driving tips

The Car Tech Revolution

For decades Americans have had a love affair with their cars - from the sweet 1950's Ford Thunderbird to the slick Corvette of the '80s. There is just something about being behind the wheel - it's that free feeling you get on the open road.

But that love affair is changing. Every year, car manufacturers are adding new safety features and the latest bells and whistles to new models. And it's not just auto makers who are changing the game. Companies like Google, Amazon and Uber are challenging the way we think about driving and transportation altogether. The act of driving as we know it is about to change - dramatically!

Throughout 2017, ERIE will keep a finger on the pulse of automobile technology advancements to keep you not only informed, but maybe even riding safer in your travels, too. For now, here's a glimpse into some of the exciting trends to watch for this year.



Some car makers are introducing a revolutionary system that allows cars to share information about driving conditions like weather, speed, sudden braking and accidents. Imagine your car "reading" traffic signals and telling you how long you'll have to wait for the green light. Check out the source article from USA Today that describes this and other hot car technology trends.


2017 may be the year car manufacturers take us farther down the road toward fully autonomous driving. A substantial number of automakers have introduced - or will introduce this year - significant developments that bring us closer to an autonomous reality. Think brake and lane-keeping assistance and radar-assisted cruise control. Recode magazine, an independent journal featuring tech news and reviews, put together a complete timeline to self-driving cars that might answer your questions about when all of this will become routine.

And while you may not be able to buy a fully autonomous vehicle from the lot just yet, you may see them next to you on the road, depending on where you live. Uber has deployed a fleet of self-driving Ford Fusions in Pittsburgh to test the technology and introduce it to passengers. And according to Wired, a magazine focused on emerging technologies, Google is vigorously testing autonomous technology in minivans, too.


Behind the wheel, drivers are constantly making human judgement calls - for example, swerving to avoid a pedestrian in the street. With the influx of autonomous car technology, suddenly those ethical questions become more complex: Who makes those human judgment calls when a machine is behind the wheel? Is it possible to program an "ethical" crash? This article from Fortune Magazine takes a closer look at the issue.


Diesel technology delivers high fuel economy and very excellent performance, but has been virtually unavailable since Volkswagen got caught up in an emissions-cheating scandal. That said, diesel could make a comeback after Chevrolet and Mazda do some testing on new diesel models being introduced this year.


Demand for electric cars will face a crucial test this year. The Chevrolet Bolt and other manufacturer's electric cars are expanding the range a single charge provides, allowing the cars to compete with gasoline-powered gamily favorites. 2017 may be the best year car buyers choose to switch to zero-emissions options like the Bolt, Volkswagen e-Golf, Kia Soul and Tesla's Model 3.


2018. A new ruling by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires all new cars, SUVs, Vans and small trucks (under 10,000 pounds) to have rear visibility technology (i.e. backup cameras) by next year. That means some 2017 models will be the last to have this as an optional feature. This should significantly reduce the risk of back over accidents. With the compliance date on the horizon, many automakers are already incorporating the equipment into this years models in preparation for the change.

Other safety technology likely to become standard includes automatic braking, parking sensors and inflatable seat belts. There will be plenty of technological developments to look for if you are shopping for a new vehicle in 2017.


If you regularly travel toll roads as part of your commute, you're probably familiar with E-ZPass or other automatic toll paying systems, If not, you may soon be exposed to this technology as more areas automate or eliminate toll booths.

The New York Times reports that in several states, open road tolling is the new norm and toll booths are being removed, which means no more fumbling for loose change or hoping the booth will take credit. Where these systems are in place, drivers can say farewell to the traffic congestion caused by frequent stops at the toll booths.

The open road tolling system uses sensors and cameras to charge cars that pass through, saving travelers' time and fuel. This means drivers may need to purchase a transponder, which is the small device that goes in your vehicle. This article gives the low-down on which transponders to consider as well as apps that can enhance your travels.


There's been an explosion in the ridesharing economy over the past four years, with ridesharing becoming a billion dollar industry. With the popularity of phone application-based ride services like Uber, Lyft and more, today there are hundreds of thousands of drivers and millions of riders. According to Concur, a travel management company, 70 percent of business travelers say that ridesharing is an acceptable or preferred ways to get around.

The impact on drunken driving crashes alone makes ridesharing technology a trend worth keeping an eye on. Plus, research shows ridesharing drivers are among the safest on the road. It would seem ridesharing is a movement that is here to stay.


