Winter Driving Safety

Its mid-December so if you haven’t gotten your vehicle ready for the winter season then now’s your chance! We have some Winter Driving Safety and a DIY Car inspection for you to guarantee you’re ready for snow and ice!

Our culture is naturally always rushing and anxious. This is the cause of a lot of auto accidents in the winter, people being in a hurry and not taking the necessary time to drive safely and cautiously. Training yourself to take the extra time to leave early and keep an eye on the weather can help you slow down your mentality and stay safe during the bad weather.

Let us know what you think of these and if you have anything to add!

DIY Car Inspection:

  1. Check ALL of your lights. Light bulbs are cheap and make a huge difference. Not just the normal lights but also the brake lights, blinkers, and lights inside the vehicle as well.
  2. Make sure your tires are updated. You’ll need grip on the road when the snow and ice hit. We all know that tires are expensive but they’re one of the more necessary parts to keep updated for the winter months.
  3. Windshield wiper fluid. In Michigan, we NEED this stuff for the bad roads. You’ll be completely blind without it.
  4. Get your oil changed on time to prevent any mishaps later on. Some of us wait until we’re about 2,000 miles over and then we go and get it done. In the winter, make sure your checking your oil regularly and getting that taken care of.
  5. Make sure your heat works! Not only is this important for your own warmth but also for defrosting or defogging your windshield.

Winter Driving Safety:

  1. Keep an eye on the weather. You want to be able to get an idea of what’s coming and prepare as best as you can. One of the main reasons for car accidents in the winter is people who are in a rush and aren’t being cautious enough. To help prevent that, leave early and give yourself more time so that you can feel comfortable driving safely.
  2. Know your route. You’ll need to know exactly where you’re going and how to get there so there’s no confusion and no danger of getting lost in a storm. This means getting your gps situated and ready to go before taking your car out of park.
  3. Stay alert and cautious. You may be driving as safely as you can but the people around you may not be. Keeps your eyes open and watch your surroundings.
  4. Have a “winter emergency kit” in your car in case you get stranded somewhere in the snow and ice. To include in your kit:winter clothes and boots, snacks, gas can, spare tire, windshield scraper (the one that also has a brush on one end), flashlight, batteries, blanket, water,gloves, first aid kit, hat, pepper spray, phone charger, jumper cables, and ratchet straps. Let us know if there’s anything we missed here!
  5. Consider adding roadside assistance to your auto insurance policy. Roadside assistance isn’t expensive at all and is a HUGE help when you need it. If you have roadside assistance, make sure to keep the dispatch phone number on your person and have your auto insurance policy number with you as well (this shouldn’t be a problem if you have your proof of insurance in the car).
  6. Keep your gas tank at least half full. There are plenty of reasons to get stranded in the winter so if we can prevent at least one of those things then we’ll be off to a good start!
  7. Assume the worst conditions while driving. If it looks like it may be a little slick, assume it’s a thick layer of ice and drive slowly.
  8. Keep in mind there are still deer all over Michigan and they can do some serious damage. Driving slowly and carefully could potentially prevent an accident or lessen the damages.
  9. Make sure you have good contact info for your insurance agent. If something happens and you need to get the claim filed asap,you’ll want to call them as soon as your able and the accident is cleared up.Give them a call sometime this winter to review what coverages you have and what to do in the event of an emergency.
  10. Consider adding coverage on your auto insurance policy. This is the time of year that you may want to add some comprehensive and/or collision to your vehicle. You never know what you may slide into and what kind of storms we’ll get. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Alliance wants to remind you to have a happy and safe last couple weeks of the year! If you need any help with your insurance before winter fully descends upon us, you can give us a call at 616-897-1515.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Gift Guide

 

The holidays are here! We’ve just recovered from the black Friday chaos and it’s time to get down to business for Christmas. Half of the population already have all of their Christmas gifts bought and wrapped, the other half hasn’t even started shopping yet. For the half of us that haven’t started shopping, we’ve put together a couple gift ideas for you! Shopping last minute isn’t a bad idea as long as you know what you want and you’re patient with long lines.  It can definitely be difficult if you don’t know what you want though. We want to make this as painless as possible so we can all take some time and savor the Christmas Spirit!

Clothing or accessories: This is an easy one, just find something that they’ve looked at 2-3 times and get it for them! If it’s ever been in their amazon cart then they want it.

Spa day: This one is probably more for the ladies but men shouldn’t count this out! A spa day is relaxing and essential for everyone!

Movies/books: These are gifts that can be used forever! A good movie can also be family time or a double date. A good book encourages creativity and exercises your imagination.

Cups (coffee mugs, glasses, travel mugs): We all carry our coffee, tea, and water with us everywhere we go. You can buy them a nice cup that fits their personality or make it themed after their favorite character!

Décor: A cute sign or painting for the house is never a bad idea! Get their favorite quote or bible verse to hang in their room or for their desk at work! It’d be a daily reminder!

Fuzzy socks: Good for ALL ages! Who doesn’t love some soft fuzzy socks to keep our feet warm during the cold weather?! Get them holiday themed or just as fuzzy as they get!

Soft blanket: Same as fuzzy socks. Good for all ages and sizes. Soft blankets are the backbone of winter weather. It doesn’t matter how many of these they already have, another soft blanket is never a bad thing!

Technology upgrade: This is unspecific on purpose because there’s so many opportunities! New phone, new charger, phone cases, amazon echo or google home, computer, tablet, accessories, etc. There’s no limit here!

Fun T shirt: These are a classic. Something funny and personal is always good, plus, we all wear t shirts so this won’t go unused!

Sports supplies: A good way to stay active and spend time together! Pick a sport or activity that they love and get them something fun for it! Whether it’s new active wear or an accessory specific to that sport, all of them are cool! A nice side gift for this would be a water bottle to go with, hydration is important!

 

Let us know if this was helpful for you during the holidays! What’s your favorite gift that you’ve ever received? We want to know!

Stressed about the upcoming Weekend?

Thanksgiving Desserts

Stressing about this Exciting Weekend?

This is what we’ve been waiting for since November 1st! Its Thanksgiving weekend and we’re ready to be filled to the brim in thanksgiving foods! Every year we eat until we can’t eat anymore and then we burn off the calories by shopping until we drop. It’s a wonderful time to be alive!

We’re overly blessed, here in America, and it’s important to take a moment and be thankful for everything we have. We’re the “busiest” country and we need to make sure that we take a step back this holiday season, and get a look at the wider perspective. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday can sometimes make us feel less thankful for what we already have so we’re going to all need to work on having gratitude during this time. First, we’ll stuff our faces with tasty food and desserts! Second, we’ll take a nap after all the turkey. Third, we’ll go shopping at the most insane hours of the day in order to ensure that we get the best presents for the best price possible.

We wanted to put something together to help everyone with this extremely busy weekend so we’ve included one of our FAVORITE recipes! This is our pumpkin roll recipe from Allrecipes.com and we LOVE it! If you make this then please let us know how it turns out!

 

Pumpkin Roll:

3 eggs, beaten

1 c white sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

2/3 c pumpkin puree

¾ c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese

1 c confectioners’ sugar

¼ tsp vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or grease one 10×15 inch jelly roll pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin. In another bowl, mix together flour and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture and blend until smooth. Evenly spread the mixture over the prepared jelly roll pan.
  3. Bake 15 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.
  4. Remove cake from pan and place on tea towel (cotton, not terry cloth). Roll up the cake by rolling a towel inside cake and place seam side down to cool.
  5. Prepare the frosting by blending together the butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla.
  6. When cake is completely cooled, unroll and spread with cream cheese filling. Roll up again without towel. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle top with confectioners’ sugar and slice into 8-10 servings.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/13731/pumpkin-roll-i/

 

Let us know how these pumpkin rolls turn out! Now, after we all feast, we’ll be out at the darkest hours shopping like our lives depend on it! You’re your caffeine and hang on tight. We’ve put together a brief list of black Friday dos and don’ts. Let us know how these work out for you!

