Pushbutton Ignitions Not as Secure as They Seem

These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a new vehicle that doesn’t come with a pushbutton ignition. Gone are the days of digging through purses and briefcases to find car keys. With pushbutton ignitions, one simply needs to have their key fob on them to gain access to the vehicle, and start the engine.

As technology in the automotive industry continues to advance, cyber security has become a topic of significant concern. In late December, the pushbutton ignitions became the latest issue of security in our vehicles.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a “mystery device” (pictured above) has been discovered that is allowing criminals to steal vehicles with pushbutton ignitions.

The device works in two stages. First, it detects the signal from the vehicle’s key fob from a distance up to 10 feet. Then, the information is transferred to a “relay box” which allows the thief to open the doors and start the vehicle’s engine.

Having acquired the device from a third-party security expert overseas, NICB teamed up with CarMax and used the device on 35 makes and models of vehicles, successfully gaining entry into 19 of them. Of those 19, they were able to start the engine and drive away in 18 vehicles, and 12 of the vehicles were even able to be restarted once the ignition was turned off. For understandable reasons, NICB is not saying what vehicle makes and models are susceptible to the device.

This “mystery device” can get around engine immobilizers, alarms, and other security devices that may be on a vehicle, meaning a criminal can climb into your car and drive it like they own it.

Without the trace of broken glass, sound of the car alarm being triggered, or evidence of an ignition key being stolen, there is no way for the vehicle owner to know that their car has been taken. This also means that NICB does not know how many vehicles have been stolen using the mystery device.

NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle said, “The scary part is that there’s no warning or explanation for the owner. Unless someone catches the crime on a security camera, there’s no way for the owner or the police to really know what happened. Many times, they think the vehicle has been towed.”

While this mystery device seems to only work on new generation pushbutton ignition cars, the NICB say there are numerous devices that operate similarly that are being marketed to thieves. They believe that different devices work on different ignition systems and likely use different technology, putting all pushbutton vehicles at risk.

So where does this leave us? NICB spokesman Roger Morris explained that auto manufacturers must be diligent in making sure they adapt their pushbutton technology to counter these devices. However, he also noted that thieves will do the same with their technology in response.

As for vehicle owners, Morris suggests they keep valuable items out of their vehicles, keep their key fob on them at all times, and park in secure or crowded areas as often as possible.

NICB COO Jim Schweitzer was quoted saying, “The manufacturers have made tremendous strides with their technology, but now they have to adapt and develop countermeasures as threats like this surface.” Let’s hope all manufacturers hear that message loud and clear.

New Year Resolutions 2017: Driving Edition

It wouldn’t be the start of a new year without making resolutions. Even if we know deep down in our heart that we have no intention of keeping said resolutions, we still make them. Consider them a rite of passage at this point.

From cussing less to going to the gym more, we’re normally pretty good until late January, and then the wheels come off. Unless, that is, you’re one of those annoying individuals who actually manages to keep their resolutions. In which case, this article isn’t for you, and we all resent you.

So keeping in the spirit of the new year, the GarageFly team has come up with resolutions for driving and our vehicles that we sure hope we abide by, but aren’t going to beat ourselves up over come February:

