You’ve heard all the talk about driverless cars — but unfortunately, we’re still years away from living in a world where you just tell your car where to go, kick back and relax with a book (or, more likely, your phone).
Even though our driverless future has yet to arrive, and you still have to pay attention when you’re behind the wheel, technology actually plays a big role on the road to safety already. And nowhere is that more apparent than the new safety features that make today’s vehicles safer than ever.
Those features might be even more important now, because drivers aren’t necessarily better these days. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2015 ended a five-decade trend of declining traffic fatalities — the 7.2% increase in deaths from 2014 was the largest jump since 1966.
Of course, we all know the basics of being a good driver: be alert, don’t speed, avoid distractions, remain mindful of the conditions, etc. While newer safety features aren’t a substitute for any of those things, they can be an excellent supplement to good driving habits.
So when you’re shopping for a new (or new-to-you) vehicle, look for ones that have the following options recommended by the NHTSA. They might even help you save on your insurance!
Forward collision warning: These sensors in the front of the vehicle will warn you of an impending collision, giving you a chance to brake or steer clear.
Automatic emergency braking: Working with forward collision warning sensors, this will automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision.
Lane-departure warning: This uses cameras to keep track of your car’s position on the roadway; if you begin to drift from your lane unintentionally, an alarm notifies you.
Backup camera: These cameras, which are becoming standard equipment in more vehicles, automatically activate when the car shifts into reverse, giving you a view behind the car.
Electronic stability control: This is now standard on models 2012 and later, but if you’re purchasing a used car, consider one that offers this feature. It helps you keep control in slippery conditions and on curves — according to the NHTSA, it reduces the risk of a fatal single-vehicle crash by about 50% and the risk of a fatal rollover by 80%.
Other features that may be available, depending on the make and model of car you choose:
Automatic crash notification: Notifies emergency responders in the event of a crash.
Lane-keeping support: Steers your vehicle back into the lane if you begin to drift.
Pedestrian automatic emergency braking: Alerts you if a pedestrian is in your path and automatically applies the brakes.
Blind-spot detection: Illuminates when another vehicle is in your blind spot on either side of the car.
Adaptive headlights: These headlights actually shift as you take curves and turns to help you see better.
Finally, don’t forget things that have little to do with technology, but still have a big impact on safety — such as the vehicle’s size and weight, structure and restraint systems, and its NHTSA safety rating. To look up the cars you’re considering, visit Safercar Safety Ratings.
It's hard to believe we are already into November and that Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Americans are gearing up for one of the most spectacular feasts of the year! Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings family and friends together to share good food, conversation, and laughter. In the midst of all this festive activity, it’s important to remember that there are health hazards associated with the holiday, including an increased chance of food poisoning, kitchen fires, and travel incidents.
Taking just a few minutes to read these Thanksgiving safety tips could mean the difference between enjoying the holiday and having a turkey dinner end in disaster.
Following these food safety tips can keep any Thanksgiving meal safe from bacteria and keep your family and friends from getting sick:
Safely cooking a turkey starts with correctly defrosting it; place your bird on a tray or pan to catch any juices and keep it refrigerated until it’s ready to cook.
A 20-pound frozen turkey can take up to five days to thaw out so plan ahead.
Turkeys need to be cooked to an internal temperate of 165 °F.
Leftovers need to be refrigerated within two hours after serving.
The average number of cooking fires on Thanksgiving is triple that of a normal day. Here a few simple ways to avoid fires:
“Stand by your pan" when cooking. Never leave food, grease, or oils cooking on the stovetop unattended.
Pot holders, oven mitts, food wrappers, and other things that can catch fire should be kept away from the stove.
Children should also be kept away from hot stoves and paid particular attention to when they are in the kitchen.
Facing pot handles towards the rear of the stove can save them from being knocked over and scalding people nearby.
Long sleeves and loose clothing should be avoided while cooking as it can easily catch fire.
Thanksgiving Travel Safety
The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and with all the excitement travelers can become more focused on celebrations than getting to their destination as safely as possible. Following these travel tips will keep everyone safe on the road and in the air:
An emergency road kit is important to have in case of a breakdown or accident.
Ideally, travel outside of the heaviest days to avoid congestion – which are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward.
Get your car road-ready and start your trip with a full tank of gas.
Don’t be distracted. It’s illegal to text and drive in most areas and drivers who text and drive are 23 times more likely to get into a crash than those who don’t.
Don’t drink and drive.
At airports, remember the 3-1-1 rule for carry-ons.
Food items in your carry-on luggage must be in clear plastic bags and less than 3.4 ounces.
Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year at airports; packing smartly will help security lines move along quickly.
Halloween is here, which means ghouls and goblins will be out and about going door-to-door stuffing thier bags and pillow sacks with goodies galore. While Halloween is an exciting and fun time for many, it is also a time of hazards and dangers. In hopes that you and your family will have a fun and enjoyable evening, please read over these Halloween safety tips. Feel free to share this information with your neighbors, family and friends.
1) Kids can be so excited—oftentimes they might dart out in front of traffic. As a driver, especially in residential areas, slow down, keep your eyes open, look ahead and be prepared for something that might happen in front of you. Children are more than twice likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Please remain cautious!
2) Choose brightly colored costumes or add reflective tape to increase visibility. Choose flame resistant costumes. Check for a “flame resistant” notification on the label. If you're making the costume yourself, examine the fabric content and talk with a salesperson to help you choose the least flammable material. Avoid pointy swords and sticks. Instead, use cardboard and tape to make bendable props and accessories. Costumes should also be sized correctly and short enough so children can safely walk up and down curbs and steps. Make sure that the costume does not block the eyes, nose or mouth. Instead of a mask, consider hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint. Write the name of your child and an emergency phone number either on the costume or safety pin it inside of the costume.
3) Children under 12 should not go out alone. The recommended time for trick-or-treating is 5:00pm-8:00pm. Children should travel in small groups accompanied by adults. Go only to well-lit houses and remain on porches. Children should be warned to NEVER approach any house that is not well lit or that doesn't have a porch light, "outside" light. Visit neighborhoods that you are familiar with. Plan your route!
4) Every group should carry a flashlight. Remain on the on the sidewalk and avoid crossing in yards Do not walk in alleys. Make sure your cross at crosswalks (when/where available) and that everyone in your group crosses together. Do not accept anything from someone inside of a vehicle unless you know the person.
5) INSPECT ALL CANDY BEFORE EATING IT. Ensure that the item is properly sealed. When in doubt, throw it out! Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded unless you personally know who gave them. All fruit should be cut and personally examined before eating. Ensure that children aren’t eating candy while out. Give them a light meal or snack before they head out – don’t send them out on an empty stomach.
From our offices in Weatherford, Texas, we serve clients anywhere in the State of Texas, though the following areas are geographically closest to us: the counties of Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Wise, Johnson, Parker and Hood and the cities of Arlington, Bedford, Brock, Burleson, Cleburne, Colleyville, Coppell, Dallas, Decatur, Euless, Fort Worth, Frisco, Granbury, Grapevine, Hurst, Keller, Mansfield, Millsap, Mineral Wells, North Richland Hills, Southlake, Watauga, Weatherford, and White Settlement.