We have all encountered scenarios in which other drivers make us shake our heads. People often are quick to accuse other drivers of being reckless, but if pressed, they may admit to sometimes driving recklessly themselves. If unsafe driving is everyone’s problem, what is the solution?
Our safety professionals have put together three tips that can help make sharing the road safer while getting from point A to B.
Assume you are invisible
It can be easy to assume everyone else on the road is paying attention, following traffic laws, and can see you clearly. However, that is not always the case. Next time you are expecting another driver to respect your right-of-way or let you merge into another lane, do not assume they are on the same page.
Avoid competitive driving
Whenever you are on the road, resist the urge to drive competitively. Instead, go with the flow and drive defensively. See yourself as part of a community of drivers – all trying to get to your destinations safely. Your improved driving behavior may rub off on others and help create safer conditions for everyone on the road.
Control your emotions
It may be easy to react to aggressive driving by becoming aggressive yourself. But taking the high road is often the best route. Someone cuts you off? Take a deep breath and just let it roll off your back.
Here are some ways to help prevent your emotions from getting the best of you on the roadway:
- Be patient when traffic delays slow you down.
- Keep a safe following distance behind other vehicles. You never know when someone may stop short.
- Avoid confronting aggressive drivers—be polite and courteous, even if others are not.
- Use your turn signals and leave plenty of room when turning or changing lanes.
Contact Long’s Insurance Agency today for all of your auto insurance needs… A free no hassle quote will give you strong peace of mind that you are protected on your next road adventure. Contact us Today!!
What’s a “firenado”? Just ask the residents of San Diego County, California, where wildfires have been raging since Tuesday and where several swirling vortexes of fire were spotted in photos from the front lines. A column of smoke and flames even made its ways through one San Marcos neighborhood at midday on Thursday.
“It’s just like a spinning column of flames,” National Weather Service forecaster Michael Watkins told the LA Times. Firenadoes, or “fire whirls” as they’re known in the science community, can burn fuel at a rate that’s three to seven times faster than an open flame.
As many as 14 wildfires burned in the San Diego area this week, according to Aon Benfield’s weekly natural disaster report, with early damage estimates already reaching $20 million. More than 125,000 evacuation notices were issued at the height of the fires. The Poinsettia Fire near Carlsbad destroyed eight homes, a condominium complex and two commercial buildings before being contained on Friday. In Texas, two people were killed by wildfires in the Panhandle region, where fire destroyed at least 225 homes.
Photo: Twitter/Marcus Smith
As of Friday, officials were starting to life evacuation orders is some affected areas in California and there were hopes that cooler, calmer weather over the weekend would stop the fires’ spread.
Severe weather continues in the East
Strong thunderstorms continued to ravage the Central and Eastern U.S. this week, injuring more than 10 people and causing widespread damage across 10 states. There were 60 local storm reports of tornadoes this week, as well as 330 reports of damaging winds and 348 reports of hail. Between May 10-15 “thousands” of structures were damaged, according to Aon Benfield, with economic losses in the 100s of millions.
Overseas, heavy rains in southern and eastern China this week caused widespread flooding and landslides across six provinces, killing at least three and doing an estimated US $316 million worth of damages. Some 12,000 structures were damaged or destroyed. And five were killed in Serbia and Bosnia after the heaviest rains the Balkan region has seen in 120 years destroyed thousands of structures and did millions worth of damage.
Source: Property Casualty 360
Take Precautions to Prevent Your
Computer from Being Taken Hostage
Ransomware – viruses that either lock or scramble your computer or Android device until a ransom of $300 to $400 is paid to restore functionality – is making the rounds again with a new twist: Displayed images impersonate law enforcement.
Ransomware, like other malware, arrives most commonly when you visit a malicious website or a website that’s been hacked. Victims get pop-up notices declaring that to have their files restored they must pay a ransom via money wire or Green Dot MoneyPak.
To avoid getting infected, ensure your computer’s software and anti-virus definitions are up-to-date and avoid suspicious sites. If your machine is already infected, do not pay the ransom. Instead, follow instructions provided by your anti-virus provider or contact a reputable security expert, who you’ve checked out at bbb.org, to assist in removing the malware.
Start With Trust. For more more consumer tips and information, visit bbb.org.
If life insurance wasn’t a priority before, it will become one if your health declines. The combination of realizing the most important people in your life are financially dependent on you and you are no longer invincible is a wake-up call for many.
Most consumers with health issues admit that getting life insurance while they were young and healthy was always a thought, but nothing ever pushed them to pursue it until now.
No one likes to think about their untimely passing, but having a health condition prompts the thought of “If something happened to me, would my family be okay?” The harsh reality is when these health complications arise, it becomes a challenge to find affordable life insurance rates.
If you have any health or lifestyle issues and you’re having trouble securing life insurance, here are 3 tips to help you in your search.
