Winter Driving Safety… Tips For Driving on Icy Roads

This winter, avoid accidents!  Driving in stressful and unfamiliar weather conditions is a ingredient in the recipe for car accidents.  Here in Atlanta, most drivers are not used to the harsh weather conditions we occasionally encounter, wich means we not only have to drive offensively, but defensively as well.  Being unfamiliar with harsh icy and snowy weather, the unexpected winter conditions can be very dangerous.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUgcFiLA0_o

RoadRagers.com suggests taking the following precautions to avoid disaster:

1. KNOW YOUR VEHICLE

 

Not all cars respond the same to icy, slippery roads. For that reason, knowing how to handle your vehicle and how it responds in various weather conditions is important. AAA recommends that motorists practice slow-speed maneuvers on an empty snow or ice covered parking lot. You should also page through your owner’s manual, familiarizing yourself with your vehicle’s braking system and tire traction.

2. DISTANCE FACTOR

The most important thing to remember when driving on slick roads is that you must travel, steer and brake more slowly than usual. The distance needed to stop on ice is twice as long as that you would need to brake under normal driving circumstances. This means you should keep at least a three car distance from the vehicle directly in front of you.

3. BLACK ICE

Black ice is defined as ice that remains on roadways that are not subjected to direct sunlight. Black ice commonly forms on roads that wind around lakes and rivers, in tunnels, on overpasses and in highly shaded, rural areas. Black ice is almost invisible to the naked eye. Be especially leery when driving your car into shaded areas, and slow your vehicle down during your approach.

4. SOME AREAS ARE EXTRA SLIPPERY

Certain areas of roadways, because of location or lack of direct sunlight, are almost always more hazardous than others. Use extra caution when driving on bridges, overpasses and tunnels.

5. FRONT WHEEL DRIVE

Front wheel drive vehicles handle better than rear wheel drive on slippery roads because the weight of the engine is on the drive wheels, which helps to improve your traction.

6. REAR WHEEL DRIVE

Because there is virtually no weight on the rear wheels of your car, vehicles that operate by using rear wheel drive tend to slide from side to side during turns on icy roads. Cars and light duty truck owners can place bags of sand or kitty litter in the bed of the truck or trunk to help balance the weight, and distribute it equally.

7. KNOW YOUR BRAKES

Your owner’s manual will provide information about your braking system. Not all braking systems are the same. Find out which type of brakes your vehicle uses and then, follow the safety steps below.

Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) offer significant advantages on slick roads, if used correctly. To operate ABS effectively, motorists should apply steady pressure to the brake pedal during the entire stop. ABS will automatically pump the brakes, if necessary, to keep the wheels from locking. Never manually pump ABS brakes yourself. Apply only steady pressure continuously until you come to a complete stop.

If you don’t have ABS, you should gently apply pumping pressure to your brakes during slippery conditions. Do not apply steady pressure to your brakes. Standing on your brakes will only cause wheel lock, and may result in your car spinning out of control.

8. HANDLING SKIDS

FRONT WHEEL DRIVE: The biggest problem facing most winter drivers is skidding on slick, icy or snow covered roads. It is possible to steer out of a skid! Once you feel your car begin to skid, slowly remove your foot from the accelerator, until you feel your wheels regain traction control. (Do not attempt to brake!) As your vehicle’s tires grab the road, slowly turn the steering wheel in the direction you want your front wheels to go.

REAR WHEEL DRIVE: When you begin to spin, remove your foot from the gas pedal. Slowly steer in the direction you want the car to go. If you are still skidding out of control, counter-steer until your vehicle is pointing in the right direction. Never apply steady pressure to the brakes.

9. MORE TIPS

You can improve your VISIBILITY by clearing all snow and ice from your vehicle. Be sure to remove ice and snow from hood, roof, trunk, turn signal lights, tail and headlights, windows, mirrors and fenders.

Use your LOW BEAMS when driving in an ice or snow storm. You’ll have better visibility.

Allow for greater STOPPING DISTANCE during snow and ice storms. In order to bring your car to a safe stop, you must allow 8-10 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Remember that POSTED SPEED LIMITS are only to be followed during ideal weather conditions. Slow down while driving on snow or ice.

When driving UPHILL on ice, pick a path that will allow the most traction. Monitor vehicles in front of you and steer clear of areas where they spin wheels or slide backward. Unpacked snow will give most vehicles sufficient uphill traction.

To maintain control on CURVES and TURNS, reduce speed just before the turn. Any sudden acceleration or deceleration during a turn will send you into a skid.

NEVER brake while driving on ice. If you are approaching a patch of ice, brake during your approach. Applying pressure to your brakes while on ice will only throw you into a skid.

Maintain your TIRES. Tires that are in proper working condition and are adequately inflated provide better traction.

Travel GENTLY. Everything you do on icy roads will affect how your vehicle handles the situation. Move slowly. Turn slowly. Brake slowly. Sudden changes can cause your car to spin out of control.

Making sure that your vehicle is properly insured is one of the most important tips to avoid disaster this winter.  Remember that while YOU may know how to handle your car in treacherous conditions, others may not.  Make sure that you AND your vehicle have the right coverage this weekend.  Give us a call at 770-497-1200.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Lloyd Pro Group!

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Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Will Home Insurance Cover My Expensive Jewelry?

If you own any valuable jewelery, antiques or family heirlooms then you need to read this. You might assume that if you pay your Atlanta homeowners insurance policy on time that you would be automatically covered in case of a theft. You will be if… you have something called an insurance “rider”. What is a “rider” and why do you need one?

With the rise of unemployment we are seeing more and more break ins in Atlanta. What if someone stole your engagement ring or favorite antique?  Would it be covered?  Well that depends on how much it is worth.  Most insurance companies will provide up to $1,000 in theft coverage for an item.

Lets take a scenario of your $3,000 diamond ring being stolen. Your basic home owners policy will pay $1,000 towards that claim. You would then be $2,000 short if you wanted to buy a new one just like it. That is why it may be wise to invest in a “rider” to cover these valuables that you have. This “mini insurance policy” will cover you up to $10,000 or more if you need it. This means that you will have more than enough money to replace your precious possessions.

Tina, from Braselton GA has a beautiful engagement ring and wedding band that she has worn for the past 23 years.  They mean the world to her.  The idea of having them stolen and not being able to replace them was devastating to her.  She looked into a jewelry rider and was pleasantly surprised at how affordable it was.  Tina explains, “I was surprised that I could have $11,000 of jewelry protection for about .29 cents a day. Now I don’t have to worry about losing them any longer. I now know I can afford to replace them.”

What are some additional items that can be protected by riders?

  1. Do you have antiques?
  2. Expensive computers?
  3. Expensive cameras and lenses?
  4. Silverware?
  5. Golf equipment?
  6. Fine art?
  7. Minks and furs?
  8. Valuable sports memorabilia?

If you would like to see how affordable it is to protect your valuable possessions with a rider contact the your GA insurance agent, the Lloyd pro Group at (770) 497-1200

Lloyd Pro Group a Duluth GA Nationwide insurance agency have been protecting Atlanta’s valuables since 1985. Lloyd Pro Group can be reached at (770) 497-1200 or on their website at http://www.lloydprogroup.com

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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WARNING: Remove live Christmas Trees before they dry out!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2dNN2waoSw&feature=player_embedded
I wanted to share a great article from our friends at Paradiso Insurance in Connecticut. Definitely some words of wisdom! This is a very frightening thing that no one wants to think about, but it is a MUST see. PLEASE make sure to remove your live Christmas trees before they dry out. Watch the entire video. This home is engulfed within 40 seconds. I hate to say this, but I have actually seen this happen. Please takae a moment…

It’s true. Shockingly dangerous, Christmas trees account for nearly 400 residential fires annually. The National Institute of Standards and Technology reported that indoor Christmas tree fires last holiday season resulted in 10 deaths, 80 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage. Don’t be a statistic! Please, this holiday season…MAKE SURE YOU GET THOSE TREES OUT OF YOUR HOME BEFORE THEY DRY OUT!! The video above is scary and true; the NIST shows how quickly a dry Christmas tree engulfs an entire house into flames. These fires can be devastating and deadly.

Here are some tips to prevent Christmas tree fires:

Be sure to use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights for the exterior of your home.

Check ALL lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or any loose connections. Replace, or better yet, RETURN any damages you can see.

Use only UL approved electrical lights, decoration, and extension cords.
Do not block a room exit with the Christmas tree.

ALWAYS turn decorations off when you leave the house or will be out of the room for an extended period of time.

