Road safety is our thing! With winter driving upon us, it is important to be prepared in case of an emergency. That is right – it is time to stop procrastinating and finally put together that Winter Auto Emergency Kit. Here are some suggested items to include:
- Coat, gloves and boots
- Waterproof tarp
- Extra clothing (socks, sweatshirt, shoes)
- Small shovel
- Booster/Jumper cables
- Non-perishable food items (granola bars, trail mix, almonds)
- Water bottles
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Waterproof matches and candles
- Duct tape
- Fire extinguisher
- Snow Chains
- Ice scraper
Other key tips for safe winter driving:
- Check your tire treads and change to winter tires in snow prone regions
- Slow down – the posted speed limit is a suggested speed for good road conditions, when weather is a factor always slow down
- Allow for more space between cars – on slick roads, stopping speeds are far longer
- Check the road report before you go – call 511 for real-time road conditions/traffic situations
Be safe out there!
Summer is off to a HOT start. The body sweats to cool itself down. During hot weather, especially with high humidity, sweating just isn’t enough and temperatures can rise quickly to dangerous levels. Our Adopt-A-Highway workers spend many hours in the sun picking up litter and making sure the highways are clean. So we thought we would share some of our Beat the Heat tips:
- Drink plenty of water, before and after you are in the sun
- Drink water every 15 minutes even if you are not thirsty
- Stay away from alcohol, caffeinated and sugary drinks which contribute to dehydration
- Wear loose fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing
- Wear a hat
- Apply sunscreen
- Rest frequently in the shade to cool down
- Know the symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke (see graphic)
If you suspect somebody is suffering from heat-related illness, get them into a cool spot and contact medical personnel.
We welcome Spring with open arms!
Spring brings relief from the winter weather, but also brings potholes, puddles, slippery roads. As the seasons change, so do road conditions. Stay safe on the road this spring with the following driving tips:
- Spring showers bring blooming flowers and wet roads. Slow down and increase your following distance when it rains. Keep in mind that even mist or light rain can mix with oil on the roads to create slick challenging road conditions.
- Check your windshield wipers, both front and back. Don’t drive faster than your wipers can clear water from the windshield.
- Puddles can impair brakes, obscure vision, or cause you to hydroplane. If you find your vehicle hydroplaning, gently ease your foot off the accelerator-do not brake.
- Warm weather brings motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians outside. Pedestrians may be texting, talking on phones, and listening to music, they can be as distracted as drivers. Be cautious at all times.
- If possible, go around potholes. Potholes-an effect of winter weather-can hurt your tires or throw your car’s front end out of alignment. If you cannot avoid a pothole, slow down, as the damage can be costly.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can reduce damage from potholes, uneven pavement, and other road hazards.
- Spring weather can be temperamental, so be prepared for changes.
Now, go and ENJOY the great outdoors!
April is Distracted Driving Month
Thousands have died in car crashes involving cell phone use. The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to draw attention to this epidemic.
A seven-year study conducted by the AAA Foundation revealed distracted driving among teens can be both dangerous and deadly. And when it comes to adults behind the wheel, accidents caused by distracted driving is a growing trend because teens aren’t the only ones to blame for using their cell phones while driving.
6 out of 10 accidents involve some kind of distraction” reports AAA Foundation.
Keep in mind that distracted driving is not limited to talking and texting on cell phones, though that is the largest culprit. Anything that distracts a driver from the road – eating, grooming, talking to passengers, navigation systems, changing the radio station – can be considered dangerous and distracting. Driving is a skill; it takes a person’s visual, manual and cognitive attention. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes, hands or mind away from the task of driving can slow reaction time, cause drivers to fail to identify hazards in the roadway or cause a driver to miss a stop sign or signal.
We all agree that distracted driving is dangerous, it is a no brainer. However, there is a very real disconnect between this knowledge and driver’s actual behavior. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2014 Traffic Safety Culture Index found more than 25% of drivers admitted to typing or sending a text or email, even though almost 80% agreed that doing so is a very serious threat to safety, and 84% affirmed it is completely unacceptable under any circumstances.
Some tips to break this hazardous habit and potentially save lives:
- Use an app that let’s people know you are behind the wheel
- Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting the car
- Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver starts to text – offer to make the call or send a text for them
- Pull off the road and park the car if you MUST make a call or text
- Talk to your kids about distracted driving, show them video and create consequences if they text and drive
- Take NSC’s new demo Distracted Driving Online Course to learn more.
Please keep your attention on the road & help put an end to distracted driving today!
Once spring is in the air, we usually see potholes on the roads. Potholes develop when water seeps below the road surface, freezes and expands. This pushes the pavement upward while the traffic above further stresses the roadway. When the pavement thaws, it gradually falls into the hole and eventually traffic chips away and expands the pothole.
Potholes can grow to several feet in width, though they usually only develop to depths of a few inches. If they become large enough, damage to tires, wheels, and vehicle suspensions is liable to occur.
According to a AAA report, pothole season is costly. Pothole damage costs US drivers an estimated $3 billion annually in vehicle repairs. Most state and local Department of Transportation (DOT) have a pothole hotline or reporting system. Check the local or state DOT website to see how to report potholes.
When you see pothole repair crews, slow down and be extremely cautious near mobile work zones for your own safety and that of these very important road crews.
Just another friendly road safety tip from Adopt-A-Highway Litter Removal!
Secure your load – Road debris accidents and highway litter are all too common.
Items that fall off vehicles endanger other motorists not only because the debris may strike other vehicles, but also because motorists may have to swerve to avoid the debris. These situations also cause traffic jams.
Unsecured loads are responsible for 25,000 accidents annually, resulting in up to 100 deaths per year. In addition, it is estimated that unsecured loads cause up to 60% of roadside litter.
When hauling junk or your valuables, do it right with these tips:
Tie it down: use solid straps, rope, bungee cords or netting. Tie large items directly to your vehicle.
Bag it: All trash or recyclables should be in sturdy bags and covered by a strong tarp or cargo netting. If you throw trash into your truck bed, secure a 5-gallon bucket with a lid in a corner of the bed, as a trash can.
Layer it: Put lighter items on the bottom, place heavier items on top. Be sure not to overload – keep materials level with truck bed or trailer.
Cover it up: For loose or lightweight items, cover them up with a tarp or heavy plastic. Make sure the tarp is secured to the vehicle.
Check as you go: Consistently check your rear-view mirror to make sure you are not losing items as you go. If something becomes lose, pull over and secure again. If a large item falls off, notify police immediately.
Keep in mind that if you don’t properly secure your load you may be fined.
Save money, the environment and most importantly lives by properly securing your load!
Get Your Car Serviced NOW
We all want to put it off as long as possible, but have needed service completed prior to the 1st snow. Make sure to ask the mechanic to check fluids (coolant, oil, windshield wiper fluid) and battery, and use proper products for the weather in your area.
Check the Tires
Winter driving can be treacherous on wet, ice and snow covered roads. To be safe, make sure your tires have peak traction by checking tread (2/32 of an inch on ALL tires). Also, check tire pressure, which can decrease significantly in cold weather. Properly inflated tires provide optimal performance. Don’t forget to check your spare tire as well, nothing worse than a flat spare!
Be sure to check that your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers are all working properly. See and be seen – Turn on lights for greater visibility!
Wash & Wax
Winter is harsh on our car’s exteriors, a thorough washing and waxing will protect your car’s paint from corrosion caused by moisture and salt on the roads.
Check to make sure both front and back blades are working well. Switch to winter wiper blades to increase visibility if you get lots of ice and snow. Completely fill the wiper fluid reservoir before the 1st snow. Use winter wiper fluid with de-icer for best results.
During the winter months moisture can build up in your gas tank, causing corrosion. Keep your gas tank at least half full to absorb the moisture. This is also a good practice since winter driving may have unexpected delays and getting to a gas station may not be easy.
Always plug in when not in use to minimize drain on the battery. Also, be aware that cold weather requires the battery to work harder, so driving distance may decrease significantly.
Most important of all SLOW DOWN! The key to getting anywhere is to get there safely!
As always, Adopt-A-Highway requests you don’t litter – we don’t need any more hazard on the roadways this winter. Be Safe!
And many of these affected cars have yet to be repaired. In fact, the NHTSA estimates that a quarter of recalled vehicles are never fixed. There are about 60 million recalled vehicles on the road that have not been repaired, according to CarFax. Even though the repairs are free, many vehicle owners never get their cars fixed.
Some owners may not even know that their cars have been recalled. If a car was purchased from a dealer, a recall notice is sent via mail. However, many owners are no longer at the address, have since sold the car or just don’t pay attention.
Don’t let a vehicle recall on one of your cars slip through the cracks. These are significant safety issues, which need to be addressed. It is a good idea to check recalls yourself every year. NHTSA’s website recalls.gov or safecar.gov enables you to easily do that with the following tools:
- Check open recalls on your vehicle using the 17-digit VIN. Your VIN can be found on the registration card and on the vehicle dash. This tool tracks recalls for the past 15 years, so is especially helpful for used car owners.
- Search for vehicle recalls using the make, model and year of your car.
- Sign up for email alerts on the latest vehicle recalls.
The NHTSA is working on other proactive tools for recalls – apps and automatic alerts in the vehicle. Until then, and even after, put your safety in your own hands and occasionally check for recalls.