Which States Rank Best, Worst in Driver Safety

Each year Smart Asset considers four metrics to determine state rankings for worst to best drivers:

🔹the percentage of drivers who are insured.

🔹the number of DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers

🔹the number of fatalities per 100 million miles driven

🔹how often residents Google terms like “traffic ticket” or “speeding ticket.”

So, which state has the best drivers according to the metrics above? Massachusetts.

Top 10 states with the BEST drivers:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Utah
  5. New Jersey
  6. Vermont (Tie)
  7. Connecticut (Tie)
  8. New York
  9. Maine
  10. West Virginia

Top 10 states with the WORST drivers:

  1. Mississippi
  2. North Dakota
  3. California
  4. Florida
  5. Nevada
  6. Oklahoma (Tie)
  7. Tennessee (Tie)
  8. Arizona
  9. Kentucky
  10. Missouri

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Beware The Bottle on The Tire Car Thief Trick

Reliable law enforcement sources in San Antonio and Houston, Texas have informed CleverJourneys of an upsurge in “Bottle on the Tire” crimes.

Car jackers, robbers and kidnappers in many states use this method to target victims in parking lots, streets and parks.

🔹They place an empty plastic bottle between the tire and body on the right side of the car.

🔹They wait until the intended victim begins backing up or moving forward in their car.

🔹As the driver backs up or moves forward, he/she starts wheeling the car and hears a strange noise. It’s the bottle bursting/cracking sound. 

🔹The bottle is not in view since it is on the passenger side and can’t be seen from that angle.

🔹In bewilderment, the driver steps out of the car to inspect the problem and is immediately vulnerable.

🔹At this point, the entire car is unlocked, the driver door is wide open, engine is in running mode and the driver is out of the vehicle.

The criminal has multiple options:

🔹Steal valuables from the car,

🔹Drive away with the car.

🔹Hold you at gun point to rob, rape or shoot you.

Please share with others so that more people are aware of this dangerous trick. Even if one person is helped from not getting fooled or harmed, it’s worth it.

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Consumer Alert: Do Not Ride—Recall Issued for Can-Am Ryker Motorcycles

Bombardier Recreational Products says handlebar stem bolts may break suddenly

Bombardier Recreational Products is warning owners of certain 2022 Can-Am Ryker motorcycles not to drive them. Bombardier is recalling more than 9,300 vehicles with a handlebar stem bolt that may break suddenly, which could lead to a loss of steering control and increase the risk of a crash. 

Bombardier indicated that it had two reports of stem bolts that broke while the cycles were being ridden. There was one injury, a sprained ankle. Another 56 bolts broke while dealers were preparing the motorcycles for delivery.

Bombardier Recreational Products highly recommends that owners stop riding their vehicle until the recall repair is performed.

Next Steps

  1. Owners are encouraged to immediately contact their authorized BRP Can-Am On-Road dealer to schedule an appointment to have the FREE safety recall performed on their vehicle.
  2. The dealer will clean the threads of the steering column and install the new handlebar stem bolt.
  3. The repair will take less than one hour to complete.

Vehicle owners can visit NHTSA.gov/recallsand enter their vehicle identification number to see if their vehicle is under recall. NHTSA encourages everyone to download its SaferCar app to stay informed about current recalls.

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How to Prepare for Bears in the Wild and at Home

HUNTERS, CAMPERS, HIKERS & HOMEOWNERS BEWARE

HUNTING

Hunters must remember that areas where they leave game animal remains will attract bears.

🔹This carrion is an easy meal that bears will eagerly consume.

🔹No matter what time of year you hunt, it is possible you could encounter a bear. Although contact is minimal in the winter, due to hibernation, be aware of your surroundings, especially in remote locations that may contain dens with sleeping bears.

🔹Bear-proofing wildlife feeding stations, such as deer feeders, can be difficult. Because hunters want game to have access to feed, but want to exclude black bears, the best options involve limiting access. Unless they are protected by an electric fence that deer can jump, gravity feeders should likely be removed in favor of spin-cast feeders.

🔹The base of spin-cast feeders should be at least 10 feet off the ground, and suspended from a cross-member that is least 4 feet from the post that supports it. Alternatively, hunters may electrify tripod spin-cast or gravity feeders, as well as providing electric fencing.

