Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Liberty Mutual Provides Online Tips and Resources to Help Teen Drivers Navigate Dangerous Road Conditions This Winter

/PRNewswire/ -- With winter approaching, drivers in many parts of the country must prepare to cope with the season's ice, snow, and other hazards that turn roads treacherous and contribute to the more than 1.5 million annual weather-related car crashes reported by the National Research Council. And teen drivers in particular, many of whom will face wintry conditions behind the wheel for the first time, need added guidance to safely navigate the roadways through the upcoming months. To help, Liberty Mutual Insurance has a host of winter weather safety resources for teens at

"Driving in wintry conditions is no easy task, even for seasoned drivers, and it is especially difficult for younger drivers with limited experience to adapt to slippery roads and poor visibility," said Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety. "Teen drivers need to take extra steps to protect themselves this winter, and parents need to promote and enforce safe driving habits to keep their teens safe."

Before getting behind the wheel, a driving safety video at will help teens and parents get winter road-ready and ensure their cars are safe and in good working order. Website visitors also will find winter car maintenance tips and a checklist for a winter driving safety kit. These tips from Liberty Mutual and Dave Melton include:

-- Before you get on the road in bad weather, check your local news
stations and their Internet sites - for detailed, up-to-the-minute
weather and traffic information.
-- If your trip is absolutely necessary, give yourself extra time.
-- During inclement weather put extra distance - at least five or six
seconds - between yourself and the vehicle in front.
-- Antilock brakes, all-wheel and four-wheel drive won't help you stop
-- Turn on your headlights so other drivers can see you. In snow, fog
and rain, don't use high beams - they increase glare for both you and
other drivers.
-- Signal your intentions early - don't surprise other drivers.
-- Do not use cruise control when roads are hazardous.
-- And, slow down!

Heeding such driving safety advice is critical year-round, but even more so during the winter: car crashes are 36 percent more likely to happen in January than July, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Add in unsafe or distracted driving behaviors reported by teen drivers in a recent study by Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), including speeding (39 percent), talking on a cell phone (37 percent) and text messaging (30 percent), and our winter roadways become even more dangerous.

Since 1991, Liberty Mutual and SADD have collaborated on research and responsible solutions to keep families safe behind the wheel, including the resources found at such as:

-- fun and easy ways for teens to brush up on basic driving skills such
as following street signs, mastering parallel parking, and managing
wet roads;
-- video demonstrations on safe driving techniques;
-- information on state-by-state driving laws;
-- a safe driving quiz that challenges teens to think about their driving
skills and compete with their parents or friends;
-- a customizable parent/teen safe driving contract with customizable
family ground rules around key safe driving issues such as speeding,
the number of passengers in the car, cell phone usage, texting while
driving, and curfews;
-- tips on how to talk to teens about driving distractions and dangers;
-- tips on buying and caring for a car, individual car safety scores;
-- and, an exclusive 50 percent discount for teens to take the National
Safety Council's online Defensive Driving Course.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Federal and Local Government Cracking Down on Texting While Driving

/PRNewswire/ -- Motorists are being forced to be more responsible behind the wheel and with good reason. Whether eating, changing a radio station, interacting with passengers or talking on the phone, distracted drivers raise the chance of traffic accidents occurring; unfortunately texting and driving has become a new and dangerous trend that is causing federal and local governments to crack down on not only average citizens, but government employees as well.

Realizing the danger of texting behind the wheel, an Executive Order was released by the White House on October 1, 2009 stating that Federal employees are prohibited from texting while operating Government-owned, leased or rented vehicles. In addition, employees are not allowed to text while driving privately owned automobiles while on official business or using equipment supplied by the Government, with few exceptions. Federal agencies have 90 days from the date of an executive order to become compliant and enforce appropriate disciplinary actions for violations.

Source: on-Reducing-Text-Messaging-while-Driving/

Many states are taking similar actions as well. Currently, several states have already set laws in place which ban texting while driving and it is expected that, by January 1st, 2010, twenty-one states will be enforcing these laws. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, distracted drivers accounted for 28,395 crashes resulting in 114 deaths 14,480 injuries. These numbers are quite frightening and many of these accidents could have been avoided.

Being responsible and attentive behind the wheel may also help protect the lives of drivers and passengers occupying the roadways. Irresponsible driving may even lead to higher costs of insuring which is why websites such as encourage motorists to practice safe driving and obey traffic laws at all times. Poor driving habits lead to tickets and accidents which can cause motorists to be in need of high risk auto insurance policies leading to inflated premiums and more difficulty finding affordable rates.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Professional Truck Drivers Provide Life Saving Advice During Winter Weather

/PRNewswire/ -- With extreme winter weather blanketing the nation, and the promise of fresh snowstorms during the busy holiday travel season, million mile accident-free professional truck drivers are taking the opportunity to share their experience and help make our roads safer.

Drivers from the Share the Road national highway safety program offer this advice on how to navigate through highway traffic and arrive at your destination safely:

-- Avoid extreme weather conditions: Ice, hail and snow make roads
difficult to travel. Try to avoid driving through extreme weather
conditions, and travel during daylight.
-- Remove ice and snow from your vehicle: Clear your windows and roof of
snow to ensure you have maximum visibility and avoid creating a hazard
for the vehicle behind you. Don't allow ice and snow to create
additional blindspots on your vehicle.
-- Be aware of the vehicle in front of you: Leave extra room between you
and the vehicle in front so you can avoid snow and ice blowing onto
your windshield or maneuver around patches of ice.
-- Prepare an emergency kit: Contents should include: battery powered
radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first
aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit
and flares.
-- Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large
trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can't see the truck
driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can't see you.
-- Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier
and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in
front of them.
-- Slow Down: When highways are hit with wintry conditions, speeding
becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of space cushion and reduce
your speed.
-- Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent
and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.

"Highway travel is challenging when you add wintry conditions such as ice, snow and slush," said Share the Road professional driver Gary Leu. "Remember to take it slow, stay alert and buckle up if you need to travel during less than ideal conditions. By being patient we can all share the highway and stay safe this winter."

Share the Road is a highway safety outreach program of the American Trucking Associations that educates all drivers about sharing the roads safely with large trucks. An elite team of professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free miles deliver life-saving messages to millions of motorists annually. The safety program is sponsored by Mack Trucks, Inc. and Michelin North America, Inc.

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