The end of summer means many things, such as cooler weather, shorter days and ... the start of football here in Western North Carolina
But most important, it means kids are headed back to school. And that means we all should be extra careful on the roads, in school zones and around buses in Asheville, Hendersonville and surrounding areas. Remember to watch for bikes, too! Here are some tips for both parents and kids to make sure everyone stays safe.
Use caution on the roads
There are going to be a lot more kids on the sidewalks and streets when school starts, so take it slow and always be aware of your surroundings. That’s good advice for all situations, of course, but be extra cautious around the times when school starts and ends for the day.
· Watch out for school zones! They’re usually easy to spot, as many have flashing signs indicating a slower speed limit.
· Remember to follow school-bus rules. You aren’t allowed to pass the bus on either side of the road when the red lights are flashing. Even when the lights stop, make sure the coast is clear before moving on. Kids can move quickly and erratically.
· Leave yourself extra time to make it to your destination. Whether you’re headed to work or dropping your child off at school, rushing is a recipe for disaster.
· Be especially careful in school or child-care parking lots and loading zones!
Teach kids to be safe while walking
Just a few minutes spent explaining some basic safety rules to your child can help keep them safe when they’re walking to or from school. Young children should never cross streets alone, but if your child is old enough to walk with others, remind them to do the following:
· Always use marked crosswalks when crossing streets and look both ways twice.
· Do not assume that drivers can see you. Try to make eye contact with them, if possible, when crossing the street.
· Watch for driveways when walking on the sidewalk.
· Be aware of cars that are turning or backing up.
· Never move into the street from behind a car or other obstacle. Don’t chase a ball, pet or anything else into the street.
· Always use sidewalks and paths. If there is no sidewalk or path, walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible.
Help them stay safe on their bikes
Just as it’s important to help your children learn safety tips for walking to and from school, it’s important to teach bike safety, especially by setting good examples yourself.
· Make sure your child wears a properly fitted helmet every time he or she rides a bike.
· Before the bicycle is ridden, do a quick inspection to ensure it is working properly and reflectors are in place.
· Show your kids how to ride on the right side of the road with traffic and to stay as far to the right as possible.
· Encourage your child to walk his or her bike across busy intersections. Or better yet, choose a route without any busy crossroads.
· Explain to your child why no one should ride on the handlebars.
· Demonstrate the rules of the road by using proper hand signals and obeying traffic signs when you ride bikes together with your child.
· Set curfews so your child is not riding a bicycle at dusk or in the dark.
· Most importantly, supervise your children every time they ride until you are certain they have good judgment.
We know you’re probably familiar with all of these good ideas, but everyone needs reminders. So take it slow, and let’s have a happy and safe school year!
In today’s economy, everyone is pinching pennies. So why worry about umbrella coverage? Shouldn’t a home and auto policy leave you adequately covered?
Unfortunately, we live in a world of lawsuits. Large damages can be awarded, be extremely expensive and have long-term financial impact. Those lawsuits can come from unlikely sources, such as our furry friends.
Take Herschel for instance. Herschel is a much-loved, rather timid labradoodle who enjoys taking naps on the driveway while his owner mows the lawn.
Herschel watched from eight feet away as his neighbor, a 39 year old man, showed off his rollerblading skills to his kids. The man wiped out on the sidewalk in front of Herschel’s house and broke his leg. He required surgery, costing around $35,000 in medical costs and $18,000 in lost wages.
Fair or not, the man brought a lawsuit against Herschel’s owner, suing for $220,000 in damages. He alleged that Herschel had caused the accident by getting in his way, despite multiple witnesses to the contrary.
But Herschel’s owner was lucky--a jury vindicated Herschel. However, lawsuits such as these can easily exceed the limits on a homeowner’s policy, leaving the insured responsible for the remainder. An umbrella policy would prevent that, giving you an extra $1 million to $5 million in coverage.
Our furry friends can put your assets at risk in other ways as well. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with half of those occurring on the owner’s property. Dog bites, according to the Insurance Information Institute, account for about a third of all homeowner’s insurance claims, which only cover limited damages.
Protect what you love. Call us to talk about your umbrella options.
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