10 Dangerous Practices to Avoid While Driving

Reaching in the back seat while driving

This month, we talked about avoiding common driving practices that are very dangerous. Here’s a list to all 10 parts plus the supplemental article.

Part 1: Reading While Driving

Part 2: Avoid Texting While Driving

Part 3: Driving with your Knees

Part 4: Driving with Something or Someone in your Lap

Part 5: Driving with Headphones

Part 6: Changing Clothes or Applying Makeup

Part 7: Grabbing Something Out of Reach

Part 8: Eating and Driving

Part 9: Road Raging

Part 10: The Stats

Supplemental: Driving, Teens, and Learning Disabilities — Something You Need to Know

Part 10: The Stats

The Stats

(Series:  10 Dangerous Practices to Avoid While Driving)

Here’s a few statistics about distracted driving from a 2014 review published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Dialing a cell phone increases the risk of a crash by 8X.
  • Reaching for a cell phone increases the risk of a crash or near crash by 7.02X.
  • Sending or receiving text messages increases the risk of crash by 3.82X.
  • Reaching for an object other than a cell phone increases the risk of crash 8X greater than waiting until the driver arrives.
  • Looking at a roadside object increases the risk of crash 3.9X.
  • Eating increases risk of crash by 2.99X over those who do not eat.

Part 8: Eating and Driving

Eating and Driving

(Series:  10 Dangerous Practices to Avoid While Driving)

Eating some chips or a piece of fruit may not cause an accident for most people as long as retrieving the food does not mean grabbing for something out of reach.  However, if your teen is inexperienced or has a learning disability, the risk of a crash increases almost 3X over those who did not eat.

The distraction could happen when they tip up the bag to get the last chip crumbs.  It might be if sauce drips on their shirt or pants, and their eyes are diverted from the road as they grab a napkin to wipe up the mess.  Moments such as these can be the difference between life and death.

Help your inexperienced driver(s) to drive safely.  Discourage them from eating while driving.

Part 6: Changing Clothes or Applying Makeup

Doing makeup while driving

(Series:  10 Dangerous Practices to Avoid While Driving)

There’s an old saying: “It’s a car crash waiting to happen.”  That proverb applies easily when a person is trying to change clothes while driving.  It involves taking your hands off the steering wheel, interrupts your foot’s contact with the brake or gas pedal, and obscures your eyes from seeing the road.  The risk is increased significantly by the chance that you could become entangled by your clothes.

In the same way, applying makeup while driving causes great distraction.  You cannot be focused on your road and surroundings when your eyes are occupied in the mirror to properly apply your makeup. Be patient. Do your makeup beforehand or after you arrive at your destination.

Choose to drive safely.  Change clothes and/or apply makeup either before you leave or after your arrive at your destination.

Heading Out on the Water? Here is your Pre-Departure Boat Check

Make sure you and your boat are prepared before you leave the dock.

Last month, we provided some safety information for when you go boating.  One safety tip was a pre-launch boat check.  Here are items that you should have on board.

Items to Check

  • Your fuel tank should be full. If that is not possible, you should have enough fuel to return safely and still have some left over.
  • Check the engine oil and coolant levels.
  • Make sure your navigational lights work.
  • Make sure your instrument panel lights work.
  • Check ventilation in any powered vessel, auxiliary-powered sailboats or boats using cooking fuel such as LPG (propane).
  • Check that enclosed areas have a properly-installed and working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Check that bilges are dry and pumps not running excessively. (Spilled oil or waste in bilges should be cleaned up.)
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Check your dock lines for chafe or wear.
  • Leave a “float plan” with at least one person on land so they know where you can be found.

Items that Should be On Board

Here is the “short list.”  Explanations are further down.

