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Texas Two Step – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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As of March 1st, Texas will now have both the Inspection Sticker and the Registration Sticker combined into one. They’re calling it the Texas Two Step. So now, you will only require one sticker on your windshield in Texas, your Registration Sticker. And it will serve as combined proof of both the registration and the inspection. This is a sigh of relief for me, since my registration sticker and inspection stick never expire on the same month. It’s kind of like running out of conditioner before running out of shampoo. Perhaps I have obsessive compulsive disorder? Plus, it has always bothered me, having two stickers on my windshield, even when placed properly, they seemed to clutter up my window. And I recall spending tedious hours, every year, removing the old adhesive “ring” left over from last year’s sticker (again, maybe OCD). This will also eliminate fraudulent purchase of inspection stickers, thus eliminating pollutants for those vehicles that would not pass an emissions inspection. A single-sticker system makes vehicle registration dependent on obtaining a passing vehicle inspection. Pretty smart, eh?
So, inspections won’t change. And inspection locations won’t change either. The only thing that will change is that you will no longer get an inspection sticker. Now, you will receive a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) in lieu of an inspection sticker. And vehicle inspection stations will no longer collect the state’s portion of the inspection fee. They will only be charging the station’s fee. And the state’s fee will be charged at the time of registration renewal.
You must get your inspection no more than 90 days before registration is due to expire. But, to sinc up those (like me) whose two stickers expire months apart, only this first year, they are cutting us some slack and not making us get two inspections in a year. Say, if your inspection expires before your registration. You only need to get your car inspected when it’s due and that will suffice when you get your registration renewal.
And, bottom line, it’s supposed to save the state of Texas over a million dollars! Again, pretty smart, eh?
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Texas Two Step – Comedy Defensive Driving School

Seat Belts In The Car – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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When I was a kid, you didn’t have to wear seat belts in the car. Safety was an “option.” Now, if you and your kids are not buckled up, they’ll fry you. Not just the law, but other parents won’t hesitate to let you have it if they see your kids aren’t wearing one or secured in a car seat or booster seat. The national safety belt law went into effect in 1986. Before that, we had seat belts in cars, but they were just cloth lap belts, conveniently tucked down into the seat. My mom’s arm was our seat belt. My dad used to call her “The Seat Belt.” Years later, he started calling her “The Air Bag.” I thought it was just people of my parents’ generation that didn’t wear seat belts. But now, I hear young men between 17 and 24 years of age that tell me they don’t wear a seat belt. When asked why, they say it’s just not cool. Plus it’s uncomfortable. That’s exactly what my Mom would say about the seat belt. She and my Father would drive to Texas all the way from Illinois. And they would never wear their seat belts. My Mother, much like these young guys that don’t wear their seat belts, would say that the seat belt is uncomfortable and will wrinkle her outfit. Not like going through the windshield won’t wrinkle your outfit and your head as well. So, I resort to lying to my parents when they would come to visit me. Not that I’ve never lied to my parents before, but my parents are 78 years old now. And I’m “yikes” (that’s my new age…”yikes”). If my parents are visiting, and I’m driving them around, I tell them if they don’t buckle up, I, as the driver, will get both of their tickets. Of course that is a blatant lie. In Texas, if anyone under 17 years of age (i.e. under age) is not wearing a seat belt in the car, the driver gets the citation. But, anyone 17 or older (i.e. of age) is not wearing a seat belt, they get their own citation, not the driver. I think that’s fair enough. So my parents would buckle up. They’re from Illinois, so they don’t know Texas laws.
Wearing a seat belt is just a good habit to get into. Not only for safety’s sake, but so you don’t get cited for it. I think they train the police in the academy to be able to see, even through a tinted window, if you’re wearing your seat belt or not. I also think they train them in the academy to be able to tell if you’re lying or not. Just like your parents.
Until next week…buckle up.
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Seat Belts In The Car – Comedy Defensive Driving

Who’s At Fault in the Blame Game – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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When the Cowboy’s lost the game on Sunday, I didn’t know whether to blame it on “fracking” or “Obama.” Most of us like to put the blame on the other party, but sometimes when it doesn’t seem like our fault, it very well may be. So, who’s at fault in the blame game? A classic traffic accident is the rear end collision when entering the freeway. The person ahead of you guns it to get up to speed to merge with the flow of traffic. And, right before they merge in from the ramp, they chicken out and lock ‘em up. Perhaps you, too, are looking at the traffic you will be merging into and not paying as much attention to the car ahead of you. And wham! So, whose fault is it? I mean, they appeared to be moving along. Why did they stop at the end of the ramp? Ugh! But, it’s your fault, and your insurance agent will tell you, as well as the police, because you were following too close. If you had left enough space between cars, this may have not happened.
Since the traffic on the freeway has the right of way, there is no law that requires a driver occupying the right lane on the freeway to move over, slow down or take any other action to let a merging vehicle on the freeway. Of course, it would be courteous to do so. Perhaps a better way of looking at it is, the higher speed always has the right of way over the lower speed. The lower speed traffic always yields to the higher speed traffic when merging. That just makes sense that the higher (more dangerous)speed should have the right away. And, the traffic already on the main road have the right of way. I hear more than my share about how people just don’t know how to merge anymore.
And the law that some have forgotten, is that you must signal 100 feet before you turn. But what if there is a street between you and that 100 feet turn? Should you signal just short of your turn? I was taught that, if you are the person sitting at the stop sign, waiting to turn onto the main road, you should never pull out until the car, with its signal blinking, is well into the turn onto your street. Because that car may not be turning onto your street, after all, but may be turning on to the next street past yours. So, whose fault would that be? Theirs, for signaling the required 100 feet? Or yours, for pulling out in front of them? You can guess.
Maybe the masses are correct. Maybe people just don’t know how to merge anymore.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Who’s At Fault in the Blame Game – Comedy Defensive Driving

The Odds of Dying in a Car Crash – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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I have been preoccupied with thoughts of mortality since my Father’s death in September. Although his life ended as a result of natural causes, he barely escaped the odds of dying in a car crash or in a motorcycle crash. Of course these odds change as technology evolves. Everything does. And, it appears that more people are choosing cremation rather than a traditional funeral. This is what my Mother had chosen for him. A handful of children attended the memorial service at the funeral home, since there was no viewing, it seemed kid appropriate. Little did we know, there was another service scheduled across the hall from my Father’s, with a traditional viewing. Shortly after the service began, my tiny niece ran up to her mother and said “Mom! I just saw a dead body! A REAL dead body!” My sister was horrified. Then my niece looked around the room and with a puzzled look on her face, said “Where’s Grandpa’s body?” My sister told her “Grandpa’s body is in that box on the table.” My niece looked at her with a little grin. Clearly her mother was joking. “How did Grandpa fit in that little box?” My sister said “Because we had Grandpa cremated and his ashes are in that box.” My niece screamed “You set Grandpa on FIRE?”
With my preoccupation of life and death, I found some interesting statistics and other facts about death and dying. I wasn’t surprised that the National Safety Council’s table on an individual’s odds of dying from various causes lists motor vehicle incidents in the top four, with the odds being 1 in 112. The odds for a car occupant dying are 1 in 492. And the odds of a motorcycle rider dying are 1 in 922. The National Safety Council collects safety statistics for their annual Injury Facts publication, which includes this table on an individual’s odds of dying from various causes. But, still, the number one cause of death on the list is heart disease and cancer, which are 1 in 7 odds. Not good odds for any of the living and certainly bad news for those who are already gone.
And let us not forget the old hornet, wasp and bee sting deaths (1 in 75,852), legal execution (1 in 96,203) and being killed by a dog (1 in 103,798). Wait! I have three dogs that are seemingly nice. Tonight, I will be sleeping with one eye open.
Until next week …
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
The Odds of Dying in a Car Crash – Comedy Defensive Driving

