Archive for the ‘Defensive Driving Blog’ Category

Speed Limits Changes Could Affect Defensive Drivers In North Texas.

Heads Up To Defensive Drivers – Speed Limits Going Up In North Texas.

Speed limits have a way of going up and down in Texas, much as the temperature does! The state is divided into many regions and in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area we have a planning group called the Regional Transportation Council that works with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to set these speed limits. If these changes are approved by state and federal agencies then the Department of Transportation will begin putting up new signs.

If approved speed limits on some highways will go from 60 to 65 (I20, Loop 820 and Texas 121 in central Ft. Worth, Grapevine, North Richland Hills and cities in or near the center of Tarrant County) Others would go from 65 to 70. For a map of proposed speed limit changes check out: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/transportation/20130811-speed-limits-could-go-up-on-some-dallas-area-highways.ece

Why the changes in speed expectations? Actually it is simple. In 2001 speed limits were reduced in order to reduce pollution from auto emissions. You may remember that at the time Texas was struggling to find ways to meet EPA requirements. Pollution was a substantial problem in the state at the time and the federal government had enacted tough federal pollution reduction laws.

What has changed in 13 years? According to the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, many pollution issues have been addressed through other means. Better traffic signal timing, the use of technology to warn motorists of bottlenecks and restrictions on trucks in the left lanes of highways are just a few. In addition emission requirements have been more stringent for cars and trucks and the equipment has become more efficient.

Speed Limit Defensive Driving

According to the Dallas Morning News these changes would not take place for at least 6 months. So until you see new signs go up stick to the posted speed limits on your favorite Texas highways. And if you exceed that and get ticketed contact us at wirelessdefensivedriving.com. We have been doing defensive driving in Texas for a long time and have helped tens of thousands of drivers over the years.

Our online, built for mobile devices, defensive driving course is approved by the Texas Eduction Agency, the only regulating agency in the state. If you would like to take our course for free it is all available at our Youtube Channel.

Child Safety Seat Tips

IS YOUR CAR A GOOD MATCH FOR YOUR CHILD SAFETY SEAT?

A new study by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center would say no, probably not. In this study of 50 car seats and 50 vehicles the conclusion was obvious: The seats and cars vary so radically that rarely do they make a perfect match without some vigorous adjusting by parents.

car seat safety chart

“The actual slope of the rear seat is at  such an angle that if you just put the car seat in there naturally, the angle is not going to be in that correct area”, says the Center’s Dr. John Bolte. “You just want to have that base fit nicely in the seat and as tight to the frame of the car as you can”, he added.

If you have a question about your car seat installation you can check in with the Car Seat Inspectors (yes, they really do have these) at stations across the state of Texas. At these stations certified technicians will inspect your installation and correct it if necessary. Then they will instruct you as to how to install it the next time. To locate these stations go to: http://www.nhtsa.gov/apps/cps/map/findfitting.htm?q_State=TX&q_Zip=&Sp_Stations=on

But there may be good news on the horizon, thanks to computer models of new car seats from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The geometry of all major car seats was analyzed by their engineers and that information shared with major car makers. Hopefully that will result in a re-design of the back seats of certain models. So a better fit may be in the making!

For all your defensive driving safety information be sure to check back with WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

National School Bus Safety Week

Be Smart, Safety First

You better be paying attention!

Texas State Troopers are going to be seen trailing school buses this week to catch motorists breaking the law. The law in question is in the Teas Transportation Code – Section 545.066 – Passing a school bus. The question is, do most drivers understand this law?

Basically the law says that you have to stop before reaching the school bus when the bus is operating a visual sign ( that is required).The sign is normally flashing lights or a stop sign that is lowered to the side of the bus. You cannot proceed until (a) the school bus resumes motion; (b) the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or (c) the visual signal is no longer activated.

National School Bus Safety

There are conditions in which the operator is not required to stop.  For those and other information on this law go to: http://law.onecle.com/texas/transportation/545.066.00.html.

In any case, the troopers will be out in force cracking down on folks breaking this law. The concern is with students entering or exiting the bus. If cars are not stopped this can become a deadly situation. In 2012 there were 840 traffic accidents in Texas involving stopped school buses with children entering or exiting.

Violators could be fined as much as $1,250. These fines were increased in September as a result of new legislation. In 2012, there were about 450 tickets issued by troopers to motorists passing a school bus.

So this time of year be especially aware of school zones and school buses and if you need more instruction on current driving laws log in to WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

What’s in your glove box?

A Versatile Storage Compartment

I was just curious and decided to do a search on “glove compartment”, not thinking that I would discover anything of interest. Much to my delight there were a number of interesting, although not really news worthy, articles on that handy storage area we all take for granted.

Glove Compartment

Also referred to as a “glove box” the term originated in the early days of the automobile as a place to store, you got it, gloves. Early autos did not have heaters so it was essential to have gloves on hand ( No pun intended – or was it?). In England and parts of the northwest United States, these compartments were  called “jockey boxes.” The only explanation for this being that the car was also referred to as a “horseless carriage”, so those who rode in them were jockeys. Not a term that lasted long.

According to auto historians, Packard’s earliest autos were the 1st to have glove compartments. In early ads for a 1900 Packard the box had “ample space for parcels, waterproofs, etc.”.  According to the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nev., the 1900 Packard style glove compartment was copied by many other early automakers, including the 1902 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Roundabout with its leather satchel and the 1903 Duryea with a box built into the dash that opened on top. By the 1930s the glove box was standard equipment.

Today automakers are trying to sell us on alternate uses for our glove box. In 2008 Dodge’s big selling point for the Caliber and Avenger sedans was the Chill Zone, a refrigerated storage area for beverages where the glove box normally is found. Nissan’s Rogue crossover utility vehicle and Sentra sedan both have glove boxes deep enough to house a laptop computer. This way they can be locked up when the driver exits the vehicle.

The web abounds with sites on what to keep in your glove compartment, how to organize it, fix a crack in it, find replacement locks, etc.  Whether you use your glove compartment for papers, your owner’s manual, toiletries or a six pack of Diet DP, it is a useful and often underutilized feature available to every driver on the road. And when you need any kind of information at all on driving, and sometimes auto trivia, count on WirelessDefensiveDriving.com, the first mobile defensive driving school in Texas

Defensive Driving Videos

Defensive Driving Videos

Defensive Driving Videos in Texas.

Texans send in videos of what they see and witness while driving. These Defensive Driving videos show how attitudes and skills can, and do, save lives everyday. Take a look at these few examples we have received in the past few weeks. We will keep this blog fresh with new videos and updates. Be safe and keep you eyes open while on the road in Texas and anywhere else.

How to cause an accident when exiting a Texas freeway – Video of a missed freeway exit.

This driver has missed the exit of the freeway. Instead of taking the next exit a couple of miles down the road, he decides to cut across and exit at the last minute. While doing that he also decides to reduce his speed to less that 20 mph on the exit ramp where vehicles are traveling at 40-50 mph. This is exactly how accidents happen…sudden change of direction and grossly mismatched speeds causing unavoidable obstacles. Thankfully, the driver exiting the freeway was able to clear the bad driver without causing an accident.

 

What should be in your car Emergency Kit. – Video of last second ugly surprise.

Look how a dark road can reveal a surprise at the very last second! The driver in the right lane notices the stopped car very late and slams on the brakes to change lane. It would have made a huge difference if the stranded driver had an Emergency Kit with visible signals like flares, flashing lights, roadside beacon, etc…etc.. Nice defensive driving video showing quick reflexes.

 

Aggressive driving increases chances for road accidents. – Video of aggressive driver causing problems.

Check out this driver… comes fast on the left, cuts in front and starts tailgating the other car in front applying pressure, causing panic and erratic driving. This is the kind of driving that can get you killed, even if you are minding your own business. Always be safe and aware of your surroundings and keep sending in those defensive driving videos to be shared.

Check out all our original content videos on you YouTube Channel below:

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Thank you,

WirelessDefensiveDriving.com

Mindless Driving and Defensive Driving

Are you following an unconscious script when you drive? Let’s examine defensive driving vs mindless driving.

Is driving a routine?Whether we know it or not, we all have “scripts” for what we do every day in our normal routine. Psychologists define a script as “executing a sequence of actions appropriate to the situation base on habit and practice” (Dr. Leon James, 2012). For instance when we enter a restaurant we know what to do: wait to be seated, order from the menu, eat, pay the bill, etc. That is our restaurant “script”. Driving is very much the same – we develop driving behaviors that are practiced daily and become so automatic that we are no longer aware of them.

There are separate scripts for every driving situation and for what you expect from your passengers. You may drive differently on the highway by yourself than you would in a crowded parking lot with a car full of kids. Our scripts are influenced by not only our own driving experience, but by driving habits of our parents or other adults we had to drive with while growing up.

So is there a down side to having a set script for your driving? Not necessarily but scripts tend to include negative behaviors that you may not even be conscious of, including prejudices and stereotypes. Take lady drivers for instance. Have you even been with someone who becomes impatient with someone driving too slowly in front of them and pulls around, looks at the driver and says:
“Oh, it’s a lady driver. No wonder she doesn’t know what she’s doing”. There are a number of unfair biases that creep into our driving psychology that color our attitudes toward others on the road.

If you could sit down and list the number of assumptions you make about drivers based on age, ethnicity, types of cars, sex, etc., it would probably be quite a shock. But how do these interfere with driving? I think it is easy to see that these scripts can create mounds of negative feelings toward other drivers and cause our own driving  behavior to be more irrational.  The constant drain of those behaviors can affect us emotionally and intellectually. We see the culmination of this in “road rage” incidents where the anger and resentment toward other drivers finally builds to the breaking point.

Don’t let long held beliefs or “scripts” about how others should driver cloud your ability to be a good driver. Identify consciously each time that you have one of these thoughts and become more aware of how often they occur. Once identified you can take steps to re-write your script.  Label each negative reaction as inappropriate and toss it  out of your head. At the very least take a minute to think about why you feel a certain way and consider re-writing that feeling. Doing this can help you be a more considerate and less aggressive driver.

And for all the information you need to be a good defensive driver go to Wirelessdefensivedriving.com.

Safety defensive driving tips for the fall

Safety Driving Tips to keep in mind this fall season.

Believe it or not, we made it through another scorching summer season and soon enough summer will officially will be over. We welcome the fall season with its lower temperature, shorter days and much needed rain. We have some safety defensive driving tips for this coming fall season you may find useful. The driving conditions, road conditions and weather will require any driver to adjust their driving skills to the task. Here is a quick reference checklist.

  • Hydroplaning – 
    With the increase in rain, the condition of the tire’s threads are of paramount importance. Aqua-planing or hydroplaning causes a vehicle to lose traction due to a thin layer of water between the tire’s and the ground.
    Wet road safety defensive driving tips
    Basically, the grooves in the tire can not remove or displace all the water between the tire surface and the road causing the tire to lift and slide as if it was on a layer of ice. Of course the faster the vehicle moves over water, the more water has to be displaced by the tires. Look at image above and notice how the contact surface reduces how the speed increases. That is why the right amount of thread and the proper pressure in the tires are very critical.

 

  • Hypothermia – (here is the actual definition)
    Heat may no longer be the issue, but cold temperatures, especially at night, may cause hypothermia should a driver get stranded in a isolated road overnight. A blanket and thermo pads are always a good idea to have as the colder months are approaching. Thermo pads are particular effective since they can be stored safely and activated only when needed. Once activate they can generate enough heat to prevent someone from going into hypothermia.

 

  • Poor Visibility – 
    When driving in the rain, visibility is already reduced by the falling water droplets. It is very important the windshield wipers are working and with the rubber blade in prefect condition.safety defensive driving tips
    Additional additives can also be used and wiped on the windshield glass itself to cause the water to bead-up and slide away . Also, reduce the amount of time the car stays in other cars water spray zone. While this is sometimes inevitable in city traffic,  heavy spray can completely blind and remove any visibility. Even if for just few seconds, that is extremely dangerous.

 

  • Emergency Signals –
    With the days getting shorter and the visibility being poorer, having the right emergency signals is critical. Please include flares, refractive triangles or anything that can be lit and visible from a long distance should you need to pull over or break down in the path of traffic.

    reoad emergency

 

  • Stopping distance –
    Increase the distance from the vehicle in front. Wetness or poor visibility will cause stopping distances to increase dramatically. Please use the 4 second rule when following another car while the road is wet.

 

Can Defensive Driving Lower Your Insurance Rates?

Lowering Insurance Rates with Defensive Driving

It can and in a lot of instances it does. However, each insurance company has different policies on how to best reward defensive drivers. Some companies do not give discounts so it is best for your to check with your agent to verify. In most cases insurance companies like to see drivers taking defensive driving courses since it has been proven that a refresher or the extra education will reduce your likelihood of getting in an accident.

Insurance Discounts

These are some links to a few major companies and their pages regarding defensive driving.

Geico –

http://www.geico.com/information/states/tx/defensive-driver/

Texas Defensive Driver Discount

If your policy is rated for the state of Texas, you could save up to 10% on applicable coverages by taking a defensive driving course…

In Texas, you may be eligible for this discount if:

You have voluntarily completed a Defensive Driver Course, Professional Driver Course or Instructor’s Course approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA), including the State Board of Education or the Commissioner of Education, the National Safety Council and/or the American Safety Council, and your auto insurance ID card indicates

 

Progressive –

http://goo.gl/gddifL

Couple of questions — first, do you offer a discount for completion of a safe driving/defensive driving course? Second, is the ‘snapshot’ discount available to existing policy holders, or just new policies? Thank you for your assistance.
Posted on 1/21/2011 at 3:39 PM by Brian
@Brian, Yes to both of your questions. In some states, we offer a driver improvement/accident prevention course, and Snapshot is available to existing customers, as well as new customers, in most states. You can enroll online, by logging into your policy, or by phone.
Posted on 1/28/2011 at 9:57 AM by Progressive

 

State Farm Insurance –

http://goo.gl/NkouYZ

Defensive Driving Course Discount
Save up to 5%. Depending on where you live, taking a driver safety course may help you get a discount. Check with your local State Farm agent for a list of qualifying courses and requirements

Of course this is not a complete list, but you get the idea…most companies would be more than happy to give a discount if you show the intent of being a safer driver. Our mobile defensive driving course (can also be taken from a regular PC/Mac) is approved by the Texas Education Agency and officially recognized valid in the entire State of Texas.

Start saving money, Register and Start now!

Back to School Driving Tips

Drive Safely in School Zones

Texas School Zone

Are you familiar with those black, yellow and white speed zone signs in School Zones? They are a common sight and with summer coming to an end next month we will need to pay attention to them once again. Some of these signs have the posted limit (20 mph) with the times that it is in effect, and some have flashing lights that are only on when the school zone speed limits are in effect. This can also relate to extra-curricular events so don’t ignore the flashing light just because you don’t think it is during school hours.

There are also places where the road is painted with the words “School Zone” and the speed limit. The signage is all so apparent so that it is almost impossible to claim you did not know it was a School Zone. And believe it – the police will not buy that either!

Texans are pretty good about taking school zones seriously but as of Sept. 1 there is a statewide ban on the use of cell phones (unless using a hands free device) as well.  Using a phone for any purpose will take attention off the road. In Texas anyone caught using a cell phone in a School Zone will face a $50 fine, but as of yet not all school zones have put up the signs. Accoding to the Texas Department of Transportation these signs are in the process of being put up state wide but since the bill was only signed in June, there has not been enough time to accomplish this. These signs each cost from $450 to $650.

Fines for speeding in a school zone vary but generally are $200 – $230 for going 1-10 miles over the limit and $325 for going more than 30 miles over the limit.

Always count on WirelessDefensiveDriving.com to bring you the most up to date information on driving laws and rules.

Missing License Plate

Front License Plate Required as of September 2013

Money Saving News From WirelessDefensiveDriving.com

Did you think it was okay to be missing one of your license plates? I have always known that you needed at least one so that law enforcement could identify you – “run your plates”, so to speak. But as of Sept. 1, 2013, you have to have both of your plates, front and back, to be legal. If you do not, you may be looking at a fine of no more than $200.

Now, my first thought was, “Didn’t we already have a law in place for this?” And I would be right with a big exception. Funny story; it seems that in 2011 legislators took out the punishment part of this law by mistake. The law was in place but there was no fine mandated.  It had been deleted. So a cop was less likely to pull you over for this in the last two years, even though they could issue you a ticket, there would be no payoff for them.

So this is how it works.  A police officer can stop anyone for not having a front or rear license plate; along the same lines as stopping you for changing lanes illegally, driving too slow or running a stop sign (not exactly defensive driving :)). With the fine in place now we will undoubtedly see this happening more often.

Defensive Driving Plate Missing

Why is it so necessary to have front and back plates? Dave Lieber, in his current Dallas Morning News report, brought this issue to light: “I see it as a safety tool that helps eyewitnesses and law enforcement identify the bad guys. Front plates double the chance for a clear ID of, say, a hit and run driver, a child molester or killer.” He also makes the point that police from several cities lobbied for the new law saying that having both plates makes it easier and safer for them to do their jobs. No license plate will give them reason to pull a person over where they can check for driver’s license, insurance and any outstanding warrants.

So, as of Sept 1, all registered vehicles, even commercial vehicles must have front and rear plates.

The result is a misdemeanor with a fine of no more than $200. For most of us that won’t be much of a problem but for some Corvette and Prius owners it could be. Some of those models do not come with a place for a front plate. So some drivers will be out on the holiday weekend scrambling to find a way to comply.

No matter what the case, always turn to WirelessDefensiveDriving.com for the most up to date information on driving safety in Texas.

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