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!

Keep the Privilege – Drive by the Rules!

Picture Source: https://www.lakecountyfl.gov/media/news_releases/news_release.aspx?id=1962
Picture Source*

Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 14-18 in the US?

In fact, in 2014, there were a total of 2,614 teen drivers (ages 15-19) involved in fatal crashes. There was an estimated 130,000 teens injured in motor vehicle crashes. Would you be prepared if your child was seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash?

A recent survey done by the National Center for Health Statistics, shows that only 25% of all parents have a serious talk with their children about the key components of driving; the positives and the dangers that they can face while on the road. This need to change.  All parents need to take the time to talk with their children about the many dangers of driving including alcohol, seat belts, using your phone, speeding, and extra passengers.

Impaired driving is one of the main reasons why teen drivers get into car accidents. Their vision, hearing and all other senses are off. Not being able to focus the correct way can cause drivers to swerve into other lanes, avoid spot signs and even prevent them from seeing other cars/pedestrians coming their way.

Here are 3 things you should cover with  your teen drivers before they go out on the road:

1. No one should drive after drinking alcohol or using drugs.

2. Even if the driver seems okay, do not accept a ride from someone who has been drinking or using drugs.

3. If you feel unsafe, call a friend or family member to pick you up before you get on the road.

 

* https://www.lakecountyfl.gov/media/news_releases/news_release.aspx?id=1962

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!

Showing Courtesy

Everyone knows the situation; seated at a table having lunch with one party who is constantly checking their cell phone.cell-phone

Frustrating and Rude!

Most people believe that they have good mobile manners. However, this isn’t always the case. Responding to texts, emails, and taking calls seem to be take precedent over live interaction. People become irritated by the use of cell phones in public places.

While we can’t change everyone’s bad habits, let’s bring some attention to it.  July is Cell Phone Courtesy Month and let’s start with ourselves. We can accomplish this by following a few tips for cell phone etiquette.

When you are engaged face-to-face with others, during a meeting or conversation, don’t check your cell phone for texts or emails. You should give them your complete and undivided attention. Concentrate on the person(s) you are having the conversation with.

Be sure to set your cell phone volume to silent or vibrate when in a meeting, courtroom, theater, place of worship and especially while driving. There is no message or call that is so important to check during this time.

Do yourself a favor and don’t embarrass yourself in public. If you know that you have an important call to make, that may become emotional or intense, save it for another time. You want to make sure you are in a private place, not in public where everyone can hear you.

Finally, don’t yell. It’s very easy to start yelling while on your cell phone. Always be mindful of your personal volume control.

If you follow these simple tips for the month of July, everyone will appreciate your mobile manners!

Chocolate Pick-Me-Up

Picture source: listovative.com
Picture source: listovative.com

Many of us have been there; having an extremely productive day at the office that we often lose track of time.  As we hurriedly grab a bite to eat, we get back to our tasks at hand. That is – until the afternoon slumber sets in.

Your attitude completely changes and you have little to no motivation left to get through the day.

If your’re someone who’s constantly fighting the urge to nap after lunch, then have I the perfect pick-me-up snack.

Chocolate!

If you are looking to gain some energy back to get you through the rest of your day, a chocolate bar will do the trick. Besides chocolate being comfort food, chocolate is also proven to boost energy levels and memory skills. Just what you need to finish up your work day.

Today (July 7) we celebrate Chocolate Day. One of the most delightful unofficial holidays celebrated by chocolate lovers all over the world. A day where we indulge in the mouth-watering taste of all things chocolate related.

So step away from your computer and grab some chocolate to celebrate.  Not only show your appreciation for this midday snack, but importantly get through your work day!

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

Halloween Pedestrian and Driver Safety Tips

halloween safety tips The ghosts, monsters and other creatures walking the streets on Oct. 31 aren’t the most frightful thing about Halloween. Here’s a scary fact: Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for children walking on roadways across the country.

Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that children are four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween. That makes following safe pedestrian and driver practices all the more important as children set out to trick or treat this year.

The Street Smart NJ campaign wants to make sure that costumes are the only thing causing a scare this year. Be sure to follow these tips to make your Halloween happy and safe.

For Pedestrians

• Make sure costumes don’t impair your child’s ability to walk or see. KidsHealth.org warns against wearing masks that can limit visibility.

• Before crossing look left, right, and then left again.

• Use sidewalks. When there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

• Be visible. The Safe Kids Worldwide campaign suggests adding reflective tape to costumes or having children carry a light or glow stick. A survey by the group found that only 18 percent of parents have their children use safety lighting on Halloween.

• Cross at corners and intersections and use marked crosswalks when possible.

For Drivers

• Obey the speed limit. AAA suggests driving 5 mph below the posted speed limit on Halloween.

• Stop for pedestrians. New Jersey law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in cross-walks. Violations of the law carry a $200 fine and two points on your license.

• Don’t drive distracted. New Jersey prohibits talking and texting while driving. Fines range from $200 for first-time offenders to as much as $800 for repeat offenders.

• Drive sober. On Halloween Night between 2009 and 2013, 119 people were killed by drunk driving, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration.

Want more suggestions on how to stay safe? Check out our Street Smart Safety Tips page.

This post was written and created by Street Smart NJ Pedestrian Safety Campaign in conjunction with NJTPA.

 

The Best Commute in New Jersey

kmm guest post blogI boast to myself often, and sometimes to co-workers, that I have the best commute in New Jersey!   My name is Sam Gilbert, and I bicycle several days a week from Middlesex Borough to the Johnson and Johnson campus in New Brunswick.  Approximately 6 miles of my 9 mile commute is along the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath. I enter the towpath at the Queen’s Bridge in South Bound Brook, and exit it at the Landing Lane Bridge.  And, it is a truly a pleasurable ride.

I average 70 or 80 bike commutes a year, excluding the winter.   Though I carry rain gear in my back pack when the weather is “iffy,” I tend to ride on days when the weather reports are favorable.  And, in case you’re wondering, I do have access to a shower at work!!

An added treat is the wildlife I enjoy along the canal.  A casual birder, I have seen herons, osprey, a great Horned Owl, a Bald Eagle and more!  Deer are a given.  But, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, muskrats are also to be seen.  And then, there are the beavers.

KMM guest post blogIn the past few years, there has been a population explosion of Beavers in NJ. I’ve seen few of them along the canal in the past.   But this year, beavers are swimming in the canal almost every day! There is beaver hut on the bank of the canal approximately 100 yards south of the footbridge near where Demott Lane meets the canal.  A beaver is often seen in this area, and I see another near the Landing Lane Bridge.  I suspect there is a beaver hut in this area.

“The best bicycle commute in NJ?  OK, maybe I exaggerate, but only slightly.   I REALLY do enjoy my ride.  Perhaps some other NJ Bike commuters will share their experiences of cycling to work.  If there is a better bicycle commute than mine, I’d sure like to read about it.

Post written by guest blogger, S. Gilbert.  Photos by guest blogger, S. Gilbert