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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

http://www.DannyKeaton.com

Happy Holidays: the most dangerous time of the year

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OK, so Thanksgiving is over and Christmas/Hanukkah/Ashura/Kwanzaa is just around the corner. If a road trip is in the plans for your holiday make sure you are prepared for the round.

First of all you want to make sure you get plenty of rest before your road trip. Many spur of the moment road trips to Vegas happen after a night of partyin’and that can be fun but a trip to Gram Gram’s house in Oklahoma with no rest can suck. Besides just driving through Oklahoma is enough to put you to sleep behind the wheel.

Many truck drivers have claimed that chewing sunflower seeds are a favorite among the truckers to help keep them awake, well…that and crystal meth. Stay away from energy drinks such as Red Bulls, Monster and Cocaine (yeah there’s a drink sold at convenience stores called cocaine!) What’s next, headache relief tablets called “Blow-job?” Remember, what goes up, must come down and those caffeine crashes can be really bad and taking barbiturates to help level you out is not a solution to that problem.

Once every two hours or hundred miles, pull over somewhere and take a couple of minutes to walk around the car, get your blood circulating again. It goes without saying, be careful where you pull over. Biker Road House parking lots, “No-tell” motels and rest areas in Louisiana on I-10 are probably not a good idea to let Gram Gram wonder around. Switch out drivers and talk to your passengers, if you’re driving by yourself, talk to yourself. And I don’t care what anyone says; there is nothing wrong with answering yourself.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and I wish everyone a safe holiday and happy 2011 and be sure to check underneath that hood, make sure your belts and hoses are in tack. Don’t forget those tires and “Gram Gram’s” medical marijuana stash.

Join me again next week and until then…

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

Thanksgiving for speeding tickets

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Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are just around the corner!!!

You know the song;

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

With drunk Uncle Ned

And Cousin Ed coming out of the closet

And saying he’s queer! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!”

Yes, the holidays are here and with that comes the TURKEY, YEAH!!!! I love holiday meals that someone else took the time to cook and I get to reap the rewards! But remember boys and girls, turkey contains an essential amino acid called L-tryptophan that can cause drowsiness more than listening to Uncle Rick’s boring fishing stories. But truth be told, some nerdy scientific experts say that tryptophan would have to be ingested on an empty stomach and with no other amino acids in order to make you sleepy. It’s actually the fat contents of Grandma’s cooking, alcohol and over-eating which makes your fat ass tired.

But this isn’t a lecture on nutritional contents and dysfunctional families; this blog is to inform you on the dangers of fatigue driving in America. Did you know, according to the National Sleep Foundation, over 100,000 auto accidents are the result of fatigued driving in the U.S. every year? I don’t know what’s more surprising, that alarming fact or the fact that “sleep” has its own foundation! Some states such as Texas, New Jersey and Florida have included fatigue driving under their DUI laws. Driving safety experts say that a drowsy driver is just as dangerous as a drunk driver.

Now I can understand if you are ready to get the hell of out of your parent’s house after the holiday meal, because you are reminded of why you wanted to move out in the first place. But make sure you are mentally alert for the drive back to your home, hotel or nearest bar. Besides, after the family get-together, I’m sure you’ll have plenty to talk about on the way home with your other passengers.

I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season. Remember to have a designated driver when drinking alcohol and don’t drive under the influence of fatigue!

Join me again next week and until then…

Take Care and Be Safe-

Danny Keaton

Bumper stickers, they are everywhere!

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Bumper stickers, they are everywhere; almost every other car you see out on the road has at least one. These adhesive documents tell the outside world your political views, religious views and your stance on the abortion issue or maybe just your favorite radio station or football team.

The family mini-van has the stick figures of the whole family and if there is a guy driving that mini-van his balls are probably in a holder around the rear view mirror. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the family.

The single guy has a diver flag sticker on his Jeep to impress the chicks, even though he might not know how to swim.

One time I saw a sticker that said “Honk if you love Jesus” so I honked and the lady in the other car shot me the finger! That wasn’t supposed to happen!

And check this out, they also have “WI-FI detection” bumper stickers! You put it on your window and it lets you know when you have a Wi-Fi signal. I would think it would work better on your dash but hey, you’re trying to look cool so put it on your back window so everyone can see it.

But one thing I also noticed when noticing all these bumper stickers is that I wasn’t paying attention to the road! Bumper stickers are major distractions for drivers across the country. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, 80 % of crashes and 65% of near-crashes are caused by some form of driver distractions and yes that includes drivers trying to read bumper stickers! One of my favorites is, “If you can read this, you are too close” and next thing you know, BAM, you hit the person in front of you! If you must share a clever extract make sure it only contains a short sentence like “Obey Gravity, It’s the Law.” Anything more than one sentence can be a distraction, besides who would remember all that anyway?

If you have any comments or suggestions, please send them in. Join me again next week and until then…

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

Defensive driving: 3 ways to prevent road rage!!!!

