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Don’t Be A Crash Test Dummy
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. What Your Teenage Driver Must Know 2. Don’t Talk Yourself to Death 3. Bad Habits Most Drivers Don’t Know They Have 4. What Should be Found in Every Car 5. Wisdom of the Senior Driver 6. Avoiding Road Rage 7. Hidden Ways Your Car Can Kill You 8. How to Change Lanes Without Taking Your Eyes Off the Road 9. Sharing the Road With the Big Rigs 10. Why Are Traffic Laws Becoming Stricter? 11. Sounds and Signs That Mean Stop Your Car NOW! 12. Become an Offensive Driver 13. It’s the Defense That Wins Championships 14. Avoid the Dumb Accidents 15. Safe Driving Is Serious, So Let’s Stop For a Laugh
I received the Maxi View Mirrors and they do exactly what they claim they do. They are easy to attach and look as though they are part of the original equipment. They don’t impede on the original mirror view at all, and the extra margin of safety they offer is great. Even in a household where cars are shared and different drivers may forget to adjust the mirrors as they should, the Maxi View Mirror eliminates blind spots. The quality and the view they offer far exceed anything I have seen in auto parts stores and I am glad to get them not only for myself but for everyone in the family. D. Ferguson, Missouri. I have an in-home fitness training business, so I am on the road quite a bit traveling to and from my client's home. MaxiView has removed so much stress on the freeways and surface streets because I KNOW I see the entire road without turning my head to see what is in my blind spot. When I drive a rental car and forget to put the mirrors on it, my drive is much more stressful. The technology of the car manufacturers to put sensors on vehicles for blind spots is a cost you can save with this simple product. I highly endorse this product! Once you start driving with these mirrors, you will never go back. Thomas Hadley, Irvine, CA.
As a real estate agent, staying in touch with my clients is critical. With ZoomSafer, I am not only safe and legal while driving but I’m also still connected – I take my phone calls hands-free and because the software automatically responds to text and emails my clients know I am driving but will get back to them shortly. My clients appreciate the rapid response as well as my social responsibility to not text and drive. Joseph Evans, Remax
This chapter is not just for parents wanting to know what to tell their teenagers about the dangers of driving. Parents must not only set rules. This is not information based on just government or insurance company statistics. I hope that whether you are a parent or teenager who is reading this section you remember that it is true that a teenager has a great deal to learn.1 P a g e 1. The teenage driver has a lot to learn. WHAT YOUR TEEN DRIVER MUST KNOW A section for teens and parents to discuss together! There is nothing more exciting to a teenager than getting a driver’s license and being given the privilege of driving without parents. but also to communicate to all ages why teens get into so many accidents and what makes driving so much more dangerous to the younger driver. you must have the ability to listen and understand an explanation of why driving responsibly is not just a motto or a set of rules made by boring old people. Both parents and teens must be able to discuss and understand that the dangers of driving and the punishment for breaking laws are beyond the control of either of you. what is distracting and what is helpful to them than most adults do. If you are a teenager who is old enough to drive. but must also ask questions of their teenage drivers. The parent is in the frightening position of giving a new form of freedom that comes with a great deal of . but he or she also knows more about what they are doing in the car. but also on the responses of teenagers themselves. but he also has ideas and desires that you may be able to accept. There is nothing more heartbreaking than the death of a young driver or the friends that were passengers in the car.
the car owner can face a lawsuit that could wipe out their financial resources. but it’s absolutely true. It may seem like just a corny saying. It may be frustrating. What a lucky guy. If the driver causes damage by doing something with the car that the insurance does not cover. Even a traffic violation or an accident in which no one is injured will cause financial damage to the parents in the form of raised insurance rates or even canceled insurance. The body and mind both need to mature enough to handle the physical and emotional demands of driving. as long as the driver is on their policy. They should realize the parent is not only concerned for their safety but that by allowing the use of their car they are placing trust in them that could cause them tremendous sorrow or expense. The driver of a car has the ability to cause pain. Just because you have enough candles on your birthday cake to be legal does not mean you should be behind the wheel of a car.2 P a g e danger. but it's okay if you need a little more time to have the judgment and patience to drive a car. You may be surprised how many people your age are not driving. He’s lucky to be alive and his parents are lucky not to be sitting in a rented shack because it took everything they owned to pay fines and damages. Everyone knows somebody who claims his folks let him drive when he was thirteen. The teen driver must recognize that there are events and decisions that occur in driving that he has never faced before and that the freedom to drive comes with a great deal of responsibility. costly expenses and possible death to themselves and those around them. that driving is not a right but a privilege. many because they . and you have to work at it. If he’s not lying then he and his parents are all lucky.
Remember how difficult it is for a teenager.” Parents must recognize the abilities and limits of their own children. especially a boy. and whether it’s worthwhile to pound the horn at the little old lady at the stop sign. which is the very thing that the new driver has trouble with. Denying driving privileges because of failure to clean up a room or for lying about completing homework is not just a . Spend all the time in the car with them that you can.3 P a g e themselves don’t feel ready. Most teenagers are so surprised when you actually talk to them as equals that you may be surprised at what intelligent and logical answers you receive. It’s even okay to let them know that you have weak areas in your driving that you have to work harder at (and it’s still okay when they start reminding you of this and giving you advice a month after they get their licenses). I remember my father deciding I didn’t need to be driving any further one day when I drove at full speed through a deep puddle. Ask your teenager what he feels confident in or nervous about behind the wheel. heedless of the lady on the sidewalk. The ones that care about you and the ones that are smart enough to have an opinion that matters will be able to respect the decision to “wait until I’ve had a little more practice. Giving in to make them happy can bring the greatest misery of their lives. Don’t settle for the state requirements and high school driving certificate as the measure of your son or daughter’s right to drive. and evaluate their ability not only to put the car neatly next to the curb but also to decide when to give that child on the sidewalk a careful look and a wide berth. It may be something that strikes you as simple. to acknowledge being unskilled or nervous about driving.
500 teenagers killed (think about that. Aside from the 3. Those rotten old statistics: Motor vehicle accidents are the reason for one third of the deaths of teenagers. more than sports injuries. more than all other reasons for teenage death combined. these behaviors are a measure of the same maturity and responsibility it takes to be a safe driver. over 350. More than illnesses. This is not about scaring you. Per mile driven. but when you picture yourself or someone you know going through these things. Try to imagine how many survived but were crippled physically or mentally disabled by head injuries or scarred or faced months of painful and expensive treatment.000 were taken to emergency rooms from car accidents. which many teenagers fear more than death but. probably more kids than there are in your whole school are killed each year. by itself has yet to kill anyone (even the embarrassment of having your dad drive you somewhere in the minivan with the “My Kid is an Honor Student” bumper sticker). hopes and plans) in 2008. teen drivers are several times more likely to be in a crash than any other age group.4 P a g e means of punishment. maybe parental warnings won’t seem so stupid and the laws too strict and meaningless. More even than embarrassment. . every one of them with friends and families.
and many are doing the same dumb things. studying actually does pay off. By the way. Insurance rates have traditionally been lower for girls than boys.5 P a g e Boy drivers were more than twice as likely to be involved in crashes as girls. did I just say that teenagers are stupid? One sign of the maturity and reason needed to be a good driver is to be able to tell facts from insults. . The teenage brain has not fully developed in areas that affect judgment. and girls are more likely to be speeding or drinking. This is why. clear the car of distractions. and make sure he has every advantage in the form of clear windows and the best blind-spot mirrors. but that has been changing in recent years as the numbers get closer. This still means that an awful lot of girls are in accidents. This is a test of your comprehension: Teenage drivers are more likely to underestimate hazards or fail to recognize dangerous situations. Now. Good grades make your insurance rates cheaper. This is a fact. even more than an adult. a young driver must learn to use his safety belts. and it outweighs things like youth’s faster reflexes and better eyesight when it comes to driving. Parents: This test is a reminder that a good teacher must be able to give facts without being insulting.
just say “almost every doggone one of them”) see teenage passengers doing something that was distracting to the driver. You might be frustrated but you recognize that there is no way to force your mind and body to do what they are not yet ready to do. homework. and not only will you stay safe but also you will earn the trust of those who control your driving privileges. and you can do the same to them. Many states limit the number or ages of passengers in a car driven by a teen. you will fumble until your muscle memory and coordination develop with practice. 94% (if you’re sick of math. indeed. School. parttime jobs. 75% of these students reported seeing teenagers driving while fatigued. so you work within your abilities as you progress. and you can take others down with you. This is one of the most annoying laws for a young driver to deal with.6 P a g e If you want to play the guitar. After all. you start with slower melodies and scales. and the more passengers the higher the risk. If you try to play harder material than you are ready for on the guitar.000 high school students from across the country. The problem is your friends can get you killed when you are a young driver. the whole point of driving is to go where you want to with your friends. If you try to play the screaming licks from your favorite bands. athletic events and social activities keep teenagers at a pace that would put a lot of adults in intensive . In a survey of over 5. you just look silly and sound bad. Teen passengers in the car increase the risk of accidents with a young person driving. If you try to drive faster or in situations beyond your abilities. which is another chronic problem for teen drivers. you can look and sound very bad. Acknowledge your limitations.
Not just in driving.7 P a g e care. The dangers of phoning and texting have been covered thoroughly in other areas. Dexterity does not change the fact that the driver who is texting is four times more likely to have an accident. Most texting teens are proud of their prowess. Laws and rules do not make as much impact on drivers as having real responsibility. you parents might like to know that 66% of the students surveyed said they cared about their parents’ opinions on cellphone use while driving and 56% said they relied on their parents when learning to drive. A car will definitely be treated with more respect if the teenager must earn it. partly because they are doing it more than any other group. and certainly teens can baffle their parents with the dexterity they show with a cell phone. and most young people are sleep deprived to some degree. It is a better gift and makes for a better driver if the teen must pay for the additional insurance costs either by earning the money or through chores. Many parents foot the entire bill for insurance and even give the young driver a car. and. You can’t be perfect but don’t ever waste that gift or avoid that responsibility. By the way. That’s nice to know and important to remember. Cell phone use and texting are deadly to teenage drivers. You have more influence than anyone else in your son or daughter’s life. the risks are much higher for the inexperienced driver. . Most accidents involving teenagers occur between 3 pm and midnight and during the weekends. like any distraction.
Australia safety organizations recommend at least 120 hours of parent-supervised driving. years of experience. peer pressure is huge for teens. and successful examinations to be a licensed landscape architect. But studies show that a parent often has more influence on their son or daughter’s decision than they expect. however. The typical driver’s education course is about 30 hours of classroom and 6 or more hours in the car. Then if you pass the test you are considered ready. Who is the best teacher of an up-and-coming driver? We already know the greatest influence on the young driver .000-pound instrument of destruction. Compare this with the hundreds of hours of training and supervision required before you are allowed to do other things.'s. Countries that have more demanding licensure requirements have fewer accidents and fatalities. It takes a college degree.S. The top answer stimulating the end of cell phone use while driving was losing the driver’s license. there are very few petunia-planting fatalities. to be in control of a 3. and their crash rates are much lower than the U. which is defined as the person who “arranges features of the landscape and garden attractively. with some limitations. The hours spent learning to drive will pay off in years to enjoy life. Being a competent driver takes more than meeting the minimum requirement. from putting in plumbing to giving a massage.8 P a g e Teenagers do not want their parents to know that they talk or text while driving.” With all due respect to their knowledge and skill. The student must also log 20 hours or more practice driving with a licensed driver.
goofy-haired kid whose music has surely killed your brain cells. then all is well with the world. in truly grim situations. Ask your teenager if he or she considers you a good driver. It can be nerve wracking to control your temper when your child is grinding gears or scraping the tires against the curb. Even if it’s a smart-alecky. It can be a time when relationships are healed and strengthened or when . usually followed by anger. whether she admits to it or not. Almost no one wants to admit they are a bad driver. an impersonation. probably in front of witnesses and possibly in writing. Taking the wheel of a car is probably the biggest step in a person’s life up that point. not only of your driving but also of your patience and ability to instruct. the first response is denial. he needs your patience and wants to impress you with his driving. and if you cannot control your temper the driving practice will be a nightmare for both of you. The sense-of-humor accusation is often then followed by an embarrassing attempt at a joke or. Certainly the parent should be involved and interested in the young driver’s progress and proficiency. Remember. if you are a good driver. Ask others for an honest opinion. and. The problem is that even if you are a reasonably good driver you may be a terrible teacher. Take advice. your child is nervous and unsure and wants to learn quickly not only for her own confidence but also to please you. before you get an honest answer. but this is a time for honesty. It’s good for the moral fiber. You may have to promise no punishment. It’s like being told you have no sense of humor. At least when someone is told they drive badly they don’t insist that everyone pile into the car for a demonstration.9 P a g e is the parent.
no…not yet!” Many school districts provide driver's education programs.10 P a g e nervousness and frustration bring out the worst in both of you. hit the turn signal. give more gas. Remember that the driving student is doing everything for the first time and must think through every move. there should be some other professional training available. go where that guy goes. “Follow that red truck on to the ramp and then go right at the light. The professionals will teach the basics thoroughly and in a way that will meet the licensing requirements and will be . While you can see the gap. If you cannot say.” it’s not good enough to shout. “Hey. No. That guy! Turn…. so showing a calm and reasonable demeanor will help ingrain that approach to driving as well as making the time together pleasant and successful. The new driver has not developed muscle memory and reflexes to accomplish all these things and get directions at the same time. The new driver knows you are nervous and out of your element. check your mirrors and scratch your nose simultaneously. You must be able to give instructions clearly and concisely. and if those are not available in your area. It is often best to have the course taught professionally simply because it is easier for the student to make mistakes with a teacher rather than a parent.
insurance information and towing services. The young driver needs basic. Save corrections while driving for those things that are important and which must be done for safe and legal driving and which other aspects of being a good driver techniques are built on.” but it doesn’t hurt a bit. “That was a good smooth turn. Remember to give credit for good moves. the mall parking lot and parallel . Your son or daughter may roll his or her eyes when you say something as inane as. if it is a private company.11 P a g e up on recent traffic regulations or changes that you might not be aware of. Even if you have worn a comfortable slouching groove in the driver’s seat and have some disagreements with what the instructor says is the right way to position the seat or grip the wheel. make sure the school is reputable and licensed. Make sure that they understand that you know mistakes will happen and honesty is the right way to deal with accidents or tickets. While your teen is studying the manual or attending class. Learn to control your temper and make sure they know your first concern is their safety. Of course. While the most worry and most time is often devoted to high-speed driving. Do not try to fine-tune every move or dictate every twitch of the wheel. prepare a checklist of information she might need when she begins driving alone. try to compromise and explain or discuss when the car is not in motion and pick your battles. safe techniques that are taught consistently. List phone numbers to call in the event of breakdown or accident. Be sure that you are involved in practicing with the person who will soon be soloing in your car and that you read the manuals so that you are on the same page as the driving instructor.
Remember that gaps in traffic are difficult to judge for the new driver. which studies suggest is at about age 25 (and which. and of learning to drive is speed and distance. Remember when you are judging the moment to turn into traffic you are used to seeing it. When you are out practicing with your student. wasn’t it?). is to some extent beyond his control. allowing more space between vehicles. The young driver has better reflexes than someone even ten years older. The younger driver is most likely to be speeding. Yet the young driver has more accidents and more moving violations than other age groups. which. wives say. Until that faculty completely matures. His vision is usually sharper and his hearing is often better. The driver must show patience and develop recognition of the perspective the mirrors provide. and remember that speeding is not just going . but it needs to be a large part of driving practice. deciding. and turning the wheel. Better to let easy ones go by than to rush at the wrong moment. The first explanation is judgment. the young driver must compensate by driving slower. say it. hitting the gas (your turn signal was already on. process it and relay all those messages for the physical movements required. as we have already discussed. The essence of learning is patience. and having fewer distractions. all nearly simultaneously. and he or she must hear it. Parallel parking is one of the most difficult skills to learn and demands the ability to judge space and distance. you must see it.12 P a g e parking are where more accidents will take place. in men is probably never). This can seem boring and slow. Unfortunately these are all the things a young person finds most difficult to do.
or when you are not at your best because you are tired or have been drinking.13 P a g e beyond the number on the sign. Far too many of those injured in accidents were the passengers of a drunken driver. “friends” were available that knew the driver should not be behind the wheel before he or she ended or ruined his life and those of others.” Being a teenager is often tough. Remember that you have the right to protect yourself. as hard as any career. and real fellowship. There simply is no safe amount of alcohol for a teenager to drink when he or she may be behind the wheel of a car. But you deserve real fun. but there is no question it is one of the most common problems among teen drivers. more often than not. and it would be foolish to ignore it. And the reason for this insanity is “fun. In 2008. and. it is driving at any speed in which you cannot stop or react safely. in rainy or snowy weather. and alcohol at any level is more disruptive for a teen driver’s abilities than to an older person. If your situation or friendship needs alcohol or drugs to make it better. but it is too important and too sad that teenagers are faced with so many choices for things that seem good for such a few minutes and yet destroy lifetimes. you are being cheated and sold a second-rate act. 25% of all teen drivers killed had blood alcohol levels greater than the legal limit. on gravel roads. Of course you should not be drinking at all. I realize that this may seem preachy. Do not let yourself be placed in that . and sometimes seems to come with fewer choices. It is infuriating that someone had to illegally sell or give these irreplaceable young men and women the means to kill themselves and other people. and none of those things need come with regret. and real laughter. It is certainly understandable and even right for young people to seek all the laughter and fun they can.
If you want to be their friend. care enough to ask and care enough to face scary answers. and be a true friend and call police.” But it is very difficult to know for yourself if you are able to ”handle” it (How many people have you ever heard admit that they couldn’t?) and much more difficult to overcome these habits without help. If you can honestly say you can drink responsibly and don’t take any risks of driving when you know you have had more alcohol than is safe (and that is very little). get out of the car. You may be amazed at the fact that your son or daughter is willing and maybe waiting to talk about these things. It is not true that you “need it. then you can have a reasonable discussion. including marijuana. If you cannot stop a drunken friend from driving. Don’t accuse but don’t condone either. get legal yourself.” and it is a rather cowardly lie that “Everyone does it. Don’t accuse but ASK. A person’s desire to keep a license or a friendship does not excuse the risk of the lives of others. Parents: Ask your teenagers about using alcohol or dope. If you are a teenager drinking or using any type of drug to enjoy your social life. If you drink or use weed.14 P a g e position. Even bad days are a precious part of your life. Many medical workers will tell you that it seems that it is always the innocents hit by a drunken driver that are more seriously injured than the one that caused it. Talk to your family. do something unimaginable and very brave. and the good ones and really fun memories are too valuable to be lost to alcohol and hangovers. and perhaps you can help each other. your child is already well aware of that. If you are one of the many who can’t drink a little without drinking a lot. Some people cannot drink at all without drinking all .
Let’s get something straight. and be proud that you know that the few moments of dealing with an irritating driver have no importance in your life. This is too important. Learn to take a deep breath and let the incident go by. The fact that emotions are closer to the surface for younger people is natural. but it means that the young driver must give more space to other drivers and be willing to ignore stupid mistakes or aggressive driving. patiently and wisely. Some parents don’t want to be called hypocrites. taught or scolded. may do wonderful things in many areas of your relationship far beyond knowing your son or daughter is driving safely. have your own personalities and interests. Road-rage incidents are more common for younger drivers than older ones. A teen who can say that they have to check in when they get home and that their parents check for traces or alcohol or smoke often benefit in the form of reduced peer pressure. unique. and it is not weakness to admit that and simply avoid the risk. The things that affect your driving and safety also affect the driving of parents. teachers.15 P a g e that’s there (most teenagers are in this category). You are not stupid and you are not here just to be bossed around. “Get OVER It!” This may have all seemed over the top. You are young. and you are valuable. Losing your temper puts you in the wrong and often in danger. but just one drinking episode can cost your life and those of others. Let the other guy act stupidly. Talking about this subject. boys and girls (I bet you hate being called that): There is nothing wrong with you. Some risks are just too great and losses too painful. Sometimes it seems that the teenager never gets a break from being warned. .
some of whom actually think it’s funny to try to bug the driver. distractions and driving errors are more common and more dangerous to young people simply because they have more of them and they do not have experience to help balance the risks. That is why it is important to minimize all the risks and distractions you can. Be courteous and patient. but other distractions that contribute much more to young people than to adults are passengers. and the more you know now the longer and better your life will be. . Cell phones and texting are far ahead of the field in contributing to accidents and fatalities. and. that wailing noise from the car with all the flashing lights filling up your rear-view mirror. we learn slower as we age. horns or shouts from people and cars around you.16 P a g e and people of all ages. Don’t hesitate to say and demonstrate that you know and understand these things to older people. most humiliatingly. Music is a big part of most teenagers’ lives and personalities. Still. Played too loud it can affect your attention and also drown out warning sounds from your engine. There is no possible way to claim to be mature if you do that or allow it in your car.
Other objects in the car can be equally distracting. Mirrors are your eyes in many situations. Make the driver’s seat your own. such as books or packages on the seats or floor that can shift and distract your attention or slide or roll under the brake or gas pedals. Do not try to compensate by leaning or slumping. Eating and drinking in the car are done more by younger drivers and are the cause of accidents not only through not paying attention due to reaching for food or obscuring your vision with the sandwich or cup but also by not being able to grip the wheel. Even though this causes irritation between drivers sharing the same car.17 P a g e The few seconds it takes to change the radio tuner or replace a CD are often enough for the driver to veer into another lane or collide with another vehicle. Many one-car accidents are caused by spilling drinks and jerking the wheel in reflex. you must position the seat and the mirrors to give you the best control and the best view around you. It only takes a moment to make the adjustments you need to be able to see better and react . Purchase high-quality wide-view mirrors and attach them properly.
allowing different levels of independence. Driving is fun. If you are in an accident remember to stay calm and evaluate what needs to be done. Let the professionals help and guide you through whatever is needed. Teenagers are the least likely drivers to use seat belts. These systems allow more freedom as the driver gets older or has more time as a licensed driver. The license may restrict the beginning drivers from driving at night or with passengers in the car. Place flares or reflectors as needed. and driving safely makes it fun for a whole lot longer. Get to a safe place and assist anyone who is injured. Let’s Recap: Taking the wheel is usually the most challenging step in a teen’s life up to that point. Do not lose your temper or panic. Do not try to move any injured people unless they are in danger of fire or oncoming traffic.18 P a g e faster. Call for help. The greatest influence on how a beginner drives is the parent. as well as to prevent becoming tired or cramped while driving. . Remember that many areas use Graduated Driver Licensing systems. and this neglect is responsible for more frequent and more severe injuries. Learning to drive is a time for both teens and adults to learn about safety and each other.
don’t wait for the other to talk about drinking or other safety issues. Phone Use and Texting are the number one distraction for teens in accidents. Alcohol affects any driver but has greater effect in smaller amounts on teens. teens are more likely to be involved in an accident than any other age group Judgment does not fully develop until about age 25. Recognize the higher levels of energy. emotion. and exhaustion that teens deal with. but parents are risking a great deal in allowing the use of the car. allow more space than you think you need. There is no shame in driving within this limitation. Give each other some slack. Teen drivers underestimate or do not recognize hazards. steering wheel and mirrors for the individual driver.19 P a g e The teen has a lot at stake when learning to drive. Financial responsibility is an great motivator. Parents. Per mile driven. spend all the time you can with your young driver. . anxiety. Young passengers in the car greatly increase the rate of accidents for teen drivers. Parent or teen. Eliminate all distractions from the car Set the seat. but recognize your own limits.
get into a safe place. It’s about safety. Remember.20 P a g e Get Maxi View Mirrors to improve your child’s safety. The first few years of driving may have special limitations on the license. call for help and place flares or reflectors as needed. If you are in a crash. not punishment. stay calm. 2 .
There has been a great deal of discussion in the news and chat shows about the use of phones and texting while driving. letting go of the wheel to make gestures that the caller cannot see. Perhaps you face forward and keep one hand on the wheel as you discuss small events and great thoughts with your friends. or your hands off the wheel. Eating. putting on makeup. peoplewatching. Twenty-nine states have already passed laws banning texting and more are in the process. but the fact is you can’t be as good a driver as you should be if you are trying to communicate with people who are not in the car. We have all seen people drifting unevenly down the road as they chat into their phone. DON’T TALK YOURSELF TO DEATH Did she mean to text “I love you” when the air bag hit the phone? Driving distractions come in all shapes and sizes when we drive. Every one of these steals your attention from the road and places you in a position that can ruin or end your life or the lives of others. Attempts at telepathy or spirit contact are even more demanding and distracting but would take too much time to go into. but please remember that the car is traveling just as fast and you are taking just much risk if you try to do any of those things that take your eye and mind off the road. Maybe you aren’t that bad. reading. For the purposes of this discussion we are referring only to earthbound people and talking to them by phone. Even if it .21 P a g e 2. the most common driving distractions today. or looking at maps are all common mistakes many people make. and especially texting. What follows is mostly about phoning and texting.
traffic laws really are designed to keep you safe. and there is logic and science behind most of them. and there is no reason to be typing away while you try to drive no matter how long you have been driving. and you may think this is very unfair. should be using all their faculties to keep themselves and the rest of us safe.22 P a g e seems that the lawmakers are just a bunch of spoil-sports trying to control everybody or make money from fines. You have a good point. Anyone in control of more than a ton of steel and glass. Some controversy is added because in some places the laws restrict texting only to younger drivers. traveling at over 95 feet per second. THIS IS NOT A SOLUTION! . The only slight reasoning behind placing more restrictions on young people is that younger people tend to do more talking and texting and the older driver may have enough experience to respond instinctively to hazards even if not fully focused. Texting is distracting at any age. That slight advantage is not enough.
texting can slow a young person’s response time to that of a 70-year-old. so put the phone down or let grandpa drive. let alone injury to yourself or someone else. The fastest human reaction time is about half a second.23 P a g e It’s true that teens and young drivers have much faster reflexes than older drivers. reaction time can take several seconds and hundreds of feet. Don’t convince yourself you are the exception no matter your age or skill. In fact. your car will travel over 40 feet by the time you start to deal with some sudden change. but they tell a story and they tell the truth. add texting and your reaction time is slowed by 30%. but that is balanced somewhat by needing more time to make decisions due to inexperience. Let’s do the statistics thing… You may think numbers are boring. and try to imagine one that would have been worth even damage to your car. which means if you are going 55 miles an hour. Ego gets people killed! Every person being lifted into an ambulance or looking at the wreckage of cars or lives felt able to multi-task and take care of himself and the car. Think back over every conversation you have had for the last few weeks. Now. Depending on the person and any distractions. You can ignore the statistics on .
remember that it’s a serious injury if it happens to you).000 crashes. also found that it is significantly safer to talk to the passenger. Ignore the facts on driving distractions and the highway can get your blood. and the percentage gets higher each year. . the U. then you are intelligent enough to know how stupid it is to drink and drive. That’s more than one out of five. 330. Over 21% of fatal accidents involving drivers 19 and under involves texting while driving. Think of five people you care about and try to decide which one is expendable for the chance to talk or text just a little bit sooner. Before you compare talking on the phone to just talking to someone in the car with you. 25% of accidents are caused by cell phone use. 12.600 deaths per year.24 P a g e roulette if you want to. of U. If you care enough about being a good driver to be reading this. but the casino still gets your money. so you are a danger from the front and the back.000 serious injuries (don’t try to play the odds with that statement. yet texting is about six times more likely than driving while intoxicated to cause an accident. and 2. The Human Factors and Ergonomics study showed that someone using a cell phone is much slower to react to brake lights and slower to regain speed after braking.000 injuries. The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis reported that cell phone use is estimated to contribute to 636. The University of Utah simulator studies show that there is no reduction of risk using hands-free devices rather than hand-held phones.
is worth the risk. For centuries people could not communicate every thought that came into their head without even seeing the . It’s about more than safety… I mentioned ego earlier. Sometimes it is the closest thing to privacy we get. The numbers go on and on. You deserve to treat yourself with this kind of respect and you deserve to have friends and family to treat you this way also. but is not the same. and there may be more dangerous activities than using cell phones but that is the one that occurs more often and for longer periods. It only takes a few minutes to pull off the road and communicate important messages. in the sense that you should not convince yourself you are an exception to reaction times and statistics. Truck drivers were 23. You deserve to be safe and to not be put into dangerous situations. Eighty percent of accidents are caused by distracted drivers. Now I’d like you to think about self-respect. whether texting or talking. The time in the car is a wonderful time to relax and clear your mind. and there simply are none that would make you think driving and cell phones. Respect for yourself and others is a very good reason to leave texting and phone calls for when you are not driving.25 P a g e From the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute: Texting is the most dangerous of phone-related activities. Remember these are pros who drive for a living. Cell phone use is the number one driver distraction. which some people confuse with being egotistical.2 times more likely to have a crash or near-crash while texting than when not distracted.
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person they were talking to. This doubtless prevented both fights and unwise relationships. The people who wait to hear from you appreciate your time and company. I’m sure you realize how meaningless so much of your conversation is when you simply talk for hours because the phone allows you to do so, and you are simply filling in silences. To put it crudely, some people call this kind of chatter a mind vomit. No thought and no value. When you wait to talk to someone, and you know your time with them is limited, you both tend to think about what you want to say and consider the other person’s interest and reaction. It feels good to use your mind to express yourself the best way you can, instead of relying simply on the number of words spoken. Respect for yourself and others are great trade-offs for the dubious convenience of wireless chat. Texting is much more distracting than talking, and your car travels a surprising distance in the time it takes you to read a text message. If you take only 3 seconds to read a message while driving on the expressway, your car will travel the length of a football field before you even look up to see what is coming.
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Notice the distance in car lengths . There are plenty of statistics and studies to show how dangerous texting and driving is, but you already know why. Not only are you distracted by the conversation; you are taking your eyes off the road to read, you use more of your concentration to type than to speak, and of course you have at least one hand off the wheel. One more little note about respect: It is rude to text when you are with other people. You will find that those who disagree only do so depending on their place in the situation. Texting while in the company of others serves to exclude those people. The one text message that should be acceptable while driving is in the nature of: “He has a gun, he’s hearing voices, and we just crossed the state line...” There is time to enjoy conversations (or snacks, or books, or having great hair or makeup), and a time to be a safe and courteous driver with a healthy future. Knowing
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when to do the one helps ensure a lifetime of the others.
LETS RECAP: A few seconds’ distraction can mean a lifetime of regret (or no lifetime at all). A car at 55 miles per hour travels over 80 feet per second. 80% of accidents are caused by distracted drivers: Texting Phones Eating Drinking Changing radio or other music player Using GPS or other device Reading Watching video of some type Make-up or shaving Anger at other drivers Emotional upset If you can think of it, people have probably tried to do it while driving. Anything taking your focus from driving or hands from the wheel is a distraction.
Young people are most likely to text. Texting slows your reaction time by over 30%. Texting is the most dangerous phone-related activity. More than one fifth of teenage driving deaths are related to texting. You deserve to drive safely without distractions.29 P a g e Cell phone use is the number one driver distraction. Texting while driving is illegal in most states. but the risks from distractions affect all ages. .
There has been much more written elsewhere on driving while distracted. and talking on a cell phone runs close behind. Studies show that speed as a factor in collisions is usually because the driver is going too fast for conditions. Far too often we drive at the speed that is posted or that we are used to driving in a familiar area but which is far too fast when the pavement is wet or icy. The idea that a quick phone call is that you will only talk for a very short time ignores the fact that the act of dialing or reaching to answer a phone is more distracting than the actual conversation. or don’t understand how dangerous some of their behavior is. the very number of people doing them and the frequency that they take place make them a high priority for change. sometimes subtle errors. The simple idea of driving the posted speed limit is not the most important factor in how fast you drive. Speeding is almost too easy to list. Even drinking while intoxicated causes fewer accidents than phone use. BAD HABITS MOST DRIVERS DON’T KNOW THEY HAVE Many people do careless things without even realizing it. Materials spilled from . and there is more to consider than just the number on the street sign. although of course going faster than the limit will get you a ticket. and this section is about other. While some of these habits may not seem as dangerous as others you might think of. The behavior that makes number one on just about any list of high-risk driving habits is texting. Consider whether any of the things on this list hit close to home.30 P a g e 3. but just saying “everybody does it” is not an excuse any adult should be using.
The most likely result of this behavior is to distract or temporarily blind the person in front of you from the lights in his mirror. Remember that the one in the rear is almost always considered at fault. . Rain. Be aware of road and weather conditions and adjust your speed accordingly. and that makes two of you. Some people tailgate because they feel that they can intimidate the person ahead into moving aside or picking up speed. The amount and type of traffic is a factor. or to cause him to become irritated or anxious. ill. anxious or distracted. Sometimes the only right speed is what you can achieve by walking. Allow for unusual motor traffic but also pedestrians in the area. this type of tailgater is also often the one flashing his headlights at the car ahead. It is a trigger to many road-rage incidents. Adjust speed to your own condition too. especially children. Tailgating is a habit that many people do regularly but almost all would deny. Tailgating obviously makes accidents more likely. too. yet those same people are very aware of when someone is following them too closely. or road damage can limit room to maneuver and damage your car’s steering or braking components. but also if you are tired. This means his driving judgment will be poor. snow or fog can reduce visibility. What tailgating will rarely do is get you to your destination much faster.31 P a g e trucks can ruin traction and obstacles. certainly if you have had any alcohol or are using medications.
you are following too closely. Watch for a fixed object such as a road sign or tree and as the car ahead passes count slowly: 0ne-one-thousand. Remember the people around you are capable of . Remember your closeness to the car in front of you has nothing to do with how fast you get where you are going. A simple means of keeping a safe distance is to make sure you are at least 2 seconds behind the car ahead. two-one-thousand. It’s not enough to estimate some fixed space such as 2 car lengths. allow a longer gap. If conditions are slippery or foggy. because the distance it takes to react and stop increases with speed. The use of turn signals is required by law and can save you from serious accidents. if you reach the marker before two seconds have passed. preferably double the length or more.32 P a g e Sometimes tailgaters are simply not experienced enough to realize what the safe distance is from the car ahead. Turning signals are not just there so you can be polite to the drivers around you if you choose to.
In newer cars. You may suspect a person at an intersection is going to turn. Be sure that your signal is not flashing when you are not planning a turn. but this is exactly the situation when collisions often occur. turning signals are made to automatically turn off when the steering wheel is straightened after the turn is complete. Use your turning signals every time it is called for. if you are driving . It is probably more common to fail to signal when changing lanes than when turning a corner and also more dangerous. regardless if you think you are alone on the road or not.33 P a g e hitting your car with more than 30 tons of force even if driving less than 30 miles an hour. In these days of road rage. simple courtesy is not only the right way to behave. It’s a good idea to give those people all the warning and cooperation you can. but it is not uncommon for this feature to fail. do not underestimate the anger and frustration that people experience when taken by surprise by a thoughtless driver. This can be as dangerous as not signaling. Turning signals are to be used when you are making a turn or changing lanes. but there is no way to predict when a person is going to move into your lane unless they signal. someone that you have not seen may be approaching and your signal would alert them to your move and save you both. for example. In those times that you feel like you are alone on the road and need not worry about signaling. Signal about 100 feet before the turn. Aside from the chance of accident. it can save your life. Not only do you want to have the habit of signaling ingrained so strongly that you do it without thinking.
