Drive Safe this Fall

09/09/2011 | No Comments has an excellent article about safe driving this fall.

(NewsUSA) – Autumn’s leaves are beautiful to see, but when wet or in piles, they present driving hazards unique to the season. The Car Care Council reminds drivers to prepare for fall driving conditions by having their vehicles’ tires, brakes and wipers checked before heading out.

Most motorists know that puddles or standing water can cause loss of control, and they adjust their driving accordingly. But fewer drivers, especially inexperienced ones or drivers new to an area with heavy foliage, are aware of the dangers of wet leaves.

A single layer of wet leaves can make braking, steering and stopping difficult. This effect is particularly dangerous at intersections and is intensified at downhill stop signs. Acceleration can be affected, too. Fishtailing can result on leaf-strewn interstate entrance ramps and other areas where hard accelerations may be necessary.

Even when dry, leaves can present a challenge. Piles of leaves can obscure potholes, curbs and street markings and even present a fire hazard should leaves contact a hot muffler or tailpipe.

The Council reminds motorists that tires can affect the car’s ride, handling, traction and safety, and that they are a critical connection between the car and the road in all types of driving conditions. To maximize tire life and safety, check the inflation pressure and the tread depth, and inspect the sidewalls for cracks or punctures. As a general rule, tires should be rotated every 6,000 miles and balanced.

The brake system is the car’s most important safety system. Brakes are a normal wear item for any car, and brake linings, drums and rotors, as well as brake fluid, should be checked at each oil change.

To help ensure the performance and safety of wipers, blades should be replaced every six months or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering. Windshield wiper fluid should be checked monthly, and only washer fluid should be used.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer-education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers.

For more information or to receive a copy of the council’s new Car Care Guide for motorists, visit

It’s Back To School Time – Use These Tips for Safe Driving!

09/09/2011 | 2 Comments

Use these back to school driving tips from CAA to stay safe at the beginning of this school year and throughout the whole year!

The days are a little cooler, and there’s a crisp feeling to the air which is filled with the sounds of children groaning. It can only mean one thing: School is back in session. And, after a summer filled with easy driving with seemingly little traffic, the transition to crowded roadways teeming with people can be a difficult one. The most important thing to remember this back to school season is to make sure that you and those around you are safe when out on the road. These back to school safe driving tips will help ensure that everyone remains secure this school year.

1.) Observe School Zone Speeds
Although you should be obeying posted speed limits all the time, it is especially important during the school year. Children are continually crossing roads on their way to and from school and often aren’t paying attention, so going slowly and being vigilant is extremely crucial to keeping kids safe. In addition, children are often out at recess, lunch hour, and for certain classes, so it’s important to drive slowly the whole day and not just during high traffic times in the morning and afternoon.

2.) Obey the Crossing Guard
The crossing guard is there to keep children safe. So, if you come up to a set of lights, and the light turns green in your favour, but the crossing guard still says stop, his/her direction takes precedence. There might be a child still crossing the street that you can’t see or something else. Whatever the reason, they are trying to keep kids from harm, so it’s important to do what they say.

3.) Exercise Caution around School Buses
The school bus is a great way for kids to get to and from school, however, because of the large amount of children entering and exiting the bus at various stops, it’s imperative that extra caution is used when driving around a school bus. Obviously, you shouldn’t pass a school bus when the signal lights are flashing (as kids are often crossing the road at that time), and in addition, you should always watch your speed around school buses as a generally precautionary measure.

4.) Watch for Darting Children
Kids are small, excitable creatures and unfortunately for drivers, this can create dangerous situations on the roads. It’s important to be continually vigilant and alert behind the wheel this back to school season. You never know when a small child might dart out from between two parked cars and your fast reflexes are what’s needed to prevent an accident.

5.) Don’t Forget about the Frosh
It’s back to school season for more than just little kids. If you live in an area that has a college or university, you’re probably used to the massive number of students invading your home town each fall, and probably don’t think much of it. However these students are often not as cautious as they normally would be (especially if it’s their freshman year), and cross the roads without looking. Being extra vigilant around these students could save both an accident and a life.

The back to school season is a time of excitement and new beginnings, but before you head out on the road this season, be sure to refresh your memory on safe driving tips, so that everyone’s new beginning is a safe one.

LINK: 5 Tips for Back to School Driving Safety from CAA

Hurricane Irene

08/25/2011 | No Comments

If you can’t reach us for Hurricane Irene, please contact your provider directly. Click here for our list of providers. 

Preparing for a hurricane

08/25/2011 | No Comments

Irene’s path is headed for NJ. There are many ways to prepare before disaster strikes. A few suggestions… Be sure to have batteries and flashlights ready as well as clean drinking water. Have your insurance policies and any important papers secure and easy to reach. Check your policy to see if you have a separate hurricane deductible. Avoid unnecessary damage by removing and/or securing any outdoor furniture and items. Keep some cash on hand as electronic equipment such as ATM’s may be out of service. Lastly, listen to officials if you are asked to evacuate. Take precaution and be safe.

If you can’t reach us for Hurricane Irene, please contact your provider directly. Click here for our list of providers.

ASPCA’s Summer Heat Pet Safety Tips

07/25/2011 | No Comments

Some important tips for keeping your pets safe in the summer heat found here at

In summertime, the living isn’t always easy for our animal friends. Dogs and cats can suffer from the same problems that humans do, such as overheating, dehydration and even sunburn. By taking some simple precautions, you can celebrate the season and keep your pets happy and healthy.
Tips from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

  • A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must; add to that a test for heartworm, if your dog isn’t on year-round preventive medication. Do parasites bug your animal companions? Ask your doctor to recommend a safe, effective flea and tick control program.
  • Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle—hyperthermia can be fatal. Even with the windows open, a parked automobile can quickly become a furnace in no time. Parking in the shade offers little protection, as the sun shifts during the day.
  • Always carry a gallon thermos filled with cold, fresh water when traveling with your pet.
  • The right time for playtime is in the cool of the early morning or evening, but never after a meal or when the weather is humid.
  • Street smarts: When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog standing on hot asphalt. His or her body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.
  • A day at the beach is a no-no, unless you can guarantee a shaded spot and plenty of fresh water for your companion. Salty dogs should be rinsed off after a dip in the ocean.
  • Provide fresh water and plenty of shade for animals kept outdoors; a properly constructed doghouse serves best. Bring your dog or cat inside during the heat of the day to rest in a cool part of the house.
  • Be especially sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa apsos and shih tzus, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  • When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. And please be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste, and ingesting just a small amount can be fatal. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you suspect that your animal has been poisoned.
  • Good grooming can stave off summer skin problems, especially for dogs with heavy coats. Shaving the hair to a one-inch length—never down to the skin, please, which robs Rover of protection from the sun—helps prevent overheating. Cats should be brushed often.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
  • Having a backyard barbecue? Always keep matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles and insect coils out of pets’ reach.
  • Please make sure that there are no open, unscreened windows or doors in your home through which animals can fall or jump.
  • Stay alert for signs of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting and drooling and mild weakness, along with an elevated body temperature.

LINK: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home

07/25/2011 | 1 Comment

Some great tips found here in for saving energy & staying cool at home!

• Use more fans, less AC. Moving air feels cooler, so even if you have air conditioning you can raise the thermostat a few degrees and still feel good if there’s a fan to help air circulate.

• Change the filter regularly in your furnace for better energy efficiency and increased air flow.

• Draw the blinds or shades on windows that allow sun and heat in. Also, locate window air conditioning units in shady windows, if possible, to cut down on how hard the unit has to work to cool.

• Install awnings over exterior windows exposed to direct sunlight.

• Close the doors to unused rooms and close vents in those places.

• If your basement is several degrees cooler than the rest of the house, use fans to transfer that air upstairs.

• Leave your furnace fan “on” instead of set to “automatic” to even out hot and cool spots.

• Set the thermostat to 78 or higher, especially while you’re not at home.

• Opt for the microwave or toaster instead of the oven or stove. If you do use the oven, try to cook foods together that require similar temperatures.

• Use lids on pots when cooking on the stove to prevent heat loss and reduce cooking time.

• Cook in large batches when possible — a box of pasta instead of several small servings — to reduce energy usage.

• Run kitchen and bath exhaust fans no longer than necessary to save energy in both summer and winter.

• Don’t run a single-room air conditioner while you’re away. Instead, install a timer so it starts five minutes before you intend to return home.

• Turn off lights, TVs, VCRs and other energy vampires.

• Don’t open the refrigerator door more than necessary, which causes the compressor to come on and wastes electricity.

• Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near the home’s thermostat.

• Use an outdoor clothesline to dry clothes instead of a dryer.

• Switch to paper plates or wash dishes by hand.

• If you do use the dishwasher in the summer, run it at night to avoid daytime heat buildup in the kitchen.

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy,,,

Bike and pedestrian safety

07/12/2011 | No Comments

With the summer here, we want everyone to be safe. To see more on Bike and Pedestrian safety please visit

Road Rules for Bikers

07/12/2011 | No Comments

If you’re allowed to ride on the street, follow these road rules:

  • Always ride with your hands on the handlebars.
  • Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley, or a curb.
  • Cross at intersections. When you pull out between parked cars, drivers can’t see you coming.
  • Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and following traffic signals.
  • Ride on the right-hand side of the street, so you travel in the same direction as cars do. Never ride against traffic.
  • Use bike lanes or designated bike routes wherever you can.
  • Don’t ride too close to parked cars. Doors can open suddenly.
  • Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic (red) lights just as cars do.
  • Ride single-file on the street with friends.
  • When passing other bikers or people on the street, always pass to their left side, and call out “On your left!” so they know that you are coming.

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