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 www.calcas.com.

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 www.calcas.com.

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