Category Archives: Safe Driving

car seat

Keeping Kids Safe in the Car

They are your everything. Your children mean the world to you and you would do absolutely anything to keep them safe. Between cleaning every surface in the house and blocking every electrical outlet you have done everything in your power to keep them safe. However, the battle to keep them safe does not only exist at home.

Another place you often worry about the safety of your children is in your car while driving. Driving is almost second nature to society and because of that our children spend much of their childhood as passengers in our vehicles.

Cars can be dangerous there is no denying that. Although, there is a number of steps you can take to ensure the safety of your children while driving in the car.

An article by Consumer Reports 6 wonderful tips to ensure your child’s safety while driving.

  1. Buckle up

It seems so simple to do, but some people still don’t use seat belts despite the overwhelming benefit of doing so. Studies have shown that seat belts are responsible for saving 329,715 lives in the last 50 years. Additionally, Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. NHTSA data shows that more than half of teenagers who died in crashes weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

  1. Know their place

Children 12 years and under should always ride in the rear seat in an appropriate child seat or with the vehicle’s seat belt.

  1. Secure gear

Any loose odds and ends in the car can become dangerous projectiles if you have a crash or even if you just have to jam on the brakes. Don’t stash anything remotely heavy on the package shelf behind the rear seats. Secure loose items in the trunk using cargo anchors. Put heavy items on the floor or as far forward in the cargo area as possible. Don’t put anything on top of the cargo pile that could fly into the seat area. People can become projectiles too. Unbelted rear-seat passengers can fly forward in a crash, injuring both themselves and people up front.

  1. Make sure children are using the proper car seat and that it is installed correctly

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 73 percent of car seats are improperly installed—usually not secured to the vehicle tightly enough. To make sure your seat is installed correctly; carefully follow the instructions that came with it or look online if you’ve misplaced them. For more help, go to safekids.org and find a car seat technician near you who can inspect the seat, and show you how to cinch it up correctly in your car if necessary. Learn the right age to move your child up to the next car seat, but don’t be in a hurry. With every move up to the next level, you give up a little bit in crash safety. Bear that in mind no matter how much your kids complain that their friends are in boosters already, or have moved on to using just the vehicle’s seat belt. Keep them in a child safety seat appropriate for their height and weight.

  1. Don’t text and drive

We all know the allure of the beeps and buzzes of cell phone notifications but resist the temptation to read and respond to messages. Put your phone in airplane mode, turn down the volume, shut it off, or put it away. Distracted driving not only puts everyone in a dangerous situation, but it teaches young people bad habits. You can expect your kids to behave exactly as you do when the time comes.

  1. Never leave children alone in or around cars

Children die every year from heatstroke in vehicles. Many were inadvertently left in the car. Be vigilant to make sure you know where your child is at all times and leave reminders for yourself that a child is in the back, such as a toy on the front seat or briefcase or purse in the back. That way you must look in the back before leaving the car.

These tips may seem like common knowledge but, believe it or not, people fail to accomplish these acts while driving on a daily basis. Keep your children and the children of others safe and follow these helpful tips the next time you get in the car with children as passengers.

 

teen driver

Fixing Bad Driving Habits

No one is a perfect driver but that doesn’t mean we can’t all strive to be better. With simple fixes from esurance, you can fix four common driving errors and be a better driver overall.

Bad Habit: Riding the brakes downhill

Why you might do it

Riding the brakes makes you feel safer heading down an incline.

Why it’s harmful

You’re risking total brake failure. After all, when you cling to them coming down a steep mountain or hill, you could be grinding the brake pads for minutes at a time. This makes them very hot, which can literally boil the brake fluid and rob your car of its stopping power.

What to do instead

Use the engine, not the brakes, to control your speed. Downshift when you want to go slower — even in an automatic (usually “L” or “2” on the shift panel will work). This raises your rpm and reduces your mph. Plus, contrary to popular belief, it typically saves more gas than going downhill in neutral.

Bad Habit: Warming up your car by idling

Why you might do it

For drivers in cold-weather locales, this is a common habit. You know the drill: 10 minutes before you want to drive somewhere, start the car a-idling, sprint back into the house to wait, and desperately refresh those flight rates to Hawaii.

Why it’s harmful

An idling engine goes through a tremendous amount of wear and tear. And it actually warms up rather slowly while wasting a bunch of fuel in the process.

What to do instead

Drive right away — just take it easy (and double up on mittens). Your car hits its peak quickly by doing normal car things, and idling in Park isn’t one of them.

Bad Habit: Letting the gas gauge drop to “E”

Why you might do it

Have you seen gas prices lately?

Why it’s harmful

You risk burning out your fuel pump and collecting sediment in your gas tank. This sludge can clog the fuel injector and hamper the performance of the engine.

What to do instead

There’s no hidden fix — just get gas before you’re running on fumes.

Bad Habit: Accelerating (too) slowly

Why you might do it

Because you’ve been told by every parent, driving instructor, and car insurer that it’s bad to “jackrabbit” start.

Why it’s harmful

Yes, going pedal-to-the-metal right away hurts your fuel economy. But so does easing off the gas too much. Cars perform at their greenest in higher gears. If you take too long getting to your cruising speed, your gear-shifting drags and you end up wasting fuel.

What to do instead

A good way to improve gas mileage is to find a happy middle ground: not too fast or too slow. Taking roughly 15 seconds to go from 0 to 50 mph allows for efficient upshifting.

Fixing these simple bad habits will make you a better driver, increase the life of your car and generally save money in the process.

dangers of drugged driving

Dangers of Drugged Driving

Getting into a vehicle and going for a drive has become second nature to most adults throughout society. Many people become so comfortable with the act of driving that they forget about the dangers of the road and driving such a heavy piece of machinery at, sometimes, very high speeds. In the United States, anyone who wishes to obtain their driver’s license must take a course commonly known as “Drivers Ed”. There, new drivers learn the rules of the road and the safety precautions that should be executed every time one plans on stepping into a vehicle. The number one thing one shouldn’t do while driving is take part in drinking or drug-related activities before taking the wheel. Drinking and driving put the life of the driver, and everyone else involved, in danger. Driving while under the influence of Marijuana, cocaine, prescription pills and other drugs puts you in the same danger of dying as drinking does. Impaired driving is dancing with the devil no matter what way you do it. An article on drugrehab.org provides an insightful and informational look at the dangers of drugged driving and the steps you can take to prevent your loved ones from taking part in it.

The best thing you can do to try to prevent your family members or loved from driving while on drugs is to educate them on the dangers and the harsh reality of the matter. The on National Institute Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights data documented by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), explaining, “In 2013, an estimated 9.9 million people aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.” It is something that is hard to fathom but children and adults across the country have admitted to driving while under the influence of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine or prescription medication. As a result, 20% of U.S. car crashes are a result of someone driving while under the influence of drugs.

Even when someone is educated of the dangers people still find themselves in dangerous situations. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have prepared a list of techniques to help prevent an individual from drinking and driving that can be used seamlessly to aid the prevention of drugged driving as well.

  • Avoid Confrontation – try not to argue or fight when discussing plans for transportation
  • Suggest alternative transportation – Examples such as a cab, sober driver or a public transit option
  • Be mindful of the level of impairment of the person you are talking with – talk more slowly and take time to explain your suggestions fully
  • Make it clear that your concerns arise from care – you do not want them to injure themselves or someone else by driving in an impaired state
  • Suggest they spend the night – either with you or wherever they are presently, as long as the location is safe
  • Gain support from friends who can back up your concerns – it’s more difficult to say “no” to two or more people you care about or look up to than just one
  • Take away the keys – it’s often much easier to persuade drivers to make safe choices when you have the leverage of possessing their keys
  • Call law enforcement – this is mostly a last resort. However, it might make the difference between a night in jail and being seriously injured or killed in an accident

Drugged driving is becoming more and more prevalent and in order to keep these dangerous drivers off the roads precautions must be taken. Just as drunk driving, a shadow of distaste must be cast upon the notion drugged driving. Society must be educated of the dangers and with the help of the steps noted previously everyone can do their part to keep our streets a safer place.

safe happy driver

Top 10 Safe Driving Tips

No matter how long you’ve been driving, it never hurts to freshen up on the latest safe driving tips. To keep you commuting and traveling safely, follow these top 10 safety driving tips from Ed Grabianowski at HowStuffWorks.

10. Don’t Drive Drunk

More than 30 percent of all auto accident fatalities in the United States involve drivers impaired by alcohol. These accidents led to 11,773 deaths in 2008 alone [source: NHTSA]. Most of those deaths could’ve been avoided if the drivers involved simply hadn’t gotten behind the wheel while drunk.

9. Don’t Speed

As the old public service campaign so succinctly put it, “Speed kills.” Research has shown that for every mile per hour you drive, the likelihood of your being in an accident increases by four to five percent [source: ERSO]. At higher speeds, the risk increases much more quickly.

8. Avoid Distractions

Many states in the U.S. have passed laws that ban the use of cell phones while driving. The reason is the number of deaths attributed to this seemingly harmless activity: 2,600 deaths nationwide every year, by some estimates [source: Live Science]. In fact, those numbers may actually be too low, due to the continued rise in cell phone use behind the wheel. If you think that talking and texting while driving isn’t a big deal, consider this: One researcher compared the reaction time of a 20-year-old driver talking on a cell phone to that of a 70-year-old driver. What’s more, working a cell phone behind the wheel can delay reaction times by as much as 20 percent.

7. Don’t Drive Drowsy

A study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech reported that 20 percent of all accidents have sleepiness as a contributing factor [source: TheDenverChannel]. If a driver is tired enough to actually fall asleep while driving, the results are predictable. Even on a relatively straight highway, a sleeping driver will eventually drift off the road. Trees, utility poles, ravines and bridge abutments turn this into a deadly scenario — and that doesn’t even take other cars into account.

6. Wear Your Seat Belt

Seat belts save lives. Worn properly, they prevent you from being thrown around the inside of a crashing vehicle or, worse, thrown through the windshield and flung completely out of the vehicle. NHTSA statistics reveal that more than half of all accident fatalities were people who weren’t using seat belts [source: NHTSA]. The numbers are much scarier for young drivers and passengers: A staggering 70 percent of fatal crash victims between the ages of 13 and 15 weren’t wearing seat belts.

5. Be Extra Vigilant in Bad Weather

If you’re driving through fog, heavy rain, a snow storm or on icy roads, be extra cautious. Take all of the other tips presented here and make full use of them: Drive below the speed limit if necessary, maintain extra space between you and the car ahead, and be especially careful around curves. If you’re driving through weather conditions you don’t know well, consider delegating driving duties to someone who does, if possible. If the weather worsens, just find a safe place to wait out the storm.

4. Don’t Follow Too Closely

Safe driving guidelines advise drivers to keep a safe distance between themselves and the car ahead. Drivers need enough time to react if that car makes a sudden turn or stop. It can be too difficult to estimate the recommended distances while driving and the exact distance would have to be adjusted for speed, so most experts recommend a “three-second rule.”

3. Watch Out for the Other Guy
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how safely you drive. You could be driving the speed limit and obeying all traffic rules and someone else can crash into you. One good rule of thumb to use is, “Assume everyone else on the road is an idiot.” In other words, be prepared for unpredictable lane changes, sudden stops, unsignaled turns, swerving, tailgating and every other bad driving behavior imaginable. Chances are, you’ll eventually encounter someone like this — and it pays to be ready when you do.

2. Practice Defensive Driving

This tip is pretty simple to understand if we just put the proverbial shoe on the other foot. Remember that one time when that jerk came flying down the street out of nowhere, totally cut you off and almost caused a huge accident? Don’t be that jerk.

1. Keep Your Vehicle Safe

Vehicle maintenance isn’t just an important way to extend your car’s life — it’s a major safety issue. Many maintenance issues are addressed by state mandated vehicle inspections. If your car is unsafe, the inspecting mechanic will let you know what you need to do to fix it. However, there could be a year or more between inspections, so car owners need to be aware of any potential safety issues and get them repaired before they lead to an accident.

 

Remember, if you find yourself in an accident, don’t hesitate to call the Brothers In Law, 757-319-4085.

teen driver

Teen Driver Safety Tips

Teen drivers are new drivers and the one thing all new drivers lack is years of experience. To keep your teen safe while they’re still learning the rules of the road, have them follow these simple tips from the DMV.

1) Keep Your Cell Phone Off

Multiple studies indicate using a cell phone while driving is the equivalent of driving drunk―that’s even when using a hands-free phone.

NOTE: Your state may prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. An increasing amount of states are creating laws regarding cell phone use and texting. Often, younger drivers face stricter laws.

2) Don’t Text

Research shows texting―on average―causes a loss of focus on the road for 4.6 seconds. You can drive the length of a full football field in that time. A lot can go wrong while you drive the length of a football field without your eyes on the road.

Don’t try the “texting-while-stopped” approach, either, as many states ban texting while behind the wheel. And, when you have your head down, you won’t notice key developments that may occur. Remember, you still need to pay attention to the road when you’re stopped.

3) Turn on Your Headlights

Using your headlights increases your visibility and help other drivers see you, even when you feel like it’s light out.

In the early morning and early evening (dusk), you need to use your lights or other drivers might not see you, which can be disastrous.

4) Obey the Speed Limit

Speeding is a major contributor to fatal teen accidents. That’s especially true when driving on roads with lots of traffic or with which you’re not familiar.

Don’t feel pressured to keep up with traffic if it seems like everyone else is flying by you. Driving a safe speed helps ensure your well-being, and keeps you away from costly traffic tickets that can cause a sharp hike in your auto insurance premiums.

5) Minimize Distractions

It may be tempting to eat, drink, flip around the radio dial, or play music loudly while you’re cruising around town; however, all can cause your mind or vision to wander, even for a few seconds.

As an inexperienced driver, you are more apt to lose control of your car. Distractions can significantly increase the chances that you 1) not notice impending danger or notice it too late and 2) lose the ability to control the vehicle.

6) Drive Solo

Having a single teen passenger in your car can double the risk of causing a car accident. Adding additional teen passengers causes the risk to escalate.

7) Practice Defensive Driving

Always be aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you, and have possible escape routes in mind. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you in slower speeds, and maintain a larger buffer zone with faster speeds.

Some car insurance companies will even give you a discount if you take an approved defensive driving course to improve your driving skills.

8) Choose a Safe Car

If possible, drive a safe car with the latest safety equipment (such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and air bags), and one with an excellent crash safety record.

 

For more information, visit DMV.org.