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Be prepared to Spring Forward on Sunday, March 12

daylight savings spring

According to the latest research, springtime’s Daylight Savings change is the most dangerous. In the first few days after we lose an hour of sleep, researchers have shown increases in car accidents and heart attacks. The Fatal Accident Reporting System found a 17% increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after this shift! The loss of the hour of sleep, according to researchers, causes a significant disruption in sleep cycles. Lack of sleep impairs driving ability, and driving drowsy can be just as dangerous as distracted driving.

In preparation to Spring Forward on Sunday, March 12, here are 7 tips to help you adjust to the change:

1) Go to bed early the days leading up to the time change. Start going to bed early, about 15 minutes each night, leading up to the change in clocks. It will give your body a chance to acclimatize sooner.

2) Adjust the timing of your other daily routines. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that in addition to going to bed early, you should also adjust daily routines that are “time cues” for your body. For example, eating dinner a touch earlier each evening.

3) Spring forward in the early evening on Saturday. Set your clocks to spring forward early Saturday evening, then go to sleep at your “regular” bedtime. By doing so, you’re basically spring forwarding your sleep one night earlier. Stick to your normal bedtime on Sunday too.

4) Get some Vitamin D. Try to catch some rays in the early morning sunlight on Sunday.

5) Work from home. If you have the option to work from home, this is the ideal day (or two) to take advantage of it. That way, you can avoid other drivers who might be feeling the effects of lack of sleep.

6) Slow down. Pay attention. Don’t drive distracted. During the first few days, slow down and pay attention. Always important—no matter what time of year—but worth the reminder: don’t drive distracted. Turn the radio down, drink your coffee at the office (or at home), don’t take breakfast or your afternoon snack to go, and save the call (even if it is hands-free) for later.

7) Bring your sunglasses along for the ride. The shift in time may mean that you’re now driving home while the day is still bright. Make sure you’ve got a pair of sunglasses in the car.

Published in Auto Insurance
Thursday, 03 November 2016 04:15

Drive Safely: Give Wildlife a “Brake”

Drive Safely: Give Wildlife a “Brake”

Slow down! Plus six more ways to lower your risk of hitting an animal (and what to do if a collision occurs)

The Humane Society of the United States

Animals are forced to cross roads and highways in search of food, water, cover and mates—placing them in the path of our speeding vehicles. So what can you do? First and foremost, slow down! Keeping your speed in check gives you a better chance of stopping in time if an animal darts into the road.

Read and share our lifesaving tips, especially with younger drivers you know. (Reports suggest that young adults ages 15-24 have the highest injury rate of any age group from car accidents involving large animals.)

  • Follow speed limits.Many animals are hit simply because people drive too fast to avoid them. Taking it slow makes the roads safer for other drivers and pedestrians, too.
  • Watch for wildlife in and near the road at dawn, dusk and in the first few hours after darkness.Keep in mind that where there is one animal, there are probably others—young animals following their mother or male animals pursuing a female.
  • Be especially cautious on two-lane roads bordered by woods or fields, or where streams cross under roads.Most animal/vehicle collisions occur on these roads. Slow down to 45 mph or less.
  • Scan the road as you drive, watching the edges for wildlife about to cross. This will also make you more aware of other hazards such as bicyclists, children at play and slow-moving vehicles. 
  • Don’t throw trash out car windows.Discarded food pollutes the environment and creates a hazard by attracting wildlife to the roads. 
  • Use your high beamswhenever possible.
  • Lower your dashboard lights slightly.You'll be more likely to see your headlights reflected in the eyes of animals in time to brake.

How to help injured animals

Sometimes collisions are unavoidable, no matter how careful we are. Here's what to do if you hit an animal or come across an injured one.

Do not put your own safety at risk.Unless you can move the animal from the road in absolute safety, do not attempt to do so. Use your hazard lights or emergency road flares to warn oncoming traffic of the injured animal. Never attempt to handle a large animal like a deer, or one that could give a serious bite, like a raccoon.

Best way to prevent a crash: Slow down.

Call someone with the proper training and equipment. When you need assistance, call the non-emergency number of the local police department (program the phone number into your cell phone right now so you have it when you need it) and describe the animal's location. Emphasize that the injured animal is a traffic hazard to help ensure that someone will come quickly. Stay in the area until help arrives.

Use heavy glovesto protect yourself or avoid direct handling if you try to rescue a small animal yourself. Remember that the animal doesn't know you are trying to help and may bite or scratch in self-defense. An old towel is helpful if you need to move an injured animal.

Gently coax or place the animal into a cardboard boxand transport him/her to an animal shelter,wildlife rehabilitator, or a receptive veterinarian. If there is a delay, keep the animal in a dark, warm, quiet place to minimize fear and stress.

If you accidentally kill an animal, try to move the animal off the road—but only if you can do so in complete safety. Otherwise, report the location of the animal's body to the local police department, and it will arrange for removal. This will prevent scavengers from being attracted onto the road and eliminate a potential traffic hazard.

Published in Auto Insurance

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