🔹Electric fencing may be permanent, similar to systems designed for livestock, or be portable, such as “back-country bear fencing” often used to secure camp sites. These portable systems are available from many outdoor companies. They are powered by D-cell batteries and use lightweight posts and wire. Whether suspending feed or electrifying, take care to prevent damage and the loss of feed.

CAMPING

🔹Campers should collect trash nightly and hang it high enough from a tree or other structure that a bear cannot reach it, or climb to it. Ten feet off ground level and four feet from any branches is generally sufficient.

🔹Sweet-smelling items such as perfumes, insect repellants, and candy attract bears.

🔹The smell of camp cooking can also attract bears. It is wise to locate your cooking site 100 yards from your sleeping area. Even the smell of food on clothes can attract bears, so change clothes before sleeping if you cook for the camp.

🔹Coolers of food are easy targets for bears—keep them inside vehicles or otherwise inaccessible. Although some coolers are rated as bear-safe, black bears will still cause damage trying to get in them.

HIKING

🔹Hikers should be noisy in areas where black bears are present.

🔹A startled bear is a dangerous bear, and will have the same reaction as any animal when frightened. Although they might flee, they might also display defensive behaviors such as bluff charges or teeth clacking. This is especially possible for a female with cubs.

Bear-proofing around the house 

Human-bear relations are most problematic around private homes.

🔹Bears, like raccoons, are opportunistic omnivores who enjoy human garbage. Homeowners should minimize exposing garbage to bears.

🔹A good first step is to secure trash cans with certified bear-proof covers. You can also contact your waste disposal company to request that they upgrade community dumpsters to be bear-proof.

🔹Minimize areas where you dump cooking grease, scraps, and reduce access to compost piles. 

Black Bears of East Texas. Photos provided by the East Texas Black Bear Task Force.

🔹Other food sources include bird feeders and other wildlife feed, fallen fruit from trees, pet foods, and barbecue pits.

🔹Wood piles attract rodents, which can be a food source. Bears will quickly assess these sources come to them for food. If you choose to feed wildlife in “bear country,” move the feed frequently to prevent bears from becoming habituated to one area. 

🔹It may be surprising, but a closed door, high window, or low wall often will not deter bears. Livestock and pet feed stored in outbuildings are easy, high-energy sources of nutrition for black bears. 

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Airplane Facts For Those Afraid of Flying

About 1 in 5 people have some form of fear of flying, or “aviophobia.” I was one of them, but my job required me to fly often for many years. To overcome this fright, I studied much about flight design, construction and safety.

Something that helped me considerably was knowing what the odds are of dying in a plane crash.

🔹Odds of dying in a car accident are about one in 5,000.

🔹Odds of being struck by lightning, are one in 13,000 chance for your lifetime.

🔹Your odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in 11,000,000.

🔹Fatal accidents occurred once every 200,000 flights in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, fatal accidents (also including private and small planes) only occur once every two million flights.

Most of my flights were over Texas and Mexico, often in private jets. As the president of a professional trade organization in the 1990s, I was required to give speeches across North America in locations such as New York, LA, Chicago, Orlando, Seattle, Las Vegas, Nashville, Atlantic City and Washington DC. I’ve also traveled to Europe, Cayman Islands and elsewhere.

Another bit of knowledge I learned talking with numerous pilots is that passengers should not be as concerned about turbulence as some individuals might be.

“It’s not a danger. It’s just a nuisance,” one pilot said. “We try to avoid them, naturally, because they are like bumps in the roads for us. I don’t want to spill my coffee and we don’t want you to either. Don’t worry about turbulence.”

Here are facts I learned about flying in general:

🔹Airplanes are designed to withstand lightning strikes.

🔹If you sit at the back of an airplane, your odds of surviving a crash are 40% higher.

🔹Research shows that the first 3 minutes after takeoff and the final 8 minutes before landing are when 80% of plane crashes happen.

When a plane lands at night, cabin crews will dim the interior lights. Why?

In an unlikely event that a plane landing goes badly and passengers need to evacuate, their eyes will already be adjusted to the darkness.

🔹Only 5% of the world’s population had ever been on an airplane till 2013 which drastically increased to approximately 20 percent in 2020.

🔹A Boeing 747 is made up of six million parts which are made to be all controlled by a few pilots sitting up front with switches and buttons under their fingertips.

🔹It is the rule that pilots must be fed the same multi-course meal given to those in the first and business class. However, co-pilots are encouraged to eat different entrees to guard against cases of food poisoning.

🔹Those white lines that planes leave in the sky are simply trails of condensation, hence their technical name of “contrails.” Plane engines release water vapor as part of the combustion process. When that hot water vapor is pumped out of the exhaust and hits the cooler air of the upper atmosphere, it creates those puffy white lines in the sky. It’s basically the same reaction as when you see your breath when it’s cold outside.

🔹Environment inside an airplane can alter the way food and drink tastes—sweet items tasted less sweet, while salty flavors were heightened. The dry recycled air inside the plane cabin doesn’t help either as low humidity can further dull taste and smell making everything in a plane seem bland.

🔹Plane doors can’t actually open in mid-flight.

🔹Australian airline Qantas has never had a fatal accident involving one of its commercial aircrafts.

🔹The fastest commercial plane flew at twice the speed of sound. It was the Concorde, that regularly flew over the Atlantic, and was decommissioned after an accident involving Concorde, in France.

🔹Long-haul flights have secret bedrooms and a bathroom for flight attendants.

🔹Living in an airplane flight path could harm your heart, especially those closer to an airport. Individuals exposed to noise above 60 decibels on a regular basis—like the sound of an airplane overhead—have a 30 percent greater risk of dying from a heart attack than those typically exposed to noise levels under 45 decibels.

🔹Why is there a tiny hole in the airplane windows? It regulates cabin pressure. Most airplane windows are made up of three panels of acrylic. The exterior window keeps the elements out to maintain cabin pressure.

The world’s safest airlines in 2022, according to AirlineRatings.com (out of the 385 different airlines they monitor) are Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, SAS, Qantas, Alaska Airlines, EVA Air, Virgin Australia/Atlantic, Cathay Pacific Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines, Lufthansa/Swiss Group, Finnair, Air France/KLM Group, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Emirates.

AirlineRatings.com also identified their Top 10 safest low-cost airlines. In alphabetical order they are Allegiant, easyjet, Frontier, Jetstar Group, Jetblue, Ryanair, Vietjet, Volaris, Westjet, and Wizz.

The least safe airlines are Pakistan International Airlines, Air Algerie, Scat, Sriwijaya Air, Airblue, Blue Wing, Iran Aseman Airlines, and Nepal Airlines.

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Lightning and Thunderstorm Preparation and Safety

Which states are the five most prone to lightning strikes in America?

Lightning is a leading cause of injury and death from weather-related hazards. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Avg. # of days per year of thunderstorms

The top six most prone states (in this order) are Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Oklahoma.

Thunderstorms are dangerous storms that include lightning and can:

IF YOU ARE UNDER A THUNDERSTORM WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY

  • When thunder roars, go indoors!
  • Move from outdoors into a building or car.
  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings.
  • Unplug appliances.
  • Do not use landline phones.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A THUNDERSTORM THREATENS

Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk for thunderstorms. In most places, they can occur year-round and at any hour.
  • Create an emergency plan so that you and your family know what to do, where to go, and what you will need to protect yourselves from the effects of a thunderstorm.
  • Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Identify nearby, sturdy buildings close to where you live, work, study, and play.
  • Cut down or trim trees that may be in danger of falling on your home.
  • Consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices.

Survive DURING

  • When thunder roars, go indoors. A sturdy building is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of thunderstorms. Be ready to change plans, if necessary, to be near shelter.
  • When you receive a thunderstorm warning or hear thunder, go inside immediately.
  • If indoors, avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity can travel through plumbing and phone lines.
  • Protect your property. Unplug appliances and other electric devices. Secure outside furniture.
  • If boating or swimming, get to land and find a sturdy, grounded shelter or vehicle immediately.
  • If necessary, take shelter in a car with a metal top and sides. Do not touch anything metal. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid flooded roadways. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
Golf course green hit by lightning

Be Safe AFTER

  • Listen to authorities and weather forecasts for information on whether it is safe to go outside and instructions regarding potential flash flooding.
  • Watch for fallen power lines and trees. Report them immediately.
  • If you are sick and need medical attention, contact your healthcare provider for further care instructions and shelter in place, if possible. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

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Tent Camping Checklist for Couples by Clever Journeys

This is our go-to list for tent camping as a couple. It can be modified per trip –family, friends, ages, activities (toys, rafts, hunting, skiing, etc.).

We always have protection, a jack, spare, fix-a-flat, jumper cables, portable battery starter, small power unit with lights, stored energy, electricity, etc. in our vehicle.

No two people are the same when it comes to planning a camping trip. What is important to one person may not matter to another when it comes to camping gear. One of my sons prefers to go ultralight and another brings practically everything he can when they camp. As a family, we tend to bring more items. All this to say, there is no right or wrong answer to what you bring on your camping trip.

The Camp

🔹Tent (Coleman Sunbeam 7’×9′ 4-person) & accessories (stakes, bungi cords with hooks, rain roof, bottom footprint tarp)

🔹Mats (outside door, inside door)

🔹Sleeping bags

🔹Sleeping pads

🔹Pillows

🔹Electric extension cord

🔹Lighting: solar lights, head lamp, flashlights, lantern, extra batteries

🔹Camping chairs

Eating

🔹Cooler (We love our soft-sided 4-gallon capacity Kodi cooler from H-E-B Foods/Drugs)

🔹Camping utensils, plates, pans, cups

🔹Camping stove

🔹Can opener

🔹Charcoal &/or fire wood

🔹Insulated water bottles

🔹Matches

🔹Cutting board & knife

🔹Coffee maker

Hygiene

🔹Biodegradable wet wipes

🔹Shampoo & conditioner

🔹Hand sanitizer

🔹Towels & wash cloths

🔹Soap

🔹Deodorant

🔹Rash prevention/lotion

🔹Toothbrushes & toothpaste

🔹Lip balm

🔹Toilet paper

🔹Combs/brushes

🔹Shaving gear

Other

🔹First Aid kit

🔹Rx, prescriptions & supplements

🔹Campsite Reservation Copy

🔹Sunscreen & bug repellent

🔹Trash bags

🔹Duct tape

🔹Mallot

🔹Clothes pins & clothes line cord

🔹Rope

🔹Binoculars

🔹Dry bag (store electronics, etc in event of rain)

🔹Tool bag. Minimum: hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, multi-tool, folding shovel/saw, tin-snips, axe-hatchet, tent repair kit, tent pole repair sleeve

🔹Small fire extinguisher

🔹Emergency (solar/handcrank) weather radio

🔹Travel alarm clock

🔹Travel mirror

🔹GPS

🔹Cell phones

🔹Books, cards, games…

🔹Portable butane heater with extra filled tanks (in cold weather)

🔹Tent fan in warm weather. (We also have a portable “air cooler” we fill with ice cubes if it is too hot).

Clothing

🔹Bandana

🔹Flip flops or sandals

🔹Rain ponchos

🔹Swim/water/shower shoes

🔹Socks (wool or synthetic)

🔹Hiking boots/shoes, sneakers

🔹Hat

🔹Sunglasses

🔹Gloves

🔹Shirts, Jackets, Sleepwear, Pants, Shorts, Swimwear

🔹Underwear

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HEB FOOD DRUGS

Essential Camping Safety Tips for RVers and Motorcyclists

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and to ensure your trips are safe, here are tips uniquely for RVers and motorcyclists.

RVers and motorcyclists should plan out all escape routes and discuss them with (RV occupants) and fellow campers when traveling. Ensure everyone is informed of the survival plans.

Basic Camping Safety

🔹Keep watch on children! You are responsible for the safety of your children. Make sure you know where your kids are and what they are doing.

🔹Be aware of the natural surroundings. There may be plants with thorns or stickers.

🔹You are a visitor in wildlife’s home. Keep a safe distance from wild animals. Although they may look cute, they are wild and can carry diseases.

🔹Never feed the wildlife! Feeding wildlife can encourage bad behavior by animals and is against park regulations.

🔹Be careful with fire. Never leave a fire unattended and be sure your campfire is out when you break camp.

🔹Axes, knives and saws are useful tools, but be sure you know how to properly use them.

RV Safety Tips

🔹Have more than one fire extinguisher and insure everyone knows where they are and how to use them. Make sure they have the right amount of pressure according to the gauge. In fact, anytime you use an extinguisher, it should be recharged or replaced to avoid future problems.

🔹Watch where you park. Heat from underneath your RV can catch grass on fire.

🔹Never use any stove or cooking appliance for heating space. Smaller space means less ventilation and the greater the chance of a fire.

🔹Keep any combustible items like paper towels or dish cloths away from the stove and remain near the stove when cooking.

🔹Install and inspect smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Test alarms every two-weeks to ensure they work properly. This is a fast and easy test that can save lives and property.

🔹A dragging brake line can cause friction. This can easily be ignited by dripping brake fluid. Make sure to check the pressure in your tires regularly and spot check at every stop.

🔹Always be aware of your surroundings.  Be aware of who is camping next to you, across from you and behind you. Pay attention to what is happening.  Know when the weather is changing and who is moving about around your RV.

🔹Always lock your camper when you leave it.  Even if you are just going to the laundry room or the bathhouse in the campground.

🔹Use window locks so your RV can’t be accessed by the sliding windows.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

🔹Pack safe. Keep the center of gravity of your bike in mind and make sure the heavy items are lower down.  below the COV of your bike. Even up the balance on each side of the bike – don’t put all the heavy stuff in one saddlebag! If traveling solo, pack your gear so it acts as a backrest to support your lower back.

🔹Make sure nothing is touching the exhausts. Use the most effective ratchet straps, bungees or cargo nets to secure the load and carry additional items on top for easy access.

🔹Pack light. Space is limited so be efficient and don’t fill up every available space. Seasoned motorcycle campers overwhelmingly pack light and trim luggage down to the minimum. You can always buy stuff along the way.

 🔹Pack efficiently. Determine what you really need, and pack accordingly. Pack your tent and sleeping bag last so they are first things you unpack at camp site, and make sure the things you’ll need on the ride – sunglasses, sunscreen, waterproofs and maps – are easily accessible.

🔹A tent. If tenting, use one with a waterproof floor or groundsheet and take metal stakes to fix it down and a driver. Pick the size of tent according to your needs – even if you are travelling solo, a two or even three-man tent will give you the space you need to hold your clothes and luggage as well as you, and won’t take up much more space than a one-man tent. Vestibules allow you to strip off wet rain gear and store wet luggage without getting the inside of your tent wet. Make sure you have a waterproof fly- sheet for wet nights. Try setting it up at home rather than working out how to set it up in the dark at your first camp site.

🔹Use a sleeping bag in a grade for  the range of temperatures you are likely to experience. Down insulation is more efficient and packs down smaller than synthetic fillings. Use compression bags to hold your sleeping bag, tent and pad to make the most effective use of space.

Orange County Choppers in New York salutes fire departmens and emergency responders across the nation (Photo: Jack Dennis)

 🔹Before you set off, make sure your bike is serviced and in good condition. A day or two before departure do a trial run of packing and riding your bike – ideally an overnight trip if you can. You’ll almost certainly over pack so it is a great opportunity to check and reassess what you are taking, and to ensure everything is efficiently packed and you know where it is and how to get at it. Of course, if someone with you is travelling by car, put the campsite equipment in there and only carry essentials – it also means you can take more stuff you will find useful, such as camp chairs, extra food or a cool box.

🔹When you are on your trip, don’t leave too late in the day to find a site – when you are tired, it’s easy to make bad decisions and leaving too late will increase your stress levels and make mistakes more likely to happen. When you’ve found the site, choose the best area – sheltered and flat, not sloping or rocky, and not low-lying so you avoid pooling water if it rains, or falling cold air if the temperature drops. Be friendly with other campers, and when you leave make sure you leave no trace you have been there – kill any fire you may have made, and pick up any trash and clear it away.

🔹Finally, when you are back home, make a post-trip evaluation of your packing – what did you not use, what did you not take that you needed – and make a note of it, so next trip you will be operating at maximum efficiency, leaving you free to enjoy the ride.

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Pet Foods, Health Products, Cosmetics and More Recalled in 6 States at 404 Stores

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a major recall of various products sold at Family Dollar Stores in six states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The recall includes, but is not limited to: 

  • FDA-approved dietary supplements
  • Cosmetics, including skincare products, baby oils, lipsticks, shampoos and baby wipes
  • Animal foods, including kibble, pet treats and wild bird seed
  • Medical devices, including feminine hygiene products, surgical masks, contact lens cleaning solutions, bandages and nasal care products
  • Over-the-counter medications, including pain medications, eye drops, dental products, antacids and other medications for both adults and children

The FDA said they began an investigation into their West Memphis, Arkansas, distribution facility after receiving a consumer complaint in January.