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I was at the red light waiting to make a left turn, the light turns green and 1 second later the minivan behind me lays on their horn! WTH?! I was releasing my foot off the clutch and moving forward just as the asswipe behind me starts honking and what made matters worse, he’s in a minivan! If I had a minivan I wouldn’t want to draw attention to myself!

So in an attempt to piss off my roadway foe evening more, I did what my girlfriend calls “passive-aggressive” behavior, I stopped in the middle of the intersection and waited for the light to turn yellow. It wasn’t enough to keep him from continuing through the intersection but enough I’m sure to make him even angrier! So there…I won, or did I?

I’m going to tell you 3 simple methods that will prevent 90% of the road rage you could be involved in. The other 10 percent, well just like that ass-clown that was honking his horn, you can’t get by all of them. That’s what guns are for.

1. Always use your blinkers before you turn or change lanes. Now I understand sometimes you don’t want to waste that blinker fluid that is so expensive! (Sarcasm: there is no such thing as blinker fluid) The law in most states require you to turn on your signal at LEAST 100 feet before you turn or change lanes. And if you can guess the distance of 100 feet as you are traveling, all the more power to you!

2. Don’t tailgate! If you are a tailgater you are asking for trouble mister or madam, damn it!! Always keep a good following distance between you and the car ahead. 2 to 3 seconds in good weather.

3. Stay out of the left lane on the highway or freeway, unless you are passing another vehicle. This in itself is a major cause of road rage and it should be! Some people think, “Well I’m going the speed limit, they can go around!” NO, you self-righteous sack-of-sh#%!!! The left lane is for passing only! Even if you are already speeding, if someone wants to go faster, let them!

Making these three things part of your driving habits can reduce your chances of being in a road rage situation. As for that incident at the intersection, I wasn’t the winner. As a matter of fact, I was the asshole for letting myself descend to his level. Maybe I could have gotten out of my Jeep and punched his lights out (and hoped he didn’t have a gun) but then what would that prove? Besides the person driving that minivan was a woman.

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

Defensive driving this halloween: Trick-or-treat!

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“Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, gimmie something good to eat and I hope you don’t hit me on the street!”

All Hallows Eve is just around the corner and little kids in costumes are also just around the corner! Hitting a kid dressed as a Twilight vampire is not cool but hitting a 23 year old “Man-child” still living at home, dressed as a Dungeons and Dragons character should accumulate some points. Be careful when you are driving around the neighborhoods this Halloween. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,092 pedestrians were killed last year in the United States. Now when you break that down to the little children (Under 14) and Halloween, children are twice as likely to be killed as a pedestrian on October 31st, than any other night of the year, according to Safe Kids USA. When I was a kid trick-or-treating, I thought you always had to watch out for that creepy old guy who lived on the corner and told us we had to drop our pants if we wanted some Butterfingers but now days you have to watch out for drivers, especially the ones who have been drinking!

Be out on the look for goblins and “Thriller’ versions of Michael Jackson this year, slow down, don’t drink and drive but if you drive a van, it’s probably not a good idea to slow down too much around the kids. Between the hours of 5:30pm and 9:30pm is prime time for these little dressed up bastards, so be careful, you don’t want to run over a kid who might be on their way over to egg your house!

I hope you have a fun, safe and happy Halloween this year! Don’t drink and drive and don’t sacrifice any animals to any Pagan Gods and one more thing….I still hate Butterfingers!

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

You are going to get spanked, twice.

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“The Driver Responsibility law is governed by Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 708, which established a system to assess surcharges based on certain traffic offenses that have occurred on or after September 1, 2003. A surcharge is an administrative fee charged to a driver based on the convictions reported to the driving record. There are two criteria that determine if a surcharge will be assessed. Those two criteria are: Point System and Conviction Based surcharges.”

AKA the Point System, this is the law that allows the state of Texas to generate more revenue by charging its licensed drivers a surcharge annually for 3 years on top of the fines the driver has ALREADY paid to the courts. In other words, this is state government saying “We’re going to bend you over and stick it to you and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it!”

Let’s say you get a ticket for no insurance in the city of Arlington, Texas. The fine for that “no-no” is $416, this includes court cost and a portion going to the new Cowboys Stadium (just kidding, this is NOT true, I hope.) After you have paid the fine, the Lone Star state will also sock you a surcharge of $250 a year, for 3 years. I’m all for the state enforcing laws that require all drivers to have at least liability insurance and cracking down on drunk drivers but to be punished twice for the same “crime?” This is like when you were a kid and your big brother kicked your ass, then your parents found out you were fighting and they kicked your ass again when you got home!!  Our state government has taken advantage of us and no one is doing anything or saying about it!

LET YOUR STATE LAW MAKERS KNOW YOU WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS! Our founding fathers of this great nation enacted the Constitution in-part, to protect us from greedy government and shady politicians.

Join me again next week and until then….

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

(Comedy Defensive Driving School is not responsible for Danny Keaton’s articles.)