Tag Archives: distracted driving

How to avoid a crash on the road

And what to do if you can’t. Here’s some excellent advice from the professionals …

Avoid this!

Avoid this!

Many thanks for this Safety Tip to the VT State Police, VT Department of Motor Vehicles, VT Agency of Transportation, VT Sheriffs’ Association and AARP Driver Safety, a kindly (and smart!) bunch of folks who work every day to keep Vermont drivers safe, and are happy to share their good advice with all of us, wherever we live.

How to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

There were 77 deaths on Vermont roads in 2012, a 40% increase over 2011, and the US full year figures aren’t out yet, but there was a 7.1% increase (to 25,580) nationwide over the first nine months of the year. What’s going on here? Why are there so many crashes? And why don’t we call them accidents any more? Most are due to poor driving decisions. And we call them crashes to stress that they can be prevented by avoiding these unsafe behaviors:

  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Not paying attention (phone calls, texting and other distractions)
  • Following too close
  • Crossing center line
  • Not yielding right-of-way
  • Driving impaired by alcohol or drugs
  • Unsafe passing
  • Not checking mirrors and blind spots

But what if someone else hasn’t read and followed this advice? If threatened with a head-on crash, brake hard and steer toward the right shoulder. Never cross the center line to escape an oncoming car in your lane. If forced to hit something, try to sideswipe rather than crash head-on. A stationary object is normally less dangerous than a vehicle moving toward you.

After a crash, you are required by law to stop and give any assistance that is reasonably necessary. Understand that folks may be confused and upset, and follow these steps:

  • If possible, move vehicles out of the road. This will reduce chances of another crash causing additional damage and injury.
  • If someone is injured, call 911. Unless they are in danger, leave the injured where they are, and keep them warm and calm. Moving them may aggravate injuries.
  • Describe what happened to police officers, and show your license, registration, and proof of insurance to them and to anyone who is injured or whose property was damaged.
  • If you damage a parked vehicle and can’t find the owner, leave your name and contact information in or on the vehicle.
  • If there are any injuries or damage over $3,000, you must submit a Crash Report to the VT Department of Motor Vehicles within 72 hours. Forms are available online at dmv.vermont.gov, by calling 802 828-2050, or from any police or DMV office (or check your state’s website for the rules). Be sure to note the exact location, time and road conditions, a description of injuries and damage, and the name, address, license and registration numbers of the other driver.
  • Take photos and get names and contact information from passengers in the other vehicle and any witnesses.

Even in a crash, fatalities can be reduced by safety belts, which are the single most effective safety device for preventing death and injury on the road; they can reduce the risk of injuries by over 50%. Safety belts support a safe, comfortable position for better control of the vehicle and optimal airbag protection. To be most effective, belts should fit snugly across the hips, not over the stomach, and across the center of the chest, away from the neck. Never tuck a shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back.

Children are especially vulnerable, and are safest in the back seat. Drivers should make sure car seats and booster seats are appropriate for the child’s age and size, and properly installed.

Vermont law requires ALL occupants of a vehicle to be restrained with a safety belt or appropriate child restraint system, and so do most other states. Yet while national usage increased to 86% in 2012, Vermont compliance fell to 84.2%. We should do better, because it’s the law, and plain common sense.

We are killing too many Vermonters (or insert your state’s name here). Let’s buckle up, slow down, pay attention, and stay alive in 2013.

 

Driving DOs and DON’Ts, Stephen Colbert edition


Oh sure, you would all listen to Mother’s every commandment and do it because I said so. I know that. But still, it never hurts to have video support from your favorite famous TV journalist, right? Right! So I was thrilled and grateful for this perfect scenario that illustrates a generous variety of salubrious driving DOs and DON’Ts. And it’s very entertaining. Check it out…

The Colbert Report

 

Wasn’t that fun? Go ahead, watch it again. I’ll wait.

I know you’re all over it and easily identified every one, but it’s my job, so let me just recap those DOs and DON’Ts for you. I mean DON’Ts and DOs.

