FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, March 11, 2010
MOTORISTS REMINDED OF DANGERS OF DROWSY DRIVING
Sleep Loss a Possibility as Daylight Saving Time Begins on March 14
Commissioner David J. Swarts of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Chair of the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) today used the occasion of the upcoming switch to Daylight Saving Time to remind motorists of the dangers of drowsy driving. Daylight Saving Time goes into effect this year on Sunday, March 14.
"Driving while drowsy is a contributing factor in thousands of crashes each year," Commissioner Swarts said. "Motorists should be aware of the warning signs of fatigue and how to avoid drowsy driving, particularly as we adjust to the loss of sleep that comes with the switch to Daylight Saving Time."
The National Sleep Foundation's 2009 "Sleep in America" poll shows that one percent, or as many as 1.9 million drivers, have had a car crash or a near miss due to drowsiness in the past year. Even more alarming, 54 percent of drivers (105 million) have driven while drowsy at least once in the past year, and 28 percent (54 million) do so at least once per month. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each year 100,000 crashes reported to police are caused by drowsy driving or driver fatigue, resulting in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
Drivers at highest risk for crashes due to drowsy driving include: commercial truck drivers; late-night shift workers; parents taking care of young children; people with untreated sleep disorders; and young drivers. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of young people ages 16-24, and fatigue is a common contributing factor. Studies show that 36 percent of teens drive drowsy on a regular basis and, out of all of the crashes caused by fatigue, a full 55 percent involve drivers under the age of 25.
Falling asleep at the wheel is the most obvious example, but the effects of drowsy driving can be as simple as not paying attention while driving due to fatigue or sleep deprivation. The warning signs of drowsy driving include difficulty in keeping one's eyes open, repeated yawning, wandering or disconnected thoughts, drifting from the driving lane and failure to remember the last few miles driven.
To avoid drowsiness while driving, motorists should get adequate sleep before they drive and take breaks about every 100 miles or two hours on long trips. On long trips, drivers should also bring a passenger to help keep them awake and share the driving responsibilities. Motorists should never drink alcohol before driving, and drivers should always be aware of the potential side effects of any medications they might be taking, as some cause drowsiness.
Opening a window, turning on air conditioning or playing loud music should not be relied upon to overcome fatigue, and caffeine offers only a short-term increase in driver alertness. Drivers who experience drowsiness should pull over to find a safe place for a rest or to sleep for the night.
Driver safety tips and information are available by visiting the DMV's Web site at www.nysdmv.com or the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee Web site at www.safeny.com.
Many thanks to The New York State DMV for this helpful information.
Feel free to call us for an insurance quote at Avalon Agency. For New York and Connecticut. Have a good one!
If you have flood insurance already, here are some tips from the National Flood plan on steps to take if one occurs:
If possible, photograph the outside of the premises, showing the any damage or flooding. Also, photograph the inside of the premises, showing the damaged property and the height of the water if your property was flooded.
Call your insurance agent to report your claim. If you have seperate flood insurance, also call your flood insurance agent to report your claim. Your flood insurance agent will prepare a Notice of Loss form and an adjuster will be assigned to assist you.
Separate the damaged from the undamaged property and put it in the best possible order for the insurance adjuster's examination. If reasonably possible, protect the property from further damage.
When the adjuster visits your property, let him or her know if you need an advance or partial payment of loss. Again, good records can assist your insurance companies and the NFIP in giving you an advance payment. Use your inventory to work with the adjuster in presenting your claim.
Damaged property that presents a health hazard or might hamper local clean-up operations should be disposed of. Be sure to adequately describe discarded items so that, when the adjuster examines your losses and your records, these article are included in the documentation.
Good records speed up settlement of your claim. Compile a room-by-room inventory of missing or damaged goods, and include manufacturer's names, dates and places of purchases, and prices. Try to locate receipts or proofs of purchase, especially for major appliances, and note manufacturers' names, serial numbers, prices, and dates of purchase.
Just because it has never happened doesn’t mean it won’t in the future. Now, I definitely live by the adage that a life lived in fear is a life half lived, but maybe that’s because I’ve purchased the insurance policies I have and I feel pretty secure that I won’t end up in deep water should a flood happen.
Actually, statistics show that almost 25% of all floods happen in low to moderate risk areas. Floods happen in all fifty states. Things like changes in crop land use, added housing development, or heavy snowfalls that lead to large snow melt events have the potential for future flooding situations.
A big risk comes when a heavy rain from a mild storm accompanies rapidly melting snow, especially when the ground is frozen and unable to absorb water. The Mid-Atlantic region has already experienced this dangerous combination. In January 1996, a couple of weeks after a record-breaking blizzard, 2 to 5 inches of rain and the equivalent of 2 to 5 inches of liquid in the form of water stored in the deep snow pack resulted in widespread flooding in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. The Potomac River at
Right now, in a large area encompassing southern
Another thing to remember is that your Homeowner’s insurance policy does NOT cover flood. And all flood insurance policies are subsidized by the government, so what THEY cover is pretty much set in stone and is as follows:
Flood is defined as:
-- Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
-- Mudflow or
Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.
Many types of water damage that you might think would be considered a flood, are not. But the big ones are the ones you want to be covered for. And Flood Insurance is not all that expensive. Quotes are free, so if you have any concern about it at all, get one from your agent.
I’ll post some suggestions for what to do in a flood situation next.You can also check out the Flood Plan site.
With the recent, horrific events unfolding in Haiti, coverage for earthquake damage is a question that is suddenly popping up again with our customers. What is covered? Do we even have that coverage? What are the odds of it happening here, in the northeast?
All valid questions, for sure. Earthquake coverage is an endorsement, in other words additional coverage, that you can add to your policy. You need to request the coverage and it can be pricey. It may also have its own deductible, separate from your homeowner's insurance deductible.
Here's how it works, in a nutshell: You purchase the Earthquake endorsement in an amount equal to the property or dwelling limit on your home. The company will offer you a deductible that is a percentage of that coverage, Let's say you have $100,000 coverage on your home and the earthquake deductible is 3%. That means, for that amount of earthquake coverage, your deductible would be $3000 per loss. Generall, any additional aftershocks within a 72 hour period are considered part of the same earthquake, but this would be a per-loss deductible. Each company has filed with their state what deductibles they will offer, so your choices will be limited.
There are some policy forms that include earthquake coverage, but you really need to confirm this with your agent. The great thing is that it is available, if you want, to most people.
What are the odds of an earthquake occuring? We felt one here, outside of New York City, in 1983. I, like many other people, was awakened thinking the oil burner had blown up. It originated in Blue Mountain, New York, registered 5.3 on the Richter scale, and was felt in Canada and in 12 states. Luckily, it only caused minor damage near its epicenter. The USGS has a very interesting, informational site where you can read up on earthquakes.
So, if you are interested in finding out how much earthquake coverage would be to add to your Homeowner's insurance policy, call your agent. Or contact us at Avalon Agency if you are in New York or Connecticut. We'd be glad to give you information on this coverage.