Distracted Driving: 6 Examples of Visual Distractions

April is distracted driving awareness month. As a result, we are trying to bring attention to the many ways people can be distracted while behind the wheel of an automobile. There are three types distractions for drives; manual, visual, and cognitive. Today we are going to give you some examples of visual distractions that can impact a driver when behind the wheel.

A Visual Distraction can come in many forms when behind the wheel of a car.

BillBoard

We are constantly distracted by advertisements in our ever connected world. Even when we are in the car and off of our electronic devices, there are still ways for advertisers to attempt to gain our attention. Creative BillBoard Advertisements can distract a driver enough to cause an accident. This is one of the most common types of visual distraction.

Cell Phone

The most common way for a driver to be distracted inside a vehicle is for them to look at their cell phone. This is without a doubt the most common form of visual distraction when people are behind the wheel.

Car Navigation System

Car navigation systems are becoming much more common in new vehicles. Even vehicles that do not come with a navigation system have the ability to connect to endless options of GPS Units that can be added to the vehicle. While these devices can help drivers when travelling in an unfamiliar area, it is never a good idea for the driver to be the one operating the device.

Checking on the Kids

Parents with a young child in the car with them have many responsibilities on top of driving the vehicle. Children can be very convincing when they are in the middle of a tantrum. No matter what emergency the child is facing in the back seat of the car, it is not more important than safely operating the automobile. For this reason, it is extremely important to avoid this type of visual distraction.

Radio/Temperature Controls

Radio and temperature controls can take your distraction away from the road and become a visual distraction. Even if the amount of time of this distraction is small, it can be the difference between stopping in time and having a collision. It is especially important to familiarize yourself with these dials when operating a rental car or driving any unfamiliar vehicle.

The View

Some people are fortunate enough to live in an area of the country that has immaculate views around them. These views can be both a blessing and a curse when behind the wheel of a car. It is tempting to take in these views because of the immense beauty of the area, but the amount of time your eyes are not on the road can result in a crash.

 

5 Types of Manual Distracted Driving

Manually Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and in honor of this month My Insurance Question is dedicating a majority of our attention towards helping individuals and small businesses end distracted driving. The first step towards ending distracted driving is knowing exactly what distracted driving is. Far too many people think distracted driving begins and ends with the cellphone. While a majority of distractions to drivers do involve a mobile device, there are far more ways people can be distracted while behind the wheel.  The three main types of distractions include manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. Here are examples of 5 types of manual distractions.

Manual Distracted Driving is just as dangerous as sending a text.

What is a manual distraction?

According to the website DMV.org a manual distraction is anything that causes you to take one or both hands off of the wheel. Now you will find that most distractions involve more than one type of distraction. For instance, rolling down the window may include all three types of distractions: Cognitive because you are thinking about the window instead of the road, manual because you are taking your hand off the wheel to push a button to roll down the window, and visual if you look away from the road to observe the window.

Using your phone is not the only way to be distracted while driving. Here are five examples of manual distractions.

Here are 5 examples of manual distractions while behind the wheel. 

Eating and drinking

Today we live in an on-the-go society. Taking a look at the drive-thru line of your nearest McDonalds is all the evidence you need to know there are a lot of people out on the roads eating and drinking while behind the wheel. Eating and drinking are a manual distraction because you have to physically use your hands to do something other than have be placed on the wheel at ten and two.

Smoking

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 15.5 percent of Americans 18 or older still smoke. The amount of Americans who smoke has been on a constant decline for many years. This amount of drivers still means one and a half of every ten drivers smoke. Many of them smoke when behind the wheel. The reason this is a manual distraction is because they physically have to hold the cigarette for an extended period of time. This creates an extended period of time when these drivers face a manual distraction.

Turning knobs in your car

There are more knobs and buttons in our cars now than ever before. Many new cars come with an electronic display for climate control, radio features, and even GPS capability. these are all potential manual distractions because of the fact you have to take your hand off the steering wheel in order to use any of the controls.

Tending to a child

Children are the most valued possession in any parents life. In most instances, taking care of the needs of a child come before anything a parent needs to do for themselves. When you are behind the wheel this should not be the case. No matter how bad of a tantrum your child is throwing, what they are facing is never as important as keeping them from being involved in a car accident.

Searching through your purse or wallet

Most adults carry a purse or wallet with them at all times. They include personal items like id cards, credit and debit cards as well as gum, mints, makeup and anything else we just cannot do without. These are all potential manual distractions because to use any of these items, the driver must take their hand off the wheel in order to get in to the purse or wallet. These items should be kept out of reach of the driver at all times while behind the wheel.

 

3 Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a public health issue that affects everyone in America. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  The latest statistics show motor vehicle fatalities are up 6% from 2015. More than 40,000 people were killed on our nation’s roadways each of the previous two years.  Distracted driving is a major contributor.

When thinking or discussing distracted driving, far too many people think distracted driving starts and ends with the cell phone, but there are many other ways a driver can be distracted when behind the wheel. The three main ways someone can be distracted when behind the wheel deal with manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. Here is an in-depth description of each type of distraction with examples of each.

Manually Distracted Driving

Manually Distracted DrivingThe first and foremost type of distraction any driver faces when behind the wheel is anything that causes a driver to take one or both hands off of the steering wheel. This can be from eating or drinking while in the car, adjusting a GPS unit, getting something out of a purse or wallet, or sending a full text message. No matter how small the distraction may seem, it can lead to serious consequences when a distracted driver becomes the victim of a car crash.

Visual Distracted Driving

Visually Distracted DrivingThere are a number of types of visual distractions a driver can face while operating a motor vehicle. Some visual distractions cause the drivers visual field to be blocked. This can occur because of heavy rain and inadequate windshield wipers. It can also occur when a driver is moving and the back windshield is blocked by the goods being moved. A visual distraction can occur when a driver decides not to look in a certain area before making a move behind the wheel. This can be as simple as not looking both ways at a stop sign. It can be not turning your head to observe the lane you are about to turn in to, instead just relying on the mirrors. Additional visual distractions can come when the driver actually looks at something not related to the act of driving. This can be a clever billboard on the side of the highway or a funny video your friend in the passenger seat wants you to view. No matter what type of visual distraction someone faces when behind the wheel, it is extremely important for the driver to do everything possible to keep their attention on the act of driving.

Cognitively Distracted Driving

The final type of distracted driving deals with the drivers cognitive ability to pay attention to the task of driving.  There are many things that can contribute to this type of a distraction. One of the most common is talking on the phone with a hands-free device like a bluetooth. This type of distraction can also come in the form of an in-depth conversation with a significant other or a person getting excited when their new favorite song comes on the radio. The main danger with cognitive distractions is that in our society today we are constantly inundated with distractions. Because of these distractions we get comfortable doing two things at once, but that is a false sense of security when you get behind the wheel of a car. When you are behind the wheel of a car, the stakes are far to high to risk driving while distracted.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Here are 10 tips from experts about how to combat distracted driving.

Hang up and drive

According to AARP, the best way to combat distracted driving is to simply put down the phone and drive. Leave all phone calls for when you are at a place where you can safely park your car.

Wear your Seatbelt:

The first thing anyone should do when they sit down in to a car is to put on your seatbelt. Even if you do every thing in your power to keep yourself from getting distracted, you can not prevent other people from driving distracted and harming you.

Know your technology:

This multitasking technology is about convenience, not safety. According to the National Safety Council, cell phones are not the only distraction drivers are facing on the roads today.

Designated Texter:

Select a friend to be your designated texter while you’re behind the wheel. According to the organization Digital Responsibility, Designated Drivers have helped decrease the amount of drinking and driving cases. The same concept can help with distracted driving.

There are three types of distractions:

According to the website DMV.org there are three types of distraction while driving: Manual, Visual, and Cognitive.

Skip the Drive-through:

According to an article in Consumer Reports it is important to skip the drive through. Eating while driving can be just as distracting as texting and driving.

Attend to the kids before getting behind the wheel:

Children can distract you from the road. Whenever your children are having a tantrum on the road it is important to first pull to the side of the road before dealing with any childs needs.

Put up makeup on at home:

Applying makeup while behind the wheel is as distracting as anything someone can do while driving. Taking the proper amount of time to apply makeup before getting behind the wheel is essential to preventing distracted driving.

Talk to your teens about distractions:

Teens today have grown up with cell phone usage as a part of their existence. Talking to them about the need to put down the phone while driving is important.

Just talking can be a distraction:

It is normal to talk with a friend or family member when behind the wheel, but limiting the amount of attention you put on the conversation is important to limit distracted driving.

 

Tips for Home Health Care Agencies

Owning and operating a home health care agency can be complex. The clients you deal with can have a wide range of health issues you and your employees need to be familiar with. Some clients may be small and frail, but very mobile; while another client may be large and immobile. Some may have mental problems like dementia while other clients may have mobility issues like the aftermath of a stroke. With each of these clients comes a unique set of risks. These risks all determine what type of insurance you need and how much that insurance will cost. Here are three tips to help you the next time you shop for home health care workers comp.

Make sure you are classified accurately

For purposes of workers compensation insurance, governance of these programs is left up to the individual states. Most of the states partner with the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) to determine a classification code for each business and the rate of premium for each code. There are currently more than 700 different codes a business can be classified as. Each industry has multiple classification codes depending upon the scope and scale of the business. Depending upon the actions of your employees while on the job, the amount of premium is reflected through your businesses classification code.

Hire carefully

Unfortunately the home health care industry tends to have a high turnover rate. The two main reasons for this is the stress of the job and the amount of pay for most employees. In order to turn a profit, there is only so much a business owner can pay their employees in order to stay profitable. Because of this fact, it is difficult to keep the best employees around. This is a reason to hire carefully and for the long-term. Sometimes the candidate with the best resume is not as good for your business as the candidate who is the best fit for your business. Finding the best fit is different from business to business based upon the scope of the business and the market that business operates in. Taking additional time to hire the right person will almost always pay off in the long run.

Implement safety protocols

Safety programs are immensely important in the home health care industry. This industry has both a high volume of insurance claims and the claims can be high in severity. The reason for this is because many employees drive their own vehicle to a remote location and many drive to multiple locations throughout the day. The time that your employees drives from location to location makes the liability for accidents that occur the responsibility of the business. This is regardless of whether the employee is on the clock or not. It is important to consider implementing a driver safety program for your home healthcare business.

It is also important to implement safety programs  for the time your employees are in the homes with clients. Depending upon the limitations of each client, your employees should be prepared to keep themselves safe first and keep the client safe second. Let them know that they cannot help the client if they do not take care of themselves first. Because of the remote nature of this work, it is important to have weekly face to face meetings with all employees and to discuss safety protocols with them.

 

Business Owners Policy

3  Reasons why Small Businesses Need a Business Owners Policy (BOP)

A Business Owners Policy, typically includes three types of insurance. Those three types of insurance include Property, Business Interruption, and liability protection. There are additional coverages your business can purchase to tailor the policy to fit your business’s specific needs. Two common additions include inland marine and data breach coverage. No matter the size or scope of your business, a BOP is almost always the best way to properly insure your business. Here are 3 reasons you should consider a BOP.

BOP

 

A BOP will ensure no gaps in coverage

Because with a Business Owners Policy, you bundle several products together, your business is less likely to have a claim not be covered because of a gap in coverage. A gap in coverage occurs when you purchase two products from different carriers and each carrier has an exclusion to their policy. If both policies have an inclusion for the loss, it may cause the loss to not be covered at all. Even if the loss is covered it can slow down the response time for the claim because the insurance carriers have to determine who is ultimately responsible for the claim. When you purchase a BOP, it will speed up the amount of time to process a claim and do the best job of preventing a gap in coverage.

A BOP will make insurance more affordable

Keeping expenses as low as possible is extremely important for the long-term success of any business. A Business Owners Policy allows you to keep the price of premium lower because insurance companies are more likely to dig deeper for credits and discounts when they know they are quoting multiple policies through your business.

A BOP can be modified to fit your needs

Business Owners Policies are designed with a specific industry in mind. Insurance carriers have loads of data about claims in each particular industry and with that data they know with a high probability which coverages each industry is most likely to need. This data can help a business owner to know what types of insurance they need and what types they can do without. If your business is an exception to the rule, your insurance agent can help you fine tune your specific package to meet the unique needs of your business. This is something not offered from most traditional insurance policies.

 

Safe Drivers

How to choose safe drivers for your Small Business?

Some businesses are forced to require at least some of their employees to drive as part of their job. This can be true for a landscaping company who drives to many third party locations throughout the day, but it can also be true for a restaurant who has the assistant manager run to the grocery to purchase snacks for the staff. No matter what the scope of your employees driving is in relation to their overall job, it is important to have a plan for how you are going to make sure they are safe drivers. In order to do this you must have a detailed plan in place to keep your employees and your vehicles safe while they are out on the road.  Here are five ways to ensure your business is doing everything it can to protect your business.

Consistency

You should strive for consistency in everything related to your vehicle fleet. This should be the same if you have two employees who drive for your business occasionally or 200 drivers out on the road at any given time. You should train all drivers the same way and hold everyone to the same standards throughout the length of their employment with your organization. Consistency is the best way to ensure your business is employing safe drivers.

Verify all records

It is crucial to verify any record your employee gives you about themselves. You should hire people you trust, but you must verify what they tell you in order to ensure your trust is not being violated. This goes for their past work history, their certifications, as well as their driving and criminal records.

Conduct thorough Background Checks

If you are going to be trusting your employees with expensive equipment than you need to run a thorough background check on them at the time of hire and periodically throughout their employment. How in-depth this check is will be different for every business depending upon the scope of your work and the experience of your employees. Digging deeper in to your employees background is always better than not exploring their history far enough.

Pull Motor Vehicle Records Yearly

Before anyone uses a vehicle as part of their job, you need to have a look at their motor vehicle record. This is a requirement for many insurance policies and failure to do so can cause your commercial auto insurance premium to increase or your business to be dropped from coverage entirely in some instances. These should be pulled yearly to ensure nothing has come up that would disqualify any of your employees from continuing to be qualified as a safe driver. You can never expect your employees to notify you of every traffic violation they experience while not on the job. The only way to know if they are continuing to be a safe driver is to look at their driving record.

Test

Periodically testing your employees is crucial to ensuring they are taking the safety procedures you have in place seriously. This test can be as informal as going for a ride along with the driver occasionally to a formal written exam. The depth of this test will depend upon how much the employee uses a vehicle as a part of their job, but some type of test should be a part of your overall vehicle safety program.

 

 

Commercial Auto and Inland Marine

Where does the grey area exist?  

If you own a business and that business owns and operates vehicles, you need some form of Commercial Auto Insurance. If you rent vehicles or have employees use their personal vehicles for work purposes, you need to secure a hired and non-owned auto policy. If you have a trailer where you move specialized equipment to third party locations’ than you need an inland marine insurance policy. When you have a claim that involves a vehicle there becomes an issue of which policy kicks in to cover what is damaged. This is a time when partnering with an experienced independent insurance agent and purchasing all policies from one carrier can benefit your business immensely.  Here are several tips to help you make sure all of your vehicles and equipment are properly insured.

First you need to know what exactly is covered under each policy.

Commercial Auto

A Commercial Auto Insurance Policy will cover vehicles your business owns that are used for business purposes. If you have a personal vehicle that you also use for business purposes, you still need to buy separate personal and commercial auto insurance policies for that vehicle. If you only have a personal policy and you use the vehicle for business purposes, the liability is taken on by the business. The personal auto policy will not cover the damage to third party vehicles that are damaged in an accident you cause. If you do use your personal vehicle for business purposes, it is important to speak long and honestly with your independent insurance agent about what exactly you use the vehicle for and how best to insure it.

Hired and Non-owned Auto

If you have employees who drive rented vehicles when they travel or who use their personal vehicle for business purposes, you have a need for a Hired and Non-Owned Auto Policy. This policy may be in place of a Commercial Auto Policy or in addition to it. When an accident occurs that is the fault of your employee, if they are in their personal car, the personal insurance policy will cover the damages to the employees vehicle.  Now the property and bodily injury liability to third parties is the liability of the business. This is why you need to strongly consider this policy for your business. One accident that causes a car to be totaled and a third party to spend a week in the hospital can easily result in your business being responsible for tens of thousands of dollars. If you do not have the ability to cover these costs you need an insurance policy to protect your business.

