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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

Traffic Related Deaths – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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It’s so great to be back home. Road trips are not for the meek. One thing I noticed while driving in Illinois was their reported number of traffic related deaths thus far this year is 731. Which is a significantly lower number than those in Texas, which is 2,644. Of course, the population and size of the two states greatly differ. The population of Illinois is 12,830,632. Whereas Texas is bursting at the seams with a population of 26,448,193. But, what are the real numbers when the results of traffic related deaths are broken down by alcohol-related accidents or even distraction-related ones?

An entire month spent in the mid-western USA made me long for the warmth of a Texas autumn. I suppose I’ve never adjusted to cold weather. And, after years of living in the south, I’ve become accustomed to the Fall here, where some are so freaking hot, that the leaves literally ‘melt’ off the trees. Like a surreal, ‘Salvador Dali’ kind of Fall. I must admit that, up north, I reveled in the beauty of the giant oaks and maples, with their annual transformation in shades of sun-kissed gold, brilliant orange and vibrant red. But I knew that it was just a short time before those leaves would fall. And with the falling leaves would come a brutal winter. This was my cue that it was time to come back home to the lone star state.

I dreaded the drive back home. And my imagination drifted to the new ‘Dorothy’ app. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just click my heels and instantly find myself 900 miles away, back in my own warm nest. Of course, that’s not how the app works. But at least the app did come in handy to get me out of an awkward conversation with a creepy toothless guy. Until that encounter, I thought the dating website FarmersOnly.com was just a myth.

Happy Fall to all of you good drivers out there.

Until next week….

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Traffic Related Deaths – Comedy Defensive Driving

Hands-Free State Law In Texas – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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I was elated to hear that Austin is soon to be a hands free city. Texas cities may finally be added to the hands-free list. Although some cities in Texas already ban texting while driving, there is no hands-free state law in Texas (except in active school zones and those listed below). Austin city council members voted unanimously to approve an ordinance prohibiting the use of portable electronic devices while driving or biking (same road, same rules). This will go into effect January 1, 2015. The current city ordinance in Austin only bans texting while driving.

The new ordinance applies to cell phones, MP3 players, electronic games, messaging devices and any other hand-held electronic device. Using those gadgets while driving would be illegal. Unfortunately, the council added an exception that allows drivers to use the devices when stopped at a light or stop sign or if you are sitting in standstill traffic. So it appears that we will still be ‘exercising’ our horns on a regular basis. Of course, this excludes calling 911 to report an emergency or get emergency help, two-way radios, and GPS devices that are part of the car.

In the past, bills have been passed through the house in Texas regarding texting, as well as hands free issues. Only to be vetoed by the governor. As we are in the process of electing a new governor, the positions of our two candidates differ greatly. While Greg Abbott is opposed to putting a statewide ban on texting and cell phone use while driving, Wendy Davis actually co-wrote one of the bills in 2011 that would have banned texting while driving in Texas.

Currently, the only state laws in Texas regarding cell phone use while driving are as follows:
• If you have had a learner’s permit for 6 months or less.
• If you are under 18 years old.
• If you operate a school bus when children are present.
• If you are in a school crossing zone.

Depending on your city or county, there may be further rules on cell phone use while driving. Contact your local law enforcement for more information on laws on cell phone usage while driving and related fines.

Thank God we’re evolving!

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Hands-Free State Law In Texas – Comedy Defensive Driving

Slow Drivers – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Today, I woke up in a small town in Illinois. I haven’t lived here in over 36 years. And, while I’m used to the hustle and bustle of big city life, it’s a nice change of pace in a small town. No worries, no rushing, no honking or yelling (and we’re talking before you even leave the house). Yesterday, we drove to a nearby town to do some shopping. We took the back roads with all of the other slow drivers. Not because it was quicker or to avoid road construction, but because the highway route just wasn’t scenic enough. I remember the day I moved away. My parents, standing in the driveway, waving goodbye as if they were never going to see me again (probably hoping so). I moved nearly 1,000 miles away from my familiar small town. And never moved back. When my daughter was 17, I believe it was in April, and she was ripping everything off of her bedroom walls and throwing it all in a storage bin. I asked “What are you doing?” She said “I’m packing up.” Me, “Why? Where are you going?” Her, “I’m moving out.” Me, “When?” Her, “I don’t know. Maybe November.” I said “But it’s April! Are you trying to break my heart?” Then I went into another room, phoned my 78 year old parents and apologized to them for being insensitive when I was 17. My mother’s response was “I’ve been waiting by the telephone for 35 years!”

I taught my daughter how to drive. And, I must tell you, my daughter is a slow driver. At least she is when I am in the car with her. And, because she drives the speed limit, people pass her on the right. And they honk at her and flip her off (with me in the car!). Hey! That’s my kid you’re flipping off! I learned that’s what the sun roof is for … flipping people off. And, if you can drive with your knees, you can apparently flip people off with both hands. People are talented, aren’t they? They should put Prozac in the water system. So, my daughter would fit in well here. Or, in Colorado, for that matter. Since they’ve legalized marijuana, I bet there are a lot less speeders now. And more job openings in the snack industry.

But here are the hard, sad facts. Slow drivers cause more accidents than speeders. Not keeping up with the flow of traffic (just like not keeping up with the Kardashians) is actually more dangerous than speeding. But, the impact from those high speed crashes actually cause more fatalities than low-impact crashes. Have you ever heard the term “Speed Kills?” I wish I’d made up that phrase. I’d totally put it on a bumper sticker and collect royalties. And I would put one on my own bumper. Right alongside my other bumper sticker that says “Tailgating Kills.”

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Slow Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving School

Seat Belt Laws – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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I am a baby boomer, a product of the 1960’s. My Father and Mother were both from lower middle class families. Rising above, my Father’s success measured in new cars. Like that ’68 Toronado convertible with an 8-Track tape player, blasting the Ventures. One thing different about this new car is that it had seat belts. But they were cloth, lap seat belts that were always conveniently tucked down into the seat. My Mom’s arm was our seat belt, and she can still pack a wallop today! My Father used to call her the seat belt. Later in life, he would refer to her as the airbag. In fact, since 1966, laws were put in place that required automobile manufacturers to make seat belts a standard feature in all cars produced. However, federal law did not require that drivers and passengers use seat belts or assess punitive measures for those who did not. Prior to 1984, safety was an “option.” New York became the first state to pass seat belt laws. And later, other states followed suit. Thank you, Ralph Nader. I think I voted for you once.

Yes, we baby boomers grew up in a time of social change. It was a time of free love, countercultural values and safety actually being an “option.” Where was the logic? Prior to seat belt laws, we had steel dashboards covered in a paper-thin layer of vinyl. You could actually stand up on the seat if you were small enough. Most of my cousins wear “bangs” to cover a nasty permanent scar as a result. Heck, we would ride in the back window of the car, like a Beanie Baby.

And what safety options are there today? There are too many to list. But, to name a few, we have airbags, anti-lock brakes and sensors for tailgating, drifting, blind spots and hydroplaning. Laws require car seats and booster seats for kids as well. We’ve come a long way.

So, do the right thing. Buckle up your passengers, your kids and yourself. So you and your passengers can live to a ripe old age like the rest of we baby boomers, including George Clooney, Ricky Gervais, Sting, Madonna, Stephen Tyler and Barack Obama.

Until next week…buckle up.

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Seat Belt Laws – Comedy Defensive Driving

The Financial Responsibility Program – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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We’ve come a long way. When I moved to the Lone Star State in the late 70’s, nearly every pickup truck had a gun rack mounted in the back window with a big ole rifle on display for all the World to see. Then I moved to Northern California, where every pickup truck had a wine rack mounted in the back window. Not really. I just thought I’d try it out. Not funny? Well, let’s move on then. One thing that has certainly changed in Texas (that has been an ever-looming problem) is making sure that all drivers carry insurance and are therefore “financially responsible.” It’s called the financial responsibility program. In the past, it was easy to fool law enforcement regarding auto insurance coverage. You could get a new policy, pay the first month’s premium and never bother to pay the remaining premiums. But you’d still have an insurance card that showed coverage for 6 months. Then, when that date passed, move on to another insurance company and do the same thing. Now, with the Texas Sure Program, police computers are linked up to a network with insurance providers. So they know if your insurance is valid or not. No liability insurance carries a hefty fine as well as the possible impoundment of your vehicle. You must pay a $260.00 surcharge, annually, for three (3) years and it remains on your driving record FOREVER. There are still people driving around with no liability insurance. And, those of us who are financially responsible are all paying extra for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage because of those people.

So, “Yay” for modern technology. We all understand that insurance rates are climbing. And, with the economy, it’s difficult to pay high insurance rates. You can always take a Comedy Defensive Driving class taught by real comedians to get an insurance discount for three (3) years. Not only will it lower your insurance rates, but it’s also a nice refresher course. There are also websites that will give you several quotes at once so you can compare rates. As I mentioned, you must keep a current insurance policy. But you don’t have to pay Neiman-Marcus prices for liability insurance. Who wants to spend a bunch of extra money on insurance when you have better things to spend your money on? (such as Jack Daniels).

Until next week…be financially responsible.

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

The Financial Responsibility Program – Comedy Defensive Driving

An Introduction to One of the Idiotic Drivers You will Meet on the Road

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Here at the Comedy Defensive Driving School, we try to incorporate a little laughter into our lessons. This helps lighten the mood, and it makes it easier for students to absorb the information. After all, when something is funny, you pay attention. When it is boring, you quickly zone out and start counting down the minutes until you can finally leave! During your course, whether you take it online or in one of our classrooms, you are going to hear some hilarious stories of insane drivers, idiot drivers, distracted drivers, slow drivers, road ragers, and more.

Let’s take a closer look at one of these idiot drivers. You are probably familiar with this situation. You’re driving along the highway at night, and a car comes over the hill in front of you. His lights are bright and blinding. You flash your headlights as a gentle reminder to the offending driver. Yet, his bright lights stay on. You flash again, shielding your eyes with one hand to prevent permanent damage to your corneas. Nothing. This is a classic example of the “I have no business driving at night because I can’t see without my brights, so I will just leave them on, and other drivers be damned” driver.

So, what do you do in a situation like this? Well, what you DON’T do is get angry, slam on your brakes, flip a U-turn in the middle of the highway, chase the driver down, and beat him to a pulp. Nope, that would make you one of the road ragers you will learn about. The best thing to do is look away from the bright lights as best as you can. Focus your eyes a little lower than normal, such as on the line on the right side of the road. Your eyes will be tempted by the light — DO NOT go toward the light, because you won’t find Jesus on the other side.

Contact us today at Comedy Defensive Driving School to learn more about how to handle strange, crazy, dangerous, and downright idiotic situations on the road.

3 Questions to Determine Your Level of Driving Common Sense

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Taking a course in defensive driving online is your best defense against the many, many things that can go wrong on the road. From the drunken drivers, to the drivers that simply have no common sense, Comedy Defensive Driving is here to help you successfully and safely navigate the highways. Speaking of drivers with no common sense, have you ever been accused of being one of these drivers? If so, you may need a crash course in basic driving skills, as well as defensive driving. Here are three questions to help you determine if you have the right amount of common sense to be on the road — or if you might be better off traveling on foot.

1. Do you find your foot hovering over the brake pedal and giving it a tap for no reason at all other than to make sure the brakes are working? If yes, you are guilty of too much brake tapping! This kind of situation can quickly lead to frustration and annoyance of the drivers behind you — which means they could put you in a risky situation trying to get around you.

2. Are you an overly nosy person? If yes, you are probably guilty of practically breaking your neck trying to get a look at the car pulled over by the highway patrol or the three-car wreck on the other side of the road. Gawking at things going on around you can quickly take you from gawker to gawkee as people strain their eyes trying to see the details of the accident YOU caused.

3. Does merging onto the interstate make your heart race? If yes, you are likely guilty of merging at extremely slow speeds. This is a good way to cause a massive pile-up behind you. Drivers speeding along at 70+ miles per hour won’t have time to stop as you pull your little turtle shell out onto the interstate.

If any of these questions hit home with you — and you have to answer honestly — then, you can use a few of our courses to give you the good sense you need to drive safely. Contact us today at Comedy Defensive Driving, and STOP being a hazard on the highway!