No one likes getting caught in traffic. Unfortunately for many drivers across the U.S., it's looking like that prospect is unavoidable. The most recent INRIX Gridlock Index found that traffic in June increased 8 percent compared to the same time last year. It's the third straight month traffic has increased.
The influx of traffic is largely due to an improved economy, which led to more jobs and more employees heading to work. In the country's 100 most populated metro areas, where much of this economic growth took place, drivers are finding themselves stuck in traffic for 7 percent longer than in 2012.
"Last year at this time we saw a 19 percent year-over-year decrease in traffic congestion levels," said Bryan Mistele, CEO of INRIX. "Yet we turned a corner in December. Aside from a slight pullback in March, we've seen higher levels of consumer spending and employment lead to dramatically higher levels of gridlock on our roads nationwide."
While the surge of traffic on the roads may be a good sign for the national economy, it's not so great for drivers. Luckily, there are a few things motorists can do to make sure they stay safe and comfortable behind the wheel, regardless of how many people are driving around them. Getting air conditioning and the HVAC system checked out is essential for staying relaxed in a car, and motorists should also make sure their brakes are in top condition and can handle the stop-and-go style often found in heavy traffic.
If you think your car has an issue that needs to be addressed or it's simply ready for a tune up, head to NJ State Auto Auction. The garage there caters to the public and is capable of handling any problems that may pop up.
The used car market is seeing a slight decline in sales, which could create ideal conditions for buyers on a budget. When the economy took a turn for the worse a few years ago, many drivers turned to used cars or held on to their current rides in an effort to save money, and this resulted in fewer used vehicles that sometimes cost more than their new counterparts. As conditions have improved, numerous car owners have turned back to the new car segment, putting less of a strain on the supply of used cars. This has given the used car market some breathing room, as prices have come down and inventories have grown.
According to a recent Edmunds.com report, used car sales fell 3.4 percent in the first six months of 2013 compared to the first half of 2012. With less of a demand for pre-owned models, dealers will likely be lowering prices to reach their sales quotas, making this an excellent time to begin the search for your next ride.
It is important to note that, while overall sales may have fallen, franchise dealerships and certified, pre-owned sales have improved 6 and 12.5 percent, respectively. This means drivers will want to check out other options, such as New Jersey State Auto Auction. The dealership, located in Jersey City, is open to the public and has more than four football fields worth of used cars, trucks and SUVs. Every model on the lot is backed by a Carfax report, so you'll know exactly what you're buying before you finalize the sale. You can also get approved for an auto loan in minutes, as NJ State Auto partners with a number of major lenders to help get you behind the wheel of the car you need regardless of your credit history.
There are many things to consider when shopping around for a used car. In addition to important aspects like fuel economy, driving performance and safety features, you also have to be aware of a vehicle's history. This is especially important when you consider the number of flood-damaged cars on the roads. According to a new report from Carfax, there are more than 212,000 vehicles classified as flood damaged currently on the roads, despite the fact that many of these automobiles were thought to be ruined beyond long-term repair.
Nearly two-thirds of these flood-damaged vehicles are confined to 10 states, including New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Many of these vehicles may have suffered damage from Superstorm Sandy, and were given a short-term fix before being sold to unsuspecting drivers. If left untreated, the issues present in these cars could pose a major concern for motorists, but there are a few things these individuals can do to protect themselves.
"Flood cars a volatile mixture of water, metal and electricity," said Larry Gamache, a communications director at Carfax. "Once a car is ravaged by water, the mechanical, electrical or safety systems can fail at any time. There's also the health risk, as mold and bacteria permeate the vents and soft parts of the interior. Know what you're putting you and your family into before laying down your hard-earned money. Start with a Carfax Vehicle History Report and thorough inspection by a trusted mechanic."
To make the car search easier, head to an auction lot where the options are Carfax-certified. You can find just that at New Jersey State Auto Auction, which has a wide selection of pre-owned cars, trucks and vans that are more than capable of meeting your driving needs.
Hyundai recently announced a major milestone for its Santa Fe crossover SUV – the automotive brand just sold its 1 millionth model in the U.S. Since it first appeared on the market in late 2000, the Santa Fe has been a popular choice for people who needed a reliable ride with more space.
The launch of this model, the second crossover SUV to hit the streets following the Toyota RAV4, helped to reinvent Hyundai's image as a brand that produces reliable rides that were innovative and affordable. This was the first model that deviated from the compact cars previously offered by Hyundai, and it continues to be a strong contender in the crossover SUV market.
"The Santa Fe played a significant role in Hyundai's success and growth in the United States," said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai Motors America. "For many loyal Hyundai owners today, it was their entry point to the brand."
The first model came standard with a V6 engine that got up to 26 miles per gallon on the highway, according to Edmunds, which is an impressive number 13 years later. Drivers in the market for a used SUV may want to check out earlier models, as all three trim levels of the 2001 version can be found for under $5,000, and other early model years are comparably affordable.
The vehicle is currently in its third generation, and newer models seat up to seven passengers, while the earlier models were built to house up to five passengers. Whether drivers want to check out newer or older Santa Fe models, they can head to New Jersey Auto Auction to explore the selection. The dealership carries a variety of makes and models, and every vehicle on the lot is Carfax certified, providing added assurance that car buyers will be getting behind the wheel of reliable rides.
Learning to drive was once a much-anticipated milestone in every teen's life. Now it seems that getting behind the wheel has lost some of its allure, and many young people are putting off earning their license indefinitely.
According to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, only 44 percent of teens get their license within 12 months of their eligibility. By the time these young people turn 18, only 54 percent are licensed drivers. These numbers are significantly lower than in the 1980s, when 46 percent of 16-year-olds and 87 percent of 19-year-olds were licensed, NBC News reports. A large portion of young people are pushing back their driving because they don't have a vehicle and believe it would be too expensive to own and operate one.
There are some safety concerns associated with teens waiting to drive. Those individuals over the age of 18 don't have to participate in the graduated license program most states have implemented, which requires teens to work up to independent driving with permits and regulations.
"With one in three adults waiting to get their license until they turn 18, there's a segment of this generation missing opportunities to learn under the safeguards that GDL provides," said Peter Kissinger, the president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "For most, it's about not having a car or having alternatives for getting around that are the top reasons cited for delaying what has traditionally been considered to be a rite of passage."
Young drivers who are ready to make the leap to the roads but want to invest in an affordable car should head to places like NJ State Auto Auction. The auction lot boasts plenty of CARFAX-certified models, ranging from sedans to trucks. Many of the options are low cost and high quality, allowing drivers to get some bang for their buck.