What Happens When You Get a DUI

You’ve had a drink or two more than you planned. Still, you think you’re ok to drive. That is, until you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror. At that moment, you’d do anything to undo your poor decision. But it’s too late.

The first thing you should realize after you get a DUI is that it could have been far worse. If your driving was erratic enough to catch the attention of a police officer, you could have caused a very serious accident.

Although things aren’t good for you at the moment, you will make it through – and never make this mistake again. Here’s what happens when you get a DUI:

  1. You’ll get arrested – After failing a sobriety test or breathalyzer test, the officer will issue a summons or ticket with a court date. He or she will then slap the cuffs on and take you back to the station. You’ll have to stand for a mugshot and be fingerprinted. Depending on your state’s laws, you may then get to go home if someone comes to post your bail. Some states have laws that require you to sober up before you go home.
  2. You’ll lose driving privileges – Regardless of your driving or criminal history, expect to lose your driving privileges for a period of time. In some states, you may receive a hardship license that allows you to drive to school and/or work. Your driving privileges will typically be revoked in court, but if you refused a sobriety test or breathalyzer, they might be revoked immediately.
  3. Pay a fine – If you’re convicted of driving while under the influence, you will receive a sentence that will most definitely include a fine. There are minimum and maximum penalties that vary by state, but these could be enhanced if there are additional charges.
  4. Go to jail – As laws become stricter nationwide, jail time is becoming mandatory for even first-time offenders in many states. If you’re a first-time offender, your jail time may only span a day or two. Still, you should expect to serve some time in jail. If there are any charges above the DUI, such as damaged property or personal injury, you may be looking at a steeper sentence.
  5. Complete probation – even if you’ve only spent one day in jail, you should expect to adhere to probationary terms that will be set by the sentencing judge. If you don’t meet your outlined terms, you’ll be sent back to jail.

After you’ve completed probation, or maybe during, you may also be required to take a drunk driving education program before you can get your license back. You will also be required to pay higher car insurance premiums after a DUI.

A DUI could be the result of one poor choice by an otherwise responsible person, but it could also be an indication that there’s a problem. If you have more than one DUI or are in the habit of driving under the influence, you may need to evaluate your relationship with alcohol. Accepting you have a problem is the first step to getting help.

Always remember that driving drunk is never your only option. Rideshares, public transportation or even sleeping it off in your car are all better options than getting a conviction.

How Tech is Changing the Way We Drive

Once upon a time, being able to drive a car without having to manually change gears was the biggest technology around. Now, with advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the way we drive is dramatically changing. It’s perfectly appropriate now to ask whether we will actually be driving at all in the future.

Entrepreneur Bill Busbice has been thinking about the future of driving for a while now. He co-owned a trucking company, Ace Transportation, for several years before moving onto tech-oriented investments.  These days his main investment is HWY Pro, a mobile app that aims to make the trucking life much easier.

In the process of developing the app, Mr. Busbice realized that driving, transporting goods and people is fundamentally changing because of new technology, and this is not the regular automotive technology that makes engines more efficient either. In a way, driving is being taken over by machine learning algorithms and Mr. Busbice believes that the transportation industry should brace itself for major changes in the future.

Auto Pilot Driving

One of the most exciting new projects in the transportation industry is self-driving. There are already startups in Silicon Valley in the process of investing in a self-driving truck. But car lovers will be more familiar with projects by Google and Uber to invent new self-driving cars. Google is already predicting that computers could be better drivers than people. While actual self-driving technology is still years away, there’s something we already have that’s close to the real thing: auto pilot. Some newer vehicle models by Tesla, Lexus, and Toyota are being issued with auto pilot features. Cars can now parallel park themselves, and also relieve the stress of driving for human drivers. In the future, auto pilot will become more sophisticated, and driving will never be the same again.

Web-Connected Vehicles

We expect our cars now to be like smartphones: always connected to the internet. Indeed, web-connected vehicle models have dramatically risen in number between 2009 and 2017. Now there are as many as 6 million car models with some type of internet access. In-car connectivity means more sophisticated GPS and entertainment systems. Also, according to Mr. Busbice, in-car connectivity also means more efficient driving. Drivers now use various apps to make driving a less strenuous process. Drivers can use simple tech features like audible text messages to stay connected on the road. On a more sophisticated level, drivers, especially commercial drivers, can use apps like HWY Pro to actually plan routes and load dispatches. In the future, we can expect more connectivity and more apps like that.

Increased Safety

The most important feature tech is introducing to driving is increased safety. New apps, web connectivity, and auto pilot features are making cars safer to drive.  For example, consider City Safety tech by Volvo that can detect objects in front of the car to prevent accidents. Mercedes-Benz also has a tech program that makes drivers more alert on the road. These sensitive safety features will hopefully be more ubiquitous in the coming years.

Machine learning is also making GPS navigation tech more accurate and easy to use. Driving is definitely improving for the better. Who knows, maybe road accidents will become a rarity in the next five years.

What You Must Understand Before Buying a New Home

Purchasing a home is likely the greatest purchase you’ll ever make, but it’s not always an easy one. Buyers need to be informed and have their finances in order before entering the market.

Here are what experts say first-time buyers need to understand:

  1. What you can actually afford.

Before buyers begin their house hunt, it’s essential they know how much amount they can afford to spend. According to Jim Parrish, a personal injury attorney in Manassas, “It’s easy to convince yourself that you have more room in your budget than you actually do. If you find the house of your dreams and it’s out of your price range, you may be tempted to stretch. Doing that, however, could be a huge mistake, and put you in more debt in the future than you can manage. So make sure you know exactly how much you can spend, and even try to keep under that to ensure that you’re making a wise decision.”

Buyers enlist out all of their monthly expenses, without leaving out items like discretionary groceries, and transportation spending, and others like nights out and gym memberships.

A general rule of thumb is that: housing costs shouldn’t take up over 30% of your before-tax income.

However, the percentage can vary, especially if you’ve other debts, like car payments or student loans.

Overspending on monthly housing payments can leave the homeowner’s house poor, and unable to meet other expenses—like saving for retirement.

It’s common in competitive markets, for buyers to get pre-approved for financing so as to get more customers. But just because a bank approved you for a given amount, it doesn’t imply that’s what you should spend.  Just stick to a price limit you are comfortable with.

  1. You need a buffer.

Although it may be tempting to spend everything you have, at your offer to stay competitive, it’s advised having at least some balance after you budget for a home.

It’s recommendable to have at least 3-6 months in savings by the day you become homeowners. One of the reason is that you’ll be needing emergency savings now more than ever.

Therefore, if a home purchase renders you with no liquidity, consider lowering your price point or waiting to increase your savings.

  1. The actual cost of owning a home.

The down payment usually tends to be the biggest financial challenge to owning a home. But there’re many other costs, which pop up along the way: origination, appraisal, notary fees and, a credit report can all add up.

Note that the costs don’t seize just when the keys are handed over. There is a need for new furniture and costs like utility payments and lawn care, which former renters might not be familiarized to paying.

  1. Renovations aren’t as seen on TV.

Buying a fixer-up might enable you to afford a home in a more desirable area or snag a bigger one, but there are huge consequences.

Just Know that it’s always more expensive than what you’re imagining or what you see on television. If a home needs renovations, always factor it into the total cost of buying.

A private loan is usually an option to finance this project but can be hard to secure, especially after taking out a mortgage.

If your home requires far more than you purchased it for, then you could have the option of tapping your equity to assist in paying for renovations.

Additionally, there’re some mortgage options, which include renovation expenses. For example, 203k FHA loan enables homebuyers to finance the purchase and rehabilitation on just a single mortgage.

You can as well borrow from a friend or family member. Just, approach those closest to you, but be cautious of your relationship status if you default to repay back the loan!

3 Top Tips for Road Trips in Ohio

Packing up the car for a day trip or a longer jaunt through the state of Ohio can bring lots of wonderful memories and unique experiences. Ohio has such a wide range of possibilities to suit nearly every weekend adventurer or day-long explorer’s itinerary choices. Whether it’s waterfalls or lighthouses, whether you’re a foodie or a history buff, Ohio has something for everyone. Here are three top tips for your Ohio road trip. Don’t leave home without them!

Have a Flexible Plan

Road-tripping in any state means that you need to do a bit of advance planning. However, everyone has a different style for how they like to see the sights by car. Some people enjoy planning everything down to the very last detail, while others prefer simply getting in the car and driving whatever road tickles their fancy. While either way can bring an exciting adventure, the most effective way to have a great road trip is most likely somewhere in the middle: have a plan, but leave room for unexpected developments and be flexible.

Before you hit the road, have a look at what experienced travelers have to say about the art of road-tripping. Smarter Travel offers a range of tips on their website. In addition to having a “loose plan” in terms of your preparation, they advise also having an “escape plan to get off country roads.” Ohio’s picturesque back roads can provide a scenic ride, but like all country roads, they can also bring unexpected hassles such as delays, car sickness due to excessive winding and curving, or a lack of services.

Travel Smart and Minimize Risks

Don’t forget the basics in terms of health and safety when it comes to organizing any road trip, whether it’s for a few hours, a full day, or a weekend excursion. Consider the health and age of all your travel companions, as well as the current state of your vehicle and how to protect it from any risks that may come up during travel. Making sure your car has the proper local insurance is only the most basic step you need to take before you turn the keys in the ignition.

If your vehicle hasn’t been serviced in a while with a regular oil and filter change, a road trip could be a good opportunity to get this routine maintenance completed. Do a quick survey of your lights to make sure they’re working and ensure that all your vehicle’s fluids are topped off. And, although it isn’t necessarily a risk factor, cleaning out your vehicle before departure and during your trip can make the whole way much more pleasant and organized.

Pick an Area To Focus On

Ohio offers many opportunities for the road-trip enthusiast. It can be helpful to do some advance research based on your particular interests and then plan a trip around those interests, calculating mileage, gas expenses, driving time, and services along the way. The travel website Visit the USA has a large section on Ohio travel that can help with your travel planning. From scanning top tourist attractions to narrowing down where you can check off something on your bucket list, using resources to pinpoint exactly where you want to go can save you lots of time on the road.

 

13 Budget-Friendly Road Trip Tips

Summer’s almost over, the weather’s getting cooler, and the leaves are about to change.  That means it’s the perfect time to get together with your family or friends and go somewhere special.  It’s fun to get away for a while, but you don’t want to go broke while you’re doing it.  The good news is, with a little planning, you can do a lot of traveling without spending a lot of money.  With that in mind, here are a few cheap, fun ways to see the country this autumn.

Create a budget:  Planning your trip ahead of time will make it much easier to keep from overspending.  You want to calculate how much you plan to spend on food, gas, lodging, entertainment and anything you think might be relevant.  This will give you an idea of how much money your trip will cost while also preventing you from spending money on things you don’t need.

Couchsurfing:  Couchsurfing is a service that allows you to find a host in your travel destination and stay with them for free.  Along with being a no-brainer way to save money, it can also be a great way to meet new people and make new friends.  Their site has hosts from all around the world, so finding a place to stay should never be a problem.

Airbnb:  If you’re not comfortable staying with someone you haven’t met or you have a large number of people to accommodate, Airbnb might be more your style.  Airbnb allows people to rent our their entire home or apartment.  It’s not free like couchsurfing, but it’s still far cheaper than staying in a hotel.  As an added bonus, you also have all the amenities of a real home such as a kitchen and washing machine.

Camping:  This is a great money-saving option if you’re a fan of the outdoors.  Most campsites are only $15 to $30.  Again, this is cheaper than any hotel you’re going to find.  On top of this, spending the night under the stars can be an adventure in its own right.  It’s a great way to have fun and save money at the same time.

Bring your own food:  Although you’ll certainly want to eat out once or twice while exploring the country, it’s no secret that food can add up to a lot of money when you’re going on a big trip.  One way to lessen this cost is to simply pack a few sandwiches for the road.  Bringing a cooler full of food and drinks can be a great way to eat for cheap.

Parking Panda:  Parking can sometimes become an issue when you’re doing a lot of traveling.  That’s where Parking Panda comes in.  Parking Panda is a service that lets you book parking spots ahead of time.  It also allows you to compare parking prices, leaving you to spend your money on something else.

Gasbuddy:  This one is a necessity for anyone who travels a lot.   Gas is going to be one of your biggest expenses on a roadtrip.  One thing that can make this less expensive is a handy little app called Gasbuddy.  Gasbuddy searches for gas stations in your area and finds the cheapest ones.  This one app can save you a lot of money during your trip.

Rent a car:  Renting a car is another great option for those looking to save money on gas.  If your own car gets poor gas mileage, renting a more efficient car is an option you want to consider.  This can also prevent any wear and tear your car might sustain on a long trip.  However, keep in mind that you may need to insure the car you’re renting.  This leads to our next point.

Make sure you’re insurance is up to date:  When it comes to insurance, there’s a few things to consider before taking your car out on the road. Firstly, remember that car insurance companes differ from state to state. Along with renting a car, you may need to cover other people who might be driving.  Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get this taken care of because TheZebra.com makes it very easy to compare car insurance quotes.  You could spend a lot of money if you’re in an accident on your trip and you’re not covered.  Please make sure you have this taken care of before heading out.

National Park Pass:  This is a must-have for nature lovers.  America’s park system is one of its greatest features.  And for 80 dollars, you can get an annual pass to every national park in the country.  This will save you plenty of money in the long run if you plan to see places like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.

Citypass:  Another pass that can help you save money is Citypass.  Citypass can help you save up to 50% off when visiting a city’s most popular landmarks.  If you plan to see all of the usual tourist attractions in your chosen destination, then this is something you need to check out.  Most of America’s biggest cities offer a citypass, so check ahead and see.

Look for free attractions:  On the other hand, there’s also a lot of things to see and do in America for free.  Virtually every large city in America has free attractions.  New York City has the Central Park.  San Antonio has the Alamo.  Boston has the Freedom Trail.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to see something really amazing.  Research your destination ahead of time and see if they have anything to offer for free.

Travel a scenic route:  Depending on which road you take, the drive itself can be an experience.  Obviously, the most popular of these is the legendary Route 66.  Running from Chicago, Illinois all the way to Santa Monica, California, this drive by itself offers a wealth of incredible sights and quirky small towns.  But Route 66 isn’t the only one.  With some research, you can likely find a scenic drive in or around your home state.  A road trip like this doesn’t require any money outside the usual food, gas, and lodging, making it worthy of consideration.

Rideshare Allowing In British Columbia Starting December 2017

Ridesharing companies are going to soon be allowed to operate from December 2017 in British Columbia. The news came in March and sparked a lot of debate surrounding what is going to happen. Various things should be known as the taxi companies and the ridesharing companies are going to fight to get customers. Authorities are starting by helping develop an application for the taxi industry through a $1 million donation. At the same time, protecting taxi companies is going to be done through:

  • ICBC spending $3.5 million in order to install crash prevention tech and negotiating to streamline insurance claims.
  • Red tape is reduced in taxes.
  • Taxis can pick up clients anywhere across the municipalities.
  • Taxis hold exclusive rights for getting hired via phone, in streets or at taxi stands.

Travel industry blogs like Travel Tipsor highlight that this means tourism revenues should be increased for the rideshare companies that move towards BC but taxi companies might end up suffering. The process is highly monitored by the authorities to guarantee everything goes as planned. Various rules are going to apply to both tax drivers and rideshare companies, including:

  • The exact same safety standards.
  • Drivers need to pass checks for safe driving and criminal activities.
  • Unrestricted licenses.
  • Age over 19.
  • Regular mechanical inspections need to be passed.

While rideshare is going to become reality, authorities also work to deal with modernizing the transportation industry in the state. Ridesharing is an alternative for the locals but travellers are interested in having access to proper public transportation. Improving the current conditions with investments through TransLink and improvements with Compass Card is the first taken step.

Changes are now made in an effort to fulfill the need of the public for increased convenience, competition, accessibility and choice. People living in the state did voice their concerns that better services are needed with transportation, thus adding ridesharing as an allowed alternative.

Taxi companies welcomed the addition of ridesharing in British Columbia but did want to be sure that there was a “level playing field” involved. The entire industry has to remain competitive according to representatives but there is also a need to have specific incentives that would support the move towards new technology platforms that are going to be implemented.

After the initial announcement that ridesharing will be allowed in British Columbia, Uber released an official statement saying that people in BC need and want access to affordable, reliable and safer transportation options. It was said that the announcement was a positive step forward made by the local government and that all involved parties should come together in order to come up with proper progressive regulations.

Metro Vancouver long stood out as the largest North American metropolitan area that did not have ridesharing and statistics show that around 250,000 locals and 350,000 tourists tried to utilize the Uber app in the state of BC between 2015 and the first quarter of 2017. Allowing ridesharing means that new transportation options are going to be available for both tourists and locals.