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



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. There is nothing more heartbreaking than the death of a young driver or the friends that were passengers in the car. The parent is in the frightening position of giving a new form of freedom that comes with a great deal of   . but also on the responses of teenagers themselves. what is distracting and what is helpful to them than most adults do. This is not information based on just government or insurance company statistics.1  P a g e   1. The teenage driver has a lot to learn. This chapter is not just for parents wanting to know what to tell their teenagers about the dangers of driving. but he or she also knows more about what they are doing in the car. If you are a teenager who is old enough to drive. 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. 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. 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. Parents must not only set rules. but he also has ideas and desires that you may be able to accept. 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. but must also ask questions of their teenage drivers.

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

Ask your teenager what he feels confident in or nervous about behind the wheel. Don’t settle for the state requirements and high school driving certificate as the measure of your son or daughter’s right to drive. and evaluate their ability not only to put the car neatly next to the curb but also to decide when to give that child on the sidewalk a careful look and a wide berth. Spend all the time in the car with them that you can. which is the very thing that the new driver has trouble with.” Parents must recognize the abilities and limits of their own children.3  P a g e   themselves don’t feel ready. to acknowledge being unskilled or nervous about driving. It may be something that strikes you as simple. heedless of the lady on the sidewalk. Remember how difficult it is for a teenager. It’s even okay to let them know that you have weak areas in your driving that you have to work harder at (and it’s still okay when they start reminding you of this and giving you advice a month after they get their licenses). I remember my father deciding I didn’t need to be driving any further one day when I drove at full speed through a deep puddle. 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. and whether it’s worthwhile to pound the horn at the little old lady at the stop sign. 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. 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. especially a boy.

4  P a g e   means of punishment. teen drivers are several times more likely to be in a crash than any other age group. over 350.   . more than all other reasons for teenage death combined. these behaviors are a measure of the same maturity and responsibility it takes to be a safe driver. every one of them with friends and families. more than sports injuries. but when you picture yourself or someone you know going through these things.500 teenagers killed (think about that. which many teenagers fear more than death but. 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). 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. probably more kids than there are in your whole school are killed each year.000 were taken to emergency rooms from car accidents. This is not about scaring you. Per mile driven. maybe parental warnings won’t seem so stupid and the laws too strict and meaningless. More even than embarrassment. More than illnesses. Those rotten old statistics: Motor vehicle accidents are the reason for one third of the deaths of teenagers. hopes and plans) in 2008. Aside from the 3.

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

Teen passengers in the car increase the risk of accidents with a young person driving. and the more passengers the higher the risk. If you try to drive faster or in situations beyond your abilities. and you can take others down with you. and you can do the same to them. indeed. you will fumble until your muscle memory and coordination develop with practice. athletic events and social activities keep teenagers at a pace that would put a lot of adults in intensive   . In a survey of over 5. you can look and sound very bad. If you try to play the screaming licks from your favorite bands.000 high school students from across the country. and not only will you stay safe but also you will earn the trust of those who control your driving privileges. homework. 94% (if you’re sick of math. the whole point of driving is to go where you want to with your friends. The problem is your friends can get you killed when you are a young driver. parttime jobs. After all. This is one of the most annoying laws for a young driver to deal with. so you work within your abilities as you progress. Many states limit the number or ages of passengers in a car driven by a teen. 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. 75% of these students reported seeing teenagers driving while fatigued. which is another chronic problem for teen drivers. If you try to play harder material than you are ready for on the guitar. you just look silly and sound bad.6  P a g e   If you want to play the guitar. School. just say “almost every doggone one of them”) see teenage passengers doing something that was distracting to the driver. Acknowledge your limitations. you start with slower melodies and scales.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

call for help and place flares or reflectors as needed. Remember. If you are in a crash. The first few years of driving may have special limitations on the license. stay calm.20  P a g e   Get Maxi View Mirrors to improve your child’s safety. not punishment. 2   . get into a safe place. It’s about safety.