Inspectors found live rodents, dead rodents, “rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors throughout the facility, dead birds and bird droppings, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination,” the FDA announced this week. After fumigating the facility, more than 1,100 dead rodents were discovered. 

Between March and September of last year, the company’s internal records showed it found more than 2,300 rodents in the facility, the FDA said.

Any and all pet food — whether it’s a can of Alpo or a bag of the “good stuff” — has been recalled from 404 Family Dollar stores in the South because a distribution center in Arkansas had an apparent rodent infestation.

“There are numerous hazards associated with rodents, including the potential presence of salmonella,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noted in its recall announcement.

Here is the full list of affected Family Dollar store locations.

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Amusement Park and Thrill Rides Gone Wrong

In September 2021, the High Roller on the Las Vegas Strip suddenly stopped working, stranding about 150 people on the attraction for 90 minutes.

“The High Roller Observation Wheel was stopped during its rotation on Friday night, due to a network connectivity issue involving one of the cabins,” Caesars said in a statement. “Approximately 150 passengers were aboard the wheel at the time. Engineers resolved the network issue within approximately 90 minutes, the wheel’s rotation resumed, and all passengers safely disembarked and received refunds.”

The High Roller raises riders 550 feet in the air and is the largest observation wheel in North America. The wheel takes 30 minutes to complete one revolution and features 28 cabins. 

Although terrified, there were no reported injuries. Las Vegas injuries from amusement type rides exceed 90 per year, but the national numbers are staggering.

In an average year over 9,000 people are injured on amusement park rides in the United States. Theses are statistics from the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

This data represents only injuries serious enough to require treatment in an emergency room. The total number of injuries that occur are even more.

CPSC reported that in 2017, emergency rooms saw 43,405 injuries associated with amusement attractions and rides, for both mobile, like traveling carnivals, and fixed-site parks, such as Six Flags, Sea World or Disneyland.

Click to see Hilarious Amusement Park Rollercoaster Reactions.

When the injuries from inflatable amusement park rides are included, the number of injuries increases by over 3,800. When both moon bounces and inflatable slide injuries are added, it increases by 3,300 and still doesn’t include the number of people injured on public water slides.

Kids often crowd into bounce houses, and jumping up and down can send other children flying into the air too.

The latest numbers indicate about 30 U.S. children a day are treated in emergency rooms for broken bones, sprains, cuts and concussions from bounce house accidents. Most involve children falling inside or out of the inflated playthings, and many children get hurt when they collide with other bouncing kids.

Wind blows inflatable off the ground.

Half of all people hurt on amusement park rides are children. Over 16 percent of reported injuries occur to children between the ages of 10 and 14. Children account for three-quarters of accidents involving a rider falling or being ejected from a ride during its operation.

During a span of three years over 50 people were killed riding amusement park rides. These deaths most often occurred on roller coasters. The second most deaths occurred on whirling rides.

Types of Injuries Experienced

Bumper car rides and others that move people around at a high rate of speed cause many accidents.

Roller coasters also cause many accidents. People often experience a stroke from trauma that occurs to ligaments in their neck. Traumatic brain injuries can happen from high levels of stress put on the brain by excessive speed. Detached objects hitting a person’s head also causes injury.

People experience varies types of cuts, torn ligaments as well as broken bones. Some individuals drown on waters slides and a number of other water rides.

The Cause of Accidents

Many accidents are determined to have resulted from mechanical failures caused by improper maintenance and more.

Rides are sometimes operated incorrectly.

In some cases, a passenger does not follow safety instructions. Accidents happen when a rider stands up at the wrong time, removes safety restraints too soon and more. Some accidents occur because a ride is designed to create a thrill by spinning fast or traveling at excessive speeds.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Best Tire Safety Practices

Tire safety is not something you should ignore. Even before starting your vehicle, you should ensure that your tires are properly maintained and in good working condition to ensure your safety. There are four main factors to tire health: tread depth, tire age, tire inflation load and routine maintenance.


Always consult the owner’s manual of your vehicle and your tire manufacturer’s included literature for specific information about your vehicle/tire performance. The intent of this article is to supplement and not to supersede this material. In the event of a conflict, always rely on the recommendations of your vehicle and tire manufacturer.

Your tires connect your vehicle to the pavement and so play a major role in your safety on the road. Their health and condition are affected by a number of factors that you should know to keep as safe as possible. The following are also important in improving the length of your tire’s life span.

