Dangers of Texting While Driving

11 teenage drivers are killed each day as result of texting and driving.

There are more than 1.5 million vehicle crashes each year caused by distracted drivers using their cellphones that result in about 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries. Texting while driving accounts for about 25% of all vehicle crashes in this country and is the leading cause of death among teens – 11 teenage drivers are killed each day as result of texting and driving.

Many states, including Massachusetts, have laws banning texting while driving. Some states have outlawed the use of handheld cellphones while driving altogether. Despite the crackdown, using cellphones while driving – particularly texting or answering emails – is still a major problem.

Why is Texting and Driving Dangerous?

  • Texting while operating a vehicle increases the chance of a crash by 23 times
  • Instead of watching the road, the driver’s eyes are looking at messages
  • The driver’s mind is focused on reading or sending a message, not on driving
  • If you’re driving 55 mph while texting, your vehicle will travel the length of a football field without looking at the road
  • A study shows that while sending a text, the driver’s eyes are looking away from road for 5 seconds

Texting vs. Drunk Driving

An experiment by Car and Driver magazine in 2010 showed that texting and driving may actually be worse than driving while intoxicated.

In the experiment, drivers were required to stop at 70 mph and the stopping distance was measured. A legally drunk driver’s stopping distance increased by four feet over a sober driver. While reading an email, it took another driver an additional 36 feet to stop. Texting while driving added 70 feet to the stopping distance.

Why Do Drivers Text?

According to a survey, 23% of drivers said they text because they feel they may miss something important and 43% said they wanted to stay connected with friends and family.

There’s an App for That

There are several apps that allow the driver to keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while still being able to receive a text.

DriveMode – From AT&T automatically kicks in when the vehicle is traveling at more than 25 mph and responds to all emails and texts by sending a message to the sender that the recipient is driving and will respond later.

DriveOff – For Android phones that disables apps and blocks incoming texts and calls when the vehicle is moving more than 10 mph.

DriveScribe – Blocks texts and calls when the vehicle is in motion. This app will also alert your teen driver if they are going too fast.

Although these apps greatly help cut down on distracted driving, the best thing to do is shut off the phone or put it in the trunk while driving. If you must text, respond to an email or make a call, pull into a parking lot or at the side of the road.

Distracted driving is not only risky, it can also be costly. Fines average $100 for texting and driving in many states. Alaska will fine a driver who texts and drive a whopping $10,000 – for the first offense.

Tips for the Best Elevator Pitch

One of the best networking strategies to make a quick connection with someone is the “elevator pitch” – a short, to-the-point introduction about your business, skills or interests. Following some tips for the best elevator pitch will help your pitch pack a punch.

The “elevator pitch” term comes from a scenario of meeting someone important in an elevator and you have only about 30 seconds to a minute – the average time of an elevator ride – to make an impression and communicate your brand to a potential client or employer.

“When you only have a few minutes of someone’s time, having a well-prepared, elevator pitch can make those few minutes count,” says the University of Denver’s career services. “A successful pitch is where the other person relaxes and says, ‘Interesting. Tell me more.’”

Condensing business goals, life skills or education in 60 seconds or less is not easy. The University of Denver offers these tips for the best elevator pitch:

  • Keep it Simple – Remember, the elevator pitch is a brief summary of who you are, what you or your business can do and why it matters to the potential client or employer. Keep these points in mind when crafting your pitch.
  • Words Matter – Use strong, action-packed words and speak in a confident, personable tone.
  • Be Relevant – List your accomplishments or those of your business that are both relevant and compelling to your contact. It’s not about you – it’s about what you can do for your contact.
  • Practice Makes Perfect – Practice your pitch, but don’t memorize it word for word. You want to sound natural and not rehearsed.
  • Make a Connection – End your pitch with a question to your audience to draw them into the conversation.

If you’re looking for a job, Forbes recommends that you clearly describe the field you are interested in, your skills and how you would benefit your potential employer’s business. Forbes says that a good pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for?

Remember to tailor your elevator pitch to your audience, not you. While the people are listening to your pitch, they’re asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?” So, be sure you are focused on how you would benefit them.

