Keep the fun in outdoor play this season.
Colder temps can’t keep kids—or adults—from venturing outside to play. But injuries can.
Whether in your backyard or on a winter vacation, help keep your family safe when enjoying winter activities such as sledding, snowboarding, skiing and ice-skating with these tips:
- Always wear safety gear. Helmets are number-one. Sport-appropriate helmets can help protect children and adults from head injuries while sledding or playing winter sports.
- Dress appropriately. Scarves, hats, boots and gloves are winter essentials. Also layer on warm water- and wind-resistant clothing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing children in one layer more than adults would wear in the same conditions.
- Use sunscreen. Protect exposed skin with sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher. Also wear SPF lip balm of 25 or higher and UV eye protection.
- Take frequent breaks. Children lose body heat faster than adults. Call kids in from the cold to warm up and change out of wet clothing.
- Stay hydrated. Even in the winter, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after outdoor activity.
- Scout slopes. Look for gentle snow-covered hills free of trees, holes and other hazards. Also choose areas away from streets and water.
- Sled safely. Sledders should sit with their feet facing forward to reduce the risk of injury. Never sled down a hill headfirst.
- Take lessons. A knowledgeable ski or snowboard instructor can teach your child important basic safety tips, such as the correct way to fall.
- Look out for others. On sunny winter days, the slopes may be extra busy. Keep an eye out for fellow skiers. Better yet, try to time your runs to avoid the congestion.
- Watch the weather. Keep kids indoors during extreme cold or high winds. And never play outside during a severe snowstorm when whiteout conditions might prove disorienting
1. Starting up at intersection…Look left, right, and left again. Check rear view mirrors.
2. When stopped in traffic…Keep a car length of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. This allows enough space to pull your car around the vehicle ahead if it should stall and gives you an instant cushion if that vehicle should make a turn.
3. Count one, two, three after vehicle ahead begins to move…Follow this step when stopped at an intersection behind another vehicle. Check rear view mirrors.
4. Four to six seconds following time for speeds under 30 mph, six to eight seconds for speeds over 30 mph…This keeps you from getting a fixation on the car ahead and allows time to obtain and hold the proper eye-lead time.
5. Eight to twelve seconds eye-lead time…This is the best way to keep your eyes ahead of your wheels and is the depth at which your eyes should be focused most the time
6. Scan steering wheels…Look and see whether or not cars at the curb are occupied. This is the only time they are a threat. If they are occupied, the driver is probably about to exit from the car or pull out from the curb
7. Stale green lights…The point of decision is an imaginary line that you set up between your vehicle and the crosswalk when you are approaching an intersection with a stale green light. Since you are not sure of the light, you must be sure of the point behind which you will stop if the light should start to change. This helps you get the big picture
8. Eye contact…When you must depend on anyone along the edge of your driving path to stay put until you are past the danger point, it is imperative that you get their attention. The horn and lights are your communication tools when you do not have eye contact. The horn to express a friendly message seems in many instances to be a lost art. Only when you have eye contact can you expect the other person to act in a reasonably predictable manner to avoid a dangerous situation.
9. When pulling from curb…Glance over left shoulder when pulling from curb.
10. Use of mirrors…As a rule of thumb, once every five to eight seconds.
During the heavily traveled holiday season, here is a reminder about driving at a safe following distance and to avoid distracted driving.
Rear-end collisions are the most common accidents between vehicles. They occur when drivers do not have enough time to perceive and react safely to slowing or stopped traffic. Increasing your following distance can help give you time to react when someone brakes in front of you.
The Three-Second Rule
Increasing the distance between you and the car ahead can help give you the time you need to recognize a hazard and respond safely. The National Safety Council recommends a minimum three-second following distance.
Determining the three-second gap is relatively easy. When following a vehicle, pick an overhead road sign, a tree or other roadside marker. Note when the vehicle ahead passes that marker, then see how many seconds it takes (count 1-1,000; 2-1,000; 3-1,000) for you to pass the same spot. If it is not at least three seconds, leave more space and increase your following distance.
Think of following distance in terms of time, not space. With a standard of 2.5 seconds, highway engineers use time, rather than distance, to represent how long it takes a driver to perceive and react to hazards. The National Safety Council also uses this standard (plus a little extra for safety) when recommending the three-second rule for following distance.
Sometimes Three Seconds Is Not Enough
The three-second rule is recommended for passenger vehicles during ideal road and weather conditions. Slow down and increase your following distance even more during adverse weather conditions or when visibility is reduced. Also increase your following distance if you are driving a larger vehicle or towing a trailer.
Distractions, such as texting, reaching for a drink or glancing at a navigation device, also play a role in rear-end collisions. Even if you use the three-second rule, you may not have time to react to a hazard if you are distracted. It is another reason why you should avoid distractions while driving.
Like a scene straight out of a sports car commercial, you’re driving along a winding road in the dead of night, the eerie glow from your headlights meeting the narrow asphalt, when suddenly, two green eyes flash in the darkness ahead – and a deer steps onto the roadway.
Unlike the television ad when the driver swerves wildly around the animal and then speeds off carelessly into the blackness, encountering a deer while you’re on the road can be dangerous and scary. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), large animal-vehicle collisions resulted in an average of 187 fatalities in recent years.
So, what can you do to stay safe through deer country or during seasons when deer are particularly active? Read on to learn the latest statistics and a few tips for making your drive as safe as possible.
- Dawn and dusk are the times you are most likely to encounter deer along the roadside.
- Deer breeding season runs from October through early January, and during this time they are highly active and on the move. This is peak time for deer/vehicle collisions.
- Though deer may wander into suburban neighborhoods, they are most frequently found on the outskirts of town and in heavily wooded areas.
- As pack animals, deer almost never travel alone. If you see one deer, you can bet that there are others nearby.
- The two most important ways to avoid a deer/vehicle collision are: slow down and SLOW DOWN. If you are driving through an area known for high deer populations, slow down and observe the speed limit. The more conservative you are with your speed, the more time you will have to brake if an animal darts into your path.
- Always wear a seat belt. The most severe injuries in deer/vehicle collisions usually result from failure to use a seat belt.
- Watch for the shine of eyes along the roadside and immediately begin to slow.
- Use your high beams whenever the road is free of oncoming traffic. This will increase your visibility and give you more time to react.
- Deer can become mesmerized by steady, bright lights so if you see one frozen on the road, slow down and flash your lights. Some experts recommend one long blast of the horn to scare them out of the road, as well.
- Pay close attention to caution signs indicating deer or other large animals. These signs are specifically placed in high-traffic areas where road crossings are frequent.
- If you’re on a multi-lane road, drive in the center lane to give as much space to grazing deer as possible.
Encountering a Deer
- Never swerve to avoid a deer in the road. Swerving can confuse the deer on where to run. Swerving can also cause a head-on collision with oncoming vehicles, take you off the roadway into a tree or a ditch, and greatly increase the chances of serious injuries.
- Deer are unpredictable creatures, and one that is calmly standing by the side of the road may suddenly leap into the roadway without warning. Slowing down when you spot a deer is the best way to avoid a collision. However, if one does move into your path, maintain control and do your best to brake and give the deer time to get out of your way.
- Don’t rely on hood whistles or other devices designed to scare off deer. These have not been proven to work.
- If you do collide with a deer (or large animal), try to let off the brakes at the moment of impact. Braking through the impact can cause the hood of your vehicle to dip down, which can propel the animal through the windshield.
- Call emergency services if injuries are involved, or the local police if no one is injured, yet property damage has occurred.
- Never touch an animal that is in the roadway. Report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Knowing what to do when you encounter a large animal on or near the roadway can be a life-saver. Keeping calm and driving smart improve your chances of avoiding a collision and staying safe on the road. Safe travels!
Aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding and tailgating, can often lead to road rage. According to the National Safety Council, motorists rate this as a top threat to highway safety.
Here, we provide practical tips on how to avoid road rage—as well as some startling stats, common reasons that cause road rage and wisdom from experts—to ensure your safety while driving.
7 ways to avoid road rage:
- Move over if someone is tailgating you
- Use an “I’m sorry” gesture (e.g. wave) to attempt to defuse the situation
- Plan ahead; allow time for delays during your journey
- Consider whether you’ve done something to annoy the other driver and adjust your driving accordingly
- Listen to music you enjoy
- Use your horn sparingly
- Avoid eye contact with angry drivers and give them plenty of room
“If we can put ourselves in the shoes of other drivers, we are more capable of understanding their behavior and staying calm. If we can’t appreciate their situation, then we are more likely to get offended, angry and even rageful if their driving bothers us.”
— Dr. Robert Nemerovski, psychologist specializing in anger and anxiety
Common reasons drivers experience road rage:
- Fighting over a parking space
- Cut off
- Not allowed to pass
- Given the finger
- Annoyed at someone honking too much
- Stuck behind a slow driver
“There’s a lot of talk about driving under the influence, and oftentimes people are referring to drugs or alcohol. But people are driving under the influence every day—and that influence is rage.”
— Shannon Munford, anger management expert
Reasons to avoid aggressive driving:
- Aggressive driving plays a role in 66% of traffic fatalities
- 50% of people who encounter aggressive driving behavior respond in kind
- A firearm is involved in 37% of aggressive driving incidents
- Out of 10,000 road-rage incidents committed over a seven-year span, there were 218 deaths and 12,610 injuries recorded
“Some good people have bad days and end up in situations they normally never would, simply due to powerful emotions like anger, frustration and stress taking over.”
