American drivers spend more than 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year, according to a 2016 survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Stay safe behind the wheel with these CCFR-approved tips.

  • Obey the rules of the road; assume that others will not and practice defensive driving. Keep an eye out for potentially dangerous drivers, pedestrians and animals.
  • Plan ahead; use a GPS or other navigation aid, and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Stick to major roads whenever possible; on long trips, make sure someone (not in the car) is aware of your planned route and update them on your progress throughout the drive.
  • Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy — lights and indicators, windshield wipers, brakes, steering, exhaust system and tires should all be carefully examined and maintained.
  • Don’t get stranded without gas — make sure your tank is full and you know where you can go to refuel.
  • Take breaks every two hours or so to avoid driver fatigue. Plan breaks in well lit areas, and if possible, trade off with another driver.
  • Remain alert and avoid distractions such as eating, texting, etc. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
  • Always wear your seat belt and make sure everyone in the car is wearing theirs, too!
  • Be visible — drive with your lights on.
  • Pass other vehicles only when you can do so safely; maintain a safe following distance (increase this distance at night, in foggy/rainy conditions or when the road is wet). Be mindful of other driver’s blind spots.
  • In the event of an emergency, try to avoid stopping on the highway. Have numbers for roadside assistance and other emergencies close at hand or saved on your cell phone, so that you are prepared for any eventuality.
  • Keep essential roadside equipment with you as many breakdowns are caused by relatively minor problems. Items include a first aid kit, spare tire, hazards, flares and fire extinguisher.
  • In the event of an accident, determine the extent of the damage/injuries and assess whether medical attention is required.
  • Take a picture with a camera or mobile phone and file an accident report with the police as you will need a case number for your insurance company to file a claim. Remember to get names, addresses, telephone numbers and ID numbers of everyone involved in the accident

 

Being prepared before, and knowing what to do after the storm hits are critical to the safety of those who experience severe weather.

Preparing For The Storm

  • Practice your emergency escape plan; know two ways out of each room of the house.
  • Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Charge cell phones, or other battery-operated devices that can keep you aware of severe weather.
  • Remember that a warning means that severe weather has been reported in the area, while a watch means that conditions are favorable. 

During The Storm

  • Keep the NOAA radio on. If you do not have one, stay tuned to local television or radio news.
  • If you hear the severe weather sirens, head to the basement or a room on the lowest level of the house with no windows immediately. “Most injuries are caused by flying debris, so do whatever possible to find cover,” says Mason.
  • If you see a green colored sky, large hail, a large, dark, low-lying cloud or hear a loud roar that sounds like a freight train take cover immediately.

After the Storm

  • Avoid downed power lines, and items touching these lines.
  • Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Be cautious of exposed nails and broken glass.
  • If it is dark do not use candles or any open flames, use a flashlight.
  • Call 911 immediately if anyone is injured, you see frayed wiring or sparks, the odor of something burning, or a gas odor.

Additional Resources

National Weather Service

NOAA

In case of fire, know what to do in your home away from home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) from 2006-2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3.700 structure fires per year at hotel or motel properties. These fires caused average annual losses of 12 civilian deaths, 143 civilian injuries, and $127 million in direct property damage each year.

 

 

NFPA Facts & Figures

  • In an average year, one of every 12 hotels or motels reported a structure fire.
  • Smoking materials started 10% of the fires in hotels and motels; these fires caused 79% of the deaths.
  • Only 8% of hotel and motel fires were intentionally set, but these accounted for 12% of the associated property damage.
  • Twelve percent of fires in hotels and motels began in a bedroom; these fires caused 72% of the associated civilian deaths and 31% of civilian injuries.
  • When sprinklers were present and operated, 91% of sprinklers in hotel or motel fires operated effectively when present.

CCFR recommends following these tips from the NFPA

  • Choose a hotel/motel that is protected by both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system.
  • When you check in, ask the front desk what the fire alarm sounds like.
  • When you enter your room, review the escape plan posted.
  • Take the time to find the exits and count the number of doors between your room and the exit.
  • Make sure the exits are unlocked. If they are locked, report it to management right away.
  • Keep your room key by your bed and take it with you if there is a fire. If the alarm sounds, leave right away, closing all doors behind you.
  • Use the stairs—never use elevators during a fire. If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.
  • If you can’t escape shut off fans and air conditioners.
  • Stuff wet towels in the crack and around the doors.
  • Call the fire department and let them know your location.
  • Wait at the window and signal with a flashlight or colored cloth.

A video on hotel/motel safety as well as other safety tips are available at nfpa.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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