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After 24 years, Tent City is Officially Closing

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Maricopa County’s newly elected sheriff, Paul Penzone, is making major moves in Arizona. After opening in 1993 by then-sheriff Joe Arpaio, Penzone has decided to officially close the doors on Tent City.

The open-air enclosure was originally used to house overflow from local jails. However, it quickly became a sideshow, with different antics popping up each year. Housing as many as 1,700 inmates at a time on this seven-acre plot of tents, inmates were required to wear stereotypical black-and-white striped prison uniforms and pink underwear, and were served two meatless meals daily.

Beyond the circus antics, those who opposed Tent City believed the prison had inhumane conditions. Located in the Arizona desert, temperatures could reach 110 degrees daily, with temperatures inside of the tent reaching close to 125 degrees. Additionally, many prisoners complained of expired food and water too unclean to drink.

“The image of the tents as a deterrent to recidivism, and as a symbol of being tough on crime may have been true in the past, “ Penzone stated. “Today it is only a myth. Tent City is no longer an effective, efficient facility. It has been effective only as a distraction. The circus is over; the tents are coming down.”

Supporters of Tent City, however, see it a different way. Penzone himself even stated that many prisoners chose to go to Tent City voluntarily because they preferred the outdoors. They also state that very few complained of inhumane conditions listed above.

Regardless of differing opinions, it became clear to the new sheriff that the outdoor prison must close when he realized closing it would save the county about $4.5 million per year. It currently costs the county $8.7 million annually to run the facility regardless of the number of occupants.

According to Penzone’s plan, half of Tent City’s current inmates will be moved elsewhere in the next 45 to 60 days, and he expects to shut down the facility completely in the next six months.

The facility only houses sentenced inmates rather than those who are awaiting trial. An overwhelming majority of those inmates, as well, are DUI offenders.

With Arizona having some of the harshest DUI laws in the nation, many wonder if Tent City was a helpful deterrent for those thinking of drinking and driving, and if there will be any increase in those instances now that the jail will be closed.

Penzone, however, doesn’t think so. He explained, “We’re going to give the criminals what they don’t want, which is detention inside jails in isolated areas, that are more safe for our detention officers. And we’re going to give our taxpayers what they do want, which is an organization that runs efficiently.”

As shifts in power continue on the local and national level, only time will tell as to how these major changes will impact Arizona and its residents.

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LifeStyle

What are Your Irrational Driving Fears?

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When it comes to getting behind the wheel of a car, many drivers are buckling up with an intense amount of anxiety building inside. There’s a name for it, actually. Vehophobia is truly the fear of, or the phobia of, driving.

While this is something that likely plagued all of us as first-time drivers, it is unfortunately something that sticks with some drivers for life, ultimately steering them toward not driving at all.

Just like vehophobia can range from the phobia of driving on highways or specific routes to the fear of driving altogether, there are a variety of other fears many drivers claim to have when they’re in control of a vehicle. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common ones below.

Dystychiphobia: Fear of Accidents

Kicking off the list is one that most drivers can likely relate to. Dystychiphobia is the scientific name for an excessive fear of accidents. While everyone on the road should have a healthy respect for auto accidents, those suffering from this phobia become obsessed with the idea that their actions will cause an accident, thus forcing them to alter life decisions and actions.

Ophidiophobia: Fear of Snakes

If you’re thinking the fear of snakes isn’t related to the driving world, think again. According to a survey completed by Jalopnik, some drivers have such an intense snake phobia, they refuse to drive over a snake in the roadway, dead or alive, for fear of it biting them. While driving over any wildlife isn’t recommended, it’s also not a great idea to swerve out of a lane and potentially cause an accident to avoid a snake. This is what many with a snake phobia are doing.

Semiochophobia: Fear of Semi-Trucks

Another common phobia found among drivers is the fear of 18-wheelers and other semi-trucks on the road. Speeding up to pass them, staying in a slower lane to avoid driving behind them, and holding your breath when around one are all signs you might have this fear, too. Even if you can remain calm, cool, and collected around one semi, doesn’t everyone feel nervous when they’re trapped by semis on all sides?

Vehicle Ekrixiphobia: Fear of Car Explosions

Have you ever been driving somewhere and began to smell something questionable coming out of the air vents? Or maybe you even begin hearing something that you haven’t heard before? If you suffer from ekrixiphobia, then you’ll immediately assume that your car is going to explode. Pulling off to the side of the road and jumping out may be your next step. While the chances of your car blowing up are pretty slim, your better course of action is to look up a GarageFly shop near you on your mobile device and head straight there.

