Beware of Black Ice

Beware of Black Ice

Snowy and icy roads are the cause over a hundred thousand accidents every year, according to the US Department of Transportation. One of the most common, and arguably the most dangerous, parts about driving in the winter is hitting a hidden patch of ice called black ice.

 Black ice is a thin coat of highly transparent ice.  It is called black ice because it is so thin it blends in with road pavements making it practically transparent and very hard to see- therefore it is highly dangerous.  Black ice can be anywhere, but it is commonly found on bridges, overpasses, and on shared areas of roadways, like intersections.

If you are driving in a winter storm, hitting black ice may be unavoidable, but you can minimize your risk of an accident by taking these precautions.


Prepare for Icy Road Conditions

If you have to get out on the roadways during a snow or ice storm, use these tips:

Drive Slow – Reduce your speed to a slow and steady pace. You should brake for stop signs and intersections earlier than normal and leave at least an 8-10 second following distance between vehicles.

Know Your Brakes- Look at your car’s manual to see if your brake system is standard or anti-lock (ABS). If you hit black ice with standard brakes: steer into the skid and slowly pump your breaks until you are back in control. If you have ABS, steer into the skid and apply steady pressure to your breaks until you are back in control (do not pump them).

Make Sure You Have the Right Tires- When winter weather hits, it is recommended to switch from regular tires to snow tires or place snow chains on your tires. However, if you don’t want to replace your tires or purchase snow chains, make sure that your regular tires have the proper amount of tread and pressure to get you through the winter months.

Stay Alert- When you are driving over areas that black ice is commonly found, like bridges or overpasses, stay alert and be aware that your tires will probably start to lose traction. If you can feel your vehicle start to slide, don’t panic, reduce your speed even lower and proceed with caution.


3 Ways to Spot Black Ice

  1. Know When it Occurs: Black Ice occurs when the air is 32 degrees or below and rain/moisture is present on roadways. You can also expect black ice if it is sleeting or your car has ice frozen to its surface
  2. Glossy Looking Roadways: If a roadway looks glossy, wet, or patchy and it is below 32 degrees, you are probably looking at black ice. Before you get on the road, look at your sidewalk and see if it looks wet. If it does, very carefully move your foot over on top of it and see if you slide. If black ice has accumulated on the sidewalk, there is a good chance it will also be on the road.
  3. Pay Attention to the Cars In Front of You: If the cars in front of you are starting to slide or fishtail they are probably encountering black ice. If you are following at the recommended distance, you should have time to slowly change your speed before you drive over it. Another easy indicator is cars or tire tracks in the ditch or grass median.


The best way to avoid black ice is to completely stay off of the roadways when winter weather hits, but if you already know that won’t be an option, prepare yourself and with our winter driving safety tips.



Related Articles:

Winter Driving Safety

Emergency Winter Car Kit

8 Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers


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 www.calcas.com.


Winter Driving Safety

Winter Driving Safety

Undoubtedly, when the roads are covered in snow and/or ice the best option is to just stay hunkered down at home. However, for the majority of us, that’s not an option. In fact, 70 percent of US roads are located in snowy regions. and each year over 116,000 people are injured driving in the snow and ice.

Accumulation on roadways reduces tire friction and vehicle maneuverability and greatly increases the risk of accidents. So, as winter approaches and you make the necessary preparations to your vehicle, make sure you remember these winter driving safety tips to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.

  1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. 
    • Allow at least 3 times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. 
    • If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brakes.
  3. Turn on your lights. 
    • This will make you more visible to other motorists.
  4. Keep your windshield clean.
    •  Once it has defrosted, keep the windshield wipers on to wipe away all falling snow and avoid it freezing over again.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction. 
    • Drive especially slow on hills to avoid rolling backward.
  6. Steer into a skid to avoid a crash.
    • This means if your rear wheels are going right, gently steer in that direction.
  7. Keep an emergency kit in your car.
    • This should include a first aid kit, flashlight, water, blankets, and snowmelt or sand/kitty litter.
  8. Be on the lookout for black ice.
    •  Black ice is barely visible and makes roadways, bridges, and overpasses extremely slick
  9. Don’t pass snow plows.
    • The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  10. Don’t assume your vehicle won’t have problems.
    • Even 4-wheel drive automobiles can have issues on ice and snow!


