Safe Driving Tips

Driving on the road is something we do so often it can almost become an afterthought. Safety on the road is critical to avoiding accidents and staying safe. We’ve compiled a list of tips/reminders to help you and your family stay safe on the road!

  1. Spare Tire and Tire-Changing Essentials. Sooner or later, you will likely encounter a flat tire while driving. Having a spare tire and the tools you need can make changing your tire as easy as possible. Recommended items include: spare tire (check tire pressure regularly), jack, lug wrench, flashlight with working batteries, flares/reflective triangles,gloves, and wheel wedges. Also, in the event that you do need to change your tire, put your hazards on, slow down and find a safe spot for changing the tire.
  2. Pack an Emergency Kit. It’s always best to be prepared in the event of a flat tire, breakdown, or other unexpected event. You can purchase pre-packed emergency kits or assemble one yourself. Here are some of the key items to include: First Aid kit, fire extinguisher, road flares, jumper cables, rain ponchos, tarp, flashlight and extra batteries, rags, duct tape, scent-free baby wipes, drinking water and non-perishable snacks, and a multipurpose tool. Depending on the weather in your area, you may want to add some cold weather essentials as well.
  3. Air Bag Safety and Seat Belts. Visit the dmv.org site listed at the end of the blog for more detailed information on air bag safety for children and adults. Also, always remember to wear your seat belt! Whether the driver, front passenger or back passenger.
  4. Check for Vehicle Recalls. Vehicle recalls happen periodically, and it’s good to know if your car is impacted. Visit nhtsa.gov to check for vehicle recalls.
  5. Take a Mature Driver Course. Traffic laws and technology has changed over time. For drivers who have been behind the wheel for a long time, or anyone looking for some refreshers, taking this course is a good way to brush up on your driving knowledge and skills.
  6. 511 Traffic System. Simply dial 511 while on the go to reach the national 511 Traffic System for updates and traffic information.
  7. Maintain a Safe Following Distance. Maintaining a safe distance behind other vehicles is not just considerate, it is also much safer for yourself and the cars around you.
  8. Use the Passing Lane Appropriately. The left lane, sometimes called “the fast lane”, should generally only be used for passing other vehicles. Cruising or going slow in the passing lane can create a dangerous environment on the road.
  9. Monitor High Beam Use. Also known as “brights”, using your high beams can help keep you safe and see the road better at night. However, failing to turn off high beams when approaching another vehicle can be dangerous and impair the other driver’s vision.
  10. Use Your Turn Signals. Using your turn signals helps other drivers know your intentions well in advance of an upcoming turn.
  11. Do Not Drive Distracted. Distracted driving can be extremely dangerous and causes countless accidents. Here are some activities to avoid while driving: talking on hand held devices, texting, eating, reaching for items, applying makeup, shaving, and operating music devices/player like an iPod.
  12. Obey Road Signs. Road signs such as speed limit signs and construction signs are there to keep you, other drivers and workers on the road safe.
  13. Maintain Your Vehicle’s Maintenance. Make sure to check your tires and tire pressure regularly, as well as maintaining your vehicle’s oil and fluid levels and having your breaks inspected.
  14. Child Safety Seats. If you have children, make sure to research and follow the child safety seat guidelines to keep your children safe while driving on the road.

 

Source:

https://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/safety-and-driving.php,” dmv.org.

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Water Safety Tips

With the heat of the summer in full swing, one of the best and most fun ways to cool off is to enjoy a pool or the lake. However, when approaching water at any age, it is critical to know and observe safety tips to ensure everyone has a fun and safe experience.

  1. Teach young children how to swim and water safety tips as early as possible.
  2. Never leave a young child unattended in the water.
  3. Never assume someone else is watching your child in or around water, even for a few seconds.
  4. Floats, life vests, etc are great in helping to keep kids safe. However, they are not a substitute for adult supervision.
  5. Learn CPR and teach the procedures to all older children and adults in the family.
  6. If you have a backyard pool, make sure there is secured access to the pool so a young child cannot accidentally wander into the pool area.
  7. Keep a first-aid kit poolside.
  8. Maintain constant visual contact anytime a young child is or around water.
  9. Have regular water safety check-ins with your children to remind them of the safety tips while swimming.
  10. Enroll your children in swim lessons.
  11. Install door or gate alarms for access points around your pool to alert you if opened.
  12. Maintain proper pool maintenance.
  13. Teach children to stay away from drains, skimmer boxes, pipes, etc.
  14. Keep a phone close by and easily accessible when your family is using a pool, spa or on the lake.

 

Source:

http://www.nationalwatersafetymonth.org/water-safety-tips”, National Water Safety Month.

 

Summer Travel Tips

Summer travel and can be fun and memorable, but it can also be stressful if you’re not prepared! Here are a few top tips for helping make your summer travel and smooth and stress-free as possible!

