Prep for winter safety: How to test and maintain your tires


winter tire safety

Your car’s tires are one of the keys to safe driving, particularly when roads are slick, icy or snowy. Before any wintry weather descends, it’s a good idea to check your tires. We love this infographic from Fix.com – it offers tips for checking your tires for proper inflation and signs of deterioration.

We also point you to a few prior posts on our blog that talk about different aspects of tire safety:


Source: Fix.com Blog

Thanksgiving 2016: Best times to travel


Traffic jam

What’s America’s favorite Thanksgiving pie? If Google searches are any indication, then it’s pumpkin pie followed by apple. Unless you live in Alabama, Louisiana or Mississippi, where pecan pie is the favorite. At Google Trends, you can find out pie popularity by state, most searched for recipes, food and drinks and many other facts about what people are searching for this Thanksgiving. Popular searches include traditions like football, parades, and Black Friday shopping. The concept of “Friendsgiving” is gaining traction too.

One of the biggest searches is “best and worst times to travel” over Thanksgiving, and Google offers this handy infographic:

best driving times Thanksgiving

AAA projects that 48.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, an increase of one million travelers compared with last year.
Driving remains most popular mode of travel for Thanksgiving – 89% of those who travel will drive.

According to GasBuddy’s 2016 Thanksgiving Travel survey, 52% of those traveling this year will be on the road for at least 4 hours; 20% of which will be driving 10+ hours. While these won’t be the cheapest gas prices we’ve seen int he last decade, they are stil pretty low. Gas Buddy says, “Over the Thanksgiving travel period, Wednesday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, Nov. 27, motorists will be collectively spending nearly $1.7 billion less at the gas pump than the five-year average.”

Although Thanksgiving dinner is the focal point, it’s also a huge weekend for shopping. Check out our post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza safety tips. Whether you’re shopping online or in stores, we offer pointers on how to avoid scams, pickpockets and thieves!

Burglars talk about how they broke into homes


Burglar Breaking Into House By Forcing Door With CrowbarHow do burglars choose a home to break in to? Once they pick a target, how do they actually break in? And once in a home, what are they looking for? If you want to know that, go to the experts. KGW TV station in Portland, Oregon did just that. They turned to 86 inmates in the Oregon Department of Corrections, poling them in a 17-question survey questions ranging from whether security signs or alarms stopped them and what homeowners can do to avoid being burglarized. They compiled the results in an article – plus, you can read all the inmates’ answers: We asked 86 burglars how they broke into homes

They also interviewed Jerome Gilgan, who had spent seven years in prison for crimes including drugs, auto theft and burglary. Gilgan now helps rehabilitate others as a counselor with Volunteers of America. He offered great – and rather scary – insight into ow burglars think. We’re embedding the video interviews below.

We’ve made posts on this topic in the past. See: Burglar Secrets: Expert advice on how to protect your home. And don’t miss Hiding your valuables for some quirky ways people try to protect their property.

Posted in Homeowners

Veteran’s Day 2016: Deals & Meals & More for Vets


depositphotos_87829112_s-2015

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day, a national day to recognize and honor those who have provided military service to our nation. See the video below for an interesting history of the holiday. It’s a federal holiday so most federal offices are closed. Most state and local government offices are closed too, along with banks and schools. If in doubt, check with local officials and businesses about whether they are opened. Most retail operations are open.

Here’s a good way to spend the day: All national parks and public lands are free on Friday for Veterans Day; some also waive any parking fees. Find parks that normally charge a fee by state here.

Many businesses offer veterans free meals, discounts, sales and deals – you can find an updated list at the link.

Wondering how to honor a veteran? Military.com suggests 8 ways to express appreciation on Veterans Day

It’s time for that flu shot!


flu shotsInfluenza, the flu, a bug, the creeping crud – whatever you choose to call it, ’tis the season. Flu season generally starts picking up in October and peaks from December through March. Medical experts say that ideally, everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot by early November. Flu vaccines are updated annually to match the diseases that are currently circulating. This year, only injectable flu shots are recommended.

While it is important for everyone to get a flu shot, there are certain populations at high risk for developing potentially serious complications. These include:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives
  • People who have medical conditions

Interestingly, the more people who get flu shots, the better off we all are through a principle called herd immunity – when a critical mass of people are innoculated, a measure of protection is strengthened. The wikipedia entry explains how this works for the flu:

“Influenza (flu) is more severe in the elderly than in younger age age groups, but influenza vaccines lack effectiveness in this demographic due to a waning of the immune system with age. The prioritization of school-age children for seasonal flu immunization, which is more effective than vaccinating the elderly, however, has shown to create a certain degree of herd immunity for the elderly.”

It’s easier than ever to get a shot these days – they are widely available – here’s a flu vaccine finder – just enter your zip code to find locations near you.