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Road Safety

School’s Out for Summer

schools-out-300x199 (1)Schools are getting out in the next week or so. Let the summer fun begin!

However, with summer comes some new safety concerns for drivers and pedestrians. During the longer, lazier days, everybody needs to have a higher level of awareness due to increase in traffic in and around roads. Drivers should also expect bicyclists along roadsides as more and more people are taking advantage of this mode of transportation to commute to work, accomplish daily activities or enjoy a little exercise.

Some driving safety tips for the summer:

•    slow down and be alert in residential neighborhoods
•    take extra time at intersections, on medians and on curbs
•    enter and exit driveways/alleys slowly
•    watch for children on and near the roads
•    never leave a child alone in a vehicle for any amount of time
•    remember that children  move in unpredictable ways – be alert
•    put down the phone so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings

The most important safety tip to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities is simply to pay attention. Whether it is children at play, joggers, bicyclists, or neighbors visiting across the street, drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and alert to presence of those outside.

Just another safety reminder from Adopt-A-Highway! Enjoy Summer 2015!

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Road Trip Time

Are you taking a road trip this Memorial Day weekend? Well, you are not alone! AAA reports that about 37.2 million motorists will hit the US highways on Memorial Day weekend – Thursday May 21st- Sunday May 25th. This represents almost a 5% increase over last year and the highest level of travel for the last decade. Lower gas prices and an improved economy are part of the reason. It also shows that Americans are ready to get summer started after a grueling winter in most of the nation. Auto travel is by far the most popular form of transportation on the holiday weekend. Of course, everybody loves a road trip! Make sure you plan ahead for a smoother trip and enjoyable holiday with a quick driveway car inspection. Be sure to check the following:
• Fluids – oil, brake & transmission fluidsRoad Trip
• Hoses & belts
• Tires – both pressure and tread
• Wipers & wiper fluid
• Exterior lighting – make sure all bulbs are working properly

AAA reports that the most common roadside assistance calls are for dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. A quick check can save you a lot of stress. Also, not a bad idea to download AAA ap (AAA.com/mobile) just in case!

Drive safe and support those Adopt-A-Highway sponsors you see along the way!

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May is National Bike Month

Did you know that May is National Bike Month? Since 1956, May has been recognized as National Bike Month. The THIRD week in May is specifically “BIKE TO WORK WEEK” and the 3rd Friday (May 15th) is “BIKE TO WORK DAY.”

National Bike to Work Week 2015 will be held on May 11-15.

Bike MonthWill you participate?

Why not:

  • It’s Fun
  • It’s a Workout
  • It’s Cost-effective
  • It’s Green

More than half of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of their workplace, making biking to work a feasible commuting option. Studies show that once somebody participates in a BIKE TO WORK event, they are more likely to become a regular bike commuter. Since 2000, bike commuting has grown by 62%.

Let’s get those tires pumped up and get riding!

To organize an event for Bike Month or find one in your area – go to www.bikeleague.org it provides some great information.

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Distracted Driving Awareness Month

U Drive U Text U PAY

Distracted Driving Could Cost You

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. Based on reports by the NHTSA, over 3,100 people were killed and more than 420,000 were injured in distracted driving related crashes in 2013. We all know that number just keeps getting higher as more and more distractions are available to drivers.

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. The most disturbing thing is that largest group of people texting while driving are young, inexperienced drivers.

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 a 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:

  1. Use an app that let’s people know you are behind the wheel – AT&T, Verizon & Sprint all have versions
  2. Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting the car
  3. Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver starts to text – offer to make the call or send a text for them
  4. Pull off the road and park the car if you MUST make a call or text
  5. Talk to your kids about distracted driving, show them video and create consequences if they text and drive

Be safe out there!

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Welcome Spring!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Check your windshield wipers, both front and back. Don’t drive faster than your wipers can clear water from the windshield.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can reduce damage from potholes, uneven pavement, and other road hazards.
  7. Spring weather can be temperamental, so be prepared for changes.

Now, go and ENJOY the great outdoors!

