Details on Defensive Driving Classes including the how, where, and whys...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wait or Go?

Did you know you can take a defensive driving course online? The California online traffic school, Washington defensive driving class, and Florida Driving School offer opportunities to improve your safe driving skills.

When discussing safe driving practices, one subject that often comes up is that of gray areas. For example, if four cars all arrive at a 4-way stop at the same time, who should go first? Drivers can usually sort this one out.

A more serious dilemma, however, can be making a decision about gunning it in certain situations. For example, when faced with a yellow light, should you speed up to get through it, knowing there will be a wait at a red light if you don’t?

Or how about at a railroad crossing? If there’s a loooong train coming, but the lights and bells are sounding (and the arm hasn’t dropped, or there is no arm), do you go ahead and try to beat the train?

Here’s the question you always have to consider: Is it worth risking the life of myself or my passengers to save a little time? Cars stall; other unforeseen events happen. In short, whenever there’s doubt about the safety of yourself or others, it’s best to wait.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Dealing with Sunday Drivers

A good defensive driving class online can teach you all about defensive driving—like what to do in the following situation.

Let’s say you’re traveling to work. Due to construction, the traffic in the other direction is bumper-to-bumper. Fine. But there’s a 1964 Dodge Dart moving at 35 mph in front of you, although the speed limit is 55. What do you do?

a) Repeatedly ram into the offending driver in front of you until he gets his old clunker off the road.

b) If your vehicle is bigger, force the older, smaller car off the road so you can get to work on time.

c) Honk repeatedly until the driver in front of you gets the hint that hey, this isn’t a dirt road—the speed limit is 55, minimum 45.

d) Beat on the steering wheel, veer your car left and right quickly, shout, and look for things to throw at the idiot driver that’s making you late for work.

e) Pull over and pout. Cry as needed. Call in sick to work and go home.

Okay, no suspense here—the correct answer is C. But what about using the shoulder, some of you might ask? Hmmmm…

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Should You Run from the Cops?

Well, duh. Not unless you really don’t like freedom and don’t mind being tackled and sent to jail. But you’d be surprised. Some of those cop-related shows show videos of long car chases, usually ending in apprehension of the suspect—sometimes they end more tragically than this. Apparently these folks didn’t have any interest in defensive driving.

What’s really amazing, though, is that many of these outrageous car chases began with some extremely minor violation, such as a rolling stop, failing to use a turn signal, or something like that. But the driver panicked, and then the accumulation of offenses began. Misdemeanors quickly turned into felonies, and countless people’s lives were put into danger by high-speed, reckless chases.

True, some of these drivers were on parole or probation, and that’s why they ran. But some had no prior offenses, and they just lost their head when they saw the police. Maybe—just maybe—some of these would not have freaked out, if they had already gone through a defensive driving course.

To know how to handle stressful situations is important. And there’s no doubt that having the police pull you over, even for a minor traffic violation, can be unnerving if you’re not prepared for it. Another good reason to look into a defensive driving class online.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Surviving out in the Sticks

My wife and I were recently driving in a very rural part of the Midwest. Natural beauty notwithstanding, there was absolutely no cell phone signal—makes you think. Since a gas station (or town, for that matter) may be some distance away, what happens if, heaven forbid, you have car trouble in the middle of nowhere? Here are some things to remember.

Always have the essentials…
Year-round this means liquids. You can go for quite awhile without food, but you’ve got to keep your fluids up, especially since you may end up having to walk a ways. Having snacks is a nice bonus. It’s not a bad idea to stock some non-perishable supplies to get you through a night. You should also still have your cell phone, because eventually it will work, if you get close enough to where there’s reception.

…especially if it’s cold
In the winter, you’ll need all this and more. If your car won’t run at all, it means you have no heat. Don’t be without plenty of blankets in the winter. And have your hazard lights on, if they work. This would be a good time to use flares, too.

Country driving can be fun, and sometimes it’s essential—but it’s wise to be prepared for the possibility of car trouble.

Learn more about safe driving from a defensive driving course online.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Planned Pit-Stops

An important part of defensive driving is planning ahead to avoid being taken by surprise. If you’re going to be traveling some distance (say, over two hours), it’s best to think about things like where you’ll stop to find a bathroom, food, etc.

Normally, this should not be a problem. However, in some parts of most states, facilities can be few and far between. This is particularly the case in portions of states such as New Mexico, Arizona, and others.

So, what to do? When you see an upcoming exit with facilities, first consider whether you need to go ahead and take that exit. If so, be sure to get in the appropriate lane to get there safely. If it seems like you can wait, just make sure it won’t be 100 miles until the next facilities are available.

Does this sound insignificant? Think of it this way—the safest drivers are not those who really need the bathroom or are distracted by hunger. It’s best to take care of such needs at opportune times, so you can stay focused behind the wheel.

Of course driving safely involves much more than a simple tip like this. There’s plenty of good information available from the Florida Driving School, Washington defensive driving class, Texas defensive driving course, and California online traffic school.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

If You’ve Got to Use the Phone While Driving…

A Defensive driving course online can teach you all about safe driving, and may even save you money on car insurance. Now, here’s a safe driving tip.

Ever see people using their cell phones while driving? Of course. If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably done it yourself (this author certainly has). But there are ways to make this practice more safe.

Earbud

Unlike headphones, an earbud is a speaker for your phone that you only use in one ear. Therefore, you can use this and still have an ear open for traffic-related noises. It’s important, though, to have this already in your ear before you start driving. Otherwise, fumbling around and trying to put it in your ear while driving can cause more problems than not using it at all.

Speakerphone

Not all cell phones have this feature, but anymore, most probably do. All you do is push a button and it’s on—you don’t have to mess with the phone again (unless you get another call, in which case you just press another button).

Phone mount

It’s good to not have to dig into your pocket or purse while driving. Phone mounts are available to keep your phone right in front of you.

Bottom line: Always have a cell phone with you while driving, but don’t let it prevent you from driving safely.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Auto-Organization

At first, being well-organized may not sound like an actual component of defensive driving. It can actually be pretty important, as it will help you avoid common driving mistakes. Here are some examples.

Know where your keys are
If you need 15 minutes to reach work without violating the speed limit, and it’s now 5 minutes before the time you leave the house, you’d better know where your car keys are. If you don’t, and it takes you 10 minutes to find them, you’re going to be in a frenzied rush to get to work.

The result? Unsafe driving practices, such as speeding, not paying close enough attention to the road, etc. This can be compounded by the fact that you might have gotten pretty frustrated during the key search—and driving in a frustrated, angry state is something to be avoided.

Keep your car organized
Why is this important? Because if you know where a map, coupon, insurance papers, etc. are, you won’t have to waste time looking for them. Again, it keeps you from getting frustrated and upset, and it also means that you’ll spend less time at the side of the road, searching for stuff (you would at least pull over, right?).

So, stay organized—it’s part of driving safely.