We’re planning to attend a New Year’s Eve party and I’m the designated driver, but how can I be safe knowing other people are drinking and driving?

Gary Jaffarian gives tips for driving (or not) on New Year’s Eve and staying safe on one of the most dangerous nights of the year on the roads.

new-year-2017Let me start this blog with wonderful statistics. When the 50 states are ranked from worst drivers to best, based on accidents and fatalities, I am happy to report that New England has the safest drivers in the nation. New Hampshire ranks #46, Massachusetts #47, Rhode Island #48 and Connecticut #50.

 

Now for the abysmal statistics:
• With an average of 140 deaths, New Year’s Day is the second most deadly day for drivers.
• January 1st is the day of the year with the highest percent of deaths related to alcohol.
• Number expected to be killed this New Year’s: 156 people in the nation.group-drinking
• Compared to the average weekend night, the 12-hour window between 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 and 6 a.m. on Jan. 1 tends to have about 71% more crashes where alcohol or drugs are listed as a contributing factor.

But New Year’s Eve tends to be among the most dangerous nights to be on the road. Below are my tips for staying safe on New Year’s Eve:
• Keep a sharp eye out and drive defensively.
• Be prepared for driving in winter weather and have an emergency kit with you that includes water and a blanket.
• If you can, avoid the roads entirely by staying at your host’s home or stay at a hotel nearby.
• Use Uber or a taxi to get you to and from where you are going. cabfare
• Use public transportation, especially if you go into Boston for First Night. The “T” has extended hours on New Year’s Eve.
• Always wear your seatbelt.
• Don’t drink. If you are the designated driver, commit to yourself and your passengers you will refrain from alcohol or anything that will impair your ability to drive.
• If you are going to be drinking, pay attention to your consumption. Stay hydrated by alternating alcoholic drinks with water, juice, or soda.
• Eat. Alcohol typically enters the bloodstream quickly. However, the amount and type of food in your stomach can alter this pace: high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods can slow new-years-buffetthe absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. So, this is a good night to indulge in such foods.
• Be sure to have plenty of gas in the tank and if you have any concerns about your vehicle, have it serviced in advance. We are here to take care of you so you can avoid being out in the cold on New Year’s Eve or any other night of the year. Call or go online to book an appointment.

Thank you for your support this past year and over the years. As an independent, family run business now with the 4th generation as part of the team, we are grateful for the loyalty of our customers and the support of the greater community. We are committed to serving you and your needs and giving back to our local community to help make the world a better place.

Wishing you a very happy, healthy and safe New Year, and we look forward to serving you in 2017!

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Gary Jaffarian

How can we best bring healing to a divided country and divided families at the holidays?

merry-christmas-imageGary Jaffarian discusses how the holiday season is a time to heal and time to give in the true spirit of the holiday season.

Sad, but true. Someone told me today that her friend, a single woman without children, has nowhere to go this Christmas. Sure, she can hang out with friends, but she would like to celebrate with her sisters. One sister is still holding a grudge—“How could you vote for Trump and I heard you even went to his rally!” Let it go! It’s the holiday season and the perfect time to set aside differences and focus on what we have in common – our freedom and hopefully our health. It truly starts with each of us to make an effort and make a difference.

It is the season for joy and celebration. While no family is perfect, I look at the holidayhappy-hanukkah season—whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah or Kwanza—as a time to come together in unity and to heal. I’m a great believer in the old saying, “Eat, drink and be merry!” (Provided you don’t drink and drive.) Why not get together for photos and making precious memories?

If you know someone, an elderly neighbor, a single mom, or a co-worker who may have nowhere to go for the holidays, why not invite them, too. This is the greatest gift—letting someone know they matter. Instead of giving more and more gifts, give the gift of time and inclusion.

I always remember a Christmas going to a relative’s home who had just one son. The mom decided to start shopping for his Christmas presents right after the new year and throughout the year. This little boy had a tower of gifts. It struck me how we all get caught up in the hustle and bustle and can lose sight of what the season really is all about. The story of the Grinch got it right: …The Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

It truly is a magical time of year. Celebrating Christmas and the birth of baby Jesus or Hanukkah and the miracle of the oil lasting eight days after the destruction of the Temple.

