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Woo Woo For Safety – Railroad Crossings –

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I’ll never forget that one horrible thing that gave me nightmares when I was a teenager. It was that scary drivers education film showing the freight train hitting the motor vehicle. That image affected me for years. And, if I were classless and immature, I would tell you that because of that film I wet the bed for many years. Okay, I did…and you know how my parents broke me of it? They bought me an electric blanket.

Today, it’s a sad coincidence that I have been asked to write this week’s comedy defensive driving blog about railroad crossings when, just this week, there was a horrific railroad crossing accident in Midland, Texas. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, a train hits someone in America every 115 minutes. And nearly 2,000 Americans are killed and injured at railroad crossings each year. The train involved in the Midland tragedy was traveling at 62 mph and had 80 cars. It took more than a minute to come to a complete halt. An average freight train weighs twelve million pounds and can take as long as 1.5 miles to stop. So, once the engineer sees your car on the tracks, and applies the brakes, the train won’t likely be able to stop in time. The weight ratio of a train to a car is about 4,000 to one. This compares the weight ratio of a car to an aluminum can. In short, your Honda Accord could become a Honda Accordion because the train always wins.

Defensive Driving Classes - Railroads

Federal regulations require warning lights and sounds to activate at least 20 seconds before a train rolls through a railroad crossing. And the engineer is required to blow the train’s whistle (two long blasts followed by a short one) at least a quarter of a mile before reaching the crossing. This regulation is true, unless it is considered a “quiet zone” where it is prohibited to sound the horn (such as a residential area) unless there is an emergency.
The positive train control system being implemented nationwide should help to save lives by sending wireless messages that automatically slow or stop trains when they aren’t operated in accordance with signal systems or various other safety rules.

Since nearly two-thirds of all collisions occur during daylight hours, driver inattention must be the major cause. Usually, people are trying to beat the train or they get stuck on the railroad tracks during bumper to bumper traffic. If this were to happen to you, the best thing to do would be to get out of the car. You can always replace the car. But make sure you grab some of those favorite cd’s. They may be hard to replace. And run the direction the train is coming from, at a 45 degree angle away from the tracks (you may want to keep a protractor in your glove box for this). In rural areas, the issue is usually hitting a freight train in the side, at night. When it is dark outside, dark freight cars can blend in with the dark sky. So, you may not see it until it is too late. Again, paying attention does have it’s benefits.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Artist / Comedienne

Railroad Crossings – Comedy Defensive Driving


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Most people believe that New Year’s Eve is likely the holiday where the most DWI arrests occur. Not true…that is just one evening. Most arrests actually occur at my family reunions. My Mother is the eldest of ten sisters. Every one of them, with the exception of my Mom are all mean, drinking bar-fighting women. And, each of them have a minimum of three daughters. Our family reunion is just one giant estrogen festival. This July will be what we are calling Estro-fest 2012. Because of the fighting, instead of a band, we hire a medic. I wish this all were made-up, but it’s all so true.
Most DWI arrests occur during long holiday weekends such as the 4th of July, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Most states issue what they call a “No Refusal Weekend.” Police then step up their efforts to get drunken drivers off the streets. Here, in Texas, by noon on Memorial Day, the city of Austin had made over 68 DWI arrests, including 20 Sunday night. Why? Because we do everything big in Texas, right?
During “No Refusal,” any driver pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving must submit to a breath test or get a court-ordered blood draw. In Texas, No Refusal Weekend continues through 5 a.m. Tuesday.
The point they are trying to get across is, if you are enjoying a few cold ones, stay away from the wheel.
I think most people don’t want to leave their car in a parking lot of a restaurant or club while they find an alternate ride home because it may be vandalized, stolen, broken into or towed. So they choose to drive it home and end up in jail. Even if you feel like you are okay to drive, the officer that pulls you over may not think so, and it is up to their discretion whether or not they think they need to take you in. In Texas, if a police officer thinks that you may be so tipsy or impaired, even if you blow under the legal limit, they will likely still take you to jail. If, under the circumstances, they did let you go (which would be the luckiest day of your entire life) and you killed someone or injured someone, that police officer and the police department they work for could be sued by the person(s) you injured or their family if you killed that person. So, for their own liability, they will likely take you to jail. Where you can hang out with real criminals. Not everyone sitting in jail is intentionally a bad person, sometimes it’s just someone that made a thoughtless mistake. A mistake which will lessen your quality of life. But, if you like to read, I hear they have lots of books and magazines. And, if you like bologna, then that’s the place for you. If you did have to go to jail in Texas, I hear Highland Park is the place you’d want to go. Their jail looks like it’s right out of Giverny, France. And I hear they cater in lunch from a little family owned restaurant across the street from SMU campus. It’s kind of like a bed and breakfast…only with stainless steel beds.
With another long weekend coming in July, follow these useful tips. If you decide to drink any alcohol, line up a designated driver. Or, there are several services you can likely call that will be your designated driver, such as a taxi or a wingman service.

Until next week…Don’t risk it. A DWI is financially and emotionally devastating. It’s a real set-back…

Daun Thompson


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Teen and Driver…now there are two words that scare the heck out of most people. And, when the two words are combined, that’s when it’s the scariest. My daughter turned 16 last October. She has had her provisional driver’s license since then, but I have been too “busy” to take her to the DPS to get her actual driver’s license. I must admit, I am worried about releasing her into the cruel, speeding, red light-blowing World.
But it is inevitable. She has made an appointment for her final test. It’s going to happen. And, when it does, until she gets her own car, should I hand over the keys to my car and hope it’s returned in one piece? I have owned that car for 8 years without a scratch. I park it in a garage and wash it regularly. It looks like I just drove it off the lot. Plus, there will be times where we both will need wheels. So I will have to invest in a car of her own. And that day will come soon. How will I decide which car to buy when she wants a sports car or a gas-guzzling SUV?  I want a car I know she’ll be safe in. A sports car is out of the question. It would be too tempting in a sports car to drive aggressively, not to mention the insurance rates.  An SUV is more difficult to handle and is more prone to rollover in an extreme situation. I can see that she already has difficulty driving my SUV.

Apparently the safest car for a new driver would be a midsized car with a four-cylinder engine, automatic transmission, ABS, and high crash test scores. The logic is that a midsized car is big enough to protect occupants in a crash, but small enough for a novice driver to easily handle. The four-cylinder engine limits acceleration capabilities of the car, and generally provides better fuel economy (and thus improves the car’s “carbon footprint”). My little hippie chick will be concerned about that aspect, for certain. And automatic transmissions are easier to drive. ABS also makes braking easier, especially for a novice driver. Oh, these teen drivers…

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publication, “Buying a Safer Car” has a selection that meet the above criteria, as well as pricing issues. It was very helpful for me. And, here’s the great part, since their website has issues from previous model years available, it is helpful for comparing used cars (which is all I can afford right now). Plus, I truly believe that the first car should be a practice car. There will surely be some scratches and dings (hopefully minor ones).  My first car was like a boat…and when it went to the junk yard, crushed on all four sides, it was about the size of a Mini Cooper. The NHTSA selects vehicles that scored the maximum five stars for frontal collisions and front side impacts, and had at least four stars for rear side impact. All cars also scored at least four stars in the rollover evaluation. In viewing the recommended list, there is no doubt that none of these cars listed are vehicles my daughter wants to own. But I will remind her that she is getting a car and with that comes independence!

And a few more suggestions to add to your list when searching for that teen machine, AWD (all wheel drive), if available, is desirable to improve traction in poor weather conditions. Try to stay away from too many optional electronic gadgets in the car, as teens can be easily distracted and need to focus on the important task of …driving! … duh!

Until next week…keep your teen safe…and do your research when choosing their ride.

Daun Thompson

Your First Car

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Do you remember your first car? Sure you do! How could you forget her? It was either a good experience or a bad experience. But, for most of us, either way, it was a life altering experience. I remember my first car like it was yesterday. I also remember the car that I really wanted, because my oldest sister owned it. My sister Terry, who got her license in 1973, and was awarded a 1969 copper colored Mustang convertible with white leather bucket seats. It was one sweet car. Even as a girl, I was impressed with that car’s epic coolness. As it turned out, my sister was an alcoholic from an early age and she would get drunk and hit parked cars every weekend. My Dad would get up early on Sunday mornings and go around town paying off the damages so it wouldn’t go on his insurance.
So, when I turned 16, he opted for the “starter car.” You know, something that could take a “hit” or two. Something I would perhaps survive a wreck in and something that wouldn’t cost much to fix…oh, like it ever got fixed. She was a gold four-door Delta 88 Oldsmobile. One word can describe that car…HIDEOUS!  It was so rusted out around the skirt of the car from the winter salt on the roads that you needed a tetanus shot just to drive it. My dad paid a whopping $60.00 for it. The interior smelled like an old bum’s bum. And, of course, I nicknamed that car right away (girls always do), and called her “The Embarrassment.” I was so embarrassed to be seen driving the car, that I hardly ever drove it. Although, when I was finished with her, before she went to the junk yard, she was all smashed in on all four sides. She was more compact and easier to parallel park that way…like a Mini Cooper.
In hindsight, my dad was a brilliant man. If I would have gotten the car I really wanted, I probably wouldn’t be alive today to tell this story.  Here are a few other stories from other folks about their first car…

  • My first car was obtained from trading a hog. It was a Buick Skylark, 1960 something. The owner had a habit of spitting tobacco juice out the window, with a lot of it ending up on the inside roof of the car. The back seat had been taken out to haul…you guessed it…HOGS. It was a true embarrassment to drive.
  • 1969 Mustang. After about six months the brakes went, “completely” out. I had no brakes what so ever. This worked just fine for a while until I ran the car through the front window of our local general store. So there I was literally setting inside the guys store, in my car. When I got stopped I was setting even with the checkout counter. Jim, the store owner, looked down at me and asked, without expression, “what can I get you Mike”.
  • When we turned 16 years old, our shop teacher sold us his old Rambler for $30. Six of us put in $5.00 each and we had 6 keys made. We left the car at one kid’s house and all six of us would drive it.
  • A white ’95 Buick Skylark. I bought for $500. The horn didn’t  work. Eventually the reverse gear went out, so when I went to work, I had to park in the back parking lot because it was on a slight incline. I would put the car in neutral, stick my foot out the door and “Flintstone it” backwards. Good stuff.
  • 1969 VW Bug. When you wanted to be warm you’d have to turn on “The Heater”. The heat actually came off of the engine, so you always could get a little buzzed off of the fumes.
  • 1974 Ford Pinto hatchback… the exploding model. One good thing about it, nobody tailgated me! I once fit nine girls in it. I replaced EVERY part of that car (except the radiator) at least once. I owned it for eleven years. In college I would leave it on the street with the windows open and the keys in the ignition. No one even would steal it.
  • 1968 Toyota Corolla. It had several hundred thousand miles on it, blew the motor then traded it for a bag.
  • 1966 Chevy Chevelle Super Sport. Which would have been really cool had it not been the year 1991! This car had so much Bondo holding the body together that if I left it in the sun for too long I could go out and reshape the fenders after it melted.
  • ’79 Pinto. I bought it for $75. I sold it to a junkyard. They said they would give me $50 if It ran. It stalled on the way there and would not restart. Fortunately, I was nearly there and it was all downhill. I coasted it in, and the guy commented on how quiet it was and said “Well, at least we know the muffler must be good.”
  • 1958 pee-yellow Ford Anglia. Top speed: 45 mph. I bought it for $20. If you put the key in the ignition, it would set the dashboard on fire. My buddy showed me how if you put a beer in the glove box, it would start (there was some wire that would make contact with the frame & fire it up). I customized it by bolting a bottle opener to the outside of the driver’s door, so you could stick your arm out and crack a beer. Some cop saw that and he followed me home and made me tell my mom, who freaked. I sold the car to another buddy for $20.-
  • A BROWN 1978 Chevy Monza. I built/installed a 454 with a Supercharger. The Monza became known as the the “Flying Turd.”
  • 1980 Ford Escort. The horn worked by pushing the turn signal. The first time I turned on the heat a baby mouse came out the vent. When I popped open the hatchback it flew off. The hole in floor was covered by a speed limit sign.
  • 1966 Ambassador. I also rearranged the ambassador letters on the trunk to read “Bad Ass”
  • A faded red/rusted 1984 Plymouth Reliant Wagon. It wouldn’t haul ass… or get it.
  • A beautiful ’67 Mercury Cougar, my wife hated it so she sold it for $500 while I was in the Navy, I got even, I had her 1958 Pontiac Chieftan crushed.

Until next week…”Chin up…you’re not going to have to drive it forever ” (words spoken by my dad, Bobby Thompson, around June of 1976).

Daun Thompson

Tips For Criminals

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Although I am not a criminal, I must admit that sometimes I act like one. Perhaps it is just a habit, but if I see a police car, I inevitably lock ‘em up…even if I’m not speeding. Isn’t that crazy? It must be what they would call submission to authority (or at least that’s what Freud would have called it). Well, Freud and my boyfriend. He makes fun of me because I wave at police. He says that only someone like me would wave at a police officer because I am a total home slice. Maybe he’s right. I haven’t been pulled over by the authorities in quite some time. But, when I do (and I will), there are a few things that I will need to keep in mind.

Below is a list of things that are said to put an officer “at ease.”

  • Pull over to the right side of the road and find a safe place to stop. Do this immediately. Police get a little suspicious if you don’t pull over right away. You don’t want them to assume that you are attempting to conceal something and perhaps are just needing more time to stash it (like that inflatible H.O.V. doll you got on ebay).
  • Don’t get out of the car. Yes, maybe in that small town where you went to High School with the officer who is pulling you over, you may have gotten out and met him half-way, hoping that was a friendly gesture. Not anymore. Stay in the car.
  • Put your car in park. Leaving your car in gear gives them the impression that you might try to flee the scene. Tips for fleeing the scene will be in next week’s comedy blog (just kidding).
  • Roll down the windows so that the officer can see inside the vehicle. If they can see within your car, they may assume that you have nothing to hide. Just roll ‘em down…especially if they’re tinted windows…windows tinted so dark that you don’t want him to see how dark they are…they’ll give you a ticket for that as well. Cha-ching!
  • Shut off your car. Again, not to give them the impression that you may try to flee by leaving your car running.
  • Put your keys on the dashboard. Or, if you are a Felon, just throw the keys out the window. Where you’re going, you’re not going to need them anyway.
  • Sit Still. Keep your hands high on the wheel within plain sight. Hands open.
  • Do not reach for anything. (Especially a weapon). And, by all means, don’t ask the officer to hold your beer while you get your information out of the glove box.
  • Move like a sloth (…it’ll freak ‘em out).
  • Let the officer speak first. Whatever you do, don’t address the officer as “sir” until you get a really good look at him/her (Aha! Now you see why?). That’s the quickest way to get on a female police officer’s bad side.
  • And if they ask you “Do you know why I pulled you over?” (a classic question). Just say no. Don’t say “To remind me that I forgot to turn my radar detector on?”
  • If they ask you if you know how fast you’re going (another classic question) just say no. Don’t say “Not fast enough, apparently.” And, when they disclose what your actual speed is, for the love of God, don’t say “You should have seen how fast I was going about 10 miles back, ossifer.
  •  If they ask you is there a good reason why you are speeding? Just say no. Don’t say you’re trying to get to the liquor store before they close. Because that first case of beer didn’t really do the trick.”

Until next week…stay out of trouble.

Daun Thompson


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Of all the distractions while driving, texting is numero uno. It happens to be the one that’s raising the greatest rage among safety researchers, industry critics, auto companies and federal and state regulators. Texting is taking lives, and that is provoking national outrage which is resulting in new laws and safety campaigns nationwide.
I remember when Oprah Winfrey went to the emotional heart of the issue with the launch of her “No Phone Zone” campaign in 2010. None of her employees at Harpo were allowed to text while driving and were given contracts to sign that would hold them to it.
True, there are a mulititude of distractions in the car. Eating (driving with your knees while eating a Big Mac). Changing a CD or radio station is very distracting. Men complain that women applying makeup in the car is exceptionally distracting (come on, it’s not always just women). On the other hand, women complain that men shave while driving. GPS, talking on the phone, swinging at your kids while driving are just a few more distractions in the car.
But texting while driving has a particular power to distract because it’s an activity that has visual, manual and cognitive components. A triple threat! It requires drivers to look at something other than the road, do something other than handle the wheel and think about something other than driving the car. In other words, texting involves three categories that involve major driver distraction.
Another thing to consider, you have 3 seconds to respond as a driver in an emergency.

When you text, your eyes are off the road by 10 times that. And texting’s primary danger is that it is a visual distraction. You can’t drive without looking at the road regardless of how high or low the cognitive demand is (unless you’re Stevie Wonder).
Safety regulators and researchers say texting while driving is more of a concern than other in-car distractions. Texting is widespread, particularly among young drivers who lack experience. Texting is also more distracting than many other driver activities.
According to CTIA, The Wireless Association, people sent or received 5.9 billion text messages every day in 2010. Many of them from behind the wheel of a car. About one-eighth of all drivers reported texting while driving, according to a study on driver distraction conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
Some states are reacting by making texting illegal. As of June, 34 states had enacted texting bans for all drivers. An additional 7 states prohibit texting by new drivers.And, in a survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the majority of drivers who admitted texting were between 18 and 29. That means the biggest offenders were also less experienced drivers. My teenage daughter can text and not even look at the phone while she’s doing it. We’ll be having a conversation at the dinner table and she’ll be looking me right in the eyes while she’s texting someone. Her phone is under the table. She calls it multitasking. I call it grounded. It’s just rude. I don’t text and drive. Not because I’m smart enough to, I’m just not coordinated enough to. I have tried it and I could totally take out famillies so I don’t do it.

Texting video!

Until next week…don’t text and drive…or you could find yourself with a phone in one hand and a ticket in the other

Daun Thompson



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Recently, Trapster released a list of the ten top cities for speed traps. If you’re not familiar with it, Trapster is a website as well as a smartphone app that alerts drivers to traps, hazards and other traffic issues on their route. Although, 50% of the activity available on trapster involves live police speed traps, it also includes red light cameras and fixed speed cameras.  Here are the top ten.

1. New York City – Wow! Number one in the nation for speeders? It’s no wonder New York is three hours ahead of California. Statistics show, they’re number one due to the high number of drivers on the road. And, apparently they list 451 camera lights in the metro area. Yikes! Big Brother is totally watching!

2. Los Angeles – I thought the traffic was so bad that it would be impossible to speed there. Perhaps it’s more of a keeping up with flow of traffic thing. And, once the traffic jam loosens, everyone’s off like a shot trying to regain the time they lost in traffic. Or, trying to catch up with New York.

3. Houston – Now we’re talkin’. No doubt! Houston is like a miniature New York City. I was wondering where Texas cities were going to “place” on the list. I say that like it’s a contest or something. Most cities in Texas are in Trapster’s top 20 list. No doubt, since Texas has a reputation of changing the speed limits on freeways from crazy highs to crazy lows. Yee-haw!

4. Las Vegas – Being such a huge vacation spot with tourists driving around, not familiar with the area, it’s a great place for losing your wallet. Either losing it to law enforcement or at the casino. Either way, vacationing in Vegas is a gamble.

5. Washington DC – “You know…the one where the President lives.” That’s what my Mom always says when she’s talking about Washington DC v.s. Washington state. I find it funny that DC is number 5. They must need the revenue pretty bad. They have over 349 camera lights. I noticed that the IRS gives you a big tax write-off if you buy a house in DC. Anyone smell desperation?

6. St. Louis – They only have 89 traffic cameras in the metro area. But they have a reputation for having a lot of small town speed traps. Small towns with lots of hillbillies, so my dad says, who is from that area.

7. Orlando – Although they only have 41 camera lights in the city, they are noted for being one of the first to install them in the nation. And, it is reputed they did so before they were even legal. Talk about ruining your vacation.

8. Chicago – I only thought Chicago was my kind of town until I found out they have possibly more red light cameras than New York City. Cold, windy and tickety? Maybe it’s not a word now, but you’ll see it on Wikipedia by tomorrow.

9. Colorado Springs – Apparently they use a lot of unmarked cars for law enforcement. When I was a teenager, all cop cars had the lights on top of the car, not in the grill. At night, if I had a car behind me with a luggage rack on top, my heart would start beating out of my chest because I’d think it was a cop…all paranoid. Speaking of…didn’t Colorado also legalize medical marijuana?

10. Austin – The capital has a reputation for people getting tickets for only a few miles over the speed limit. And, of course, like I mentioned above, with the crazy reductions in high to low speed limits…what a great place for an officer to hide behind a tree. Cha-ching!

So now, in addition to radar and laser detectors, there are other technologies available to help you to avoid getting a ticket. Or, you can just use the old fashioned method. Get up early, leave the house on time, don’t rush, and drive with both of your hands on the wheel while you’re looking out for cops.

Until next week…unleash your inner trapster.

Daun Thompson


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Got your attention?  This blog is not about driving naked.  But it does sound like fun, doesn’t it?
Do you want to know what I had for breakfast? Froot Loops and a Dr. Pepper. That’s one great thing about being a grownup. You can do whatever the heck you want and no one can tell you not to. You can slowly murder yourself with sugar and no one can do a darned thing about it. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to be a grown up. One notable milestone was turning 16 and getting my driver license. Independence was a huge goal then. I was so excited that I counted down the months, days and hours until my sixteenth birthday. At that age, reality usually takes a back seat to fantasy. And all of my friends were talking about what car they were going to get, as was I. Mine was between a convertible Mustang and a Yamaha street bike. Instead, I was given a used gold four door Delta 88 Oldsmobile. My parents paid a total of $60.00 for it. The skirt of the car was so rusted out, you needed a tetanus shot just to drive it. This car was no Mustang. Well, at least I couldn’t speed in it. It got zero to sixty in about three hours. And 60mph back then would have been speeding, anyway. So, I wasn’t ecstatic about it. But it was wheels and wheels means independence. Looking back, my parents were freakishly intuitive. They didn’t make me drive their car, but got me my own. A junker that could afford a few dings and a little curb-hugging from an inexperienced driver. Due to it’s age, the insurance was low. It was not quite the size of a barge, but was about the size of the boat that tow’s a barge. So I was safer in that big tank. Gas was cheap then. Thank God, because it was a gas and oil hog. And, the most brilliant thing that my parents may or may not have also factored in? I was so embarrassed to be seen driving that piece of junk, I hardly drove it. Only in emergencies, to school, to work or to bail my friends out of jail. Otherwise, it remained parked and I had friends pick me up in their cars. I even nicknamed my car, as most young girls do. Her name was “The Embarrassment”. A fitting name for how I felt about her. Although I hardly drove the big “E”, when she went off to the scrap yard, she was smashed in on all four sides. She was like a Mini Cooper when I got finished with her. She certainly was more compact…easier to park. Yep, looking back, my parents were a brilliant team. Even when we’d go camping, my Dad would make us slather down with mosquito repellent. And the smell would also repel the boys. Yes, he is most certainly a brilliant man, indeed.

Most young people don’t get their driver license now until they are 18. Drivers Education school is very costly. Gasoline is very costly. The price of a car and insurance for that car are also very costly. So, some have no choice other than to wait. Perhaps being even two years older will put a more mature individual behind the wheel. There is no substitution for experience, true. But maturity also plays a large role in being a responsible driver.  Especially in regards to swift decision making, controlling your temper (road rage) and knowing that you are now at the age where you will have to cough up the money for that expensive traffic ticket.

Until next week.  As someone said to me recently, “Thank you for making every day April Fools Day.”  What does that mean?

Daun Thompson

Tie One On This Holiday Season

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I remember the holiday parties at our house when I was a kid.  Everyone was “tying one on” as my Dad would say.  The Urban Dictionary indicates that “to tie one on” means “to get drunk or start drinking before the hang over from last night has worn off. Thus having something to “tie onto”.  To tie one drinking session to another before the effects/consequences of the last have expired. Hmmm.  You know who else likes to tie one on??  MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers).  They started a Tying One on for Safety program in 1986, bringing more awareness to the problem of drinking and driving during the holidays. Red ribbons are placed in highly visible areas of vehicles, like the antenna, to remind everyone not to drink and drive. As more drivers place these red ribbons on their vehicles, this heightened attentiveness serves to curb the problem of drunk driving, especially during the holidays.  I noticed that the garbage truck had a big red ribbon tied on the front.  Same thing?  Probably not.  He was swerving, afterall.

Here are some helpful tips for safe holiday drinking. Remember, looks can be deceiving.  All three of these beverages pack the same punch. Whether you are having one ounce to one-and-a-half ounces of alcohol, like a shot of vodka in a mixed drink, or you’re having a 5 ounce glass of wine, or a 12 ounce beer, they all provide you with the same amount of alcohol.  Besides what you’re drinking, there are many other factors to figure in to the equation. Just a few of the other factors to figure in are your height, weight, physical condition, age, whether you are fatigued, whether you have food in your stomach, etc. And alcohol takes time to metabolize out of your system. Drinking coffee won’t speed up that time one bit.

Here’s what you can do to prevent yourself from getting in too deep!  Decide ahead of time how much you want to drink and stick to it. And plan ahead regarding your designated driver.

Another reason to watch what you drink – calories can add up. Maybe you can wear that same holiday dress next year!  At least if you wear the same outfit year after year, people will remember you!  And not just remember you as that girl who “Tied one on” .

Have a safe couple of holidays and we’ll catch up with you next week.

Daun Thompson



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Or, more like a deer in the headlights. Which is exactly what my drivers license picture looks like. And to think, I was all excited about getting a new license with a shiny new picture. You know, they only allow you to renew that old license with that youthful picture for so long.  I waited in line at the DPS for 4 hours!  Can you believe it?  I was looking around for Ashton Kutcher.  I thought I was being punked.  I think they make you wait in line at the DPS for 4 hours so you’ll look exactly the same as you’re going to look when the cops pull you over.  A little cranky and put-out!  So, I tried to create my best fake smile.  And, I remember waiting for weeks for my license to come in the mail (of course they mailed it the following day…but it was mailed through the US Postal System…need I say more??)  There I was, anxiously anticipating the receipt of my new license through the mail. Only to find, to my disappointment, the worst picture ever! It looked as if someone had goosed me right as they snapped the picture. Hence, the deer in the headlights. Oh well. Enough about that!
With the winter holidays and holiday travel, you may encounter a deer or two in your headlights on your road trip. Perhaps even a reindeer, but doubtful.  In the winter, deer find their way out to that black top pavement where the sun has been warming it all day.  So beware! Don’t let anything distract you while you’re driving. Give yourself plenty of reaction time and know where your “out” is at all times.
I’m originally from the Midwest, where the deer are massive.  My Dad hit one of those giant deer when I was a kid. He was coming home from work (i.e. the pub). The deer came through the windshield of his car and the antlers cut him across the forehead. He still has a frankenstein-like scar (that’s actually his surgeon’s name…really).  And then we had venison for about 3 years after that. My mom didn’t know how to prepare it.  So she’d mix it with ManWich Sauce.  She called them “Deerwiches”. I hate venison to this day. Just plain burned out on it, I suppose. My parents probably still have some in their deep freeze from 43 years ago. My mom hasn’t cleaned out the deep freeze in about 43 years. That’s for sure.  Jimmy Hoffa and the Lindergh baby are probably in there. That’s when a Kenmore lasted 40+ years. Don’t get me started.
During your excursion this holiday season, should you encounter a deer in your headlights, don’t panic.  You just don’t want to hit it head-on like my dad’s deer.  He was lucky.  That deer could easily injure you or possibly kill you.  Or, wouldn’t be just your luck that you’re going through a camera light with that deer sitting on your lap? That would be on You Tube forever.  The best thing to do, if you can’t avoid hitting the deer, try to create a sideswipe on it.  Whether you hit it head-on or sideswipe it, either way, it’s probably not going to survive.  But at least both y’all don’t have to die.  Human life is more precious than animal life.  So if it’s between your family and that deer, you gotta take fluffy out.  Fluffy’s gotta take one for the team.  In mountainous areas, I am told, they teach drivers to shut their headlights off briefly, so the deer will be “un-stunned” (is that even a word??…it is now…and you’ll see it on Wikipedia tomorrow, I betcha!).  I hope they don’t neglect to tell those mountain people “don’t forget to turn the lights back on”.  Now I’m worried!  Oh dear…I mean oh deer!  Until next week.  Have a wonderful deer-free, venison-free holiday.  And look out for that reindeer in your headlights!

Daun Thompson