Be Prepared for Winter!

Winter has arrived. Keep the following tips in mind to make sure you and your vehicle are prepared for winter emergencies.

  • Preventive maintenance prior to the winter season is the best way to ensure safe travel. Regularly check fluid levels such as power steering, brake, windshield washer and oil.
  • Make sure the antifreeze is strong enough to prevent freezing of the engine and fresh enough to prevent rust.
  • In cold weather, you may also want to change the windshield washer fluid to one containing an antifreeze agent.

While proper maintenance is key, knowing how to drive in adverse conditions can also keep you safe. The Parent’s Supervised Driving Guide offers the following tips for driving in different weather conditions.

Wet & slippery roads:

  • Turn on the wipers as soon as the windshield becomes wet.
  • Turn on the low-beam headlights; this helps others see you.
  • Drive 5 to 10 mph slower than normal and increase your following distance to 5 or 6 seconds.
  • Be more cautious, and slow down on curves and when approaching intersections.
  • Turn the defroster on to keep windows from fogging over.
  • If you must make adjustments while driving, make sure the road ahead is clear before looking down at the dashboard – and look away for only a second or two.

Snow

  • Make sure your vehicle is clear of snow and ice before driving. Driving can cause snow/ice to slide and block your view, or fly off and strike other vehicles.
  • When starting to drive in snow, keep the wheels straight ahead and accelerate gently to avoid spinning the tires.
  • Decrease your speed to make up for a loss of traction. Accelerate and decelerate gently, and be extra careful when braking.
  • Stopping distances can be 10 times greater in ice and snow. Begin the slowing-down process long before a stop. Brake only when traveling in a straight line.
  • Look ahead for dangerous spots, such as shaded areas and bridge surfaces that may be icy when the rest of the road is clear.

Lastly, check out the Auto Emergency Prepardness Kit Checklist from the Michigan State Police and see what you should have in your vehicle in case you are stranded.

Special thank you to Secretary of State Ruth Johnson for her content.

Hidden Risks Lurk in Rental Cars for Travelers this Holiday Season

During the holiday season, many travelers rely on rental cars to reach their destinations. Many of today’s cars are designed to make hands-free calls, stream music, and even access the internet — but one has to connect to an infotainment system first.

But in order to do this, the infotainment system may store personal information kept on a driver’s phone, says AAA.

“The stored information in mobile devices is vulnerable to theft. If you sync your mobile phone to a rental car, you open yourself up to having your personal information stolen,” Lori Weaver Hawkins, Blue Grass AAA, said in a statement. “It is possible for an unauthorized person to gain access to things like home address and the code for your garage door opener.”

Know Your Risks:

There are currently no industry or government standards for vehicle infotainment systems, but the first step to safeguarding your personal data is to know the type of information an infotainment system may store.

Potentially stored information:

  • Home address, work address, and other saved or frequently used GPS locations.
  • Home phone number.
  • Call and message logs.
  • Personal contacts.
  • Garage opener programming.

Reducing Your Risks:

To avoid a data breach of any kind, there are a number of steps drivers can take.

  1. Purchase a phone charger for your phone that plugs into the cigarette lighter adapter port rather than the USB port. The lighter adapter port does not access your information.
  2. Use your phone’s GPS without syncing up with the rental car.
  3. Check your phone’s permissions to learn what information your car can access. When syncing your phone, if your infotainment systems allows you to choose which types of information you share, restrict it to only what’s necessary. For instance, if you’re only syncing your phone to play music, the car only needs access to your music library, not your personal contacts or other data.
  4. Before handing your keys over to a valet, check to see if your car’s infotainment system has a valet mode you can set that will protect your sensitive data.
  5. Before trading in your car or returning a rental car, go to the settings menu on the car’s infotainment system to find a list of synced devices. When you find your devices, follow the prompts to delete them. If you can’t figure out how to do this, check the owner’s manual or an online tutorial.

Special Thanks to Denny Jacob for his content.

Halloween Safety Tips

Whether on the job or at home, we should all be mindful of the “little things” that can impact our safety, as well as the safety of those around us. This Halloween, don’t be “tricked” into doing something unsafe. “Treat” yourself and your loved ones by embracing the fun activities surrounding your local Halloween festivities. But, before you do, please take a moment and consider some of these simple safety guidelines:

  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flames.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and treat bags.
  • While children can help with the fun of designing a Jack-O-Lantern, leave the carving to adults.
  • Always keep Jack-O-Lanterns and hot electric lamps away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children and pets may be standing or walking.
  • Stay in a group, walk slowly and communicate where you are going.
  • Only trick-or-treat in well known neighborhoods and at homes that have a porch light on.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and use the sidewalk when available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, an adult
    should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Because a mask can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic and hypoallergenic makeup or
    a decorative hat as a safe alternative.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories; purchase only those with a label
    indicating they are flame resistant.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their guardians.
  • Plan ahead to use only battery powered lanterns or chemical light sticks in place of candles in
    decorations and costumes.
  • Take extra effort to eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Check around your property for flower pots, low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous to young children rushing from house to house.
  • Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects, and do not block exit doors.

Our Risk Solutions team encourages you to put these practices into place–doing so helps ensure your safety. Halloween safety is no accident; be safe.

 

 

RECALL: Over 80,000 Units Affected

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced the recall of about 158,000 units of Honeywell Fibre-Metal E2 and North Peak A79 hard hats. They reported that these hats can fail to protect users from impact, posing a risk of head injury. The hard hats included in the recall may not provide the level of protection for which they were designed. However, no injuries have been reported.

The Fibre-Metal E2 hard hats have a manufacture date of April 2016, May 2016, December 2017, or January 2018. The North Peak A79 hard hats were manufactured from April 2016 through January 2018. Only North Peak A79 hard hats with mold identification number 4 are included on this recall. North by Honeywell, the mold identification number, and the manufacture date can be found on the underside of the hat’s brim. The date code is in a clock format: The numbers around the circle correspond to the 12 months of the year, the arrow points to the month of manufacture and the numbers on either side of the arrow represent the last two digits of the year.

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Multitasking is a Myth: Focus on the Road to Save Lives

Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Distracted driving is a public health issue that affects us all. It is a major contributor to the 40,000 people who were killed on our nation’s roadways last year. However, each death is 100% preventable.

Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are a few examples of distracted driving. Any of these distractions, even if done for just one second, can endanger the lives of the driver and others.

Driving is a visual task and non-driving activities that draw the driver’s eyes away from the roadway should always be avoided. As of July 1, 2010, Michigan law prohibits texting while driving. Motorists can be fined between $100-$200 for offenses.

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Window Accident Prevention: How to Keep your Loved Ones Safe in your Home

As temperatures go up, so do windows in many homes. Opening windows in your home to enjoy the warmer temperatures may seem harmless, but open windows have proven to be sources of injury and death for young children. The first week of April was Window Safety Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness about the important role of windows in escaping a fire or other emergency, as well as educating parents and caregivers on how to prevent accidental window falls.

Many people don’t think about the threats windows pose to children, but the risk is very real. See the statistics below according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report:

falls from windows

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