VIRGINIA — It was another busy week here at the Virginia Fire Department. Our crews were dispatched 94 times: 84 of which were medical calls and the remaining 10 were fire related.

Of those medical calls, 19 were hospital transports from Essentia Health Virginia down to Duluth for further specialty care. The remaining 65 medical calls were 911 emergencies that brought us to the majority of the communities on the East side of the range.

Of the fire calls, four were motor vehicle accidents, two elevator entrapments, multiple commercial and residential alarm system activations, public assists and a grass fire. Our crews provided 109 medical treatments, 102 procedures and administered 126 medications.

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Below is information on driving safety. We are noticing an increase in motor vehicle accidents. Most attribute winter weather with an increase in accidents.

Even though we do respond to many in the winter as well, these summer months have always resulted in a surprising number of bad car wrecks. I say surprising because we have dry roads, sunny days and clear skies.

One would think optimal for travel.

What we notice, during this amazing weather, is an apparent rise in driving confidence, complacency, partying and risk taking. Some of our worst accidents in my sixteen years have occurred in these perfect summer days. Please practice safe driving always.

Driving safety tips every driver should know.

Top of Form

When you’re behind the wheel of a car, whether alone or with passengers, driving safely should always be your top concern. We’re more distracted than ever, so it’s crucial to know the basics of safe driving and practice them every time you’re on the road. Here are some safe driving tips:

Top 4 driving safety tips

Focus on driving

  • Keep 100% of your attention on driving at all times – no multi-tasking.
  • Don’t use your phone or any other electronic device while driving.
  • Slow down. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of an accident.

Drive “defensively”

  • Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing, and expect the unexpected.
  • Assume other motorists will do something crazy, and always be prepared to avoid it.
  • Keep a 2-second cushion between you and the car in front of you.
  • Make that 4 seconds if the weather is bad.

Make a safe driving plan

  • Build time into your trip schedule to stop for food, rest breaks, phone calls or other business.
  • Adjust your seat, mirrors and climate controls before putting the car in gear.
  • Pull over to eat or drink. It takes only a few minutes.

Practice safety

  • Secure cargo that may move around while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Don’t attempt to retrieve items that fall to the floor.
  • Have items needed within easy reach – such as toll fees, toll cards and garage passes.
  • Always wear your seat belt and drive sober and drug-free.
  • Don't allow children to fight or climb around in your car – they should be buckled in their seats at all times. Too much noise can easily distract you from focus on the road.
  • Avoid driving when you're tired. Be aware that some medications cause drowsiness and make operating a vehicle very dangerous.
  • Always use caution when changing lanes. Cutting in front of someone, changing lanes too fast or not using your signals may cause an accident or upset other driver.

What to do after an accident?

If you're in an accident, first make sure no one in the car is injured. Next, check on the passengers in the other vehicle, pedestrians and anyone else nearby to make sure they’re OK. Then do these things:

Stay at the scene

Leaving can result in legal consequences, like fines or additional violations.

Call 911 or the local police immediately

They'll dispatch an officer and medical personnel to the scene of the accident.

Stay in the car

If you're on a busy highway, stay inside the car and wait for the police or an ambulance. It's dangerous if passengers stand along a freeway or other road with lots of traffic.

Stay calm

Don't get into an argument or a fight with the other driver. Simply exchange contact and insurance information. If possible, also get the name and phone numbers of witnesses.

Contact your insurance provider

Call your insurance provider to report the claim. Your agent will ask you for any paperwork you receive about the accident, and will give you important information on getting your car fixed.

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