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Vehicle Theft Protection – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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Vehicle Theft Protection


What’s up with those Hide-Lock-Take signs? In this day and age, are people really that daft, that they would leave anything of value “visible” in their car in a parking lot? I suppose the answer is “yes.” Unfortunately, sometimes it’s the entire car that is snatched (one of my favorite films, by the way). I remember when I moved to Texas, nearly every truck had a gun rack visible for all to see, mounted in the back window. And when I lived in northern California, everyone had a wine rack mounted in the back window of their hybrid. Honestly, I don’t even leave a gum wrapper visible in my car because I’m totally into vehicle theft protection. But I highly doubt that any self-respecting thief would even want to break into my late model car. It’d be like the time I had my house broken into. They actually left a lot of really choice stuff…like my VCR and my two ton television that takes 3 people to lift. I was totally insulted.

But we should not only be concerned about having personal items taken from our vehicles. The more prevalent concern is having the entire vehicle stolen and vehicle theft protection. According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, thousands of cars are stolen in Texas alone, each year. And the number one stolen vehicle is the Ford F150. Go figure, in Texas, a pickup truck. And, almost half of those vehicles that are stolen is because someone left the keys in the ignition or even left it running. Both are a pricey fine due to vehicle theft.

Never leave your car running, unattended. Cars are often stolen at convenience stores, gas stations or when an owner leaves the vehicle running to warm it up. I used to take my dog with me wherever I would go. After all, he’s my best friend and doesn’t judge my driving skills. Sometimes I even let him sit on my lap and drive. And, he’s a much better driver, unless he’s been drinking. He gets drunk real easy too, because one beer is like seven to him. I would take him with me on quick errands, say to pick up milk at the mini-mart. I’d leave my car running with the air conditioning on. But I would lock the car. Thinking I would just be in there for a minute or two. And then, there’s always that person who writes a check and I’m in there forever because no one knows how to take a check anymore. Who the heck writes checks anyway? I didn’t realize that you could get a hefty fine for leaving your car running, unattended. Even if it’s locked. So my dog is spending more time at home these days. Ordering pay-per-view and getting pudgy.

So, don’t be an easy target. Don’t leave anything visible in the car when it’s parked. And don’t leave your keys in your car. Or you may be writing a check to your local municipality.

Until next week….

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist / Benevolent Thesbo

Vehicle Theft Protection – Comedy Defensive Driving

Sick Driving

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The holidays are here! Entire families will be getting together. My parents are preparing their 900 mile journey to my house for Thanksgiving. Now that my parents are both retired, their favorite topic of conversation is their funeral plans. So my sister and I already know what we’re in for. Last year, my Mother cornered me at the dinner table “Do you like that china? I’m leaving it to you when I’m gone.” That’s just awkward, isn’t it? I don’t know any other way to get her to stop, other than dishing it back at her. “I’m having a dinner party next weekend Mom, how are you feeling?”

While some of us prefer to fly due to time constraints…and time is money! Families like the Duggars will have no choice but to drive. And perhaps a bus…I mean with 19 kids (and counting)? Yikes! Or should I say “ouch”. Some people are down with the long distance trek. With the economy the way it is now, many people commute to work as if it’s a cross-country trip. And, on a daily basis. You may want to burn a candle for those people if you make it to holiday mass.

The holiday season get-togethers, rubbing elbows during travel and other close encounters will also spread the cheer of the cold and flu season. Be careful driving while sick. Cold medications can most certainly make you drowsy. And, in most states, you could be arrested for drowsy driving. In fact, it’s just as dangerous as drunk driving. Even over the counter cold medications such as DayQuil or NyQuil. You know, anything that actually comes with its own shotglass is a pretty good indication that it’s some potent stuff. By the way, I’ve created my own favorite holiday drink. I call it the Green Weenie. Ever heard of it? It’s NyQuil and hot dog water. By the way, mixing cold medications with your holiday cheer is even worse. Theraflu and Vodka? No! Although, some people swear that a snoot of whiskey helps to ease (or kill) the cold and flu virus. I bet they wish the guy at the liquor store would take their co-pay like the pharmacist does! Just remember to not drink and drive.

And that tissue box you have in the back window of the car may just come in handy afterall. Can’t reach it? Just slam on the brakes and hold out your hand. Voila’!  I’ll be back next week. Until then, practice responsible driving.

Daun Thompson

MOVE IT OR LOSE IT

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You see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road with its lights flashing.  Maybe it’s a police officer writing some poor slob a ticket.  Or, perhaps it’s an ambulance, a fire truck, a courtesy car or even a tow truck (in some states, the law also includes tow truck operators and highway workers).  WHAT SHOULD YOU DO??  You would be amazed at how many people wouldn’t know what to do. In fact, a national poll by Mason Dixon Pollling & Research, sponsored by the National Safety Commission states that 71% of American have not heard of the “Move Over” laws.

Forty three states have passed “Move Over” laws, which require motorists to “Move Over” and change lanes to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers on roadsides.  One would think that it would be just plain common sense to move over a lane or at least slow down when approaching a scene. But more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1997 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. I have met a few ambulance drivers who have recounted stories of co-workers they have lost to a rubber-necker who not only did not move over a lane or slow down, but drove right into the scene of the accident. Killing the E.M.T.’s trying to save someone and the person they were trying to save. It’s likely the rubber-necker was drunk (a drunker-necker). Apparently drunk drivers are attracted to flashing lights. Like blondes are attracted to shiny objects. Diamonds, should anyone ask.

“Move Over America” is the national effort to make drivers aware of the “Move Over” laws, which require motorists to “Move Over” and changes lanes to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers on roadsides.  Equally important is the action of creating attention in those states where there is no such law at present.  Their website has a U.S. map of move over laws by state.  While California and Iowa hit you with a $50 fine, other states dish up more meaty fines.  South Dakota serves up a class 2 misdemeanor, Virginia is a class 1 misdemeanor and Arkansas awards you with a $500 fine plus 90 days in jail, 7 days of community service, 90 day license suspension. Michigan, Tennessee and West Virginia are runners-up in their penalties. Generally in most states, the fine is a hefty one because you just put a law enforcement officer, emergency medical tech, fireman, courtesy patrol or tow truck drivers life in danger. Fair enough!

I notice when out there in the road rage mobile (that what I call her…every girl has a pet name for their car…that’s mine), some police officers still write tickets on the drivers side of the car, rather than going around to the passenger side where it would seem much safer.  And the shoulder is just wide enough for a car.  Not a car and a cop. You ever pull over on the highway to change drivers, get something out of the trunk, or to dump a body?? It feels like those semi trucks are going to suck you right under them. I’ve watched those t.v. shows where they show cops being hit by cars on the freeway or the car hitting the squad car, causing it to careen into the car being pulled over. Yikes! You ever watch that show COPS?  I watch it just to see if I have any family members on there. And I usually do.  So this is how the Move Over Law works. If you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road with its lights flashing, you need to move over and put an empty lane between you and them for their safety.  Or, if you can’t move over because you’re on a two lane road, or maybe there’s traffic in the next lane and you can’t move over, then you must slow down 20 miles under the posted speed limit. This does not only apply to the highway. If the speed limit is below 25mph, the driver must slow down to 5mph…i.e. school zone)

And if you don’t??  Maybe you think you got away with it because that officer’s standing outside that car writing someone else a ticket. And you think “He’s not going to drop what he’s doing and jump in his car and come after me.”  But cops use a buddy system.  One officer would make an initial stop — for traffic violations — and then another officer would be close by to nab those who didn’t follow the move-over law.  HUGE FINE!

Until next week…look out for others…they may not have 5,141 friends on Facebook, but somebody loves them.

Daun Thompson

(Daun Thompson is a comedienne, writer and artist residing in Dallas, Texas)

RESPECT YOUR ELDERS…THEN PASS THEM

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People love to poke fun at elderly drivers.From their sluggish driving speed to not being able to see over their own dashboard.And, well, both are a bit dangerous if you really think about it.

My parents are now about a decade past their prime retirement age. I was telling my sister how I had noticed that our parents, who have been married for over 50 years, are so terribly co-dependent that they even share reading glasses. Mom’s reading the paper in Dad’s big black framed Mister Magoo-looking glasses.She looks like a shop teacher in drag. My Dad’s reading a manual on spousal abuse.  He’s wearing my Mom’s pink cat-eye glasses. Yes, the ones with the rhinestones.And now, the two of them have become so out-of-control co-dependent that they’re also on the same medications to control their diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol.And not just the same meds.The exact same dosage, too.My sister was like “Duh, Mom has cooked for both of them for 50 years…canned this and fried that…it’s not that surprising.”

So, with health issues looming, when is it time to persuade someone to turn in their keys?Since I am the adult child of an elderly driver, I realize that having a drivers license and being independent is a vital part of an elderly person’s life.Once that independence is taken away, it’s a sad existence for most elderly folks.To most, it’s a sensitive subject.But one’s major concern should be the safety of their elderly parent as well as the safety of others driving around them.My Mother confided in me that lately, my Father’s driving scares the crap out of her. That’s where the incontinent diapers comes in handy (too mean?).The latest incident, they were in a rental mini van in Florida, coming back from the dog track with two other couples from their retirement community.My Dad was following someone too close (that was her main gripe) and they hit a black bear. He didn’t see it and it totally messed up that mini van. But as he said “It’s a rental…who cares.” I’m sure all three couples had to go to Walgreens to get their blood pressure checked (too mean again??).

To help with the decision making, most states have added restrictions on elderly license renewals.And, while some seniors cause more accidents than others due to deteriorating physical and mental abilities, teenage drivers, who are less experienced cause just as many, if not more accidents. Inexperienced drivers have restrictions on them when they first start driving. In Texas, the restrictions lift after 6 months.So, some argue that restrictions based solely on age are discriminatory.

Some states require that a senior cannot renew their license by mail or internet.And most states require a more frequent renewal period for seniors. Texas requires renewal every two years for drivers age 85 or older, where regular renewal for all other drivers is six years.Some states are every 3 years for seniors.Generally, the renewal process requires a written test, road test, eye test, etc.Noting how many moving violations and/or crashes in a certain period of time would also come into play. AARP and other organizations offer driver safety programs for mature drivers, so there are programs out there.  Good to know. And some insurance companies allow discounts after defensive driving courses, so it’s a good idea to take one even if you don’t have a ticket…

Too bad you can’t use that senior citizen discount for a moving violation…that’d really come in handy.

Until next week…be sweet to old people…they’ve been driving longer than you have.

Daun Thompson

( Daun Thompson is a comedienne, writer and artist residing in Dallas )

BACK TO SCHOOL KEEP IT COOL

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With schools re-opening within the next few weeks…just a friendly reminder…look out!

Between school zone laws and passing a school bus with its alternating red lights flashing, you could find yourself facing some stiff penalties once school has started.Remember when you were a kid?Summer’s coming to an end.Your Mother takes you school shopping.How exciting was that??Then, the first day of school comes.You have all of your shiny new school supplies and those new pony fur hot pants you just couldn’t live without (o.k…those were a really bad idea).And about a half hour into the first day back, you’re like “Sh*t!She tricked me again.I hate school!!”

I remember my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten.We’d skipped daycare and preschool because she had a nanny at home.So she wasn’t used to the conventional school happenings.When I picked her up that first half day, I asked her “So how was your first day of Kindergarten?”She said “I guess it was o.k.But I got in really big trouble.”“Why? What did you do?”“I don’t know, but they made me take a nap.”I also, with some coaxing on her part, admitted that I was, indeed, the tooth fairy.“Wow! You can fly???” was her unexpected response.

I told her how, when I was her age, my sisters and I would walk to school every day.She said “Why? Didn’t your parents love you??”I guess she had a good point.Now, if you allow your kids to walk anywhere without adult supervision, they may just get supervised by your friendly neighborhood predator.

So, remember, school zones are 20mph, even though in other states this speed varies.Yes, we all know, if you were going any slower, you’d be in reverse.But little ones will dart out right in front of you.They can’t be responsible for their own actions.The law takes child safety very seriously.And, in most cities, active school zones are hands-free.Meaning no hand-held devices.Both are sizeable fines.And most people get the double whammy because they were distracted by the cellphone and missed the flashing school zone light.Another thing to remember, school buses transporting kids to and from school make frequent stops to load and unload those little brats (that’s what the bus drivers call them…why can’t I??).When the bus driver turns on those alternating flashing lights, you must stop behind the bus.Not doing so is considered “Overtaking a School Bus” and is a sizeable fine.If you are on the opposite side of the street, going the opposite direction and there is a true median (grass, gravel, trees, cement or grassy knoll with a president buried there) separating your side from where the bus is, you do not have to stop for the bus.Although, you do have to stop for that bus if there is a divide in that median, or if there is only a painted line separating your side from the side where the bus is.

If you’re taking other people’s kiddos to school, you must have all children under the age of 5 years old or under 4’9” in a booster seat and all other kids must be seat belted.Thank God for that.Because, I don’t care what you say…kids are a major distraction.When I was a kid, we didn’t have cell phones or GPS and crap like that.The biggest distraction in the car when I was a kid…was kids!My Mom would have one hand on the wheel and the other just swinging away at us in the back seat.There is one advantage to taking other people’s kids to school though. You can get on the H.O.V. lane and use the kid as the second passenger.Brilliant?I think so.You may have just found your commuting partner.And it may just get you to work faster.

Until next week…watch out for kiddos.

Daun Thompson

( Daun Thompson is a comedienne, writer and artist residing in Dallas, Texas )

The police are coming to get you!!!

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The police pulling people over on simple traffic stops and robbing their money, sounds like something you would hear about in North Korea, Libya or some third world country but it’s not, it’s happening right here in the United States of America!I wish there was a clever little joke I could throw in there or a witty anecdote about the subject but I can’t, this is horrid!!How can something like this happen??!!!

I know some conservative Republicans, religious fanatics or optimists would say “a few bad apples spoil the bunch.”Bullshit, most cops are crooks and they are worse than the criminals they take to jail, that’s right I said it!

Thank you, MSNBC network, for airing the episode of cops in Florida and Louisiana, pulling drivers over, going through their cars, not finding anything illegal, except for minorities having “too much money” (in some cases $1,200 cash) and seizing that money based on……get ready for this,….the officer thinks it was used in a drug purchase!That’s right, all the officer had to say was “I believe the money was used in a drug transaction.”No arrest, no charges brought up on the drivers, just nothing short of the cops robbing people, it was disturbing!Remember when the cops portrayed on TV were lovable, funny characters like Barney Fife or Sheriff Rosco Train?Now its more like Dirty Harry and sure cops have to put up with a lot crap (for lack of a censored word) from a lot ofpeople just because they are doing their job, which is law “enforcement” not law “abovement”…I think I just invented a new word.

Here a few tips when being pulled over by the fuzz:

  1. Pull over to safe area, like the right hand side of the highway, far off to the side as possible, without running over any mailboxes.
  2. Keep your hands on the steering wheel, DO NOT REACH IN THE GLOVE BOX, YOUR PURSE OR YOUR WIFE’S PURSE!
  3. Be polite and do not argue with the coppers.Remember Rodney King????That whole beating started with Rodney arguing with the pol-ece, then escalated from there.
  4. Never admit that you were speeding (unless you were) and remember to not let the cops intimidate you, it’s your right to refuse consent to a search, unless they have probable cause or they smell drug smoke or you look like Cheech and Chong.

The attached video is another guide on what to do if you get pulled over and for some of you, I’m sure that won’t be long.

The Right Way!

Join me again next week and until then….

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton

www.dannykeaton.com

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.

Multitasking ourselves to death

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A recent survey by National Mutual Insurance showed that nearly 72 % of the drivers say they multitask while driving, which included using a cell phone (texting and talking), eating, drinking, reading, and the list of all the other distractions can go on and on.  WOW 72 % – Some of you probably think that’s too low! 

Now, I’m no angel, in the past I’ve done all these distractions while driving, I’ve switched an iPod, Cd’s, cassettes and yes, even an 8 track because I wanted to listen to Van Halen instead of The Eagles.  But since I’ve been teaching defensive driving, I have become enlighten to just how bad these distractions really are.  I’m sure every driver has multi-tasked at least once in their driving years, but with all these distractions like cell phones, GPS screens, even DVD players, this is becoming more and more dangerous, not only to you but everybody else sharing the road with you. 

It seems like some people multitask and wear it like a badge of honor, like somehow they are more productive than those who just focus on doing one thing at a time.  Distractions are becoming the leading cause of motor vehicle collisions around the country.  This has become a nationwide epidemic!  If you must talk on the phone pull over to a safe area, if you have to dig through your CD case, do it at the red light, but pay attention to when the light changes and put away the crossword puzzle.  If you are caught reading a book, doing a crossword or writing poetry while driving, you should be sentenced to highway clean up, forced to take a driving safety course and write 100 sentences; “I WILL NOT BE A STUPID DRIVER”.  Ok, maybe the driving safety course would be too cruel and unusual. 

Talk to you next week.

Take care-

Danny Keaton

www.myspace.com/comicdemexican