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Epic Driving Fails

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Epic Driving Fails Infographic

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The States With The Best and The Worst Drivers

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Best and Worst Driving States Infographic

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Distracted Driving Awareness Month – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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April is distracted driving awareness month. By now, even your great grandmother knows that distracted driving ranks as one of the highest mortality issues for drivers in America. Drivers spend more than half their time focused on things other than driving. And there are more distractions in the car than ever before, other than the obvious cell phone use. Driving with your knees while eating a Big Mac, drinking a beverage (hopefully non-alcoholic), smoking (hopefully just cigarettes), listening to and/or looking at your GPS, reading something, applying makeup, shaving, disciplining your kids, changing a radio station, looking for a cd, plugging in your iphone, ipod, ipad or “i-yi-yi!” There are unlimited distractions!
Over 3,200 people were killed and an additional 424,000 (yes…thousand) people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013 alone! Distractions are estimated to be associated with 15-25% of crashes at all levels. And, although cell phone use is a major distraction, texting (taking your eyes off the road to text) increases the risk more than just cell phone use.
I hear new drivers constantly commenting on how intense and difficult it was to learn how to drive. The responsibility alone of barreling down the road in a giant chunk of steel is a huge responsibility. That’s when you feel truly grown up. Now you’re independent and can drive yourself where you need to go. No longer relying on anyone to take you places. But, with that responsibility comes consequences. Which is also a factor in becoming an adult. If you’ve ever driven a clutch, you’ll recall your first time, how it took all of the coordination you could muster to push in the clutch with your left foot, while giving it a little gas with your right foot and shifting gears without it stalling out or rolling back into the car behind you. Now, that’s multi-tasking! It took a bit of practice, but you finally mastered it. Perhaps you will also remember how virtually impossible it was to do anything other than drive when you were driving a straight shift? There’s no way you could hold or drink a beverage, smoke, or do anything while you were shifting gears? I’m not saying that everyone should sell their automatics and buy a 5-speed, but some parents have told me that they have done just that with their teen drivers for just that reason. So they “can’t” multi-task.
With April being distracted driver awareness month, law enforcement in all states will be cracking down on distracted drivers, especially those texting or talking on the phone. Maybe pledging, if even to yourself, to not be a distracted driver for the rest of the month will start you on the path to better driving habits. And may save a few lives, to boot!
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Distracted Driving Awareness Month – Comedy Defensive Driving

Driving Tips for New Drivers – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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It scares the bajeezus out of me that kids don’t have driver education offered in high school like they did when I was a kid. Driver education is definitely not like it was back in the 70’s. Now, teens are not even required to attend a driving school. They can do a parent taught driver education course offered by the DPS (Department of Public Safety). Here are a few driving tips for new drivers. These tips may help parents when teaching their teens how to drive. Practicing good safety habits will not only help to prevent accidents, but the more time you drive without a ticket or an accident on your record, the lower you can keep your insurance rates.
Keep your cell phone off. If you have no willpower and can’t trust yourself to not reach for it while driving, lock it in the glove box or console. Talking on the phone is one thing, but texting is even worse. This requires taking your eyes off of the road for way too long. Turn your headlights on in the morning and at dusk. Even if it’s not completely dark outside, people are more likely to see you if your lights are on. Some cars are more “invisible” to drivers due to their color. So having your lights on certainly helps.
Drive at a safe speed. Even if everyone is blowing past you, you may be trying to keep up with the flow of traffic, but also keeping it at a safe speed while doing so. Minimize distractions and try to drive alone.
And always practice defensive driving. Always pay attention to everything going on around the car at all times. And always have a safe “out” planned in case you need an escape route should something happen suddenly. Stay at least one car length behind other cars at low speeds, and leave even more space at higher speeds or in inclement weather. A defensive driving course will improve your driving skills, get you up to speed with new laws and revised laws, and could give you a discount on your auto insurance for three years.
Thank goodness for all of the new safety features in cars. That will eventually help reduce teen driver fatalities. But there is no accounting for driving experience. Add that with these tips and it will increase the odds that your teen won’t become a statistic.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Driver Tips for New Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving

Rolling Stop – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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No Cop, no stop. That seems to be the trend these days. Rolling through a stop sign or rolling through a red light to take a right turn is also referred to as a rolling stop or a California roll. Coincidentally, that’s my favorite Sushi. Drivers Education instructors teach new drivers to count three seconds before leaving a stop sign or taking a right turn at a red light. Although the law does not require that you stop for a certain amount of time, the law requires that your car settles. But three seconds will insure that your car has settled and will keep you from getting a citation. Some instructors teach students to count five seconds. But I believe three seconds is adequate. If you make someone behind you wait for an extra two seconds, you’re the Devil. At the very least, they may honk at you, hoping to wake you from your slumber. Or, thinking you may be finishing up a text message, they may twist on you and ignite a road rage fueled gun battle. And people do pull guns on each other over trivial things such as this. Now with new concealed carry laws, nearly everyone will be carrying a gun. Maybe we’ll even start seeing gun racks with rifles in the back window of pick-up trucks again, just like back in the 70’s. Not in all states, though. No such gun laws exist in California. So, perhaps in Northern California, we’ll start seeing wine racks in the back window of pick-up trucks. It’s just a thought…
Typically, citizens who get a camera light bill in the mail from a photo-enforced intersection, aren’t blowing through a red light. They are usually taking a right turn on red and rolling through the red light. So, teaching new drivers to count three seconds to make certain your car has settled has certainly saved them from getting cited, having their insurance rates increase due to those citations and possibly even preventing them from causing a crash.
So, don’t forget, even if there is no Cop, you still need to come to a complete stop. It will, at the end of the day, save you money, grief and maybe even save your life.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Rolling Stop – Comedy Defensive Driving

Underage Drinking – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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When I moved to Texas in 1979, everyone in the car could have an open container…even the driver. I thought you’d get a citation if you didn’t drink and drive. We’ve totally evolved since those glory days (or, as some of my friends call them, the R.I.P. days). Eventually, the law changed and only passengers could have an open container (or a road sodie, as they were called). This way, the driver could merely hand their beverage over to a passenger before the officer approached the car…brilliant. I’m sure the laws in the state that I moved here from were no better. In fact, most bars never closed. Which also means they didn’t clean up. You needed a tetanus shot before you’d go into one of those places. And, as far as underage drinking went, the legal age to drink went from 21 down to 18. Then it went up to 19 for awhile and kind of hovered there. Then it eventually went back up to 21. Somewhere in between, I recall the drinking age being around 8 (maybe that was south of the border). People from European countries say they don’t have an underage drinking problem because they don’t “glamorize” drinking like we do here in the states. And their laws are strict and swift. So, would lowering the drinking age make it less attractive to teens? MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) says not. When states had lower legal drinking ages in America, the underage drinking problem was worse. Underage drunk drivers were involved in over twice as many fatal accidents.
A few months ago, there was a rumor going around on the interweb (that’s what my dad calls it) that the drinking age was going to be raised to 25. It was apparently just a myth. Kind of like celebrity deaths on the internet. That has to be super creepy to the celebrities themselves. 25 years of age is apparently when the frontal lobe completely develops. Better, more rational, adult decision making comes into play after 25 (hopefully). But not everyone matures at the same pace as others.
According to MADD, more than 25,000 lives have been saved in the U.S. because of the 21 minimum legal drinking age. They claim that the law continues to prevent tragedies and therefore decreases crashes by an estimated 16% and keeps young people safer from many other risks as well (such as alcohol poisoning, and aspiration).
Even after 21, it is encouraged to take a cab or Uber if you have consumed any alcohol. In fact, MADD has teamed up with Uber to encourage this. Uber’s revolutionary app connects users with safe, reliable rides at the touch of a button. Those are rides you can count on, whenever and wherever, so that people never have to get behind the wheel drunk.
After all, the easier it is to get a safe ride, the less likely adults are to drive after drinking.
Until next week….
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Underage Drinking – Comedy Defensive Driving

Drunk Drivers – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Whether you’re Irish or just Irish for the day, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! You may have noticed more police patrolling our streets since last weekend. Police have been initiating special law enforcement efforts during Saint Patrick’s Day week to keep drunk drivers off the road. This special intensive effort will run through tonight, March 17. But, be extra alert tomorrow morning on your commute for drunk drivers still on the road. Most states have been enforcing zero tolerance during this festive week. You don’t want your “luck of the Irish” to run out. And a DWI or vehicular manslaughter conviction could result in some lengthy jail time. Where you could find yourself as your cell mate’s Mary O’Reilly. Why do you think they call them cell mates?

This effective nationwide drunk driving crackdown includes high-visibility enforcement, high-profile events, and has been supported by national paid advertising, creating a comprehensive campaign to curb drunk driving over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign reduces drunk driving fatalities by as much as 20 percent.

Here are a few tips to help keep you and others safe from harm and free of getting strapped with a permanent DWI conviction on your driving record.

  • Arrange a ride to and from your planned destination. A designated driver would be ideal.
  • Try to discourage friends from driving impaired. Offer them a lift if needed.

So, be safe this evening. And have a terrific Saint Patrick’s Day!

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Drunk Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving

Stolen Motor Vehicle – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Did you know that, according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) a stolen motor vehicle is reported every 44 seconds in the United States? My car isn’t on the list of the top ten reported stolen vehicles. I don’t know whether I should be relieved or insulted. But the Dodge Charger is number one. I find that interesting, since the police drive them now. Some are even unmarked Chargers in a variety of civilian-looking colors. Dark Blue, Black, White, Red, Burgundy, Silver, Pewter and, of course, good old black and white. The lights are in the front grill or the back tinted window of the car. Now, I’m not a criminal, but if I see a civilian in a charger, no matter the color, I slam on the brakes. It’s just a bad habit. I saw a pink Charger and I locked ‘em up, like a dope. It was probably just Mary K.
40-50% of vehicle theft is due to the driver either leaving their car running, unattended or leaving their keys in the car. If someone steals your car, chances are they are going on a joy ride. With high speed police pursuits, damages and other unimaginable possibilities occurring, insurance may not cover your car damages if the theft is due to your own negligence. You will also get a citation for leaving your keys in your car.
To prevent your car’s picture from showing up on a milk carton, here’s a few useful tips. Never leave your keys in your car. Even when you’re pumping gas. Close and lock all windows and doors when you park. Always park in well-lit areas. Parking garages are even better since they usually have surveillance cameras that are monitored by property security or by towing companies. And never leave valuables in view.
As for theft of outside parts, wheel cover locks and fuel door locks can be purchased at most part supply stores or online. July and August are apparently months that yield more vehicle thefts. So, getting into good theft prevention habits now will have you well prepared.
So, remember…. keys, hide and lock. Those three words can save you a lot of grief and will help to avoid these three words…bus, cab and expense.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Stolen Motor Vehicle – Comedy Defensive Driving

Cell Phone Laws – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Thirteen states prohibit drivers from using cell phones. And 37 states (including Texas) have an outright ban on phone use by inexperienced and teen drivers. But Texas is not among the 44 states that ban text messaging while driving. Several major Texas cities (not including Dallas or Fort Worth) have enacted ordinances (city) banning texting while driving. But there are still no state cell phone laws in Texas. Austin and San Antonio, as of January 1, have prohibited any cell phone use while driving.
It is reported that there were more than 95,000 distraction-related traffic crashes in Texas in 2013 that resulted in more than 18,000 serious injuries and more than 500 deaths, according to state transportation figures. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 9 people are killed in the U.S. every day in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. So, why is there no state law?
This biannual session, there is widespread support from powerful lobbyist groups. And this session will have dozens of people there, who have been directly impacted by the dangers of distracted driving, asking legislators to make it a law.
Texas’ state laws already make it illegal for anyone under 18 and in school zones to use cell phones. A study was done last year that proved an average of 19 lives could be saved each year by banning texting while driving, alone.
And the fiscally responsible measure that will save the state and its people lots of money from lost wages, property damage and lawsuits is yet another valid reason to make this irresponsible act illegal.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Cell Phone Laws – Comedy Defensive Driving