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ROLLING STOP – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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I have always been curious about why rolling through a stop sign is called rolling stop, or a California roll (my favorite sushi, btw). I’ve even heard someone call it a Hollywood stop. Now, I have resided in California. And, as I recall, everyone stopped. Or, perhaps I was too busy rolling through a stop sign to even notice.

So here’s the answer. Apparently, one of the most common traffic tickets issued to California drivers is for the rolling stop. When drivers approach a stop sign, they are supposed to come to a complete stop. Not fully stopping can pose a danger to other drivers as well as to pedestrians. That’s why police are cracking down on those of us rollers. After all, if there are no other cars in an intersection, there is no one to completely stop for, right? So, it’s safe. You actually yielded. But your car didn’t “settle” behind the crosswalk line before you left the stop sign or turned right at a red light. So, more police officers are stopping cars that roll through stop signs and red lights without completely stopping. These tickets are costly and can jack up your insurance rates by adding points to your driving record. To remove these points, you can attend a defensive driving school. And the traffic fine should also be reduced if you attend a class. If you have camera lights in your neck of the woods, a majority of those are a result of a rolling stop at an intersection. But those are a civil offense, like a parking ticket and will not go on your driving record. Those affect your registration (license plate), not your driver license.

As a driver, you need to know that speeding is not the only common moving violation now. Coasting through a stop sign or red light instead of making a full stop could result in an accident which is why rolling stop violations are taken very seriously.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Rolling Stop – Comedy Defensive Driving School

Child Safety – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Child Safety is a serious issue and subject to serious consequences. Overtaking (passing) a school bus when its lights are flashing and the stop arm is out is, in most states, well over a $1,200 fine! Some school buses are now equipped with cameras for when the police aren’t present. Not having a child secured in a car seat or booster seat also dishes up some hefty fines, as well as cell phone use in an active school zone during school hours when children are present. And, if you don’t follow these current child safety rules, CPS (Child Protective Services) will babysit…..for free….for YEARS!
Both the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) recommend that small children under 2 years of age are safest when riding in a rear-facing car seat. Although the current law in most states require that an infant remain facing backwards until only 12 months old. It’s all about the neck, head or spinal injuries incurred when facing forward as opposed to the entire body absorbing the impact in a front or rear collision when facing backward.
Older children who have outgrown front facing car seats should ride in booster seats until the lap shoulder belt fits them. If the seat belt does not fit them properly in the booster seat, they need to be in a booster seat with a 5 point harness restraint. And children should remain in a booster seat until their 8th birthday “or” once they’ve reached 4’9” in height, whichever comes first. So, what this means is that your 4’1” grandmother doesn’t have to ride in a booster seat because she’s well over 8 years old.
And children under 13 should always ride in the back seat, according to both organizations. Although in some states it is legal to put them in the front seat at 9, and some at 12. My daughter rode in the back seat of the car until she was 17! Not for safety sake, she just didn’t want to be seen with me. Honestly, I don’t know how she learned how to cuss people out and flip them off from the back seat.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Child Safety – Comedy Defensive Driving
See Daun Thompson LIVE! In Arlington, Texas – Escapades Lounge, October 23rd and Blue Mesa November 1st!

2015 Top Ten Most Stolen Cars – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Thousands of cars are stolen in the state of Texas each year. And what are the odds that the three top stolen vehicles are all pickup trucks. The list has been released of the 2015 Top Ten Most Stolen Cars in Texas. And, honestly, the list hasn’t changed much in the last 4 years. But the Taurus is no longer on the list. That had to have been a mistake anyway. I rented one of those once and couldn’t get it out of 2nd gear. Why would someone steal one of those? Maybe someone left the keys in it. They do that in my home town in the Midwest. No one locks their cars. And they leave the keys in the ignition so they always know exactly where their keys are at. Wouldn’t you think that auto theft would be worse in a small town than it is in a large city? And, if so, that would explain why.

Almost half of all vehicles stolen had the keys left inside. Leaving keys in your car is not only stupid, but it is also illegal. If your car is stolen with the keys in it, your insurance company may not cover your loss. And you should never leave your car running, unattended. Cars are often stolen at convenience stores, gas stations or when an owner leaves the vehicle running to warm it up.

Texas has created a “You Hold The Key” program that you can access by going to http://www.txdmv.gov/protection/auto_theft.htm where you can find more information about what you can do to lessen your chances of being an auto theft victim. But, again, the main message they focus on is to never leave your keys in your car. Not even a spare set of keys.

And, sorry to leave you hanging. If you’re curious what other cars make up the top ten most stolen vehicles?
1) Ford Pickup
2) Chevrolet Pickup
3) Dodge Pickup
4) Honda Civic
5) Chevrolet Tahoe
6) Honda Accord
7) GMC Pickup (aha! A fourth pickup)
8) Chevrolet Impala
9) Toyota Camry
10) Ford Van

Until next week….

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

2015 Top Ten Most Stolen Cars – Comedy Defensive Driving

The Car of the Future – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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It is said that the car of the future will be the most powerful computer you will ever own. The chips inside driverless cars will be as powerful as those used in some supercomputers. A supercomputer packed inside of a box the size of a car stereo. But don’t tell my mother. She’ll throw a rod. If you even mention the word “computer” her eyes glaze over. She is not about to embrace technology. I have heard her say “Computers? Witchcraft!” And don’t even get her started about Skype.

Growing up watching shows like The Jetsons and Lost In Space, I can understand how someone who has been on this Earth since the 30’s feels like we’re progressing from what was once known as science fiction and comical views of what our future will bring to these views becoming a reality. It’s all happening so fast! As for me, being a homeowner with a huge lawn, I am certainly looking forward to having my house on a pole in the sky with no yard, just like The Jetsons. That will be a good day! I want those hours of my life back, which will also probably happen one day, age reversal.

Next, we’ll be able to simply push a button and dinner is ready. Oh yes, it’s called the microwave. That’s already been invented. And the computerization of cars has already begun. But the technology will really take off with the mobile internet and self-driving vehicles. By the year 2020, we will see amazing strides in many technologies, especially with automobiles. And my mother and others like her are just going to have to deal with it.

There will be a time where car crashes and computer crashes are one in the same.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

The Car of the Future – Comedy Defensive Driving

Child Safety In And Around Cars – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Vehicle rollaway is one of the top six common dangers for a child. When my nearly twenty year old was just a toddler, I left her in the car for just a moment, while I closed the garage door. I hadn’t put her in the car seat yet. She scrambled between the seats and pulled back on the gear shift, putting the car in neutral. It should have locked in the park position, but, unbeknownst to me, the lock feature was not working. Good to know, but a little too late. My driveway is very steep. The car began to roll backwards. I had left my driver side door open, so I was able to jump in the driver seat, just in time to slam on the brakes and put the car in park. Of course, I pulled the parking brake which was also acting faulty at the time. I immediately put her in her car seat and drove to the dealership to get these two issues fixed. And I never left her loose in the car again after that. It was just luck that I was close enough to be able to stop the car. Next time, maybe not so lucky. So, here are some tips for child safety in and around cars.
As I mentioned above, there are six common dangers for a child in and around cars. Backover, heatstroke, seatbelt entanglement, power windows and trunk entrapment are the other five common dangers. A good prevention tip list to go by:

  • Do not let children play in or around cars.
  • Never leave a child unattended in or around a vehicle.
  • Always ensure children are properly restrained.
  • Teach children that seat belts are not toys.
  • Always hold a child’s hand when walking through a parking lot.

Backovers can be prevented if you take a few extra minutes before backing out and follow these simple rules. Always walk around your vehicle and check the area around it before backing up. Roll down your windows so you can hear what’s going on around your car. Teach children to move away from a vehicle when a driver gets in it or if a car is running. This also goes for parking lots.

Heatstroke can occur at temperatures as low as 60 degrees. Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away. Keep a stuffed animal or other reminder, even a pacifier or bootie on a key ring may be a good reminder. If someone else is driving your child, always call them to assure that your child has arrived safely.

Trunk entrapment had become such a problem that, as of 2001, auto manufacturers were required to equip all new vehicle trunks with a ‘glow in the dark’ trunk release inside the trunk compartment. Show your kids how to use the release in case of an emergency. If your car is older and does not have the ‘glow in the dark’ trunk release, ask your automobile dealership about getting your vehicle retrofitted with a trunk release mechanism. Always check the trunk right away if your child is missing. Lock your car doors and trunk and be sure keys and remote entry devices are out of sight and out of reach of small children. Keep the rear fold down seats closed and locked.

Seatbelt entanglement typically occurs because most seat belts have a retractor that locks if pulled all the way out. Children, even in a car seat, within reaching distance of the unused seat belt, may get entangled in it. The solution is to buckle unused seat belts. Pull the seat belt out all the way to the end without yanking. Then, feed the excess webbing back into the retractor.

Power windows can be accidentally rolled up and cause serious injury. Teach your children not to stand on passenger door arm rests. Never leave the key in the ignition or running when you walk away from your car. If you have power locks, please use them.

And, as for rollaway vehicles, these tips are good to know. And I wish I had known them 20 years ago. Remember to engage your emergency brake every time you park. And verify whether or not your vehicle has a Brake Transmission Safety Interlock (BTSI). You can find this information in your owner’s manual. As of 2010, all vehicles with automatic transmission with a park position must have BTSI. Again, good to know. That would have come in handy back in 1995.

Until next week,

Daun Thompson

Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Child Safety In And Around Cars – Comedy Defensive Driving

 

Seat Belts on School Buses – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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I rode a school bus with no seat belts and giant potholes in the road when I was a kid. We’d fight over who got to ride in the last two seats. Those seats were like a ticket to Six Flags. I guess in a small town, kids do what they can for entertainment. Not much has changed regarding school bus safety since I was a kid. Only six states require seat belts on school buses. Those states are California, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, New Jersey and New York.
Every year, kids are killed and thousands are injured in school bus accidents. Since I became a mother, it has always bothered me that school buses don’t have seat belts. I thought that perhaps the reason may be due to a possible fire or the bus crashing into a body of water, where small children may not be able to unbuckle their seat belts to evacuate the bus. After all, there are seat belts on airplanes. And they make darned sure you’re wearing it!
Traditional thinking is that “compartmentalization” is a good way (but not great) to keep kids safe. Since the seat back is high, it’s also padded and very close to the seat in front of it. So, if the bus is hit from the front or the back, those kids should stay within their own little “compartment.” What if the bus is hit from the side or if the bus rolls over? Well then, that is just not enough.
So, why don’t kids have seat belts in all buses? Maybe that will all change. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also says that seat belts make school buses safer. They have made a statement that, this fall, they will come out with some action.
Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Seat Belts on School Buses – Comedy Defensive Driving

Smoking With Kids In The Car – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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It’s hard to believe that, not too long ago, people could smoke on airplanes. We all know from experience that there are babies on airplanes. That could be one reason why they cried back then. Most of them probably had ear tubes and were taking medication for ear infections because of our ignorance about the effects of second hand smoke. When I was a kid, our family would take long road trips, hundreds of miles, with the windows rolled up and my dad chain-smoking like there was no tomorrow. Now, smoking with kids in the car is illegal in at least eight states in the U.S. and, as of October 1st, will be illegal in the U.K.
In America, states that have banned smoking in cars when children are present include Oregon, California, Utah, Vermont, Main, Arkansas, Louisiana and Puerto Rico. And other states are considering passing a ban as well. Not only is smoking in an enclosed space hazardous for children, it is also hazardous for other passengers. In addition, preventing the driver from being distracted by the act of smoking decreases the danger of traffic accidents.
It is said that over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible and even opening windows does not remove all of the smoke. The level of toxic air in a vehicle from one cigarette is up to 10 times greater than levels that are considered hazardous. Children with undeveloped lungs and immune systems are susceptible to serious health issues from being cooped up in a car with cigarette smoke. Child endangerment is a serious matter. Now that we have evolved regarding second hand smoke, it is likely not too far in the future that all states will implement a no smoking ban in automobiles.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Smoking With Kids In The Car – Comedy Defensive Driving

The Evolving Automobile – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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To quote Bob Dylan, “The Times, They Are a-Changin’.” When I moved to Texas in 1979, most pick-up trucks had a gun rack mounted in the back window, with a rifle on display for all to see. And everyone in the car/truck could have an open container, even the driver. Of course, the rifle couldn’t be loaded. But the driver could be. Where’s the logic in that? When I moved to northern California in 1990, pick-up trucks had a wine rack in the back window. Not really, but have you ever been on a wine tour in Napa Valley? You know, you’re only supposed to taste the wine, not drink it. I have never seen a car in the ditch on a wine tour. I’m not disappointed, but I am surprised. We, as a race, are ever-evolving (thank God). And, with this forward thinking, we are constantly redesigning the safety features in the evolving automobile.
My first car with a cell phone (that was about the size of a shoe) was a 1989 Volvo. A hideous tank of a car, with a yuppie mom luggage rack. It was also my first car with anti-lock brakes. It also had a sun-roof that would constantly leak, so I put duct tape around it. It was silver, so it matched the car. But I’d always get pulled over in Highland Park (a hoity toity part of Dallas), because they knew I didn’t live there, with the duct tape and all. A phone in the car? I felt like a rock star. Before cell phones, I remember when you had to wait until you got home from work to see who was trying to get a hold of you. We also had rotary dial phones then. If you were being stabbed to death, and you had to call for help, you had to dial 9-1-1. Your other option would be to call the operator, “0”. Now, zero was the last number on the dial and, coincidentally, the last number you’d want to dial if you were bleeding to death. I bet a lot of people didn’t make it to the hospital. How far we’ve come since then. And Bob is right about the times changing.
Not too many years from now, all cars will be driving themselves. It will be just like the cartoon show The Jetsons. All bosses’ names will be Mr. Spacely and (please God) please let all homes be on poles so we have no yards. I want all of those hours of my life back, mowing and edging and raking leaves! We’ll even be able to push a button and dinner is ready. Wait! We already do…it’s called a microwave!
Maybe it’s time to look into purchasing another Volvo, since they recently published a statement that no one will be seriously injured or killed in a Volvo by the year 2020. Maybe I should wait until 2020 to purchase one, since it will likely be driving itself by then as well.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

The Evolving Automobile – Comedy Defensive Driving

That Toxic New Car Smell – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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We all love that new car smell. To girls, it smells like a new Barbie doll. To guys, it smells like success! But that toxic new car smell is more accurate. Research shows that plastics in the interior of your car, such as the dashboard and seats, emits Benzene, a Cancer causing toxin. It is said to cause anemia, reduces white blood cells and poisons your bones. And you thought that your poor driving habits would kill you. Now you have even more to worry about.

So, if your car has been sitting in the hot sun, even if only 60 degrees, it is best to roll down the windows to allow the benzene fumes to escape (into the ozone…now we have another problem). Then, after a few minutes, you may turn on the a/c and perhaps wait a few minutes before entering the car. Even at 60 degrees, the Benzene level goes up to 2000-4000mg, 40 times the acceptable level of toxins.

Acceptable Benzene level is 50mg per sq ft., but no Benzene would be ideal, right? Well, it’s not that simple. Because Benzene is found in many other products since it is mainly used as a component of crude oil. Any petroleum-based products such as gasoline, solvents, plastics, synthetic fibers, dyes, glues and detergents will likely contain Benzene. And it’s also found in tobacco smoke.

So, best bet is to play it safe. When in doubt, ventilate! Roll down the windows and inhale that nice, fresh air. Or is it?

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

That Toxic New Car Smell – Comedy Defensive Driving

School Zones – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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If you’re completely awake when you’re driving to work (or school) tomorrow, you may notice that those yellow lights are flashing again in school zones. People will be rushing their kiddos to their academic prisons before the last bell rings. Kids will be running across the streets, and not always at the crosswalks. And police will be watching for drivers not paying attention. No cell phone use and no speeding will be your new rule for the next ten months. So, put down the cell phones, take your foot off the gas, and enjoy the 20mph trip through those school zones. Your phone and your car probably need a break anyway. And it’s a good time to relax and enjoy moving at a slow pace for a few minutes because the rest of your work day is going to be very hectic.

And don’t forget those school buses, hauling those screaming kids to their final destination. That’s one job I wouldn’t want, being a school bus driver. And don’t forget the rules there! Never pass a school bus if the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is out. Now, I’m sure those bus drivers tell those kids (at least the ones that they like, anyway) to go to the crosswalk and cross. But kids never listen. That’s why school zones are 20mph! If you were going any slower, you’d be in reverse! And, if you’re on the opposite side of the median, going the opposite direction, you must stop if your side is separated from the bus’ side of the road by a painted line or a divided median. A hefty fine that will surely bankrupt any ideas of affording to send your own kids to that private school you have been dreaming of.

Now, it’s the end of your busy day. You’ve put in your time at work and now it’s time to get home and relax. But wait! You’re going to be passing through some of those school zones yet again. So, ease back, do your 20mph, dinner can wait. You’ll get home just in time to eat, watch the news, go to bed, and get up tomorrow morning and go through the same routine.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

School Zones – Comedy Defensive Driving School