  1. We will no longer be backseat drivers.
    I know, I know, we’re starting off with a biggie. How is it that even though we all complain when someone else is being a backseat driver, we ourselves are backseat drivers? There is no use in denying it; we all do it. And in some ways, it makes sense. When someone isn’t driving the way you think everyone should drive, you have to speak up…right? Not in 2017. No, in 2017 we are going to sit in the backseat (or front seat, for that matter) and keep our mouths shut. Unless an accident is imminent. Then definitely speak up.
  1. We will no longer see how long we can drive on empty.
    The gaslight turns on. You are dangerously close to empty. What does the 2016 version of you do? Wait until you actually hit E and then estimate how far you can go on fumes. But that’s the old you. The new version of you sees the gaslight turn on, and immediately finds a gas station on your route. Sure, it might be freezing out and close to midnight, but you’re committed to your 2017 driving resolutions.
  2. We will actually start using our turn signals.
    This resolution is hard to make because it means we have to admit to doing it, or not doing it in this case. It’s not like the 2016 version of us never used our turn signals. There’s just room for improvement. So in 2017, we’re going to be perfect. We’re going to use our turn signal when changing lanes, when we’re in turn lanes, heck, we’ll even use it when pulling into a parking space. This is the year of the turn signal.
  3. We’ll get our car washed more than twice a year.
    We can’t be the only ones who only got our car washed when a weird funk took over the interior, or when we had guests coming in from out of town to visit. It’s not like we don’t love a clean car. Honestly, is there anything better? It’s just one of those things that the 2016 version of ourselves felt like we could put off until six months had passed. The 2017 version of us will only wait three months, though. We won’t go too crazy, but once a quarter wouldn’t kill us, right?
  4. We will merge when it says to merge, not wait until we’re forced to.
    It’s a sick game we play. We wait to see just how many cars we can pass before we’re forced into a merging situation. Even though we know this is one of the leading causes of traffic (the inability to merge when told, that is), we still wait and see just how long we can make it in the current lane we’re in. In 2017, we’re going to be proactive. No more cruising by until the last minute. Nope, not us. When we see that yellow sign to start merging, we are turning our blinker on (you didn’t forget about resolution #3, did you?) and heading into the appropriate lane.

So, who’s with us? We may not be able to keep all of these resolutions, or even any of them past February 1st, but it’s worth a shot.

From GarageFly to you, Happy New Year! Let’s make it a great one.

Vehicle Recalls You Need to Know About

As 2017 is just a few days away, many are rushing to the dealership to purchase new or used cars.  According to Forbes, dealerships do the most business between December 26th and January 3rd.

Before heading out to decide which vehicle you’ll cruise into the New Year with, check out the information below from safecar.gov regarding the recent vehicle recalls. And even if you aren’t in the market for a new car, make sure you review the information in case your vehicle is affected:

2017 Chevrolet Malibu
Units affected: 113

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain 2017 Malibu vehicles manufactured on November 10, 2016. The right-hand rear side air bag inflator manifold may have insufficient welds.

GM will notify owners, and dealers will replace the rear side air bag modules, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM’s number for this recall is 16146.

2016 Dodge Journey, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot
Units affected: 43,071

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain model year 2016 Dodge Journey, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Patriot vehicles manufactured May 9, 2016, to July 15, 2016. The crankshaft or camshaft sensor may only work intermittently, causing the engine to stall.

Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the crankshaft or camshaft sensor, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 27, 2017.

Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler’s number for this recall is S89.

2017 Ford Fusion
Units affected: 25

Ford Motor Company (Ford) is recalling certain 2017 Ford Fusion vehicles manufactured September 27, 2016, to September 28, 2016. The left rear seat backs pivot pins may have been improperly welded.

Ford will notify owners, and dealers will replace the left hand, second row seat back frame, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 9, 2017. Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford’s number for this recall is 16S43.

2016-2017 Hyundai Tucson; 2017 Santa Fe
Units affected: 5,669

Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) is recalling certain model year 2016-2017 Tucson vehicles manufactured May 19, 2015, to November 14, 2016, and 2017 Santa Fe vehicles manufactured November 28, 2015, to November 14, 2016. The affected vehicles may be equipped with an accessory trailer hitch wiring harness that, due to a malfunction of the tow hitch module, may result, in the trailer brake lights being constantly illuminated. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, ” Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

Hyundai will notify owners, and dealers will replace the affected accessory trailer hitch wiring harnesses, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 13, 2017. Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at 1-800-633-5151. Hyundai’s number for this recall is 153.

2016-2017 Kia Sorento; 2017 Sportage
Units affected: 10,212

Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain model year 2016-2017 Sorento vehicles manufactured October 27, 2014, to August 25, 2016, and 2017 Sportage vehicles manufactured December 10, 2015, to August 26, 2016. The affected vehicles are equipped with an accessory trailer hitch wiring harness that, due to a malfunction of the tow hitch module, may result in the trailer brake lights being constantly illuminated. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, ” Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”

Kia will notify owners, and dealers will replace the trailer tow hitch harness, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 18, 2017. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia’s number for this recall is SC142.

2017 Ram ProMaster
Units affected: 23

Chrysler (FCA US LLC) is recalling certain model year 2017 RAM ProMaster vehicles manufactured October 1, 2016, to December 7, 2016. The seat mounted side air bag inflator initiator may fail to ignite during a crash.

Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will replace the seat mounted side air bags, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin January 28, 2017. Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler’s number for this recall is S96.

2016 Toyota Avalon; 2017 Camry
Units affected: 12

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (Toyota) is recalling certain model year 2016 Avalon, and 2017 Camry vehicles manufactured August 3, 2016, to September 12, 2016. The front passenger knee air bag module may have been attached to the lower instrument panel with incorrect fasteners.

Toyota will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the fasteners, and if necessary, replace the instrument panel brace and body bracket and reattach the air bag assembly, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in December 2016. Owners may contact Toyota customer service at 1-800-331-4331. Toyota’s number for this recall is G05.

Note for all recalls: Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Worried that you might have missed a recall on your car? Now you can look it up yourself online. All you need is your vehicle’s VIN. Simply go to www.safercar.gov and use the “Recalls Look-up by VIN” tool. Or you can just go there directly with this link https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/.

 

The Future of Online Review Platforms

Do the names John and Jen Palmer sound familiar? If they don’t already, you’re about to take notice. This Utah-based couple is the reason President Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 into law earlier this month.

The story begins in 2008. John purchased an item for his wife, Jen, from an online company called KlearGear. After the product never arrived, and after numerous failed attempts to work it out with their customer service department, the Palmer’s posted a negative review online about the company.

Fast-forward four years, and the Palmers were being harassed by KlearGear to remove the review, saying it went against the ‘non-disparagement’ clause in their terms of service. If they didn’t comply, they’d be hit with a $3,500 fine.

The couple refused, and a few months later noticed that the fine had been passed on to a collection agency, and their credit had taken a major hit. With the help of Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group, the Palmers won a default judgment in federal court and had their credit restored.

This KlearGear case attracted significant media coverage, and led to legislators around the country to take action. California led the charge by outlawing non-disparaging clauses back in 2014.

President Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act into law on December 14th, and it states that a contract is void if it “prohibits or restricts an individual who is a party to such a contract from engaging in written, oral, or pictorial reviews, or other similar performance assessments of analyses of, including by electronic means, the goods, services, or conduct of a person that is also a party to the contract.”

While this law sets out to protect the consumer, other online-based companies are doing their part to ensure the brands are protected, as well. For example, online marketplace Amazon has placed a limit on the number of reviews shopper can leave on the site.

In an effort to put an end to false feedback, individuals can now only write five reviews a week for items they did not purchase on Amazon. The new rule is meant to make it very difficult for people who are trying to make money by selling fake reviews.

When it comes to fake reviews, both brands and consumers are to blame. Kellogg’s was the latest brand to be ousted for using individuals to promote their brands on social media and review sites. Referred to as the “Breakfast Council,” the group included nutritionists and other experts who received an average of $13,000 a year to “review Kellogg’s products, post favorable reviews on social media, and use ‘talking points’ provided by the company in their reviews.”

So where does this leave brands and consumers? With 84 percent of online customers trusting online reviews, it’s imperative that brands pay attention to their online reputation. It’s also crucial that reviews be verified, as they are on GarageFly.com, to ensure that the individuals leaving the review have actually received the service or product.

The new law, as well as changes made by large online companies, is just the latest in the story of online reviews. What we do know is that they are here to stay, and new regulations must be made to ensure both brands and consumers are protected and receiving accurate information.

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Lucid Motors Brings 2,000 Jobs to Arizona

In late November 2016, California-based company Lucid Motors announced that Casa Grande, Arizona would be home to their newest assembly plant. Looking to compete with Tesla in the electric-vehicle category, this startup company will begin building their new assembly plant in second quarter of 2017, with hopes of producing electric luxury sedans by end of 2018.

Arizona helped secure the deal by promising $46 million in subsidies tied to milestones the company must reach as it moves toward vehicle production. As the company begins building and production, they’ve promised to provide 2,000 jobs over the next five years, with hiring starting as early as next year.

Lucid Motors scouted out 13 other states before landing on Arizona. Through this deal, Governor Doug Ducey believes that “we’ve demonstrated that Arizona is among the most competitive states in the nation to do work and do business.”

This $700 million factory is also committed to training and hiring Arizona’s veterans, and while some of the car parts will be assembled in Sonora, Mexico, they are committed to keeping it a U.S.-based and run company.

For car enthusiasts, the Lucid Motors electric cars are something to get excited about. Having unveiled the new prototype on December 18th, these Tesla-competitors are expected to cost $100,000, include batteries capable of powering the vehicle for at least 400 miles before charging, and an interior similar to the BMW 7-series.

Beyond that, not much is known about the vehicle. When unveiled last Wednesday, the prototypes were notably covered in a camouflage exterior to keep the full design and shape of the vehicles shielded from competitors.

The company intends to limit production to 10,000 units in 2018, with plans of increasing by 60,000 units each year after that.

Will these cars actually become a competitor of Tesla, though? The company recently tested its electric powertrain using a modified Mercedes-Benz van, and released a video showing that it could hit 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds, faster than a “Ludicrous”-equipped Tesla Model S. So you can be the judge of that.

For the city of Casa Grande and its 50,000 residents, as well as for Arizonians as a whole, this plant may seem too good to be true. What happens if Lucid Motors chooses to pull out? While this is far from likely, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) stressed that should the deal not move forward, the state will not have lost any money.

With that risk eliminated, and the ACA expressing that they are “comfortable Lucid Motors currently has sufficient funding for the initial phase of the project,” this plant is something we can all get excited about, both in Casa Grande and statewide.

Casa Grande Mayor Bob Jackson summarized it best when he said, “For the past five years, Casa Grande has worked diligently to attract companies that could serve as economic drivers for our entire region.” It looks like he’s doing just that!

We will all look forward to seeing how the plant progresses and helps add jobs to our great state!

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The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

During the holiday season, we often find ourselves saying “It’s just a busy time of year.” Between holiday parties and helping kids finish up last-minute school assignments, this is most definitely true. However, if we’re being honest, we’re nearly as busy every other time of the year, too.

When our schedules become jam-packed with activities and obligations, we tend to neglect the one thing we need the most—sleep. While some may believe that needing a little extra caffeine to get through the day is the worst that can happen, a new study reveals that is not the case.

According to AAA, missing just a few hours of sleep significantly increases your chances of a fatal car accident.  In fact, exhaustion is a factor in one in five fatal crashes in the United States. With drunk driving playing a role in one in three crashes, driving while tired isn’t that far behind.

The study also found that missing just three hours of sleep quadruples your risk of a crash. And with 35 percent of adults getting less than the recommended seven hours of sleep a night, this is a significant issue.

The Center for Disease Control found that one in 25 drivers (ages 18 and older) admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in the last 30 days alone. This has become such a concern that the CDC now has a Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in November to raise awareness for the 21% of fatal crashes drowsy drivers are involved in each year.

Dr. David Yang, the executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, explained that a driver who has slept less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk. While a breathalyzer can determine whether someone has had too much to drink to drive, there is no official test to determine if someone has had enough sleep to drive.

While young men, individuals with children, and those working night shifts are most at risk for drowsy driving, it is something that all of us have fallen victim to. So, what can we do?

1. Know the signs of drowsy driving.

According to the UCLA Health Sleep Center, these are the most common symptoms of drowsy driving:

  • You yawn frequently.
  • You are unable to keep your eyes open.
  • You catch yourself “nodding off” and have trouble keeping your head up.
  • Your thoughts wander and take your focus off the road.
  • You can’t remember driving the last few miles.
  • You are impatient, in a hurry, and grouchy.
  • You end up too close to cars in front of you.
  • You miss road signs or drive past your turn.
  • You drift into the other lane or onto the shoulder of the road.

