Everything You Need to Know About Roundabouts

Many states and communities are using roundabouts as safer, more efficient alternatives to intersections with stop signs or signals. A roundabout is a low-speed intersection in which traffic flows continuously around a circular central island. Studies show that roundabouts significantly reduce crashes and crash related injuries, as well as decrease traffic congestion. But they can be confusing to a novice. These tips will help you to more easily navigate your next roundabout.

Slow down
When approaching a roundabout, slow down and get your bearings. Know where you want to exit the roundabout before you enter. Watch for any warning signs and obey the posted speed limit. Roundabouts ease traffic congestion because drivers are not required to come to a complete stop. However, drivers entering the roundabout must yield the right of way to those already in the circle.

Choose your lane
Some roundabouts contain only a single lane, while busier ones may have two or more lanes. Look for signs or road markings indicating which lane you should be in. In a two-lane roundabout, use the right lane if you'll be exiting the roundabout to the right or continuing straight through. Use the left lane if you'll be exiting to the left, driving straight through, or making a U-turn. Take extra care when changing lanes in a roundabout.

Yield before entering
Traffic flows counterclockwise in a roundabout. So regardless of where you enter the intersection, traffic should be approaching from your left. Remember to yield the right of way and then enter the roundabout when there is a safe gap. If there is no approaching traffic, you are not required to stop before entering.

Keep moving
Once you're in the roundabout, stop only to avoid a collision and be sure to use your turn signals to let other drivers know when you're exiting to the right or left.

Take care
Keep an eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists navigating the intersection. And take greater care when approaching a roundabout in the winter. Accumulations of snow and ice make the center island harder to see and the circular path trickier to travel.

Information provided by State Farm Insurance.


Worst-Case Winter Driving Survival

Winter driving conditions can turn treacherous in an instant. Snow, ice, poor visibility and extreme cold all threaten to disable your vehicle or make roads impassable. Even on a relatively short trip, you can find yourself stranded for several hours. It's important to be prepared for such a situation. Your life could depend on it.

What to have in your vehicle
In addition to the just-in-case items you should always have in your vehicle, such as jumper cables, tire-changing tools, flashlight and a first-aid kit, be sure to carry these winter essentials:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • Blankets
  • High-calorie, non-perishable food
  • Extra clothing (wool socks, gloves, hats)
  • Small can and waterproof matches to melt snow for drinking water
  • Road salt or cat litter to help with traction
  • Camping shovel
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • Tow rope
  • Brightly colored flag or cloth to tie to your antenna

If you are stranded
If a winter storm strands you with your vehicle, stay calm and follow these tips:

  • Pull off the highway (if possible), turn on your hazard lights and hang a distress flag from an antenna or window.
  • If you have a phone, call 911 and describe your location as precisely as possible. Follow any instructions from the dispatcher.
  • Remain in your vehicle so help can find you.
  • Run your vehicle's engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. Open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and clear snow from the exhaust pipe to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Exercise a little to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion and sweating.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Don't waste your vehicle's battery power. Balance electrical energy needs—lights, heat and radio—with supply.
  • At night, turn on an inside light when you run the engine so help can see you.

This article compliments of State Farm Insurance.


Tips For A Healthy Halloween

Halloween ghouls may give kids a fright, but the buckets and bags of candy that come home can be equally scary for parents. With the abundance of sweet treats consumed on Halloween, not to mention the Thanksgiving pies and holiday cookies to come, now is the perfect time to teach your kids healthy habits, such as nutritious eating and good oral hygiene. 

Here are some ideas for keeping things healthy while still having fun:

Candy Common Sense
Consider offering alternatives to candy on Halloween. Stickers, removable tattoos or bottles of bubbles will be a refreshing change for kids of all ages. Toys like jump ropes, hacky sacks or sidewalk chalk for hopscotch will encourage kids to be active while still having fun.

Of course, you won't be able to avoid candy completely. Let your kids indulge now and then. Enjoying treats in moderation will help your kids learn to savor the moment. 

The Unsweet Tooth 
Half of all American kids will have a cavity by age 10. The good news is that you can play a role in teaching your kids healthy oral care habits from an early age. Be a role model with your own oral health by brushing and flossing every day and encourage your kids to practice along with you. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests parents supervise children under seven. 

Making brushing fun can encourage interdependence so kids become accustomed to their daily routines. Power toothbrushes, which typically remove more plaque than manual ones, can assist parents in teaching healthy brushing habits. Consider trying a toothbrush like the Philips Sonicare For Kids. It's simple to use and designed with two gripping locations so you can help your child brush. It also has a "KidTimer" to help children reach the dentist-recommended two-minute brushing time and musical tones indicating when it's time to move to a different area of the mouth. To learn more, visit sonicareforkids.philips.com.

On Halloween, offer your kids a healthy snack before they go trick-or-treating. Peanut butter and apple slices and a glass of low-fat milk will go a long way in keeping candy cravings at bay. Filling them with protein and fiber will leave less room for sweet treats that offer little nutritional value.

Party Down
Halloween parties are a great new tradition that allows kids to stay safely off the streets while eating a moderate amount of sweets and getting exercise from fun and games. Just make sure you keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns away from high-traffic areas. Then join in the fun!

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