Safer Cars Does Not Mean Safer Roads

These days, it is pretty standard for cars to include top of the line safety features. These range from rear-view cameras, lane departure warnings, traction control and even blind spot detection.

Driving a safe vehicle can also mean more money in your pocket as drivers can save on car insurance cost. A car insurance company is generally able to provide more affordable car insurance if your vehicle has safety features. However, safer cars do not necessarily mean safer roads across the country.

From January to June, approximately 18,720 people have died on U.S. roads. As a result of a growing economy, people are driving more miles compared to recession level data. Less unemployment means more cars are on the road getting people to and from work and more money for leisure activities. In 2017, Americans traveled 3.22 trillion miles according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Factor in more miles driven along with speeding, drug and alcohol impaired driving and distracted driving and the fatality rate is at an all-time high.

South Carolina leads the nation in traffic fatality rates per miles traveled. In 2017, the state had 1.88 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, which is almost two times the national average. Illinois reported 1,090 traffic deaths.

This trend prompted Governor Rauner to declare August 17 as Traffic Fatality Awareness Day at the Illinois State Fair through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Health, Illinois Secretary of State and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

States across the country have launched similar awareness efforts like Vision Zero. Vision Zero’s goal is to strategically eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for everyone.

Reducing speed is perhaps the most effective way to reduce the fatalities. Speed increases the distance it takes a car to come to a complete stop. The speed of impact is also directly correlated to the risk of death. The higher the speed of impact, the higher the probability of a passenger dying becomes.

Even with lower speeds, it is hard for police officers to enforce these lower limits. Automated cameras are already unpopular and adding more would also be costly.

Do You Road Rage? Why We Do, and What We Can Do About It

Living in a city like Los Angeles requires a commute on some form of Freeway (too many to list), a journey through bumper to bumper surface streets, and possibly a walk. All of this is cemented between our daily stressors of work and family.

It’s often common for us to leave home upset around time management issues, conflicts with loved ones, or the dread of going to a place of employment. How can this not affect us? Most of us are also aware that there is an unofficial “Rules of the Road” handbook that establishes polite behavior, which is not followed by many. The perfect storm of impolite driving (unsafe, or self-righteous), and an average person’s bad day can lead to escalations that are unsafe for all parties. Most of us would call this sudden explosion of anger, Road Rage.

While the actions of others remain out of our control, we can be more mindful of our own state as we enter our cars. When a person makes a physical check of possible obstructions prior to pulling out of a space, they are hyper aware. Their eyes search all mirrors for people, dogs, and other cars as if life depended on it, and in many ways this is true. We can also look inward, within ourselves. Creating an awareness of how you are feeling prior to starting the ignition, can be helpful in creating awareness of where you are at.

Road Rage is related to the tipping point of our agitation. What is your frustration tolerance at that particular time, on that particular day? Some people appear to always be at a high frustration level, but for others, irritation can sneak up more slowly. What are the daily obstacles we still have in front of us? Maybe there is a specific meeting, appointment, or a time we have to pick up our kids. It could be the time of day we depart such as rush hour, or a work related task that still lingers on our mind. Are we late? There is an infinite amount of possible stressors, and personal drama or what we might call personal crisis situations (hey it seems like a crisis to us!), but when paired with inconsiderate drivers things can explode.

If we were to rank our personal wellbeing on a scale of 1-10, with one being Buddha, and 10 being Hulk, most likely we all live in a 3 most of the time. It’s once we cross 5 or 6, that we want to become more mindful of Road Rage triggers, and our own body awareness. This is the time we can course correct, prior to further and potentially more dangerous escalation.

Every person has a different anger response. If we begin to track our outbursts, we become more aware of the patterns in our triggers. This is where we can consciously begin to change patterns and replace or alter behaviors. Tracking body symptoms prior to outburst (twitching eye, flushed face, rapid breathing, warm forehead, watery eyes, itchy shoulders or neck, clenching, etc..), can be helpful in establishing patterns, but we need to work on better planning to implement prior to these escalations.

Listening to the radio, taking deep and purposeful breaths, or talking to a good friend or family member can be helpful. Avoiding conflicts while driving is a good rule of thumb as well. When a person is riding at an 8 or 9, it does not take much to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. As our mindfulness and self-awareness increase, it’s easier to make better choices, and do the things we need to do to be safe.

Why Your Business Needs a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is more than just a popular buzzword in the Internet marketing industry. The concept of content marketing underscores a powerful technique to promote a business on the Internet. By creating great content (such as a video, article, or infographic) and marketing that content (via Facebook, Google+, or StumbleUpon,) your business can take advantage of many opportunities to connect with potential customers.

The methods behind content marketing offer limitless channels to exploit your ideas. In short, you can create content in various forms and distribute it many different ways. And just a limitless as the channels to market your content are the potential benefits for your business.

All types of companies can improve their marketing efforts by producing and sharing awesome content. In fact, marketing software provider Kapost has found through its research that per dollar, content marketing contributes to three times more leads that tradition online advertising, such as paid search. For this reason, creating a content marketing strategy can be a momentous game-changer for your business.

Although content marketing offers a ton of advantages (some of which are nearly impossible to track,) there are three major benefits that your business can realize:

Build Brand Awareness
Inbound Traffic to Your Site
Generate Natural Link Popularity for SEO

Building Brand Awareness

As the foundation to marketing your content on the web, building brand awareness is further enhanced when the audience is engaged. This audience engagement is what fuels respect for your brand and bolsters a potential relationship. As a result, the quality and relevancy of your content is paramount. Any content you publish is a reflection of your business and its brand, so you’ll want to be creative and use the right context that relates to your target audience.

Some of the highest levels of audience engagement derive from visually-based content. Videos are a powerful medium to communicate to a potentially massive audience. And by optimizing videos for better search engine exposure (also known as search engine optimization or “SEO”), the overall marketing potential skyrockets. Also effective in the visual content category are images, infographics, cartoons and comics. Exercise your creativity and produce a compelling form of content that can help build awareness in your brand.

Inbounding Traffic to Your Site

The cornerstone of content marketing is to inbound traffic to your site. Marketing your content is a very powerful way to promote your niche or unique selling proposition. As long as you present the right calls to action, the individuals that interact with your content will be more apt to visit your website.

This form of traffic is unique because of the prior interaction that users experience with your content. The best ways to inbound quality traffic to your site is use your content to inform and educate your target audience. Addressing relevant issues, questions, and concerns is a good way to achieve this. For example, a criminal defense attorney may benefit from publishing an article about ‘what to do when faced with DUI charges.’ Any traffic coming from that article could very well be a highly qualified lead for the attorney’s legal services.

Generating Natural Link Popularity for SEO

When content goes viral, it tends to attract a lot of social attention. People usually link to popular content (link popularity,) and as a result, the content can earn a high level of authority. From a SEO standpoint, if a webpage has a high level of authority, then the outbound links coming from that page will be more powerful. This concept of SEO (commonly referred to as “link bait”) is one of the many effective approaches of content marketing.

Think of your wonderful piece of content as a link bait for your SEO efforts. In almost any form of content, whether a video, article, or graphic, you can typically include a link that directs back to your site. For instance, graphics and videos will usually always have supportive text or an author attribution. Here you can include a bit about who you are, as well as a link back to your website. If your content generates a lot of buzz and people start linking to it, the SEO value of your content will only become more powerful.

Developing Your Strategy

Putting together a successful content marketing strategy will depend on the resources you have on hand. You’ll want to determine which types of content are going to be the most relevant and effective to connect to your target audience. Additionally, you’ll also want to pinpoint the ideal publishing platforms and social media sites to market and promote your content. All strategies for marketing content are unique, so you’ll need to get creative as to how you approach the strategy for your business.