After that. but don’t forget how blinding they can be. but a good substitute if you have kids or grandkids is to teach them when you are supposed to signal. Some cars have a warning tone that will sound if your signal stays on too long. The other common and dangerous response to . Some people also use this as a signal to oncoming drivers that there is a police car ahead. Be courteous to pedestrians and bicyclists as well. Know when to use your high beams. moving in the same direction. Laws may vary depending on your locale. An excellent method for this is to angrily point out other drivers who failed to use signals.34 P a g e straight through an intersection when other drivers expect you to turn. and it is probably wiser to assume that the folks you meet are driving the speed limit. your kids will almost certainly remind you every time you turn or change lanes without moving that simple little lever and making the signal click and flash. Remember that wildlife will often freeze when hit with bright lights but may also become confused and blindly rush into your path. and you should take advantage of the improved vision they afford. It is common practice to flash your own high beams on and quickly off when meeting someone whose “brights” are in your eyes. but typically you must dim the lights if you are within 500 feet of cars traveling toward you and 300 feet of a car ahead. Police tend not to appreciate this dubious method of good fellowship. A person being blinded by high beams can become disoriented and drift from his lane. There are no mechanical devices to remind you to turn your turn signal on. The high beams are designed to be used. In some places this is illegal.
Keep your windshield clean and maintained. and your eyes will adjust much more quickly when the other driver has passed. Scratches and smears on your windshield make bright lights much more blinding.35 P a g e meeting someone who does not dim their lights is to put your own high beams on and leave them until the other person dims theirs. Of course. The bright lights are much less dazzling when seen with your peripheral vision. A better response when meeting a person who does not dim their lights is to leave your lights on dim and direct your eyes toward the left edge of your lane. It's best to assume the other driver is not intentionally being a pain in order to keep your own temper and judgment. Fog or snow can reflect the light from . Sometimes this occurs because one driver simply doesn't realize his lights are on high and he thinks he is the wronged party. now both of you are dazzled and quite often there is a clash of wills between bright lights and dim drivers.
36 P a g e your own high beams back at you. When trying to turn left at an intersection when the light is green. and then safely change lanes if you need to. Use the right light for conditions. but some drift outward. There are too many things happening in that situation. Remain in the same lane position until you are out of the intersection and traveling down the street you have entered. The proper way to turn from one multi-lane street onto another is to stay in the lane you start from. If no other left-turning vehicle is already in the intersection in front of you. if you are hit from behind. That way. you will not be driven into oncoming traffic. One of the most common driving errors everywhere is made when there is more than one turning lane. you always turn onto the left-most lane of that street. Use your turn signals. Turning safely is an art. possibly to position themselves for another turn down the road. When you are at an intersection controlled by stop signs rather than . but keep your wheels pointed straight until you actually begin your turn. then you will stay in that position throughout your turn and be in the same lane on the road you turn onto. If there are two lanes for turning left and you are in the lane furthest to the right. making the situation worse. If you are turning left onto a one-way street. you may enter the intersection and turn when there is a safe opening or when the light turns red and oncoming traffic stops. It is most common to see people drift toward the inner lane as they turn. wait for an opening in oncoming traffic. of course. with oncoming traffic and those behind you and beside you to keep track of. There is such a thing as being too polite. you must.
and rather than a smooth waltz through the intersection there is usually a flurry of starts and stops and gestures that are distracting and often result in near misses if not fender benders. the first to arrive is the first to go through the intersection. Coffee is not an adequate substitute for alert senses. or coming around you because they may think you are simply stopped or stalled. If you realize you are becoming too sleepy to drive. then at least get out of the car and stretch your muscles. especially someone coming up from behind you in the next lane.37 P a g e lights. but it also may place the person you are letting through in the path of oncoming traffic that he cannot see for your vehicle. This may just cause more traffic delays and frustration behind you. Walk around. The person who stops traffic behind him to allow drivers to exit a driveway or turn across the lane can also be doing a good deed with bad consequences. Get off the road and get some rest. do not try to force yourself to stay awake. If two or more cars arrive at the same time. It is all too easy to blame your workload. your kids. or just “having a bad night” for the fact that you are not alert enough to drive safely. If you cannot stop in a safe place and take a nap or rest for the night. the car furthest right has the right of way. Do not be such a nice person that you ignore these rules and wave the other driver ahead when you are clearly the one whose turn has come. stop for something to . Many people are so chronically tired that they are not aware that their judgment is impaired and their reflexes slow. Driving while drowsy is becoming a universal condition. This is confusing and frustrating to the other drivers.
but no coloring while you are behind the wheel. and with windows rolled up and the heater or a/c blowing outside sounds are already muted. driving is a lot like first grade. in which case you may face anything from rock-throwing pedestrians to senior ladies in BMWs approaching you at ramming speed. Today’s newer cars are soundproof. . and play fair. Determine if any medications you are taking are contributing to your sleepiness. Music that is too loud is a distraction. Driving while drowsy is far too great a risk to continue. Follow the rules.38 P a g e eat or drink. just sayin’…) This is not about your taste in music but about safety. unless you have converted it into one of those rolling boom-boxes with the super-powered bass amps. Keep your music set at a volume that you can hear the sounds of your engine or drive shaft giving warning cries. but that does not mean it is normal. dangerous. You should be able to hear your car’s electronic warning signals or the shouts or horns honking outside your car. It’s also a bad thing if your music keeps you from hearing the police car so that he thinks you might have been ignoring him. and honestly evaluate your ability to continue before getting back on the road. Several illnesses or conditions such as sleep apnea are serious. and require medical treatment. (Not condoning those things either. Sleepiness may be a chronic state for you. No one is trying to stop you from listening to your radio in your car. be as polite as you can safely.
Use the right lights for the road and weather conditions. High beams are for your safety but misused can be dangerous to you and others. talk or focus on anything but driving. Learn the rules of the road.39 P a g e LETS RECAP: Remember the big ones: Do not eat or drink. Can’t say it any nicer. Using turn signals isn’t a just a courtesy. it is a law and a life-saver. Keep your car’s windows clean and scratch-free for safe vision. Tailgating is stupid. text. . turn within the proper lane.
Music is to accompany your driving experience. Be courteous but within the rules of the road and established right-of-way. not overwhelm it. . Pull over when you are drowsy. chronic sleepiness can be a symptom of illness.40 P a g e Remember the 2-second rule to stay a safe distance from the car ahead.
Spare tire. . Cell phone and battery charger that plugs into your car lighter. Owner’s manual. but every car eventually needs a little rest and repair. and it usually seems to happen in the worst possible place. 2. either to fix the problem yourself.41 P a g e 4. Few would cost as much twenty dollars. or to stay safe and reasonably comfortable until help arrives. They are a gold mine of information. 3. but you still need to be prepared. 1. They are useful for any location. WHAT SHOULD BE FOUND IN EVERY CAR Sometimes the car seems like a self-sufficient room on wheels. Give it some thought. but your particular area or driving habits may give you a sense of which should be a priority and ideas for other items you consider being necessities. and enjoy creating a stash in your car that gives you confidence in your ability to deal with emergencies. if you don’t have one. Cell phones make being broken down at the side of the road a little less hazardous than it used to be. Check the air pressure when you have the oil changed. If you have a dependable car and keep it maintained properly. The articles in this list are easy to find and need not take up a lot of space. get one through the dealer or buy a basic repair manual specific to your car at an auto parts store. and many of them you will already have. I know it seems obvious but it’s surprising how often the spare is missing or flat. it will take you where you want to go almost any time.
“Cheater bar” (this is not something to whack your boyfriend with if you think he’s fooling around). 5. Slip it over the lug wrench handle and use the extra length to grip and lift. wheeled hydraulic jack. these give more leverage and are safer to use than the simple jack-handle type and will let you remove different-sized lug nuts. Too often repair shops using air-wrenches tighten lug nuts so much that you cannot get them free without the extra leverage a cheater bar affords. Of course. Be careful that the wrench does not twist or slip off the nut. it is simply a pipe about 3 feet long. your brakes should be set and a rock or chock placed . 6. Small. Be sure to point the length of the jack in the direction of the slope if you are on a hill. just large enough to fit over the lug wrench handle. Four-way lug wrench. These are more stable than most of the jacks that come in the car and often allow you to roll it into place and lift the car with little effort.42 P a g e 4.
or crank-and-shaketype batteries. These allow you to recharge the light by turning a crank or shaking the flashlight. Flashing LED lights are attention getters. A small flat piece of wood to give the jack footing on soft ground and a chock to block the wheels. You get the idea that tires are good things to take care of by now. or partially flat tires for situations that are unsafe for tire changing. it is better for the jack to roll than to tip the car. Being seen is the key to avoid being hit. They do take up trunk space. 8. but it can be well worth it. Be sure to warn the tire repair shop if you have used this stuff because it will stay in the tire and excess material can spray out when they break the tire loose from the rim. . and I have read varying opinions on whether it will actually damage the inside of the tire or prevent having it permanently repaired later. don’t you? 9. This is a temporary fix only. and the batteries are very long lasting. Many fold flat. 10. The lights that joggers wear are very handy and inexpensive. Flashlight and extra batteries. Reflectors or warning lights. 7. Tire sealer (commonly called fix a flat) for slow leaks.43 P a g e behind the wheels of the car when jacking it up. The orange triangles are standard warning emblems and don’t rely on batteries. I recommend two cans. Get enough to place behind and on your car and one or two to wear while you are moving around at roadside. but it can get you out of a dangerous situation. but if the car moves downhill.
44 P a g e 11. but electric devices and reflectors have replaced them as they usually only burn for less than 30 minutes. horn and cell phone to get attention. and 6 or 4 are best. They usually will be marked with a number called the gauge of the wire. Flares used to be a basic staple in the trunk. the thicker the wire. The lower the number. because he wished to be helpful. Put the red clamp on the positive. Crossing them will cause a short circuit. at a safe distance. and maybe a battery explosion. a very hot cable. Never get a cable smaller than an 8-gauge. This is definitely not advice to use them as a weapon. Your best course when in doubt of a person’s intentions is to lock yourself in the car and use lights. Be very careful to match the clamps to the same battery post on both cars. This keeps any sparks (and your . and the better the conductivity of the cable. It is safest to clamp the negative clamp onto the engine block rather than directly onto the battery post. Jumper Cables: There are few things as depressing as having your hood up as you stare at a dead battery and. They come in various lengths and 10 to 12 feet will usually be long enough for any situation. Battery booster or jumper cables are heavy wires with large clamps on each end. finding neither of you have any cables. Place the positive clamps on first and then the negative. They also are a great fire starter if you are broken down in cold weather and are going to be stuck for awhile. when someone offers a jump-start. On the other hand. they are very visible and drivers have no doubt that they are a warning of a stalled car. They have even been used to keep someone who did not stop.
Do not hold the key on for more than a few seconds since that will make the starter get hot and create more electrical resistance. Battery Jump-Starters: These are great for the person who is very independent or just can’t ever get anybody to help them (in which case you might want . Cranking the starter motor for too long can damage it. If your car is very low or if you have lights or other accessories turned on you may hear the “donor” car’s engine slow down as your car pulls energy. Car batteries can release Allow the booster car to run for a short time before trying to start your car.45 P a g e face) away from the battery. Do not pump the gas pedal if your car is reluctant to start as that will flood the engine. gases that are explosive. Disconnect the cables as quickly as possible when the car starts. The other driver may need to increase the rpms by giving the engine a little more gas. 12.
but that can get expensive. Large plastic bags: Used to lie on or protect or store other items 15. because they will run down while sitting in your trunk. On the road it can fill an overheated radiator. 16. Higher amps and more frills can increase the cost to well over $100. cool you . They are basically a nicely packaged battery with jumper cables attached. which is measured in amps. You hook these to a low battery just as though you were being jumped from another car. 13. Water has always been and will always be a staple of life. Water: Gallon Jugs. and the higher the better. certainly over $50. The emergency-type Mylar blankets take up almost no space and can keep you warm or be used to reflect the sun to help keep you cool. such as the cost. not just drinking bottles. and they are great for warmth or cushioning.00. Blankets: one regular soft blanket rolls up tightly and takes up little space. but probably a low priority due to cost and infrequent need. Poncho or rain gear 14. There are downsides.00 for one that has enough cranking power.46 P a g e to work on your first impression or move to a different town). This device might be something to save for a winter purchase. Some also have lights and even air compressors. You also must charge these units from an electrical outlet periodically. They are wonderful when you need them and they are ready to use.
Your engine and steering pump life and efficiency depend on fluids. You fill the transmission through the same hole that the dipstick goes in. . antifreeze.47 P a g e by dampening your clothes. you will feel much better if you can clean up after a setback. Seriously. One container of each of the basic fluids: oil. the rest are quarts or less. Remember that the transmission has to be checked with the car running. rather than quarts. 17. 18. This is a must to get transmission fluid into the filler tube. Let the funnel drain and wipe it out before using it with different fluids or storing it. Long-neck funnel. It can also be used to clean cuts. so learn how to check them and do it routinely. power-steering fluid and windshield cleaner. and it’s rarely in a good spot. The antifreeze and windshield solvent are the only gallon jugs. you want to look like you handled it with ease. you want to be able to clean any cuts or scrapes you may get while getting back on the road. Waterless hand cleaner and towels: You don’t want to just get to your meeting after a car problem. More importantly. and the stick is marked in pints. 19. This funnel will also be handy for some brake fluid reservoirs and power steering pumps. It is surprising how quickly a broken-down vehicle and a long wait or an unplanned walk for help make us realize how precious water is. and even when warm from the trunk will prevent dehydration when you drink it. transmission fluid.
but there may be a little gadget either in the box of fuses you bought or in a little nook in the fuse box itself. Get the most complete kit you can afford. Get one that includes gauze and tape. Some designers seem to think that fuses should be kind of a hidden treasure. Fuse boxes may be under the dash or inside the glove compartment. and read the manual. The self-cooling ice and warming packs are a welcome addition. and you don’t want to be trying to read directions if you are in the middle of one. 22. The fuse holder itself will often have a diagram of which fuse controls which devices. It’s a great feeling to know what to do in minor emergencies. and absorbent pads. Fire extinguisher: A extinguisher designed to work on all materials. Fuses: An assortment of fuses of the type designed for your car. or a few other places.48 P a g e 20. but at least go further than Band-Aids. Use your manual and only replace a blown fuse with the same size. aspirin. 21. will weigh under 5 pounds and usually comes with a mounting device so that you can clamp . The little fuses are often difficult to remove. called a multipurpose or A-B-C extinguisher. First-Aid Kit: You don’t need a terribly extravagant first-aid kit.
be serious): Spray lubricants can free a sticking bolt or lug nut. system to use the extinguisher.49 P a g e it in an accessible place in your trunk. then forget the extinguisher and get away from it. Keep it in the trunk and forget it is there until you really need it.S. Don’t leave any aerosol can on a hot engine.S. Midnight munchies are not an emergency. but check the manufactures' recommendations and beware of flame and sparks. .A. 24. These little tubes invariably fall off and get lost. (P)ull the pin in the handle (A)im at the bottom of the fire (S)queeze the trigger (S)weep the spray from side to side 23. Remember the P. Lubricant (Oh. There are smaller ones available that could be fixed under the dashboard if there is safely room to mount it there. so put a couple of fat rubber bands around the can to keep them together. Get one of the cans with the spray tube to reach small spaces. A fire extinguisher can save damage to your car by preventing a small fire from getting larger. including some change in case by some miracle you find a real pay phone if your cell phone is dead. Money: A small stash with enough to get you some gas or pay a toll. Some lubricants can be sprayed on damp electrical connections such as coil wires to overcome the moisture and get you moving. but if there is any question that the fire is out of hand. You don’t want them rolling around your floorboards. You may free a sticking lock by spraying into the cylinder or onto the key itself.
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25. Long-lasting foods, nuts, or MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). These are military food packs, but you can find similar items in a camping supply store. If you are a city dweller you may not think this is necessary, but having some nourishment may make the difference between an inconvenience and a really miserable breakdown experience, if not actually a matter of survival. 26. Duct tape: Come on, you knew that was going to be on this list, didn’t you? Include a small roll of electrical tape as well. 27. Light rope: I don’t know why. You just gotta have rope in your trunk. Actually, you will find hundreds of uses, from supporting an injured limb, or securing your new garage sale purchase on the roof, or keeping the trunk closed, to keeping your mother-inlaw from feeding the kids all those snacks. 28. Tow rope or strap: Usually about 20 feet long, these can be used to get you out of an icy or muddy situation. Be careful to stand away from them as they can pull loose or break with a great deal of force. Pulling or being pulled requires knowledge of safe places to hook onto the frame of your car and the ability to control your speed and brakes in synch with
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another person. That is not easy, and you need to be aware of your limitations and the laws in your area. A tow rope is only to get you to safe place or solid ground and not for pulling a disabled car more than a very short distance.
