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Carjacking – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Carjacking is one of the fastest growing national crimes. Cars are currently more difficult to steal since many newer vehicles are now equipped with sophisticated anti-theft devices. So, apparently car thieves have turned to carjacking.
Here are ten precautions devised by the Texas Department of Public Safety that you can take to prevent being carjacked:
• Always check your rear view and side mirrors before exiting the car.
• When parking, choose a secured and well-lit parking lot or garage near heavy traffic.
• If possible, park at ground level to avoid the use of stairs and elevators.
• When returning home after dark, have someone turn on the outside light and meet you at the door.
• If pulling into the garage and you have the convenience of an electric garage door opener, keep your car doors locked until the door goes down.
• Always be cautious of surrounding obstructions and natural barriers where someone can hide.
• Never sit in your parked or stopped car while eating, sleeping, reading or applying makeup.
• Do not park next to suspicious vans, trucks or dumpsters.
• If approached by a stranger while in your car, drive off if possible or lean on your horn to attract attention.
• Do not open your vehicle door or window for any stranger.
Carjackers also may stage a minor accident, so if your car is bumped from behind and you don’t feel comfortable with the individual, drive to the nearest hospital, police or fire station for help. Or, better yet, call the police.
We purchased my daughter a new car before she graduated from high school so she would have not only the latest safety features (car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths), but a new car is also less likely to break down. I also purchased her a nifty little self defense key chain on Amazon for under $3.00. According to the manufacturer, the Brutus is the only public safety bulldog key chain accessory that can be attached to keys or easily stowed away. Made of impact resistant ABS plastic, this key chain accessory is so strong it will give you the power of steel wrapped in a defenseless looking dog-shaped key chain accessory. Guard yourself against unwanted advances: put your fingers through the eyes of Brutus and watch the tips of his ears transform into pointed jabbers that will keep any attacker at bay. It’s not only cute, it’s effective.
So, please be safe.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Carjacking – Comedy Defensive Driving

Signaling – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Have you ever had someone point out your bad driving habits? I thought my driving skills were unsurpassed, until a friend pointed out that I hadn’t signaled the entire time they were in my car. Can it be true? Had I become a non-signaler like everyone else? There is certainly no excuse for why I stopped signaling. After all, I don’t typically sit in rush hour traffic. Those aren’t my hours. So, maybe since I have chosen a career that does not me to drive in peak traffic hours, perhaps at times there is no one to signal to. Or, perhaps I was just trying to save the life of the bulb so it lasts the life of the car. Because we all know that the bulb will cost under $5, but the labor is where they get you. Most auto parts stores will change the bulb for free. They will also change a battery, windshield wipers and do a free diagnostic test on your vehicle. That’s good to know when funds are tight.
Since I was called out for not signaling, I have become extremely self-conscious and now find myself over-signaling. I even turn on my signal before I pull into my own darned driveway. My neighbor’s son is policeman and also parks in front of her house. It would be just my luck that he would write me a ticket right here on my own street. And now that I am a reformed non-signaler, I notice that most people don’t bother to signal at all. And those that do use their signal, leave it on for eternity.
The law is, you must turn on your signal 100 feet before changing lanes or turning. That’s going to seem like quite a distance, unless you’re traveling at a high speed. A football field is 300 feet. They used to teach new drivers to count 2-3 car lengths or a house length. But we had big old boats for cars back then. Now there are minis and smart cars. Now, I hear, they teach students to measure from one utility pole to another. But with utilities now being buried under ground, that will soon be obsolete. Two semi-truck trailers (not the cab, but the trailers alone) would measure just a few inches under, or just a few inches over 100 feet. If you are still not quite sure of how to gauge 100 feet, just buy a tape measure at the dollar store. Or you can ask the guy with the restraining order. Surely he will know.

Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
(…you can see Daun Thompson live January 29 at Café Salsera in Dallas…or go to DaunThompson.com for show dates)

Signaling – Comedy Defensive Driving

Impatient Drivers – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Have you ever sat through two red lights because the car in front of you didn’t proceed when the light turned green? Sure, you could have honked at them when the light changed. After all, everyone else does it. And you, as well as many others, are sick and tired of those impatient cranks, honking at you when the light turns green. They don’t even give you enough time to take your foot off the brake and put it on the gas pedal. It’s as if their horn is coordinated with the light. And you know their honking actually means “What are you waiting for, another shade of green, Lady?” I’ve heard that, in New York City, you start getting honked at when the cross traffic light turns yellow. Now that’s impatience at its finest! So there you are, the second car from the front, the light turns green and the person in front of you doesn’t proceed. But you refuse to honk at them. You just know that they are not paying attention. They’re probably texting or reading a message. But they’re bound to look up at any second and see that the light has turned green. Seconds click by like hours, but you still refuse to honk. You’re not going to be a jerk like the other impatient drivers. More time passes, and by now you are hoping that the person behind you will honk to get their attention. By then, the light turns yellow and your heart sinks. Now, the driver in front of you finally looks up, sees the yellow light and they floor it. Finally! So, now you can slowly move up and wait through a second red light. Yes, we have all experienced this scenario. This is likely the reason that people have become conditioned to just honking when the light turns green.
When you drive to work tomorrow, try to count how many traffic lights you cross on your commute. And, of those, how many are actually left turns where you may be waiting even longer? So, with the many different delays, even road construction, the best thing to do is to just not give in. Maintain your patience. You won’t get there any earlier and you may just live longer.If you get honked at, even when you did nothing wrong, chalk it up to someone else just having a bad day and move on.
Whatever you do on your commute, don’t get “honked” off.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Impatient Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving

Honking Your Car Horn – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Honking your car horn has an entirely different purpose than it did back in the early 1900’s when it was invented. I can see in the very near future, a car horn will be equipped with a variety of sounds that can be chosen, according to the mood of the driver. Perhaps you could choose a cow’s “moo” for someone driving too slowly. Much like a cattle drive, it could even play a gentle tune. Like Roy Roger’s 1940’s “Git along little dogies…” Or, for when someone is not paying attention when the light turns green, perhaps it can make a sound like someone clearing their throat. Don’t you think that humor is the best remedy for any tense situation? That’s why I like to use humor on dates. Like escaping out of the ladies room window on a first/last date (for me, the first date is always the last).
So, the horn was originally invented to warn others of a vehicle’s approach or presence. As in exiting an alley, where you will be crossing a sidewalk occupied by pedestrians. Or, honking to get someone’s attention when you feel that you may be in their blind spot. Because it’s always better to be safe than sorry. The horn is also to be used to call attention to some hazard. Generally, you should only honk the horn when reasonably necessary to insure safe driving. So, when is it unacceptable to use your horn? Well, according to my Dad, it is totally inappropriate for your “date” to honk when they pull into your driveway, rather than coming to the door. And, looking back, he probably didn’t come to the door because he was barefoot, which was also socially unacceptable to my dear old Dad. Or when your neighbor feels that they need to honk the horn at their kid to get a move on because they’re going to be late for school (ugh). Honking to scold or correct another driver’s mistakes is also unacceptable and could lead to a busted windshield or a keying to your car’s flawless paint finish. It is against the law to honk in some areas, such as hospital zones. To the British, the word “honking” means “to vomit.” The British are always spot-on.
Honestly, people are so impatient when the red light turns green. They don’t even give you time to take your foot off the brake and put it on the gas before they start honking at you. Like “What, are you waiting for, another shade of green?” I’ve been told that, in New York City, they start honking at you when the cross light turns yellow. Just to make sure that you’re paying attention. But texting, even when stopped at a red light in New York City is against the law. But not everyone abides by the law. I suppose that drivers have become conditioned to expect that most traffic doesn’t immediately move when the light turns green. We’ve all sat through two red lights because the person in front didn’t go when the light turned green. At least not until they looked up and realized that the light had already turned yellow. But too late for you. So you slowly pull up into the front lines, preparing yourself to sit through another red light.
So the horn is not to be used to “vent.” It is a communication device which should be used as such.
In designating a modified “Taxi of Tomorrow” in New York City, the Taxi and Limousine Commission decreed the taxi must have “a low-annoyance horn.” In addition, an interior light must flash when the button is pushed, in part to help police catch illegal honking. And there are different requirements in many countries. For instance, in some European countries, South Korea and Japan, horns are required to be at least 93 decibels. That’s more than a lawnmower engine (90 decibels) but less than a loud motorcycle (95 decibels), according to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders. And communication “disorder” it is. Perhaps the horn could even be deemed as communication “abuse.”
So lets lay off the horn, unless absolutely necessary. Cut everyone a break.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Honking Your Car Horn – Comedy Defensive Driving

