Tis the Season… Safety Tips for Holiday Shopping

Now that the holiday season is in full swing,  many of us will be checking our lists and heading out to the malls and town centers for holiday shopping. To help you shop safely, we’ve put together some Holiday Shopping tips.

  1. Before heading out to the big sales, map out the stores you plan to visit by trip chaining.  This not only saves on fuel, but it is also a most effective use of time.
  2. Something a lot of people forget when shopping is their own health. Have plenty of water and snacks with you in case your shopping takes longer than expected. Bring hand warmers for long outdoor lines.
  3. Parking lots are where most of the danger occurs during the holiday season. Don’t park between large vehicles. This might obscure your vision when you pull out and shoppers may not see you. Wear reflective clothing to make you visible in busy parking lots.
  4. Leave your car at home and take mass transitNJ TRANSIT serves many of the malls in Middlesex County and provides frequent stops.  Leave the driving to them and enjoy your shopping.

Wishing all of our friends a safe and joyous holiday season.

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is here! Along with all the costumes, preparation, and candy, we need to keep safety on our top list of priorities.  During this time of year, parents need to go over safety rules with their children before trick-or-treating begins and drivers need to be more aware than ever.

Here are some safety precautions for children, parents, and driver to follow to make this year’s Halloween a successful one.

  1. Always walk on sidewalks or paths and cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and the designated crosswalks. Look both ways when crossing and make sure your electronic devices are away so they do not take your eyes off of the road.
  2. Teach children to watch for cars that are turning or backing up, and to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  3. Younger children should not be alone at night without adult supervision. Create a parent group to go out trick-or-treating so you become a part of all the fun.
  4. Drivers need to slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods.
  5. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways, so as a driver it’s your responsibility to see them. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians, and on curbs.

Halloween is an exciting time of year for everyone. Together, we are all responsible- as pedestrians and drivers to make this year’s Halloween a safe and successful one.

Teen Driver Safety Week

National Teen Driver Safety Week is dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions to prevent teen injuries and deaths on the road. Designated by Congress to raise awareness of teen driver safety topics, encourage safe driving, and passenger behavior when driving on the road, the program is now in its 11th year!

Teens (driving or not) understand that they are vulnerable and they are well aware of the many risks that affect safety both on and off the roads. It’s our job to make sure that they understand the importance of keeping their eyes on the road at all times and that following the law is a must when it comes to driving.

Focusing on positive actions that teens can take to be safe and to keep their passengers safe, can be powerful messages for teens. In fact, it is the best way to change their behavior over time. With using a seat belt safety check or having them take a safe driving pledge, many are now using National Teen Driver Safety Week as a platform to create positive change.

This program has brought millions of people together to tackle the number one cause of death for teens in the U.S. – car crashes. Taking place this October 21-27, make sure you get involved in National Teen Driver Safety Week by spreading the word about driving safety and other tips to help teens become more aware of the risks they can face on and off the roads.

Interested in having KMM present at your local school?  Reach out to us today and schedule your Teen Distracted Driving Safety Presentation!

Car Seat Inspection Week

Car seats and boosters provide protection for infants and children during a car crash, yet these crashes are a leading cause of death for children all over the world. This is mainly due to the improper placement of car seats and the use of the wrong size. Many parents and guardians have a lack of understanding of what car seat is right for their child.

Follow these important safety steps to choose the right seat, install it correctly, and keep your child safe at all times.

  1. Rear-Facing Car Seat: These are designed for newborns, babies, and young infants. They have a harness and, in a crash, cradles, and moves with your child to reduce the stress on their body.
  2. Forward-Facing Car Seat: Come with a harness and tether that limits your child’s forward movement during a crash. As a child grows, this seat transitions from a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether into a booster.
  3. Booster Seat: Boosts the child’s height so the seat belt fits properly and provides neck and head support. This is ideal for vehicles that don’t have headrests or high seat backs.
  4. All-in-One Seat: This seat can change from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat and to a booster seat as your child grows. Since it is used with children of various sizes, it allows children to stay in the rear-facing position longer.
  5. Seat Belt: Once your child outgrows car seats altogether, seat belts become their protector. The seat belt should lie across the upper thighs, be snug across the shoulder and chest of your child. This way it will properly restrain your child safe during a crash.

Remember, it is the driver’s responsibility to take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of the passengers in their car- especially when it comes to children. This week, you will have the opportunity to examine your child’s car seat during National Car Seat Inspection Week. It is very important to choose and use the right car seat for your child because after all, they cannot make the decision for themselves.

Importance of Your Seat Belt

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among those aged 1-55 in the U.S and it’s a growing issue all over the world. It is one of the top causes of severe injuries, which can lead to hospitalization and other serious consequences. Most of these injuries and fatalities can be prevented by simply wearing your seat belt.

You are more than likely already familiar with the fact that wearing a seat belt can save your life. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat belts reduce the risk of death in vehicle accidents by around 50%. This being the most important reason you should always have a seat belt buckled around you.

There are plenty of other reasons why you should always wear a seat belt when it comes to your safety. Some other reasons include:

  1. It’s the law. If you are caught not wearing your seat belt, you could find yourself facing expensive fines, points on your license and other consequences.
  2. Air bags. Air bags become more effective if the person is wearing his or her seat belt. Not wearing your seat belt allows your body to move and shift out of the proper position in which an airbag can protect you during a collision.
  3. Seat belts are best known for protection. They protect and prevent you from being thrown from the vehicle, from hitting the windshield and keeping your body in place.

Seat belt use is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries during motor vehicle crashes. Yet millions of people do not buckle up on every trip. It’s important to remember that your actions don’t just affect you, but others driving too. Any time you are on the road, make safe decisions and make wearing your seat belt a priority!

Shared Safety Tips for the School Year

With back-to-school mode in full swing, you may have noticed more traffic congestion.  And along with traffic congestion, we are sharing the roads with school buses, bicyclists, and parents rushing to drop their kids off at school. Sharing the road and following these simple safety precautions will ensure a safe school year:

  1. Look before you go. More kids are hit by cars/buses near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School Program. Both the parent and student should look for cars, making sure that the area near the school is clear before getting out of the car.
  2. Give the right away. For drivers passing by, make sure you give the pedestrians the right away when crossing the street, whether they are walking or biking. Always come to a complete stop and watch for kids when you are approaching a school zone with flashing pedestrian signs. This means kids are in the area and it’s your job as a driver to be aware.
  3. Be smart. Kids that walk, ride their bikes or take the school bus need to ensure their safety. Those crossing the street, always use a crosswalk and look both ways to see if cars/buses are approaching. Those taking the bus, make sure you are standing away from the curb when a bus is pulling up or driving away, that way you don’t get hit.

Together, we are all responsible – as pedestrians and drivers, to make this year’s back to school a safe return for everyone!

August 30th is National Beach Day!

Everyone loves a trip to the beach, right? Watching the waves crashing, children playing in the sand, and feeling the warmth of the sun makes for the perfect beach day!

It’s such a great experience that we should always ensure the enjoyment it brings to everyone headed down the shore.

Every year, millions of aquatic/shore animals die from trash and debris left behind by beachgoers. It is important that everyone enjoying their day at the beach take the time to leave no trace of their fun once it’s over. Simply cleaning up after yourself and picking up waste reduces the risk of animals being trapped or tangled in trash. This also lessens the chance that their homes will be destroyed by garbage, allowing them to swim freely and live a longer healthier life.

Not only does cleaning up help protect the animals; it keeps the waters cleaner and safer for you to be in. Whether you swim, dive, or surf, being in the water with garbage floating around doesn’t make the experience a pleasant one. If you see trash laying in the sand, plastic bottles in the water or anything that could be dangerous, throw it out properly. You can do this by using a garbage can or recycle bin to dispose of the trash. Having cleaner waters doesn’t allow as many toxins to spread which overall makes swimming safer for everyone.

Celebrate your love for the shore this Thursday, August 30 on National Beach Day! This national holiday is meant to not only celebrate the beauty of the beach but also call attention to keeping the waters clean and safe for everyone. Be sure you do your part by keeping the beaches clean for the animals that live there and for all the generations of beachgoers to come!

Heads Up! Phones Down!

Distracted Walking is a growing problem all over the world. Each year, more and more people are injured while walking because of texting, talking or listening to music while on their cell phones. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, there were nearly 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 2017 as a result of distracted walking. How do we stop this number from growing?

Not looking ahead of you can cause you to trip, fall, or even end up in the hospital with serious injuries. Staying aware of your surroundings, big or small, inside or outside, can help prevent accidents from occurring.

Many pedestrians are losing focus on things happening around them and are putting their safety as well as the safety of others at risk because of being on their cell phones. Too many pedestrians rely on cars stopping for them, which causes the number of cell phone use while walking to go up. It is wrong for pedestrians to assume that motorists will always hear and see them. Too many times motorists are not aware of pedestrians approaching and before anyone realizes, it could be too late.

The simple solution is for pedestrians to stop using phones while walking, anytime – anywhere!  Did you know over half of the distracted walking injuries occur in our own homes?  We need to stay aware of our surroundings at all times.

Don’t become another statistic, instead, put your phone down and keep your head up!

August is National Family Fun Month

August is National Family Fun Month, which means it’s a great opportunity to seize the remainder of summer by spending time with family. Here are some cool activities to help you and your family finish out the summer!

Take a family bike ride. Make sure everyone is wearing properly fitted helmets and all bikes are in good riding condition. Following our A B C Bicycle Safety Checklist is a great way to make sure your bikes are ready to ride.

Going on a last minute family beach trip is not only exciting, but it is the perfect way to spend a hot summer day. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and make sure you apply sunscreen to keep your skin protected from the suns UV rays.

Lace up your sneakers and take a walk with the family. Walking in the park, on the beach, or around your neighborhood is a great way to stay active together. Remember that cars do not always see pedestrians walking, so make sure you look both ways before crossing the street and always be aware of your surroundings.

After a long day at work, the thought of going out can be exhausting. To avoid this, consider having a family movie night.  Pick out your favorite family movie, get the popcorn ready, and enjoy the night together.

The month of August doesn’t have to mean back to school shopping and the thought of summer ending. Instead, spending time with your family is a great way to make the most of summer’s last days.  It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are safe and are having fun with your family!

Subway System – 25 Years in the Making

Recently, I visited my Mother in Isfahan, Iran.  Isfahan, my hometown, is a metropolitan city in the center of Iran with a regional population of 3.5 million.

The day before I was scheduled to return to the US, I decided to walk downtown and observe the changes that had occurred since I immigrated to the West 22 years ago.  I really wanted to check out the city’s subway system.

From 1982-1992, I was the Deputy Director of the State Transportation Department and Chairman of the Board of Isfahan Traffic Organization.  I was part of the team that worked on the feasibility study for the subway system.

It started with a group of volunteer professionals, including myself, willing to devote our personal time to the dream of a modern transportation system in our town.  We compiled data which documented the urgent need for a subway to supplement the existing but inadequate public transit system, the limited capacity of city streets, and increasing traffic congestion.  With enthusiastic community support, we believed it could happen.  In fact, the National Traffic Council and the Congress supported the project and allocated funding for its construction.

But then, the geopolitical landscape changed.  There was no money to move forward.

I had heard that the subway had finally been completed and opened in October 2015.  The subway system stretches along 7.5 miles of track with 10 stations.  Currently, there is a plan to add about 25 miles and 3 more lines.  Now, I was ready to see it for myself.

The train was on time, and the ride was so quiet and comfortable. The stations look clean and pleasant with beautiful designs of cultural artworks, escalators running to and from the street, good signage and guide maps, and other amenities for riders.  With a feeling of great accomplishment and a little pride, I bought a ticket and took a ride on the subway I never thought would be constructed.

As I rode, I thought of my colleagues, our work, our vision, and our determination all those years ago.  And, I remembered an old saying “Every Accomplishment Starts with the Decision to Try.”

 

Written by Morteza Ansari, KMM Transportation Planner