Gephyrophobia: Fear of Bridges

While drivers living in Arizona don’t have to worry about this fear as much, many drivers have a fear of driving over bridges, especially when they’re being used to cross over a body of water. Those struggling with this phobia will search endlessly for a different route to avoid crossing the bridge, or may become frozen behind the wheel when faced with driving over one.

Can you relate to any of the phobia listed above? Or do you have your own irrational driving fear that you could add to the list? Regardless of what you may be stressed about, it’s always best to remain as calm as possible before hitting the open road.

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LifeStyleSafety

The Harsh Reality of Teen Drivers

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When it comes to teen drivers, it’s no secret that they have a bad reputation. All one has to do is type “teen driver” into a Google search and find dozens of articles related to texting while driving, accident statistics among younger drivers, and the list goes on.

Car manufacturers and independent companies alike are creating software to be installed in new vehicle models to help combat the dangers that come with a teen behind the wheel of a car. For example, General Motors recently released their active safety technology called Teen Driver. This software allows parents to view their teen’s driving habits and use the information to continue to coach their new drivers, even when they can’t be in the car.

Producing a report card at the end of each ride, Teen Driver reports the maximum speed reached, stability control events, forward collision alerts, and more. These categories touch on the biggest issue teen drivers face: inexperience.

While distracted driving does play a role in many of the teen-related accidents, inexperience is the underlying cause. According to a study done by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, lack of scanning the roadway, driving too fast for conditions, and distraction by something inside or outside the vehicle were the most common errors leading to a crash involving a teen driver.

With motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, this is something that parents, fellow drivers, and industry leaders alike must be looking into. And while campaigns like “Don’t Text and Drive” and innovative technology such as tXtBlocker have begun to chip away at the problem, in 2014 alone, 2,270 teens in the U.S. ages 16-19 were killed and 221,313 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.

So what can parents do to help change the harsh realities of teen drivers on the road? First, they must take time to actually teach their child to drive. Studies show that the more the parent is involved when a teen is learning, the lower their chances are for a crash. While many states only require 50 hours or drive time before obtaining a license, parents should be striving to log more hours of time spent with them in the passenger seat, and their teen in the driver seat.

Secondly, both parents and non-parents alike can support local legislation to help achieve better road safety for everyone. AAA Arizona is advocating for Senate Bill 1080, which would prohibit teen drivers from the use of all wireless communication devices.

Arizona and Montana are the only two states that do not ban texting while driving for all or most motorists, so drivers can also rally for safer roads by pushing to eliminate texting while driving for all drivers, not just those in the teen age bracket.

Recent studies have found that teens who have been involved in a severe collision—defined as “police-reportable” and causing major damage, airbag deployment, injury or a rollover— experience an immediate change in their driving habits. In some cases, risky driving dropped by 34 percent.

The focus now, however, is to change the mentality of teen drivers before an accident ever occurs, and better teach and prepare them for the responsibility of operating a vehicle. Only then will we see a decrease in vehicle-related deaths for drivers of all ages.

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LifeStyleTrending Automotive News

When It Comes to Ride Sharing Apps, You Have More Options

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When Uber hit the scene in 2009, they had truly created an innovative, one-of-a-kind product. With over 40 million riders in 528 cities around the world using the app monthly, it wouldn’t be long before competitors entered the picture.

Lyft made their grand debut in 2012, and quickly became Uber’s biggest competitor. Valued at $5.5 billion, they not only transport riders from point A to B, but have also joined Uber in services such as delivering food, and ordering puppies to your office to give employees a needed break.

While the two companies easily dominate the game, others have begun to pop up to make a name for themselves. So if you’re someone who doesn’t like the mainstream option, read on to find other ride sharing options in your neighborhood:

1. Flywheel

If you think taxis are dead, think again. Flywheel has created the disruptive technology that allows the taxi industry to compete. By replacing the outdated hardware in a cab, Flywheel allows riders to hail a cab using an app on their iPhone, and track where the cab is.

Flywheel has also replaced the outdated pricing approach most taxis use, and even avoids surge pricing often found with Uber and Lyft. With Flywheel, passengers get the same low rate every hour, every day.

2. Ruby Ride

Founded in Phoenix, AZ by architect Jeff Ericson, Ruby Ride allows you to schedule rides in advance—even recurring trips! Going beyond the typical personal travel plans, Ruby Ride targets individuals who need assistance with medical transportation, such as going to and from doctor’s appointments.

