Safety Tips


Trick Or Treating Safety!

It’s hard to believe that Halloween is tomorrow but before you know it costumed children will be wandering the streets in search of endless amounts of candy!  This can be a nightmare for both drivers and nervous parents since the excitement of the holiday can sometimes distract from basic safety.  When you’re out and about tomorrow night, keep these tips for drivers and trick or treaters in mind to ensure that everyone stays as safe as possible!

Drivers:

  • Find out exactly when children will be trick or treating in your neighborhood!  Each town varies but it should be listed either on the town website or in the local paper.  It’s definitely important to know and during designated trick or treating times try to avoid residential streets that will be busy with children or totally stay off the road if possible.
  • Turn on headlights earlier than usual, the extra visibility doesn’t hurt especially since it has been darker than usual the last few days thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
  • The most important thing that drivers can do is to stay as vigilant as possible, drive slower on residential streets, or anywhere that visibility is limited, and remain aware of children that are trick or treating and may unexpectedly jump out in front of cars.
  • As always, do not text and drive and try to limit any cell phone usage on Halloween unless it is an emergency.  Halloween is very busy on the roads and dangerous for trick or treaters so it is especially important to give the road your full attention!

Trick Or Treaters and Parents:

  • Make sure trick or treaters are as visible as possible, bright costumes are great but reflective tape and flashlights are even better.  If your trick or treater doesn’t want to ruin the look of their costume with reflective sneakers or gear, try and attach reflective tape to their candy bag!  Flashlights are another great way to remain visible to drivers, just make sure the batteries are new or fully charged before going out.
  • Plan your route in advance!  This is especailly important after the hurricane, make sure there are no road obstacles, power lines, or branches blocking your expected route so that you can make alternative plans if that is the case.  Try and avoid roads that you know are busy with cars, odds are they will get even more backed up on Halloween and be that much more dangerous.
  • Respect your neighbors, only trick or treat at houses that have outside lights on.  Some neighborhood residents may not wish to participate or may be away so do not approach a house if it is in darkness. Don’t allow children to cut across driveways or run accross lawns which may upset some neighbors.  Also, abide by designated trick 0r treating times.  Don’t show up too early before your neighbors may be expecting visitors and try to finish up by the deadline, we know it’s tough to walk away from candy but sometimes you have to draw the line before a sugar rush kicks in.
  • Be practical in your costume choices, try to avoid costumes that drag on the ground as they are a hazard that could cause children to trip and fall, not a good scenario when the roads are busy as well.  Another thing to keep in mind is footwear.  Trick or treaters are going to have to cover a lot of ground if they are going to get as much candy as possible which is why footwear is so important.  Kids will be walking through lawns, up hills, and for longer distances than many are used to, so make sure they have comfortable shoes, preferably sneakers.  Although pirate boots and princess shoes add to the costume, they are not practical for children who will be out trick or treating.
  • Make sure that any props (such as sticks, swords, wands, etc) children may have for their costume are flexible so that they can’t cause injury.  Also, make sure any masks they may be wearing provide full visibility and let them breathe.
  • Parents, make sure to pay extra attention during Halloween, keep your trick or treaters close by and instruct them to walk, not run from house to house.  Hold hands for children that are extremely small and try to stay in a big group if possible.

Whether you are checking out some of these haunted Halloween attractions, taking a haunted drive, or even visiting Salem, keep these important safety tips in mind!  They apply to drivers everywhere and are good to keep in mind not only for trick or treaters, but anyone out on foot for Halloween!

Photo By: Scott & Elaine van der Chijs

 

Fall Driving Tips

Now that fall is officially here, there are some important tips to remember when it comes to driving.  With the change of seasons comes a change in driving conditions, and there are important rules of the road to remember for each time of year.  Even though we are not yet dealing with snow on the ground (knock on wood),  there are other dangers to watch out for and work around while driving.  These tips will give you a quick refresher on what exactly to look out for:

Wet Leaves – The brightly colored leaves on the trees are one of the most beautiful parts of the season, however once they begin to fall off the trees we have a problem.  Wet leaves are extremely slick and can be just as dangerous as ice on the road.  They reduce traction making it easier to skid out or hydroplane if it’s raining.  Another hazard?  They can also cover up the yellow and white lines that divide lanes which limits visibility and creates dangerous conditions for yourself and others on the road.  Treat slick leaves on the road as you would ice, drive slowly and cautiously and be extra aware of other drivers.  Being a defensive driver could save your life, even if you are obeying all of the rules of the road, other drivers may not be.  Stay alert and watch for any unsafe behavior such as speeding or weaving in and out of lanes, especially when there are wet leaves on the ground.

Frost – Hard to believe it but sooner than later we will be waking up to a fresh coat of frost on our windshields.  You know what that means?  Stocking our cars with ice scrapers and turning up the defroster!  Make sure that you’re prepared for your morning commute, there’s nothing worse that running late because you have to wait for your windshield to defrost.  Now that it’s getting colder, frost will not only accumulate on your windshield but in cold, wet areas on the road as well.  Be especially cautious near bridges with water underneath them.  The combination of cold air and the water underneath the bridge causes the temperature of that part of the road to drop lower than other areas of the road, creating black ice.  Areas underneath overpasses can also be dangerous because they get little to no sunlight.  Pay extra close attention during the early morning and evening hours, typically the darkest and coldest times of day.

Driving In The Dark – We lose a minute of sunlight each day in the fall, and until we turn our clocks back in October it will only keep getting darker earlier at night and later in the morning.  After enjoying the daylight until about 9 PM in the summer months, it can be quite an adjustment driving in the dark on your way home from work now that fall is here.  As the days pass it is only going to get darker sooner, so don’t forget to adjust your headlights both in the morning and at night.  This is especially important in thickly settled districts, it will be much harder to see children playing outside, bike riders, and even people doing yard work outside once it starts to get dark in the early evening.  Remember to adjust your headlight accordingly if you don’t have automatic ones, and be extra cautious when driving during the dark evening hours.

Prepare Your Car For Winter – It’s never too early to be prepared!  Winterizing your car is a process that takes multiple steps and it’s never too early to start!  As we mentioned earlier, make sure you have an ice scraper in your car so that you’re prepared for any frost that may potentially slow your commute.  You should also set aside some time to have your vehicle looked at by a professional, make sure the brakes, heater, lights, battery, fluids, and defroster are all working.  You don’t want to be stranded or have any car troubles when the temperatures drop!  We will post even more tips to winterize your car once the snowy season is closer, but for now these tasks will set you on your way to a winterized vehicle ready to take on the snow!

As always, one of the most important tips we can offer is to make sure you are properly insured.  Accidents are much more likely to occur during the colder months due to slick roads, which is why it’s so important to make sure you are covered!  Give us a call or click MassDrive to get a quote from one of our agents today!

Photo By: visualthinker

 

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips

Stay Safe this New Year'sNew Year’s is a time for celebrating, reflection, resolutions and some auld lang syne. One of the most hyped party nights of the year, there will be lots of festivities occurring this December 31st, which happens to fall on a Saturday this year. Whether you’re throwing a party, checking out the club scene or attending First Night, it is important to make sure you’re safe this New Year’s Eve. Drunk driving and New Year’s seem to go hand-in-hand according to the statistics, so please, take measures to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Drunk driving is especially common on New Year’s Eve, especially between the hours of 9:00pm and 6:00am. Every year, there are 16,000 alcohol-related car accidents. Someone is killed every half hour due to drunk driving and someone else is injured every other minute, according to Lifetips30% of Americans will be involved in a car accident involving alcohol – this year, resolve to not be one of them.

New Year’s Day is considered to be the deadliest day of the year, second to the Fourth of July, according to ABC News. Deaths shoot up 150% on New Year’s because of drunk drivers on the roads. Sadly, it isn’t just driving that’s unsafe. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway safety, New Year’s also has the highest amount of pedestrians killed than any other day throughout the year. Be aware however you travel this New Year’s.

New Year’s Eve Safety Tips:

  • When traveling, choose a designated driver. Sure, no one likes to be left out of the partying on New Year’s, but get all the passengers to pitch in for the driver’s cover charge at the bar, or owe them a big favor. Regardless, if you are going to be traveling by car, make sure your driver is sober. Not only will your journey be safer, a sober driver will be better able to respond to drunk drivers sharing the road.
  • If you are driving and may be tempted to drink, make sure to give your keys up upon arriving at the party. Listen to your friends if they think you are too intoxicated to drive. There are always other and better options than you getting behind the wheel, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
  • If you are traveling by car, as the driver or as a passenger, bring along an overnight bag just in case. This will make it less tempting to drive drunk, and you’ll be able to stay over more comfortably.
  • Take public transportation! The MBTA will offer free service after 8pm on New Year’s Eve, and the subway is open until 12:45am. This will give you enough time to go out and take in the beautiful midnight fireworks!
  • Call a cab. Paying a cab fare is much less costly than the price you could pay driving drunk. Don’t want to deal with Boston taxis? Use Uber, a car service app that makes it extremely easy and hassle-free to get a pick up, and you won’t have to worry about paying with cash or calculating a tip when you’ve had a few drinks.
  • Call the Tipsy Tow! If you must get home with your car, call AAA. The Tipsy Tow will pick you, your car and as many friends will fit in the truck up and bring you back home. Call 1-800-AAA-HELP (1-800-222-4357), anywhere in the US and Canada, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • Book a room. Why not make a night of it? If you’re traveling to a party somewhere, book a room at a nearby hotel and circumvent having to drive after 6pm. Sites like Priceline and Hotwire always have great deals on hotels. Pamper yourself while staying safe!

Don’t make excuses – there are too many options that will get you home safely. Plan ahead and keep your loved ones in mind when making your New Year’s plans.

May you have a happy and safe New Year’s! This year, don’t let the New Year’s Eve drunk driving statistics keep you from having a good time, but be diligent! I’ll leave you on a positive note with my favorite version of Auld Lang Syne, one by the talented Martin Sexton! From all of us at MassDrive, we wish you the very best in the new year!

Photo by e_calamar

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