Monthly Archives: October 2012

3 Tricks to Keep Your Kids Safe This Halloween

Halloween is full of goblins, monsters, and witches. And hopefully, most of them are fake. However, there are some real goblins and monsters out there that you want to protect your kids from while they are out trick-or-treating. If you follow these 3 tricks you and your kids can make it home safely with lots of treats.

Make Your Kids Visible

Trick-or-treating takes place at night, of course! It wouldn’t be near as spooky in the daytime. Unfortunately, this darkness can make it difficult for drivers to see your kids. You should put reflective tape on your kids’ costumes and candy buckets. For extra protection, give them each a little flashlight to carry as well. It will make them more visible and make it easier to see where they are walking.

Wear Costumes That Fit

No matter how scary or adorable (depending on what you are going for) your kids’ costumes are, they need to fit well. If they are too long or loose, they may cause your children to trip. Additionally, try to avoid masks because they tend to impair vision. Instead, break out the makeup and try to recreate the finishes touches to your children’s costumes yourself.

Walk Smart

First off, never send your child alone to brave the goblins and monsters of the world. Even if you can’t go along with your kids, send them with a large group to help keep them safe. It is also important that your kids stay on sidewalks when possible. And remember, they are not called sideruns. Walking is always the safest form of transportation. Always look both ways before crossing the street and use crosswalks. Jumping out from behind parked cars may be fun for scaring the other kids, but it is not fun for the safety of your kids. Finally, never go up to dark houses. While they may seem a little spooky, they are better off left alone.

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What Should You Do Right After You Get in a Wreck?

You see it happening right in front of you, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. In what seems like slow motion, your car collides with another car. And suddenly your car is no longer moving. You have just been in a car accident. Now what? What you do next can make a big difference on your safety and the outcome of the accident.

First, you need to take a minute for yourself.

Take some deep breaths and try to take in what just happened to you. The last thing you want to do is to get out of your car and start going crazy. This will not accomplish anything but giving your friends something to laugh at for many years to come. After you have taken some time to gather your thoughts, you can then start taking action.

Start by calling the cops.

After making sure everyone in your car is okay, it is time to call the police. Even if you are afraid of getting a traffic ticket, it is very important that you do not skip this step. Not only is it a law in most states, it can also save you down the road. Without a police report, it is just a he-said, she-said battle for liability. And never admit that you did anything wrong. No matter what. The cops are trained to assess the situation and properly determine what happened and whose fault it was.

What about the car?

After the cops are on the way, it is time to assess your car and your surroundings. Does your car have minor damage? Then drive it out of the roadway to prevent another car from hitting you. If it is not drivable, put on your hazard lights and keep on your seatbelt. Unless you are in the middle of nowhere, it is a good idea to remain in your car regardless just to prevent any further injuries. Once the cops arrive, you are now free to get out of your vehicle.

Now it is time to become your own detective.

Everyone knows you need to exchange insurance information with the other driver, but you also need to do a little of your own recon work. You never know what information you may need in the future. Take pictures of all vehicles involved, street signs, and current traffic conditions. Not only that, but you should immediately write down any details of the accident that you remember. Even though it may seem unforgettable, the small details will quickly become fuzzy in your memory.

The Safest Times to Drive

Unless you are a stunt man or a commercial fisherman, driving is probably the most dangerous thing you do every day. In fact, Forbes magazine reports that auto accidents are actually the number one cause of death for people ages 1 to 34. But what if you could decrease your chances of getting in a fatal accident by changing the times that you drive? Would you switch up your routine?

Absolutely! So what times do I need to avoid?

If you have ever driven in rush hour traffic, it will be no surprise to you that the hours between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm are considered the most dangerous. According to the Institute for Highway Safety, an average of 13.2 people are killed every day between these hours. Well, of course that is the case, right? There are way more cars on the road during those hours. Plus, wouldn’t you avoid rush hour if you could regardless? Good point.

To get a more accurate view, the number of fatalities needs be broken down into a percentage of deaths versus number of cars on the road. When that is done, the most dangerous time to drive is between midnight and 4 am, probably due to the increase of intoxicated drivers on the road. Luckily, that is a much easier time to avoid.

Okay, I can do that. Is every day of the week fair game?

You may think that since there are so many commuters’ cars on the road during the week, those days must be the most dangerous. But, nope. Saturday is actually the most dangerous day to drive, actual numbers and percentages considered. Saturday’s have an average of 158 fatalities every day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or 1.2 deaths per 100 million drivers.

So you want me to avoid driving on Saturday?

While the life expectancy of the human race would undoubtedly increase if we could all live in our own little bubble, that is just not practical. Saturdays are a popular day for family outings, shopping and, well, living life. When it comes to driving, either during rush hour or on Saturday, you should just be more aware. Always wear your seatbelt, avoid any distractions, and of course, do not drink and drive. If you commit to be the safest driver you can be then you are free to drive whenever you want to.

School Zones: Why You Need to Obey the Law While in Them

You grab your things, rush out the door, and begin driving to your appointment. You actually might make it in time! Yippee! And then you see it; the dreaded yellow blinking light signaling that you are entering a school zone. You glance around and don’t see any kids, or cops for that matter, so what’s the harm in speeding, right? Wrong! School zone laws are in place for a reason, and that is for the safety of children. So slow down, take a breath, and succumb to the fact that while you may be a few minutes late, at least the children will be safe.

But really, there are no kids around!

While you may not see any kids around at the moment, that does not mean they will not be just around the corner. Kids move fast, and they are little, make it really easy to miss seeing one if you are going too fast. That is why the speed limit in most school zones is 20 miles per hour. At that speed, you have enough time to really take in your surroundings so you do not risk hitting a child.

But my car doesn’t even idle that slowly!

That may be true, but you need to do everything you can to get your car to that speed, even if it means riding your breaks. Not only are kids are risk if you speed, but you also risk getting a speeding ticket. Cops love to hide out in school zones, as they make for easy targets. And it is pretty much guaranteed that if you get pulled over the cop is not going to care what your car’s idle speed is.

So I get a speeding ticket? Who cares?

Well, you should. In school zones, the fines are much higher than traditional speeding tickets. In fact, depending on how fast you are going and what state you live in, the fine could range anywhere from $200 up to $800. Not only that, but speeding tickets received in school zones are non-negotiable. That means you cannot go to court to try to get the fine reduced or the ticket eliminated from your record. Yep, that means you will likely get an increase in your insurance premium as well.

So the next time you are tempted to speed through a school zone, think again. Is the appointment you are headed to really worth a speeding ticket and a steep fine? Or even worse, are the few extra minutes it will take to slow down worth a child’s life?

How to Handle Your Kids When They Are Distracting on the Road

As you are driving, your baby is crying and you know that if you could just reach back and hand her a pacifier, she would be okay. Maybe you have older children that are begging (whining) for a snack and all you have to do is grab it out of your purse and hand it to them. No big deal, right? You’ll just reach back and tend to your children while semi-watching the road and then everything will be okay. As you reach back to grab the necessary object, the truck in front of you slams on his brakes. And guess what, you didn’t notice.

While this situation may seem extreme, it happens more than you may realize. In fact, according to a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80% of crashes involve some sort of distracted driving. They classify distracted driving into three categories: visual (eyes off the road), cognitive (mind off the road), and manual (hands off the steering wheel). When you are taking care of your children while driving, you are undoubtedly guilty of at least one of these infractions, if not all three.

So what is a parent to do?

Driving with children in the car is by far one of the most challenging things a parent does. You know that you need to keep your eyes, mind, and hands focused on the road, but that is often easier said than done. No parent likes to hear their kids crying or fighting. And if they ask for something, you want to give it to them. That is your nature. However, in order to keep you and your family safe, you must resist the urge and remember that being on the road is only temporary and you will be at your destination before you know it. Here are some suggestions to keep your kids entertained in the meantime:

  • Explain the situation to them. It is important that your kids understand why you are not meeting their needs. You could say something like this, “Mommy (Daddy) is in charge of keeping you safe while I am driving. I can’t get you a snack right now because it would not be safe. As soon as we get to the park I will get you a snack and some water, okay?”
  • Provide safe entertainment. Before you hit the road, give your children plenty of safe, age-appropriate entertainment to keep them occupied. This could include books, toys, or even an iPad mounted to the back of the seat that is playing their favorite movie.
  • Sing to/with them. This especially works with younger kids. If you can sing one of their favorite songs, they will probably calm down. If they are older, they may even join in and you can have a little traveling choir. You may feel a little goofy and end up with a sore throat, but that is a small price to pay for potentially saving the lives of your children.