At Jaffarian Volvo Toyota we participate in the spirit of giving each holiday season for those less fortunate. We were honored to coordinate with Emmaus House in Haverhill to collect much needed items for the local homeless children and youth they provide housing to as part of the wonderful service they provide to local homeless families. Coats, pajamas, games and snow pants were donated by our loyal and generous customers, employees, and friends. It brings us great joy to know these kids will have gifts to open and have essentials to keep them warm this winter along with some games and toys to have fun. People came out of their way in the busiest time of the year, to drop off donations and we are so thankful for their support. There are many opportunities to making a difference this time of year from simple things like holding a door, shoveling a walk, or thanking a veteran or active military person. Small things make a world of difference so together let’s start small and local and make a difference during this magical time of year.kwanzaa

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!

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We keep hearing about the Toyota Corolla and Prius.  What’s new at Toyota?

The success of Toyota models transcends generations and Gary Jaffarian examines why these  “tried and true” models are anything but boring.
1st_corolla_1969_1970Automotive experts locally and nationally are consistently singing the praises of these Toyota models. The reason for their success and continuation? People keep buying these vehicles, finding them reliable, affordable and meeting their needs. Designs and technology continue to evolve in all Toyota models.  In the weekly Ask Gary Blogs, we regularly update you on the new technology available in these models. The automotive industry is already buzzing about the fact the other automotive brands will have to work harder to stay ahead of the competition.
The Toyota Corollaturned 50 this year making it the all-time world’s best-selling vehicle with 43 million sold worldwide! Toyota still sells nearly 1.5 million Corollas throughout the world each year. The automotive reviews continue to be positive. The newest technology for Toyota Corolla is the Safety Sense-P technology. This provides a warning system for pre-collision, pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warnings. It also includes steering assist, a dynamic radar cruise control and automatic high-beams. The Corolla seems to get smarter and more tech-savvy as it ages!
Boston Globe Columnist Bill Griffith referred to the Corolla as a “generational gem” that has thrived through 11 generations since its introduction in the U.S. market in 1969. In 2017-toyota-corolla-special-50thhonor of the 50th Anniversary, Toyota is producing only 8,000 of a special 50th edition of the Corolla in three colors: black cherry pearl, classic silver and blizzard pearl with special interior accent colors, floor mats and a 7-inch touch-screen, and moon-roof. As a special edition vehicle these Corollas will be highly sought after and we just received our first two!
Many of us still think of the Toyota Prius as new to the Toyota family! The 16-year-old Toyota Prius is the longest running and most successful hybrid vehicle in America! Its models have evolved throughout the years. That is one of the reasons Toyota models are so successful—they take what works and improve their models year after year. Many people know when a new vehicle model is introduced in the marketplace (like new restaurants) it sometimes takes months or year to get it right! Once they have it right, Toyota only improves upon it to meet consumer demands for safer vehicles and better technology.
2016-toyota-priusConsumers were skeptical about how long the Prius battery pack would last, but consumers were delighted to learn the battery lasted even longer than the 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The Prius is extremely quiet and consumers have been pleased with its low maintenance costs.  But here’s an ironic twist—Toyota Prius was so quiet, that people were concerned about pedestrians hearing it. So last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it is adding a minimum sound level requirement for the new quiet hybrids and electric vehicles. The regulation goes into effect in 2018 and 2019. The American Council for the Blind lobbied for this because those who are blind or visually-impaired could not hear the vehicles.
If you are in the market for a new or pre-owned vehicle, I invite you come to Jaffarian Volvo Toyota and see the new Toyota Prius and Corollas as well as the full lineup.  I think you will be impressed with the innovation including design, technology, comfort and safety, all at an affordable price. That is exactly why the Toyota brand is so successful and why we are so proud to sell and service them.
Have a happy holiday season, drive safely and make sure your vehicle has the appropriate service for winter driving—as winter is here!   Call us at (978) 372-8551 or email us at service@jaffarian.com if you are due for service so our certified technicians can take care of you; or schedule online 24/7.

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Gary Jaffarian

I want to buy a vehicle that I don’t have to worry about. Which vehicles have the best safety and reliability records?

Gary Jaffarian, proud to represent Volvo and Toyota, uses objective published statistics on vehicle safety and reliability to answer this question.