We have all seen people drifting unevenly down the road as they chat into their phone. 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. For the purposes of this discussion we are referring only to earthbound people and talking to them by phone. Twenty-nine states have already passed laws banning texting and more are in the process. 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. Eating. putting on makeup. reading. or your hands off the wheel. or looking at maps are all common mistakes many people make. letting go of the wheel to make gestures that the caller cannot see. peoplewatching. 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. Maybe you aren’t that bad. the most common driving distractions today. Attempts at telepathy or spirit contact are even more demanding and distracting but would take too much time to go into. and especially texting.21  P a g e   2. There has been a great deal of discussion in the news and chat shows about the use of phones and texting while driving. 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. What follows is mostly about phoning and texting. Even if it   . Perhaps you face forward and keep one hand on the wheel as you discuss small events and great thoughts with your friends.

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

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

yet texting is about six times more likely than driving while intoxicated to cause an accident. so you are a danger from the front and the back. remember that it’s a serious injury if it happens to you).000 injuries. Before you compare talking on the phone to just talking to someone in the car with you.000 serious injuries (don’t try to play the odds with that statement. of U.   . Over 21% of fatal accidents involving drivers 19 and under involves texting while driving. also found that it is significantly safer to talk to the passenger. 330.24  P a g e   roulette if you want to. and the percentage gets higher each year. The University of Utah simulator studies show that there is no reduction of risk using hands-free devices rather than hand-held phones.600 deaths per year. then you are intelligent enough to know how stupid it is to drink and drive. the U. That’s more than one out of five. 25% of accidents are caused by cell phone use. but the casino still gets your money. and 2. The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis reported that cell phone use is estimated to contribute to 636. 12. Ignore the facts on driving distractions and the highway can get your blood. If you care enough about being a good driver to be reading this.000 crashes. 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. 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.

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

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person they were talking to. This doubtless prevented both fights and unwise relationships. The people who wait to hear from you appreciate your time and company. I’m sure you realize how meaningless so much of your conversation is when you simply talk for hours because the phone allows you to do so, and you are simply filling in silences. To put it crudely, some people call this kind of chatter a mind vomit. No thought and no value. When you wait to talk to someone, and you know your time with them is limited, you both tend to think about what you want to say and consider the other person’s interest and reaction. It feels good to use your mind to express yourself the best way you can, instead of relying simply on the number of words spoken. Respect for yourself and others are great trade-offs for the dubious convenience of wireless chat. Texting is much more distracting than talking, and your car travels a surprising distance in the time it takes you to read a text message. If you take only 3 seconds to read a message while driving on the expressway, your car will travel the length of a football field before you even look up to see what is coming.


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Notice the distance in car lengths . There are plenty of statistics and studies to show how dangerous texting and driving is, but you already know why. Not only are you distracted by the conversation; you are taking your eyes off the road to read, you use more of your concentration to type than to speak, and of course you have at least one hand off the wheel. One more little note about respect: It is rude to text when you are with other people. You will find that those who disagree only do so depending on their place in the situation. Texting while in the company of others serves to exclude those people. The one text message that should be acceptable while driving is in the nature of: “He has a gun, he’s hearing voices, and we just crossed the state line...” There is time to enjoy conversations (or snacks, or books, or having great hair or makeup), and a time to be a safe and courteous driver with a healthy future. Knowing


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when to do the one helps ensure a lifetime of the others.

LETS RECAP: A few seconds’ distraction can mean a lifetime of regret (or no lifetime at all). A car at 55 miles per hour travels over 80 feet per second. 80% of accidents are caused by distracted drivers: Texting Phones Eating Drinking Changing radio or other music player Using GPS or other device Reading Watching video of some type Make-up or shaving Anger at other drivers Emotional upset If you can think of it, people have probably tried to do it while driving. Anything taking your focus from driving or hands from the wheel is a distraction.


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

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

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

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

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

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

now both of you are dazzled and quite often there is a clash of wills between bright lights and dim drivers. and your eyes will adjust much more quickly when the other driver has passed. Scratches and smears on your windshield make bright lights much more blinding. 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. Of course. It's best to assume the other driver is not intentionally being a pain in order to keep your own temper and judgment.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. Keep your windshield clean and maintained. Sometimes this occurs because one driver simply doesn't realize his lights are on high and he thinks he is the wronged party. Fog or snow can reflect the light from   . The bright lights are much less dazzling when seen with your peripheral vision.