Inland Marine

An Inland Marine Insurance Policy is a policy you would purchase in addition to a Commercial Auto Policy in order to protect specialized equipment that is commonly in transit. A common business who needs this coverage is a landscaping company.  A Commercial Auto Policy will coverage the vehicle your business owns and operates. It will also cover your business for any liability you face to third parties damaged by an accident caused by your business. If you have specialized equipment that is transported on either a trailer connected to your vehicles or in the back of a truck, you need to purchase an Inland Marine Policy.

What can you do as a Business Owner?

Partner with an independent insurance agent

Partnering with an independent insurance agent is always the best place to start when you are considering purchasing commercial insurance for your business. This is best for you because an independent agent is not restricted to one or a select few carriers. Typically an independent agent partners with anywhere from 10 to 40 carriers. They can use these relationships to force carriers to compete for your business. This will allow you to get better coverage at the lowest possible rate.

Talk with your agent extensively

No matter if you decide to partner with an independent or captive agent, you need to take the quoting process seriously. If you fail to disclose something to your agent or carrier during the quoting process, it can create an enormous headache for you at a later date. The work case scenario would be that your carrier drops you from coverage because of the failure to disclose something about your business. This can cause you and your agent to have to find a new carrier to cover your business mid term. If this process does not go smoothly it can cause you to have a lapse in coverage. Many carriers will not cover a business who has had a lapse in coverage and this may force you to have to buy some coverage’s from the state provider. The state provider is almost always more expensive than buying coverage out on the open market.

Express your comfort with risk to your agent

Insurance agents talk to many business owners throughout each work day. If they are a nationwide agency, they may speak with a restaurant owner from Los Angeles, a dairy farmer in Wisconsin and a commercial fisherman from New Orleans all before lunch. Each of these businesses faces enormously different risks and the people who own these businesses may have dramatically different expectations from their insurance agent. The only way to be for certain that your agent is looking for what is most important to you is to directly tell them. If you value price above all else, let them know. If you want to insure your business to the teeth, let them know this as well. The more you tell your insurance agent, the less likely you are to have problems with that agent.

Listen to your agents recommendations

Listening is a skill most people could do much better. Business owners especially are confident people. They would not have branched out on their own to start a business without confidence, but that confidence can be a hinderance if you think you know more about every aspect of your business than the experts you partner with.  If you find an independent agent with whom you trust and you have a detailed conversation with them, they should be able to find the best package of coverages to fit the needs of your business. If you go through this process listen to the insurance professionals. They interact with business owners not only when selling them a policy, but also when they have to use that policy because something bad has happened to them.  If you trust your agent, they should only offer a policy that you absolutely need. If they recommend it, it is more than likely in your best interest to listen to them.

Residential Cleaning

How a Residential Cleaning Company Can Benefit From Pay as You Go Workers Comp

A Woman Working at a Residential Cleaning Company. Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required by law for businesses in most states. So is General Liability in most industries. For that reason, these two policies are the bare minimum coverage a business needs to be in business. Now for a cash-strapped, seasonal, or start-up business; coming up with the initial payment to get coverage in place can be difficult. Because of this issue, many carriers have come up with alternative payment options for these necessary coverages. The most popular alternative payment option is Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation. One industry in particular that benefits from this option is the residential cleaning industry. Here are four ways residential cleaning companies benefit from choosing the Pay as You Go Option for Workers Comp Coverage.

  • Pay-as-You-Go has lower up-front costs.
  • Pay-as-You-Go frees up cash for more pressing business needs.
  • Pay-as-You-Go allows businesses to pay premium monthly.
  • Pay-as-You-Go prevents most audits

Residential Cleaning Companies depend upon their employees to keep their customers happy.

Lower Up Front Costs

When a cleaning company decides to go with a traditional workers compensation policy, they are required to make a large lump sum payment just to get coverage in place. They later have to make nine monthly payments at the end of the term. These payments are based upon an estimate of payroll from last year. If your business has plenty of cash on hand and your employee hours are regular from year to year this may not be much of a problem. Most residential cleaning companies do not have regular payroll or mounds of cash on hand. If this sounds like your business than the Pay as You Go Option is a great way to get coverage in place without tying up too much cash.

