Don’t Be A Crash Test Dummy
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



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. but he or she also knows more about what they are doing in the car. 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. 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 must also ask questions of their teenage drivers. 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. but also on the responses of teenagers themselves. This is not information based on just government or insurance company statistics. what is distracting and what is helpful to them than most adults do. The teenage driver has a lot to learn. 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. 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. The parent is in the frightening position of giving a new form of freedom that comes with a great deal of   . 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. If you are a teenager who is old enough to drive.1  P a g e   1.

The driver of a car has the ability to cause pain.2  P a g e   danger. If he’s not lying then he and his parents are all lucky. The body and mind both need to mature enough to handle the physical and emotional demands of driving. 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. 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. If the driver causes damage by doing something with the car that the insurance does not cover. What a lucky guy. 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. and you have to work at it. Everyone knows somebody who claims his folks let him drive when he was thirteen. It may be frustrating. but it's okay if you need a little more time to have the judgment and patience to drive a car. but it’s absolutely true. You may be surprised how many people your age are not driving. 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. the car owner can face a lawsuit that could wipe out their financial resources. as long as the driver is on their policy. It may seem like just a corny saying. that driving is not a right but a privilege. costly expenses and possible death to themselves and those around them. many because they   . 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.

and whether it’s worthwhile to pound the horn at the little old lady at the stop sign. 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. heedless of the lady on the sidewalk. Don’t settle for the state requirements and high school driving certificate as the measure of your son or daughter’s right to drive. Spend all the time in the car with them that you can. 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). 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. to acknowledge being unskilled or nervous about driving. 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. Ask your teenager what he feels confident in or nervous about behind the wheel. especially a boy. It may be something that strikes you as simple. 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. which is the very thing that the new driver has trouble with.3  P a g e   themselves don’t feel ready.” Parents must recognize the abilities and limits of their own children. Remember how difficult it is for a teenager. Denying driving privileges because of failure to clean up a room or for lying about completing homework is not just a   . Giving in to make them happy can bring the greatest misery of their lives.

these behaviors are a measure of the same maturity and responsibility it takes to be a safe driver.000 were taken to emergency rooms from car accidents. probably more kids than there are in your whole school are killed each year. Per mile driven. over 350. 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). every one of them with friends and families. More even than embarrassment. which many teenagers fear more than death but.4  P a g e   means of punishment. Those rotten old statistics: Motor vehicle accidents are the reason for one third of the deaths of teenagers. 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. more than all other reasons for teenage death combined.   . This is not about scaring you. More than illnesses. maybe parental warnings won’t seem so stupid and the laws too strict and meaningless. more than sports injuries. teen drivers are several times more likely to be in a crash than any other age group. hopes and plans) in 2008. Aside from the 3.500 teenagers killed (think about that. but when you picture yourself or someone you know going through these things.

and many are doing the same dumb things. This is why. This is a test of your comprehension: Teenage drivers are more likely to underestimate hazards or fail to recognize dangerous situations. By the way. clear the car of distractions. Now. and it outweighs things like youth’s faster reflexes and better eyesight when it comes to driving. even more than an adult. Insurance rates have traditionally been lower for girls than boys. This is a fact. and girls are more likely to be speeding or drinking. Good grades make your insurance rates cheaper. studying actually does pay off. Parents: This test is a reminder that a good teacher must be able to give facts without being insulting. This still means that an awful lot of girls are in accidents. The teenage brain has not fully developed in areas that affect judgment. and make sure he has every advantage in the form of clear windows and the best blind-spot mirrors.   . 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. but that has been changing in recent years as the numbers get closer.5  P a g e   Boy drivers were more than twice as likely to be involved in crashes as girls. a young driver must learn to use his safety belts.

you just look silly and sound bad. 94% (if you’re sick of math. In a survey of over 5.000 high school students from across the country. Teen passengers in the car increase the risk of accidents with a young person driving. and you can take others down with you. This is one of the most annoying laws for a young driver to deal with. athletic events and social activities keep teenagers at a pace that would put a lot of adults in intensive   . parttime jobs. and the more passengers the higher the risk. Acknowledge your limitations. School. Many states limit the number or ages of passengers in a car driven by a teen. and you can do the same to them. The problem is your friends can get you killed when you are a young driver. homework. If you try to play harder material than you are ready for on the guitar. which is another chronic problem for teen drivers. you start with slower melodies and scales. just say “almost every doggone one of them”) see teenage passengers doing something that was distracting to the driver. the whole point of driving is to go where you want to with your friends. so you work within your abilities as you progress.6  P a g e   If you want to play the guitar. you will fumble until your muscle memory and coordination develop with practice. If you try to play the screaming licks from your favorite bands. you can look and sound very bad. 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. If you try to drive faster or in situations beyond your abilities. 75% of these students reported seeing teenagers driving while fatigued. After all. indeed. and not only will you stay safe but also you will earn the trust of those who control your driving privileges.

the risks are much higher for the inexperienced driver. like any distraction. You can’t be perfect but don’t ever waste that gift or avoid that responsibility. Laws and rules do not make as much impact on drivers as having real responsibility. Many parents foot the entire bill for insurance and even give the young driver a car. Dexterity does not change the fact that the driver who is texting is four times more likely to have an accident. Most accidents involving teenagers occur between 3 pm and midnight and during the weekends. A car will definitely be treated with more respect if the teenager must earn it. and certainly teens can baffle their parents with the dexterity they show with a cell phone. 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. 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.   . partly because they are doing it more than any other group. By the way. Cell phone use and texting are deadly to teenage drivers. Most texting teens are proud of their prowess.7  P a g e   care. That’s nice to know and important to remember. Not just in driving. and. The dangers of phoning and texting have been covered thoroughly in other areas. and most young people are sleep deprived to some degree. You have more influence than anyone else in your son or daughter’s life.

and their crash rates are much lower than the U.” With all due respect to their knowledge and skill. The typical driver’s education course is about 30 hours of classroom and 6 or more hours in the car. Who is the best teacher of an up-and-coming driver? We already know the greatest influence on the young driver   . however. It takes a college degree. with some limitations. which is defined as the person who “arranges features of the landscape and garden attractively. Countries that have more demanding licensure requirements have fewer accidents and fatalities. years of experience.000-pound instrument of destruction. The student must also log 20 hours or more practice driving with a licensed driver. peer pressure is huge for teens. But studies show that a parent often has more influence on their son or daughter’s decision than they expect. and successful examinations to be a licensed landscape architect. Being a competent driver takes more than meeting the minimum requirement. Then if you pass the test you are considered ready.S.8  P a g e   Teenagers do not want their parents to know that they talk or text while driving. from putting in plumbing to giving a massage. Compare this with the hundreds of hours of training and supervision required before you are allowed to do other things. Australia safety organizations recommend at least 120 hours of parent-supervised driving.'s. The hours spent learning to drive will pay off in years to enjoy life. there are very few petunia-planting fatalities. The top answer stimulating the end of cell phone use while driving was losing the driver’s license. to be in control of a 3.

probably in front of witnesses and possibly in writing. It can be nerve wracking to control your temper when your child is grinding gears or scraping the tires against the curb. an impersonation. It’s good for the moral fiber. The sense-of-humor accusation is often then followed by an embarrassing attempt at a joke or. usually followed by anger. Ask your teenager if he or she considers you a good driver. not only of your driving but also of your patience and ability to instruct. before you get an honest answer. At least when someone is told they drive badly they don’t insist that everyone pile into the car for a demonstration. Even if it’s a smart-alecky.9  P a g e   is the parent. Remember. You may have to promise no punishment. and if you cannot control your temper the driving practice will be a nightmare for both of you. if you are a good driver. but this is a time for honesty. he needs your patience and wants to impress you with his driving. Certainly the parent should be involved and interested in the young driver’s progress and proficiency. whether she admits to it or not. goofy-haired kid whose music has surely killed your brain cells. Ask others for an honest opinion. Taking the wheel of a car is probably the biggest step in a person’s life up that point. your child is nervous and unsure and wants to learn quickly not only for her own confidence but also to please you. Almost no one wants to admit they are a bad driver. It’s like being told you have no sense of humor. the first response is denial. then all is well with the world. Take advice. and. in truly grim situations. It can be a time when relationships are healed and strengthened or when   . The problem is that even if you are a reasonably good driver you may be a terrible teacher.

check your mirrors and scratch your nose simultaneously.” it’s not good enough to shout. The new driver knows you are nervous and out of your element. so showing a calm and reasonable demeanor will help ingrain that approach to driving as well as making the time together pleasant and…not yet!” Many school districts provide driver's education programs. “Follow that red truck on to the ramp and then go right at the light. “Hey. You must be able to give instructions clearly and concisely. go where that guy goes. The professionals will teach the basics thoroughly and in a way that will meet the licensing requirements and will be   . That guy! Turn…. 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. there should be some other professional training available. The new driver has not developed muscle memory and reflexes to accomplish all these things and get directions at the same time.10  P a g e   nervousness and frustration bring out the worst in both of you. No. give more gas. hit the turn signal. While you can see the gap. If you cannot say. and if those are not available in your area. Remember that the driving student is doing everything for the first time and must think through every move.

insurance information and towing services. Make sure that they understand that you know mistakes will happen and honesty is the right way to deal with accidents or tickets. Your son or daughter may roll his or her eyes when you say something as inane as. 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. “That was a good smooth turn. 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. While the most worry and most time is often devoted to high-speed driving.” but it doesn’t hurt a bit. safe techniques that are taught consistently. Learn to control your temper and make sure they know your first concern is their safety. List phone numbers to call in the event of breakdown or accident. try to compromise and explain or discuss when the car is not in motion and pick your battles. Of course. the mall parking lot and parallel   . prepare a checklist of information she might need when she begins driving alone. make sure the school is reputable and licensed. The young driver needs basic. if it is a private company. Remember to give credit for good moves.11  P a g e   up on recent traffic regulations or changes that you might not be aware of. While your teen is studying the manual or attending class. 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. Do not try to fine-tune every move or dictate every twitch of the wheel.

Better to let easy ones go by than to rush at the wrong moment. the young driver must compensate by driving slower. The driver must show patience and develop recognition of the perspective the mirrors provide. which. you must see it. Parallel parking is one of the most difficult skills to learn and demands the ability to judge space and distance. and of learning to drive is speed and distance. Until that faculty completely matures. but it needs to be a large part of driving practice. all nearly simultaneously. When you are out practicing with your student. wasn’t it?). Yet the young driver has more accidents and more moving violations than other age groups. in men is probably never). Remember when you are judging the moment to turn into traffic you are used to seeing it. deciding. The young driver has better reflexes than someone even ten years older. and remember that speeding is not just going   . which studies suggest is at about age 25 (and which. is to some extent beyond his control.12  P a g e   parking are where more accidents will take place. as we have already discussed. say it. and turning the wheel. This can seem boring and slow. The younger driver is most likely to be speeding. wives say. and he or she must hear it. Unfortunately these are all the things a young person finds most difficult to do. and having fewer distractions. The essence of learning is patience. Remember that gaps in traffic are difficult to judge for the new driver. hitting the gas (your turn signal was already on. The first explanation is judgment. process it and relay all those messages for the physical movements required. allowing more space between vehicles. His vision is usually sharper and his hearing is often better.

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 it would be foolish to ignore it.” Being a teenager is often tough. Far too many of those injured in accidents were the passengers of a drunken driver. 25% of all teen drivers killed had blood alcohol levels greater than the legal limit. and alcohol at any level is more disruptive for a teen driver’s abilities than to an older person. and none of those things need come with regret. it is driving at any speed in which you cannot stop or react safely.13  P a g e   beyond the number on the sign. and. It is certainly understandable and even right for young people to seek all the laughter and fun they can. on gravel roads. you are being cheated and sold a second-rate act. more often than not. In 2008. in rainy or snowy weather. And the reason for this insanity is “fun. Of course you should not be drinking at all. and sometimes seems to come with fewer choices. but there is no question it is one of the most common problems among teen drivers. If your situation or friendship needs alcohol or drugs to make it better. and real fellowship. “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. Do not let yourself be placed in that   . 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. I realize that this may seem preachy. or when you are not at your best because you are tired or have been drinking. Remember that you have the right to protect yourself. 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. as hard as any career. and real laughter. But you deserve real fun.

and the good ones and really fun memories are too valuable to be lost to alcohol and hangovers. do something unimaginable and very brave. If you cannot stop a drunken friend from driving.14  P a g e   position. If you drink or use weed. If you are one of the many who can’t drink a little without drinking a lot. Even bad days are a precious part of your life. Talk to your family.” and it is a rather cowardly lie that “Everyone does it. It is not true that you “need it. get legal yourself. 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. Some people cannot drink at all without drinking all   . get out of the car. and be a true friend and call police. If you want to be their friend. If you are a teenager drinking or using any type of drug to enjoy your social life. then you can have a reasonable discussion. and perhaps you can help each other. A person’s desire to keep a license or a friendship does not excuse the risk of the lives of others. including marijuana. 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). Don’t accuse but don’t condone either. Parents: Ask your teenagers about using alcohol or dope. care enough to ask and care enough to face scary answers. your child is already well aware of that. Don’t accuse but ASK.” 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. You may be amazed at the fact that your son or daughter is willing and maybe waiting to talk about these things.

patiently and wisely. You are not stupid and you are not here just to be bossed around.   . You are young. taught or scolded. teachers. Some parents don’t want to be called hypocrites. Learn to take a deep breath and let the incident go by. Some risks are just too great and losses too painful. Road-rage incidents are more common for younger drivers than older ones. and you are valuable. 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. may do wonderful things in many areas of your relationship far beyond knowing your son or daughter is driving safely. but it means that the young driver must give more space to other drivers and be willing to ignore stupid mistakes or aggressive driving. have your own personalities and interests. Let the other guy act stupidly. Let’s get something straight. boys and girls (I bet you hate being called that): There is nothing wrong with you. Talking about this subject. Losing your temper puts you in the wrong and often in danger. and be proud that you know that the few moments of dealing with an irritating driver have no importance in your life. The things that affect your driving and safety also affect the driving of parents. but just one drinking episode can cost your life and those of others. This is too important. The fact that emotions are closer to the surface for younger people is natural. unique. Sometimes it seems that the teenager never gets a break from being warned. “Get OVER It!” This may have all seemed over the top. and it is not weakness to admit that and simply avoid the risk.15  P a g e   that’s there (most teenagers are in this category).

and. that wailing noise from the car with all the flashing lights filling up your rear-view mirror. but other distractions that contribute much more to young people than to adults are passengers. Played too loud it can affect your attention and also drown out warning sounds from your engine. 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. Don’t hesitate to say and demonstrate that you know and understand these things to older people. Cell phones and texting are far ahead of the field in contributing to accidents and fatalities. some of whom actually think it’s funny to try to bug the driver. we learn slower as we age. Be courteous and patient.   . Still. Music is a big part of most teenagers’ lives and personalities. That is why it is important to minimize all the risks and distractions you can. most humiliatingly. There is no possible way to claim to be mature if you do that or allow it in your car.16  P a g e   and people of all ages. horns or shouts from people and cars around you. and the more you know now the longer and better your life will be.

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. Even though this causes irritation between drivers sharing the same car. 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.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. Make the driver’s seat your own. Purchase high-quality wide-view mirrors and attach them properly. Mirrors are your eyes in many situations. 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. It only takes a moment to make the adjustments you need to be able to see better and react   . Other objects in the car can be equally distracting. Do not try to compensate by leaning or slumping.

Get to a safe place and assist anyone who is injured. The license may restrict the beginning drivers from driving at night or with passengers in the car. Do not lose your temper or panic. Place flares or reflectors as needed. Call for help.   . Do not try to move any injured people unless they are in danger of fire or oncoming traffic. Teenagers are the least likely drivers to use seat belts. Let’s Recap: Taking the wheel is usually the most challenging step in a teen’s life up to that point. Learning to drive is a time for both teens and adults to learn about safety and each other. These systems allow more freedom as the driver gets older or has more time as a licensed driver. and driving safely makes it fun for a whole lot longer. The greatest influence on how a beginner drives is the parent. allowing different levels of independence. Driving is fun. as well as to prevent becoming tired or cramped while driving. Let the professionals help and guide you through whatever is needed.18  P a g e   faster. and this neglect is responsible for more frequent and more severe injuries. Remember that many areas use Graduated Driver Licensing systems. If you are in an accident remember to stay calm and evaluate what needs to be done.

Eliminate all distractions from the car Set the seat. Teen drivers underestimate or do not recognize hazards. Phone Use and Texting are the number one distraction for teens in accidents. Recognize the higher levels of energy.   . anxiety. emotion. don’t wait for the other to talk about drinking or other safety issues.19  P a g e   The teen has a lot at stake when learning to drive. spend all the time you can with your young driver. but parents are risking a great deal in allowing the use of the car. allow more space than you think you need. Parents. teens are more likely to be involved in an accident than any other age group Judgment does not fully develop until about age 25. Financial responsibility is an great motivator. There is no shame in driving within this limitation. Alcohol affects any driver but has greater effect in smaller amounts on teens. and exhaustion that teens deal with. Young passengers in the car greatly increase the rate of accidents for teen drivers. steering wheel and mirrors for the individual driver. Parent or teen. Give each other some slack. Per mile driven. but recognize your own limits.

If you are in a crash. not punishment. call for help and place flares or reflectors as needed. 2   .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. It’s about safety. get into a safe place. Remember. stay calm.

Attempts at telepathy or spirit contact are even more demanding and distracting but would take too much time to go into. 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. 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. peoplewatching. Maybe you aren’t that bad. 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. the most common driving distractions today. 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. For the purposes of this discussion we are referring only to earthbound people and talking to them by phone.21  P a g e   2. putting on makeup. Twenty-nine states have already passed laws banning texting and more are in the process. 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 looking at maps are all common mistakes many people make. Even if it   . reading. Eating. We have all seen people drifting unevenly down the road as they chat into their phone. or your hands off the wheel. and especially texting. What follows is mostly about phoning and texting.

should be using all their faculties to keep themselves and the rest of us safe. That slight advantage is not enough.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. and there is logic and science behind most of them. THIS IS NOT A SOLUTION!   . and there is no reason to be typing away while you try to drive no matter how long you have been driving. 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. Anyone in control of more than a ton of steel and glass. You have a good point. traffic laws really are designed to keep you safe. Some controversy is added because in some places the laws restrict texting only to younger drivers. and you may think this is very unfair. traveling at over 95 feet per second. Texting is distracting at any age.

which means if you are going 55 miles an hour. but that is balanced somewhat by needing more time to make decisions due to inexperience. your car will travel over 40 feet by the time you start to deal with some sudden change. and try to imagine one that would have been worth even damage to your car. Let’s do the statistics thing… You may think numbers are boring.23  P a g e   It’s true that teens and young drivers have much faster reflexes than older drivers. let alone injury to yourself or someone else. texting can slow a young person’s response time to that of a 70-year-old. Think back over every conversation you have had for the last few weeks. Now. but they tell a story and they tell the truth. You can ignore the statistics on   . Depending on the person and any distractions. Don’t convince yourself you are the exception no matter your age or skill. reaction time can take several seconds and hundreds of feet. so put the phone down or let grandpa drive. 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. In fact. add texting and your reaction time is slowed by 30%. The fastest human reaction time is about half a second.

The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis reported that cell phone use is estimated to contribute to 636.000 serious injuries (don’t try to play the odds with that statement. of U.   . Before you compare talking on the phone to just talking to someone in the car with you. 12. That’s more than one out of five.600 deaths per year. 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. Over 21% of fatal accidents involving drivers 19 and under involves texting while driving.000 injuries. and 2. so you are a danger from the front and the back. the U. Ignore the facts on driving distractions and the highway can get your blood. and the percentage gets higher each year. 25% of accidents are caused by cell phone use. If you care enough about being a good driver to be reading this. remember that it’s a serious injury if it happens to you). 330. yet texting is about six times more likely than driving while intoxicated to cause an accident. also found that it is significantly safer to talk to the passenger. then you are intelligent enough to know how stupid it is to drink and drive.000 crashes. 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.24  P a g e   roulette if you want to. The University of Utah simulator studies show that there is no reduction of risk using hands-free devices rather than hand-held phones. but the casino still gets your money.

Now I’d like you to think about self-respect. in the sense that you should not convince yourself you are an exception to reaction times and statistics. which some people confuse with being egotistical. The numbers go on and on. and there may be more dangerous activities than using cell phones but that is the one that occurs more often and for longer periods. You deserve to treat yourself with this kind of respect and you deserve to have friends and family to treat you this way also.25  P a g e   From the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute: Texting is the most dangerous of phone-related activities. Truck drivers were 23. Respect for yourself and others is a very good reason to leave texting and phone calls for when you are not driving. Eighty percent of accidents are caused by distracted drivers. whether texting or talking. It’s about more than safety… I mentioned ego earlier.2 times more likely to have a crash or near-crash while texting than when not distracted. You deserve to be safe and to not be put into dangerous situations. The time in the car is a wonderful time to relax and clear your mind. It only takes a few minutes to pull off the road and communicate important messages. is worth the risk. For centuries people could not communicate every thought that came into their head without even seeing the   . Cell phone use is the number one driver distraction. but is not the same. and there simply are none that would make you think driving and cell phones. Remember these are pros who drive for a living. Sometimes it is the closest thing to privacy we get.

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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.


More than one fifth of teenage driving deaths are related to texting.   . Texting slows your reaction time by over 30%. Young people are most likely to text.29  P a g e   Cell phone use is the number one driver distraction. but the risks from distractions affect all ages. You deserve to drive safely without distractions. Texting is the most dangerous phone-related activity. Texting while driving is illegal in most states.

There has been much more written elsewhere on driving while distracted. Consider whether any of the things on this list hit close to home. Speeding is almost too easy to list.30  P a g e   3. and this section is about other. Even drinking while intoxicated causes fewer accidents than phone use. While some of these habits may not seem as dangerous as others you might think of. Materials spilled from   . or don’t understand how dangerous some of their behavior is. 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. The simple idea of driving the posted speed limit is not the most important factor in how fast you drive. although of course going faster than the limit will get you a ticket. and talking on a cell phone runs close behind. the very number of people doing them and the frequency that they take place make them a high priority for change. but just saying “everybody does it” is not an excuse any adult should be using. The behavior that makes number one on just about any list of high-risk driving habits is texting. sometimes subtle errors. and there is more to consider than just the number on the street sign. BAD HABITS MOST DRIVERS DON’T KNOW THEY HAVE Many people do careless things without even realizing it. 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. Studies show that speed as a factor in collisions is usually because the driver is going too fast for conditions.

certainly if you have had any alcohol or are using medications. snow or fog can reduce visibility. Tailgating obviously makes accidents more likely. Allow for unusual motor traffic but also pedestrians in the area. ill. This means his driving judgment will be poor. or road damage can limit room to maneuver and damage your car’s steering or braking components. but also if you are tired. Rain.   . Be aware of road and weather conditions and adjust your speed accordingly. and that makes two of you. too. Adjust speed to your own condition too. Sometimes the only right speed is what you can achieve by walking. Remember that the one in the rear is almost always considered at fault. yet those same people are very aware of when someone is following them too closely. 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.31  P a g e   trucks can ruin traction and obstacles. Tailgating is a habit that many people do regularly but almost all would deny. anxious or distracted. What tailgating will rarely do is get you to your destination much faster. It is a trigger to many road-rage incidents. The amount and type of traffic is a factor. this type of tailgater is also often the one flashing his headlights at the car ahead. or to cause him to become irritated or anxious. Some people tailgate because they feel that they can intimidate the person ahead into moving aside or picking up speed. especially children.

If conditions are slippery or foggy.32  P a g e   Sometimes tailgaters are simply not experienced enough to realize what the safe distance is from the car ahead. you are following too closely. Remember your closeness to the car in front of you has nothing to do with how fast you get where you are going. because the distance it takes to react and stop increases with speed. if you reach the marker before two seconds have passed. The use of turn signals is required by law and can save you from serious accidents. Remember the people around you are capable of   . It’s not enough to estimate some fixed space such as 2 car lengths. Watch for a fixed object such as a road sign or tree and as the car ahead passes count slowly: 0ne-one-thousand. Turning signals are not just there so you can be polite to the drivers around you if you choose to. preferably double the length or more. allow a longer gap. 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.

simple courtesy is not only the right way to behave. You may suspect a person at an intersection is going to turn.33  P a g e   hitting your car with more than 30 tons of force even if driving less than 30 miles an hour. do not underestimate the anger and frustration that people experience when taken by surprise by a thoughtless driver. 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. it can save your life. someone that you have not seen may be approaching and your signal would alert them to your move and save you both. Not only do you want to have the habit of signaling ingrained so strongly that you do it without thinking. In these days of road rage. Turning signals are to be used when you are making a turn or changing lanes. but it is not uncommon for this feature to fail. It’s a good idea to give those people all the warning and cooperation you can. In newer cars. if you are driving   . Signal about 100 feet before the turn. It is probably more common to fail to signal when changing lanes than when turning a corner and also more dangerous. for example. In those times that you feel like you are alone on the road and need not worry about signaling. but this is exactly the situation when collisions often occur. This can be as dangerous as not signaling. Aside from the chance of accident. Be sure that your signal is not flashing when you are not planning a turn. regardless if you think you are alone on the road or not. but there is no way to predict when a person is going to move into your lane unless they signal.

34  P a g e   straight through an intersection when other drivers expect you to turn. moving in the same direction. and you should take advantage of the improved vision they afford. A person being blinded by high beams can become disoriented and drift from his lane. Be courteous to pedestrians and bicyclists as well. In some places this is illegal. but a good substitute if you have kids or grandkids is to teach them when you are supposed to signal. Laws may vary depending on your locale. Know when to use your high beams. and it is probably wiser to assume that the folks you meet are driving the speed limit. The high beams are designed to be used. An excellent method for this is to angrily point out other drivers who failed to use signals. It is common practice to flash your own high beams on and quickly off when meeting someone whose “brights” are in your eyes. Some people also use this as a signal to oncoming drivers that there is a police car ahead. Some cars have a warning tone that will sound if your signal stays on too long. 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. 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. but don’t forget how blinding they can be. There are no mechanical devices to remind you to turn your turn signal on. Remember that wildlife will often freeze when hit with bright lights but may also become confused and blindly rush into your path. After that. Police tend not to appreciate this dubious method of good fellowship. The other common and dangerous response to   .

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   .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. and your eyes will adjust much more quickly when the other driver has passed. now both of you are dazzled and quite often there is a clash of wills between bright lights and dim drivers. Sometimes this occurs because one driver simply doesn't realize his lights are on high and he thinks he is the wronged party. Scratches and smears on your windshield make bright lights much more blinding. Of course. Keep your windshield clean and maintained.

If you are turning left onto a one-way street. One of the most common driving errors everywhere is made when there is more than one turning lane. It is most common to see people drift toward the inner lane as they turn. and then safely change lanes if you need to. Turning safely is an art. with oncoming traffic and those behind you and beside you to keep track of. When you are at an intersection controlled by stop signs rather than   . When trying to turn left at an intersection when the light is green. If no other left-turning vehicle is already in the intersection in front of you. of course. you must. Use the right light for conditions. wait for an opening in oncoming traffic. you always turn onto the left-most lane of that street. There is such a thing as being too polite. If there are two lanes for turning left and you are in the lane furthest to the right. possibly to position themselves for another turn down the road. you may enter the intersection and turn when there is a safe opening or when the light turns red and oncoming traffic stops.36  P a g e   your own high beams back at you. There are too many things happening in that situation. That way. The proper way to turn from one multi-lane street onto another is to stay in the lane you start from. if you are hit from behind. you will not be driven into oncoming traffic. Use your turn signals. making the situation worse. but some drift outward. Remain in the same lane position until you are out of the intersection and traveling down the street you have entered. then you will stay in that position throughout your turn and be in the same lane on the road you turn onto. but keep your wheels pointed straight until you actually begin your turn.

If you cannot stop in a safe place and take a nap or rest for the night. your kids. Get off the road and get some rest. Many people are so chronically tired that they are not aware that their judgment is impaired and their reflexes slow. If two or more cars arrive at the same time.37  P a g e   lights. This is confusing and frustrating to the other drivers. do not try to force yourself to stay awake. especially someone coming up from behind you in the next lane. If you realize you are becoming too sleepy to drive. but it also may place the person you are letting through in the path of oncoming traffic that he cannot see for your vehicle. then at least get out of the car and stretch your muscles. or coming around you because they may think you are simply stopped or stalled. 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. It is all too easy to blame your workload. 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. 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. the first to arrive is the first to go through the intersection. Coffee is not an adequate substitute for alert senses. the car furthest right has the right of way. or just “having a bad night” for the fact that you are not alert enough to drive safely. stop for something to   . Walk around. This may just cause more traffic delays and frustration behind you. Driving while drowsy is becoming a universal condition.

in which case you may face anything from rock-throwing pedestrians to senior ladies in BMWs approaching you at ramming speed. and honestly evaluate your ability to continue before getting back on the road. 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. (Not condoning those things either. unless you have converted it into one of those rolling boom-boxes with the super-powered bass amps. be as polite as you can safely. and play fair. Sleepiness may be a chronic state for you. No one is trying to stop you from listening to your radio in your car.38  P a g e   eat or drink. and require medical treatment. but no coloring while you are behind the wheel. Keep your music set at a volume that you can hear the sounds of your engine or drive shaft giving warning cries. Several illnesses or conditions such as sleep apnea are serious. Determine if any medications you are taking are contributing to your sleepiness. just sayin’…) This is not about your taste in music but about safety. dangerous. driving is a lot like first grade. Driving while drowsy is far too great a risk to continue. You should be able to hear your car’s electronic warning signals or the shouts or horns honking outside your car. Today’s newer cars are soundproof. Music that is too loud is a distraction.   . and with windows rolled up and the heater or a/c blowing outside sounds are already muted. Follow the rules. but that does not mean it is normal.

Keep your car’s windows clean and scratch-free for safe vision. text. talk or focus on anything but driving. Can’t say it any nicer. Tailgating is stupid. Using turn signals isn’t a just a courtesy. turn within the proper lane. it is a law and a life-saver. High beams are for your safety but misused can be dangerous to you and others. Use the right lights for the road and weather conditions.39  P a g e   LETS RECAP: Remember the big ones: Do not eat or drink. Learn the rules of the road.   .

40  P a g e   Remember the 2-second rule to stay a safe distance from the car ahead.   . Pull over when you are drowsy. chronic sleepiness can be a symptom of illness. not overwhelm it. Be courteous but within the rules of the road and established right-of-way. Music is to accompany your driving experience.

Cell phones make being broken down at the side of the road a little less hazardous than it used to be. They are a gold mine of information. Cell phone and battery charger that plugs into your car lighter. Few would cost as much twenty dollars. and it usually seems to happen in the worst possible place. WHAT SHOULD BE FOUND IN EVERY CAR Sometimes the car seems like a self-sufficient room on wheels. either to fix the problem yourself. 2. and many of them you will already have. 3.   . 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. Give it some thought. Check the air pressure when you have the oil changed. Owner’s manual. 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. but you still need to be prepared. or to stay safe and reasonably comfortable until help arrives. but every car eventually needs a little rest and repair. 1. and enjoy creating a stash in your car that gives you confidence in your ability to deal with emergencies. get one through the dealer or buy a basic repair manual specific to your car at an auto parts store. Spare tire. They are useful for any location. I know it seems obvious but it’s surprising how often the spare is missing or flat.41  P a g e   4. it will take you where you want to go almost any time. if you don’t have one.

Of course. Four-way lug wrench. Slip it over the lug wrench handle and use the extra length to grip and lift. 6. 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. Be sure to point the length of the jack in the direction of the slope if you are on a hill. Be careful that the wrench does not twist or slip off the nut. your brakes should be set and a rock or chock placed   . 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. it is simply a pipe about 3 feet long. just large enough to fit over the lug wrench handle. these give more leverage and are safer to use than the simple jack-handle type and will let you remove different-sized lug nuts. 5.42  P a g e   4. “Cheater bar” (this is not something to whack your boyfriend with if you think he’s fooling around). Small. wheeled hydraulic jack.

The lights that joggers wear are very handy and inexpensive. but it can get you out of a dangerous situation. or partially flat tires for situations that are unsafe for tire changing. The orange triangles are standard warning emblems and don’t rely on batteries. Flashlight and extra batteries. it is better for the jack to roll than to tip the car. These allow you to recharge the light by turning a crank or shaking the flashlight. Flashing LED lights are attention getters.43  P a g e   behind the wheels of the car when jacking it up. Many fold flat. 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. 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. Being seen is the key to avoid being hit. don’t you? 9. but it can be well worth it. 8. and I have read varying opinions on whether it will actually damage the inside of the tire or prevent having it permanently repaired later. or crank-and-shaketype batteries. but if the car moves downhill. 10. and the batteries are very long lasting. This is a temporary fix only. Tire sealer (commonly called fix a flat) for slow leaks.   . 7. Reflectors or warning lights. You get the idea that tires are good things to take care of by now. A small flat piece of wood to give the jack footing on soft ground and a chock to block the wheels. They do take up trunk space.

but electric devices and reflectors have replaced them as they usually only burn for less than 30 minutes. Place the positive clamps on first and then the negative. Your best course when in doubt of a person’s intentions is to lock yourself in the car and use lights. a very hot cable.44  P a g e   11. They come in various lengths and 10 to 12 feet will usually be long enough for any situation. Never get a cable smaller than an 8-gauge. They usually will be marked with a number called the gauge of the wire. and 6 or 4 are best. at a safe distance. Flares used to be a basic staple in the trunk. they are very visible and drivers have no doubt that they are a warning of a stalled car. when someone offers a jump-start. because he wished to be helpful. and the better the conductivity of the cable. Jumper Cables: There are few things as depressing as having your hood up as you stare at a dead battery and. horn and cell phone to get attention. The lower the number. It is safest to clamp the negative clamp onto the engine block rather than directly onto the battery post. finding neither of you have any cables. This keeps any sparks (and your   . and maybe a battery explosion. Crossing them will cause a short circuit. This is definitely not advice to use them as a weapon. Be very careful to match the clamps to the same battery post on both cars. the thicker the wire. Battery booster or jumper cables are heavy wires with large clamps on each end. They have even been used to keep someone who did not stop. On the other hand. They also are a great fire starter if you are broken down in cold weather and are going to be stuck for awhile. Put the red clamp on the positive.

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   . Car batteries can release Allow the booster car to run for a short time before trying to start your car. 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. gases that are explosive. Do not pump the gas pedal if your car is reluctant to start as that will flood the engine. The other driver may need to increase the rpms by giving the engine a little more gas. Disconnect the cables as quickly as possible when the car starts. 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.45  P a g e   face) away from the battery. Cranking the starter motor for too long can damage it. 12.

There are downsides. and the higher the better. not just drinking bottles. such as the cost. which is measured in amps. On the road it can fill an overheated radiator. but probably a low priority due to cost and infrequent need. cool you   . They are basically a nicely packaged battery with jumper cables attached. This device might be something to save for a winter purchase. Higher amps and more frills can increase the cost to well over $100. Some also have lights and even air compressors. 16. certainly over $50. but that can get expensive. Water has always been and will always be a staple of life. You hook these to a low battery just as though you were being jumped from another car. Poncho or rain gear 14.00 for one that has enough cranking power. Blankets: one regular soft blanket rolls up tightly and takes up little space. 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. Water: Gallon Jugs. and they are great for warmth or cushioning.46  P a g e   to work on your first impression or move to a different town). You also must charge these units from an electrical outlet periodically. 13.00. They are wonderful when you need them and they are ready to use. Large plastic bags: Used to lie on or protect or store other items 15. because they will run down while sitting in your trunk.

transmission fluid. and it’s rarely in a good spot. This is a must to get transmission fluid into the filler tube. You fill the transmission through the same hole that the dipstick goes in.   . More importantly. you want to be able to clean any cuts or scrapes you may get while getting back on the road. 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. power-steering fluid and windshield cleaner. and the stick is marked in pints. Remember that the transmission has to be checked with the car running.47  P a g e   by dampening your clothes. Your engine and steering pump life and efficiency depend on fluids. so learn how to check them and do it routinely. Waterless hand cleaner and towels: You don’t want to just get to your meeting after a car problem. Seriously. This funnel will also be handy for some brake fluid reservoirs and power steering pumps. you will feel much better if you can clean up after a setback. Long-neck funnel. 18. 19. The antifreeze and windshield solvent are the only gallon jugs. rather than quarts. Let the funnel drain and wipe it out before using it with different fluids or storing it. One container of each of the basic fluids: oil. It can also be used to clean cuts. and even when warm from the trunk will prevent dehydration when you drink it. you want to look like you handled it with ease. antifreeze. 17. the rest are quarts or less.

The self-cooling ice and warming packs are a welcome addition. and absorbent pads. The fuse holder itself will often have a diagram of which fuse controls which devices. or a few other places. but at least go further than Band-Aids. The little fuses are often difficult to remove.48  P a g e   20. called a multipurpose or A-B-C extinguisher. 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. 22. Get one that includes gauze and tape. and read the manual. Fuses: An assortment of fuses of the type designed for your car. It’s a great feeling to know what to do in minor emergencies. First-Aid Kit: You don’t need a terribly extravagant first-aid kit. Some designers seem to think that fuses should be kind of a hidden treasure. and you don’t want to be trying to read directions if you are in the middle of one. Fire extinguisher: A extinguisher designed to work on all materials. will weigh under 5 pounds and usually comes with a mounting device so that you can clamp   . 21. Fuse boxes may be under the dash or inside the glove compartment. Use your manual and only replace a blown fuse with the same size. aspirin.

so put a couple of fat rubber bands around the can to keep them together. Don’t leave any aerosol can on a hot engine.   . You may free a sticking lock by spraying into the cylinder or onto the key itself.A. but if there is any question that the fire is out of hand. Remember the P. (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. These little tubes invariably fall off and get lost. Keep it in the trunk and forget it is there until you really need it. There are smaller ones available that could be fixed under the dashboard if there is safely room to mount it there. Money: A small stash with enough to get you some gas or pay a toll.S. then forget the extinguisher and get away from it.S. Lubricant (Oh. You don’t want them rolling around your floorboards. Midnight munchies are not an emergency. but check the manufactures' recommendations and beware of flame and sparks. including some change in case by some miracle you find a real pay phone if your cell phone is dead. 24. A fire extinguisher can save damage to your car by preventing a small fire from getting larger. Some lubricants can be sprayed on damp electrical connections such as coil wires to overcome the moisture and get you moving. be serious): Spray lubricants can free a sticking bolt or lug nut. system to use the extinguisher. Get one of the cans with the spray tube to reach small spaces.49  P a g e   it in an accessible place in your trunk.

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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.


It can be fun to decide what is needed and look around for some of the cool. 39.53  P a g e   38. along the inside walls of your trunk where they will take up little space. you can leave a note for those left behind to let them know how you got yourself into such a dumb situation. like the jack. This may seem like a lot of items. If all else fails. compact items. some obvious and some you may not have thought of but which will come in handy. 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.   . You may want to store liquids in a separate box or just fitted. Note pad and pencil: Not vital but useful to take down directions. Camera: Just something cheap and disposable can be nice to have to document an accident or prove you were abducted by aliens.

What the heck is everybody honking for all the time. and it’s so frustrating that things aren’t marked clearly. WISDOM OF THE SENIOR DRIVER We hopped into the back seat together. Ask someone close to you to answer these questions from their experiences with your driving. Vision dims over time. The car crossing the intersection far ahead may be frighteningly close by the time your foot travels from gas pedal to brake. and years of driving bring skill and decision-making ability that younger drivers don’t have.54  P a g e   5. There are some harsh realities we all have to face. as with a medication change. anyway? Try asking yourself a few questions. Age and experience rarely get the respect they deserve. 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.   . but only because we opened the wrong door. or they may creep up on you so that it is difficult to be aware of 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. and honestly think back over your driving experiences lately. 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. and there are some limitations and changes that are part of being a careful and responsible driver. Promise not to hit them. however. Traffic congestion or disruptive road work seem so much more nerve-wracking than they used to be. A sign of the wisdom. Becoming an older driver is no joking matter.

either when next to a curb or when fitting between the lines in a parking space? Do I hesitate.   .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. difficult. 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. or am I having trouble remembering what some of the symbols mean? Is my parking less accurate. no matter what age they are. have to think about. or painful? Few people are the best judges of their own driving. 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. more difficult.

Older drivers receive the most traffic tickets for failing to yield. and running stop signs and lights. Overcoming these effects is not a question of willpower. You are a valuable and ever more fragile person. The older driver is injured more seriously. 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.   . the older driver is often the one hit.56  P a g e   A FEW LOUSY FACTS… Medications can affect your vision. but in 28% of those crashes the older driver was making a left turn. improper turning. These are all indications of decreased driving ability. This reflects the decreased judgment and reaction time of the older driver. and level of awareness. and accidents are more often fatal. more than 7 times the number of leftturn accidents caused by younger drivers. We don’t bounce as well as we used to. and is not something you can control or should be ashamed of. In accidents where different ages collide. We all know that young people get into a lot of accidents. It is simply the way your body and mind react. treat yourself like one. even when wearing safety restraints. thinking.

try to avoid night driving and times of heaviest traffic. keep you alert and warn you if you start to show diminishing ability. regardless of age. Drive with a companion to help watch the road. The driver riding your rear bumper or hugging your side of his lane may be a jerk and is certainly wrong.57  P a g e   ADAPT AND CONQUER… Smart drivers. 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. Stay physically active to maintain your strength and flexibility. Give the cars around you enough room to allow you to slow. Consider some exercise classes to make it more fun and consistent. but do not become distracted by conversation. use every tool or method available to keep themselves and the people around them safe. Allow more time to get to your destinations. 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. stop or steer away from a collision. Get out of the aggressive driver’s way. 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. Some states have tried to pass laws requiring more frequent testing for older drivers.

58  P a g e   would be based not only on age but on driving accidents or tickets. Senior citizens advocacy groups have contested these laws with the understandable desire to protect senior citizens from biased laws. Be aware of physical changes which can be helped by accessory items. If there are no such laws in your area. 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. Weakening vision and slowing reflexes mean you want more warning of people coming toward you. it would speak well of your judgment and responsibility to voluntarily be tested or take refresher   .maxiviewmirrors. such as cushioned steering wheel covers to offer better grip for those with diminishing hand strength. Peripheral vision also is reduced as the years go by. Make sure your windows are kept clean and free of obstructions.

Be honest in self-evaluation and consider the view of those who know you. insurance. tickets. Be aware of the effects of illness and medications. Shopping from home has become very easy. check with hospitals or churches. Set up a network of family and friends that can take you where you wish to go. and protect your credit information. Consider the gift you can give to someone you care about. Almost everyone knows a person who really needs a free or inexpensive automobile.59  P a g e   When it’s time to say good-bye…. Let’s Recap: Age and experience deserve respect. and others. If there is no publicly provided service. taxes and repairs. Do not ignore the warning signs: near-misses. but changes are inevitable. Make this decision for yourself and do it in a positive way. Plan ahead for the day when you decide to hand over the keys.   . but be careful to deal only with reputable companies. Public transportation or shuttles for the older person are available in most communities. forgetfulness. Enjoy the freedom from the responsibility that car ownership includes. This is a wonderful opportunity to spend private time with people who care about you. Sooner or later everyone reaches the point where it is better not to drive. Appreciate the extra money saved from gas.

60  P a g e   Take care of yourself physically. such as the Maxi View Mirror. stay active. Older drivers are more likely to be severely injured in an accident. Allow extra room between yourself and other drivers. Use all the tools and accessories available to make driving easier and safer. Keep your car well maintained. Take driving tests or review classes periodically. Plan for the time you no longer drive yourself. value yourself! Allow extra time to get where you want to go.   . and enjoy the positives. Plan your trips for daylight hours and times of lower traffic.

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. We find that road rage is not something that only happens to other people. Road rage is different from aggressive driving. 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. one day. and you would see this lack of judgment and consideration in other areas of their lives. some people think the demands of their busy day justify being aggressive. 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. too many people get in our way. Some are just jerks.   .61  P a g e   6. Some are competitive. AVOIDING ROAD RAGE We think it is a phenomenon of big cities. but it happens everywhere. Then. Most of us know an aggressive driver. and finally someone does the one thing that is just too much to take. too many things go wrong.

women and children are injured each year in traffic disputes and altercations. What is consistent about road rage is that the response is out of proportion to the event. grief. Often.62  P a g e   Road rage is most common with aggressive drivers. alcohol or exhaustion may suddenly react out of character. Many more occur in which drivers attempt to use their car to attack police officers.500 men. The amount and level of the anger and violence are increasing each year. The violence of the situation tends to escalate so quickly that the victim responds foolishly. A person gripped with road rage is completely responsible for his or her actions and can face criminal prosecution. the victim is simply caught flat-footed because he does not know   . that many road-rage incidents involve people who are typically non-violent but due to stress. A person so caught up in anger is strong and is not thinking of harm to himself. of course. but he or she are probably rational enough to reason with. drugs (even prescribed medication). however. so he is a very dangerous opponent to try to fight. because the temperament makes it a shorter leap to real violent or criminal behavior. and the person exhibiting the behavior may disregard the hazards to himself in an attempt to wreak vengeance. Dozens of incidents are reported of vehicles being driven into crowds. It is true. but in hundreds of cases the aggressor actually uses the car as a weapon. At least 1. Some anger is limited to such things as light flashing and cursing. fear. The person facing the aggressor in an incident of road rage may have no idea what is happening or how to deal with it. the reaction is irrational and often violent. so many of the discussions here refer to the aggressive driver.

If you can drive away. Frighteningly. Not surprisingly. and I had never seen him before. If you have been in an accident and cannot move your car. drivers with children are much more likely to be the aggressor than those without. screaming and cursing. Road-rage incidents are becoming much more frequent. cell phone users are much more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior and road rage than   . If necessary. even though it means leaving the scene of an accident. The safe response is to stay in your vehicle. and men are the aggressor in about 56% of cases. such as the larger percentage of incidents involving younger drivers than older. but that means the people most in need of having good driving judgment are those most lacking in this respect. You may consider that they are feeling protective or frightened for the children or just have an additional stressor. and I was able to drive away. He fought across a lane of traffic to get his car close to me. get a safe distance from the other driver. while 46% are women. Many years ago I was sitting about third in line at a stop sign. 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. 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. leaving him unable to give chase.63  P a g e   what has triggered the attack. A driver on the cross-street stuck his head out of the window. drive until you see a police car or reach a place where there are plenty of people. use your cell phone and attract as much attention as possible with lights and horn. I still have no idea what the trigger was. Some statistics are predictable. The traffic cleared. cursing all the while.

This is consistent with the cell phone user’s seemingly common attitude of feeling that their interests. She shook her fist and clearly mouthed.64  P a g e   those who do not use phones while driving. the sight of someone driving while talking on a phone.   . especially if they are driving badly. Regarding cell phone use. The person using the phone while driving often becomes angry. 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. escalates the anger in the other driver exponentially. “I’m on the phone!” while pointing at it. This book has not been designed to attack drivers who phone and text. 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. conversations and destinations are more important than the average. but research simply reveals so many negative and dangerous aspects of that habit.

watch the way he drives once he is in front of you. or was he trying to intimidate you? The person who stares at you from the next lane is not simply being careless. Slow down and give him plenty of space. Is he speeding and slowing. or drop behind and let him get away. the angry driver does not usually hide his emotions. Also. try to get off the highway and/or call 911 on your cell phone. and it’s best not to assume he is just really attracted to you. Did the car next to you veer over because he was careless. facial expressions as you are being passed are a clue. 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. They may be ill. or under   . If you find this attention really flattering you might want to get some help with your self-esteem. The driver that races past you and then slows may just be the type that hates to follow people or. may be trying to intimidate you or put you into a position of ramming him if he suddenly brakes. If the other driver changes speeds to match you. medicated. veering. 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. Once again. Try to pull ahead if you can do it without excessive speed. but safety is all about good judgment and the best possible response to risk). (I know I just said to use your cell while driving. again.65  P a g e   The key to avoiding being threatened or attacked is being alert to the situation around you at all times. That does not mean you should be paranoid.

Plan   . consciously or not. Give the cars around you plenty of space. If you stepped out in front of someone in a hallway you would not have too much pride to apologize. Most road-rage incidents are not entirely one-sided. The best way to avoid crossing paths with an aggressive driver is to drive safely at all times. If you do make a mistake and it is possible to make some gesture of apology.66  P a g e   the influence of alcohol or exhausted. 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. 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. 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. 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. Some people suggest having a sign in the car reading “Sorry” or “Thanks” that you could hold up as needed. At the next stop light. Signal well before you change lanes or make a turn. These are not bad ideas. One young man tried to indicate that he knew he had done something stupid by pointing his finger at his head. the other driver. Most drivers. rolling his eyes and shaking his head. regard the car as an extension of their personal space.” but you really have to be careful of hand gestures and how they might be seen from a distance. then do so.

but 60% acknowledged that they had directed such behavior at others. The experience of sharing the road with a sloppy. inconsiderate or aggressive driver need only last for a moment or two. More than 50% of drivers studied responded to aggressive or rude behavior with aggressive behavior of their own.67  P a g e   ahead for stop lights and signs. and. you can also learn to be not only a safe   . With human beings comes human error. What getting angry will do is raise your blood pressure. gestures and obviously intentional intimidating maneuvers in mind. 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. 88% of drivers polled reported being on the receiving end of some form of aggressive driving in the previous 12 months. If you recognize stupid behavior. Offended motorists retaliate with everything from gestures to trying to run the other car off the road. you must realize that the way to triumph is to be smarter. no matter how impressively you do it. and allow plenty of time to get to your destination. especially when you are in control of a potentially lethal machine. whether they are aggressive or stupid. The physical and emotional changes that occur when you lose your temper can last for hours. losing your temper will not change that person one bit. damage your judgment. There is always a point in driving where you have to take more responsibility. try to give the other driver the benefit of the doubt. and possibly get you into an accident or at least earn you a traffic ticket. With the earlier comments about being aware of the driver’s expressions.

and relax it out. Take a deep breath. Alternate this technique by tensing all of your muscles and holding them rigid. 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. not just your chest but the rest of your muscles as well. and notice how you can calm yourself and control your temper. Practice these techniques when you are not in your car. Later practice them while you are seated in the car both parked and driving. simply practice your breathing. hold it. Repeat this maneuver three times.   . and notice the sense of relaxation increases each time. Try to feel your mind calm as you do this. but it works. as though in an isometric exercise. and then take your deep breath. Use this technique with stressful situations at work or in the family. and then releasing them.68  P a g e   driver but also a calm driver. and let the tension or the imagined situation wash out of your body and mind. This is a wonderful technique that can improve much more of your life than just driving. letting it be regular and a little deeper than normal. Notice that when you exhale your breath all the way out your body relaxes. make it as real as you can. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then relax it all the way back out. 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. You will get comfortable doing this very quickly. fill your chest as much as you can. provided they do not interfere with your concentration on the road. Then take the time to imagine a stressful situation. I know it sounds corny. First.

even if that means giving up some pride. but she was doing nothing that needed to be done. leaving the grandmother without attention and adding to the anxiety of the old woman with her rage and noise. 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. Decide to be smart and safe and a protector of your loved ones. It makes absolutely no difference which person. This may be understandable. the calm response was the correct and effective one and the one that would have shown more love and concern for the grandmother. The occupants of the car that was hit were another young woman and her elderly grandmother. is at fault if your response causes harm to yourself or your loved ones. the other driver or you. temper or stress did not create or worsen the problem. 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. Even in such a traumatic situation. Soon your natural reflex will be to calm yourself rather than let anger escalate. but it takes practice. 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. trying to get through the locked door to reach the dazed driver. A young woman going much too fast through the parking lot plowed into a car backing out a few spaces away. screaming about her injured grandmother.   .

Drivers with children in the car are more likely to react aggressively. The frequency and violence of traffic disputes and altercations is increasing. but it can happen to anyone. Drivers using cell phones are an irritant to others. Drivers using cell phones also tend to be more aggressive.70  P a g e   Let’s recap: Aggressive drivers are most prone to road rage. Watch for indications of intentional intimidation.   .

71  P a g e   If you feel threatened. you will find they improve all parts of your life. If your vehicle is mobile. get away from the situation and call for help. Acknowledge the times you are at fault. Give other drivers plenty of room. Anger will cause you to make mistakes and harm yourself and those with you. try to assume the driver's errors are unintentional. lock yourself in your car and try to attract attention. If in a traffic incident with an aggressive person. Anger will put you in the wrong. Without evidence to the contrary. drive away from the aggressor.   . Learn techniques to stay calm. maintain space to get away from them. Do not meet aggression with aggression. Your reaction will affect you much more than the other driver’s behavior.

if fashion is anything to go by. This is also the way you will be expected to do it when being tested. the quick glance over your shoulder is the correct way to check your blind spot. It is also a   . 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. and the sad truth is that automobile mirrors are not to be trusted. 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. but that’s not the point. Just to be clear. (This is often true of our mirrors at home. Then face forward and move into the lane you wish. It is dangerous because it seems so simple that it is often done carelessly. The risk is increased because lane changes are done so frequently. HOW TO CHANGE LANES WITHOUT TAKING YOUR EYES OFF THE ROAD Changing lanes is one of the most dangerous maneuvers on the highway. look quickly over your shoulder to check your blind spot. We do not recommend you take any chances or get sloppy or lazy in making sure you and the drivers around you are safe. and then smoothly change lanes. and we depend on our mirrors for the information we need be safe. Changing lanes is something we decide to do very casually. Merely letting the car drift to the side seems so much less complicated than facing an intersection or merging from an entrance ramp.) The proper maneuver as explained by professional driving instructors is to signal 3 to 5 seconds before the lane change.72  P a g e   7.

but you just can’t trust them.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. and the curved surface takes some getting used to. The rear-view mirror is meant to reflect directly through the rear window. Some wide-angle (panoramic) after-market mirrors can be helpful. clear look over the shoulder. First. Standard equipment mirrors simply do not tell the whole truth about what's coming up behind you. it just makes sense to make those blind spots as small as possible or eliminate them entirely. You will still have side blind spots. and spend the few extra dollars it takes to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. It’s time to take advantage of the technology available. but they sometimes are over-large.   . Even if you have perfect driving technique. They are supposed to be on your side. make sure your mirrors are properly placed. so give yourself all the advantages you can. Make the extra effort.

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. A good wide-view mirror requires more than just a curved surface. 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. stick-on fish-eye discs that they see at discount stores and some auto parts stores. you need to know what goes into an effective design. Take the extra step to add safety to your car.   . a mirror that glues flat against your regular mirror will often be at the wrong angle for clear viewing. A good quality blindspot mirror will have a mounting base that allows it to be adjusted separately from the factory mirror. making it difficult to interpret what you are seeing. Adjust the right mirror so you must lean against the driver’s side window to see your own rear fender. Most people think of the round.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. To find the right blind-spot mirror. and the left mirror will reflect your own car only if you lean into the center of the 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. Another advantage of proper mirror placement is that you will get less reflection from the lights of cars behind you. and a rounded surface creates distortion. The mirror must be of good quality.

you would be at fault if you moved into his lane. If it distorts your view or makes it confusing to use because it does not complement the regular mirror image. the device must be inexpensive. as well as the safety of the people around you. if it vibrates or slips you will not have a dependable view of approaching vehicles. it can become frustrating and actually cause you to misjudge or simply ignore the side-view mirrors. If the mirror will not stay on it is a waste of money. Finally. Take a look at what is available on store shelves. A large round device often only fits in the lower portion of your side-view mirrors. The upper portion of the factory mirror inevitably reflects some portion of sky. so a secure mount that still may be removed is another sign of quality and efficiency. The one device that   .75  P a g e   The best blind-spot accessory is designed to increase your viewing area. 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. Don’t put off improving the safety of your car for yourself and those you care about. Choose the device that best meets the requirements described here. The blind-spot mirror you choose must be effective and also attractive. Remember that even though the accident may involve a car coming up from behind. as well as showing the dealer’s consideration for the buyer. A good add-on device would use that wasted space and preserve much of the viewing area while adding the wide-angle option. but do not forget the Internet. eliminating surface area.

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.

Other drivers seem to find the truck a nuisance.77  P a g e   8. Some people hate to drive near the big rigs. Wind has a greater effect on a semi than it does on a passenger car. It takes longer to get up to highway speeds and longer to stop.   . The best drivers of the big rigs still have to contend with the laws of physics. They are professionals and are doing a job that takes training and skill.000 people) of the traffic fatalities involved trucks. In 2004 more than 12% (over 5. SHARING THE ROAD WITH THE BIG RIGS (What country songs don’t tell you about trucks) Truck drivers spend their lives on the road. The size and the noise of the big trucks are intimidating and can be frightening. and 77% of those killed were in the passenger cars rather than the trucks. and the design of the tractor-trailer means it must take wider corners and has much larger blind spots.

It’s not unusual for the size and monotony of the view at the back of the truck to have a hypnotic effect. Others think that police are more likely to stop truckers. and the results are devastating.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. Eventually one of the trucks pulls out to pass. It takes a moment too long to realize the significance of the brake lights coming on. so they attempt to use the truck as a decoy.   . Suddenly. 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. taking risks by following too closely. the truck slows down. 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. It takes much further for a truck to stop. but gas is never going to be expensive enough to make this worthwhile. 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. 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. Most of us have driven near trucks that are traveling in a closely spaced line. and we barely manage to avoid running into him. Then that darn character speeds up again.

skiers and even geese (no. and veering suddenly with a trailer puts   . you should know that this is not something he can entirely control. These heavy vehicles have tremendous power. 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. When one of the trucks pulls out. It is done not just by trucks but by race cars. Too often this is the situation when the car driver decides to pass on a stretch of road where passing is risky. it is slowed by meeting greater air resistance. bikes. even while giving more gas to pick up speed. While your car may move up a hill with just a little loss in speed and a little more pressure on the gas pedal. Remember that when driving downhill the truck driver is controlling a tremendous amount of weight and momentum. The first vehicle is breaking wind resistance and making it easier for the ones behind to maintain speed. so that you don’t allow enough room. The key to driving safely when near trucks is to give them room and to have patience. Driving in a row of vehicles like this is called slipstreaming or drafting.79  P a g e   Before you decide he’s just a lousy driver or playing pranks. It takes a much greater distance to stop than it does on a flat road. The worst maneuver is to pull up close behind the truck where you cannot see past it and then try to race around. 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. but they still must labor up steep hills. I did not say the geese were driving). the trucker may have to shift through several gears.

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. Remember that a truck must make a much wider turn than a car. Keep your pace steady or increase it slightly to allow a safe gap. 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. Do not attempt to move up on the right side of a truck without watching his   . Time after time truck drivers are frustrated and endangered by drivers passing them and then cutting in sharply and slowing down. Even while driving the speed limit or better. One of the quirks of human nature is that we think large things move slowly. 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. when we get behind the large truck we feel that it must be holding us back. so he tries to pull over and slow down before a trooper sees him.80  P a g e   him at risk of jackknifing or rolling. The trailer turns in a smaller radius than the tractor does. The driver passing the truck realizes he is traveling well over the speed limit and gets anxious. Give the truck driver the space he needs not only out of courtesy but for the safety of all concerned. so that to make a right turn the truck driver must have about the width of a lane on his right side. If it is a two-lane highway. Don’t get squeezed.

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.81  P a g e   turning signals and. the driver may have difficulty controlling the truck. wind and snow make the long stopping distance and the curves and hills much more dangerous. if you are beside him. If you are caught in this position as the truck turns you can be dragged or crushed. the thick rubber shrapnel can damage your car or frighten you into a bad move. his front wheels. Strong crosswinds can make driving a truck an exercise in steering corrections. Remember that rain. 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. Anticipate blowouts and wind shear. even though the trailers have dual wheels. and. Even if the truck does not veer or jackknife. A blowout on a car is dangerous enough. Even at low speeds the weight of the vehicle makes it very difficult to stop quickly. and if the driver is careless or distracted the impact of his trailer against your car may be barely noticeable. but on a tire that is nearly as tall as your car it can be terrifying.   . The sound is explosive.

Drivers must keep logs. Being tired can affect even a professional driver’s reflexes and judgment. there are aggressive truck drivers out there. Many truckers drive as teams so that they can stay on the road longer. This is where being a mature driver comes in. Some truckers will tailgate. That’s why the law restricts truck drivers from driving too many hours in one day or one week. Some will squeeze you over to change lanes or change speeds and swerve to keep you from passing. This is always stupid. the trucker can plow through a building or flatten a minivan. Just as you can get tired at work. Of course. 50% percent of drivers faced with aggressive driving behavior retaliate with aggressive actions of their own. But while you may slip out of your office chair. The long-haul driver also has the burden of being far from home and facing deadlines. and the sight of that grill filling your rear-view mirror can sneak into your dreams for a few nights running. 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. it’s not surprising that with so many trucks on the road there are some drivers that get sleepy. but when facing something that weighs over 60.000 tons it can be suicidal. and even the best of them can become tired. There is a movie called “Rundown” with the former wrestler Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.82  P a g e   Truck drivers are on the road many hours a day. The country songs about a lonely trucker’s life carry some truth. because miles are money. and many trucks have electronic monitoring systems to make sure that a driver is getting a certain amount of rest from the wheel. In one scene the comparatively scrawny co-star tries to fight and   .

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. and if it were you could not win. or the stone hits the pitcher. and you don’t argue with a Kenworth. Remember that speed changes. LET'S RECAP: Trucks need much more room to stop and turn. Most truckers are careful and professional. .83  P a g e   starts the attack by smashing his forehead against “Rock's” big dome.   . then call the number many of them have posted on the back of the trailer. wide turns are not always signs of poor or aggressive driving. Allow more room than you think you need to pass.” There is a point to all this imagery. and give them space. For those with a more classical frame of mind. Be smart and patient. Avoid being squeezed by a turning truck. slow stops. if there is one that you feel is driving badly. Be smart. He might as well have slammed his own head down on a boulder. stay calm. It is not a contest. and. it’s going to be bad for the pitcher. or call the police if you believe there is imminent danger. Whether you are right or not. Stay back far enough to see the truck’s mirrors. you don’t pick a fight with the Hulk.

84  P a g e   9. 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. you can almost hear them thinking. even if it’s just the old family clunker and not the sports car we dreamed of. “LIVE FREE OR DIE……YEEE-HAAAA!” It is often said that automobiles are the leading cause of death for teenagers in this country. The automobile as the greatest factor in death is true of everyone from toddlers of two years to adults of thirty-four. 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. We think differently when surrounded by the armor and in the imagined privacy that the car provides. the automobile remains high on the list of killers   . While it does not remain the leading killer as age progresses. When we are young our first car can make us feel as though we were given wings. and they don’t go out alone.

Infant and child car seats are much better made and required. Standard equipment on vehicles today includes ABS braking systems and airbags all over the car. Many state licensing laws restrict the number of passengers the young driver can have in a car. No one really complains too much about the speed limits. it’s my life I’m risking isn’t it?).85  P a g e   throughout life. We have over 200 million drivers on the road today. These changes and the laws requiring them have helped keep the accident and fatality level fairly steady. No one really questions the law that says we must stop at the stop light or drive on the street and not the sidewalk. 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. even though safety features have been improving in that time. There are still heated arguments about the right of police to make a driver wear a seat belt in his own car (after all. which seem to be more personal. Car accidents are the cause of thousands of injuries and deaths every year. only about getting ticketed when other people are going faster. Now many laws are being put into force. Most states now have laws about texting and using cell phones.   . and the number of vehicles alone does not account for rate of damage caused. Seat belts are required and computers warn us of all types of vehicle failings. It is interesting that the number of accidents and fatalities has stayed fairly constant over the last several years. even though the number of drivers has increased dramatically.

86  P a g e   When we look at the nature of traffic accidents and altercations. There is too much research to ignore. Phones. This means it is the behavior of people who are sober and would claim to be competent that is driving the number of incidents. Wearing a seat belt properly keeps the driver positioned where he should be and reduces fatigue. such as the seat belt laws. texting. do reduce accidents. Laws that seem to be intruding on your personal space. shaving. often intentional. have not decreased significantly. During a minor accident the seat belts can keep the driver from being jarred so that he loses control of the wheel or pedals. The others may have been around for years. Restricting passengers in the car with young drivers is another one of those regulations that seem bossy but just turn out to be right. including the input from young drivers themselves. but texting has overwhelmingly filled the gap in accident causes created by the reduced number of drunken drivers. putting on makeup and a host of other activities all contribute to these numbers. as well as aggressive driving behavior. preventing him from veering into other traffic and causing more severe damage or injuries. that can lead to disaster. that teen passengers are a distraction. reading. yet total accidents and fatalities. we come to conclusions that go beyond the ability of a driver to control a car. as well as their severity.   . Drunk-driving fatalities have decreased an impressive 26 percent in 10 years.

and a car is no place to do it.87  P a g e   It is a terrible pattern that so many of the laws are driven by the fact that. The combination of these things can also be the behavior of an aggressive driver. The laws   . We may point to other factors such as the level of stress in society. or a dozen others. directly and indirectly. It all comes down to the fact that sometimes people just act mean or dumb. It’s not so much to punish the driver for every infraction. but that does not explain this explosion of incidents. 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. A person may absent-mindedly tailgate or cut in too close in front of another driver. when you improve safety features and provide the best traffic system that you can. the violent and competitive nature of television shows and video games. Sometimes it just keeps it in the mind of the person who is not aggressive or willfully reckless but simply inconsiderate or inattentive. what is left is human behavior. 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. He may weave because of fatigue. Many of the changes in the law do not create great changes in previous regulations but combine or restructure the way they are enforced. to the increase in altercations and aggressive driving incidents The number of aggressive driving incidents has increased by 51% in twenty years. 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.

intention. People do silly and careless things.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. but the way you express your anger may be illegal. such as in a school zone. and threat created by the driver in a way that some would call too subjective. the driver would be likely to face the more serious reckless driving charge. He may also take into consideration that the lady was putting on lipstick and ignoring the road and describe the violation as negligent driving. gestures. or took place in a more dangerous situation. A person performing a variety of offensive driving actions in a short time or in dangerous circumstances may be charged with aggressive driving. including the car itself. such as shouting. such as following too closely. If the behavior was more dangerous.. such as tailgating at high speeds. 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. we depend on the   . All this places the police officer in the unenviable position of evaluating the nature. etc. but since they can choose to do them while in control of a large and deadly machine. It is not against the law to be angry. so that the police officer may write the citation to cover the action itself. Road rage laws are a fairly recent development and can include physical assault or threat with a weapon. This is another aspect of some of the laws that many people would object to and consider too restrictive or invasive.

It is an imperfect solution but the best that our society has come up with to deal with imperfect drivers. but until then. but other behaviors have kept the level of risk the same. Your behavior affects the safety of others. Drunken driving has decreased. Let’s Recap: Laws are based on safety statistics. Enjoy all the freedoms you have. Laws are not just to punish but to keep you aware of what is safe and acceptable when driving. Enjoy all the freedoms that you have.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. if you truly feel they are incorrect. then vote and change them. The car is not a private space. Take pride in being knowledgeable about traffic laws. but make the effort to understand them.   . obey them. and live with the restrictions that are necessary. and. You have the right to work to change laws but not to disobey them.

and move the car smoothly out of the driving lanes. These are just some of the warning signs that can put you at risk of an accident or seriously damage your car. If you are on the shoulder of a highway. There many good resources for maintaining and troubleshooting your car. but some problems are not safe to drive with. If you cannot get a safe distance from the traffic flow. flares or reflectors behind your car. put on your emergency flashers. Signal and slow down. not the least of which is your owner’s manual. you should place flashers. steers.90  P a g e   10. In every case in which you need to stop the car. If steam is coming from under the hood of the car or through the vents. sounds and even smells. Become aware of the way your car feels. Learn to notice when those things change and what the changes mean. SOUNDS AND SIGNS THAT MEAN STOP THE CAR NOW! There all sorts of things that can go wrong with your car. Do not let concern for your car or being late for your destination cause you to take chances with your safety. this means something is broken or   . DON’T PANIC.

the radiator cap itself. and be ready to get back. Your car may overheat rapidly. or a pinhole-type leak high in the radiator. You should always have water and antifreeze in your trunk. and drive slowly and for as short a distance as possible to get help. You may crack the block. If it seems worthwhile. even in summer. you may be able to drive the car a short distance for repairs. Water should be tepid or warmer. If it is a small leak at the upper hose. Pull over and raise the hood. Remember that   . An engine can easily stay too hot to touch and with pressure in the radiator for over 30 minutes. Do not be in a hurry. Fill the car with water. DO NOT use cold water to fill a hot engine. If the car is making tapping and rapping noises. Try to establish where the leak is coming from. If it is leaking nearly as fast as you pour it in. and leave the cap loose. and this could cause engine damage. Fill the engine slowly while it is running so that the whole system is filled. Many cars can only be filled through the coolant reservoir. you will not get far and should wait for the wrecker or replacement hoses. Turn your heater on. If it is a crack in the engine itself or a failed water pump you will have to be towed. especially if the car is in a dangerous location. it will be a fairly simple and inexpensive repair.91  P a g e   leaking and coolant is spraying out. wait until the car cools and remove the radiator cap. Do not try to remove the radiator cap until the car is cool. it is still too hot and may have been damaged permanently. to pull extra heat from the engine. If it is a hose. That engine and the steam coming out are hot enough to scald you in an instant. so be very careful. Cover the radiator cap with a towel before trying to open.

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. Don’t forget your gauges and your other senses. but it will get worse. sometimes described as sweet or Saccharin-like. Smelling it inside the car without other symptoms indicates a leak in your heater core. get the engine shut down as soon as you safely can. Hot coolant has a characteristic smell. and older cars were a little more forgiving. This may not be an immediate danger of overheating. your car is in trouble. and you should not be breathing this in. A hot engine may not show obvious steam until it is already overheating. If your temperature gauge gets hot. Brake light comes on or brake pedal goes soft. The leak may be low and the steam blowing beneath the car as you drive. Some people try to get as far as they can when the car is overheating.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. Stopping is much more important than starting when it   . It the car starts to knock and the gauge is high or you are seeing steam.

this is a job for a tow truck or on-the-spot repairs.93  P a g e   comes to being safe in the car. If you find you have to “pump” the brake pedal to stop the car. Just because you know how to top up the brake fluid reservoir does not mean the car is safe. 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. This is very dangerous. 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 should routinely check for stains or fluid in the area you park your car. You will not have braking power. the level will go down very slowly. There is always a great deal of pressure generated in those small brake lines. and pumping the brakes will usually not make a difference. Even though the car runs. you are at least low on brake fluid. Fluid on the tires or where they were sitting is a warning of brake fluid loss. there is no reason to risk moving the car until it is repaired. 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 master cylinder can also fail. getting carefully to a place where it can be checked and serviced is a priority. If there is a lesser problem with the brakes or any question of brake problems. The brakes are a sealed system and should not lose fluid. If the pedal sinks to the floor and you have no brakes at all. As the brakes wear. which means the fluid is leaking from one chamber into another and may not show fluid where you can see it.   . as well as doing your walk-around inspection of the car before driving.

however. Have the brakes serviced. They can get so hot that the fluid boils and creates air bubbles. and this is often a sign that you are getting low on oil. either some of the calipers or cylinders are frozen or the power booster has failed or lost vacuum. which is just a thin piece of metal designed to rub and give warning that your brake pads are worn and need replacement. and it can tear itself apart if you don’t   . The brake fluid reservoir is bolted to it. it is possible that a caliper or shoe is sticking. such as going down hills. A louder tapping or rapping noise can mean that a rod is bent or broken or a bearing has gone out. and it has a large vacuum line leading to it.94  P a g e   A high squealing noise from the wheels is often the sound of a break wear indicator. The booster is a big round thing in front of the driver under the hood. If your wheels smell hot or the brakes get soft during heavy use. Don’t ignore that sound. it can mean that the “lifters” are sticking and should be checked for the sake of your engine but are probably not life-threatening. which is not dangerous. If the brakes are very hard to push down. These are lethal to your engine. but this does not mean the problem is gone. causing the brakes to overheat. The problem may resolve itself when the brakes cool. Any new noise should be investigated. Some cars have a light clicking sound. Tapping or knocking from the engine. Commonly called a tappet noise. which will prevent your brakes from functioning.

but you would be playing engine Russian Roulette. grind the internal parts beyond repair. right in front of the driver. and the engine may lock up completely. This can happen to any car. but the most important factor is keeping your oil level up and changing oil and filters faithfully.   . or send a piston through the side of the block. Hissing sound under the hood. which is under the hood. or other bearings in the air compressor. and can cause the loss of power braking.95  P a g e   get it shut down quickly. belt tensioner. it may be a vacuum leak. Usually these do not need emergency repair but will certainly lead to further damage or failure if the cause is not corrected. The most important thing to check is the vacuum hose to your power brake booster. Squealing sounds under the hood are often the belt. If you try to drive in traffic this way the engine could seize and leave you with no power brakes or power steering. Assuming you have ruled out the cooling system and there is no steam anywhere. It may drive for a while. alternator or steering pump. These may not be drastic but can affect the way your car runs. causing hesitation and loss of power.

96  P a g e   A thumping sound coming from your tires. usually accompanied by jerking or vibration in the steering wheel. something stuck in a tire. Vibration in the steering. means either a flat tire. CV joints or other suspension. but the tread layer can literally tear loose in from the tire. Be sure you have a lug wrench to tighten these nuts. It may be any of the wheel. tire or steering linkage   . often accompanied by a rubbing sound that changes with speed and worsens on turns. Vibration or “wander” in the steering can also indicate a variety of problems in the ball joints. can mean a failing bearing. bearing. or possibly tread separation. regardless of other sounds. and first thing to check for is loose lug nuts on the wheels. Tread separation can be unseen when meaning the internal layers separate. aside from just a tire that is just under-inflated. It can also wear through so that you see the wires from the belts poking through. the bolts holding it on may be bent or stripped and need to be replaced. A failed ball joint.or steering-related parts and needs to be investigated as soon as possible. Tires can also vibrate due to uneven wear or missing rubber due to road or curb damage. If the wheel is loose enough to wobble. Signal and smoothly get the car off the road to examine and repair the tires. or tendency for the car to drift from side to side. or tie-rod can leave you with one wheel no longer working in conjunction with the other. The least expensive fix. Any change in the steering or handling of the car should be dealt with immediately.

and if the belt is loose it will squeal. or sharply accelerating or slowing down. assuming you did not drive off with the mechanic under there. probably damaging the transmission and possibly throwing debris behind you.   . leaving you without power to the rear wheels. If your power steering is low in fluid. The sound is made by the engine moving and either it or the exhaust hitting other parts of the car. and the thumping sound will typically only occur when starting the car.97  P a g e   issues discussed above. one belt drives everything. it will often “groan” on tight turns. On older cars or trucks with rear-wheel drive. the thumping noise could be the drive shaft jerking when you shift and wobbling as you drive. In worse cases the shaft can break loose from the rear end and flail wildly under your car. shifting into forward or reverse. or the shaft itself can bend or break. These shafts connect the transmission to the rear wheels with joints called universal joints that can wear out or break. so your water pump and alternator also will cease to function. 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. If the belt breaks your steering will become very stiff and difficult. can be a snagged branch or other road hazard but can also be a motor mount or drive shaft. On many cars today. or it could be the power steering pump or drive belt. The motor mounts can break. Thumping under the car.

or get the alternator replaced if the belt is not the problem. The battery can carry you for a few miles if you are lucky. A thumping noise in the trunk means you need to learn a better way to get along with your mother-in-law. that means no air conditioner and no tunes). or rear axles in front-wheel-drive cars. The most common reason for the alternator to fail is because of a broken drive belt. Alternator warning light.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. 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. so one part could fail. because your water pump is not being turned either. (Yes. saves some money. but the downside is that if you try to drive when your alternator quits turning the car may overheat before the battery dies. or the rearend differential gears in rear-wheel-drive cars. Older cars had two or three. most cars have only one belt that drives all the components. This single belt. but there are complications. Shut off all the accessory devices. space and time. except lights if is at night. and slow down. but the others keep going. called the serpentine belt. As mentioned regarding the power steering problem.

The chemicals can affect you thinking and damage your lungs. The odor of hot coolant or other smells from vents can indicate leaks in the heater core. And of course there is the most important reason to stop the car. It can come from the engine. the exhaust. It indicates a leak and can lead to a fire that spreads more rapidly than you can imagine. 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. The molds also can affect your health. or molds or other foreign materials in your ventilating system. Correct the problems in these symptoms and see your car parts dealer for mold treatments. Any “hot” smell must be indentified and its source corrected. you should never smell gasoline inside the car while it is moving. Any cause of excessive heat can be lethal. or the tires.   .99  P a g e   Smells. the air conditioning system.

overheating can destroy an engine. lights or flares when stalled. 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.   . Don’t Panic Use signals and stop smoothly out of traffic Any change in handling is dangerous Leaking coolant will BURN you.100  P a g e   Let’s Recap: Be aware of the normal state of your car.

They anticipate the other driver's next move so they will be prepared. Driving offensively includes driving defensively. If offensive driving would increase in this country. they react to situations versus anticipating them. If you are driving down the highway and you see three cars in front of you. The offensive driver is on the offense. Offensive driving can be developed as part of your driving personality over time. BECOMING AN OFFENSIVE DRIVER Most people are used to the words Defensive Driving. The person who is driving offensively is very conscious of the road and people around their vehicle. and it does not always mean that the person doing it is naturally offensive.101  P a g e   11. fewer traffic tickets. The offensive driver makes the decision long before they reach the other cars about what their move would be in every situation. fewer altercations. most people would not even think that one may change into your lane until it happens. I prefer Offensive Driving. This type of driving keeps me alert and aware 100% of the time. They make sure they stay out of other drivers' blind spots. Remember this: The defense can prevent touchdowns. the results would be fewer accidents. but the offense scores them. They are watching the other person’s eyes as they change lanes to see what the other drivers are going to do. YOU EXPECT IT! You aren’t caught off guard like all of the defensive drivers are. When a person is used to just driving defensively. For example.   . but is also careful driving with respect for the safety and rights of other drivers. This gives options so that when one of the drivers ahead does something unexpected. and fewer laws.

Emergency vehicles. Be aware that this is illegal and dangerous. You can still find this on YouTube. Blocking an emergency vehicle or trying to hang onto its tail puts those people already in need of help in   . especially ambulances. 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. It features Goofy as Mr. report that more and more drivers refuse to pull off to the side to allow access to those trying to provide help. Some forms of defensive driving have been around for years and are becoming more common. “Of course I do…” It may seem funny or exaggerated but there is a lot of truth in it. Drivers of emergency vehicles. When he cuts off another driver who cries. courteous pedestrian to nearly maniacal road-hog when a person has the armor of the automobile has been recognized for decades. Walt Disney made one of his classic cartoons about this in 1950. changing lanes without turning signals and forcing other drivers to veer or slow down. blasting through stop signs and many others.102  P a g e   The change from mild-mannered. Walker/Wheeler. 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. such as fire engines or ambulances. Other dangerous and careless maneuvers that used to be less common are becoming prevalent. the Jekyll and Hyde character that is the meekest man alive till he gets into the car. such as speeding. “Do you think you own the road?!” he seems almost puzzled but completely serious when he thinks.

Of course. Even if you were to drive 50 miles you would not save 8 minutes. you cannot gain enough to justify the danger you are creating for yourself and others on the road. Better preparation will eliminate a great deal of stress in your life as well as keep you and others safer. The aggressive driver usually thinks he has a good reason for his behavior. This is why the   . If you rush because you are routinely late. Besides the greater risk of accident and the more severe injuries caused by greater impact. especially if you take the time to pull off the road and call ahead. If you go 10 mph over the speed limit and drive 10 miles you don’t even save two minutes. The phrase “speeder's paranoia” would usually refer to drug users. Very few appointments will be ruined by being 10 minutes late. 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 spending more on gas and engine wear. The driver going over the speed limit is constantly on the watch for police.103  P a g e   greater danger and are especially low forms of aggressive driving. but the wear and tear on your nerves is a real cost of traffic speeding. then you need to be honest with yourself and change your habits to allow more time. Even if there is some reason beyond your control. you are also liable to be very late for whatever date you’ve got because troopers just don’t rush for your convenience. He is fooling himself. 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.

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. If you are tailgating because you think you are going to get to your destination sooner. The really aggressive driver is the one who uses this as a method of controlling traffic or as a mindless prank. Tailgating is more dangerous than speeding by itself and is not always just carelessness. Speeding and road rage go together. which only means that there are two aggressive drivers on the road. With each sighting of a potential police car. The prize-winner is the guy that flashes his headlights into the mirrors of the car ahead. If you do manage to scare the driver ahead out of your way. possibly being distracted by something inside or outside of the car. Decide if two minutes or even eight are worth harming the people ahead or yourself or the loved ones in your car.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. but those few feet can land you in the hospital or the morgue. sometimes hitting the brakes. the speeder slows down and then rushes forward again so that estimates based on steady speeds are overblown. and odds of   . This is the driver who pulls ahead but changes speed without warning or reason. This anxiety also contributes to worse driving judgment and more irritability. The other side of the coin: the pace changer and brake baiter. even though that driver is already driving at the speed limit. refer to the facts on speed above. remember that you are just a few feet ahead of where you would be if you were driving properly.

The difference in reaching your destination is measured in milliseconds. you can see how futile it is. You are not a leader.105  P a g e   disaster have increased dramatically. 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. Some drivers use this edging maneuver in order to force an opening in traffic. Crowding the stop sign may also be done by the first car in line. 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. or driving instructor. creeping up close to the car ahead in order to get him to move ahead faster. planting the front wheels over the crosswalk so that pedestrians must edge by. Don’t be reassured by the phrase “low speed”. This can take the form of slow-motion tailgating. Remember your only job and only right is to drive your own car safely. 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. and creating confusion for the drivers of cross-traffic for fear that he may pull forward unexpectedly. The inching forward. This can create enough anxiety in some drivers to cause them to misjudge a gap or even run the light. a boss. and sometimes being forced back as drivers who are not willing to be intimidated or who cannot stop for you because   . weight and momentum create enough force to cause neck and spine injuries and to deploy airbags. If you have the opportunity to watch this being done by someone else. stopping. “The Nudger” is the driver who crowds the stop sign. Don’t let your pride or your sense of humor lead you into danger.

106  P a g e   of oncoming traffic make this a slow. As you inch forward the cars approaching slow warily down. 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. to be honest. 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. not knowing how crazy or incompetent the driver in your car may actually be. 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. At the bottleneck it’s another slow. 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. Turning right after stopping at a red light is allowed in most areas. A rear-end collision in this situation can drive one or more cars into oncoming traffic and result in multiple victims. This slows cars down behind them. and what would have been easily accessible gaps close up. If your car will be trapped across the crosswalk when the light changes. but you still must stop first and yield to cross-traffic and to pedestrians. Merge is not a dirty word. When you don’t crawl in the traffic is (possibly) just beginning to regain speed ahead of you. dangerous and wasteful dance. The drivers that race ahead and force their way into traffic where lanes end or roads narrow may. Not only have you not gained anything significant but also you have created a hazard and slowed down other drivers. clumsy dance that infuriates everyone and a common scene of conflict   .

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. as the grains have space to weave into the pattern of openings. 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. as with merging lanes on the freeway. but. 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. 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 flow is steady and the container empties much more quickly. so that there is a pause between cars that   . Traffic moves more quickly. the grains clump and jam up the opening. At a more gradual angle. Compare cars in traffic as salt or sugar being poured through a narrow opening. This saves fuel and reduces pollution by eliminating the need to idle at a stop light. Blocking cars attempting to merge. That is why areas with signals controlling the entrance of cars from a ramp onto an expressway. or forcing your way into the flow of traffic when merging. and the particle traffic gets denser and denser. If the container is tipped at a steep angle to try to pour faster. means stopping and going. the secret is cooperation.

the people in the car ahead and anyone coming up behind or to the side at risk of serious injury or death. 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. What is important is that you are in front.108  P a g e   allows them to mesh like a zipper. Now. for those of you are nodding your heads and thinking. “Uh-huh. but that doesn’t matter. 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. you are going the same speed you started at!   . not skill. Whipping into the lane is a sign of lack of judgment and perception. By now you realize you really don’t want to drive any faster than you were in the first place. When you make your move. You broke several laws. that’s right. put yourself.” Tailgate so that you are in position to make your move. Reckless passing is like meth to many aggressive drivers. makes for faster traffic flow than the open-ramp kamikaze approach. Rarely use turn signals since anybody should be able tell that you need to get around this character. That business about always passing on the left is for drivers who are less skilled than you. Anybody in your blind spots had better just watch out for themselves. the right side is often as good as the left. Best of all. Speed to get up close and prepare to “blow his doors off. Now we have a symphony of aggressive and reckless maneuvers. your passengers. you GO!” (and I know you are out there): Heeere's your sign! Let’s review that last maneuver. and you’ve wasted gas and taken miles off your transmission and engine life.

or overcorrecting from an overshot left-hand curve. Taking curves too fast can put you onto the shoulder. either careening out of control or at least spraying rocks behind you. whether from ice. 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. Remember that going too fast for conditions is not limited to only going too fast on icy or wet roads. The aggressive driver often seems to think his determination alone will make his car do what he wants it to do. A curve in the road is no place for evasive maneuvers. 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. rain. I won’t even deny that sometimes it's fun to feel the car zoom through turns. Whether drifting to the left on a rightward curve.109  P a g e   If you’re not on a motorcycle. and the only reason the race car drivers take high-speed turns without more disasters is that they are all going the same direction. you don’t need to lean into the turns. Remember that speeding does not just refer to going faster than the posted limit but going too fast for conditions. or the pull of centrifugal force. 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. sand. The aggressive driver tends to forget that the laws of physics will not bow to his will on curves. then unclench your jaw and quit narrowing your eyes. 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. If you think that’s false.

or patting the dog in your lap. or others). texting. though you’ve heard it all before.   . looking for the next CD. Your transmission is designed with reverse and forward gears. but it is the act of intentionally doing something that makes you more dangerous on the road. There is a good reason there is nothing on the shifter marked “Sideways”. continue to drive when age. 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. And.110  P a g e   travel in the direction that it is already moving. Of course. 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. medication or other circumstances make it unsafe for themselves or others when they get behind the wheel. eating. and no amount of determination is going to change that. this does not mean that a person with handicaps should not drive in properly equipped vehicles. while possibly being some of the nicest people in the world. that includes phoning. You might think drinking and driving falls into a different category than aggressive driving (such as suicidal. I wish them all the independence possible. to continue to yet insist on taking control of a car is a form of aggressive driving. moronic. and more power to them. I refer only to those drivers who. and that is clearly the mark of an aggressive driver.

The driver who orchestrates his travels with gestures. inviting him to count your fingers and making it easier than counting to two means you have lost focus on the road. The tendency is not simply to exhibit your anger toward the other driver who is typically soon out of   . where it is so easy to imagine that we are in a protective bubble. and the efficient and swift driver. 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. taking our minds off of really important aspects of driving and distracting or angering other drivers. The safe driver. so that you are less safe and more likely to become an aggressive driver yourself. Treat the people in other cars as you would if they were walking ahead of you down the street. 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. We honk and gesture and yell and pound the dashboard. 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). 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. honks.

but it also costs you in fuel and motor and transmission wear. Speeding not only saves almost no time. If it's rudeness. Speeding also causes wear and tear on you. If you feel like you must rush often. weather and curves.   . Drive the right speed for conditions: slick roads. uninvolved drivers. think how ashamed of him (or her. adjust your habits and allow more time. count your blessings and. and let it go. keep yourself and your passengers calm and safe. stop and call police. Respect emergency vehicles. and don’t be Goofy! Let’s recap: Anyone can learn to become an offensive driver. Remember the Walt Disney cartoon. If it does lead to an accident. let’s be fair) his mother would be. There are no excuse for aggressive driving. and let the professionals handle it. If it’s a near miss. Aggressive driving is increasing and taking more dangerous forms.112  P a g e   sight but to become more truculent and inconsiderate to other. if necessary. Aggressive driving does not save you enough time to make a difference.

Anything that decreases your driving efficiency is aggressive driving: drinking. other than proper turn signals. If you are attempting to teach or intimidate other drivers. ignore it and it is gone in minutes. etc. Being in front does not mean you get there faster. Aggressive driving breeds aggressive responses. texting. steady moving and merging gains more speed than racing or forcing your way into gaps. Stop at the crosswalk. decreasing your judgment. Do not use lights or speed changes to influence other drivers. Only one car at a time should enter an intersection in order to turn left. Aggressive driving increases your own tension and irritability.113  P a g e   Tailgating is more dangerous and gains even less time than speeding. you have no business on the road. do not retaliate for stupidity. you are visible and vulnerable. Leave space to maneuver ahead of you when in line at a stop sign. Aggressive driving and road rage go together. Smooth. Your car is not a private space. Becoming angry at aggressive driving stays with you for hours. eating.   .

The problem is that the other team has an offense too. because obviously you have to move the ball forward to score. 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. With a little planning you will get there on time and safely. The meaning of winning the championship in sports is obvious. 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. and doing it every time you drive. let’s move on. safely and with the least wear and tear on you and your car. Winning the championship in driving means getting where you want to go on time. Regardless of traffic or street signs or even other aggressive drivers you can get to your destination. Even in football the   . 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.

damage to your vehicle. Understand that bosses and clients are unimpressed with your stories of valiant driving adventures to make it on time. Remember that 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. Keep your tires in good repair and your lights and signals in working order. Eliminate blind spots. nerves and bank account intact. 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. and even injury or death. and costs are high in the form of stress. 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. Check your windshield wipers for wear and the fluid reservoir full. nor are they all that sympathetic to your traffic ticket excuse. Make sure your seats and seatbelts are secure and that there are no loose objects or distractions in the car. saves you almost nothing in time. Using all your aggressive methods. traffic tickets. These things just mean that you plan poorly and may not be dependable or mature enough for their needs.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. The name of the game is tactics and skill more than power. Keep your windshield clean and your mirrors properly adjusted. Offensive and defensive driving allows you to arrive on time and with car. as we saw in the previous chapter. Probably the most common reason people give for speeding is to avoid being late for a work-related appointment.

take them as they are and let classroom discipline or a little embarrassment (within reason) help you teach them about schedules. If it takes half an hour to get to school. Better yet. prepare the evening before. 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.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. If there is a carpool member that slows the rest of you down. Time races us by. Being ahead of the time clock when you arrive is also something managers notice. 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. that will be usually sufficient to give you a cushion against delay. and paperwork together when you have time. clothes. but it’s still a good thing. maybe not as much as they notice if you’re ahead of the clock when you leave. Even in heavy city traffic. It’s amazing what a few minutes it takes to put books.   . either leave earlier. when it takes at least an hour to do the same thing while trying to get out the door. and you cannot change that. don’t drink coffee until 20 minutes before the class starts. or drop them from the group. Don’t begrudge the wasted time if you get to work early. 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. If your kids aren’t ready to go when you have to drop them off on the way to work.

Not only will you get there with little difference in time.P. is a necessary expense if it keeps you and others safe. as annoying as they can be. Do not become complacent about a familiar route. fast/slow methods of driving. Remember the I. which is the secret to getting where you are going efficiently. such as a driveway or bicyclist. let alone the cost of repairs to an even slightly damaged car. This means not only looking but also paying attention to what is in the scene ahead. Imagine how many miles you could travel in a taxi for the cost of one traffic fine. Obey the road signs. Even though they sometimes seem to be slowing you down.D. or call a cab. Practice your   . Remember that smooth. or the less expensive bus or subway fare. If you have been drinking. are too tired or upset.E. but also keeps traffic moving and merging more uniformly. in general people do follow the signs and expect you to do the same. often sooner. Speed limits. turning and lane restrictions and stop signs are designed by experts. call a friend. Offensive Driving.117  P a g e   Be honest with yourself. ill or taking medications that can affect your driving ability do not get behind the wheel. Cancel the trip. but it is much easier on your vehicle and your nerves. method of driving. This not only makes for safety. This is I Is for IDENTIFY: Look ahead to identify potential hazards. The cost of a taxi ride. steady speeds adjusted for obstacles or gaps in traffic are much more effective than start/stop. Make an effort to notice even harmless changes in the usual scenery.

but even if you have been driving awhile review this technique and practice thinking out possible outcomes of the scene ahead. you can do it smoothly and without excessive emotion or drama. Another system of driving is called the “SMITH SYSTEM.” developed in the 1960s by Harold Smith.118  P a g e   Sherlock Holmes approach to gathering information from what you see. D Is for DECIDE: Stay in control. It keeps you alert and ready to make decisions. E Is for EXECUTE: Perform the maneuver that is needed. even if you are doing something to avoid someone else’s aggressive or foolish behavior. such as a child racing out from a playground.   . Decide what the best plan is to counter whatever may occur. This becomes easier and more automatic with experience. All these years later they are still good offensive and defensive driving tips. He included five techniques to improve driving. Since you have had time to prepare. 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. P Is for PREDICT: Judge what may happen as you approach.

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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


You should be able to see the entire width of the front of the car you have passed before moving back into that lane. is confusing and often results in jerky starts and stops and collisions involving other drivers who are expecting the traditional sequence. Remember that driving defensively is not the same as driving fearfully. The double yellow line means passing is forbidden. and. Respect the road markings. 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. Many places allow a right turn after stopping. Passing on curves or hills can be lethal. and drive confidently. 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.122  P a g e   rules of the road. Be sure it is safe to do so and that you are signaling appropriately and then use this option. even if you are waving the other driver merrily ahead. Passing takes patience. 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.

No need to be paranoid. Give yourself room. drinks. Don’t forget that even though you are wrapped in the armor of your car so is the other driver. Don’t crowd intersections.123  P a g e   because there is no such indicator. Keep your mind on the road and your vision clear. If your wheels are straight you are most likely to be pushed straight ahead if hit from behind. phones or anything else that keeps you from a solid grip on the wheel (you’d be surprised). but when all is said in done those strangers around you cannot be counted on to do the rational thing. Play music at a level that allows you to concentrate and to hear sounds from your own car and from vehicles around you. If you pull out into the intersection to make a left turn. Good sunglasses are better than the car’s flipdown sun visors. give yourself time. Many minor bumps in this situation turned to tragedy because the turning car was driven into oncoming traffic. and be safe. Leave the phone calls and texting for another time. keep your wheels straight until you actually begin the turn.   . Don’t prepare to pass by tailgating. 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. Keep your hands free of food. Let’s Recap: Offensive driving saves time and money. it doesn’t mean passing is a good idea.

don’t drive impaired or tired. and the Smith Systems. Remember the I.124  P a g e   Championship driving means. prepare ahead. Follow traffic rules and signs.   . Defensive Driving is not Fearful Driving. Speed and space are key. improve visibility.P. safe.D. Eliminate distractions.E. Allow extra time. effective driving EVERY time you drive. Traffic tickets are not proof of efforts to be on time. Know how your car handles in different conditions. Know your limitations. Maintain your car so it works with you.

I just don’t want to be doing something really stupid at the time. It’s being called iPod oblivion. Talking or Texting while driving – DUMB! Since cell phones have been picked on so much and texting is so obvious. we will move a little away from those items. I just don’t want to be there when it happens. 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. Pedestrians have walked into traffic for the same reason.” I have a slightly different point of view: I’m not terribly afraid of dying. AVOID THE DUMB ACCIDENTS Woody Allen once said. There are reams of material on driving safely. 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. Car accidents are one of the most common causes of death. but electronic activity is still a trap for many of us. choosing the best car. This is the type of dumb move in which you might hope the accident kills you rather   . Watching videos while driving – DUMB! Several accidents have occurred because of truck drivers watching pornography on laptops or DVD players. Most of these involved injuries to people in other vehicles. The problem is that the best driver can still do something dumb. For younger people it is the number one cause. adding the best accessories to keep you safe and how to keep your car in great shape. “I don’t mind dying. at least. In one instance.125  P a g e   13. the driver was said to be nude.

All it takes is cutting in too close.   . The latter was clearly an intentional attempt to cause as much damage as possible.126  P a g e   than face what you’ve done. You don’t have to get there first or fastest. and if you do that you win. but watching any video while driving is a level of stupidity that should have a title of its own. causing his victim to veer and flip the car over the median and into the path of another driver. or tailgating. Anger starts and thinking stops. and you have no right to try to teach anyone else on the road anything. The nature of what they were watching may raise the embarrassment (or creepiness) factor. One-third of a second is too fast to stop but long enough to end your life or send you to prison for years. These were extreme incidents. Similar reckless driving occurs every day when one driver thinks he has the right to teach the other guy a lesson. We only know that they were both wrong by the time two innocents were killed. Let the police deal with them. but they are not unique. One could have let the other go and saved lives and prison time. In another incident two men were killed when a driver who enjoyed intimidating other drivers raced past one man and slammed on the brakes. There is only one challenge for you on the road: To get where you need to go safely. Notice in the first example that we don’t even know who started the dispute. They won’t learn from you anyway. or squeezing over into someone else’s lane. A car traveling at 70 miles an hour can cross the width of a lane in one-third of a second. 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.

When his car hit the train he went through the windshield and struck the side of the train with his body as well. make sure your lights are on. The really dumb version of this is intentionally driving without lights. Remember they are not there just to help you see but also to help you be seen.” If your car is moving or about to move. usually done for fun or for a dare on country roads where it can be incredibly dark. Not only should the lights be on at dusk but also whenever weather conditions affect visibility. Driving when exhausted – DUMB! This is a common habit and a habit that people constantly excuse. since “you aren’t on the street yet. 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. 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. Many places have laws stating that the headlights must be on whenever you have your windshield wipers turned on. 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. it was only for the coroner to see how many bones were broken. He wasn’t x-rayed to see about treating his injuries. If you are smart enough to read this. day or night. In some places you are to have the headlights on whenever you are driving. It is especially easy to forget the headlights when you have been driving for hours and the sun has gone down.127  P a g e   Driving without headlights – DUMB! Sometimes it is a simple mistake. you can’t be dumb enough to do that. but it is something to be aware of.

It can save your relationship. Stop and cool off. Not only are you distracted and your judgment impaired by emotions but also your physical reactions are affected. 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. especially if you are in the car together for long periods. Everyone gets into disagreements now and then. One or the other must stop. who was driving. and the brakes are jammed on. Your two-ton chariot is out of control. The person dumb enough to take the dare rides on the top or hood of the car while someone else drives. He was killed and her two children were seriously injured. Any real or imagined slight by other drivers is exaggerated. The results to the surfer are frequent and catastrophic. and retaliation is more likely. and oversteering is common when avoiding obstacles or changing lanes. You know when you are not alert to drive.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. Don’t try to push yourself. The gas pedal is pressed harder. injuries to   . your driving record. and your life. which is kind of a double-header of dumb. 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. Car surfing is fairly obvious. The dumb part is staying on the road or staying in the argument. the car is no place for arguing. 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. Granted that it was the passenger that did the final deed.

Alternate your rearward watch with glances forward to see that you are not catching anything with the front of your car. 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. check behind your car before you get in. This may simply be a lack of skill or attention. Falling under the wheel or being caught in the door and dragged are not unusual. Too often the drivers glance into the rear-view mirror or look over their shoulders and throw the car into reverse. If you are just starting out after being parked. Cars going forward have the right-of-way and are not obligated to back out of your way. Even the most sympathetic medical staff have trouble being totally sweet to the person dumb enough to run over himself. More importantly. Improper backing – DUMB! This causes many accidents. running or dancing along the car as it rolls along in neutral or even idling in gear. the driver moving ahead may not be able to stop and shift into reverse in time or may be blocked by cars behind her. they either face forward or look only into the rear-view mirror. When you are backing up. When the car is actually moving. but it is true that somehow people often seem to   . Ghost driving is the act of the driver stepping out of the car and walking. go slowly and look behind you. Permanent injuries to yourself or others because you intentionally gave up control of a moving car will haunt you forever.129  P a g e   other people and property are also common because everyone is distracted and no one is using any brain cells. especially if backing out of a parking space.

videos or games can kill you. steer. at a passenger or anyone else. stop driving until you are calm. get them repaired as quickly as possible. The same is true of power steering that is stiff or loose or an engine that hesitates or stalls. then you are risking yourself and those around you foolishly. cell phones.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. and the car would stop. The car is no place for anger.   . texting. Driving without brakes – DUMB! This is foolish but not as uncommon as you might think. If you know that your brakes are not working properly. or stop dependably. Take your time and make sure your rearward vision is clear either directly or with well-designed mirrors. This still means they are not functioning properly and can suddenly fail completely. You often hear a person say he was still able to pump the brakes up. If your car is not functioning so that you can drive. Car repairs may be costly but worth whatever it takes to keep you safe. Let’s Recap: Distractions of any kind.

Pranks. Do not drive if your car is not working properly   .131  P a g e   Use headlights and signals. Alcohol or drugs means no driving. Admit when you are too tired to drive. they not only let you see but help others see you. and stunts while driving automatically prove you are too immature to be behind the wheel. and do not try to push yourself. dares. Driving in reverse takes concentration and practice.

" “Fine”. “I’d wake up Mike. said the boss. SAFE DRIVING IS SERIOUS. For example. because you’ll be hauling nitroglycerin. what would you do?” After a moment’s thought. and my partner is Mike. “I’m Jim. and he drives during the day.132  P a g e   14. often moving onto the shoulder when a car came from the opposite direction.” he said.   . Jim said. 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. “Hi. I drive at night while he sleeps. 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. “But I want to know if you are good. SO LET'S STOP FOR A LAUGH Even old jokes are nice traveling companions.

I’ve got my end over. Finally got used to meeting traffic.133  P a g e   One day she finally drove smoothly through the whole course. almost as old as the men inside. Dad.” When you see a young man open the door for his girlfriend. A train was rushing toward them while the old man in the back yelled. ever since they were both young men. “You’ve been driving this car from the back seat for years. you know it’s either a new car or a new girl.” Jim replied. stalled and rolled to a stop with the back wheels resting between the rails of a railroad track. and Bob asked how the date went. They had never made a trip without the boss shouting instructions and insults from the back seat. and the instructor congratulated her. Finally they were traveling down the highway when the car. The aging chauffer had been driving his cranky old employer for several years.” 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. The next morning his son came down for breakfast. “It was the most fun I’ve ever had!”   . the rest is up to you. “You did great today.” she smiled. huh?” “Not really. “Great. “Get it started! Move! Move! MOVE!” The chauffer took off his cap and said. “but now when I meet another car I just close my eyes.

” she said. The trooper asked the nun driving the car if she knew why he had pulled her over. “I don’t know. You took my license away last week. They were pale and shaking with perspiration soaking their habits. “they started acting like that when we were back on Highway 185. he noticed the two older Sisters in the back seat. 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. I stayed right at 27 miles per hour. not the speed limit sign.” the trooper said. so you were slowing traffic down. officer. The speed limit is 55. Officer. 27 is the highway number. so how do you expect me to show it to you now?”   . as he stepped up to the window of the car that he had finally gotten to pull over. praying rapidly with their eyes tightly shut. “No. I was careful to be going the speed limit. About to send her on her way. Officer.” “Sister you were going too slow.” “I bet you don’t even know what a carburetor is.” “I need to see your driver’s license. I think it’s got water in the carburetor.” “Now I understand.” she smiled. “What’s wrong with them?” he asked the driver.134  P a g e   “No problems with the car?” “No. It ran great. Thank you. “You guys have to make up your minds.

The company's lawyer was questioning Farmer Joe. it’s not just one nut." John thanked the Judge and proceeded. I had just got Bessie into the trailer and I was driving down the road. Now several weeks after the accident he is trying to sue my client. at the scene of the accident. "Well. “Be careful. Please tell him to just answer the question.135  P a g e   Henry was driving rapidly to work and concentrating fiercely when his cell phone rang. I had just loaded my favorite mule Bessie into the.” he shouted. He is faking. Did you not say. "Just answer the question.." The lawyer cut him off.. there are hundreds of them!” Farmer John decided to take the company that owned the truck responsible for the accident to court. at the scene of the accident.'?" asked the lawyer." Judge was a country boy himself and told the lawyer. I had just loaded Bessie into the trailer and was driving her down the highway when this huge semi-truck and trailer ran the   ." The lawyer interrupted again and said. 'I'm fine.. His wife replied. "I'd like to hear his story. I just heard on the radio that some nut is driving the wrong way down the expressway. "Well. The farmer replied.. I'll tell you what happened. Farmer John started again. 'I'm fine'?". I am trying to establish the fact that. "Didn't you say. this man told the Highway Patrolman on the scene that he was fine. “What is it? I’m busy. at the scene of the accident. "Well.” “My gosh. "Judge. Mable.

the man spun six blades into the air in a dazzling display. He could hear Bessie moaning and groaning so he went over and looked at her. “What are those for?” he asked. It was awful. a Highway Patrolman came on the scene. '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. I could hear ol' Bessie moaning and groaning. “Oh yeah? Let’s see you do it. Then he took out his gun and shot her between the eyes.” As the officer stood at a safe distance. I was hurting real bad and didn't want to move. I knew she was in terrible shape. with one hand on his pistol.' "Then he said. Those tests have really gotten hard!”   . "The Trooper came across the road with his gun in his hand and looked at me. “I’m sure glad I gave up drinking. “I’m a juggler." Shortly after the accident. Just then an older couple drove slowly by and the man said. 'Your mule was in such bad shape I had to shoot her.136  P a g e   stop sign and hit my truck in the side.” replied the driver. I was thrown into one ditch and Bessie was thrown into the other. I use those in my act. He said.

centurycouncil.BIBLIOGRAPHY‐the‐facts/drunk‐driving‐research U.htm tsheet.asp‐oblivion‐blamed‐for‐ html  The Safe Driving Handbook.html  http://www. John Biardo  http://www.aspx  http://www.huffingtonpost. News  Crashproof  Your Kids     Timothy Smith  http://www.butlerwebs.htm  Readers Digest Laughter the Best Medicine  Mammoth Book of Jokes.   Edited by Geoff Tibballs  The Pretty Good Joke Book   Garrison Keillor      .drivers.html  http://www.cdc.delawaredriver.popcenter.

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