Texas Motor Vehicle and Bicycle Collisions on the Rise

Bicyclist accidents on the increase in Texas

As the season changes from summer to autumn in Texas, many of us will spend more time riding our bikes in the beautiful, mild weather that will finally nice enough to enjoy. Though bicycling is a great form of exercise and a great way to conserve energy, there are serious dangers for cyclists on Texas roadways.

Beware of Distracted Drivers

Often, cyclists collide with cars, SUVs, pickup trucks or buses because the drivers are distracted in some way. When this happens, more than likely it is the cyclist who is going to be seriously injured or killed, not the vehicle’s driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2% of all traffic deaths and 2% of all crash-related injuries in 2012 involved cyclists.

By being aware of the following statistics on bicyclist fatalities, you stand a better chance of staying safe on your bike ride:

  • 48% of bicyclist deaths happened between 4 p.m. and midnight in urban areas.
  • About 9 out of 10 of cyclists who were killed while riding were male.
  • One out of four cyclists who died in crashes had illegal alcohol levels or .08 or higher.

Know and Follow the Rules of the Road

The Texas Department of Transportation urges cyclists to follow the rules of the road, including using proper signaling, stopping for lights, wearing visible attire and wearing a helmet at all times. Motor vehicle drivers need to make more of an effort to pay attention to cyclists on the roads and give them more room.

If you do become injured by a motor vehicle while riding your bike, your financial stability can be seriously affected by medical bills and time off work. In addition to this, the insurance company of the driver who hit you will argue that you should have yielded the right-of-way to the motor vehicle. They are wrong.

Don’t Go It Alone

Cyclists in Texas are entitled to use roadways but are often treated unjustly by insurance companies. These companies will attempt to pay you as little as possible, or nothing at all. Make sure you have representation from an experienced attorney if you find yourself, or someone you love, seriously injured or killed by a motor vehicle while riding a bicycle. Don’t fight the insurance company alone!



New Texas Law to Prevent Children From Being Left in Hot Cars

baby boy inside of a car

This summer three kids in Texas alone have passed away after being left in a hot car. This is more than any other state and lawmakers are, thankfully, working on changing that.

It is a matter of minutes in the Texas heat for the inside of your car to reach temperatures that are 150 degrees or higher, and a child left inside can very easily suffer heatstroke and die. Data from KidsandCars.org says that on average, 38 kids per year die when they either get into cars on their own and can’t get out, or they are left in cars.

This is such a preventable situation and one that we must overcome. Pediatricians are now reminding moms and dads about the dangers of leaving your kids in the car and educating them on what can happen if they do. Texas law has now made it a requirement that hospitals, birthing centers and midwives share this information with parents who are taking their newborn babies home.

Admittedly, though, it is up to the parents to do the right thing and make the right choice. All parents are urged to avoid this mistake. Take them with you, it’s that simple. Visit KidsandCars.org to learn some tips that will help you remember not to leave your child in the car.

Click here for safety tips to ensure your child is not left in a hot car.



Options to Deter Teens from Using Handheld Devices While Driving

Options to stop your teen from texting and driving

The temptation to interact with our electronic devices while driving is almost too much to resist, especially for teens.

Many experts believe that this problem caused by technological advances can be solved with technological solutions. Rendering handheld devices from working when the car is moving is only one clever option. 

Apps That can Help Your Teen Avoid Distractions

Obviously, teens are the most at-risk when driving because of their inexperience on the roads.

Teenagers’ lack of experience on the roads combined with distractions results too many preventable serious injuries and deaths among our young people.

Fortunately, there are some tools out there that concerned parents can utilize to stop their teens from the dangerous practice of texting and driving.

Consumer Reports recently shared a sampling of options that can deter teens from driving distracted:

Bluetooth Hands-free Aids

Many vehicles now come with a built-in Bluetooth system that connects wirelessly with your phone. Incoming calls can be handled without reaching for a device. Bluetooth headsets are another option.