— Richard Senshido, self-defense expert on de-escalating situations with road ragers
8 Danger Zones All Teen Drivers Need to Know
Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for teens. It’s an accomplishment that takes months or even years to achieve. Preparing for and earning a driver’s license is an exciting time. And, it’s important for teens to understand and remember that responsibility that comes along with the right to drive.
Share a safe driving tip, save a life.
Check out these resources provided by The Boys & Girls Clubs of America:
Toolkit for Teens
Get your flu shot!
Autumn is the start of flu season, and it’s recommended that everyone six months and older gets vaccinated against the flu. Learn more about flu prevention and the flu vaccine.
Reduce fear this Halloween!
Halloween is a fun-filled time for children, yet there are many dangers associated with the holiday unrelated to ghouls, goblins and witches. Parents need to take the necessary Halloween safety precautions to make sure their children remain safe while still having fun.
Drive safely as it gets darker!
Daylight Saving Time ends every year on the first Sunday in November. This means it starts to get darker earlier. As we set our clocks back by one hour in most areas of the country, be acutely aware of your surroundings and continue to drive safely.
Tip: When you change your clocks, it’s also a great time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
The Labor Day Holiday is a great and well-deserved opportunity to relax and have some fun. Unfortunately, our area may experience heavy winds and rains associated with Hurricane Hermine. Before you leave for the weekend, ensure that you are prepared appropriately to protect against the hazards associated with extreme weather. Don’t forget to monitor the weather report over the weekend and be prepared to adjust your weekend plans accordingly.
Here are some tips to have a safe and healthy holiday.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling food and after handling raw poultry or meat. To guard against cross-contamination of bacteria, keep uncooked meats away from other foods.
- Cook foods thoroughly, especially ground beef, poultry, and pork.
- Refrigerate all perishable food within two hours.
- When using a grill, be sure to clean it thoroughly to remove any grease or dust. Check for gas leaks. Use the grill outside, not in a garage, porch, or other enclosed space.
- If you plan to use a fire pit, be sure to put out fire completely before leaving it unattended.
- Do not park your vehicle on grass as the hot exhaust can easily ignite dry vegetation.
- Don’t swim alone.
- Wear a life vest while boating.
- Supervise children at all times in and near the water.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply it generously throughout the day.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
- Don’t drink and drive or travel with anyone driving who has been drinking.
- Wear your seatbelt at all times.
- Make sure your vehicle has been serviced before a long road trip.
- Familiarize yourself with your surroundings and know where the nearest emergency room is in case of an emergency.
Enjoy the weekend to the fullest and celebrate all of the achievements of America’s workforce both past and present.
Wires installed on utility poles carry electricity. And when wires are down, they are dangerous—electricity can still flow through them.
Never assume that a downed power line is not energized, as it still could be “live.”
- Stay at least 300 feet away from all downed wires—and keep others from going near them as well. Call police or fire department immediately.
- Any wire on the ground or hanging from a pole must be considered live. Telephone and cable TV wires may be entangled with electric wires and must also be treated as live.
- Be especially careful when driving or parking a vehicle near downed wires. If downed wires are in the street, near the curb, or on the sidewalk, use extreme caution. Never drive over downed power lines. Even if not energized, they can become entangled in your vehicle.
- In the event that a wire comes down on a vehicle with passengers, our advice is to stay in the vehicle until professional help arrives to safely remove you from the vehicle. If you MUST get out of the vehicle because of fire or other life-threatening hazards, jump clear of the vehicle so that you do not touch any part of the car and the ground at the same time. Jump as far as possible away from the vehicle with both feet landing on the ground at the same time. Once you clear the vehicle, shuffle away, with both feet on the ground, or hop away, with both feet landing on the ground at the same time. Do not run away from the vehicle as the electricity forms rings of different voltages. Running may cause your legs to “bridge” current from a higher ring to a lower voltage ring. This could result in a shock. Get a safe distance away.
- Never use water on an electric fire, burning vehicle or wire, or extend a pole or stick that can create a path through which the electricity can travel. Our human instinct is to reach out to help, but touching an individual who has been energized also provides a path through which electricity can travel. Call 911 for help immediately.
- Do not attempt to cut or remove a tree that is, or could become, entangled with power lines. Contact your electric utility provider for assistance and wait for a professional tree removal crew to do the job.
- Look up! Always examine your surroundings for power line locations before doing any outside work.
- Do not throw objects up into power lines, as this can cause short circuits that could result in injuries. This includes items you might not consider conductive, such as ropes and strings.
- Teach children never to play around electric equipment and never to touch power lines. They could be seriously injured or killed if they touch live electrical equipment.