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Road Tripper: An Automotive Expert's Advice

Hitting the road? Careful, it can hit back.

Hitting the road? Careful, it can hit back.

So you’re ready for that long-awaited summer road trip? Not so fast! Before you pile in the car and rush off, there are a few things you’ll want to check about your car according to Gary Heller, owner of Lucky Service Station in downtown San Anselmo, CA. Not to worry though, most of these are fairly easy and inexpensive—plus they could save you a lot of headache in the long run.

“Anybody who is leaving on a road trip, the best thing they can do is check the mileage on their car,” Heller says. “If they’re close to a check interval, see what the manufacturer recommends, and then do it.” Read more »

Living Confidently: Dreaming of Everest

Rick Wilcox in the Himalayas

Rick Wilcox in the Himalayas

Countless adventurers fantasize about summiting Mt. Everest, but mountaineer Rick Wilcox saw his dream through. A climber for over 30 years, Wilcox fell in love with the prospect of monumental ascents as a boy, after seeing mountains like Everest on children’s television programs.

The suburb of Middleton, Mass. where Wilcox grew up didn’t feature any summits nearby, but he made a point of exploring the top of every 4,000 footer-plus sites in the White Mountain Range. Even the 46 regional peaks, however, could not satiate his appetite for climbing.

As a forestry student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst—Wilcox, unbeknownst to his family—took out a student loan to travel to Alaska and climb. It was an investment that paid off in terms of education but also experience.

“I always took the branch of the road that led me to the big mountain,” Wilcox said. Read more »

Riding Out a Heatwave

It's getting hot out there.

It's getting hot out there.

Martha and the Vandellas described some symptoms of overheating in their 1963 hit single “Heat Wave”—burning sensation, head haze, etc.—but they didn’t explain what you can do to overcome extreme hot weather and potential heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines extreme heat as temperatures that reach 10 degrees above normal for that time of year. These can be dangerous, even deadly in the summer. In fact, there were more deaths from heat waves from 1979-2003 than several natural disasters combined, including tornadoes, and hurricanes. While fatalities from excessive heat are not common, they are more often than not preventable. Read more »

Question of the Week: Should We Ban Cell Phone Use While Driving?

A new study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting while driving raised the collision risk by 23 times more than driving while not texting. Also, a previous study showed that dialing a number on a cell phone raised the risk by three times, while speaking on a phone made a crash 1.3 times more likely.

Texting while driving: a deadly combination. Right?

Texting while driving: a deadly combination. Right?

Still, there’s the question of whether states should straight out ban phone use while driving. Currently, four states (plus Washington D.C.) have banned all handheld use while operating a motor vehicle; fourteen have specifically banned texting. Still, each state varies on the particulars — whether enforcement is primary or secondary, if it’s specific for novice drivers, etc. The Governor’s Highway Safety Assocation has a handy chart that tracks each state’s legislation on cell phone driving laws.

What’re your thoughts? Should cell phone bans be enforced, or can they even be enforced? Does using a hands-free headset make it safer? Discuss below!

Parks and Celebration: Photos of the Country's 13 Best National Parks

National parks are a prime destination for family vacations because they’re accessible, awe-inspiring, and inexpensive. There’s no doubt that the United States has some of the world’s greatest natural resources, and in fact, there’s much debate over which national park is the best.

But trying to pick just one is like comparing apples to oranges—or maybe in this case, forests to deserts. Still, one of our favorite lists is Frommer’s “Best National Parks for a Family Vacation,” which features some of the countries most breathtaking outdoor locations and represents great parks on both coasts.

Arcadia National Park, ME

Arcadia National Park, ME. Photo by bronayur.

Photo by bronayur.

Read more »

Blogger Spotlight: Alison Rhodes

Wherever there’s danger, Alison Rhodes is there to tell you how to prevent it. Better known as “The Safety Mom,” Rhodes is a leading expert on child safety, health and wellness, and “going green.” She has made television appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America Now, ABC World News Tonight, NBC’s Open House, and CNN, and has been featured on American Baby Magazine, Parents, BabyTalk, and Expectant Mother Magazine. She blogs regularly at The Safety Chronicles, which is one of our favorites here at Life360.

We recently spoke with Rhodes, who shared her best summer safety tips, what she’s currently reading, and more.

Alison Rhodes, the Safety Mom.

Alison Rhodes, the Safety Mom.

Read more »

The Bare Bones of Bear Safety

They're cute, but their mom can rip the roof off your Honda Accord. Steer Clear. Photo by Ron Niebrugge

They're cute, but their mom can rip the roof off your Honda Accord. Steer Clear. Photo by Ron Niebrugge.

In the 1950s, the intrepid scientist Dr. Raymond Hock decided to discover once and for all if bears in fact hibernated—and thus experienced a dramatic decrease in body temp and metabolic rate—or whether they just entered a period of winter lethargy.

A 1985 New York Times article reported that Hock conducted this experiment on a tame bear, lured into standing from its slumber by dangling maraschino cherries over its nose. When the newly roused bear stood, a rectal thermometer was quickly inserted. Bears do not hibernate; Dr. Hock has some impressive scars to prove this and that bears wake up angry. Read more »