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Old January 2nd, 2009, 07:42 AM
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Default Please, when you drive, JUST DRIVE!

Pootersdad recently posted about a tragedy wherein five died (including an 11 month old baby) as a result of a Drunk Driver on New Year's Eve.

Don't know if this is still true as they've really come down heavily on DWI/DUI (Driving While Intoxicated or in some states / Driving Under the Influence) but when I retired over twelve years ago, every fifth driver you passed on the road between 9 and 11 pm on a Friday night was "under the influence." Now think about that for a second as you're tooling on a major city freeway at 60 mph and you're bumper to bumper -- door handle to door handle as far as you can see, every fifth driver has been drinking! Now if that doesn't scare the hell out of folks......

And even if driving under the influence has improved somewhat, figure in driving while holding a cell phone to your ear (which is just as dangerous as DWI) and overall it's probably even more dangerous "out there."

I actually did an unscientific count the other day and politically correct or not here are the results. In a small town mind you, I counted in less than twenty minutes, 46 drivers on cell phones -- mostly at intersections, most in the process of turning with one hand while holding in the other hand and talking on their phone. The overwhelming number were "soccer mom's" in SUV's, many with kids in their cars and many were obviously on "auto pilot" and totally oblivious to what was really going on around them as evinced by two of them, trying to turn with one hand and almost taking off the front corner of the first car in line as they turned. If people only realized..........

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Old January 2nd, 2009, 07:52 AM
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When I worked in New York I commuted by bus and had lots of time to observe the drivers. Some of the horrors I noted, some more common than others:

-Applying makeup
-Working on computer
-Reading the newspaper or book
-Breastfeeding a baby
-Shaving
-S*x acts
-Watching television
-Steering with knees while doing a combination of the above
-Changing a diaper
-Having child on lap steer

Now that I work in Philly I take the train and don't get to observe much except the antics of the drunks who have partied all night in Atlantic City and are headed home on my morning train.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 08:15 AM
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Many Jersey drivers are Horrible. Accidents left and right and NJ insurance rates rank amoung the highest.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by thecruisequeen
Many Jersey drivers are Horrible. Accidents left and right and NJ insurance rates rank amoung the highest.
Its all the fault of the transplanted New Yorkers and Philadelphians!
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougR.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecruisequeen
Many Jersey drivers are Horrible. Accidents left and right and NJ insurance rates rank amoung the highest.
Its all the fault of the transplanted New Yorkers and Philadelphians!
Yeah you are right it is all the New Yorkers and Phillians driving in NJ!

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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:21 AM
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Recently the province of Quebec passed a law forbidding the use of cell phones while driving. Nova Scotia also passed this law last year.
Personally, I think it's a great idea, but unfortunately, a lot of drivers still ignore the law, and accidents still happen.
I guess you can't protect people from their own stupidity.

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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:24 AM
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Oh how true...Just 5 days ago I was rear ended by a drunk driver, he fled the scene and his car after pulling into a parking lot...Took some time to find out who he was, etc. I'm still waiting to hear if my car is a total loss. I'm actually very lucky, if I had been in a small car, I'd be toast now....I just don't understand, if you want to drink, fine, just don't drive!
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:33 AM
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I have always noticed that more women use a cell, then men..and when someone takes a corner with one hand on the wheel and another with the cell, it makes me crazy......

An old neighrbor of mine was killed in such a sad way. He was returning his tux after his prom the day before..he was on the phone with his Dad, when he dropped the phone. While fumbling to get the phone, he hit a tree, and died....Such a waste of a young life:9

Donna, thankfully you are ok, and he will pay the price for his actions.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna
Oh how true...Just 5 days ago I was rear ended by a drunk driver, he fled the scene and his car after pulling into a parking lot...Took some time to find out who he was, etc. I'm still waiting to hear if my car is a total loss. I'm actually very lucky, if I had been in a small car, I'd be toast now....I just don't understand, if you want to drink, fine, just don't drive!
Sorry to hear that Donna. Glad you are OK. Question for you, if he fled the scene, how do you know he was drunk?
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 01:54 PM
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DTW,

Maybe they figured that out by his crawling away on all fours while still holding onto the Vodka bottle.

