Safety Tips


Sledding Safety Tips

sledding

Sledding is a favorite winter pastime, but if you’re not careful what begins as a day filled with fun, can turn into a trip to the doctors office.  Keep these tips in mind next time you go sledding and stay safe!

  • The first step to staying safe while sledding is to dress for the part.  If you’re outside in freezing temperatures, you could be at risk for hypothermia or frost bite.  Bundle up for the weather with hats, mittens, snow pants, a winter jacket, and snow boots.  Avoid wearing scarves as they can get caught and lead to strangulation.
  • Wear a helmet.  There are ones that are specifically designed for winter sports, or if you don’t have one of those, wear a bike helmet to protect yourself against collisions.
  • Choose the right hill.  Not all hills are safe for sledding, and choosing the wrong one can lead to big problems.  There are a few things you want to avoid on hills, mainly things you could potentially collide with.  You definitely want to avoid hills that end near trees, fences, utility poles, ponds, or other bodies of water.
  • You also want to avoid sledding on a hill that ends near a parking lot or street, cars are often not expecting someone on a sled to come speeding by them, and sledding near any moving vehicle could prove to be a recipe for disaster.
  • Avoid hills with jumps or other obstacles, sledding can be dangerous enough without subjecting yourself to these hazards.  It’s also better to go sledding during daylight so that such obstacles are visible.
  • Find a hill that is covered in snow rather than ice, while you may go faster down a hill slick with ice, if you fall off your sled, the landing will be much more painful.
  • The best hill to sled on is one that is covered in snow and has a long, flat area at the bottom that will allow you to coast to a stop.
  • Find a sled that can be steered by the rider or has a brake on it, they are much safer than typical saucers and toboggans and don’t cost much more.
  • Always have an adult on hand that can bring injured sledders to the emergency room, if need be.
  • Only one person per sled
  • The only exception to the previous rule is adults accompanying children ages 5 and under on their sled.
  • Always sit face-front while sledding.  Standing, going down backwards, or face first can lead to serious injury.
  • Go down one rider at a time, once you reach the bottom, walk back up the side of the hill, and leave the middle of the hill open for other sledders.
  • If you find yourself unable to stop while going down the hill, roll off the sled.
  • Do not allow children to ride on a sled being pulled by a car, snowmobile, ATV, or any other moving vehicle.

Sledding is supposed to be fun, and we want it to stay that way!  These tips will not only keep you safe and warm, they will ensure that fun is had by all!

Photo By: Scott

Stay Safe In Parking Lots

parking lot

How often do you find yourself in a crowded parking lot?  Probably more often than you’d like, which is why it’s so important to take safety precautions that you may not normally think of.  Believe it or not, parking lots can be extremely dangerous and are often patrolled by criminals.  Follow these tips to keep your valuables, and more importantly, yourself safe.

  • Don’t make your car an easy target.  Always lock the doors and hide all valuables, especially new purchases or GPS devices.  Thieves look for items such as these so do not leave them in sight.  Purchases should go in the trunk and make sure to not only remove the GPS device itself but also the cord, and if your GPS is mounted to the window, try and remove the suction marks.  If thieves see these marks, they may assume that you’re hiding your GPS in the center console or glove compartment and break in anyway.  It’s best to leave no trace of any valuables whatsoever.
  • Be strategic when picking a parking spot.  We know that it can be tough to do this, but try and avoid parking in dark, desolate locations.  If you can park in a crowded, well-lit area that’s your best bet.  Criminals are not likely to target vehicles or people in these areas, as they are more likely to be identified.
  • Remain alert.  This is an extremely important tip, and unfortunately there are endless distractions between music, emails, and phone calls but it’s important to put those things on hold until you’re home.  Watching your surroundings is your best defense against becoming a victim or getting hit by a car.
  • Don’t stall when walking to your car.  Walk briskly and don’t appear as though you’re lost, even if you can’t find your car.  If possible, go shopping with a friend and use the buddy system, that will significantly reduce your chance of becoming a target.  If you are by yourself and are nervous to walk to your car, don’t hesitate to ask a security guard to walk you to your car.  All malls have security guards and that’s what they are there for, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • Carry your keys in your hand, not only can they act as a weapon if necessary, but it’s also better to be ready to unlock your car right away.  Once you’re in the car, don’t sit there picking a song or making a call, lock the doors right away and drive.
  • If you do feel as though you’re being followed out of a parking lot, drive to a well-lit area such as a gas station and call the police.  Having a car charger is also a good idea should you find yourself in an emergency situation such as this, you don’t want to have a dead cell phone and no way to call for help.

