Help Curtail Aggression Behind the Wheel

Join Insurance Advisors, Inc and Safeco Insurance in taking a pledge to be a more courteous driver in Drive It Forward Fridays (#DIFF)

SafeCo drive it forward Fridays logoSummer travel season has started, and you have a chance to help make driving in and around Minnesota more pleasant and safer for everyone.

We at Insurance Advisors, Inc are joining Safeco Insurance in asking drivers to participate in Drive It Forward Fridays (DIFF). To take part, drivers can visit www.safeco.com/diff or use the hashtag #DIFF on Twitter to pledge to be a more courteous driver and to share their positive driving actions.

“Helping to promote better driving makes the roads safer for everyone in our community,” said Patty Czock, Vice President, Insurance Advisors, Inc.

A new Safeco Insurance survey found that more than four out of five drivers have experienced others’ aggressive driving behavior, and it impacts them negatively.

Only 36 percent of those surveyed admitted to driving aggressively. Yet, 85 percent describe other drivers as aggressive, and 82 percent said it’s others’ behavior on the road that makes driving a negative experience.

Not all the news is bad. Of those surveyed, 72 percent said that they’d be willing to make at least one change to their own behavior to make driving more pleasant for everyone. So as the summer travel season kicked off, Safeco Insurance launched the Drive It Forward Fridays campaign to encourage drivers to take positive steps to counter negative driving behavior that can be dangerous.

Insurance Advisors, Inc. is proud to support Drive it Forward Fridays and we’ve made our pledge!

Don’t Let Your Driving Routine Become Routine

Distractions are everywhere – and we hear daily about the dangers of distracted driving.  But letting your daily drive get too routine can also be a hazardous distraction when you’re driving.

Driving HabbitsHave you ever arrived at your destination and realized you didn’t remember  much about getting there? It happens to the best of us even when we think we’re practicing good, responsible driving techniques. This experience is usually referred to as highway hypnosis or automatically, which is the ability to do routine things, like walking, speaking, repetitive work tasks and driving without  thinking about the many details that go into each effort. That leaves our minds free to converse with other passengers, to think about what we’re going to do when we reach our destination or to plan a project or activity.

Can it be dangerous? Definitely. A recent review of articles on highway crashes attributed to inattentive driving include the following:

  • A Colorado woman killed when her motorcycle was rear-ended.
  • A Wisconsin woman killed when a driver drifted off the road and struck her as she walked alongside the highway.
  • A Florida bicyclist who suffered a closed head injury, spinal fracture, ear damage and a shoulder fracture when hit by a truck.

While it’s difficult to determine how many accidents can be attributed to driver inattention, some experts estimate it may be as high as a million crashes  a year. So how do you limit the likelihood that you’ll find yourself driving on auto pilot? Here are some tips to help you avoid reaching your destination wondering “How did I get here?”.

  •  Don’t drive when you’re tired. It’s a lot easier to get hypnotized by the road when you ‘re tired. And worse yet, you risk falling asleep at the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates at least 100,000 crashes – including over 1,500 fatal accidents are caused annually by drivers who drove when they were too tired to get behind the wheel. Open windows if you feel sleepy  or stop and get a soda, coffee or water to drink.

Focus on driving.  Easier said than done when the kids are fighting in the back seat and you’re running late. But it’s better to pull off and settle the fight than to put your driving on auto and run into the car in front of you when it does a quick stop – all because you were trying to stop the kids from fighting.

Insurance Advisors, Inc.

Driving Safety: Winter Survival Kit

Always Carry A Winter Survival Kit!

winter survival kit for car

Safe winter driving and lowering distractions can only go so far. Accidents happen. Everyone should carry a Winter Survival Kit in the car. In an emergency, it could save your life and the lives of your passengers. Assemble winter survival kits for all of your vehicles. Keep them inside the vehicle where they will be readily accessible. The kit should include:

  • A shovel
  • Windshield scraper/ broom
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Battery powered radio
  • Water
  • Snack food/ energy bars
  • Matches & small candles
  • Extra hats socks & mittens
  • Emergency flares & reflectors
  • First aid kit with pocket knife
  • Necessary medications
  • Blankets or sleeping bag
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Road salt, sand, or cal litter for traction
  • Booster cables
  • Cell phone adapter to put into lighter
  • Fluorescent distress flag & whistle to attract attention

Kit Tips

  • Reverse batteries in flashlight to avoid accidental switching and burnout.
  • Store items in the back seat in case the trunk is jammed or froze shut.
  • Choose small packages of food that you can eat hot or cold

Winter Survival Tips

  • Keep your gas tank half full.
  • Tell someone where you’re going.
  • Stay in your vehicle – it’s a good shelter.
  • Avoid overexertion.
  • Let fresh air into your vehicle

 

Driving Safety: Deer in the Headlights

Watch For Deer While Driving!

Deer Crossing Minnesota

For those of us who live in Minnesota, we are well aware that most any season is “peak” for deer and auto collision. Here are some tips to prevent a collision between your car and a deer.

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings. 
    Look for the yellow traffic sign with a deer on it. If you see one, it means you’re entering an area with an active, concentrated deer population. Make sure your eyes are always moving, and pay  particular attention to the side of the road. AND, don’t forget to pay attention to what other cars are doing. The car in front of you may brake suddenly. If you notice something out of the ordinary, slow down.
  2. One deer probably equals many more.
    Deer usually travel in herds, so if you see one cross the road, look immediately to where the deer came from. There are probably others ready to cross. Deer are most active between 6:00 and 9:00 p.m.
  3. High beams, high beams, high beams.
    Use your high beams as much as oncoming traffic will allow. High beams do a great job lighting up the road in front of you, especially the side of the road where the herd may be hanging out. If you feel your head lights aren’t lighting up the road properly, consider taking your car to your local mechanic for a check up. A headlight may be burned out or need an adjustment.
  4. Never swerve for a deer or other animal.
    While swerving is an instinct many of us feel when an animal runs in the road, it can put you in a more dangerous situation. Swerving can cause you to lose control of your car, put you in the lane of oncoming traffic, or cause you to hit a tree or ditch and overturn your vehicle. The best techniques are to remind yourself not to swerve and to braked firmly.
  5. Consider purchasing deer whistles.
    While there is conflicting data on whether or not deer whistles actually work, they’re a cheap precautionary measure. I believe it’s worth giving them a try.
  6. Stay calm and safe.
    If you do hit a deer, another natural instinct is to get out of your car to check the damage. But can you really determine the extent of the damage just by looking at it? Probably not. I recommend you stay in your car. From there, you can do a number of things that will keep you and your family safe:
    Call 911           Turn on your hazard light          Call your insurance agent
  7. Knowledge is power.
    Make sure you understand what coverage’s and limits of insurance you have on your auto insurance policy. Comprehensive insurance provides coverage for damage that results from hitting an animal. Without that coverage, you’ll be left with the bill.

Driving Safety: 5 New Safety Features

Car Safety Features| Insurance AdvisorsThere are 5 new safety features that could be on your next car.

Technology that saves lives – and fuel- is getting better and cheaper. That means it’s no longer confined to luxury brands like Mercedes and Volvo. It’s showing up in mainstream vehicles like the Nissan Rogue and Ford Fusion.

“What we see today as slightly elitist technology is changing very, very fast,” said Steven Lunn, chief operating officer for TRW Automotive, which supplies electronics and other parts to car makers.

TRW says its newest radar is a quarter of the price of the model it sold 10 years ago. Its cameras are smaller and cheaper, too, making it easier to put multiple ones on each car.

Here are some up-and-coming features that drivers can expect on their next cars:

• Collision warning with automatic breaking:

New cars have radar and camera systems that warn you, with beeping sounds, of a possible front-end crash. Some even stop the vehicle, or at least slow it enough to make a crash less severe. More sophisticated systems apply the brakes if a car veers off the road and heads toward a moving or fixed object.

Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, Infiniti, Volvo and other brands offer automatic braking to avoid a collision, but more automakers will follow soon.

• Advanced cameras:

Auto cameras are showing up on more cars ahead of a government requirement to install backup cameras, which is expected by 2015. But with cameras getting smaller and cheaper, automakers aren’t just putting them on the back of the car anymore. Honda has side cameras that come on automatically when a turn signal is employed, so drivers can spot obstacles while turning. Some car companies are adding cameras that can read wrong-way signs, detect large animals such as deer, and even note the colors of traffic lights.

• Lane Centering:

A camera can follow the road and gently nudge a car – using the brakes – to stay in the center of a lane. Some lane-keeping systems, sound a beep or vibrate the driver’s seat if a camera senses that a car is swerving out of its lane.

• Adaptive headlights:

Audi, Mercedes, Mazda and Acura have adaptive headlights that swivel in the direction the car is going to help drivers see around corners as they turn. And, many cars now have high-beam lights that sense oncoming traffic and dim automatically.

• Stop-start:

By 2025, new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. will have to average 54.5 miles per gallon of gas. One feature will almost be a must-have; a stop-start device that shuts off the engine at a stop light and automatically turns it on when the driver releases the brake. – //insurancenewsnet.com

Distracted Driving: Is It Still LOL?

Don't text & drive| Driving SafetyDistracted driving is a serious and growing problem, quickly becoming a habit for some –  a habit that is deadlier than drunk driving.

Distraction occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind of your primary task:  driving safely. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing. Here are a few sobering statistics:

  • Drivers who use a hand-held device are four times more likely to get into a crash serious enough to cause injury.
  • Using a cell phone while driving delays your reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08, which is the legal limit for drunk driving.
  • Research indicates that the burden of talking on a cell phone – even if it’s hands-free – saps your brain of 39 percent of the energy it takes to devote to safe driving.
  • Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to get involved in a crash. Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves manual, visual and cognitive distraction at the same time. Sending or reading text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.  At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field, blindfolded. It’s incredibly dangerous!
  • Remember, in Minnesota, it is a primary offense for all drivers to text and drive. Any use of a cell phone while driving is also a primary offense for bus drivers and novice drivers (anyone under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license.