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Spring has Sprung and with it – Pothole Season

MDOT-POTHOLE

Birth of a Pothole

Spring is just around the corner, but while the thaw is welcome after this long, cold winter, it is also the start of POTHOLE season.

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.

Most state DOTs have a pothole hotline or reporting system. Check the 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.

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Rear-View Cameras Will Save Lives

back up safetyStarting with 2016 models, all cars will be required to come equipped with rear-view or back-up cameras. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries occur every year due to back-over crashes. The new regulation follows an outcry from consumer groups and families impacted by tragic back-over accidents, especially those involving children. A back-up camera shows about 20 feet into the rear blind zone and has proven to increase safety. The NHTSA estimates that 58 to 69 lives will be saved annually, numerous injuries and many “fender-benders” will be avoided once all vehicles have rear-view systems. In fact, safety has improved greatly as many automakers, responding to consumer demand, have starting offering standard or optional cameras on new models as they are redesigned.

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TEEN Driver Safety

teen driverWe spend our whole adult lives trying to keep our children safe and sound. Then one day they turn 16 and we are faced with the biggest safety challenge of all – handing over the keys to the car! It is a daunting task to teach them to drive, but it is even harder to let them go on that first solo trip. To be sure your teen (and you) are ready, here are some good rules to live by:

  1. Always Buckle Up – driver and all passengers should be buckled up before the key is in the ignition. It is simple, seatbelts save lives!
  2. No Cell Phones while driving – NO exceptions! Texting is a no-no – it requires a driver to take eyes off the road and at least one hand off the wheel. Almost half (43%) of teens admit to texting and driving. While states are cracking down with new laws, it is imperative that parents and kids know the danger of texting and driving.
  3. No extra passengers – teens are easily distracted by others and prone to take greater risks due to peer pressure or perceived peer pressure. Eliminate this tendency by limiting the number of passengers a teen can drive (some states do this for you) in the 1st year of driving.
  4. No alcohol – the risk of getting in an accident while driving and drinking are well known and documented. Another thing to point out to your teens is the consequences of breaking the law, even if no one gets hurt in an accident. They can include jail time, loss of driving privileges, attorney’s fees, court costs, fines and insurance fees. It is also possible that a teen could lose academic eligibility, college acceptance and scholarship awards.
  5. Slow Down – Not just “don’t speed”, this also means do not rush between things or to get home for curfew. When we hurry, we make mistakes and any misstep while driving can be deadly.

Most of all show your kids safe driving behavior – we are their role models, and actions always speak louder than words.

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Look Out for Road Debris

LitterBlown tires, hubcaps, mattresses, landscaping tools and scraps, and large pieces of furniture are seen on the roads every day. A poorly secured load can go airborne if the vehicle carrying it reaches a high speed. Not only can debris damage your car, it can also cause a collision as vehicles swerve to avoid it. AAA suggests the following to help avoid colliding with roadway debris:

Slow down – it gives you more time to react should debris be in your lane

Watch all lanes – if you need to swerve, know which lane is safest for a quick lane change

Don’t tailgate – if the person in front of you veers to avoid items, you need time to react

Report hazardous situations immediately

The daily chore of clearing debris, litter and other hazards from highways is costing a lot of money. And that cost is on the rise. In fact, more than $11.5 billion is spent annually for litter and debris removal annually on U.S. highways. These high cost limits a state’s ability to provide improvement and repairs to our roadways. One way to offset these costs is to support the Sponsor-A-Highway program in your state. Contact us for more information.

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Auto Emergency Kit Items

winter-driving-101Road safety is our thing! With winter weather 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 Auto Emergency Kit. Here are some suggested items to include:

  • Coat, gloves and boots
  • Blanket(s)
  • 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
  • Flares
  • Ice scraper

Other key tips for safe winter driving:

  1. Check your tire treads and change to winter tires in snow prone regions
  2. Slow down – the posted speed limit is a suggested speed for good road conditions, when weather is a factor always slow down
  3. Allow for more space between cars – on slick roads, stopping speeds are far longer
  4. Check the road report before you go – call 511 for real-time road conditions/traffic situations

Be safe out there!

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