Summer Driving Safety: Tips for Safe and Enjoyable Road Trips

Summer is the perfect time for hitting the road and embarking on exciting road trips. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a long cross-country adventure, it’s important to prioritize safety while enjoying the journey. Here are some tips for safe and enjoyable summer driving.

1. Get your vehicle ready: Before hitting the road, make sure your vehicle is in good condition. Check the oil, brakes, tires, and other essential systems. If you’re going on a long trip, consider getting a professional inspection to ensure your vehicle is roadworthy.

2. Plan your route: Plan your route ahead of time, including rest stops, meals, and accommodations. Check for road closures, construction zones, and weather conditions along your route. A well-thought-out plan can help you stay on track and avoid unnecessary delays.

3. Take breaks and rest: Long hours of driving can be tiring, so taking regular breaks and getting enough rest is crucial. Fatigue can impair your reaction time and decision-making skills, increasing the risk of accidents. Take breaks every two hours or 100 miles, and get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road.

4. Wear your seatbelt: This may seem obvious, but wearing your seatbelt is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect yourself in case of an accident. Please ensure everyone in your vehicle always wears their seatbelt, regardless of how short the trip may be.

5. Stay focused on driving: Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. Avoid using your phone, texting, or engaging in other activities that take your attention away from the road. If you need to use your phone or GPS, pull over to a safe location before doing so.

6. Stay within the speed limit: Speeding is a major factor in many accidents. Observe posted speed limits and adjust your speed to match the road conditions. Remember, arriving at your destination safely is better than rushing and risking an accident.

7. Stay hydrated and have snacks: Like any other season, staying hydrated is important for safe driving. Dehydration can affect your concentration and alertness. Keep plenty of water and healthy snacks on hand to stay hydrated and maintain energy levels.

8. Be prepared for emergencies: Pack an emergency kit that includes a first aid kit, a flashlight, extra water, a spare tire, a jack, and jumper cables. Also, ensure you have a fully charged phone, a map or GPS, and a roadside assistance plan in case of unexpected situations.

9. Be cautious in extreme weather: Summer can bring severe weather conditions such as thunderstorms, heavy rain, and intense heat. Be careful while driving in adverse weather and adjust your driving accordingly. If the weather becomes too severe, find a safe place to pull over and wait it out.

10. Enjoy the journey: Road trips are about exploring new places and creating memories. Take time to enjoy the journey and the scenery along the way. Take breaks to stretch your legs, take pictures, and soak in the experience.

In conclusion, following these summer driving safety tips can help ensure that your road trip is enjoyable and safe. Remember to get your vehicle ready, plan your route, take breaks and rest, wear your seatbelt, stay focused on driving, obey speed limits, stay hydrated, be prepared for emergencies, be cautious in extreme weather, and most importantly, enjoy the journey. Have a fantastic and safe summer road trip!

Home Fire Escape Plans

Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. 

  • Why do you need a home escape plan?
  • Working smoke alarms and a home fire escape plan can reduce your risk of injury or death in a fire.
  • Most fatal fires happen in homes.
  • When fire strikes you may have less than one minute to get out of the building. 
  • Fires double in size every minute.
  • Fires create thick, black, choking smoke which makes it impossible to see or breathe.
  • Fires produce heat, smoke and toxic gases.
  • In the event of fire, time is the biggest enemy, and every second counts. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can turn into a major fire. Having an escape plan will help you and your family to get out of your home quickly. Practice E.D.I.T.H. — Exit Drills in the Home — with your family.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Below are guidelines on how to write your home fire escape plan. As your insurance agent, we strongly encourage you to follow these steps and create a plan for your own home. 
  • Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home. Show all doors and windows.
  • Visit each room, find two ways out, including windows and doors, and mark them.  
  • All windows and doors should open easily. You should be able to use them to get outside.
  • Push the test button on each smoke alarm to make sure each alarm is working. Replace the batteries where needed. 
  • Pick a meeting place outside. It should be in front of your home. Everyone will meet at the
  • meeting place.
  • Make sure your house or building number can be seen from the street.
  • Talk about your plan with everyone in your home.
  • Learn the emergency phone number for your fire department.
  • Practice your home fire drill!

Watch these steps to making a home fire escape plan from the National Fire Protection Agency. 

According to an NFPA survey, only one of every three American households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. While 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 45% of those have practiced it. One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

Source: 

https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/FPW/Educate/2019/FPW19Grid.ashx  

https://fire.arlingtonva.us/safety/escape-plans/  

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Preparedness/Escape-planning 

https://www.gohealthuc.com/library/does-your-family-have-fire-escape-plan

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/create-and-practice-a-home-escape-plan

Grilling Tips for Safety

As the weather warms and summer returns,  it’s time to GRILL!   There are risks that come along with grilling, regardless of which type of grill you are using. Every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using  barbecue grills. It’s usually a case of good products used incorrectly. You can prevent grilling accidents and insurance claims by ‘brushing up’ on these tips. 

1. Only use your grill outside and keep it at least 10 feet away from your house. Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills. Keeping a 3-foot safe zone around your grill will also keep kids and pets safe. 

2. Clean your grill regularly and after each use to remove grease that can start a fire. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they will provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.

3. Check for gas leaks. You can check for gas leaks by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that’s a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough. Only light your gas grill with the lid OPEN!

4. Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today’s decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.

5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. If you have a minor flare-up, you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won’t harm your food, so dinner won’t be ruined!

6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill. And, KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don’t waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job. 

7. Keep an eye on your grill, fire pit or patio torches. Don’t walk away from them when they are lit.

Keep in mind that when you grill, you are playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents. The National Fire Prevention Association says an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling each year. There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking these simple precautions. The grilling safety tips above can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.