3 Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Car For Your Teen

It’s finally happening – your teenager is taking or has currently passed driver’s education and is ready to get a driver’s license and hit the open road. They will definitely need a set of wheels to get from Point A to Point B, though! Many parents help their teenager purchase a car of their own, and the whole process can be incredibly exciting but also daunting. You will have to figure out what sort of car to allow your teen to drive, set the proper boundaries, and also ensure that your auto insurance is up-to-date to cover your teen.

Don’t worry – Madison Mutual is here to help! Here is how you can tackle the big 3 factors when it comes to helping your teen get a car of their own!

Choose the Right Car – If given the choice, teens would more than likely choose a fancy sports car or maybe a large SUV to help fit all their friends in. Unfortunately for them, neither of these types of vehicles is suitable for an unseasoned driver. When you choose your teen’s car, a midsize car is the best way to go, according to The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the Insurance Information Institute. Make sure that the vehicle, whether it is new or used, is in good condition and has updated safety features including airbags and electronic stability control. Finally, look at the crash test and safety ratings and determine if the car has proper fuel efficiency before making your purchase.

Set Reasonable Boundaries – It’s important to set some reasonable boundaries with your teen when it comes to driving the new car. Have an honest one-on-one discussion with your teen. Talk to them about safe driving and set some clear rules and guidelines for them to follow. Here are a few examples you can use as rules:

*Limit the number of passengers that your teen can have in the car at any one time.

*Set curfew times and discuss what they need to do in case of emergency, an accident, or inclement weather.

*Establish a “no cell phone” rule to make sure that your teenager does not text or call anyone on the phone while they drive. Your teen can keep the cell phone in the car, but it should be located in a secure place like the glove box and used for emergencies.

Get Your Auto Insurance Up-to-Date – Before you hand the keys over to your teen, make sure that your auto insurance is updated and that it covers your teen in the event of an accident. Talk to your insurance agent about discounts including good student discounts if your teen is a full-time student and more. Your insurance agent will make sure that you get the best deal for an ideal price.

Buying a car for your teen can be both exciting and scary. We can help! Call Madison Mutual Insurance Company at 1-800-766-MMIC to discuss auto insurance rates and additional ways you can keep your child safe on the road or find us online at www.madisonmutual.com.

Drowsy Driving Is a Real Danger! 4 Tips to Help You Avoid Falling In Its Clutches

After a very long day of getting up early, working non-stop, and racing around to do all of your errands, you’re ready to make the commute home to get dinner ready and maybe make a dent on some last-minute projects before getting to bed. The trouble is, you’ve been having a hard time sleeping at night, and you find yourself yawning, daydreaming, and struggling to keep your eyes open as you drive home. You’d give anything to curl up and nap a little, but you’d much rather keep going so you can crash at home in the comfort of your own bed.

Unfortunately, statistics have shown that doing so is a dangerous decision. Drowsy driving is a very real hazard on the road. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving accounts for more than 100,000 accidents annually. Even though everyone on the road is at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conclude that those who work a night shift or long hours, don’t get enough sleep, have untreated sleep disorders, use certain medications, and commercial drivers are much more likely to drive drowsy.

So how can you make sure that you’re at your most alert when you’re behind the wheel? Follow these 4 tips below to keep yourself and others safe on the road!

Get Enough Sleep – One of the very best things you can do for yourself is to ensure that you’re getting enough sleep every night. The National Sleep Foundation says that adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night in order to stay in tip-top shape. Be sure that you’re going to bed at a reasonable hour so you’ll wake up refreshed.

Plan Ahead – Have a business trip coming up? Need to go somewhere that’s in a different time zone for a few days? Get ahead of the game by allowing your body’s internal clock to slowly adapt for these trips by adjusting your sleeping times bit by bit. Make sure that you are also well-rested for your trip the night before you need to leave!

Limit the Effects of Shift Work – Those who work overnight or long hours, also known as shift workers, have a higher chance of getting less sleep and driving drowsy. If you can, talk to your employer about getting on a more consistent work schedule. If you’re not able to, try setting a bedtime that you will stick to every day, even on your days off, and make sure that your bedroom is quiet and dark to help you get to sleep quickly and soundly.