Turn off ALL lights and decorations when you go to bed.

Select a fresh tree and care for it properly; be sure to make a clean cut across the tree’s base and immediately place in water.

Keep your tree hydrated! Dry trees are at a higher risk for fires. Make sure to check the water levels on your tree daily.

Homeowner’s insurance is crucial; make sure you have the right coverage this holiday season. In the event of a disaster such as this, are you covered?

From our family to yours, be safe this holiday season!

-Lloyd Pro Group Insurance
(by way of Paradiso Insurance of Stafford Springs, CT)

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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5 Ways to Grow During Down Times

5 Ways to Grow During Down Times

What business owner does not want to try and grow their business? Some might say it can not be done right now due to the recession we are still in. Roger W. Reak of StratAlli would disagree though. Reak spoke at the GiANT Impact Metro Atlanta Council for Entrepreneurship (MACE) this morning about “5 ways to grow during down times.”

If you missed it, don’t worry because you can still catch the cliff notes version…

1) Commit to Change
Change is not as scary and intimidating as people think. A common reaction with the topic of change is to simply shrug it off and say “why change? We have always done it this way.” Or some say “I can’t try to change anything now, I’m trying to hold onto the clients and services that I have now in this bad economy.”

The truth is a bad economy actually can help to present new lines, customers and employees, geographical expansion, inventory purchases, potential company acquisition and streamlining the organization. Just to name a few.

First, YOU have to change your attitude and get enthusiastic by becoming the company’s biggest cheerleader. Second, commit to innovation, improvement and growth. John Wooden, a former coach at UCLA once said, “Don’t confuse activity with progress.”

2) Plan and Get Help
Reak recommends companies have a strategic outlook over a tactical one. He suggested that companies create a one page living strategic and business plan. This will provide focus and force companies to set extremely specific goals. Make sure to get help from everybody around you and then be sure to educate all the employees on the details of the priorities set before them.

Find out how your business is different than your competition. Reak says “be different in a way that matters to your customers.” He also believes that a business expert and/or consultant can provide an outsider’s view that can help provide valuable guidance.

Reak believes that a major problem with small businesses is they think like small businesses. Instead, develop an advisory board. This can help to spread the pressure of the company around while gaining important insights and other perspectives.

3) Get Your Finances In Order
A must do is establish your financial stability ad funding for growth. First, you must honestly asses your current status. Then, question every expenditure and decide if it is a worthy cost. Next, maintain a cash flow plan with and without additional financing and stick to it.

4) Improve Your Organization
The big word to remember under this tip is SIMPLIFY. Most businesses are overly complicated because they believe that is the best way to do business, it’s not. Start simplifying your organization by having fewer layers, streamline all your systems and focus on your primary business function and outsource non-core functions, such as human resources and legal.

Train every employee on the business plan and strategies, products and services, procedures, responsibilities, importance of innovation, etc. Make sure to establish accountability with all employees by providing incentives, raises and promotions based on specific performance of personal business plan goals. Also, start empowering your employees by shifting some responsibility for elements of the company plan onto them.

5) Market and Sell
This is probably one of the biggest ways to help grown in a down economy. First, develop a marketing plan aimed at your target client. Then make sure you have a consistent message on all marketing materials (social media, Web site, brochures, etc.).

Take advantage of the free social media available today. Creating a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter an blog accounts is a great way to spread your message to an enormous amount of people without costing money.

Selling, obviously, is the way to grow a business during any time of the economy. So, train all employees to be able to sell your products/services. Always have something to leave behind to a potential client. Make sure that all employees are enthusiastic.

So, do you think you have all of the tools to be even more successful and really grow your company despite the economy?

Published in: on December 14, 2009 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bringing Attention to Intention

The greater our awareness of intentions, the greater our freedom to choose. People who do not see their choices do not believe they have choices. They tend to respond automatically, blindly influenced by their circumstances and conditioning. Mindfulness, by helping us notice our impulses before we act, gives us the opportunity to decide whether to act and how to act. […]

Every mind-moment involves an intention. This suggests the phenomenal subtlety with which choices operate in our lives. Few of us keep our bodies still, except perhaps in meditation or in sleep. Each of the constant movements in our arms, hands, and legs is preceded by a volitional impulse, usually unnoticed. Intentions are present even in such seemingly minute and usually unnoticed decisions as where to direct our attention or which thoughts to pursue. Just as drops of water will eventually fill a bathtub, so the accumulation of these choices shape the way we are.

Our intentions – noticed or unnoticed, gross or subtle – contribute either to our suffering or to our happiness. Intentions are sometimes called seeds. The garden you grow depends on the seeds you plant and water. Long after a deed is done, the trace or momentum of the intention behind it remains as a seed, conditioning our future happiness or unhappiness. If we water intentions with greed or hate, their inherent suffering will sprout, both while we act on them and in the future in the form of reinforced habits, tensions and painful memories. If we nourish intentions of love or generosity, the inherent happiness and openness of those states will become a more frequent part of our life. […]

Bringing attention to intention does not, as some fear, lead to a life of endless effort at monitoring ourselves. Self-consciousness and self-preoccupation may be exhausting, but not awareness. As we become clearer and wiser about our intentions, we find greater ease. We begin to act with less and less self-concern.

–Gil Fronsdal

Published in: on December 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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HOLIDAY SHOPPING SAFETY TIPS

The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. The following tips can help you be more careful, prepared, and aware during the holiday season, or any season for that matter! Lloyd Pro Group wants to help keep your holidays joyous.

-When returning to your vehicle, carry your keys in your hand and be ready to unlock the door and enter as quickly as possible. As you approach your vehicle, scan the area, glance underneath the vehicle, and take a quick look inside before entering.

-While out and about, present an alert appearance!
Be aware of your surroundings; scan the area from time to time. Avoid concentrating so hard on shopping that you fail to keep track of your surroundings, others near you, or your personal property.

-Wear conservative, comfortable clothing.

-Grip carried items firmly and avoid leaving them unattended.

-Carry minimal cash and valuables, wear minimal jewelry.

-Shop with friends or relatives if possible; there IS safety in numbers. As you shop, be alert in crowded places. Among pickpockets’ favorites are revolving doors, jammed aisles, elevators, and public transportation stops and vehicles, especially at rush hour. Carry the day’s most expensive purchases closest to your body, and don’t carry so much you lose the ability to react quickly.

-If possible, leave your children with a baby-sitter while you are shopping. For holiday shopping, consider making arrangements with family or friends/neighbors, and take turns baby-sitting. If you take your children with you, keep a close eye on them while shopping.

-Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they ever get separated from you in a store/mall, and be sure they know their first and last name so they can tell someone who they are. It’s best to keep children under four (4) in a stroller. Children in shopping carts should be properly belted and seated in the child carrier area at all times —never let your child stand in or push a shopping cart.

-Return to your vehicle periodically to check on it and reduce the amount you are carrying and must keep track of. Store packages in the trunk or, if your vehicle doesn’t have one, out of plain view (on the floorboard, under a blanket or clothes, etc). When possible, have purchases delivered instead of taking them with you; many businesses offer free delivery during the holiday shopping season. Ask for an escort to your car if you feel nervous.

-Return to the mall or store for assistance if you spot suspicious activity near your vehicle. Stay alert while loading items into or out of the vehicle or arranging cargo stowage. If someone approaches, and you feel threatened, get in and lock up until they leave the area; if they loiter, drive away.

-Using debit or credit cards is much safer than carrying a lot of cash. If the vendors you will visit don’t take cards, consider obtaining traveler’s checks which, unlike cash, can be replaced if lost or stolen. Visit ATM’s only at well-lighted and populated locations; visit during daylight hours if possible.

-Using the drive-up is usually safer than walking up or into a banking facility. Remember to scan around you as you make your withdrawal. Many ATMs now have “fisheye” mirrors mounted above the keyboard to enable you to view the entire surrounding area while conducting business; try to patronize ATMs so-equipped, and use the mirror!

-If anyone is loitering, or you don’t like their looks, go to another ATM. Stand such that those behind you cannot see your PIN as you enter it; your PIN should NEVER be written down on or carried with your ATM card.

-Be observant. Avoid dark areas, short-cuts, cul-de-sacs, and suspicious persons. Stay near light and people.

-Be prepared to flee potential problems. If apprehensive about any location for any reason, leave. Consider carrying a whistle. Weapons are not recommended, and may be unlawful.

Happy Shopping! 🙂

Published in: on December 2, 2009 at 3:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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