At Comedy Defense Driving, we love to share tips on how to make the road a safer place for everyone. Pedestrian safety is still a concern within traffic safety circles, which are continuing toward educating the public on pedestrian safety for both pedestrians and drivers. In fact, there are many remaining concerns with traffic safety, in general; yet, with the percentage of pedestrian fatalities at crosswalks, crossroads are still of primary concern to the Federal Highway Administration and are regarded as a critical safety point.
As a driver, when you decide to operate a vehicle, you assume responsibility for your actions while on the road. Driving in the presence of pedestrians demands a certain amount of heightened awareness. Pedestrians who utilize crosswalks or shared roads must also assume a great amount of responsibility. It is no surprise that most pedestrian accidents take place in urban areas, where both drivers and pedestrians are in high volume. Pedestrian fatalities also occur in high numbers in rural areas, where high speed is a fatal factor in the accident. Here we will run through what we can do as drivers to meet in the middle for road safety, since the operation of a vehicle can present fatal consequences if certain habits are not established:
1. Follow the speed limit at all times. This may be a simple rule to some, but reminding ourselves of why the speed limit is in place can help reinforce a greater commitment to abiding by a safe speed for everyone on the road. Areas where there are lower speed limits are of even greater importance, since these are areas where pedestrians are likely to be crossing the road regularly; as seen in neighborhood areas and school zones.
2. Practice caution in bad weather. As we’ve all experienced, visibility is limited during turbulent, rainy, or foggy weather conditions. In regards to visibility, it is just as difficult for pedestrians to remain visible to drivers, as it is for drivers to remain visible to pedestrians. Use extra caution, when driving in these conditions, by using your lights and signals properly.
3. Be mindful of your surroundings. Another simple rule, but important, nonetheless. When we observe pedestrian fatalities on the road, it is often due to high speed and other neglectful habits on the road. Texting, eating, applying make-up, changing the radio, and other activities are under the umbrella of neglectful and irresponsible behavior on the road. Be mindful when entering and exiting driveways, approaching crosswalks, and at other critical junctures, which are all threatened when we decide to take our focus off the road.
Utilizing smarter, safer, more attentive habits within your driving can help save a life. By identifying critical safety zones on the road, drivers can begin to create a safer environment for pedestrians everywhere. Distractions, speeding, and driving under the influence are all contributing factors to a larger problem of unawareness in the issues of both pedestrian and general road safety.
Archive for the ‘Driving Tips’ Category
If April showers bring May flowers, then those summer rains are quite a pain. If only I were a poet…a sober poet. But who’s ever heard of a sober poet? What’s the fun in poetry if you can’t attempt to rhyme words like “sobriety” with “dude, where’d I leave my car?”
Even a drunk poet knows that those summer rains are far and few between. So, oils and other fluids left on roadways usually cause slick conditions when rain is mixed onto the pavement. You should keep a safe following distance between you and the car ahead of you. A six second rule is recommended in rain. To implement this rule, once the car in front of you has passed a stationary object, you should count six seconds before you pass that same stationary object.
Turn on your headlights when it begins to rain. And drive below the posted speed limit. If you start to hydroplane, whatever you do, don’t slam on the brakes. You can hydroplane at speeds as low as 30 mph. Which is hard to believe since, when you are driving that slow, you feel like you’re in reverse. Some people panic when they begin to hydroplane and their initial reaction is to slam on the brakes. Which is not cool, because if you’re on top of the water, it’s not going to do a thing. And, if the roads are slick and you’re traveling at freeway speed, then you slam on the brakes, you could fishtail and lose control. The best thing to do if you begin to hydroplane is to release the gas pedal. Just take your foot off of the gas and let the car slow down on its own, naturally.
Another thing to note is to avoid flooded areas at all costs. Water level is very deceiving. Your car could stall out in deep enough water and be lifted off of the road in only three inches of water.
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Those Summer Rains – Comedy Defensive Driving
Holiday Travel, Drinking & Driving and the Fatigued Driver
Take care of yourself this fourth of July with all of your holiday travel, drinking and driving and fatigued driving. Make sure someone doesn’t rufie your beer or lace your bottle rocket with Scopolamine where you find a zombie version of yourself, willfully surrendering your belongings to a drug lord. Or, better yet, find yourself in a bathtub of ice in a motel six with a kidney missing…and you look over to see that someone’s left the cap off of the toothpaste (#neanderthals). Or worse yet, find yourself tied to a bed in a motel six with only one bar on your phone…darned (insert any cellular service here), I curse thee. When I go to South America, I openly drink like a sailor so they know my kidneys aren’t worth the plucking. They must have caught on at the DPS because I signed up to be an organ donor, but they didn’t put the little red heart on my driver license. What an insult. Like “No thanks…we don’t want any of that.”
If you’re waiting for a transition or segue from one paragraph to the next…don’t hold your breath, okay? Apparently, the fourth of July is the busiest day of the year for the police because of DWI’s. This day even exceeds New Years Eve because people are generally drinking later in the evening and closer to midnight on New Years’ Eve, while they may be drinking all day long on the fourth of July. Be aware that most people on the road with you this week are taking vacation time. Which means time to relax, surrender the brain and go on automatic pilot from the neck, up. So you’ll be seeing a lot of holiday travel, drinking and driving and fatigued driving around you.
I went to my hometown for Independence Day a few years back. It is common knowledge that small towns are meth lab capitals. While I find that hard to believe, since most towns only have one or two police on staff (like Mayberry RFD), and they would have to know about the location of a meth lab in their small town. I refuse to believe that they would be in on it. Not too long ago, I did a show in a small ghost town to some nice folks who were obviously struggling in this economy. The guy I worked with, opened with this “Thanks for coming out from your meth labs to see a comedy show.” The room went silent, then everyone was whispering to each other about what body part of his they were going to remove in the parking lot after the show. I slipped into the ladies room and washed my hands for about 20 minutes until it died down. Then I crept out to my car and drove back home. I haven’t seen that guy since. Not on Facebook, not at a comedy club, no-where. He just vanished! In my hometown, the mayor had given some guy money to go across the state border to buy fireworks for the city’s annual Independence Day celebration. And the guy never came back. Did I mention the correlation between small towns and meth labs? When you go into a tavern, and the tip jar says “meth money,” you know you’re really home. Sorry, too harsh?
Until next week…happy Independence Day.
Writer / Comedienne / Artist / Benevolent Thesbo
Holiday Travel, Drinking and Driving and Fatigued Driving – Comedy Defensive Driving
I always thought that I would be an awesome mountain climber. Because I am not afraid of heights…but I am terrified of widths. In the past, when I would tour from the Pacific Northwest, all the way down through Colorado, it was good to know a few tips while mountain driving. I had a small foreign sports car which would die easily in high altitudes. Needless to say, I have a lot of pictures where I am posing next to my car, hanging out on the side of the road and waiting for it to cool down. When you enter most U.S. cities, they will have a sign posted with the name of the town or city and their current population. Not in mountainous areas. They replace the population statistics with the elevation. I suppose it’s somewhat of a bragging right for them, “Who cares how many people live here, look how high up we are!”
I would think that the utmost concern one would have when mountain driving is making certain the brakes are in top working condition. When going down a mountain, frequent brake use can overheat the fluid and you can lose braking efficiency at a most crucial time. And they really won’t work at their full capacity until the fluid actually cools. As my father would say, you should never go down a mountain any faster than you could go up it. But don’t ride your brakes all the way down it. Shift into a low gear instead. Also, keeping your tires at their proper inflation is crucial. And having your spare checked and properly inflated is imperative so you don’t have to spend long hours on the side of the road with the road kill. Bears love road kill…and people…yummy. Another thing to remember is that driving in high altitudes makes your engine work a lot harder, so make sure your oil has been changed lately and that your radiator has fresh anti-freeze. This will keep your car from overheating at the most inopportune time. In fact keep a spare jug of anti-freeze in your trunk, you might just save someone else from being bear-dessert!
Mountain driving should never be rushed. Mountain roads are as safe as any other roads if you don’t tend to speed and you respect the road and weather conditions. Enjoy the scenery and take frequent brakes for you and your car. Remember to always give those going uphill the right of way. It’s harder for them to get up to speed and pass another car while going uphill, so be courteous. And don’t drive too close to the center line. Mountain roads are generally narrower than regular highways. If you and the opposing car are both hugging the center line, and you come around a sharp curve, you could both overcorrect, resulting in driving off the side of the mountain. Which, in itself would ruin your vacation. But… at least it would be a scenic ending.
Until next week…
Comedienne / Writer / Artist
Mountain Driving – Comedy Defensive Driving
Riding In The Back Of A Pickup Truck
Two years ago, when the Texas Governor vetoed the no texting bill, it was a heavy blow and, as far as I am concerned, a big step backwards. But I was even more shocked to hear that he had actually passed another bill which prohibits someone from having children in the back of the boat while it is in tow on a roadway. What??? I thought the outdated law of allowing passengers to continue riding in the back of a pickup truck was already a bit silly…what’s next…not allowing people to ride on the wing of a moving airplane?
Technically, Texas law states that it’s legal for people over the age of 18 to ride in the back of a pickup truck. However, just because it is legal doesn’t mean it’s safe – in fact, it’s really not at all. Passengers are unrestrained and unprotected. Even minor obstacles on the roadway (such as potholes or debris) could cause uncomfortable bumps which could certainly result in an injury. If the pickup is involved in a collision (for example, being hit by a another driver), then any passengers riding in the back of a pickup truck would almost certainly be ejected and suffer catastrophic injuries. I’ve known of numerous kids flying out and landing on their noodles when I was growing up.
The current Texas law as I know it, states that children under the age of 18 can only ride in the open bed of a pickup truck only under certain circumstances. Such as in a parade, a hay ride or a sandy beach. Or, on an unpaved road…and kids love gravel flying up at them. Gravel is one of the most understated discipline tools. But you can only drive at a low speed. And not on a highway, only on a lower speed roadway, such as your farm to market road, or the road to your farm (which also has huge craters, great for ejecting kids…which can also be viewed as discipline tool.) I have also heard that if it is your only family vehicle and you can prove it, you may be allowed to put your children in the back.
With seat belt laws being so strictly enforced now as well as child safety laws, hopefully we will eventually evolve and this law will be revised to fit with the times.
Until next week…
Comedienne / Writer / Artist / Buckle-Upper
Riding In The Back Of The Pickup – Comedy Defensive Driving
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The last time I got pulled over by Johnny Law (and that was his real name…no kidding), he scanned the registration sticker on my windshield. I suppose he did this to see if it was counterfeit. But he didn’t ask me for proof of liability insurance. I had heard that the police can pull that up on their computers now (in between checking their Facebook) so they don’t usually ask you for it. In other words, they know if you have current coverage or not. And, of course, I did. I may be a speeder, by I’m a responsible speeder. This automated database is a joint project of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, the Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Most states have a similar program. Here in my state, TexasSure is designed to reduce the number of uninsured drivers and cut costs for those of us responsible Texans, who now pay almost $900 million a year to protect ourselves against those irresponsible drivers without coverage. According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, 15% to 20% of Texas drivers are uninsured.
You must have auto insurance in Texas…it’s the law. And if you get caught driving without minimum liability coverage to pay for injuries and damages that you cause, you are subject to fines and loss of license. TexasSure relies on a massive database containing the names of all insured drivers and their insurance companies, matched to their license plates and VIN’s. So, when a driver is involved in an accident or stopped by the law, they had better have current minimum liability insurance. If not, the fines are up to $350 on the first offense and up to $1,000 and possible suspension of your license on the second. Plus a state surcharge of $250 per year for three years. And, if you continue to break this law, you can be arrested. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t do well in jail. I don’t like peanut butter or bologna.
Until next week…drive safe, be responsible and drive TexasSure.
TexasSure – Comedy Defensive Driving
I wonder if Santa texts while driving in his one horse open sleigh. You know…while he’s dashing through the snow, over hills he goes, laughing all the way. Why is he laughing, is he drunk? Or, perhaps he’s just jolly…a jolly drunk. Why else would he be off roading?
Driving too fast for the weather conditions plays a major role in fatal crashes each year. Especially during the winter months. Of course, speed is the single greatest contributing factor to serious crashes. And, if you’re on an icy or slippery road, doing 40 in a 60 may still be too fast for the slick road conditions in winter driving.
In addition to speed, other simple things that enhance safety are by wearing a seat belt and simply paying attention to the road. All-in-all, human error is the main contributor in 95% of all crashes (and all pregnancies). Some people think they are good multi-taskers and super skilled drivers. Maybe they’ve watched too many Steve McQueen movies. And, perhaps those same people also believe that all of the safety features in the car will save their lives. Which may be true, but perhaps not a quality life after years of therapy and rehabilitation from the accident. Snowfall obviously makes for more dangerous road conditions. But it just makes sense that more people stay home on heavy blizzard days. Or they drive more slowly if they are out in it. That first day of a snowstorm tends to yield more crashes because people have been out of practice. Crashes are 14% more likely to happen on the first snowy day of the season. Maybe that’s why Santa didn’t come this year. Or the year before that. Or, perhaps he’s just gotten tired of the winter driving.
Until next week…keep it on the road.
Comedienne / Artist / Writer
Winter Driving – Comedy Defensive Driving
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teen drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to my teenaged daughter, my cooking comes in at a close second. I am getting better, though I still burn Jello.
My bad cooking may be here to stay. But teen motor vehicle crashes are avoidable. There are proven policies to improve the safety of young drivers on the road. Factors that contribute to teen crashes and injuries include driver inexperience, driving with teen passengers, distractions, nighttime driving, not wearing seat belts and even drinking alcohol and driving. Just cutting out distractions, limiting night driving, monitoring passengers in the car and not calling or text messaging your teen while you know they are driving would help tremendously.
Among all age groups, teen drivers are at the greatest risk for accidents. Per mile driven, teen drivers are four times more likely than adult drivers to crash. Funny, it’s usually teens that make snide comments about older drivers. In fact, crash rates are highest during the first year of driving. And that crash risk goes up when teens drive with other teens in the car. In Texas, teens have restrictions on their license. One being that they cannot have more than one family member under the age of 21 in the car with them when they are driving. I suppose they just want you to kill one friend at a time, not all of them at once. Awesome idea, since we used to cram as many kids in the car as we could and just pack them in like sardines. This all plays into distracted driving, which is a huge contributing factor. That’s why, in some states like Texas, teen drivers also cannot talk on a cell phone or text while driving. There is also a curfew restriction for new drivers.
My teen just got her driver license a few months ago. So I have found many helpful websites that address teen driving tips. At teendriving.com you’ll find hundreds of safe driving and defensive driving tips from buying a car to driving in traffic, driving around school, and even tips on parallel parking. We used to call that parallel “chicken” when I was a teen.
Just keeping your teen drivers out of harm’s way isn’t the only issue here. The high cost of automobile insurance for a young driver is also an issue for most parents. Keeping a clean driving record will insure that your insurance premium doesn’t skyrocket. And who wants to spend a bunch of extra money on insurance when you have better things to spend your money on…like Jack Daniels.
Until next week…
Comedienne / Writer / Artist
Teen Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving