Danger DWD: Danger While Drowsy

Watch Out for DWD – Driving While Drowsy
Do you belong to the 37% of drivers who have fallen asleep behind the wheel? It’s a dangerous, and common, occurrence: More than 20% of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver. Each year, an average of 886 fatal crashes, 37,000 injury crashes, and 45,000 property damage crashes are due to sleepy steering.

In short, drowsy driving puts property, your car, and your life at risk. Driving while fatigued increases your risk of accident by more than 50%. And even if no one else gets hurt (many drowsy-driving crashes involve a single driver running off the road), you risk damage to your car and increased insurance premiums. Why chance it?

The Sleep Foundation recommends the following tips to prevent drowsy driving.

Take a nap: Before going on a road trip, take a short nap. If you get drowsy while driving, pull over and take a nap; a twenty-minute snooze may save your life and others’ lives. Choose a safe location and keep in mind you’ll be groggy after waking, so don’t start driving again right away.

Take a buddy: Ask someone to share the driving on long trips. Switch every two hours. Take a nap when you aren’t behind the wheel.

Take your time: Safety first! Don’t rush to get there. If you’re delayed, pull off the road and call to explain. Better late than never.

Take the right beverage: Avoid alcohol before driving. Even small amounts will increase drowsiness. Instead, go for caffeine. But remember even strong coffee wears off after a few hours.

Take off at the right time: DWDs occur most often between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Try not to drive during these hours.

Take notice: Watch for signs that you are getting drowsy. Frequent blinking, heavy eyelids, daydreaming, missing exits/signs, yawning, lane-drifting, and feelings of restlessness are indications that you are committing a DWD. Pull over and get that rest.

Catching Pokémon: Will the Cultural Phenom Survive?

It became an inescapable reality: hordes of people of all ages grouped together in public spaces, their noses to their phones.

Their goal? Trying to find Pokémon and catch them all. Pokémon Go, which was released in July 2016, quickly became a global phenomenon; at one point, it had as many users as Twitter. Its meteoric rise was due in part to nostalgia. Adults, who had experienced Pokémon in the ’90s, could now play the augmented reality game and experience the thrill of seeing childhood characters superimposed onto the real world.

People were also drawn to the game’s instant community. Crowds of people could meet at various spots to catch Pokémon, leading to social interactions that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. Parents of autistic children suggested the game helped their children interact with others, and health professionals were enthused about its ability to get people walking outside.

But serious issues associated with the game – including its misuse in public locations like cemeteries and memorials, and injuries to users playing the game – have caused concerns. In fact, many of these have already been addressed by the developers; Pokémon Go Plus, a wearable accessory, now permits people to play without looking at their phones.

However, many Pokémon Go-watchers say its current single-player focus, which appears to be the antithesis of the sense of community that makes it so popular, will have to be changed in order for the game to survive into the future. Will it survive? Only time, and perhaps your favorite Pokémon character, will tell.

Keep the Wolf from Your Door and Reduce Premiums
Which of the fabled three little pigs would get the best insurance premium?

Many factors go into determining your homeowner’s insurance rates, and building materials are one of them. What is your home made of: straw, sticks, or brick? And could the proverbial big bad wolf destroy it?

Rates are affected by your home’s flammability, and its ability to be destroyed by potential threats – natural and man-driven. If you are considering new construction, or just curious about how your home would rate in the fable above, note the following pros and cons of different building materials and their impact on your rates:

Steel beam construction: It’s less likely to burn, and may qualify for discounts. It’s also more likely to sustain damage in earthquakes.

Frame construction: Burns easily and completely, but is less likely to sustain earthquake damage. This costs more to insure than homes of the same value in the same area constructed of different materials.

Brick: Less likely to burn, brick costs less to insure than a similar frame home. Pure masonry materials usually receive a discount.

Stick-built: Insurance rates are lower for a home constructed on-site than for modular or mobile homes.

Modular/Mobile: Premiums reflect the value of the home as well as the risk. The values of a modular or mobile home is typically lower, but rates are higher: the two factors may balance out.

“Wolf-guards”: Regardless of construction type, many items can decrease premiums by reducing risk. Adding bolt locks, security systems, sprinkler systems, and smoke detectors helps “blow down” your rates.