Thanksgiving 2016

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Quick Tips for Holiday Travels

AAA estimates there will be 48.7 million travelers this Thanksgiving holiday weekend starting today, November 23, 2016 through Sunday, November 27, 2016. For those of you traveling on highways and byways, here are a few helpful safety reminders.

Before you leave:

  • Check your tires are properly inflated and that your tire tread is healthy (no bald spots).
  • Be sure to pack an emergency kit: a flashlight, blankets, jumper cables, a first aid kit, drinking water, non-perishable snacks, and a cell phone.
  • Buckle up. Make sure you and all your passengers are properly secured in an approved and appropriate seat belt and/or child passenger restraint system.

On the road:

  • Obey the posted limit signs. Speed limits are set for your safety. Also, you’ll save a little money with better gas mileage.
  • Avoid unnecessary lane changes. Remember, frequently changing lanes to pass other vehicles increases your risk of having a collision. If you do pass, remember to pass on the left and look for the other vehicle’s headlights in your rearview mirror before you return to your lane. For large trucks you want to see the cab of the truck in your rearview mirror before going back into the lane.
  • No drinking and driving. If you have been drinking alcohol, don’t drive. If you plan on drinking, set up a designated driver before you start.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season!

Parental Influence

2016 Teen Driver Safety Campaign

Speak with your teen about making good driving decisions.

For those of you that have young drivers at home, National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 16 – 22) is a good reminder to sit down with your teen and go over the “5 to Drive” risky driving behaviors to avoid.

  1. NO CELL PHONES: Dialing a phone while driving increases your teen’s risk of crashing by six times, and texting while driving increases the risk by 23 times.
  2. NO EXTRA PASSENGERS: Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teenagers in the car.
  3. NO SPEEDING: In 2014, speeding was a factor for 30% of the teen drivers involved in fatal crashes.
  4. NO ALCOHOL: 20% of 15- to 19-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had been drinking.
  5. ALWAYS BUCKLE-UP: In 2014, 53% of teens 15-19 years old killed in passenger vehicle crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

Source: NHTSA and safercar.gov

Handling Dangerous Situations

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Driving Off of the Pavement

3 Second StopIf you ever find yourself in a situation where your wheels go off the pavement onto a soft shoulder, remain calm and follow these simple steps:

  • Hold the steering wheel firmly
  • Take your foot off the gas pedal
  • Gently apply your brakes
  • Check for traffic coming behind you
  • When the coast is clear, soothingly steer yourself back onto the road

Avoid slamming on the brakes and swerving back to your lane right away. There is a good chance that you will lose control of your car and end up hitting something or someone on the opposite side of the road.

Following Distance

Three-Second Rule

Allowing yourself proper following distance between your car and the car ahead of you can be difficult to visually estimate. A good way to gauge a suitable gap is to use the “Three-Second Rule.” Here’s how it works: when the car or truck in front of you crosses a certain fixed object on the side of the road (like a sign or tree), start counting, “one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three.” You should not cross that same point for three seconds. Under normal conditions it takes about 2-3 seconds to completely stop when traveling at speeds between 35 mph to 65 mph; so with a three-second space cushion, you should have enough time to react and brake when something happens up ahead.

Sometimes you may need to add additional space to the following distance calculation. Here are some scenarios where extra room is required and you should allow for a following distance of four or more seconds:

  • If the road or weather conditions are bad. For example, braking distance doubles on a wet road.
  • If you are being tailgated. If a driver is following too closely you should slow down and increase your following distance so that you will have more time to react if the car in front of you is forced to suddenly stop.
  • If you are towing a trailer or have additional weight in your vehicle. The added weight will increase your vehicle’s stopping distance.
  • If you are following a motorcycle. A motorcycle can stop quicker than a car. Give yourself extra space in front of your vehicle so you have adequate time to stop.
  • If your vision is blocked or visibility is poor. When your view ahead is blocked, for instance when you are behind an 18-wheeler or large van, you will have less of an idea of hazards further down the road. Leave yourself more space to increase your reaction time.

Seat Belts in America

How Do You Rate?

Seat belt use in the United States has been steadily rising since 2000. There has also been a consistent decrease in unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities in the daytime.

The overall National average seat-belt use in 2015 was 88.5%. The Western States have the highest average with 95.0% and the Midwest has a ways to go coming in at 81.7%.

As you can image, States that have Primary Seat Belt laws (an officer can ticket you for the sole reason you are not wearing a seat-belt) have a higher rate of seat belt use as compared to States that have secondary enforcement laws (requires an officer to pull you over for another reason before you can receive a citation for not using your seat belt.)

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report No. DOT HS 812 243

How Not to U-turn or: My $225 Lesson Learned

As a young driver, I was under the false impression that you could “whip a U-turn” whenever or wherever you wanted, as long as it seemed reasonably safe. Wrong. I found out the hard way when making a U-turn on a sharply-curved road. A cop pulled me over 5 seconds later and gave me a $225 education that I will never forget. The lesson learned? LEARN THE RULES OF THE ROAD!

Can't see clearly for 200ft?  Then U-turn elsewhere!

Click the image above to test your knowledge!

Next time you ‘need’ to make a U-turn, remember these helpful hints:

DO make U-turns here:

  • Anywhere on residential streets where you have a clear view for 200ft in both directions
  • On city streets (business districts), always go to an intersection to make your U-turn

DON’T make U-turn here:

  • In the middle of a city street
  • On any street that you can’t see clearly for 200ft in both directions
  • At an intersection with a “No U-turn” sign
  • In front of fire stations

National Work Zone Awareness 2016

April 11-15, 2016: Respect the Orange

The week of April 11-15, 2016, the Federal Highway Administration encourages, “Don’t Be THAT Driver!” This year’s National Work Zone Awareness theme focuses on a current road safety topic: distracted driving. Construction zones are dangerous enough without mixing in the added hazard of driving distractions. With so much confusion going on in a work zone, taking your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and/or mind off of driving, even for a second, can lead to an unfortunate crash. Besides being aware of in-vehicle distractions also avoid the temptation to try and see what the road workers are doing. Remember to slow down to a safe speed, drive more cautiously and focus on the task at hand.

Driving Under the Influence

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Prescription Drugs

3 Second Stop
Long story short, drugs can affect your driving whether they are prescription, over-the-counter or otherwise. Some side effects can affect depth perception, speed perception, coordination, reaction time and vision, all of which are critical to driving. Go over your medications with your doctor and/or pharmacist and be sure to read the warning labels to find out how your medications will affect your driving.

Signals Crossed

Traffic Control Signals

Traffic lights help drivers navigate roadways in an orderly fashion. However, sometimes lights depart from the standard procedure and might leave you wondering what to do.

stop
If you see a Flashing Red signal light, treat it like a STOP sign. Stop completely and proceed when it is safe to do so. Don’t forget to follow the right-of-way rules.

 

 

yield
 

If you see a Flashing Yellow signal light, treat it like a YIELD sign. Slow down and be prepared to stop for cross traffic.

Inclement Weather

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: Fog

3 Second StopIf there is dense fog, it is best not to drive at all, but if you must, please remember:

If you are having a hard time seeing the road and vehicles, other drivers are having a hard time seeing you as well. Turn on your low beam headlights to increase your visibility; your high beams can easily reflect in foggy conditions and impair your visibility further.

Slow down and watch your speedometer; fog can create a visual illusion of slow motion when you may actually be going much faster.

Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.

Also, it is a good idea to drive with the driver-side window rolled down a little. If there is going to be a problem, such as a car crash up the road, you might be able to hear it long before you can see it.

If visibility is so bad that you cannot see the road ahead, pull as far off the road as possible and turn on your emergency flashers.