lot of people don’t know that a reset is needed. There’s no direct warning light for ADAS, unless you have a driver’s information center.

So, you could be driving the car and not know the system isn’t set up correctly to help you in an emergency situation. 

In extreme conditions of the ADAS system not working correctly, the car may try to compensate for your regular driving.

So, if your vehicle has an ADAS system and you bring it to a repair shop, you may want to ask them if the work will affect your driving assist system. That way you can make sure that it does get reset.

What we see is a lot of people in the industry don’t even know that they’re supposed to do it.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire has invested in the complete ADAS system — everything from Fords, Chevys, Subarus, Mercedes, BMWs. We even can do the camera systems and the targeted systems.

It’s quite an investment, but we know that we need to make sure that we’re fixing these cars correctly, and we’re keeping your family safe on the road.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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State inspections for Hyundai vehicles

In Inspection, Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Receiving a state inspection for a vehicle isn’t purposeless.

The law helps protect motorists throughout the year.

However, regular inspections aren’t required in some states, such as Maryland. Drivers are only expected to have their vehicle checked when they purchase it.

This contributed to a recent incident that brought a Maryland family to Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

The lower control arm of the family’s Hyundai Sedan rusted and broke off while they were traveling.

A lower control arm is connected to the frame of the vehicle and the steering knuckle by the lower ball joint.

Having their vehicle checked regularly could have prevented the issue.

“If they had been coming in for a yearly inspection, there would have been a better chance this would have been caught,” the General Manager at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire said.

The broken part didn’t lead to any injuries.

“Fortunately — in this case — they weren’t going too fast and didn’t hurt anyone, but imagine if they had been going down the highway like this,” the General Manager said. “So, this isn’t just about the individual, it’s about the safety of all drivers on the road.”

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Are your vehicle’s headlights clear?

In Headlamps, Inspection, Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Traveling during late hours can be stressful and dangerous.

Addressing hazy headlights can improve safety and visibility.

Over time, a vehicle’s headlamps can grow foggy as their clear coat finish wears off and the headlight cover becomes pitted.

Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge has the ability to restore them.

According to Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire Manager Jon Conner, changing a headlight cover can fix the issue. Some lights must be replaced entirely.

“You can make an appointment with us and we will evaluate the headlights on your car, truck or SUV and give you a recommendation if they can be restored or need to be replaced,” Conner said.

The headlamps don’t just impact a driver’s safety or ability to see at night.

They can also cause issues in an annual check up.

“During a state inspection, headlights are checked for alignment and for candle power — or how bright they are,” Conner said. “For example, the headlights might require an 8,000 candlepower rating to pass the inspection. If it gets to low, you can actually fail it.”