2. Find a different way home.

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, pull off to the side of the road and arrange another ride. Whether you call an Uber or Lyft, or ask a friend to come pick you up, it’s better to leave your car than to continue the drive home. If none of those options work for you, find a safe place to park your car and sleep for an hour or two. While this may be inconvenient, some drowsy driving cases land the driver in jail, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

3. Educate yourself and others.

While drunk driving and texting while driving are getting a significant amount of attention in the media, drowsy driving isn’t talked about as much as it needs to be. Educate yourself and those around you about the dangers of driving while tired, and if possible, offer yourself as someone they can contact should they feel tired behind the wheel.

While accidents may not be totally avoidable, knowing risk factors can help decrease the number of accidents each year, and keep us all safer on the road.

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Experience the Holidays in Your Neighborhood

For many, this truly is the most wonderful time of the year. With the weather finally cooling off in Arizona, we’re able to unpack our sweaters, turn on the fireplace, and make a cup of hot cocoa.

While the spirit of the holidays is most certainly alive in your household, communities in Arizona are joining in on the fun! Check out events happening in your neighborhood to maximize the festivities for your family this season:

  1. Christmas at the Princess (Scottsdale): At this point, most of us have gone to ZooLights either at the Phoenix Zoo or Reid Park Zoo in Tucson. But did you know that the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort has one of the best light displays in Arizona? With 2.8 million LED lights, a skating rink, and magical snowfalls, you won’t want to miss this one!
  1. Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair (Tucson): This Winter Street Fair is home to more than 400 arts and crafts booths, food and drink vendors, musicians, and so much more! With over 60,000 fair goers each year, this is a great community event!
  2. Luminaria Nights (Phoenix and Tucson): The Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix and the Tucson Botanical Gardens both host Luminaria Nights during the month of December. With live music and over 7,000 luminaries, this event is especially great for those who love the gorgeous landscape of Arizona.
  1. Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul (Tucson): On Friday and Saturday nights at Tohono Chul Park, individuals can enjoy live music, tasty hot chocolate and baked goods, and over one million lights. You can also peruse the Museum gift shop to find the perfect holiday gifts for your loved ones.
  2. CitySkate Ice Rink (Downtown Phoenix): Love to ice skate but can’t find a place outdoors to do it? Look no further! Downtown Phoenix is home to the CitySkate Ice Rink. Smack dab in the middle of downtown, you’ll be surrounded by great restaurants, lights, and music.
  3. The Polar Express (Grand Canyon): Board a magical train and sip hot chocolate, munch on chocolate chip cookies, and listen to the story of the Polar Express as you head to meet Santa and his reindeer. Perfect for children, and children at heart, this is a great way to build excitement for Christmas morning.
  4. Hometown Christmas Parade (Glendale): On Saturday, December 10th, block out your calendar for the Glendale Hometown Christmas Parade. With American Idol winner and Arizona native Jordin Sparks serving as the Grand Marshall, you’ll be wowed by the colorful floats and live music!
  5. The Nutcracker (Phoenix and Tucson): Are you a fan of the ballet? Or simply consumed with the magic of the holidays present in the Nutcracker? Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they embark on a thrilling adventure of dancing toys, mischievous mice, and sparkling snowflakes.
  6. Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade (Tempe): Do you love food trucks, face painting, and selfies with Santa? Then this parade is for you! See 50 festively-lighted boats of all sizes, and a firework finale when you attend this free event in Tempe!
  7. Glendale Glitters (Glendale): Illuminating 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale, 1.5 million LEDs can be enjoyed for free by any and all. Making it the largest free holiday display in Arizona, Glendale Glitters has everything from holiday gifts to a petting zoo! Great for all ages.

These are just a few events happening in Arizona this year! What are some of your family favorites? Be sure to comment below and add yours!

From the GarageFly team to you, happy holidays!

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The Connection Between Speed Limits and Car Accidents

It’s no secret that speed limits are getting faster—much faster. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed limits are designed to reflect the maximum rate of speed that drivers can legally go under ideal conditions. However, when faced with traffic, construction, poor weather, or other adverse conditions, drivers should adjust their speed accordingly. Unfortunately, many drivers view the speed limit as the minimum speed, and go at least 5 MPH over the speed limit, regardless of road conditions.

A new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study found that increases in speed limit over two decades have cost 33,000 lives in the U.S. In 2013 alone, the speed limit increases resulted in 1,900 additional deaths, essentially canceling out the number of lives saved by frontal airbags that same year.

