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6 Essential Hoverboard Safety Precautions and Tips

6 Essential Hoverboard Safety Precautions and Tips

We’ve all laughed at the Facebook videos – people, mostly parents, trying out the hoverboards they got their kids for Christmas or birthdays. But the pain can be pretty real, especially on concrete. And we’ve seen the videos and read the warnings about “knock-off” batteries that explode – not a comforting thought.

If kids have the genuine article, however, hoverboards can be great fun and are a very cool way to get around the neighborhood and even display a few tricks. Like everything mobile, however, there are some precautions. Most are just common sense, but a few reminders don’t hurt – here are six of them.

1. Know Where to Ride

There is no simple answer to this. Of course, you can ride them in neighborhoods, probably in parks, and in most places where you can ride bikes and use skateboards. Some cities have banned their use on streets, though, so you will have to check with local laws. While New York City has banned them and publicized a $500 fine, they are all over the sidewalks and bike lanes in that city, and no one seems to mind.

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In the UK, mobile boards have been banned for 180 years, and people were reminded of the law when hoverboards began to be seen. In the UK, they are only allowed on private property and then only with the owner’s permission. Already, however, this ancient law is being violated without much punitive action. Another banishment is coming from some college campuses, related to fire concerns, and, at least at George Washington University in D.C., the banning covers all battery operated transport devices, such as Segway’s.

The best bet, though, is to check with your local police department before riding on public streets.

2. Practice Before Hitting The Roads

Getting right on a new hoverboard and taking off is probably not a good idea. The first skill is a balance, and it is this that causes the initial falls. Getting on and off the board is also pretty critical because you have to go one foot at a time. And when getting off the board, always step backwards, not forward. The dominant foot should get off first. Other parts of your practice should include being certain that you do not bend your knees and that you keep your posture quite straight. And keep your feet relatively apart. This stance, along with keeping your eyes straight ahead, should allow you to have the best balance on the board.

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Even if you ultimately choose not to wear safety gear (though it is recommended), you should be during your practice sessions and until you feel accomplished. Head, elbows, and knees do not get along well with concrete.

3. Stay Safe While Riding at Night

Hoverboards have lights, but they are low and not that bright. Riding at night, then, should mean extra precautions. First of all, as you’ve been told before when running or bike riding at night, wear white. Second, you might want to consider some light up shoes. These have small lithium-ion batteries such as those you have in your phone or computer and are quite safe. They must be charged, just like phones and computers, but the soles not only light up but continue to flash and change colors and attract more attention than just the single-colored solid lights on the hoverboards.

4. Hoverboards Don’t Fly – By Themselves or on Planes

Again, because of safety concerns, most airlines have regulated bringing hoverboards on board, as of January 1, 2016. Here are just a few of those regulations:

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  • Several airlines have banned them altogether – Delta, JetBlue Alaska, and Frontier
  • Board must be checked and battery removed and carried on – United
  • Can’t be checked but can be carried on – American, Virgin America
  • Allowed if battery is less than 160 Watt-hours – Southwest

In general, it will be important to check with any airline before taking a hoverboard to an airport. Regulations will be changing, and you will need to keep up on them.

5. Charging Overnight is A Bad Idea

Even if you know you have a top-of-the-line hoverboard with a genuine battery, don’t take the chance. Charging overnight means no monitoring at all while you sleep. Most hoverboard batteries take about four hours to charge fully. If they continue to be plugged in, a fire is of greater potential.

Many riders plug in their batteries as soon as they finish, even if they do not have four hours for a full charge. We do the same with our phones and computers too, and they have the same types of batteries. The goal is to keep enough charge to be usable for the time you want. It’s another good idea to monitor while it is being charged.

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6. Use Them as They Are Meant to Be Used – No Flying

Hoverboards are not skateboards. We have all seen skilled skateboard riders take long high ramps, fly through the air, and land beautifully. Skateboards are manually maneuvered and speed is generated by a pushing foot. They are thin boards of wood that are lightweight.

Hoverboards are thicker and, news flash, they have a battery, and move more slowly. Trying ramp tricks with hoverboards is foolish and more than a little risky — and skateboard-type tricks will mean that hoverboards will crash. Light bumps may not harm, but crashing can injure the board so that it is not balanced anymore. At the very least, it will have to be re-calibrated. At the worst, you could explode the battery. Hoverboards are meant for smooth pavement and easy riding – use them in that way, and you’ll have years of good use from a relatively expensive piece of transport.

Hoverboards are great fun — there is no argument about that, and kids who have a naturally good balance have taken to them well. In some instances, they have replaced bikes for moving about neighborhoods and parks. As they are improved and made safer in terms of fire hazards, it is possible that, where they are currently banned, they may become quite common modes of personal transport and not just for kids and teens.

Featured photo credit: larkin.family via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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