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Winter Driving Tips

December 21st, 2012 | Posted in Lifestyle

Winter is a great time of the year no matter where you live in this wonderful country.  Winter driving can present some challenges especially if you live in Southern California and are going to venture off to the mountains for a ski weekend or just a getaway into the Sierra Nevada’s.

As you enter the mountain region, and your altitude changes, you will likely see a beautiful coating of snow and everything is gorgeous.  This is when you have to mentally shift your thinking to driving in winter conditions.

There are certain cautions that we see as a reminder such as signs saying “the bridge deck will freeze before the road”.  That makes sense – we can understand that.  But your preparation needs to actually begin before you get in the car and start your trip.

Since we know that getting stranded is no fun, we have to prepare properly because it really can be a matter of life and death.

Driving Safety – this is common sense but always a good reminder

  • Plan two routes to your destination
  • As road conditions change, adjust your speed  as needed (not faster)
  • When the road is wet, icy or snow covered, NEVER use your cruise control
  • Always buckle up
  • Make sure you have an Emergency Kit in the car that includes car cell phone charger, flares, tire chains, radio, extra batteries, blankets, boots and some food and water.

Before you leave

  • Let someone know your travel routes.
  • Call ahead to your destination if people will be waiting, let them know your ETA and give them your cell # just in case.
  • Check road conditions and weather conditions and modify your route appropriately
  • Don’t travel alone – take a friend or travel with other vehicles

While driving

  • Think – monitor where you are and if something should happen be able to tell someone your approximate location.  This would be helpful to two truck drivers, the highway patrol, etc.
  • If the road conditions worsen, seek refuge!  Better to arrive late than risk your life.
  • If you have to pull over and you choose to stay in the car – conserve your fuel by running the vehicle occasionally.  This will help put time on your side.
  • When sitting in your car with it running, crack the window to eliminate the possibility of carbon monoxide build up.

Safe driving!

50 States, 50 Unusual Landmarks

December 6th, 2012 | Posted in Lifestyle

When families take to the road for vacation, they tend to concentrate on big tourist attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and the Empire State Building. But there are plenty of quirky pleasures to be found just off the beaten track. We’ve gathered a list of don’t-miss family attractions in every state.

ALABAMA: Helen Keller’s Birthplace
Gain inspiration from visiting Keller’s home in Tuscumbia, which includes the pump Anne Sullivan used to teach her the meaning of “water.”

ALASKA: The Aurora Ice Hotel
Bundle up for a tour of this chilly but spectacular new ice structure at Chena Hot Springs Resort, which — thanks to cutting-edge technology — hopes to remain open year-round.

ARIZONA: Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
Little cowboys and cowgirls can relive the Wild West at this 12,000-square-foot museum, chock-full of artifacts from the mining days of yore.

ARKANSAS: Crater of Diamonds State Park
It’s finders keepers at this diamond mine in Murfreesboro, as visitors are allowed to take home their geological finds.

CALIFORNIA: The Redwood Forests
How big are they? Drive or hike the Avenue of the Giants at Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Weott to find out, or visit any of the redwood groves in Northern California.

COLORADO: Dinosaur National Monument
Junior paleontologists will thrill at seeing dinosaur bones and other fossils embedded in the rock wall at the Quarry Visitor Center.

CONNECTICUT: Mark Twain House and Museum
Twain’s lovingly restored Hartford home — where he is believed to have penned the adventures of young Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn — also boasts a museum with scheduled events and activities.

DELAWARE: Winterthur Museum
The Enchanted Woods children’s garden, the Touch-It room full of handmade toys and objects, and the garden tram are among the activities at this family-friendly country estate located just outside Wilmington.

FLORIDA: Ringling Museum of the Circus
Costumes, props, and artifacts are preserved in this colorful tribute to the Big Top located in Sarasota.

