Tag: safety

Eyes on the Road! Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving involves any sort of activity that takes someone’s attention away from driving. This may be taking your eyes, your hands, or your mind off of the road. Some of us may find ourselves guilty of doing this, while some of us may have witnessed others involved in distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 lives were lost due to distracted driving in 2015. That is 3,477 lives too many.

One main type of distracted driving involves texting or talking on the phone while driving. This is especially concerning among teens. In a 2015 National Occupant Protection Use survey, handheld cell phone use was found to be highest among 16-24 year old drivers. It’s important that teen drivers and their parents have conversations about safe, distraction-free driving.

Many states already have laws in place that ban texting while driving. As of June 2017, 14 states as well as the District of Columbia, have laws in effect that ban drivers from operating hand-held devices. Even using hands-free devices can be distracting while driving. Protect your life and the life of others—avoid distracted driving. If you need to answer a text or phone call, pull over to a safe place, stop, and then answer.

Check out some helpful resources below:

Traffic Safety Facts | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Distracted Driving | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Tips for Preventing Distracted Driving | The AAA Exchange

Learn the Causes and Dangers of Distracted Driving | Students Against Destructive Decisions

Distracted Driving. (N.d.) Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving
Distracted Driving. (2017, June 9). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/index.html

Driver Electronic Device Use in 2015. (2016, September). Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/documents/driver_electronic_device_use_in_2015_0.pdf

Learn the Causes and Dangers of Distracted Driving. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.sadd.org/what-we-care-about/traffic-safety/teens-distracted-driving/

Concerns Grow as More E-Cigarettes Self-Combust

Last week, a Delta flight was delayed after an electronic cigarette ignited in a passenger’s carry-on bag while the aircraft was still on the tarmac. While the bag was safely extinguished and no passengers were harmed, the concern for safety with the use of these battery-operated products is now growing, as this is just one of many recent incidents of it’s kind.

In just the last few months, events of e-cigarettes exploding have been reported in  Washington, KentuckyNevada, Colorado, North Carolina, and Maryland. And while no one was injured on the Delta flight, the majority of these explosions involve serious injuries to users. In one case, a man suffered severe burns when an e-cigarette exploded in his pocket at his local gas station. Another man lost his left eye after his e-cigarette exploded while driving.

While there doesn’t seem to be one specific reason for these product malfunctions, the fact that e-cigarettes are an unregulated product is a potentially major factor of these frequent incidents. Lack of regulation allows users to purchase cheaper, lower quality versions of the product. Additionally, industry-wide manufacturing standards or testing programs do not have to exist, and manufacturers do not have to report any safety hazards that can cause harm or injury.

E-cigarettes not only pose a safety threat, but many health threats as well, and we can only hope that the industry will receive some kind of regulation in the near future. Until then, it is recommended that users do not try to modify the devices in any way, use chargers that aren’t sold with devices, or carry products in their pockets.


On Valentines Day, Swipe Right for Safety


You can use your phone to find that someone special to spend Valentines Day with, but did you know that you can also download an app that will help you if you find yourself in an unsafe situation? With Circle of 6 you can quickly send a text to a friend or call a local or national hotline. Circle of 6 was created as a result of the 2011 “Apps Against Abuse” challenge specifically for students on college campuses, though it can also be used by anyone who wants to foster healthy relationships and feel safe.

The app was created to assist users in situations of sexual assault or interpersonal violence and was designed to look like a lifestyle app and not a safety app so you you to reach out to friends and campus resources quickly and discreetly. With the app, no time is wasted searching for a phone number or typing a message. All you need to do is choose six friends to join your “circle” in the app. In two clicks you can quickly text someone in your circle a pre-written message such as “Call me and pretend you need me,” and “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely.” The messages will also include your GPS location. Not only can you add friends to your circle, but you can also use the app to access larger support networks such as national hotlines and local emergency resources (like campus police).

Adding this app to your phone and adding friends to your circle can also create an open dialogue with the people that you trust the most about how to identify an unsafe situation, and what you would do if you ever found yourself in one. After you add them to your circle, ask your friends to download the app too. Make sure to update your circle when people move away and to choose at least 3 people who live nearby and can get to you quickly.

If Circle of 6 isn’t the app for you, there are many others out there designed to keep you safe. Check out this list of safety apps reviewed by the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Hear thunder? Out of the pool!

Racing the lightning only works in books. Courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Racing the lightning only works in books. Courtesy of the National Weather Service.

As July opens, several regions of the United States are having typical summer weather, which involves hot mornings, blisteringly hot afternoons, and later afternoon to evening thunderstorms.  The heat causes people to want to get cool, often in swimming pools or in shade under trees.

The problem with this is knowing when to quit. People linger in shady places and want to take one more cannonball in the pool even as the sky clouds over. Most people don’t know that if you can hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.

Fourteen people died in lightning strikes last year, according to the National Weather Service. Some ways not to be an electric statistic this year:

  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or a plumbing (gives the lightning a path to ground) or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with the windows up.
  • Once indoors, avoid the plumbing and stay off corded phones, computers and any other electrical equipment that puts you in direct contact with electricity.
  • Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
  • Don’t lie on concrete floors, and don’t lean against concrete walls.

For more safety tips, check out http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/tips.shtml. And when you hear thunder, get out of the pool!

Safe homes lead to healthy people

“You can predict the life expectancy of a child by the zip code in which they grow up.  This is wrong,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan is quoted in several places today, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s website.  According to Donovan, women who grow up in more affluent neighborhoods–which were also found to be safer places–had lower rates of obesity, diabetes, psychological distress, and major depression than women who lived in poorer, more dangerous places.

The information came to light as the result of a HUD demonstration project that moved poor women into better neighborhoods.  What they found was that health care, school performance, job attachment all were closely linked to how well people were housed. So it is true; where and how you live directly affect how healthy you are likely to be, how well you (or your kids) do in school and how happy you are at work.