  • DON’T change lanes in the Lincoln Tunnel. Those are double yellow lines and this is not Vermont. Or Pennsylvania.
  • DO wear your helmet. Good boy!
  • DON’T pop wheelies in traffic. Or DO be careful – it does look like fun. 
  • DO refrain from writing notes while you’re driving. Good man!
  • DON’T use your iPhone for videos or anything else while you’re driving. EVER! Do you hear me? This means you! Every one of you. Stop it!! I mean it!!!
  • DON’T make me tell you again!
  • DO enjoy the antics of the other drivers in the tunnel, or on the bridge, or wherever.
  • DON’T get mad at them. Or get even. And whatever you do, DON’T have road rage at them. Or you. 
  • DO use your Rider Method to make up funny stories about them instead, like the jelly beans. How can you be mad at your fellow jelly beans?
  • DON’T fail to watch the Colbert Report on Comedy Central at 11:30 whenever he isn’t on vacation.
  • DO use your DVR to save it for the following day after the news if you’re too old to stay up that late.
  • DON’T forget what Stephen and I said about the distractions. They are deadly. And we DON’T want you dead.
  • DON’T believe me? Spend some quality time with this tragic collection of real life stories from D!STRACTION.GOV: 
 
  • DO learn to laugh more, rage less and text never while you’re driving. Immediately.
  • DON’T forget that mother nags you about this stuff because she cares, not because she’s crabby. And because that’s what mothers do.
And if you see Stephen Colbert, give him a Cheery Wave 🙂 TGISC! 
 

Great distracted driving news for Gram’s birthday! Hooray!!!

Hey there, remember me? Yes, it’s your long lost Mother R back from an extended holiday sabbatical. Or that’s my excuse anyway. And now that the holiday season has been well and fully celebrated, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Martin Luther King Day, Groundhog Day, Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays plus mine and Gram’s, I guess it’s finally about time to get back to work. 

Especially since there is fantastic news to share, thanks to some exciting news analysis by Matt Richtel in Sunday’s New York Times. Are you ready? Here goes! Many drivers are doing their texting in parking spaces rather than on the road! And Mother doesn’t mind one bit that it may not have anything to do with taking her advice. You may all be doing it because Oprah said so, or Ray LaHood, or the Car Talk guys, or somebody else altogether – she doesn’t care! She is just thrilled that you are doing it, and can’t thank you enough. But she will try. 

THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH!

But do you know who isn’t thrilled? Yup, the folks who are waiting for your parking spaces. Please do not worry about them. Once they realize you are making every effort to save their lives, they won’t be so cranky. In fact, they will be patient and grateful, like you are when the shoe is on the other foot, right? Of course you are! They will catch up soon, bless their little pointed heads. Maybe an assortment of exceptionally creepy PSAs from Bangalore, by way of The Inspiration Room, will help. Let’s give it a try…

Don’t Talk While he Drives 

Too disgusting? I’m sorry!

Here’s a charming video from the New York Times to cheer you up. It’s about a delightful elderly (but not at all infirm!) lady and her old car that looks like new. Enjoy 🙂

Isn’t she a dear? This nice lady is not my Gram, but she sure reminds me that I still miss her after all these many years. 

Happy birthday, Gram! 


Mother’s shouldn’t be belated Back to School safety message

And why shouldn’t it? Because school ought not to start before Labor Day. That’s why. Any questions? Good, let’s move on, beginning with the classics, like behaving prudently around school buses and in school zones and watching out for the kiddos wherever they are. Do NOT hit them! Ever!! If you could use a refresher, check out this list of Back to School Safety tips that was kindly published by the nice folks at AARP.

Are you wondering what back to school safety message would be complete without harping at least a little about NOT texting while driving? NOT this one! And since some other nice folks at BMW have kindly published a charming little video that makes the point much more beautifully than Mother ever could on her limited budget, she will gratefully take advantage of their generosity instead of making her own. Thanks, BMW!

For a nice change of pace, we’re picking on the parents here instead of the teens, so as to be crystal clear that NOBODY of any age should be texting while driving. Period. Got it?

Let’s finish up with a little driving-to-school safety quiz from Riders on the Road, shall we? Are you ready?

Here’s an exercise in practical arrangement of your driving activities. See if you can find the flaw in the following morning routine:

1)      Buckle the kids into their seats securely

2)      Start the minivan

3)      Pull out in front of a nice lady in a red Subaru

4)      Wander along in slow motion, crossing the double yellow lines every now and then

5)      Wake up

6)      Turn into the elementary school parking lot

7)      Deliver the little tykes safely to school

What’s out of place here? Right! I’d move step 5 up to first place, wouldn’t you? That could eliminate steps 3 and 4 altogether and vastly increase the odds that 7 will be accomplished successfully. Good work!

