How to Get Your Car Ready for Summer

Summer is finally here! Longer days, warmer weather and spending more time outside. We take precautions from the sun and heat when we’re outside, but what about our cars? Did you know that the sun and heat can cause serious damage to your vehicle, too? Here are some tips to help you care for your ride this summer:

Prep work

  • Make sure your car’s cooling system is completely flushed and refilled every 24 months, and the levels, condition and concentration of the coolant are checked periodically.
  • Oil and oil filters should also be changed based on your car’s owner’s manual. (Changing the oil and filters every 3,000 miles is a good rule of thumb).
  • Keep your windshield clean and replace worn wiper blades. Be sure to check for plenty of wiper fluid in the reservoir, too.
  • Look at your tires and make sure to check the pressure at least once a month. When you do check, make sure the tires are cooled down and always rotate your tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
  • Check for changes in the way your brake pedals feel and take your car for repairs immediately if you hear scraping or grinding noises.
  • Remove dirt and insects from your lights and make sure all bulbs are working. Tip:  to prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
  • Have a professional technician look at your car’s air conditioning system.  A marginally operating system can fail in hot weather. Newer car models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system.


On the road and in the sun

  • Keep an eye on your car’s temperature. If you see that it’s getting overheated, you can turn on your car’s heater to pull the air away from the engine to the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
  • During long trips, try to target your driving times for the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.
  • When you park your car, try to find a shady spot and crack your window slightly. Leaving your windows cracked an inch will create enough space to vent the hot summer air.
  • Be sure to never leave children or pets in the car, even for a quick errand. A car’s interior temperature can heat up from 78 to 100 degrees in less than three minutes.
  • Update your car’s emergency kit.  While you might need that parka and snow brush for the winter, they won’t do any good for the summer heat. Here’s a sample list of items to include in your summer car emergency kit, in addition to your normal car emergency kit:
  • Water:  one gallon, plus one bottle per person
  • Sunscreen, bug spray and hat — you might have to be outside of your car
  • Blanket: keep this in your car to use for shade
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight


Original article from ErieSense Blog

Protecting your roof from high wind damage and rain


April showers, bring may flowers


We have all heard this quote before, but April showers also bring high winds and roof damage.  Spring is also a time for planning home improvements like that long awaited new roof.  Make sure your contractor is installing that new roof properly to ensure long term protection for your home.

The roof deck forms one of your home’s critical shields of protection from high winds and rain. Unfortunately, if this shield is not fastened properly, it may be lost during high winds.

While the loss of roof coverings can make your home vulnerable to water infiltration, loss of the roof’s sheathing, often referred to as decking, can result in excessive damage to the structure of your home and your possessions.

As wind blows over the roof, uplift forces pull at the roof. These uplift forces try to pull off the roof covering and the roof deck. When the roof decking is blown off, the inside of your home becomes exposed to the elements. Trusses or rafters may become unstable and the entire roof may collapse.


The following techniques can be used during roof installation on both new and existing homesand are best performed by a licensed, professional contractor.

  • Install a roof deck of 5/8” thick solid plywood to maximize wind and windborne debris resistance with 10d or 8d ring shank nails spaced at 6 inches along the panel edges and every 6 inches in the field of the plywood panel. Make sure that the nails penetrate the decking directly into the roof framing.
  • When re-roofing your existing home, be sure to look at the attachment of the roof deck to the roof framing and make sure the nails are spaced at 6″ on center. If it’s not, add fasteners as described above to strengthen the attachment.
  • Create a ‘sealed roof deck” secondary water barrier by installing self-adhering flashing tape or modified polymer bitumen strips, commonly called peel and seal, over the joints in your roof deck. This will help keep out the rain if the roof covering is damaged or destroyed by severe weather.
  • Install one layer of #30 underlayment, sometimes called felt paper, over the roof decking and sealed roof deck. The felt helps with drainage in the event water gets under the roof covering.
  • All nails used to attach the roof sheathing must penetrate the underlying roof trusses or rafters, otherwise the sheathing will not be securely attached and can be more easily torn away by high winds. Inadequate attachment of roof sheathing, resulting from poor workmanship, has been a common cause of roof failures during hurricanes and other storms with high winds.

Finally, you can significantly increase the roofs’s sheathing resistance to uplift from the wind by applying a bead of construction adhesive using a caulking gun along both sides of the intersection of the roof decking and the rafters or trusses. Be sure to look for a premium, APA AFG-01 rated adhesive.

Benefits of Using This Mitigation Strategy

  • Helps to prevent damage to a structure and its contents
  • Helps to prevent injuries to occupants

What is A Sealed Roof Deck?

A How To Guide for Renters

Fire escapes on an apartment building in Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA

Fire escapes on an apartment building in Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA

Whether your goal is to avoid mowing a lawn or have unlimited access to a pool and fitness facility you never have to clean, or if you just plain don’t want to buy a house, you may be one of the 43 million households in the U.S. who rent a home, apartment or condo. In fact, according to’s 2015 rental market report, rental inventory is near a 20 year low, meaning more people than ever are renting.

If you’re moving into a place of your own for the first time, the do’s and don’ts of renting can sometimes feel overwhelming. What happens if your fridge breaks? Should you tackle that sink clog or leave it for the landlord? Is renting even the right choice for you?

While you’ve probably always had someone in your life to remind you to clean out the lint trap in the dryer or to please not pour bacon grease down the kitchen sink, you’re on your own now. Yes, it might be nice if mom and dad could periodically stop over to check the smoke alarm batteries or tighten that door knob, but it’s not always possible.

That’s where we can help. We’ve compiled our best advice for first-time renters. Be sure to check back periodically for updates and if there’s a topic you’d like to see us tackle, send us your thoughts at

  • 9 Reasons to Quit Hating on Renting: Here’s the truth…It’s OK that you haven’t bought a house yet or may not ever. Renting can be awesome, especially when you’re just starting out. Need proof? Our blogger gives you her completely (un)scientific list.
  • How to Steer Clear of Apartment Rental Scams: With more people renting, rental scams continue to pop up. Knowing how rental scams work and how to avoid falling for them goes a long way when it comes to protecting yourself. Here’s how.
  • 5 Things to Tell a New Renter: All good landlords should share these tips with tenants, but in case they forget, we’ve got you covered.
  • Who is Responsible for Repairs: Are there ever times when you would be responsible for making repairs to your apartment rather than your landlord? If you’re not sure, read this article. Think you know? Read this article anyway.
  • 8 Maintenance Hacks Every Renter Should Know: While most rental agreements include a landlord who takes care of your major maintenance worries, there are a few things you can do to keep service calls to a minimum and protect your security deposit in the long run.
  • Buying Renters Insurance? 6 Things to Consider: Everything you own has value, and most people actually underestimate the value of their things. That could leave you woefully under protected. We can help you figure it out.

– See more at:

Quiz: Ready or Not? 6 Questions to Test Your Storm Prep Knowledge

Severe weather affects us all. Every region of the United States is prone to one or more natural hazards. It’s important for business owners to plan for potential interruptions, such as weather events, to help reduce losses, jump start recovery and re-open the business as quickly as possible. To help you get started, here are some facts you should know. This information is provided by the safety experts at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). – See more at:

New Distracted Driving Laws Could Soon Be on the Books

distracted driving laws

By now, we’ve all heard about the dangers of distracted driving.

Texting while driving is still one of the most common forms of distracted driving, with about one-third of drivers admitting to tapping away behind the wheel. (Another three-quarters of drivers say they’ve seen others do it.)

Currently, there are only 14 states with distracted driving laws that ban cell phone use while driving. But political insiders suggest that other states may soon follow suit. That’s because three Congressmen recently introduced legislation that would spur more states to ban all phone use behind the wheel.

Find out about this development by reading the source article at The Hill.

Making Sense of Left Lane Driving


left lane driving

Left lane driving is a touchy subject these days.

Over in Washington state, troopers stationed in unmarked cars are now ticketing slow left lane drivers. Meanwhile, Georgia recently increased the penalty for violating the state’s left lane driving law to a misdemeanor charge.

Regular citizens are also weighing in about left lane driving. There are now several websites and Facebook® groups devoted to sharing the message that left lanes are no places for slow drivers. (Just one is Left Lane Drivers of America.) The National Motorists Association also took a stand when it declared June Lane Courtesy Month in an effort to remind drivers about yielding to faster traffic.

Traditional driving etiquette says that the left lane is for faster drivers looking to pass other cars. This is one reason why it’s commonly called the “passing lane.” Besides aiding in the efficiency of traffic and preventing traffic jams, reserving left lanes for faster cars may also keep the roads safer.

That’s because research shows that accidents stem more from the variance of average drivers’ speeds than from speeding itself. Slower drivers in the left lane will cause faster drivers to slow down, speed up and change lanes more than they should. And that, researchers say, causes the majority of accidents.

States take a stand

Today, every state has legal measures to regulate left lane driving. In 29 states, any car that’s going slower than the surrounding traffic needs to move into the right lane. Eleven other states take it a step further than that: They mandate that the left lane is only for passing or turning.

No matter what your views are on this issue, it’s a good idea to know your state’s left lane driving laws—and to drive safely no matter which lane you’re in.

Source: Making Sense of Left Lane Driving | Erie Insurance

How to Survive a Power Outage

how to survive a power outage

Power outages can occur at any time—and they’re almost always unexpected.

When it comes to how to survive a power outage, there are few things to keep in mind beyond candle safety and digging out board games. By taking a few measures beforehand, you’ll be more comfortable –and less panicked—when the power goes out.

Prep for a possible emergency

While some power outages last no more than a few hours, those caused by natural disasters and storms can last for days. For that reason, first make sure you’re prepared to handle a worst-case scenario by compiling an emergency kit and creating an emergency action plan.

Some essentials that will help you survive a power outage include:

  • At least two weeks of nonperishable food for each member of your household (don’t forget pets!)
  • A least a gallon of water per person for those two weeks
  • A manual can opener
  • Flashlights for every room in the house (and possibly even a battery-powered camping lantern)
  • A battery-powered radio
  • Portable fans that operate with batteries
  • Plenty of batteries
  • Matches
  • Books, cards and board games to pass the time
  • Surge protectors for your electronic devices
  • Disposable dishes and silverware
  • Hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes
  • An extra supply of medications and a plan for anyone in your home that relies on electrically powered devices for a health condition

Consider investing in a back-up method of heating food

It’s helpful to have a means of heating food that doesn’t depend on electricity. Some options include a camping stove or a barbeque grill. You can also manually ignite a gas stove—just make sure you have matches and know the proper technique.

Remember: Only use grills, generators and other carbon producing items outside. These items can produce carbon monoxide, which can be deadly if used indoors.

Know how to stay warm (or cool)

You’ll also want to have a plan to keep warm in cold weather (or cool in hot weather). Bundle up in layers and stay indoors to keep warm when you’re dealing with cold weather. Stay out of the sun, seek shade and wear light colors to remain cool in hot weather. Don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

If you heat or cool your home with a method that doesn’t depend on electricity, make sure you have plenty of wood, newspapers and/or fuel stocked away.

Finally, if you are especially concerned about power outages, consider purchasing a back-up generator.

Don’t drink the (tap) water

When the power goes out, water purification systems may not be functioning. So fill up your tub with water—just don’t use it for cooking or cleaning without first purifying it. (Better yet: Drink from your bottled water supply.)

If you’ve run out of bottled or distilled water, boil or disinfect tap water first. Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute. If you don’t have a heating source, bring out the bleach. Add eight drops of bleach to a gallon of clear water (or 16 drops if your water is cloudy). Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking.

Know what food is safe to eat

In an emergency, you should have nonperishable food items stocked and stored. But what about the food in your refrigerator—will it still be any good during or after the power outage?

Avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors if you can. This will keep the cool air in for as long as possible. A full freezer will safely hold food for 48 hours; a half- full freezer will safely hold food for up to 24 hours.

If the power is out for longer than four hours, refrigerated items may start to spoil. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food before cooking or eating it. Throw away any food that has a temperature higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Power outages can be stressful. By being prepared, you’ll be able to survive a power outage without compromising your personal safety or running out of food, water or things to do.

Source: How to Survive a Power Outage | Erie Insurance

Driving Etiquette Tips

Learn more about driving etiquette.

Etiquette can be a confusing thing. And that’s especially true when it comes to driving etiquette. The horn is there for a reason, but no one wants to be that person who beeps at every little thing.

Fortunately, Lizzie Post is here to help. Lizzie is the great-great granddaughter of Emily Post, America’s original etiquette expert. She works at the Emily Post Institute, where she authors books, delivers speeches and co-hosts the Awesome Etiquette podcast. Here’s her advice on which situations merit a honk–and which don’t.


Wondering about how to handle other sticky driving situations beyond whether to honk or not? Then check out Lizzie’s advice on how to handle other common–and confusing–driving etiquette issues.