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No Refusal Weekend – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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It’s great for all of us that July 4th is on Saturday this year, but not so good for the police. Most states have a No Refusal Weekend policy. This policy will be in effect through July 7th, where law allows police officers to take blood samples from suspected drunk drivers. Police will focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations (i.e. parks, lakes and my family reunion). Individuals arrested for DWI who refuse to take a breath or blood test face having their blood drawn once officers seek a search warrant from a judge.
I always go to my home town in Illinois for the 4th. Rumors are, small towns are said to be where you’ll find most of the meth labs. This is likely true in my home town. One year, the Mayor had given some guy money to drive to Indiana to buy fireworks for the city’s 4th of July celebration. He took the money and never returned. And, as far as drinking goes, if you’ve ever been to Illinois, it’s just nothing but cornfields and liquor stores (and liquor made out of corn).
In Texas alone, more than 1,000 people were killed by drunk drivers last year. Most of those crashes occurred during a holiday. But July 4th is said to be the worst holiday for drunk driving since people are likely to have been drinking all day or maybe even for several days, rather than say, New Years Eve where someone may just be drinking close to midnight. So, this 4th of July weekend, not only can the driver be arrested, but the passengers as well. And don’t forget about the open container fine which starts at a whopping $500 (that’d buy a lot of Jack Daniels). And having children in the car when you get a DWI is an automatic felony, which is jail time. The police will take you to the pokey and Child Protective Services will take your kids away as well. Yes, it’s true that CPS will babysit…for FREE…for YEARS!
So, for your sake and the sake of everyone else, don’t risk getting a DWI conviction! Play it safe by remembering a few simple tips.
Just Don’t drink and drive.
• Plan ahead and designate a driver.
• Contact SoberRides.org
• Call a cab or a sober friend.
• Spend the night where you are, if possible.
Police are urging everyone to be safe during the July 4th holiday. And, if you plan to drink, please plan ahead by arranging to have a designated driver bring you and your family home or arrange for a taxi to pick you up.
Until next week…Have a safe and fun holiday!
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
No Refusal Weekend – Comedy Defensive Driving School

Merging – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Is it true that Texans don’t know how to merge? I constantly hear that complaint from people in my defensive driving classes. Those people who have relocated here for jobs during the recession. So, the real truth revealed is that some states merging rules or laws are just the opposite of ours in Texas. So what’s the skinny on Merging – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com in the Lone Star State?
In Texas, traffic on the freeway has the right of way. Traffic entering the freeway must yield to traffic already on the freeway. And traffic exiting the freeway has the right of way. Traffic on the access road must yield to traffic exiting the freeway. Or, perhaps a better way of understanding this is, the higher speed traffic (the more dangerous speed) always has the right of way over the lower speed traffic.
Some states merging laws are just the opposite of ours in Texas. Primarily states on the east coast. Those states include Connecticut, Vermont, Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, Iowa, Oklahoma and many more. So, it is understandable why people relocating to Texas from any of those states, feel that Texans don’t know how to merge.
Another problem in Texas is our dangerously short ramps. Although traffic entering the ramp must yield to traffic already on the freeway, people are speeding in the slow lane (yet another problem). So, those cars entering the freeway begin to speed up before entering the ramp, and don’t yield to the short exit ramp that may be dangerously close to the entrance ramp. So, while all of our freeways in Texas are under construction to widen them, at the same time, they are lengthening the ramps where they can, which is a brilliant solution. Another issue with short exit ramps is traffic exiting the freeway at freeway speed, rather than exit ramp speed. This has become a hazard to those cars on the access roads that refuse to yield the right of way to exiting traffic. So, with newer, longer exit ramps it will be much safer for exiting traffic as well.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Merging – Comedy Defensive Driving

