Trick-or-Treat Safety


Trick-or-Treat Safety

Halloween will be here in three days. I remember when I was younger, I would count down the days until I would be able to show-off my costume at school and then spend the evening filling a pillowcase with c andy from the house around my neighborhood. While Halloween doesn’t seem to be the same huge event as it was during my day, there are still tons of families that celebrate and take their children trick-or-treating. Now, more than ever, it is important to plan ahead and keep you children safe and always have a chaperone.

You can protect your children and allow them to have fun by starting with a safe costume that fits. Make sure it has some sort of reflective capabilities so it can be seen a night – especially by drivers. You always want to opt for face paint over a mask and make sure your child can see clearly. For extra safety, have everyone carry a flashlight.

While walking the neighborhoods, always cross in the appropriate areas and look both ways – multiple times. Make sure kids stay on the sidewalks or walking paths and consider putting a temporary ban on all electronic devices to keep eyes and heads up and alert.

If you opt to drive through the neighborhood, stay off your phone and watch the road. Children can be unpredictable and dart into the street at any time. Go slow and use hazards if needed. Drive on the correct side of the road and avoid blocking any entrances or exits.

It is VERY possible to be safe and have a great time!


A Crash Course in Airport Driving

Driving at LAX was never fun; it was crowded, congested, frustrating and obnoxious. People pulled away from the passenger drop-off curbs without waiting, without signaling and without looking even once for oncoming traffic. It was a maddening experience every time I had to go and unfortunately I had to go often; it was part of my job. I owned my own limousine company and that meant frequent trips to the airport. I had managed to score a number of high–profile clients that I shuttled back and forth as often as four days a week, sometimes even twice a day depending on how many jobs I had booked. So really, when it came to driving LAX, I was a pro.

That’s why I was shocked when the guy in the faded green sedan pulled away from the curb and plowed directly into my shiny, black limo. Fortunately I’d just dropped off my Beverly Hills client so it didn’t put my reputation at risk but trying to find a spot to pull over in the crazy traffic was a serious pain. When we finally managed to find a place I got out to check the damage. I looked down at my car before even glancing at his. There was a large dent on the panel above my front tire and a long streak of scratched and ruined paint to go with it. Though it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, it was still going to put my limo out of commission for at least a day. In my line of work, that meant I could be out a whole lot of money.

Of course by the look of the other guy’s car, he was going to be out a lot more. The front bumper, which he’d somehow caught on my wheel well, had almost completely ripped off. He’d also crunched the whole front left-side of his car and flattened his tire. He stood there staring at what was left of his sedan. I felt kind of bad for him, he was short, balding and by the run-down look of the rest of his car, didn’t have much money. It seemed that perhaps this little collision was going to hurt him more than it was going to hurt me. Suddenly the anger I’d been feeling began to fade.

“Where are you trying to go?” I asked as he continued to stare in silence at his totaled car.

“Santa Monica,” he replied without turning to me.

“I think you’re going to need a tow,” I stated.

He just nodded. After a moment he turned to check my limo.

“Sorry about this,” he finally said. “I just dropped off my kid. She’s going to college on the East Coast. Guess I was distracted.”

I shrugged. “I’ve got good insurance. You?”


We stared at his car for another moment.

“Want a ride home?” I finally asked. “Can’t beat a free ride in a limo.”

Seeing the look of guilt on his face, I shook my head before he could respond.

“It’s all good,” I told him. “Like I said, I’ve got good insurance.”

Though I couldn’t have predicted it, my trip to the airport that day did something more than just dent my car; it introduced me to a fellow passenger in life.

Texting and Driving Will Kill You

When a driver tries to text and drive there can be a fatal outcome to them, and others they share the road. In fact, more states are banning h and held devices while driving. Many drivers in society are being very stubborn about these laws and will try to ignore the laws and continue to text and use h and held devices while driving. Some drivers are even going one-step further and are using their laptop computers while driving.

Texting while driving is showing inconsideration of other drivers, their passengers and innocent children on the road. How can a driver who is involved in a serious accident where people are innocently maimed or killed because they were texting and driving live with this fact for the rest of their life?

Texting and driving are against the law, and it the person is in an accident caused by texting there is heavy fines. Some states are enacting jail time for texting and driving.

The possible ramifications of texting and driving are not worth it. There is nothing so important that texting cannot wait until he or she has parked their care safely. If the driver has an emergency, he or she must pull safely off the road and then text.

Summer Travel Safety Tips

The summer months are quickly approaching, which means many families will be embarking on vacation getaways. Summer travel and readying the car for trips can be the most stressful part of the vacation.

Travelers recommends the following packing and driving tips for families hitting the road for vacation this summer.


Tips for Winter Drivers

Winter is a beautiful and also potentially dangerous time of the year. If you plan on traveling during the winter, it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. Using common sense and developing a few simple driving habits like planning ahead, driving at a safe and legal speed, driving alert and sober and buckling up could ensure that you safely make it to your destination. We’ve put together the following tips to help you stay safe and minimize the potential hazards posed by cold weather, winter storms and icy roads.

Prepare for winter driving before a storm hits:

  • Have a mechanic check your car’s battery, brakes, fluid levels (antifreeze, windshield washer fluid and oil), as well as the heating and exhaust systems to ensure that your car is in good, safe working condition.
  • Try to keep your gas tank full during the winter months. Don’t allow the gas to go below half a tank. Not only will this prevent damage from freezing, you’ll avoid running out of gas if you’re stuck in a traffic jam during the dead of winter.
  • Install snow tires or all-weather radials with adequate treads.
  • An adequate supply of windshield washing liquid is critical to wash away the mud and melted snow that can severely limit visibility.
  • Prepare for an emergency. Keep the following in your trunk: blankets, clothing essentials (sweatshirts, sweaters, gloves), roadside visibility (triangle reflectors), first-aid kit, flashlight ( and extra batteries), bag of s and, waterproof matches, jumper cables, chains, ice scraper/snow brush, small shovel, energy bars or trail mix, cell phone & charger, toolkit and brightly colored cloth (to tie to the antenna).

What's in your Winter Driving Survival Kit?

When driving under adverse winter conditions

  • Take care pulling out of streets blocked by mountains of snow. It’s often difficult to see who or what is coming.
  • Back your car into the driveway so you have better vision when pulling out.
  • Be aware of joggers on the street. Often sidewalks are impassable and die-hard joggers venture onto the street for a clearer path. Unfortunately, they may not see icy spots or other hazards hidden below the slush.
  • Don’t turn corners too tightly.
  • If your car does not have anti-lock brakes and you start skidding on the ice, try not to slam on your brakes. Gently pump your brakes to maintain better control and prevent your wheels from locking.
  • If your car does have anti-lock brakes, slam on your brakes when skidding on the ice. Pumping your breaks prevents the anti-lock system from taking over.

Traveling during a severe storm. Travel only if necessary during a blizzard or severe storm. If you must travel:

  • Don’t travel alone. Notify someone of your estimated time of arrival as well as your primary and alternate travel routes.
  • If stuck, stay in the car and wait for help. Run the engine and heater sparingly. Also make sure your exhaust pipe is clear of snow and ventilate your car so that carbon monoxide fumes won’t poison you.
  • Keep your energy. Eat food that provides the body with energy for producing its own heat. Replenish your body with fluids to prevent dehydration. Don’t eat snow; it will lower your body temperature. Melt it first.

Texting While Driving more laws

About everyone has heard about the dangers of texting while driving. Cell phone companies and online educational sites are even creating cool infographics with statistical data about these dangers. Although many data sources have varying report results, it’s agreed that people have a 23-percent greater chance to be in a car crash due to texting. Because of these statistics, and other disturbing results, many states are passing various laws to ban drivers from texting.

Laws vary from state to state. Some states are placing bans on all drivers, while other states only ban teen drivers. Also, some states require that the driver can only be given a ticket for texting while driving if they were pulled over for a different driving offense. While law enforcement is taking strides to reduce the number of distracted drivers using cell phones and sending text messages, it comes to public awareness that can prevent accidents and fatalities.

The more people who are aware of the law and national reports regarding the dangers of texting and driving, the more people will think twice of using the cell phone in the car. Hopefully, this awareness will save lives.

Road Rage

Road rage. You hear about it, you know what it is, however when is the last time you actually were involved in it? Being in the insurance industry, you can bet that I hear about road rage, its effects on driving habits, premiums for auto insurance and so on. I’m a trained professional, so I would never fall into that trap I know so much about and take it out on another driver, or would I?