Frees Up Cash

Now if you are a business that is not rolling in cash, you may need to consider the Pay as You Go Option.  This type of alternative payment method for workers comp coverage allows you to not only lower your up front costs, but it allows you to free up cash throughout the year by paying your premium in real-time each month based upon the accurate payroll from the previous month. This is instead of paying premium based upon an estimate of payroll from last year or the three previous years. This estimate can cause you to severely over or under-pay on premium.

Allows Monthly Payments

Allowing payments of premium each month can help your business in many ways. One of the best ways it helps is by keeping your payments accurate from paying them in real-time. When workers comp premiums are paid on an estimate basis, it can cause you to severely under or over-pay throughout the year. This gets cleared up whenever an audit takes place and an audit takes place at the end of each term, but if you under pay throughout the year it can cause your business to have a surprise payment at the end of the term. Even if you are one of the lucky businesses who over-pays and gets a refund at the end of the term, you still have had additional cash tied up in premium payments throughout the year. This is cash that could have been spent on more pressing needs.

Buying the proper chemicals is an essential part of any successful residential cleaning company.

Prevent Audits

An additional benefit your residential cleaning business can gain from choosing the Pay as You Go Option is to prevent audits mid-term. Because the payroll is calculated monthly by a payroll company it is accurate. This eliminates the need for a mid term audit because the payroll company is auditing the premium payment each month. The Pay as You Go Option also makes the end of term audit much more smooth because the payments have been done based on actual payroll each month. Your staff will spend less time gathering data to compare your actual payroll with the estimated payroll and premium payments based on that estimate. If you have ever underpaid premium and owed a significant amount at the end of the term, you appreciate the accuracy this program provides.

5 Industries who can benefit from Pay as You Go Workers Comp

Pay as You Go Workers Comp is a great program that many insurance carriers offer to help businesses get insurance in place without the burden of a large lump sum payment. For many businesses, it is not in their best interest to tie up cash in a large payment just to get a workers comp policy in place.

pay-as-you-go-workers-comp-insurance

Landscaping

Landscaping can benefit from a Pay as You Go Workers Comp Policy because of the seasonal nature of the work involved in landscaping. No matter where you operate, there are more than likely certain times of the year when a majority of the work is done. For most businesses, this is in the Summer when grass and other plants are growing like crazy. Even if you offer Winter Snow Removal Services, that time of year will more than likely be less busy than other times of the year. Pay as You Go will allow you to pay your premium each month based upon the previous months payroll.

Hospitality

The Hospitality Industry includes all businesses that cater to people who are travelling. This can include hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, bars, and restaurants.  The nature of this business is dependent upon the weather and the Summer Break from school. Because children are free from the daily routine of school, many parents decide to take them on vacations. While these people are on vacations they typically have lots of disposable income. Because of the seasonal nature of this industry, Pay as You Go Workers Comp can allow business owners to pay their premium during the busy time when they have cash on hand and pay less during the slower time of the year.

Construction

Construction is another business that because of the weather and the outdoor nature of the job, it has slow times. If these slow times are causing your business to have less cash coming in, Pay as You Go might just be a great option to help construction businesses keep coverage in place while keeping premium payments to a minimum.

Food Trucks

Food Trucks are booming in popularity all over the country. Most cities now have numerous Food Truck Friday Events and sporting events are beginning to see more and more trucks compared to just a few years ago. Because this business is located outside, it is somewhat dependent upon the weather. If the truck is located in a sports town, it can even be based upon the success of the professional teams in your area. With the Pay as You Go Option, you can pay a higher premium during the months when you have cash on hand and less when the business traffic is slow.

Farming

Farming is another industry that can be both seasonal and cash-strapped for several different reasons. Some family owned farms depend on government programs for part of their revenue. Those payments are usually sent out at one or a few times per year. During those times in between, some farmers may lack cash on hand to make large lump sum payments for things like commercial insurance. A Pay as You Go Option can help these family farms by allowing them to pay their premium monthly depending upon the work they do each month.