Todd
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 04:36 PM
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Well, he couldn't get very far with his front end all smashed, leaving a trail of some car liquid...Then of course, the car had plates on, they ran that and went from there. Some 2-1/2 hours later when he was brought in, still drunk.....They also have camera's at this intersection, he's claiming someone else was actually driving, but they can tell...So, even after he pulled into a parking lot, fled on foot...
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 07:15 PM
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They are considering a law in Colorado too to make cell phones illegal when driving unless you have a completely hands free setup.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 08:21 PM
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richstacy,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
They are considering a law in Colorado too to make cell phones illegal when driving unless you have a completely hands free setup.
There was a proposal to enact such a law in Massachusetts recently, but it died when executives from the insurance industry presented evidence to a legislative committee showing that use of hands-free devices do not materially affect accident statistics. The evidence shows that the distraction is the conversation itself rather than the act of holding the telephone in one hand while driving.

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Old January 8th, 2009, 08:25 PM
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Todd,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Pootersdad recently posted about a tragedy wherein five died (including an 11 month old baby) as a result of a Drunk Driver on New Year's Eve.

Don't know if this is still true as they've really come down heavily on DWI/DUI (Driving While Intoxicated or in some states / Driving Under the Influence) but when I retired over twelve years ago, every fifth driver you passed on the road between 9 and 11 pm on a Friday night was "under the influence." Now think about that for a second as you're tooling on a major city freeway at 60 mph and you're bumper to bumper -- door handle to door handle as far as you can see, every fifth driver has been drinking! Now if that doesn't scare the hell out of folks......

And even if driving under the influence has improved somewhat, figure in driving while holding a cell phone to your ear (which is just as dangerous as DWI) and overall it's probably even more dangerous "out there."

I actually did an unscientific count the other day and politically correct or not here are the results. In a small town mind you, I counted in less than twenty minutes, 46 drivers on cell phones -- mostly at intersections, most in the process of turning with one hand while holding in the other hand and talking on their phone. The overwhelming number were "soccer mom's" in SUV's, many with kids in their cars and many were obviously on "auto pilot" and totally oblivious to what was really going on around them as evinced by two of them, trying to turn with one hand and almost taking off the front corner of the first car in line as they turned. If people only realized..........
When I was in Bremerton, Washington, as a naval officer a couple decades ago, I saw a very effective solution to drunk driving in action.

>> First Offense: 180 days in jail, of which 179 was suspended for three years contingent upon completion of a rehab program or attendance at AA. Offender had 60 days to make a reservation with the sheriff for the one night that was not suspended, which convinced most folks that they did not want to spend the other 179 days in jail.

>> Second Offense: Immediate vacation of suspension of sentence from first offense, if still in effect, plus 180 day sentence suspended for three years.

And after that, it got nastier with each subsequent offense resulting in immediate vacation of the suspension of the previous sentence plus a longer suspended sentence.

Norm.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 08:50 PM
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Norm,

I saw where you stated what the Insurance industry stated. Sorry, but I don't agree and I'll give you a perfect example. That is tantamount to saying that carrying on any conversation between a passenger and a driver is just as distracting. While distracting to a degree, it is nowhere near as distracting as talking on a cell phone. What no one is telling you is how many accidents (not just fatalities) are cause by hands on cell phone use.

In europe, especially Germany one doesn't even THINK about doing ANYTHING but driving their vehicle. No eating, no hands on cell phone, I mean no NUTHIN'.

As far DWI penalties go Norm, tell you whose got a heavier penalty than Washington State. Although not always invoked, two DWI's within ten years in New York State can constitute a felony (and nobody has to die to get it, either). If you're hit with that, you're going away for two to four and it won't be at a local county jail, either.

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Old January 8th, 2009, 09:00 PM
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WOW. We're still letting our drunks off the hook (they literally have to kill someone)... and the bars keep right on serving...

