Dear Readers: The SUMMER DRIVING SEASON is here, and with more people on the roads, you might encounter more emergency vehicles than usual. What do you do when you see a police car or an ambulance with its lights and sirens on? Laws vary by state, but public safety always should be the first concern. Here are some hints to keep you and others safe:

* Make sure, before you leave your driveway, that you can see clearly out of your rearview mirror and side mirrors.

* A quiet environment is best. Loud music and talking can prevent you from hearing a siren.

* When you hear a siren, stay calm, check traffic around you, use your turn signal and pull over on the side of the road closest to you.

* Wait for emergency personnel to pass (there may be more than one vehicle), check your surroundings and slowly get back on the road.

-- Heloise


Hello, Heloise: I love your column in the Santa Maria (Calif.) Times. I would like to give a hint for anyone who doesn’t like telemarketing calls, unsolicited type calls or even calls from charities.

I simply say that due to identity theft, we don’t give out money over the phone. That usually stops the caller from going through the speech! -- Gail, via e-mail

This may or may not be a good idea! You do not owe anyone an explanation! The less said, the better; simply say goodbye and hang up! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have a watch with a white face and silver-tone hands; in certain light, it was hard to see the hands to determine the time.

Our local jeweler suggested painting the hands (including the second hand) black. I requested sapphire blue. The hands not only look wonderful, but they are very easy to read. -- Cory S., Prescott Valley, Ariz.

Cory, how innovative! All the jeweler -- a watch expert -- does is take the watch apart and paint the hands, and it’s inexpensive! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I realized that my fitted, plastic mattress protector had big tears. I bought a shower-curtain liner, took out the magnets, and it fit my king-size bed perfectly! It could be trimmed to fit smaller beds. My quilted mattress pad held it down, and the bed was neater. At less than $2.50, it was a bargain, too! -- Linda C., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: A few drops of gasoline spilled in your car can leave an unpleasant odor.

The solution? Place the empty can in a garbage bag and tie tightly. If the can turns over, any drops will be inside the garbage bag, and you can discard it. You also might wish to place the filled can back in the garbage bag for the trip home. -- Ronald N., Alexandria, Va.

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate