Five Things You Need to Know Today: August 26

Since I like things to come in fives (and tens), here are five things YOU need to know TODAY!

1. Check the Calendar

Gas prices don’t just seem to go up around holidays and long weekends, they really do rise. So don’t wait until August 31 to fill the tank for your Labor Day (unless there’s a prize for paying the most for gas). Fueling up can also be more expensive on weekends, so visit the pump midweek.

2. AAA: Fewer Americans Will Travel over Labor Day Weekend

AAA says fewer Americans will travel over the Labor Day weekend than did a year ago because of the weak economy and higher airfares.

The auto club predicted Wednesday (August 24) that 31.5 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home between September 1 and the holiday on Monday, September 5, a decrease of 2.4% from a year ago.

Most will travel by vehicle, but 8% will fly. AAA said air travel will decline because fares are 13% higher than a year ago.

3. Texting and Driving

We live in an age where people are constantly trying to contact us and when that call or text is sent to someone operating a vehicle it can have devastating consequences.

Let's Go RVing to Jerome in beautiful Verde Valley, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Associated Press reports that Texting and Driving has reached epidemic proportions killing one person every 11 minutes in the United States making it four times more dangerous than drinking and driving.

A 2009 Pew Research survey revealed 75% of teenagers admitted to texting while driving. a frightening statistic considering The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration concluded in a September 2010 report that nearly 6,000 people were killed and 448,000 injured in 2009 (latest statistics available) as a result of getting distracted while operating a motor vehicle.

4. I Did What My GPS Told Me

Today’s travelers often over-rely on navigation systems in their recreational vehicles, cars, and trucks. They use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and smart phones to find the shortest and fastest routes and for assistance with “turn by turn” directions to their destinations.

These systems are a great help, but they can also get us into situations that get us lost, or even killed.

In many other areas, numerous abandoned or closed dirt roads may lie between you and your destination. Particularly in the Southwest desert areas, the GPS may not know where the open roads are, or even if there are any navigable roads. You may be directed off the main route to follow a road or trail that you can’t see.

Here’s where you need to use common sense! Believe what you see, not what your GPS tells you. Don’t go where there is no road even if your GPS device shows you one. In many cases you will be breaking the law and endangering yourself, and anyone traveling with you.

Let's Go RVing to Canyonlands National Park, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Also, your navigation system can lose power or reception. Your GPS is useless if you suddenly find yourself without satellites. There is no cell phone service in most remote desert and mountain areas.

That’s why you need to bring a good old paper map on ALL road trips. And if you have a AAA membership, they’ll give you the maps free and even print custom ones for your route.

5. Preventing CO poisoning

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless, and potentially deadly. Here are some safety reminders to prevent CO poisoning:

  • When using a propane stove or oven, open a vent or window and turn on the range hood fan to let out any possible carbon monoxide and never use stove burners or the RV oven for space heating
  • Never use portable propane camping equipment inside your RV (e.g. camp stoves, barbecues, lanterns, and catalytic or radiant heaters)
  • Have everyone leave the RV and get medical attention if an individual shows physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning like: headaches, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, impaired judgment, lack of physical coordination
  • Ensure that you have a CO detector—and make sure it’s working. Test weekly when RVing, and change the battery at least once a year

Have a great weekend.

Until next time, safe RV travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Worth Pondering…
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

—Goethe

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