Category Archives: Lehigh Valley

Driving Safely in Autumn Weather Conditions

The quickly changing environment and weather during the autumn season present a variety of challenges for drivers. Sharp declines in temperature can result in mixed precipitation, black ice, and snow. An abundance of falling leaves makes driving surfaces slippery. Extreme sun glare in the mornings and evenings makes it difficult to see clearly. To drive defensively during this season of transition, it is important that your vehicle is adequately prepared for driving conditions; that you are aware of the weather and animal hazards related to the season; and that you understand the correlation between reaction time and braking distance when unexpected hazards present themselves.
 
Prepare Your Vehicle
Being prepared prior to getting out on the road is the first step to safe driving. Prior to operating the vehicle, conduct a pre-trip walk-around inspection; checking tire pressure, fluid levels, headlights, brake lights and signal lights to ensure that they are inflated to proper levels, and in good, working condition. Also, make sure that your vehicle is equipped with functioning wiper blades and that the wiper arms are exerting enough pressure on the blades to ensure a clean sweep of the windshield. If wiper blades are worn or damaged, replace them immediately.
In addition to the walk-around survey, be sure to make adjustments to mirrors, seats and/or the radio before you begin driving and never while driving. Adjusting controls while driving distracts you from paying attention to events that are occurring on the road. And no matter what the season, always wear your seatbelt when operating or riding in a motor vehicle. This also applies to passengers riding in the back seat(s) of the vehicle.
The Hazards
 
Wet Roads
When wet weather conditions are present, always slow down and leave enough room around your vehicle to create a cushion of safety. Remember that stopping on a wet road can take up to four times the normal distance as on a dry road. When road surfaces are wet, watch for the presence of standing water in the roadway. When water stands or puddles on the pavement, it lifts oils and other fluids from the road causing slick spots, which increase the chance for your vehicle to skid.
Excessive water can also cause your vehicle to hydroplane, which means that your tires “surf” on a film of water like a skier. Sudden, heavy downpours, driving too fast or driving on worn tires also increases your chances of hydroplaning. If the vehicle begins to hydroplane, do not brake or turn suddenly. These actions could put the car into a skid. Instead, ease your foot off the gas until the car slows down and you feel the wheels connect with the surface of the road. If you must apply the brakes in this situation, light, gentle pumping actions will be effective. If the vehicle has anti-lock brakes, brake normally and hold your foot firmly on the brake pedal so that the vehicle’s computer mimics a pumping action.
Mixed Precipitation and Ice
On cold, wet days, look for ice in shady spots along the roadway. Because ice forms easily in these conditions, these areas are often the first to freeze and the last to dry out. Slow down and watch for ice on bridges and overpasses. These apparatuses often have icy spots even when the rest of the roadway is relatively dry. Because bridges and overpasses are suspended above ground-level, they are not insulated from the heat generated by the ground and are subject to direct contact with cold temperatures and wind.
In temperature conditions of around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, ice can often become wet, which then causes it to be more slippery than at colder temperatures. Be aware of the danger posed by “black ice,” which is a thin coat of glazed ice present on top of the road’s surface. Black ice is nearly transparent—making it a hazard that drivers cannot see. Always reduce your speed when temperatures are cold and the risk of icy conditions is present.
Wet Leaves
An abundance of wet leaves on the roadway can be just as dangerous as ice. Slow down and use caution when leaves are present on the roadway. Leaf accumulations are often found near sidewalks and stormwater drains.
Sun Glare
During the autumn season, the sun rises and sets closer to the horizon and almost exactly to the east and west. Because of this, driving can become more difficult and dangerous when heading in either direction. Intense sun glare can blind drivers, causing traffic to suddenly slow down or stop. To drive safely in conditions of extreme sun glare, take the following actions:
·         Wear a pair of good sunglasses and pay attention to traffic and the presence of bicyclists or pedestrians;
·         Reduce speed and drive slower than normal, covering the brake if necessary;
·         Keep the vehicle’s windshield clean. Oftentimes the glare from the sun makes any dirt present on the windshield more obvious; and
·         Be aware that drivers may slow down suddenly or stop.
 
Fog
Another driving hazard to be aware of is fog. Fog dramatically decreases visibility and can leave roadway surfaces wet and slick.   In foggy conditions, slow down, increase your following distance and leave a cushion of safety around your vehicle. Most fog-related traffic fatalities occur because the driver is unable to perceive hazards present in front of the vehicle and when these hazards suddenly appear, they aren’t able to react in time. Slowing down the vehicle allows you additional time to safely react to unexpected conditions.
Using your headlights correctly is another important technique for driving safely in fog. Always turn on headlights and use the low-beam setting. When conditions are foggy, the high beam headlights are not effective because they direct light up into the fog making it more difficult to see ahead of you.   Using the low beam setting directs light down onto the road, making your vehicle more visible to other drivers. Remember that in foggy conditions, other drivers also have limited visibility.   To increase your visibility to other drivers, use your turn signals early and brake with plenty of notice. In addition, keep your windows clear by using the windshield wipers and turning on the defroster. If you leave the roadway due to foggy conditions, pull off completely, turn off the headlights, and turn on the hazard lights so that other motorists can see your vehicle.
 
Deer Collisions
Recent statistics show that most of the people who are injured or killed in deer-related collisions were not wearing their seatbelts. No matter what the season, always wear your seatbelt.
The peak season for deer movement is during the months of October through December. This is called the “rut” or deer mating season. One of the greatest hazards of the deer mating season is that deer become less cautious about darting into and across roads.
Keep in mind that collisions with deer can happen at any time, in any place, regardless of the type of road or environment. Collisions have occurred on busy city highways as well as on rural roads near wooded or agricultural areas. When driving during the months of heightened deer movement, keep the following safety tips in mind:
·         When traveling at night, if there is no oncoming traffic, use your high-beam headlights to increase your night vision.
·         Be particularly attentive for deer between sunset and midnight, and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These times are typically when deer are the most active.
·         Drive carefully in areas known to have high deer populations and be extra cautious in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland. Look for road signs that mark deer crossing zones and avoid using your cell phone or other devices when traveling in these zones.
·         Scan the road ahead of you to give yourself additional time to react to unsafe conditions. If you see a deer, slow down and be prepared to stop. Also, keep in mind that when you see one deer, there are probably others nearby. Deer often travel in small groups forming a single-file line.
·         If a deer enters the road or the lane you are traveling in, brake firmly and stay in your lane. Though your immediate reaction may be to swerve out of the way, some of the most serious crashes occur when drivers swerve out of their lane. Swerving to avoid striking a deer increases the risk of hitting another vehicle or losing control of your vehicle.
·         Another technique to use when encountering a deer on the roadway is to flash your headlights from bright to dim or honk your horn to encourage the deer to move on.
·         If your vehicle strikes a deer or if a deer is blocking the road, don’t get out of your vehicle and touch the animal—it may still be alive and could possibly injure you. Call the police for assistance.
·         Finally, when driving in zones heavily populated with deer, don’t rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences or reflectors to deter them. Relying on these items often gives drivers a false sense of security, which results in them letting down their guard and not paying close attention to their surroundings.
 
Reaction Time and Braking Distance
 
As a defensive driver, an important concept to understand is the correlation between reaction time and braking distance. The physics that contribute to a driver reacting to a situation, applying the brakes and bringing the vehicle to a complete stop play a significant role in preventing collisions.
Reaction time is the time it takes you to recognize the need to stop or maneuver the vehicle. The average person’s reaction time is approximately 3/4 of a second if they are paying attention.
 
Braking distance includes a variety of factors such as the condition of the road surface; dry, wet or icy, plus the condition of the vehicle’s brakes and tires; proper inflation and good treads and how many passengers or additional weight the vehicle is transporting. The formula for how fast a vehicle will stop equals reaction time + braking distance.
For example, at 60 mph a vehicle travels 88 feet per second. It takes 3/4 of a second to perceive the danger and another 3/4 to react and apply the brakes. In these 1.5 seconds, you have traveled 132 feet and the vehicle is still going 60 mph. Once you apply the brakes there is a .27 second lag before the brakes actually engage for a total of 1.77 seconds before the brakes are engaged. This equals a distance of 155 feet in which the vehicle has traveled during the perception and reaction phase of the stopping process.
 
Conclusion
 
The autumn months are a beautiful time of transition and change. Before getting out on the road, be sure that your vehicle is prepared to meet the various weather conditions and exposures associated with this season. Along with being a defensive driver, practice being a thoughtful driver by adjusting your driving habits in accordance with the road and weather conditions and eliminating the temptation to focus on distractions, both inside and outside of the vehicle. Keep your eyes on the road, leave your cell phone in your bag and no matter what the season, always wear your seatbelt.

Temporary Staffing: The Shepherd’s Hut of Careers

A daily morning read that never fails to provide a huge amount of insight in a tiny amount of time is Seth Godin’s blog.  A recent entry makes a great case for the value of temporary employment:

Can you live in a shepherd’s hut?shepherd's hut

The best way to plan a house on a vacant piece of land is to move into a tiny shepherd’s hut on a corner of the property. It’s not fancy, and it’s not comfortable, but you can probably stay there for a week or two.

And during that week, you’ll understand more about the land than you ever could in an hour of walking around. You’ll see how the rain falls and the sun shines and the puddles form.

As you’ve probably guessed, you can do that with the job you’re thinking about taking or the project you’re thinking about launching. Show up in the market and make some sales. Take a role as an intern and answer the customer service hotline for a day. Get as close as you can to the real thing, live it, taste it, and then decide how to build your career or your organization.

If the shepherd’s hut feels too uncomfortable, it might not be the land you wanted in the first place.

Working in a temporary job will give you more insight into a company and a position than you ever could in an hour of interviewing.  You’ll see how the work flows and if the people shine and how the culture is formed.  You can see the real thing and then decide if the organization is a place you can build a career and thrive within.

And if the temporary job feels too uncomfortable, it might not be the company you wanted in the first place.

Looking for a “shepherd’s hut” at a top Lehigh Valley company?  Allied’s temporary positions offer the best way to learn about an organization and evaluate the next steps in your career.

Viewing The August 21st Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse visible in the United States is rare – and precious, just like your vision.

solar eclipse

solar eclipse

When the moon crosses in front of the sun on Monday, Aug. 21, skies will darken, stars will twinkle and millions of Americans will be treated to an astronomical show last observed in the U.S. in 1979. The only safe way to look directly at the sun is through special-purpose solar filters, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

These special filters are used in eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers. Eclipse glasses are available for purchase at big-box stores, electronics supply outlets and online. Look for glasses that carry this certification insignia: ISO 12312-2.

“The concern over improper viewing of the sun during an eclipse is for the development of ‘eclipse blindness’ or retinal burns,” said associate professor of optometry Dr. Ralph Chou in an article published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Chou said children and young adults are most at risk as bright light and radiation from the sun can cause heating and cook the exposed tissue of the eye. The aging process can provide a natural filtering effect in older people and reduce risk of retinal damage.

Set Rules for Your Viewing Party

In Eclipse 101, NASA outlines do’s and don’ts of viewing the eclipse:

  • Do not look directly at the sun
  • Do not use homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark sunglasses
  • Use special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers, to view the eclipse
  • Read and follow filter instructions and supervise children
  • In any stage of eclipse, do not look at the sun through a camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device, and never use solar filters with these devices, as concentrated solar rays will damage them and can cause serious eye injury
  • Inspect your solar filter before use; if it is scratched or damaged, discard the filter
  • Pinhole projection is a safe way to view the sun in indirect fashion; Exploratorium provides instruction on “How to Build a Sun Viewer” and other methods of safely viewing the sun

Who Will Be Able to See the Eclipse?

Everyone in America will see at least a partial eclipse. Those living inside a 70-mile stretch known as the “path of totality” will see the total eclipse when the moon fully covers the sun.

downloadable map produced by NASA plots the total eclipse course through 14 states, beginning in Oregon and ending in South Carolina. NASA projects the longest duration of totality will be near Carbondale, IL, where the sun will be completely covered for about 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

Times for partial and total eclipse viewing vary depending on your location. NASA’sinteractive map allows you to click on any point in the U.S. and check peak times for viewing in your area. For example, the eclipse in Carbondale will begin at 11:52 a.m. CDT, with maximum eclipse at 1:21 p.m.

NASA also provides links to general viewing parties and libraries hosting events.

How Often Do Solar (or Lunar) Eclipses Occur?

The range is from two to seven eclipses each year, according to EarthSky.

  • One calendar year has a minimum of four eclipses, two solar and two lunar
  • The last time there were seven eclipses in a single year was 1982, and the next time will be 2038
  • Few people see the shallow solar eclipses that occur regularly in the Arctic and Antarctic regions

After Aug. 21, the next total solar eclipse will be July 2, 2019, in South America.

 

Check out where to view the eclipse in the Lehigh Valley.

Allied Personnel Services is a proud member of the National Safety Council.  

3 Tips For Successful Interviews

Looking for a great job in the Lehigh Valley? Part of the process will almost certainly include interviews.  In addition to placing people in career opportunities with some of the leading companies in Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, Allied provides our candidates a crash course in interview preparation. Here are what we consider our top 3 tips to prepare you for an interview.

Always research the company and the position.

The Internet provides the means for gathering extensive information on a company. Visit the company’s website to read up on their history, their product line, and any current news. Many smaller companies also profile members of their management team. A company website will likely also offer a full description of the available job and may even include general information on the benefits offered. LinkedIn is also a great resource to learn more about the company, as well as the person who will be interviewing you.  By doing your research ahead of time, you will also be better able to formulate intelligent questions during your interview.A job interview

Be courteous to everyone you meet.

We always encourage candidates to be friendly to the first person they meet when they walk in the door of a company. Many interviewers will ask the person at the front desk or at the security desk for a quick first impression. If you were rude, if you were talking on your cell phone, or if you were pacing nervously, they will share that information with the interviewing/hiring manager so it is important to not get off on the wrong foot. Greet everyone with politeness and wish them well when you leave, turn the cell phone off in the car (vibrate isn’t good enough – it needs to be off), and sit calmly while waiting.  Consider your interview starting the moment you arrive at the company.

Even if it seems like common sense, think about it.

Most people look at us oddly when we provide this advice but you would be surprised how often simple common sense errors trip up an otherwise decent interview. Before you walk in the building make sure your sunglasses are off of your head and that your suit jacket lapel isn’t folded under. Make sure you’ve left food and drink in the car (this includes gum and mints). Always take at least three extra copies of your resume in case you meet with more than one person, and ensure those resumes are neat and are free of coffee stains, folds, and pen marks. Make sure you have reference information with you including the person’s full name, phone number, and email address. And most of all make sure you know who to ask for when you arrive!

Despite low unemployment rates, the job market in the Lehigh Valley is always competitive and employers will be considering multiple candidates when hiring.  If you’ve done your research, remember your manners and pay attention to the common sense details, you will absolutely have a leg up on the competition. Rest assured, we’ve seen enough people stumble to know what gets you noticed in a positive way.

Good luck with your search, and be sure to check out Allied’s available jobs regularly.

Job Fair: June 6, 2017 at Orasure Technologies, Bethlehem

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Allied is hiring for one of the Lehigh Valley’s leading companies:  Orasure Technologies in Bethlehem.  OraSure develops, manufactures and markets point-of-care, oral fluid specimen collection devices, diagnostic products, and other medical devices and was named a 2016 Top WorkPlace.  TWP2016

We are looking for Manufacturing Technicians for long-term roles at Orasure.  These opportunities offer a starting rate of $15/hour, a 4-day work week, and an excellent working environment with opportunity for growth.  We’ve helped many people begin successful careers at Orasure; be our next Success Story!

Visit us at our job fair on Tuesday, June 6th, 8am–2pm, on-site at Orasure (220 East First Street, Bethlehem, PA  18015) or apply online today!

Summer Staffing

summer popsicles

Summer is right around the corner! Your busy season may be coming, vacations may be looming, and interns may be knocking on your door. This year think about how Allied can help you make summer staffing a breeze.

Allied has a network of new and returning college students that can help you:

  • Meet peak production times by supplementing your staff
  • Ensure shipping deadlines are met by covering staff vacations
  • Complete projects you’ve saved for later
  • Cover your front desk during vacations

Do you already supplement your staff with the use of interns? Consider payrolling. Allied can: 

  • Screen, on-board, and pay the interns you’ve recruited  
  • Handle employee paperwork and payroll processing 

For more information or suggestions on how you would benefit most fully from our summer offerings, contact us.  We can help you get the most out of your summer help. 

10th Readers’ Choice Win For Allied Personnel Services

Allied Personnel Services has been named Best Employment Agency in the 2016 Morning Call Readers’ Choice awards.  This marks the 10th win for Allied, confirming our status as the leading staffing company in the Lehigh Valley.

Thank you to all of our clients and employees that voted for us.  We are proud of our service to the Lehigh Valley over the last 32 years and look forward to our continued commitment to our community.

2016_ReadersChoiceLogo

Now Hiring: Manufacturing Jobs in Bethlehem

We are looking for people with solid manufacturing experience for great positions at Orasure–one of the Lehigh Valley’s premier companies, chosen as a 2016 Top WorkPlace.

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Allied placed Dawn Anderson in a temporary, entry-level assignment at Orasure back in 2004. Fast forward to 2016 and Dawn is now a full-time Senior Manufacturing Technician at Orasure.

These opportunities offer a 4-day work week and start at $15/hour.  Be one of Allied’s next success stories!  Visit one of our offices, or apply online today.

 

Congratulations, You Graduated! Now What?

Congratulations to the graduates of 2016! You’ve finally completed your studies and all that cramming – now it is on to the “real” world. As many of you are finding, it can often be much more challenging than school was, especially when it comes to finding a job.
graduate
Each year, Allied successfully places numerous recent grads in positions at many leading Lehigh Valley companies. These positions can be short term (1 day, 1 week, etc.) or they can be long term (1 month+). Both provide a great advantage to you.

Short-term jobs provide the flexibility to interview for jobs in your field or outside of the area without the commitment of a full-time job. Long-term positions allow you to expand on and build your skills, which in turn enhances your resume.
Additionally, you may find that the position you thought was just a way to make money until you secured your dream job is actually satisfying and provides a challenging opportunity for growth. 

Of course, you can’t overlook our temp to hire opportunities either. If you have a clear picture of your interests or career goals, we may be able to help you find a great opening. Companies often don’t post every job they have on their website; they rely on us to recruit for them. Working with a staffing company allows you access to the jobs you’d never find on your own, and can often be the best way to get into a full-time role at a top company.

Graduates often wait until August or September to contact us because they see a staffing company as a last resort. Instead, make Allied one of your first contacts, especially if you want to have an edge on the competition.