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How to avoid car collisions with animals

- Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Lallis & Higgins Insurance Car Collision with a Deer

Give wildlife a “brake” and lower your risk of hitting an animal

Wild animals are forced to cross roads and highways in search of food, water, cover and mates—placing them in the path of our speeding vehicles. Each year, there are roughly 1.5 million vehicle collisions just with deer on U.S. roadways.

How can I avoid hitting an animal with my car?

First and foremost, slow down! Keeping your speed in check gives you a better chance of stopping in time if an animal darts into the road.

  • Follow speed limits. Many animals are hit simply because people drive too fast to avoid them. Taking it slow makes the roads safer for other drivers and pedestrians, too.
  • Watch for wildlife in and near the road at dawn, dusk and in the first few hours after darkness. Keep in mind that where there is one animal, there are probably others—young animals following their mother or male animals pursuing a female.
  • Be especially cautious on two-lane roads bordered by woods or fields, or where streams cross under roads. Most animal/vehicle collisions occur on these roads. Slow down to 45 mph or less.
  • Scan the road as you drive, watching the edges for wildlife about to cross. This will also make you more aware of other hazards such as bicyclists, children at play and slow-moving vehicles.
  • Don’t throw trash out car windows. Discarded food pollutes the environment and creates a hazard by attracting wildlife to the roads.
  • Use your high beams whenever possible.
  • Lower your dashboard lights slightly. You'll be more likely to see your headlights reflected in the eyes of animals in time to brake.

How can I help an injured animal?

Sometimes collisions are unavoidable, no matter how careful we are. Here's what to do if you hit an animal or come across an injured one.

  • Do not put your own safety at risk. Unless you can move the animal from the road in absolute safety, do not attempt to do so. Use your hazard lights or emergency road flares to warn oncoming traffic of the injured animal. Never attempt to handle a large animal like a deer, or one that could give a serious bite, like a raccoon.
  • Call someone with the proper training and equipment. When you need assistance, call the non-emergency number of the local police department (program the phone number into your cell phone right now so you have it when you need it) and describe the animal's location. Emphasize that the injured animal is a traffic hazard to help ensure that someone will come quickly. Stay in the area until help arrives.
  • Use heavy gloves to protect yourself or avoid direct handling if you try to rescue a small animal yourself. Remember that the animal doesn't know you are trying to help and may bite or scratch in self-defense. An old towel is helpful if you need to move an injured animal.
  • Gently coax or place the animal into a cardboard box and transport him/her to an animal shelter, wildlife rehabilitator or a receptive veterinarian. If there is a delay, keep the animal in a dark, warm, quiet place to minimize fear and stress.
  • If you accidentally kill an animal, try to move the animal off the road—but only if you can do so in complete safety. Otherwise, report the location of the animal's body to the local police department, and it will arrange for removal. This will prevent scavengers from being attracted onto the road and eliminate a potential traffic hazard.


Essentials to Keep in Your Car

- Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Car Interior

Your car is your home away from home. Stay safe with the correct tools and gear to help you in a jam. Below is a list of Things to keep in your car:

Jumper cables

Don’t assume the person who stops to help will have cables. Or you may be called on to help someone else. This dead-battery remedy can be a whole lot faster than waiting for the garage guy you call—and cheaper too.

Car registration

Chances are it’s in your glove compartment, but maybe you removed it to prevent identity theft. Check your state’s laws, as you may be required to have it in your vehicle at all times.

Owner’s manual

Full of handy information if something suddenly goes awry, and when else do you need it but when you’re with your car?


As helpful for finding a contact lens as it is for changing a tire on a moonless night. Get a crank-style so that you don’t have to think about batteries.

Fire extinguisher

Again, this comes in handy for mishaps at home as well as any that happen in the car. There are automotive versions that don’t take up much room.


Almost a toolbox in your hand, this nifty item is like a Swiss Army knife and then some, with a mini saw, scissors, wire cutters, screwdriver, bottle opener, and more.

Duct tape

Still a go-to for temporary fixes to hold that muffler or mirror in place till you get to the garage.

Emergency warning triangles

Unlike flares, they’re reusable. The bright orange is visible by day and the brilliant reflectors by night. They fold down flat when not in use, though we hope you’ll never need them.

Emergency escape tool

The two-in-one tool fits in the palm of your hand and can cut a seatbelt or break a window. It should come with twin hammerheads to shatter and then clear the glass. Keep it in your glove compartment.

First-aid kit

You might need more than that old adhesive bandage tucked in your wallet if you ding yourself while changing a tire or your kid scrapes a knee at the park. Get a kit from an organization like the Red Cross. It should have all the small necessities, including sterile gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, Band-Aids, and scissors.

  • Disinfectant face wipes: Useful for sticky hands or faces or when you need to sanitize quickly. Also prevents having to break into the first-aid kit.
  • Work gloves: Protect your hands when tugging at a tire or touching engine parts.
  • Cellphone charger: Maybe you carry one all the time, but for those instances when you forget it, you’ll be glad for the backup.
  • Paper maps: Cloudy skies, a remote location, even an accident that blocks the road can hinder the effectiveness of your GPS. A road atlas will do the job wherever you find yourself; at the very least, pick up maps for your immediate environs.
  • Change of shoes: Sneakers or flats are a boon if you get stuck in a muddy environment or on your way home from a fancy party.
  • Poncho: Besides keeping you dry during an unexpected rainstorm, you can use it to protect the seat from a damp passenger.
  • Mylar blanket: Hey, this takes up hardly any space, so why not? Alternatively, you can keep an old comforter or a large bath towel in the trunk.
  • Small money: A few small bills—two tens and a couple of fives—and a roll of quarters provide backup if you lose your wallet or discover you’re out of cash.
  • Carpet remnant: For tire traction in extreme mud or snow.
  • Paper products: Paper towels are good for cleaning up messy spills and such. A box of tissues gently takes care of the smaller stuff. While you’re at it, a small notepad and a pen are a good idea, in case you need to fix a note to the windshield (with that duct tape) or hand out a phone number.
  • Plastic bags: Throw the used paper products in one, then dump them when you get home or to a rest stop. Also good for muddy shoes or a carsick passenger.
  • Matches: Necessary at one time or another. They’re safer to tote and more dependable than a lighter. Stow in a plastic sandwich bag to maintain their effectiveness.
  • Food and drink: Stock nonperishable, non-melting snacks like energy bars or dried fruit. Water bottles are fine in cool months but never in warm weather as heat causes the plastic to break down and release harmful elements into the water. Before you leave the driveway, place some bottles in the trunk in a small cooler with a few reusable ice packs.


Vehicle Maintenance for the Fall

- Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Lallis & Higgins Insurance - Vehicle Maintenance

Review the following fall vehicle maintenance checklist to ensure your car is in tiptop shape!

1. Check your oil.

Oil keeps your engine happy, and the engine keeps your car running, so this one is very important! If your car is older, you will have a dipstick under the hood where you can manually check your oil levels. Some newer cars only allow you to check oil levels through the in-car computer, so you will have to reference your user manual if you’re not sure how to check your oil. If you’re oil levels are low, it’s important to make sure that you add more oil or take it a shop for an inspection.

2. Check your tire pressures & tread depth.

Making sure that your tires are in good shape is not only a way to save money by increasing your gas mileage, but tires in poor condition can also be a major safety issue. Over time, it’s not uncommon for tires to lose a bit of air, so if your tire pressures are low it may not be an immediate cause for concern. Give your tires a good visual inspection and make sure that the tire has no punctures. Check to make sure that the tire has a good amount of tread all around and that there are no uneven wear patterns on the tire. If you notice low-depth or uneven wear patterns, it might be time for a tire rotation, or perhaps a new set of tires.

3. Check the exterior lights and signals.

As the days get shorter, this one is especially important since you will most likely find yourself driving more at nighttime. Take some time to turn on your headlights, the high beams, and brake lights to ensure they are all working. Remember that if you notice your turn signal blinking quicker than normal, that this might mean that one of your lightbulbs is out.

4. Give your car a good car wash and wax.

The sunshine can be harsh on the exterior of your car! Giving your car a good car wash will help your car feel fresh again, it will also help remove things like sap, or magnesium chloride from the paint. Waxing the car will make sure that the exterior of your car stays in prime condition as long as possible.

5. Replace Windshield Wipers & Top Off Washer Fluid.

The sun can also cause windshield wipers to crack, which means you might not be able to count on them come our first big snow storm of the season. Replace your windshield wipers and top off your washer fluid to make sure your ready for winter. This is also a good time to give a good visual inspection to your windshield.

6. Check coolant and brake fluid levels.

The brake and coolant fluids might be a bit more challenging to check than just checking the oil, but they are both important. The coolant keeps your engine running at optimal temperatures, and brake fluids will ensure that your brakes are working effectively. A quick Google search or peek in your owner’s manual can help you find the specifics on checking these fluid levels in your car.

Your car is important, and winters can be unpredictable! Do these quick six maintenance checks, and you’ll be well on your way for a winter of safe driving.


How to Improve Gas Mileage

- Wednesday, September 06, 2023
Lallis and Higgins Insurance

Whether you’re dealing with rising gas prices or looking at ways to shrink your budget, now is a great time to reflect on your driving habits. You may be pleased to learn that you can improve your fuel efficiency with five simple steps.

Clear out the extra clutter

There are some items you should keep in your car, like an emergency kit. However, as little as 100 pounds can reduce your fuel efficiency. Clear out forgotten backpacks, sports equipment and extra books, and you’ll be amazed at how things add up. Don’t forget about the outside of your car, too. Remove excess add-ons that increase wind resistance and decrease fuel efficiency, such as:

  • Roof racks
  • Cargo boxes
  • Bike racks

Rear-mounted cargo boxes are a better option if you need to haul additional items. At highway speeds, roof-mounted cargo boxes can reduce fuel economy by 6 to 17%, while their rear-mounted counterparts typically have a 1 to 5% impact.

Limit idling

You may have noticed that many late-model vehicles already feature the stop-start system. This allows cars to conserve fuel by automatically shutting down the engine when the car comes to a stop. The engine automatically restarts when the brake is released.

Surprisingly, idling uses more fuel than restarting your car and gives off 80% more pollution than when your car is in motion. The next time you come to a stop and are waiting for someone, consider turning off your engine to save on fuel.

Keep your speed steady and within the speed limit

After reaching 45-50 mph, your car begins to lose fuel efficiency. And the faster you go, the worse it gets. It’s best to drive the speed limit and use cruise control when possible. Rapid acceleration and hard braking quickly eat up fuel, so avoid those actions whenever possible.

Check your tire pressure

When your tires are underinflated, fuel consumption can increase by as much as 3%. Plus, without proper tire inflation, you risk wearing down your treads more quickly. Check your owner’s manual or the tire wall for the correct PSI for your tires.

Perform regular maintenance

Filthy air filters, spark plugs and connections can all affect your fuel economy. When you follow the maintenance schedule recommended by your dealership, your vehicle will be more efficient and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Schedule regular tune-ups with your dealership to replace air filters, motor oil, tire rotations and more.

Now that you know five steps to improve your gas mileage, put them to work and reduce your trips to the gas station. Want to take fuel out of the equation altogether?

Get an insurance quote &
see how much you can save.