Did I say finish up? Just kidding! Because there’s always one more thing to nag you about, and this time it’s drowsy driving. Seriously, you know I hate to pester you but it’s my job, so I must. Would you like to hear it form the experts instead? Here you go …

Now let’s get some sleep! Nitey nite! And please, have a happy healthy and safe school year!

Seriously, has it been THAT LONG since Mother nagged you about distracted driving?


Yes, it’s hard to believe, I know, but it has been far too long, and I can only imagine how disappointed you must be! Sometimes, when Mother’s just too busy to come up with her own smarty pants advice, it’s time to call in the professionals, so let’s see what the ace Car Talk guys from Boston and NPR have to say about this:

Top 10 Signs You Should Pull Over Immediately

Did I tell you they were smart? Yes I did, in Chapter 10. It’s OK if you forgot; I’ve been known to do that myself.

Could you use some more wicked smart car advice? Check out the Car Talk website:

Car Talk

You all have fun over there now, while I go make dinner.

Happy Trails!

How to stop texting while driving: help from AT&T

Honestly, it was not my plan to kick off the new year crabbing about texting and driving. Again. I had every intention of starting out on a cheerier note with a funnier post. But the helpful folks at AT&T had other ideas, and now that they mention it, I can see their point. So it’s back to the same old tired topic. You know how to make us stop, don’t you? That’s right! Stop doing it!! Please???

So we’ve pledged to Oprah. (We have, haven’t we? Did you forget? Well, go on and do it right now. We’ll wait. Here’s the link: No Phone Zone) And Lord knows Mother’s nagged you enough about it over the past year, hasn’t she? Don’t think so? Check out these examples:

Great highway safety news and a reminder
Have I nagged you about texting lately?
Distracted driving: Are we still texting and chatting on the road?
Texting is not the only thing teens should NOT do while driving
Have I issued a commandment lately?
Why you should NEVER text while driving

And I suspect I may have missed one or two. So here I was thinking that was plenty enough, when a new Facebook page came along with the depressing message that I was wrong. Some Who out there in Whoville is apparently STILL texting while driving, so AT&T (mindful, no doubt, of its role in this sorry state of affairs) has created one more pledge, and a complete program to go along with it, bless its little pointed head.

So if you know one of those slackers who hasn’t got the message yet, would you please, please, please pass the word along? Because Mother’s heart has had more than enough breaking over these tragic stories and far too many others. She doesn’t want to hear any more of them. Not one! You probably don’t either, do you? And just to be be crystal clear: we don’t want it to be because they’ve quit telling us; we want it to be because there are no more tragic stories to tell. So let’s thank the poor souls with the really broken hearts who have lived those stories and been kind enough to share. Let’s think about the consequences the next time we’re tempted to pick up the phone behind the wheel, and don’t do it. And let’s resolve not to create any more tragedies for any more grieving victims. Not one! OK? Thank you!

Here’s the AT&T Facebook page, where you can watch a powerful video, take the pledge and follow links to the full documentary and more resources:

Make a New Years Resolution Not to Text and Drive

Seriously, please promise Mother, Oprah and AT&T that you will NEVER text and drive so we can put this problem behind us once and for all. And stay tuned for that cheery post I promised you any day now.

Best wishes to everyone for a happy and salubrious 2011!

Great highway safety news, and a reminder

Woo hoo! We killed only 33,808 people on the road in 2009. That’s the best we’ve done (and by best I mean least!) since 1950. Mother’s ever so proud of us for driving more safely out there, and so is the Governors Highway Safety Association, as you can see here.

But lest we get complacent, there are nice folks out there who are taking the time to remind us that it’s still too many. With illustrations and some very excellent suggestions on how we can continue to improve. I couldn’t say it better myself so will just copy directly from the email sister Kacey sent along yesterday. (Thanks, Kace!)…

Would you like to have been in the passenger seat?


This accident occurred north of Deer Lodge in I-90. The driver was appx 22 year old guy heading east to college. He had left central Washington early in the morning. He fell asleep at the wheel and drifted off the shoulder hitting the end of the section of guard rail. The guard rail came through the right headlight, engine compartment, firewall, glove box, passenter seat, rear seat and exited out the driver’s side rear window. That is 120 LF of guard rail that threaded through the Suburban.

No passengers and the driver was not injured.

I am sharing this as a reminder to all about NOT driving when you shouldn’t be behind the wheel (drinking, texting, distracted or just plain tired).

Summer driving season is here, so be careful out there!

Here are a few things to watch out for:

FROGS! But only in Greece, which leaves most of us in the clear, thank goodness. As if the poor Greeks haven’t had enough to worry about lately, millions of frogs forced closure of a road there the other day, due to cars skidding off the road while trying to avoid smooshing the poor little critters. Would you like to see? It’s rather creepy, but not actually as bad as I expected.

Here in the US the trouble this week is cancer from your car window. Yikes! According to my favorite magazine, The Week, as reported on LIveScience.com, researchers at St. Louis University have discovered that skin cancer is more common on the left side of our faces. Yup, the one that’s getting all the rays from the driver’s side window. And you know what that means, don’t you? Right. Drivers, apply your sun screen!

But that’s not all. Thanks to a bunch of traffic cameras and the kindness of Romans909 who compiled the video and my friend Tom who sent it along, we have a vivid demonstration set to music of how much trouble can be waiting for us if we’re not careful around those busy intersections:

Double yikes! You know, I’d have thought that being pretty well known as the law, red lights ought to be obeyed on their own, without the extra help of a commandment, but I can see now that I may have been wildly overoptimistic there. So here you go:

Stop for the *$#%! red lights!

Of course, first you need to see the lights, which brings us back to Mother’s most recent obsession (and she’s in very good company, I might add), which is PAY ATTENTION! Don’t text or chat or read or shave or any of the other bizarre and inappropriate activities that we’ve been hearing about lately. Just DRIVE! And do it nicely, please. Thank you.

OK, just one more commandment before we go:
Have a Happy and Salubrious Memorial Day Weekend!

And last but absolutely not least, let’s all remember them always…

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Have I nagged you about texting lately?

Not nearly enough, have I? Because somebody out there is still doing it! I want you to stop it right now! And I’m not the only one. Since you don’t seem to listen to me, here’s a recent plea from a heartbroken Mom that I discovered thanks to a tip from my dear little sister (Thanks, Mary Beth!):



This report comes from her new home in Florida. And what’s going on back in the old upstate NY neighborhood? Well, pretty much the same thing. Here’s another recent report:


Texting while driving claims eighth life in three years – Buffalo News : The Buffalo News

And of course, Oprah hasn’t changed her mind, as you can see in this recent New York Times piece:

Dnt Txt N Drv

Finally, if you still need to be scared straight, here’s a a collection of photos courtesy of my friend Tom (thanks, Tom!).Yes, that's a motorcycle buried in that car

The label on the email said Her last call was on a cell phone!!! Was it? I don’t know, and this report I found at Drive and Stay Alive, Inc. doesn’t say, but it could have been and that’s good enough for me. And you too, right? Right!

Stockholm Motorcycle Fair

Now, come on, don’t make me tell you again. Quit texting and phoning while you’re driving! And if you will do those two little things for me, then I promise to stop being so crabby in the future. Thank you very much.

Goofy weather: Climate Change?

Or just good old Mother Nature’s crazy sense of humor?

Good question! Mother R is all in favor of a crazy sense of humor, and appreciates Mother N’s going to all this trouble for a good laugh, but she’s beginning to suspect this may be more than just an elaborate April Fools joke.

I know my friends in the south didn’t begrudge our enjoying a relatively mild, snow-free winter up here in the Northeast Kingdom while you all were getting slammed with cold and snow, but in the spirit of fair’s fair, I think I should share that after our warmest March ever, we’re now having our third April snowfall this year, and it’s not over yet.

Want to see? Here’s a shot from this morning…


Poor little robin.

And apparently it’s not just us. According to USA Today by way of my favorite news magazine, The Week, this was the warmest March globally in the entire 130 years that the National Climatic Data Center has kept records. Really, Mother N!

So what does this have to do with driving? Well, it’s a stretch, but the goofy weather theme is a wonderful excuse to share this goofy safe driving in the snow performance by a couple of extremely goofy weathermen. And they’re right. Enjoy!