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Peter Cerruti
440 South West End Blvd, RT 309
Quakertown  PA 18951
 Phone: 215-429-7273
Office Phone: 215-538-4400
Fax: 267-354-6992 
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Peter Cerruti

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Are Dads The New Mom?

October 25, 2013 8:06 pm

Who wears the pants in the family when it comes to household purchasing decisions – mom or dad?

According to a September 2013 survey by Child's Play Communications, titled Are Dads the New Black, mom remains by far the No. 1 decision maker when buying for home and family. Dads are making inroads, but not to the degree many now assume. And mom's evaluation of dad's contribution often differs dramatically from his own.

Conducted with The NPD group, an independent market research company, the Child's Play survey queried nearly 2,500 moms and dads – approximately 1,250 couples – across the U.S., asking for each one's view of dad's decision-making role in 20 different product categories. The survey looked at where dads were "entirely" responsible for a product category, then "primarily" responsible and lastly, where they "shared responsibility equally" with their spouses.

"Based on our immersion in the world of moms, it seemed that some of the claims about dad's involvement in household purchasing decisions were overstated," said Child's Play Communications president, Stephanie Azzarone. "Our goal in launching the survey was to separate perception from reality."

Some highlights:

• Moms remain the major household purchasing decision maker in about 80 percent of families.

• Moms are responsible for the majority of those decisions--about two thirds. This is notable because it contrasts with the long-held belief that moms are responsible for about 80 percent of household purchasing decisions—an indication that dads are getting more involved.

• Dads continue to dominate decision making in what might be considered traditionally "male" categories. 55.3 percent of moms and 62.2 percent of dads said that dad was entirely responsible for buying decisions related to Home Repair, and 50 percent of moms and 57.0 percent of dads said dad had sole responsibility for Lawn & Garden. Meanwhile, roughly a third or more said dads handle all decision making for Automobiles (38.4 percent of moms, 48.6 percent of dads) and Technology (31.8 percent of moms, 35.1 percent of dads). The percentages remained similar when families were asked what dads were "primarily" vs. "entirely" responsible for.

• Moms, however, dominated purchasing decisions for children's products. In fact, dad's role here was noticeably minimal. Moms said that only 1.1 percent of dads were entirely responsible for buying children's toys and clothes and dads were in close agreement, claiming sole responsibility for 2.2 percent of toy purchases and 1.2 percent of children's clothes.

• The balance improved when families were asked where they shared responsibility equally. The four categories that ranked significantly higher than others among both moms and dads were Home Furnishings (51.0 percent of moms and 46.0 percent of dads said decision making here was shared equally), Family Travel (51.0 percent and 46.6 percent), Family Entertainment (43.2 percent and 43.1 percent) and Appliances (41.4 percent and 36.2 percent).

Source: Child’s Play Communications

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Halloween Can Be Scary, Particularly for Pets

October 24, 2013 8:03 pm

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) warns people to keep pets safe this Halloween, a holiday that can be truly frightening—and a little hazardous—for pets.

"While Halloween is a lot of fun for kids, pets can be alarmed by the new activity and strange costumes. Many dogs feel they are the guardians of their homes, and they can feel threatened if a stranger comes into their area," explains Dr. Clark K. Fobian, president of the AVMA. "If your pet is apprehensive in these situations, you need to be sensitive to that and make preparations before Halloween to keep your dog or cat from becoming confused and fleeing your home or perhaps even biting somebody."

The AVMA has produced an informative video posted on the AVMA YouTube channel offering tips on celebrating Halloween safely with pets.
"Nothing will ruin your Halloween fun like an emergency trip to the hospital, or to the animal hospital, because one of your animals got into the candy bowl or got scared enough to scratch or bite," Dr. Fobian says. "Consider putting your pet into a place where it will feel safe. This could be inside a crate with a favorite toy or pet treat or inside a room with the door closed. If you're dog or cat is prone to becoming extremely stressed, work with your local veterinarian to find solutions. It might even be advisable to board an animal to remove them from the situation."

Here are some other tips to help keep your pet happy and healthy this Halloween:

• The cocoa in chocolate can be poisonous to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the more deadly it can be. In addition, small dogs are more likely to be affected by ingesting a small amount of chocolate than larger dogs.

• Chocolate candies aren't the only sweets that are potentially dangerous. Some pets will consume a candy whole, including the candy wrapper, which can cause an intestinal blockage. Also, Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many chewing gums and baked goods, has been shown to be poisonous to dogs. In addition, raisins, a common healthy treat for kids on Halloween, can be poisonous to dogs and cats.

