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10 Tips to BE SAFE this Winter; Avoid Weather-Related Traffic Accidents

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A cold front is moving across the nation, dumping rain, sleet, hail and snow, icing roads, compromising visibility and generally wreaking havoc on America’s roadways.

National headlines underline the hazards of traveling in severe winter weather conditions:

Five die in weekend weather-related Texas accidents.

At Least 14 Deaths As Ice, Snow Create Dangerous Travel in Plains, South.

Deadly Storm System Moves East, Threatens Holiday Travel

Winter Storm Brings Snow, Traffic Accidents to Region

25 Weather-related Wrecks after Winter Weather Hits the Region


Unfortunately, driving in hazardous conditions is not always optional. So follow these 10 tips for winter travel safety:

  1. Stay home. If you don’t have to go out in poor weather, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, others who are on the road may be inept. Don’t tempt fate!
  2. Don’t warm up your car in an enclosed area, such as a garage. Annually, 400 people die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.
  3. Before heading out, do safety checks on your vehicle. Make certain your tires are properly inflated and you have plenty of gas in case you get stuck. Also, you should keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  4. Don’t mix radial tires with other tire types. explains, “Drivers should avoid mixing tires with different tread patterns, internal constructions or sizes, and use identical tires on all of their vehicle’s wheel positions in order to maintain the best control and stability.”
  5. Every single time you get into your vehicle, use your seat belt. The CDC reports, “Adult seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes. Yet millions of adults do not wear their seat belts on every trip.” Also of note, most accidents occur within a 25-mile radius of drivers’ homes. So don’t make the mistake of assuming you are safest while driving in familiar territory.
  6. Don’t drive while you’re tired. Rest before getting behind the wheel.
  7. Avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  8. Never use cruise control when driving on slippery surfaces (including surfaces which are wet, icy, and sandy or covered with salt and cinders).
  9. Look and steer in the direction you want to go, since your reflex will be to point the steering wheel wherever your eyes are focused.
  10. If you are driving in the snow:
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads—accelerating, stopping, turning—nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Driving slowly will allow plenty of time to maneuver.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three-to-four seconds should be increased to eight-to-ten seconds. Increasing this margin of safety will provide more time in case you need to unexpectedly stop.
  • Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids.
  • If you skid out, don’t try to move in a hurry.
  • Take plenty of time to slow down for stop signs and stoplights. It takes longer than usual to slow down when driving on icy roads.
  • Know your brakes. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the pedal.
  • If you can avoid it, don’t stop. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to continue moving while still in a roll. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads could start your wheels spinning. Instead, try to generate a little inertia before you reach the hill so you can let it carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce speed and proceed downhill as slowly and carefully as possible.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

Holiday Travel Tips: On the Road

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

(Part 2 of a 3-Part Series)

No matter which way you choose to travel this holiday season, you would be wise to take advance precautions to guarantee that your family and friends are safe in the air, on the road, on the rails. After all; winter and holiday travel are stressful propositions. Not only is traffic at an all-time high but the vast majority of people get edgy and tempers flare with crowded parking lots and long lines. Last week, we covered the ways to travel safely by air. This week, we’ll focus on tips for easing road trips. Tune in again next week when we cover one more way to travel during the holidays. At Allied Universal, Inc., we want you to travel safely this holiday season.

Road worthy travel

For road warriors, winter can be a dangerous time of year. The NTSB attributes 22% of all motor vehicle accidents to severe weather, such as ice and snow. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, a motor vehicle accident occurs every 60 seconds. In fact, annually, 5.25 million driving accidents occur…which amounts to 11,550,000 weather-related accidents per year. Since these are scary figures, we hope the following winter driving tips will help you stay safe and a little less anxious on this year’s holiday road trip.

  1. Get your car checked out before you leave. This is crucial. Drive your car to a reputable auto shop for a quick once-over, making sure your mechanic checks the tires, oil pressure, fluid levels and other mechanical systems.
  2. Be prepared for a change in course. Before you depart, spend a long time concentrating on the best route as well as secondary options. Make sure you’re ready for anything on that could alter your plans, including construction, road closings, accidents, traffic hurdles and weather-related messes. Keep local maps on hand in case you need to reroute your trip and don’t have GPS or an adequately-equipped Smartphone. If you belong to an automotive club, get someone’s help to plan the perfect winter getaway.
  3. Stay hydrated. Although the likelihood of dehydration may seem far-fetched, consider the possibility that you could become stranded. The phenomenon is common, in fact, on windy mountain roads where rocks fall and accidents can cause long delays. A recent study by doctors at the Mayo Clinic showed that a mere one- to two-percent loss of body weight can lead to fatigue and sleepiness, all of which can be deadly conditions when traversing icy winter roadways. Also, your body requires more fuel in the cold. So in addition to bringing plenty of water bottles, stock up on high-energy foods like sandwiches, a thermos filled with soup, fresh fruit and sliced raw vegetables.
  4. Pack a winter safety kit for the car. Don’t leave home without the essentials for a safe road trip. In addition to your regular “Go Bag,” you should bring extra supplies for long road trips. Don’t forget:
    • Cell phone (and car charger)
    • Ice scraper
    • Tow rope
    • Jumper cables
    • Snow chains
    • Sand or cat litter for traction control on ice
    • Blankets
    • Flashlights and extra batteries
    • Matches and emergency candles
    • First aid kit
    • Portable radio (either hand-crank or battery-powered, as long as you pack extra batteries!)
    • For a comprehensive list of items to include in your Emergency Kit, check out some of our previous posts about how to build a Go Bag.
  5. Take plenty of pit stops. Winter driving leads to fatigue. Make sure you take time to stretch your legs. Just a few minutes off the road will improve your alertness.
  6. Stay alert. Even if you’re well-rested and attentive on the road, you will likely be traveling near other people who partied too hard during the holidays or didn’t get enough sleep. So, the wisest thing you can do while you drive is pay attention and drive defensively. And if you think you’ll need to drink a gallon of coffee to stay awake, maybe you should consider stopping at a hotel instead of driving on. It could save your life.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 system offers the best emergency training system.

