Protecting your roof from high wind damage and rain

flowers

April showers, bring may flowers

 

We have all heard this quote before, but April showers also bring high winds and roof damage.  Spring is also a time for planning home improvements like that long awaited new roof.  Make sure your contractor is installing that new roof properly to ensure long term protection for your home.

The roof deck forms one of your home’s critical shields of protection from high winds and rain. Unfortunately, if this shield is not fastened properly, it may be lost during high winds.

While the loss of roof coverings can make your home vulnerable to water infiltration, loss of the roof’s sheathing, often referred to as decking, can result in excessive damage to the structure of your home and your possessions.

As wind blows over the roof, uplift forces pull at the roof. These uplift forces try to pull off the roof covering and the roof deck. When the roof decking is blown off, the inside of your home becomes exposed to the elements. Trusses or rafters may become unstable and the entire roof may collapse.

Tips

The following techniques can be used during roof installation on both new and existing homesand are best performed by a licensed, professional contractor.

  • Install a roof deck of 5/8” thick solid plywood to maximize wind and windborne debris resistance with 10d or 8d ring shank nails spaced at 6 inches along the panel edges and every 6 inches in the field of the plywood panel. Make sure that the nails penetrate the decking directly into the roof framing.
  • When re-roofing your existing home, be sure to look at the attachment of the roof deck to the roof framing and make sure the nails are spaced at 6″ on center. If it’s not, add fasteners as described above to strengthen the attachment.
  • Create a ‘sealed roof deck” secondary water barrier by installing self-adhering flashing tape or modified polymer bitumen strips, commonly called peel and seal, over the joints in your roof deck. This will help keep out the rain if the roof covering is damaged or destroyed by severe weather.
  • Install one layer of #30 underlayment, sometimes called felt paper, over the roof decking and sealed roof deck. The felt helps with drainage in the event water gets under the roof covering.
  • All nails used to attach the roof sheathing must penetrate the underlying roof trusses or rafters, otherwise the sheathing will not be securely attached and can be more easily torn away by high winds. Inadequate attachment of roof sheathing, resulting from poor workmanship, has been a common cause of roof failures during hurricanes and other storms with high winds.

Finally, you can significantly increase the roofs’s sheathing resistance to uplift from the wind by applying a bead of construction adhesive using a caulking gun along both sides of the intersection of the roof decking and the rafters or trusses. Be sure to look for a premium, APA AFG-01 rated adhesive.

Benefits of Using This Mitigation Strategy

  • Helps to prevent damage to a structure and its contents
  • Helps to prevent injuries to occupants

What is A Sealed Roof Deck?

A How To Guide for Renters

Fire escapes on an apartment building in Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA

Fire escapes on an apartment building in Manhattan, New York City, NY, USA

Whether your goal is to avoid mowing a lawn or have unlimited access to a pool and fitness facility you never have to clean, or if you just plain don’t want to buy a house, you may be one of the 43 million households in the U.S. who rent a home, apartment or condo. In fact, according to Rent.com’s 2015 rental market report, rental inventory is near a 20 year low, meaning more people than ever are renting.

If you’re moving into a place of your own for the first time, the do’s and don’ts of renting can sometimes feel overwhelming. What happens if your fridge breaks? Should you tackle that sink clog or leave it for the landlord? Is renting even the right choice for you?

While you’ve probably always had someone in your life to remind you to clean out the lint trap in the dryer or to please not pour bacon grease down the kitchen sink, you’re on your own now. Yes, it might be nice if mom and dad could periodically stop over to check the smoke alarm batteries or tighten that door knob, but it’s not always possible.

That’s where we can help. We’ve compiled our best advice for first-time renters. Be sure to check back periodically for updates and if there’s a topic you’d like to see us tackle, send us your thoughts at Eriesense@erieinsurance.com.

