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

Going Green On Your Daily Drive

green driving

In honor of Earth Day we wanted to talk about ways to go green while driving!  Earth Day celebrations are continuing all week, and this information is useful to know for the entire year!  While “go green” isn’t a phrase you would typically think of when you think of driving, there are ways you can decrease your carbon footprint while on the road.  The easiest thing to remember?  The less gas you use the less pollutants your vehicle will emit, making your drive more “green”.  Using less gas doesn’t necessarily mean driving less either!  These tips will keep you on the road to a greener Earth without making major changes to your daily life.

  • The best way to reduce the amount of gas you use is to drive a hybrid or electric vehicle.  They get much better mileage than typical vehicles and are specifically designed to be more fuel efficient and emit less toxins into the environment.  Unless you already have one of these vehicles, it’s pretty hard to utilize this tip, but if you’re due up for a new vehicle any time soon hybrid or electric vehicles are great options to consider!  Not only are they more eco-friendly, but they will also save you a lot of money on gas.
  • Avoid slamming on the gas or breaks.  These two extremes are gas guzzlers, the sudden burst of energy when you hit the brakes or accelerator can release major pollutants and eat up a lot of gas compared to easing on or off the pedals.
  • In the upcoming months it can get very warm here in the Bay State.  Although turning on the air conditioning while driving is a great option,  it uses up more gas than if you were to drive without it on.  If it’s not too hot, roll down the car windows and enjoy the breeze!
  • Get an E-ZPass!  If you are a frequent road tripper, there is no better accessory!  You’ll get to avoid the touch and go traffic that piles up while people are paying with cash, which will save you gas and wear and tear on your car.  It can save you a lot of time at tolls whether you are traveling cross country or live in Western Massachusetts and have to take the Pike every day.  It’s definitely a worth while investment for any driver.
  • Go the speed limit.  Speeding even a few miles over the posted limit can increase gas emissions and not to mention possibly get you a speeding ticket. Save your gas and money by following the law!
  • Download an app that updates driving routes based on traffic, such as Waze.  This app relies on consumer updates but is typically accurate even when it comes to the smallest details.  It will help you save time, money, and gas by avoiding traffic jams.  Who wouldn’t love that?
  • Utilize cruise control if you’re going to be keeping a steady speed and direction on the highway.  This will help to avoid acceleration and unnecessary gas usage, it can even help save up to 7% on gas according to Edmunds.com.

These tips are simple enough, right?  Such small changes can lead to major savings for your wallet and the environment!  Try some of these tips in honor of Earth Day, there’s nothing to lose, only to gain!

Photo By: Toyota Motor Europe

Stuck In Traffic? Not Anymore With These Apps!

No one likes sitting in traffic, especially after a long day at work or when you have somewhere important to be.  Luckily, we live in the age of technology  and app stores are constantly rolling out their latest developments to help consumers beat the traffic!  So how do you choose which one is right for you?  We’ve looked into the top apps and summarized the best features of each so you can decide which will work best for you.

Sigalert.com – This app by far sounds like the most user friendly and accurate Traffic app out there.  While most apps are scheduled to update every hour or so, Sigalert.com constantly updates with state highway patrols’ data and uses road sensors for accurate readings.  It is the most up to date traffic app and the best thing about it is that it’s free!  It also provides great details, not only does it tell you  if the traffic is caused by an accident or construction, but it also estimates travel times for your destination based on speed and traffic.  You can zoom in or click on the maps provided, and they even list accurate speeds for each exit on the highway.  This app has traffic details for most metropolitan areas and is adding more areas each month.

USA Traffic and Weather – Personally, I think that this app can be the most useful once it works out all of the kinks.  It costs $0.99 and combines Yahoo and user generated traffic updates with a 7-day weather forecast, which is everything you need to know before you head out on your daily commute.  The concept is great but user reviews describe it as being somewhat inaccurate when it comes to the weather forecast, however this app does rely on Yahoo! for weather updates so changing their weather provider could solve that problem. For users that are having technical difficulties, the author has provided his email address right on the app itself, how cool is that?  Users have commented that he provides almost instant support and posts updates if the app is down.  Although there are some glitches, this app can be very useful and a new update is in the works which will hopefully address many of the user complaints.

Waze social GPS and Traffic – Waze is a very cool app because it combines traffic updates with social media.  It’s been described as “Foursquare for driving”  and allows users to post updates on traffic, construction, and speed traps.  The social media aspect of this app makes it more fun to use than apps that simply provide traffic navigation tips and users can start off as a novice and work their way up to traffic expert.  You can also build up points based on miles driven and the amount of traffic reports you submit.   In terms of avoiding traffic, it is similar to most apps out there and can calculate your commute time, provide alternate routes, and alert you to potential traffic causing incidents on your route.  The only con to this app is that is relies solely on user updates and is not synced up to any government traffic source.

INRIX Traffic – According to Apple, this is the industry’s #1 free app that helps you avoid traffic and frustration.  It features the best route to home and work and shows you which route is best to avoid traffic.  Routes are based on data from nearly 100 million drivers and this app can even recommend departure times to ensure that you arrive at your destination on schedule.  You can also easily email your scheduled INRIX arrival time to any of your contacts with just a few clicks.  It consistently gets great reviews from users and its most recent update on August 15, 2012 makes it more accurate than ever!

These apps all have unique features that appeal to different users.  Waze connects you to others and is somewhat like a game, Sigalert.com has constant updates for when you’re in a rush, USA Traffic and Weather is convenient because of the information it provides, and INTRIX Traffic is free and highly rated by users.  Decide which one is right for you and try it out, saving yourself the frustration of rush hour is definitely worth it!

Photo By: lostinfog



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