Tips for Filing a No-Fault Car Accident Claim in Wisconsin

When you’re in an auto accident that isn’t your fault, it’s hard to think about filing an insurance claim at the time. However, exchanging insurance information with the other driver involved is an important step to take, since it will enable you to cover any potential medical bills and get your vehicle repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Once you’ve gotten through and obtained the insurance information from the at-fault driver, what should you do? These tips will help you ensure that your auto insurance claim goes through as smoothly as possible.

Contact the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

You’re probably aware that it’s the responsibility of the driver who causes an accident to report it to their insurance company. However, people who cause collisions are often reluctant to make a report, and may not be prompt in notifying their insurance company. It’s a good idea for you to contact the at-fault driver’s insurer, even if you believe the other driver has already done so.

Make sure you’ve collected as much information as possible at the scene of the accident from the other driver, including the name of the insurance company, address, phone number for claims, and the name of the agent who handles the policy, if possible.

When you contact the insurance company, notify them that you were involved in an accident with one of their policyholders. Report only the facts of the accident, including any injuries or property damages you incurred.

You should also notify your own insurance company immediately about the incident, even if you were not at fault. If the other insurance company denies your claim, or if the driver lies about the circumstances of the accident, your insurer may be able to cover the damages, including medical and repair bills. They may also be able to provide you with a rental car to use until your vehicle has been repaired.

Know Your Rights

Some insurance companies may demand that you receive their authorization before bringing your vehicle in for repairs due to an accident. Make sure that the insurer has accepted liability for the accident before you seek repairs, and get their acceptance in writing to avoid problems down the line—such as refusal to pay the repair bill.

You should also be aware that an insurance company can’t force you to choose a specific auto body shop or repair facility following an accident. Most states, including Wisconsin, will allow insurers to recommend repair services, but they are not allowed to make demands. You can choose any auto body shop you prefer.

If your vehicle has been damaged in an accident, stop down and see us at Westway Auto Body, Inc.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Have you ever eaten a sandwich, texted or talked on your cell phone, put on makeup, or rummaged through your vehicle for a lost item while driving? If these are common habits, you could become one of the hundreds of thousands of statistics of distracted drivers being hurt or hurting someone else in an accident.

“One text or call could wreck it all” is the motto of the April 2013 National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Statistics — Texting Tops the List

Driving while distracted is a serious problem in the United States. Some sobering statistics have been gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

There were 5,474 people killed in the U.S. in motor vehicle accidents in 2009. It is estimated that about 448,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted driving that year. Distracted driving is anything that takes your attention away from driving, your main responsibility at that moment. Some examples of distracted driving include:

  • Texting and using hand held cell phones is the number one cause of distracted driving accidents
  • Using a GPS
  • Distractions by children
  • Lighting a cigarette
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Daydreaming
  • Talking to another passenger
  • Looking for an address
  • Shaving
  • Putting on makeup
  • Watching a crash nearby
  • Eating

Teens Comprise the Highest at Risk Group

Teenagers accounted for the greatest percentage of injuries or fatalities attributed to distracted driving. The next oldest age group, those between 20 and 29 years old, had the next highest proportion.

Texting while driving accounts for so many injuries and fatalities because this activity diverts a driver’s attention in three primary ways:

  • Visual — by looking at your phone
  • Manual — by using your hands to manipulate the phone
  • Cognitive — by drawing your thinking away from your main responsibility: driving the car

According to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, texting raises the risk of crashing 23 times that of driving without distraction. Texting, whether composing or reading a message, takes the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. This is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blind at 55 miles per hour.

Every state is participating in the distracted driving awareness campaign. In Wisconsin, the Department of Transportation has named a safe driving campaign Zero in Wisconsin, because “the only acceptable number of deaths is ZERO.” 

The state law in Wisconsin makes it a crime to text while driving. Wisconsin says its law banning texting while driving is a primary enforcement law. This law means police can stop a motorist for no other reason than they suspect the driver is texting.

Wisconsin Drivers’ Cell Phone Laws

Texting while driving is against the law in Wisconsin. The Department of Transportation gives drivers the following tips for avoiding a ticket and staying safe:

  • Turn your cell phone off or change it to silent mode.
  • Let callers know by voice mail that you are driving and you will return their call as soon as you can.
  • If you absolutely need to use your cell, pull over and stop where you can safely make a call.
  • Ask someone else in the car to make a phone call or send a text message for you.

In honor of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we should all make the pledge not to text while driving and should try to spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. Westway Auto Body Inc. would like to wish you all safe driving!

Westway Auto Body Offers Car Accident Tips

If you are involved in an auto accident, there are some things you should do to ensure you are protected. The following are some tips for drivers in the Milwaukee area:

  • Document as much of the scene as possible: using your phone’s camera or video recorder, take pictures or video of the accident scene. Be sure to document any damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved and any other pieces of evidence that may be useful.
  • Take down the name and contact information of the other drivers involved in the crash. Write down their insurance information and, to be safe, their license plate numbers.
  • Take down the names and contact information of any witnesses to the crash.
  • Report the accident to the police so they will have record of what happened.
  • Go to the doctor immediately, even if you don’t think you are severely injured. Many times injuries can worsen over time, or at the time of the accident you may not realize you are injured because you may be in a state of shock.
  • Talk to an attorney about your right to compensation. If the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible for financial compensation.

If you are involved in a Milwaukee car accident, it is important that you act quickly. Memories of what happened can fade quickly and evidence can disappear. To make sure you are properly protected, you should take the steps to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.

Zoomie Awards Highlight Best of this Year’s Autos

This year’s Greater Milwaukee auto show was another success! Mark Savage has already handed out this year’s Zoomie awards, and the winner of the Car of the Year goes to Dodge Dart.

“I can’t lie. I have reservations selecting the Dodge Dart because Dodge/Fiat has not proven to me yet that their vehicles are good long-term buys,” said Savage. “But from the initial drive I must say I was most impressed and surprised by this car during the past year.”

Savage bases his Car of the Year selection on what is best for the masses, not for the wealthy. In addition to the Car of the Year, which was stolen by Dodge Dart, the following cars are also on the winners’ list:

Best looking coupe/hatchback:

This goes to the Hyundai Veloster. Savage said based on looks alone, the Veloster would have taken Car of the Year, but because it is a hatchback and is designed for a younger audience, winning wasn’t quite realistic. According to Savage, this car won the title of best looking coupe because of its style and sporty looks, handling and ride. He also said it took the best looking and functioning interior.

Best family sedan:

Nissan’s Altima stole the show in this category for its looks, value, luxury feel and gas mileage. Runners up for this category include Chevy’s new Malibu, Toyota’s newly styled Camry, Honda’s Accord and Acura’s new sedan, the ILX.

Best-looking family sedan:

When it comes to looks alone, while the Altima is a close second, the winner goes to Volkswagen’s CC Sport.

Best entry-level car:

Starting at $12,500, Hyundai’s new Accent made the list as the “low-cost gem.”

Best new SUV:

The Mercedes-Benz GLK350 W4 edged out the other SUVs in its class. A very close second is the Volvo XC60, which lost by a hair due to the fact that it is more of a crossover than an SUV. Savage deems both as attractive and packed full of goodies.

Best new Average Joe SUV:

Of the smaller SUVs, the new Mazda CX-5 takes the win.

Best entry-level luxury:

The Hyundai Azera stole this category, which may come as a surprise to some. Although most people wouldn’t think of Hyundai as being luxurious, it really has stepped up its game.

Best luxury car:

According to Savage, luxury means anything over $50,000. And, while he points out that most cars in this category are filled with the bells and whistles, he gave the title to the Audi S5 Cabriolet.

The 2013 Greater Milwaukee auto show ended March 3. If you made it out, you would know that there were some real gems there this year.

Milwaukee Auto Sales on the Up-and-Up

Auto sales in the Milwaukee area saw a 12.2 increase in 2012. According to a report published by The Business Journal, the owner of Braeger Ford and Braeger Chevrolet said sales in 2012 rose sharply, particularly for Fords.

“It is a far cry from the last five years, that’s for sure,” he said.

Car sales in southeastern Wisconsin nearly reached 70,000 in 2012, according to registration data from Reg-Trak Inc. in Waterloo. According to the reports, 2012 marks the third year of growth for the industry. The following is a breakdown of vehicle sales in southeastern Wisconsin in 2012:

  • Ford — 9,280 vehicles
  • Chevrolet — 8,650
  • Honda — 8,456
  • Toyota — 8,2585
  • Nissan — 3,722
  • Kia — 3,624
  • Dodge — 3,390
  • Hyundai — 3,249
  • Subaru — 2,949
  • Volkswagen — 2,614

Used car sales in the area have also been on the rise. In fact, used car sales grew by 3.6 percent in 2012, reaching almost 101,000.

This increase in car sales is good for the Milwaukee auto industry. Car dealers can sit back and enjoy the ride as more and more people continue to invest in new vehicles.

For all your auto needs in the Milwaukee area, come see us at Westway Auto Body Inc.

Storm to Hit WI Thursday: Tips for Safe Driving in Harsh Weather

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for a big chunk of Wisconsin for Thursday. According to the warning, the storm is expected to start as rain and turn to snow along the lakeshore. It is expected to hit all counties in the WISN 12 viewing area except for Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties sometime between midnight Wednesday and midnight Thursday.

With such a severe storm on the horizon, it is important to pay close attention to the roads and to take extra caution when driving. Along with major snow storms come treacherous road conditions and an increased risk for car accidents.

If you will be driving between midnight Wednesday and midnight Thursday, here are some safe driving tips to help you get to and from your destination safely:

  • Check your tires: You should check your tire pressure and upgrade your tires before the snow storm hits to ensure you are protected. Once the snow starts falling, put on your chains.
  • Increase your visibility: Before driving, make sure to completely remove the snow from your vehicle’s windows and from the roof to make sure you can see as clearly as possible.
  • Keep your lights on: Turn your lights on so other drivers can see you coming.
  • Drive slowly: Be extra careful while driving in a severe storm. Rain and ice increase the risk for skidding and harsh weather makes it difficult to see cars ahead. This can be a deadly combination if you are driving too fast.
  • Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle ahead: A good rule of thumb when driving in snowy conditions is to leave at least three times more space between you and the car in front of you; this will allow you to stop safely.
  • Avoid distractions: Driving in harsh weather conditions is difficult and takes full attention. Avoid distractions such as talking on a hand held cell phone, sending or receiving text messages or looking at a road map or electronic navigation device.
  • Keep your eyes on the road: The most important thing you can do while driving in severe weather is to pay attention. Keep your eyes on the road and pay attention to debris in the road and other vehicles.
  • If your rear wheels skid while you are driving, take your foot off the accelerator and steer the vehicle in the direction that it is sliding. If, for example, your back wheels are sliding left, steer left. As you recover, if the wheels start to slide the other way, slowly steer the wheel into that direction.
  • If your vehicle gets stuck, do not spin your wheels; that will only make matters worse. Turn your wheels to the right and then to the left a couple of times to push some of the snow out of the way. Lightly press the gas to ease your vehicle out of the snow. You can also try pouring sand, salt or kitty litter in the path to gain traction.

With the first storm of the year expected to hit Wisconsin this week, it is important to pay attention to the roads and to make sure your vehicle is safe.

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Arm Yourself Against Auto Theft in Milwaukee

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in its Uniform Crime Reports, says that criminals in the U.S. steal a motor vehicle every 40 seconds. In Milwaukee, the projected number of cars stolen is on the increase compared to actual numbers for 2010.

The projected number for 2012 of autos stolen in Milwaukee is 4,996. The number is based on data collected for 12 years, according to City Rating.com. While this number is not the highest in the nation, it is significant, especially to those whose cars have been stolen.

The following are some helpful tips to avoid having your vehicle stolen:

  • Never leave your keys in the car (almost 20 percent of stolen vehicles had keys left in them)
  • Lock your car always (about 50 percent of stolen cars were not locked)
  • Park where there is good lighting (more than 50 percent of all vehicles are stolen at night)
  • Park in lots where there is an attendant (thieves prefer not to have witnesses)
  • If you park in a lot where there is an attendant, give him or her just the key(s) for the ignition and door
  • Don’t ever leave your car when the engine is running, even if you will be absent for a very short time (places where you might be tempted to leave your keys in a running car that are common sites for car theft include gas stations, ATMs and convenience stores)
  • Make sure your car windows are closed all the way when you leave the auto
  • If you park with your wheels turned towards the curb, it is harder for a criminal to tow it away
  • Park back end first in your driveway if your car is a rear-wheel vehicle; park front end first if it is a front-wheel drive
  • Always engage your emergency brake when you park
  • If you have a garage at home, lock it as well as locking the auto
  • Keep the car title in your home or office (in order to make stealing more difficult, also keep your registration in your wallet)
  • If you’re not going to use your car for a long time, disable it (you can do this by taking out the electronic ignition fuse, coil wire, or rotor distributor)
  • If you have “T”-shaped door locks, replace them with straight locks
  • It’s easier for police to find your car if your VIN (vehicle identification number) is etched on your windows and important car parts
  • Put some business cards or other type of identification inside the door pockets
  • Use an “ignition kill switch”
  • Attach a fuel kill switch that stops fuel from flowing
  • Use a steering wheel lock that thieves can see
  • Don’t leave tempting valuables visible inside the car
  • Use locks that disable the gas or brake pedals and the transmission shift
  • Consider using tire locks
  • Install a hood lock to prevent criminals from getting to your security system and battery
  • Be sure your car has alarms

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Tips for Safe Driving on Halloween

If you are planning on driving this Halloween, it is important to pay close attention to the road and to drive carefully as the streets will be crawling with little creatures. We’ve put together a list of safe driving tips for everyone who will be driving on our roads this Halloween:

  • Drive slowly — since the streets will be crawling with little ghosts and goblins, it’s important to drive slowly and keep your eyes out for people. Because many costumes are dark and hard to see, you should drive slowly and be prepared to stop in case little trick-or-treaters run into the street.
  • Be patient and remain calm — if you are driving through high traffic neighborhoods, you should be prepared to make frequent stops as trick-or-treaters run from house to house and into the street.
  • Take a different route — if you know a different route that you can take that will eliminate driving through high traffic neighborhoods, you should take it. You will cut down on making frequent stops and will eliminate the risk of hitting any little trick-or-treaters.
  • Pay attention to the road and avoid distractions — avoid distractions like electronic devices, texting while driving, talking on hand held cell phones and looking at maps. Halloween is such an exciting time for youngsters; you will need to pay extra close attention in case someone runs into the street without paying attention.
  • Try to avoid driving between 5 and 9 p.m. — it’s best to stay off the road between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to avoid all the little ones on the street.
  • Don’t drink and drive — this is our number one safe driving tip for Halloween night. Whatever you do, DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE! Even one drink can impair your judgment and slow your reflexes. On a night like Halloween when the streets are crowded with excited children, it is especially crucial that you do not drink and drive.

Halloween is fun for kids of all ages. No matter what you are doing this year, be careful and stay safe. Westway Auto Body wishes you and your family a fun and safe Halloween!

Mobile Devices Create Dangerous Consequences on Our Roadways

Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular. Getting information, connecting with friends and family and learning about the latest and greatest places and events is easier than ever, especially since we can get the information instantly on our phones. While technology has made it easy for us to connect with others, it also has created some unintentional, dangerous consequences.

Texting while driving, for instance, has become a major problem in the U.S., increasing the risk for traffic accidents, injuries and death. Each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thousands of people are injured and killed in traffic accidents caused by distracted driving. And, according to the American Automobile Association, nearly 50 percent of teens admit to sending and receiving text messages while driving on a regular basis.

The states are beginning to crack down on texting and using hand held cell phones while driving. In the state of Wisconsin, for example, it is illegal to text while driving period. But, despite the laws, people continue to do it, putting themselves and others on the road at risk.

Distracted driving has been an a major issue for quite some time. In addition to texting while driving, other forms of distracted driving include:

  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Using a navigation system
  • Messing with the radio, CD player or iPod
  • Reading maps or other material
  • Putting on makeup
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers

Any type of distraction while driving is dangerous. But, because texting and driving requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver it is, by far, the most dangerous form of distracted driving possible.

In an effort to put an end to distracted driving, agencies are spreading awareness and educating people about the dangerous risks involved with texting, talking on the phone an using other electronic devices while driving. The statistics involving texting while driving are shocking. Some of these include:

  • In 2010 3,092 people were killed and an additional 416,000 people were injured in crashes that involved a distracted driver
  • 18 percent of all crashes in 2010 involved distracted driving
  • 11 percent of all drivers under the age 20 involved in fatal car accidents were reported as being distracted at the time of the accident
  • 40 percent of American teens admitted to being in a car with a driver who was using a cell phone while driving
  • Drivers that are text messaging while driving have a 23 percent greater chance of getting into an accident than those who are not
  • When an individual sends or receives a text message, his or her eyes are taken from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds; this is the equivalent of driving at 55 mph for the length of a football field while blind

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AM 920 The Wolf, Your Source For NASCAR

The Daytona 500 is set to take place this weekend! Those of you tuning into to AM 920 The Wolf to listen to the NASCAR races, be sure to listen for announcements made by Westway Auto Body Inc.!

AM 920 The Wolf carries live broadcasts of every race all season long. Coverage begins an hour before each race. Be sure to tune in and listen!

AM 920 The Wolf presents the following features Monday – Friday:

  • 6:15 a.m. – Motorsports Minute
  • 11:15 p.m. – Ned Jarrett’s “World of Racing”
  • 1:15 p.m. – NASCAR Midday
  • 4:15 p.m. – NASCAR Today
  • 5:15 p.m. – Garage Pass

Click here for the broadcast schedule.