How to Avoid Distractions While Driving

Driver distractions have joined alcohol and speeding as leading factors in crashes that cause fatal and serious injuries. However, cellphones aren’t solely to blame. Anything that takes any of your attention away from driving is a distractions. There are three main types of distractions:

  • Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – Taking your mind off of driving

Sending or reading a text while driving is the equivalent of driving blindfolded for 5 seconds.

Whether driving for work or for personal reasons, it is important to remember that any activity that you engage in while driving is a potential distraction that increases your risk of crashing. Taking the following precautions can help you avoid distractions while driving.

  • Silence your mobile devices and keep them away from you while driving to avoid being distracted by notifications. If you must receive phone calls while on the road, pull over before answering, even if using a hands-free device.
  • Set destinations in GPS devices before you depart.
  • Make a playlist on your phone before you leave to avoid the temptation of selecting songs or changing radio stations.
  • Avoid eating while driving. Take proper breaks to allow yourself time for meals.
  • Speak up if you’re a passenger of a distracted driver. Offer to take over the driving responsibilities.

Using and Maintaining Headlights

Your vehicle’s headlights are an essential part of staying aware of your surroundings on the road. Bright, well-maintained headlights can be the difference between seeing a pedestrian and a fatal crash. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t use or maintain their headlights properly.

You should always turn your vehicle’s headlights on as soon as you get into the driver’s seat. Even if it’s bright outside, your headlights can help pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers see you more easily. Some experts also recommend that drivers always use their headlights’ high beams at night to increase visibility, and to turn them off only when there’s an oncoming vehicle.

It’s always best to check your headlights regularly to ensure they’re clean and aren’t in danger of burning out. Because headlights dim over time, it’s always best to replace them both at the same time in order to create an even field of vision when driving.

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Motorcycle Safety

There are more than 672,000 registered motorcycles and mopeds in Canada. Though they are a popular transportation option, motorcycles are also dangerous.

In 2015 alone, 200 motorcyclists died as a result of accidents, according to a study by Transport Canada.

To remain safe, motorcyclists should practice the following safety precautions:

  • Test drive your motorcycle before you purchase it to ensure that you can properly control it.
  • Take a motorcycle safety course.
  • Be mindful of the weather and road conditions at all times.
  • Wear a helmet and other safety gear.
  • Follow posted speed limits.
  • Exercise extreme caution when you are carrying passengers.
  • Do not drink alcohol before or while operating a motorcycle.

By utilizing the above tips, you can ride with confidence and avoid potentially deadly accidents.

Fuel-Saving Strategies

Fuels costs tend to fluctuate, and you never know when the price to fill-up is going to break the bank. As such, it’s important to save on gas whenever you can by considering the following:

  • Carpool or ride a bike to work to cut the car out of the equation completely.
  • Lighten your car by removing heavy items from your trunk. This can help improve your car’s overall fuel economy.
  • Avoid long idles. Idling for just one minute consumes the same amount of gas as starting your engine.
  • Stay up to date on oil changes.
  • Drive slower. You can improve your fuel economy by approximately 20 per cent by reducing your highways speeds.

If you are in the market for a new car, be sure to compare fuel economy ratings of the vehicles that interest you.

Preventing Auto Theft

Cars are a popular target of crime because they are relatively easy to steal. To reduce your risk of becoming a victim, use the following tips:

  • Never leave your car running and unattended.
  • Never leave your keys in the car or ignition, even inside a locked garage.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your home.
  • Park in high-trafficked, well-lit areas, if possible.
  • Consider anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks or fuel cut-off switches.
  • Purchase an auto alarm system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle.

For additional protection, a strong auto insurance policy can help you recoup some of the losses associated with a stolen vehicle.

Cancellation versus Nonrenewal: What’s the difference?

Receiving a letter from the insurance company concerning the status of your policy can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with the language. though it may be unfamiliar, it is important that you understand the difference between a cancellation of your policy and a nonrenewal. These terms are vastly different and require different responses on your part.

Nonrenewal

A policy nonrenewal occurs after the insurance company decides, or after you decide, not to renew your policy when it expires. If your insurance company decides not to renew, they must give you adequate notice under the law, and their notice must outline the reasons why they have chosen not to renew your policy for another year. If you think their reasoning is unjust, you may call the insurer for further explanation.

Here are some reasons why your policy may not be renewed:

  • The insurer does not carry that particular line of coverage any longer.
  • The insurer has decided to write fewer policies under that specific line of coverage in your area.
  • Your company committed an act that raised the insurer’s risks significantly (for example, too many claims during a policy period).

Canellation

Cancellation of a policy is slightly different, as are the laws that govern it. Be aware that your insurance company cannot cancel your policy that has been in effect for more than 60 days except under the following conditions:

  • You did not pay your premium.
  • You have committed fraud.
  • You have made serious misrepresentations on the application.

If your policy is going to be cancelled, you will receive notice well in advance. After a cancellation, it can be difficult to obtain a new policy, as other companies may see you as a risk because you did something to get cancelled from your original insurer. If you do receive a cancellation notice because you failed to pay your premium, you may be able to resurrect your policy with the insurer by paying for an entire year’s worth of premiums upfront. If that is not an option for you, then you may have to opt for a high-risk policy.

Understanding cancellation and nonrenewal can be tricky. Contact Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions for more explanation on these concepts or for assistance with your commercial insurance policies. We are always available to help.

Gotta catch ’em all… while staying safe!

Screenshot_20160719-161532Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings to Stay Safe

Pokemon Go – a location-based, free-to-play game for iOS and Android smartphones – has been encouraging players to get outside and walk around. However, players should be fully aware of how the game works in order to ensure that they remain safe at all times.

Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go uses a smartphone’s GPS and gyroscope sensors to determine a player’s location. The game then uses that information to display Pokemon near the player, through the phone’s camera. The game also marks popular locations, such as parks memorials, and other frequently visited areas, as places where players can compete with each other and gather free in-game items: PokeStops and gyms.

The games has proven to be extremely popular with a variety of age groups, with over 7.5 million downloads in its first week of availability! However, its focus on travelling to new locations and the constant need to look down at a phone to play presents a variety of risks to Pokemon trainers.

Here are some basic safety tips to keep in mine while chasing those elusive Pokemon:

  • Never travel to an unfamiliar area while playing the game. Thieves have been known to gather near popular areas identified as meeting spots by the game. Just last night at Ottawa City Hall, two men attempted to steal a smartphone.
  • Look up from your phone regularly to watch out for obstacles such as rocks, stairs, bodies of water, and Team Rocket.
  • Never look at your phone while you’re crossing a street. Drivers and cyclists may assume that you’re fully aware of your non-virtual surroundigs while crossing.

Helpful Hints

Pokemon Go should NEVER be played while driving (or biking). As the game requires a player to constantly look at his or her phone, it can casue a substantial risk of an auto accident. Additionally, the game will not function properly at high speeds, which can increase the likelihood of an accident. It is estimated that speed of 15 KM/h or more does not help you hatch an egg!