Tip #1: Work with a life insurance agent or agency that has experience with your risk.
The truth is, every life insurance company will look at your risk differently. Some life insurance companies will look at your unique risk more favorably than others. Just because you’ve been declined with one company, doesn’t mean you can’t secure affordable coverage with another company.
Ask your current agent if they have access to a “high risk” life insurance specialist. If they don’t then just do an internet search for your risk. For example, you can search: “Life Insurance with COPD” or “Life Insurance with Congestive Heart Failure.” You’ll find several agents who are experts in your risk and will know which life insurance companies will give you the best offer. There are plenty of qualified high-risk life insurance agents out there.
Tip #2: It’s all about control and compliance
If you have a chronic medical issue (diabetes, asthma, arthritis etc), all you have to do is demonstrate control and compliance. Control meaning there are no major complications, and compliance meaning you’re following your doctor’s recommendations. This applies to the majority of medical issues.
In many cases you just need to bring your cholesterol, blood pressure, a1c levels, triglycerides, PSAs or other lab results within normal limits. If you’ve been declined or highly rated because of your lab results, work on getting those under control and reapply when they back within normal limits.
Tip #3: Obtain “trial offers”
There’s a process in the life insurance industry where we can send your risk to several life insurance companies at one time without completing a formal life insurance application. This means you can know with a degree of certainty what kind of offer to expect from several life insurance carriers before you formally apply and without taking a medical exam. Think of it as a “prequalification” service.
Here’s what this entails:
1. Your agent gathers your health information (in great detail), summarizes it for the underwriters and sends it out to any life insurance carrier who would consider the risk.
2. The life insurance companies review your health profile and reply with “tentative offers” in writing. Which means as long as everything was disclosed and nothing has changed, these are the rates you can expect.
3. You choose the best offer and formally apply with that company. Your agent would attach the tentative offer to your application.
The biggest misconception for people with health issues looking for life insurance is that they can’t qualify for coverage. We hear this all the time and in most cases affordable coverage is obtainable.
Qualifying for life insurance coverage with health impairments takes some expertise and a little more work from your agent, but it can be done. Don’t let any health issues deter you from securing this important coverage.
My advice is always to secure coverage while you’re young and healthy because tomorrow’s health is promised to no one. However, sometimes it takes a wake-up call to get life insurance off the backburner.
Home trampoline danger: 1M visits to ER, study says
INDIANAPOLIS — Boing, boing, boing … OWW! could be the anthem of the trampoline jumper — and that’s a good reason to ban the things, said an Indiana University researcher.
A new study from an Indiana University School of Medicine researcher finds that from 2002 to 2011, accidents on backyard trampolines accounted for nearly 289,000 visits to emergency rooms for broken bones. Factor in all accidents, not just fractures, and the tally rises to more than 1 million ER visits, according to the study which published online in theJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics.
“We are inundated with injuries,” said Dr. Randall T. Loder, chair of orthopaedic surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the study’s lead author. “Kids need to be healthy and active, but this is not the way to do it.”
His study, the first to look at fractures related to trampoline use nationwide, found that over 10 years, trampolines caused an estimated 288,876 fractures, at a cost of more than $400 million. Trampoline injuries overall led to more than $1 billion in emergency room visits.
Loder, a surgeon at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, decided to do the study after seeing an increase in the number of patients with fractures suffered in backyard trampoline accidents.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended against backyard trampolines since 1999, and many homeowner insurance policies either prohibit them or have a clear exclusion for trampoline injuries.
Still, that doesn’t stop parents from purchasing them.
And some, such as Mark Publicover, dispute how dangerous trampolines are. Publicover invented the trampoline safety enclosure about 15 years ago and founded JumpSport Inc., a San Jose-based trampoline company.
If you compare the number of hours children spend jumping on trampolines compared with the time they spend in other activities such as biking or swimming in backyard pools or playing on swing sets, trampolines cause much fewer injuries, Publicover said.
“If you look at all of the high energy activities kids can play in, trampolines end up being pretty much the safest things that they can do,” said Publicover, who broke his leg on an earlier generation trampoline.
Eight years ago Jason Reese, a personal injury lawyer in Carmel, Ind., purchased a trampoline for his three kids, now 14, 11 and 9; two years ago he replaced it with a large one he considers safer. He also hires an inspector to check the net once a year.
Strict rules govern the use of the Reese family’s trampoline. No more than four kids at a time. A parent must be home. Don’t bounce against the safety net. And no one is to go airborne.
The only injuries from their trampoline? A few bloody noses.
“For the most part, like any other parenting thing, it comes down to supervision,” said Reese. “You can do it safely.”
Still, he’s amazed at what he sees in other people’s backyards, from trampolines that have no nets, to those that sit on uneven surfaces to trampolines with decaying mats that provide iffy support.
Little surprise that stories about trampoline-related injuries are rife in the suburbs.
According to Loder’s study, which included data from 100 hospitals nationwide, the number of injuries peaked in 2004 with about 110,000. Since then, the number has slowly dropped to an estimated 80,000 injuries in 2011.
Safety enclosures like the one Publicover invented, now standard on trampolines, no doubt have had much to do with the reduction in injuries, he said.
By 2004, 75% of trampolines had safety enclosures. At the same time, sales had gone from 600,000 a year just a few years ago to 1.2 million, Publicover said.
Doctors, however, would prefer to see much fewer injuries.
“Whether it’s 80,000 or 100,000, that’s still a huge number of totally preventable injuries,” Loder said. “The way to prevent it is not to go on it at all. There are lots of other ways to get exercise.”
The most common trampoline-related injury that Loder sees at Riley is an elbow fracture, which in some cases requires immediate surgery. Knee fractures that threaten growth plates and require surgery also are common, he said.
On average, patients were 9 years old; though those who have injuries of the spine, head, ribs and sternum — accounting for 4% of the injuries seen — had an average age of nearly 17, perhaps because they are bigger and can jump harder.
The study looked only at backyard trampolines and did not include trampoline parks. Almost all of the fractures, 95%, happened at the injured person’s home.
Loder does not question the appeal of trampolines, just whether they’re worth the risk.
“I’m sure they’re fun,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it that they’re fun. They’re fun up until the time they get the injury.”
Although wildfires are most common in the west, they can happen anywhere in the U.S. There are many ways to prepare your home for an unlikely fire that go beyond keeping a fire extinguisher handy—especially in the case of naturally-occurring fires caused by arid conditions and other environmental conditions. Discover key tips on fireproofing your house from The Hartford Disaster Prep page.
Do Your Homework
Knowing your area’s risk for wildfires is the first step in your process of fireproofing your house. If you know that your neighborhood is affected by wildfires often, and when they are likely to occur, do an inventory of the flammable items around your house. This includes landscaping; avoid keeping plants, trees or dead plants too close to the house during wildfire season for your area.
In addition to inspecting the exterior of your home, take a look around inside. Check that your smoke detectors are working and if not, replace the batteries. You’ll also want to keep an emergency kit with essentials on hand in the event you need to evacuate. In addition to an emergency kit, implement a routine practice of an emergency plan the entire family knows.
What to Take
Your emergency kit should include the following: first aid supplies, blankets and any personal items you may need (medications, toiletries, clothing) as well as necessities for any pets. For additional tips on disaster preparedness, check out The Hartford’s Center for Mature Market Excellence’s disaster prep guidebook.
If there have been reports of wildfires nearby, it’s important to prepare your home even if you have been ordered to evacuate. Once your emergency kit is ready, and you know what you will take and leave behind, hose down the house, roof and surrounding area, (time-permitting, of course). Also be sure to turn off the gas to your house to lower your risk.
For a complete list of how to fireproof and prepare for wildfires, visit The Hartford’s Wildfire Safety page.
If your in need of Homeowner’s Insurance please contact Long’s Insurance Agency today for a free no hassle quote! We can handle all of your insurance needs from Home and Auto, to Health and Life and your business needs.
How to Drive Safely in Wet Weather
Spring and summer showers may mean flowers, but wet pavement contributes to nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes each year.
Safety starts before you drive, and your goal should be to see and be seen. Replace windshield wiper inserts that leave streaks or don’t clear the glass in a single swipe. Make sure all headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are properly functioning so other drivers will see you during downpours. Turn on your headlights whenever you drive.
Proper tire tread depth and inflation are imperative to maintaining good traction on wet roadways. Check tread depth with a quarter inserted upside down into the tire groove. If you can see above Washington’s head, start shopping for new tires. Check each tire’s pressure, including the spare, at least once a month… and be sure to check the pressure when the tires are cold.
Overall you want to be extra cautious in wet weather. Slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and allow ample stopping distance between you and the cars in front of you. Also, do these things one-at-a-time. Brake, then turn, then accelerate.
If you feel the car begin to skid, continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go. Don’t panic, and avoid slamming on the brakes to maintain control.
To get the best air prices with the fewest clicks, try these travel sites:
- Penny pinchers – Kayak.com tied or won on 13 of 15 searches for best fare.
- Flexible flyers – Adioso.com lets you enter a plain language request such as “10 days in the Caribbean” or “Vegas any Friday when price drops $300.”
- Globetrotters – Vayama.com put together flight combinations we found nowhere else. Or try sites based outside the U.S. like Momondo.com.
- Jetsetters – Zipping from city to city? Kayak.com does it quicker, but Google Flights and Bing Travel are good.
Now you know, so get booking!!!