GEORGIA: Stone Mountain Park
Take a train or ride a skylift to see the largest high-relief sculpture in the world, the Confederate Memorial Carving depicting Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Entertainment and shopping options abound at the 3,200-acre park.

HAWAII: Flumin Da Ditch
These popular tours on the big island of Hawaii allow families to wend their way at a leisurely pace in shallow water — in stable, double-hulled kayaks — along the ditches of the island’s old plantations.

IDAHO: The Old Mission
Built by the Coeur d’Alene Indians in 1848-1853, this carefully preserved mission in Cataldo brings history to life with historical pageants and hands-on demonstrations.

ILLINOIS: The Sears Tower
This 110-story skyscraper features interactive exhibitions — including “knee-high” attractions for children — as well as breathtaking views of Chicago.

INDIANA: Parke County
Known as the Covered Bridge Capital of the world, this county in western Indiana boasts 32 of the picturesque bridges, plus a restored jail, old mills, and antique shops. Begin your tour at the visitors’ center in Rockville.

IOWA: Field of Dreams
Families can take a swing, run the bases, or simply enjoy the peaceful surroundings at this preserved movie site in Dyersville, which includes the famous baseball diamond and farmhouse seen in the 1989 film.

KANSAS: Mennonite Heritage Museum
This living museum of eight historic buildings in Goessel — including a one-room schoolhouse — tells the story of the Mennonites, who fled Russia in the late 1800s for Kansas.

KENTUCKY: Kentucky Derby Museum
The newly expanded attraction at Churchill Downs in Louisville boasts video graphics and hands-on activities designed to capture the spirit and style of the great American horse race.

LOUISIANA: Laura: A Creole Plantation
This Vacherie sugar plantation, which dates from 1805, introduces visitors to the Creole culture through the life of owner Laura Locoul Gore. Kids will enjoy discovering the origins of the Br’er Rabbit folk tales, which were recorded from slaves who lived on this plantation.

MAINE: Seashore Trolley Museum
All aboard a restored early 20th-century streetcar for a ride into the past at this family-friendly Kennebunkport museum.

MARYLAND: National Aquarium
Join a guided tour of the shark tank, take the kids to a touch pool, and visit a shark nursery at this state-of-the-art aquarium in Baltimore. You might even spend the night there through a special sleepover program.

MASSACHUSETTS: Old Sturbridge Village
Spend a day in the early 1800s at this 200-acre recreated village, where visitors can learn to milk a cow, gossip with costumed “residents,” and dine on meals created from authentic recipes.

MICHIGAN: Mackinac Island
There are no cars allowed on this scenic island, which retains the Victorian flavor of its heyday, but families can bike, take carriage rides, or visit the historic fort nearby.

MINNESOTA: Mall of America
So big it even has its own Camp Snoopy amusement park, Underwater Adventures shark encounters, and NASCAR indoor races, this collection of more than 500 stores in Bloomington could keep you busy — and shopping — for days.

MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi Petrified Forest
Huge petrified logs dating from prehistoric times make for fascinating exploring — and don’t miss the museum and nature trails — at this Registered National Landmark in Flora.

MISSOURI: St. Joseph Museum
A Lewis and Clark exhibition, natural history dioramas, and Japanese friendship dolls are among the items on display at this museum headquartered in a restored Victorian home in St. Joseph.

MONTANA: Museum of the Plains Indian
Check out the not-so-little petrified baby T-Rex fossil at the Blackfeet Heritage Center of this Native American museum in Browning, which also boasts rawhide and buckskin clothing, historic galleries, and films.

NEBRASKA: Pony Express Station
Situated in Gothenburg’s Ehmen Park, this station showcases artifacts from the Pony Express riders who traveled along the Oregon Trail.

NEVADA: Eureka
This 19th-century mining village has been preserved since its days as a gold and silver boom town; authentic buildings from the era include an opera house and newspaper office.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: America’s Stonehenge
The origins of this man-made North Salem rock maze — considered the oldest in North America — are as mysterious as its design, which dates back some 4,000-plus years.

NEW JERSEY: Atlantic City Boardwalk
Amusement parks, museums, and trolley tours are among the more family-friendly activities at this historic boardwalk, which has been attracting vacationers since the late 1800s.

NEW MEXICO: Taos Pueblo
This 1,000-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site is still inhabited by the Taos Indians, who practice tribal law and offer handcrafted silver, pottery, and fine art for sale.

NEW YORK: Niagara Falls
Enter the Cave of the Winds for spectacular views of the falls (be forewarned that you’ll get wet!) or visit the Daredevil Museum to plot the fates of those who have tried over the years to survive the plunge.

NORTH CAROLINA: Biltmore Estate
Among the many historic homes in Asheville, Commodore Vanderbilt’s is tops; with 250 rooms and 65 fireplaces, it’s America’s largest private home. The 8,000-acre estate can be explored by hiking, biking, or rafting.

This well-preserved Bismarck fort boasts original buildings dating from the 1860s as well as an interpretive center and museum.

OHIO: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
A treat for music lovers of all ages, this Cleveland museum shows off artifacts spanning nearly 100 years, from Paul Simon’s guitar to John Lennon’s report card. Children under 8 are admitted free.

OKLAHOMA: Great Salt Plains State Park
Visitors can dig for selenite crystals — and take them home — as well as climb an observation tower, fish, swim, picnic, and walk on a nature trail in this lake area around Cherokee.

OREGON: Lewis & Clark Trail
Follow the explorers’ trail across the state (or choose parts of it), including parks and the Columbia River Gorge (where Lewis & Clark had to find a way around the Cascade Rapids), all the way to Cape Disappointment, home of the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast and a museum of L&C artifacts.

Tour private homes, take buggy rides, and enjoy family-friendly theatrical productions in rural Lancaster County, known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, home of more than 16,000 members of the Amish religious community.

RHODE ISLAND: Slater Mill Museum
With period buildings and costumed interpreters, this living history museum in Pawtucket highlights the Industrial Revolution and how it affected daily life in America in the 18th and 19th centuries.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Southern Plantations
The Charleston area is known for its lovingly preserved antebellum mansions, several of which are open for tours and a glimpse at the Old South.;;

SOUTH DAKOTA: Crazy Horse Memorial
Although not yet completed, this towering Black Hills monument to Lakota chief Crazy Horse — the face alone is nine stories high — offers a look at our nation’s history from the Native American perspective.

TENNESSEE: Grand Ole Opry
Visitors can immerse themselves in country music the way it was meant to be heard at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House or at its historic predecessor, the Ryman Auditorium downtown.

TEXAS: Space Center Houston
Junior astronauts can explore the interactive exhibitions at the Kids Space Place, experience virtual weightlessness at the Space Station, and see the world from another angle at the giant-screen Mazda theater.

UTAH: Four Corners
Here at the junction of Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, children can put a hand and foot in each state for a souvenir photo and shop for Native American goods along this popular tourist stretch.

VERMONT: Ben & Jerry’s
Join a factory tour in Waterbury to see how the ice cream is made, and don’t forget to try a sample in the FlavoRoom.

VIRGINIA: Toy Museum at Natural Bridge
Billed as the world’s largest collection of childhood memorabilia — from Barbie to Mr. Potato Head — this museum offers self-guided tours to while away a rainy day.

WASHINGTON: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Follow the Winds of Change Interpretive Trail to learn about how the 1980 eruption of this live volcano near Castle Rock affected local flora and fauna.

WEST VIRGINIA: The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine
Hop on a vintage miner’s car for a guided tour of this family-owned coal mine, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Your guide will be a veteran coal miner.)

WISCONSIN: House on the Rock
This aptly named Spring Green attraction is, indeed, a house built upon a rock overlooking the Wyoming Valley. Don’t miss the glass-walled Infinity Room, which will make you feel as if you’re hanging in space.

WYOMING: Fossil Butte National Monument
For a glimpse into prehistoric life, hike the Fossil Lake Trail near this 50-million-year-old lake bed in Kemmerer. A Junior Ranger program allows kids 5 and up to participate in special activities along the trail and record their names in a permanent register.

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Do You Need Travel Insurance?

December 6th, 2012 | Posted in Lifestyle

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For years, it was the great unmentionable in the travel transaction: insurance. Travel agents were afraid to bring up the subject of travel insurance for fear of losing the overall deal. It was considered a negative.

Not anymore. Whether it’s your trip, your possessions, your luggage, or your health, travel insurance — and most important, the right kind of travel insurance — has become an essential item to pack for smart travelers. And if you don’t buy travel insurance — or the right kind — more than your trip could be ruined.

According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association,about 30 percent of Americans purchase travel insurance, an increase from 10 percent before 9/11. The top three reasons are: peace of mind, protection against the unexpected and concern over losing the financial investment in a trip. Some 70 percent of cruisers buy travel insurance.

While a majority of those who don’t buy travel insurance are familiar with flight and trip cancellation insurance,many people are unaware of travel health insurance, baggage coverage and medical evacuation insurance. Even among travel insurance buyers, only 50 percent were aware of medical evacuation insurance.

There’s yet another kind of insurance that’s available to air travelers that the airlines aren’t exactly rushing to tell you about. In fact, they actually wish you didn’t know about it. It’s called excess valuation.

Reasons to buy travel insurance
1. Your flight has been cancelled.
2. Your bags are lost and your medication is in it. You need to have an emergency prescription filled.
3. Your passport and wallet are stolen, and you need emergency cash and a replacement passport.
4. You’re involved in an accident and adequate medical treatment is not available. You need medical evacuation.
5. You need to cancel your trip due to illness.
6. Your cruise line, airline or tour operator goes bankrupt. You need your non-refundable expenses covered and to get to your destination.
7. You have a medical emergency in a foreign country.
8. A terrorist incident occurs in the city where you’re planning to visit and you want to cancel your trip.
9. A hurricane forces you to evacuate your resort, hotel or cruise.

Here are the basics types of insurance:

Flight insurance
Many of us grew up noticing those insurance kiosks at airports. They offer to pay out big bucks if you bought the insurance, the plane crashed and you were on it. Advice: This is not necessary. In fact, if you annualized the premium, it’s the most expensive kind of travel insurance you can buy, and probably the least necessary. My advice: NO.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance
This is a biggie. The key here is price point. If you’re flying on a $59 Southwest Airlines ticket from Burbank to Las Vegas, you have an incredibly small investment to protect. You shouldn’t buy trip cancellation and interruption insurance. A $15,000 once-in-a-lifetime cruise vacation? My advice: YES. Buy this insurance. If you get sick, or miss your trip, or the travel provider (airline, cruise line, bus transfer company) goes out of business, you’re not left high and dry. You’re covered. My advice: YES, with one additional caution. Do NOT buy this insurance from the individual travel provider, meaning don’t buy your cruise trip insurance from the cruise ship company. Why? If that company goes out of business, chances are, so does their insurance.

Health Care insurance
This is perhaps the most confusing area. Most people think they are covered if they already have existing health care insurance. Within the United States, that’s true. Outside the U.S., however, is a big IF. And in some cases, your insurance won’t even cover you if you’re traveling on a foreign-flagged vessel. This is a huge red flag, since most cruise ships, even those cruising U.S. waters, are not flagged in the U.S.