 Regardless of where auto and transportation technology takes us In the future - whether you drive the car or the car drives you - ERIE will be there for you. Be sure to check out their blog throughout 2017 for updates on trending topics. And be sure to connect with us so that we can help make sure you stay protected on the road.



Today's insurance tips and ideas brought to you by ERIE Insurance.


14 Hacks to Deal with Snow and Ice on Your Car

Even people who love winter do not enjoy one of the season's most unpopular jobs - clearing snow and ice off of their cars.

The good news is that the job can definitely be made easier by following a few rather simple tips. They include:

  • Turning on your front and rear defrosters as soon as you start clearing. If you have a push start, now is the time to take advantage of it!
  • Give yourself more time than you think. This can be a tough job, and you may need a break or two after scraping away at ice for a long stretch of time.
  • Don't pull on frozen windshield wipers! This could TOTALLY ruin them. Instead, use an ice scraper to chip away at the ice and give the car defroster some time to do its job.
  • Avoid hot water! Pouring hot water on ice-cold glass can cause the glass to break. (Plus, the puddle it leaves behind can lead someone to suffer a nasty spill!)
  • Use a proper snow brush. Shovels and other brushes not marketed for safe use on cars can leave behind scratches.
  • Start from the top. Clear snow from the roof and work your way down - clearing the top part of the car later could undo the work you did on the bottom half of the car. And you can't drive around with a roof full of snow anyhow.
  • Consider using a de-icing spray. Commercial-grade sprays can make the job faster AND easier.
  • Blow through a straw to let your breath melt a frozen lock. Another option is to apply a bit of hand sanitizer to your key and the door lock.

Of course, the best way to deal with winter is to park your car in a garage or carport. If that is not possible, try taking these steps beforehand.

  • Place socks over your windshield wipers and pop them up. This will help prevent them from freezing.
  • Put plastic bags over your mirrors. Use rubber bands to secure them into place.
  • Spray a little cooking oil on rubber seals. This will help prevent them from sealing doors shut.
  • Apply ice prevention spray on windows. You can find this at any auto specialty store!
  • Cover your windows. A piece of cardboard, towel or folded sheet can help prevent ice from forming on your windshield.
  • Face your car East. In for the night? Then try to park your car facing East so the rising sun can help melt the snow and ice!

Clearing the snow and ice off of your car definitely isn't the most fun job, but it helps keep you and other drivers safe -- and it might even be the law in your state!


Today's insurance tips and ideas brought to you by ERIE Insurance.

Work Zone Driving Safety Tips for Motorists

Across the nation, nearly 1,100 people die and more than 40,000 people are injured each year as a result of motor vehicle crashes in work zones, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA). SHA offers these tips for driving safely in work zones:

  1. Slow down. Speeding and aggressive driving are major contributors to work zone crashes.
  2. Expect the unexpected. Normal speed limits are often reduced, traffic lanes are often changed, and people are often working on or near the road.
  3. Don't tailgate. Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you (use the 3-second following rule). The most common crash in a highway work zone is the rear-end collision.
  4. Obey road crew flaggers. The flagger knows what is best for moving traffic safely through the work zone. A flagger has the same authority as a regulatory sign, so you can be cited for disobeying his or her directions.
  5. Keep a safe distance between you and the construction workers and their equipment.
  6. Pay attention to the signs. The warning signs are there to help you and other drivers move safely through the work zone. Observe the posted signs until you see the one that says you've left the work zone.
  7. Stay alert and minimize distractions. Dedicate your full attention to the roadway, avoid changing radio stations, and do not use your cell phone while driving.
  8. Schedule enough time to drive safely to and from your destination. Check radio, TV or online for traffic information before you leave. Expect delays when road-work is ongoing, and leave early so you can reach your destination safely and on time.
  9. Keep up with the flow of traffic. Motorists can help maintain the traffic flow and posted speeds by merging as soon as possible. Don't drive right up to the lane closure and then try to cut in line.
  10. Be patient and stay calm. Work zones aren't in place to inconvenience you. Remember that the work zone crews are working to improve road conditions for you and make your future drive time safer and easier.

For more information on work zone safety, go to: http://www.safezones.maryland.gov/workzonesafety.html or http://www.marylandroads.com/OC/Workzone.pdf


Today's safe driving tips brought to you by Chesapeake Employers Insurance.