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!

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!

A B C – Bicycle Safety Check List

Bicycle riding is fun, healthy, and a great way to get some fresh air. Before riding, you should always inspect your bike to make sure all parts are secure and working properly.

A great way to do this is by following our A B C – Bicycle Safety Checklist:

  • Air- Always check the air pressure in your bicycle tires before you start riding. Pushing down with your hands on each tire lets you not only see, but also feel how much air there is and if any air needs to be added.
  • Brakes- Making sure your bicycles brakes work is essential for riding. You can simply check them by pulling the brake handles in and looking to see that your bike does not move when the handles are locked in.
  • Chains- The chains on your bicycle do more than you may think. The chain and cranks need to properly sit on your bike, move smoothly and have no rust. This will ensure that the chain works correctly and that all functions of the bike are possible.

The last thing you need to check before riding isn’t on your bicycle; it’s actually on your head! Wearing a properly fitted helmet not only protects your brain but can save your life. A properly fitted helmet should have no gaps between your temples and brow pads; the chinstrap should be snug and it should only allow one finger to be able to fit under the strap.

Before each bike ride, be sure to follow the A B C – Bicycle Safety Checklist and ride safe and ride worry free!

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.

Red, White, and Blue ~ Happy 4th of July!

Fourth of July festivities are celebrated in so many ways, here in New Jersey.  Some mark the holiday by hosting a  barbecue, taking a trip to the beach or lake, seeing a firework show, or taking in a parade.  No matter how or where you celebrate, keep these safety tips in mind.

Hosting a barbecue? Remember to always keep an eye on the grill – before, during, and after grilling.  Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, tree branches, or anything that could potentially catch fire.

Maybe the Jersey shore or west Jersey Lake is scheduled for the 4th?  Apply sunscreen prior to being exposed to the sun and be sure to stay hydrated.  Reapply after several hours in or out of the water.  Whether in the ocean or lake, obey all warnings and safety messages – especially rip current warnings at the shore!

If fireworks are a part of your Fourth of July tradition, remember to park or stand in designated areas.  If you are tailgating and the venue allows alcohol, please drink responsibly and designate a driver.  Remind children to be aware of their surroundings too. And most importantly, steer clear of any fireworks that may have misfired.

No matter what you do or where you go this 4th of July, remember that most roads may see more traffic. Be mindful of others on the road, watch your speed, don’t use your cell phone while driving and most importantly, do not drink and drive.  If you are taking mass transit, remember that some trains and buses run on holiday schedules so be sure to check before you leave.

Enjoy the Fourth of July, have fun, stay safe and celebrate America’s birthday!

Stop! Before you go!

Doesn’t it seem that everyone on the road is in a rush to get somewhere?  Some are in such a hurry that they even disobey stop sign laws!

Recently, we have been noticing (and commuters have shared with us) that drivers are not completing full stops when approaching stop signs.  Many drivers tend to approach a stop sign, slow down, and then round off the turn without completely stopping. This is illegal and extremely dangerous!   Stop signs are put in place for everyone’s safety. Not only for the safety of the driver but for the safety of pedestrians, cyclist, and all others as well. Driving or rolling through a stop sign endangers everyone at the intersection.

Need to brush-up on stop sign laws?  Here is what you need to know:

  1. Come to a complete stop at a stop sign. The law specifies drivers need to stop “within five feet of the nearest crosswalk or stop line marked upon the pavement at the near side of the intersecting street.”
  2. Yield to the person on the right if you both arrive at the intersection at the same time.

It is everyone’s duty at the stop sign to follow the laws set in place.  Reaching your destination, despite how late you are, is not worth an accident.  Come to a complete stop at a stop sign.  For your safety and the safety of others!

Summer Pet Safety

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and you just spent part of your day tossing tennis balls to your furry friend at the park. Heading home, you realize you need to pick up a few things from the supermarket; it should only take about five minutes. Sure, the sun is shining and it is about 80 degrees, but it will only be a few minutes, so there is no harm in leaving your friend in the car, right?

WRONG. You never leave your pet in a car on a warm day.

Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion as a result of being left in parked cars on warm days.  On a 75-degree day, the inside of a parked car can climb to 110 degrees in only minutes. In 20 minutes on a 90-degree day, the same car can get up to 130 degrees inside which is unsafe for humans and animals. You may think cracking the windows will help your pet, but the truth is that opened windows make very little difference to the inside temperature of your car.

Heatstroke is the main danger for pets in hot cars. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting. If they are stuck in a hot car, the cool air they receive is little to none and makes cooling down much harder.

Like most busy pet parents, you may be pressed for time and think that surely it’s okay to leave your pet for just a few minutes. The excuses: “Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store,” or “But I cracked the windows…” do not amount to much if your pet becomes seriously ill or dies from being left in a car.

If you love your furry friend as much as they love you, rethink leaving them in the car the next time you are out on a warm, sunny day.

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!

Call When You Can …Text When You Can’t

On February 16, 1968, State Senator Rankin Fite phoned the police chief in Haleyville, Alabama. hq720 Though the men had spoken before, this call was different.  It was the first time 9-1-1, the new nationwide emergency number was used.  Eleven years earlier, the National Association of Fire Chiefs proposed the designation of an emergency call number which was unique, easy to remember, and easy to dial.

Today, 9-1-1 is the universal emergency number in the US, Canada, parts of Mexico, the Philippines, and beyond.  Other countries may use a different emergency number sequence.  When travelling abroad, learn the universal emergency number for the area you are visiting.

The National Emergency Number Association estimates that 240 million 9-1-1 calls are made annually in the US.  And, 70% of those are made on wireless devices.  To make it easier for wireless callers to access 9-1-1, NJ introduced Text to 9-1-1 last fall.  The ability to text is helpful to those unable to talk in an emergency and to those with hearing impairments or speech disorders.

How to send a 9-1-1 text

  • Open the message app on or phone or wireless device
  • In the “To” field, type “911” with no punctuation
  • In the message field, type the location (address and municipality) and a brief description of the problem (ex. 123 Main St Franklin I hear someone breaking in)
  • Press “Send”
  • Be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 9-1-1 call taker.  Keep text messages brief and concise.

 

When to text 9-1-1

If you have a speech or hearing impairment, notify 9-1-1 so they can inform responders

If speaking may cause you harm such as a break-in or domestic violence.  REMEMBER OT SILENCE YOUR PHONE SO THE SOUND OF THE 9-1-1 REPLY DOESN’T GIVE YOU AWAY.

If you are with a group and some members are doing something dangerous or illegal

If lack of service makes a voice call impossible, you may be able to get data service to send a text

DO NOT attempt to send videos or photos.  Limit your message to TEXT ONLY. Be as specific as possible about your location.  Provide as much of the following as possible:

  •                 Exact address including unit/apartment number and city
  •                 Business name
  •                 Names of both streets at the nearest intersection
  •                 Landmarks

Once you have begun texting, do no end the session until then 9-1-1 operator instructs you to do so.  Text to 9-1-1 cannot include more than 1 person. Do not copy your emergency to anyone other than

9-1-1. Wait until you are safe to notify others.  Translation services for text to 9-1-1 are not available.  Text in English only.

 

Winter is Here!

Car tires on winter road covered with snow

The winter is upon us and sooner or later, New Jersey will see itself covered in a freezing blanket of billowy snow. But as New Jersians, life doesn’t just stop because of a few flakes (or feet) of the white stuff. Getting your car “winter ready” before the first snow will ensure you’re ready to face the road ahead. Ensure vehicle fluids are changed, tires are checked or replaced, and ensure all exterior lights are in proper working order. Then follow these driving tips if you need to travel in the cold and snow:

  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Most vehicles keep the tire pressure information on the driver side door panel.
  • Check and replace (if necessary) windshield wipers.
  • Top off wiper fluid.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Do not use cruise control in wet, wintery, icy weather.
  • Avoid hard breaking in wet weather as this can make your vehicle spin out of control.
  • Look and steer in the direction you want to go.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds.
  • Keep non-clumping kitty litter or wood chips in the trunk of your vehicle. This will help your tires gain traction if you become stuck in snow.
  • When traveling long distances, make sure to keep a blanket, flash light, water, and snacks in your vehicle in case you become stranded.
  • When in doubt, stay home. If driving conditions make it extremely difficult to travel, please do not attempt to go out.

For more information on winter driving visit http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/#.WG0-FxsrJPY