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As We Head Into Fall and Winter, Now’s the Time to Brush Up on Night Driving Safety

The days are getting shorter, and with Daylight Savings right around the corner, they’re about to get even more so. Many people will find themselves spending more time driving in the dark during these coming months, which jeopardizes depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision. The glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can also become a huge obstacle for drivers. With the holidays coming up fast, no one wants to end up in a costly, stressful, time-consuming accident.  Enhance Night Vision At night visibility is limited to about 500 feet with high beams and 250 feet with normal headlights, allowing for less reaction time.  What should you do to combat darkness? Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they’re clean Dim your dashboard Look away from oncoming lights If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective Clean the windshield to eliminate streaks Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time As we age, we have greater difficulty seeing at night. Some individuals of the age 60+  also may have compromised vision due to eye health issues. Drivers, especially those who are older, should: Have annual vision exams Reduce speed Take a driving course (Even experienced drivers can benefit from a refresher) Minimize distractions Check the side effects of prescription drugs Limit driving to daytime hours if possible. Avoid Fatigued Driving Drowsy driving puts everyone on the road at risk. Losing two hours of sleep has the same effect on driving as having three beers, and tired drivers are three times more likely to be in a car crash if they’re fatigued. Ways to combat fatigued driving includes:  Get at least seven hours of sleep  Don’t drive if you’ve been awake for over 16 hours  Stop every two hours to rest Pull over and take a nap if you’re drowsy Plan travel times for when you feel most awake. Stay Safe During Rush Hour Evening rush hour (between 4 and 7 pm on weekdays) is a dangerous time to drive due to busy roads and drivers eager to get home. In the colder months, it’s dark during rush hour, making the driving situation that much more dangerous. Put safety first by:  Not being an impatient driver  Staying in your lane and aware of drivers who dart from lane to lane Even though the route may be familiar,…
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Is Your Home Ready for a Flood?

The losses that homeowners have experienced from floods have been quite significant, while an increase in water levels have wreaked havoc throughout the Tri-State region – even in low-risk communities. Prepare your home for a flood with flood protection measures and with flood insurance, even if you don’t think that you’re in an active flood zone. Secure a flood plan that at its most basic, covers physical damage to the insured property from floodwater. You may want to consider additional coverage to insure the contents of your home. But before we talk about flood insurance, let’s look at ways to protect your home from damage. Food-Proofing Tips  Some flood-proofing work may be required in order to minimize flood damage. Here are some methods of flood control that will protect your home.  Install foundation vents. Foundation vents force flood water to flow through your home, instead of pooling up around it. This provides an outlet for floodwater and relieves the significant pressure flood water can put on your walls and basement windows. Apply coatings and sealants. Coatings and sealants applied to foundation, walls, windows, and doorways will help prevent floodwater from leaking into your house through cracks. Raise electrical outlets/switches. All outlets, switches, sockets, and circuit breakers should be at least one foot above flood level in order to prevent significant electrical damage in the case of a flood. Check pipe valves. Make sure that all pipes entering your house have valves to prevent a flooded sewage system from backing up into your home. Grade your lawn. If your lawn is graded toward your home, rainwater will then pool around it. Use a heavy soil that contains clay content and sand to adjust the regrade your lawn so that surface runoff empties into the gutter. Look at mulch and siding. Wet mulch can rot your house’s siding, resulting in leaks. Keep a space between your mulch and siding so that the base of your house can completely dry after rainstorms. Flood Insurance An insurance agent can help you determine your coverage, depending on your needs and the value of your home. Excess flood insurance is available for those who own a high-valued, expensive homes, which can provide broader coverage for both the structure and its contents, and may also provide money for additional living expenses while your property is restored. The…
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Your Car Breaks Down in the Middle of Nowhere. What Do You Do?

Driving with any vehicle issues means you are taking a chance of making it to your next destination. Car troubles can be anything that includes a tire blow out to overheating of the engine. No matter what type of problem you are having, there is always a chance you will end up stranded on the side of the road. This can be both frustrating and dangerous. The best thing you can do is to have a plan if you find yourself broken down.  Use Your Hazard Lights or Emergency Flashers When you know you are going to have to pull off the side of the road, the safest way to do so is to alert any other drivers. You can do this by using your hazard lights that each vehicle is equipped with. The button is usually an orange or red triangle. This will cause your lights to start to flash in unison and is a great way to indicate to other passing drivers that you are stopping or there is trouble with your vehicle. Leave the lights on until the tow truck pulls up. Figure Out Your Location Now that you are safely pulled off the side of the road and you have your hazard lights on, you must know where you are. You can’t just call for help without any idea on where the tow truck has to pick you up. If possible, use the GPS on your phone or in your car to find your location. You want to be able to give the most accurate location to the tow truck operator so they can easily find you. This will also keep the amount of time you’re waiting on the side of the road to a minimum, lessening the chance that you’re involved in an accident or other dangers.  Exit the Car Safely Depending on where you are located, the traffic around you could be heavy. The cars that are passing may still have a hard time seeing you on the side of the road. Your safety is most important and that is why you should be careful when you are exiting the car. If possible, get out of the passenger side of the car so that you are not walking out in the oncoming traffic lane. A popped hood is the universal sign of a vehicle…
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Westchester County Personal Insurance: Is Insurance on your College Checklist?

Westchester County Personal Insurance: Is Insurance on your College Checklist? The first day of college is similar to the first day of kindergarten, in that it’s a momentous event that may or may not involve tears. Preparing for college is as important to parents as it is to their children. For many, a “college checklist” is an adjunct for preparation; a cork board to adorn with old pictures, a hamper small enough to take home during breaks and if you’re lucky, a flat screen.  But what about reviewing your insurance policies? In the midst of purchasing bedding and choosing the best dormitory, reviewing insurance policies is often overlooked. However, it’s essential to add insurance onto your “college checklist.” So, before you start sending your kids off to college, ask yourself the following question: And does my child intend to bring any valuable items? Is my child going to live on-campus or off-campus? Is my child bringing his/her car to college? And take the following steps: Whether your child is moving on or off campus, it’s essential to create an inventory of all personal belongings. Create an excel sheet, note the items, calculate its estimated value and take a picture. Be sure to note high-value items (e.g. laptop, television, camera, jewelry). Speak with your Westchester County insurance agent to determine the extent of coverage provided by your homeowners’ policy. If coverage is available, ask if it’s only applicable to students residing on-campus (as it often does). If your child is going to live off-campus, be sure to purchase renters insurance. It’s inexpensive and worthwhile. The cost of Westchester County auto insurance varies depending on whether your child is taking their car to school or not.  Insurance agencies often re-evaluate the cost and factor in numerous variables, such as college’s location. At A.J. Benet, Inc., we take pride in the relationships we have established with our individual clients – addressing their changing insurance needs as milestones in their lives occur. From an individual’s first car purchase to the family’s minivan and a teenager’s new set of wheels, to a rented townhouse in Westchester County, a dream house overlooking the harbor in Larchmont, or a new condo in Manhattan as an empty nester, A.J. Benet is there to protect you, your family, and assets wherever life takes you. We invite you to review…
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