Wildfire situation in British Columbia and surrounding area: IBC is here to help – Safety remains first priority

July 8, 2017 (VANCOUVER) – As British Columbia has declared a state of emergency due to wildfires burning out of control throughout much of the Interior, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is reaching out with information and advice for those affected.

“Our thoughts are with those whose lives have been disrupted and whose homes have been destroyed. The priority right now is the safety of those affected and their loved ones,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC. “The insurance industry is here to help. Anyone with questions about their home or business insurance can call their insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask‑IBC.”

What insurance covers

Most home and business insurance policies cover fire damage. If residents have to leave their homes because of a mandatory evacuation order issued by civil authorities, most homeowner’s and tenant’s insurance policies will provide coverage for reasonable additional living expenses for a specified period of time. Your insurance representative is at the ready to clarify the details of your policy.

The claims process

If you have been affected by a wildfire, when safe to do so, take the following steps:

  • Assess and document the damage. Taking photos can be helpful.
  • Call your insurance representative and/or company.
  • List all damaged or destroyed items.
  • If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of the damage and keep damaged items unless they pose a health hazard.
  • Keep all of the receipts related to cleanup, and if you’ve been ordered to leave your home, keep the receipts for your living expenses.
  • Ask your insurance representative what living expenses you’re entitled to be reimbursed for and for what period of time.

Next steps

  • Once you have reported a loss, you will be assigned a claims adjuster. It may take some time, given the number of people affected by the wildfires, but you will be contacted.
  • The claims adjuster will investigate the circumstances of your loss, examine the documents you provide and explain the process. Take notes during the conversations and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Your insurance company will ask you to complete a Proof of Loss form, to list the property and/or items that have been damaged or destroyed, with the corresponding value or cost of the damage or loss. You must sign and swear that the statements you make in the Proof of Loss form are true. Ask your insurance representative or claims adjuster to clarify anything you are unsure about.

Resources

Anyone with questions should contact their insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

For additional information, consumers can also visit www.ibc.ca  or email askibcwest@ibc.ca.

Go! It’s an Acceleration Lane…

Acceleration LaneI saw it again the other day, a driver who was stopped at the beginning of an acceleration lane patiently signalling and looking for a large gap to join in with the passing traffic. Before you make a comment about gray hair, this could just as easily have been a new driver. I couldn’t tell as I drove past at 90 km/h.

Acceleration lanes are designed to give drivers the time and space to merge smoothly with traffic on the highway without causing other drivers to alter position or speed.

Generally, you may anticipate an acceleration lane when the right turn bay is not marked with a yield sign.

The Learn to Drive Smart guide tells us that we should scan traffic to our left as we use the entrance ramp. Match the speed of traffic on the highway as you use the portion of the acceleration lane marked with a single solid white line on the left. Once you reach the area marked with a single broken white line on the left, merge into the space that you have selected.

Be wary of cyclists! This can be a time when you have many tasks to process at once and a bicycle may be more difficult to see in the stream of vehicular traffic.

Of course, if your vehicle is equipped with signal lights, this is a good time to use them. While it may seem obvious, you will be changing lanes so it is mandatory to signal even if there is no other traffic present.

Due to the higher speeds usually involved here, using your observation skills is key. Look as far forward and back as you are able to in order to gauge the traffic you will have to merge into.

Scan to the rear and sides frequently and carefully, being especially aware of your own and other driver’s blind spots.

Finally, check your speed as it can be easy to accelerate too much without realising.

The aim in the successful use of acceleration lanes is to give yourself the longest possible time to react if things do not go as planned. Scanning increases your awareness and that serves to increase your safety.

Let’s go back to me driving past before we finish here. The driver I observed stopped in the acceleration lane was a strong indication that they might be confused. Moving into the left lane if possible would be the smart thing to do. Maintaining your space cushion will protect you from that driver if they make another mistake and pull into the lane in front of you.

The Ultimate Selfish Driving Act

While out for a walk the other afternoon I approached a driver who had stopped in his lane, in a corner, to talk to a couple of pedestrians on the other side of the road. Normally, this is a relatively quiet street but the driver is still making a poor choice. His action was unsafe due to poor sight lines for approaching drivers.

Sure enough, another vehicle approached from behind and was prevented from passing because the pedestrians had moved into the other lane to conduct their conversation more comfortably.

At this point most drivers would conclude the conversation and move on, or at least move to the right side of the road.

Not this driver. He pulled into the oncoming lane at a forty-five degree angle and continued with the chat!

As it happened, I was also walking by a driver waiting beside his parked dump truck and watching this situation too. I shook my head and mentioned to him that there were sure a lot of inconsiderate drivers to be found on our highways these days.

I had definitely touched a raw nerve here as the driver began to tell me all about the dangerous driving situations that he is put into by the drivers of light vehicles every day.

Chief among his worries were those who changed lanes in front of his truck and failed to leave a safe margin for following distance. Worse still, some of these drivers will apply their brakes and slow down for a right turn immediately after moving over. No sense anticipating that turn and falling in behind the truck to safely prepare for it, is there?

Remember the two second rule? It not only applies to vehicles that you are following, it applies to vehicles that are behind you as well. Always leave yourself an out.

Why might this be important? A loaded heavy truck with a properly functioning braking system may have as little as half of the braking capacity of a car or light truck. These drivers may have put our trucker into a situation where he cannot slow or stop in time to avoid a collision.

I suggested that if there was nowhere safe to steer around the offending vehicle the truck driver might be faced with the decision to not to avoid the collision. No, he said, you would likely brake and finding that you could not stop in time automatically steer to avoid the crash.

Now there is little or no risk for our unthinking motorist and most or all of the risk settling onto the shoulders of our truck driver. This could be the ultimate selfish driving act performed by the driver of the light vehicle.

Before you start to complain about commercial drivers, think about the fact that in a collision between a heavy commercial vehicle and a light vehicle it is most likely that the fault lies with the light vehicle driver.

One parting piece of advice: remember the No Zone. This is the space around a heavy commercial vehicle where light vehicles are essentially invisible to the truck driver. Occupy them at your own risk!

Here are eight secrets that, if every traveler heeded them, would make traveling far more enjoyable

Here are eight secrets that, if every traveler heeded them, would make traveling far more enjoyable

In this piece, I’ll share eight secrets that, if every traveler heeded them, would make traveling far more enjoyable for everyone involved.

1. Don’t Congregate.

Every major airline these days uses a numbered or zone system to help with their boarding process. Zone 1 boards before Zone 2, etc. And yet, as soon as the announcement is made that boarding is beginning, people from all zones bunch together in front of the jet bridge. That means that everyone in the first boarding zones has to weave through everyone in Zone 7, which just unnecessarily slows everything down. If you’re patient, step aside and wait your turn, you’ll actually get on the plane faster. Don’t worry – they won’t leave without you.

2. Bring The Right Sized Bags.

Nobody likes to check bags, me included. Not only is there an extra cost associated with checking your luggage, there is also the wasted time standing around the carousel waiting for your plane to be unloaded – that is, if your bag wasn’t somehow left behind. But because no one wants to check bags, that doesn’t mean you should jam everything you possibly can into a carry-on that then won’t fit in the overhead bins on the plane. No one wants to wait behind your in the aisle as you try and employ brute force trying to cram your bag in. If your bag is a little over-sized, then use this trick: before you get on the plane, go up to the gate agent and ask her to gate check the bag for you. Not only is this free, many times they will unload your bag plane side after your flight lands.

3. Sit Quickly

When you do get on the plane, make your way to your seat, pop your carry-on in the bin or under your seat (or both) and then take a seat. Ideally, you have already grabbed what you wanted with you on the flight before you got on the plane so that you aren’t that person who is blocking traffic in the aisle trying to pull our your computer or magazines. Another pro tip is that as soon as you board, start scanning the bins near where your seat is to see if there is room for your bag above where you’re sitting. If not, try and find a spot along the way. That way, you can pick it up as you’re unloading from the plane. The only caveat is that you should never put your bag in the bin above the first row of a plan or any that face a bulkhead because that will force those passengers to go find a place for their bags behind them – which becomes a major hassle for them and slows everyone down. Be kind and don’t be that person.

4. Be Ready to Stand

If you happen to prefer sitting in an aisle seat, you know you’re going to have people sitting inside you either in a window or middle seat. If you’re the first to get to your row, pay attention to see when your seat-mates approach. When they do, politely stand up and take a step back to allow them to enter and get in their seats. Don’t be rude by standing in front of the row or, worse, keep sitting and force the person to squeeze around you.

5. Watch Your Diet

The times that anyone raves about the food on an airplane are few and far between. So it’s understandable that people like to bring their own food on the plane with them. But think about the people sitting next to you when you make your choice. I have had the extremely unpleasant experience of sitting next to someone who brought their greasy cheeseburger topped with onions with a side of garlic fries on the plane with them. Boy did that reek. While we are at it – keep the cologne and perfume to a minimum – it’s kind of tough in tight quarters. Don’t be that person.

6. Watch Your Tongue

It’s important to be respectful of your seat-mates when it comes to whether you can talk their ear off or not on a plane. Watch for the clues to give you a sense of whether someone wants to strike up a conversation. Some times I use my plane time to recover from a few hard days on the road or to prepare for an upcoming meeting and I have no interest in chatting. Other times I’m all for killing the time with a good conversation. It just depends. So you can always say hello to your seat-mate, but if they then close their eyes or pull out a book, be respectful and give them some space.

7. Keep Your Arms and LegsTo Yourself

Nothing is worse than sitting in the middle seat. So be kind to that poor person by giving them full access to their two arms rests. The two outside armrests belong to the window and aisle seat. But the person in the middle deserves their own space, so watch your elbows and arms so that you’re not forcing them to jockey for position. If you can squeeze in without disturbing them, fine – but they have priority. If you have the middle, you space ends at the edge of the armrest, no poking your seat mates in the sides with your elbows. The same goes for your legs, no crossing the line between the seats – we don’t care if you have a wide stance.