And in many cases, even if you are covered for basic emergency care overseas (again, a big IF), in almost all cases, your current health insurance does NOT cover you to evacuate you and repatriate you back to the U.S.  This is where “Medical Evacuation and Repatriation” insurance comes into play. I believe this is essential for anyone who travels. It’s an insurance program (usually an annual premium, not often purchased per trip) where if you get sick or injured overseas the policy will get you treated, stabilized and flown back to the U.S. There are a number of good companies that provide this plan, two of which are Travel Guard and Medjet Assist. The annual premium is about $300, and it’s the card you hope you never have to use. My Advice: YES, get this, with another important caveat: read the fine print. With Travel Guard and Medjet assist, these policies provide that they will get you initially treated and stabilized and then send a medically equipped and staffed jet to fly you to the doctor and medical facility of your choice. This is crucial. Outside of Travel Guard and Medjet assist, many other companies that offer this insurance will fly you to the doctor and medical facility of their choice.

And then there’s another reason for getting this coverage: If you’re in a foreign country, particularly a developing country, many hospitals will admit you without caring about coverage, but they won’t let you leave until you pay. Travel insurance can help facilitate payment, and act as an advocate so that you’re not overcharged because you’re an American.

Baggage insurance
Many trip cancellation and interruption policies also provide coverage for lost, damaged, delayed or stolen bags…And this is especially necessary if you’re flying overseas and checking bags. Why? Because of a nasty little thing called the Warsaw Convention.. The old Warsaw Convention limits liability to approximately $9.07 per pound for checked baggage and $400 per passenger for unchecked baggage. Do the math. If you’re only allowed 44 pounds of baggage as a coach passenger, you’re not getting a fat check.

But if you’re just flying between U.S. cities and think you have no need for a larger trip cancellation and interruption policy, you may think you are simply covered by the airlines’ published limits of liability when it comes to lost, stolen, delayed or damaged bags.

Indeed, at least on the surface, it seems like you’re covered. As of Feb. 28, 2007, U.S. airlines’ liability for lost or damaged luggage increased to $3,000 per passenger from the current limit of $2,800. Sounds good, right? Well, let’s talk about that limit in realistic terms: First, there’s an entire list of excluded items not covered (jewels, furs, negotiable financial documents, et al), and then there’s something called….depreciation. The airlines may have a $3,000 liability limit, but that limit is not per bag, it’s per incident, and it’s all based on depreciated value. Hardly anyone in the history of aviation has ever received $3,000.

But there’s a little known insurance provision you’ve probably never heard about. And the airlines aren’t exactly rushing to tell you about it. In fact, not one single airline even advertises this provision, even though it’s available to every single passenger. It’s something called “excess valuation.”

When you get to the airport, ask the counter agent for this little known option called“excess valuation.” It provides up to $5,000 additional coverage, at a rate of about $1 per $100 in value. If you purchase excess valuation, you will be asked to describe the contents of the bag. It’s well worth it if the airline does lose your bags.

Non-refundable insurance
Some policies also offer straight coverage if you buy the non-refundable airline ticket and then can’t use it and don’t want to be hit with the minimum $100 change fee. This runs about $13 per $100 of coverage. An expensive premium, but still worth it if you really think you might have to change your trip once you purchase your ticket.

Golf travel insurance
Travel Guard provides golf equipment loss, golf equipment delay, golf fee refund. In addition, every Golf Travel Insurance Plan customer will also receive AIG Travel Guard’s Golf Concierge Services, which includes golf course recommendations and driving directions, tee time reservations, PGA-Professional referral service and much. If get a hole-in-one, we’ll reimburse for the celebratory round of drinks (up to $250) at the clubhouse.

Adventure/extreme sports travel
In most cases, there are exclusions on basic travel insurance when it comes to adventure travel. That means specifications on how high is the mountain you’re climbing, and how far are you scuba diving. However, third-party travel insurance can offer additional coverage for adventure and extreme sports—even professional sporting events can be covered, but it will cost you.

Credit card coverage
If you book your trip on a credit card, you may already be covered in many cases. But more often than not, your basic credit card coverage will be limited to flight accident insurance, rental car insurance or limited baggage insurance.  Be sure to read your card’s terms and conditions, or call your credit card provider’s toll-free line for guidance.