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

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

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

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

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

and many of them you will already have. it will take you where you want to go almost any time. and enjoy creating a stash in your car that gives you confidence in your ability to deal with emergencies. They are a gold mine of information. but you still need to be prepared. Spare tire. either to fix the problem yourself. but every car eventually needs a little rest and repair. 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. Owner’s manual. Cell phone and battery charger that plugs into your car lighter. if you don’t have one. Give it some thought. 1. They are useful for any location.41  P a g e   4. Check the air pressure when you have the oil changed. 2. get one through the dealer or buy a basic repair manual specific to your car at an auto parts store. 3.   . If you have a dependable car and keep it maintained properly. or to stay safe and reasonably comfortable until help arrives. 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. I know it seems obvious but it’s surprising how often the spare is missing or flat. Few would cost as much twenty dollars. The articles in this list are easy to find and need not take up a lot of space. Cell phones make being broken down at the side of the road a little less hazardous than it used to be.

just large enough to fit over the lug wrench handle. your brakes should be set and a rock or chock placed   . 5. Small. Be careful that the wrench does not twist or slip off the nut. Slip it over the lug wrench handle and use the extra length to grip and lift. wheeled hydraulic jack. these give more leverage and are safer to use than the simple jack-handle type and will let you remove different-sized lug nuts. “Cheater bar” (this is not something to whack your boyfriend with if you think he’s fooling around). Of course. 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. 6. it is simply a pipe about 3 feet long. Four-way lug wrench.42  P a g e   4. Be sure to point the length of the jack in the direction of the slope if you are on a hill. 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.

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

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

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

certainly over $50. such as the cost. On the road it can fill an overheated radiator.00 for one that has enough cranking power. because they will run down while sitting in your trunk. 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. not just drinking bottles. There are downsides. cool you   . 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. 13. but probably a low priority due to cost and infrequent need. and the higher the better. 16. which is measured in amps. You hook these to a low battery just as though you were being jumped from another car.00. Higher amps and more frills can increase the cost to well over $100. Blankets: one regular soft blanket rolls up tightly and takes up little space. You also must charge these units from an electrical outlet periodically. Water has always been and will always be a staple of life. Water: Gallon Jugs. but that can get expensive. Poncho or rain gear 14. 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). They are basically a nicely packaged battery with jumper cables attached. Some also have lights and even air compressors. This device might be something to save for a winter purchase.

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

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

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

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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.


39. along the inside walls of your trunk where they will take up little space. like the jack. 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. Note pad and pencil: Not vital but useful to take down directions. some obvious and some you may not have thought of but which will come in handy. This may seem like a lot of items.53  P a g e   38. You may want to store liquids in a separate box or just fitted. If all else fails. compact items.   . It can be fun to decide what is needed and look around for some of the cool. you can leave a note for those left behind to let them know how you got yourself into such a dumb situation. Camera: Just something cheap and disposable can be nice to have to document an accident or prove you were abducted by aliens.

and there are some limitations and changes that are part of being a careful and responsible driver. A sign of the wisdom. but only because we opened the wrong door. 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. The problem with so many of the things that affect driving skills as a person gets older is that they can occur very suddenly. Promise not to hit them. Traffic congestion or disruptive road work seem so much more nerve-wracking than they used to be. What the heck is everybody honking for all the time. and years of driving bring skill and decision-making ability that younger drivers don’t have. or they may creep up on you so that it is difficult to be aware of them.54  P a g e   5. anyway? Try asking yourself a few questions. There are some harsh realities we all have to face.   . 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. Becoming an older driver is no joking matter. and it’s so frustrating that things aren’t marked clearly. and honestly think back over your driving experiences lately. however. The car crossing the intersection far ahead may be frighteningly close by the time your foot travels from gas pedal to brake. and little by little we may be driving closer to the person in front of us or having to make sudden stops or turns as a sign pops up unexpectedly. as with a medication change. Vision dims over time.

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. or painful? Few people are the best judges of their own driving. no matter what age they are. difficult. have to think about. or am I having trouble remembering what some of the symbols mean? Is my parking less accurate.55  P a g e   Have I been drifting in my lane more or dropping the tires onto the shoulder? Are the road signs hard to read. more difficult. either when next to a curb or when fitting between the lines in a parking space? Do I hesitate.   . 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.

