When many people think of the 4th of July, they think of America’s independence, cook-outs, family gatherings, road trips and fireworks. But what most people don’t think of is road safety. With July 3rd and July 4th being two of the deadliest days to drive, Insurance.com is reminding all motorists to drive safely during the upcoming 4th of July week.
“Car accidents traditionally increase during the summer months, especially during the holidays when alcohol and long road trips are involved,” stated David Roush, CEO of Insurance.com. “That is why Insurance.com is committed to reminding drivers to play it safe this 4th of July and plan ahead before heading out to a holiday party or on a 4th of July vacation.”
To help keep you and your family safe this 4th of July, Insurance.com has listed their Top Ten 4th of July Driving Tips.
- Don’t drink and drive. No matter if you are attending a holiday gathering close to home or if you are on a road trip, drinking and driving is never a good idea. Play it safe this 4th of July and either have a designated driver to drive you home or call for a cab.
- Buckle Up! Wearing seatbelts every time you drive is the easiest way to help keep you and your family safe in the event of an accident. If you are traveling with small children make sure they are in a proper car or booster seat for their age group and height.
- Watch your speed! State and local police officers will be out in full force during the 4th of July week. So make sure to obey the speed limits of the state you are in and keep a safe distance between the cars in front of you! Remember, a speeding ticket can mean points on your driver’s license and a potential increase in your auto insurance rate.
- Check your tires. The last thing you want is your own “fireworks display” while on the highway. That is why it is important to inspect your tires before you head out on your trip. Make sure to check the tire pressure in your tires. Many drivers fail to do this – and low tire levels can potentially cost them more money in gas to fuel their car. It is also a good idea to have your tires rotated by a professional mechanic before you leave on a long trip.
- Make sure your battery has enough juice. If it has been a few years since you replaced your car battery, you might want to do so before you leave on your 4th of July vacation. It is better to be safe than sorry when you are traveling far from home.
- Turn on your lights. Something many of us fail to check before leaving for vacation are headlights, tail lights and turn signals. To ensure everything is working properly, have a family member or friend walk around the car while you test the car lights and signals from the inside.
- Pack a first aid kit and roadside assistance kit. It’s always a good idea to keep a first aid kit and a roadside assistance kit in your car at all times. You never know what could happen, so it is better to play it safe. While you’re at it, consider packing a cooler of water, a flash light, non-perishable food and extra batteries.
- Rain, rain, go away! The 4th of July weekend can bring the sun and blue skies, but it can also bring rain storms. That is why it is important to check the weather before you leave and during your trip. If you do get caught in a torrential downpour, pull off to the side of the road or to a rest area until the rain has stopped. And if the area you are in floods, don’t try to drive through it, find an alternative route. You may have to back track a bit, but it will be worth it in the long run.
- Watch your surroundings! One of the most popular ways to celebrate the 4th of July is by attending a fireworks display at a local venue. These types of events typically generate large crowds of people and pedestrians. If you are driving to or from a fireworks celebration, make sure to drive with caution and care with these large crowds about.
- Proof of car insurance. Whether you are traveling close to home or out-of-state you should always have your proof of car insurance in your wallet and in your glove box. It’s a good idea to keep a disposable camera, note pad and pen in your car, just in case an accident occurs.
If you are interested in switching your auto insurance or would like to get an auto insurance quote, visit Insurance.com’s auto insurance comparison application. Here, you can evaluate multiple rates from best-in-class car insurance providers, helping you save time and money on your car insurance.
If you're working 100 hours a week and haven't seen sunlight in months, listen up. Top business leaders share their advice for finding that coveted work-life balance.
Technology has made it possible for entrepreneurs to stay connected when they're out of the office. That's also the problem.
By: Angus Loten
Whenever Jay Reddy takes a vacation, he sends his PDA and laptop on one too.
"I leave them somewhere inaccessible to keep me from constantly checking e-mails," says Reddy, the founder and CEO of ProLogic, a Fairmont, W. Va.-based technology-services firm. Despite the temptation to stay connected with his business — and a growing number of high-tech tools to do just that at anytime from anywhere in the world — Reddy says he's still able to make a clean break with his family for several weeks every year. "In the first three years after I launched the business, I don't think I took a single day off," he says.
Most aren't so lucky. Like a growing number of entrepreneurs, Karen Say, the CEO of Saybr Contractors in Tacoma, Wash., never really leaves her workplace behind, whether she's at home or on vacation. "I'm a business owner, so I'm always connected with my business," Say says. That means occasionally spending weekends in her home office, or taking her Blackberry along on holidays — and everywhere else she goes.
When it comes to taking a break, small-business owners are finding that advanced information technology and expanding communication networks that provide round-the-clock access to e-mail, business data, and other systems can be a double-edged sword. While offering greater flexibility in schedules and access, they're also quickly blurring the lines between the work and play. Within the ramped up competition of a 24/7 business cycle, they say, downtime is fast becoming a four-letter word.
In a recent survey of more than 600 small-business owners by OPEN from American Express, nearly half considered downtime a guilty pleasure. In continually keeping track of their businesses, many said they were forced to routinely make sacrifices in their personal lives, including less time with family and friends, and even less attention to their health.
It's hardly surprisingly, then, that fewer small-business owners are planning to take vacations this summer — just 59 percent compared to an average of 67 percent over the past four years, a separate OPEN survey found. Even among those that manage to get away, the vast majority will be taking their businesses with them. Seventy-five percent said they would check in by phone or e-mail, some as often as once every hour.
In a recent survey of 1,000 small-business owners by Discover, 59 percent said a "day off" meant they were still available for calls and e-mails, and included working a full day from a remote location. Nearly half said they worked through most official holidays.
"Small-business owners are optimistic by nature," says Alice Bredin, OPEN's small-business adviser. "But when they're not in the driver's seat, even if for a few days, they often can't relax."
So what are they so worried about? Most of the business owners surveyed by OPEN said they were concerned customers weren't getting the same level of service from staff while they were away. That, and employees making poor judgment calls or just plain slacking off.
When Mary Derby took her first vacation in three years from pullUin, her Vermillion, S.D., software firm, it happened to fall in the middle of a protracted contract dispute with a client.
"I kept checking in the entire time and it would put a damper on the whole day," Derby says. "It pretty much ruined my holiday," she says.
Now, to get the time off she needs, Derby has officially barred herself from checking any work-related e-mail or voicemail during a vacation. She also lets her staff know there isn't anything that can't wait for her attention. And like Reddy, she now leaves her cell phone and PDA behind. "I found that it's been better for me and for the business," Derby says.
However they manage it, Bredin says it's crucial that business owners recharge their batteries and creativity now and then by taking a clean break.
To do that, Bredin suggests walking employees through the work process and discussing step-by-step instructions to solve issues that might arise while they're away. They should also prepare employees for the worst with viable solutions, while giving them the resources they need to handle day-to-day business affairs, such as key contact information for support resources from your technology providers.
Say adds that it's important to plan ahead for leisure time, even months in advance, rather than wait for a window of opportunity.
"You just have to schedule it," she says, "or it won't happen."
also read: 7 ways to find work-life balance