  • Basic toolbox with tools appropriate for your boat.
  • Spare parts including fuel filter, light bulbs, head parts, through-hull plugs, etc.
  • Standard first-aid kit
  • Life jackets
  • Horn or other sound producing device
  • All lights (including flashlight and spare batteries) and needed day-shapes
  • Distress Signals
  • Have all required fire extinguishers on board and that they are mounted properly.
  • Have a radio on board to receive weather updates.
  • All needed battery types (and check that they are working)
  • At least one anchor set up and bent-on to your anchor line.
  • 2-3 extra dock lines in case of unusual conditions.
  • At least two fenders on-board for docking or towing if required.
  • Ship’s papers, radio license, fishing permit, etc. on board.
  • Chart(s) for the area(s) you will be in regardless of the level of your local knowledge.
  • Both an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) for your boat and a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) for you. Both beacons should be registered (EPIRB to your boat and PLB to you) at www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov

More Information About Items Above

Life Jackets

  • 1 life jacket per passenger (minimum 2 at all times). Life jackets should be Coast Guard approved.
  • If your vessel is over 16 feet long, you should have a throwable device.
  • Tell all passengers and crew new to the vessel the location of the life jackets and how to use them.

Sound Producing Devices

  • The horn you have on board should be able to sound a four-second blast that can be heard for at least a ½ mile.
  • Make sure to have a spare can of air (or alternate device) if you use a portable air horn.
  • Each life jacket should have a whistle attached.

Day-Shapes

“Day shapes are mast head signals visually indicating the status of a vessel to other vessels on navigable waters during daylight hours whether making-way, anchored, or aground.” (Wikipedia) If you plan to engage in recreational boating activity that requires a day-shape, make sure that you have it.

Distress Signals

Your flares, day signals and other items used for signaling should be stored in a dry location that is easily accessible.  Be sure the crew and passengers know where they are and how to use them properly.

Fire Extinguishers

  • Coast Guard rules set the number of fire extinguishers you should have on board. Make sure you have the number required and that they are accessible.
  • Check to be sure mounts are secure and functional before departure.
  • Inform passengers and crew of the fire extinguisher(s) location.

Ventilation

  • All interior spaces should be checked. They should be well-ventilated before departure.
  • If you smell fuel, run the blowers for several minutes and check again.
  • If you still smell the odor, turn off the engine and check for the source of the leak.
  • Each enclosed or semi-enclosed area should have a properly-installed carbon monoxide detector.

Batteries

  • For dual charging systems, make sure the selector switch in the proper position.
  • Make sure the entire vessel has power.
  • Have spares for all your devices on board (handheld radio, flashlight, portable navigational aid, etc.)
  • Make sure rechargeable batteries are charged.

 

Content provided by boatsafe.com

Tips for Driving During the Winter

winter driving - commuter traffic

Staying safe on the road is always important for you, your family who may be with you and also for other drivers.  Many winters offer driving challenges such as slippery roads and other instances that can cause accidents. Here are a few tips to help you win the challenge of the wintery roads.

Sleep

It is important to get enough sleep to avoid driving while fatigued. You need the extra focus during the winter months to keep an eye out for hazards like black ice (which can be tricky to spot) or other cars that may lose control. Getting plenty of sleep will also sharpen your reflexes so you can react fast enough to prevent an accident.

Make sure you have enough gas

Consider having at least a half full of tank of gas before driving out during the winter.  If you get stranded , it can be your life saver to keep you warm until help arrives.

Keep your eyes on the road

Don’t let distractions divert your attention from diving. Just keep your focus on the road. Phones are a frequent diversion. Don’t text and drive!  If your kids noise or actions are sidetracking you from driving, it is best to pull over, deal with the situation then move on.

Seat belts

There is a reason why wearing your seat belt (and having your passengers wear them too) is urged so often. Aside from the law which requires us to wear them when driving, seat belts work most of the time. They save lives! Winter months get cold and roads can (1) stay wet longer due to the lack of heat or (2) become icy so having a seat belt on while driving on ice can be a lifesaver.

Properly inflated tires

This is another recommendation that most people know all know but is easily forgotten. We get gas but sometimes we don’t think about our tires.

You should know the information about your tires, such as its size and especially your max PSI (how much air should be in your tires). Having a tire gage will help you know what psi is in your tires. When your tires are inflated properly, they perform better, and it helps them last longer.