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

but the safest and easiest way to handle the situation is to let him get by and go on his way. Drive with a companion to help watch the road. Consider some exercise classes to make it more fun and consistent. Get out of the aggressive driver’s way. especially the brakes and tires. Find a mechanic that you can trust and have your cars checked regularly. Stay physically active to maintain your strength and flexibility. Plan your route to avoid schools and truck traffic. keep you alert and warn you if you start to show diminishing ability. Give the cars around you enough room to allow you to slow. The driver riding your rear bumper or hugging your side of his lane may be a jerk and is certainly wrong. Some states have tried to pass laws requiring more frequent testing for older drivers. In some cases these   . Allow more time to get to your destinations. but do not become distracted by conversation. Don’t let other drivers get on your nerves Make sure your eyes are checked regularly and your eyeglasses are correct. try to avoid night driving and times of heaviest traffic. This means greater distances as you get older and your reflexes slow. stop or steer away from a collision. regardless of age. use every tool or method available to keep themselves and the people around them safe.57  P a g e   ADAPT AND CONQUER… Smart drivers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the other driver or you. The occupants of the car that was hit were another young woman and her elderly grandmother. the calm response was the correct and effective one and the one that would have shown more love and concern for the grandmother. is at fault if your response causes harm to yourself or your loved ones. You will be amazed at the ability you have to stop the day for a moment and make the right choices. even if that means giving up some pride. Decide to be smart and safe and a protector of your loved ones. A young woman going much too fast through the parking lot plowed into a car backing out a few spaces away. but she was doing nothing that needed to be done. temper or stress did not create or worsen the problem.69  P a g e   The idea is to make this an automatic response. screaming about her injured grandmother.   . but it takes practice. Even in such a traumatic situation. 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. leaving the grandmother without attention and adding to the anxiety of the old woman with her rage and noise. It makes absolutely no difference which person. This may be understandable. Soon your natural reflex will be to calm yourself rather than let anger escalate. The granddaughter wrenched her door open and attacked the other car. 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. trying to get through the locked door to reach the dazed driver.

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

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

72  P a g e   7. Changing lanes is something we decide to do very casually. but that’s not the point. It is dangerous because it seems so simple that it is often done carelessly. and we depend on our mirrors for the information we need be safe. 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. the quick glance over your shoulder is the correct way to check your blind spot. 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. Just to be clear. look quickly over your shoulder to check your blind spot. (This is often true of our mirrors at home. Merely letting the car drift to the side seems so much less complicated than facing an intersection or merging from an entrance ramp. 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. Then face forward and move into the lane you wish. if fashion is anything to go by. This is also the way you will be expected to do it when being tested. 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. It is also a   .) The proper maneuver as explained by professional driving instructors is to signal 3 to 5 seconds before the lane change.

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

Most people think of the round. To properly visualize what is coming up on your car. The simple and effective solution is to add accessory mirrors to your car that allow you to accurately see what is coming up beside you in time to make a wise choice. A good quality blindspot mirror will have a mounting base that allows it to be adjusted separately from the factory mirror. The mirror must be of good quality. Take the extra step to add safety to your car. A good wide-view mirror requires more than just a curved surface. making it difficult to interpret what you are seeing.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. stick-on fish-eye discs that they see at discount stores and some auto parts stores. and the left mirror will reflect your own car only if you lean into the center of the car. Another advantage of proper mirror placement is that you will get less reflection from the lights of cars behind you.   . you need to know what goes into an effective design. and a rounded surface creates distortion. 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. Adjust the right mirror so you must lean against the driver’s side window to see your own rear fender. To find the right blind-spot mirror. a mirror that glues flat against your regular mirror will often be at the wrong angle for clear viewing. An effective mirror will not skew your perspective so that the distance between vehicles does not appear much different from what it really is.

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

is the Maxi View Mirror. 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     . including a sharp appearance.76  P a g e   meets all the requirements described here.