• If you fear your pet has ingested candy or any other potentially dangerous foods, contact your veterinarian or your local emergency pet hospital immediately. A quick response could save your pet's life.

• If you want to put a Halloween costume on your pet, make sure that the costume doesn't obstruct the animal's vision, breathing or movement. Also, it may be a good idea to introduce your pet to the costume a few days or weeks before Halloween, so it won't startle them on such a busy, unusual day. Never leave your pet alone while it is wearing a costume.

• Halloween decorations, like candles or jack-o'-lanterns, and pets don't go together. Your pet could knock something over and possibly start a fire or suffer burns. Make sure they're placed where pets can't access them.

• Make sure that every day—but particularly on Halloween—your pet has proper identification. With the front door opening and closing to allow neighborhood children to say "trick or treat," it's possible a pet could panic and run out into the night while you're busy handing out candy. Proper identification, particularly microchip identification with up-to-date registered information, will make it much more likely that you'll be reunited with your pet.

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Boomers Much Less Likely to Shop on Cyber Monday

October 24, 2013 8:03 pm

FatWallet.com announced results from its 2013 Cyber Monday Shopping Survey by TNS Global. Of the 1,000 surveyed online, 48 percent said they will shop this Cyber Monday, 60 percent under age 40 and less than 40 percent age 50 or over. More than half of those that plan to shop this Cyber Monday said they will spend more this year (52 percent, up from 33 percent from a year ago), and 44 percent said they would spend more than $200. When it comes to which way they will look to find savings, 78 percent said deals (products on sale), 55 percent store-wide discounts, 76 percent want free shipping and 30 percent will seek cash back. Ways they will shop for Cyber Monday deals:

• 91 percent will use online retailers
• 29 percent will use online coupon sites
• 23 percent will use Emails
• 18 percent will use online cash back sites
• 13 percent will use mobile devices
• 9 percent will use social media

"The majority of younger adults are more digitally connected then Boomers are, using emerging online marketing channels like mobile and social media to shop," states Ryan Washatka, FatWallet president. "Cyber Monday offers the perfect storm for these shoppers and the record spending we've seen the last couple of years supports this."

Items they will be shopping for the most on Cyber Monday:

• 54 percent for holiday gifts
• 34 percent for gadgets
• 34 percent for clothing
• 32 percent for books, movies or music
• 25 percent for toys
• 21 percent for tablets/Smartphones
• 19 percent for laptops
• 16 percent for TVs

When asked what time they will shop for Cyber Monday deals, 33 percent will start on Pre-Cyber Monday (Sunday), 69 percent on Cyber Monday (a.m.) and 19 percent during Cyber Week (Tuesday through Friday following Cyber Monday).

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Tips for Deciding When to Replace a Front Door

October 24, 2013 8:03 pm

Homeowners looking to save on rising energy bills can start right at the front door. That's the advice of experts at Therma-Tru Corp. who suggest evaluating your main entry door at least once a year to determine the status of the door's operational capabilities and energy efficiency features.

"Every component of a home needs to be replaced at some point over time," says Derek Fielding, director of product management for Therma-Tru Corp. "Most homeowners can get years of service out of their front door, but there will come a time when a door needs to be replaced. That's why it's important to annually evaluate and maintain your main entryway."

According to Fielding, there are several easy ways homeowners can determine when it's time to consider a front door replacement.

Tip #1 - Open and close your doors on both dry and wet, humid days. Make sure all the components operate smoothly. If your door doesn't close securely, or fits tightly on humid days, then it’s most likely leaking air on dry days, causing the home to lose energy.

Tip #2 - Inspect the weather stripping around all sides of the front door to make sure it has not worn out. On a bright day, stand inside near your door and look for daylight flowing through the door perimeter. If light is coming in, then so most likely, is external air and possibly moisture. That means it’s time to determine if your foam-filled weather stripping may have lost some of its compression, cracked or simply worn out.

Tip #3 - Examine your locks to make sure they operate smoothly and are strong enough to help protect your home. Multi-point locking systems offer exceptional peace-of-mind and security for the home.

Tip #4 - Reach out and touch your door on both hot and cold days. If you feel the exterior temperatures on the inside surface, then your door may not have adequate insulation. In this situation, consider upgrading the door with a replacement that is more energy efficient and has an ENERGY STAR® qualified rating for your geographic area. Order a multi-point locking system on your next door for a tighter fit against the weather stripping, which can help provide even greater energy savings.

