Winter Storms and the Novice Driver
Getting behind the wheel for the first time on a wintery day can be nerve-wracking, even for an otherwise "invincible" teenager. A novice driver's first on-the-road experience with winter weather driving should not be during a major storm. It's better to wait until conditions are less severe.
With the potential for schools to dismiss early on Thursday due to the impending winter storm, reminding your teen driver of these tips in advance may increase their ability to get back home safely in the early stages of the storm.
If your teen must drive during winter weather, remind them of the basics.
• Give 'em some room: Explain to the young driver the importance of maintaining adequate space between vehicles, demonstrating in a safe location the difference in stopping distances on dry pavement and slick roads.
• See and be seen: Before starting out on the road, make sure the vehicle's windows, headlights and taillights are cleared of ice and snow.
• Be prepared: Always be prepared when traveling during the winter by carrying a winter survival kit in the vehicle. View the Iowa DOT's winter preparedness video on YouTube with your novice driver at http://www.youtube.com/iowadot.
• Check on road conditions: Visit http://511ia.org/to discover all of the ways in which travel information is available via the Web, social media, phone and your mobile device (but never while driving).
The American Heart Association of Iowa held their first Legislative Breakfast of 2016 on Wednesday, January 13th at the Iowa State Capitol focusing on the need for a state funded Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. As a federally-funded program, SRTS provides the financial resources to repair sidewalks, hire crossing guards, and remove the barriers that discourage parents from allowing their students to walk to school. Because Iowa has received limited federal funds, the American Heart Association is encouraging the state legislature to invest $1.8 million to create a state-funded Safe Routes to School program.
Supporters and volunteers from across the state joined the American Heart Association at the Iowa State Capitol to talk with their lawmakers about why they support a state-funded SRTS program due to the health, safety and economic benefits it will provide for all Iowans, and especially children. Supporters were able to talk with approximately 50 Iowa legislators who were in attendance at the breakfast including Senator Liz Mathis, Representative Dave Heaton, Senator Mike Gronstal, Representative Linda Miller, Senator Janet Petersen and Representative Dave Maxwell, who is also a heart disease survivor.
One supporter who came to talk with legislators at the event was Ashley Christensen, Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Northeast Iowa. She talked about the health benefits saying, “Children today are not getting enough physical activity which leads to many health issues. And one of the best ways to create more opportunities for our children to be active is through supporting Safe Routes to School.”
There are safety and economic benefits, along with many others, that a SRTS program would provide as well. It would cut down on pedestrian accidents because in areas without sidewalks, children are twice as likely to be struck by a vehicle. And allowing school districts to cut even just one bus route would save a school district $37,000 per year, easing the financial burden on schools already struggling with budget cuts.
To learn more about Safe Routes to School in Iowa the public is encouraged to contact the American Heart Association’s Safe Routes to School Campaign Manager Carrie Mueller at Carrie.Mueller@heart.org or 515-414-3212 or visit www.HealthierIowa.com.
About the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association:
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit www.heart.org.
Some of the headlines you can read about this month:
Upper Explorerland RPC has funding to assist First Time Homebuyers and Qualified Veterans with down payment and rehabilitation assistance in the Cities of Decorah, Oelwein, Elkader or Marquette.
With these IFA funds, homebuyers can receive up to $24,999 in assistance for rehabilitation and down payment assistance.
For an application and more information on the First Time Homebuyer Program, please contact Upper Explorerland RPC, at 563-864-7551 and ask for Sarah Snitker, ext. 101 or Michaela Collins, ext. 102. Application can be obtained online at www.uerpc.org.
SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL COORDINATOR
The Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments (INRCOG) in Waterloo is seeking a Safe Routes to School Coordinator to work with school staff, children, parent/teacher groups, and community members to increase the number of families and youth walking and biking to school. Bachelor’s degree in Leisure Services, Youth and Human Services, Health Promotion and Education, Public Administration, Marketing, or other related field and one year experience in implementing school age programs, public outreach, or public relations required. Applications may be requested by calling (319) 235-0311 and will be accepted until the position is filled. EOE