Have a Safe Trip: Safe Driving Tips for New Drivers

Have a Safe Trip: Safe Driving Tips for New Drivers

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Having finally obtained your license, you should be ready to join some 200 million Americans already behind the wheel. Even though you have successfully passed the tests, that doesn't mean you should become oblivious to the rules and pieces of advice on safe driving. Here are a couple of tips which you should apply during this period.

Obey all the rules

As you begin to drive, you'll soon notice even more how some drivers fail to obey certain traffic rules, such as using blinkers. Still, even though you don't see them crashing the next second, that doesn't mean you should become as reckless as they are. When it comes to driving, the rules are there to be followed, not broken.

Keep the distance

You've heard it before, and here it is again. Do not tailgate! This is one of the reasons for so many chain reaction accidents. Keep the safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Remember the 3-second rule? Pick a random object in front of you (a tree, a house, a sign…) and notice when the vehicle in front of you passes it. At that moment, start slowly counting "one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand". Should you pass the object before finishing the count, you're way too close, no matter how far it may seem to you.

Stay focused

Instead of don't drink and drive, it could also be said "don't eat and drive", or "don't text and drive"… The list is quite extensive. Watching the road, driving (and chatting with friends) is enough to be going on in such small space. Also, chatting doesn't mean turning around to say something to the person in the backseat. Channel surfing can be too much for you at the moment as well. For a newbie, it's vital to have as few distractions in your car as possible.

Get adjusted

It's highly likely that you'll be taking the car from someone in your family, unless you've already bought your own. In that case, remember that you're not really a 100% copy of your elder sister/brother, and you're probably much different from your parents. In a nutshell, always check if everything is in place. Adjust the seat and the mirrors to suit you before you set off.

No DUI

Driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating while impaired (OWI)…There are lots of definitions for offenses concerning driving while drunk. If it still happened that you were caught driving under the influence in Illinois, visit this site for some timely legal help. DUI cases can have tough consequences, so it's more than recommendable to consult with a good attorney if you have failed to avoid such trouble.

In addition, take notice that sleep deprivation and tiredness can be risk factors, so avoid driving when you are feeling exhausted.

Listen to the forecast

When you are still fresh out of driving school, you probably haven't covered driving in all seasons and weather conditions, but you must have noticed how more accidents occur when it's raining or snowing. Weather conditions can make driving rather difficult, so be extra careful when the roads are wet or slippery – that implies longer braking time, and you should keep an even greater distance between the cars. 3-second rule is fine in close to ideal conditions.

It's OK to say no

The fact that you have successfully obtained your license may seem like a dream come true for you and your friends. You have probably already made plans about all the places you wish to visit, and your besties are expecting you to drop them off at all times, even if it means driving around the whole town. It's hard to decline a friend in need, but it's perfectly recommendable when you're still gaining the habit of driving.

So, now you should be completely ready! Take your documents, and go for a safe ride. Practice makes perfect after all, but only if you bear our tips in mind.

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I Met Survivors Of The Seton Hall Fire

Rowan University hosted a fire safety presentation given by two of the worst burn victims of the Seton Hall fire of 2000, and I couldn't be more inspired.

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Last week, my news editor for Rowan's newspaper, The Whit, informed me of an event happening on campus that needed to be covered. She told me it was a fire safety presentation called, "After The Fire," and that it was some kind of short documentary. I was pretty much going into this blindly.

I got to the Student Center and took my seat in the ballroom, waiting for the presentation to start. The projectors were set up to display the documentary, and I noticed the title: "After The Fire, A True Story of Heroes and Cowards."

I looked around at all the students that were filing in, and the atmosphere started to become a little tense as the clock continued ticking away.

The Residence Hall Association (RHA) introduced the presentation, and I began to think that the documentary was just going to be a boring, typical, "stop, drop and roll," presentation that every school hosts. Then, the President of RHA introduced Alvaro Llanos and Shawn Simons as two of the worst burn victims from the Seton Hall fire of 2000, a fire which killed three and injured fifty-eight others.

Alvaro and Shawn stepped up on stage and I was instantly leaning forward in my chair. They introduced the documentary and gave the audience a forewarning of what was held in the film, including the points of view from their families, the nurses, and the investigation process of the arsonists responsible for the incident.

Then, the film began.

As someone who has never really seen the effects of a fire, sitting in that room watching the devastating results, I was in shock.

The fire was started by two students drunk after a sports win against a rival school. They tore down a bulletin board in the third-floor lounge and lit it on fire as a prank to set off the fire alarms. From there, the couches and furniture in the lounge caught fire and it spread quickly.

Students struggled to find exits in the thick smoke; one boy even jumped out the window of his third-floor dorm room.

I watched in horror at the effect it had on Shawn and Alvaro, as the burns to their bodies were quite extensive. For a while, the doctors and their families were afraid that they wouldn't make it.

But they did.

The documentary then showed their recovery process, and how they overcame the tragedy that had been forced upon them little by little.

But it wasn't just a physical obstacle that the two men had to now overcome; it was psychological as well. Having to now deal with the scars of the incident in a society full of judgment, I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like.

What makes me angry is the "justice" served to the criminals who caused this disaster. Only five years in prison, for the murder of three, and the injury to so many more because the court deemed the event to be circumstantial. Even then, one of the convicted was able to be let out early on parole.

I see no real justice.

Really, what justice can you give to the families who lost their children?

After the documentary, Alvaro and Shawn gave a short presentation showing a statistic of college dorm fires, and Shawn read a small snippet of a book dedicated to the trauma they endured. Then, they held a Q&A; open to the students.


When the event ended, students got to individually talk to both Shawn and Alvaro, buy their book, and take pictures. I got to interview them for my article, and even just by talking to them, I could easily understand how much they have been changed, not just physically but mentally as well, through the entire experience. They are so grateful for the opportunity to have a second chance at life and it really got me thinking.

How many times does my dorm building have fire drills that I complain about? How many times do I take my time to leave my building because I assume it's just another drill, and I don't want to be stuck standing outside in the cold? Too many times.

I really understand now why fire drills and housing regulations are put in place. They may be "annoying" or "inconvenient", but they are there for a reason that outweighs any complaint anyone may have: safety.

People tend to really take life for granted. I know I have at one point or another in my life, but I won't take my life for granted through fire drills any longer. It's meant to prepare you for a real-life situation.

Because one day, "just another fire drill" could be something real, and I'm not about to lose my life out of ignorance.

So to all those who look at fire drills like they're stupid: take it seriously.

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How to Cope With Anxiety and Depression

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Anxiety is something we all experience from time to time. Every now and then there is a stressful situation causing us to feel worry and restlessness. The only problem is, people suffering from anxiety only know the feeling too well since it has become too frequent in their lives, and it can amount to a panic attack. Even worse, anxiety often leads to depression, and it is extremely difficult to deal with these conditions. However, it is not impossible. Here is what you need to implement if you begin to feel/are feeling anxious or depressed, and you have started to notice the unpleasant emotions are appearing more and more often.

Develop a habit

While there is a plethora of tips about what needs to be done when you have an anxiety attack, the tricks often don't seem to work. Why? Because you haven't created a habit of calming yourself down in that way. If you wish for any strategy to work, you have to train your body and your mind into accepting it. The more you practice, the quicker the peace and relaxation come.

Decide on a technique and start applying it. You can choose deep breathing, meditation, taking yoga or tai chi lessons – whichever appeals to you and suits your current situation. Even going to a spa center is a strategy. The point is to dedicate enough of your precious time to your health, and to do it regularly.

Get healthy

Some of the disorders can be inherited, but we are definitely stronger and less prone to them if we keep ourselves in good shape. It's only too easy to become anxious or feel down if you are physically and mentally exhausted.

For this reason, take good care of your body. Eat healthily and regularly. Opt for foods that will keep you full for longer, and avoid immediate sugar boosters, which cause a sudden energy drop afterwards. Make sure you get enough sleep every single night, and do exercise regularly.

Use natural remedies

Along with changing your diet, try to use natural remedies which have long been known for their calming effects: Chamomile, Rhodiola, Valerian root, Lavender, saffron…Recent research has shown that using the best CBD oil for anxiety is extremely recommendable, too, but you should always consult your doctor first.

Spend time with friends and family

As a species, we are social beings, and you have to embrace this fact. In short, it means that we are in need of each other's company, and we feel bad if we don't spend enough quality time with our loved ones. Always make some time for a friendly chat, as this should help you feel better.

Go to parks

Or any other area with plenty of greenery. You don't have to be a fan of camping so as to feel the benefits of spending some time in nature. Like it or not, but nature has a calming effect on our minds and bodies, so dedicate some time to going for a walk in the nearby park or a forest, but stay safe.

Change your focus

This is another technique that needs practicing, and it's not just about changing what you are thinking about. You have to train yourself to change the emotions the moment you start thinking about something nice and pleasant.

Get professional help

Most importantly, do not delay seeking professional advice if you notice any of the symptoms. Anxiety and depression are health issues, and you should treat them as such. If you had high temperature, for example, you would visit a doctor. It is the same way with mental health – don't neglect the symptoms.

To sum up, ask yourself one question: are you really doing everything in your power to overcome the conditions? Start applying the advice we have compiled for you, and the results should start showing after a while.

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