Rules for the Road: Be Prepared With a Roadside Emergency Kit for Your Car

roadside_emergency_kitOne of the most important things to remember about safe driving is that you should always be prepared for emergencies. It can happen to anyone; you could be involved in a fender bender, end up with a flat tire, run out of gas, breakdown due to engine trouble, or become stuck due to adverse weather conditions. For situations like this, an emergency kit can be a lifesaver.

Even if you have roadside-assistance coverage through your insurance provider or an auto club, you will need access to a phone in order to contact them, and you may have to wait on the side of the road before help arrives. A roadside emergency kit is intended to aid you in getting help. It can be used to signal your presence to other drivers who might not see you or your car’s lights on the side of the road. This is especially helpful in rainy or nighttime driving situations. A basic car kit should contain the following:

  • A cell phone. Just remember, do NOT use your phone while you are driving. A phone should always remain out of reach until your car is turned off or in park.
  • Food and water. Choose food that won’t spoil, such as energy bars. If you need to wait for help to arrive, make sure to have a snack on hand.
  • A blanket.
  • First aid kit. This will be especially helpful for any minor cuts or scrapes sustained in an accident.
  • In a cold environment, tools for snow removal. Keeping a small shovel, scraper and snow brush is key. Additionally, try keeping a box of kitty litter in your trunk to pour over snow if you become stuck. Kitty litter will help you to get the traction necessary to get free.
  • Tools to attract attention. A flashlight, whistle or roadside reflective hazard triangle can be used to call attention to your location if you are stuck on the side of the road. It is very important to warn other drivers of your presence on the shoulder, especially at night.
  • Tools for basic car maintenance and minor emergencies. It’s good practice to always have extra windshield washer fluid, a tire pressure gauge, spare tire, a set of jumper cables, and a fire extinguisher in your trunk. Better safe than sorry!

If you do need to use your emergency kit, remember to stay calm and remain safe. What other tools do you keep in your emergency car kit?

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October 16-22 is National Teen Driver Safety Week – 5 to Drive Campaign

passengersParents, teens, and teachers: October 16-22, 2016 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and it offers a chance to to raise awareness of teen driver safety and encourage safe teen driver and passenger behavior. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for U.S. teens 15 to 19 years old. Promoting safe driving habits during this time period can help spread awareness of this alarming statistic and make a difference in teen driving habits.

GDL Institute is supporting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s “5 to Drive” campaign during National Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign aims to help parents talk to their teen drivers about the rules of the road. The campaign highlights the five necessary rules that teen drivers need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, texting, seat belts, speeding, and extra passengers.

The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. It is a great way to help parents prepare, and help protect teen drivers. The idea behind the campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the road. Let’s get the conversation going!

The NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teens are:

  1. No Drinking and Driving – All teens are too young to legally buy or possess alcohol, but they are still at risk. Nationally in 2014, one out of five teen passenger vehicle drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Driving under the influence of any impairing substance could have deadly consequences.
  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. – Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways to stay safe in a car. Yet, too many teens are not buckling up and neither are their passengers. In 2014, there were 763 passengers killed in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers, and 59% of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash.
  3. Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. – Distractions while driving can be deadly. In 2014, among teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes, 10% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. And remember, distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, the radio and climate controls, and eating or drinking while driving, are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.
  4. Stop Speeding Before It Stops You – In 2014, almost one-third (30%) of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash. Staying within the speed limit helps keep everyone safe.
  5. No More Than One Passenger at a Time. – The risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger. According to data analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer compared to when driving alone. And the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

Reach out to the teen driver in your life and remind them that while driving is a privilege, and while driving independence can great, it also comes with great responsibility. For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents.

Spring Break in Florida – Safety Reminders for Teen Drivers

dreamstime_s_2639818It is spring break season for students across the state of Florida! Now is a great time to make the most of your break from school and finish up your online Drug & Alcohol course to get your learner’s permit. But, if you’re planning to get out in the warm sunshine and enjoy this time off with your friends instead, make sure you are making safe choices. With spring break parties and gatherings happening across the state, there will be extra opportunities to engage in risky behaviors like drinking and drug use. Don’t become a statistic!

GDL institute is a provider of Florida’s driver training course for teenage drivers, but we don’t only write about driving-related topics. The Drug and Alcohol course is required for all new drivers in Florida before they can obtain a learner’s permit. In addition to the aim of teaching safe driving skills, the course also teaches the effects of drug and alcohol use and abuse, coping mechanisms, and ways to say no. Whether you are behind the wheel of a car or ‘safe’ in your own home, using drugs and alcohol is a risky decision. In fact, by age 15, about 35% of teens have had at least 1 drink. Furthermore, each year almost 5,000 teens die as a result of underage drinking; including about 1,600 deaths from car crashes (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

If you are already a licensed or permitted driver, your responsibilities are even greater. Getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking can be deadly. Even “good” drivers sometimes make decisions that put them in potentially dangerous situations. Each year almost 5,000 teens die as a result of underage drinking; including about 1,600 deaths from car crashes (NIAAA). The decision to say no to teen drinking and drugs is critical.

To learn more about how drugs and alcohol can affect your body, your mind, and your driving ability, register for the online Drug and Alcohol course today. What you learn can help you to say no when the pressure is on. From everyone here at GDL Institute, we’re wishing you a wonderful spring break! Our staff is available via phone, e-mail and Live Chat six days a week to assist you wish any questions you have about the course.

Resources

  1. Underage Drinking Fact Sheet – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Safety Tips for Drivers as Children and Teens Return to School

back to schoolChildren and teens across the state of Florida are returning back to school this week. But be alert, kids returning to class will mean an increase in pedestrians heading to bus stops and school zones during the morning rush hour. Drivers need to be cautious about sharing the roads with other motorists, bicyclists, and also an increasing number of young and excited pedestrians. We’ve put together a few back to school safety reminders for all drivers:

  • Not everyone has gone back to school yet. Avoid distraction, and watch carefully for children out playing and making the most of the last few days of summer while you are driving through neighborhoods.
  • Young children in particular can be less predictable and are also the most difficult to see pedestrians, due to their smaller size. Be extra cautious when driving in school zones and residential areas, and keep an eye out for young children walking on sidewalks, crossing the street, or entering and exiting school buses.
  • Obey laws regarding school buses. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a hurry, Florida Motor Vehicles Laws require that motorists stop upon approaching any school bus which displays its flashing red lights and has its stop signs extended.
  • On a two way street or highway, all drivers moving in either direction must come to a complete stop for a stopped school bus which is picking up or dropping off children. You must remain stopped until all children are clear of the roadway and the bus’s stop arm is withdrawn (Official Florida Driver’s Handbook 2014). Learn more about Florida traffic laws by completing your mandatory Drug & Alcohol course online from GDL Institute.

A reminder for any Florida teens who haven’t yet completed their Drug and Alcohol course: If you’re already back to class but you wish to complete your learner’s permit requirements, GDL Institute makes it easy to do, even with your busy schedule. The online course is available 24/7, can be stopped and started to suit your schedule, and is fun and interactive to keep your interest and prepare you for your exam. Visit our website to sign up and get started today!

Resources