8. Don’t be Surprised You Landed

Unloading a plan should be the easiest thing in the world. It starts with everyone in front and works backwards from there. But it’s never that simple. There is always someone who seems surprised when it’s time for their row to get and leave. It’s pretty clear when the plane lands – you shouldn’t be surprised it’s time to get off . Watch watch’s happening around you. As soon as the plane parks, and you hear the ding in the cabin, get your stuff together unbuckle your belt, and get ready to grab your bag and go. Even better: if you are sitting on the aisle, stand up to give your seat-mates some extra room to get ready. Then keep standing slightly behind the row until they get up and leave as a way to block the more aggressive people behind you who might try to squeeze ahead of your row. You know whom I’m talking about. While everyone will respect the person who is late for a connecting flight, just ask and we’ll let you go ahead. We’re all in the same boat, or plane as it was.

If everyone would heed these eight simple etiquette tips, all of your flights would load faster, deplane faster, and we’d all find the experience of flying that much less stressful. So try and keep these tips in mind the next trip you take and we can begin to make this kind of behavior the norm rather than the exception.

Happy Trails!

Jim is the author of the best-selling book, “Great CEOs Are Lazy” – grab your copy to today on Amazon!

Source: INC

#PracticeUp Saskatchewan – New drivers are the traffic safety spotlight for June

#PracticeUp Saskatchewan – New drivers are the traffic safety spotlight for June

May 31, 2017

SGI and Saskatchewan law enforcement will be focusing on new drivers and motorcycle riders throughout June. Police will be watching for new drivers and riders disobeying the restrictions under their respective Graduated Driver’s Licence (GDL) program.

“New drivers and riders have a lot to learn, so we encourage them to know what restrictions apply to them, take advantage of the courses offered and practice as much as possible to become a safe driver,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Auto Fund. “One of the most important things for new drivers and riders to know is that there is absolutely zero tolerance for alcohol or drugs before driving. As they are still learning to drive, we want new drivers to be one hundred per cent focused on the task at hand.”

Between 2011 and 2015, drivers 19 years of age and younger represented seven per cent of Saskatchewan’s driving population, yet were involved in 11 per cent of all collisions. Young drivers also represented 10 per cent of drivers killed and 12 per cent of drivers seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision.

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

New Drivers

  • Take training – New drivers must take one of two training courses before attempting a Class 5 road test. High school students age 15 and up can take an SGI-sponsored program for free through their school division. Alternatively, those 16 and over can pay for a course offered by a certified driving educator.
  • Earn your privileges – The GDL program is designed to improve road safety by exposing new drivers of any age to incremental levels of risk as they gain more experience. There are three stages in the program: Learner (9 months), Novice 1 (6 months) and Novice 2 (12 months).
  • Know your restrictions – There are requirements for a supervising driver, limits on how many passengers you can have, hours you can drive, and other considerations. These restrictions are loosened as drivers advance through the stages of the GDL program.

New Riders

  • Take training – Motorcycle training is highly recommended and makes financial sense. New riders entering the Motorcycle GDL program who do not pass a certified motorcycle safety course pay a $500 surcharge on their licence as they enter each stage. But if they pass a course, that surcharge is waived – plus, if they graduate incident-free, they receive a $450 rebate, which is roughly the cost of the course.
  • Earn your privileges – The Motorcycle GDL program for new motorcyclists has the same Learner, Novice and Novice 2 stages.
  • Know your restrictions –There are restrictions when it comes to passengers and time of day when riding is allowed. There are also specific requirements for wearing protective gear and displaying an ‘L’ or ‘N’ placard on the licence plate indicating learner or novice rider.

Tough Consequences

  • For both GDL programs, depending on the incident, the result could be a ticket, loss of licence and/or loss of points under the Safe Driver Recognition (SDR) program. Generally speaking, the consequences of failing to comply with a licence endorsement/restrictions result in a fine of $150 and three demerits.
  • For both GDL programs, there is a zero alcohol/drug tolerance level for new drivers, as well as any driver/rider (new or experienced) age 21 and under. First-time offenders will lose their licence for 60 days, lose four points under SDR and have the vehicle seized and impounded for three days, plus pay for towing, storage, and a DWI course.
  • New drivers and riders are not allowed to use any type of cellphone while driving – neither hand-held nor hands-free. The fine is $280 and four demerit points. New drivers/riders caught using their cellphone while driving (distracted driving) for the second time within one year will have the vehicle they are driving seized for seven days.

Rules to live by

  • Practice, practice, practice! And practice exactly the way you were taught by your certified instructor.
  • If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. If you’re going to drive, don’t drink.
  • Know and follow all restrictions outlined on your licence.
  • Gradually expose yourself to different weather conditions and times of day.
  • If you have questions about the road test or the rules of the road, #AskAnExaminer on social media or email askanexaminer@sgi.sk.ca.
  • Supervising drivers should visit the SGI website and review the latest editions of the Saskatchewan Driver Handbook and read A Guide to Supervising New Drivers. Some things may have changed since they got their licence.

View more information on new impaired driving laws and consequences. Follow SGI on Facebook and Twitter for safety tips to #TakeCareOutThere.

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