8 Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers

Icy roads. Traffic jams. Black ice. Snow conditions. All of these can make a parent go crazy just thinking about their teen driving in these conditions.  How do you talk to your new driver about driving in the winter season? We have some easy tips to get the conversation going.

  1. Decrease your speed.  The faster you’re going, the more room you’ll need to stop.
  2. Be extra careful on bridges and overpasses.
  3. Avoid cruise control or overdrive.
  4. Don’t pass snow plows – their drivers may not see you, and the roads are clearer behind them anyway!
  5. Turn on your lights to be more visible.
  6. Steer into a skid – this means if your rear wheels are going right, gently steer in that direction.
  7. Gently tap your brakes, if you have ABS brakes, gently apply constant pressure.
  8. Keep your windshield wiper fluid filled and keep your headlights clean.

These helpful ideas do not have to just be for your teen. Share with friends and family.



Holiday Skip – Money When You Need It the Most

Make the holidays more jolly for your wallet by taking advantage of the Holiday Skip Payment option.

Don’t let your budget impact your family moments. California Casualty helps you budget for the important things in life with the Holiday Skip Payment option. You can designate the two months you’d like to free up your money during the holidays.

California Casualty’s Holiday Skip is designed to allow you enjoy the spirit of the season with family and friends without worrying about your auto insurance payments.

If you are already a customer and would like to take advantage of this unique benefit, simply go online at www.calcas.com/payments  to manage your account, or contact an advisor at 1.800.800.9410.

If you’re not a customer but would like to learn more about the skip payment option and all of the other special benefits available to Educators, Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers and Nurses, request a quote today in the Start Your Auto Quote section on the right-hand side of this page.

Drowsy Driving – As Dangerous as Drunk Driving – Even for Educators

Most of us would never drive after drinking, but if you’ve ever been jolted awake as your car hit the rumble strip on the side of the road or you fell asleep at a stoplight, you we engaged in as dangerous a situation as driving while impaired. It’s important that all of us understand the implications of drowsy driving as we observe Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in November.

Drowsy driving is now listed as one of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s top public safety dangers behind the wheel along with drugged, drunken and distracted driving. The National Sleep Foundation has concluded that anyone who has slept less than two hours in a 24 hour period is too sleep deprived to operate a vehicle.

Here’s why; drowsy driving is estimated to be the cause each year of:

  328,000 crashes in the U.S.
  6,400 highway deaths
•  $109 billion in costs, not counting property damage

Here are some other startling statistics:

  More than half of drowsy driving crashes involve drivers age 25 and younger
  Driving 18 hours without sleep is equal to .05 blood alcohol impairment
  As many as one-third of drivers admitted that they have fallen asleep while driving

If you’ve battled to keep awake behind the wheel, you know how dangerous it can be; much like drunk drivers, overtired drivers have proven to have:

•  Slower reaction times
•  Impaired judgement
•  Increased risk of risk taking
•  More frequent blinking/eye closure
•  Deficits in cognitive performance
•  Memory impairment
•  Attention failure

Safety groups and the National Sleep Foundation urge you to pull over, stop and rest if you notice any of these warning signs:

•  Difficulty focusing
•  Frequent eye blinking
•  Daydreaming
•  Trouble recalling the last few miles or moments
•  Repeated yawning or rubbing your eyes
•  Trouble keeping your head up
•  Driving across lanes or hitting a shoulder rumble strip

And, if you are a teacher, you are not immune. A Ball State University study found nearly a fourth of teachers said their classroom skills were significantly diminished and half admitted to missing work or making errors do to a serious lack of sleep. About 43 percent slept an average of six hours a night and 64 percent said they felt drowsy during the school day. Exacerbating the problem is that so many school personnel spend late nights grading papers and preparing lesson plans. The study also found that almost half of the respondents worked a second job to make ends meet.

Lack of sleep can lead to serious health issues. Those who get only six hours or less per night were more likely to have a depletion of performance with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression and obesity.

So what can you do to get more sleep? Experts say good sleep hygiene is essential:

•  Try to get eight hours of sleep each night
•  Avoid napping during the day
•  Stop using stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime
•  Stay away from heavy meals close to bedtime
•  Get vigorous exercise during the day and try relaxing rituals such as yoga before bedtime
•  Keep the bedroom for sleep; remove the TV
•  Create a good sleep environment: eliminate excess noise and light and the temperature neither too hot or cold

Remember, getting a good night’s sleep and finding more time to relax can make lead to a better classroom experience for you and your students, as well as a better person to the ones you love.


Sources for this article:


7 Steps to Take After Hitting a Deer

Fall is a glorious time to take a drive and enjoy the changing colors. Be careful, it’s also a dangerous time for wildlife.

