Defensive Driving Blog

Think you are a good driver?

Put your knowledge to the test!

Believe it or not most people feel that they are pretty good drivers. It is not something that people are very good at self-assessing. When looking at this subject online it is amazing how many sites are willing to rate your driving skills for you. Some of the sites are fairly legitimate (http://goo.gl/ExNiZ3) and some are just silly (http://goo.gl/cAl4K3). This last one has the category of “Good enough to get away from a group of zombies” as a realistic assessment of your skills.

defensive driving good driver

But what they most have in common are a set of good, common sense questions to help you determine if your skills are up to snuff or maybe, just maybe, you might need a little refresher course (WirelessDefensiveDriving.com of course!). Questions about how you stick to the speed limit, whether you check your mirrors, use your turn signals and how you grip the steering wheel.  All very objective, which is why most of us come out looking better than we probably should.

There is one thread in most of the listings for rating your skills: Most people admit that others might not see them as quite as good as they see themselves. Comments such as “I would give myself an 8 but my wife or friends would probably say 4 or 5” abound. There are numerous chat rooms that concur with this idea that we may be just over inflating our own abilities a smidge. Like I said, all very objective.

But lo and behold, just as I was becoming convinced that there was no realistic way to judge one’s driving, I discover: There’s an App for That! Actually I found 2! On the Google Play page I found the Rate My Driving app for Android then saw another called Motor Mate by Confused.com. Both function in about the same way by monitoring driving behavior using  GPS data. The app knows where you are driving and records how you react to road types, situations and driving environments. It does this by looking at how you brake, your speed, taking corners, slowing and speeding up, etc.

One app claims to be able to give you a clear picture of your driving ability after you have driven 250 miles. They say by driving 250 miles the score is an accurate reflection of your ability across a variety of road types, times, environments and situations. At least one of these apps is sponsored by an insurance company.

Whether you go online to take a survey or use an app on your phone it is always a good idea to refresh your driving skills by taking a defensive driving course. It can also often reduce your insurance premiums. Check with your insurer then log into WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

Deadliest Season for Teen Drivers Has Begun

Tips for New Drivers

Each year Memorial Day indicates the start of the deadliest season for teen drivers. These dangerous days are book-ended by Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Defensive Driving Educators teach and work with teens about practicing their defensive driving skills all year around. However, no one has as much influence on them as the parents do.

So, if you are a parent of a teenage driver, what can you do to help? These are 4 topics you may want to discuss and press with your teen:

1 – Friends are deadly.
Without sounding too dramatic, the fact is that teens sharing the car ride with friends are at a much higher risk of an accident. The distraction factor is huge. Statistics show that even having only one friend in the car increases the chances of an accident by a staggering +40%. Can you imagine having a car full of friends? Suggest to your kids to ride alone whenever possible. When not possible, remind them to stay focused on the driving task, at the cost of being rude to their Besties. The  AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has an infographic that shows an increase of 44% when a teen has a companion under 21 years of age:

Defensive Driving Teens

2 – Turn the phone off.
Of course the word ‘phone’ is nowadays a misnomer. ‘Phones’ are no longer just devices used to make phone calls; they are in fact portable computers/entertainment devices. Turning the mobile device off is really the only way to make sure extra distractions are not impeding the teen’s driving focus. Even if the teen is not actively engaged and looking at their device, the sounds, screen flashing, buzzes and vibrations caused by the Tweets, post notifications, etc… etc… will take the driver’s attention from the driving task.

This is a good but intense short video produced by the NHTS to illustrate the point.

3 – Wear the seat belt.
Amazingly enough, the concept of wearing a seatbelt is still not widely accepted by teens and for that matter some adults. The NHTS reports that of all the teens involved in fatal crashes, 60% were not using a seat belt; SIXTY percent!

4 – Experience is everything.
Parent, please get in the car with your teens as often as you can and drive together. Monitor, observe, instruct and just spend time with your teen while driving. There are even websites like driveithome.org that have weekly tips for parents driving with their teens.

Of course there are many other things that can minimize the chances of accidents. Things like, no driving during dark hours, of course no drinking, getting enough sleep during the night. With all the teens being mostly out of school at the same time, driving together trying to have fun, the risk factors increase dramatically.

Please talk about the defensive driving attitude and driving safety with your kids as often as possible.

Have a great, safe summer and check out this great infographic below.

