Thursday, February 27, 2014

Traffic jams

We all know the feeling: you've had a long day of work, your family's waiting for you with dinner, you're excited to go home... when suddenly you're stuck in a traffic jam and can't move an inch for 30 minutes. How do traffic jams start, and how can you avoid them? This article will help you answer these questions.

  1. How do traffic jams start?
  • Bottlenecks (40% of all traffic): where the roadway narrows or heavy traffic demands lead to backups.
  • On-road incidents (25%): crashes, stalled vehicles, on-road debris blocking the road
  • Weather (15%): hail, wind, snow, fog
  • Construction (10%): road construction and highway maintenance
  • Miscellaneous (10%): special events (sports competitions, concerts) and poor signal timing (and poorly timed traffic lights)
  1. How can you avoid traffic jams?
  • Most traffic jams are recurring (happens every day). Know which highways tend to be congested during the times of getting to and from work (rush-hour).
  • Utilize real-time traffic displays when they are available. Lighted billboards located alongside highways can alert drivers of potential delays and advise alternate routes.
  • If more people carpool, fewer vehicles would be on the road and reduce overall congestion; furthermore, cars with 3+ people can use the carpool lane, which leads to shorter commute times and fewer hassles.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What to do if you get into a car accident

We understand that getting into a car accident can be frightening and stressful, but the last thing you should do is panic; there is a series of steps you should take to ensure that both you and the other party leave the scene in good graces. How you react can help prevent future injuries, reduce costs, and accelerate the clean-up/repair process.

  1. Safety always come first; make sure all injuries, no matter how minor, are taken care of. Call 911 for an ambulance if necessary. If it is a minor accident with no injuries, move both cars to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. If your car is stuck and cannot move without the aid of a tow truck, turn on your hazard lights, exit the vehicle, and move to the side of the road. Ideally, you'll have flares or warning lights in your emergency kit in order to warn other cars.
  2. Stay calm and civil. Know that an accident is just that - an accident. No one (not you, or the other driver) is at fault; don't even say "I'm sorry," because that too can be interpreted as an admission of fault and be used against you during the insurance claim or police report.
  3. Exchange information with the other party. This includes name, phone number, local address, email, insurance company, policy number, drivers license number, and car license plate number, as well as the year, make, model, and color of each car involved. Never exchange your Social Security number. 
  4. Photograph and document the accident. Use your camera to take pictures of any damage to either car; you want these photographs to demonstrate the entire context of the situation to file a claim, so be sure to take pictures from both close-up and afar. If there are witnesses, get their contact information as well, in case the other driver tries to dispute the situation. Have a written description of the time, location, road conditions, and process of the accident, including a diagram if possible.
  5. Call your insurance company. Report the accident as soon as possible. This ensures that the company has your side of the story on file before the other driver files a claim, which puts you at an advantage.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Car Ride Games - Part 3

            We continue our list of car ride games this week with four more ideas for passing the time while on those long road trips this season.

1.)  License Plates (#2) – There are many versions and variations  of license plate games depending on the difficulty and age group of those playing. 1St: Participants call out letters in alphabetical order; the first one to Z gets a point. The player with the most points by the end of the day/trip wins. For a greater challenge look for double or triple letters.
Variation: Use the letters in the plate to create a word. For example the letters CBE can spell celebrate. Where the first letter is the starting letter of the word, the last letter is the last letter, and the middle letter is any letter in between the final word.

2.)  20 questions – One Person acts as a judge and chooses one random object, it can be anything. Go around the car asking the judge yes or no questions about their object. The first question is always “Is it an Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, or Other?” If the guessers fail to guess the judge's object in 20 questions they all get one last guess. If the object is still not guessed then it is revealed and a new judge is selected for the next round.

3.)  Find the Alphabet – Utilize any reading material outside of your side of the car to call out the letters of the alphabet in order. Roadsigns, store names, logos on trucks, ect. should all be utilized. This game can be played in teams or as solo players.

4.)  Billboard Haikus – Each round one player chooses three random words from three different billboards. Once all three words have been chosen the other players have one minute  to create a haiku. That is, a three lined poem with 5 syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third line.

5.)  Road Trip Bingo – This game is played much like a combination of Bingo and I Spy.  Create a list of objects (street signs, fire hydrants, traffic lights, garbage cans, ect.) and randomly assign them to different boxes on multiple cards. Hand the cards out to all the participants. Whenever someone sees the listed object on their card they can cross if out. First player to cross out an entire row calls out BINGO! and wins.