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road safety

  • Tips for Surviving the Summer Road Trip

    Road-TripYou can probably hear it already: kids yelling and crying, fighting over what to listen to, what to watch and which toy or food is "MINE!" Sometimes a picnic is no picnic, and when you are taking a road trip on summer vacation, squabbling, screaming kids can get your vacation off to a really bad start.

    But can you imagine a ride where everyone is laughing, talking or quietly enjoying the drive? It can happen! Just follow these tips for surviving the summer road trip.

    #1: Pack Plenty of Goodies

    First and foremost, pack plenty of goodies. Stopping to eat can hurt your drive time and your budget. Pack nonsugary snacks like apples, oranges and grapes, but also individual snack packs, like one with a sandwich, chips and cookies. That way there's no fighting over food; everyone has their own pack.

    #2: Pop in a Movie

    How long will your drive take? Two hours? Ten hours? Thank heavens for modern technology! Even if you don't have a drop-down screen in your car, just bring your tablet or iPhone and log in to your Hulu or Netflix account to quiet down the kids. Try to pick a movie or show they want to see but haven't yet seen so they pay attention.

    #3: Bring Headphones

    This tip goes hand in hand with tip #2. Little earbuds or cheap noise-cancelling headphones are a lifesaver on a long road trip. Buy a pair for everyone — except the driver, of course — so that everyone can enjoy their own form of entertainment. Those wanting to watch a movie can plug in their earbuds; those wanting to listen to music on their phone can do that too.

    #4: Come Up With Road Games

    For really long road trips, once you've eaten all the snacks and watched movies and listened to music until you can't any longer, it's time for road games. Pick a few good ones like picking out different state license plates, singing show tunes, playing trivia games or taking the scenic route.

    #5: Make Time for Potty Breaks

    One way to keep the kids from getting too antsy is to make time for potty breaks. You don't have to stop every 30 minutes, but plan to take at least two or three potty breaks at spaced intervals to give everyone a chance to get out of the car and stretch their legs.

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    On-the-Road Safety Tips Checklist

    Finally, before you take off, remember your safety checklist. This will help you avoid a total disaster when trouble arises. Mark these off first:

    • Pack an emergency roadside kit.
    • Make sure your AAA is up to date.
    • Check your spare tire.
    • Don't forget to bring your phone charger.
    • Always carry extra cash.
  • Drive As If Your Life Depends On It. It Does!

    DRive-SafeBe a defensive driver. Protect yourself and others.

    ?   Yield to drivers who are determined to get there first.
    ?   Keep checking your rearview and side mirrors for oncoming traffic.
    ?   Remember, your mirrors have “blind spots.”

    Always turn your head and look for other vehicles before changing lanes.

    ?   Always expect the other driver to do the unexpected—speed up, slow down, pass, cut across lanes.
    ?   Watch for sudden movements—like pedestrians, bicyclists, or animals darting into the road ahead of you.
    ?   Carry emergency equipment—a jack, flares, flashlight, first-aid kit.
    ?   Keep your mind on your driving, eyes on the road and other drivers, and both hands on the wheel.
    ?   Constantly look well ahead for changes in traffic or road conditions. If you see a lot of brake lights, slow down and be prepared to stop.

    Check Your Common ‘Safety’ Sense Auto-Emergency

    Don't speed.
    Follow traffic rules, signs, and signals.
    Don't drive under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or fatigue.
    Stay at least two seconds behind the other driver, more in bad conditions.
    Keep your eyes and attention on the road and other drivers.
    Adjust your speed and driving to changing weather and traffic conditions.
    Expect the unexpected.
    Buckle up for safety.

    Be prepared! And have a safe trip!

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  • Apps to help improve Teen Driver Safety

    Apps... while Distracted Driving is a curse to drivers of all ages, and nobody should have their phones in hand while driving, nevertheless these Apps could make Teen Driving Safer and better.

    When your teenager takes to the road alone, you want to know that they're being as safe as possible. Unfortunately, cautions NY traffic lawyer Zev Goldstein, you can set all the rules in place that you want while your teenager is with you, but that won't necessarily do anything to protect them once they're actually out on the road. To help reduce your stress, not to mention the odds that they'll lean down to check one text and end up in an accident, try these helpful apps that will prevent your teenager from using their phone on the road.

    Mobility, internet and communication concept Mobility, internet and communication concept

    Steer Clear

    State Farm offers a fantastic app that will track driving habits. This offers several advantages for parents. First, if you're using State Farm insurance, offers a discount in many states. Second, Steer Clear makes it possible to monitor the driving behaviors of your teenager, which means that if they're making foolish choices behind the wheel, you'll know about it. The app looks over your teen's shoulder when you can't be there.


    Let's face it: your teenager is physically incapable of leaving their phone in their pocket when a text alert sounds. No matter where they are or what they're doing, they can't resist the urge to look down and see what their friends have to say--and that's a mistake that can be fatal on the road. With AT&T's DriveMode, however, your teenager won't even know when a text or call comes in. If the car is traveling faster than twenty-five miles per hour, DriveMode will automatically silence text alerts and send calls to voice mail. It can also be set to auto-reply to let the sender know that the person is driving and will get back to them as soon as possible. DriveMode has an added feature that you'll really love: if DriveMode is turned off, it can be programmed to send an alert to your phone.

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    Safe Driver

    Worried that your teenager might engage in unsafe driving behaviors? Concerned that you might not be able to find them? Safe Driver uses the GPS on the phone to look up speed limits and other information about the area where your teenager is driving. If they exceed the speed limit or engage in other unsafe driving behaviors, you get a text letting you know about it.


    Some parents prefer that their teenager be able to answer the phone when they call, even if they're behind the wheel. After all, you don't want to worry unnecessarily. However, you don't want your teenager to take their hands off the wheel, either. enables hands-free, voice-activated reading of incoming texts and will send an automatic response for your teen.

    These apps can't make your teenager into a perfect driver, but they can help increase the odds of safe behavior when your teen is behind the wheel. The peace of mind you'll gain from knowing that they're driving safely makes it well worth it!

  • Teen Driver Safety

    Teen DriverYour teenager has just earned his or her driver’s permit and is now chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel. While you are proud of your kid and know that it’s time to start driving lessons, your heart wishes you could turn back time to the days when the only cars your child drove were found in the toy box.

    Your concern is valid. Driving is probably the most dangerous task you do during the course of the day, so you are a bit worried about your kiddo taking the wheel. To help set your mind at ease and ensure that your teen is a safe driver, check out the following tips and techniques:

    Practice, Practice, Practice

    The best way to get your teen on the road to good driving skills is to grit your teeth and schedule tons of practice sessions. Start out in a large and empty parking lot to let your teen get used to the basics of steering, braking and applying the right amount of gas.

    After your teen is more comfortable behind the wheel, head out to neighborhoods and increasingly busy boulevards. To give your teen even more experience, sign him or her up for lessons with a driving school — preferably one that offers practice in challenging conditions. For example, the Institute for Driver Safety includes plenty of practice driving on the freeway, at night and around the airport.

    Teach About the Other Driver

    Make sure your teen understands that in addition to focusing on what he or she is doing behind the wheel, he or she must be alert to what others are doing on the road. Explain the importance of anticipating that others on the road are bad drivers and watching for cars that might pull out in front of him or her or swerve into his or her lane.

    Shop Together for an Emergency Car Kit

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    Part of preparing your teen to be a safe driver is to make sure the vehicle has an emergency kit and to spend some time going over what to do in case of a breakdown. While you don’t want your teen to use a cellphone while driving, stress the importance of having a charged phone in the vehicle. Invest in a car charger, and keep it in the glove box at all times.

    Your car also should be equipped with an emergency kit that will help your teen if he or she should be stranded in inclement weather. Go shopping together for a shovel, a box of cat litter for added traction in the snow, a windshield scraper and extra blankets. Also, be sure your teen knows where car maintenance tools are located in the vehicle, such as the jumper cables, the spare tire and a jack and wrench.

    Make Driving and Texting a No-no

    Talking on a cellphone or texting while driving is a recipe for disaster. Tell your teen that to get to use your car, he or she has to keep the cellphone out of reach while driving. If your state has a law against drivers being on the phone, make sure your teen understands it and explain that there will be severe consequences if he or she is caught on the phone. To help get your point across, be a good role model and keep your own hands on the wheel and off the smartphone while driving.

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  • Winter Roads Mean Dangers Everywhere

    Winter is upon us, and with it come road safety concerns. Even is sunny climes like Southern California, there is great concern of ice and winter road conditions.

    Also read... On the Road in Winter

    Don't think just because you spent a lot of money on a cool SUV that you are prepared for Winter Roads... SUVs roll.

    icy-roadRollover accidents of all kinds, particularly single-vehicle rollovers for all vehicles, not just SUVs, cause more fatalities than any other kind of motor-vehicle accident -- one-quarter of all deaths yearly. SUVs, beginning with Ford’s Bronco II first produced in 1983, have a long, documented history of topping the list of most dangerous vehicles on the road when it comes to rollovers. One does not have to search far for statistics to substantiate that SUV crashes, single-vehicle rollovers, have accounted for more motorist’s deaths and injuries in the last thirty years than any other single vehicle on the road.

    The apparent protection advantage SUVs offer their own occupants in multi-vehicle crashes, such as front- and side-impact collisions is negated by the fact that SUVs are more likely to injure or kill the occupants of other vehicles in a crash. The increasing size of SUVs, and thus their increasing incompatibility with smaller passenger cars, is a growing problem and is likely to result in increasing fatalities. In rollover accidents where the driver loses control because the SUV becomes too unwieldy to maneuver, occupants of the SUVs have a high fatality rate.

    What Causes Rollovers

    Many SUVs such as the early Ford Explorer and the Chevy Trailblazer were simply passenger cars set on the steel mini-truck frames. In the case of the popular Explorer, Ford used the existing undercarriage of the Ranger pickup. This saved them millions of dollars in developing a new and wider frame. Simply lowering a longer and taller passenger compartment on an existing frame, they were able to use the same factory and tools used to build the Ranger. What they didn’t count on was the fact that the new passenger body was taller, longer, and heavier than the standard pickup body. These quickly became family wagons, packing off luggage and kids and toys on vacations and travel. When fully loaded, an SUV center of gravity rises, so at highway speeds when an abrupt stop or panic stop is required, the rear end tends to fishtail and swerve, giving the driver a sense of loss of control. A less experienced driver, who panics by mashing the brakes, ends up in an uncontrolled spin, resulting in a rollover. Early models of Broncos and Explorers and other SUVs were not equipped with anti-locked brakes. This made emergency stops dangerous and wild. Late model SUVs have safety braking systems as standard equipment, and are less prone to fishtailing in a panic stop. However, there are still millions of older model SUVs on the road.

    Startling SUV Facts

    • There were 70,000 SUV rollovers in 2002, in which 2000 people died.
    • In the 10-year period during which Ford-Firestone related rollovers caused some 300 deaths, more than 12,000 people -- 40 times as many -- died in SUV rollover crashes unrelated to tire failure.
    • A Ford Explorer is 16 times as likely as the typical family car to kill occupants of another vehicle in a crash.
    • 1 out of 4 new vehicles sold in the U.S. is an SUV, making it the most popular type of vehicle in America. The Ford Explorer is the most popular SUV in the world.
    • The 2002 four-door Explorer model is lower and its wheelbase has been widened by two inches. Former Ford CEO Jacques Nasser stated that the changes were not made for safety reasons.

    Rollover Frequency

    • In 1999, 63 percent of all SUV deaths were in rollovers
    • In 2000, SUVs had the highest rollover involvement rate of any vehicle type in fatal crashes -- 36 percent, as compared with 24 percent for pickups, 19 percent for vans and 15 percent for traffic cars.
    • SUVs had the highest rollover rate for passenger vehicles in injury crashes -- 12 percent, as compared to 7 percent for pickups, 4 percent for vans and 3 percent for passenger cars.

    SUV Safety Guidelines

    NHTSA has issued a list of safety guidelines it says a driver can do to reduce the risk of rollover:

    • Auto and Vehicle Roadside Survival Kits – Bug Outs, Auto Emergency Tools & AAA Emergency Survival Kits Auto and Vehicle Roadside Survival Kits – Bug Outs, Auto Emergency Tools & AAA Emergency Survival Kits

      Avoid conditions that could lead to loss of vehicle control. These conditions include driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; driving when excessively drowsy; and speeding.

    • Be careful on rural roads.
    • Avoid extreme panic-like steering. NHTSA advises, "If your vehicle should go off the roadway, gradually reduce the vehicle speed and then ease the vehicle back on to the roadway when it is safe to do so."
    • Maintain tires properly and replace them when necessary.
    • Load vehicles properly. When loaded down with additional weight -- such as passengers, luggage, and equipment -- SUVs become less stable. Compared to most sedans and station wagons, SUVs have a higher center of gravity. Therefore the extra weight, which typically rides above an SUV's center of gravity, makes the vehicle tip more easily.

    Although in recent years many manufacturers have improved vehicle technology to compensate for these types of accidents it is always good to be aware of rollover possibilities.

    See what you can do to prepare:

    Auto Survival & Roadside

    See all Winter Safety

    Contributed by Brian Debelle, who writes for the Orange County car accident lawyers at JAG Legal.

  • Don’t forget to prepare your car

    Winter SafetyWinter Roads mean danger anywhere in the country - snow, ice, rains, floods, even mudslides can strand you out in the elements.

    Get your car ready for cold weather use before winter arrives.

    • Service the radiator and maintain antifreeze level; check tire tread or, if necessary, replace tires with all-weather or snow tires.
      • Keep gas tank full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
      • Use a wintertime formula in your windshield washer.
      • Ten Below – Deluxe Winter Road Warrior kit for safe in the storm

        Prepare a winter emergency kit to keep in your car in case you become stranded. Include:

        • blankets;
        • food and water;
        • booster cables, flares, tire pump, and a bag of sand or cat litter (for traction);
        • compass and maps;
        • flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries;
        • first-aid kit; and
        • plastic bags (for sanitation).

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