If your rear wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the accelerator.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go.
  3. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle under control.
  4. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  5. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.


If your front wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
  2. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in “drive” or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.


Stay warm & be careful out there!

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 www.calcas.com.

Emergency Winter Car Kit

Emergency Winter Car Kit

Driving in winter weather can be extremely dangerous, but for most of the country, a winter commute in sub-par conditions is a fact of life.

Getting out during a wintery mix may be unavoidable, but it is important to know that even small amounts of snow, ice, freezing rain, and hail can lead to treacherous driving conditions, like slick, snow-packed roadways and low driving visibility. They also significantly increase the possibility of an accident.

If you know you will be traveling this winter make sure you are prepared for anything the winter weather may bring, by packing an emergency car kit to store in your vehicle.


What is an Emergency Winter Car Kit?


An Emergency Winter Car Kit is just like an Emergency Kit for your home. It is filled with contents that will help you survive in case of an emergency. The main difference between Car Kits and Kits for your Home is that Emergency Car Kits include devices made specifically for your vehicle, like tools to help you if you get stuck or stranded.

It is recommended to have one kit per vehicle. You can buy one online or make one yourself.


What to Pack in an Emergency Winter Car Kit:

    • First Aid Kit
    • Heavy Duty Jumper Cables
    • Tow Rope
    • Tire Chains or Snow Tires
    • Flares
    • Extra Cash
    • Whistle
    • Flashlight & Batteries
    • Portable Phone Charger
    • Multi-tool or Knife
    • Reflective Roadside Triangles
    • Ice Scraper & Brush
    • Blankets
    • Portable Shovel
    • Extra Gas
    • Small Bag of Sand or Kitty Litter
    • Warm Clothes (Coats, Gloves, Scarves, Stocking Caps)
    • Sanitation Liquid or Wipes
    • Water & Non-Perishable Food Items

You Could Also Include:

    • Reflective Safety Vest
    • Snow Boots
    • HotHands
    • Lighter or Matches
    • Rain Poncho
    • Distress Flags
    • Duct Tape
    • Small Fire Extinguisher
    • Can of Sealant
    • Mini Air Compressor

Winter weather can be unpredictable, and you never know when you might get stuck in a snowstorm or slide off of the road, but a well-stocked emergency kit will help you get back on the road, or at least keep you warm and safe until help arrives.


Related Articles:

Winter Driving Safety Tips

Preparedness- How to Build an Emergency Kit

Hacks to Beat Winters Freeze


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 www.calcas.com.


Keep on Course Jeep Compass Giveaway

Keep on Course Jeep Compass Giveaway

Educators lead extremely busy lives, but the worst time to multi-task or let the mind wander is behind the wheel. From smartphones to navigation devices, technology is a dangerous temptation for drivers to take their eyes off the road. Tending to passengers, eating or drinking or checking one’s appearance are also risks. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,100 people each year lose their life in a crash involving distracted driving.

California Casualty is working to help end dangerous habits behind the wheel with the Keep on Course Giveaway. Educators who make a promise to drive safely are entered for a chance to win a new Jeep® Compass. The campaign runs from January 1, 2020 through October 4, 2020.

“Your safety is important to us,” said California Casualty Sr. Vice President Mike McCormick. “We appreciate everything you do and we know that your commitment extends beyond school to your home and family.”

California Casualty has been serving the needs of educators since 1951. We offer exceptional rates and exclusive benefits not available to the general public. Request a quote or learn more by calling 1.866.704.8614.

*Jeep is not a participating partner in or sponsor of this contest. Click here for complete terms and conditions.