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

Others think that police are more likely to stop truckers. 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. and the result of these differing ideas is the same: people driving too close to the truck Some of the most horrific accidents involve a car sliding under a tractor-trailer and taking the brunt of the impact at windshield level. but if you drive too close to the back of the trailer you have no indication of what is ahead. Most of us have driven near trucks that are traveling in a closely spaced line. 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. It’s not unusual for the size and monotony of the view at the back of the truck to have a hypnotic effect. and we barely manage to avoid running into him. It takes much further for a truck to stop. the truck slows down. taking risks by following too closely. but gas is never going to be expensive enough to make this worthwhile. Then that darn character speeds up again.   . This air pressure phenomenon is the cause of another type of incident that is often dangerous and always irritating to those driving near trucks. Eventually one of the trucks pulls out to pass.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. so they attempt to use the truck as a decoy. 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. Suddenly. It takes a moment too long to realize the significance of the brake lights coming on. and the results are devastating.

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

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

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

Just as you can get tired at work. But while you may slip out of your office chair. 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. In one scene the comparatively scrawny co-star tries to fight and   . and many trucks have electronic monitoring systems to make sure that a driver is getting a certain amount of rest from the wheel. Being tired can affect even a professional driver’s reflexes and judgment. The long-haul driver also has the burden of being far from home and facing deadlines. but when facing something that weighs over 60. it’s not surprising that with so many trucks on the road there are some drivers that get sleepy. This is always stupid. The country songs about a lonely trucker’s life carry some truth. and even the best of them can become tired. there are aggressive truck drivers out there. This is where being a mature driver comes in. That’s why the law restricts truck drivers from driving too many hours in one day or one week. 50% percent of drivers faced with aggressive driving behavior retaliate with aggressive actions of their own. because miles are money. There is a movie called “Rundown” with the former wrestler Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. Some truckers will tailgate.82  P a g e   Truck drivers are on the road many hours a day. Drivers must keep logs. the trucker can plow through a building or flatten a minivan. Some will squeeze you over to change lanes or change speeds and swerve to keep you from passing. Of course. and the sight of that grill filling your rear-view mirror can sneak into your dreams for a few nights running.000 tons it can be suicidal. Many truckers drive as teams so that they can stay on the road longer.

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

“LIVE FREE OR DIE……YEEE-HAAAA!” It is often said that automobiles are the leading cause of death for teenagers in this country. When we are young our first car can make us feel as though we were given wings. While it does not remain the leading killer as age progresses.84  P a g e   9. even if it’s just the old family clunker and not the sports car we dreamed of. and they don’t go out alone. you can almost hear them thinking. the automobile remains high on the list of killers   . Even as adults the car is our key to going where we want and doing many of the things we wish. Many people would never consider taking a few paperclips home from the office or littering on the sidewalk. We think differently when surrounded by the armor and in the imagined privacy that the car provides. The automobile as the greatest factor in death is true of everyone from toddlers of two years to adults of thirty-four. WHY ARE TRAFFIC LAWS GETTING MORE STRICT? (I thought that sign was just a suggestion!) The automobile is a symbol of independence and freedom. When they are in their cars facing a traffic sign.

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

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

The combination of these things can also be the behavior of an aggressive driver. It’s not so much to punish the driver for every infraction. directly and indirectly. the violent and competitive nature of television shows and video games. what is left is human behavior. It all comes down to the fact that sometimes people just act mean or dumb. And good sense and safety education don’t seem to be enough. We may point to other factors such as the level of stress in society. He may weave because of fatigue. 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. or a dozen others.87  P a g e   It is a terrible pattern that so many of the laws are driven by the fact that. but that does not explain this explosion of incidents. and a car is no place to do it. when you improve safety features and provide the best traffic system that you can. A person may absent-mindedly tailgate or cut in too close in front of another driver. Many laws are in response. 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. Sometimes it just keeps it in the mind of the person who is not aggressive or willfully reckless but simply inconsiderate or inattentive. The laws   . the lack of emphasis on courtesy and discipline that used to be more a part of training both in school and homes. Sometimes it seems that there are too many people who just don’t want to grow up. It’s true that the number of cars on the road increases risk.

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

Enjoy all the freedoms you have. Your behavior affects the safety of others. The car is not a private space. Laws may seem unfair. Take pride in being knowledgeable about traffic laws.   . and live with the restrictions that are necessary. obey them. but other behaviors have kept the level of risk the same.89  P a g e   law to give them more incentive and more reminders to make every effort to be alert and considerate. but make the effort to understand them. Enjoy all the freedoms that you have. then vote and change them. Drunken driving has decreased. Laws are not just to punish but to keep you aware of what is safe and acceptable when driving. Let’s Recap: Laws are based on safety statistics. You have the right to work to change laws but not to disobey them. if you truly feel they are incorrect. It is an imperfect solution but the best that our society has come up with to deal with imperfect drivers. but until then. and.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The most common reason for the alternator to fail is because of a broken drive belt. 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.   . and slow down. that means no air conditioner and no tunes). The battery can carry you for a few miles if you are lucky. or stop borrowing cars from cousin Vito. except lights if is at night. or get the alternator replaced if the belt is not the problem. This single belt. called the serpentine belt. The only solution is to get off the road as quickly as possible and get the belt repaired. saves some money.98  P a g e   A thumping or vibration under the trunk can be the rear tires. but there are complications. (Yes. but the downside is that if you try to drive when your alternator quits turning the car may overheat before the battery dies. most cars have only one belt that drives all the components. Older cars had two or three. because your water pump is not being turned either. A thumping noise in the trunk means you need to learn a better way to get along with your mother-in-law. but the others keep going. Alternator warning light. As mentioned regarding the power steering problem. Shut off all the accessory devices. space and time. or the rearend differential gears in rear-wheel-drive cars. or rear axles in front-wheel-drive cars.

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

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

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

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

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

104  P a g e   speeder saves even less time than indicated in the previous paragraph. If you are tailgating because you think you are going to get to your destination sooner. Sometimes this is poor driving technique or exhaustion. possibly being distracted by something inside or outside of the car. 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 speeder slows down and then rushes forward again so that estimates based on steady speeds are overblown. The other side of the coin: the pace changer and brake baiter. Tailgating is more dangerous than speeding by itself and is not always just carelessness. The really aggressive driver is the one who uses this as a method of controlling traffic or as a mindless prank. remember that you are just a few feet ahead of where you would be if you were driving properly. If you do manage to scare the driver ahead out of your way. but those few feet can land you in the hospital or the morgue. refer to the facts on speed above. and odds of   . sometimes hitting the brakes. Decide if two minutes or even eight are worth harming the people ahead or yourself or the loved ones in your car. The prize-winner is the guy that flashes his headlights into the mirrors of the car ahead. 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 aggressive driver often uses tailgating as a form or intimidation in order to get the driver ahead to speed or pull into another lane. even though that driver is already driving at the speed limit. Some people will use this as a means of “teaching a lesson” to the tailgater.

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

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

Traffic moves more quickly. Anytime you are attempting to create your own entrance or speed in a situation where cars are both ahead or to the side and behind you makes you much more vulnerable to being hit as well as puts you at fault in any collision or traffic violation. means stopping and going. as the grains have space to weave into the pattern of openings. If the container is tipped at a steep angle to try to pour faster. At a more gradual angle. but. the secret is cooperation. blundering progress which SLOWS YOU DOWN and increases the risk of collisions. the flow is steady and the container empties much more quickly. as with merging lanes on the freeway. They have no room to slide past each other. This saves fuel and reduces pollution by eliminating the need to idle at a stop light. A style of intersection that has been popular in Europe for years but is still relatively new to American drivers is the roundabout. Blocking cars attempting to merge. or forcing your way into the flow of traffic when merging. and the particle traffic gets denser and denser.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. Compare cars in traffic as salt or sugar being poured through a narrow opening. the grains clump and jam up the opening. 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. so that there is a pause between cars that   . That is why areas with signals controlling the entrance of cars from a ramp onto an expressway.