Terrorism tips
Read the policy wording carefully. If war breaks out, or there is a terrorist act, are there clauses that essentially void your policy? Very few policies cover trip cancellation for reasons of any kind. Most policies now include “force majeure” clauses. For example, most policies now still cover trip cancellation if the U.S. State Department issues a travel warning. Also many policies only cover you for your trip if an act of terrorism occurs in the specific country you’re traveling to or from. And they set limits on how close an attack has to be to your destination before it goes into effect. You generally must buy the policy before violence erupts to be covered. But almost all policies will not cover any losses caused by war or threat of war.

Call and talk to the agency personally, ask them the specific questions you have before your trip, to put your mind at ease. Some insurance plans cover you only if a travel company formally files for bankruptcy protection. (Not every policy covers every bankruptcy.) Other policies leave it up to the U.S. State Department, law enforcement agencies or news media outlets – not you – to define what constitutes a terrorist attack, foreign or domestic.

Understand that most insurance policies won’t cover last-minute anxiety. After the Sept. 11 attacks, for example, Travel Guard reimbursed customers who canceled trips because they were afraid to fly. While Travel Guard felt it was the right thing to do, it’s unlikely the insurer will do it again. It was the costliest event in the history of that company.

To buy, or not to buy?
Compare the cost of the trip versus the cost of the policy. If you just bought a $200 airline ticket, is that worth covering? If you paid for it with a credit card, and the airline ceases to operate before your flight, you’re already covered – under federal credit laws – by your own credit card company, since you bought or contracted for a service which you didn’t get.

Look for a policy with a travel insurer that is independent from your tour operator and is licensed by your state. Many cruise lines and tour operators offer insurance, often at lower premiums than those charged by outside insurers. But if the cruise line or tour company goes out of business, there may not be money to cover your claim.

If flight or cruise delays make you want to cancel, you may be out of luck. Read the fine print, as with some policies, more than half of your vacation has to be delayed before you can cancel and be covered.

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Tracking the Dangerous Driving Habits of Teens

December 6th, 2012 | Posted in Lifestyle

A recent analysis of 30 years of accident data revealed that the number of fatal car crashes is six times higher than the average on tax day. Maybe such data can be integrated into a new app that monitors driving behavior to alert the driver of any dangerous erratic driving style, like driving while talking to your accountant on your cell phone, before something deadly occurs.

A new app from AT&T, in collaboration with an Israeli startup, Traffilog, collects data from a car’s computer and the driver’s smart phone to provide reports on real-time driving style as well as long-term driving behavior. Specifically the app can reveal whether dangerous driving behavior is caused by phone use. They are marketing it to parents of teens as a digital “chaperone.”

Cars used to be somewhat private vessels, a place where we could escape to, but now with GPS, OnStar and various apps such as the one AT&T is developing they will be a place that collects the places we go and our habits, good or bad.

From a post in TechReview:

“It allows you, as a parent, to monitor kids’ driving behavior in real time. And if your kid is SMS-ing while driving, you will be able to log it—and even remotely disable the phone,” says Raz Dar, business manager at AT&T’s business incubator in Ra’anana, Israel. “The only thing he could do to prevent it is take out the unit from the car—unplug it—but we can detect that, too, and send an alert.”

Basically the app merges information about the car speed, rate of acceleration, steering and breaking while the phone records information on usage. GPS is included, so there is the critical mapping info to tell just where your teen is driving. An alert is then sent to the parent’s phone (or whoever wants to have such information) revealing whether the driver is speeding or breaking abruptly, and whether they were talking or texting while driving somewhat erratically.

The app is still in development and there are no firm plans for hitting the market yet. But AT&T intend to be a part of the increasing trend and business of driving monitoring. Researchers at Stanford University study the impact of voice-operated systems in cars. Such systems are able to calm anxious drivers or sense unsafe driving. For instance, soon in our cars we might hear a voice say to us, “Don’t worry, there’ll be a chance to pass that truck. Be patient.”