Tip #5 - Look at the appearance of your door. If you have a wood door, it may be warping or rotting after years of service. A steel door can get dinged and rust over time. And, it's possible that the style of the door simply doesn't match up with the design of your home. These are all red flags that it's time to replace your front door.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Taxpayers Should Act Now to Take Advantage of IRS Changes

October 23, 2013 8:03 pm

Unlike last year, tax planning for 2013 is not hampered by uncertainties over a looming fiscal cliff. Unfortunately, there is always some uncertainty and a few expiring provisions to warrant special attention by taxpayers.

Managing income taxes at year end involves techniques designed to address three issues:

• Accelerating or deferring income: If a taxpayer expects to be in the same or a lower tax bracket next year, it's best to defer as much income as possible until after the year-end.
• Accelerating or deferring deductions: If a taxpayer's overall tax rate is the same in both years, accelerating deductions achieves tax savings this year rather than waiting for those tax savings to materialize next year.
• Take advantage of tax provisions scheduled to expire at the end of 2013: There are several temporary tax provisions that can only be used this year.

Tax planning begins by projecting income and deductions for the year to determine your tax bracket and income thresholds that trigger higher and/or additional taxes, or limits the effectiveness of deductions. One of the impacts of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA12) is the reintroduction of the Pease limitation, which can greatly limit itemized deductions. Once a taxpayer knows what his or her income taxes will look like, it’s time to evaluate which techniques will help the most.

Strategies to accelerate or defer income:
• Adjust your elective deferral plans at work: Taxpayers who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, or in the Thrift Savings Plan can defer up to $17,500 this year. Taxpayers age 50 and older can defer up to $23,000.
• Harvest capital gains or losses: Long-term capital gains are taxed at 0 percent for taxpayers in the 15 percent bracket. Capital losses can be used to offset capital gains and reduce other income up to $3,000.
• Use the IRA: Taxpayers age 59 ½ and older can accelerate IRA distributions in 2013. Contributions may be deductible depending on your income level and whether you’re covered by a retirement plan through work. Taxpayers under age 59½ can convert traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs to accelerate income.
• Health-care assistance: People with health savings accounts – available with some high-deductible health insurance policies -- can save up to $3,250 tax-deferred for an individual and $6,450 for a family. Those who are 55 and older can save an additional $1,000. Flex spending contribution limits are capped at $2,500 this year.

Strategies to accelerate or defer deductions:

• Medical expenses: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) raises the income threshold this year to 10 percent of adjusted gross income for taxpayers under age 65. The threshold remains at 7.5 percent for those 65 and older. Taxpayers may need to prepare or defer medical bills to lump expenses in a single year to get the deduction.
• Gifts to charities: Use a donor advised fund (DAF) to maximize the tax savings from charitable giving. A DAF makes gifting appreciated securities easier. The DAF can be funded in tax years when the deduction will have the most impact. Distribution to charities can be made at any time without tax consideration.
• Qualified Charitable Distribution: This year only, taxpayers age 70½ or older can choose to direct up to $100,000 of their IRA-required minimum distribution to charity. By doing so, the distribution does not show up as taxable income, which can lower taxation of Social Security benefits and help reduce other threshold levels to further minimize taxes.

ATRA12 extended—but did not make permanent—several tax incentives for individuals. Taxpayers should consider whether they can benefit from these incentives this year and plan accordingly. The following provisions are set to expire on Dec. 31 unless extended again:

• State and local sales taxes deduction. Taxpayer can choose between deducting state and local income taxes or the sales taxes they’ve paid through the year.
• Deduction for teacher expenses. Eligible educators can deduct up to $250 of any unreimbursed expenses.
• Deduction of mortgage insurance premiums. Payments of Private Mortgage Insurance premiums can be treated as deductible home mortgage interest in 2013.
• Discharge of principal residence indebtedness. This can be excluded from gross income this year.
• Qualified Charitable Distribution. Taxpayers can make tax-free charitable donations from their required IRA distributions.

2013 is certainly an exciting year for tax planning. Start now in order to minimize your tax bill in April.

Source: Rodgers & Associates

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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One Year after Hurricane Sandy: Data on Home Repair Projects & Installations

October 23, 2013 8:03 pm

One year ago, the week of Halloween would be associated with something a bit more frightening, as a storm of epic proportion barreled toward the eastern seaboard. Hurricane Sandy would pummel into New York and New Jersey wreaking havoc and later becoming the second costliest hurricane in United States history.