Accidents with deer and elk spike across the United States from October through December, with November the top month for deer-car crashes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates more than 1.5 million deer collisions take place every year in the U.S., causing over $1 billion in vehicle damage. The danger increases when your travel in rural areas where deer roam; just look at the scattered bumpers, grills and lights on the sides of the roadways.

The top ten states for deer-auto crashes in 2017 were:

1. West Virginia
2. Montana
3. Pennsylvania
4. Iowa
5. Wisconsin

6. South Dakota
7. Minnesota
8. Wyoming
9. Michigan
10. North Dakota

To reduce the risk of hitting deer or other wildlife:

  • Don’t drive distracted
  • Slow down
  • Use high beams at night when there is no oncoming traffic
  • Stay alert at dusk and dawn when deer tend to be most active
  • Pay attention to wildlife warning signs
  • Honk your horn to scare any deer off the road
  • Break firmly and don’t swerve (many serious crashes occur when drivers lose control of their vehicle trying to avoid a deer)

If you hit a deer:

  • Attempt to move your vehicle to the side of the road
  • Use your hazard lights
  • Call local law enforcement or the state patrol (especially if there are injuries, your car is not drivable or the animal remains in the road)
  • Don’t approach or attempt to move an injured animal (it can hurt you)
  • Take photos of the crash, the damage to your vehicle, and the roadway where it occurred
  • Fill out an accident report (some areas allow you to do it online)
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible

Pet Passenger Safety Tips

You know the look. The one you get as you’re preparing to leave the house. You glance down and see those eyes silently asking you to come along. Maybe the look is also accompanied with a small but very hopeful wag of the tail. The subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) reminder of how much your dog loves being with you. And going along for car rides.

We love our pets and do our best to make sure they live long, happy and healthy lives. So, if you’re like most and simply can’t resist letting your faithful companion join you for the ride, be sure to keep your four-legged friend safe.

Pet Passenger Safety Tips:

  • Travel with Fido in a crash tested dog crate or safety harness
  • Put Peaches in the backseat, away from the front airbags
  • Take breaks every 2 to 3 hours to let Rover stretch and do his business
  • Turn off or lock power windows so Penny can’t open or close them on her own
  • Always have water on hand so Max has it when he needs it
  • Don’t let Rascal sit on your lap while you’re driving

We know how much your pets mean to you. That’s why California Casualty automatically includes free Pet Injury Coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Get a free coverage comparison today and discover why educators, firefighters, police officers and nurses trust California Casualty for their auto and home or renters insurance needs. www.calcas.com

10 Auto Insurance Tips that Could Help You Save


So, you just got your annual auto insurance renewal, but you’re strapped from back to school shopping and you’re trying to save some extra for the holidays. Your budget is in shambles. What can you do?

These 10 tips could help you keep more money in your pocket each month: 

  1. Combine your insurance. Insurance companies like California Casualty offer discounts when your home or renters insurance is combined with your auto insurance.
  2. Increase your deductibles. Sure, the amount you will pay will be a little more if something happens to your vehicle, but the amount you’ll save each month could be add up to much more, especially if you are incident-free for a number of years. Just make sure you have an emergency fund to cover that higher deductible.
  3. Check for good driver/good student discounts. Speaking of incident free, when’s the last time you had an accident or a moving violation. Most insurance companies will give you a good driver discount, but make sure you tell them. The same goes for students who get good grades.
  4. Take a defensive driving course. When’s the last time you refreshed your skills? You may qualify for a discount after showing proof that you have completed a safe driving program.
  5. Check insurance costs when buying a new vehicle. Many vehicles will cost you less; others will increase your premiums. It depends on numerous criteria from the power of the engine, its safety rating and the loss history of the vehicle.
  6. Clean up your credit. Many companies look at your credit score and how well you do in paying your bills. The better your credit score, the better rate you are likely to receive. Clean credit also helps when you want to buy a new car, rent or buy a home, etc.
  7. Cut your driving. Ride a bike, join a carpool or move closer to work. How many miles you drive each year can affect your rates; the less you drive, the greater the possible discount.
  8. Pay your premium in full each year. Not only can you get a discount but you will avoid monthly service charges.
  9. Get a policy review. Has your commute changed? Did you install a security device? Did you get married? All of these can lower your rates. Talking with your insurance advisor at least once a year is the best way to make sure you get the discounts you’re entitled to.
  10. Compare your current insurance to California Casualty. We are pretty certain that when you stop and compare benefits and prices, California Casualty will be right there with the best of them. Why? We are a 100-year-old, policyholder owned company that provides auto and home insurance to educators, firefighters, LEOs and nurses with exclusive benefits not available to the general public.


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