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What Is The Safest Car Color?

December 6th, 2012 | Posted in Lifestyle

Auto paint colors bespeak the driver’s taste. Yet did you know that car colors make it possible to predict the likelihood of crashing? Adding insult to injury, the most popular car color is not necessarily the safest one. Do you have a crash waiting to happen in your driveway?

White: The Most Popular Car Colors in America

The 2011 DuPont Automotive Color Popularity Report highlights that 23 percent of American drivers favor white cars, while 18 percent appreciate black automobiles. About 16 percent of car owners prefer silver auto paint colors. It is a good thing that American drivers favor white, because the Accident Research Centre of Monash University concludes that “no colour was statistically significantly safer than white.” Really?

Silver: Safe Car Color

The British Medical Journal disagrees. A December 2003 press release claims “silver cars are safest” and there is a measurable 50 percent injury risk reduction when compared to white cars. In these findings, injury risk went up for drivers in brown, black and green cars.

White and Maroon: Unsafe for Bicyclists

Even though white may be a safe car color for the motorist, it spells trouble for a cyclist. The Canadian Medical Association concluded in 1998 that drivers of white or maroon cars are the least likely to give bicyclists extra space when passing. Anecdotal evidence suggests that approximately 75 percent of drivers in vehicles with white auto paint colors would engage in unsafe driving while around cyclists.

Black: More likely to be Driven by Speeders

A 2004 California State Science Fair project points to black and silver car colors as being driven by likely speeders. Yellow, blue and silver cars were operated by motorists more likely than not to ignore a stop sign. Although purely anecdotal, is it possible that driving behavior goes hand in hand with choice of car colors?

Car Colors and Driver Behavior

In a 2004 white paper, the AAA Foundation explained that color influences behavior, but it is difficult to define driver behavior simply by the vehicle’s exterior. For what it is worth, lime yellow is identified as the safest car color, while fire engine red is the least visible — especially at night. Moreover, the backdrop and also the weather have a huge impact on whether a car color is deemed safe or not. Do not forget to also consider the auto paint colors of the vehicles that surround you; do you stand out in a blue car in a sea of yellow automobiles, or are you just one of 20 silver automobiles going down the highway?

So what is the safest car color currently available? There is no decisive study to give you an answer except lime yellow. Are you ready to repaint?

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How to Build an Emergency Car Kit

December 6th, 2012 | Posted in Lifestyle

As the seasons change we ought to be sure our car is prepared for them. Depending on your circumstances and location, your level of preparation may vary. You may need snow tires, new windshield wipers and fluid, anti-freeze, heater/air conditioner service, recommended scheduled tune-ups, etc. For everyone it should mean preparing your car for whatever could happen.

When preparing your car it is wise to remember to make preparations also for your family. An emergency car kit is crucial for breakdowns and unusual weather conditions. It is always good to keep essential supplies in your car in case you get stranded for a few hours or even a few days.

What should I keep in my auto emergency kit? First, you want to make sure you have the basic essentials such as water, food, and warmth. After these basics are included, then you can add other necessities such as an emergency light, first aid items, tools and other accessories.

Water: Drinkable water is of utmost importance. Most people can actually survive days without food, but your body will dehydrate without water, leading to organ failure and death. We take the abundance of water for granted when things are normal, but in an emergency it becomes critical. Water is also useful for washing wounds and for sanitation. Water can also be helpful if your car overheats. Because of the limited space in automobiles, storing water must be in small packages. Water is available in small drink boxes (8.45 oz.), in pouches (4.2 oz.) or a Deluxe Sanitation & Water Kit. Food: If your car breaks down and you are many miles from any town or store, you will want to have food stored in your kit to make sure your body has enough energy. It is very difficult to keep food in your car because it is exposed to extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, and the food is likely to spoil. The best thing to store in your car is high Calorie Food Bars. These bars come in packages of 2400 calories and 3600 calories. They can be exposed to extreme temperatures. They have a tasty flavor that won’t leave you thirsty. The bar helps activate the salivary gland and reduce your demand on emergency water supplies. They also expand in your stomach so you feel full. Be careful that you don’t over-consume them because they are so high in calories.

