Cindy Speaker:    Good afternoon, and welcome to our Facebook Live broadcast today. My name is Cindy Speaker. I have with me one of my favorite guests, David Daggett. David Daggett is an attorney with Daggett Shuler Attorneys at Law in North Carolina, but he’s also a triathlete. We’re going to talk with him today about summer safety in an active lifestyle. David, thanks for being here today.

David Daggett:  Thank you for have me, Cindy.

Cindy Speaker:   Absolutely. David, I want to talk with you about a lot of things, about just overall summer safety, but let’s start with something foundational that I think often gets underestimated, and that is the importance of hydration. Tell us a little bit about how you stay hydrated and what you have to recommend for us.

David Daggett:  Sure. In fact, if I can take a brief deviation, I know you’ve done some work with people in Africa.

Cindy Speaker:  Yes.

David Daggett:  Dehydration worldwide is one of the leading causes of death, actually.

Cindy Speaker:   Wow.

David Daggett: Hydration is very important not just when you’re active in doing fitness type things, but it’s essential for our life. The basic guidelines and recommendations, if you look them up, are you take your weight, so for me I’m a little under 170 pounds, divide it in half, that’s 85. You should drink 85 ounces of water a day. That’s a basic rule of thumb.

Cindy Speaker:  I never heard that.

David Daggett:  Yeah. Actually, if you’re active and sweating — it’s been extremely hot and humid here in the last few days — obviously you have to add more. There’s all sorts of little tricks. You can weigh yourself before and after you run, take the difference. That’s typically your sweat rate, and you know that you have to replace that amount of fluids. Another thing that’s kind of fun here is our office has become a gathering spot for runners in the community, and we’ve actually put in a water fountain outside at our back door so runners, or anybody, walkers, can come get a drink of water, fill up their water bottle, that sort of thing.

Cindy Speaker:  That is great.

David Daggett:   Hydration is important. In fact, we have our Daggett Shuler water bottles. I always have mine full at my desk.

Cindy Speaker:   Fantastic.

David Daggett:   If anybody wants to stop by and get a water bottle, they’re welcome to stop by and get a water bottle.

Cindy Speaker:  That’s great. It’s interesting. I said at the beginning I think often that we underestimate the importance of staying hydrated. As you know, a few years ago I had some surgery, and it kind of messed up my voice. I went through a number of tests. I went to a rehab here that is really well-known, Bryn Mawr Rehab, and I spent an hour with them. They tested me all different ways. Here was what they said. They said, “Cindy, the very best thing you can do for your voice is hydrate. Drink water, more and more water, because it has a healing power.” I thought, yeah, that’s an easy solution, but it’s also one a lot of times that gets overlooked. There’s a great deal of healing power in water.

David Daggett:   We recently also installed in our office one of those water fountains with a bottle filler on it that’s filled with water. We’re trying to promote that around the office.

Cindy Speaker:    That’s great.

David Daggett:    The other thing about drinking water is water is filling and it helps you to reduce your appetite, which is better for maintaining a positive weight also.

Cindy Speaker:   Absolutely. Great.

David Daggett:  Little hydration tips there.

Cindy Speaker:   Yeah, that’s great. Let’s go on and talk more about just overall summer safety. People get involved in biking and hiking and running and cycling, all kinds of things. I know that’s a broad topic, but give us some idea about how can we stay safe this summer, keep our families safe.

David Daggett:   Sure. We have a number of things. Let me hit the high-risk areas. One is swimming tragedies. Always swim with a friend. Always make sure that the people that you’re with actually know how to swim, particularly … We have creeks and rivers around here. You take that sort of thing seriously. You know what obstacles and hazards are there. You know that you’re with somebody who can help you if you get in trouble. We had a tragedy just a couple years ago at the beach. A classmate of mine from law school who was a judge went in to save somebody. He was actually a hero. Ended up drowning himself.

When you’re making those summer trips to the beach, make sure there’s lifeguards. Check with the lifeguards as to the conditions. Don’t stray out too far. All those sort of things. Most of our beaches have signs up warning people of that, but those signs are serious, and the reason they’re there is because things occasionally happen. Take water very, very seriously.

The opposite end from the water, the water’s down here, the sun’s up there. Take the sun very seriously. There’s 70,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed every year. That’s one in 59 people that are going to be diagnosed with melanoma during their lifetime. Do not let your skin get blistered. The odds of melanoma go way up. Don’t use tanning beds. If you have a light complexion, you have to be particularly careful. Also, look back to your family history and those sort of things. Use sunscreens. Use hats. Long sleeve, light clothing out in the sun. You just don’t want your skin to get burned and blistered out in the sun.

Those are the elements. Then we also have our activities. We’re out a whole lot more walking and running. When you’re walking, you’re running, always go against traffic. Use a sidewalk where possible. You’ve got to pretend you’re invisible, because to motor vehicles many times you are. Some of the people are going to get on me, but I’m not a believer in having earphones or any music in your ears. You need all of your senses.

