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The Dangers of Icy Driving – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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It has been a pleasant winter here in the south. But those days are long gone and now we are facing the dangers of icy driving. Since I started driving, the information taught about what to do if you begin to skid out of control has changed. Probably due to front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, all wheel drive and anti-lock brakes. So now, do you steer into the skid, away from the skid, or should you just steer in the direction that you want to be going? My Uncle just skidded out of control and now he’s in rehab. Not hospital rehab, but alcohol rehab. The crazy thing is, my Uncle taught me how to drive. I was taught by a drunk driver. He taught me how to weave and drift across three lanes. And I’m really good at it. It’s in my genes, I suppose.
Now, with freezing rain and bad road conditions, here’s some great information about what to do if your car is caught in a skid. Even if the roads just look snowy, there may be ice under the snow. Or maybe even black ice.

  • Don’t jam on the brakes. Our first reaction, in a panic, may be to try to stop the car by hitting the brakes.
  • And don’t jerk the wheel. This would make a bad situation even worse.
  • Skip happy hour after work. Everyone else out there is going to be driving like they’re drunk. Don’t add to the mix.

So, here’s what to do if your vehicle begins to skid out of control:
Get off the brake, get off the accelerator, straighten the wheel and ride the skid out. It goes against what your instincts would tell you to do. But you’ll get better control of the vehicle and be able to steer around objects, rather than crashing into them. Always think ahead and anticipate the worst because it could happen to YOU.
Also, remember to drive with your eyes, not with your seat. In other words, don’t wait until you “feel” the car sliding underneath you. “Look” for what’s happening in front of you and around your vehicle for other cars and objects that may come into your path.
The best thing you can do to keep safe if you are uncomfortable driving in bad weather conditions is to just stay put until the city can get the roads winterized. If that’s not possible, remember to leave early and drive slower than the suggested speed limit. There will likely other cars speeding past you, honking at you and giving you the finger (that’s what the sunroof is for…and if you can drive with your knees, you can flip people off with both hands). Just let it go. You’ll likely see them in a ditch, further up. So, you win. Then you can wave at them with one, or all five fingers when you pass them.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
The Dangers of Icy Driving – Comedy Defensive Driving

At Night Stay Right – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Don’t you often wonder how on Earth someone could enter a freeway or toll ramp on the wrong side and wind up, barreling along, going the wrong way? When I see one of these wrong way drivers on the news, the first thought that enters my head is they must be drunk when driving on the wrong side of the road. Or perhaps they’re English. Maybe they are both drunk and English. Even with signs posted “Wrong Way” and “Do Not Enter” and speed bumps on the road to warn them. How can they not see the signs or feel the thud as they cross over those big steel bumps? Several states are now using new road signs, lighting and technology to prevent wrong way drivers. In addition, they are trying to get drivers in the habit of driving in the far right lane at night, because drivers entering the wrong way tend to drive in their right side lane, thinking that they are on the correct side of the median. So, remember, at night, stay right. It may save your life as well as the life of that whacky wrong way driver.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSA) suggests changes to ramps, including sensors that detect wrong way drivers and adding new signs or even lowering “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs. If lowered, the signs will be more visible in their headlights at night. California has used lower signs since the 1970’s. Arizona, Virginia, Ohio and Florida have since lowered their signs. Some states resist lowering signs because they could cause injuries if the wrong way driver crashes into them. Also, snow can pile up and cover them. But, what’s worse? The wrong way driver crashing into the sign, or having them enter the wrong way and crashing into other drivers?
So, remember, at night, stay right. Not a bad habit to get into so you don’t become a statistic in next week’s news.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
At Night Stay Right – Comedy Defensive Driving

Fatigued Driving – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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When you hear the word “fatigue,” lack of sleep comes to mind. But, with cold and flu season, it’s good to remember that most cold medications contain ingredients that will not only knock your cold out, but will likely knock you out as well. Basically, any cold medication that comes with its own shot glass is a pretty good indication that you’re in for one heck of a ride. And it’s hard to justify missing work unless you’re on your death bed, right? So, there you go, driving to work while hopped up on cold medicine. Or, what the law likes to refer to as fatigued driving. You know, it is just as dangerous to be driving while fatigued as it is to be driving drunk. Most states have laws intended to curb this problem. Driving while drowsy may be punishable by a class A misdemeanor. And negligent vehicular homicide caused by driving while ability impaired by fatigue is punishable by a class E felony.
The National Transportation Safety Board reported that drowsy driving was likely the cause of more than half of crashes leading to a truck driver’s death. And, for each truck driver fatality, another three to four people are killed. And, not only taking medicine before driving, but how about if you’re not taking your medicine? Blood pressure medications, seizure medications and diabetics medications are just a few to be certain to maintain so you don’t have an episode while driving.
Just remember to read the crimp in the box and label on your medicine bottle (prescription and over the counter). They typically list indications of reactions to the medicine. And those indications contain phrases such as don’t operate machinery, don’t drive a car, may cause drowsiness, don’t mix with alcohol and don’t get anywhere near a 24 hour wedding chapel.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Fatigued Driving – Comedy Defensive Driving

How Age Affects Auto Insurance Rates – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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This is yet another shameless way to promote Defensive Driving. This much I will admit. Not only will you learn about new traffic laws, and a good refresher course on evasive driving, but most insurance companies still offer a three year insurance discount for attending one. We are all well aware that new, inexperienced drivers pay higher auto insurance rates. Those rates typically go down at age 25, with a clean driving record. But once you hit the ripe age of 70, your insurance rates will likely go right back up. I, for one, wanted a better understanding of how age affects auto insurance rates. So I did a little research on the subject.
Since the invention of the automobile and automobile insurance, young male drivers’ insurance rates have always been higher than young women. Boys tend to drive faster and take bigger risks. I suppose that is why. I asked two young men, between 17 and 19 years of age, what they pay for their monthly premium. One said $460 and the other said $416. And, remember, that’s what they pay each month! I thought, thank God I have a daughter and not a son. If I had a son, it would be cheaper to send him to Sweden to get a sex change than it would to put him on my insurance policy.
I have also recently discovered that young men seldom wear seat belts. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just not that cool. But, when asked, they tend to admit that it’s just too darned uncomfortable. My Mother says the same thing. But, I’m not surprised that her generation resists wearing a seat belt, since wearing one was only an option, and not a law until 1986. Actually, my Mother’s exact words are “It’s uncomfortable and will wrinkle her outfit.” Not like going through the windshield won’t put a wrinkle in your outfit, and your head, etc.
So, we know why young drivers pay higher rates. What about insurance rates increasing for elderly drivers? Apparently, age leads to impaired vision, poorer cognitive functioning, changes in physical functioning and typically high use of prescription medications help boost up the rates for these folks.
Of course, what kind of car you drive, where you live and how much you drive factor in to your final rate. So, moral to the story, if you’re between 25 and 70, you should be spending those years celebrating your lower insurance rates. These are your glory years!
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
How Age Affects Auto Insurance Rates – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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