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

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

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

where it is so easy to imagine that we are in a protective bubble.111  P a g e   Sometimes reckless behavior is more or less contained within the car. honks. Responding to irritation with anger increases your level of emotion and begins a cycle. The tendency is not simply to exhibit your anger toward the other driver who is typically soon out of   . The driver who orchestrates his travels with gestures. and the efficient and swift driver. inviting him to count your fingers and making it easier than counting to two means you have lost focus on the road. We honk and gesture and yell and pound the dashboard. The safe driver. taking our minds off of really important aspects of driving and distracting or angering other drivers. Even when the other guy is truly in the wrong. so that you are less safe and more likely to become an aggressive driver yourself. is the one who has control of himself. If the old man in front of you took an instant longer to get his legs moving. Remember that 50 percent of drivers who thought they were victims of aggressive or reckless drivers responded aggressively in turn. Treat the people in other cars as you would if they were walking ahead of you down the street. 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). 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.

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

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

and doing it every time you drive. In driving there is a need for offense and a defense but no need for Aggression! You will cross the finish line. because obviously you have to move the ball forward to score. You can’t do that without an offense.114  P a g e   12. 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. Even in football the   . The problem is that the other team has an offense too. let’s move on. safely and with the least wear and tear on you and your car. Regardless of traffic or street signs or even other aggressive drivers you can get to your destination. Winning the championship in driving means getting where you want to go on time. and if your defense can’t stop them you still lose. The meaning of winning the championship in sports is obvious. With a little planning you will get there on time and safely. You can click on thousands of websites to get the arguments for offense or defense winning in football.

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

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

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

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

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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. 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.122  P a g e   rules of the road. Many places allow a right turn after stopping. is confusing and often results in jerky starts and stops and collisions involving other drivers who are expecting the traditional sequence. Be sure it is safe to do so and that you are signaling appropriately and then use this option. Stopping or inching hesitantly ahead while merging into traffic is confusing and can cause collisions either on the highway or on the ramp as people behind you expect you to move. even if you are waving the other driver merrily ahead. and drive confidently. just   . Respect the road markings. The double yellow line means passing is forbidden. Waiting at the stop sign. Passing takes patience. Passing on curves or hills can be lethal. and. 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. Remember that driving defensively is not the same as driving fearfully.

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

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

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

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

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

Not only are you distracted and your judgment impaired by emotions but also your physical reactions are affected. especially if you are in the car together for long periods. Granted that it was the passenger that did the final deed. and oversteering is common when avoiding obstacles or changing lanes. and your life. The gas pedal is pressed harder. and the brakes are jammed on. Car surfing is fairly obvious. injuries to   . Any real or imagined slight by other drivers is exaggerated. You know when you are not alert to drive. 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. Several accidents have been reportedly been caused by the driver arguing with someone on the phone. Don’t try to push yourself. It can save your relationship.128  P a g e   a factor in a huge number of accidents. The person dumb enough to take the dare rides on the top or hood of the car while someone else drives. The results to the surfer are frequent and catastrophic. 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. which is kind of a double-header of dumb. He was killed and her two children were seriously injured. your driving record. the car is no place for arguing. One or the other must stop. Everyone gets into disagreements now and then. and retaliation is more likely. Stop and cool off. 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. Your two-ton chariot is out of control. who was driving. The dumb part is staying on the road or staying in the argument.

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

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

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

For example. because you’ll be hauling nitroglycerin. The truck driver arrived for his new job. “Hi.132  P a g e   14. and my partner is Mike.   . and he drives during the day. He’s never seen a wreck like this!” The nervous student always panicked when she came to a narrow stretch of two-lane road.” he said. I drive at night while he sleeps. said the boss. often moving onto the shoulder when a car came from the opposite direction. SO LET'S STOP FOR A LAUGH Even old jokes are nice traveling companions. SAFE DRIVING IS SERIOUS. “I’d wake up Mike. Jim said." “Fine”. “But I want to know if you are good. what would you do?” After a moment’s thought. 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. “I’m Jim.

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

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

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

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

com/jokes/ icle.drivers.aspx  Readers Digest Laughter the Best Medicine  Mammoth Book of html  The Safe Driving Handbook.huffingtonpost.html‐the‐facts/drunk‐driving‐research U.html  http://www.cdc.popcenter. News  Crashproof  Your Kids     Timothy Smith  http://www.BIBLIOGRAPHY  http://www.   Edited by Geoff Tibballs  The Pretty Good Joke Book   Garrison Keillor      .delawaredriver.cdc. John Biardo  http://www.asp‐oblivion‐blamed‐for‐ _n_674391.

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