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The 5 Worst Cities for Distracted Driving (and What You Can do About It)

The 5 Worst Cities for Distracted Driving (and What You Can do About It)

We see them every day – someone drifting across lanes, running through stop signs or driving well below the speed limit while talking, texting or checking something on their smartphone.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, dedicated to educating and eliminating the scourge of inattentive drivers on America’s highways and byways. Unfortunately, too many of us are making bad decisions behind the wheel, and there is much more work to be done.

Five Most Distracted Cities

TrueMotion, a company that uses sensors and driving information to help make roads safer, analyzed the data from thousands of vehicles to determine the areas with the most distracted drivers in America. Their findings:

  1. St. Louis
  2. Phoenix
  3. Atlanta
  4. Salt Lake City
  5. Fort Worth

The states with the most distracted drivers were Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Missouri and Louisiana.

Here’s the scary part – TrueMotion found drivers in the most distracted areas were not paying attention almost 20 percent of their time behind the wheel. You wouldn’t want to be a nearby pedestrian or driving next to them during one of their many lapses.

You Know the Danger

Let’s face it, every city has distracted drivers. They are not only a nuisance, but a danger to us and the ones that we love.

The problem of driver distraction continues to increase. Sixty percent of us admit to taking our eyes off the road to text, check social media or look up directions. The National Safety Council estimates that at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured every day in distracted driving crashes. One study found that 84 percent of us feel threatened when we see a driver concentrating on an electronic device, rather than traffic and the roadway. One recent study concluded that people talking on the phone while driving were as impaired as someone who tests for the legal limit of blood-alcohol.

What Can You Do?

Despite collision avoidance systems, the accident rate continues to climb. Traffic experts warn that inattentive and aggressive driving is the cause for all too many crashes. Here are some defensive driving tips that can help you avoid these errant drivers:

  • Keep scanning the area ahead and behind you
  • Drive with both hands on the wheel to better respond to dangers
  • Don’t follow too close
  • Slow down in bad weather
  • Have an escape plan
  • Avoid driving when tired or drowsy

You can also help stop distracted driving:

  1. Set a good example for others. Many teens say while their parents lecture them about texting or not paying attention while driving, their parents text or fiddle with phones while they drive
  2. Turn off phones or use the text and call blocker when driving
  3. Plan and review trip directions before driving, and pull over if you need to read or program navigation systems
  4. Create music or podcast lists before setting off on your drive
  5. Don’t drink, eat, or do other actions (grooming, turning to talk to others, etc.) that could be a distraction while driving

Teaching young drivers is one of the best ways to prevent this type of driving behavior. That’s why California Casualty is proud to be a major sponsor of Impact Teen Drivers, a nonprofit formed with the law enforcement and education groups that uses peer-to-peer tactics to educate teen and young adults about the dangers of distracted and reckless driving. Learn more at http://www.calcas.com/web/ccmc/impact-teen-drivers.

Experts recommend that everyone take a defensive driving course to learn these techniques. It can also help you get a discount on your auto insurance.

Before you hit the road, make sure you have adequate protection in case you encounter a distracted or aggressive driver. Call a California Casualty advisor today for an auto policy review, at 1.800.800.9410 or visit www.calcas.com.  

Sources for this article:
https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/get-involved/distracted-driving-awareness-month
https://archive.unews.utah.edu/news_releases/drivers-on-cell-phones-are-as-bad-as-drunks/ https://gotruemotion.com/blog/the-most-distracted-cities-in-america/
http://www.distraction.gov/
https://www.drive-safely.net/defensive-driving-tips/

This article provided by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters and nurses. Get a quote at 1.800.800.9410 or www.calcas.com.

Summer Skip – Money When You Need It the Most

Take advantage of the Summer Skip Payment Option from California Casualty

Add a little extra peace of mind to your summer by taking advantage of the Summer Skip Payment option.

Don’t let your budget impact moments with friends or family during the summer. California Casualty helps you budget for the important things in life with the Summer Skip Payment option. You can designate the two months you’d like to free up your money during the summer months.

California Casualty’s Summer Skip is designed to allow you to enjoy fun in the sun with family and friends without worrying about your auto insurance payments.

If you are already a customer and would like to take advantage of this unique benefit, simply go online at www.calcas.com/payments  to manage your account, or contact an advisor at 1.800.800.9410.

If you’re not a customer but would like to learn more about the skip payment option and all of the other special benefits available to Educators, Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers and Nurses, request a quote today in the Start Your Auto Quote section on the right-hand side of this page.

8 Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers

Icy roads. Traffic jams. Black ice. Snow conditions. All of these can make a parent go crazy just thinking about their teen driving in these conditions.  How do you talk to your new driver about driving in the winter season? We have some easy tips to get the conversation going.

  1. Decrease your speed.  The faster you’re going, the more room you’ll need to stop.
  2. Be extra careful on bridges and overpasses.
  3. Avoid cruise control or overdrive.
  4. Don’t pass snow plows – their drivers may not see you, and the roads are clearer behind them anyway!
  5. Turn on your lights to be more visible.
  6. Steer into a skid – this means if your rear wheels are going right, gently steer in that direction.
  7. Gently tap your brakes, if you have ABS brakes, gently apply constant pressure.
  8. Keep your windshield wiper fluid filled and keep your headlights clean.

These helpful ideas do not have to just be for your teen. Share with friends and family.

 

 

Holiday Skip – Money When You Need It the Most

Make the holidays more jolly for your wallet by taking advantage of the Holiday Skip Payment option.