In 1974, a National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) of 55 MPH was set to conserve fuel. However, in 1987, Congress allowed states to set speed limits at 65 MPH on interstate roads in areas with fewer than 50,000 people.

Finally, in 1995, Congress repealed the NMSL, allowing states to set their own speed limits. Since then, speed limits have been on the rise.

While IIHS’s study believes that higher speed limits cause more accidents, others believe that higher speed limits simply cause more severe accidents. In fact, accidents that occur at high speeds are more often fatal. So while there is a direct connection between freeway deaths and freeway speed limits, some believe that raised speed limits do not inflate the total number of collisions.

In that school of thought, most follow studies that show drivers rarely overshoot their speed comfort zones, even if they are legally permitted. They also believe that IIHS’s study fails to take into account that the number of miles driven has gone up as the economy continues to rebound, and gas prices are low. Additionally, according to census statistics, older drivers are staying on the road longer than they once were, putting more drivers on the road.

While this all may be true, IIHS’s study cannot be ignored. With a higher maximum speed limit, individuals are going anywhere from 5-15 MPH over the limit. And the reckless driving doesn’t stop there. Self-professed speeders say they often drive 15 MPH over the limit on freeways, and also admit to passing other cars, keeping up with fast traffic, and are more likely to not wear their seat belt and to use a cell phone while driving.

In June 2015, Wisconsin switched their speed limit to 70 MPH on interstate highways. In the 12 months following that change, fatalities rose 37% on the interstate, injuries increased by 11%, and the total number of accidents rose 12%, giving merit to the study done by IIHS.

Six states in the U.S. have speed limits of 80 MPH, and in Texas, drivers can drive 85 MPH on highways. So what can be done? IIHS hopes that the outcome of their study brings to light the deadly consequences of higher speeds, and hopes states will keep this in mind when considering a speed limit increase.

For all of us, this can serve as a reminder to follow the speed limit set in place, and avoid reckless driving habits in the hopes of saving lives.

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Driving Sober: The Best Way to Spread Holiday Cheer

The holiday season, specifically between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, is all about spreading holiday cheer. As the turkey is cooking, and close loved ones begin to arrive, the bottles of wine are opened, and the festive cocktails are served.

Every holiday season, organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) stress the importance of driving sober. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly 1,000 people will be injured or killed due to drunk driving between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, a rate two to three times higher than the rest of the year.

With Arizona’s ‘zero tolerance’ DUI laws, and the possibility of killing yourself or others on the road, follow these tips to stay safe this holiday season.

1. Be extra cautious the night before Thanksgiving.

Blackout Wednesday, which occurs the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, is one of the biggest drinking days of the years. With businesses closed the next day, and college kids home for break, the bars are packed. In fact, accidents from Blackout Wednesday to Black Friday account for more than 400 traffic deaths each year.

With the high volume of traffic on the road, it’s important to have a ride set up to come get you when the night ends before you have your first sip of alcohol. Whether you call a cab or appoint a designated driver in the group, this crucial step will certainly save lives.

2. Download the Uber and Lyft mobile apps.

With companies such as Uber and Lyft, there is no excuse for drunk driving. While there may be ‘surge pricing’ during the holiday season, the cost of taking an Uber or Lyft ride is significantly cheaper than a traditional cab, and definitely cheaper than a DUI ticket. Both user-friendly apps allow you to plug in your credit card information, and request a ride from your current location. You’ll know the price of your ride before you even get in the car.

3. Stay aware.

Even if you’re sober on the road, you can’t guarantee everyone else is. Take extra precautions at stop lights, waiting a few seconds after the light turns green to enter the intersection. If you notice someone driving erratically, call 911 to report the driver. Finally, make sure you’re aware of the individuals you’re at your holiday gathering with. If you notice your cousin or aunt grabbing his/her keys after a few drinks, make sure you step in for everyone’s safety.

The holidays should be a time of community, celebration, and laughter. Don’t let an unavoidable accident ruin a treasured time. Stay safe and look out for those around you to make your holiday season as merry and bright as possible!