Whether you’re a kid or an adult, there’s no debating the popularity of biking. There are more than 500 registered bicycle-related records in the Guinness Book of World Records, and you’d be hard pressed to walk down any street in America and not see kids riding their bikes.
But before you ride down the driveway and onto the neighborhood streets, everyone should know the rules of the road. Why? Statistically, almost two people die every day from a bicycle-car related crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, a NHTSA report from March 2017 found that bicyclist fatalities had jumped drastically from 729 in 2014 to 818 in 2015.
While riding a bicycle presents a fun and alternative mode of transport, it can also put you at risk, so Emerge Insurance Agency wants to encourage all riders to follow these important bicycle safety tips:
1. Always wear a bicycle helmet
Wearing a helmet is still one of the most important ways to stay safe while on a bicycle, and it’s required by law in some states for children under a certain age. A helmet will protect your head if you happen to hit something or someone, fall or get struck by a vehicle. Regardless of the distance of your trip or preferred route, always wear a helmet to help prevent head injuries.
2. Avoid busy streets
Biking down a major roadway might make for a direct and faster route, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll be the safest one when sharing the road with fast-moving traffic. Traveling busy streets increases your risk of getting into an accident with a car because motorists can be distracted and sometimes fail to realize that they’re sharing the road with cyclists. If you really must use a major roadway, avoid the rush and leave early.
3. Don’t wear ear plugs or headphones
Listening to music while riding a bicycle may sound like a good way to enjoy your ride, but it can also be dangerous. Florida and Rhode Island have banned headphone use and California recently followed suit, passing a law prohibiting the use of headphones while cycling. If you choose to listen to music, be sure you still can hear what’s going on around you. A cyclist’s primary focus should be safely traveling from point A to point B.
4. Put a headlight and taillight on your bicycle
NHSTA reports that the majority of bicycle accidents happen in urban areas and at non-intersections with the highest percentage of deaths occurring between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. If you need to ride your bike at night, be sure that others on the road can see you. Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing and lights will help drivers see you. Adding a headlight, taillight and reflectors to your bike will also make you more visible during early morning or evening rides. Check the laws in your state.
5. Use hand signals
Turning, changing lanes or stopping without signaling is a recipe for disaster for any vehicle on the road. Since bikes aren’t typically equipped with turn signals or brake lights, hand signals should be used to indicate your intended movements to other drivers. Be sure you know the proper motions to alert drivers of your next move ahead of time.
Remember, many of today’s drivers are distracted while behind the wheel, posing a threat to cyclists and others. No matter how many precautions you take to obey the rules of the road, never assume others are paying attention to you.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Eating While Driving & The Top 10 Most Dangerous Foods
Eating while driving is the worst form of distracted driving for a driver! Yet a study of 1,000 drivers done by ExxonMobil found that over 70% of drivers admit to eating while behind the wheel and 83% drink beverages while they drive.
A study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that those who eat and drive increase the odds of an accident by 80%! They also concluded that 65% of near miss accidents are caused by distracted drivers fussing with food and drinks. Those are some pretty staggering and eye opening statistics! As a matter of fact, those stats are worse than texting while driving numbers!
The NHTSA even went as far as to list the most dangerous foods and beverages. Starbucks would be very sad to hear that coffee takes first place. Drinking coffee is the single most dangerous food item to have in the vehicle when it comes to distracted driving. Think about it, what happens if you spill that coffee on your lap? Even when your morning coffee is sitting in a cup holder, you aren’t safe! What happens when you hit a pothole and coffee starts splashing out through the vents and holes on the lid. Doesn’t it attract your attention? Yup, your beloved coffee is putting you at risk! So please, don’t drink (coffee) and drive.
List Of The Top 10 Most Dangerous Foods & Beverages While Driving
Anything you touch, such as the steering wheel, armrest, your clothes, etc., will leave nasty chocolate fingerprints. A drivers instinctive reaction is to clean the stains, which of course, leads to a major distraction! The main reason chocolate made the top 10 most dangerous foods to eat while driving is because it’s messy. It’s not really something you can spill, it isn’t extremely hot, and it if you drop your candy bar, no big deal. It’s not something you have to clean up immediately. But when chocolate gets all over the fingers and hands, or worse yet, your nice bright white shirt on the way to your business meeting, the distraction can get dangerous.
9. Soft Drinks
A simple soft drink made the list? You betcha! Spilling a drink, having a can or bottle fall out of the cup holder, and even the act of taking a sip all lead to increased driver distractions. Searching the floorboard of your car to find that water bottle rolling around takes your eyes off the road in a worse way than texting and driving. Think about it, why is texting while driving dangerous? Because you have to take your eyes off the road, if even for just a split second. Now, what do you think happens when you are guzzling down a bottle of Pepsi or when you spill the 92oz soda in your lap? Can we say, distracted?
8. Jelly And Cream Filled Or Powdered Donuts
So you swing into Dunkin’ Donuts and get your nice hot coffee and tasty jelly donut. You take a bite, and the jelly oozes out the end and drips all over your nice new work pants. You guessed it, a major driver distraction! Now, I’ll be the first to admit, some times there is nothing better in the morning than a large cup of coffee and a surgery donut or two. My favorite is the Boston Cream Pie, but unfortunately, those probably aren’t any safer. Quite frankly, anything that has the potential to be messy is dangerous in the car. Many types of donuts are very talented at causing a messy situation and your car is not safe from such menacing donuts.