We generally quote the IIHS statistics that you hear on many TV commercials. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides the most accurate safety ratings that are closely monitored by the insurance industry. Cars.com published the 2016 Worry-Free Index which is the list of “cars with high reliability ratings, low expected maintenance costs and strong warranty terms.”

xc90-in-snowCars.com also chooses the best vehicles of the year and this year’s winner for Best of 2016 of all vehicles is the Volvo XC90 SUV. A writer for Cars.com wrote: “The Volvo XC90’s Best Of 2016 win can be summed up in one word: execution”…the XC90 is “distinguished mainly by its stately exterior styling and a list of active-safety features above and beyond what competitors offer, such as collision avoidance and protection in additional scenarios, like when turning in front of an oncoming vehicle…you encounter distinctive styling and high quality in everything from the look of its materials to the feel of its few mechanical controls…From the moment you start to explore the touch-sensitive screen — a technology as likely to frustrate you as please you in other vehicles — it’s clear Volvo has done it right. It responds immediately, its menus are clear and its functions easily understood. Despite all this computerization, the gear selector remains a conventional lever; unlike many competitors, Volvo hasn’t set out to fix what wasn’t broken.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

prius-in-snowCars.com chose the Toyota Prius C as the Eco-Friendly Car of the Year. They write: “The smallest of the Prius models combines extraordinarily high gas mileage with low price. Even among the growing number of non-hybrid cars with high mileage ratings, the wee Prius c still amazes with an EPA-estimated 53/46/50 mpg city/highway/combined — comparable to the outgoing 2015 regular-size Prius.” The same model won their award for Best Cars for First-Time Drivers.

Cars.com also chose the 2016 Volvo S60 as their Recommended Luxury Car. The wrote: “While Volvo has built a reputation for safety, the S60 succeeds because it is a powerful, agile sedan. The light-effort power steering is direct, and the car changes course quickly, plus the turbocharged and supercharged T6 Drive-E’s performance is a real kick in the pants. The interior offers good fit and finish, and enough unique touches to belong in (and stand apart from) the luxury field.”

The vehicle that Cars.com chose for the recommended vehicle for big families is the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. A new ranking published on Cars.com is the Worry-Free Car for 2016 rankings of all makes and models which includes in 3rd place—2016 Toyota Highlander; in 8th place—2016 Toyota Camry and in 12th place – 2016 Toyota RAV4. They took into consideration the IIHS safety ratings in preparing this list.

If you’re concerned about safety, the IIHS Top Safety Picks have some great choices with Toyota and Volvo ranking in nearly every category. Their 2016 Safety Picks in the following categories include:

Minicars—Scion iA
Small Cars—Toyota Prius
Midsize Cars—Toyota Camry and Prius V
Large Cars—Toyota Avalon
Midsize Luxury Cars—Volvo S60 and V60
Small SUVs—Toyota RAV4
Large Luxury Car—Volvo S80
Midsize SUV—Toyota Highlander
Midsize Luxury SUV—Volvo XC60 and XC90.

The year-end is one of the best times to purchase a 2016 model at a great price or get a deal on a 2017 model. Jaffarian Volvo Toyota can help you make that important decision as to which is the best vehicle to meet your needs and your budget, without any pressure. For you or for your loved one who will be so excited and grateful this holiday season, December is a great time to buy a new or pre-owned vehicle with safety in mind as we are approaching the winter season.

With winter weather upon us, please drive carefully.

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Gary Jaffarian

P.S. Please remember to drop by our showroom at 600 River Street to make a
donation to EmmausDonations.JPGthe Emmaus House. Our collection is mounting –but the homeless families serviced by Emmaus could use all the help they can get this holiday season. Donations will be accepted until December 15th.

With all the holiday parties this month serving alcohol, legalization of pot and more people on prescription drugs, how can I possibly feel safe on the roads?

Gary Jaffarian shares information in conjunction with these national initiatives: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving and National Drugged and Drunk Driving Prevention Week, and National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