On the Road…..Again?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Jet preparing to land.

Take steps to ensure safe travel during holidays.

It’s that time already. Hitch up your wagons and travel on the open road or by air to the holiday destination of your choice. While traveling during this time might fill you with dread, we have some tips about safe holiday travel, which we hope will smooth your trip.

Air travel has become increasingly frustrating for passengers and airline staff, alike. More fees and less service are not traditional hallmarks of good business. But airlines have a corner on the market. So they play by a different set of rules. Nevertheless, these hints will help your travel the friendly skies.

Watch your connections. Imagine you have to fly in late December from San Diego to Orlando and have a choice of a three-hour layover in Dallas or a one-hour stop in Chicago. While you might not relish three hours in the airport, consider what happens weather-wise in Chicago in winter. Snow. Lots of it. That means airport delays, potentially dangerous landings and fun “de-icing” experiences.

Expected the unexpected. Delays happen. Computers do crash.

So try not to sweat the small stuff.

Give yourself plenty of time. While you probably do not need to arrive two hours early for a mid-week flight to Des Moines in October, your family holiday trip in December will require extra time at baggage-check-in, security, and at the gate. Also consider the drive to and from the airport. Stress can be dangerous to your health as well as to others around you. So plan ahead to avoid the necessity of driving too fast to the airport.

What about those TSA pat-downs and scans? Early reports state that air travel is not too backed up and “opt-out” protests have not caught on. Despite the growing hysteria, scientific review of body scan machines shows that they are safe. According to data, people receive more radiation in two minutes of 30,000 foot flight than they do from scanners. Try to remember that security scans mean safer travel for everyone.

  • If you are packing up the family wagon and driving to your destination, consider the fact that you won’t be alone on the road. According to AAA, in 2009 there were 87.7 million Americans that traveled 50 miles or more during the year-end holidays. Follow some common sense tips to help you get through a potentially stressful drive.
  • Even if your travels do not take you to a remote town in Montana, it’s important you take steps to make sure you are prepared for the open road. Pack an emergency kit as well as other helpful supplies:
  • Bring several gallons of bottled water. These are useful for both drinking and emergency radiator usage.
  • Everyone needs to eat. If you get stuck in a blizzard, you will want some non-perishable food with some protein to keep you alert.
  • Traveling in snow? Check with local authorities to see if you need snow chains and bring along an extra bottle of antifreeze and a snow scraper.
  • Road flares and a triangle warning sign are vital in case of a breakdown.
  • Even modern car batteries can lose their charge. Bring jumper cables for your car and in case you are called upon to serve as a Good Samaritan for another motorist.
  • Once your emergency kit is set, you can concentrate on your actual journey:
  • Put your phone down! Statistics show thousands of people die every year from accidents caused by distracted drivers. What’s more, in many states, using the phone or texting while driving is illegal.
  • Inspect your car before you go. Inflate and check your tires. Confirm you have antifreeze and that your oil has recently been changed.
  • Don’t drink and drive. While this tip should go without saying, it’s important to watch alcohol consumption during holiday parties.

Follow our tips and use common sense to get through traveling during the holidays. And remember that politeness and patience can go a long way during what is supposed to be a joyous time.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Travel Season Prep Tips

Monday, December 7th, 2009
How to prepare for holiday travel

How to prepare for holiday travel

It’s holiday time! Turkey, Christmas lights, and Hanukkah candles compel millions of families to travel during November and December.

If you are traveling through the air, you should know about some recently released tips from our friends at the TSA. The new tips are intended to help you travel more quickly and safely.

The TSA has a new Secure Flight program for airline ticketing:

  • Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program that improves flying watch-list matches
  • Family members need to provide photo identification, date of birth, and state gender
  • Cooperate with TSA members to make sure no one from the “Do Not Fly” list gets on an aircraft
  • Important tip – when booking your reservation, use the same name as it appears on your ID. Don’t use nicknames or shortened names (Don’t use “Bill” instead of “William.”)

Family Lanes:

  • Special security line for those with families or infrequent travelers that are unfamiliar with airport screening procedures
  • Is your baby formula or insulin packaged in a container that is larger than 3 ounces? If so, go through a family lane and a specially-trained TSA agent will help you out.
  • Allows TSA agents the opportunity to properly check for liquid explosive materials.

What’s the 3-1-1 Rule?

  • As you would imagine, the 3-1-1 Rule involves a 3, a 1, and another 1
  • Liquids and aerosols should be 3.4 ounces or less
  • Consolidate items into 1 plastic zip bag
  • There is a per-person limit of 1 quart-sized bag of liquids
  • Save the TSA agents’ time by having your bag of liquids outside of your carry-on and ready for inspection.

Traveling with food or gifts?

Many of you will be bringing gifts to your destination (and hopefully returning home with some!) The TSA has guidelines on these gifts. If you have any liquid gift such as wine, maple syrup or even a snow globe, you should either pack the gift in your checked luggage or just ship it to yourself. And remember, don’t spend time wrapping gifts with that special reindeer paper, since the TSA agents will need to unwrap and check each gift!

Finally, the TSA is reminding travelers to report any suspicious activity to an agent. Don’t be afraid to speak up if something doesn’t seem right. Keep all of these tips in mind and traveling can be a lot smoother for everyone. Allied Universal wishes all of you a safe and happy holiday season! BE SAFE!