10 Tips if You Have a Parking Lot Accident

10 Tips if You Have a Parking Lot Accident

It could happen at school, the mall, or even at a nearby restaurant – a parking lot accident.  If it happened to you, do you know what you should and should not do?

We are all busy and it can happen in the blink of an eye. Whether it’s not seeing a car as you back out of a parking spot, coming around a corner and hitting another vehicle, or returning to your car or truck to find someone damaged it and drove off, parking lot wrecks happen more often that you might think.

To help avoid an unplanned “bumper-cruncher,” here are some tips:

  • Be extra cautious when backing out of a space (the cause of 25 percent or more of parking area crashes) and don’t rely on backup cameras
  • Observe posted signs
  • Slow down
  • Don ‘t cut across lots and spaces
  • Don’t speed up or suddenly back up for a vacant space
  • Avoid cell phone and other distractions
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Choose a parking spot at the end of the row or next to an island or pole to help protect our car
  • Watch for pedestrians, especially children and the elderly

There are more than 50,000 parking area accidents every year in the U.S. While most are minor, they can be very unsettling. In most cases the police or other law enforcement will not respond to accidents on private property unless there is serious damage and injuries, one or more of the drivers were under the influence, or a driver was in a stolen vehicle. Determining who is at fault can be a sticky situation.

Here are 10 Important Things to Do if You’re Involved in a Parking Lot or Parking Garage Accident:

  1. Call for medical help if someone is injured
  2. Avoid getting into an argument
  3. Take pictures before moving the vehicles
  4. Write down the time of the crash and diagram where and how it occurred and any other important information (obstructed views, weather conditions, how fast your or the other car was going, arrows or other markers showing direction of travel, etc.)
  5. Exchange insurance and other important information (License plate and driver’s license numbers, names and phone numbers)
  6. Seek out and get contact information from witnesses
  7. Make a police report
  8. Leave a note under the wiper blade with your name, insurance and contact information if you hit an unoccupied vehicle and can’t locate the
  9. Don’t negotiate with the other driver to work a deal without notifying insurance because they could still make a claim
  10. Contact your insurance provider

Here are some critical things you need to know.

  • Never leave the scene without leaving a note; doing so could result in a major violation and penalties
  • Be aware of staged accident schemes
  • You’ll be paying for damage if someone hits you and leaves unless you have collision coverage

Keep your holidays jolly; contact a California Casualty advisor to make sure you’re covered for the unexpected. Call today for a policy review at 1.800.800.9410 or visit www.calcas.com.


Related Articles:

Winter Driving Safety

Steps to Take After Hitting a Deer

Auto Insurance Does More Than Fix Your Car


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 www.calcas.com.


Pet Passenger Safety Tips

Pet Passenger Safety TipsYou know the look. The one you get as you’re preparing to leave the house. You glance down and see those eyes silently asking you to come along. Maybe the look is also accompanied with a small but very hopeful wag of the tail. The subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) reminder of how much your dog loves being with you. And going along for car rides. Pet passenger safety

We love our pets and do our best to make sure they live long, happy and healthy lives. So, if you’re like most and simply can’t resist letting your faithful companion join you for the ride, be sure to keep your four-legged friend safe.

Pet Passenger Safety Tips:

  • Travel with Fido in a crash tested dog crate or safety harness
  • Put Peaches in the backseat, away from the front airbags
  • Take breaks every 2 to 3 hours to let Rover stretch and do his business
  • Turn off or lock power windows so Penny can’t open or close them on her own
  • Always have water on hand so Max has it when he needs it
  • Don’t let Rascal sit on your lap while you’re driving

We know how much your pets mean to you. That’s why California Casualty automatically includes free Pet Injury Coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Get a free coverage comparison today and discover why educators, firefighters, police officers and nurses trust California Casualty for their auto and home or renters insurance needs. www.calcas.com


Related Articles:

Disaster Preparation for Pets

Questions to Ask Before Boarding Your Pet

What to Consider Before Getting a Classroom Pet


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