Be Aware of Medical Issues – If you’ve been having consistent problems with drowsy driving, it’s best to consult with your doctor. You might have a sleep disorder or any other medical issue that is causing you issues behind the wheel. Once you know exactly what’s going on, you can begin to adjust your driving habits accordingly.

Remember, if you’re sleepy behind the wheel, you’re not just putting yourself at risk – you’re putting the lives of other drivers on the road at risk as well. If you feel your eyelids drooping and are struggling to stay awake and aware of your surroundings, please consider pulling over in a safe location and taking a short nap before you continue to drive. It could safe your life!

Your Ultimate Guide to Spring Cleaning!

It’s almost that time of the year! Almost every homeowner’s favorite season is spring, not just because of the fresh, warm weather or the blossoming flowers and trees or even because the sun has finally decided to return into our lives. No, homeowners love spring because of the endless home-cleaning opportunities!

Okay, maybe that isn’t so accurate. However, we all are well aware of the importance of deep cleaning our homes, even if it is only once a year. Spring cleaning gives us an opportunity to clean the spaces in our homes that aren’t treated on a daily or weekly basis. Tending to these neglected areas improves your living space while also maintaining the value of your home!

Just for the occasion, we’ve put together a room-by-room guide to make sure you don’t leave anything out during your journey through spring cleaning!

The Kitchen
1. This, along with every room, should begin with de-cluttering the space. Throw away unnecessary paper, mail, items in your fridge or pantry, and organize the items on your countertops and in your cabinets.
2. Many of the surfaces in your kitchen such as the inside of your oven, sink drain, countertops, and inside of the microwave can be cleaned with solutions made of water, vinegar, and baking soda.
3. Vacuum and dust spaces behind the refrigerator, baseboards, and other appliances that may be pushed up against walls. Be sure to vacuum the coils to prevent dust build-up, which can cause over-heating!
4. Use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to remove the cooked-on gunk from your stovetop.
5. Clean light fixtures with a microfiber cloth. Add a little vinegar for grimy bulbs.
6. Don’t forget the dishwasher! Pour some vinegar into the soap dispensing dish and run a full cycle!

The Living Room
1. De-clutter!
2. Spring is the perfect time to get your carpets cleaned to improve the look of your home! Whether you get them done professionally or rent or buy your own deep cleaner, freshly cleaned carpets will also improve the health of the people who live there. Be sure to get behind and under all furniture!
3. Spot clean and dust walls, shades, curtains, lamps, ceiling fan blades, and blinds and wipe down baseboards.
4. Wipe down furniture, keeping in mind that different techniques should be used for different fabrics.
5. Wash windows with glass cleaner. It’s best to do so during a cloudy day in order to prevent streaks and water spots. Remove the dirt and grime in your window and door tracks by using a dry toothbrush and then wiping with a damp cloth.

The Bathroom
1. De-clutter! Go through your cabinets, drawers, and vanities and remove any empty or outdated products. Put loose items back where they belong.
2. Wash all towels, washcloths, and floor rugs. Plastic bath mats and shower curtains can be washed also! Put in the washing machine with hot water and add laundry detergent and baking soda.
3. Wipe down and disinfect all areas of contact: doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, faucet knobs, etc.
4. Wipe and clean mirrors, doors, windows, windowpanes, light fixtures, and air vents.
5. Soak bath/shower items (loofah, etc.) in a solution of 1 part vinegar to one part water for 30 minutes and rinse. Scrub and clean tub, drain, showerheads, and water spouts. (Tip: Showerheads can be cleaned by soaking them in a plastic bag filled with vinegar!)
6. Use vinegar, baking soda, and a toilet cleaning brush to naturally clean your toilet!

