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!

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!

Sharing the Road ~Together

Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians – We all use the roads and we’d each prefer to do so without the other in the way.

Sometimes our own actions or the actions of others around us can put us in danger, especially when it comes to sharing the road. Although it is often unintentional, forgetting basic road etiquette can cause yourself or another harm and injury. Here are some safety tips that every motorist should know about sharing the roads:

  1. Drivers look for pedestrians when making turns, right? So why not take a couple extra seconds to look for a cyclist? The cyclist has the right of way if they are going straight and the driver is turning right.
  2. Pedestrians have responsibilities too. They should always avoid walking distracted.  Keep earbud volume low enough to hear oncoming traffic and do not text and walk.
  3. If you are a driver approaching pedestrians and/or cyclists, wait to pass them until you have a clear view ahead and are sure there’s no oncoming traffic. A little bit of patience could save your life.
  4. Signal your turns and do it in plenty of time. Using turn signals is not only a law for drivers but for cyclists as well. By using hand signals to determine which way you are turning, this can alert drivers, other cyclists, and pedestrians when they see you coming.

When you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, riding a bike or motorcycle, driving safely should always be your top concern. It’s crucial to know the basics of safe driving and practice them every time you’re on the road.  This will ensure that everyone can travel and stay safe together.

Happy National Selfie Day!

June 21st is National Selfie Day! It’s a cinch to participate in this holiday. Just pose, snap, and post.

But most importantly, take that selfie safely.  Here’s how:

If you take a trip to the beach, getting the waves crashing behind you is a great way to show how you are spending your summer day.   Be sure to scan the area for any riptides and heed any lifeguard warnings.  Hold on tight to your phone too.  That wave crashing behind you can be far stronger than you think!

If you are going for a bike ride, the possibilities are endless of what you can share – action shots, landscapes, and your very cool bike gear.  While all these shots can be epic, it’s smarter to pull over and snap that picture than to take the picture while biking.

Spending the day walking with co-workers for lunch or dinner alfresco with friends? There is plenty to capture and share too.  Just remember to not snap and post that perfect selfie while walking.

Most importantly be aware of your surroundings.  That big smile you’ll post on social media for all to see should be fun and worry-free.   So snap that pic, and Get your Selfie on!

Ready, Set, Run!

Lace your sneakers. Check your watch. Stretch your legs.  But before taking a lap around your block, check out our running safety tips:

Do Not Run Alone. Having a friend or dog with you as a running partner will make you a less attractive target for potential attackers. This also helps inspire others to join you while being active and having fun.

Run Against Traffic. This helps prevent traffic related accidents, especially if you are someone who likes to run early in the morning or at dusk.

Look Both Ways. At any time during your run, be sure to look both ways before crossing the street. Staying aware of oncoming traffic and cars that may not see you.

Always Bring Your Cellphone. Having your cellphone handy while running is the best way to communicate with others in case of any accident or emergency.

Know Where You Are Going. Running confidently not only displays confidence but also allows you to enjoy your run without any confusion or disruptions.

It does not matter how fast you run or how far you may go. The most important thing is that you have fun and participate in safe ways. June 6th is National Running Day and the day promotes simply putting one foot in front of the other so you can get moving.

Put on your running shoes, grab your running partner and embrace the day!

Everyone Needs to Know the Rules of the Road

 

East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen welcomed 35 municipal officials and police officers to the Township’s Cultural Center in October to discuss The Rules of the Road, a pedestrian safety seminar sponsored by KMM.  Bill Neary, Executive Director, and others discussed the various motorist and pedestrian safety programs available from KMM.

Will Yarzab of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority introduced Street Smart.  This statewide community-based campaign educates motorists and pedestrians about safe behaviors such as using crosswalks, waiting for the walk signal, obeying speed limits, and stopping for pedestrians.  And, everyone must avoid distractions.  Communities may enhance Street Smart with KMM’s pedestrian Safety Flags or Paint the Pavement programs.

Teenagers are the primary audience for KMM’s Distracted Driving presentation.  Videos and interactive exercises emphasize the importance of paying attention when driving.  Youngsters can benefit from Safe Routes to School which includes walk and bike to school events, bike rodeos, and classroom activities.  Senior citizens will enjoy “The Jay Walker Show” which reminds participants of safe walking tips.

Jay Muldoon, Borough Administrator for Metuchen, pulled all of the programs together as he described his experiences with KMM.

For more information, please contact Program Coordinator Arlene Holt at aholt@kmm.org or 732-745-4368.

Be Street Smart and Save Lives

In December 2017, in conjunction with Mayor Brad Cohen of East Brunswick, KMM conducted a #BeStreetSmartNJ pedestrian safety education campaign aimed at increasing awareness and education in busy shopping centers during the busiest part of the year – holiday shopping!

The Street Smart NJ campaign is a collaborative effort among public, private and non-profit organizations and comes at a significant time. New Jersey is ranked 15th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities in 2015, according to a recent report from Governors Highway Safety Association. The federal government has designated New Jersey a “focus” state and has provided funding to help NJ combat its higher-than-average pedestrian fatality rate.

East Brunswick joins over 40 towns across NJ, including Metuchen, Woodridge and Middlesex Borough, that have implemented Street Smart campaigns.  This Spring, the Borough of Milltown will join the growing list of cities committed to pedestrian and driver safety.  For more information, please contact Director of Operations at rkarpinecz@kmm.org or 732-745-4490.

Make the Most of Family Fun Month!

Now that it’s August, summer may feel like it’s over. Back to school shopping has already begun and vacations are coming to an end. However, that doesn’t mean that the summer fun has to stop!

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

IMG_2188Day trips are a great way to spend time with the family. If you checked the weather forecast and it’s going to be hot/sunny, then plan a trip to the beach. Enjoy the fresh air and the cool water. If the water isn’t your families thing, then a trip to the zoo is something that is both lively and educational. A competitive game of miniature golf can be fun or even a trip to an amusement park can make for much laughter and fun.  But before you take any of these trips, make sure to download the #njtrafficapp. This FREE app allows you to see the road conditions across NJ and helps you plan accordingly.

Jump on your bicycles and take a family bike ride.  Make sure everyone is wearing properly fitted helmets and all bikes are in good riding condition.  Bring plenty of water and sunscreen and discover new ways to appreciate your neighborhood.  If you are more adventurous, visit NJ Family Biking for a complete list of trails to ride.

Have Pokemon fans in your house?  Lace up your sneakers and take a walk with the family.  Most public places provide ample Pokemon balls and critters are everywhere to be found.  Just be sure to review pedestrian safety tips before you head out.

And when the day is coming to close, consider having a family movie night.  Pick out your favorite family movie, get the popcorn ready and relax with the kids!

Spending time with family is a great way to make memories that will last with you for the rest of your life. Make sure to take part in August Family Fun Month. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are safe and are having fun with your family!

Learning A Lesson the Hard Way

Almost everyone has been told – never text and walk – especially me. And sadly, most people don’t listen to these warnings – also me.

I’m here to tell you my story of texting and walking.

Like most kids, I play a sport. My sport is swimming. I swim five days a week so you can often find me on my way to swim practice or at swim practice.  On this particular day, I was leaving for practice and was talking to my friend, via text. I swung my bag over my shoulder and started to walk outside, still texting my friend.

As I walked down the steps, still texting and not looking where I was walking, I missed a step and twisted my foot. It hurt, badly but I continued to practice. When I got into my bathing suit and looked at my ankle,  it was red. When I got in the pool and started swimming, my ankle exploded with pain. I had to get out and ice it for the entire practice.  This was not good.kmm

The next day, with the pain still there,  I had to miss school.  I was upset – not about missing school, but the fact that in just three days I was to compete in my swim silver bronze championships.  I train all year round.  I wasn’t going to miss this.

Being the person I am, I swam in the swim meet, but didn’t do as well as I normally do.  All this pain because of one silly mistake I made. If I had put my phone down for just two seconds, I would’ve never slipped and got hurt.

You may say – you could’ve just slipped or it’s just one incident. But it truly isn’t. People all over the world are texting and walking and getting hurt much worse than a twisted ankle, and facing much worse consequences than missing school or doing poorly at a swim meet.

So put the phone down for one minute. It could save your life.

 

Guest post: IRF on #takeyourchildtoworkday2016