They also focus on business plans, which allow business owners to arrange rides for out-of-town guests, and even reduce crowding in company parking lots by organizing carpools. Ruby Ride solely serves the Phoenix metropolitan area, and meets the requirements of Maricopa County’s Travel Reduction Program, adding a green flare to your transportation needs.

3. Blacklane

Looking for a more luxurious way to get around? Then Blacklane is for you. Unlike other ride sharing companies, all of Blacklane’s employees are professional drivers who are licensed, insured, and regulated by the company. Drivers do not provide their own vehicles, but drive cars provided by local partners.

Offering Business Class, Business Van, and First Class service options, Blacklane includes 60 minutes of free wait time when picking up from the airport, and 15 minutes of free wait time for all other rides, adding another layer of relaxation to your trip.

While Uber and Lyft continue to dominate in the ride sharing space, it’s important for riders to know that other options are available. Find the company that fits best with your transportation needs, and sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

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LifeStyleTrending Automotive News

Car Insurance Premiums on the Rise in 2017

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If you’ve purchased car insurance in the last few years, then you’ve likely noticed increasing rates that don’t match inflation. Unfortunately, this is likely to remain the same in 2017.

As has always been the case, drivers can expect their costs to rise due to how old they are, what kind of car they drive, where they live, and their driving record. However, there are now factors completely out of a driver’s control that will skyrocket premiums, as well.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, the number of fatal traffic accidents rose by nearly 10 percent, the greatest year over year increase in the last 50 years. While that proves to be a devastating statistic, it is also a costly one for car insurance companies.

As medical costs in the U.S. are continuing to rise, car insurance companies find themselves footing much heftier hospital bills than ever before. Additionally, technology found in newer vehicles has proven to be more costly to repair and replace, further hiking the costs paid by the insurance companies.

In fact, the largest U.S. auto insurers have suffered from years of higher-than-expected claims. Industry wide, companies are paying $1.05 in costs for every $1 in premium revenue. Compare that to a decade ago when insurance companies were paying just 95 centers for every dollar in premium revenue.

“Where a normal repair 10 or 15 years ago from an accident cost $1,500, now that same bumper with all the technology is $3,500,” President of Kulchin Ross Insurance Services Derek Ross said.

Ironically, the technology often most expensive to replace is the technology meant to minimize accidents, such as driver-assistance technology and cameras.

Another reason for rising costs has to do with distracted driving, specifically as it relates to drivers and smartphones. According to Allstate’s chief executive officer Tom Wilson, there is a “striking correlation” between the rise in smartphone use and crashes.

The pace of premium increases has hit a 13-year high, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s consumer price index. While insurance companies feel the hikes are necessary, many drivers are seeking out insurance options in other areas, especially when they feel they are being penalized for issues out of their control—which they are.

New research released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found that safe drivers who are in accidents caused by others often see auto insurance rate hikes.

“Penalizing safe drivers hit by another car is not only very unfair; it also discourages them from filing legitimate claims. Lawmakers and regulators need to protect consumers from being punished when they’ve done nothing more than use the policy they have already paid for,” CFA’s Director of Insurance Robert Hunter said.

While CFA is urging lawmakers around the country to prohibit such penalties for innocent drivers, drivers can use third-party sites such as Zebra and CoverHound to compare quotes from different insurance companies.

Drivers may also look into Metromile, a company backed by billionaire Mark Cuban that has raised over $192 million to take on car insurance companies. Metromile allows motorists to pay for coverage based on how much they drive. Typically charging a flat fee of $35 a month and then five cents per mile, Metromile is setting out to be a cheaper option than traditional car insurance companies.

Regardless of the type of driver you are, it’s important to be aware of the rising car insurance premiums and ensure that you are receiving fair pricing to accurately reflect your level of safety on the road.

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LifeStyleTrending Automotive News

New Year, New Car | Updating the Old with the New

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When it comes to cars, there’s nothing like the super old or the super new. Driving away from the dealership in a new car is enough to make anyone excited. On the other hand, finding that perfect vintage vehicle on Craigslist can send adrenalin pumping through your veins.

What about everyone else in the middle, though? What about the cars that aren’t nearly old enough to be considered classic, but haven’t seen the parking lot of a dealership in upwards of a decade.

Worry not. We’ve scoured the Internet and compiled a list of new technology you can add to your old ride to give it an updated look and feel.

