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Rain and Gusting and Ice: How to Drive in Bad Weather

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Picture the ideal day for driving. It’s probably mild and bright without a cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, the weather rarely complies with our driving wants and needs. Most peoples’ first choice would be to stay off the road during inclement weather, but sometimes life beckons. Whether you’re commuting to work or embarking on a road trip when a storm hits, how can you prepare for bouts of bad weather and keep yourself–as well everyone else on the road–safer?

Plan Well Ahead of Time

You can’t control the weather, but you can certainly control your preparedness for any situation you encounter on the road. Before you leave the house, check the weather. Sunny skies could turn to thunderous clouds over the course of a few hours. Look into all possible routes to see if you can avoid the worst of the storm, and leave early so you have enough time to reach your destination without rushing.

Bad weather is not the time to discover that you have a vehicle malfunction. J.D. Power recommends having your vehicle checked more frequently during seasons of bad weather like winter, and making sure that your windshield wipers, headlights, and mirrors are in working order before you pull out of the driveway.

If you live in a cold climate, pack a winter survival kit in case your vehicle gets stuck or disabled in the snow. The basics include, but are not limited to:

  • Windshield scraper and small broom
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Energy-rich snack foods
  • Warm clothing and blankets
  • Grainy material for traction
  • First aid kit and pocket knife

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

A little rain never hurt anyone, right? When it comes to driving, wet roads and impaired vision actually increase the likelihood of an accident. Almost everywhere in the U.S. experiences rain at least once a year, and some states can expect steady annual downfall. One of the best preventative measures you can take is increasing the space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Edmunds suggests aiming for a six-second gap to be on the safe side. If wet and humid conditions create fog, use your low beams to maximize visibility.

Hold onto Your Hat

It’s not just obvious tornado and hurricane-induced winds that drivers need to consider. Hurricane winds are considered 74 mph or faster, but the weather service puts out advisories for much lower speeds. In wind-prone states like Florida, the advisory covers sustained winds between 25-39 mph, or gusts at 57 mph. Robert Molleda of the National Weather Service explains some associated risks: “If winds are above 30-35 mph for extended periods of time, it can be an issue for high-profile vehicles on bridges and overpasses. Also, tall objects such as construction cranes can be hazardous in those winds.”

Sounds like a recipe for potential damages, doesn’t it? As for driving in gusty conditions, The Telegraph suggests that drivers should ease off the gas, brake steadily, and hold the steering wheel firmly to maintain control against the onslaught. It goes without saying that windy occasions are not the time to speed or tailgate. Even so, drivers can’t always react in time to others on the road or blowing debris. Drivers need to protect their vehicles and themselves against these weather-associated risks by having adequate insurance coverage, not just the minimum required by law. For example, if you’re in the Sunshine state, legal Florida auto insurance only equates to PIP, or personal injury protection coverage. However, chances are you’d need more coverage than that if you were involved in a weather-related accident.

Ice, Ice Baby

Snow and ice are beautiful from the vantage point of a warm house, but the story is much different from inside a car. Follow these guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) whenever possible to reduce risk when your tires are on ice or snow:

  • Steer into a skid
  • Stomp on antilock brakes and pump non-antilock brakes
  • Give yourself longer stopping distances
  • Rehearse maneuvers during the daylight in an empty lot
  • Avoid fatigue and rotate drivers when possible

With proper preparation, the right protective measures, and practiced defensive driving skills, you’ll be more ready to take on the elements in your vehicle. It’s preferable to stay home, but if you absolutely have to be out and about, stay safe and slow down.


6 Stay-at-Home Jobs I’ve Done as a Stay-at-Home Parent

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Being a stay-at-home parent is inarguably one of the most fulfilling and frustrating jobs on the planet. For one, you get to see your children grow and change — but to do this, you must sacrifice the perks of the working world, including the camaraderie of co-workers. Fortunately, staying at home doesn’t mean surrendering the most useful aspect of having a job: additional income.

Even after just a few weeks of doting on my first baby boy, I was itching to get back to work. Instead of abandoning him to daycare, I sought job solutions that would allow me to stay at home while completing projects and earning pay. Today, I am still satisfied as a stay-at-home mom, and I receive extra satisfaction from my stay-at-home job. For other stay-at-home parents interested in having your kids and working, too, here are seven easy, flexible jobs I’ve tried that helped me be both a proud parent and an excellent earner.

Daycare Provider

New parents have plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow new parents. During pregnancy classes, in doctor’s offices, and at baby classes (like music and swimming) I was able to cultivate a network of moms and dads who were going through the same situations I was. The difference was that most of them were planning on returning to work; fortunately for them and me, I wasn’t. Thus, I was able to start a small daycare among friends and earn a healthy income doing what I wanted to do as a new mother: take care of babies.

If you didn’t gain such a close-knit group during your pregnancy, you can still become a daycare provider. You can post fliers in your neighborhood to build awareness of your business, and you can even take in pets if you aren’t yet comfortable around others’ kids.

Crafter

Whenever I didn’t need to directly interact with my children, I usually had some sort of craft in hand. At first, crafting was simply a hobby I used as a creative time-waster, but eventually, I recognized that I could spin my diversion into another money-making scheme. With a few online stores and a spot in most of my city’s craft fairs, I was able to earn a sizeable chunk of change — and rid my house of all the crafting clutter.

Hundreds of hobbies translate well into small income generators: baking, sewing, woodworking, knitting, and more. However, before you can safely sell your goods, you should consider filing as a limited liability corporation, so you can protect you assets fully.

6 Stay at home Pic 2

Secret Shopper

As soon as my kids could walk, I knew I had to get out of the house. It didn’t matter where we went — as long as we were breathing fresh air. Fortunately, I was able to use my need for movement to bring in some cash. A handful of stores will pay shoppers to rate their in-store experiences. Now, secret shoppers can turn to apps containing lists of “missions” that make finding convenient, paying tasks a snap.

Tutor

When my kids started going to school, I quickly realized how much basic information I had forgotten. In order to be a better mom, I quickly enrolled in a handful of simple courses and bought textbooks to relearn all my lost knowledge.

Not only did that help me encourage my kids to succeed in class, but it allowed me to earn some side money as a tutor for other parents’ kids. Advertising with fliers at my kids’ schools — and eventually online on various tutoring websites — I accumulated a gaggle of well-paying tutees.

Salesperson

Eventually, my kids became teenagers, and the benefits of being a stay-at-home parent were fewer. Still, having been out of the regular work force for so long, I was reluctant to commit to a set schedule outside my home. Instead, I turned to sales. In the past, companies like Mary Kay Cosmetics and Tupperware allowed enterprising individuals to get a business up and running fast. Today, companies like this still exist, and with Web connections, the jobs are more flexible and fun than ever.

Freelancer or Consultant

I only recently turned to freelancing, and it is undoubtedly the most rewarding job I have ever had (besides being a mom, of course). It is as fulfilling as real work, as you work with clients and complete projects just like salaried positions — but you get the flexibility and authority of working for yourself. If you were successful in your field before your child or you have a wealth of specialized knowledge you are itching to put to use, freelancing or consulting is likely the best option.