Drunk Driving Simulator shows effects of impaired driving

drunk-driving-suit-largeHow impaired are you when driving under the influence? Ford’s Driving Skills For Life Program tested that theory out on teens using a drunk driving simulator suit that they developed to mimic the feeling and effects of inebriation. With weight pads, sound and goggles, they simulated the effects of drunkenness and had teens try driving while impaired.

“To impair coordination and balance, teens have a set of weights strapped to their body in different locations. For instance, one might be on the left ankle while others weight their shoulders and wrists down.

For a slower physical reaction time, trainers attach restrictive braces to both elbows and knees. Lastly and, perhaps, most challenging, the young participants don muffling headphones and vision-distorting goggles.”

This is a simulation, but the problem is real. While alcohol-related driving deaths have trended down since the 1990s, alcohol is still a factor in nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.

Your BAC (Blood Alcohol Count) is a measure of the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream. You can learn about your BAC and how to get a rough calculation of your BAC, and what level of drinking will lead to impairment for your weight/sex. There are also a variety of BAC gauging apps that you can get for your phone. Learn more about the effects: The 6 stages of getting drunk.

It’s very important to know your state laws and BAC limits: Find your state’s drunk driving laws

42 states have administrative license suspension (ALS) on the first offense. ALS allows law enforcement to confiscate a driver’s license for a period of time if he fails a chemical test.

DUI and Insurance

If you have a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) license suspension or a DUI-related accident, it will be reflected in your state driving record and you should expect it to have an impact on your insurance. As a “high risk driver,” your insurance company could cancel your policy or decide to drop you when it is up for renewal. At the very least, expect limited options and a huge hike in the price you pay to secure coverage. In some states, an insurance company may deny coverage of personal injuries or property damage related to a DUI-related accident.

A DUI conviction may also have a big effect on Life Insurance rates. Some companies may decline coverage entirely for a number of years after a conviction.

Your New England Fall Foliage Toolkit

fall foliage at Saco River Covered Bridge in Conway, New Hampshire.With the fall season upon us, our brilliant foliage is the envy of the nation. People from all over the world travel here, but we can just hop in our cars and travel an hour or two in any direction to see the full glory of the season. We have a Live New England foliage map  for you, as well as links to great ideas for drives, destinations and things to do. And if you decide to venture north, we’re also including tips for avoiding collisions with wildlife since it’s peak season for those type of accidents. You don’t want your car to be in a battle with a deer or worse, a moose. It’s always a god idea to have your independent agent’s phone number or app handy on your mobile phone just in case.

Get free guides to the Best of New England Fall Travel, which includes best places to see foliage, best fall drives, things to do, places to stay, and more.

The foliage network offers local foliage reports with maps showing peak color locations, scenic drives and places to stay – and if you can’t find the time to drive to peak foliage locations or want to check out current conditions, check out the webcams.

Here are some great articles and guides for places to go and things to do:

deer-in-highwayAs you’re out on the roads leaf-peeping, visiting apple orchards or commuting to-and-from work this autumn, keep a sharp eye out: The likelihood of striking a deer more than doubles in the fall. Your normal odds of a ruminant-related collision claim is about 1 in 169, but the likelihood more than doubles during October, November and December. See our post: Watch the roads: Autumn is peak deer-vehicle collision season

66 ways to protect your identity and privacy

PrivacyNot again. The news is full of reports that more than 500 million online users had their privacy breached in the recent Yahoo online hack. Yahoo is not alone – LinkedIn, MySpace, Dropbox, Target, Anthem, Sony — it’s impossible to keep track, but you can see a list of the largest data breaches of all time for a trip down memory lane. And now we learn that Russian hackers are trying to compromise our voting and election systems.

What’s a person to do?

Well, if you fear your info was leaked in the recent Yahoo leak, the company has an info page of signs of a hacked Yahoo account and what to do.

But taking remedial steps after the horse gets out of the barn doesn’t help you much for protection  from the next attack. If your house was robbed, you’d take steps to beef up security, and online isn’t much different – you need to take serious preventive steps now to avoid exposure. It’s human nature to put this off – plus, it can be hard to know just what steps to take. That’s why we were happy to see that the recent Consumer Reports has made online security a focus of the new issue.

Their excellent article 66 Ways to Protect Your Privacy Right Now is a comprehensive must-read, covering online, mobile and real-world security matters. It includes concrete tips, how-tos, and videos on the following topics:

  • Screen locks
  • Snail mail privacy
  • Unbreakable passwords
  • Mobile account safety
  • Connected devices
  • Handling public WiFi
  • Everyday encryption
  • Facebook settings
  • Home WiFi settings
  • Boosting web browser privacy
  • Beating ransomware
  • How to avoid phishing schemes
  • Google settings

If you find 66 steps a little overwhelming, here’s their suggestion for a shortcut: The Consumer Reports 10-Minute Digital Privacy Tuneup

Here are some related resources that we’ve previously posted:


Are you spending more at the gas pump than you need to?

pumping gasoline fuel in car at gas stationIf you use premium gasoline for your car, you may want to rethink that. Unless your car manufacturer specifically designates the use of premium fuel, you are wasting your money, according to new fuel performance research by AAA. How much money? A whopping $2.1 billion in the aggregate. Yikes. Here’s a summary of what they learned:

“According to new AAA research, American drivers wasted more than $2.1 billion dollars in the last year by using premium-grade gasoline in vehicles designed to run on regular fuel. With 16.5 million U.S. drivers having used premium fuel despite the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation in the last 12 months, AAA conducted a comprehensive fuel evaluation to determine what, if any, benefit the practice offers to consumers. After using industry-standard test protocols designed to evaluate vehicle performance, fuel economy and emissions, AAA found no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle that only requires regular-grade fuel.”

Why do drivers pick premium fuel when they don’t need it? It essentially comes down to the power of advertising and language: “Premium” sounds better to many people – and it sounds like it would be beneficial to your car. But the research shows that, ““Premium gasoline is specifically formulated to be compatible with specific types of engine designs and most vehicles cannot take advantage of the higher octane rating.”

AAA says that if you want to upgrade to better fuel, drivers should choose TOP TIER gas rather than a higher octane. Here’s a AAA Premium Fuel Fact Sheet that explains the research and offers more recommendations.


Keeping Kids safe: Tips for childproofing your home

children playing

Injuries are the leading cause of death in children ages 19 and younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The home should be the safest place for kids, but that isn’t always the case. SafeKids reports that every year, 2,200 children – or six kids a day – die at home in the U.S. from unintentional injuries, and another 3.5 million go to the emergency department to be treated for the kinds of injuries that commonly happen in homes. They offer great information and prevention tips on types of kid injuries that occur most frequently in the home. These include:

  • Button Battery Injury Prevention
  • Falls Prevention
  • Fire, Burns and Scalds Prevention
  • General Home Safety
  • Laundry Packet Safety
  • Medication Safety
  • Suffocation Prevention and Sleep Safety
  • Toy Safety
  • TV and Furniture Tip-overs Prevention
  • Water Safety

We also like this Childproofing 101 Infographic from fix.com that highlights key areas in the home that you should pay attention to.

Source: Fix.com Blog