The Bedroom
1. De-clutter! Organize items so they are all put back in the spaces where they belong.
2. Wipe down corners, ceilings, light fixtures, and fans to get rid of any cobwebs or dust.
3. Dust and clean all items on top of shelves or desks, blinds, and curtains.
4. Strip the bed, wash linens, wipe down bedposts and headboard if needed, remove and wash mattress pad, and flip or rotate the mattress. You can deodorize your mattress by sprinkling baking soda over it, letting it sit for 30 minutes, and then vacuuming up.
5. Spring is also the perfect time to go through your closet and drawers, getting rid of any clothes that you’re not wearing anymore!

Give your home some much needed love this spring! A clean home is a happy home and here at Madison Mutual we want your home to be as happy as possible. For more tips on how to take care of your home, visit us at www.madisonmutual.com!

Daylight Saving Time and Beyond: 8 Vital Tasks to Do March 8

Spring is quickly approaching, and with spring comes flowers, rainy days, and the slow return of green in our lawns and trees. Another part of spring in several parts of the country is Daylight Saving Time, which begins Sunday, March 8th at 2 a.m. this year. That means it will be time once more to move the clock forward by one hour, allowing us to enjoy more and more daylight in our evenings.

The beginning of Daylight Saving Time is also the perfect time to take a few minutes and do a few other small, typically forgettable, yet very important tasks around the house. This will ensure that your home is working at its peak form and that you and your family will remain safe.

Here are 8 other tasks you should accomplish on March 8th!

Check the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors – When it’s time to spring forward or fall back, it’s the perfect time to check in on your smoke and CO detectors. Test the alarms – there’s a button on all alarms, and it does take a few seconds to work – and replace the batteries. If your alarms are 10 years old or older, replace them to be on the safe side.

Drain the Water Heater – Did you know that your water heater needs to be flushed once in a while so it can work at its peak performance? This action will help remove any sediment that has built up. All you need to do is shut off the power and water supplies, then attach a hose to the unit and just let the water drain. If you’re too uncomfortable doing this, call a professional to do it for you.

Change the Filters – The filters in your many household appliances need some love, too! After all, dirty filters can cause vacuums, furnaces, air purifiers, and other appliances to use more energy, costing you money. Take this time to check on your furnace and air conditioning filters, vacuum cleaners, refrigerator water filters, dishwasher filters, air purifiers, and humidifiers. Once clean, they should be working even better than before and help you save on your next utility bill.

Flip and Rotate Your Mattress – Mattresses are said to last about 10 years, but sometimes, they can start to sag earlier than normal. Many mattress manufacturers recommend that you rotate and/or flip your mattress in order to minimize wear. Go ahead and give your mattress a flip to extend its life!

Schedule a Cooling System Check – As much as half of the energy that is used in your home goes to your heating and cooling system. Be sure to schedule a tune-up of your HVAC to ensure that your unit is running at its highest efficiency by the time summer rolls around!

Wash Your Pillows – We might think that our pillows are clean after we wash our sheets, but in reality, the pillows themselves can become really nasty. Oils from your face, dead skin, and even dust mites will accumulate on your pillow (not just the pillow case!) in time. Give your pillow a good cleaning twice a year to keep it fresh and clean. If your pillow is older than 2 years, go ahead and replace it.

Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Pantry – Did you visit the doctor a few times this fall and winter? If so, you probably have a few prescription bottles hanging around your bathroom. Take this time to go through your medicine cabinet and clear out the prescriptions and medicines you’re not taking anymore or anything that’s past its expiration date. While you’re at it, go through your pantry and declutter your stash of food. Like the medicines, make sure to toss out anything that has expired or anything that you know you won’t eat.

Replenish Your Emergency Kit – If you’ve used up your supply of batteries, bandages, and ointments over the winter, go ahead and replace these just-in-case items before the spring storms and blistering summer weather come! You’ll be thankful you have these items when you need them.

Getting your home in order during the changing of the seasons is a great way to make your home safer and more efficient. Lessen your worthies further by visiting your insurance agent at Madison Mutual to make sure that your home insurance is up-to-date. Just call us at 1-800-766-MMIC, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying the upcoming spring weather without a care in the world in no time!