Recycle and Don’t Mess With Texas – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Christmas has ended and there are trash barrels full of fun, colorful gift wrap and bows. Much of that discarded paper and plastic can be recycled. If you have a Great Aunt or Great Grandmother who has lived through the great depression, you know they will certainly recycle those ribbons and bows. We have a policy on littering here in the Lone Star State. So, recycle and Don’t Mess With Texas. Just make sure that you keep up the holiday generosity by keeping your trash in the barrel and in your car. Even the worst Christmas present doesn’t deserve the holiday toss out the window at 70mph. Calm down, take a deep breath and re-gift it next year. Just make sure you don’t give it to the person who gave it to you. No one needs a naked Barbie flung onto their windshield on the way home from a new years eve party.
Within the next few weeks, there will also be a bone dry Christmas tree (or Hanukkah bush) at the end of every driveway. Even that tree can find a happy afterlife at a recycling facility where they can turn it into compost or mulch for your spring garden. Home Depot even has a Christmas tree recycling program. Heck, maybe in the spring, one of those bags of mulch you purchase will be from your own darned tree. And, did you know that there is probably a free compost and mulch facility in your area. You have to bag it and haul it yourself. But hey, it’s free.
The Don’t Mess With Texas program was not only put into place with the sole intention of keeping our highways and roads beautiful. There are other residual effects from the act of littering. Our roads are stunning! In Texas, even the wildflowers on the side of the freeway are all scattered here for our enjoyment (I always envisioned Lady Bird Johnson in the back of a big black limousine, hi-ball in one hand, handful of wildflower seeds in the other, window rolled down just a smidge. Just enough to slip a few seeds out the car window as she’s driven up and down our Texas highways).
And the mulch they’ll use may be all that is left of Christmas past and the future of spring yet to come. Happy 2016 to you, my friends. Let us welcome a new year free of litter and mindful of the beauty of our land.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Recycle and Don’t Mess With Texas – Comedy Defensive Driving

A New Car For Christmas – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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I must say, I have to laugh every time I see one of those ridiculous commercials on t.v. for a luxury automobile, elegantly gift wrapped with a ridiculously huge bow, parked in the driveway of a ridiculously huge mansion at Christmastime. Who the heck buys someone a new car for Christmas? This must be the ultimate gift for someone who is crazy hard to buy for. You know, that person who has “everything.” Perhaps the gift tag should read:
To: Mr. Unpleasable
From: Mrs. Overindulgent