Warmth: You may have plenty of food and water, but if you’re cold you’ll feel miserable. Especially in the winter, warmth is a must for an emergency car kit. If you get stranded on a desolate road or stuck in a snowstorm, you will be glad you have a source of warmth in your car. There are several options: 6 to 20 hour warm packs, wool blankets, emergency bags, and emergency blankets. Also, for shelter from the rain, include a poncho or other rain gear.

Warm packs are nice for quick, concentrated heat. You can put them in your pockets, shoes and gloves to stay warm.

Wool is one of nature’s warmest fibers. It provides warmth even when it’s wet. It is best to get a wool blend blanket because when synthetic fibers are added to it they provide softness, washability and durability.

Emergency blankets and bags are lightweight and fold to pocket size. They’re made of a reflective material which reflects up to 80% of your radiant body heat to help keep you warm. Our company did an in-house test of the emergency bag. We sent a few employees and family members outside in an emergency bag. They got so warm they had to get out of the bag.

A poncho is nice if you are in rain or other bad weather and need to go outside to change a tire or do other work on the car.

Light: It’s important to always keep a flashlight in your emergency car kit. It comes in handy for all types of circumstances. Be sure to keep charged batteries in the flashlight so you aren’t left in the dark. The Innovative LED Lights have a much higher battery life than conventional flashlights and are essential for emergency car kits. Other lights that could be useful in your auto emergency kit are lightsticks, emergency candles with a wide base and waterproof matches.

Lightsticks last for 12 hours and are safe for children. They are visible up to one mile away, and they are non-toxic and non-flammable.

Emergency candles or liquid paraffin candles are long-lasting, reusable, odorless and smokeless. A wide base adds stability which helps prevent accidental spills which is especially nice for the car. Also, be sure to keep waterproof matches in your emergency car kit so you can light it.

First Aid Items: If injury occurs, every second counts because help may be hours or days away. A first aid kit allows you to assist with injuries until help arrives. Keep items such as pain relievers, sterile pads, alcohol prep pads, bandages, soap, gauze pads, and micropore tape. You may also want to include tissues, toilet paper, safety pins and ace bandages. All of these items will come in handy when you are in need of first aid on the road.

Tools: Consider tools such as a multi-purpose knife or a collapsible shovel for your car. A shovel may come in handy if you are to get stuck in the snow or mud. A multi-purpose knife provides many different tools for you to work with in a time of need. A Samurai survival tool provides an axe, hammer, and pry tool all-in-one. A basic tool kit and a roll of duct tape are also good items to keep in your car.

Other Accessories: Road flares may also be useful in your auto emergency kit, but they should only be used for a warning signal, and should NEVER be used for light. Once a road flare has been lit, make sure you set it on a non-flammable surface. The by-product from its fire drips to the ground and may cause a fire if it lands on flammable material such as grass or if there is a gas leak. Be careful because the fumes are extremely nauseous and must be used only in a well-ventilated area.

There are several kinds of pre-packaged emergency car kits available on the market, or you can customize your own. If you are purchasing a prepacked kit remember that you may need to customize your kit according to your needs (medications, glasses, etc.) Keep your kit in a compact case so it fits easily in your trunk or under a seat.

As you are preparing for the unknown, don’t forget to prepare your car with an emergency car kit. When that snowstorm causes you to be stranded from home, or if you get a flat tire, or your auto overheats far from any town, you will be grateful you took the time to think ahead. The more conveniences you include, the better your situation will be.

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