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Holiday Parties and Drunk Driving…Scarry!

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Today is Halloween. And, with all of those little goblins and witches out there, not to mention the ones in the Amy Winehouse Rehab costumes, we want to be on our best behavior when driving through neighborhoods.
It’s bad enough when you’re not paying attention in an area swarming with pedestrians.  But drinking on top of it could be really bad news.
And, even if you are super careful and don’t flatten a kid, you could still get a trick (dwi) and a treat (being put in a cell with a girly-looking guy named Bubba). Your first offense for driving while intoxicated, at least here in Texas, is a $2,000 fine (by the way, that’s approximately 1550 Snickers bars) and possibly up to 180 days in jail (with your new girlfriend, Bubba, who happens to love Snickers bars). Plus you’ll have one great costume to wear (perhaps in a shocking pumpkin orange or in a nice chain-gang black and white stripe). You’ll definitely have to spend at least 3 days in jail (just enough time for them to tailor your costume to fit). You could lose your drivers license for up to a year (and get it back just in time for Halloween, 2012). I think there’s a special costume for losers who don’t have a driver license…it’s called the forever single costume. And, just to seal the deal, you’ll have to pay a $1,000 annual surcharge for the next three years. You only think it’s over. But they keep reminding you of the terrible mistake you made by sending you a bill monthly or quarterly until you can no longer afford gas or booze (great tactic). And providing alcohol to minors is a whopping $4,000. So don’t even think about it. As they always say to me at Neiman-Marcus… “You can’t afford it.” helps people assess their drinking patterns to see if alcohol is likely to be harming their health. And, no, they don’t share your information with Johnny Law and set you up. Your information is private. They do give you the option to share the website with someone you know who might benefit from the site, though. Do this, and you may just get your butt kicked by your drunken friend.  But it’s a cool website. Check it out just for fun.

Until next week…stay safe.

Daun Thompson

Changing the world of Defensive Driving: It starts with you!

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‘Tis the season to be jolly but you wouldn’t know that driving on the freeways of any major city in the U.S. It seems like some of us lose our humanity once we turn the ignition to our car. We some how forget about the holiday season mantra, “let there be peace on earth and good will toward men”….and that should also include soccer moms and Republicans… Or Democrats. And that peace on earth concept should extend to the freeways as well.

Did you see the videos that were shot on Black Friday when the doors opened at various retail stores? People were being trampled all because of some holiday sales! It looked like the opening of a The Who concert! (OK, bad comparison) That attitude of “Me first, it’s all about me, I’ll beat you to death for that blue ray disc player” is the same kind of thinking we tend to have behind the wheel. People fighting over a parking space, people shooting other drivers over a finger and lame brains who attach “balls” to the hitch of their trucks! And we are supposed to be the most intelligent animals on earth?!?!

I would like to believe that most people are good and decent at their core, like I said, “most” people, unlike Philadelphia Eagle fans. I would also like to believe that most people when separated from the masses would be willing to lend a helping hand when they see others in need or when they see someone wanting to change lanes they would let them over.

You know what else I’ve come to realize? If I want my world of driving and my world as a whole to be peaceful, it has to start with me. I also came to realize that just because I have tinted windows people can still see me if I pick my nose at the intersection. One of my favorite quotes is from the famous author, Leo Tolstoy: Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Have a safe and happy holiday season! Until next week…

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

Slow down, Rookie! There’s stll defensive driving

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OK this is more of a confession than a blog. Today I was a very bad driver. I need to be spanked…alright, enough of my weird fetishes. I was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic on the freeway like a running back dodging the Dallas Cowboys defense (which would be pretty easy to do.) I was in a hurry to teach a defensive driving class. I know, “isn’t it ironic?” I was running late and my natural reaction was to speed, right? Isn’t that what you do when you are running late? Now I’m not trying to rationalize what I did but at least I wasn’t talking on the cell phone and I used my blinkers when I was cutting people off.

Speeding is a major cause of motor vehicle collisions in the United States, I’m sure you already knew that. But, did you know that most crashes occur as a direct result of people driving too slow? Yes, you slow, Sunday drivers need to get the hell out of the way! I’m not suggesting you speed up to 90mph! You speed demons need to slow down to a reasonable speed, like the speed limit or maybe 5 over, only highly trained drivers like race car drivers and defensive driving instructors can handle the situation with precision driving techniques and acute awareness to the decision making skills needed to pull this off! It’s not the speed that is dangerous, it’s the things that get in your way that causes the danger, like other cars, animals, pedestrians and trees that seems to jump onto the road out of nowhere! Drivers who drive too slow on a highway entrance ramp or driving too slow in the left lane are the cause of major traffic jams due to crashes, which in turn cost you in fuel economy, when you are sitting idle in gridlock.

Last year in the U.S. 33,808 people were killed in crashes and over 2.2 million people injured. Hey, slow down a little bit, don’t be in such a hurry, it’s better to be late than to be dead, right?! Now I need to take my own advice and be a better driver by slowing down and not eating Burger King while driving. Join me again next week and until then…

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

Dude, where’s my car!!??

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You walk out to the parking lot and you look for your car. “Where did I park?” You look around with annoyance, then panic starts to set in, “…could it be possible that my car was stolen, no way!!” You stand there in dis-belief, looking around in the hopes that you will see someone driving up with your car to give it back. Why would someone steal your car!!??? I mean, come on, you had your lap top and CDs on the passenger’s seat and your window was cracked, not enough to where someone could reach in unless they were a midget…that’s it, maybe a midget stole my car!!! Little bastard!

But if you re-trace your steps, there is probably something you could have done to lessen the chances of your car being “jacked.” First, never leave your car running unattended, that’s just asking for it! You think you’re just going to run in and buy a pack of smokes and you come back out and your car is already have way to the chop shop! Keep all your valuables out of plain sight. If you leave your computer, CDs, jewelry or porn lying around, you might as well just post a sign on your windshield that says, “I’m a dumbass, please help yourself to what is mine!” Always roll up your windows even if you are parked outside of your house, unless you have farted and you need to air it out. Never, ever, leave your keys in the car! You would think that would go without saying, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to steal your ride if your keys are on the front seat. Here is a list of states and cities with the highest vehicle theft but keep in mind, you don’t have to live in these places to be a victim.

#1 California
Approx. 242,693 auto thefts per year

#2 Texas
Approx. 95,429 auto thefts per year

#3 Florida
Approx. 76,437 auto thefts per year

#4 Arizona
Approx. 54,849 auto thefts per year

#5 Michigan
Approx. 50,017 auto thefts per year

#6 Washington
Approx. 45,899 auto thefts per year

#7 Georgia
Approx. 43,163 auto thefts per year

#8 Illinois
Approx. 37,641 auto thefts per year

#9 Ohio
Approx. 37,425 auto thefts per year

#10 New York
Approx. 32,134 auto thefts per year

U.S. Cities with the Highest Auto Theft Rates
**Results are calculated on a scale of thefts per 100,000 people

1. Modesto, California
2. Laredo, Texas
3. Yakima, Washington
4. San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos, California
5. Bakersfield, California
6. Stockton, California
7. Las Vegas/Paradise, Nevada
8. Albuquerque, New Mexico
9. San Francisco/Oakland/Freemont, California
10. Fresno, California
11. Visalia-Porterville, California
12. Detroit, Michigan
13. Tucson, Arizona
14. Sacramento, California
15. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
16. El Centro, California
17. El Paso, Texas
18. Vallejo, California
19. Phoenix, Arizona
20. Eugene, Oregon
21. San Bernardino, California
22. Columbus, Ohio
23. Miami, Florida
24. Los Angeles, California
25. New Orleans, Louisiana

U.S. Cities with the Lowest Auto Theft Rates
**Results are calculated on a scale of thefts per 100,000 people

1. Virginia Beach, Virginia
2. New York, New York
3. Austin, Texas
4. Arlington, Texas
5. San Antonio, Texas
6. Louisville, Kentucky
7. San Jose, California
8. Wichita, Kansas
9. Colorado Springs, Colorado
10. Jacksonville, Florida

Just a few simple methods that were mentioned can save you from being a statistic. Join me again next week and until then…

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

Traffic tickets on Monster vehicles? Probably a good idea…

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Needless “monster” vehicles, we see them all the time cluttering our freeways and taking-up two parking spaces. The Hummer is a prime example, this vehicle was used in the Persian Gulf War to take on the battle fields and help transport troops to destroy the enemy and somehow “The Gods of Pop Culture” also decided it would be great to transport kids to soccer practice and mom to Pilate’s class. Of course GM sold the modified civilian version of the Hum-Vee, I mean come on, would you really want a bunch of pus#@-yuppies feeling that empowered on the roadways?!?!

If you drive a Hummer you should be ashamed, you douche bag! What do you really need all that vehicle for anyway? Are you afraid that Neiman Marcus might go out of business and you needing some muscle to power your way through the parking lot of their “final days” sale? Or are you getting prepared for the apocalypse? The demographic that amuses me the most is the W.A.S.P. family driving the Hummer, living in a gated-community far away from minorities in the lush suburbs of American cities, now that’s a reality show!

Let’s not forget the 4×4 raised pick-up truck, this has “DUMBA…S” written all over it! I’m not talking about farm/work trucks that some people need to make a living, I’m talking about the “wife beater” who drives the pickup truck that you need a ladder to climb into. This is the kind of truck you need if you don’t like going to fast food drive-thru windows (I don’t blame you, they f#@k up your order anyway.)

And my favorite, the long-pimpmobile! A gas guzzling boat of a car with a DVD screen playing porn and blasting gangsta rap at the red light so we can all hear about a guy slapping his bitch. Have we really gotten that stupid with our vehicles? What happen to practicality? Whenever I see someone driving a Hybrid, “sensible” SUV or compact car, I think there is a person with common sense and when I see a person driving a small KIA, I think there is a person who cares about the environment or they have bad credit.

Join me again next week and until then…

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

Driving under the bridge

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Why does a driver’s insurance rate drop at the age of twenty-five?

Recently, I was driving around in Irving, Texas listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ CD called Blood Sugar Sex Magik. When that album was released, I was 22 years old. Back then my driving sucked!! My insurance rates were high because of my gender and particularly because of my age. I drove my car like I drove through life, reckless. I would rush into a bad relationship like I was going through an intersection with a red light! Back then I hung out with a group of friends, like my age, that were into Native American Spirituality and we hung around the Dallas-Irving area and no, we didn’t play Dungeons and Dragons. We lived for the moment in our self deceived eternal youth. Like bohemians on the Ship of Fools we floated down the river of Nirvana. According to the insurance companies, we were in a high-risk age category for drivers more likely to cause an accident. Young drivers are inexperienced and they take more chances behind the wheel.

Yes, the good ‘ol days of grunge rock, the internet was new, we still had cassette players in our cars and I drove like a driver’s ed. school flunky. Now I believe or at least I hope my driving is much better, just don’t ask my girlfriend. I always use my turn signals even when I cut someone off. I make an effort to tell myself not to have road rage before I start my car. I don’t speed up to keep someone from moving over, most of the time. Even when there’s a homeless person standing on the side of a freeway off-ramp, I always make eye contact to tell them “no”, instead of acting like I have to concentrate to change the radio station.

Now to answer the question, “why does a driver’s insurance rate drop at the age of 25? In your brain, the cerebral cortex (frontal lobe) located behind the forehead, deals with complex decision making. This part of your brain does not fully develop until the age of twenty-five. For most men, it does NOT develop until 50, am I right, ladies?? That’s why your 30 year old husband acts like he’s still in the 7th grade!

OK, back to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and driving in Irving, I had a spiritual awaking without the use of some organic substance. Unlike my Mantra of the past, “Live for today, F@%K tomorrow” my old school of philosophy has changed to “Slow down, you’re driving too fast!”, “Take it easy” and “Turn down that music, it’s too loud!” As I’m getting older, I’m gaining more experience and with that, come the wisdom. Just like a classic or antique automobile, you increase in value and prestige and along the way you pick up little pieces of dignity and unbridled pride.

Keep sending in your comments and e-mails. Join me again next week and until then…

Take care and be safe-
Danny Keaton