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, men are incredibly difficult to buy for. And some are actually impossible. My Father (God rest his unpleasable soul) was the worst gift recipient EVER. And, I always put an extreme amount of thought into his gift. Probably more so than anyone else’s who actually appreciated my choices. You know, like that one person in your office who often treats you like a jerk, so you bend over backwards to try to please them. Unless, of course, you’ve slept with everyone in your office, so everyone is pleased (or not). My Father would actually get mad if you got him a gift. Like the dartboard, which is now an annual Christmas “story” told at the dinner table (at his expense). Now that he’s gone, we can joke about it). That was a Christmas gift, which I toted 1,000 miles on an airplane. And he refused to mount it to his game room’s parquet walls, which he handcrafted himself, mind you. Who the heck parquets walls, anyway? The rest of my family secretly conspired to make him “hold” the dart board while we threw darts at it, just to make me feel better. Then, another thoughtful Christmas gift was a large container of fancy handmade sugar free chocolates. Those of which he ate, all in one sitting. And, he did his sitting that particular day on the porcelain throne. When asked how he liked his gift, he said “Ugh.” You’re darned right, it’s a diuretic! Of course it upset your stomach! Pace yourself, Einstein! There was just no pleasing him. One other gift that backfired was an electric nose hair trimmer, which he used to trim the hair in his ears. Because everyone knows, as a man ages, the hair on his head “moves” to his ears. But it “made his hair wiry and now his ears hurt.” But, hey! At least he actually used it.
His standard replacement for “thank you” became “what did you get me this for?” (I kid you not) Eventually, I gave up! Out of the risk of hurting feelings (mine), which, at this point, I have none.
Fair enough, though. As kids, we had already ruined his expectations for the ultimate gift, and solidified his expectations for a truly bogus gift. We were still young, but old enough to do our own Christmas shopping for family. So, as kids, he would give us money to shop for Christmas gifts (well, he didn’t really give it to us, he’d pass out and we’d take it out of his wallet). Because, as you know, kids don’t have their own money because they don’t have jobs. And, basically they’re unemployable because they’re immature and irresponsible. And they never show up for work on time. Probably because they don’t drive. Or maybe they’re just slackers. Especially infants who are too lazy to even hold up their own head. You have to prop it up. So my Dad and everyone else on the list would get some sort of toy that I wanted for myself. Like the blond plastic pony figurine that I knew he’d eventually give to me. Later, in my teen and college years, the gifts I gave him were basically still purchased with his money. Nothing had changed, except they were more thoughtful and more expensive (at his expense). In hind sight, probably the reason why he’d get mad if we purchased him a gift.
As a mother, I have every gift my daughter ever gave to me. Each one a cherished token and a memory. No matter how big or how small. The more hand-made, the better. A rock from our garden with a white cotton beard and googly eyes and a few art collaborations with her Father, the late, great Joey Waldon.
When my Father died last year, my Mother asked me if there was anything of his that I wanted to keep. And there certainly was. I wanted everything that he always forbade me to borrow. I took his socks, his razor, his tiny Levi’s with burn holes from years of arc welding and a tiny antler from the wee buck he hit on his way home from “work” (i.e. the pub) back in 1968. And I took that little blond plastic pony that he had apparently kept hidden in his sock drawer all these years, so he could cherish the choices that I made way back then.
Dad, if you had lived longer, maybe one day I would have bought you a luxury automobile, elegantly gift wrapped with a ridiculously huge bow, parked in the driveway of a ridiculously huge mansion at Christmastime. So you could say “Who the heck buys someone a new car for Christmas?”
The End.
(I think you should always say “The End” when you’re done telling a story. Like in a book or a movie. I also think you should end relationships the same way. Just so everyone is clear. The End.)

Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

A New Car For Christmas – Comedy Defensive Driving

The Courteous Driver – ComedyDefensiveDriving

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What’s the first thing you should do when you rear-end another car? Well, you put your cell phone down, of course! At least, that would be the courteous thing to do. That is, if you are the courteous driver. I think it’s ridiculous when someone is talking, wireless in public. You don’t know they’re on the phone and they’re walking toward you, talking, and looking you right in the eyes. So you ask them if they’re talking to you and they throw that annoyed look your way. In the past, whenever you’d see someone walking down the street, talking to themselves, they were surely off their meds. Now they’re just wireless…and rude.
And then, letting someone merge into your lane in traffic, now that’s another thing that gets into most people’s craw. I think if you asked, most people would admit that they would allow someone to merge into their lane, but only “if” they didn’t have to reduce their speed. If you could get up to speed to merge in, they’d let you in. Signaling doesn’t hurt, which is another thing that most drivers don’t do anymore. Is it because it’s not cool? Or perhaps they’re trying to save the life of the bulb, so it lasts the life of the car.
And, what about that 3-way or 4-way stop sign intersection? When did they stop teaching in drivers ed that the person who arrives at the intersection first, gets to go first? And, if everyone arrives at the intersection at the same time, the car to the right gets to proceed first. Everyone is in a rush. But, actually, I think that’s the only time that people are truly courteous is when they all arrive about the same time at that intersection. Because, sometimes everyone is waving each other on to proceed. “No, YOU go first.”
It’s the holidays. Slow down. Be a courteous driver. And happy holidays.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
The Courteous Driver – Comedy Defensive Driving

Four-Wheel Drive – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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It’s that time of year again when we need to be gearing up for winter weather. Last year, I left my truck locked in four wheel drive for nearly four months. And, although I felt that I was invincible, driving in the snow, I realized that I had a false sense of safety and decided that I was getting a little too cocky. Although four-wheel drive helps tremendously in giving you the added traction to move forward through snowy roads, that doesn’t mean you can come to a quick stop. Unfortunately, four-wheel and all-wheel drive will not give you the traction you need to brake.

Although four-wheel drive and/or snow tires are excellent to have, being prepared for the road conditions is key. The most dangerous day for road conditions is the day after the first snowstorm. Driver’s typically haven’t prepared and also likely have forgotten their technique from last year. Having the proper amount of tread on your tires is one major thing on your checklist. If your tread does not have at least a 6/32” (4.8mm) deep tread, you can’t just comb the tread over the bald spots. Check your antifreeze levels and battery water and connections. Make sure your defrosters work.

It’s probably not a bad idea to also carry a winter car kit. A bag of kitty litter for traction, should you get stuck in the snow. Pack a snow shovel, snow scraper, extra gloves and a blanket. You never know if you may get stuck in the elements. Even me, with my awesome four-wheel drive feature, can find myself in for the ride of my life.

Be safe this holiday season.
Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Four-Wheel Drive – Comedy Defensive Driving

Holiday Safety Tips – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Happy holidays! Or perhaps I should say happy safe holidays. I typically write blogs focusing on driving. And next week I do plan to focus on driving in inclement weather. But it’s important to stop and think about those that are less fortunate. Those that, in order to give, they feel that they must need to take. And for those unfortunate souls, desperate times bring desperate measures. So, let’s focus on the safety of getting to and from your car. Let’s focus on holiday safety tips.comedydefensivedriving.com. These are a few safety precautions that I practice and have passed on to my daughter.
Always be aware of your surroundings. It’s bad enough that it gets dark earlier now and most of us will be out doing our holiday shopping at night. But even in the daylight, you could have your purse snatched right out of the shopping cart, or right off your arm while you are still attached to it. The police step up their efforts and will increase the patrolling in shopping centers during this time of year to insure citizens are safe. Make sure you park in a well-lit place. If valet parking is offered, take advantage of it. If not, have your keys out before you head for your car, pointy side out. Look around before exiting your vehicle. Never leave your car unlocked or leave anything visible inside your car. Never leave your keys in the ignition or your car running unless you are in it. Car theft is rampant, especially during the holidays. Lock your car doors as soon as you get into your car. When pulling into your garage, close the garage door before unlocking your doors and exiting the car.
Criminals also love to prey upon impaired victims. They seem to be more carefree and easily conned. So, whatever you do, if you are planning to have a cocktail or two during the holiday festivities, find a designated driver.
Following these tips will help your holidays continue to be merry and bright.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Holiday Safety Tips – Comedy Defensive Driving