Keep these tips in mind next time you find yourself in a crowded parking lot.  Knowledge is your best defense against becoming a victim, so observe your surroundings, avoid distractions, and stay safe!

Photo By: Benson Kua

Winter Safety Tips For Runners And Walkers

winter run

Despite the bitter cold and early onset of darkness, there are still some dedicated walkers and runners venturing outdoors for their workout.  Even though working out tends to take a back seat during the colder months, it’s still a good idea to stay active and work off all of those holiday goodies.  For those of you that want to avoid crowded gyms and would rather exercise outside, keep these tips in mind and stay safe!

  • Go during the day if at all possible.  Obviously this isn’t possible for everyone, but if you have the chance to workout during the day, take it.  Not only will the sun warm you up a bit, you’ll also be visible to drivers which makes running or walking much safer.
  • Make sure you’re visible.  Running or walking at night can be extremely dangerous, and it gets dark much earlier this time of year so it’s harder to get out during the day.  If you do have to be out in the dark, make sure that cars and other pedestrians can see you.  That means a lot of reflective material on your clothing and a headlamp or flashlight.
  • Find a route with a sidewalk.  This will make your route much safer if you’re not directly on the road.  If you must walk on the road, make sure you are always walking facing oncoming traffic.
  • Stay warm.  It’s important to bundle up and wear multiple layers in the bitter cold, and don’t forget gloves!  It may be wise to shorten your typical route if the windchill is extremely cold.
  • Watch the weather!  If temperatures are supposed to drop significantly, if roads are icy, or if it’s supposed to snow, it’s probably a good idea to stay indoors.
  • Stay hydrated.  Just because it’s cold out and you’re sweating less doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink water.  Hydrate before and after your workout if you don’t want to carry a water bottle during your run or walk.
  • Get shoes with traction.  Many athletic stores carry shoes specifically made for winter, and have tougher soles meant to brave the snow and ice.  You can also purchase products that slip over your shoes to provide traction, YakTrax are a great option.  Whichever item you would prefer, it’s important to have proper shoes for walks or runs in the winter months.
  • Keep shoes dry.  If your shoes get wet on your walk or run, it can be extremely dangerous.  The air is already cold enough, and if shoes get wet enough to soak your feet, it’s a recipe for frostbite.  Watch the weather and make sure it’s not going to rain or snow during your workout, it might also be a good idea to drive your route before running it and make sure there isn’t snow blocking sidewalks or creating obstacles that you would have to trek through.

Now, who’s ready to run?  Keep these tips in mind before venturing outside to work out, temperatures can drop quickly and it’s important to stay safe and avoid injuries, happy running!

Photo By: bradhoc

 

winter run

Safety Tips For Trick Or Treaters!

trick or treating

Halloween is a fun time of year, but it can also be dangerous for trick or treaters if the proper safety precautions aren’t taken.  When you go out with your little monsters, keep these tips in mind, and stay safe this Halloween!

  • Make sure any children under age 13 are accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult.
  • Respect trick or treating hours established by your town.  If your children are trick or treating on their own establish a curfew.
  • Go over the route you and your trick or treaters plan on taking, make sure they know exactly where they’re going and how to get home.
  • Establish a meeting spot should you and your trick or treaters get separated.
  • Be visible.  It’s getting dark out very early and it will be difficult for drivers to see children in costumes, add reflective tape to their costume and treat buckets to make them easier to see.
  • Carrying a flashlight is also a good idea to improve visibility, but be sure to never shine it in the eyes of oncoming drivers, it may temporarily blind them.
  • Avoid wearing masks that obstruct vision.  It’s already going to be dark out and you don’t want children struggling to see oncoming cars, other trick or treaters, or obstructions in their path.
  • Make sure children’s costumes are not too long on them to prevent tripping.
  • Make sure any swords, knives, or other costume accessories are shot, soft, and flexible.
  • Do not allow children to walk near any candles or other potential fire hazards, make sure their costumes are flame-resistant.
  • Only approach houses that are well lit, tell children not to approach houses that are in darkness or to enter a strangers home or garage.
  • Stay on any sidewalks or paths, if there are none then walk on the side of the street facing traffic.
  • Make sure children understand to use crosswalks, look both ways before crossing the street, and never cross between parked vehicles as it’s difficult for drivers to see you.
  • If children are going out without an adult, make sure you know where they’re going and that they’ll be in a group.
  • Don’t let children eat any candy until they’re home and you’ve checked it to be sure it’s safe.

Keep these tips in mind this Halloween and you and your family will have a safe, and happy holiday!

Photo By: Ginny

Fall Driving Safety

fall drive

When most people think of dangerous driving weather, winter usually comes to mind, but fall has its fair share of dangers too.  Some of the things we love most about fall, like the beautiful leaves and cooler weather can lead to new dangers that you may not think of.  Keep these tips in mind in the fall, and stay safe on the road!

 Leaves – Everyone loves the beautiful red, yellow, and orange leaves that come with the fall season, but they don’t stay on the trees for very long.  Once they fall to the ground and cover the road, they can hide potholes, cover pavement markings, and once it rains, they can make the road extremely slick which is not only a danger for drivers, but pedestrians as well.  Keep your windshield leaf-free to prevent them from getting stuck under windshield wipers in a storm.  Make sure to also be aware of leaf peepers on the road, especially if you live in a rural area.  These drivers may be distracted or make sudden stops, so use caution around cars that are traveling particularly slow or have out of state license plates.  Remain alert when driving in the fall, especially when it’s raining, use the same caution you would if you were driving over ice in the winter.

Frost – After a hot, humid summer, the cooler fall air is a refreshing change, but with the change in temperature comes another thing to be weary of, frost.   Temperatures may feel fair and refreshing during the day, but they can drop dramatically at night.  First thing in the morning, there may still be frost on the road so use caution, especially on overpasses, bridges, or roads that don’t get lit by much sunlight, as this is where frost tends to accumulate.

Tires – With the sudden changes in temperature, tires can contract and expand which results in them losing air pressure so you need to monitor them closely.  Under inflated tires can increase fuel consumption and effect the way the vehicle handles, it is also a major cause of tire failure so be sure to check your tire pressure once a month.

Fog – Fall can be a damp, wet season here in Massachusetts, and we will likely see a lot of dark, foggy mornings and nights.  Keep your lights on during these foggy days, but do not put your high beams on as this can distract other drivers and restrict their visibility.

Back to School Traffic – Fall means back to school season, and there are going to be more pedestrians, school buses, and traffic along with it.  Be extra alert and mindful of speed limits in school zones, and near areas where children tend to be such as playgrounds and athletic fields.  For more in depth safety tips during back to school season, check another one of our blogs which has a ton of back to school  driving safety tips.

Autumn creates some unique driving hazards that many would not typically think of.  Understanding these dangers will make you a better, and safer driver, so be sure to keep these tips in mind!

Photo By: Michael Sprague

 

Back To School Driving Safety

school bus

It’s that time of year again, back to school season is here! With back to school comes the return of school buses, school zones, and young kids running here there and everywhere.  What does that mean for drivers?  It means it’s probably a good idea to refresh your memory when it comes to back to school driving safety, so check out these helpful tips now that back to school season is in full swing.

  • School Buses – School buses are back on the road and it’s always good to have a quick reminder when it comes to the specific laws around school buses.  First off, they have red flashing lights and stop signs to alert drivers when they are about to stop.  School pupil transport vehicles have red flashing lights and “SCHOOL BUS” signs on top.  They use these signals as warnings letting students on and off.  If the lights are on and the sign is out, you MUST stop regardless of which side you’re traveling on, it’s the law.  The only exception is if a school bus has stopped on the other side of a divided highway with a barrier between travel directions.  That is the only time you do not have to stop.  If you violate this law, a first offense can get you a $250 fine or even a license suspension.  Be sure to go slow even once the stop signs are away and the lights stop flashing, children can often times run out on the street and surprise you, so proceed with caution.
  • School Zones – When it comes to school zones, you should not be going any faster than 20 MPH.  Be conscious of children crossing the street, riding bikes, school buses, and crossing guards.  Keep your foot above the brake at all times and be prepared for anything, children can be unpredictable and may jump out in front of you when you least expect it, so slow down and stay safe on the road.
  • Crosswalks – When you come to a crosswalk, you must yield to pedestrians as they have the right of way.  Look both ways and double check for children in the area.  Children may expect to cross at a crosswalk whenever they want, especially if they are young.  Some may not look before they cross, so don’t assume that they see you coming.   You may think the coast is all clear, but that might be the exact moment a child runs across the street after their toy that rolled into the street.  Double and triple check before proceeding with caution near crosswalks, playgrounds, and of course school zones.
  • Distracted Driving – Distracted driving is dangerous enough as it is, and there’s no reason to be on the phone when you’re driving, but if you’re in a school zone or anywhere near an area that kids gather, it becomes even more dangerous because children have been known to unexpectedly dart across the street, so you need to give the road your full attention.  If you’re a new driver under the age of 18, any and all cell phone use while driving is against the law.  Texting and any internet related activities are illegal for all drivers, although if you are over 18 it is legal to make a phone call while driving, but try to avoid doing so if you’re in a school zone, near a playground, or any other area where children gather.

Don’t forget to always check and re-check crosswalks before proceeding, go the speed limit or slower in school zones, avoid distracted driving, and be mindful of the laws associated with school buses.  We want drivers and of course pedestrians to stay safe on the roads, so keep these tips in mind this back to school season!

Photo By: Sean

Staying Safe In Construction Zones

construction zone

Whether you’re on the highway or a street in your neighborhood, road construction is a way of life for all drivers.  During the summer there is more construction going on than ever and not only can construction zones be dangerous for drivers, they can also pose a danger to the workers as well.  Keep these safety tips in mind next time you end up driving through a construction zone.

  • The best piece of advice we can give when it comes to construction zones is to avoid them.   Not only do they cause traffic, the more cars there are the more potential there is for an accident.  511 is know as America’s Traveler Information Telephone Number and can provide you with the best and safest routes available, even if you’re just commuting to work.  You can find information about various coverage areas from 5:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, and from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays. You can visit their website to get real-time traffic updates and create customized alerts! Another great tool we love?  The Waze traffic app that is updated in real time by other users on the road and provides the best and most updated routes taking traffic into consideration.
  • If you do find yourself approaching one of those bright orange signs reading “construction ahead” and don’t have time to take an alternate route, make sure you obey the posted speed limit.  Speeding is one of the biggest hazards for both drivers and construction workers.  If you’re speeding 10 miles over the limit and suddenly need to change lanes, you could potentially cause a major accident if you’re not able to get over in time.  You will also face big fines if you’re caught speeding in a construction zone, typically they are doubled and police officers do not take enforcement lightly.
  • When it comes to merging, the biggest risk factors are merging too late or at a high speed.  Both can result in deadly collisions and even if an accident does not occur, no one likes that person that waits until the last possible second to merge in an attempt to beat just a few more cars.  Get over as soon as possible and make sure you are going at a speed that is safe for yourself and your fellow drivers.
  • Be aware!  You need to be totally focused on your surroundings, not only the other cars, construction signs, and detours, but also the workers and their vehicles.  Construction vehicles may be working closely to the highway and it’s important to make sure they are able to see you as many have bad blind spots.  Some of them may even move onto the highway and come extremely close to oncoming traffic, and are slow to maneuver if an emergency ever did arise.  Workers are often located on the shoulders of highways so keep an eye out for them as well.

As always, safety is the top priority when it comes to driving.  Even though construction zones can be painful to sit through and delay your commute, they are unavoidable and it’s important to be as safe as possible when you find yourself in one.

Photo By: Bill Selak

Driving In The Rain? Follow These Safety Tips!

rain driving

Although us New Englanders are used to driving in the wettest, slickest, and foggiest conditions, we can always use a quick reminder on how to safely drive in the rain.  The most important things to remember are making sure you are visible to other drivers and that you yourself can see.  These tips will keep you safe and are great to share with friends, family, and co workers!

  • First, make sure that your vehicle is rain ready.  Make sure that your wind shield wipers are securely attached and not bent or deteriorating, after a rough winter like the one we just had, it may be a good idea to replace your wipers.  You should also check and be sure that all lights are working, especially your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals, as it is extremely important to remain visible to other drivers.  As soon as you get in your car, turning on the headlights should be the first thing you do if it is raining.
  • You should also check your tires before driving in the rain, make sure they have enough tread and aren’t bald.  Bald tires can not grip the ground or create traction which makes it much easier to hydroplane.
  • Did you know that hydroplaning can occur at only 30 MPH?  Slow down!  Driving in the rain is dangerous enough without speeding, it may even be smart to go slower than the posted limit, depending on the severity of the weather.   
  • Keep your distance from other cars, especially large trucks since they can splash up some major water and mud that can make visibility even worse.  It’s also a good idea to keep about three car lengths between you and the car in front of you while driving.  Stopping takes longer when it is raining, and if the roads are slick it can be even more difficult to stop in time, and if you rear end someone you are technically at fault!
  • Try and avoid driving through large puddles, the water can cause some hefty damage to the brakes or electrical systems in cars.  If you do happen to go through a large puddle, test your brakes once you are through just to be sure they are working properly.  If you find your brakes are not working, they are likely too wet to function and the only way to dry them out quickly is by lightly tapping on them repeatedly to generate heat and dry them.
  • If you find your windows fogging up, turn on the defroster to clear off the windows.
  • If you follow these tips you should be able to safely get to and from your destination in the rain, however accidents happen.  If you do find yourself skidding out when it’s raining, take your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want to go.  If you have a car with anti-lock brakes, hit them firmly while steering the car where you want to go, if your car does not have anti-lock brakes, do not use the brakes.
  • Always remember, if it is raining so hard that you can’t see, pull over!  It’s better to wait the rain out than to endanger yourself or other drivers.

There you have it!  Now you can head out into the rain a little more prepared than you were before, and can share these important safety tips with other drivers!

Photo By: faungg

St. Patrick’s Day Safety Tips

designated driver

The big day is almost here!  St. Patrick’s Day is a major holiday here in Massachusetts, and we know how much everyone loves to enjoy some Guinness and green beer, however, even though it’s a party we all need to behave responsibly for our own safety, and the safety of those around us.  Don’t let us stop you from enjoying the day, but we do want to give you some tips that will help you get home safely and avoid any trouble along the way.

  • Designate a driver.   Yes we know this tip is overused but it is honestly so important!  Knowing you have a safe ride home at the end of the night will allow you to enjoy the festivities that much more, whether it’s a friend in your group or a sober family member that comes to get you at the end of the night, avoid driving if you have been drinking at all!  If you have underage siblings that can drive, offer them a few bucks to be your chauffeur for the night!
  • Leave your keys at home.  If you don’t have your keys, you won’t be tempted to drive anywhere.  Both local and state cops will be cracking down on drunk drivers especially hard this weekend, and there will be many more roadblocks out than usual so you don’t want to get caught in a bad situation.  If you’re going out for a few drinks, don’t even give yourself the ability to get behind the wheel, leave your keys at home!
  • If you’re going to be out in Boston, we recommend utilizing public transit or cabs for your travels.  Due to the festivities taking place across the city, some MBTA service routes will be operating on a special schedule or will be diverting their routes.  The St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston will be a major source of congestion, and buses will not be able to service the Andrews or Broadway T station beginning at 11 AM, although Red Line services will still be available.  The details regarding the altered MBTA bus routes can be found here.  Commuter rail lines will run on their typical Sunday schedule, and their will be no disruption in T service.  In terms of cab service, this list of companies has been authorized by the City of Boston.
  • Other cities across the state also have cab service available so the above tip does not only apply to those that are celebrating in Boston.  Look up cab companies that service your city prior to going out, you’ll be glad that you have a few options to call since many smaller cab companies get extremely busy on St. Patrick’s day, and the wait time can get longer and longer as the night goes on.
  • If you do notice someone driving that appears intoxicated, contact the authorities right away.  You should be able to tell them the color, make and model of the car, license plate number, and the direction that they were traveling in.  Drunk drivers do not only endanger themselves, they put the lives of innocent people in danger with their own actions and should be pulled over before they harm themselves or anyone else.