Porch.com has assembled data to highlight the aftermath's effects on home repairs and insurance payouts a year after Sandy made landfall. With statistics on over 90 million home repair and improvement projects, data was collected on preventative and reactive measures that were enacted after Hurricane Sandy's landfall.

Following the storm, an estimated 651,000 housing units were destroyed or damaged – 340,000 in New Jersey and 305,000 in the greater New York City area - with 22,000 housing units completely uninhabitable.

Insurance claims skyrocketed with 501,447 claims paid out in the greater New York area and 328,946 claims paid out to New Jersey residents. Safety related projects were the most prevalent in the months immediately following Sandy in the New York and New Jersey metro areas with 49.9 percent of home repairs attributed to safety.

Todd Miller of QMA Design+Build LLC confirmed that "A lot of people were concerned about alarm systems – unfortunately the power goes out and the alarm system doesn't function. We have seen a number of people who have requested generators and that sort of thing. The new FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) rules were pretty restrictive about what you can or can't do."

In what can be speculated as a potential fear of theft or looting, residents equipped their homes with emergency devices following the traumatic storm. Porch.com reported an increase of 55.6 percent alarm safety installs and an increase of 27.8 percent smoke detector installs. Following such a devastating event and with roughly 5 million residents without electrical power, Porch.com also studied the decline in home repair projects in the New York/New Jersey metro area between October and December 2012. The biggest declines in Exterior (18.4 percent) and Window repair (20.3 percent) were likely due to the complete devastation caused by the storm and residents anxiously waiting for insurance payouts. Miller said, "Now that FEMA has finalized their maps and certainty as to the direction that things are going in, we are seeing projects popping up now. If you didn't call your insurance company immediately after the storm, people were waiting months for adjusters."

As applications came rolling in for aid and assistance in home repair and recovery, $5.6 billion in aid was paid out to New Jersey storm victims with $415 million coming from FEMA grants designated to individuals with households. FEMA approved over $1 billion to New York City residents whose property was destroyed or damaged by Sandy with $855 million designated to help survivors with home repairs and temporary rental costs.

New governmental requirements have strengthened protection for residents and insurance providers. Flood maps have been updated for the first time since 1983 with 398,000 residents currently living in flood prone areas in the New York City area. By 2030, all buildings in New York with more than 7 stories and over 300,000 square feet are required to undertake flood protection measures. With New York City being the number one metropolitan city in the U.S. at risk from storm surge, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force launched "Rebuild By Design" to develop actionable projects that will make the Sandy-affected region more resilient.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Painting a Nursery? Tips, Trends and Ideas for Creating the Perfect Room

October 23, 2013 8:03 pm

One of the most exciting design and decorating experiences a couple can have is preparing a room for a newborn. There is a wealth of great ideas and inspiration for designing and painting a nursery - for both DIYs and those hiring a professional painting contractor.

The first step is to decide if the nursery will have a theme or simply a mix of colors and details you like, points out Sara McLean, a color expert from a paint manufacturer. "Some current trends in nurseries include modern baby chic, vintage nostalgia, Bohemian, school themes such as science and tech, and fun twists on nature including beach and woodland themes," she says. "Or even opting for a traditional theme, like nautical, carousel or cowboy, you can add your own sense of playfulness, creativity or whimsy."

The color palette is the next step, thinking beyond just pink or blue. McLean says that the tradition of using blue in a boy's nursery has evolved into combinations of blue - particularly turquoise - with other colors such as red, green and orange. Pink for girls has evolved into fuchsia tones with elements of aquamarine, lilac, white and orange. In fact, aqua and orange have become popular choices for both boys and girls. There is a new boldness in the way colors are combined in the nursery - pink and purple with green or blue and yellow with green, for example. Striped ceilings can help stimulate the room and a touch or slight accent of black is trendy right now, to add a little sophistication.

Today's baby rooms include bold and brightly colored carpets, wall decals, maps, figurines and "monster dolls" that are so ugly, they're cute; owls and other woodland critters; and elephants. "Be sure to keep an open mind and eye out for items and styles that can make your nursery unique," adds McLean.

When decorating a nursery, it's important to use non-toxic products - from the paint to the rugs, to the furniture. Opt for biodegradable timber and certified formaldehyde-free furniture, and take special care with any antique baby furniture.

Source: www.dunnedwards.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Homeowners to Inspect, Repair Home Heating Oil Tanks

October 22, 2013 8:03 pm

As cold weather approaches, the Department of Environmental Protection is urging homeowners to act now to save energy and money by inspecting indoor and outdoor home heating oil tanks for potential problems prior to refilling them.

"It is very important to properly maintain heating oil tanks not only to save energy and money, but to protect the health of you and your family," Acting DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo says. "Don't put it off; inspect your tank now to ensure a safe, warm winter."

Leaking heating oil can cause indoor air problems and potentially contaminate groundwater and private drinking water wells. A spill cleanup can cost up to $50,000 and may not be covered by homeowner's insurance. Residents who think their oil tank may have a problem should immediately contact their oil company for help.

A quarter of all Pennsylvania homes use heating oil to stay warm in the winter.

DEP encourages homeowners to consider these tips:

-For safety reasons, always assume the tank contains at least some oil;
-Routinely inspect the exterior of the tank and all attached equipment;
-Check for signs of rusting on the tank and its structural supports;
-Examine the tank's fill line and feed line to the furnace for leaks;
-Never tip over or empty a tank on the ground;
-Enlist a professional to perform maintenance or alterations to a heating oil tank system;
-Recognize that wet spots or odors near the tank may signal a problem;
-For fuel delivery, make certain that the home address is clearly visible and the tank's fill line clearly marked. If a resident cannot be home when fuel oil is delivered, mark the fill pipe with a red flag or marker and inform the oil company of the location. Ensure that any disconnected fill pipes that remain above the ground are permanently sealed and cannot be opened.

Residents are urged to inspect and maintain their heating oil tanks to avoid needlessly losing fuel and to protect the investment they have made to keep themselves warm.

Source: www.dep.state.pa.us

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Homeowners Find Hidden Dollars in Their Heating Ducts

October 22, 2013 8:03 pm

Rising energy cost are putting some homeowners in a pinch, however there are some techniques that homeowners can do to save on energy costs this winter. One of the simplest ways is to lower the thermostat a degree or two. Using a setback thermostat that automatically lowers your temperature during the evening may offer a savings of 5-10 percent.

One maintenance chore that gets overlooked is the furnace filter. The filter is a very important part of your heating system. It protects against damage to your blower from foreign objects and cleans your air. Clogged filters decrease air cleaning efficiency and increase strain on the blower motor potentially leading to premature equipment failure. With today's homes built "tighter" they hold in more pollutants including dust, dander, mold and spores. With closed windows during the heating season just increases the problem. FiltersUSA offers tips on how to change your furnace filter.

Finding the right filter is important. Not all furnace filters are the same. Those 99 cent filters sold at hardware stores are inefficient for cleaning the air but they do a fine job in preventing foreign objects from getting into the blower compartment. If you hold them up to the light and can see through them they're not very good for cleaning the air. They clog quickly and have to be replaced often. Pleated filters offer increased surface area for filtration, improves indoor air quality and may last much longer with one inch filters lasting 3 months and the 4-6 inch filters lasting 6 months to a year depending upon the environment.

Pleated filters provide greater surface area for air filtration than the flat fiberglass style filter. Another thing to consider is the filters "MERV" rating. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, commonly known as MERV Rating is a measurement scale designed in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to rate the effectiveness of air filters. The scale is designed to represent the worst case performance of a furnace filter when dealing with particles in the range of 0.3 to 10 micrometers. The MERV rating is from 1 to 16. Higher MERV ratings correspond to a greater percentage of particles captured on each pass, with a MERV 16 filter capturing more than 95 percent of particles over the full range.

For those that have allergies or if indoor air quality is a concern, consider HEPA type filters. According to Bill Lea, president of FiltersUSA.com, "The letters in the word HEPA stand for High Efficiency Particulate Air. The HEPA filter was developed during World War II by the Atomic Energy Commission and it was designed to remove and capture radioactive dust particles from the air which might escape and present a health hazard to the researchers. The HEPA filter was specifically designed to protect the human respiratory system."

For a filter to be labeled "True" HEPA, it must be certified 99.97% efficient in capturing 0.3 micron (not 0.1 or 0.01 etc.) reparable-size-particles (RSP) according to the U.S. Military Standard MIL-STD-282, commonly known as the DOP test. The reason 0.3 micron is used and no other is because 0.3 micron is the size at which all mechanical filters are LEAST efficient in capturing. Other methods of testing do not give a true picture of efficiencies relative to respirable-size-particle (RSP) capture.

These filters can be anywhere from 4" to 6" thick and may have a MERV rating greater than 10. These types of filters fit into a special box that is sold to consumers as an "add-on" or upgrade to their furnace or air handler. These filters are ideal for allergy sufferers as they remove very small particles such as pollen.

Changing the filter can be as simple as removing the old filter and inserting the new one paying attention to the air flow direction arrow on the new filter. Houses in warmer climates can be more challenging with homes that have return grill filters located in high ceilings with different filter sizes throughout the home. Some homeowners have removed the filters in those ceiling grilles and installed a whole house filter to their air handler located in the garage. This makes for changing one filter every 6-12 months rather than changing the ceiling filters monthly and provides improved indoor air quality. Generally, the fiberglass filters should be changed monthly, pleated filters every three months and HEPA style filters every 12 months. This depends upon how often you use your air conditioner and other factors such a pets or a smoker in the house.

Source: FiltersUSA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Prepare Your Teen for All Driving Challenges

October 22, 2013 8:03 pm

As Teen Driver Safety Week kicks off (October 20-26, 2013), AAA reminds parents of the critical role they play to ensure their teen receives supervised driving practice that prepares them for all driving challenges. AAA recommends parents practice these five challenging driving scenarios with their teen during the learning-to-drive process. By becoming more involved in their teens' driver education, parents will help their teens to build confidence and experience through these challenging driving situations before their teen hits the road solo.

1. Driving with other modes of transportation – Bicycles, trucks and motorcycles all provide different challenges. Practice driving around each of these modes to help your teen understand how to share the road.

• Bicycles – Slow down and give bicyclists at least three feet of space from the car. Teens should be on high alert for bicyclists in these areas as they can be hard to see, especially at intersections.
• Motorcycles – Like bikes, motorcycles can be hard to see. It's important that teens give motorcycles increased space (3-4 second following distance) and be watchful when changing lanes – motorcycles can easily be lost in a driver's blind spot.
• Trucks - Parents should also make sure that their teens recognize the limited stopping abilities and blind spots of semis. Trucks need significantly more time and distance to stop than a car, especially at highway speeds. If you cannot see the truck's mirrors, the driver cannot see you.

2. Winter or inclement driving – Rain, ice and snow can make for dangerous driving conditions for even the most experienced drivers. While many parents are hesitant about their teen driving at all in these conditions, it's critical for teens to practice driving in these less-than-ideal road conditions while parents can coach them.

• Slow driving and an increased (6-7 second) following distance are critical when roads are slick or icy, look further ahead in traffic so there's more time to react. When braking on icy roads, apply constant, firm pressure with anti-lock brakes; if the car starts to swerve, keep your hands on the wheel, slowly let off the gas pedal and look and steer in the direction you want to go. Always make sure your teen's car has an emergency kit.

3. Avoiding a deer or animal – Each year many drivers are killed or injured in crashes involving animals. While animal crashes occur year-round, October and November are dangerous months for these types of crashes, so the time is now to properly prepare your teen driver.

• Most injuries in vehicle-animal crashes are not caused by hitting the animal but from leaving the roadway. So if your teen sees animal: slow down, keep both hands on the wheel, and don't swerve. Some animals, like deer, travel in numbers so if you see one, watch for others. Animals may double back so even if it appears they have passed, stay alert.

4. Driving on rural roads – Driving on rural roads presents challenges to many drivers, including hairpin turns, limited sight distance and two-lane highways that aren't well lit. Make sure teens get plenty of time on these roads while you can assist with coaching them.

• Help them understand how to slow down and gradually pull back onto the pavement should their right wheels drop off the roadway onto the shoulder. Over correcting is a major cause of crashes. Explain that, despite what the speed limit is, hills and curves often limit visibility. These and darkness or weather conditions often dictate traveling at slower speeds.

5. What to do in a crash – Inevitably, despite all your best efforts, sometimes crashes occur. Understanding what to do and not to do is important.

• If the vehicle can be moved safely, pull it out of the traffic lane and safety on the shoulder or designated crash investigation zone. Call 911 right away. The dispatcher may indicate that both drivers should just exchange information. If exchanging information, get it directly from the other driver's license and registration. Discussing the cause and who's at fault should be done with the investigating officer as other drivers may tend to blame the teen driver. Don't admit anything to the other driver. Tempers may be on edge; don't engage. If you feel threatened or fear for your safety, get back into your vehicle if you can safely do so.

Source: AAA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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