Smart Technology – Because You Can’t Be Bothered – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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The cars of 2015 will bring safety features we never dreamed of. Or perhaps the cartoonists, Hanna-Barbera did dream of them when they created The Jetsons. But, with that new technology and cars that literally take all of the responsibility off of the driver, will that leave us more time to do even more distracting things while driving? One of the new commercials for the Hyundai Genesis ends with this tag “Smart Technology – because you can’t be bothered to make driving your FIRST PRIORITY when you’re behind the wheel.” What the heck??
When I had my daughter in 1995, and had a wreck on the way to the hospital, I was certainly going to do my homework and make darned sure that my next car was the safest on the road. Car and Driver Magazine had always talked up the Volvo for its safety features. So that’s what I bought. A hideous “tank” of a station wagon, with a yuppie mom luggage rack and the works. I figured that a wagon, rather than a coupe would give enough space between the front, rear and sides so that my little bundle of screaming, colicky joy would be safer from an impact at any angle. And I would drive carefully over every bump with her in the car. Now I find that odd. I mean, now that she’s a teenager, I just want to drive off a bridge.
The 2015 Volvo XC90 will feature two of the “world’s first” standard safety features. A run-off road protection package and auto brake at intersection capability. The XC90 is also the first car in the world with technology that features automatic braking if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car. And, in an accidental road departure, the XC90 detects what is happening and tightens the front seatbelts. One additional new feature is an energy-absorbing material between the seat and the seat frame to cushion the vertical forces that can arise when the car encounters a hard landing in the terrain. This counteracts spine injuries, which are a frequent consequence of these impacts. Volvo has pledged that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by the year 2020.
The latest park assist pilot that can parallel park by taking over and operating the steering wheel will be improved as well. Not that we need to use that feature often as most places have done away with parallel parking spaces. But a nice feature to have, nonetheless. When I was a kid driver, we used to call it “parallel chicken.”
So, here’s to a healthier, happier and safer new year. And many more to come … cheers!
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Smart Technology – Because You Can’t Be Bothered – Comedy Defensive Driving

Fender Bender 101!

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What to do in case of a Fender Bender, Minor Accidents, Driving Safety, What to do in a Minor Accident

Ten on Tuesday – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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I learn an abundance of information from my defensive driving students. This week, everyone has been talking about Ten on Tuesday, a new tradition in North Texas. We all spend more time commuting than we would like. And we all see our fair share of trash on or near our roadways. After all, motorists generate 52% of litter along roadways and highways (according to the 2009 Texas Department of Transportation Litter Attitudes and Behavior Survey). Wouldn’t it be a much more pleasant commute if we didn’t have to see all of this trash? This program encourages businesses, schools, community groups and individuals to reverse litter by picking up 10 pieces of trash and recyclable materials each Tuesday. It’s a brilliant idea and the results in just one year, if only 5,000 people participate and chunk 10 pieces of litter a week into the trash or recycling bin, the Metroplex will reduce litter by 2.6 million pieces!

If you are ready to get involved, you can make a pledge at reverselitter.org. There, you can find more information about how you can get started and encourage friends and family to participate as well. As of today, there are 7.952 pledges and counting.

So get involved and take the pledge. Do your part to keep our highways and roads beautiful. And look for the Chunk Litter Here trash bins in your area. Together, we can keep our part of this country a beautiful place to live.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Ten on Tuesday – Comedy Defensive Driving

Boy vs Girl Insurance Rates – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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When I put my daughter on my insurance policy, my insurance rates more than quadrupled. But still, I thought “Thank God she’s a girl and not a boy.” Even when I was a kid, auto insurance was always higher for teen aged boys than it was for girls that age. In doing the math, I realized that, if she had been born a “son” it would have been cheaper to send her to Sweden to get a sex change than it would have cost to pay the higher insurance rates for that of a teenage boy. So, why are boy vs girl insurance rates so different? Of course, insurance rates are based on gender, age and location. Teenage boys fall into a high-risk profile automatically and are usually stuck with higher rates than girls. So, why is car insurance more expensive for young males? Well, a higher percentage of males under 25 are arrested for DUIs than girls that age. Males this age also have more accidents, engage in reckless driving and don’t wear their seatbelts. This really surprised me, though. I thought it was typically drivers my parents’ generation that do not wear seatbelts. My Mother says that the seatbelt is uncomfortable and will wrinkle her outfit. Not that going through the windshield won’t put a wrinkle in someone’s outfit…and their head…etc. But I have been asking boys in my Defensive Driving classes if they wear a seatbelt. And a lot of them admit they don’t. They say it’s just not cool. Really?
Another reason for the rate difference is that male teenagers tend to be full of testosterone and can be more aggressive and take more risks and drive with less caution. So, how can you keep your son’s insurance rates affordable? Well, driving an older model car until he’s 25 may help. And a higher grade point average helps as well. So, stay in school kids! One day, your insurance rates will be low.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Boy vs Girl Insurance Rates – Comedy Defensive Driving