Safe Travels

Driving_in_the_rainPreparing for late summer storms involves more than just stocking up on water and flashlights. Protecting your vehicle and driving safely during stormy weather is also essential for personal safety. When possible, keep your car under a covering during a storm. Clear away plant debris and outdoor items from around your home to minimize the chance of something falling on your car. Remember to follow these safety tips if you drive during rainy weather.

Driving: Drive below the speed limit during and after a rainstorm. Car oil on the road mixed with rainwater can cause cars to hydroplane, so drive slowly. If your vehicle starts to hydroplane, remove your foot from the gas pedal and tap the brakes to slow your car down. Drive in the center lane of the road when possible since the middle is slightly elevated, giving you better visibility. Using the center lane also keeps your vehicle away from the deep water that runs off into the roadsides.

Focus: Driving while distracted—whether the distraction is the radio, the phone, or another passenger, is even more dangerous during storms. Turn down the music and stay off the phone so as to give the road your full attention. Heavy rain will cause drivers to stop or move unexpectedly and there may be debris or deep puddles in the road. Leave extra space between your vehicle and other cars in order to give yourself time to react to other drivers and poor road conditions.

Deep Waters: Puddles on the road pose a serious hazard for cars. Always drive slowly through puddles, even if you think your car can handle the water. Puddles may turn out to be deeper than expected and splashing water can damage the engine. Avoid standing water, and never drive through moving water. Two feet of running water can sweep a car away; choose another route to avoid it.

Prepare your vehicle for stormy weather by visiting an auto repair shop in your area. Search for reputable auto repair shops through Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses with listings for thousands of businesses across the United States. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, to begin searching. Enter your location, then choose a search category on the main page, or enter your own search terms like “auto repair” into the search box on the main page. Each listing on the results page will display the address and phone number of the business for your convenience. Use the RLP site to find a variety of businesses and services, from auto repair shops and movie theaters, to electricians.

 

Just Desserts

sugarAmerica’s got a serious sweet tooth. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes over one hundred and fifty pounds of sugar each year. Most of this sugar intake is from foods and drinks; many people would be surprised at what favorite food items include sugar—from soft drinks and crackers, to bread and even sauces, much of what we eat today contains sugar in some form. Before sugar cultivation began in the Caribbean and South America in the 16th and 17th centuries, sugar was an extremely rare and expensive item in Europe. Merchants imported the precious item from the Middle East and Mediterranean islands where it was warm enough to grow sugarcane. Until sugar became more widely available, it was rarely used as a sweetener; cooks typically sweetened food with fruit or honey. As sugar became more accessible however, people found new ways to incorporate sugar into their food; dessert recipes in American cookbooks became more common as sugar became a commonplace kitchen item.

Search for dessert recipes online and you’ll find hundreds of different types of desserts with endless variations to satisfy a sweet tooth. Although sugary desserts are practically a staple of modern American life, some desserts are go-to favorites. Cheesecake, cupcakes, brownies, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and carrot cake are some of the most popular desserts. Apple pie is a particular favorite because of its patriotic associations. Apple pie is not an American creation, but the classic apple pie à la Mode, pie topped with vanilla ice cream, originated in New York City at the end of the nineteenth century. Whatever dessert you favor, the prevalence of sugar is responsible for the plethora of sweet treats enjoyed today.

Enjoy a delicious dessert at a local restaurant this week. Find great restaurants in your area by searching Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory containing listing for thousands of businesses across the United States. Real Local Pages is useful for finding a wide variety of businesses, from restaurants to roofing contractors. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your location to begin searching. Choose a search term from the popular categories list to search for businesses, or, use the search box on the main page. The results page will display listings that match your search terms and each business listing includes the address and phone number of the location.