Intersections – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Intersections are tricky. And now, with camera lights in some of those intersections, they’re even trickier. It’s good to know a little more about the workings of an intersection so that you can avoid a crash and perhaps avoid traffic violations as well. What you may not know about intersections may hurt you. So here’s a little refresher course on intersectionality (not really…it’s about intersections…I just like to use new geek words).
In any freshly painted intersection there will be a solid white line painted on the pavement by the city to separate each lane of traffic. This line will begin exactly 100 feet before the crosswalk line. Their purpose for being there is because it is against the law to change lanes 100 feet before the crosswalk of an intersection. It is also against the law to change lanes within the intersection, and up to 100 feet after the intersection ends. There is enough going on in that intersection that you should be doing nothing other than simply passing through it. Especially now with camera lights, people who have gotten those bills in the mail are likely wary of getting another, so they goose it to get through the yellow/red light. Causing even higher impact crashes. Or people stop at a yellow light. So you really have to pay attention when approaching an intersection.
Have you ever really needed to take a right turn on red (in Texas this is legal) and there is a car in front of you, not turning but blocking your lane? They’re just sitting there like a lump and you’re dying to take a right on red? So you cut through the gas station on the corner so you don’t have to wait for the light to turn green? In Texas, that is well over a $300 moving violation. But, I hear if you come to a complete stop when cutting through, and put your car in park, then look up at the gas station sign and say “Dang! That gas is pricey!” Maybe even get out of your car and act it out, waving your arms like a lunatic, then put your car in drive, you won’t get a ticket. Or, maybe you will get one for bad acting. But, really, after all of that, you maybe would have been better off to just wait behind the lump until the light turned green. And furthermore, the reason that person is not taking a right on red is likely because they have business to take care of on the opposite corner of that intersection. Maybe there’s a bank or a gas station they are going to. Even if it were legal for them to change lanes within the intersection, no one would let them over in that short distance. So cut them some slack. But, if they don’t turn into the bank or gas station on the other side of that intersection and they continue on past it, you can follow them and beat them up (nah…just kidding…that’s my own law).
When the light turns green, always look both ways to make sure someone isn’t running the red light. If there is a vehicle blocking your view, let them go first. They won’t go if they can see that someone is running the light. And, if you have a tall truck in front of you, hang back while they ease through the intersection. They have to shift gears and move slowly. If you are directly behind them, you can’t see when the overhead hanging light turns yellow and then red. And then there you are, running a red light.
Always use caution in intersections. They are said to be the most dangerous crash zones.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Intersections – Comedy Defensive Driving

Run Flat Tires – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Run flat tires will get you about 50 more miles on a low or flat tire. And, for some cars with hi-tech engineering, they are safer than regular tires. But are they really worth the extra money? A decent set of 4 will set you back around 1k or more. One advantage is, you don’t need a spare tire nor the tools to change that tire. So, you save that room and extra weight that will end up costing you more in petrol. But, although with regular tires, even though you can’t just comb the tread over the bald spots, the money you save in petrol can’t really be that much. Plus, just the extra weight of the run flat tires likely counter-balance any potential fuel savings. So, not many people are buying them. And usually, the rare occasion that you see them is on certain model cars (such as BMW) who claim that they work well with their engineering design. So, yes, you may find them standard on your next BMW.

There are two types of run flat tires, Self Supporting and Auxiliary Supported. Both types require that your car be equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system. The Self Supporting tires are made of a stiffer, tougher rubber that can carry the weight of the car if the tire pressure is low. The Auxiliary ones are made of regular standard tire rubber and has an inner steel rim like a reinforced sidewall to help support the car’s weight.

Another disadvantage is that it is a rougher riding tire. And, they’re hard to get repaired. Some have a “tire mousse” material that instantly seals any small holes. It’s pricey and most regular tire repair shops don’t carry it. So, the tire will likely have to be replaced rather than repaired. Or, if you still have some of that mousse left over from the 80’s, that’d likely be thick enough to plug any hole.

But the safety of being able to drive an extra 50 miles with what would have been a normal blow out and finding yourself stranded on a dark, deserted road sounds like a big plus to me. I’ve used roadside assistance before and it took them 5 hours to arrive. In girl years, that’s a long time. It was dark outside and every serial killer came out of the woodwork to help me change my tire. I’m just kidding, they didn’t. Because I’m sure they’re all very busy….killing and such. That, alone, has to be a full time job.

Until next week….

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Run Flat Tires – Comedy Defensive Driving

Texting in Texas – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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How very disheartening it is that there will not be a texting and driving ban this legislative session in Texas. A bill that would have outlawed texting and driving statewide never even made it for a vote in the Texas Senate. The bill actually passed in the House but did not have enough votes (it was only short one vote) in the Senate. This bill would have banned texting and driving statewide. Now we have another two years to wait before another bill can be introduced. So, here we are, still texting in Texas.
Very sad, indeed, for those Texans who have lost loved ones due to distracted drivers. I have been following the progress of this bill like a hawk. And with so many testimonies and pleadings in Austin to push this law through, I had very high hopes that this would be the year.
On a positive note, many cities in Texas have created their own city ordinances regarding cell phone use while driving. While some cities only ban texting while driving, Austin and San Antonio are cities with a hands free city ordinance. Most of our larger cities do have an ordinance banning texting while driving, with exception of Dallas and Fort Worth.
Perhaps now that we will definitely have no state law regarding this issue, at least for the next two years, cities in Texas that do not already have a city ordinance banning cell phone use, will see how important it is and will implement one.
And, in the words of Forest Gump, “That’s about all I have to say about that.”
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
Texting in Texas – Comedy Defensive Driving

Car Myths Busted – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Is it just a myth that having a heavy key chain, loaded with keys is bad for your ignition? Apparently it does. The weight, combined with bouncing while you drive can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and eventually lead to ignition switch failure. So, here is just one of the car myths busted. And, all this time, I thought my dad took the bottle opener off of my key ring because he didn’t want me to drink and drive. No key weight, other than the ignition key, will add years to your ignition switch. If your ignition key sticks when you try to turn the key, it’s probably a warning sign that your ignition switch is about to go out. So you should have it replaced before you get stranded. With my luck, this would happen at night when I’m alone. And every serial killer would come out of the woodwork to help this stranded damsel in distress, no doubt.

I’ve always heard that allowing your car to idle is not only bad for the environment, but also bad for the car. Again, this is apparently true. When you leave your car idling, the oil pressure from doing this may not be sending oil to every part of your engine. The problem is, while idling, your car’s engine is not operating at its peak temperature, resulting in incomplete fuel combustion, soot deposits on cylinder walls, oil contamination, and ultimately damaged components.

Fuel myths are also about to be busted here. If you see a gasoline tanker at the gas station you are planning to fill up at, keep on driving. As the tanks underground are being filled, the turbulence can stir up sediment. Sediment in your gas can clog fuel filters as well as your fuel injectors. This will cause poor performance and likely costly repairs. Also, it’s always good to find a gas station that you trust and stick to it. If you find any problems with your fuel filter or fuel injectors, at least you can pinpoint it to the station you always use. Some stations don’t have pump filters, making you more vulnerable to purchasing dirty gasoline. Other stations may not mix fuel and alcohol properly. Or worse, they may water down their product. So, using a well known, reputable service station is always your best bet.

Although a small chip in a windshield doesn’t seem like a big deal, it can become a larger crack, resulting in costly windshield replacement. Having the chip filled in with resin at a reputable windshield repair shop will cost very little out of pocket and save you much in the end. Commercials claim that filling the chip with resin will make the chip “disappear.” But it doesn’t, it’s just a hole with resin in it. But, at least when you’re going over bumps, it will keep it from cracking or cracking out further. Anyone ever say that to YOU? “Don’t CRACK OUT!” Or, “Don’t CRACK OUT FURTHER!”

