It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week

Driving: Teens in Car

October 19-25 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year olds. Teenagers are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than adults. As many of these 30% of these accidents involve alcohol. Distracted driving is also a key issue. The most dangerous time of a teen driver’s life is the first 12 months of holding an independent license.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a Driver Education Toolkit with a variety of fact sheets on topics that are valuable to novice and experienced drivers alike:

  • Alcohol and Driving
  • Blindzone Glare Elimination
  • Driver Distractions
  • Efficient Steering Techniques
  • Proper Seat Belt Use
  • Risk Management
  • Visual Search / Perception
  • Work / Construction Zones

Other great resources include the National Safety Council’s Teen Driving page, the Insurance Information Institute’s Teen Drivers page and Ride like a Friend.

Flus, allergies, colds, oh no! Fighting seasonal maladies

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It’s that time of year again – flus, colds, and allergies are kicking in. Flu season runs from October through May, generally peaking in February. When you get sniffles and aches, it’s hard to differentiate because these maladies have similar symptoms — but the treatment can be very different. The National Institute of Health offers a handy chart comparing symptoms, treatment and prevention:
Cold, Flu, or Allergy? Know the Difference for Best Treatment

The flu can be serious for some groups: seniors (65+), children (especially those younger than 2), and people with chronic health conditions. Your best defense is a flu vaccine. The CDC suggests that everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine.

Use the Flu Vaccine Finder to find a location near you.

In addition to the flu, parents are quite concerned about virus affecting kids – while it is not a new virus, it seems to be popping up and causing concern. The CDC offers more resources to learn about Enterovirus D68, as well as some prevention tips.

EV68-infographic

Here are links for more helpful flu resources

Handy household hacks: creative uses for everyday products

Here are some video clips of great money-saving hacks for household products you probably already have in one of your your cabinets. Learn some of their less-well known uses and save on expensive alternatives.

10 Awesome Vinegar Life Hacks you should know

6 Uses for Windex You Should Know

25 Creative Uses For Common Household Items

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast-cancerOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. When breast cancer is detected early (localized stage), the 5-year survival rate is 98%. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.

For some inspiration, here are some of the 2014 Pink Glove Dance winners … the Grand Prize Winner, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in California

Here’s a 2nd Place Winner from Health Concepts, Ltd. in Providence Rhode Island.

The first Pink Glove video that started the dance craze – from Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon in 2009

See more Pink Glove videos.

Feel-good Friday post: Owl family waking up to a GoPro

How did your day start today? You probably wouldn’t be thrilled to wake up and find a camera filming you but that’s exactly what happened to an owl family recently — they woke up one morning to find a GoPro camera trained on their burrow. The curious birds spent some time investigating this intruder, which gave us the opportunity for a great up-close-and-personal look at some baby owls. (The baby owls make their appearance about a minute or so in.) Too cute!

And if you enjoyed that, you may also enjoy seeing Kuu the Screech Owl having a bath and being dried.

Now after all that cuteness, if you think having an owl as a pet might be fun, think again: Here are the top 10 reasons you don’t want an owl for a pet. Owls are sharp-eyed predators that hunt small game – occasionally even swooping down on a small household pet. So if you want to learn more about owls, the Audubon Society is a good place to start.

Driving in rain can be tricky: How to avoid hydroplaning

Storm Driving

When there’s snow or ice on the road, drivers are cautious, but rain is such a frequent occurrence that drivers are sometimes over-confident. That’s a mistake that could be costly or even deadly. According to the Federal Highway Administration:

“Most weather-related crashes occur on wet pavement and during rainfall. Each year, 75 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on wet pavement and 47 percent happen during rainfall. Nearly 5,700 people are killed and more than 544,700 people are injured in crashes on wet pavement annually. Every year, over 3,400 people are killed and over 357,300 people are injured in crashes during rainfall.”

Edmunds offers a good refresher on best practice Tips and Techniques for Driving in Rain. But one condition that you should know about and prevent is hydroplaning or aquaplaning. According to SafeMotorist.com:

The term hydroplaning is commonly used to refer to the skidding or sliding of a cars tires across a wet surface. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, and the tire is then separated from the road surface by a thin film of water and loses traction. The result is loss of steering, braking and power control.

