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

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

Is Your Child in the Right Car Seat?

Picture Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps

Picture Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps

Every 33 seconds, one child under the age of 13 is involved in a motor vehicle crash.  Deaths and injuries can always be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts.  Here is what you need to know to help your family stay safe.

All children ages 12 and under should ride properly buckled up in the back seat of all motor vehicles.

All children 2 and under should always ride in a rear-facing car seat that is placed in the back seat of the vehicle.   Never place a rear-facing car seat in the front seat or in front of an airbag. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat, if they are not the proper height, weight and age.

Keep children in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible. It’s the best to remain rear- facing until they reach the maximum height or weight limit allowed for that particular car seat. Once outgrowing a rear-facing car seat, your child is now ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.

Keep children in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they have reached the maximum height or weight limit. Roughly around ages 4-7, children outgrow the forward-facing car seat, and move to a booster seat, which is still placed in the back seat.

Children should stay in booster seats until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, the lap belt must lie across the child’s thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, never across the neck or face. Once children have reached the proper height and weight to use a seat belt, remember that for the best protection they should remain in the back seat until age 12.

Back to School Safety

Picture Source: http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx

Picture Source: http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx

With #backtoschool in full swing, many of us have noticed the inevitable; more cars and more congestion.  Back to school means sharing the roads and slowing down. There are school buses picking up kids from multiple stops, kids on bikes are rushing to get to school on time, and parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

If you are someone who is dropping off your kids to school, make sure that the area is clear before letting them get out of the car. More children are hit by cars/buses near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. Before dropping off your kids be sure you are not double parked. This blocks visibility for other vehicles passing by. Do not drop off your kids across the street from their school, even though it may be more convenient for you. Carpooling is also a great way to reduce the number of vehicles around the school, which decreases the chances of a child getting hit.  Don’t block crosswalks- especially when you are stopped at a red light. Be sure to give the pedestrians the right away, whether they are walking or riding a bike. When you are in school zone and flashers are blinking, be sure to come to a complete stop and watch for children. Lastly, do your best to watch out for your children in school zones, playgrounds and residential areas, as well as the other children around them.

During school hours, there will be more and more school buses on the roads. If you are ever driving behind a school bus, you should always allow a greater following distance than you would driving behind a car. This then allows you to have more time to stop once the bus puts on it’s yellow flashing lights. Never pass a school bus if you are stopped behind them while they are picking up children. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. Passing a school bus from either direction on an undivided road, can potentially put children who are loading or unloading in danger if they are unaware that you are coming.

We are all responsible – as pedestrians and drivers, to make #backtoschool a safe return!