29. Basic tools: If you aren’t very mechanically inclined, you may not get much benefit from a set of tools, but a couple of screw drivers, both flat blade and Phillips, a set of Hex wrenches (I refuse to make a pun about using them to put spells on people; they are often called Allen wrenches), needle-nosed pliers, heavy channel-lock pliers (often called plumbers’ pliers) and an adjustable wrench or two, plus a hammer and a utility knife, will meet many basic needs for minor repairs. There are ready-made kits for cars which come in their own little compact cases, and these can be handy, but quality is definitely linked with price on these. If you are the do-it-yourself type you may prefer to assemble your own kit with better quality essentials. 30. Ice scraper with a brush
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31. Gloves: Get a pair not just to keep your hands clean but also to protect them. Keep some thick gloves, preferably with leather or heat-resistant palms. Remember that parts of your engine and exhaust are well over 200 degrees. The rims of your wheels can be hot enough to burn you, because of the heat generated from friction. 32. Large candle and matches: This can help you start a fire if stranded in the countryside, and a single candle can warm the inside of a car enough to help you conserve body heat. This is never recommended except in extreme situations, of course, because there is always the chance of flammable gases inside the car. 33. Extra cell phone with car battery charging adapter: Even cell phones that are not on a current provider plan can often be used to call 911. 34. Extra set of clothes: When you have been exposed to rain or snow, these can help you stay clean and comfortable, or they can save your life. 35. Carpet remnant: This can lie flat in your trunk under everything else but be handy to lie on or to place under your tires if stuck on ice. 36. Bag of road salt or sand for traction. 37. Small shovel: OK; you may think of this as overkill, but it makes all the difference when stuck in snow or mud, and the small, folding shovels made for camping will take up very little space.
. and you will be surprised how much of this will fit into a plastic storage container that sits neatly in your trunk Almost all of it can be placed in one container. some obvious and some you may not have thought of but which will come in handy. along the inside walls of your trunk where they will take up little space. It can be fun to decide what is needed and look around for some of the cool. you can leave a note for those left behind to let them know how you got yourself into such a dumb situation. If all else fails. compact items. Note pad and pencil: Not vital but useful to take down directions. 39. This may seem like a lot of items. like the jack. Camera: Just something cheap and disposable can be nice to have to document an accident or prove you were abducted by aliens.53 P a g e 38. You may want to store liquids in a separate box or just fitted.
A sign of the wisdom. Vision dims over time. Age and experience rarely get the respect they deserve. or they may creep up on you so that it is difficult to be aware of them. and it’s so frustrating that things aren’t marked clearly. and years of driving bring skill and decision-making ability that younger drivers don’t have. . Ask someone close to you to answer these questions from their experiences with your driving. WISDOM OF THE SENIOR DRIVER We hopped into the back seat together. anyway? Try asking yourself a few questions. Traffic congestion or disruptive road work seem so much more nerve-wracking than they used to be.54 P a g e 5. Becoming an older driver is no joking matter. and honestly think back over your driving experiences lately. and there are some limitations and changes that are part of being a careful and responsible driver. Promise not to hit them. The problem with so many of the things that affect driving skills as a person gets older is that they can occur very suddenly. judgment and courage that come with age is adapting to the changes that come without embarrassment but with the recognition of what is best for yourself and those around you. as with a medication change. but only because we opened the wrong door. The car crossing the intersection far ahead may be frighteningly close by the time your foot travels from gas pedal to brake. and little by little we may be driving closer to the person in front of us or having to make sudden stops or turns as a sign pops up unexpectedly. however. There are some harsh realities we all have to face. What the heck is everybody honking for all the time.
. or painful? Few people are the best judges of their own driving. either when next to a curb or when fitting between the lines in a parking space? Do I hesitate. more difficult. or am I having trouble remembering what some of the symbols mean? Is my parking less accurate.55 P a g e Have I been drifting in my lane more or dropping the tires onto the shoulder? Are the road signs hard to read. or actually mistake the brake or gas pedal sometimes? Do I get confused or forget which turns to make or miss my exits? Is driving more frustrating. difficult. have to think about. no matter what age they are. or do I get anxious more often when driving? Is it true that people are honking at me or that very few of the gestures they are making are friendly waves? Have I gotten traffic tickets or warnings or had any close calls while driving? Are my friends or family worried about my driving? Is steering or working the pedals becoming uncomfortable.
In accidents where different ages collide. treat yourself like one. but in 28% of those crashes the older driver was making a left turn. We don’t bounce as well as we used to. Older drivers receive the most traffic tickets for failing to yield. Overcoming these effects is not a question of willpower. improper turning. the older driver is often the one hit. and running stop signs and lights. The older driver is injured more seriously. These are all indications of decreased driving ability. even when wearing safety restraints. It is simply the way your body and mind react. This reflects the decreased judgment and reaction time of the older driver. more than 7 times the number of leftturn accidents caused by younger drivers. . and accidents are more often fatal.56 P a g e A FEW LOUSY FACTS… Medications can affect your vision. thinking. and is not something you can control or should be ashamed of. We all know that young people get into a lot of accidents. and level of awareness. You are a valuable and ever more fragile person. but the sad truth is that in a 2007 study the rate of total accidents and the number of fatal accidents were the same for those aged 19 and under as for those aged 65 and over.
Consider some exercise classes to make it more fun and consistent. Drive with a companion to help watch the road. use every tool or method available to keep themselves and the people around them safe. This means greater distances as you get older and your reflexes slow. In some cases these . Find a mechanic that you can trust and have your cars checked regularly. Get out of the aggressive driver’s way. stop or steer away from a collision. Give the cars around you enough room to allow you to slow.57 P a g e ADAPT AND CONQUER… Smart drivers. but do not become distracted by conversation. Don’t let other drivers get on your nerves Make sure your eyes are checked regularly and your eyeglasses are correct. Plan your route to avoid schools and truck traffic. keep you alert and warn you if you start to show diminishing ability. especially the brakes and tires. but the safest and easiest way to handle the situation is to let him get by and go on his way. try to avoid night driving and times of heaviest traffic. regardless of age. The driver riding your rear bumper or hugging your side of his lane may be a jerk and is certainly wrong. Some states have tried to pass laws requiring more frequent testing for older drivers. Allow more time to get to your destinations. Stay physically active to maintain your strength and flexibility.
58 P a g e would be based not only on age but on driving accidents or tickets. Make sure your windows are kept clean and free of obstructions. effective device like the Maxi View mirror found at www. Do the same for the lights and mirrors. Eliminate blind spots in your mirrors by using a well-made. Be aware of physical changes which can be helped by accessory items. Weakening vision and slowing reflexes mean you want more warning of people coming toward you.maxiviewmirrors. it would speak well of your judgment and responsibility to voluntarily be tested or take refresher courses. If there are no such laws in your area. Senior citizens advocacy groups have contested these laws with the understandable desire to protect senior citizens from biased laws.com . Peripheral vision also is reduced as the years go by. such as cushioned steering wheel covers to offer better grip for those with diminishing hand strength.
Let’s Recap: Age and experience deserve respect. Plan ahead for the day when you decide to hand over the keys. Almost everyone knows a person who really needs a free or inexpensive automobile. Public transportation or shuttles for the older person are available in most communities. check with hospitals or churches. Appreciate the extra money saved from gas. Make this decision for yourself and do it in a positive way. insurance. forgetfulness. Be aware of the effects of illness and medications.59 P a g e When it’s time to say good-bye…. . taxes and repairs. Enjoy the freedom from the responsibility that car ownership includes. and protect your credit information. but changes are inevitable. This is a wonderful opportunity to spend private time with people who care about you. Set up a network of family and friends that can take you where you wish to go. Sooner or later everyone reaches the point where it is better not to drive. but be careful to deal only with reputable companies. and others. tickets. Consider the gift you can give to someone you care about. Shopping from home has become very easy. Do not ignore the warning signs: near-misses. If there is no publicly provided service. Be honest in self-evaluation and consider the view of those who know you.
stay active. Keep your car well maintained. and enjoy the positives. Allow extra room between yourself and other drivers. Plan for the time you no longer drive yourself. . Plan your trips for daylight hours and times of lower traffic. such as the Maxi View Mirror.60 P a g e Take care of yourself physically. Take driving tests or review classes periodically. value yourself! Allow extra time to get where you want to go. Older drivers are more likely to be severely injured in an accident. Use all the tools and accessories available to make driving easier and safer.
We find that road rage is not something that only happens to other people. some people think the demands of their busy day justify being aggressive. AVOIDING ROAD RAGE We think it is a phenomenon of big cities. Some are competitive. We would like to believe that it takes a fool or a drunk or perhaps someone with a mental illness to lose control that way. Road rage is different from aggressive driving. It’s almost impossible to spend any time in traffic without recognizing the drivers who can’t stand to be passed or have to be first to the stop light and first away. one day. Most of us know an aggressive driver. too many people get in our way. and finally someone does the one thing that is just too much to take. Then. Road rage is a feeling and exhibition of anger that may occur because of a real insult or inconsiderate act by another driver or by a completely innocent mistake or misunderstanding or even an offense that is completely imaginary. but it happens everywhere.61 P a g e 6. and you would see this lack of judgment and consideration in other areas of their lives. . too many things go wrong. Some are just jerks.
62 P a g e Road rage is most common with aggressive drivers. The violence of the situation tends to escalate so quickly that the victim responds foolishly. but in hundreds of cases the aggressor actually uses the car as a weapon. however. Many more occur in which drivers attempt to use their car to attack police officers. fear. of course. women and children are injured each year in traffic disputes and altercations. A person gripped with road rage is completely responsible for his or her actions and can face criminal prosecution. drugs (even prescribed medication). so many of the discussions here refer to the aggressive driver. A person so caught up in anger is strong and is not thinking of harm to himself. that many road-rage incidents involve people who are typically non-violent but due to stress. Dozens of incidents are reported of vehicles being driven into crowds. Some anger is limited to such things as light flashing and cursing. The amount and level of the anger and violence are increasing each year.500 men. Often. grief. alcohol or exhaustion may suddenly react out of character. and the person exhibiting the behavior may disregard the hazards to himself in an attempt to wreak vengeance. It is true. The person facing the aggressor in an incident of road rage may have no idea what is happening or how to deal with it. so he is a very dangerous opponent to try to fight. At least 1. the victim is simply caught flat-footed because he does not know . because the temperament makes it a shorter leap to real violent or criminal behavior. but he or she are probably rational enough to reason with. the reaction is irrational and often violent. What is consistent about road rage is that the response is out of proportion to the event.
If you have been in an accident and cannot move your car. You may consider that they are feeling protective or frightened for the children or just have an additional stressor. Frighteningly. and I was able to drive away. while 46% are women. Not surprisingly. A driver on the cross-street stuck his head out of the window. I wasn’t even on the same road as he was or in a position to have come anywhere near him before he blew a gasket.63 P a g e what has triggered the attack. leaving him unable to give chase. The traffic cleared. Road-rage incidents are becoming much more frequent. I still have no idea what the trigger was. but that means the people most in need of having good driving judgment are those most lacking in this respect. screaming and cursing. cell phone users are much more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior and road rage than . get a safe distance from the other driver. If you can drive away. even though it means leaving the scene of an accident. drive until you see a police car or reach a place where there are plenty of people. such as the larger percentage of incidents involving younger drivers than older. and men are the aggressor in about 56% of cases. drivers with children are much more likely to be the aggressor than those without. Some statistics are predictable. and I had never seen him before. cursing all the while. The safe response is to stay in your vehicle. I do know that even though I was much younger then I would not have wanted to tangle with someone so obviously out of control and with such disregard for his own safety. use your cell phone and attract as much attention as possible with lights and horn. If necessary. Many years ago I was sitting about third in line at a stop sign. He fought across a lane of traffic to get his car close to me.
especially if they are driving badly. . but research simply reveals so many negative and dangerous aspects of that habit.64 P a g e those who do not use phones while driving. the sight of someone driving while talking on a phone. not because of an actual driving incident but because the conversation was interrupted! I once honked at a woman who had drifted through a stoplight into the middle of an intersection. She shook her fist and clearly mouthed. Regarding cell phone use. escalates the anger in the other driver exponentially. I think the other drivers around us were as baffled as I at the fact that she had survived to drive as long as she had. conversations and destinations are more important than the average. The person using the phone while driving often becomes angry. “I’m on the phone!” while pointing at it. This is consistent with the cell phone user’s seemingly common attitude of feeling that their interests. This book has not been designed to attack drivers who phone and text.
or drop behind and let him get away. the angry driver does not usually hide his emotions. and it’s best not to assume he is just really attracted to you. If you find this attention really flattering you might want to get some help with your self-esteem. Try to pull ahead if you can do it without excessive speed. may be trying to intimidate you or put you into a position of ramming him if he suddenly brakes. The driver that races past you and then slows may just be the type that hates to follow people or. Is he speeding and slowing. They may be ill. or watching you in the mirror? Remember that some people who suddenly boil over emotionally are not mean or destructive people but may be going through some crisis in their life or may be dealing with some unusual stress. Did the car next to you veer over because he was careless. again. Slow down and give him plenty of space. Also. If the other driver changes speeds to match you. or was he trying to intimidate you? The person who stares at you from the next lane is not simply being careless. (I know I just said to use your cell while driving. but it does mean that you always consider the way your driving may be viewed by the people around you and the possible reasons for the way other people are driving. facial expressions as you are being passed are a clue. That does not mean you should be paranoid. or under . medicated. try to get off the highway and/or call 911 on your cell phone. Once again. but safety is all about good judgment and the best possible response to risk).65 P a g e The key to avoiding being threatened or attacked is being alert to the situation around you at all times. watch the way he drives once he is in front of you. veering.
Some people suggest having a sign in the car reading “Sorry” or “Thanks” that you could hold up as needed. who thought the gestures referred to him walked up to the open window of the stopped car and punched the repentant driver in the side of the head. If you do make a mistake and it is possible to make some gesture of apology. One very clever young man created a light-up version of these signs that he could turn on with a small switch while driving and illuminate his message through the rear window. rolling his eyes and shaking his head. so if you cut in front of someone and the situation is such that you are stopped or moving slowly enough you can use gestures and your facial expression or mouth the word “sorry. Give the cars around you plenty of space. consciously or not.” but you really have to be careful of hand gestures and how they might be seen from a distance. Most road-rage incidents are not entirely one-sided. Most drivers. Signal well before you change lanes or make a turn. One young man tried to indicate that he knew he had done something stupid by pointing his finger at his head. regard the car as an extension of their personal space. The best way to avoid crossing paths with an aggressive driver is to drive safely at all times. but if you need to plan on apologizing that much you probably would do better to get more driving instruction or stay off of the roads. then do so. At the next stop light. Plan . These are not bad ideas. If you stepped out in front of someone in a hallway you would not have too much pride to apologize. the other driver.66 P a g e the influence of alcohol or exhausted.
There is always a point in driving where you have to take more responsibility. inconsiderate or aggressive driver need only last for a moment or two. and possibly get you into an accident or at least earn you a traffic ticket. When you have learned to do all that you can to avoid being victimized by an aggressive driver and caught in a road-rage situation. Offended motorists retaliate with everything from gestures to trying to run the other car off the road. and allow plenty of time to get to your destination. whether they are aggressive or stupid. What getting angry will do is raise your blood pressure. gestures and obviously intentional intimidating maneuvers in mind. losing your temper will not change that person one bit. no matter how impressively you do it. but 60% acknowledged that they had directed such behavior at others. especially when you are in control of a potentially lethal machine. With the earlier comments about being aware of the driver’s expressions. The physical and emotional changes that occur when you lose your temper can last for hours. and. damage your judgment. you can also learn to be not only a safe . More than 50% of drivers studied responded to aggressive or rude behavior with aggressive behavior of their own. If you recognize stupid behavior. 88% of drivers polled reported being on the receiving end of some form of aggressive driving in the previous 12 months. The experience of sharing the road with a sloppy. you must realize that the way to triumph is to be smarter.67 P a g e ahead for stop lights and signs. With human beings comes human error. try to give the other driver the benefit of the doubt.
and relax it out. not just your chest but the rest of your muscles as well. Try to feel your mind calm as you do this. Alternate this technique by tensing all of your muscles and holding them rigid.68 P a g e driver but also a calm driver. I know it sounds corny. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then relax it all the way back out. Notice that when you exhale your breath all the way out your body relaxes. This is a wonderful technique that can improve much more of your life than just driving. You will find that a few minutes' practice a few times a day for a couple of days will make this a welcome habit that is refreshing and increases your energy. and then releasing them. simply practice your breathing. Use this technique with stressful situations at work or in the family. fill your chest as much as you can. make it as real as you can. Then take the time to imagine a stressful situation. . and notice the sense of relaxation increases each time. Repeat this maneuver three times. Enjoy the fact that you can control your temper and make much better decisions and solve the problems that are causing your stress more effectively. hold it. and notice how you can calm yourself and control your temper. and then take your deep breath. provided they do not interfere with your concentration on the road. but it works. Later practice them while you are seated in the car both parked and driving. First. Practice these techniques when you are not in your car. Take a deep breath. You will get comfortable doing this very quickly. as though in an isometric exercise. letting it be regular and a little deeper than normal. and let the tension or the imagined situation wash out of your body and mind.
even if that means giving up some pride. is at fault if your response causes harm to yourself or your loved ones. The occupants of the car that was hit were another young woman and her elderly grandmother. . but she was doing nothing that needed to be done. You will be amazed at the ability you have to stop the day for a moment and make the right choices. The granddaughter wrenched her door open and attacked the other car. leaving the grandmother without attention and adding to the anxiety of the old woman with her rage and noise. Decide to be smart and safe and a protector of your loved ones. Even in such a traumatic situation. It makes absolutely no difference which person. screaming about her injured grandmother. Soon your natural reflex will be to calm yourself rather than let anger escalate. This may be understandable. trying to get through the locked door to reach the dazed driver. the calm response was the correct and effective one and the one that would have shown more love and concern for the grandmother. I was looking in the rear-view mirror as I prepared to back out of a parking space when a blur of color flashed by.69 P a g e The idea is to make this an automatic response. but it takes practice. the other driver or you. temper or stress did not create or worsen the problem. A young woman going much too fast through the parking lot plowed into a car backing out a few spaces away. If you think back you would have to be absolutely unique or in total denial if you could not think of situations where your own impatience.
The frequency and violence of traffic disputes and altercations is increasing. Drivers using cell phones are an irritant to others. Drivers using cell phones also tend to be more aggressive. but it can happen to anyone.70 P a g e Let’s recap: Aggressive drivers are most prone to road rage. Watch for indications of intentional intimidation. . Drivers with children in the car are more likely to react aggressively.
Do not meet aggression with aggression. Acknowledge the times you are at fault. Your reaction will affect you much more than the other driver’s behavior. drive away from the aggressor. get away from the situation and call for help.71 P a g e If you feel threatened. Anger will put you in the wrong. Give other drivers plenty of room. maintain space to get away from them. Anger will cause you to make mistakes and harm yourself and those with you. . try to assume the driver's errors are unintentional. Learn techniques to stay calm. you will find they improve all parts of your life. lock yourself in your car and try to attract attention. Without evidence to the contrary. If in a traffic incident with an aggressive person. If your vehicle is mobile.
Merely letting the car drift to the side seems so much less complicated than facing an intersection or merging from an entrance ramp. in spite of the title of this chapter and the reasoning of many people who argue against taking your eyes off the road in front of you. Just to be clear. The reason to write this section is because there are times when a sudden swerve or stop by the driver in front of you may not give you time to look all the way around to check blind spots before taking evasive action. HOW TO CHANGE LANES WITHOUT TAKING YOUR EYES OFF THE ROAD Changing lanes is one of the most dangerous maneuvers on the highway.) The proper maneuver as explained by professional driving instructors is to signal 3 to 5 seconds before the lane change. look quickly over your shoulder to check your blind spot. Changing lanes is something we decide to do very casually. We do not recommend you take any chances or get sloppy or lazy in making sure you and the drivers around you are safe. the quick glance over your shoulder is the correct way to check your blind spot. and then smoothly change lanes. if fashion is anything to go by. This is also the way you will be expected to do it when being tested.72 P a g e 7. but that’s not the point. (This is often true of our mirrors at home. It is also a . The risk is increased because lane changes are done so frequently. It is dangerous because it seems so simple that it is often done carelessly. and the sad truth is that automobile mirrors are not to be trusted. and we depend on our mirrors for the information we need be safe. Then face forward and move into the lane you wish.
They are supposed to be on your side. Make the extra effort. It’s time to take advantage of the technology available. but you just can’t trust them. First. so give yourself all the advantages you can. and the curved surface takes some getting used to. Some wide-angle (panoramic) after-market mirrors can be helpful. and spend the few extra dollars it takes to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. clear look over the shoulder. You will still have side blind spots. but they sometimes are over-large. Even if you have perfect driving technique. it just makes sense to make those blind spots as small as possible or eliminate them entirely. . make sure your mirrors are properly placed.73 P a g e sad fact of life that as time goes by it gets more difficult to turn the head for that good. The rear-view mirror is meant to reflect directly through the rear window. Standard equipment mirrors simply do not tell the whole truth about what's coming up behind you.
a mirror that glues flat against your regular mirror will often be at the wrong angle for clear viewing. making it difficult to interpret what you are seeing. To find the right blind-spot mirror. Adjust the right mirror so you must lean against the driver’s side window to see your own rear fender.74 P a g e Your side-view mirrors are improperly angled if you can see any part of your own car when you are in normal driving position. Most people think of the round. and the left mirror will reflect your own car only if you lean into the center of the car. but these mirrors do not completely eliminate your car’s blind spots or allow you to easily and confidently decide when it is safe to change lanes. stick-on fish-eye discs that they see at discount stores and some auto parts stores. Take the extra step to add safety to your car. A good wide-view mirror requires more than just a curved surface. and a rounded surface creates distortion. Another advantage of proper mirror placement is that you will get less reflection from the lights of cars behind you. An effective mirror will not skew your perspective so that the distance between vehicles does not appear much different from what it really is. . To properly visualize what is coming up on your car. The simple and effective solution is to add accessory mirrors to your car that allow you to accurately see what is coming up beside you in time to make a wise choice. you need to know what goes into an effective design. The mirror must be of good quality. A good quality blindspot mirror will have a mounting base that allows it to be adjusted separately from the factory mirror.
the device must be inexpensive. The blind-spot mirror you choose must be effective and also attractive. The upper portion of the factory mirror inevitably reflects some portion of sky. Don’t put off improving the safety of your car for yourself and those you care about. so a secure mount that still may be removed is another sign of quality and efficiency. The one device that . Choose the device that best meets the requirements described here. it can become frustrating and actually cause you to misjudge or simply ignore the side-view mirrors. as well as the safety of the people around you.75 P a g e The best blind-spot accessory is designed to increase your viewing area. if it vibrates or slips you will not have a dependable view of approaching vehicles. but do not forget the Internet. Remember that even though the accident may involve a car coming up from behind. you would be at fault if you moved into his lane. Finally. If the mirror will not stay on it is a waste of money. A good add-on device would use that wasted space and preserve much of the viewing area while adding the wide-angle option. eliminating surface area. A large round device often only fits in the lower portion of your side-view mirrors. At the same time you may want to have the option of relocating your mirror or moving it to another vehicle. Poor adhesive is a serious problem in some models. as well as showing the dealer’s consideration for the buyer. If it distorts your view or makes it confusing to use because it does not complement the regular mirror image. Take a look at what is available on store shelves.
LET'S RECAP: Blind spots are deadly Every car has blind spots Properly place your mirrors Factory mirrors cannot eliminate all blind spots Give yourself every safety advantage Blind spot mirrors must have the following qualities: Inexpensive Low distortion Accurate perspective Preserves useable viewing area Mount securely Adjustable angles Look good . is the Maxi View Mirror. including a sharp appearance.76 P a g e meets all the requirements described here.
They are professionals and are doing a job that takes training and skill. In 2004 more than 12% (over 5. It takes longer to get up to highway speeds and longer to stop. SHARING THE ROAD WITH THE BIG RIGS (What country songs don’t tell you about trucks) Truck drivers spend their lives on the road. and 77% of those killed were in the passenger cars rather than the trucks. Some people hate to drive near the big rigs. Other drivers seem to find the truck a nuisance. The best drivers of the big rigs still have to contend with the laws of physics. Wind has a greater effect on a semi than it does on a passenger car. and the design of the tractor-trailer means it must take wider corners and has much larger blind spots.000 people) of the traffic fatalities involved trucks. . The size and the noise of the big trucks are intimidating and can be frightening.77 P a g e 8.
It’s not unusual for the size and monotony of the view at the back of the truck to have a hypnotic effect. It is interesting that some people think truck drivers get a lenient treatment by police officers or think that the truck shields them from police radar.78 P a g e and some use the size and wind-breaking nature of the large trailers in an attempt to save fuel or time. It takes much further for a truck to stop. It takes a moment too long to realize the significance of the brake lights coming on. Suddenly. Most of us have driven near trucks that are traveling in a closely spaced line. Then that darn character speeds up again. Others think that police are more likely to stop truckers. and the results are devastating. so they attempt to use the truck as a decoy. . Eventually one of the trucks pulls out to pass. and the result of these differing ideas is the same: people driving too close to the truck Some of the most horrific accidents involve a car sliding under a tractor-trailer and taking the brunt of the impact at windshield level. but if you drive too close to the back of the trailer you have no indication of what is ahead. There is a certain amount of truth to the theory that the air movement behind a big truck helps pull you along if you are close enough. This air pressure phenomenon is the cause of another type of incident that is often dangerous and always irritating to those driving near trucks. either moving into the lane we are already in or perhaps we also want to pass and follow him as he makes the lane change. taking risks by following too closely. but gas is never going to be expensive enough to make this worthwhile. the truck slows down. and we barely manage to avoid running into him.
I did not say the geese were driving). Driving in a row of vehicles like this is called slipstreaming or drafting. but they still must labor up steep hills. Too often this is the situation when the car driver decides to pass on a stretch of road where passing is risky. and veering suddenly with a trailer puts . Remember that when driving downhill the truck driver is controlling a tremendous amount of weight and momentum. you should know that this is not something he can entirely control. The first vehicle is breaking wind resistance and making it easier for the ones behind to maintain speed. When one of the trucks pulls out. the trucker may have to shift through several gears. These heavy vehicles have tremendous power. It takes a much greater distance to stop than it does on a flat road. so that you don’t allow enough room. skiers and even geese (no. It is done not just by trucks but by race cars. Cutting in too quickly in front of the truck because of meeting another vehicle or just out of carelessness is at the very least inconsiderate to the trucker who needs momentum to get up the hill. it is slowed by meeting greater air resistance. While your car may move up a hill with just a little loss in speed and a little more pressure on the gas pedal. The worst maneuver is to pull up close behind the truck where you cannot see past it and then try to race around. bikes.79 P a g e Before you decide he’s just a lousy driver or playing pranks. It also puts both of you in danger because it is easy to underestimate how long it takes a truck to slow down to avoid hitting you. even while giving more gas to pick up speed. The key to driving safely when near trucks is to give them room and to have patience.
the passing driver may not realize how long it will take to pass at the speed they are going and veer in to avoid oncoming traffic. Even while driving the speed limit or better. One of the quirks of human nature is that we think large things move slowly. Allow enough time and distance so that you can see the entire front of the truck in your rear-view mirror before pulling back into the right lane. when we get behind the large truck we feel that it must be holding us back. Remember that a truck must make a much wider turn than a car. The driver passing the truck realizes he is traveling well over the speed limit and gets anxious. Time after time truck drivers are frustrated and endangered by drivers passing them and then cutting in sharply and slowing down. so he tries to pull over and slow down before a trooper sees him. Give the truck driver the space he needs not only out of courtesy but for the safety of all concerned. The trailer turns in a smaller radius than the tractor does. Many trucks have signs and diagrams on the back of the trailer warning you that if you can’t see the truck’s mirrors the driver can’t see you. If it is a two-lane highway. Keep your pace steady or increase it slightly to allow a safe gap.80 P a g e him at risk of jackknifing or rolling. Don’t get squeezed. so that to make a right turn the truck driver must have about the width of a lane on his right side. Do not attempt to move up on the right side of a truck without watching his .
A blowout on a car is dangerous enough. his front wheels. wind and snow make the long stopping distance and the curves and hills much more dangerous. If you are caught in this position as the truck turns you can be dragged or crushed. the driver may have difficulty controlling the truck. It is always unnerving to travel during high winds and see the semi-trailers sway and weave as they are caught by blasts of wind from the side. the thick rubber shrapnel can damage your car or frighten you into a bad move. and. Anticipate blowouts and wind shear. Strong crosswinds can make driving a truck an exercise in steering corrections. if you are beside him. and if the driver is careless or distracted the impact of his trailer against your car may be barely noticeable. Driving near high cliffs or heavily wooded areas or even beside large buildings can make the wind more challenging because a gap in the obstruction can make the impact of the wind sudden and dramatic. . Even at low speeds the weight of the vehicle makes it very difficult to stop quickly. The sound is explosive. Even if the truck does not veer or jackknife. even though the trailers have dual wheels. Remember that rain. but on a tire that is nearly as tall as your car it can be terrifying.81 P a g e turning signals and.
That’s why the law restricts truck drivers from driving too many hours in one day or one week. But while you may slip out of your office chair. In one scene the comparatively scrawny co-star tries to fight and . and many trucks have electronic monitoring systems to make sure that a driver is getting a certain amount of rest from the wheel. and the sight of that grill filling your rear-view mirror can sneak into your dreams for a few nights running. Of course. there are aggressive truck drivers out there. Being tired can affect even a professional driver’s reflexes and judgment. Drivers must keep logs. Some truckers will tailgate. The country songs about a lonely trucker’s life carry some truth. and the drivers deserve respect for the fact that considering the miles and hours they put in they do not have a higher rate of road-rage incidents. This is where being a mature driver comes in. Some will squeeze you over to change lanes or change speeds and swerve to keep you from passing. Many truckers drive as teams so that they can stay on the road longer. The long-haul driver also has the burden of being far from home and facing deadlines. but when facing something that weighs over 60.000 tons it can be suicidal. because miles are money. 50% percent of drivers faced with aggressive driving behavior retaliate with aggressive actions of their own.82 P a g e Truck drivers are on the road many hours a day. it’s not surprising that with so many trucks on the road there are some drivers that get sleepy. Just as you can get tired at work. and even the best of them can become tired. This is always stupid. the trucker can plow through a building or flatten a minivan. There is a movie called “Rundown” with the former wrestler Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.
wide turns are not always signs of poor or aggressive driving. Be smart. and you don’t argue with a Kenworth. and.” There is a point to all this imagery. He might as well have slammed his own head down on a boulder. you don’t pick a fight with the Hulk. Avoid being squeezed by a turning truck. the play “Man of La Mancha” includes a line by Sancho as he tells of fighting with his much larger wife: “If the pitcher hits the stone. if there is one that you feel is driving badly. it’s going to be bad for the pitcher. or call the police if you believe there is imminent danger. LET'S RECAP: Trucks need much more room to stop and turn. and give them space. Be smart and patient. Remember that speed changes. It is not a contest. or the stone hits the pitcher. For those with a more classical frame of mind. and if it were you could not win. . then call the number many of them have posted on the back of the trailer. Most truckers are careful and professional. Stay back far enough to see the truck’s mirrors. Whether you are right or not. slow stops. stay calm. Allow more room than you think you need to pass. .83 P a g e starts the attack by smashing his forehead against “Rock's” big dome.
and they don’t go out alone. The automobile as the greatest factor in death is true of everyone from toddlers of two years to adults of thirty-four. While it does not remain the leading killer as age progresses. Many people would never consider taking a few paperclips home from the office or littering on the sidewalk. WHY ARE TRAFFIC LAWS GETTING MORE STRICT? (I thought that sign was just a suggestion!) The automobile is a symbol of independence and freedom. “LIVE FREE OR DIE……YEEE-HAAAA!” It is often said that automobiles are the leading cause of death for teenagers in this country. When they are in their cars facing a traffic sign. Even as adults the car is our key to going where we want and doing many of the things we wish. We think differently when surrounded by the armor and in the imagined privacy that the car provides. you can almost hear them thinking.84 P a g e 9. When we are young our first car can make us feel as though we were given wings. the automobile remains high on the list of killers . even if it’s just the old family clunker and not the sports car we dreamed of.
Car accidents are the cause of thousands of injuries and deaths every year. Many state licensing laws restrict the number of passengers the young driver can have in a car. Standard equipment on vehicles today includes ABS braking systems and airbags all over the car. No one really complains too much about the speed limits. No one really questions the law that says we must stop at the stop light or drive on the street and not the sidewalk. it’s my life I’m risking isn’t it?). and the number of vehicles alone does not account for rate of damage caused. It is interesting that the number of accidents and fatalities has stayed fairly constant over the last several years. We have over 200 million drivers on the road today. . Seat belts are required and computers warn us of all types of vehicle failings. Most states now have laws about texting and using cell phones. Infant and child car seats are much better made and required. There are still heated arguments about the right of police to make a driver wear a seat belt in his own car (after all. These changes and the laws requiring them have helped keep the accident and fatality level fairly steady. even though safety features have been improving in that time. which seem to be more personal.85 P a g e throughout life. Now many laws are being put into force. even though the number of drivers has increased dramatically. The idea that the laws are getting stricter is partially true and partially a feeling of greater restriction because of the nature of the laws. only about getting ticketed when other people are going faster.
as well as their severity. texting. putting on makeup and a host of other activities all contribute to these numbers. do reduce accidents. reading. . as well as aggressive driving behavior. shaving. but texting has overwhelmingly filled the gap in accident causes created by the reduced number of drunken drivers. Laws that seem to be intruding on your personal space. that can lead to disaster. Restricting passengers in the car with young drivers is another one of those regulations that seem bossy but just turn out to be right. preventing him from veering into other traffic and causing more severe damage or injuries. The others may have been around for years. yet total accidents and fatalities. During a minor accident the seat belts can keep the driver from being jarred so that he loses control of the wheel or pedals. have not decreased significantly. Drunk-driving fatalities have decreased an impressive 26 percent in 10 years. Phones. including the input from young drivers themselves. we come to conclusions that go beyond the ability of a driver to control a car. Wearing a seat belt properly keeps the driver positioned where he should be and reduces fatigue. such as the seat belt laws. that teen passengers are a distraction. This means it is the behavior of people who are sober and would claim to be competent that is driving the number of incidents. There is too much research to ignore.86 P a g e When we look at the nature of traffic accidents and altercations. often intentional.
And good sense and safety education don’t seem to be enough. Sometimes it seems that there are too many people who just don’t want to grow up. directly and indirectly. Sometimes it just keeps it in the mind of the person who is not aggressive or willfully reckless but simply inconsiderate or inattentive. It’s not so much to punish the driver for every infraction. but that does not explain this explosion of incidents. Many of the changes in the law do not create great changes in previous regulations but combine or restructure the way they are enforced. He may weave because of fatigue. A person may absent-mindedly tailgate or cut in too close in front of another driver. It all comes down to the fact that sometimes people just act mean or dumb. when you improve safety features and provide the best traffic system that you can. what is left is human behavior. The laws . and a car is no place to do it. the violent and competitive nature of television shows and video games. or a dozen others. Many laws are in response. the lack of emphasis on courtesy and discipline that used to be more a part of training both in school and homes. It’s true that the number of cars on the road increases risk.87 P a g e It is a terrible pattern that so many of the laws are driven by the fact that. We may point to other factors such as the level of stress in society. but the threat of a ticket and the importance of the action being publicized and documented by making it a law helps stop the behavior in the first place. The combination of these things can also be the behavior of an aggressive driver. to the increase in altercations and aggressive driving incidents The number of aggressive driving incidents has increased by 51% in twenty years.
including the car itself. If the behavior was more dangerous. and threat created by the driver in a way that some would call too subjective. This is another aspect of some of the laws that many people would object to and consider too restrictive or invasive. such as shouting. All this places the police officer in the unenviable position of evaluating the nature. A person performing a variety of offensive driving actions in a short time or in dangerous circumstances may be charged with aggressive driving. we depend on the . the driver would be likely to face the more serious reckless driving charge. but since they can choose to do them while in control of a large and deadly machine. so that the police officer may write the citation to cover the action itself. He may also take into consideration that the lady was putting on lipstick and ignoring the road and describe the violation as negligent driving..88 P a g e in many areas have taken the pattern and frequency of these behaviors into account as well as the behavior of the driver. intention. Road rage laws are a fairly recent development and can include physical assault or threat with a weapon. gestures. The officer will have to be able to support those charges in court to standards that are too specific to cover here and which do help make this system more understandable and fair. but the way you express your anger may be illegal. such as following too closely. People do silly and careless things. such as in a school zone. such as tailgating at high speeds. It is not against the law to be angry. or took place in a more dangerous situation. etc.
then vote and change them. Let’s Recap: Laws are based on safety statistics. Laws are not just to punish but to keep you aware of what is safe and acceptable when driving. Drunken driving has decreased. but make the effort to understand them. Enjoy all the freedoms you have. Take pride in being knowledgeable about traffic laws. but until then. You have the right to work to change laws but not to disobey them. Your behavior affects the safety of others. .89 P a g e law to give them more incentive and more reminders to make every effort to be alert and considerate. Laws may seem unfair. and live with the restrictions that are necessary. if you truly feel they are incorrect. and. obey them. The car is not a private space. but other behaviors have kept the level of risk the same. It is an imperfect solution but the best that our society has come up with to deal with imperfect drivers. Enjoy all the freedoms that you have.
put on your emergency flashers. this means something is broken or . Become aware of the way your car feels.90 P a g e 10. There many good resources for maintaining and troubleshooting your car. you should place flashers. DON’T PANIC. If you are on the shoulder of a highway. If steam is coming from under the hood of the car or through the vents. If you cannot get a safe distance from the traffic flow. not the least of which is your owner’s manual. These are just some of the warning signs that can put you at risk of an accident or seriously damage your car. but some problems are not safe to drive with. Learn to notice when those things change and what the changes mean. In every case in which you need to stop the car. Do not let concern for your car or being late for your destination cause you to take chances with your safety. sounds and even smells. Signal and slow down. flares or reflectors behind your car. and move the car smoothly out of the driving lanes. steers. SOUNDS AND SIGNS THAT MEAN STOP THE CAR NOW! There all sorts of things that can go wrong with your car.
you will not get far and should wait for the wrecker or replacement hoses. You should always have water and antifreeze in your trunk. Fill the car with water. even in summer. An engine can easily stay too hot to touch and with pressure in the radiator for over 30 minutes. If it is a hose. You may crack the block. Try to establish where the leak is coming from. especially if the car is in a dangerous location. If the car is making tapping and rapping noises. If it is leaking nearly as fast as you pour it in. Your car may overheat rapidly. you may be able to drive the car a short distance for repairs. and leave the cap loose. to pull extra heat from the engine. DO NOT use cold water to fill a hot engine.91 P a g e leaking and coolant is spraying out. wait until the car cools and remove the radiator cap. Remember that . and be ready to get back. Pull over and raise the hood. so be very careful. it is still too hot and may have been damaged permanently. Water should be tepid or warmer. If it is a crack in the engine itself or a failed water pump you will have to be towed. it will be a fairly simple and inexpensive repair. Do not be in a hurry. and this could cause engine damage. If it is a small leak at the upper hose. Turn your heater on. Cover the radiator cap with a towel before trying to open. Many cars can only be filled through the coolant reservoir. Do not try to remove the radiator cap until the car is cool. That engine and the steam coming out are hot enough to scald you in an instant. the radiator cap itself. Fill the engine slowly while it is running so that the whole system is filled. and drive slowly and for as short a distance as possible to get help. If it seems worthwhile. or a pinhole-type leak high in the radiator.
A hot engine may not show obvious steam until it is already overheating. Don’t forget your gauges and your other senses. and older cars were a little more forgiving. and you should not be breathing this in. If your temperature gauge gets hot. but the usual result is an engine that is either completely locked up or will make noise and burn oil for the rest of its short life. It the car starts to knock and the gauge is high or you are seeing steam. your car is in trouble. sometimes described as sweet or Saccharin-like. but it will get worse. The leak may be low and the steam blowing beneath the car as you drive. This may not be an immediate danger of overheating. Smelling it inside the car without other symptoms indicates a leak in your heater core. Some people try to get as far as they can when the car is overheating. Stopping is much more important than starting when it . get the engine shut down as soon as you safely can. Brake light comes on or brake pedal goes soft.92 P a g e an engine can get hot enough to melt insulation on wiring or ignite grease or oil and cause a fire. Hot coolant has a characteristic smell.
which means the fluid is leaking from one chamber into another and may not show fluid where you can see it. Just because you know how to top up the brake fluid reservoir does not mean the car is safe. the level will go down very slowly. If there is a lesser problem with the brakes or any question of brake problems. As the brakes wear. getting carefully to a place where it can be checked and serviced is a priority. as well as doing your walk-around inspection of the car before driving. This is very dangerous. but the need to add more than an ounce or so of fluid means either your brakes are wearing very rapidly and are probably in need of repair or replacement or there is a leak somewhere. A leaking or weak brake line or hose can fail at once with catastrophic results and is most likely to do it when you need them most. You will not have braking power. there is no reason to risk moving the car until it is repaired. you are at least low on brake fluid.93 P a g e comes to being safe in the car. If the pedal sinks to the floor and you have no brakes at all. There is always a great deal of pressure generated in those small brake lines. Fluid on the tires or where they were sitting is a warning of brake fluid loss. If you find you have to “pump” the brake pedal to stop the car. The master cylinder can also fail. You should routinely check for stains or fluid in the area you park your car. . The brakes are a sealed system and should not lose fluid. Even though the car runs. this is a job for a tow truck or on-the-spot repairs. and pumping the brakes will usually not make a difference. and jamming the brakes on in an emergency stop is not when you want to find out how fast that leak can get worse.
The problem may resolve itself when the brakes cool. If the brakes are very hard to push down. Have the brakes serviced. Tapping or knocking from the engine. If your wheels smell hot or the brakes get soft during heavy use. and it can tear itself apart if you don’t . but this does not mean the problem is gone. such as going down hills. The booster is a big round thing in front of the driver under the hood. however.94 P a g e A high squealing noise from the wheels is often the sound of a break wear indicator. it can mean that the “lifters” are sticking and should be checked for the sake of your engine but are probably not life-threatening. Don’t ignore that sound. Any new noise should be investigated. They can get so hot that the fluid boils and creates air bubbles. Some cars have a light clicking sound. Commonly called a tappet noise. which will prevent your brakes from functioning. The brake fluid reservoir is bolted to it. either some of the calipers or cylinders are frozen or the power booster has failed or lost vacuum. These are lethal to your engine. and it has a large vacuum line leading to it. which is just a thin piece of metal designed to rub and give warning that your brake pads are worn and need replacement. it is possible that a caliper or shoe is sticking. A louder tapping or rapping noise can mean that a rod is bent or broken or a bearing has gone out. which is not dangerous. and this is often a sign that you are getting low on oil. causing the brakes to overheat.
or other bearings in the air compressor. which is under the hood. but you would be playing engine Russian Roulette.95 P a g e get it shut down quickly. These may not be drastic but can affect the way your car runs. and the engine may lock up completely. This can happen to any car. If you try to drive in traffic this way the engine could seize and leave you with no power brakes or power steering. it may be a vacuum leak. Squealing sounds under the hood are often the belt. belt tensioner. . The most important thing to check is the vacuum hose to your power brake booster. or send a piston through the side of the block. It may drive for a while. grind the internal parts beyond repair. and can cause the loss of power braking. alternator or steering pump. causing hesitation and loss of power. Usually these do not need emergency repair but will certainly lead to further damage or failure if the cause is not corrected. Assuming you have ruled out the cooling system and there is no steam anywhere. Hissing sound under the hood. but the most important factor is keeping your oil level up and changing oil and filters faithfully. right in front of the driver.
something stuck in a tire. means either a flat tire. often accompanied by a rubbing sound that changes with speed and worsens on turns. and first thing to check for is loose lug nuts on the wheels. aside from just a tire that is just under-inflated. The least expensive fix. can mean a failing bearing.96 P a g e A thumping sound coming from your tires. Tread separation can be unseen when meaning the internal layers separate. Vibration or “wander” in the steering can also indicate a variety of problems in the ball joints. bearing. regardless of other sounds. Tires can also vibrate due to uneven wear or missing rubber due to road or curb damage. or tie-rod can leave you with one wheel no longer working in conjunction with the other. but the tread layer can literally tear loose in from the tire. It can also wear through so that you see the wires from the belts poking through. A failed ball joint. Vibration in the steering.or steering-related parts and needs to be investigated as soon as possible. CV joints or other suspension. tire or steering linkage . the bolts holding it on may be bent or stripped and need to be replaced. It may be any of the wheel. Signal and smoothly get the car off the road to examine and repair the tires. Any change in the steering or handling of the car should be dealt with immediately. usually accompanied by jerking or vibration in the steering wheel. If the wheel is loose enough to wobble. or tendency for the car to drift from side to side. Be sure you have a lug wrench to tighten these nuts. or possibly tread separation.
97 P a g e issues discussed above. or sharply accelerating or slowing down. so your water pump and alternator also will cease to function. If the belt breaks your steering will become very stiff and difficult. On many cars today. and if the belt is loose it will squeal. Thumping under the car. These shafts connect the transmission to the rear wheels with joints called universal joints that can wear out or break. In worse cases the shaft can break loose from the rear end and flail wildly under your car. On older cars or trucks with rear-wheel drive. can be a snagged branch or other road hazard but can also be a motor mount or drive shaft. . one belt drives everything. shifting into forward or reverse. or it could be the power steering pump or drive belt. The motor mounts can break. probably damaging the transmission and possibly throwing debris behind you. it will often “groan” on tight turns. and the thumping sound will typically only occur when starting the car. leaving you without power to the rear wheels. assuming you did not drive off with the mechanic under there. If your power steering is low in fluid. It is not likely to just fall out but can cause more damage and could create a really dangerous situation if it causes some of the steering components to bind or creates enough wear or torque to break the exhaust pipe and have it drop off and drag. the thumping noise could be the drive shaft jerking when you shift and wobbling as you drive. or the shaft itself can bend or break. The sound is made by the engine moving and either it or the exhaust hitting other parts of the car.
because your water pump is not being turned either. As mentioned regarding the power steering problem. but the others keep going. This single belt. so one part could fail. but there are complications. or stop borrowing cars from cousin Vito. the indicator light on your dash that tells you your alternator is not working means your car has no electrical power aside from the battery. (Yes. Alternator warning light. saves some money. or get the alternator replaced if the belt is not the problem. space and time. most cars have only one belt that drives all the components. or rear axles in front-wheel-drive cars.98 P a g e A thumping or vibration under the trunk can be the rear tires. The only solution is to get off the road as quickly as possible and get the belt repaired. but the downside is that if you try to drive when your alternator quits turning the car may overheat before the battery dies. The battery can carry you for a few miles if you are lucky. The most common reason for the alternator to fail is because of a broken drive belt. Shut off all the accessory devices. Older cars had two or three. called the serpentine belt. or the rearend differential gears in rear-wheel-drive cars. that means no air conditioner and no tunes). except lights if is at night. and slow down. A thumping noise in the trunk means you need to learn a better way to get along with your mother-in-law. .
It can come from the engine. the exhaust.99 P a g e Smells. And of course there is the most important reason to stop the car. indicated by a wailing noise from the rear of your car and flashing lights in your mirror and ending with severe damage to your bank account and your driving privileges. . Any cause of excessive heat can be lethal. The chemicals can affect you thinking and damage your lungs. The molds also can affect your health. The odor of hot coolant or other smells from vents can indicate leaks in the heater core. or molds or other foreign materials in your ventilating system. Any “hot” smell must be indentified and its source corrected. It indicates a leak and can lead to a fire that spreads more rapidly than you can imagine. Correct the problems in these symptoms and see your car parts dealer for mold treatments. or the tires. the air conditioning system. you should never smell gasoline inside the car while it is moving.
100 P a g e Let’s Recap: Be aware of the normal state of your car. overheating can destroy an engine. . lights or flares when stalled. Don’t Panic Use signals and stop smoothly out of traffic Any change in handling is dangerous Leaking coolant will BURN you. Brake problems can get worse suddenly and fatally Engine or belt failure means limited steering and braking Turn off accessories to conserve electrical and engine power Use hazard lights and place reflectors.
This gives options so that when one of the drivers ahead does something unexpected. fewer traffic tickets. the results would be fewer accidents.101 P a g e 11. fewer altercations. The offensive driver is on the offense. The offensive driver makes the decision long before they reach the other cars about what their move would be in every situation. Remember this: The defense can prevent touchdowns. Driving offensively includes driving defensively. For example. YOU EXPECT IT! You aren’t caught off guard like all of the defensive drivers are. BECOMING AN OFFENSIVE DRIVER Most people are used to the words Defensive Driving. they react to situations versus anticipating them. They are watching the other person’s eyes as they change lanes to see what the other drivers are going to do. They make sure they stay out of other drivers' blind spots. Offensive driving can be developed as part of your driving personality over time. If you are driving down the highway and you see three cars in front of you. and it does not always mean that the person doing it is naturally offensive. and fewer laws. I prefer Offensive Driving. When a person is used to just driving defensively. most people would not even think that one may change into your lane until it happens. but the offense scores them. This type of driving keeps me alert and aware 100% of the time. but is also careful driving with respect for the safety and rights of other drivers. The person who is driving offensively is very conscious of the road and people around their vehicle. . They anticipate the other driver's next move so they will be prepared. If offensive driving would increase in this country.
Blocking an emergency vehicle or trying to hang onto its tail puts those people already in need of help in . draw another type of offensive behavior in the form of drivers that follow closely in an attempt to use the ambulance as a blocker to get through traffic faster. “Of course I do…” It may seem funny or exaggerated but there is a lot of truth in it. and it’s common practice for an ambulance driver seeing this kind of tailgater in his mirror to radio for a police car to pick the offender up. It features Goofy as Mr. blasting through stop signs and many others. Be aware that this is illegal and dangerous. the Jekyll and Hyde character that is the meekest man alive till he gets into the car. Other dangerous and careless maneuvers that used to be less common are becoming prevalent. You can still find this on YouTube. Emergency vehicles. report that more and more drivers refuse to pull off to the side to allow access to those trying to provide help. Walker/Wheeler. Drivers of emergency vehicles.102 P a g e The change from mild-mannered. Walt Disney made one of his classic cartoons about this in 1950. such as speeding. courteous pedestrian to nearly maniacal road-hog when a person has the armor of the automobile has been recognized for decades. Some forms of defensive driving have been around for years and are becoming more common. “Do you think you own the road?!” he seems almost puzzled but completely serious when he thinks. When he cuts off another driver who cries. especially ambulances. changing lanes without turning signals and forcing other drivers to veer or slow down. such as fire engines or ambulances.
The phrase “speeder's paranoia” would usually refer to drug users. Very few appointments will be ruined by being 10 minutes late. fearing that the next car he overtakes is an unmarked car or that he will meet a trooper that can cross the median and give him a ticket that will take a week’s overtime to pay off. Of course. especially if you take the time to pull off the road and call ahead. The driver going over the speed limit is constantly on the watch for police. If you go 10 mph over the speed limit and drive 10 miles you don’t even save two minutes. Besides the greater risk of accident and the more severe injuries caused by greater impact.103 P a g e greater danger and are especially low forms of aggressive driving. He is fooling himself. you cannot gain enough to justify the danger you are creating for yourself and others on the road. then you need to be honest with yourself and change your habits to allow more time. If you rush because you are routinely late. Better preparation will eliminate a great deal of stress in your life as well as keep you and others safer. This is why the . Even if there is some reason beyond your control. but the wear and tear on your nerves is a real cost of traffic speeding. Even if you were to drive 50 miles you would not save 8 minutes. The aggressive driver usually thinks he has a good reason for his behavior. you are spending more on gas and engine wear. The idea that you have the right to speed in order to get to work just means that you don’t plan efficiently enough to drive well. you are also liable to be very late for whatever date you’ve got because troopers just don’t rush for your convenience.
Tailgating is more dangerous than speeding by itself and is not always just carelessness. If you do manage to scare the driver ahead out of your way. This is the driver who pulls ahead but changes speed without warning or reason. The prize-winner is the guy that flashes his headlights into the mirrors of the car ahead. Sometimes this is poor driving technique or exhaustion. The aggressive driver often uses tailgating as a form or intimidation in order to get the driver ahead to speed or pull into another lane. and odds of . With each sighting of a potential police car. even though that driver is already driving at the speed limit. Decide if two minutes or even eight are worth harming the people ahead or yourself or the loved ones in your car. which only means that there are two aggressive drivers on the road. If you are tailgating because you think you are going to get to your destination sooner.104 P a g e speeder saves even less time than indicated in the previous paragraph. Some people will use this as a means of “teaching a lesson” to the tailgater. remember that you are just a few feet ahead of where you would be if you were driving properly. The really aggressive driver is the one who uses this as a method of controlling traffic or as a mindless prank. The other side of the coin: the pace changer and brake baiter. the speeder slows down and then rushes forward again so that estimates based on steady speeds are overblown. refer to the facts on speed above. This anxiety also contributes to worse driving judgment and more irritability. sometimes hitting the brakes. but those few feet can land you in the hospital or the morgue. Speeding and road rage go together. possibly being distracted by something inside or outside of the car.
weight and momentum create enough force to cause neck and spine injuries and to deploy airbags. and creating confusion for the drivers of cross-traffic for fear that he may pull forward unexpectedly. Remember your only job and only right is to drive your own car safely. This also is the driver who will try to rush forward as soon as the car ahead begins to move and results in low-speed rear-end collisions. a boss. planting the front wheels over the crosswalk so that pedestrians must edge by. Don’t let your pride or your sense of humor lead you into danger. The difference in reaching your destination is measured in milliseconds. stopping. This can take the form of slow-motion tailgating. Causing a nervous driver to run into a pedestrian or cyclist or pull into the path of another car is not something you will want to live with. “The Nudger” is the driver who crowds the stop sign. you can see how futile it is. If you have the opportunity to watch this being done by someone else. The inching forward. You are not a leader. and sometimes being forced back as drivers who are not willing to be intimidated or who cannot stop for you because . This can create enough anxiety in some drivers to cause them to misjudge a gap or even run the light. creeping up close to the car ahead in order to get him to move ahead faster. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by planting the nose of your car a few feet further out than the street markings and signs designate. Don’t be reassured by the phrase “low speed”.105 P a g e disaster have increased dramatically. or driving instructor. Crowding the stop sign may also be done by the first car in line. Some drivers use this edging maneuver in order to force an opening in traffic.
to be honest. and what would have been easily accessible gaps close up. There is always the very good chance of meeting an even more offensive driver than you or just one that has bad brakes or bad reflexes. As you inch forward the cars approaching slow warily down. Turning right after stopping at a red light is allowed in most areas. At the bottleneck it’s another slow. This slows cars down behind them. If your car will be trapped across the crosswalk when the light changes. clumsy dance that infuriates everyone and a common scene of conflict . you have pulled out too far. Entering a light-controlled intersection to turn left is an acceptable technique if the light is green when you enter it and there is no one ahead of you. You must leave enough space to be able to let the driver ahead take evasive action and to be able to prevent your car from being driven into him if you are struck from behind. Not only have you not gained anything significant but also you have created a hazard and slowed down other drivers.106 P a g e of oncoming traffic make this a slow. The drivers that race ahead and force their way into traffic where lanes end or roads narrow may. Merge is not a dirty word. dangerous and wasteful dance. A rear-end collision in this situation can drive one or more cars into oncoming traffic and result in multiple victims. not knowing how crazy or incompetent the driver in your car may actually be. but you still must stop first and yield to cross-traffic and to pedestrians. gain a few seconds but no more than that since as people join the lane that they think is moving faster that lane quickly overloads and becomes slower. When you don’t crawl in the traffic is (possibly) just beginning to regain speed ahead of you.
as the grains have space to weave into the pattern of openings. If the container is tipped at a steep angle to try to pour faster. as with merging lanes on the freeway. Traffic moves more quickly. but. That is why areas with signals controlling the entrance of cars from a ramp onto an expressway. Blocking cars attempting to merge. Slowing slightly and yielding space to the cars joining the traffic flow means moving faster for everyone but takes a little skill and a change in the mindset of the offensive driver who tries to get there first and get away fastest. the secret is cooperation. This saves fuel and reduces pollution by eliminating the need to idle at a stop light. the grains clump and jam up the opening. At a more gradual angle. A style of intersection that has been popular in Europe for years but is still relatively new to American drivers is the roundabout. They have no room to slide past each other. Compare cars in traffic as salt or sugar being poured through a narrow opening. the flow is steady and the container empties much more quickly. and the particle traffic gets denser and denser. or forcing your way into the flow of traffic when merging. so that there is a pause between cars that . blundering progress which SLOWS YOU DOWN and increases the risk of collisions.107 P a g e when the aggressive driver tries to force his way into a lane occupied by someone who is not willing to be intimidated. Anytime you are attempting to create your own entrance or speed in a situation where cars are both ahead or to the side and behind you makes you much more vulnerable to being hit as well as puts you at fault in any collision or traffic violation. means stopping and going.
What is important is that you are in front. They don’t even seem to care if the person ahead is driving much faster than the speed limit. It’s just not right that the other driver is in front. When you make your move. By now you realize you really don’t want to drive any faster than you were in the first place. Whipping into the lane is a sign of lack of judgment and perception. Speed to get up close and prepare to “blow his doors off. you GO!” (and I know you are out there): Heeere's your sign! Let’s review that last maneuver. the people in the car ahead and anyone coming up behind or to the side at risk of serious injury or death. your passengers. that’s right. and you’ve wasted gas and taken miles off your transmission and engine life. Now we have a symphony of aggressive and reckless maneuvers. Now. Then put a cherry on the top by whipping back into the lane without signaling (again!) and so close that the car you passed must slow down. Rarely use turn signals since anybody should be able tell that you need to get around this character. not skill. Reckless passing is like meth to many aggressive drivers. Best of all. but that doesn’t matter. put yourself.108 P a g e allows them to mesh like a zipper. you are going the same speed you started at! . makes for faster traffic flow than the open-ramp kamikaze approach. Anybody in your blind spots had better just watch out for themselves.” Tailgate so that you are in position to make your move. the right side is often as good as the left. “Uh-huh. That business about always passing on the left is for drivers who are less skilled than you. for those of you are nodding your heads and thinking. You broke several laws.
the car is going to . it only takes an instant to be in the path of oncoming traffic. Once the tires lose their grip on the road. Taking curves too fast can put you onto the shoulder. A curve in the road is no place for evasive maneuvers. Remember that going too fast for conditions is not limited to only going too fast on icy or wet roads. one of these days that you are running late and trying to force your way through traffic take a look at yourself in the mirror. rain. The aggressive driver often seems to think his determination alone will make his car do what he wants it to do. If you think that’s false. Whether drifting to the left on a rightward curve. or the pull of centrifugal force. you don’t need to lean into the turns. whether from ice. and the only reason the race car drivers take high-speed turns without more disasters is that they are all going the same direction. sand. The aggressive driver tends to forget that the laws of physics will not bow to his will on curves. either careening out of control or at least spraying rocks behind you. then unclench your jaw and quit narrowing your eyes. Remember that speeding does not just refer to going faster than the posted limit but going too fast for conditions. or overcorrecting from an overshot left-hand curve. but you must save that for the track where the road doesn’t border a ditch and there is no innocent non-competitor to meet or obstruct. It seems to be a matter of pride to some drivers that they think the slower speed limits set for sharp curves are just suggestions for those less skilled people or those with less important errands. I won’t even deny that sometimes it's fun to feel the car zoom through turns.109 P a g e If you’re not on a motorcycle.
and no amount of determination is going to change that. And. but it is the act of intentionally doing something that makes you more dangerous on the road. and that is clearly the mark of an aggressive driver. Of course. or others). Doing anything that distracts you from the job of driving and makes you less likely to react well or pay attention to the situation around your car makes you more dangerous to those around you and is an offensive driving act. There is a good reason there is nothing on the shifter marked “Sideways”. texting. medication or other circumstances make it unsafe for themselves or others when they get behind the wheel. continue to drive when age. . You might think drinking and driving falls into a different category than aggressive driving (such as suicidal. and more power to them. while possibly being some of the nicest people in the world. I wish them all the independence possible.110 P a g e travel in the direction that it is already moving. With due respect and sympathy for those who must take medications or have an illness or disability or simply have reached an age that makes them unable to judge risks or control the vehicle. Your transmission is designed with reverse and forward gears. that includes phoning. to continue to yet insist on taking control of a car is a form of aggressive driving. I refer only to those drivers who. this does not mean that a person with handicaps should not drive in properly equipped vehicles. or patting the dog in your lap. moronic. looking for the next CD. eating. though you’ve heard it all before.
We honk and gesture and yell and pound the dashboard. Even when the other guy is truly in the wrong.111 P a g e Sometimes reckless behavior is more or less contained within the car. Remember that 50 percent of drivers who thought they were victims of aggressive or reckless drivers responded aggressively in turn. taking our minds off of really important aspects of driving and distracting or angering other drivers. flashing lights and shouts not only is inviting someone even more aggressive or childish to respond violently but also is distracting other drivers and increasing their level or frustration and irritation. is the one who has control of himself. so that you are less safe and more likely to become an aggressive driver yourself. and the efficient and swift driver. The safe driver. you would not lean close to his ear and scream “MOVE IT!” You would not typically get next to someone who accidently stepped out of a doorway just in front of you and gesture wildly or slap yourself in the head and point at him unless you are a sociopath or a very frustrated mime (which I suspect is redundant). The tendency is not simply to exhibit your anger toward the other driver who is typically soon out of . honks. inviting him to count your fingers and making it easier than counting to two means you have lost focus on the road. Treat the people in other cars as you would if they were walking ahead of you down the street. Responding to irritation with anger increases your level of emotion and begins a cycle. If the old man in front of you took an instant longer to get his legs moving. where it is so easy to imagine that we are in a protective bubble. The driver who orchestrates his travels with gestures.
Drive the right speed for conditions: slick roads. If it's rudeness. If it’s a near miss. and don’t be Goofy! Let’s recap: Anyone can learn to become an offensive driver. weather and curves. There are no excuse for aggressive driving. Aggressive driving does not save you enough time to make a difference. Remember the Walt Disney cartoon. if necessary. Respect emergency vehicles. If you feel like you must rush often. and let it go. Aggressive driving is increasing and taking more dangerous forms. . adjust your habits and allow more time. let’s be fair) his mother would be. but it also costs you in fuel and motor and transmission wear. Speeding not only saves almost no time. keep yourself and your passengers calm and safe. stop and call police.112 P a g e sight but to become more truculent and inconsiderate to other. uninvolved drivers. If it does lead to an accident. and let the professionals handle it. count your blessings and. Speeding also causes wear and tear on you. think how ashamed of him (or her.
Aggressive driving increases your own tension and irritability. If you are attempting to teach or intimidate other drivers. Aggressive driving breeds aggressive responses. Smooth. decreasing your judgment. Do not use lights or speed changes to influence other drivers. eating. Being in front does not mean you get there faster. Only one car at a time should enter an intersection in order to turn left. ignore it and it is gone in minutes. Becoming angry at aggressive driving stays with you for hours. Stop at the crosswalk. you have no business on the road. you are visible and vulnerable. . steady moving and merging gains more speed than racing or forcing your way into gaps. Anything that decreases your driving efficiency is aggressive driving: drinking. Aggressive driving and road rage go together. etc. other than proper turn signals. Your car is not a private space. texting. do not retaliate for stupidity. Leave space to maneuver ahead of you when in line at a stop sign.113 P a g e Tailgating is more dangerous and gains even less time than speeding.
BECOME AN OFFENSIVE DRIVER IT’S THE OFFENSE and DEFENSE THAT WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS Now that I’ve irritated at least half the football fans out there that disagree with that old saying in the title. The meaning of winning the championship in sports is obvious. With a little planning you will get there on time and safely. Even in football the . because obviously you have to move the ball forward to score. let’s move on. safely and with the least wear and tear on you and your car. The problem is that the other team has an offense too. Regardless of traffic or street signs or even other aggressive drivers you can get to your destination. In driving there is a need for offense and a defense but no need for Aggression! You will cross the finish line. You can’t do that without an offense.114 P a g e 12. and doing it every time you drive. and if your defense can’t stop them you still lose. You can click on thousands of websites to get the arguments for offense or defense winning in football. Winning the championship in driving means getting where you want to go on time.
Probably the most common reason people give for speeding is to avoid being late for a work-related appointment. as we saw in the previous chapter. Understand that bosses and clients are unimpressed with your stories of valiant driving adventures to make it on time. Using all your aggressive methods. saves you almost nothing in time. and costs are high in the form of stress. Offensive and defensive driving allows you to arrive on time and with car. The coach who gets his team to the goal line but winds up with lost yardage due to unnecessary penalties and expensive injuries to valuable players will soon be looking for a job teaching gym class. damage to your vehicle. Keep your tires in good repair and your lights and signals in working order. Check your windshield wipers for wear and the fluid reservoir full. These things just mean that you plan poorly and may not be dependable or mature enough for their needs. nor are they all that sympathetic to your traffic ticket excuse. The name of the game is tactics and skill more than power. Eliminate blind spots. Make sure your seats and seatbelts are secure and that there are no loose objects or distractions in the car. traffic tickets. Give yourself all the tools you need so that your car responds to the demands of driving and so you can easily control the car and see around you. The first thing to do as a good offensive and defensive driver is to make sure your car is maintained so that it is safe and dependable. and even injury or death. Remember that you . nerves and bank account intact. Keep your windshield clean and your mirrors properly adjusted.115 P a g e other team is not trying to win just by aggressively forcing their way through and stomping on everything in sight.
prepare the evening before. If there is a carpool member that slows the rest of you down. Listen to the local traffic broadcasts to see if you need to reroute your trip. Allow at least ten minutes more to make the trip than the speed limit allows for. take them as they are and let classroom discipline or a little embarrassment (within reason) help you teach them about schedules. and you cannot change that. but it’s still a good thing. . either leave earlier. don’t drink coffee until 20 minutes before the class starts. or drop them from the group. If your kids aren’t ready to go when you have to drop them off on the way to work.116 P a g e are not just defending yourself against other drivers but also against all the things that can harm you or your loved ones. and paperwork together when you have time. This is a magic secret of time and falls into the same category of mystery as what happens to the second sock in the dryer. Even in heavy city traffic. Better yet. It’s amazing what a few minutes it takes to put books. maybe not as much as they notice if you’re ahead of the clock when you leave. when it takes at least an hour to do the same thing while trying to get out the door. Time races us by. Don’t begrudge the wasted time if you get to work early. If it takes half an hour to get to school. Those few minutes to unwind from the traffic or listen to a few minutes of music in your car can give you a surprising amount of energy and mental relaxation throughout the day. that will be usually sufficient to give you a cushion against delay. Being ahead of the time clock when you arrive is also something managers notice. clothes.
often sooner. Speed limits. steady speeds adjusted for obstacles or gaps in traffic are much more effective than start/stop. turning and lane restrictions and stop signs are designed by experts. method of driving.117 P a g e Be honest with yourself.P.E. Remember the I. Imagine how many miles you could travel in a taxi for the cost of one traffic fine. let alone the cost of repairs to an even slightly damaged car. Offensive Driving. This not only makes for safety. is a necessary expense if it keeps you and others safe. in general people do follow the signs and expect you to do the same. fast/slow methods of driving. Cancel the trip. Even though they sometimes seem to be slowing you down. are too tired or upset. This means not only looking but also paying attention to what is in the scene ahead. but it is much easier on your vehicle and your nerves. or the less expensive bus or subway fare. which is the secret to getting where you are going efficiently. Practice your . ill or taking medications that can affect your driving ability do not get behind the wheel. Do not become complacent about a familiar route. as annoying as they can be. Make an effort to notice even harmless changes in the usual scenery. Obey the road signs.D. such as a driveway or bicyclist. This is I Is for IDENTIFY: Look ahead to identify potential hazards. If you have been drinking. Remember that smooth. The cost of a taxi ride. Not only will you get there with little difference in time. call a friend. but also keeps traffic moving and merging more uniformly. or call a cab.
Should you slow down to give more time to stop if the driver ahead brakes or speed up slightly to go smoothly past the entrance ramp as oncoming drivers merge? Make sure you have space to maneuver in whatever way might be needed. It keeps you alert and ready to make decisions. This becomes easier and more automatic with experience. Decide what the best plan is to counter whatever may occur. . E Is for EXECUTE: Perform the maneuver that is needed. P Is for PREDICT: Judge what may happen as you approach. even if you are doing something to avoid someone else’s aggressive or foolish behavior. but even if you have been driving awhile review this technique and practice thinking out possible outcomes of the scene ahead.” developed in the 1960s by Harold Smith. He included five techniques to improve driving. All these years later they are still good offensive and defensive driving tips. such as a child racing out from a playground. you can do it smoothly and without excessive emotion or drama.118 P a g e Sherlock Holmes approach to gathering information from what you see. Another system of driving is called the “SMITH SYSTEM. D Is for DECIDE: Stay in control. Since you have had time to prepare.
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Aim high. Not at the clouds but up the road. The further ahead of your car you direct your vision, the more time you have to prepare and the more your peripheral vision takes in. If you look at a point in the road 100 feet ahead, you only clearly take in less than ten feet on either side. If you look 1,000 feet ahead, that view increases to over 50 feet wide. One thousand feet is not very far when you need time to respond to danger. Drivers often tend to look down at the road and need to practice aiming high. Symptoms of “low aiming” are overcompensating with the wheel, especially to the left, when avoiding an object on the road, wide right turns, not centering your car in the lane, staying too close to one edge or the other. All these are because your point of view across your fender is at too steep an angle down to the road ahead. The tendency is also to fail to reduce speed when visibility is poor since you are only looking a short distance ahead anyway, and failure to be able to react to hazards in time. Get the Big Picture, which goes with… Keep Your Eyes Moving! While you maintain almost constant view ahead of you by aiming high, continue to briefly scan to the sides and check your mirrors. These are split-second glances that not only help keep you aware of your surroundings but also help prevent eye fatigue and boredom. Be aware of what is happening on the sidewalks and in parked cars as well as in the lane ahead.
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Leave yourself an out. It is more important to give yourself space to react than to worry about someone cutting in front of you. Center your car in the lane so that you can move over to avoid threats from the side. Make sure your vision is not obstructed and your mirrors are set correctly. Add good quality wide-view mirrors to your car to eliminate blind spots. Make yourself visible. Use your turn signals and keep headlights on. When the Smith System was developed, people seemed a little less volatile when it came to horns and headlights, but they can still be used to communicate (not to intimidate). If a driver appears from his actions to be unaware of you, or if obstacles make it difficult for vehicles or pedestrians to see your approach, a tap on the horn or flash of the lights may be used to alert them. Having said all that about aiming high and the big picture, now I’m going to toss in a little something that might seem contradictory but isn’t. Use the road beside the car as a gauge. Not your car; the other driver's. With a little practice the methods discussed above will become ingrained and allow you the moments it takes to observe the vehicles closer to you. It often takes a little time to realize that another car is drifting into your path or about to turn. The soonest indication can be the shrinking distance between his car and lane markings on the road. If you notice the other driver crowding the edge of the lane, adjust your speed to avoid him. On a multi-lane highway, you may want to signal and move over to another lane yourself, but many
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people seem to constantly change lanes on these roads and may continue to squeeze you over. Give them room and get out of their vicinity as soon as safely possible. Don’t get penned in. In city traffic there is sometimes just not much room to run, but always give yourself stopping space ahead and room to move into another lane or onto the shoulder if at all possible. Remember that if all else fails and you are struck by another car, a glancing blow or one in which your car can move with the impact so that the force is dissipated is better than a situation where your car is trapped and absorbs the whole shock. Better to be smacked like a hockey puck than pounded between hammer and anvil. Adjust to the weather and road conditions. Slow down when the road is slick or the visibility is poor. Learn your car’s characteristics in different conditions. A car that handles the road like a dream on dry pavement may make you feel like you are playing crack-the-whip on a wet road. Recognize your own skill level too; a man who grew up driving in Chicago called home from Texas one day. “They have an interesting ritual down here,” he said, “As soon as a snowflake hits the ground; everyone gets into their car and drives into the nearest ditch,” If you don’t get much chance to practice on ice; go slow, it’s better to be honked at than towed. Yield, but don’t grovel. Most intersections or merging traffic lanes are marked to indicate which cars have the rightof-way. Follows those rules and adjust your speed to merge smoothly. The first car at a four-way stop sign gets to go first. If more than one car arrives at the same time, the one furthest to the right is to move first. Follow the established
Make sure you have room to pass at reasonable speed and have time to get well past the car ahead before moving back into the lane. Waiting at the stop sign. Passing on curves or hills can be lethal. Respect the road markings.122 P a g e rules of the road. Stopping or inching hesitantly ahead while merging into traffic is confusing and can cause collisions either on the highway or on the ramp as people behind you expect you to move. even if you are waving the other driver merrily ahead. You should be able to see the entire width of the front of the car you have passed before moving back into that lane. and drive confidently. is confusing and often results in jerky starts and stops and collisions involving other drivers who are expecting the traditional sequence. just . A driver coming up behind and seeing a long open space for you to enter may not realize that you are not moving until it is too late. Many places allow a right turn after stopping. Remember that driving defensively is not the same as driving fearfully. The double yellow line means passing is forbidden. Passing takes patience. and. Be sure it is safe to do so and that you are signaling appropriately and then use this option.
Play music at a level that allows you to concentrate and to hear sounds from your own car and from vehicles around you. phones or anything else that keeps you from a solid grip on the wheel (you’d be surprised). If your wheels are straight you are most likely to be pushed straight ahead if hit from behind. Give yourself room. No need to be paranoid. Keep your mind on the road and your vision clear. Good sunglasses are better than the car’s flipdown sun visors. it doesn’t mean passing is a good idea. If you pull out into the intersection to make a left turn. Keep your hands free of food. keep your wheels straight until you actually begin the turn. Many minor bumps in this situation turned to tragedy because the turning car was driven into oncoming traffic. Don’t forget that even though you are wrapped in the armor of your car so is the other driver. drinks. but when all is said in done those strangers around you cannot be counted on to do the rational thing. give yourself time. Give yourself plenty of room to slow down if the car ahead changes speed before you are in position to move into the left lane. Don’t prepare to pass by tailgating.123 P a g e because there is no such indicator. Don’t crowd intersections. Leave the phone calls and texting for another time. Let’s Recap: Offensive driving saves time and money. . and be safe.
Follow traffic rules and signs. Maintain your car so it works with you. effective driving EVERY time you drive. Allow extra time. Speed and space are key. Know your limitations. improve visibility. don’t drive impaired or tired. Defensive Driving is not Fearful Driving.P. safe.E.124 P a g e Championship driving means. prepare ahead. . Eliminate distractions. Know how your car handles in different conditions. and the Smith Systems.D. Remember the I. Traffic tickets are not proof of efforts to be on time.
The problem is that the best driver can still do something dumb. For younger people it is the number one cause. “I don’t mind dying. AVOID THE DUMB ACCIDENTS Woody Allen once said. but electronic activity is still a trap for many of us. choosing the best car. we will move a little away from those items. adding the best accessories to keep you safe and how to keep your car in great shape. I just don’t want to be doing something really stupid at the time. Car accidents are one of the most common causes of death.125 P a g e 13. Pedestrians have walked into traffic for the same reason. It’s being called iPod oblivion. In one instance.” I have a slightly different point of view: I’m not terribly afraid of dying. This is the type of dumb move in which you might hope the accident kills you rather . but to be fair to the company it is a common dumb thing to become so wrapped up in a music player of any brand or a hand-held game that the driver simply forgets the thing he has his expensive toy propped up on is a steering wheel. at least. Most of these involved injuries to people in other vehicles. In England recently there have been over 17 accidents per day caused by people so engrossed in their i-Pods that they lost track of the fact that they were supposed to be driving. Watching videos while driving – DUMB! Several accidents have occurred because of truck drivers watching pornography on laptops or DVD players. Talking or Texting while driving – DUMB! Since cell phones have been picked on so much and texting is so obvious. There are reams of material on driving safely. the driver was said to be nude. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
These were extreme incidents. causing his victim to veer and flip the car over the median and into the path of another driver. A car traveling at 70 miles an hour can cross the width of a lane in one-third of a second. or squeezing over into someone else’s lane. The nature of what they were watching may raise the embarrassment (or creepiness) factor. but they are not unique. or tailgating. They won’t learn from you anyway. but watching any video while driving is a level of stupidity that should have a title of its own. You don’t have to get there first or fastest. and if you do that you win. . On the George Washington Parkway two drivers disagreed over a lane change and began an aggressive driving duel that ended when they both crossed the median and killed two innocent people. Similar reckless driving occurs every day when one driver thinks he has the right to teach the other guy a lesson. The latter was clearly an intentional attempt to cause as much damage as possible. One could have let the other go and saved lives and prison time. All it takes is cutting in too close. and you have no right to try to teach anyone else on the road anything. In another incident two men were killed when a driver who enjoyed intimidating other drivers raced past one man and slammed on the brakes. Notice in the first example that we don’t even know who started the dispute.126 P a g e than face what you’ve done. Let the police deal with them. One-third of a second is too fast to stop but long enough to end your life or send you to prison for years. Anger starts and thinking stops. There is only one challenge for you on the road: To get where you need to go safely. We only know that they were both wrong by the time two innocents were killed.
The really dumb version of this is intentionally driving without lights. Driving when exhausted – DUMB! This is a common habit and a habit that people constantly excuse.” If your car is moving or about to move. It is especially easy to forget the headlights when you have been driving for hours and the sun has gone down. If you are smart enough to read this. Many years ago I helped load a man onto an x-ray table who was driving without lights and hit the side of a freight car at an unlit railroad crossing. day or night. you can’t be dumb enough to do that. When his car hit the train he went through the windshield and struck the side of the train with his body as well. Drinking and driving – DUMB! It would take half of the space on the Internet to cover all the damage that drinking and driving have done. usually done for fun or for a dare on country roads where it can be incredibly dark. Many places have laws stating that the headlights must be on whenever you have your windshield wipers turned on. make sure your lights are on. it was only for the coroner to see how many bones were broken. Not only should the lights be on at dusk but also whenever weather conditions affect visibility. He wasn’t x-rayed to see about treating his injuries. but it is also . One of the most common and dangerous habits is to leave a parking area or driveway before turning on the lights. In some places you are to have the headlights on whenever you are driving.127 P a g e Driving without headlights – DUMB! Sometimes it is a simple mistake. since “you aren’t on the street yet. but it is something to be aware of. Remember they are not there just to help you see but also to help you be seen.
Your two-ton chariot is out of control. I almost hate to mention ghost riding or car surfing – DUMB! They are so stupid that the idea seems to have a weird attraction when first heard of. Granted that it was the passenger that did the final deed. Don’t try to push yourself. He was killed and her two children were seriously injured. Everyone gets into disagreements now and then. You know when you are not alert to drive. and the brakes are jammed on. Car surfing is fairly obvious.128 P a g e a factor in a huge number of accidents. Several accidents have been reportedly been caused by the driver arguing with someone on the phone. The person dumb enough to take the dare rides on the top or hood of the car while someone else drives. Any real or imagined slight by other drivers is exaggerated. The gas pedal is pressed harder. The dumb part is staying on the road or staying in the argument. The results to the surfer are frequent and catastrophic. especially if you are in the car together for long periods. the car is no place for arguing. who was driving. and retaliation is more likely. your driving record. Not only are you distracted and your judgment impaired by emotions but also your physical reactions are affected. Stop and cool off. One or the other must stop. Grabbing the wheel from the driver – DUMB! A woman admitted grabbing the wheel of the car in the heat of an argument with her boyfriend. It can save your relationship. The angry or upset person will exaggerate movement and force so that the wheel is held too tightly and constant correction for muscle tension is needed. and your life. injuries to . which is kind of a double-header of dumb. and oversteering is common when avoiding obstacles or changing lanes.
running or dancing along the car as it rolls along in neutral or even idling in gear. Too often the drivers glance into the rear-view mirror or look over their shoulders and throw the car into reverse. More importantly. Alternate your rearward watch with glances forward to see that you are not catching anything with the front of your car. check behind your car before you get in. When the car is actually moving. Even the most sympathetic medical staff have trouble being totally sweet to the person dumb enough to run over himself. they either face forward or look only into the rear-view mirror. go slowly and look behind you.129 P a g e other people and property are also common because everyone is distracted and no one is using any brain cells. Cars going forward have the right-of-way and are not obligated to back out of your way. Improper backing – DUMB! This causes many accidents. This may simply be a lack of skill or attention. Ghost driving is the act of the driver stepping out of the car and walking. If you are just starting out after being parked. but it is true that somehow people often seem to . Falling under the wheel or being caught in the door and dragged are not unusual. Permanent injuries to yourself or others because you intentionally gave up control of a moving car will haunt you forever. When you are backing up. especially if backing out of a parking space. The idea that you will be fast enough to regain control before the car speeds up or veers to the side is rampant self-deception and unfortunately ends as often in pedestrian injuries and damage to other peoples’ property as to the person responsible. the driver moving ahead may not be able to stop and shift into reverse in time or may be blocked by cars behind her.
If your car is not functioning so that you can drive. cell phones. get them repaired as quickly as possible. This still means they are not functioning properly and can suddenly fail completely. and the car would stop. or stop dependably. steer. Let’s Recap: Distractions of any kind. . then you are risking yourself and those around you foolishly. at a passenger or anyone else. Car repairs may be costly but worth whatever it takes to keep you safe. The same is true of power steering that is stiff or loose or an engine that hesitates or stalls.130 P a g e expect others to clear the way when they are backing up or blame the driver of the car that was already parked when they backed into it. You often hear a person say he was still able to pump the brakes up. Take your time and make sure your rearward vision is clear either directly or with well-designed mirrors. If you know that your brakes are not working properly. videos or games can kill you. The car is no place for anger. Driving without brakes – DUMB! This is foolish but not as uncommon as you might think. stop driving until you are calm. texting.
Do not drive if your car is not working properly . Admit when you are too tired to drive. Pranks. and stunts while driving automatically prove you are too immature to be behind the wheel. Alcohol or drugs means no driving.131 P a g e Use headlights and signals. Driving in reverse takes concentration and practice. and do not try to push yourself. dares. they not only let you see but help others see you.
because you’ll be hauling nitroglycerin. “Hi. “I’m Jim. . often moving onto the shoulder when a car came from the opposite direction. For example. “But I want to know if you are good. said the boss.132 P a g e 14. what would you do?” After a moment’s thought." “Fine”. I drive at night while he sleeps. “I’d wake up Mike. and my partner is Mike. SAFE DRIVING IS SERIOUS.” he said. and he drives during the day. The truck driver arrived for his new job. He’s never seen a wreck like this!” The nervous student always panicked when she came to a narrow stretch of two-lane road. SO LET'S STOP FOR A LAUGH Even old jokes are nice traveling companions. Jim said. if it's three o’clock in the morning and you’re on a narrow bridge when an oncoming driver with a semi full of concrete blocks falls asleep and veers into your lane.
” When you see a young man open the door for his girlfriend. Finally got used to meeting traffic. “You’ve been driving this car from the back seat for years. and the instructor congratulated her. I’ve got my end over.” Jim replied. you know it’s either a new car or a new girl.” she smiled.” Bumper Sticker: How many roads must a man travel down before he admits that he’s lost? Bob let his son Jim drive the car for his first date and made a point of showing his trust by not waiting up.133 P a g e One day she finally drove smoothly through the whole course. “You did great today. ever since they were both young men. almost as old as the men inside. The next morning his son came down for breakfast. Dad. stalled and rolled to a stop with the back wheels resting between the rails of a railroad track. Finally they were traveling down the highway when the car. A train was rushing toward them while the old man in the back yelled. The aging chauffer had been driving his cranky old employer for several years. “Great. “but now when I meet another car I just close my eyes. huh?” “Not really. the rest is up to you. and Bob asked how the date went. They had never made a trip without the boss shouting instructions and insults from the back seat. “It was the most fun I’ve ever had!” . “Get it started! Move! Move! MOVE!” The chauffer took off his cap and said.
” “Now I understand.” “I need to see your driver’s license. “No. “I don’t know. “What’s wrong with them?” he asked the driver. I was careful to be going the speed limit. How could it have water in it?” “Because the car is in the swimming pool” You know you’re a bad driver when the helicopter traffic announcer knows you by name. but I don’t think it will start this morning. About to send her on her way. It ran great.” she smiled. he noticed the two older Sisters in the back seat. The speed limit is 55. praying rapidly with their eyes tightly shut.” the trooper said. so you were slowing traffic down. Officer. “they started acting like that when we were back on Highway 185. as he stepped up to the window of the car that he had finally gotten to pull over. 27 is the highway number. I stayed right at 27 miles per hour.” “Sister you were going too slow. I think it’s got water in the carburetor. Thank you. officer. Officer. The trooper asked the nun driving the car if she knew why he had pulled her over. so how do you expect me to show it to you now?” .” she said. They were pale and shaking with perspiration soaking their habits.134 P a g e “No problems with the car?” “No.” “I bet you don’t even know what a carburetor is. You took my license away last week. not the speed limit sign. “You guys have to make up your minds.
. "Didn't you say. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. I had just loaded Bessie into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the . "Well. He is faking.. The company's lawyer was questioning Farmer Joe. I am trying to establish the fact that. this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was fine. it’s not just one nut. there are hundreds of them!” Farmer John decided to take the company that owned the truck responsible for the accident to court. Mable. "I'd like to hear his story. I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road." Judge was a country boy himself and told the lawyer.135 P a g e Henry was driving rapidly to work and concentrating fiercely when his cell phone rang. at the scene of the accident." The lawyer cut him off. "Well. The farmer replied. "Judge. 'I'm fine'?".. 'I'm fine. I had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the. "Just answer the question.” he shouted. at the scene of the accident. Did you not say. I just heard on the radio that some nut is driving the wrong way down the expressway. Farmer John started again. His wife replied. “What is it? I’m busy.” “My gosh. Please tell him to just answer the question." The lawyer interrupted again and said." John thanked the Judge and proceeded. I'll tell you what happened. “Be careful. "Well. at the scene of the accident..'?" asked the lawyer.
I could hear ol' Bessie moaning and groaning. “I’m sure glad I gave up drinking.136 P a g e stop sign and hit my truck in the side. I was hurting real bad and didn't want to move. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. 'Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her. I use those in my act. 'How are YOU feeling?'" The policeman pulled the man over and became suspicious when he saw an array of sharpened machetes gleaming in the back seat. "The Trooper came across the road with his gun in his hand and looked at me. Those tests have really gotten hard!” . It was awful. with one hand on his pistol. Just then an older couple drove slowly by and the man said. a Highway Patrolman came on the scene.” As the officer stood at a safe distance. Then he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes. “I’m a juggler. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over and looked at her. the man spun six blades into the air in a dazzling display." Shortly after the accident. “What are those for?” he asked. “Oh yeah? Let’s see you do it. He said.' "Then he said. I knew she was in terrible shape.” replied the driver.
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