  • 9 Reasons to Quit Hating on Renting: Here’s the truth…It’s OK that you haven’t bought a house yet or may not ever. Renting can be awesome, especially when you’re just starting out. Need proof? Our blogger gives you her completely (un)scientific list.
  • How to Steer Clear of Apartment Rental Scams: With more people renting, rental scams continue to pop up. Knowing how rental scams work and how to avoid falling for them goes a long way when it comes to protecting yourself. Here’s how.
  • 5 Things to Tell a New Renter: All good landlords should share these tips with tenants, but in case they forget, we’ve got you covered.
  • Who is Responsible for Repairs: Are there ever times when you would be responsible for making repairs to your apartment rather than your landlord? If you’re not sure, read this article. Think you know? Read this article anyway.
  • 8 Maintenance Hacks Every Renter Should Know: While most rental agreements include a landlord who takes care of your major maintenance worries, there are a few things you can do to keep service calls to a minimum and protect your security deposit in the long run.
  • Buying Renters Insurance? 6 Things to Consider: Everything you own has value, and most people actually underestimate the value of their things. That could leave you woefully under protected. We can help you figure it out.

– See more at: https://www.erieinsurance.com/Blog/2016/Topic-Hub-Renters#sthash.DljYjXan.dpuf

Quiz: Ready or Not? 6 Questions to Test Your Storm Prep Knowledge

Severe weather affects us all. Every region of the United States is prone to one or more natural hazards. It’s important for business owners to plan for potential interruptions, such as weather events, to help reduce losses, jump start recovery and re-open the business as quickly as possible. To help you get started, here are some facts you should know. This information is provided by the safety experts at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). – See more at: https://www.erieinsurance.com/Blog/2015/mother-nature-quiz#sthash.p1IfZgzP.dpuf

New Distracted Driving Laws Could Soon Be on the Books

distracted driving laws

By now, we’ve all heard about the dangers of distracted driving.

Texting while driving is still one of the most common forms of distracted driving, with about one-third of drivers admitting to tapping away behind the wheel. (Another three-quarters of drivers say they’ve seen others do it.)

Currently, there are only 14 states with distracted driving laws that ban cell phone use while driving. But political insiders suggest that other states may soon follow suit. That’s because three Congressmen recently introduced legislation that would spur more states to ban all phone use behind the wheel.

Find out about this development by reading the source article at The Hill.

Making Sense of Left Lane Driving

 

left lane driving

Left lane driving is a touchy subject these days.

Over in Washington state, troopers stationed in unmarked cars are now ticketing slow left lane drivers. Meanwhile, Georgia recently increased the penalty for violating the state’s left lane driving law to a misdemeanor charge.

Regular citizens are also weighing in about left lane driving. There are now several websites and Facebook® groups devoted to sharing the message that left lanes are no places for slow drivers. (Just one is Left Lane Drivers of America.) The National Motorists Association also took a stand when it declared June Lane Courtesy Month in an effort to remind drivers about yielding to faster traffic.

Traditional driving etiquette says that the left lane is for faster drivers looking to pass other cars. This is one reason why it’s commonly called the “passing lane.” Besides aiding in the efficiency of traffic and preventing traffic jams, reserving left lanes for faster cars may also keep the roads safer.

That’s because research shows that accidents stem more from the variance of average drivers’ speeds than from speeding itself. Slower drivers in the left lane will cause faster drivers to slow down, speed up and change lanes more than they should. And that, researchers say, causes the majority of accidents.

States take a stand

Today, every state has legal measures to regulate left lane driving. In 29 states, any car that’s going slower than the surrounding traffic needs to move into the right lane. Eleven other states take it a step further than that: They mandate that the left lane is only for passing or turning.

No matter what your views are on this issue, it’s a good idea to know your state’s left lane driving laws—and to drive safely no matter which lane you’re in.

Source: Making Sense of Left Lane Driving | Erie Insurance

How to Survive a Power Outage

how to survive a power outage

Power outages can occur at any time—and they’re almost always unexpected.