  1. Heads-up Displays
    If you’ve been paying any attention to newer Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Land Rover models, to name a few, then heads-up displays (HUDs) should be familiar to you. HUDs show navigation for drivers as a transparent image projected on the windshield. Notifying drivers of an upcoming turn, it can also monitor elements such as speed, mileage, engine warnings, and more. Ranging from $100 to $300, HUDs are a surefire way to make your vehicle feel new.
  2. Parking sensors
    Is there anything more frustrating than dinging the car next to you when you’re pulling in to a parking spot? You’re sure you know your car and its turn radius well, and then Nearly every new vehicle model comes with, or has the upgrade option of parking assist. For those with older models, however, you’re now in luck. Parking sensor kits can be purchased online for as low as $20. Equipped with four weatherproof sensors and a colored LED digital display, these sensors can be easily installed at home.
  3. Remote Start Systems
    For individuals living in hot, desert climates, remote start systems can be a lifesaver. Gone are the days of running out to your car to start the engine ten minutes before leaving the house to get the AC pumping. With remote start systems, individuals can now download a smartphone app that allows them to start and control their vehicle right from their phone. Leading the charge on this is SmartStart by Viper, an all-encompassing tool that includes a parking meter reminder, a vehicle locator, and a programmed schedule minder that starts the car based on commuting habits.

    This app is also great for any parent looking to keep tabs on their teen. SmartStart allows you to track your vehicle’s location and speed via GPS tracking, alerts you if your car has left a certain “safe zone,” and can even put a “lockdown” on the car when your child is grounded.

  4. Rear view camera
    Backup cameras are all the rage right now. While car manufacturers insist that drivers don’t rely solely on the technology, many drivers find that the camera allows them a smooth backup without ever turning around. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require rearview cameras in all new vehicles after May 1, 2018. For those with older vehicles, however, you can get all the same benefits. A quality backup camera can be purchased online for less than $150 and be easily installed, with the live stream appearing directly on your rearview mirror.

  5. Smart Driving Assist
    Thanks to Automatic, drivers will now have access to vehicle information on their smartphone. With the use of their device, which runs for $100, drivers can monitor the car’s fuel efficiency, engine diagnostics, and provide advice on how to improve in those areas. Automatic is also equipped with a scanner capable of translating engine codes into something that is understandable to the average driver, and clearing codes once the problem is resolved.

While these driving gadgets may not be the same as the keys to a new vehicle, they will surely hold you over until you have enough in your bank account for the next make and model!

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LifeStyle

New Year Resolutions 2017: Driving Edition

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It wouldn’t be the start of a new year without making resolutions. Even if we know deep down in our heart that we have no intention of keeping said resolutions, we still make them. Consider them a rite of passage at this point.

From cussing less to going to the gym more, we’re normally pretty good until late January, and then the wheels come off. Unless, that is, you’re one of those annoying individuals who actually manages to keep their resolutions. In which case, this article isn’t for you, and we all resent you.

So keeping in the spirit of the new year, the GarageFly team has come up with resolutions for driving and our vehicles that we sure hope we abide by, but aren’t going to beat ourselves up over come February:

  1. We will no longer be backseat drivers.
    I know, I know, we’re starting off with a biggie. How is it that even though we all complain when someone else is being a backseat driver, we ourselves are backseat drivers? There is no use in denying it; we all do it. And in some ways, it makes sense. When someone isn’t driving the way you think everyone should drive, you have to speak up…right? Not in 2017. No, in 2017 we are going to sit in the backseat (or front seat, for that matter) and keep our mouths shut. Unless an accident is imminent. Then definitely speak up.
  1. We will no longer see how long we can drive on empty.
    The gaslight turns on. You are dangerously close to empty. What does the 2016 version of you do? Wait until you actually hit E and then estimate how far you can go on fumes. But that’s the old you. The new version of you sees the gaslight turn on, and immediately finds a gas station on your route. Sure, it might be freezing out and close to midnight, but you’re committed to your 2017 driving resolutions.
  2. We will actually start using our turn signals.
    This resolution is hard to make because it means we have to admit to doing it, or not doing it in this case. It’s not like the 2016 version of us never used our turn signals. There’s just room for improvement. So in 2017, we’re going to be perfect. We’re going to use our turn signal when changing lanes, when we’re in turn lanes, heck, we’ll even use it when pulling into a parking space. This is the year of the turn signal.
  3. We’ll get our car washed more than twice a year.
    We can’t be the only ones who only got our car washed when a weird funk took over the interior, or when we had guests coming in from out of town to visit. It’s not like we don’t love a clean car. Honestly, is there anything better? It’s just one of those things that the 2016 version of ourselves felt like we could put off until six months had passed. The 2017 version of us will only wait three months, though. We won’t go too crazy, but once a quarter wouldn’t kill us, right?
  4. We will merge when it says to merge, not wait until we’re forced to.
    It’s a sick game we play. We wait to see just how many cars we can pass before we’re forced into a merging situation. Even though we know this is one of the leading causes of traffic (the inability to merge when told, that is), we still wait and see just how long we can make it in the current lane we’re in. In 2017, we’re going to be proactive. No more cruising by until the last minute. Nope, not us. When we see that yellow sign to start merging, we are turning our blinker on (you didn’t forget about resolution #3, did you?) and heading into the appropriate lane.

So, who’s with us? We may not be able to keep all of these resolutions, or even any of them past February 1st, but it’s worth a shot.

From GarageFly to you, Happy New Year! Let’s make it a great one.

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Auto BodyLifeStyle

The Future of Online Review Platforms

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Do the names John and Jen Palmer sound familiar? If they don’t already, you’re about to take notice. This Utah-based couple is the reason President Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 into law earlier this month.

The story begins in 2008. John purchased an item for his wife, Jen, from an online company called KlearGear. After the product never arrived, and after numerous failed attempts to work it out with their customer service department, the Palmer’s posted a negative review online about the company.

Fast-forward four years, and the Palmers were being harassed by KlearGear to remove the review, saying it went against the ‘non-disparagement’ clause in their terms of service. If they didn’t comply, they’d be hit with a $3,500 fine.

The couple refused, and a few months later noticed that the fine had been passed on to a collection agency, and their credit had taken a major hit. With the help of Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group, the Palmers won a default judgment in federal court and had their credit restored.

This KlearGear case attracted significant media coverage, and led to legislators around the country to take action. California led the charge by outlawing non-disparaging clauses back in 2014.

President Obama signed the Consumer Review Fairness Act into law on December 14th, and it states that a contract is void if it “prohibits or restricts an individual who is a party to such a contract from engaging in written, oral, or pictorial reviews, or other similar performance assessments of analyses of, including by electronic means, the goods, services, or conduct of a person that is also a party to the contract.”

While this law sets out to protect the consumer, other online-based companies are doing their part to ensure the brands are protected, as well. For example, online marketplace Amazon has placed a limit on the number of reviews shopper can leave on the site.

In an effort to put an end to false feedback, individuals can now only write five reviews a week for items they did not purchase on Amazon. The new rule is meant to make it very difficult for people who are trying to make money by selling fake reviews.

When it comes to fake reviews, both brands and consumers are to blame. Kellogg’s was the latest brand to be ousted for using individuals to promote their brands on social media and review sites. Referred to as the “Breakfast Council,” the group included nutritionists and other experts who received an average of $13,000 a year to “review Kellogg’s products, post favorable reviews on social media, and use ‘talking points’ provided by the company in their reviews.”

So where does this leave brands and consumers? With 84 percent of online customers trusting online reviews, it’s imperative that brands pay attention to their online reputation. It’s also crucial that reviews be verified, as they are on GarageFly.com, to ensure that the individuals leaving the review have actually received the service or product.

The new law, as well as changes made by large online companies, is just the latest in the story of online reviews. What we do know is that they are here to stay, and new regulations must be made to ensure both brands and consumers are protected and receiving accurate information.

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LifeStyleUncategorized

Experience the Holidays in Your Neighborhood

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For many, this truly is the most wonderful time of the year. With the weather finally cooling off in Arizona, we’re able to unpack our sweaters, turn on the fireplace, and make a cup of hot cocoa.

While the spirit of the holidays is most certainly alive in your household, communities in Arizona are joining in on the fun! Check out events happening in your neighborhood to maximize the festivities for your family this season:

  1. Christmas at the Princess (Scottsdale): At this point, most of us have gone to ZooLights either at the Phoenix Zoo or Reid Park Zoo in Tucson. But did you know that the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort has one of the best light displays in Arizona? With 2.8 million LED lights, a skating rink, and magical snowfalls, you won’t want to miss this one!

  1. Fourth Avenue Winter Street Fair (Tucson): This Winter Street Fair is home to more than 400 arts and crafts booths, food and drink vendors, musicians, and so much more! With over 60,000 fair goers each year, this is a great community event!
  2. Luminaria Nights (Phoenix and Tucson): The Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix and the Tucson Botanical Gardens both host Luminaria Nights during the month of December. With live music and over 7,000 luminaries, this event is especially great for those who love the gorgeous landscape of Arizona.
  1. Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul (Tucson): On Friday and Saturday nights at Tohono Chul Park, individuals can enjoy live music, tasty hot chocolate and baked goods, and over one million lights. You can also peruse the Museum gift shop to find the perfect holiday gifts for your loved ones.
  2. CitySkate Ice Rink (Downtown Phoenix): Love to ice skate but can’t find a place outdoors to do it? Look no further! Downtown Phoenix is home to the CitySkate Ice Rink. Smack dab in the middle of downtown, you’ll be surrounded by great restaurants, lights, and music.
  3. The Polar Express (Grand Canyon): Board a magical train and sip hot chocolate, munch on chocolate chip cookies, and listen to the story of the Polar Express as you head to meet Santa and his reindeer. Perfect for children, and children at heart, this is a great way to build excitement for Christmas morning.

  4. Hometown Christmas Parade (Glendale): On Saturday, December 10th, block out your calendar for the Glendale Hometown Christmas Parade. With American Idol winner and Arizona native Jordin Sparks serving as the Grand Marshall, you’ll be wowed by the colorful floats and live music!
  5. The Nutcracker (Phoenix and Tucson): Are you a fan of the ballet? Or simply consumed with the magic of the holidays present in the Nutcracker? Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince as they embark on a thrilling adventure of dancing toys, mischievous mice, and sparkling snowflakes.
  6. Fantasy of Lights Boat Parade (Tempe): Do you love food trucks, face painting, and selfies with Santa? Then this parade is for you! See 50 festively-lighted boats of all sizes, and a firework finale when you attend this free event in Tempe!
  7. Glendale Glitters (Glendale): Illuminating 16 blocks of Historic Downtown Glendale, 1.5 million LEDs can be enjoyed for free by any and all. Making it the largest free holiday display in Arizona, Glendale Glitters has everything from holiday gifts to a petting zoo! Great for all ages.

These are just a few events happening in Arizona this year! What are some of your family favorites? Be sure to comment below and add yours!

From the GarageFly team to you, happy holidays!

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LifeStyleSafetyUncategorized

Driving Sober: The Best Way to Spread Holiday Cheer

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The holiday season, specifically between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, is all about spreading holiday cheer. As the turkey is cooking, and close loved ones begin to arrive, the bottles of wine are opened, and the festive cocktails are served.

Every holiday season, organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) stress the importance of driving sober. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that nearly 1,000 people will be injured or killed due to drunk driving between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, a rate two to three times higher than the rest of the year.

With Arizona’s ‘zero tolerance’ DUI laws, and the possibility of killing yourself or others on the road, follow these tips to stay safe this holiday season.

1. Be extra cautious the night before Thanksgiving.

Blackout Wednesday, which occurs the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, is one of the biggest drinking days of the years. With businesses closed the next day, and college kids home for break, the bars are packed. In fact, accidents from Blackout Wednesday to Black Friday account for more than 400 traffic deaths each year.

With the high volume of traffic on the road, it’s important to have a ride set up to come get you when the night ends before you have your first sip of alcohol. Whether you call a cab or appoint a designated driver in the group, this crucial step will certainly save lives.

2. Download the Uber and Lyft mobile apps.

With companies such as Uber and Lyft, there is no excuse for drunk driving. While there may be ‘surge pricing’ during the holiday season, the cost of taking an Uber or Lyft ride is significantly cheaper than a traditional cab, and definitely cheaper than a DUI ticket. Both user-friendly apps allow you to plug in your credit card information, and request a ride from your current location. You’ll know the price of your ride before you even get in the car.

3. Stay aware.

Even if you’re sober on the road, you can’t guarantee everyone else is. Take extra precautions at stop lights, waiting a few seconds after the light turns green to enter the intersection. If you notice someone driving erratically, call 911 to report the driver. Finally, make sure you’re aware of the individuals you’re at your holiday gathering with. If you notice your cousin or aunt grabbing his/her keys after a few drinks, make sure you step in for everyone’s safety.

The holidays should be a time of community, celebration, and laughter. Don’t let an unavoidable accident ruin a treasured time. Stay safe and look out for those around you to make your holiday season as merry and bright as possible!

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