Accidents Rise During Pandemic: Staying Safe

Accidents Rise During Pandemic: Staying Safe

Less traffic has been hitting the roads, but cities and states across the country are actually seeing an increase in accidents- in adults and in teens. Fatal accidents involving teenagers has already hit an all-time high. Preliminary data from The National Safety Council indicates a 14% increase nationwide in fatal miles driven in the spring of 2020, compared to 2019.

While many people across the country stay inside and continue their “new normal” – working from home and only leaving the house when necessary, drivers on the less crowded roadways may be prone to take advantage of open lanes of traffic by driving recklessly, resulting in fatal accidents.

States all across the country have experienced increases in roadway deaths including California, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

If you have to get back on the road, follow these safety tips to avoid a deadly collision.


Brush Up on Traffic Rules & Regulations

It’s never a bad idea to re-familiarize yourself with traffic laws, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve been behind the wheel. Before you get back on the road, take some time to go over basic traffic rules and regulations for your state, and minimize the risk of getting in an accident.


Don’t Speed

Speeding is a bad habit that most of us are guilty of, and when traffic is light the urge to speed increases (especially on the interstate). Not only is speeding against the law, but it also makes the road extremely dangerous for everyone on it. Speeding alone causes over 100,000 deaths every year. With clear roadways during the pandemic, more drivers are speeding to get to their destination causing fatal accidents. Avoid injuring yourself and/or others, and don’t speed.


Drive Defensively

It’s more important than ever to stay alert and aware when you are on the road. Defensive driving is a set of driving skills that allow you to defend yourself against possible collisions caused by other drivers. These skills include: preparing to react to other drivers, avoiding distractions, and planning for the unexpected. You should always drive defensively, even if you are obeying all of the traffic laws, because other drivers may not be.


Watch Out For Pedestrians

In the early months of the pandemic, we saw more and more people turn to walking and biking for socially distant exercise, and many people have kept up with these healthy habits. When you are behind the wheel stay alert and keep an eye out for pedestrians that may be biking in streets or using crosswalks.


Educate Your Young Driver

Every May – September is considered the “100 Deadliest Days” for young drivers, as many hit the road for the first time (even during the pandemic). Teens are inexperienced behind the wheel, which makes them more susceptible to reckless and distracted driving – the number one killer of teens in America. Pair inexperience and reckless driving with an increase in fatal accidents and you have a recipe for disaster. Before your young driver gets behind the wheel this summer, educate them on following the rules of the road, even when there is no traffic. For more tips on teaching your teen driver click here.


Lastly, Make Sure You Have the Proper Coverage. Although this will not help you avoid a collision, it will save you time and money in the event you do get into an accident. While collision rates are on the rise, it’s important, now more than ever, to have the right auto insurance protection for when you get back on the road. This will not only help with out-of-pocket expenses due to an accident, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that your insurance is one thing you don’t have to worry about during these trying and uncertain times.


Drive smart and stay safe. For more auto insurance tips click here.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Top 6 Risk Factors for Boating Accidents

Top 6 Risk Factors for Boating Accidents

In 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard counted 4,145 recreational boating accidents that caused 633 deaths. That’s a fatality rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 recreational vehicles. There were also just over 2,500 injuries and about $46 million dollars of property damage.

The weather’s beautiful. Your boat’s ready. The rivers, lakes, and shores are calling. We get it! But here’s a reminder to keep safety top of mind while enjoying excursions with friends and family.

Here are the top 6 causes of boating accidents, as reported by the U.S. Coast Guard.


  1. Alcohol

By far, the leading known contributor to accidents is alcohol use, which contributed to 19 percent of deaths. Remember that blood alcohol content laws are the same for drivers of cars and boats. Underage drinking laws and penalties also still apply. Alcohol use while boating can lead to reckless boating, excessive speed, and other avoidable risks.


