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.

Save Gas… Check Your Tires

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

Today’s Three Seconds: Proper Tire Inflation

3 Second StopKeeping your tires properly inflated will save you money. The average vehicle will get three to four miles more per gallon when the tires are properly inflated. By checking the pressure of your tires regularly, about once a week, you’ll not only reduce the chances of a blowout, you’ll also save money at the gas pump. Proper tire maintenance is one easy way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut your vehicle’s fuel consumption, and lower the risk of an accident, all at the same time. It’s simple, economical, environmentally friendly and smart.

Danger Zone

Road Work and You

Today marks the close of 2015 National Work Zone Awareness Week which advised drivers to “Expect the Unexpected”. Road worker safety is always good to have in the forefront of your mind, especially in the coming summer months as road construction will undoubtedly increase. The main thing to remember when you see orange (signs, cones, and vests) along the road is slow down and drive more cautiously. Keep your focus on navigating through the changing lanes, speeds and road conditions. The smallest distraction could be disastrous. Obey the posted construction signs and workers giving you instructions. And if safety for all is not a good enough motivator, remember almost all states have larger fines for speeding and other traffic infractions in a construction zone.

Railway Safety

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Crossing railways can be dangerous.  You should only cross railway tracks at designated crossings. Listen and look both directions for trains that may be approaching, and follow these other safety tips:

  • Never stop on the tracks. Make sure your entire car is able to cross with enough space to successfully clear the tracks before starting to go.
  • Be aware of other vehicles that must stop at railroad tracks.
  • Walking on railroad tracks is really dangerous, so just don’t do it.
  • Never race a train to a crossing. Drive with caution around railroad tracks and be prepared to stop.
  • Stop if you see or hear a train approaching. You can easily misjudge a train’s speed and distance because large objects appear to be moving slower than they actually are.
  • When red lights are flashing at railroad crossings, stop at least 15 feet from the closest track. Do not proceed over a crossing until the red lights stop flashing, even if the gate rises. And never drive around a crossing gate.

Intersection Etiquette

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

Today’s Three Seconds: Gridlock

3 Second StopDriving in the city has many hazards including traffic. Heavy traffic can lead to gridlocked intersections. As frustrating and tedious as it is to have a green light and no room to move, remember that legally you cannot enter an intersection if you are not able to completely cross before the light turns red. In other words, being stopped in an intersection is a big no-no. The best thing to do in this situation is stay calm and wait your turn safely behind the crosswalk.

Where the Rubber Hits the Road

New Year, New You

It’s a brand new year and that means New Year’s Resolutions. Here are five driving decisions you can take to heart in the year ahead.

  1. Pay Attention: Texting and driving is getting a lot of attention, which is good because it is bad. But it is also good to note that anything that takes your attention away from driving is dangerous, whether it is talking to a passenger to grabbing a snack.
  2. Take Your Time: We all have places to be and a time to be there. However, the important part is to actually get where you are going. Give yourself plenty of time.  Speeding is not an answer. And, if you are running late, be late.
  3. Strap In: Seat belts save lives and take very little effort or time to fasten. Buckle up every time you are in a vehicle. Your life could depend on it.
  4. Heed the Signs: Traffic signs and signals are on the road for a reason. They tell us when, where and how fast to go. They also more importantly tell us when we need to stop. So be attentive and obey the signs.
  5. Be Courteous: Remember we all need to share the road. Showing courtesy and respect to everyone on the road helps ensure that we can all arrive at our destinations safely. Use your turn signals, don’t tailgate, and don’t weave in and out of traffic.

Have a happy and safe 2015!

Driving with Diligence

Collision Prevention

hands on steering wheelsRoad safety starts with you, the driver. Here are a few defensive driving pointers to help you stay safe and sound while on the go.

Scan the road ahead looking for possible hazards so you have time to react to them. Also, regularly check your mirrors so you know at all times what potential obstacles surround your vehicle.  If your view is blocked by a hill or a curve proceed with caution.

Keep a space cushion of 3-seconds between you and the vehicle you are following. Sometimes you may need to add additional space, such as when following large trucks or motorcycles, and when the weather and/or road conditions are less than ideal. Also, keep a space cushion to the side and rear of your vehicle so that you have room to maneuver should an obstacle present itself.

Follow the basic speed law; don’t drive faster than the conditions of the road and weather allow. This may mean you need to drive slower than the posted speed limit. You must decide what the safest speed is under the current conditions.

Being a responsible driver includes being fully aware of all traffic laws, right-of-way rules, and street signs.  Many drivers make poor driving decisions because they don’t know the law.

Avoid distractions. A distraction can be anything that takes your mind off of the task of driving, whether it’s a cell phone, the radio, passengers, even food. Driving has to be the number one priority every time you are behind the wheel.

Last, but not least, don’t drive under the influence, whether it is alcohol or prescription drugs from your doctor. Even a small amount of drugs or alcohol can affect depth perception, speed perception, coordination, reaction time and vision, all of which are essential to driving.