When it comes to how to survive a power outage, there are few things to keep in mind beyond candle safety and digging out board games. By taking a few measures beforehand, you’ll be more comfortable –and less panicked—when the power goes out.

Prep for a possible emergency

While some power outages last no more than a few hours, those caused by natural disasters and storms can last for days. For that reason, first make sure you’re prepared to handle a worst-case scenario by compiling an emergency kit and creating an emergency action plan.

Some essentials that will help you survive a power outage include:

  • At least two weeks of nonperishable food for each member of your household (don’t forget pets!)
  • A least a gallon of water per person for those two weeks
  • A manual can opener
  • Flashlights for every room in the house (and possibly even a battery-powered camping lantern)
  • A battery-powered radio
  • Portable fans that operate with batteries
  • Plenty of batteries
  • Matches
  • Books, cards and board games to pass the time
  • Surge protectors for your electronic devices
  • Disposable dishes and silverware
  • Hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes
  • An extra supply of medications and a plan for anyone in your home that relies on electrically powered devices for a health condition

Consider investing in a back-up method of heating food

It’s helpful to have a means of heating food that doesn’t depend on electricity. Some options include a camping stove or a barbeque grill. You can also manually ignite a gas stove—just make sure you have matches and know the proper technique.

Remember: Only use grills, generators and other carbon producing items outside. These items can produce carbon monoxide, which can be deadly if used indoors.

Know how to stay warm (or cool)

You’ll also want to have a plan to keep warm in cold weather (or cool in hot weather). Bundle up in layers and stay indoors to keep warm when you’re dealing with cold weather. Stay out of the sun, seek shade and wear light colors to remain cool in hot weather. Don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.

If you heat or cool your home with a method that doesn’t depend on electricity, make sure you have plenty of wood, newspapers and/or fuel stocked away.

Finally, if you are especially concerned about power outages, consider purchasing a back-up generator.

Don’t drink the (tap) water

When the power goes out, water purification systems may not be functioning. So fill up your tub with water—just don’t use it for cooking or cleaning without first purifying it. (Better yet: Drink from your bottled water supply.)

If you’ve run out of bottled or distilled water, boil or disinfect tap water first. Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute. If you don’t have a heating source, bring out the bleach. Add eight drops of bleach to a gallon of clear water (or 16 drops if your water is cloudy). Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before drinking.

Know what food is safe to eat

In an emergency, you should have nonperishable food items stocked and stored. But what about the food in your refrigerator—will it still be any good during or after the power outage?

Avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors if you can. This will keep the cool air in for as long as possible. A full freezer will safely hold food for 48 hours; a half- full freezer will safely hold food for up to 24 hours.

If the power is out for longer than four hours, refrigerated items may start to spoil. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food before cooking or eating it. Throw away any food that has a temperature higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Power outages can be stressful. By being prepared, you’ll be able to survive a power outage without compromising your personal safety or running out of food, water or things to do.

Source: How to Survive a Power Outage | Erie Insurance

Driving Etiquette Tips

Learn more about driving etiquette.

Etiquette can be a confusing thing. And that’s especially true when it comes to driving etiquette. The horn is there for a reason, but no one wants to be that person who beeps at every little thing.

Fortunately, Lizzie Post is here to help. Lizzie is the great-great granddaughter of Emily Post, America’s original etiquette expert. She works at the Emily Post Institute, where she authors books, delivers speeches and co-hosts the Awesome Etiquette podcast. Here’s her advice on which situations merit a honk–and which don’t.

ContentHub_HornHonking_long

Wondering about how to handle other sticky driving situations beyond whether to honk or not? Then check out Lizzie’s advice on how to handle other common–and confusing–driving etiquette issues.

Teenagers and Driving

Teen-Driver-MaleDriver-Web700wTeen drivers have crash rates 3 times those of drivers 20 and older per mile driven. Immaturity leads to speeding and other risky habits, and inexperience means teen drivers often don’t recognize or know how to respond to hazards.

