Various Factoids

Today, March 14, is the date in most of the United States, Canada, and Mexico that we switch to Daylight Saving Time by adjusting our clocks one hour forward. We lose an hour in the process and thus today marks the shortest day of the year (in total hours).

Unfortunately, a persistent and incorrect catchy saying keeps being promoted at this time of year, which is “Change Your Clocks – Change Your Batteries.” It is intended to suggest to people to replace batteries in smoke alarms. This phrase was invented by a certain well-known battery company in order to sell more batteries. It has nothing to do with smoke alarms.

Think about it — we last changed time on 1 November, 2009. That was just 133 days ago. Now they want us to change batteries again? Ummm… don’t the battery companies promote how long-lasting their batteries are?

This phrase is ludicrous. Look, if you have smoke alarms that use batteries, replace the battery once a year. If you have done that within the past 12 months, then you don’t need to do it again unless the alarm emits a chirping sound, which indicates that battery replacement is required.

Don’t fall for marketing hype that has nothing to do with safety.

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Item 2

Spring brings snowmelt, heavy rains, and sometimes flooding. A lot of people die in floods every year — far too many. Were you aware that about 3/4 of people who die in floods in the U.S. are in vehicles, and of that, about 4/5 of the people involved in these flood-related vehicle deaths are men? Compounding this, were you aware that more than half of the vehicles involved in these tragic incidents are SUVs and trucks?

An interesting factoid is that SUVs and trucks, due to their larger size, have larger tires and thus are more buoyant if driven into water than tires of smaller vehicles. Even though smaller vehicles are lighter in weight, the physics of buoyancy indicates that the heavier vehicles will lose contact with road surfaces in fairly shallow water, and can lose control and get swept into deeper water quickly. Four-wheel drive doesn’t help. If you’re floating away, you’re in deep doo-doo!

This “male-drivin’-an-SUV” through floods bravado kills people. The situation actually is called denial. Nonetheless, it’s a bad thing. Be smart. Turn around, don’t drown.

Life is short: be safe!

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About BHD

I am an average middle-aged biker who lives in the greater suburban sprawl of the Maryland suburbs north and west of Washington, DC, USA.