The luck o’ the Irish won’t get you out of trouble if you’re caught driving while intoxicated, so use these tips and if you plan on drinking, avoid driving at all this St. Patty’s Day.  Not to sound like a broken record but not only are you endangering your own life by drinking and driving, but you’re also risking the lives of those around you, which is a risk no one should ever take!  We want everyone to enjoy the holiday while also staying safe and being responsible, so keep these tips in mind when you’re making your St. Patty’s day plans!

Photo By:  Caitlinator

Winter Driving Tips

snow driving

Whether you’re excited for the snow or not, it’s important to be sure you are staying safe!  Keep these tips in mind when venturing out into the snow this winter, for many of you these tips are refreshers but it’s always good to have a reminder to stay safe!

  • If you must venture out onto icy or snowy roads, wait until after the sand trucks and plows have gone by.  They should be able to break down the worst of the snow and will make it much easier for you in the long run.  Even if you have to wait a while for them to service your street, trying to drive on roads that have not been plowed or sanded is not only dangerous, but will take much longer anyways so staying inside until the plows and sanding trucks have gone by is worth the wait.
  • If you are on the road with plows and sanding trucks, DO NOT try to pass them.  Many of them have limited visibility, especially if it is snowing out.  Even though they are pretty slow, the plus side to being behind one of these trucks is that the road will be freshly plowed or sanded and that much easier to navigate.
  • Give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination, there is no doubt that the snow or ice on the road will slow you down or create traffic, so be sure to leave with plenty of time to spare.
  • Decrease your speed and leave more than enough room between yourself and the car in front of you in case you have to stop.  You don’t want to skid out on  ice and rear end the person in front of you, an accident in which you would be at fault!
  • Ride the brake when driving in snow or ice, it will help you avoid skidding out and will keep you at a safe speed!  If you do start to skid out or your wheels lock up, slowly ease up on the brake until you come to a stop.
  • If there is any type of precipitation, make sure that your lights are on.  Even if it is still light out,  rain or snow can limit visibility for many drivers so you want to make every effort to remain visible on the road.
  • If you know in advance that it’s going to snow, be sure that your windshield wipers are working properly, you don’t want to get caught in the middle of a storm with a malfunctioning wiper blade!
  • Make sure you have an ice scraper in your car!  You don’t want to get stuck waiting inside your car while the defroster melts the ice on your windows.
  • Be extra careful on bridges and overpasses, these tend to freeze first and even though there may not be any ice on other parts of the road, these areas are notorious for black ice so reduce your speed and remain aware when traveling over these.
  • If your vehicle has four-wheel drive, use it!  It may use up more gas but will make your commute through the snow much easier and will provide more traction and decrease your chances of skidding out.

The most important piece of advice we can offer is to stay indoors!  Don’t drive on roads that are snowy and icy unless you absolutely must, and if you do then make sure that you are properly insured and know who to call should anything happen!  If you have any questions or would like a quick quote give us a call at MassDrive!  Our agents would be happy to answer any and all questions you may have and will make every effort to get you the lowest premium possible!

Special thanks to weather.com for many of these tips!

Photo By: Ruthanne Reid

 

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