Insurance Blog

prom night statistics

From our Plymouth Rock partners

Prom season is here! From early May through mid-June, high-schoolers dress to the nines for a night on the town. Everyone (parents and teens) wants to have a safe and happy prom season. With so much happening on prom night it can be easy for them to get distracted. Take some time before the prom to talk to your teen about being safe behind the wheel. With so much happening on prom night it can be easy for them to get distracted. Take some time before the prom to talk to your teen about being safe behind the wheel.

Here are 5 prom season pitfalls, and an action plan to avoid them:

Alcohol: Cars and alcohol are a deadly combination. One problem is that many teens view drinking as a normal part of the prom and graduation celebration. A study of 12,000 students by the Statistic Brain Institute, found that 53% of prom-goers admitted to having more than four drinks on prom night. That means more than half were legally drunk (or worse). As educators and parents, we cannot condone this behavior and it’s imperative that we do not facilitate underage drinking. On the other hand, if we deny that underage drinking happens, the results can be catastrophic.

Seat belts: According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than half of 16-20 year olds killed in car crashes were not wearing seat belts.

Distractions: For many students, prom night is the highlight of the year. This youthful exuberance amounts to emotional driving. Text messages, Snapchat, loud music and a stunning companion all contribute to the chaos, and combine to take the young driver’s mind OFF what they are doing.

Drowsiness: After-parties + prom weekend trips = little or no sleep. Did you know? Drowsy Driving is one of the top causes of distracted driving crashes, according to the National Safety Council. A five-year study by NHTSA shows that drowsy driving accounts for an average of 2.5% of the fatalities on our roadways each year. (Between 832 – 1194 deaths annually, over the 5 year period.)

Bad Driving: Let’s face it, most of these kids have been driving less than 2 years, and the majority of them haven’t learned to drive properly anyway, so they are still learning on the job. Add to that a car full of kids (if they’re 18, they are no longer probationary drivers) and it adds up to trouble.

Here is a five-step plan to help your family have a safe prom season:

  1. Always make an ironclad agreement with your teenager that they are never to get behind the wheel, or get into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking (one is too many), using drugs or tired (minimum of 6 hours of sleep before driving). Your child needs to know that they can call you at any time — day or night — and get picked up, if they, or their designated driver, have become impaired.
  2. Listen carefully to their plans, especially their travel plans. Are they allowing enough time for everyone to recover from the prom night festivities? Alcohol-free prom and graduation nights have been a huge help in reducing drunk driving tragedies. One problem is that the kids stay awake all night and, in many cases, are allowed to drive home drowsy the next morning!
  3. Involve yourself in their planning — they may object, but someone has to be the adult. Who will they be with? Do you know the other kids and their families? Who is driving? Are they still a probationary driver? Insist that there must be one alternate (well-rested) driver included. Where will they be staying? How many kids to a room?
  4. Volunteer to be their chauffeur for the weekend. They’ll probably refuse, but it’s worth a try.
  5. Expect them to follow rules you set. This goes for prom, graduation and summertime driving. These are great times in our kids’ lives, but don’t allow your young driver to take a “mental vacation” from their safe driving habits.

Stay Safe Out There!

#prom, #staysafe

Published in Blog

auto accidents

The New Epidemic.

Activities that take drivers’ attention off the road, including talking or texting on mobile devices, eating, conversing with passengers, adjusting mirrors or the radio, and other distractions, are a major safety threat.

Distracted driving is now a public health crisis in the United States. Cell phone use while driving whether it is hands free or not, has been followed with accidents, injuries, and fatalities rising at alarming rates!

According to the US Department of Transportation, cell phones are now involved in 1.6 million auto crashes each year, injuring 500,000 people and causing 6,000 deaths.

With this historic increase in crash fatalities over the past two years, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security traffic shares the recently launched Highway Safety Division (HSD) “Drive Present” campaign, to stress to drivers the importance of focusing on the road and not on their phones. Driving present is about being engaged in the moment: aware of your surroundings, ready to react when the situation changes. When you’re behind the wheel, you owe it to the people you love to focus only on the task at hand. Why? Because they’re counting on you to make it home safe.

Distracted drivers pose a deadly risk to everyone on the road. Here are 9 tips for managing some of the most common distractions. 

  1. Turn it off. Turn your phone off or switch to silent mode before you get in the car.
  2. Spread the word. Set up a special message to tell callers that you are driving and you’ll get back to them as soon as possible, or sign up for a service that offers this.
  3. Pull over. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
  4. Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to make the call for you.
  5. X the Text. Don’t ever text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving. It is dangerous and against the law in most states.
  6. Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car. Some states and localities prohibit the use of hand held cell phones. GHSA offers a handy chart of state laws on its website: www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html.
  7. Keep the kids safe. Pull over to a safe location to address situations with your children in the car.
  8. Secure your pets. Pets can be a big distraction in the car. Always secure your pets properly before you start to drive.
  9. Focus on the task at hand. Refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, reading and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.

 Source: the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security website.

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 05:08

Hands-free is not Risk-free

  • Hands-free Devices: False Sense of Security


    ​From the National Safety Council

    Think using a hands-free device while driving makes you safer? Think again. You may be surprised at how this NSC infographic shows the cell phone conversation is distracting. In order to stay safe, you need your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on driving.


  • Hands-free is not risk-free


 

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 05:03

The #1 Cause of Workplace Death

  • From the National Safety Council

 

April is National Distracted Driving Month and here are important resources to share!

Did you know the leading cause of workplace death is car crashes? NSC estimates aquarter of crashes involve cell phones. Learn more about this workplace danger in this infographic and how employers can take the lead by putting cell phone policies in place. 


 
 
 


Published in Blog
Sunday, 04 December 2016 20:06

Driving in Ice or Snow? Go Nice and Slow!

From IIABA Trusted Choice®

Cars driving in the snow

When staying home is not an option and you must brave winter roads, Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents advise you to remember the ageless moral of the tortoise and hare: Slow and easy wins the race.

From snow blizzards and white-outs to the dreaded black ice, the hazards of winter roadways must be negotiated carefully if you and your vehicle are to arrive at your destination safely. Even with the use of de-icing agents and sand, your chances of slip, sliding away into a ditch, barrier or other car are great. Beyond keeping your vehicle in top winterized condition, caution is the rule of the winter road.

Here are a few helpful winter safe driving tips direct from the experts at AAA:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. To regain traction and avoid skids, apply the gas slowly. And remember that it takes longer to slow down on icy roads, so allow extra time to brake before a stop.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads, including accelerating, stopping, and turning. Allow extra driving time. Driving slowly also gives you time to maneuver.
  • The safest following distance on normal dry pavement is three to four seconds. On ice or snow, allow eight to 10 seconds of following time. You need the increased margin of safety in order to provide the longer stopping distances required on ice and snow.
  • Know your brakes. Threshold braking is the best way to stop, regardless of the type of brakes on your vehicle. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. If a wheel locks, release the brake and reapply.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. On slippery roads, it’s much easier to accelerate while the car is still rolling than to start moving from a full stop. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on a slippery hill will cause your wheels to spin. Increase speed before you reach the hill, and let that energy carry you to the top. If possible, allow the car in front of you to crest a steep incline before attempting it yourself.
  • Never stop while going up a hill. Starting from a full stop on a hill can be impossible. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.

If you can, stay home and watch the snow from indoors. Even if you drive well in the snow, others on the road may not.

Sources:
http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/roadway-safety/winter-driving-tips/
http://exchange.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/How-To-Go-On-Ice-and-Snow.pdf
http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather/weather_events/snow_ice.htm http://www.drivingfast.net/track/threshold-braking.htm#.UM5NAXfWbyY
Published in Blog
Happy teen behind the wheel

Next time your teen groans at the thought of a weekend driving lesson, flash a smile and tell the young driver it won't be with you. Let them try a distracted driving simulator, a video-game like experience that creatively inspires teens to keep their eyes on the road.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Any activity that diverts a driver's attention from the road is distracting. For new, young drivers, these temptations seem like harmless, everyday tasks. From answering a phone call to adjusting the radio station, non-driving activities should be left until the car has come to a complete stop and is safely parked.

The United States government has created a website, Distraction.gov, to educate parents about the dangers of distracted driving with some eye-opening statistics. For example: "Ten percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted."

The site also explains it takes an average of five seconds for a driver to read and respond to a text message. In that short period of time a car traveling at 55mph can drive the length of a football field!

A study from the Pew Research Center titled "Teens and Distracted Driving: Texting, Talking and Other Uses of the Cell Phone Behind the Wheel" discovered that 75 percent of teenagers ages 12-17 own a cellphone, and 66 percent of them use the mobile device for texting. Of those teens who send text messages, one in three in the 16-17 year-old age bracket admits to texting while behind the wheel. Fifty-two percent say they chatted on the phone -- which also counts as distracted driving -- while operating a vehicle.

Making Auto Safety Exciting and Interactive

Toyota’s TeenDrive365 Safety Clinics are popping up across the nation (with events scheduled far into 2015) to help address these dangerous habits. The two-and-a-half hour class teaches road safety and automobile maintenance for both parents and teens -- because we can all use a little tune-up when it comes to driving safety.

The hottest feature of the clinic is the realistic driving simulator that allows teen drivers to find out what happens when they take their eyes off the road for even moment to respond to a text message or apply makeup. The simulator reinforces defensive driving techniques and how to use safety features in the car to make driving both enjoyable and safe.

Michael Rouse, vice president of diversity, philanthropy & community affairs for Toyota in North America and president of the Toyota U.S.A. Foundation, said in a recent press release, “At Toyota, we really believe that the most important safety feature in any car is an educated driver – whether you’re 16 or 60,. That’s why we’ve been committed to offering free education programs, like our Teen Driver Safety Clinics, that bring teens and parents together to learn about ways to be safer behind the wheel.”

The clinic is free and open to anyone who registers on the TeenDrive365 website.

Other Ways to Feel Secure When Your Teen's On the Road

It can be scary letting your teen get behind the wheel. The best way to ease this stress is to ask questions and be prepared.

  • Is your child covered as an additional driver on your auto insurance policy in the event of an accident?
  • If your teen hits another vehicle or someone's property, is it covered?
  • Does your child need special insurance coverage while driving a school-owned vehicle in a driver's education class?

If your teen is taking driving lessons using your vehicle, make safety for your child and others on the road your number one concern. Find out what type of policy and coverage you need by talking with one of our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice independent agents. They're happy to explain how to add a new family member to an existing policy, and when the time comes, secure their first automobile insurance coverage policy.

Published in Auto Insurance

School is back in session and many high school and college students will be driving more as they commute to and from school, which makes now a good time to remind your student driver about safe driving practices.

Every year approximately 3,000 teens in the United States were killed in car crashes and more than 350,000 were treated for crash-related injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Center for Disease Control. Don’t let your student driver become part of this statistic – encourage him to stay focused while on the road and follow these safety tips:

  1. Always Stop When a School Bus Stops. Be alert for School Buses and students trying to cross the street and stop when you see a School Bus stopped or students trying to cross the street.
  2. Don’t talk on the phone or text while driving. EVER! Not only is texting or using a hand-held phone while driving illegal in many states, it’s also a dangerous distraction. Of those killed in crashes caused by distracted driving, 18 percent were the result of using a cell phone while driving. Using a cell phone while driving – even with a hands-free device – delays a driver’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent, according to the University of Utah.
  3. Always wear a seat belt and make all your passengers wear one, too.
  4. Abide by the speed limit. Going too fast gives you less time to stop or react. Excessive speed is one of the top causes of car accidents.
  5. Don’t drink and drive or ride with someone who has consumed alcohol. If you need a ride call a friend, family member, or taxi. Car crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teens and one of three of these crashes is alcohol related.
  6. Keep the music down. Driving with the volume on the stereo turned up may seem harmless, but it can be just as much of a distraction as using a cell phone.
  7. Don’t try to squeeze too many people into a car. You should never have more people in a car than you do seat belts.
  8. Abide by all traffic lights and signs. Don’t run red lights or stop signs, and make sure the intersection is clear even if the light is green.

Keeping all drivers safe on the road is important and part of that means making sure the appropriate auto insurance coverage is in force. Call your Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice independent insurance agent to help you find the right coverage for you and/or your student driver and answer any questions you have about the insurance. You should also ask your independent insurance agent about student driver discounts, such as the good student discount, which can save you 10 to 15 percent on your premium if your student has a B average. Student drivers who have completed an accredited driver education or training course may also be eligible for a discounted auto insurance rate.

Published in Auto Insurance

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