7. Fried chicken
Fried chicken is delicious, but better enjoyed at home. Eating while driving can be dangerous, but eating fried chicken while driving is just ridiculous! A driver eating fried chicken will constantly be cleaning off his or her hands from all the grease. Have you ever gotten grease on a steering wheel or an armrest? It isn’t easy to clean off once it has been there for a while! And worse yet, fried chicken can cause a mess. We’ve already covered the “messy food scenario” with the donuts, but the same thing applies here. Eat your friend chicken in the restaurant or while parked.
6. Any Barbecued Food
Who doesn’t like BBQ sauce! But remember, if it can drip, it will certainly find a way to do that while you’re driving. Getting barbecue sauce all over your clothes and nice leather car seat will surely lead to distracted driving. People try all sorts of tricks. They put napkins down on their lap, they keep baby wipes close by, and maybe even have an entire roll of paper towels ready to go. Believe me, I understand the temptation of BBQ, but it’s more suitable for the back yard than drivers seat.
5. Juicy Hamburgers
Again, if it can drip, it’ll find a way to do so in your car. Don’t let that $3 burger from McDonald’s turn into a $500 or $1,000 deductible from your insurance company. That would be an expensive burger! As one of the most frequently consumed items in vehicles, many people have grown content with eating a burger in the car. It has been so normalized in our society that fast food companies have even made it easier to eat and drive with your Big Mac or Whopper. Heck, these days, you don’t even need to exit your vehicle!
Anything containing chili, like a chili dog, sloppy Joe or Coney dog is obviously quite dangerous and distracting. Chili is fantastic on a lot of things. But chili on your steering wheel or your sweater isn’t so great, and will take your focus off the road. Now, this is one of those items you probably don’t think you’d eat while driving down the road, but, the fact is lots of people do, and eat worse. Remember, friends don’t let friends eat chili and drive.
When you hit that pothole and your taco turns into a fiesta bowl on your lap, it’s sure to cause some erratic vehicle movements. Sure, who doesn’t love a late night Taco Bell drive thru around 1am? I understand that sometimes, a good ol’ taco calls your name, but save it for when you get home. Oh, and if you have a long drive, don’t forget to order your taco in the soft shell. A soggy taco shell is no good when you finally get home.
2. Hot Soups
Who doesn’t love a nice steaming hot bowl of classic Chicken Noodle Soup. Pretty much everyone except the driver who just spilled it all over the floorboard of their car….and the person they rear end as a result. Some soup companies, like Campbell’s, are now making soup in little portable “sippy cup” looking thing. It’s a whole lot safer than trying to eat your soup from a bowl, however, even soup in portable “sippy” containers can be dangerous. It’s just as dangerous as the most dangerous food on our list…
Coffee? Yes, coffee! That’s the most dangerous food item to have in your car while you’re driving! When we think of eating while driving, we normally think of solid foods. But coffee is responsible for more distracted driving accidents than any other food item. You wouldn’t guess it with the number of Starbucks drive-thru’s and free Monday coffee at McDonalds, but the fact is, with coffee being so readily available and so popular, it is widely used. Piping hot coffee in the car is just a bad idea.
Additional Facts About Eating While Driving
Yes! Eating While Driving Really Is Dangerous!
Some distracted driving activities get a free pass. With the number of fast food drive-thru’s and Starbucks on seemingly every corner in the most dangerous driving areas, the task of eating while driving has been normalized by our society. Nobody thinks it’s a big deal and in fact, our vehicles and fast food companies have made it as easy as possible for you. Just because a certain form of distracted driving is overlooked, that doesn’t mean you should take part. Eating while driving is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than texting while driving!
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that cell phone distractions while driving claim 6,000 lives and are the cause of 1.6 million crashes a year.
Today, distracted driving kills more people than drinking and driving, and research has shown that drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to use cell phones while driving.
So, what is being done to combat this epidemic? Educating drivers about the dangers of distracted driving is important, but it clearly isn’t enough. What can we do? One place to start is technology, because technology can play a powerful role in helping to remind drivers to refrain from using their cell phones while they’re on the road. Here’s a look at three inventions designed to put an end to distracted driving.
1. The SMARTwheel
The SMARTwheel is a high-tech steering wheel cover that was designed by six New Hampshire teens with the goal of ending distracted driving.
The idea came about when 14-year-old T.J. Evarts noticed that his friends who had recently gotten their licenses were often using their phones while driving. Knowing how hazardous texting and driving is, Evarts set out to find a way to deter his friends…and the SMARTwheel was born.
The cover easily slips onto the steering wheel and tracks when a driver has both hands on the wheel. Removing one or both hands from the wheel triggers a buzzer and flashing lights. The device even records trip data and grades driving habits using a mobile app connected to smartphones through Bluetooth so parents can track their teen’s driving habits.
ParentBlocked is a smartphone app that allows parents to disable and control their children’s cell phones at certain times of the day through remote access.
The app was created by concerned single mom, Lisa Mullins, who worried that her teenage daughter would be too tempted to use her cell phone while driving.
It allows parents to approve downloads and pick and choose which features they want to manage – for example, parents can disable texting and social media sites when teens should be focused on other activities, like driving. PB Safe Driving Mode will automatically shut down cell phone functions if your teen is moving faster than 10 mph but still allow emergency calls.
DriveSafe.ly is a mobile app that eliminates reading and typing on smartphones by using iSpeech software. The app reads text messages and emails aloud and drivers are able to respond to messages through speech.
Tech entrepreneur and iSpeech founder Heath Ahrens is the creator of the hands-free app, which is compatible with Bluetooth and radio transmitters. It also comes with a customizable auto-response. These features keep drivers connected while reducing distractions and promoting safe driving.
Distracted driving takes lives and these apps can help make a difference.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Cecil Williams -