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  • "The comedic aspect, it allowed me to learn while laughing!"
    - S. Wayne, Lancaster, TX
    September 21, 2017 (Student # 3,518,580)
  • "Not boring. liked the animation."
    - J. Loyola, Jacksonville, TX
    September 21, 2017 (Student # 3,518,581)
  • "Not boring. liked the animation."
    - J. Loyola, Jacksonville, TX
    September 21, 2017 (Student # 3,518,582)
  • "The joke about making babies in the car but not leaving them in one. hahaha"
    - E. Delgado, Mesquite, TX
    September 21, 2017 (Student # 3,518,583)
  • "Broke it down in great time segments, silly"
    - C. Bercegeay, Richmond, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,584)
  • "It was easy to comprehend"
    - J. Ramirez, Kress, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,585)
  • "It had comedy in the videos."
    - S. Castillo, Houston, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,586)
  • "That it was fun! and easy to understand."
    - J. Renderos, Jacksonville, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,587)
  • "There was not much necessary reading involved."
    - M. Moore, Santa Fe, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,588)
  • "It was actually very funny"
    - K. Nezami, Austin, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,589)
  • "It was actually very funny"
    - K. Nezami, Austin, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,590)
  • "It was hilarious yet still very informative"
    - J. Ukwu, Missouri City, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,591)
  • "Ease of use and light hearted"
    - M. Lockstedt, Sealy, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,592)
  • "Video rather than reading"
    - T. Jones, Ft Stockton, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,593)
  • "How easy and fast it was to get it done."
    - M. Bruchmiller, Denton, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,594)
  • "The short videos and comedy"
    - V. Vega, Mesquite, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,595)
  • "The option to both watch the video and read the transcript below."
    - E. Gordon, Houston, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,596)
  • "I could do it at home while my kids slept"
    - A. Cunningham, Savannah, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,597)
  • "Being able to stop and start again when needed to."
    - K. Cunningham, Cypress, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,598)
  • "The entire course was entertaining."
    - T. Garza, Kempner, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,599)
  • "It was entertaining while i was learning."
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    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,600)
  • "Short segments. variety of "comedy""
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    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,601)
  • "Not having to take tests during and no final exam!"
    - K. Jeffries, San Antonio, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,602)
  • "That you can stop and start the course around your schedule"
    - S. Knorr, Celina, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,603)
  • "The questions were simple enough to pass."
    - M. Rejcek, Mansfield, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,604)
  • "Saved me $200 on my ticket."
    - W. Carter, Cameron, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,605)
  • "That i had a second chance to retake test if fail"
    - D. Soto, Bryan, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,606)
  • "It was entertaining and informative"
    - V. Carter, Rockdale, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,607)
  • "It makes me laugh and its not monotone"
    - M. Contreras, Brownsville, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,608)
  • "Easy test questions, and the luchadores"
    - M. Sandler, Leander, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,609)
  • "Good humor with educational material"
    - S. Patel, Coppell, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,610)
  • "That it wasn't boring and easy to understand"
    - A. Garcia, Austin, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,611)
  • "The freedom to work when i could."
    - E. Land, Bastrop, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,612)
  • "The different styles of the videos and the humor"
    - T. Roemer, Longview, TX
    September 20, 2017 (Student # 3,518,613)

Archive for the ‘Driving Tips’ Category

Fuel Shortage

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When Hurricane Harvey was about to hit (and boy did it hit like a prize-fighter), newscasters were warning folks to get fuel now because there will be a fuel shortage due to Texas refineries shutting down. Of course, Texas is the energy capital of the country. They shut down as a precaution before the hurricane made landfall. And then, due to widespread flooding, more inland refineries stopped operations. As a result, more than a fifth of the nation’s refining capacity, including two of the country’s largest oil refineries was out of commission as oil companies battled flooding. So, in a panic, drivers were lined-up at gas stations, hoping to get a full tank (and filling gas cans) before the shortage. People were hoarding fuel and preparing for Armageddon. The following day, the news was reporting that people should NOT hoard fuel, as it is causing a fuel shortage…duh! Make up your MIND!

If this should happen in the future, perhaps it is best to know how to “conserve” fuel, rather than hoarding it. Here a few tips that may help…

• Check your tire pressure often (great time to check for nails and/or an ex-girlfriend’s nail file jammed in the grooves).
• Avoid idling (fact: bank robbers may be causing a fuel crisis)
• Keep your engine tuned regularly (keep it purring like a kitten…kittens eat less than a full grown cat)
• Check for extra junk in the trunk (d.i.v.o.r.c.e.)
• Be certain to use your manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil
• Keep it close to the speed limit on the highway. It will also save you from a ticket from Johnny Law.
• Try to coast to a stop. This will surely honk other people off (check…and double check).
• Avoid slowly crawling up to a speed. 15 seconds to accelerate to 50 mph uses less fuel than taking 30 seconds to reach the same speed (this will also save you from a stray bullet from the guy in the diesel truck behind you).
• Close the car windows and run the A/C. Conserving on A/C does not really help, especially at high speeds. Be comfortable on your journey…you cheapskate!

Some refer to these driving techniques as hypermiling. Most of these techniques improve your car’s fuel efficiency by reducing the demands placed on the engine. So, it’s possible to improve fuel economy by 37% just by changing the way your drive. But, there are also some hypermiling methods that are controversial and could pose an element of danger…such as riding in a big rig’s draft. Not cool, dude…your Honda Accord could become a Honda accordion!

Until next week… Cool it on the fuel.

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Fuel Shortage

When Can You Turn Right on Red?

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You can turn right on red when:

Also, when turning right on red, don’t creep into the crosswalk before turning. Your car should not be in the crosswalk because it could obstruct the walking paths of pedestrians. If there is no crosswalk, stop before the limit line when making your turn. A ticket-happy cop could also cite you because of this, so play it safe.

Read on about the unusually complex intricacies of turning right on a red light.

There are no pedestrians in the crosswalk

Be sure people aren’t crossing before you turn right. When no cars are coming in the perpendicular direction, people may want to cross the street. They may even have the signal to walk at that time. When pedestrians are crossing, they have the right of way (even if they don’t have a signal). Be careful.

There are no vehicles coming into your desired lane

No matter how badly you want to make that right turn, other cars with green lights have the right of way. You must carefully look to ensure that no vehicles are coming. If you aren’t sure you can make it in time, just wait instead of taking the risk.

Also, you must yield to the following if they are driving with a green light:

  • Bicyclists
  • Motorcyclists
  • Semi-trucks
  • Any and all other vehicles

 

There are no signs prohibiting a right turn

Sometimes, there will be a sign clearly saying “Don’t turn.” These may be found in more highly trafficked areas, such as downtown centers or university campuses.

Some areas in the U.S. don’t allow right turns, so be familiar with local laws. For example, Nassau County, located on Long Island in New York, allows drivers to turn right on red. However, New York City, including Queens, which is situated on the border of Nassau, prohibits right turns on reds. On the most part, turning right on red has been legal since 1978 in all 50 states.

There are no obstructions

Don’t turn if you can’t see or get into the lane. There may be cars parked in traffic that are waiting for another signal. If you inch into the traffic box and obstruct traffic even further, you could get ticketed and be forced to come to one of our defensive driving classes. While we appreciate your business, you probably don’t want to come to us.

Why People Don’t Signal

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If Shakespeare were alive today, he would probably write a play about a love/hate story where drivers don’t signal before changing lanes or turning. “To Signal or NOT to signal … that is the question.” There are many theories as to why people don’t signal. I have observed that these theories vary from coast to coast. In fact, my conclusion is that most blame it on drivers who have relocated from either coast, claiming that New Yorkers and Californians don’t signal. I believe it depends on the traffic situation. Some drivers claim that in some states if you turn on your signal, no one will let you over. Here in Texas, if you don’t use it, no one will let you in.

Then again, maybe it’s all about conservation…conserving the life of the bulb so it lasts the life of the car, or conserving blinker fluid. Either way, whatever the excuse may be, it is unlawful to not signal before changing lanes or turning. Since this is a huge issue in all states, it has become a hot issue for writing tickets. Or, it is, at the very least, probable cause for pulling someone over. So now, perhaps not signaling has become a bad habit that needs to be corrected. Like wearing a seatbelt just becomes second nature, being mindful about signaling should become second nature as well.