Don’t let your budget impact your family moments. California Casualty helps you budget for the important things in life with the Holiday Skip Payment option. You can designate the two months you’d like to free up your money during the holidays.

California Casualty’s Holiday Skip is designed to allow you enjoy the spirit of the season with family and friends without worrying about your auto insurance payments.

If you are already a customer and would like to take advantage of this unique benefit, simply go online at www.calcas.com/payments  to manage your account, or contact an advisor at 1.800.800.9410.

If you’re not a customer but would like to learn more about the skip payment option and all of the other special benefits available to Educators, Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers and Nurses, request a quote today in the Start Your Auto Quote section on the right-hand side of this page.

Drowsy Driving – As Dangerous as Drunk Driving – Even for Educators

Most of us would never drive after drinking, but if you’ve ever been jolted awake as your car hit the rumble strip on the side of the road or you fell asleep at a stoplight, you were engaged in as dangerous a situation as driving while impaired. It’s important that all of us understand the implications of drowsy driving as we observe Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in November.

Drowsy driving is now listed as one of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s top public safety dangers behind the wheel along with drugged, drunken and distracted driving. The National Sleep Foundation has concluded that anyone who has slept less than two hours in a 24 hour period is too sleep deprived to operate a vehicle.

Here’s why; drowsy driving is estimated to cause the following each year:

  328,000 crashes in the U.S.
  6,400 highway deaths
•  $109 billion in costs, not counting property damage

Here are some other startling statistics:

  More than half of drowsy driving crashes involve drivers age 25 and younger
  Driving 18 hours without sleep is equal to .05 blood alcohol impairment
  As many as one-third of drivers admitted that they have fallen asleep while driving

If you’ve battled to keep awake behind the wheel, you know how dangerous it can be; much like drunk drivers, overtired drivers have proven to have:

•  Slower reaction times
•  Impaired judgement
•  Increased risk of risk taking
•  More frequent blinking/eye closure
•  Deficits in cognitive performance
•  Memory impairment
•  Attention failure

Safety groups and the National Sleep Foundation urge you to pull over, stop and rest if you notice any of these warning signs:

•  Difficulty focusing
•  Frequent eye blinking
•  Daydreaming
•  Trouble recalling the last few miles or moments
•  Repeated yawning or rubbing your eyes
•  Trouble keeping your head up
•  Driving across lanes or hitting a shoulder rumble strip

And, if you are a teacher, you are not immune. In addition to the risks associated with drowsy driving, being sleep deprived could also be affecting your performance in the classroom. A Ball State University study found nearly a fourth of teachers said their classroom skills were significantly diminished and half admitted to missing work or making errors do to a serious lack of sleep. About 43 percent slept an average of six hours a night and 64 percent said they felt drowsy during the school day. Exacerbating the problem is that so many school personnel spend late nights grading papers and preparing lesson plans. The study also found that almost half of the respondents worked a second job to make ends meet.

Lack of sleep can lead to serious health issues. Those who get only six hours or less per night were more likely to have a depletion of performance with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, depression and obesity.

So what can you do to get more sleep? Experts say good sleep hygiene is essential:

•  Try to get eight hours of sleep each night
•  Avoid napping during the day
•  Stop using stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime
•  Stay away from heavy meals close to bedtime
•  Get vigorous exercise during the day and try relaxing rituals such as yoga before bedtime
•  Keep the bedroom for sleep; remove the TV
•  Create a good sleep environment: eliminate excess noise and light and the temperature neither too hot or cold

Remember, getting a good night’s sleep and finding more time to relax can lead to a better classroom experience for you and your students, as well as reduce your risk of driving drowsy.

 

Sources for this article:
http://www.ghsa.org/html/publications/sfdrowsy.html
http://drowsydriving.org/
https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/expert-consensus-panel-concludes-missing-night-sleep-renders-drivers-unfit
http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/drowsy_driving.html
http://cms.bsu.edu/news/articles/2008/9/study-finds-that-teachers-are-fighting-to-stay-awake-in-the-classroom


				
					

7 Steps to Take After Hitting a Deer

Fall is a glorious time to take a drive and enjoy the changing colors. Be careful, it’s also a dangerous time for wildlife.

Accidents with deer and elk spike across the United States from October through December, with November the top month for deer-car crashes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates more than 1.5 million deer collisions take place every year in the U.S., causing over $1 billion in vehicle damage. The danger increases when your travel in rural areas where deer roam; just look at the scattered bumpers, grills and lights on the sides of the roadways.

The top ten states for deer-auto crashes in 2017 were:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Montana
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Iowa
  5. Wisconsin
  6. South Dakota
  7. Minnesota
  8. Wyoming
  9. Michigan
  10. North Dakota

To reduce the risk of hitting deer or other wildlife:

  • Don’t drive distracted
  • Slow down
  • Use high beams at night when there is no oncoming traffic
  • Stay alert at dusk and dawn when deer tend to be most active
  • Pay attention to wildlife warning signs
  • Honk your horn to scare any deer off the road
  • Break firmly and don’t swerve (many serious crashes occur when drivers lose control of their vehicle trying to avoid a deer)

If you hit a deer, take these 7 steps:

  • Attempt to move your vehicle to the side of the road
  • Use your hazard lights
  • Call local law enforcement or the state patrol (especially if there are injuries, your car is not drivable or the animal remains in the road)
  • Don’t approach or attempt to move an injured animal (it can hurt you)
  • Take photos of the crash, the damage to your vehicle, and the roadway where it occurred
  • Fill out an accident report (some areas allow you to do it online)
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible

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