  1. Operator Inattention

The boating vibe is definitely one of relaxation and fun. But it’s imperative that drivers remain attentive to their surroundings. Rocks, swimmers, submerged trees, floating debris, other watercraft and changing weather can quickly turn conditions hazardous.


  1. Improper Lookout

Besides the driver, every vessel must have an appointed lookout — someone who monitors for boat traffic; nearby vessels; and risks of collision, stranding and grounding. If anyone in the group is doing water sports, the lookout must alert nearby boats that someone’s in the water. Accidents in this category were due to there being no designated lookout or the lookout was not doing their job. For every boat trip, make sure you appoint someone and that they understand and fulfill their duties.


  1. Operator Inexperience

Safely operating a boat is not only about knowing how to drive and handle that specific vessel, but also knowing the relevant boating laws and regulations (including locale-specific rules). Boater education classes are a great first step to gain experience and know-how. Anyone driving a boat must also know how to handle emergency situations.


  1. Equipment Failure

Just as with cars, boats need regular maintenance, repairs, and upkeep. Make sure your boat is “water-ready” before taking it out for the season. This includes the engine and mechanical parts, as well as life preservers, flares, navigation lights, and other safety items. Do a test run of the safety equipment so you don’t have an unexpected failure out on the water.


  1. Excessive Speed

High speeds make debris, hazards, swimmers and other boats harder to see, and decreases reaction time. Be mindful of posted speed limits and speed laws, which should be followed at all times. Also, inexperienced drivers sometimes forget that boats don’t have brakes like cars, which can get them into trouble quickly in an emergency or unexpected situation.


Some Final Reminders…

Although related to the above top causes, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the following 4 boating risks to keep in mind.

    • Busy Summer Days — Beautiful weather translates to crowded waters. More traffic means the driver and lookout must remain vigilant and attentive to hazards.
    • Reckless Boating — This encompasses any risky or unsafe driving behavior, and exponentially increases with alcohol consumption and/or operator inattention and inexperience.
    • Weather Conditions — Inclement weather such as strong winds, heavy rain, or sudden lightning is a hazard in itself but can also cause swells and large waves that threaten to capsize boats.
    • Hydration —It’s easy to become dehydrated when out in the sun and the elements — and paradoxically, when surrounded by water. Remember to always have enough water on board and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Many crashes can be avoided by knowing the risks and following safety guidelines. With precautions in place, you’ll have peace of mind to enjoy those beautiful summer days and sunsets on the water.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Choosing the Right Motorcycle Helmet

Choosing the Right Motorcycle Helmet

A motorcycle helmet is more than a fashion statement. It’s what stands between you and serious injury, or even death, in an accident. Not only that, but helmets also offer important protection against flying debris, pesky bugs, gusty wind, noise, and the ever-unpredictable weather.

There’s an art and a science to picking the right motorcycle helmet. Here’s what you need to know.

First, ask yourself these questions.

  • What type of motorcycle riding do you do?
  • What material do you want around your head?
  • How much of your head do you want covered?
  • How much money do you have to spend?

If you primarily ride on pavement, you’ll want a full-face, modular, or dual sport helmet. If you go off-road, you’ll need a dirt helmet. If you do a little of both, you’ll want to consider a dual-sport helmet that can handle the speed of the highway and the flying debris of gravel roads. You’ll also need to decide how much of your head you want covered. Helmets range from full-face to the top of your head. The more coverage, the more protection your helmet can offer.

Helmet shells are made of a variety of materials. These include hard plastic, carbon fiber, carbon Kevlar, and woven fibers with hard shells. Some materials are more costly than others. Helmets can range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. The price also depends on features like built-in communications for riding in a group. Just remember that double the price doesn’t necessarily mean double the safety.


Choose a helmet style.

Full-face helmets cover your entire head and face. They are made to offer full protection for street use, highway riding, and racing. The downside is that these helmets can get hot. They also may have a smaller field of vision than a dual sport helmet. Full-face helmets may be fitted with removable face shields or have vents that open and close to address these issues.