TREAD DEPTH SAFETY

Tread depth refers to the amount of tread remaining on a tire. It is calculated by measuring the distance between the top of the tread block to the bottom of the tread void. This number is normally displayed in 32nds of an inch but can also be displayed in millimeters.

Tread depth affects handling, traction and stopping distance. As a tire wears and tread depth is reduced, these capabilities are reduced. Reduced tread depth causes even more severe diminished performance in adverse conditions like wet or slick roads and surfaces.Infographic - wet stopping distances increase as tread depth is depleted

As you can see in the wet stopping distance chart above, tread depth affects how well your vehicle can stop, especially on wet roads. Keeping an eye on your tire’s tread depth is the first step in driving and operating your vehicle safely.

TIRE AGING SAFETY

Older tires have a higher risk for failure. Tires are made of rubber which begins to break down over time.

A publication released in 2008 from the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society entitled, “Rubber Oxidation and Tire Aging – A Review,” goes into detail how an aged tire has reduced crack resistance, which can lead to an increased rate of tire failure. As tires age, oxygen penetrates the rubber causing it to start breaking down on a molecular level. The rubber begins to harden and become brittle, losing its elasticity and strength.

After a certain point, the tire’s ability to carry weight is reduced and could potentially fail. Even if a tire has never seen service or has been used very little, it has still been exposed to time and the elements leading to compromised integrity.

You can determine the age of a tire by the DOT number stamped on the sidewall of every tire produced for street use. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also conducted studies on tire aging and released findings showing a link between tire aging and the increased chance for tire failure.

Most tire and auto manufacturers recommend replacing your tires between 6-10 years. We change ours at six years.

TIRE INFLATION SAFETY AND LOAD CAPACITY

Properly inflated tires are also important for tire safety. The NHTSA has documented that an under-inflated tire increases the chance of tire failure. A tire must be abl eto hold the weight of not only the vehicle, but also any additional load the vehicle might carry such as fuel, passengers and payload. A tire alone does not have the strength to support this. A tire’s sidewall gains strength as air pressure builds inside the tire, meaning that with proper air pressure, a tire can support a vehicle safely.

Overloading a vehicle with underinflated tires is a recipe for blow outs and tire failure.

Under-inflated tires cannot support the vehicle and quickly become compromised. Driving on an under-inflated tire generates excess heat, causing the rubber to break down. Eventually, a tire will not be able to withstand the excess load and fail.

Check your air pressure often to prevent driving on under-inflated tires. Refer to your owner’s manual or vehicle placard to find the correct tire air pressure for your vehicle.

All vehicles manufactured from 2008 and beyond are equipped with a tire pressure monitor system (TPMS) to help monitor air pressure. The TPMS will alert the driver if pressure falls below 25% or more below the manufacturer’s recommended inflation.

You must check your air pressure often to prevent driving on under-inflated tires. Refer to your owner’s manual or vehicle placard to find the correct tire inflation for your vehicle.

ROUTINE TIRE MAINTENANCE

Proper and timely tire maintenance is crucial to safety. All tires on your vehicle should be inspected, inflated and rotated on a routine basis.

  • Inspect your tires every month. This will help you identify any damage or conditions that could interfere with safety. This is an important preventative step to eliminate risks that could potentially lead to an accident.
  • Check your air pressure every month. Properly inflated tires will sustain the weight of your vehicle and lessen the chance of tire failure due to improper inflation.
  • Rotate your tires every 6,000-8,000 miles. Regular tire rotations prolong tread life, maximizing handling, traction and stopping capabilities of your tires. This also requires removing the tire from the vehicle, allowing a more thorough tire inspection.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

VA Strengthens Care for Veterans Impacted by Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently initiated a pilot program to improve services for Veterans who have experienced or are experiencing intimate partner violence or sexual assault.

The two-year initiative focuses on strengthening community partnerships, training for VA staff and community partners, identifying effective clinical interventions and providing outreach to underserved populations.

“Approximately one in three women and one in four men in the general population report experiencing intimate partner violence,” said VA Management and Social Work Executive Director Jill Debord. “Research by VA’s National Center for post-traumatic stress disorder shows Veterans may be disproportionally impacted by IPV.”  

Veterans who have experienced or are experiencing IPV are encouraged to contact an Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program Coordinator at the nearest VA medical center or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY).

The following VAMCs are participating:

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.