Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We interrupt you're regularly scheduled programing

For a PSA

Ah, Who am I kidding,
There's no regularly scheduled programming,
Heck we're lucky if there's any programming at all.

But since my parents up and bought a car last weekend, I thought I would take a minute to share some thoughts on driving.

(the car is being built right now... if everything is going as it should be)

You're probably worse than you think.
Actually it has long been my contention that we are, as a society, not really very good at driving.
It would be nice if there was a drivers re-ed class, to break some of our bad habits and to remind us of some of the laws that we totally forgot shortly after our amazing Drivers-ed taught by Herr Corry.

Maybe you didn't have the Herr, maybe you don't know about grandma walking home with her ice cream.
But even if you did, and as good as he was, I still think a little drivers re-ed would be nice.

I was actually lucky enough to have such a course.
In fact it was mandatory for my short stint at the post office, and it was actually pretty useful.
So here are three simple things that I learned that may be useful to you as well... and of course may make the road a little bit safer for the new CR-V.

Ok here's a test. How fast are your reflexes?
I remember when I was younger, (perhaps not much, but some) I used to take a stopwatch and see how quickly I could get it from off to on, and off again. most of the time I could get it under a one tenth of a second.  But I controlled all the variables, and I knew it was coming.  In the real world it's not so smooth. First you have to recognize a problem them you have to respond to it.  And of course there's that other bit... The laws of Physics. No matter how quickly you can react to your situation, your car is not designed to stop on a dime. So most safe driving courses will recommend that you follow  seconds behind the car in front of you.  The post office recommends a four-second gap.   This may not seem like much, but try it sometime, it will probably shock you how far back you have to be. (To count pick a spot on the road or something by the road, and count from the time the car in front of you passes it until you get to it)  For inclement weather leave more space.  I can pretty much guarantee that this alone would greatly decrease the number of accidents.  For bonus points make the car behind you give you some space too. At the post office they told us to slow down if someone was crowding us. Almost every time the other guy would go around.

#2 Do you actually come to a complete stop?
I totally thought I did this the right way, until I took the Post office driving test. I guess old habits really are hard to break, I knew they'd be watching for it, and I still missed my complete stop more often than I should have.

#3 If you have to stop behind somebody, at an intersection for instance, leave more space. Ok, maybe you are doing this one correctly. But this is what they taught me. Always make sure you can see the bottom of the next guys tire. This will help you if they roll back, or if you get rear ended.... which you can't always control.
When you get ready to leave a read light give it a second or two (especially if you're in New York). Yeah people will honk, but it's better than running into the idiot that thought he could beat the light... Yes, that idiot may be me, but I almost always do beat the light, and I only go for it if I think it's my safest option.

Well that's all for now. I can't wait to see the new car. And hopefully the roads will be totally safe by the time it gets here. Oh yeah, and I want a unicorn, and world peace.