Taking the time to turn on your signal 100 feet before changing lanes or before turning will not only let other drivers know your intentions, it will also save you a lot of money (tickets, crashes, anger management classes, etc.). Most states offer defensive driving to get a citation dismissed. And most insurance companies offer an insurance discount for taking a defensive driving class. If you are a devout non-signaler, you may want to go ahead and check what your options are in your state, so you will be prepared when Johnny Law comes knocking at your driver side door.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Why People Don’t Signal – Comedy Defensive Driving

What to Do if Your Brakes Fail

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1. If your brakes have become non-responsive, turn on your emergency flashers immediately. Honk your horn repeatedly to let other drivers know about you.

2. Shift the car into a lower gear if you can. On automatic gearboxes a lower gear is typically labeled L or 2.

3. Once you’ve done this, pump the brakes. This will build up enough pressure in the hydraulic system to give a little bit of resistance in the wheels, forcing the car to slow down.

4. If your car has anti-lock brakes, press down hard on the brakes.

5. Still not stopping? Shift to neutral, then put on the parking brake. This should bring you to a total stop.*

Putting the car in neutral basically disconnects the engines from the wheels, which removes any force from moving the wheels forward (besides inertia). Shifting to neutral should be a last ditch effort, so be careful.

Also, the parking brake is not powered by hydraulics. So, if your brakes go out, you can use the parking brake as another system to help you stop. Be careful with the parking brake so you can prevent skidding out of control.

Luckily, many vehicles have fail-safes that can help you slow down even when your brakes go out. In the unlikely event that your brakes go completely out, you can use these methods to help bring your car to a halt.

Note: while these will help stop your car, you will still need distance no matter what method. Without distance while braking during a failure, you may slam into traffic. Signal when possible and maneuver your vehicle to the right lane and then the shoulder.

Signs of Possible Brake Failure

Before having to use the above steps, try and spot brake failure before it happens.

  • Grinding noises
  • Brake Squealing
  • Sluggish response on the brakes
  • Can’t stop when you put your foot on the brake
  • Irregular movements
  • Warning lights
  • Shaking steering wheel
  • Car pulls to one side

 

What Causes Brake Failure?

Brakes work because of friction. If your brake becomes too hot, it can heat up the surrounding area and diminish the amount of friction available just by wearing it down. This is called brake fade.

Brake fade can be split into 4 categories:

  • Domino – when some brakes on your vehicle have more resistance than the rest of the brakes. Overloaded brakes due to domino fade can result in drastic failure.
  • Fluid – when brake lines wear down and crack brake fluid can escape from the system, causing hydraulic brakes to fail.
  • Friction – when the brake is unable to stop by using just the pad or other friction-causing mechanism. This can result in worn brake pads.
  • Mechanical when a brake drum expands due to inadequate conditions through too much heat from friction. The expansion can cause other brake mechanisms to be affected, resulting in failure.

Brake fade can also be exacerbated by low or old brake fluid, warped brake rotor, oil or grease on the brakes, and other suspension and tire issues.

Sometimes, brake fade is not the culprit. Items such as misaligned brakes or sticky brake calipers can affect the brakes. And, if the brakes spring mechanism comes loose, you may be in drastic trouble.

How to Prevent Brake Failure

 

Check brake fluid levels regularly

If you are going in for an oil change, check your brake fluid at the same time. It is recommended that brake fluid is flushed out every 4 years (or 48,000 miles). That way, any excess water your brake fluid has absorbed is removed, improving your brakes and their longevity.

Be aware of your car

If your brakes sound weird, don’t pretend you don’t hear anything. Go to a mechanic and get them looked at. The same goes for your stopping distance; as brakes degrade, your car needs more distance to stop.

Pay attention to warning lights

If a warning light for your brakes pops up, go to a mechanic. The worst that could happen is that it’s a bad light and you’re out a couple bucks.

*Going to neutral can be a difficult decision. if the issue is your throttle is stuck then you should put the car into natural. however when slowing down the resistance from the gears turning over the pistons will slow your car down more.

Car Color and Insurance Rates

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I thought the color of your car was not significant when it comes to auto insurance. And I hadn’t really thought about it much until I saw the parking lot where they were holding a fireman’s picnic. I noticed that most of the pickup trucks there were red, just like the fire trucks parked there. I had read articles regarding “weird laws” that are still on the books in some states but they don’t likely enforce them. One such article says that in Minneapolis you cannot drive a red car down Lake Street. In Colorado, you cannot drive a black car on Sundays. This one certainly doesn’t make sense as you may need to drive a black hearse for a funeral on a Sunday, or a black limousine for a Sunday wedding (just married/just buried…same difference). But really, what is the correlation between car color and insurance rates?

Some people think that if you have a flashy eye-catching car, police take notice of your car before they would notice a bland colored car. Perhaps this is true. But if you are not driving like a bat out of hell, there would be no reason for them to pull you over. I thought since my car is the color of a yield sign (midlife crisis yellow), other drivers would see me, making it a safer vehicle to drive. I have noticed that most cars on the roads are typically white, silver or silver-blue. These colors tend to blend in with the road and sky in the background and, to me, would likely be more prone to being hit. Keeping your headlights on at all times would likely be helpful so you would be better seen.

Insurance agents say that car color does not affect your insurance rates, but keeping a lighter foot on the gas pedal will. And driving more alert, looking out for other drivers will also prevent an accident. So, keep on driving that red corvette with the top down…wind blowing through those last two hairs on your bald head. Just keep it within the speed limit.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Car Color and Insurance Rates – Comedy Defensive Driving

School Bus Safety

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School is back in session. And, just like past generations, kids were “tricked” into being excited about going back to school by getting new school clothes and supplies. Many kids will be walking to school, while some will be dropped off blocks away from school traffic and others will be let out in the middle of the road, hoping to survive for another school day. School zones will be active and buses will be present. Will you be practicing school bus safety?

Passing a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop sign out is against the law and carries a hefty fine. In the Lone Star State, the fine is a whopping $1250.00 and Judges will not allow you to take a defensive driving class to have the ticket dismissed and the fine reduced. Therefore, you would have to not only pay the entire fine amount, but the points would go on your driving record making your insurance increase considerably. Most drivers are aware that you must stop behind the bus, while many still pass the bus when these warning lights are activated. It is estimated that over 10 million drivers illegal pass school buses every year. The fine for this has not only increased if issued by a police officer, but many buses have been equipped with cameras for this reason. For economical reasons alone, one would think that everyone would stop behind a stopped school bus. Perhaps the issue here is not only respecting and valuing the lives of other people’s children, but when it’s really broken down for you (which I am going to do here if you read on), buses are much more valuable to us and should be respected for saving lives, fuel and air pollution.

EDUCATION: Taking the bus decreases truancy and increases the likelihood of children doing well in school. If half the battle is showing up for school, the school bus is helping us win the battle.
ENVIRONMENTAL and ECONOMICAL: School buses keep over 17 million cars off roads each year. One bus carries the equivalent of 36 cars. This saves families approximately 62 billion miles of driving, 2.6 billion gallons of fuel and 56.5 billion pounds of CO2.
SAVING LIVES: Students are 70% more likely to get to school safely if they ride a bus, rather than in a car. School bus drivers are the most highly trained, tested and scrutinized drivers on the road.

Since passing vehicles cause an estimated 2/3 of school bus loading/unloading fatalities, here is a wee bit of information to keep kids safe.
• More school-aged pedestrians are killed from 7-8 a.m. and 3-4 p.m. than any other time of the day.
• The Danger Zone: Motorists should not be within 10 feet radius around all sides of a school bus. A safe stop distance away from a school bus should be up to 25 feet when stop arm is out and red lights are flashing. Slow down when the yellow lights are flashing and prepare to stop. Do not attempt to pass the bus. Oncoming cars must drop speeds to 20mph or less. When stop arm is out, every driver behind the bus must stop. Oncoming cars must stop if there is only a painted line or a split/divide in the median (a divided highway will depend on certain situations).
So it’s critical that we learn and follow the laws pertaining to school buses in our own state.
You can find this information at http://www.nasdpts.org/Operations/documents/State_Laws_Regarding_Passing_School_Buses.pdf

Take a minute and educate yourself about these important laws.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

School Bus Safety – Comedy Defensive Driving

Uncommon Driving Safety Tips

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They can only cover so much information in a driver education course. So I have compiled a short list of uncommon driving safety tips that may help in the long run to help prevent accidents and possibly save a life or two.

Don’t have your own car visible in your side mirrors. This is a common mistake that drivers make. You should always angle them away from you until the point where your car is no longer visible in either side mirror. This way there is no overlap between your side mirrors and the rear view mirror, and any car that is passing you on either side will remain in at least one of your side mirrors until it enters your field of vision. Professional drivers lean into their console and adjust their rear view and side mirrors at one time to cover any blind spots. If you don’t have a rear window, this is especially helpful, especially if you have a white serial killer van with no windows.

Pay attention to traffic before road signs. While road signs indicate when to yield, stop, etc. and who has the right of way, paying attention to traffic will certainly help to avoid an accident. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore stop signs or road signs, but that you shouldn’t rely on them and should always follow traffic and use your best judgement. You may be obeying the signs but there are others out there who won’t.

Always leave your headlights on. Because something lit up is always more visible (like your Uncle John at every Christmas party). Studies show that you can reduce your risk of being involved in an accident by up to 32 percent by driving with your headlights on at all times. But, if you are trying to save the life of the bulbs so they last the life of the car, at least use your headlights whenever there is inclement weather and always when you are on a high-speed roadway.

Use your parking brake/emergency brake when parking, even if not parked on a hill. It’s kind of a use it or lose it deal. So, just to keep it in good working order, try to put it on whenever you park. Getting into this habit may also save property and lives. Anton Yelchin’s family has suffered as the result of him not using his emergency brake. Don’t be another statistic.

If you blow out a tire, don’t slam on the brakes. Although this may be instinctual, applying the gas slightly and gripping the wheel as not to steer against the blown tire will avoid a fishtail. Do this until you can regain control until you can take your foot off the gas and let the car slow down on its own, naturally. And then you can change your pants. You should always carry a spare pair of pants along with your spare tire. And try to steer off the road on the same side as the blown tire, not against it. Don’t make sudden corrections and don’t try to re-enter the roadway on uneven pavement.

If you pull onto the freeway shoulder, never use your hazard lights because drunk drivers are attracted to flashing lights. Just like blonds being attracted to shiny objects. Rather, you should put on your signal light as if you are planning to re-enter the freeway (even if you’re not). Because approaching vehicles will expect that you may pull out in their lane and move over a lane for their safety (which in turn is safer for you).

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Uncommon Driving Safety Tips – Comedy Defensive Driving

Seat Belts Save Lives

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While it’s kind of mean to say that people that don’t wear a seat belt must have a death wish and that perhaps those who refuse to wear one is (to those of us who do wear them) another form of natural selection, studies show that seat belts save lives. And, they not only save the lives of those who wear them, but the lives of others riding in the vehicle. Most people who don’t wear them admit that it’s because the seat belt is uncomfortable and will wrinkle their outfit. Not like going through the windshield won’t wrinkle their outfit and their head, etc.

If those non-wearers want scientific evidence, perhaps explaining how kinetic energy works in an impact and damage to soft tissue and bones at a high impact can oftentimes kill you, even with all of the crazy new safety features in cars. At a slower speed, wearing a seat belt will, at the very least, keep you in your seat where you can still control and maneuver your vehicle, rather than attempting to do it from the passenger seat or back seat where you may end up. At a higher speed, the faster you go, the more kinetic energy you and the vehicle possess. When you hit the brakes or your car comes to an abrupt stop, all this kinetic energy has to go somewhere. A small portion is released as heat (like tire friction) while most of it goes into “reshaping” your car when it hits the oncoming car (which is also reshaped into a lawsuit). But a significant amount of kinetic energy is absorbed by the body. And this is more so if the occupant is not properly restrained by a seat belt.

The latest safety features include crumple zones, air bags, crash avoidance and automatic braking systems. But these can only do so much. So, to reduce the effects of g-forces on your body, it is imperative to wear a seat belt at all times. Not only will it stop your body from colliding with the car’s interior, it can provide about a foot of extra stretching distance which can drastically reduce the amount of acute g-force exerted on your body. It will also keep you from becoming your own hood ornament.

And, it is always a good idea to practice defensive driving in order to anticipate any possible accident scenarios on the road. Avoid following too close and keep your eyes on the road by avoiding distractions.

Until next week,

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Seat Belts Save Lives – Comedy Defensive Driving

Impatient Drivers

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Drivers are so emotional these days. Every little thing is a trigger for road rage. I remember when, if you wanted to pass another car, you would flash your headlights at them. And it meant “I would like to pass, would you please move over.” Now flashing your headlights means “Get the heck out of my way.” When did we become such impatient drivers? And honking your horn? Forget about it. There’s no friendly honk. Heaven forbid you should lay on the horn. But even if you give someone a little toot to snap them out of their distracted moment to proceed when the light turns green, they lose it. I have heard that there are some intersections in NYC where the traffic light actually honks when the light turns green. What a brilliant idea. This takes the pressure off of drivers and puts it on the traffic device. Although I haven’t been able to find any proof verifying this traffic light with sound effects, I did find that in Japan, some lights make a Cuckoo clock sound, but that is probably not for drivers, but for blind pedestrians. Still, either way, it’s an excellent idea.

I was making a joke in my Comedy Defensive Driving class that, perhaps they should slip a little Prozac in the water system to mellow people out. Little did I know that there may be a bit of Lithium in the groundwater or drinking water in some cities, and this is what I found.

According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health,
Using data for 27 Texas counties from 1978-1987, it is shown that the incidence rates of suicide, homicide and rape are significantly higher in counties whose drinking water supplies contain little or no lithium than in counties with water with higher lithium levels. These results suggest that lithium has moderating effects on suicidal and violent criminal behavior at levels that may be encountered in municipal water supplies. Comparisons of drinking water lithium levels, in the respective Texas counties, with the incidences of arrests for possession of opium, cocaine, and their derivatives (morphine, heroin, and codeine) from 1981-1986 also produced statistically significant inverse associations, whereas no significant or consistent associations were observed with the reported arrest rates for possession of marijuana, driving under the influence of alcohol, and drunkenness. These results suggest that lithium at low dosage levels has a generally beneficial effect on human behavior, which may be associated with the functions of lithium as a nutritionally-essential trace element.

It was just a joke, guys. Apparently, as most jokes, not a very original one since someone has already thought about this, studied it and implemented it. I’ll have to read more about this and help spread the word to promote World peace, calmness, less crime and of course those awesome honking traffic lights.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Impatient Drivers – Comedy Defensive Driving

What is a Space Cushion?

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When you are driving, you want to create what is known as a space cushion between you and the other vehicles around you. This simply means that you create a safe distance in the front, side, and rear of your vehicle from others. A space cushion can also be referred to as a buffer zone, positioning, or a cushion length.

Here are some defensive driving tips to consider when you create a space cushion:

 

The Three Basic Elements of Driving

When you maintain a safe distance from another vehicle, you must take into consideration the following elements of driving:

  1. The consistent control of your speed
  2. Positioning of your vehicle in each lane
  3. Communication with other drivers via car lights and signals

All three of these factors are integral to creating a space cushion throughout your driving time. Circumstances change from moment to moment and you, as a defensive driver, must anticipate those changes and still maintain a safe distance from the other vehicles. Also, don’t forget: signal to other drivers when you have made a decision to enter their lane.

 

Front End Space Cushions

The objective of a front-end space cushion between you and other vehicles is for you to maintain a comfortable view of everything you are observing straight ahead as you drive. This means being able to see not only the entire back of the car directly in front of you all the way down to the tires but to also be able to view the cars on both sides of yours that are in front of you in any other lanes.

On a three-lane road, the best lane for optimal opportunity to create a safe space cushion between all vehicles in the center lane. This gives a maximum view of the entire road if you maintain at least a 3-5 second space cushion (or half a car length) between you and the car in front of you.

 

Increased Front-End Cushion Factors

Always treat vehicles other than cars in a slightly different manner when creating a space cushion. Their stop time and how they react to other vehicles is much different than a car.
Motorcycles should be followed at no less than a 10-second delay. Long trailers, especially with abundant loads, should be followed at a distance of 15 seconds or more and safely passed when an opportunity presents itself.

 

Side Vehicle Considerations

Always be aware of what another driver’s blind spot is when you are creating a space cushion between you and the vehicle next to you. If the front of your vehicle is nearly parallel to the other vehicle’s rear tire, then you are in their blind spot.

If you are in another driver’s blind spot, more than likely does not see you and could quickly change lanes, creating a collision that would probably be your fault if they hit you. Decelerate and drive at least 3-5 seconds from that driver’s back wheel, or speed up just enough to go past the other vehicle and create a complete space cushion on that side.

 

Back-End Space Cushions

This is the space cushion that we usually have no control over creating. That’s because the driver behind you is in control of their own speed and not you. This is not a problem unless the person is tailgating you. Do not slam on your brakes to alert them to “back off.” It may incite road rage.

Simply find an opportunity to either pull to the side of the road to let them pass or simply change lanes so they can go by and you can create a space cushion all around your vehicle once again.

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