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Car Myths Busted – Comedy Defensive Driving

Turn Around Don’t Drown – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Rain, rain, go away. Please come back another day. It’s been raining nearly every darned day this week. My lawn certainly loves it. I’ve been mowing my lawn twice a week. It’s a great work out. Don’t get me wrong. Who needs the gym? I was thinking about using the firewood pile that’s floated over from my neighbor’s house to build an Arc. My dogs don’t want to go outside. But when they do, and they come in all wet, it’s like the rain has turned up their governor and they run around the house like raving lunatics. But it’s been kinda crazy out there. I switched on the news and people have been driving into deep water, losing their cars to a watery grave and some people have even drown. Has everyone forgotten the most important thing that they warn us about, year after year, when it’s raining like this, turn around don’t drown.
With constant rain, water depths are very deceptive. You remember that word “deception” from your divorce therapist, right? We all know that you should never attempt to drive through flood waters or on flooded roads. And, if your vehicle stalls out, just leave it and seek higher ground. You may also remember the seeking higher ground information from your last divorce therapy session. Water only two feet deep can carry your car away. And, if you abandon your car and seek higher ground, remember that six inches of fast moving water can knock you off your feet. Exactly like that divorce settlement did.
So, when you see water on the roadway, don’t attempt to drive through it. Either pull off to the side of the road and catch up on your texting while you watch to see if other cars are coming out okay on the other side. Try to live through this rainy season so next year you can re-live those experiences.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Turn Around Don’t Drown – Comedy Defensive Driving

School Bus Safety – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Nearly every day, I see reports on the news about vehicles passing a stopped school bus and children nearly injured or killed. Some are not so lucky. I also hear stories of those close calls from students in my defensive driving classes. It is always a hot topic. But when I ask them if they are crystal clear about what to do when a school bus is stopped with its red lights flashing and stop sign is out, some admit that they are not certain. So, I am going to tell you what to know about school bus safety and child safety.
The fine for passing a school is a hefty one. They have raised the price, hoping it will modify a driver’s behavior. Isn’t it sad to think that the price may motivate them not to do it, as if possibly hitting a child wouldn’t stop someone from passing a stopped bus that is loading or unloading children.
So, where has the system failed? Why isn’t everyone crystal clear about this? Surely, driver educators are teaching new drivers about this. It can’t be true that every student is just not paying attention in class. Or that they just don’t remember learning about it. That is disturbing not only to me, but to other parents of small children riding those buses. If those student drivers were given the cold, hard facts about the consequences (both financial and emotional), would that help them to be crystal clear?
The parents would be the ones responsible for paying their children’s fines, since those fines are not an amount that a child could pay. And, when the child’s insurance rates go up for a traffic violation, the parent’s rates increase. Why is raising the fine, rather than emphasizing the importance of knowing the law the measure that has been taken?
So, if you are unclear about what to do when you see a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing and stop sign is out, you may want to check with your state’s law. But here is the Texas law.
If the school bus is in your path of travel and preparing to stop, initially, the yellow warning lights will begin to flash. This would be the time to slow down behind the bus and prepare to stop behind the bus (at least 10 feet behind the bus). The lights will begin flashing red and the stop arm will come out. All lanes should stop. Not only the lane that the bus is in. That lane would have no choice, other than to stop, unless you’re Evil Kenevil and have a ramp in your trunk. Other lanes also must stop behind the bus, parallel with the car behind the bus. When the bus is finished loading or unloading children, the bus driver will shut off the flashing red lights and close the door on the bus. The stop arm will retract, but don’t start moving until the buses wheels start rolling. The bus driver will not move until he/she knows there are no children around the bus.
If you are on the opposite side of the road from where the bus is stopped, going the opposite direction, and there is a proper median separating each side, without a split or divide in the median, you do not have to stop for the bus. But, if there is a divided median, or only a painted line for separating opposing lanes, you must stop on your side. Again, every lane must stop.
Then, again, you should check with your state’s law if you are not perfectly clear. It will save you and save others in the end.
Until next week…
Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist
What To Know About School Buses – Comedy Defensive Driving

Texting in Texas – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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It’s been a long time coming, prohibiting texting in Texas while driving a vehicle. Texas is one of the only states in the nation that has no state law regarding cell phone use when driving. Most states ban cell phone use, altogether, while driving. Of course, Texas does have a state law prohibiting cell phone use in active school zones where children are present. That, too, in the past, was only city ordinances. And now, for several years, has been a state law.

There is just one month left in the 84th Texas legislative session. For the third time, the texting and driving ban is in front of the Texas legislature. The house has already passed its bill and now it has been sent over to the senate state affairs committee. This new bill differs from the first one introduced. Initially, the bill said you cannot write, read or send a text message, even if you were stopped. The new version says that you can text wherever as long as you are stopped.

Well, at least it’s a start. At least we’re going to begin to evolve. Just looking at the number of senseless accidents and deaths due to cell phone use in Texas alone is staggering. So, still being able to text while sitting at a red light will only likely cause more road rage. As it is, the person behind you is already so impatient that they don’t even give you time to take your foot off the brake and put it on the gas pedal when the light turns green. They’re already honking at you, “What are you waiting for, lady, another shade of GREEN?” I hear in New York City, they honk at you when the cross-traffic light turns yellow. At least we’re not that impatient.

But, no one wants to miss their opportunity to get through the green light in an intersection when they are already running late for work. Now, with construction zones and lane closures, ramp closures, etc. So this will surely cause even more road rage than ever before. Austin and San Antonio, Texas, have both passed city ordinances banning cell phone use while driving, altogether. These cities are entirely hands free. And Austin’s city ordinance also includes bicyclists. So now the question is, “Who the heck is texting while riding a bike?” Now, that’s coordination! Maybe Lance Armstrong can do that. He’s about the only bicyclist that could keep up with the flow of traffic, anyway.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Texting in Texas – Comedy Defensive Driving

Car Cameras – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Apparently everything that happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. So, what about everything that happens in and around your car? Car Cameras – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com or dash cams are a great way of providing evidence in case of an accident or insurance dispute. They are excellent for a hit and run and been used in Russia for years. Russia is famous for YouTube videos recorded with dash cams since nearly every driver in Russia has a dash-mounted video camera in their car. Aren’t you curious why? Well, I’m gonna tell you! Apparently, Russia reported a total of 35,972 road deaths in 2007 alone. Since Russians are apparently accident prone, along with their corrupt law enforcement and a faulty legal system, some say this is the best and least expensive form of legal protection.

Here in the states, you can purchase a dash-cam for as little as $70 and as much as thousands of dollars, depending on the features you require. Some have a number of functions, such as dual lens security cameras that face inside and outside of the car, as well as in-car video systems with night vision recording (just like Ghost Hunters, everything will be in a lovely glowing green). Some offer accident sensors that will turn the camera on in an impact or with a glass breaking sensor and built in GPS software to log the time of the incident (I would say “alleged” incident, but camera proof would confirm any wrong doing). The pricey ones even record at all angles, inside and outside of the car so you can film your own Paparazzi. “Take that you pesky Paparazzi.” (My sister called me when Princess Di was killed and told me she just didn’t understand why that big Italian opera singer would want to kill Princess Di. Ugh! I wish I was kidding.)

It would be terribly convenient to have a dash cam to catch someone breaking into your car. Or to make sure your teen driver or employee is doing the right thing behind the wheel. If they knew they were on camera, it may just spark a sense of accountability. Perhaps a dash cam would come in handy to prove a spouse’s affairs and indiscretions in court. Yikes! That’s it! I’m totally getting one!

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Dash Cam – Comedy Defensive Driving