WirelessDefensiveDriving.com

Teen Driving infographic
Provided by Drive It Home

Tickets For Driving Too Slow

NOT SO FAST! DRIVING SLOW CAN GET YOU IN TROUBLE.

Have you ever found yourself behind a car that is going at least 10 miles under the speed limit? We all have and we have all felt the frustration build as we attempt to change lanes to go around. Has the thought ever crossed your mind that it should be illegal to drive that slowly?

Defensive Driving Tickets

Well, it is! In fact every state has a law on the books that says something like this: “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed so as to impede or block the normal and reasonable forward movement of traffic.” Texas Transportation Code –Section 545.363, Minimum Speed Regulations, states just this, but adds “except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.”

But are tickets really issued for this behavior? Absolutely! And the ticket counts the same as any other driving violation, with an impact on your driving record and insurance.

These laws do change from state to state however. In some states they are allowed to set a minimum speed limit on highways and will ticket you for going under that limit. Plus, there are laws on the books that dictate that you must be in the far right lane to go slower than the flow of traffic.

A U.S. government researcher, David Solomon, found in studies that those drivers going the median speed of all traffic had the lowest risk of collision. Those that were going at speeds below the average traffic flow had a sharp increase in crash risk.

In 2010, The Texas Highway Patrol wrote 23 tickets for “a speed under the minimum”.  Doesn’t sound like a lot but it still happens. So next time you see that one driver who has to block up the lane by driving 10 miles under the  limit, just remember that they will be penalized if caught and to be more cautious and aware about getting around them.

And remember that anytime you need a refresher course on driving safety in Texas just sign in to WirelessDefensiveDriving.com. We are always here for you!

Speeding Tickets, Speed Demons and Lamborghini.

The Speeding Ticket.

Police have been giving speeding tickets for a long time. The history is a bit unclear but it sounds like the very first fine for speeding was imposed in New York City in 1899 to Mr. Jacob German, a cab driver. A cab driver in New York City speeding? That was just destiny. Mr . German was arrested but was not given a proper ‘ticket’.

The first actual paper ‘ticket’ seems to have been given in Ohio in 1904 to Mr. Harry Myers. Both speed demons were traveling at a mind blowing speed of 12 MPH.

In 1908, again in New York, police officer William Seaman riding this gorgeous Indian motorcycle, chased down a Mr. Jones also riding a motorcycle at the neck breaking speed of 39 mph. Mr. Seaman V-twin Indian was at the time one the most advanced bike in USA.

Speeding Tickets

Cars and motorcycles have certainly gotten faster since then but so have the police. Now an officer ‘chases’ you down basically at the speed of light using either a radar gun or a speed camera (mostly in Europe).

Speed Radar Gun

However, there is one police force that will use the opportunity not only to give you a ticket for speeding, but also to embarrass you, should you decide not to stop. The Italian Police have just been given the newly released Lamborghini Huracan, a 202 mph beast with a 610 horsepower V10.

(This video is not the new Huracan, but the previous Gallardo. Oh well… you get the idea)

Italian Police Speeding Lambo
2015lambo

The prices of the speeding ticket have obviously gone up as well over the years. From a few cents around the turn of the century, to the most expensive speeding ticket ever, an incredible $220,000 given in Finland to Mr. Salonoja for driving 80 km/h in a 40 km/h zone (50 mph in a 25 mph zone).

Overall the US still has one of the lowest price tags when it comes to a citation for speeding. See what some of the other countries are giving as penalties for speeding and in some cases how the fine is calculated.

Finland, Denmark (depending on annual income)
Highest Fines: $220,000 (or more)

Canada
Highest Fines: $25,000

The United Kingdom
Highest Fines: $8,000

The United States
Highest Fines: $2500

Norway & Iceland
Highest Fines: 10% of annual income and jail time (Norway), $2700 (Iceland)

Portugal
Highest Fines: $1800

France, Switzerland, Italy
Highest Fines: $2100

Australia
Highest Fines: $857

Germany
Highest Fines: $623 and  four points on their license. Achtung!

If you were pulled over and got a ticket, either by a police officer riding in a Lamborghini or just by getting ‘lit-up’ by a speed gun, come and take defensive driving to learn or refresh your defensive driving skills.

WirelessDefensiveDriving.com has a course you can take with you on your mobile phone, anywhere, anytime.

—-

Article research sources: 

http://autos.aol.com/article/highest-speeding-fines/
http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/italian-police-fleet-adds-lamborghini-huracan-ranks-article-1.1801978#ixzz32vd2oIET
http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/World’s_First_Speeding_Ticket?rec=2599
http://www.policemag.com/blog/vehicles/story/2009/08/the-history-of-america-s-first-traffic-ticket.aspx

Memorial Day – Driving with 36 million other drivers

This weekend 36 million people will get on the road. The weather is finally good, winter is over, and we are all looking to get out of Dodge for some fun. You can already smell the grill and hear the laughing. Taking the family on the road for a couple of days of fun is one of our most beloved things to do.

Defensive Driving Road TripRoad trips are one activity we enjoy doing together. No, we are not always laughing and cheerful, we do travel with teens after all, but at the end of the day, we do have a good time.

This weekend, while on the road, we will talk about Memorial Day, what it means to give up things for the greater goods and something bigger than any of us. Of course paying attention is only possible between answering to a tweet, vine, post or whatever else is critical and needs to be addressed right-at-this-moment. We will talk about our parents, our family, friends and their sacrifices at home and around the world.

Strapped next to each other in a moving car, will not necessarily make us a captivated audience, but surely a captive one. (Tip: Always have the child-lock engaged on the rear doors).

We will try not to be in a hurry to get there. I am the one that needs most help in with that. Thankfully plenty of people in the car will make sure we’ll pull over for jerky, sweet tea, frequent bathroom stops and of course Dairy Queen.

We will plan a time to arrive at destination, but we will never actually make it on time. Getting there eventually is a much better plan than not getting there at all.

dog catching wind

Aggressive driving, sleepy driving, drunk driving, distracted driving have no place in a car full of people barreling down the road at the speed limit (ok, maybe a couple of miles over the limits). All you have to do is drive. Really, just drive, as in, ONLY drive. There is enough going on in the car and on the road around you to keep you busy. You don’t need to be a killjoy or a downer, but remind your passengers, with whatever threats necessary, that you are trying to just drive.

Be nice, have fun and paraphrasing Dylan, take care of making good memories for you cannot relive them.

David @ WDD

 

 

 

 

 

Too Old To Be A Safe Driver?

HOW OLD IS TOO OLD TO BE A SAFE DRIVER?

When it comes to driving safely is there a point when a person is too old? This is a question posed across the country every time an elderly person accidentally hits the gas instead of the brake and injures a number of people. Not too long ago this happened to a man in California who is 100 years old, with a valid driver’s license, no record of violations, who claims his brakes failed when he hit a group of nine children. There were injuries, but fortunately not severe. California has been taking a closer look at their laws on this subject after this and numerous other incidents.

Too old to drive?

Wrong Pedals. When A Driver Is Too Old To Be A Defensive Driver?

In Texas renewing your license is pretty easy and often can be done electronically with the regular renewal being every 6 years. But electronic renewal is not an option in Texas for people 79 or over and when you reach 85 you must renew your license every 2 years. This is no doubt to make certain you still meet the standards because of physical or mental infirmities. If there is any doubt of an older persons ability Texas may require applicants to undergo physical or mental exams or re-take the standard licensing tests for vision, as well as the written and road tests. A medical review board of health care professionals may also be called into this decision.

The DMV can decide to renew a license after this review or refuse to do so.  It can also restrict, suspend or revoke a license. Sometimes it is as simple as prohibiting night driving or restricting how far an older person can drive. Typically motorists age 70 and older drive less frequently than other age groups, but, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they contribute more to the rate of accident fatalities. The death rate per mile traveled for drivers over 85 is 4 times that of the 30-59 age group. According to the NHTSA, senior drivers have trouble judging distances and speed causing a number of accidents.

A driver’s license represents a person’s independence and relinquishing it can be a traumatic experience. As our population ages, we will continue to address this issue. Right now 1 in 8 drivers are considered elderly but more than 1 in 5 will be 65 or older within the next 15 years.

Whether older or younger, a great way to refresh oneself on the rules of the road in Texas is to sign up at WirelessDefensiveDriving.com.

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

Driving Blog

Our Office

We are approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to serve the entire State of Texas.

Address:
5470 West Lovers Lane
Dallas, TX 75209

Office: 888-925-9501
Fax: 972-360-3998
Support: 972-295-9005
Email: support@wirelessdefensivedriving.com