With winter fading into the background ( not yet) and better weather around the corner, you would think the roads would be safe again.
Rainey days and flooding
Spring rain brings slippery road conditions and flooding. According to the Federal Highway Administration, rain was a culprit of 46% of all weather related crashes from 2005 to 2014, and wet pavement in general accounted for 73%.What makes rain and wet pavement so dangerous? For one, slippery roads reduce your cars handling and increases the distance it takes to stop (up to 4 times normal stopping distance). Big puddles can also cut down on tire traction and could lead to hydroplaning.
Beware of hailstorms, particularly if you live in a hail-belt state. Even small hailstones can shatter windshields, and raining balls of ice are never good for roads.
Winter road wear and tear
In many states, winter wreaks havoc on the roads (no kidding). Snow plows, salt, sand and the aftermath of ice can all leave roads a bit battered. Once snow melts away, expect to drive over new and bigger potholes.
Animals are incredibly actibe during the spring. Some are emerging from hibernation, and other are entering mating season. This could mean animals are crossing roads and roaming around . Many animals especially deer, are most active at dawn or dusk. Do not overdrive those headlights.
More bicycles on the road
Spring also brings out cyclists and motorcyclist out of hibernation. Driving alongside cyclists can make traffic maneuvers, from turning right to parallel parking more dangerous.
SPRING DRIVING TIPS
Check your lights, since spring rain hinders driving visibility, make sure all your lights work, including headlights, taillights, backup, turn signals, parking and brake lights.
Replace your wiper blades, worn-out wiper blades may not be up to the task of clearing water away from your windshield.
Check your tire pressure, harsh winter weather (for those who’s Corvette left the garage) can deflate your tires. Make sure you have enough air in them once spring rolls around. Proper inflation can mean better gas mpg.
Slow down and drive carefully, the first few rainy days of sping can produce exceptionally slippery roads due to oil and other leaked fluids mixing with rainwater, so slow down and increase your stopping distance when it’s raining.
Keep your eyes peeled for bad road conditions, remember that harsh winter weather breeds potholes and other driving obstacles.
Once gain keep your eyes open for animals and motorcyclists, they are both coming out of hibernation.
Eric Kirchner - Safety Chairman
Inside Your Home
Replace your filters Inside your home can be up to five times more polluted than the outdoor air, especially during the winter when we trap our indoor air inside with us. To help your indoor air quality, air out your house while spring cleaning and clean or replace the filters on your air conditioning unit and furnace, as well as your dryer, vacuum, and refrigerator.
Go Green Use organic cleaners to help minimize the risks associated with toxic cleaners. Be aware that “natural” does not necessarily mean “nontoxic,” and carefully review labels for dangerous chemicals before purchasing any cleaners. You can also make your own household cleaners out of common household items, like vinegar and lemon juice.
Test, and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors It’s vital that your family can hear every detector from anywhere in the house. Press and hold the test button on the detector. If it doesn’t let out am alarm loud enough to hear, perhaps move the detector closer, or replace it if the alarm is not as loud as it should be.CO detectors have a limited lifespan. Replace or recalibrate them at least every five years.
Review or create your Family emergency plan Take advantage of the new season by reviewing your disaster preparedness plan with every family member of your household and update it to reflect anything that may have changed in the last year. Your plan should include at east two rendezvous points, an emergency contact person, and an evacuation route. Once you have reviewed the plan, run a few drills for the natural disasters that can occur in your area, like fire, flooding, and tornados.
Clean out the medicine cabinet Properly dispose of all expired and unused medications in your home. Many medications are considered too dangerous to throw away or flush down the toilet, so call your pharmacy or local poison control center to find any drop-off sites that will take your expired medications.
Update your first aid and 72 hour kits Check your first aid and 72 hour kits and replace any missing or expired items. Make sure you have all the essentials, including bandages, water and emergency phone numbers for the local poison control and your family MD.
Check your fire extinguishers Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher in an easy to access location. Although fire extinguishers can have a long shelf life, they do eventually expire, and once they do, they are useless in a fire. Make sure you check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers and keep them updated.
Eric Kirchner - Safety Chairman
Clean Your Electronics
You probably don’t want to know what lurks on your devices. Embrace your inner germaphobe and get scrubbing.
Phones and tablets:
Most likely you have taken your smart phone or tablet into a less than sanitary condition. (Bathroom?) You wash your hands but then you pick up your phone or tablet, and all the germs that have attached themselves to it. It’s a gross fact that phones tend to have ten times the bacteria that toilet seats do.
To scrub a phone or tablet, you have to take extra care since it’s likely that it has an oleophobic (fingerprint resistant) coating that might come off. Even a tempered-glass screen protector is likely to be treated with the same substance. The gentlest way to clean the item is to take distilled water and a barely textured microfiber cloth and wipe it down. Use cotton swabs to clean around crevices like the edge of the screen and buttons.
If your device has a screen protector that doesn’t have a coating, you can get together some isopropyl alcohol, distilled water, a spray bottle, and a microfiber cloth. Pour one part alcohol and one part water into a spray bottle and then spritz the microfiber cloth with the solution and wipe down the phone.
Make sure to remove any case you might have on your phone or tablet and also clean that with some water and a microfiber cloth. Make sure it’s thoroughly dry before you put it back on.
To keep your phone or tablet clean on a regular basis, keep some wipes, like Wireless wipes handy and swab it down daily.
Eric Kirchner - Safety Chairman
Holiday Safety Tips
Stockings should be hung at least 3 feet from a heat source.
Purchase holiday lights and extension cords from a reputable retailer.
Make sure they bear the mark of a nationally recognized testing lab.
Outdoor lights must be marked for outside use.
Do not overload extension cords or outlets.
Inspect lights and extension cords for damage before using.
Fasten outdoor lights and decorations securely to the tree or your home.
Keep light strings away from snow or standing water.
Unplug electric decorations before replacing fuses or bulbs.
Christmas trees are wonderful.
Purchase a fresh tree. It will last longer.
Keep the tree hydrated. Water it twice a day.
If buying an artificial tree, make sure it’s label states fire resistant.
Do not put electric ornaments or lights on metallic trees.
Decorate trees with non-combustible materials.
Place trees at least 3 feet from heat sources such as fireplaces and space heaters.
Turn off electric decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors save lives.
Make sure they are working and properly installed.
Change the batterys when you turn the clocks back.
Portable generators and space heaters can be deadly.
Make sure you have the proper ventilation.
Follow the manufactureres directions.
Holiday cooking is great fun.
Make sure your fire extinguishers are near by and up to code.
Never leave cooking equipment unattended.
Supervise young children around heat sources.
Keep combustible items away from the stove top.
Locate all appliances away from the sink.
Candles add to a festive mood.
Consider using battery-operated candles.
Never leave an open flame unattended. Keep them in-site.
Keep combustible materials away from the decorations, drapes and the christmas tree.
Place candle where they can't be knocked over.
Extinguish all candles before going to sleep or leaving the house.
Children should never be left alone with lit candles.
Keep your kids safe during the holidays
Use appropriate decorations for young children in the home.
Always read the instructions included with the decorations.
Lights and garlands pose a strangulation hazard. These are not play things.
Choking hazards include holly berries, wax fruit and any small decorations.
Don't have sharp or breakable decorations around small children.