Rubber tires have tread (grooves) that are designed to channel water from beneath the tire. This creates higher friction with the road surface and can help prevent or minimize instances of hydroplaning.

Learn more at Hydroplaning Basics: Why it Occurs and How You Can Avoid it

This video from Defensive Driving offers a great overview of hydroplaning, how to avoid it and what to do if it happens.

Fall foliage extravaganza: ideas for your weekend

winding road in foliageThe upcoming weekend forecast is for warm and glorious weather here in New England, a perfect time for getting out to enjoy the foliage. There’s leaf peeping, apple picking, corn mazes, pumpkin festivals, country fairs and more – we’ve gathered some resources to help you make the most of the nice weather.

Yankee Foliage offers an excellent live foliage map and an extensive selection of suggested foliage drives. They also suggest the 5 Best Pumpkin Festivals in New England.

New England Destinations is a good local guide, offering many ideas for the fall season, including a list of activities for September and October. They also offer their own selection for foliage drives, as well as foliage maps and hotlines.

For more ideas, here are the official state tourism bureaus

If you want current tracking of the weather in this or any other season, Twitter can be a very fun way to do that. Meteorologists have a strong and active presence — many issue updated foliage reports and photos along with the weather. We have a list of New England Weather Resources on Twitter that you can follow.

If you’re heading out for drives, we issue our seasonal caution to be alert for deer and moose. The Insurance Information Institute reminds us that fall is peak season for deer and auto collisions. “Deer migration and mating season generally runs from October through December, and causes a dramatic spike in the movement of deer population. As a result, more deer-vehicle collisions occur in this period than at any other time of year.” Plus, in northern New England, you need to be on the lookout for moose.

Don’t be our next sad story: Look into rental insurance

damage

Here’s a sad story we’ve heard all too often: a renter has a fire and loses everything because they don’t have rental insurance. We aren’t the only ones who hear this story – the Red Cross says they run into this scenario more and more often. In fact, a recent poll by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) reveals that only 37 percent of renters have renters insurance, versus 95 percent of homeowners who have a homeowners insurance policy.

We hear all kinds of excuses:

Myth: My landlord’s insurance will cover loss. Reality: the landlord’s insurance covers their building, not your property

Myth: It’s too costly. Reality: It is cheaper than you might think – especially considering the alternative. According to I.I.I, “…the average cost of a renter’s policy is only $187 per year, or less than four dollars per week.”

Myth: My possessions aren’t valuable enough to cover. Reality: It’s very costly to replace everything. Even for students in furnished apartments, the cost of replacing clothes, books, laptops, and other personal possessions can add up. Plus, renters insurance covers many things people often don’t expect. It would help protect you if a guest were injured in your home or if a laptop were stolen from your car. It would also help to pay for temporary living expenses if your apartment is destroyed.

I.I.I. offers a Renters Insurance checklist and check out the short video clip below to get advice from a dummy ;-)  We also encourage you to give a call to your local independent insurance agent to learn more.

How to talk like a pirate

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In honor of international Talk Like a Pirate Day which is celebrated on September 19 every year, we’re offering some lessons in pirate speak in the video below or you can check out the pirate glossary. Buccaneers and landlubbers alike should keep an eye out for pirate booty offers on your social media timelines. We heard that visiting a local Krispy Kreme today and ordering in pirate speak will get you a free donut; visiting in full pirate regalia will get you a dozen free donuts. If you need help looking the part, try pirate fashions.

Internet pirates are fun, but the real thing is another story indeed. If you are in a global shipping or maritime industry, you may need insurance coverage against piracy. If your travel needs are more pedestrian, trip insurance might be just the thing – take the travel insurance quiz. For questions about piracy coverage or any other form of risk management, find a local independent insurance agent near you.

Today is National School Backpack Awareness Day

Today is National School Backpack Awareness Day and the American Occupational Therapy Association offers some great tips for parents in the form of simple infographics. The first offers statistics on the number of injuries and the recommended weight that children should limit backpacks to. The second infographic offers parents and caregivers recommendations of features to look for when selecting and purchasing a backpack as well as tips for lightening the load carried by children.

Backpack injuries

Learn more and get more resources at AOTA. Here are more tips for parents from The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Tips-for-Purchasing-Backpack-Infographic