Graduated licensing reduces teens’ driving risk. Graduated licensing allows teens to practice driving with supervision before getting their license and restricts driving after they are licensed. Today all states have at least some elements of graduated licensing. The current best practices are a minimum intermediate license age of 17, a minimum permit age of 16, at least 70 required hours of supervised practice driving, and, during the intermediate stage, a night driving restriction starting at 8 p.m. and a ban on all teen passengers.

Alcohol is a factor in many teen crashes. Although young drivers are less likely than adults to drink and drive, their crash risk is higher when they do. The combination of drinking and driving is made worse by teenagers’ relative inexperience both with drinking and with driving.

Every State has different laws regarding teen drivers.  Here are the specifics to New York State.

TO GET A LEARNERS LICENSE YOU MUST:
Have a minimum age of 161
BEFORE GETTING A LICENSE OR RESTRICTED LICENSE YOU MUST:
Have a mandatory holding period of 6 months
Have a minimum supervised driving time of 50 hours, 15 of which must be at night
Have a minimum age of 16, 6 months1
RESTRICTIONS DURING INTERMEDIATE OR RESTRICTED LICENSE STAGE:
Nighttime restrictions prohibited at all times in NYC (five boroughs); all times in Nassau and Suffolk Counties except for limited (5 a.m.-9 p.m.) travel to work, school and driver’s education, proof required; otherwise 9 p.m.-5 a.m.
Passenger restrictions (family members excepted unless otherwise noted) no more than 1 passenger younger than 211
MINIMUM AGE AT WHICH RESTRICTIONS MAY BE LIFTED:
Nighttime restrictions until age 17 with driver education; until age 18 without (min. age: 17)
Passenger restrictions until age 17 with driver education; until age 18 without (min. age: 17)

1In New York, the minimum age for an unrestricted driver’s license is 18 (17 if the applicant has completed driver education). New York has a passenger restriction that applies to permit holders and license holders younger than 18 (17 if the applicant has completed driver education).

Beginning drivers and crash risk

Getting a license is an important milestone for teens and parents, but being a beginning driver carries special risks. Per mile traveled, teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash than all but the oldest adult drivers. During their first months of licensure, teens have a particularly high risk of crashing. One reason is inexperience. Another is immaturity.

When teenage drivers crash, the contributing factors are typically different than adult drivers’ crashes. Characteristics of teens’ fatal crashes include:

  • Driver error. Compared with adults’ fatal crashes, those of teens more often involve driver error.
  • Speeding. Excessive speed is a factor in about a third of teens’ fatal crashes.
  • Single-vehicle crashes. Many fatal crashes involve only the teen’s vehicle. Typically these are high-speed crashes in which the teenage driver loses control.

Inexperienced 16 year-olds have especially high crash rates
per 10,000 drivers in their first months of licensure

Graph 1 image

  • Passengers. Teens’ fatal crashes are more likely to occur when young passengers are riding with them. This risk increases with the addition of every passenger. Just over half of teen passenger deaths occur in crashes with teen drivers.
  • Alcohol. Teens are less likely than adults to drive after drinking alcohol, but their crash risk is substantially higher when they do. About 1 in 5 fatally injured teen drivers have blood alcohol concentrations of 0.08 percent or more.
  • Night driving. Per mile driven, the fatal crash rate of 16-19 year-olds is about 4 times as high at night as it is during the day.
  • Low safety belt use. Most teens who are killed in crashes aren’t using their safety belts.

Student driver

How graduated licensing can help

Crashes are the leading cause of death among American teens, accounting for nearly a third of all deaths of 16-19 year-olds. Graduated licensing helps to reduce this toll by slowly introducing teens to more complex driving tasks as they mature and gain skills. Driving privileges are phased in to restrict beginners’ initial experience behind the wheel to lower risk situations. The restrictions gradually are lifted, so teens are more experienced and mature when they get their full, unrestricted licenses.

Graduated licensing laws have reduced teenagers’ crash rates in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. All U.S. states have such laws, but they aren’t all strong.

The toughest graduated licensing provisions in the U.S. are a minimum permit age of 16, at least 70 hours of supervised practice driving during the learner’s stage, a minimum intermediate license age of 17, and during the intermediate stage, a night driving restriction starting at 8 p.m. and a ban on driving with other teens in the vehicle. No state currently has all of them. An online calculator developed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows the effects for every state and the District of Columbia of strengthening or weakening the five key provisions: permit age, practice driving hours, license age, and night driving and passenger restrictions.

New teen driver

Being a beginning driver has special risks. During their first months of licensure, teens have a particularly high risk of crashing. Driving at night and driving with other teens in the car are especially risky. That’s why graduated licensing systems restrict these activities until teen drivers have more experience on the road.

Check out our GDL calculator for an overview of teen driver laws in your state and to see how they could be improved.

What parents can do to help

With or without a strong graduated licensing law, parents can establish effective rules. In particular:

  • Don’t rely solely on driver education. High school driver education may be a convenient way to introduce teens to the mechanics of driving, but it doesn’t produce safer drivers. Poor skills aren’t always to blame for teen crashes. Teenagers’ attitudes, experience and decision-making matter more. Young people tend to overestimate their skills and underestimate their vulnerabilities. Training and education don’t change these tendencies. Peers are influential, but parents have much more influence than typically is credited to them.
  • Know the law. Become familiar with your state’s restrictions on young drivers, and feel free to set tougher rules. To review state laws, go here.
  • Restrict night driving. About 2 of 5 young drivers’ fatal crashes occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The problem isn’t just that driving in the dark requires more skill behind the wheel. Late outings tend to be recreational, and even teens who usually follow the rules can be easily distracted or encouraged to take risks. Consider setting an early curfew for your teen, even if your state has a later one.
  • Restrict passengers. Teenage passengers riding in a vehicle with a beginning driver can distract the driver and encourage greater risk-taking. While driving at night with passengers is particularly lethal, many of the fatal crashes involving teen passengers occur during the day. The best policy is to restrict teenage passengers, especially multiple teens, all the time.

16-17-year-old drivers have higher death risk
per mile traveled when passengers ride along

Percent change in death risk with passengers
younger than 21 vs. no passengers

Graph 2 image

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

  • Supervise practice driving. Take an active role in helping your teen learn to drive. Plan a series of practice sessions in a variety of situations, including night driving. Give beginners time to work up to challenges like driving in heavy traffic, on freeways, or in snow and rain.
  • Require safety belt use. Don’t assume that your teen will buckle up when driving alone or out with peers. Insist on belts.
  • Prohibit driving after drinking alcohol. Make it clear that it’s illegal and dangerous to drive after drinking alcohol or using any other drug.
  • Consider a monitoring device. Various types of in-vehicle devices are available to parents who want to monitor their teens’ driving. These systems flag risky behavior such as speeding, sudden braking, abrupt acceleration and nonuse of belts. Research shows a monitoring device can reduce teens’ risks behind the wheel. Some insurers offer discounts for using one.
  • Choose vehicles with safety in mind. Teens should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of crashing in the first place and then protect them from injury in case they do crash. Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer. Small and mini cars don’t offer the best protection in a collision compared with larger vehicles, and IIHS doesn’t recommend them for teens. Avoid high-horsepower models that might encourage teens to speed. Look for vehicles that have the best safety ratings. Two musts are side airbags to protect people’s heads in crashes (standard on most 2008 and later models) and electronic stability control to avoid crashes (standard on 2012 and later models). See our ratings for more information.
  • Be a role model. New drivers learn a lot by example, so practice safe driving yourself. Teenagers who have crashes and violations often have parents with similar driving records.

 

All information taken from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety