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Mountain Driving – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Mountain 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!”

Defensive-Driving-proficiency-trucks

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…

Daun Thompson
Comedienne / Writer / Artist

Mountain Driving – Comedy Defensive Driving

Riding In The Back Of A Pickup Truck – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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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…

Daun Thompson
Comedienne / Writer / Artist / Buckle-Upper

Riding In The Back Of The Pickup – Comedy Defensive Driving

There Are Many Reasons for Taking Our Online Course for Defensive Driving

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You will find that taking our online course for defensive driving in Texas is fun to take, and it will keep you entertained as you complete your required course. Some of the reasons for choosing us include:
• No Reading – The course consists of a video presentation
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Both our online course and classroom course are state approved by the Texas Education Agency. You will laugh when you take our Online Course that was created by top comedic talent. You can stop and start at your convenience until you complete the program. If you prefer to complete the course in a classroom, our Classroom Course is taught by professional comedians. There are lots of locations where you can take the course too. You can call us at (972) 573-2690 for more information, or register online for our Online Course.
Brushing Up on Defensive Driving in Texas Can Be Fun
Who would believe that getting your traffic ticket dismissed or that completing a course on defensive driving in Texas for an insurance reduction could be fun? Well, with us it is. Completing our course is accepted by all courts in Texas for ticket dismissal, and best of all, you will pay only $25 for the course with no hidden fees.

A Texas Defensive Driving Course that You Will Enjoy

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We know that when you take our Texas defensive driving course that you will be pleasantly surprised. Our courses have kept thousands of people laughing as they have their traffic ticket dismissed or their insurance reduced. Driver education has never been so much fun! You can take our online course that was written by comedy professionals. There is no reading and no writing required. All that you need to do is watch the video. Our course is approved by the Texas Education Agency. You also have the option of taking our course in the classroom. Features of our classroom edition include:

• Our classroom course is taught by professional comedians
• There are many locations where you can take the course in many cities throughout Texas
• You will need to bring a pen to class, and to take a test
• A picture ID or your driver’s license – Texas law states that you cannot take a defensive driving course without having the proper identification
• Bring your traffic citation or any paper work that you received from the court – This will prevent delays in delivering your certificate
• Arrange to arrive 15 minutes before class because State law does not allow instructors to admit anyone who is late
• Bring meal money – There are times during the course that you can eat or drink
Our Texas Defensive Driving Course is Accepted by all Courts in Texas
Our Texas defensive driving course is approved by the Texas Education Agency and is accepted by all courts in Texas to dismiss traffic tickets. Our course can also lower insurance rated by up to 10 percent. If you have any questions, please complete the form online and we will reply shortly.

Driver Responsibility Verification Program – TexasSure – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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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.

Daun Thompson

Comedienne/Writer/ Artist

TexasSure – Comedy Defensive Driving

Dashing Through The Snow – Winter Driving – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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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.

Daun Thompson

Comedienne / Artist / Writer

Winter Driving – Comedy Defensive Driving

 

 

No More Training Wheels – Teen Drivers – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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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…

Daun Thompson
Comedienne / Writer / Artist

Teen Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving

 

Woo Woo For Safety – Railroad Crossings – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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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

DWI – NO REFUSAL WEEKEND

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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

A SAFE CAR FOR TEEN DRIVERS

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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