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How Age Affects Auto Insurance Rates – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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This is yet another shameless way to promote Defensive Driving. This much I will admit. Not only will you learn about new traffic laws, and a good refresher course on evasive driving, but most insurance companies still offer a three year insurance discount for attending one. We are all well aware that new, inexperienced drivers pay higher auto insurance rates. Those rates typically go down at age 25, with a clean driving record. But once you hit the ripe age of 70, your insurance rates will likely go right back up. I, for one, wanted a better understanding of how age affects auto insurance rates. So I did a little research on the subject.

Since the invention of the automobile and automobile insurance, young male drivers’ insurance rates have always been higher than young women. Boys tend to drive faster and take bigger risks. I suppose that is why. I asked two young men, between 17 and 19 years of age, what they pay for their monthly premium. One said $460 and the other said $416. And, remember, that’s what they pay each month! I thought, thank God I have a daughter and not a son. If I had a son, it would be cheaper to send him to Sweden to get a sex change than it would to put him on my insurance policy.
I have also recently discovered that young men seldom wear seat belts. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just not that cool. But, when asked, they tend to admit that it’s just too darned uncomfortable. My Mother says the same thing. But, I’m not surprised that her generation resists wearing a seat belt, since wearing one was only an option, and not a law until 1986. Actually, my Mother’s exact words are “It’s uncomfortable and will wrinkle her outfit.” Not like going through the windshield won’t put a wrinkle in your outfit, and your head, etc.

So, we know why young drivers pay higher rates. What about insurance rates increasing for elderly drivers? Apparently, age leads to impaired vision, poorer cognitive functioning, changes in physical functioning and typically high use of prescription medications help boost up the rates for these folks.

Of course, what kind of car you drive, where you live and how much you drive factor in to your final rate. So, moral to the story, if you’re between 25 and 70, you should be spending those years celebrating your lower insurance rates. These are your glory years!
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
How Age Affects Auto Insurance Rates – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

Texas Two Step – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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As of March 1st, Texas will now have both the Inspection Sticker and the Registration Sticker combined into one. They’re calling it the Texas Two Step. So now, you will only require one sticker on your windshield in Texas, your Registration Sticker. And it will serve as combined proof of both the registration and the inspection. This is a sigh of relief for me, since my registration sticker and inspection stick never expire on the same month. It’s kind of like running out of conditioner before running out of shampoo. Perhaps I have obsessive compulsive disorder? Plus, it has always bothered me, having two stickers on my windshield, even when placed properly, they seemed to clutter up my window. And I recall spending tedious hours, every year, removing the old adhesive “ring” left over from last year’s sticker (again, maybe OCD). This will also eliminate fraudulent purchase of inspection stickers, thus eliminating pollutants for those vehicles that would not pass an emissions inspection. A single-sticker system makes vehicle registration dependent on obtaining a passing vehicle inspection. Pretty smart, eh?

So, inspections won’t change. And inspection locations won’t change either. The only thing that will change is that you will no longer get an inspection sticker. Now, you will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) in lieu of an inspection sticker. And vehicle inspection stations will no longer collect the state’s portion of the inspection fee. They will only be charging the station’s fee. And the state’s fee will be charged at the time of registration renewal.

You must get your inspection no more than 90 days before registration is due to expire. But, to sinc up those (like me) whose two stickers expire months apart, only this first year, they are cutting us some slack and not making us get two inspections in a year. Say, if your inspection expires before your registration. You only need to get your car inspected when it’s due and that will suffice when you get your registration renewal.

And, bottom line, it’s supposed to save the state of Texas over a million dollars! Again, pretty smart, eh?
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Texas Two Step – Comedy Defensive Driving School

Seat Belts In The Car – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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When I was a kid, you didn’t have to wear seat belts in the car. Safety was an “option.” Now, if you and your kids are not buckled up, they’ll fry you. Not just the law, but other parents won’t hesitate to let you have it if they see your kids aren’t wearing one or secured in a car seat or booster seat. The national safety belt law went into effect in 1986. Before that, we had seat belts in cars, but they were just cloth lap belts, conveniently tucked down into the seat. My mom’s arm was our seat belt. My dad used to call her “The Seat Belt.” Years later, he started calling her “The Air Bag.” I thought it was just people of my parents’ generation that didn’t wear seat belts. But now, I hear young men between 17 and 24 years of age that tell me they don’t wear a seat belt. When asked why, they say it’s just not cool. Plus it’s uncomfortable. That’s exactly what my Mom would say about the seat belt. She and my Father would drive to Texas all the way from Illinois. And they would never wear their seat belts. My Mother, much like these young guys that don’t wear their seat belts, would say that the seat belt is uncomfortable and will wrinkle her outfit. Not like going through the windshield won’t wrinkle your outfit and your head as well. So, I resort to lying to my parents when they would come to visit me. Not that I’ve never lied to my parents before, but my parents are 78 years old now. And I’m “yikes” (that’s my new age…”yikes”). If my parents are visiting, and I’m driving them around, I tell them if they don’t buckle up, I, as the driver, will get both of their tickets. Of course that is a blatant lie. In Texas, if anyone under 17 years of age (i.e. under age) is not wearing a seat belt in the car, the driver gets the citation. But, anyone 17 or older (i.e. of age) is not wearing a seat belt, they get their own citation, not the driver. I think that’s fair enough. So my parents would buckle up. They’re from Illinois, so they don’t know Texas laws.

Wearing a seat belt is just a good habit to get into. Not only for safety’s sake, but so you don’t get cited for it. I think they train the police in the academy to be able to see, even through a tinted window, if you’re wearing your seat belt or not. I also think they train them in the academy to be able to tell if you’re lying or not. Just like your parents.
Until next week…buckle up.

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Seat Belts In The Car – Comedy Defensive Driving

Who’s At Fault in the Blame Game – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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When the Cowboy’s lost the game on Sunday, I didn’t know whether to blame it on “fracking” or “Obama.” Most of us like to put the blame on the other party, but sometimes when it doesn’t seem like our fault, it very well may be. So, who’s at fault in the blame game? A classic traffic accident is the rear end collision when entering the freeway. The person ahead of you guns it to get up to speed to merge with the flow of traffic. And, right before they merge in from the ramp, they chicken out and lock ‘em up. Perhaps you, too, are looking at the traffic you will be merging into and not paying as much attention to the car ahead of you. And wham! So, whose fault is it? I mean, they appeared to be moving along. Why did they stop at the end of the ramp? Ugh! But, it’s your fault, and your insurance agent will tell you, as well as the police, because you were following too close. If you had left enough space between cars, this may have not happened.

Since the traffic on the freeway has the right of way, there is no law that requires a driver occupying the right lane on the freeway to move over, slow down or take any other action to let a merging vehicle on the freeway. Of course, it would be courteous to do so. Perhaps a better way of looking at it is, the higher speed always has the right of way over the lower speed. The lower speed traffic always yields to the higher speed traffic when merging. That just makes sense that the higher (more dangerous)speed should have the right away. And, the traffic already on the main road have the right of way. I hear more than my share about how people just don’t know how to merge anymore.

And the law that some have forgotten, is that you must signal 100 feet before you turn. But what if there is a street between you and that 100 feet turn? Should you signal just short of your turn? I was taught that, if you are the person sitting at the stop sign, waiting to turn onto the main road, you should never pull out until the car, with its signal blinking, is well into the turn onto your street. Because that car may not be turning onto your street, after all, but may be turning on to the next street past yours. So, whose fault would that be? Theirs, for signaling the required 100 feet? Or yours, for pulling out in front of them? You can guess.

Maybe the masses are correct. Maybe people just don’t know how to merge anymore.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Who’s At Fault in the Blame Game – Comedy Defensive Driving

Smart Technology – Because You Can’t Be Bothered – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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The cars of 2015 will bring safety features we never dreamed of. Or perhaps the cartoonists, Hanna-Barbera did dream of them when they created The Jetsons. But, with that new technology and cars that literally take all of the responsibility off of the driver, will that leave us more time to do even more distracting things while driving? One of the new commercials for the Hyundai Genesis ends with this tag “Smart Technology – because you can’t be bothered to make driving your FIRST PRIORITY when you’re behind the wheel.” What the heck??

When I had my daughter in 1995, and had a wreck on the way to the hospital, I was certainly going to do my homework and make darned sure that my next car was the safest on the road. Car and Driver Magazine had always talked up the Volvo for its safety features. So that’s what I bought. A hideous “tank” of a station wagon, with a yuppie mom luggage rack and the works. I figured that a wagon, rather than a coupe would give enough space between the front, rear and sides so that my little bundle of screaming, colicky joy would be safer from an impact at any angle. And I would drive carefully over every bump with her in the car. Now I find that odd. I mean, now that she’s a teenager, I just want to drive off a bridge.

The 2015 Volvo XC90 will feature two of the “world’s first” standard safety features. A run-off road protection package and auto brake at intersection capability. The XC90 is also the first car in the world with technology that features automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. And, in an accidental road departure, the XC90 detects what is happening and tightens the front seatbelts. One additional new feature is an energy-absorbing material between the seat and the seat frame to cushion the vertical forces that can arise when the car encounters a hard landing in the terrain. This counteracts spine injuries, which are a frequent consequence of these impacts. Volvo has pledged that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by the year 2020.

The latest park assist pilot that can parallel park by taking over and operating the steering wheel will be improved as well. Not that we need to use that feature often as most places have done away with parallel parking spaces. But a nice feature to have, nonetheless. When I was a kid driver, we used to call it “parallel chicken.”

So, here’s to a healthier, happier and safer new year. And many more to come … cheers!

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Smart Technology – Because You Can’t Be Bothered – Comedy Defensive Driving

Boy vs Girl Insurance Rates – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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When I put my daughter on my insurance policy, my insurance rates more than quadrupled. But still, I thought “Thank God she’s a girl and not a boy.” Even when I was a kid, auto insurance was always higher for teen aged boys than it was for girls that age. In doing the math, I realized that, if she had been born a “son” it would have been cheaper to send her to Sweden to get a sex change than it would have cost to pay the higher insurance rates for that of a teenage boy. So, why are boy vs girl insurance rates so different? Of course, insurance rates are based on gender, age and location. Teenage boys fall into a high-risk profile automatically and are usually stuck with higher rates than girls. So, why is car insurance more expensive for young males? Well, a higher percentage of males under 25 are arrested for DUIs than girls that age. Males this age also have more accidents, engage in reckless driving and don’t wear their seatbelts. This really surprised me, though. I thought it was typically drivers my parents’ generation that do not wear seatbelts. My Mother says that the seatbelt is uncomfortable and will wrinkle her outfit. Not that going through the windshield won’t put a wrinkle in someone’s outfit…and their head…etc. But I have been asking boys in my Defensive Driving classes if they wear a seatbelt. And a lot of them admit they don’t. They say it’s just not cool. Really?

Another reason for the rate difference is that male teenagers tend to be full of testosterone and can be more aggressive and take more risks and drive with less caution. So, how can you keep your son’s insurance rates affordable? Well, driving an older model car until he’s 25 may help. And a higher grade point average helps as well. So, stay in school kids! One day, your insurance rates will be low.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Boy vs Girl Insurance Rates – Comedy Defensive Driving

Confirming Traffic Laws In Question – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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I have been teaching defensive driving for several years now. It’s a job I really do love. I get to make people laugh, get to try out new jokes and even write a few. But, I must admit, I am not a perfect driver. In fact, I would actually consider myself a mediocre driver. Although I have kept a pretty clean driving record over the past 20+ years, you could wallpaper with my tickets when I was younger. As I tell my students, that’s not how one gets a job teaching defensive driving, by being a good driver. It’s through the work-release program from prison. Of course I’m kidding. I have compiled a list of common questions that students ask me. Here, we will be confirming traffic laws in question.

I have been asked by several students about the difference between a solid white and a double white line, and whether or not it is legal to cross over them. Drivers are discouraged, but not prohibited, from crossing the solid white line. While it is illegal to cross a double solid white line. In addition, white lines separate traffic traveling in the same direction and mark the edge of freeways and ramps. While yellow lines generally separate traffic traveling in opposite directions and they mark the left edge of divided highways and ramps. So, if you see that there is a yellow line on the right edge of the freeway, you are drunk and driving on the wrong side of the road.

There is also confusion in regards to road markings for passing zones. Double solid yellow center lines mean no passing allowed in either direction. While a single dashed yellow center line tells you that you are allowed to pass other vehicles if the road ahead is clear; but vehicles coming the opposite direction are allowed to pass too. Of course, there will also be signage indicating if it is a passing zone or not.

One other question I have been asked is about rumble strips damaging your tires. No, they will not. Rumble strips are those small indentations or narrow raised strips on the highway or shoulder, put there to vibrate the steering wheel and to make a noise to get the attention of the driver. These may have been put there for several reasons. Such as to alert you that there is going to be a stop coming up on a high speed roadway. To wake a driver that may be drifting off the road. To alert you that it is a potentially dangerous passing zone. Or, to alert you that there is an upcoming dangerous curve, a toll booth, railroad crossing or the end of a freeway.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Confirming Traffic Laws In Question – Comedy Defensive Driving

Vacationing Drivers – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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This week, I am on the beautiful Florida coast. It’s a nice, sunny place with a lot of shady people. I suppose that wouldn’t fit on a license plate, so they just decided to call it the Sunshine State. I refuse to go into the Ocean here because everything in the Ocean has teeth (even the plants). I saw an elderly woman pushing a shopping cart all the way from a parking lot to the store. Awww…isn’t that nice? She’s bringing the cart back into the store, instead of leaving it in the parking lot? My sister said that it’s because it’s actually cheaper than a walker. She’s probably right. Vacationing drivers are beyond scary. Here, everyone passes on the right, because everyone is doing 25mph in the left lane. They call those slow drivers here “Q-Tips.” Since I’ve been here, I’ve asked several people, both native Floridians and transplants, what exactly is the seat belt law in Florida. No one seems to know. Nor, do they seem to care. Perhaps there should be a reality show called “I Survived “Myself.”

They’ve recently put in some traffic circles or roundabouts near where I’m staying. They’re created for traffic “calming”, but they seem to only confuse and annoy people and cause them to get agitated. So, not really what they were going for, but it’s the thought that counts.

There are crosswalks in touristy areas in random places. And, if you don’t stop, it’s a hefty fine. But, time is money. And with people here taking about 20 minutes to cross the street, perhaps they should add a traffic calming circle there and just get it over with. In the center of the roundabout, they could build a PrimaCare and a Walgreens. Maybe even a Chiropractor’s office. Those traffic circles would be a great place to advertise for any of the above.

Tomorrow, I’ll be in Chicago. Let’s just see what taxi driver experiences I can share.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Florida Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving