Boy mountain biking on path in woods

Bicycle Safety Tips

The closer we get to summer, the more your kids will be breaking out the bicycle for a sunny ride. In order to keep the kids safe while they’re pedaling the summer away, we’ve compiled this list of safety tips from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association.

  • Wear a Properly Fitted Bicycle Helmet. Protect your brain, save your life.
  • Adjust Your Bicycle to Fit. Stand over your bicycle. There should be 1 to 2 inches between you and the top tube (bar) if using a road bike and 3 to 4 inches if a mountain bicycle. The seat should be level front to back. The seat height should be adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee when the leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat.
  • Check Your Equipment. Before riding, inflate tires properly and check that your brakes work.
  • See and Be Seen. Whether daytime, dawn, dusk, foul weather, or at night, you need to be seen by others. Wearing white has not been shown to make you more visible. Rather, always wear neon, fluorescent, or other bright colors when riding day or night. Also wear something that reflects light, such as reflective tape or markings, or flashing lights. Remember, just because you can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see you.
  • Control Your Bicycle. Always ride with at least one hand on the handlebars. Carry books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack.
  • Watch for and Avoid Road Hazards. Be on the lookout for hazards such as potholes, broken glass, gravel, puddles, leaves, and dogs. All these hazards can cause a crash. If you are riding with friends and you are in the lead, yell out and point to the hazard to alert the riders behind you.
  • Avoid Riding at Night. It is far more dangerous to ride at night than during the day because you are harder for others to see. If you have to ride at night, wear something that makes you more easily seen by others. Make sure you have reflectors on the front and rear of your bicycle (white lights on the front and red rear reflectors are required by law in many States), in addition to reflectors on your tires, so others can see you.

Following this simple tips will lead to a summer of fun on two wheels!

 

danger hot cars

The Dangers of a Hot Car

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget to take care of important appointments and stops along the way. While returning from one engagement many of us will try to stop into the grocery store or supermarket to quickly grab one item before returning to the car and continuing on our way. Unfortunately, many times a quick stop into the store can take longer than we expect or even realize due to distractions, unexpected problems, or other issues, turning a 5-minute break into a 20 or 30 minute affair. While this is nothing more than an inconvenience when you’re traveling alone, it can prove fatal when those of us traveling with kids or pets leave them unattended in a hot car.

An average of 37 children die every year after being left alone in a hot car, and with 6 fatalities so far this year, and it’s only May. As we’re looking at possible record breaking temperatures this week, it’s more important than ever to be aware of the danger of hot cars. Even cracking windows or leaving the a/c running isn’t a foolproof way to keep children safe, as mechanical failure and unexpected shifts in temperature can still raise temperatures to a fatal level. Based on the results of one experiment, a car sitting in the sun in 85°F weather can heat up to well over 100°F in just 5 minutes, with temperatures reaching a stifling 110°F in a little over 20 minutes. At those temperatures, it doesn’t take long for extreme temperatures to lead to heat stroke, which can quickly lead to brain injury or death.

If you think you would never leave a child or pet in the car unattended, consider this, 56% of the more than 500 children who have died in overheated cars since 1998 were forgotten in the car by their busy parent or caregiver. This “forgotten-child syndrome” happens all too often with busy caregivers, however, it is easy to prevent. By placing valuable items like a purse or wallet in the backseat with the child, or keeping a stuffed animal on the dashboard whenever a child is in the car as a reminder, you can ensure that you never forget about the child in the backseat when you run into the store for a quick purchase.

During this upcoming summer, be aware of the other people and animals in your when you’re out and plan accordingly before making any stop. Dogs and children that need to be left in the car are better off left at home and properly attended. Remember, there is no safe amount of time to leave a child or pet in the car.

brake lights

Safe Driving Practices

We all know accidents happen. However, by staying committed to practicing safe driving, many common roadway incidents can be avoided. Keep these safety tips in mind every time you get behind the wheel. And, if you do ever find yourself the victim of an accident, call The Brothers in Law, 757-318-4085.

A vehicle driver should always follow these tips:

  • Avoid changing lanes.
  • Always make a signal while passing other vehicle
  • Turn your head to check for mirror blind spots for other traffic once in a while.
  • Maintain a three to four second distance between the vehicle you are driving and the vehicle in front of you.
  • When entering crosswalks, railroad crossings and intersections, look in both directions to confirm presence of pedestrians.
  • Remember to always scan controlled intersections for oncoming cross traffic and not rely only on traffic signals.

Other things to remember are:

  • Avoid aggressive driving
  • Always be courteous and patient to other drivers by not taking other driver’s actions personally.
  • Reduce your stress by planning ahead of time what route you want to take.
  • Bring maps and directions.
  • Make sure that your tires are properly inflated since tires bear the weight of the vehicle as well as of the vehicle contents. Properly inflated tires also reduce fuel consumption.
  • Slow down when roads are wet or slippery and always train your eyes to anticipate the path ahead or just focus as far ahead as you can see either during night or day driving.

*Information from CrashTest.org

How Aging Affects Driving

There is no magical age at which everyone should stop driving. However, “fatal crash rates rise sharply after a driver has reached the age of 70.” There are a number of factors that contribute to this.

Aging tends to result in a reduction of strength, coordination, and flexibility, which can have a major impact on your ability to safely control a car. For example:*

  • Pain or stiffness in your neck can make it harder to look over your shoulder to change lanes or look left and right at intersections to check for other traffic or pedestrians.
  • Leg pain can make it difficult to move your foot from the gas to the brake pedal.
  • Diminished arm strength can make it hard to turn the steering wheel quickly and effectively.
  • As reaction times also slow down with age, you may be slower to spot vehicles emerging from side streets and driveways, or to realize that the vehicle ahead of you has slowed or stopped.
  • Keeping track of so many road signs, signals, and markings, as well as all the other traffic and pedestrians, can also become more difficult as you lose the ability to effectively divide your attention between multiple activities.

In order for you and your loved ones to stay safe drivers well into old age, make sure to stay on top of your health and never be afraid to ask for a little help.

*Information from HelpGuide.org

The Most Dangerous Things Drivers Do

Anyone who has ever gotten behind the wheel can admit that they have been less than perfect drivers from time to time. It’s okay, we’re all human. However, there are some driving bad habits that are far more dangerous than others. Compiled here is a list of the most dangerous driver offenses and how you can avoid being guilty of them.

  1. Driving under the influence – Everyone knows you shouldn’t get being the wheel if you have been drinking or are under the influence of drugs or medication but people still do. There is no excuse. If you really need to go somewhere, call a friend or an Uber. Nothing is worth this kind of risk.
  2. Driving tired – This is every bit as dangerous as driving under the influence. If you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open, don’t get behind the wheel. If you find yourself getting tired halfway through a trip, pull over somewhere safe and let yourself rest.
  3. Speeding – Speeding is the second leading cause of traffic fatalities, after drunk driving. Speed limits exist for a reason and it isn’t just to frustrate. Posted speed limits are based on actual traffic patterns and data for each roadway, follow the signs’ directions.
  4. Distracted driving – Just like driving tired or under the influence, distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. Just looking down at your phone for a second can have disastrous results. Focus on the task at hand, driving.
  5. Driving too fast for the weather conditions – Rain, snow, fog and even little afternoon thunderstorms all have a great effect on driving conditions. Reduced visibility, reduced roadway contact and high waters are all major contributors to vehicle accidents. Speed limits are meant for optimal weather conditions, if the weather is bad, slow down, take your time and be safe not fast.
  6. Not wearing a seat belt – It’s the law and there is no excuse not to strap yourself and your passengers in before beginning your journey. Seat belts save tens of thousands of lives every year.
  7. Failure to yield the right of way – When merging or approaching a stop sign or stop light, failure to lead the right of way has dangerous consequences. Obey the rules of the road and pay attention to your surroundings to avoid unnecessary accidents.

*Originally reported by RoadandTrack.com