DO:

  • Be polite to other shoppers and ESPECIALLY to all employees. They probably are just as frustrated as you are, if not more. One good, friendly face may change their entire weekend!
  • Have a plan and a route for what you need and where you can get it. You want to be efficient and quick with this so that you can get home, eat Thanksgiving leftovers, and get to bed!
  • Go with a group of people and keep your phones on you at all times! If you go with a group of 6-8 people, you can split off into pairs to create maximum efficiency.
  • Try to get all of your Christmas shopping done before December 1st so that you can relax and enjoy the holiday without the stress of shopping. Try to get everything wrapped too! That’ll save time and space, they can go directly under the tree instead of hidden in a closet!
  • Make sure to have coffee and nutrition so that you are health and fueled for a night of hard core shopping!

DON’T:

  • Think that your wants/needs are more important than other shoppers. We’re all trying to get our shopping lists completed and spend the smallest amount of money possible. We’re all in the same boat.
  • Be rude to employees, they’re trying their best to service a huge amount of people. This is the craziest shopping day in America and they probably have a lot more immediate problems than you do.
  • Don’t go alone. It’s a crazy day with all the hustle and bustle and then the lack of sleep on top of that, it’s best to go as a group.
  • Don’t go in without a plan! You’ll end up purchasing unnecessary items and losing more money than you save.
  • Put your shopping needs above eating/drinking/sleep needs. You need to be healthy to be happy so let’s make sure we’re hitting every area here.

So have a blast with your family and friends this holiday season! Tell us your thoughts on the pumpkin rolls and share your crazy Black Friday stories with us! Make sure your home is insured prior to having guests over and before the cold weather hits! Plus, with all the snow and ice that we got last week you’ll want to make sure your auto is covered appropriately too.

Make sure you give us a call with all insurance related questions: 616-897-1515!

Fall Back into Safe Running Habits

Fall Back into Safe Running Habits

Running and Thanksgiving are two things that aren’t easy to put together, but it’s somewhat necessary. When we have the holidays coming up, and we just know that we’re going to feast on the holidays, running becomes a part of our everyday routines. This may come at some inconvenient times due to the family events that we‘re all planning, the cold weather, rain/snow, and the shorter days. I agree that it’s hard to leave the comfort of your warm, cozy home to go out and run in the rain and freezing temps but for those of us who ARE doing that on the daily, here’s what you need to know.

November is National Running Safety Month and I know some people don’t think this is even a concern. So we’ve put together a brief blog to explain the hazards of running this time of year and some quick ways we can combat this to make it a safe place for all runners.

A huge concern right now is the shorter days. For those of us who work 8am-5pm, it’s dark in the mornings before work and its dark almost immediately when we get out of work. On top of that, we also have rain and snow more often than not, so you’ll have that on top of the darkness. So if you’re lucky, you can run on your lunch break, otherwise, we need to come up with a more creative solution.

If you’re going to be running in the dark, you’ll need to wear brightly colored clothing. This is both easy and necessary. Purchase some neon yellow clothing and make that your running gear. I would recommend also wear a head lamp and a light up running vest. These are light weight and will make it easier for you to see and be seen by other people and drivers. You should also take your phone and ID and be sure to run against traffic.

Someone may also want to consider carrying a mace or pepperspray. This time of year the running trails are less busy and makes us more susceptible to danger. Keep your pepperspray somewhere easy and quick to reach. Some other things to consider would be a whistle or a self-defense ring.

The cold weather is going to make your body hurt. Be sure to set aside plenty of time for a warm up stretch (just some easy, light stretching) and then a good long, heavy stretch after your run. You need your muscles and joints strong and healthy for this time of year. Also, make sure your shoes have good grip for snowy and icy days! Not only are the cars dangerous in the winter elements but you could be a danger to yourself. You’ll want to keep your phone charged and on your person everytime you run in case you slip and hurt yourself.

With all of that being said, we want to wish you happy running and remind you to stay safe!

 

Employee Spotlight:

Congratulations to two of our employees, George Graham and Shad Breimayer, on their work anniversaries this month! George is finishing up his first year with Alliance and Shad is completing his 8th year. Both are such a delight to work with and we couldn’t be more grateful. A big congrats to both of them!