Always be prepared if the worst should happen. A thunderstorm is considered severe if it produces hail at least 1 inch in diameter or has wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding, and high winds can damage homes and blow down trees and utility poles, causing widespread power outages. During a thunderstorm make sure you stay away from windows, electrical equipment, and telephones. Make sure your insurance covers damage that can be caused by storms.
1. Go for a tune-up. For smooth sailing (and overall sanity), make sure your car is in good working order. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that you have your tires, battery, belts, fluids, and air conditioner checked by a qualified mechanic. If you’re driving in a hot climate or towing a boat or trailer, you may need a motor oil with a higher viscosity.
2. Get a good night’s sleep. According to the NHTSA, driving while drowsy is a contributing factor in 100,000 accidents annually. Drive only when well rested, and switch off with another driver every few hours, if possible.
3. Give your car seat or booster seat a boost. If you are travelling with a child and you are not sure if your car seats or booster seats are installed 100 percent correctly: eight out of 10 aren’t, putting children at a serious risk for injury or death. Call 866-SEAT-CHECK to find a nearby location for a free safety seat inspection.
4. Gear up for safety. The NHTSA recommends packing an emergency kit that includes:
A National Sleep Foundation poll says 60% of adults have driven while they were tired, and another 37%, or 103 million people, have fallen asleep at the wheel. Of those, 13% say they fall asleep while driving at least once a month, and 4% say they have caused a crash by falling asleep while driving.
The reasons are many – shift work, lack of quality sleep, long work hours, sleep disorders – and it doesn’t only happen on lengthy trips.
These staggering numbers are backed up by a report by NHTSA that 100,000 police-reported crashes are a result of driver fatigue. Most crashes or near-misses happen at the times you would expect drivers to be tired: 4 to 6 a.m., midnight to 2 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m., according to NSF.
Drowsy driving puts everyone on the road at risk. Losing two hours of sleep has the same effect on driving as having three beers, and tired drivers are three times more likely to be in a car crash if they are fatigued.
The National Sleep Foundation offers this advice for driving:
Slowing down is the only way to keep your vehicle from hydroplaning. Also remember that one of the most dangerous times to drive is soon after it begins to rain, as oils on roadway make for slick conditions. Waiting a few minutes, rather than rushing to your destination, can be a safer plan when it is raining.
Turn your headlights on to help other vehicles see you. Many states require the use of headlights during rain, even in broad daylight.
Add 1-2 extra seconds of following time in the rain, which gives you and the cars behind you more time to react to traffic.
When there are more cars than usual on the road, it will naturally slow you down. While you might be tempted to try to drive faster to avoid delays, that can cause a crash. Always remember to proceed with caution – obstacles can come out of nowhere. Keeping your eyes peeled at all times will keep you safe.
Don’t weave in and out of other cars; rapidly switching lanes to try to get ahead of the traffic is very dangerous. Other drivers can’t predict what you’re going to do, so they may change lanes as you’re approaching. Likewise, you don’t know what other cars are doing, so the safest move is to stay in one lane unless it’s necessary to move.
At times it seems like many drivers don’t use signals on the roads. When there are lots of other drivers around, it’s important you let them know what you’re doing. While you shouldn’t be weaving in and out of lanes, sometimes you do have to get over. Letting people know what you’re doing is not only safe, but will also make it easier for you when a driver lets you in front of them.
If you are changing lanes or turning, remember that almost all states have a 100-foot (typically 5 second) limit for turning on your blinker.
Proper planning can keep you from having to deal with heavy traffic all together. A few variables to keep in mind include:
Even if you do plan for all of these, you can still run into traffic. That’s why it’s best to always have an alternate route to your destination. Ideally, knowing a highway & side-street route so if one fails you, the other can step up.
It seems obvious, but it still needs to be stated – no one should ever text and drive. Stay focused on the road at all times. This is even more important when driving in heavy traffic. Just because you’re moving slower doesn’t make driving less dangerous. A large change occurs when moving from a slower speed to a dead halt.
The average text message takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. With a lot of other cars on the road, this small amount of time is enough to cause a major crash. Avoid sending texts, checking emails and even changing radio stations when in traffic. If you do have to send a text or make a call, get off the road first.
It’s recommended to keep 3 seconds between you and the driver in front of you. A good way to measure this is with steady objects. Begin counting when the car in front of you passes a light pole, and if you get to three before you pass the same light pole, you’re in the safe zone.
Keep your eyes open for brake lights as well. If the driver in front of you starts to slow down, the same distance should be kept.
Always expect the unexpected. Just because you’re practicing safe driving doesn’t mean that everyone around you is. Sometimes it’s malicious, sometimes it’s just a mistake. Either way, being ready to avoid others is crucial in heavy traffic situations.
The worst thing you can do while driving in traffic is lose your patience and get angry. Getting angry on the road can lead to aggressive and irresponsible driving, putting everyone on the road in danger.
Some tips for keeping yourself calm could include:
Realizing the road is a public good – it was made for everyone – can also help you stay a little more calm.
It’s commonplace for heavy traffic situations to be coupled with a crash or emergency. If this is the case, don’t let that change your focus. Keep your eyes on the drivers around you and road in front of you. Don’t turn your head to stare at a crash that isn’t involving you
If you feel yourself getting anxious, angry, or impatient, take a break. Pull off at an exit and stretch your legs and take a few deep breaths. The extra minute or two you take will make a world of a difference.
Hopefully armed with these tips, you can conquer the next heavy traffic scenario you’re faced with. Remember, getting to your destination safe is the number one priority for all drivers on the road.
According to http://www.waterisawesome.com/ :
About 25 percent of the state’s population lives in North Texas. That’s more than 6 million water users and a lot of thirsty lawns.
Did you know that watering our lawns accounts for about half of all the water we use at home? In fact, experts tell us most lawns get twice as much water as they really need. And we’re doing it with highly treated drinking water. It doesn’t make much sense. Yet it happens every day – to the tune of millions of gallons.
You probably don’t even have to leave your neighborhood to see the signs of our bad watering habits: water gushing down the curb, sprinkler geysers erupting from yards, or watering during a downpour. It all adds up to a waste we can’t sustain. So we have to be smarter in the ways we irrigate.
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