Do you belong to the 37% of drivers who have fallen asleep behind the wheel? It’s a dangerous, and common, occurrence: More than 20% of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver. Each year, an average of 886 fatal crashes, 37,000 injury crashes, and 45,000 property damage crashes are due to sleepy steering.
In short, drowsy driving puts property, your car, and your life at risk. Driving while fatigued increases your risk of accident by more than 50%. And even if no one else gets hurt (many drowsy-driving crashes involve a single driver running off the road), you risk damage to your car and increased insurance premiums. Why chance it? The Sleep Foundation recommends the following tips to prevent drowsy driving.
Take a nap: Before going on a road trip, take a short nap. If you get drowsy while driving, pull over and take a nap; a twenty-minute snooze may save your life and others’ lives. Choose a safe location and keep in mind you’ll be groggy after waking, so don’t start driving again right away.
Take a buddy: Ask someone to share the driving on long trips. Switch every two hours. Take a nap when you aren’t behind the wheel.
Take your time: Safety first! Don’t rush to get there. If you’re delayed, pull off the road and call to explain. Better late than never.
Take the right beverage: Avoid alcohol before driving. Even small amounts will increase drowsiness. Instead, go for caffeine. But remember even strong coffee wears off after a few hours.
Take off at the right time: DWDs occur most often between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Try not to drive during these hours.
Healthy eating on the road makes traveling more fun. For business or pleasure trips, plan a movable feast, and your energy will stay high. Bon voyage! Bon appetit!
Water, water everywhere: Drink as much water as possible. It may mean more bathroom breaks, but it’s the number one overlooked health maneuver. People often interpret thirst as hunger. Stay well-hydrated at all times. Herbal teas and fruit and vegetable drinks hydrate the body, while alcohol, soft drinks and coffee dehydrate it.
Pack a cooler: Homemade snacks are a big help. Fresh veggies, fruit, crackers, bread sticks, trail mix, nuts, pretzels, bagels, fig bars, yogurt – there are countless healthy choices. For little travelers, keep a good stock of juice boxes, graham crackers, animal crackers, bite-sized breakfast cereal and string cheese. During long trips, drop into local grocery stores to replenish the cooler. Among your supplies, include a good paring knife, an assortment of cutlery and plenty of wet wipes.
Fires. Tornadoes. Floods. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that natural disasters in the United States are on the rise. Are you and your family prepared if a natural disaster strikes your community?
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the first step in emergency preparedness is to formulate an emergency plan. A critical part of this plan is to ensure access to your medications in an emergency. Since many people are on multiple medications, the first place to start is the development of a comprehensive list of all medications and dosages. Include your own, those of family members, and any pet medications.
Next, remain prepared with an ample supply. If storms are brewing that may result in a loss of access to your pharmacy, be sure to obtain early refills. If your drug plan provider resists, call and explain why you need the early refill. Never wait until the last minute to obtain refills. Keep at least seven to 10 days’ worth of medication on hand, including pet medications.
If you use a mail-order pharmacy, and a storm or another natural disaster is on the horizon, provide an alternative shipping address where your provider can send your medications. Additionally, take a picture of your health card, including the pharmaceutical information, in case the card is lost or damaged. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends keeping your pets’ medical records with you in case you must board your pet after a disaster. Proof of vaccinations and medications will be vital to your furry friend’s safety.
To further prepare, ensure your medications are in watertight containers if flooding may occur. If the disaster contaminates local water supplies, and your medication requires water, use only bottled water to reconstitute medications. Also keep in mind that power disruption often accompanies a natural disaster. Consider how you will store any medications that require refrigeration.
Your home is underwater, and it’s not about its market value. Literally, your home has been consumed by floodwaters. Now what?
Whether the cause is a broken pipe, a storm, or a flooded river, take the following three steps in this order.
Stay safe: It may be tempting to rush in to salvage your belongings, but water can create hazardous conditions. Check for a weakened structure as well as damage to gas or electric lines. It might be extremely dangerous to walk on cracked floors or wade through standing water near electrical shorts. If you even suspect the property is unsafe, don’t enter. If you can safely turn off electrical sources and/or gas, do it before you go in.
Document everything: Take photos (or a video) of the damage before draining the water, removing items, or making repairs. For insurance purposes, it will help to have an accurate depiction of the extent of the damage.
Contact your insurance provider: Notify your agent as soon as possible. Some flood damage is not covered by typical homeowners insurance policies. Communicate with your provider to discover what, if any, coverage is available. Let them know of any repairs you intend to make. Your agent can advise you if you need to wait for an adjuster to inspect your property first. If you do make repairs, document the process with pictures and receipts.
Throughout this process, it’s important to stay in touch with your insurance provider, particularly if yours is not the only property impacted by a flood.
Are you planning a road trip? Does your adventure include crossing international borders? If so, make sure you have proper auto insurance before you hit the highway.
Most U.S. and Canadian insurance policies cover both countries. Insurance laws differ between the two, but your policy most likely includes a provision for travel across the border. When you cross, your policy is still active. However, it’s a good idea to contact your provider to confirm. Your agent may also send you a temporary insurance card to take with you. In addition to this documentation, you should also pack your proof of citizenship.
Traveling to Mexico is different. U.S. insurance companies may provide coverage for vehicle damage in Mexico but not liability coverage; you must purchase a separate policy from a Mexican insurance provider. You may be able to purchase coverage as you cross, but having it in place before you start your trek is preferable.
Do you plan to leave your car at home and travel abroad? If you rent a car in another country, your insurance policy usually doesn’t provide coverage. You will need to purchase rental insurance. The U.S. embassy in that country can provide information about the rental car insurance requirements there. Some places require coverage which is only available in that country.
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