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All Posts in Category: Safety

DistractedDriving2018

Can You Guess Our Biggest Driving Distraction?

Of the more than 172,000 people killed in car crashes over the past five years, one in 10 were in crashes where at least one of the drivers involved was distracted. These statistics come from data analyzed by Erie Insurance housed in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, a nationwide census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Erie Insurance consulted with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its analysis.

But distracted driving doesn’t just mean being distracted by your cell phone.  ERIE’s analysis found daydreaming or being “generally distracted” (being inattentive, careless, or distracted–details unknown) or “lost in thought” was the number one distraction associated with fatal crashes. (See the infographic below for the full top 10 list.)

“Some people see driving as a time to relax and unwind and let their minds drift off, but that’s actually one of the worst things you can do,” said Jon Bloom, vice president of personal auto, Erie Insurance. “Most people know about the dangers of texting while driving, but daydreaming while driving is an almost invisible distraction – people do it automatically without even realizing the risk.”

The Erie Insurance analysis of police data from 2012-2016 showed the majority of drivers who were distracted were “generally distracted” or “lost in thought.” In fact, police report that 61 percent of distracted drivers were daydreaming at the time of a fatal crash, compared with 14 percent of drivers who were distracted by cell phone use.  Erie Insurance did a similar analysis five years ago and revisited the data to see if the types of distractions had changed over the years. The analysis found the distractions were largely the same.

HERE ARE THE TOP 10 DISTRACTIONS INVOLVED IN FATAL CAR CRASHES:

Distracted Driving 2018

Bloom said that because FARS data on distraction is based largely on police officers’ judgment at the time of the crash, and because people involved in a crash may be reluctant to admit to distracted driving behaviors when being interviewed by police, the numbers are difficult to verify. And they may, in fact, under-represent the seriousness and prevalence of driving distractions.

 

CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A DAYDREAM?

To help drivers avoid daydreaming while driving, Erie Insurance reached out to Paul Atchley, Ph.D., an internationally recognized cognitive behavioral researcher. Atchley has studied distracted driving and worked with numerous national safety organizations to reduce it.

“One effective strategy to counteract daydreaming is to keep your mind alert with so-called passive forms of engagement, like listening to a radio show or a podcast,” Atchley said. “The beauty of passive engagement is that your mind will automatically tune it out when it needs to. So, if something out of the ordinary suddenly happens in your environment, your brain won’t even hear what’s on the radio anymore. It will be fully focused on the task at hand.”

Dr. Atchley cautioned against listening to a playlist of songs you’ve heard again and again, which is not recommended. Listening to something too familiar could actually encourage your mind to drift off.

Atchley offers these additional tips to help drivers keep their attention on the road:

  • Don’t replace boredom with a distraction. For example, never send or read a text to alleviate boredom. Instead, play verbal road games that help you focus, like “I Spy.” Make it even more effective by saying “I Spy a Distracted Driver” which will help your mind focus even more on the road and defensive driving.
  • Keep your hazard perception skills sharp. This means knowing where to look on the road ahead and watching for situations that may require you to take an action, such as changing speed or direction. Examples include a car entering an intersection or a pedestrian crossing the road.
  • Consider carpooling with another experienced driver. Just as professional truck drivers sometimes enlist a partner to share the driving duties, Atchley says having a co-driver can also work for everyday people. Another experienced driver sitting in the passenger seat next to you can serve as a second set of eyes.And, engaging in light conversation while you’re both looking at the road ahead can help keep your mind alert.

April is dedicated to Distracted Driving Awareness. It’s important to think about all the ways we can be distracted while driving all the time.  “We’re always looking after our Customers; we want to not only insure their cars but also protect their lives,” said Bloom, “so that’s why we’re drawing attention to the dangers of distracted driving, including driving while daydreaming.”

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/distracted-driving-study-2018

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IIHS-Safety

IIHS Safest 2018 Cars

Thinking about shopping for a new car? Then you’ll want to check out what vehicles are considered the safest to buy.

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/iihs-safest-2018-carsFrom small cars and sedans to SUVs and large luxury vehicles, you’ll find 62 of the 2018 models deemed safe by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Each year the safety experts at the nonprofit research and education organization determine which vehicles do the best job of protecting people in the most common kinds of crashes—front, side, rollover and rear—based on ratings in IIHS evaluations. The current list of award winners is smaller than usual because IIHS raised the bar on its test criteria, adding passenger-side crash tests and headlight ratings to their list of considerations.

No minivans, pickups or minicars earned the highest award, Top Safety Pick+, and just 15 vehicles qualified, having good-rated headlights and good or acceptable passenger-side protection in small overlap front crashes. Models from a wider range of vehicle types—47 in all— earned the second-tier award, Top Safety Pick, but no minicars made the cut in that category either.

Hyundai and Subaru lead the way
Leading the pack of manufacturers of the 15 Top Safety Pick+ vehiclesare Hyundai Motor Company, which owns the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands and has six awards, and Subaru, which has four. Mercedes-Benz has two, while Toyota, BMW and Ford Motor Company have one each.

Small cars

Kia Forte sedan

Kia Soul

Subaru Impreza (4-door sedan | 4-door wagon)

Subaru WRX

Large luxury cars

BMW 5 series

Genesis G80

Genesis G90

Lincoln Continental

Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

Midsize cars

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Outback

Toyota Camry

Midsize SUVs

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Midsize luxury SUV

Mercedes-Benz GLC

 

The frontrunner among the 47 second-tier award winners is Toyota Motor Corporation with 10 vehicles. Hyundai is the runner-up with nine.

IIHS has awarded Top Safety Pick honors to qualifying vehicles since the 2006 model year. It adjusts the list of winners throughout the year as it evaluates new models. Learn more about the vehicles that are in the winner’s circle by watching the video above or reading the source article at iihs.org.

How to get a quote and avoid car insurance rate hikes
If you’re shopping for a new car, you’ll also need car insurance. You may want to get an auto insurance quote now or check out these helpful resources:

An insurance professional like an Erie Insurance Agent in your community can provide you with more information about auto coverage.

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Holiday Up in Flames

Don’t let a fire take the merry out of your holidays.

The Holidays are a time of year to enjoy friends and family, but sometimes they don’t always go as planned. Don’t believe us? Check out this experiment we did with our Erie, Pennsylvania, City of Erie Fire Department.

ERIE staged a fire in a vacant home which showed how a Christmas tree fire can fill a room with toxic smoke in just 30 seconds and burn down an entire living room in one minute.

“Many people love their Christmas decorations and choose to leave them up for a few weeks after the holiday, but when it comes to a dried-out live Christmas tree, that’s a dangerous risk to take,” said  Gary Sullivan , vice president of property and subrogation claims, Erie Insurance. “We want families to enjoy the post-holiday season safely; we don’t want them to be displaced from their homes due to a fire, or even worse, caught in a life-threatening situation.”

Recent national reporting done by the National Fire Protection Association showed Christmas trees resulted in an annual average of seven civilian fire deaths, 19 civilian fire injuries and $17.5 million in direct property damage during a four-year period. Make sure to take care of your tree to ensure a safe and happy holiday.

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Secure-Shopping

Shop Safe Online this Holiday Season

Last year, ERIE Customer Don O.* of Pennsylvania received a text from Amazon letting him know that his package had been delivered.

The only problem? He hadn’t ordered anything—an identity thief had. Don later discovered that the thief had also opened up a fake credit card in his name and used it to purchase an Amazon Prime membership in addition to products from the popular e-commerce site. Just like that, Don became one of the 13.1 million people affected by identity theft in 2015.

Online shopping is growing increasingly popular—last year, the National Retail Federation’s Thanksgiving weekend survey revealed that more people shopped on the Web than in stores during the Black Friday weekend.

Yet e-commerce also gives identity thieves new ways to commit their crimes. If you’re shopping from the comfort of your couch this holiday season, the following tips from a variety of experts can help you lower your chances of getting trapped like Don. (Fortunately, his story had a happy ending—check it out below.)

  • Only shop on secure sites. Any page that lets you enter credit card information should start with https:// and include a locked padlock icon. Make sure to enter the correct spelling of the site you intend to visit.
  • Avoid making purchases via a public Wi-Fi connection and computer. Open connections can give hackers direct access to your personal information. The big concern with public Wi-Fi is that your information could be available to anyone on the network. Also avoid using public computers in places like libraries or hotels—they can often store your personal information for anyone to see.
  • Choose strong passwords. If a site requires you to log in,choose a password that doesn’t in any way relate to your personal information. And be sure the password includes a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and characters.
  • Activate your device’s built-in firewalls. Also consider investing in separate security software and updating it frequently.
  • Update your browser(s). Browsers need to be updated just like security software does. Regularly check for browser updates—older versions could have security gaps that leave you vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Check your card’s purchase activity frequently. During the holiday shopping frenzy, it’s worth checking your credit card transaction activity every week or so. Doing so lets you spot and dispute any fraudulent charges ASAP.

(FULL ARTICLE)

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Auto Coverage

Understanding Your Auto Coverage

You know if you have a car, you need auto insurance. However, you’re probably not thinking about what kind of coverage you have until you need it. From protecting your car, to protecting your passengers and any prized possessions along for the ride, it’s good to know your ERIE policy has you covered for life’s little mishaps.

Say your daughter forgets your car is parked right behind her in the driveway or a deer doesn’t wait his turn to cross the street, we’ll make sure you’re back on the road as soon as possible. In the moments after an accident, so many things are happening that you may feel overwhelmed. Thinking about what you auto policy covers shouldn’t be one of them.

Common Coverages
Depending on your state’s requirements for auto insurance and what limits and options you pick, your auto policy can include up to six common coverages.

You Cause an Accident and Someone Gets Hurt: If you cause an accident and other people are injured due to your negligence, bodily injury liability coverage is what protects you against their claims for damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. (Talk to your ERIE Agent to learn more and to determine what limits are best for your situation.)

(FULL ARTICLE)

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Hurricane-Insurance

How Named Storms Affect Your Insurance Coverage

Hurricane season is here and it’s been an active one so far. Here are a few things to know about hurricanes, named storms and how any strong storms can affect your insurance coverage.

A storm is called a hurricane when it forms over the Atlantic and the eastern and central Pacific Oceans; a cyclone when it forms over the southern Pacific and Indian Oceans; and a typhoon when it forms over the western Pacific Ocean.

Today, the NWS maintains six lists of names that rotate every six years. The only exceptions are the 77 names of the most damaging hurricanes the World Meteorological Organization retired out of respect to victims and survivors.

A few years ago, The Weather Channel (TWC)—a private cable and satellite television network that’s completely separate from the NWS—announced that it would start naming winter storms. When asked why, they cited many of the same reasons behind naming hurricanes—namely, an easier and more effective way to raise awareness and communicate updates about a storm.

Many named-storm deductible clauses work by requiring a deductible that’s a certain percentage of a home’s value—anywhere from one to 10 percent—instead of a fixed dollar amount. That means instead of paying a $500 or $1,000 deductible, a house that’s insured for the U.S. average of $161,100 would shell out $16,100 if their named-storm deductible was 10 percent.

With ERIE, you don’t have to worry about a named-storm deductible.

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