I’m driving home from the office, minding my own business. The street I’m driving on begins to narrow, well it always does that after all. However today there appears to be some parties in progress. There are rows of cars parked on both sides of the street and I immediately notice no less than ten valet scurrying up and down the street picking up and dropping off cars. Being the careful, well trained vehicle operator that I am, I slow down for safety.

After a few moments, I’m at a complete halt; not really much of a choice with cars on both side of the already narrow street and people walking around and valet personnel hopping and jumping about. Soon I’m inching my way up, taking turns with cars coming down the street, I pull to the left, the car passes, I migrate up a car length while the opposing traffic does the dose-e-do with me. This is the safe, polite and in all truth only way to slowly crawl up the street and we’ve all done it before. Haven’t we?

From what appears to me as out of the blue, a car whips around the corner and I would have sworn connected its front bumper to my rear bumper. As I’m inching my way along, this car is for all intense and purposes, attached to me. After a few duck and cover operations trading space to let oncoming cars go by and then moving along myself, this car, or more accurately this driver starts honking at me. It’s a shame that a car horn only signify objects in front of you and not behind, because if I had the ability to honk back at him, I would certainly have opted to do so.

After honking at me for a solid minute give or take, I would have loved to let him pass, however alas, there is barely enough room for one car to get by let alone one car pass another. So, I do what any conscientious law abiding driver would do – I stop. Completely stop and wait for my little attached to my bumper tumor to take a few breaths and relax. Sure, in hindsight, I can see how this would probably not accomplish that at all, and in fact it didn’t. It royally pissed this guy off.

Being the uber-social fella I am, I figure if I roll down my window and wave to him, smile, perhaps make the “calm down” gesture, he will get my drift and actually, well, calm down and relax. After rolling my window down I do just that and wouldn’t you know it, I can hear him, well, saying, cursing at any rate, trying to communicate back to me. Ok, so maybe I should just keep moving then. So I keep moving up, stop, pull to the right let a car go by, go up a little more, rinse and repeat.

At long last I make it to a place where there actually is room for a car to get around me, apparently a spot a valet didn’t yet fill and my little growth takes the opportunity to speed right around me. I’m expecting “the look” or worse, so I put on my best and most friendly smile. Instead of any communication human to human, he instead pulls infront of me and slams on his breaks bringing me and all cars behind to a halt. I can’t say screeching halt, as much as that would make this sound so much more dramatic, after all we are only going a few miles an hour at best. I sigh and say to myself, ok, get it out of your system and we’ll all move on. Sure enough, after a minute or so and people behind me begin to honk, he starts moving along. All is forgotten and we’re all moving along again, same pace, just a new leader in the pack, him.

Uh oh. Now he pulls over and waits to be passed. I exhale and just drive on past, not even turning my head to engage him. Sadly, he is not ready to live and let live. Tires smoking leaps behind my car, almost hitting the car that was behind me and again re-attaches his front bumper, fugitively speaking, to my rear bumper. Now I’m spooked. I’m not going to let this dude follow me to my front door, so I take the first opportunity to turn on to a street, hoping he will pass. Nope. No dice, he turns with me.

With my luck for the day, I have turned onto a cul-de-sac and have no choice but to turn around and head back and surprise surprise he has pulled over and rolled his window down to have a little chit-chat with me. So be it. I slowly pull up, with no other option, and our two driver windows are only a foot apart. I stop and open my window.

He asks what I was doing, and although I think it was pretty self evident, I decide to give him an honest answer. I tell him I was driving carefully up the street. He says I was holding up all the traffic, and I explain to him that I was really going as fast as was physically possible and he really should just relax, it’s always better to drive and error on the side of caution. Next he wants to know why I had the “audacity” to stop in front of him. Again, I smiled and gave him an honest answer, “to give you a few seconds to calm down.” He tilts his head to the side studying me to see if I’m serious and then smiles and says, “ok, well take care and have a great day.” Not even the slightest hint of sarcasm in his voice either, oddly enough. I pay him the same respect back and we both pull away.

I notice he drives the other way, back down the street, meaning he actually was following me, at least for a while to follow me, not to get to anywhere specific in the direction I was traveling. That won’t give me too many nightmares.

At the end of all of this, I’m left in my driveway thinking it all over. What did I do wrong, where did I go wrong? Leave a comment below and you tell me who you think was in the right, or wrong.

Karl Susman, Agent