  1. Create a Packing Checklist. Creating a packing checklist for each member of the family is a great way to organize the packing process, and to make sure nothing is forgotten.
  2. Arrive Early. No one likes sitting around the airport for a long time, but the summer is an extremely busy time to travel. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and arrive to the airport extra early to allow for delays in parking the car, checking baggage and getting through security.
  3. Pack Wisely. If traveling by car, there is only so much space for all of your belongings. Sticking to your checklist can help keep the luggage amount reasonable. If flying, baggage fees can really add up, so if possible, pack carry-on bags only to avoid extra fees.
  4. If Traveling by Car, Get a Tune Up. Nothing puts a damper on your summer vacation like car maintenance problems, especially on the side of the highway. Always take your car in to a mechanic you trust a few days before leaving on your trip to ensure your car is in tip top shape. This also gives you peace of mind knowing your car is safe for travel!
  5. Plan Itineraries and Book Accommodations in Advance. Hotels, theme parks, tours, etc all can sell out if you wait too long to book. Also, booking early can often save you money and give you a better choice of times, room types, and more.
  6. Try Traveling on Less Popular Days. If flying, consider booking your flights on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, when flights are often less busy and therefore often less expensive!
  7. Don’t Lost Track of your Luggage! When traveling, there is a lot to keep track of, whether at the airport or when traveling by car. Especially with all the other busy travelers, it can be easy to lose track of your luggage. Have a plan and take turns when using the restroom, ordering food, etc.
  8. Book Your Flights ASAP. Often times, flights can sell out and get more expensive the longer you wait to purchase the ticket. Also, if you’re traveling as a family, booking your ticket early will give you a better choice of seats, and hopefully allow the family to be seated on the flight together.
  9. Don’t Be Late. As mentioned earlier, it’s always best to arrive to the airport early. This is also critical when getting ready to board your flight. Make sure to follow your particular airline’s guidelines for boarding and make sure you are in the gate area on time! You don’t want to be late or lose track of time and get bumped from your flight.
  10. Factor in Holiday Travel or Special Events. If traveling over a holiday weekend, or in or out of a location with a special event, consider how that might impact your travel. If possible, try leaving a day early or staying a day late, or try timing your arrival or departure around the special event.

Have a safe and fun summer trip!

Reducing Summer Energy Costs

Energy bills can often soar in the summertime due to a variety of factors, and particularly the heat. Here are some easy to follow tips that can help save you and your family money this summer!

  1. Unplug Devices. Don’t just turn off electronics like your computer, TV, or leave in an unused cell phone charger for example, also unplug the items. These devices can drain power even when they’re not on. You can also purchase a Smart Strip which immediately cuts power to devices when they don’t need it.
  2. Close Doors and Vents in Unused Rooms. If you have a guest bedroom you are currently using, for example, close the vents and the door to that room to prevent unnecessarily cooling a room you’re not using. If you’re planning to spend the day upstairs and aren’t planning on being downstairs, consider closing the vents and doors downstairs and reopening before using them again.
  3. Use Fans. Overhead fans do a great job circulating air and cost less than running the air conditioning. This can allow you to either delay turning on the AC or allow you to run it at a higher temperature while still staying comfortable.
  4. Turn off Lights. During the day, consider turning off all lights inside and outside the home and relying on natural light. Also, remember to turn off any lights after leaving a room at night.
  5. Have your AC Inspected by a Professional. Have a professional AC company come out to inspect your AC system to ensure everything is working properly and efficiently, thus making it the most cost effective and reliable for your home.
  6. Add Insulation. Fill gaps and holes in between walls and around plumbing to prevent cool air from escaping in the summer (and warm air in the winter). Spray foam insulation may be a good solution to fill the holes/gaps.
  7. Use a Clothesline Outside to Dry Laundry. Take advantage of the long, warm summer days and dry your clothes on an outdoor clothesline. Bonus – it makes your laundry smell amazing!
  8. Program Your Thermostat. Program your thermostat to reflect your energy needs for the day. If you know you will be away all afternoon, for example, program the thermostat to reflect a higher temperature during the hours you are away.
  9. Use the Oven Sparingly (or not at all). Since using the oven makes your AC work extra hard, consider not using the oven during the summer or using it sparingly. Other alternatives are microwave and toaster ovens which use much less energy and don’t heat up the home nearly as much.
  10. Take advantage of Blinds and Curtains. If you have blinds and curtains in your home, keep them drawn throughout the day in rooms and areas of the home that are not in use, and especially when areas of the home are receiving direct sunlight. This can really help keep the home cooler and reduce AC costs.
  11. Keep Windows and Exterior Doors Closed when the AC is On. This one is especially important if you have kids and pets, as leaving a window or door open while the AC is on is very costly and makes your AC work hard to maintain your set temperature.

Summer Fun in Central Texas

With school officially out for the summer, it’s time to enjoy some fun in Central Texas! There are lots of great options for summer fun while also beating the Central Texas heat. Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Visit Hamilton Pool. This amazing natural pool was created when an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago. Reservations are required, and can be made by visiting https://parks.traviscountytx.gov/find-a-park/hamilton-pool.
  2. Spend a day on Lake Travis or Lake Austin. There are many options including renting a boat/jet ski, taking a private tour, renting a party boat, and more! The Austin area lakes are also fantastic if you enjoy fishing.
  3. Visit a community swimming pool or water park. There are many options throughout the Austin area including the Lakeway Swim Center, Volente Beach Waterpark and Typhoon Texas.
  4. Go shopping. There are a variety of shopping center in and throughout Austin such as The Hill Country Galleria, The Domain and Barton Creek Mall. There is also a large Outlet Mall in Round Rock north of Austin.
  5. Rent a kayak or paddle board on Lady Bird Lake near downtown Austin. There are a variety of rental services available including Rowing Dock, Congress Avenue Kayaks, and Austin Kayak Tours.
  6. Go see a movie. With new movies released weekly and a variety of theatres close by, a movie is a fun, great way to escape the heat! Some theatres include Cinemark, Moviehouse & Eatery and AMC.
  7. Visit the Austin Capitol Building or the Bob Bullock Museum in downtown Austin.
  8. Take a Segway Tour downtown Austin and learn lots of interesting facts about our city!
  9. Check out the variety of activities and festivals going on in and around Austin all summer long by visiting austintexas.org/events.
  10. Check out the amazing variety of Austin-area restaurants!
  11. If you love live music, there are bands playing around the city all the time!
  12. Take in a baseball game at Dell Diamond featuring The Round Rock Express, AAA affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

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