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Friendly Alternatives to Road Rage

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Are you the type of person who doesn’t like to follow the crowd? Do you walk to the beat of a different drummer? Do you dare to be different? I’ll tell you what will set you apart from the rest of us monkeys…just don’t road rage. Nearly everyone does it, so it’s one thing that most of us do have in common. A topic in conversation that nearly everyone at the dinner party can relate to. Some studies say that road rage has become something that people almost “boast” about. Road rage gets more media hype than Britney Spears. And the truth of the matter? Since when did not being able to control your temper in public become socially acceptable? If you really want to be a novelty out there…have some road manners. You’ll be in an exclusive club. Here’s some simple solutions and friendly alternatives to road rage.
Someone’s tailgating you? Following too close for your liking? Well, you don’t want to give Mister Close a brake check. That’ll really honk him off. And, even though you’re dying to, don’t lock ‘em up either…don’t slam on your brakes so he rear-ends you. “I hope he kills me…then he’s really going to feel like a jerk.” Where’s the logic in that, you passive-aggressive monkey? Here’s a swell idea. Turn on your hazard lights if they’re following too close. They’ll think you’re going to slow way down or stop completely…perhaps your car is breaking down. Hopefully they’ll just go around you.
Want to get over? Change lanes…? (that’s what the kids are calling it). If you put on your turn signal, we all know that’s a guarantee that no one will let you over. They’ll see you. But they’ll pretend they don’t. They just won’t make eye contact with you. It’s just like walking down the sidewalk in New York City. No eye contact. And you have to signal before changing lanes or you’ll get a ticket for that. So, what to do? Signal and then put your arm out the window and give a friendly wave for someone to let you in. Perhaps it’s more personable to see part of your humanness (new word? You’ll see it in Wikipedia, I bet) hanging out the window. Hell, you don’t need that arm anyway. You’ve got another one just like it. And when you hang the arm out…look right at them. Like a sad puppy with large, moist eyes. Being pathetic may not get the babes, but it’ll get you over a lane or two. I guarantee it. Still single? You bet! So, arm out the window…not out the sunroof…remember, that’s reserved for the finger. And for God’s sake. After they do let you over, don’t forget to wave thanks at them. People get all mad if you don’t acknowledge that they did you a big solid there by letting you in. And through a tinted window, they don’t know if you waved at them with one finger or all five of them…so, you just won.
And, if someone else wants to get over in your lane? Just let ‘em over. Maybe if you start being courteous and letting people over, karmatically, maybe other people will do it for you. And just let one or two people in. Not half a dozen. Don’t over-do it. Some people think they’re being good samaritans and will let half a dozen people over at one time. While the guy behind him is counting how many bullets he needs to load into the chamber of his gun. Not cool. Over-helping sometimes creates more problems.
Here’s the thing. If you want to live longer, relax. Let it go. If not, you’ll have a heart attack in your prime. Buy a Yanni CD to mellow your butt out in traffic. And, if you live in California, smoke some pot (for medicinal purposes only, of course). Chill out. If you live in Texas, get your A/C fixed. Hot and sweaty makes people edgy. And, it’s not a good look.
Bottom line? Just don’t give other people the power to change your good mood.
You can use these suggestions…or not. I don’t really care if you don’t. But don’t tell me about it or I’ll get in my car and hunt you down. Hunt you down like the dog that you are. And I’ll flip you off while you’re waiting in that 45 minute long drive-thru line at the In-N-Out Burger. And you won’t chase me because you won’t want to lose your place in line. So, there. I just won.

Have a great day …and BE NICE!

Daun Thompson
(Daun is a comedienne, writer and artist who resides in the sweltering city of Dallas, Texas)

PICK A LANE, JANE

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Lane courtesy is the practice of yielding to or moving over for faster moving traffic.Slower traffic should always keep to the right.It’s a very simple concept, people.

And, yes, there are benefits of lane courtesy… Besides that going to Heaven thing…

Blocking the left lane makes the roads less safe and less efficient for everyone. So, if you don’t block the left lane, you’re less likely to be in an accident. Traffic is able to flow more smoothly. And therefore, there is less tailgating, less aggressive weaving in and out of traffic and therefore, less road rage.Since there’s not a lot of play with the accelerator, you’ll get better gas mileage. Now, just look at all you have done for mankind by just getting over!

I like to believe that most people are typically courteous and well-mannered.But, once behind the wheel, behind tinted windows, where their identity is concealed, some people just act however the heck they want.With no regard for anyone else.For example, if you cut in front of someone on the road…oh well!If you did that in line at a fast food restaurant, you’d get your knot beaten in with the ketchup dispenser.

Here’s the basic concept of how the passing thing works:

An approaching driver in the left lane, when approaching, should turn on their left signal for a few seconds to let the slower vehicle ahead of them know that they would like them to move over so they can pass.The car in front should then turn on their right signal and merge to the right.If the slower driver ahead fails to respond to the left signal, the faster driver should briefly flash their headlights to catch their attention.Hopefully, the slower driver will get it and move over.Unfortunately, the flashing of the headlights now is considered a form of aggressive behavior and sometimes starts a road rage feud!Oh, yea, and don’t forget to wave “thanks”.Sometimes that alone causes road rage. Besides, waving just takes a second.Plus, they don’t know if you’re waving thanks with all five fingers or just one…through that tinted window…

There are a couple of websites devoted to this concept. One, slowertraffickeepright.com is dedicated to reducing traffic congestion through more efficient use of existing roads.Great concept, eh?Another is leftlanedrivers.org.Here, you can purchase some awesome front windshield decals which come in handy when approaching that slow driver in the left lane. I liked the ones with Slow Traffic and Move Over… both with an arrow pointing to their right when viewed in their rearview mirror.  I’m ordering mine as soon as I finish this blog.

So, please practice lane courtesy when you drive. Lane courtesy is also an awesome topic of conversation at cocktail parties. Let people know why you think it’s important. Educate them. And these courtesies are not limited to the left lane. Be more respectful of people at red lights. Don’t just hang out in the right lane if you don’t intend on taking a right on red, or do not have business to take care of within the right corner of that intersection. Say please and thank you and eat all of your peas…

Daun Thompson

( Daun Thompson is a comedienne, artist and writer who resides in the grand metropolis of Dallas, Texas )

SHOULD SAFETY BE “OPTIONAL” ? SAFETY THEN vs SAFETY NOW – Defensive Driving to “Live” By

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I am a Baby Boomer. A product of the 60’s. My father and mother were both from lower middle class families. Rising above, my Father’s success measured in new cars. Like that ’68 Toronado convertible with an 8-Track tape player, blasting the Ventures. This car was sharp, fast and loaded (like my cousin Amanda). One thing different about this new car…it had seat belts. But, they were cloth lap seat belts that were always conveniently tucked down into the crack of the seat. My Mom’s “arm” was our seat belt (I attribute that to my flat chest). She’s 74 now, and with all of the new safety features in cars, she can still pack a wallop! (my Dad used to call her “The Seat Belt”…now he calls her “The Airbag”…nice one Dad). In fact, since 1966 laws were put in place that required automobile manufacturers to make seat belts a standard feature in all cars produced. However, federal law did not require that drivers and passengers use seat belts or assess punitive measures for those who did not. Safety was “optional” then. Not until 1984 did New York become the first state to pass seat belt laws. And later, other states followed suit. Thanks to you, Ralph Nader. I think I voted for you once…..

Yes, we Boomers grew up at a time of social change. A time of free love, countercultural values and safety actually being an “option”. Where was the logic??Prior to seat belts, we had steel dashboards covered in a thin layer of vinyl. We would ride in the back window of a car, like a Beanie Baby. Or on the back floor board if it was cold at night with the top down (the car’s top…not mine). On the other hand, speed limits were lower and there was less traffic on the road. We had fewer distractions in the car, too. Now we have GPS, cell phones, t.v. porn…my boyfriend once followed someone through 2 states just to see the “plot”…??? …there’s no plot in porn!  People used to hitchhike everywhere. Now, rarely do I see a hitchhiker. But when I do, I think “What a large duffle bag. I wonder how many human heads you can fit in a bag that size. And, who’s going to pick this guy up??? Maybe another serial killer”. At least they’d have stuff in common to chit-chat about along the way.

Safety options today?Too many to list!To name a few, we have airbags, anti-lock brakes and sensors that won’t allow you to engage your cruise control when the roads are wet (did you know that cruise control + water = dead guy??) Laws require car seats and booster seats for kids as well. In Texas, the height requirement is under 4’ 9” tall or under the age of 8 that a kid needs to be in a booster seat. Thank God times have changed (and so have our parents). We don’t put our kids in the front seat anymore. Since the most common type of crash is frontal, the rear seat is the safest place for kids to ride. A study by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that children under 13 are up to 36% less likely to die if they are seated in the rear seat. Front airbags don’t protect children, either. Because they were designed for adults. Do the right thing. Buckle up you and the kids (and the dog). Then you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that everyone is properly restrained when you’re behind the wheel. So all of your passengers can live to a ripe old age like the rest of us Boomers (Me, George Clooney, Ricky Gervais, Madonna, Eddie Vedder, Jon Bon Jovi and Barack).

Until next week…be safe.

Daun Thompson

( Daun Thompson is a comedienne and writer, filling in for Danny Keaton while he is touring the Pacific Northwest and Great Southwest )

Why Take a Defensive Driving Course?

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Even if you consider yourself to be a cautious driver, there is no accounting for the behavior of other road users. You can greatly reduce your chance of being in an accident, however, by taking a defensive driving course, which will teach you how to drive in such a way that you are always prepared to act fast. A defensive driving course is also useful for removing points against your driving record, in some states.

Why Use an Online Defensive Driving Course?

It can be an inconvenience to have to drive to a defensive driving course, and to be bound by instructors’ teaching hours. An online defensive driving course consisting of informative and clear instructional videos can provide you with a simpler solution, and you can complete an online, video-based course during hours which suit your own schedule. Attending an online driving school that is recognized by the state might help you to have outstanding traffic tickets dismissed in court, too.