This example from Forbes demonstrates a typical pitch from a job seeker to a potential employer: “I am a human resources professional with 10 years’ experience working for consumer products companies.”

Forbes says that the pitch would be more powerful if the person said, “I am a human resources professional with a strong track record in helping to identify and recruit top-level talent into management.”

Elevators pitches can be used as a follow up phone call, at a career fair or at a networking event. The pitches don’t always have to be verbal – they can be used in an email introduction.

Follow these tips for the best elevator pitch and keep ahead of the pack at your next networking or career fair event. Or, even a chance meeting in an elevator.





Tips for Driving Safely in Winter

There is nothing more nerve-wracking than driving in snow and particularly on ice. Following some tips for driving safely in winter will help keep your nerves from getting frayed.

Be Prepared

Coolant – Get your vehicle ready for winter. If you haven’t changed your antifreeze in the past few years, have the coolant system flushed and put in fresh antifreeze. Remember, the coolant has to be a 50-50 mix with water.

Battery and wipers – Your battery is on borrowed time if it’s five years old or more. Replace it. Check your wipers and replace them if they streak or skip across the windshield. Always keep the windshield washer reservoir filled.

Tires and gas – Make sure your tires are set at the proper inflation levels. The inflation rate is typically on a placard attached to the driver’s door jamb. Always keep your gas tank at least half filled during the winter months.

Emergency kit – It’s a good idea to have an emergency kit in your vehicle. This should include an ice scraper/brush, jumper cables, a shovel, sand, a blanket, flares, battery-powered compressor and a flashlight. Watch weather reports and plan to allow extra time when snow arrives.

Driving in Snow

Slow and steady – If you must drive during a snowfall, take it slow. Avoid quick starts, accelerations and stops. Keep a steady, slow pace. Also, avoid quick turns. Remember, speed limits are for dry roads – not icy or snow-covered ones.

Stay back – Make sure you have plenty of room behind the vehicle you are following. If the vehicle in front of you suddenly stops, you will need extra room to slow down and stop on a snow-covered road.

No high beams – When driving in snow at night, do not use high beams as they will reflect off the falling snow and reduce visibility. Use fog lights and the regular headlights.

Skidding – If you start to skid or slide, take your foot off the accelerator and do not brake. Steer slowly into the skid and you will straighten out. If possible, avoid stopping on an icy or snow-covered road. Also, do not use cruise control on a slippery road.

Slippery hills – If you going up a, incline or hill, try to get some momentum before going up. Avoid stopping on a slippery hill. If you’re going downhill, take it slow but steady.

Bridges – Be extra careful when driving on a bridge or overpass. These typically freeze up quickly.

What to do when stuck in snow

Get off the road – If you get stuck or break down in snow, try to get your vehicle off the road in a safe spot. Put on your hazard lights and stay with the vehicle.

Keep warm – To keep warm, run the engine for ten minutes at a time with the heat set on high. Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow to avoid carbon monoxide buildup. It’s a good idea to crack open a window while the car is idling should carbon monoxide filter inside.

Keep in mind these tips for driving safely in winter. Spring is around the corner!






So What About The Law [Radio Broadcast February 2017]

“So what about that law?” Radio Show

Sunday 10:30 AM WATD 95.9 FM

Lois Drukman, my insurance broker, and the show’s Health, Auto and Home Insurance expert co hosted. We discussed the law as it relates to insurance.



If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.

Lois Drukman
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848
Email: ldrukman@waltermayinsurance.com

So What About The Law [Radio Broadcast January 2017]

“So what about that law?” Radio Show

Sunday 10:30 AM WATD 95.9 FM

Lois Drukman, my insurance broker, and the show’s Health, Auto and Home Insurance expert co hosted. We discussed the law as it relates to insurance.



If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.

Lois Drukman
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848
Email: ldrukman@waltermayinsurance.com

Christmas Safety Tips

The Christmas season is here, one of the most joyous times of the year. It’s the season for family gatherings, decorations and making memories. Unfortunately, it is also the season for fires and accidents – the majority of which can be prevented by following some simple Christmas safety tips.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), December has one of the highest number of house fires. Each Christmas season, some 400 house fires in the US are sparked by holiday decorations resulting in $15 million in property damage. Also, the Electrical Safety Foundation reports that there are some 5,800 injuries each December from falls while people are placing rooftop decorations on their homes.

Here are some Christmas safety tips to keep you, your family, and your home safe during the holiday season.

Christmas trees – There’s nothing like the look and scent of a real Christmas tree as the centerpiece of your home decorations. Real trees, however, can be a fire hazard risk and require care. When selecting a real tree, make sure it is fresh and green and the needles do not fall off when touched. About two inches should be cut from the bottom of the trunk. Water should be added daily to the tree stand to provide moisture.

A dried-out tree is like having a can of gasoline sitting in your living room. If it catches fire, flames can spread very quickly. The NFPA reports that 230 house fires were caused by Christmas trees each year between 2007 and 2011.

The tree should be at least three feet away from any heat source such as a fireplace, stove, radiator or vent. Never place candles on a real tree. Use only Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved lights. Make sure the lights and cords are not damaged. One of every three house fires caused by a Christmas tree is related to an electrical problem.

Lights – Holiday lights should not be used for more than three seasons since they are delicate and can damage easily. Do not use more than three sets of push-in bulb strings together. You should also not use more than 50 screw-in bulb strings together. Check the cords for fraying or damage. Also, check the conditions of the bulbs. As mentioned, make sure the light sets are UL approved. Turn off the lights when leaving your home or going to bed.

Candles – Although real candles can set a mood, they can be dangerous. December is the prime month for candle-related fires. Never leave candles unattended in a room or place them near anything combustible. Place candles on a non-flammable and heat-resistant surface or plate. According to the NFPA, 56% of candle-related house fires are the result of candles being too close to another object.

Extension cords – Never run an extension cord under a rug and make sure it is placed away from where people walk to avoid a tripping hazard. Check the condition of the cord before using it. Make sure the cord is UL approved. Do not overload electrical outlets.

Children and pets – Holiday decorations draw the attention of both children and pets. While adding to the festive ambiance of your home, decorations can be a hazard for your child or pet. Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe are poisonous if ingested. Symptoms of poisoning from these plants include rashes and nausea. If your child exhibits these symptoms, call the National Poison Center at 800-222-1222. Pets can also show similar symptoms and should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

Drink responsibly – The Christmas season is the time for parties. Consider having a designated driver or limit your alcohol intake.

Following these Christmas safety tips will make your Christmas a merry one!





So What About The Law [Radio Broadcast December 2016]

“So what about that law?” Radio Show

Sunday 10:30 AM WATD 95.9 FM

Lois Drukman, my insurance broker, and the show’s Health, Auto and Home Insurance expert co hosted. We discussed the law as it relates to insurance.



If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.

Lois Drukman
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848
Email: ldrukman@waltermayinsurance.com

Thanksgiving Facts

Thanksgiving is one of most people’s favorite holidays. It’s all about gathering with family and friends, enjoying a great meal and pausing to reflect and be grateful for the important things in our lives.

Thanksgiving is rich in history and tradition, truly an American holiday. Although many other countries celebrate a similar holiday, Thanksgiving has its roots right here in Massachusetts in present day Plymouth where the Pilgrims settled after sailing from England seeking a new and better life.


Here are some fun facts and trivia about Thanksgiving:


  • The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 when the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians gathered to celebrate a bountiful harvest. The celebration included food and games and lasted for three days. Although turkey has long been associated with Thanksgiving, deer was actually part of the main course of that first Thanksgiving dinner. 


  • The “Mother of Thanksgiving,” Sarah Josepha Hale, the New Hampshire-born 19th century editor of a women’s magazine and author of the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” campaigned 15 years for a national day of thanksgiving. She advocated the idea in a letter dated Sept. 23, 1863 to President Abraham Lincoln. Days after receiving the letter, Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.


  • The third Thursday of November was celebrated as Thanksgiving Day for a few years. In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved it up a week after being concerned of a short Christmas shopping season. In 1941, Congress moved it back to the fourth Thursday of the month. By the way, our Canadian neighbors celebrate their Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October.


  • The National Turkey Foundation estimates that 88 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day and the average weight of the bird purchased is 15 pounds. The average American eats 17 pounds of turkey a year.


  • The top turkey producing state is Minnesota that in 2011 produced some 46.5 million birds. Minnesota is followed by North Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri and Indiana that account for nearly two-thirds of all turkey production in the US, according to the history Channel.


  • Cranberry sauce is a traditional accompaniment of the Thanksgiving meal. Whole cranberries, not cranberry sauce were likely served on that first Thanksgiving, Massachusetts along with Washington, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Oregon are the top cranberry growing states.


  • Pulling the “wishbone” of a turkey is a long-time tradition. Only the person who pulled the larger piece gets to make a wish.


  • Native Americans called turkey, FIRKEE, which sounds a bit like turkey.


  • Does Eating Turkey really make us sleepy? Yes, it does. Turkey does contain the essential amino acid tryptophan which is a natural sedative. However, so do a lot of other foods, including chicken, beef, pork, beans and cheese. Many people believe that eating turkey is why they are sleepy after the family feast, but most likely there are many factors. The combination of fats and carbohydrates that we eat with the turkey, as well as the large amount of food consumed, (not to forget alcohol in some cases) is most likely the reason why most people feel like taking a nap after their meal.


  • Football and Thanksgiving Day go back to 1876. That was the year when the American Intercollegiate Football Association held its first championship game. By the 1890s, the number of games grew to over 5,000. Colleges such as Princeton and Yale had over 40,000 spectators. The National Football League took up the tradition in 1934 when the Detroit Lions tangled with the Chicago Bears at the University of Detroit Stadium. That game had only 26,000 in attendance.


Enjoy your family and friends and have a Happy Thanksgiving Day!





Get Customers Through Networking

Networking is all about meeting new people, developing relationships and ultimately getting customers for your business. For a business owner, networking is like having a sales team without the cost.

Those who attend a networking event are there for one reason – to grow their business. There is a variety of business people at a networking event, so the potential is there someone is going to need your product or service.

Some advice when you attend a networking event from Kevin Stirtz who developed the “Blow Up Your Business” concept: Enjoy yourself. Be relaxed and friendly. Get to know people. Above all, do not sell.

If and when someone appears to meet your target criteria, ask for their business card. Then follow up with them later to see if there might be a fit.

Here are 10 steps from Kevin Stirtz to help you get customers from networking:

1. Budget time for networking – Set a time budget each week or month for your networking. Plan to attend a specific number of meetings or events where you can network. Make sure your other tasks and responsibilities fit around these meetings. It’s best to balance networking with your other lead generating activities. This way you can measure the value of your networking leads against the time spent acquiring them.

2. The right pick – Pick networking opportunities that put you face to face with people most likely to need what you offer. Or try to meet people who can connect you with people who need what you offer. Both are good prospects.

3. Patience – Understand why you’re there – to begin relationships – not to sell. Networking is the first step in a long dance. Don’t rush.

4. Be selective – Don’t give your cards to everyone. Save your money and some trees. Hand out your card only to people who ask for it.

5. Be inquisitive – Ask people questions. Learn about them and their business. This is how you pre-qualify them. If they meet your target criteria ask for their card. If not, don’t.

6. No selling – Don’t sell yourself. It’s okay to tell people what you do. Give your “30 second commercial” but stop after that. You’re there to gather information and to meet people, not to sell.

7. Be engaging – People love people who are interested in them. Ask questions, listen and engage people. This is the fastest way to develop rapport with someone. It’s also the best way to determine quickly if they’re someone you should be doing business with.

8. Relax – Have fun, relax and enjoy yourself. People like being around people who are relaxed and having fun.

9. No cornering – Don’t corner people and don’t get cornered. Manage your time and conversation so you can meet enough people to justify your time spent networking.

10. Offer referrals. The best way to begin a relationship is by giving someone something – like a referral. It doesn’t cost you anything. If they’re the kind of person you want to do business with, they’ll reciprocate and a valuable, long-term business relationship could develop.

Successful networking depends on your attitude and your focus, says Kevin Stirtz. “The more people you meet who might need your product or service, the more potential customers you can have,” he says.

Homeowner Halloween Safety Tips

Homeowner Halloween safety tips

happy halloweenHalloween time is here, and, although it’s a fun day, it can pose risks to homeowners, children and pets. Check with your insurance agent to make sure your homeowners policy has the proper coverage to protect you and your property. Here are some tips to keep everyone safe and avoid insurance claims and even lawsuits.

It’s up to the homeowner to keep their property safe when welcoming the ghosts and goblins to the front door. Make sure your outside lights are on and the walkway and stairs are clear of any obstacles such as flower pots, ornaments, and wet leaves. This will avoid trips and falls and protect you against any liability claims on your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Serve only pre-packaged candy or fruit. If you are having a Halloween party, remember you are responsible for your guests when it comes to serving alcohol. Do not allow anyone under the legal drinking age to consume alcoholic beverages and be aware of anyone drinking excessively.
Do not use candles in Jack-o-Lanterns or in your home. These can easily be knocked over and cause a fire. Children should not carry candles, even in a Jack-o-Lantern. Use battery-powered candles, flashlights or light sticks.

Use caution when carving pumpkins. This activity should be supervised by an older child or an adult. A pumpkin cutter is the safest tool to use instead of a knife.

If you are stepping out for Halloween, tell your neighbors. Keep lights on inside and out. This will deter not only burglars but vandals as well.

Halloween is not usually a fun time for pets, particularly dogs and cats. They can become frightened or overly excited by the constant ringing of the doorbell, the commotion of you running back and forth to the front door and the voices of the children. Even the strange looking costumes can hype up a dog or cat.

Keep your pets, particularly dogs and cats, away from trick-or-treaters. This not only keeps your guests safe, but your pets as well. A dog that is frightened or feels threatened can bite – it’s their nature, no matter how docile or well-behaved you may think they may be. A dog bite can lead to a claim on your homeowners insurance policy or a lawsuit.

It’s best to keep pets in another room during trick-or-treat hours. Put them in a crate with a towel or blanket over it. Give them their favorite toy and some treats. Also, play some soft music to help drown out the noise from the youngsters.

Don’t leave your pet in a car or outside alone during trick-or-treat hours. They can become easily frightened and anxious if left alone in a car from the noise and strange sights. This can lead to your pet damaging the inside of the vehicle. Also, there have been instances of pets being injured, teased, stolen, and even killed on Halloween when left unattended outside.

If you want your dog to be part of the Halloween fun, there are costumes just for pets. Make sure your dog can tolerate it and that it is not too tight or loose and cumbersome. There are Halloween collars, bandanas and full costumes available for dogs. Be careful nothing on the costume can become a choking hazard. Additionally, make sure parts of the costume can’t become caught on anything.

Your dog’s costume have some reflective stripes if you’re planning on taking him or her trick-or-treating. Make sure you have your dog’s identification tag on its collar. Those strange looking costumed children passing you by on the street could frighten your pet and he or she may try to run off. Should your dog get away from you, it would be easier to find it with the ID tag. Consider getting a microchip implanted in your dog or cat. It allows your pet to be easily tracked down.

Many pet shops sell Halloween treats for pets. Do not give your dog or cat chocolate. A substance in chocolate, the bromine, is toxic to pets. Candy, in general, is not good for your pet since it can cause upset stomachs. Be careful not to leave wrappers around for your pet to consume. These can lead to choking or intestinal blockages. Don’t leave candy lying around where you pet can easily access it. Halloween decorative corn and pumpkins are usually non-toxic but can cause stomach irritation if consumed.

Have fun on Halloween, but make it safe.

If you are in need of an insurance agent or are looking to find out what your insurance options are for your home, auto, health or business please contact me.

Lois Drukman
Independent Insurance Broker
Walter J. May Insurance Agency Inc., Hingham, MA
Direct: 781-740-5421 Cell: 617-827-6848
Email: ldrukman@waltermayinsurance.com

#HappyHalloween  #SSNPG