Dirt helmets are designed for off-road use. They are typically lighter than full-face helmets, offering more ventilation. They have a peak like a baseball cap that protects from sun. Instead of a closable shield, they have an opening where you can fit pair of motocross goggles.

Dual sport helmets are where road helmets meets dirt styles. They offer the comforts of road travel with the practical elements for off-road rides. There’s a larger field of vision than full-face helmets. The visor cuts down on sun glare.

Open face helmets protect your head and ears but not your face. They provide more visibility and ventilation than full-face and dual sport. There are even some open face helmets that have shields that can be snapped on. The downside is that, without a shield, your face is exposed to the elements. An upside is that you can eat and drink without taking your helmet off.

Modular helmets are a cross between full-face and open face helmets. The chin bar is hinged so that it can be flipped up out of the way. You can drink and it with it on. However, the chin bar must be down when you ride. Modular helmets are good for hot climates where a full-face helmet gets too hot after a short ride.

Dome Helmets/Skull Caps cover just the top of a rider’s head. While lighter and allowing more airflow, they lack serious protection. They don’t protect the ears, face, or chin.


Determine your head shape and size.

The shape of your head is different from the shape of your face, and just like faces, heads have different shapes and sizes. Knowing yours will save you a lot of time when finding the perfect fit.

The three basic head shapes are:

  • Long oval where the head is longer front-to-back than it is side-to-side.
  • Intermediate oval where the head is slightly longer front-to-back than side-to-side.
  • Round oval where the head is about the same front-to-back and side-to-side.


To find out your head shape, take a selfie from above your head or ask a friend to do it. If your head looks long and thin like a wide football, you probably have a long oval. If it resembles a slightly squashed soccer ball, you probably have an intermediate oval. If your head looks more like a soccer ball, you probably have a round oval.


To find out your head size, measure your head with a cloth tape measure:

  • Start the end of the tape about an inch above your eyebrows.
  • Circle it around so it goes above your ears and meets at the front, like you are wearing a headband.
  • That is your side-to-side measurement. Take the measurement in inches as well as centimeters as some brands use the metric system.


Try helmets on for size.

Now that you know your size and head shape, and the type of helmet that you want, you’re ready to try some on. Find your measurement on the size chart. Try different models and brands for the best fit possible. Some may be better for your head shape.

  • A well-fitting helmet should fit snugly.
  • Hold the helmet by the chin straps and roll your helmet onto your head from front to back. Don’t pull it straight down onto your head.
  • Once it’s on, try to roll the helmet forward off your head. You should not be able to do so.
  • Hold the helmet at the sides and try to move it up and side to side. The helmet should move your scalp and cheeks along with it.
  • Wear the helmet for as long as possible. There should be no pressure points or hot spots.
  • After trying it on, take it off and note any red spots or sore spots.


Check the safety certifications.

Helmets in the U.S. must be DOT-approved and manufactured according to safety guidelines. To qualify for DOT certification, they must pass four tests: impact test, penetration test, retention strap test, and peripheral vision test. DOT-approved helmets have a sticker at the back that includes the manufacturer/brand name, model number, and certification number.

Look for organizations like Snell that also test helmets. Snell is a third-party independent nonprofit standard and testing organization. They test in addition to DOT, but manufacturers must pay them to do so. The Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the European Safety Commission FIM also do additional testing. The more testing, the more assurance that your helmet meets safety requirements. However, additional testing also can raise the price of a helmet.

Pro Tip: Beware of imposters who sell novelty helmets with fake DOT labels. These helmets will be less than an inch thick and weigh a pound or less. By contrast, reputable helmets weigh about 3 pounds.


When to replace your helmet

Motorcycle helmets wear out after use. You should replace yours every 3-5 years or if your helmet sustains any damage. For added peace of mind, protect yourself with the right motorcycle insurance so that if you do get into an accident, you’re fully covered.

With the right helmet and the right gear, you’re ready to hit the road. Safe travels.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or



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