Cindy Speaker:   I agree.

David Daggett: It’s an interesting statistic. Pedestrian vehicle accidents occur with a car hitting them from behind. That means two things. Number one, usually that means you’re not on the proper side of the road you’re supposed to be on. Number two, if you have earphones on, you can’t hear the car coming. I don’t want to demagogue that too much and I don’t want to beat anybody up over it, but I would say two or three times a week when I’m running or cycling I have someone either walk in front of me or they get scared and startled when I come up on them.

Your hearing is an important sense that you have. Make use of it. If nothing else, just have one earphone in, not both. That’s better than both. I’m a believer in going out to what I call the cathedral of nature, where you can hear the birds and the squirrels and the animals and all those sort of things. I enjoy that.

Cindy Speaker:  Yeah, and you do a lot of that.

David Daggett:  Then, stay on familiar courses. Familiar courses, you know the traffic, you know the patterns, you know that sort of thing. I know there’s one stoplight in downtown Winston-Salem that cars tend to run all the time. Being familiar with that, I know to be extra careful in that area. It’s always good to let somebody know where you are.

A lot of those same tips apply to riding a bicycle. Obviously, on a bicycle you’re with traffic. Obey traffic signals. I think a big part of bicycle safety is if you’re respectful to vehicles, the drivers of vehicles are respectful back to you. It’s kind of a law of nature. If you’re nice to them, they’re nice to you. Again, pretend you can’t be seen, because many times you can’t.

The other thing, and this is pretty critical, as you know I ride the bike early in the morning a lot of times. Well, what you do is, when the sun’s coming up, you ride in the other direction so that the sun is behind you when it’s on the horizon. Then, riding back, it’s a little higher so you’re safer. In the mornings, when you take off riding you take off riding to the west, because cars can see you with the sun at their back. They can’t see you with the sun in their eyes.

Cindy Speaker:  Interesting.

David Daggett: In the evening when you take off, you do the opposite, because, again, you don’t want to be riding west with the sun setting because cars can’t see you. Be conscious of that. That’s important.

Always wear a helmet. In North Carolina, it’s mandatory if you’re 16 or under. I think it’s very, very important regardless of the age, for two reasons. Number one, you get more respect from cars if you have a helmet. Number two is it’s not “if” a crash is going to happen. If you ride a bike long enough, it’s going to happen, and the old saying is a helmet’s cheaper than a neurosurgeon. Wear your helmet. It can protect you. I speak from experience there.

Cindy Speaker:  I know you do.

David Daggett:  That’s water, sun, running, and bicycles.

Cindy Speaker:  That’s great. Let me go to your activity. You do a lot of triathlons. Tell us how many you’ve done.

David Daggett:  I have done, what, 187?

Cindy Speaker:   That’s amazing.

David Daggett:  187 triathlons.

Cindy Speaker:  187.

David Daggett: 27 of the Ironman distance …

Cindy Speaker:   Wow.

David Daggett:   … which is a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26-mile run.

Cindy Speaker:   That’s amazing.

David Daggett:   My old bones have some miles on them.

Cindy Speaker: What I want to ask you about is, okay, within the context of those … It’s biking, running, and swimming. Within the context of your triathlons, because they’re becoming more and more popular, what are safety tips that you abide by during those triathlons and that type of an intense sporting event?

David Daggett:  Races are actually safer than training for the most part because you’re usually on a closed course or at least limited traffic. A couple things. If the large majority of races are open water swims, is make sure you are a good swimmer and are accustomed to swimming in changing conditions. There’s always, I don’t know, 10, 12 or so deaths every year in triathlons, and they almost always occur during the swim portion.

Cindy Speaker:  Wow.

David Daggett:  A unique physiological thing tends to happen, is when you go from vertical to horizontal very quickly, you go from the warmer air to the colder water very quickly, combined with the rush of adrenaline, that is a cocktail that can be very, very dangerous for the inexperienced person. What you do is you prepare for those elements and you try to simulate those in advance a little bit so that on race day it doesn’t quite cause the panic and you know how to handle the conditions. Very, very important.

Cindy Speaker:  Good advice.

David Daggett: On the bike, remember that you have people near you, all sorts of ability levels. Communicate. “I’m passing on your left.” “Careful there.” Helping others by pointing out potholes or irregularities in the road is very helpful. You keep the person next to you safe, it’s going to help keep you safe.

Then, on the run, my experience is that there’s just an awful lot of camaraderie to help you through the event. Take advantage of that camaraderie. Meet a few new friends and enjoy the healthy fitness aspects of the sport.

Cindy Speaker:  David, why is a fit lifestyle so important to you? It’s something that you’ve maintained your whole life. It’s so admirable. Why is it so important to you? What’s the impetus for that?

David Daggett: From a selfish point of view, it gets me going and it’s an ongoing metaphor for everything else I do. It gets me up early in the morning. I have a mental routine that I go through. All psychologists, business experts, performance experts say that if you go through a mental routine, some form of meditation — which I do while I’m swimming — some form of goal setting — make a bullet points of the three most important things to do today — and some problem solving when you’re by yourself — again, when I’m swimming nobody can interrupt me, I can problem solve in my brain the most important things — it helps perform better professionally also.

I think really the bigger point is we’ve got a real problem — and I would say crisis — in our country with the health of our children. The rates of childhood obesity are just going up dramatically, and obese children, it predicts and portends that we’re going to have unfit, unhealthy people when they get older. They learn by example. If we all focus on health and fitness, our young people will focus. We’ll be fitter. Our communities will be healthier going forward. I don’t take any political position, but the cost of healthcare is becoming an increasing burden. By promoting a fitter, healthier society, it can actually take a tremendous economic stress off of all of us.

Cindy Speaker:  I think it’s great. I really applaud you, because you’re quite a role model. I think it’s fantastic.

David Daggett:  We do a whole lot of things here with kids. We’ve got the Kids for Kids youth triathlon coming up July 8th. I think it’s absolutely the best event in the world. We do stuff with the Down syndrome community.

Cindy Speaker:  That’s great.

David Daggett:                  We have the Beat the Heat 5k coming up, which is North Carolina’s state championship 5k. All those things we’re involved in, and hopefully it encourages the community to come together in a healthy fitness…

Cindy Speaker:  That’s awesome.

David Daggett:  Yeah. It’s fun.

Cindy Speaker:   Let me talk a little bit about biking … because for one thing you have new biking laws, relatively new biking laws in North Carolina. Talk a little bit about the importance of drivers sharing the road with bikers and cyclists.

David Daggett:  It’s very, very important. Drivers have to remember that when a cyclist is on the road, they’re vulnerable and in a precarious position. When you blow by a cyclist, and I’m not trying to say that in an impugning sort of way, but in close proximity, it’s pretty scary. I think motorists have to be aware. It’s even hit me harder because my kids are spending a lot of time on the road cycling now also, and I want them to be safe. I also hope motorists are considerate to them.

It’s just like any other aspect of our life. If motorists are kind and considerate to bicyclists, bicyclists are kind and considerate to motorists, and vice versa. The one thing I always tell folks in the cycling community is you’ve got to be a good ambassador. Just got to be a good ambassador, because the motorists on the road, how I respond to a motorist is the way they’re going to respond to the next cyclist. No matter the situation, we’ve got to create positive relationships

Cindy Speaker:  That’s great advice. There’s a flip side to all of this. I think this is wonderful information and we want to enjoy our summer and be safe, but, unfortunately, you see a lot of situations where it doesn’t work out quite the way we had hoped and there’s injuries, sometimes very serious injuries.

Cindy Speaker:  Talk a little bit about what to do when you’ve suffered some type of an injury that occurs in the summer. Are there insurance issues that come into play? Things like that.

David Daggett:  It’s interesting. Most cyclists and runners don’t realize that their automobile insurance may cover them if something bad happens. Their homeowners insurance may cover them if something bad happens. Certainly health insurance, disability insurance policies, all those, the interplay between those different policies can be very, very complicated and difficult to deal with. The ordinary person just doesn’t deal with those sort of policies or the interaction between them. We do that. Between all the attorneys in our offices with their areas of expertise, we’ve got the expertise to put those different types of insurances together to make sure somebody’s fully covered, or at least the best we can if a bad situation happens.

Yes, it does happen. I always recommend that bicyclists in particular, but also runners, have very good health insurance and very good auto insurance, because that may cover you also in those situations.

Cindy Speaker:  David-

David Daggett:  In fact we have some…

Cindy Speaker:  Oh, sorry. Go ahead.

David Daggett:  … online videos on the YouTube channel that cover those issues.

Cindy Speaker:  Right. If someone has questions and they want to reach you, what’s the best way to do that?

David Daggett:   Our website, DaggettShulerlaw.com, or 336-724-1234.

Cindy Speaker:  Excellent.

David Daggett:    Google us. We’re pretty easy to find.

Cindy Speaker:   Yeah, you are pretty easy to find. Anything else you want to add before we go today? I think this has been fantastic.

David Daggett:   No. I just encourage everybody to have a safe, happy summer. Look out for each other. Look forward to speaking to you again soon.

Cindy Speaker:   And stop by at the water fountain and to get a water bottle at Daggett Shuler Law.

David Daggett:  Absolutely.

Cindy Speaker:   Thanks, David.

David Daggett:   Thank you. Bye-bye.

Cindy Speaker:  For those of you that are watching on the web, whether by live or on the replay, if you have questions, feel free to post in the comments area. We’ll make sure we get back to you. Thanks, everybody.