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!

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!

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!

Dreaming of a Mall Holiday?

Photo Credit: USA Today
Photo Credit: USA Today

Ah the holidays, “the most wonderful time of the year.”  You’ve made your list.  You’ve checked it twice.  Sure, you’ve ordered some gifts online but it just not the same as shopping at a brick and mortar store.  You love the carols and decorated windows.  You enjoy sharing smiles and warm greetings with other shoppers, indulging in a hot cocoa and cookie, and carrying festive bags to your car.  So, you’re off to the mall.

That’s when the dream begins to unravel.  Before you can hear the jingle bells, see the glittery displays, and drink your hot cocoa, you have to park your car.  Can there be a worse place than a retail parking lot in December?

It’s mayhem from the moment you enter the lot until the moment you leave.  AAA Mid-Atlantic offers some great tips for navigating the mall parking lot:

Play the outfield.  Everyone wants a space near the door and many will fight for the right to park upfront.  Head to the back of the lot.  Usually, the outlying area has more open spaces, lighter traffic, and a lower risk of collision.  But, remote spaces may be less secure, so be mindful of the risks particularly returning to your car at night.  If you’re shopping alone and have a number of packages, ask a mall security guard to accompany you to your car.

See and be seen.  Use your headlights when searching for a space in a parking garage. Avoid parking between a pair of SUVs or minivans as it might be hard to back out of the space.

Remember where you’ve parked.   Choose a well-lit area to park during early morning hours and at night.  Pay attention to where you’ve parked, noting signs and markers.  Take a picture with your smartphone.  When returning to your car, have your keys in hand and check the car’s interior before entering the vehicle.  Use a penlight at night.

Stay on track and be alert.  When behind the wheel always watch for pedestrians, especially small children.  Pedestrians should use walkways and crosswalks, if available.  If pedestrians must walk in traffic lanes, they should watch for exhaust or reverse lights – a sure sign that the vehicle is about to pull out.

Put it down.  Mobile devices distract pedestrians and can lead to unfortunate encounters with vehicles, other pedestrians, or even thieves.  Drivers, too, should stow the mobile device and pay attention to the activity around them.

Use the trunk.  It takes a thief only a few seconds to smash a car window.  Lock you purchases in the trunk, away from prying eyes.

Take transit.  Check out the bus schedules on njtransit.com.  NJ Transit is offering extended service on many popular bus routes to major malls until December 27.

If your holiday experience includes a trip to the mall, be bright, be merry, and be safe.

5 Tips for Driving in the Rain

kmm driving in the rain tipsSummer brings long days, warm weather and more time spent enjoying the outdoors.  However, the occasional (or more-like weekly, these days) thunderstorms also make their summer appearance as the skies open and deluge us with heavy, blinding rain.

While it’s safest to stay off the roads during these heavy storms, sometimes the rain comes quickly and fierce.  KMM shares with you five important tips for driving in the rain.

  1. First and foremost, drive slow and focused.
  2. If driving on a highway, drive in the center lane since water tends to pool on the left and right lanes.
  3. If your wipers are on, so should your lights.  This keeps you visible to other drivers and helps you navigate the blinding rain too!
  4. Never drive through moving water, especially if you can’t see the roadway.
  5. Follow the tread marks of the car ahead of you and make sure to keep at least 5 seconds of driving distance between you and the car ahead of you.

Interactive Transit Map Helps Figure Out How to Get Where You Want to Go

interactive mapNot sure how to get to your destination by train or bus in Middlesex County?

Check out  KMM’s  interactive map on kmm.org.  The map allows users to pinpoint their location and the mass transit available in the area.  In addition, the map also provides direct access to scheduling and fare information.

The map is designed to direct users to mass transit and the many connections available to a commuter.  For example, a commuter who may live in the southern area of Middlesex County and commutes to North Jersey can find that instead of driving the turnpike or parkway alone, can park at the Exit 8a park and ride lot and take one of the many buses that travels into Newark and then connect to the Northeast Corridor Train line in Secaucus Junction.

In addition to mass transit, the map also provides bike locker, bike baths, municipal centers and all libraries located in the county.  The KMM interactive map is a commuter’s friend.

Visit the site today and get started on easier commute.

New Jersey Kick-offs New Pedestrian Safety Pilot Program

streetsmartStreet Smart urges all roadway users to obey vital roadway signs to prevent crashes

A new pedestrian safety pilot program is underway in Newark, Woodbridge, Hackettstown, and Jersey City. The “Street Smart” campaign, a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations, urges motorists and pedestrian to “check your vital signs” to improve your safety on the road.

The “vital signs” message reminds both drivers and pedestrians to pay attention and adhere to posted signage, which will make travel safer for all roadway users. For motorists, that means observing posted speed limits and stop signs, and stopping for pedestrians in marked crosswalks. If you’re on foot, use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal. If everyone heeded these signs, crashes could be prevented and lives saved. The message may seem simple, but it’s vitally important.

The campaign is long overdue. New Jersey ranks 14th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities and is designated a “focus” state by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Between 2009 and 2012, 565 pedestrians were killed and more than 17,000 injured on our roadways — that translates to one death every 2.5 days and 11 injuries daily. Last year, 568 people died in motor vehicle crashes in New Jersey — 25 percent were pedestrians.

At a campaign kick-off event held November 1 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology campus in Newark, representatives from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, which is coordinating the campaign in partnership with FHWA, the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, joined with municipal and law enforcement officials, and safety and public health advocates. They unveiled the campaign message and outreach materials, and discussed the effects of speed on pedestrian safety. If a pedestrian is struck by a car going 20 mph or slower, the odds of survival are good. At speeds above 35 mph, the impact is likely to be fatal.

The campaign uses advertising, grassroots public awareness efforts and law enforcement to address pedestrian safety. Community groups are joining with businesses, schools, churches, hospitals, and non-profit organizations to post and distribute information including tips for all roadway users.

Police officers in the pilot communities are enforcing pedestrian safety laws. They’re focusing on motorists who fail to obey New Jersey’s law requiring them to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, as well as pedestrians who jaywalk. They’re also addressing speeding, illegal turns and distracted and inattentive driving and walking, which contribute to pedestrian-motor vehicle crashes.

Despite the program being piloted in these four communities, roadway users throughout New Jersey are urged to get on board. The goal of the Street Smart campaign is to reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities on all roadways. It is possible. Check your vital signs. Obey the law.  Lives are on the line.

 

credit: NJTPA

Join INN

INNIn the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, one thing was clear. Information is key and getting it fast is essential. With widespread power outages, many of our commuters depended on their smart phone to get information during and after the storm. Armed with this knowledge, KMM has completely re-invented the ETN to give subscribers a greater degree of information delivered right to their smart phones.

KMM is proud to introduce Middlesex County Information Notification Network – be in the INN and get the information you need.

INN is customizable based on the type of information the user is seeking. INN offers traffic alerts, train alerts, bus alerts, municipal alerts and ozone alerts, in addition to the many other options. Users can receive this information via text or email and can manage their profile on the KMM website.

INN provides commuters and residents with a central, easy to access information page personalized for their needs. For example, a commuter who lives in Cranbury and commutes to North Brunswick could register for not only traffic alerts, but could register for the municipal alerts for both townships. During emergencies, the commuter will receive the latest information on current road status and other information relevant to the origin and destination points.

Current ETN members have been automatically transferred to the new system without disruption in their selected customized alerts. Already, many have begun to take advantage of new types of alerts INN provides, and it’s all at no cost to subscribers.

We can’t control forces of nature but we can stay informed and connected. The KMM staff, like many of the commuters who use our services, understand the need to continually improve upon programs like INN, and we are committed to providing the most comprehensive program we can. Join INN and register for the Middlesex County Information Notification Network by visiting kmm.org/inn.

Try it! Go Car Lite!

logoFor the 8th year, Keep Middlesex Moving, (KMM), Middlesex County’s commuter services organization, is joining a worldwide movement to support Car Free Day on September 22, 2013.  Car Free Day started in Iceland, England, and France in 1995 to raise awareness about the negative impacts motor vehicles have on our environment.

KMM will kick off this initiative on September 19, 2013 at Jimmy John’s located at 8 Easton Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick.  WCTC 1410AM’s very own Tommy G will be broadcasting live from Jimmy John’s between 12pm and 3pm.  Prizes will be given away to those who stop by the location during the program run time!

On Car Free Day (9/22/13) or any day during the week of September 15th to September 28th, KMM urges commuters to take the Car Free Pledge and recommends the following alternatives:

 

Use public transportation – a train, a bus, or light rail

Ride a bike or take a walk

Carpool or Vanpool

Bring a brown bag lunch or walk to grab a bite to eat

Work from home

 

Commuters who pledge to go Car Free or Car Lite can register at www.kmm.org.  They will be entered into a drawing to win host of prizes including a $50 gift card from Magyar Bank or a Heldrich Spa Gift Certificate or State Theater New Brunswick Tickets or Rutgers Football Ticket Basket or Fragrance Basket from Firmenich Inc.!   For more information or to register for the event, log on to www.kmm.org .   Deadline for registrations is September 21, 2013.

 

 

 

The Heat is On!

ar117877265593045It’s only May and the heat is on!  The quality of the air we breathe can have huge implications on our health and well being. Ground level ozone is most dangerous during the hot summer months when strong sunlight and hot weather combine and react with ground level pollution. According to the American Lung Association, 58% of the US population live in areas with unhealthy ozone levels.

Unhealthy ozone levels can make it difficult to breath deeply and damage the airwaves. Children, the elderly, and those with lung disease are most vulnerable during elevated ozone days. Therefore it is important we take necessary precautions on those particular days and try to avoid prolonged outdoor activities.

We can also do our part to reduce ground level ozone by following some simple steps:

  1. Don’t Idle. Not only is burning gas “fuelish”, but exhaust emitted from vehicles releases carbon      dioxide into the air and contributes to climate change.
  2. Refuel during the evening and don’t “top-off” your fuel tank.
  3. Postpone mowing the lawn and grilling until later in the day.
  4. Schedule strenuous activities for early morning or late evening.
  5. Register for KMM’s Ozone Action Partnership.

The New Jersey Ozone Action Partnership is comprised of hundreds of corporations, government agencies and individuals working to reduce ground-level ozone pollution and curtail its detrimental effects on our health and the environment. As a member of the Partnership, your organization will receive an email alert on days when ground level ozone pollution is in the unhealthy range along with “tips” to help reduce ground level ozone. To register for KMM’s Ozone Action Partnership, and learn more about the Anti-Idling program, visit www.kmm.org.