Smartphone Apps

There are now apps that can turn off the phone when the vehicle is in motion via detection through the phone’s GPS receiver or Bluetooth. Some of these apps are free, and they are able to:

  • notify parents when deactivated
  • give automatic replies while you are driving
  • restrict the phone when the vehicle is in motion
  • call 911

Devices Connected to Dashboard Vehicle Port

These work similar to apps by restricting phone use while teens are driving. These types of devices will not drain your phone’s battery as much as an app will, and they are tamper-proof because parents can set a code to unlock them.

Monitoring Systems

These systems track your teen’s driving behavior and speed via cameras, special phones, etc. When the vehicle is in motion, the system activates and information is collected and logged. Parents can then view data reports provided to them by various companies who offer this option.

Additional apps that might be worth checking out are provided by cell phone carriers. They include:

If you have a teen driver, I encourage you to look into using one of these options. It could possibly save your teen’s life or the life of another driver. As always, drive safely!

source: Mashable


7 Ways to Stay Safe on a Treadmill

Learn how to stay safe while using a treadmill.

Recently Runner’s World magazine featured an article on treadmill safety, interviewing fitness and training expert Laura M. Miele-Pascoe Ph.D. She is often retained as an expert witness to investigate matters of treadmill safety and fitness facility operations.

In 2014, treadmill related injuries sent 24,400 people to emergency rooms, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Serious injuries involving fitness equipment, especially treadmills, are seen often in emergency rooms, according to the CPSC. They also reported 30 deaths associated with treadmills from 2003 to 2012.

Treadmill injuries frequently include burns, shoulder injuries, head trauma, broken bones, abrasions, rectal bleeding and the development of chest pains while working out on the machines.

The recent death of David Goldberg (CEO of SurveyMonkey), who was found dead lying next to a gym treadmill with head trauma, has drawn attention to the risks of using treadmills to exercise.  Dr. Laura M. Miele-Pasco suggests several safety measures that both runners and exercise facilities can put into practice that will prevent injuries or deaths via using a treadmill:

  1. Minimize distractions by filling your water bottle, setting your music up and making sure your shoelaces are tied. When you begin increasing your speed, focus on what you are doing rather than watching TV or looking elsewhere. If you run, do not multitask by checking emails and messages or taking phone calls.
  2. Be Careful when Starting Off. Use the handrails to balance while you step onto the sides of the treadmill first. Step onto the belt before you press start and increase your pace gradually. Be aware that speed may sneak up on you and you are at risk for flying or falling if you can’t keep up. Go slow when using a treadmill you are not familiar with, doing an easy warm-up before you start running.
  3. Use the safety features treadmills come equipped with. All treadmills come with a safety key to clip to your clothing. This way, if you fall the treadmill key will pull out and the machine will stop. Make use of the stop or pause buttons to halt the machine any time you need to get off during your workout. Don’t risk falling by stepping back onto a moving belt.
  4. Check space around the treadmill. Exercise facilities are supposed to allow 48 inches, or four feet, of clear space behind a treadmill in case of falls. Make sure you set your home treadmill up with the same clearance. It’s also a good idea to have rubber matting or thin carpeting to cushion a fall.
  5. Don’t run too fast. A running workout on a treadmill is common, and often is the whole point of using a treadmill. Sprinting or running too fast, though, increases your risk of injury. Try not to use the top speed settings, but rather run at a controlled pace.
  6. Keep children away from treadmills. Some of the worst injuries seen in emergency rooms are among children who were playing on a treadmill. Keep your treadmill in a locked room where it can only be accessed if you are supervising.
  7. Read the Manual. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to set up and use your treadmill, as well as how often to clean it or have it serviced and maintained. If you have a question about how the treadmill works at the gym, don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Taking note of these safety tips could mean the difference between life and death. Heed these helpful hints to get the most out of your exercise routine on the treadmill and to avoid serious injury.

Sources: USA Today, Runner’s World


Study Shows Just Knowing You Have a Text Message Can Distract Your Driving

Cell phone ring and vibration can cause distraction for drivers.

A new study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (called Human Perception and Performance) shows that hearing your mobile phone ring or feeling it vibrate while driving is just as distracting as sending as texting or talking.

We all know already how dangerous it is to text or talk while driving. This study is significant because it is the first to show that even being aware of a message or a missed can be a dangerous distraction when driving.

Researchers wrote in the study that they are shocked to learn just how much something so simple can be so distracting to drivers. Although a ringing or vibrating phone is a short distraction, it requires the driver’s mind to wander from the task of driving, even when their eyes may still be on the road.

Lead author of the study, Cary Stothart, stated in a news release that,

Even a slight distraction can have severe, potentially life-threatening effects if that distraction occurs at the wrong time.

Participants in the study performed a computer task while there were no distractions, and again when they received calls or text message alerts on their cellphones. The study showed that the participants made about three times as many mistakes on the computer task when they were distracted.

It only takes a split second to be physically or cognitively distracted for tragedy to occur, so the best solution for cell phone distraction altogether is to turn off phones and put them away when driving.

Source: HealthDay News



Grilling Brushes can Cause Life-Threatening Injuries

Barbeque brush bristles can cause serious injuries.

Did you know that the most common tool used to clean grills can also cause life-threatening injuries?

Experts warn that, if ingested, stray wire bristles from a grill cleaning brush can pierce a person’s throat or intestines, causing very serious injuries. Not many people are aware of this particular grilling danger, so you can help me spread the word.

If the griller uses an old, rusted wire brush to clean the grill, bristles can snap off while cleaning and end up in grilled meats. If the bristles are then ingested, they can tear up a person’s throat or digestive tract, sometimes requiring emergency surgery for removal.

This has happened to numerous victims who ended up having bristles surgically removed after they penetrated their intestines. Other victims of ingested wire bristles had to have them removed from their necks. Severe abdominal pain within 24 hours of eating grilled meat or neck pain upon swallowing were the symptoms of the injured patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control approximately 80,000 people wind up in the emergency each year after swallowing foreign objects, including wire bristles.

The cases can be hard to track, however, because a bristle (which is a very thin, minute piece of metal) can travel through a person’s body without them ever realizing it. The bristle just doesn’t get stuck on its journey.

Many doctors would most likely never suspect a wire barbecue brush bristle to be the cause of a patient’s severe abdominal pain, and often this will go undiagnosed.

Also, the bristles are so then, reports the CDC, they can be easily missed in a CT scan.

There are some things you can do to help ensure this doesn’t happen to you, your family or your friends when grilling. For starters, toss out the old brushes and instead use:

  • grill-cleaning stones or bricks
  • bristle-free brushes made of metal coil
  • grill brushes with nylon bristles

If you insist on using a wire brush with bristles, make sure it is in good condition. After cleaning the grill with it, wipe your grill with wet paper towels and inspect it thoroughly before cooking anything. If you find you are having abdominal pain within a day of eating grilled food, let your doctor know that you recently grilled out.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reviewing available grill-cleaning brush-related injury data to determine if a pattern of product defect could pose an unreasonable risk for injury or death. If so, a consumer warning , product recall or other regulatory action may occur.

Medical professionals or consumers should report these injuries to CPSC at http://www.saferproducts.gov

For more information on grilling safety, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Food Safety section.


How to Buy and Use Over-the-Counter Medications Safely

Over the counter medications can be dangerous

There are so many nonprescription over-the-counter medications available today that it can be extremely overwhelming to know just the right one to buy. On top of that, just because a medication is sold over-the-counter doesn’t automatically make it safe for everyone.

One way to learn about these medications and whether they are the right ones for you or your children to take is to talk to the pharmacist. It’s a good idea to discuss natural supplements with your pharmacist as well. Pharmacists can tell you about any adverse side effects you can expect, and whether it is the right medication or supplement to treat your specific symptoms.

Your pharmacist can also pull up your record of medications in their computer quickly to make sure there will be no interactions with any other prescription medications you might be taking. If you try and stick to using the same pharmacy each time you get a prescription filled, they will have a complete record of the drugs you have taken and are currently taking.

Pharmacists are a great resource of knowledge and they are usually more than happy to help you.

Here are some excellent resources that are very helpful for choosing over-the-counter (OTC) medications safely and correctly:

Some OTC medications relieve aches, pains and itches. Others prevent and cure diseases or help to manage recurring problems like migraine headaches. It is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. who decides which are safe enough to be sold over-the-counter. All medications carry risks, though, whether they are approved or not, so make sure you are in-the-know about your medications at all times.


How to Find Out Automatically if Your Car Has Been Recalled

Find Out if Your Automobile has Been Recalled

This past year and the first half of 2015 have been riddled with automobile recalls, especially the enormous Takata airbag recall that continues as we speak.

The following article reminds us all how important it is to keep up with these recalls to keep ourselves and our families safe. It also directs you to a program that will automatically let you know first-hand if your car has been recalled. Check it out yourself, it’s pretty neat!

An Easy Way to Keep Track of Your Vehicle’s Recalls



How to Stay Safe Driving in Flood Waters

How to Drive Safely in Flood Waters

Texas has sure seen its share of rain and flash flooding this past month, and many of us are not used to dealing with flood waters. I thought this would be a great time to share some important flood safety information that you can use to keep your family safe if you venture onto the roadways.

The first thing you need to do when you hear of a flash flood in the area is move to higher ground and avoid drainages and low spots. Almost half of flash flood fatalities occur when people are in their vehicles. Avoid being in your vehicle if at all possible during flood warnings.

If you are in a vehicle navigating through flooded road, never ever attempt to drive through a flooded roadway. Maybe you’ve seen the signs on our highways that say, “Turn around, don’t drown”. It is important to heed these warnings.

Water often is much deeper than it may look because it may not be possible to see below the surface of the water to recognize that the roadway has been washed away. It only takes one to two feet of water to carry your car over the edge. Here are some other important factors to consider when you’re dealing with driving in flood waters:

  • Only six inches of water will reach the bottom of most cars and cause a loss of control and a possible stall.
  • Only one foot of water will float vehicles.
  • Two feet of rushing water will carry away most vehicles, including SUV’s and trucks.
  • Never drive around a barricade because it is there for a good reason, possible to save your life. Turn around and go the other direction.
  • Do not take short cuts or back roads. Always stick to designated evacuation routes if in place.
  • Avoid driving at night during flash floods or when areas are flooded. It is very difficult to recognize the dangers in the dark.

Of course, avoid driving while under flash flood watches or inclement weather is present. There is no destination that is important enough to reach worth risking your life. Hopefully we have seen the worst flooding come to an end here in Texas. If not, though, I hope these tips come in handy.

source: kdvr.com


Poison Centers Receive Most Calls in the Summer

poison control centers receive increased calls in summer months

The summer months are a great time to reach out and spread awareness of how important it is to be careful with bleach, bug spray, gasoline and picnic foods…things that we are around more often this time of year.

Beware of Bleach

During the warm, moist, humid months of spring and summer, molds and mildews develop more easily and more often, leading many of us to pull out the bleach to get rid of them. As a result, calls about bleach exposure increase during the summer months, according to healthfinder.gov.

Household bleach can become problematic when it gets in the eyes or when it is  swallowed. Also, did you know that bleach should not be combined with any other cleaning products? This can cause dangerous gases to form. Remember also to always keep bleach out of reach of children and beware of the damage it can do.

Bug Bites and Stings

Obviously, along with the warm summer weather comes all kinds of bugs ready to bite and sting. According to poison control centers, calls increase dramatically from those who have been stung or bitten by something concerning.

If you become a victim of a sting or bite, watch closely for signs of an allergic reaction, especially within the first hour.

Many of us use DEET-containing insect repellents, which should be applied sparingly to skin and clothing. According to poison experts, 

Products with concentrations of less than 10 percent DEET are just as effective as those with higher concentrations.

Poisons Lurking Outdoors

Summer means that we all spend more time outdoors, and this exposes ourselves and our children more often to poisons like gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluids and torch fuels. Make sure these are always stored out of reach of children.

Food Poisoning Increase

Another factor that increases in the summer months as people gather for cookouts is the risk of food poisoning, according to poison control experts. There are plenty of things that can be done to avoid this.

Meats should be cooked to 160 degrees to ensure all bacteria are destroyed. Use a food thermometer when possible, rather than judging how done the meat is by looking. Be sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold at all times.

Please program this number into your phone. It will enable you to reach a poison control center from anywhere in the U.S.: 1-800-222-1222.

 To find more information on prevention of poisoning, visit The National Safety Council.