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Happy New Year, Better Driver – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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This year is coming to a close and I am pondering what I will put on my new years resolution list. Perhaps it would be a better idea to have someone else make my list for me. Perhaps another point of view with more honesty. But not a family member, they know me too well. Perhaps someone I’ve just met online. Which reminds me, there’s one resolution I need to put on my list…no more giving out my phone number to strangers. Some of the pictures I get texted to me are a bit shocking…and the cell phone camera doesn’t always add ten pounds, by the way. Everyone thinks they’re Annie Leibovitz with a cell phone camera. In 2014, I think I’ll drink more water, I already eat healthy but may completely stop eating animals and I may start running again. Not from the law, but jogging around the lake. I will walk my dogs every day, perhaps twice a day if I have time. I will make an effort to see more of my neighbors.

And, I will make an effort to become a better driver. I really need to set a better example for my defensive driving students in 2014. Yes, I joke about being pulled over and getting one ticket in 2013. And I joke about getting out of another ticket in 2013. And, it’s all true. It really happened. But prior to 2013, I hadn’t gotten a ticket in nearly 26 years. Of course, the ticket I received this year was on my way to teach a defensive driving class. I took a right turn at a stop sign and didn’t stop long enough for my car to “settle.” Three seconds is what they teach in driver’s education now. The law doesn’t indicate that you have to stop for a period of “time” but that your car has to “settle.” So, three seconds will ensure that your car has settled. That’s not a bad habit to get into. I think I’ve got that one down, now that I’ve paid my dues for my mistake. And, I didn’t tell the police officer that I taught defensive driving in an attempt to get out of my ticket. I didn’t want to get a lecture. I was already detained enough. Then, this summer, I got out of a ticket because I told the trooper I teach defensive driving. He pulled me over because he said I didn’t signal. I did signal, but I shut it off before I completed my lane change. I knew exactly what I did wrong. One of my big pet peeves is the “eternal signaler.” Someone who forgets their turn signal is on and leaves it on for eternity. So, I have a bad habit of keeping my hand on my turn signal and shutting it off prematurely so I don’t forget about it and leave it on. It’s a habit that I am still trying to break, so that is going on this year’s resolution list as well. I told that trooper that I was so embarrassed. I teach defensive driving and I always lecture my students to use their signal at all times. Even when no one is around. Even when they’re pulling into their own darned driveway. Because cops write piddly little tickets for piddly little stuff. He said “Really? You say that to your students?” And he let me go without a lecture or a ticket.

I also need to take better care of my car. Of course, I do the basics…oil changes, fluids, belts and hoses. But I really need to flush my radiator, rotate my tires, balance them and a few other things that I haven’t been doing. And, I need to drive the speed limit, even at the risk of making other people angry. So, happy new year everyone. I hope 2014 is a good year for us all.

Until next year…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Happy New Year – Comedy Defensive Driving

Pulled Over By The Police – What To Do – ComedyDefensiveDriving.com

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If I got pulled over by the police (and I hope I didn’t just jinx myself), the last thing I would do would be to tell them I teach defensive driving and get a 45 minute lecture. Being a traffic officer is not a job I would wish for. Pulling people over all day long and getting the sour puss or a rotten attitude does not sound like a dream come true for me. That’s a job where no one would ever be glad to see you. I would imagine that those officers never hear “I’m so glad you pulled me over, officer. I needed someone to talk to.” I’d rather be a bill collector. At least you wouldn’t have to deal with those sour pusses face to face.

Things have changed since back in the day when officers would ask you the typical “License and registration, please.” And I learned a long time ago, not to ask him to hold your beer for you while you get it out of your glove box. Do they even call it a glove box anymore? It’s more like a beer cooler now, isn’t it?? Or maybe it’s a gun locker for some. That’s why they don’t want you reaching into your glove box when you get pulled over. They are trained to get real squirrelly when you do stuff like that. So, what to do when you get pulled over by the police? The first thing you need to do so you don’t get a second ticket is to put on your turn signal. Move as far to the right as possible and as quickly as possible. This is for two reasons, so you are as close to the point of the alleged violation as possible and so the officer doesn’t think you are trying to flee. Roll all of your windows down enough where the officer can see into the car. This way, they can see that there are no hidden threats. If it is evening, turn on your interior lights. And don’t forget to cut the engine. Do not get out of your car unless they instruct you to do so. Put both hands on the steering wheel, hands open so they can see that you are not concealing anything in a closed fist. Wait until they ask you for your drivers license before you reach for your purse or your wallet. The officer may scan your registration sticker from inside the car, so he/she may reach inside to do so. They may ask you for your current liability insurance card or they may not if they have already ran a search for that while they were tailing you. So, generally they already know if you have current coverage or not. If they ask you for your insurance card, they may be comparing the address on that with your drivers license address. If they differ, he/she will ask you which address is correct. Because you have only an allotted time to make an address change on your drivers license, you may be issued another ticket for that. Remember, no sudden moves. If you are nervous, try to remain calm and don’t panic. After all, it’s only a routine traffic stop…not the end of the world.

So, if you don’t want to even risk being pulled over by the police, follow these simple rules:
• Don’t speed.
• Don’t talk on the phone or text while driving.
• Do stop at stop signs (for 3 seconds).
• Do stop at a red light before turning right on red (for 3 seconds).
• Don’t do illegal U-turns, even if you don’t see a squad car.
• Do make sure all lights work, brake lights, tail lights and license plate light(s).
• Do keep your registration, insurance and inspections all up to date.
• Don’t tailgate.
• Don’t cut someone off (or make an improper lane change).
• Don’t hang out in the left lane, it’s for passing only.
• Don’t drive too slow for the flow of traffic.
• Don’t squeal your tires.

And, for Pete’s sake, don’t argue with the cop…especially a lady cop…it ain’t gonna work.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Comedienne / Writer / Artist

What To Do – Comedy Defensive Driving

Tips For Criminals

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Although I am not a criminal, I must admit that sometimes I act like one. Perhaps it is just a habit, but if I see a police car, I inevitably lock ‘em up…even if I’m not speeding. Isn’t that crazy? It must be what they would call submission to authority (or at least that’s what Freud would have called it). Well, Freud and my boyfriend. He makes fun of me because I wave at police. He says that only someone like me would wave at a police officer because I am a total home slice. Maybe he’s right. I haven’t been pulled over by the authorities in quite some time. But, when I do (and I will), there are a few things that I will need to keep in mind.

Below is a list of things that are said to put an officer “at ease.”

  • Pull over to the right side of the road and find a safe place to stop. Do this immediately. Police get a little suspicious if you don’t pull over right away. You don’t want them to assume that you are attempting to conceal something and perhaps are just needing more time to stash it (like that inflatible H.O.V. doll you got on ebay).
  • Don’t get out of the car. Yes, maybe in that small town where you went to High School with the officer who is pulling you over, you may have gotten out and met him half-way, hoping that was a friendly gesture. Not anymore. Stay in the car.
  • Put your car in park. Leaving your car in gear gives them the impression that you might try to flee the scene. Tips for fleeing the scene will be in next week’s comedy blog (just kidding).
  • Roll down the windows so that the officer can see inside the vehicle. If they can see within your car, they may assume that you have nothing to hide. Just roll ‘em down…especially if they’re tinted windows…windows tinted so dark that you don’t want him to see how dark they are…they’ll give you a ticket for that as well. Cha-ching!
  • Shut off your car. Again, not to give them the impression that you may try to flee by leaving your car running.
  • Put your keys on the dashboard. Or, if you are a Felon, just throw the keys out the window. Where you’re going, you’re not going to need them anyway.
  • Sit Still. Keep your hands high on the wheel within plain sight. Hands open.
  • Do not reach for anything. (Especially a weapon). And, by all means, don’t ask the officer to hold your beer while you get your information out of the glove box.
  • Move like a sloth (…it’ll freak ‘em out).
  • Let the officer speak first. Whatever you do, don’t address the officer as “sir” until you get a really good look at him/her (Aha! Now you see why?). That’s the quickest way to get on a female police officer’s bad side.
  • And if they ask you “Do you know why I pulled you over?” (a classic question). Just say no. Don’t say “To remind me that I forgot to turn my radar detector on?”
  • If they ask you if you know how fast you’re going (another classic question) just say no. Don’t say “Not fast enough, apparently.” And, when they disclose what your actual speed is, for the love of God, don’t say “You should have seen how fast I was going about 10 miles back, ossifer.
  •  If they ask you is there a good reason why you are speeding? Just say no. Don’t say you’re trying to get to the liquor store before they close. Because that first case of beer didn’t really do the trick.”

Until next week…stay out of trouble.

Daun Thompson

New Year Resolutions

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It’s a brand new year! And it’s time for a new beginning. I bet you’ve made your new year’s resolution! Mine? No speeding in 2012. No, really. And, just like your new year’s resolution, mine is destined to last until approximately January 31st. Only to be forgotten and then I’ll be back to my old ways. So let’s make a pact. I will promise to watch my speed and you promise to keep running on that boring treadmill. Good luck to both of us. The funny thing, I didn’t even get one ticket in 2011. I got through the entire year without a ticket! Can you say the same? And it wasn’t because I didn’t speed. In fact, I’m almost certain that I did speed. Of course, I was just keeping up with the flow of traffic like everyone else. Even if you’re not typically a speeder, others will push you along to make you go faster… faster… FASTER! For me, it’s just a matter of time before I get a speeding ticket, even if I am just keeping up with the flow of traffic. And when I do get pulled over, the last thing I’m going to do is tell the officer that I teach defensive driving and get a 45 minute lecture in addition to my ticket. After all, I should know better, right? “I’m just keeping up with the flow, ossifer.” And, something you’re not even going to believe, I haven’t gotten a ticket in many, many years. My secret is I drive like a nervous little old lady, looking out for speed traps and taking note of all traffic signs. No, really. Paying attention and not taking your eyes off of the road is the best way to prevent you from getting a ticket or being involved in an accident. And, just so we’re clear about this. I am not bragging about not getting a ticket in years. Another thing I’ve learned over the years is you don’t want to brag about it. If you do brag about it, you get three tickets in a row. Like celebrity deaths. At least there’s one drawback to being a celebrity. Probably more, but I’ve never been one so I wouldn’t know. I was once asked “Didn’t you used to be somebody.” Drunks say the darndest things (wasn’t that an Art Linkletter show back in the 50’s?). This year’s celebrity deaths (a moment of silence, please) were fitness guru Jack LaLanne, movie star Liz Taylor, singer Amy Winehouse (that makes 3), actor Jeff Conaway, saxaphonist Clarence Clemons, jackass Ryan Dunn (that makes 3 more), actor Peter Falk, comic Patrice O’Neal, boy genius Steve Jobs, that cantankerous old fart Andy Rooney, and smokin’ Joe Frazier (and that’s 3 again.. see, I told you).
So, if you haven’t devised your new year’s resolution, not breaking the law is a good start. It will save you time, money, aggravation and self-loathing. Or, perhaps, your resolution will to not become a celebrity in 2012. That way, you won’t have sleepless nights when a fellow celebrity kicks the bucket… worrying that you may be next!
Until next week. Keep it safe. Be kind. And remember to use your signal, and not your finger.
Daun Thompson

The Speeding Ticket…Fight it or Fix It

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If you get cited for a moving violation, what are your options?  You could pay the ticket. But, if you do, those points would go on your driving record and your insurance could increase as a result.  Even if you check the box on the ticket to plead “Not Guilty”, and you pay the full price of the ticket, it’s as good a pleading guilty. Because the points still go on your driving record.  Your best option would be to take a defensive driving class. You can take one online or in a classroom setting.  Even your insurance agent would suggest you do the same.

Your other options?  Well, for a nominal fee, you may purchase the National Motorists Association’s Guide to Fighting Speeding Tickets.  A comprehensive collection of ticket-fighting information. This guide tells you how to handle your case in court.

However, it does not tell you how to speak to the police officer who is pulling you over.  Two proven things that used to work to get out a ticket there, were A. showing cleavage, and B. cry like a girl (acting lessons used to really pay off).  Not anymore. Another thing that used to work and doesn’t always now, was showing up for your court date with hopes that the officer would be a no-show. Some police are paid time-and-a-half or double-time ( incentive) to show up for their court dates.

As for how to talk to the officer pulling you over?  Just be honest.  That’s what they’re really looking for.  Honesty.  Don’t be crabby with them or try to be clever.  They get enough of that all day long.

Until Next Week…keep that record clean.

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)

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 HIGH PRICE OF DOING A “BAD”

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The high cost of traffic tickets has inspired me to blog about it.When I was a teenager, the maximum cost of a speeding ticket was about $50.And that was for manslaughter.You just can’t afford to kill anyone now.It’s the economy…not fair!Now, I see speeding tickets anywhere between $180 and $400!And that’s for a petty speed over the limit.If it were high enough over the limit, putting people’s lives in danger, who knows what the fines and jail time would be??Also, way back in the day, the ticket was a 3” x 6” piece of paper.Now most tickets look like a WalMart receipt. More paper to choke up the landfill…don’t even get me started. I bet when the ticket is printing out, the criminal’s heart is beating like mad… thinking “I hope to God that’s not my driving record!?”I use the term criminal, because that’s how they treat you.Once the ticket is processed back at the shop, they send you a letter in the mail entitled “Daun Thompson v.s. The State of Texas.”Not that I’ve gotten one. I’ve just seen them.In fact, I haven’t gotten a ticket in many years (knock on wood).And, I’ve found that you don’t want to go bragging about stuff like that. Because, if you do, the Karma Monkey will trip you up…and then you’ll get 3 tickets in a row (yes, 3 in a row…just like celebrity deaths).Weird, huh?

Here are a few of the fines I have come across lately. Loud Music?$144.00.Really bad loud music??Should be prison time, don’t you think? No Mud Flaps On Your Dually?$350.00.Just buy the freakin’ mud flaps…it’s cheaper…besides, you need that money for gas!Not Wearing Your Seat Belt?Between $100.00 and $250.00.It’s a $500 fine in Australia… but getting a kangaroo drunk is only $250…a bargain!Not Signaling? $177.00.Not signaling to a cop?The same, with an additional $177.00 fine for cutting off said cop who writes the ticket as an Unsafe Lane Change.One Mile Over the Speed Limit in a School Zone?$266.00.Ask any school teacher…and they’ll confirm it… they’ve all gotten one. Eleven Miles Over in a School Zone?$300.00.Again, ask any teacher. And while you’re at it, ask them how much the cell phone fine was in the school zone.

Until next week…drive safely…save money (you’ll need it to pay for the fuel for your private jet).

Doing property damage to city or state property is also very costly. The cost to replace a city/state light pole is between $700.00 and $1,000.00.To replace a stop sign is over $100.Taking out an overhead, hanging light in an intersection is the most costly.But, the only way you could take one of those out is with your private plane.So, you can certainly afford it.

Some of the fines I’m waiting to see??TWI (Texting While Intoxicated).DWS(Driving While Sexting).SWHOV(Sexting While in the H.O.V…because, remember…what happens in the HOV, stays in the HOV).

Daun Thompson

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

Use the Lowest Price Traffic School

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When you attend a physical traffic school which entails one-on-one lessons with an instructor, you pay fees accordingly and it is not the most affordable option available. The lowest price traffic school is one which is conducted online, via instructional videos. One of the advantages of using an online school is that you can complete your lessons in time slots that suit you, so that you can work around other existing commitments.

Choose the Lowest Price Traffic School Providing Certificates

Even if budget is your main concern, it is best to use a reputable service that also provides certificates, as a certificate may be required if you are ordered to complete traffic school. When you have a traffic school that provides the lowest price, traffic school sessions can be repeated every so often to keep your driving good and to remind you of the little things that are easy to forget when you have been a licensed driver for some time.

Driving in the Bible belt or another reason for traffic school

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As I drive around Dallas, I can’t help but notice there are a lot of churches, no big surprise, right? Dallas is part of the Bible belt and in Texas we love our football, guns and Jesus! Not necessarily in that order and according to a recent survey by Auto Vantage, Dallas is number 2 in the nation when it comes to road rage. I’m not trying to be cynical about religion and I believe in a higher power. I think it is great that some people have a spiritual foundation but what happens to that “Golden Rule” and “love thy neighbor” thing when we get behind the wheel of our car? I now a Bible beater’s rebuttal would go something like this;

“We are only human and we are not perfect and you’re going to burn in a lake of fire!!!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing religion, either. All I’m suggesting is that we need that little light that shines to carry it with us in our cars. That way the next time some asshole cuts us off, we won’t shoot him the finger or just plain shoot him!

And with the holiday season upon us and everyone trying to get here and there, be a little friendlier out on the roads. It takes an extra second to let someone in. Turn on your signal before you turn or change lanes. Give a friendly wave when someone lets you into traffic. Don’t cut off an 18-wheeler, it takes truckers over four times the distance to stop than a regular vehicle. And no sex while driving!

Remember, a world without road rage starts with you, if someone is tailgating you, ask yourself, “what would Jesus do?” He would probably get pissed off too and send them to hell!

I hope you have a safe and happy holiday season. Join me again next week and until then…

Take care and be safe-

Danny Keaton