National-Drunk-and-Drugged-Driver-Awareness-Month.pngI completely understand how you feel. One thing is certain – you can only control your vehicle and not others. That is why it is so important for you to be sure you have your seat belt buckled and that you drive defensively— watching out for the other vehicles on the road. It is important that you stay focused on driving and not be distracted by calls and texts. The holidays are known for joy of the season, parties and fun, but it is also the deadliest season when it comes to drunk driving. Every holiday season, lives are lost due to drunk drivers. We also need to be concerned about people who are high on drugs or taking prescription drugs that may impair their judgment when driving.
Although I write about this topic on a regular basis—it needs to be addressed again and again—because it is a matter of life and death. We need to keep this topic alive to keep more drivers alive. Drunk driving is a deadly epidemic that takes the lives of more than 10,000 people each year, on average. Remember to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and if you’re feeling a little “buzzed” you are drunk and should not be driving.snowmen-buzzeddriving
You always have choices: don’t drink (or perhaps just one); get a ride with a friend who is the designated driver; stay overnight; or take public transportation, call a taxi or Uber driver.
Of the 328 motor vehicle-related fatalities in Massachusetts in 2014, 38% involved alcohol-impaired driving where the BAC (blood alcohol content) of a driver was .08 or higher. As far as I am concerned, this means 125 people would still be alive if not for driving while intoxicated. That means they are preventable deaths.
In a recent roadside survey, 22% of all drivers tested positive for some drug or medication. If you take a medication that may impair your ability to drive, please check with your physician or pharmacist if there is another option that won’t affect your ability to drive. If you need to take that specific medication, try to get a ride or arrange a carpool. Always check the side effects when taking a new medication and never drink alcohol while on medications that may be affected by alcohol consumption. According to StopDruggedDriving.org, 20% of crashes in the country are caused by drivers under the influence of drugs. Drugged drivers cause approximately 440,000 injuries, 6,761 deaths, and $59.9 billion in damages per year.
There are many factors that impair one’s ability to drive—and the biggest issue to prevent accidents is not to read or send texts while driving. There are currently effective highway billboards reminding all of us  that “Better left unread then dead.” As we incur more stress, more parties and busier schedules going into the holiday season, please drive carefully and refrain from drinking, texting or using recreational drugs—whether legal or not.
Enjoy the beginning of this holiday season! Remember to drop by Jaffarian Volvo Toyota’s showroom at 600 River Street in Haverhill with your donations for Emmaus House, an emmaus-house-and-tagorganization that provides services and housing for needy families in our area. New, unwrapped items are welcome including mittens and winter coats, pajamas, sox and  toys. We want to fill the back of a Toyota Tundra truck with your donations and ours. With your help, we continue to give back to our local community to make the holiday season brighter for others in need.
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Gary Jaffarian

What do you think Thanksgiving should be about other than eating turkey?

thanksgiving-family-dinnerGary Jaffarian goes beyond the fanfare of Thanksgiving dinner, football and Black Friday shopping sprees to discuss what matters most this Thanksgiving for our community and the country.

Three things immediately come to mind as I think about Thanksgiving:

FIRST and foremost—Safety. Jaffarian Volvo Toyota is in the automotive business and an important part of our role is to promote safety on the roads. AAA projects that 48.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, an increase of one million travelers compared with last year and the most vehicles on the road since 2007. This year’s increase in Thanksgiving travel is spurred by improvements in the economy and relatively low prices at the pumps.

The most important part of the travel experience is getting to your destination safely to see family and friends. We’re motivated by traveling to home towns and long distances to see loved ones—and to spend time with friends and family, wherever they may be. As a four-generation dealership, I know how important family is and what they represent.thanksfamily-dinner

I hope everyone will respect the rules of the road. I’d like to live through one Thanksgiving where there is not a single death on the road. One is one too many. That means no texting or reading texts and no driving under the influence. This is the start of the holiday season and let’s make it the safest one ever! Practice kindness and patience, even on the road, even if you are cut-off—let it go. Keep in mind the only important part of the trip—arriving safely and returning safely.

SECOND—Be a contributor to your community. In the spirit of the season, there are countless ways to give back during the holiday season. Consider donating items to food pantries or donate holiday gifts, money or your time to make a difference in your community. Jaffarian will once again donate and collect a truck full of items for the homeless children at Emmaus House in Haverhill. They serve 3,000 clients a year thatemmaus-house-and-tag represent a large part of the 3500 homeless families in Massachusetts, most with children. Over the years, they have helped 25,000 people out of homelessness. Please stop by our showroom just off Exit 49 in Haverhill at 600 River St. in Haverhill to drop off items needed this year including winter coats, pajamas…. We will collect items starting this Friday and through December 15th! Every small contribution adds up to making a major difference in our community. Know that you will be behind the face of a smiling child on Christmas Day.

THIRD—Be kind to one other. We’ve been through a tumultuous time with a stressful presidential election. There are still rifts between friends and family which is unprecedented in this country after an election. There are children picking on children of other races and nationalities. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to further the healing that is needed by embracing our differences. Let us be thankful this Thanksgiving for the lives we have, our friends and families and for living in the U.S.–the greatest “melting pot” of them all that embraced our ancestors where they arrived at Ellis Island from many different nations. Be thankful for our freedom and for our country.

 

If you are traveling this week, be sure your vehicle is in top-notch shape to get you there traffic-on-rt-128safely. If there is anything you need from the Jaffarian Service Department, we are here for you. You can schedule on line 24/7 or call us at (888) 718-4749.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.

 

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Gary Jaffarian

How and when should I prepare my vehicle for winter?

With a cold winter on the horizon, Gary Jaffarian gives you his Top 10 list of what is most important to prepare your vehicle for winter and to avoid break-downs at the coldest time of the year.

cleaning-off-snowAccording to the Farmers’ Almanac and weather analysts, we are in for a very cold winter. While last winter was mild with little snow, this winter will most likely have greater snowfall, but nothing close to the winter of 2015 with record-breaking snowfall. It’s been a mild autumn, but now is the time to get your vehicle ready for winter and to adapt to the cold mornings and nights.

1. Tires—Inflate at a different level for winter according to your tire-pressure-monitoring-symbolmanufacturer’s guidelines. When you see the dashboard symbol that looks like an explanation mark in parentheses, it means your tires are not inflated at the proper level. It’s also a good time to check the treads. Your tires are even more important in the winter.

2. Check your anti-freeze. Coolant systems that are not in the right proportion will lead to overheating due to freezing. Have the car’s coolant system flushed before the first freeze. You also need to check the system for leaks and install fresh coolant.

3. Check the heater. Confirm that your heater system works correctly and the core doesn’t leak, the blower works and the window defroster is operating.

4. Inspect the windshield wipers. Replace them if they are worn or have become winter-wiper-bladeshardened. You may want to invest in the heavy-duty blades that are for winter weather. Change the windshield wiper fluid with one that has antifreeze added to it.

5. Examine the car’s electrical system. Have a professional check the battery and charging system. The cold weather puts unusual demands on these systems.

6. Check your fluids. This would be done at each oil change and is done every season, but especially important in the winter. An older vehicle in an area that has temperatures that fall below freezing often uses 30-weight single viscosity oil. You need to go to a lower viscosity oil, like a 10-weight, when the temperature falls below zero and stays there. If you bring your vehicle to Department we will recommend the proper oil for your older model vehicle for winter. This also applies to your automatic transmission fluid. Higher weight oils and transmission fluids do not lubricate sufficiently in colder weather. (Newer vehicles use multi-viscosity oil such as 10 and 30 weights. This eliminates the need to change oil type.)

7. Check your brakes. Your tires and brakes are your most important safety features.

8. Don’t let your vehicle hit empty before you fill up. It is important in freezing temperatures to have gas in your tank at all times. It is also a good idea in general.

9. Carry emergency supplies. Now is the time to make sure you have an emergency kit in each vehicle. Include a flashlight, blanket, sand or salt and a snow/ice scraper, and drinking water.

10. Check the exhaust system. Fumes from a leaky exhaust system can quickly become fatal. Remember, never warm your vehicle up in the garage unless the door is completely open. If you have a garage, clean it out so you have room for your vehicle. It may eliminate the need to warm it up and helps protect the finish.

At Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, we have certified technicians who know how to prepare your vehicle for winter. We will be sure to take care of all of the above services. We even have a video system to show you what the technician sees while he works on your vehicle for maximum transparency. Our service advisors and technicians will carefully explain their findings to you—services recommended to be completed now and services that are needed but can wait.

For your convenience, you can book on line 24/7 or call us for Toyota Service at 888-355-1041; or for Volvo Servicetoyota-truck-in-snow call 888-234-2851. You can wait in our comfortable waiting rooms while watching TV, using our WI-FI and sipping on a free Starbuck’s coffee; or we will get you where you need to be with our complimentary van service. The entire service experience focuses on you!

Let’s hope for a warm, mild winter! But if it isn’t, we know you’ll be safe in a vehicle properly serviced for the season.

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Gary Jaffarian

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