4 Ways You Can Become a Better Defensive Driver

Being a defensive driver is a combination of both your existing driving skills and your practice of good habits. Defensive drives are proactive rather than reactive. They are constantly taking in new information from what they see while driving and reacting before an accident or issue occurs.

Below are some key tips that you can practice to help you become a better defensive driver.

Look Both Ways at Intersections – Even if you have a green light or the right-of-way, it is still important to look both ways when crossing an intersection. If you are the first car to go through an intersection, make sure that there are no cars running a red light that could cross your path and create an accident.

Minimize Lane Changes – It is more common for a person to cause an accident if they are driving above the speed limit and frequently changing lanes. By staying in one lane for a majority of your trip and driving within the speed limits, you reduce your risk of cutting off another car, swiping another vehicle, or accidentally merging into the same lane as someone else.

Keep High Eyes When Driving – Keeping high eyes on the road means watching the actual road in front of you and not the car in front of you. If the driver in front of you is not paying attention and has to suddenly hit the brakes, you, too, will have to suddenly hit the brakes. However, if you are watching the road in front, you will be able to see the situation ahead and brake before the driver in front of you needs to brake.

Get Away From Bad Drivers – Make sure to do your best to stay away from poor drivers on the road. These problematic drivers can cause accidents, and if you are around them, your chances of being in an accident increase as well. Problematic drivers include drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, speeding, tail-gating, have road rage, frequently changing lanes, extremely slow drivers, and exhibit any other erratic behavior.

Remember, there are many other ways you can be a good defensive driver. The above tips are just a few ways to help you better understand defensive driving and how it can help prevent accidents.

8 Last-Minute, Budget-Friendly Vacations in Wisconsin That the Whole Family Will Love!

We’ve been talking a lot lately about going back to school. While schools everywhere are gearing up for students to grace their hallways once more, there’s still that tiny sliver of summer left for families to take hold of and enjoy before the school year begins. The wonderful thing about getting away before the school year begins is that it doesn’t have to be expensive or far away – in fact, there are several fun places in the beautiful state of Wisconsin that are perfect for the family, easy to get to, and are easy on the budget.

Read all about the 8 great places we’ve chosen in Wisconsin below!

Amnicon Falls State Park – Our first selection takes us about 20 miles southeast of Duluth, Minnesota in the western expanses of the state. This stunning park is home to beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes, and a lovely covered bridge, which spans the waterfalls. You and the family can enjoy short scenic trails that dot the park. Stop and smell the roses and take in the sound of water falling over stones while you’re there. This is the perfect place if you want to get away from it all and come back feeling rejuvenated!

Bayfield – In the same area as Amnicon Falls State Park, Bayfield is a gorgeous treasure tucked away in the northern reaches of Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior. Bicycling is quite popular in this small town, so rent bikes for either $6 an hour or $25 a day to enjoy everything Bayfield has to offer or to just spend time at the Bayfield Bike Route. You can also head down the Brownstone Trail for an easy ride to the Great Lake nearby. Don’t forget to check out Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, which is a 22-mile archipelago in stunning Lake Superior. Known for its rocky hiking trails, beautiful lighthouses, sea caves, and jaw-dropping views, this is one destination that travelers of all ages will appreciate.

Door County – Not sure where Door County is? Check out a map of Wisconsin – it’s that little jut on the east side of the state that shoots out into Lake Michigan! You might not think just by looking at it, but that tiny bit of land boasts more than 250 miles of shoreline, which is home to several family outdoor activities including biking, swimming, kayaking, hiking, and, of course, exploring. The kids will enjoy steering a steamship at the Door County Maritime Museum and creating pretty mosaics at Hands On Art Studio. The family can catch a ferry to explore nearby (and beautiful) Washington Island. Make sure to stop by for some tasty root beer and malts at Wilson’s Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor while you’re out that way!

Green Bay – Do you enjoy railroads, sports, and being close to the great outdoors and the city in one convenient place? Check out Green Bay! You can enjoy checking out one of the nation’s largest rail museums (and you can take a train ride there, too!). Sports fans will love visiting the famous Lambeau Field, home to the Green Bay Packers, as they take advantage of behind-the-scenes tours, fun photo ops with a bronze statue of legendary coach Vince Lombardi, and trying on those famous Cheese Heads! Afterward, head outside to take in the sites at the Green Bay Botanical Garden, which boasts 47 acres of tranquil beauty.

Madison – This city isn’t just on our list because we share the same name; it’s also home to several fun things for the entire family to do, including the Madison Children’s Museum! The museum allows children of all ages to get creative and explore the world around them. From a giant gerbil wheel that you can run yourself to dinosaur-bone bridges and more, the museum is loads of fun for the family. Afterwards, take the family out for some delicious ice cream at Babcock Hall Dairy Store on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, or enjoy a free tour of the Wisconsin State Capital.

Minocqua – If you love water and resorts, then this is the place for you. Minocqua is surrounded by some of northern Wisconsin’s 4,200 lakes, and families come back years in a row just to enjoy lake sports and check out the local events and attractions, along with chowing down on tasty fudge and popcorn. The kids will enjoy feeding the animals at Wildwood Wildlife Park, learning at Eagle River’s Northwoods Children’s Museum, and cheering on competitors at Scheer’s Lumberjack Show. There’s never a dull moment in Minocqua!

Racine – East Wisconsin has plenty of relaxing activities to do, especially in Racine. Kick back and relax on the pristine beaches of Lake Michigan, start up a volleyball team and enjoy a game in the sunshine, or take the kids to Kids Cove, a fun playground nearby. Want to get out into the water? Check out Racine Yacht Club’s marina to get your watercraft afloat! You can also rent a kayak or another type of watercraft at Pier 29 Water Sport Rentals for just $15 an hour, which buys you peace and beautiful views on gorgeous Lake Michigan.

Wisconsin Dells – If you’re a fan of water parks both inside and outdoors, then the Wisconsin Dells is perfect for you! It’s fun, it’s one of the most child-friendly vacation spots in the Midwest, and it’s smack-dab in one of the most beautiful spots in Wisconsin. When you’re done zipping down the slides of the giant water parks, check out the Dells, which are the unique, craggy bluffs that sit over the beautiful Wisconsin River.

Before you head out the door, make sure that your insurance is up-to-date on your vehicle and your home! Call your agent at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC to get started right now!

5 Back-to-School Tips For Parents!

August usually marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall for students, parents, and teachers alike. As the first day of school sneaks up, parents gather around at an assigned bus stop anticipating the moment the bus opens its doors to welcome their new and returning students aboard. Whether this moment is one you’ve been anticipating or one you’ve been dreading, there is one thing that’s for sure: going back to school is always a big transition!

As you get ready to mark another milestone in the books, here are some important tips to prepare your kids for their big day:

Talk to your kids about safety. It’s a big world out there! As your kids continue to grow, they start to rely on you less and less. It can be nerve-wracking for parents, causing you to worry about your child’s safety. Implement family safety rules when your child travels to and from school. Teaching them to be aware of their surroundings, using the buddy system, and teaching them to never accept a ride from a stranger under any circumstance will help keep them safe after they’ve left your side.

Re-establish an early, routine bedtime schedule. Starting school is a big change in schedule. Getting your children into a habit of going to bed and getting up early can add to the stresses of starting school. A great way to ease your kids back into school mode, especially for elementary children, is to create a color-coded bedtime clock! Ranging from green to dark red, you can set time frames that represent playtime, bath/TV time, and story/bed time that result in consequences if they aren’t followed.

Tour the school prior to their first day. Take advantage of the school’s open house! Walking the space will help your child recognize where they are supposed to go and reduce their nerves. Important areas to look for are the classrooms, bathrooms, and cafeteria. For older children, ask them to give you the tour. This will help refresh their memory and give you visual reassurance.

Help them cultivate their self-help skills. Encourage your child’s independence and prepare them to take responsibility over certain aspects of their schooling. Organizing their school materials, writing down homework assignments, and doing their homework are important parts of their education. To help with this, give them responsibilities at home to learn self-motivation and self-discipline. This will help your child build the confidence they need for school!

Get them to connect with friends. A familiar face can make all the difference when your child heads back to school! Kids are always nervous about their new teacher, where they’ll sit in class, and harder lessons, but making friends can help your students relax a little. Try planning a play date before school starts or carpooling with other kids.

Whether they’re just starting or continuing their education, these steps will help your little ones feel safe and confident for all the exciting challenges ahead! Talk to a Madison Mutual agent today about other ways you can stay prepared for life’s events! Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or find us online at www.madisonmutual.com!

How You Can Get the Best Deals on School Supplies Throughout the Month of August

The dog days of summer are finally here, which means that it’s time to get the students in our lives ready to go back to school. In order to do so, you’ll have to make sure that they have the supplies they’ll need to be successful in their new grades and classes! The average family is projected to spend over $600 on electronics, apparel, and other items for this school season, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s quite a bit of cash!

If you’re like many others, you’ll probably wind up purchasing school supplies at a big-box store in town, all at the last minute. Instead, just take a step back and do a bit of researching to get the most bang for your buck this school year. Check out our list below of what you should buy when this month!

First Week of August – Buy big-ticket technical items like computers and calculators.

During this week, check to see if you have an ID card, whether it’s a student ID, teacher ID, military ID, or something else to help you out with your purchase. You can also investigate websites that provide deals and coupons such as CouponCabin, RetailMeNot, KrazyCouponLady, ShopSavvy, and others – you can use some of these coupons in-store and online! Another great tip is to download apps from your favorite stores and sign up for their newsletters – many times, they provide lots of discounts in these formats!

Second Week of August – Purchase clothes and accessories.

This is the best time to get your students the clothes they need for school. You can find good deals and discounts for shirts, jeans, and shoes around this time of the year. If you’re trying to find a new backpack and you usually find that your child has the tendency to trash the bag, places like JanSport and L. L. Bean offer warranties for the bag.

Third Week of August – Nab notebooks, paper, pens, and other school supplies.
You can find great deals during this time of the month at your local drugstores, supermarkets, and discount stores. Grab some of the best deals for these supplies by using coupons in flyers and online. Make sure you look at these stores’ weekly sales flyers to get the best deals!

Fourth Week of August – Textbooks and other books needed for classes.
It might be later than you’re used to purchasing or renting books, but you’re more than likely to find discounts for the books that are needed for your student’s classes, especially if they’re college-bound. Besides, you can easily find books and save lots of money on them by buying used or digital versions of textbooks or by taking advantage of online stores like BookPal and AbeBooks.

Once you’re done with your shopping for the month, be sure to save your receipts and see how much you’ve saved! If you like saving money so much after you’re done, why stop there? Come see us at Madison Mutual to see how we can help save you money on your insurance without cutting any corners. Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com to learn more!