One local guy with 14 prior DWI's (no exaggeration) just ran down and killed a mother in a wheelchair, and left her to die in the ditch. NOW he's getting the book thrown at him.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 05:58 PM
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Todd,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
,I saw where you stated what the Insurance industry stated. Sorry, but I don't agree and I'll give you a perfect example. That is tantamount to saying that carrying on any conversation between a passenger and a driver is just as distracting. While distracting to a degree, it is nowhere near as distracting as talking on a cell phone. What no one is telling you is how many accidents (not just fatalities) are cause by hands on cell phone use.
The stubborn fact remains that the statistics don't support your hypothesis. States that enacted "hands free" laws years ago and enforce them vigorously, like New York in my part of the country, have just as many accidents involving cell phone conversations as states that do not have "hands free" laws on the books. In fact, here's an article on the subject which cites research showing that talking on a cell phone with a "hands-free" device is worse than being legally drunk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
In europe, especially Germany one doesn't even THINK about doing ANYTHING but driving their vehicle. No eating, no hands on cell phone, I mean no NUTHIN'.
I'm for that -- with serious enforcement!

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
As far DWI penalties go Norm, tell you whose got a heavier penalty than Washington State. Although not always invoked, two DWI's within ten years in New York State can constitute a felony (and nobody has to die to get it, either). If you're hit with that, you're going away for two to four and it won't be at a local county jail, either.
I think that Washington's laws have been changed in the direction of stricter since I was there. But fundamentally, the certainty that an arrest would bring IMMEDIATE jail time (through vacation of the suspension of the previous sentence) that would not depend upon the outcome of another trial really did get the attention of most offenders. One of my men was "busted" and I can assure that he took both going to AA and not driving while drunk VERY seriously thereafter. I think all states would do well to adopt that practice!

Norm.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 06:00 PM
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boSeaphus,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
WOW. We're still letting our drunks off the hook (they literally have to kill someone)... and the bars keep right on serving...

One local guy with 14 prior DWI's (no exaggeration) just ran down and killed a mother in a wheelchair, and left her to die in the ditch. NOW he's getting the book thrown at him.
Remember that "old" offenses -- that is, offenses that occurred before the current law took effect -- and offenses that occurred in another jurisdiction might not count in the same way as offenses that occurred under the current law of the jurisdiction in question.

Norm.
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Old January 9th, 2009, 07:53 PM
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Sorry Norm,

I can't agree for two reasons the first because of what I personally witness on a daily basis. As for the second, it's a hard thing to prove after the fact, especially if a driver doesn't admit to the offense (and think about it Norm, how many drivers are going to admit they were doing anything wrong in a state that has a law against that activity) if they knew it meant the investigating agency would have to go to a level of effort that no agency is going to do for a non-fatal or non-serious injury auto accident. Even if the agency had a suspicion of cell phone use being a contributing cause, there'd usually be insufficent evidence to get a search warrant to go after cell phone records in a relatively minor accident case. Now put all of that together and tell me it couldn't severely skew statistics when it comes to something of this nature.

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Old January 10th, 2009, 06:04 PM
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Donna, I am very happy that you are not seriously injured. God was with you that day as He is everyday

Be safe.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 07:12 PM
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Thanks Mehawk,
Yes, I was very lucky indeed. I also just got my car replaced, so all is well...Hopefully this person has learned a lesson, I can only hope.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 06:00 PM
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Todd,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I can't agree for two reasons the first because of what I personally witness on a daily basis. As for the second, it's a hard thing to prove after the fact, especially if a driver doesn't admit to the offense (and think about it Norm, how many drivers are going to admit they were doing anything wrong in a state that has a law against that activity) if they knew it meant the investigating agency would have to go to a level of effort that no agency is going to do for a non-fatal or non-serious injury auto accident. Even if the agency had a suspicion of cell phone use being a contributing cause, there'd usually be insufficent evidence to get a search warrant to go after cell phone records in a relatively minor accident case. Now put all of that together and tell me it couldn't severely skew statistics when it comes to something of this nature.
Did you actually read the article that I linked? The article describes a study that made scientific measurements of the performance of test subjects "driving" on a laboratory simulator (1) while inebriated, (2) while talking on a hand-held cell phone, and (3) while talking on a cell phone with a "hands free" device. The performance of second and third groups are virtually indistinguishable from each other, and both are considerably worse than the first.

And the reported results are fully consistent with the results of studies conducted by other researchers as well as with reported accident statistics in states that do not have laws requiring hands-free devices.

BTW, it's very easy for law enforcement and insurance companies to find out if a cell phone belonging to a driver is in use at the time of an accident, whether the party in question has a "hands free" device or not, because the cellular telephone companies make this information readily available to them. And when you have to wait several minutes for the other party to end a call in order to exchange papers at the scene of an accident, that's a pretty sure giveaway.

FWIW, there is one major difference in carrying on a conversation with another person in the vehicle. The other person can see the situation, and is likely to suspend the conversation, and even bring the attention of a driver distracted by the conversation back to the road, if the sitaution warrants. A person at the other end of a cell phone conversation, by contrast, has no ability to see the road and is not likely to notice that it is distracting the driver's attention.

Norm.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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Norm,

Yes I read the article. Yes, it is relatively easy for an investigatory agency to actually determine if the person was on a cell phone. But answer me this.

What officer or agency is going to even ask if a person was on a hand held cell phone if there is none in sight, no one in the other vehicle saw what the other driver was doing prior to the collision and the person at fault says, "Oh, I was temporarily blinded by the sun, windshield glare, bright lights, etc., etc., etc."? Now lets say it was a one vehicle accident and the only individual in the vehicle is the driver? Let's even say the accident is not severe, no one is hurt, the driver has a possibly plausible explanation and all his paper work including insurance are in order and he has a clean driving record?

How many officers do you think will (or even should) go to the effort to check cell phone records in such an instance?

Simulators don't take into account the above scenarios simply because people KNOW they're on simulators so they're going to be extra careful (if only because they don't want to look foolish).

Todd

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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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Todd,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
How many officers do you think will (or even should) go to the effort to check cell phone records in such an instance?
I don't know about police officers, but I suspect that most insurance companies are checking cell phone records of drivers involved in accidents very carefully in order to compile their statistics on the impact of using cell phones on accidents. This is very easy because both drivers must include the time of the accident on their reports, at least here in Massachusetts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Simulators don't take into account the above scenarios simply because people KNOW they're on simulators so they're going to be extra careful (if only because they don't want to look foolish).
That could be a factor, but I think that it would occur uniformly across all of the tests. IOW, a person talking on a cell phone with a "hands free" device would be just as "extra careful" as a person talking on a cell phone without a "hands free" device.

But that said, the tests with laboratory simulators usually measure the driver's response time directly. For example, they might measure how long it takes the driver to hit the break pedal after a vehicle emerges from a blind driveway fifty feet in front of the simulated vehicle. Thus, they obtain a good indication of the driver's loss of focus.

Norm.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 10:26 PM
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Norm,

I gotta' great idea. Regardless of whether or not it's relatively safe to drive while talking on a cell phone or not, let's call the points moot.

What is a proven fact (that doesn't require simulators to verify) and to which every study done by any insurance company anywhere will attest is merely this and that was my initial point of starting this thread.

When you drive a motor vehicle, DRIVE YOUR MOTOR VEHICLE! Don't talk on a phone, don't eat, don't read, don't drink and drive regardless of whether it be Coke or Budweiser, keep both hands on the wheel at the nine and three position (as opposed to the old ten and two), check your rearview mirror approximately every seven seconds (No, I'm not kidding), adjust your sideview mirrors outward while you're laying your head against the closed driver's side window until you can just see a fraction of the side of your car in the mirror (remember these are SIDE VIEW MIRRORS and they aren't meant to be used to back up or see behind you). By doing the aforementioned you remove 99% of your "blind spot" because if you don't see the vehicle overtaking you in your center rearview mirror or in your sideview mirror, your peripheral vision will have already picked him up. Always be prepared for the unexpected and whether you choose to believe this or not, you usually have time to pick what you're going to hit if you have to hit something. By that I mean if a guy comes at you headon take the tree on the side of the road. Your chances of surviving that over a head on collision are infinitely greater.

If you knew what I know, you wouldn't even drive across a parking lot without buckling your shoulder belt. Finally, remember this old adage that is verified numerous times every day, "Drive like hell and I assure you you're gonna' get there....real quick!"

Todd
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Old January 16th, 2009, 06:30 PM
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Todd,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I gotta' great idea. Regardless of whether or not it's relatively safe to drive while talking on a cell phone or not, let's call the points moot.

What is a proven fact (that doesn't require simulators to verify) and to which every study done by any insurance company anywhere will attest is merely this and that was my initial point of starting this thread.
I agree completely that one should not get into intense telephone conversations while driving. Rather, one's attention should be on the road.

That said, I really hate to see this come down to legislation that would ban use of a cell phone while driving. At the very least, it ought to be legal to call for emergency assistance if one passes an accident, a fire, or some other emergency while driving on a road where there's no place to stop. The delay in getting to a safe stopping point could be the difference between life and death.

Beyond that, I have no problem with a brief call if, for example, unexpected congestion on the highway makes one late for an appointment. Of course, I would hope that (1) the driver would have enough sense to place the call when it's safe to do so (that is, when there's not a situation that requires a lot of maneuvering and potential evasive action) and (2) the recipient of the call would have enough sense not to choose that moment to give the driver the "third degree" about the reason for the delay or to read the driver the "riot act" for chronic lateness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
When you drive a motor vehicle, DRIVE YOUR MOTOR VEHICLE! Don't talk on a phone, don't eat, don't read, don't drink and drive regardless of whether it be Coke or Budweiser...
This is probably going a little overboard. A person who takes one hand off the steering wheel to take a sip of a non-alcholic beverage is not creating any more danger than a person who takes a hand off the steering wheel to turn windshield wipers or headlights on or off, to change the station on the radio, or to shift gears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
... keep both hands on the wheel at the nine and three position (as opposed to the old ten and two)...
Again, this is overkill. Keep both hands on the wheel except when you need a hand to operate another control is fine. While the "nine and three" (or "ten and two") positions may be recommended in driver's license manuals, I don't know of any state that will fail an applicant on a driving test for putting the hands in a different position, so long as the applicant maintains a firm grip of the wheel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
... check your rearview mirror approximately every seven seconds (No, I'm not kidding)...
That's great on open road, but your attention needs to be primarily on what's in front of you when you are in congestion.

But it's definitely good to develop the habit of checking rear view mirrors frequently to maintain constant awareness of what's approaching you from behind, both in your lane and on both sides.

Quote:
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... adjust your sideview mirrors outward while you're laying your head against the closed driver's side window until you can just see a fraction of the side of your car in the mirror (remember these are SIDE VIEW MIRRORS and they aren't meant to be used to back up or see behind you). By doing the aforementioned you remove 99% of your "blind spot" because if you don't see the vehicle overtaking you in your center rearview mirror or in your sideview mirror, your peripheral vision will have already picked him up.
Your manner of adjusting the mirrors is exactly correct, but it should be with your torso centered on the steering wheel and your head held erect. Your head should NEVER rest against a window.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Always be prepared for the unexpected and whether you choose to believe this or not, you usually have time to pick what you're going to hit if you have to hit something. By that I mean if a guy comes at you headon take the tree on the side of the road. Your chances of surviving that over a head on collision are infinitely greater.
Very true. Of course, it's always best to pick a spot where you won't hit anything except perhaps some flowers or a "break-away" signpost.

I once had to go onto a median to avoid a collision to avoid an accident after some imbecile made a left turn into my lane from a side street about 50' in front of me while I was driving at 55 MPH in the left-hand lane of a divided (but not limited access) highway. Fortunately, the median did not have any trees! When I came to a stop on the median, I was beside the other vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
If you knew what I know, you wouldn't even drive across a parking lot without buckling your shoulder belt. Finally, remember this old adage that is verified numerous times every day, "Drive like hell and I assure you you're gonna' get there....real quick!"
Actually, I once saw something -- IIRC, a trivet, but it might have been a poster or a bumper sticker -- which hit the nail squarely on the head. It said, quite simply, "There IS an eternal hell, into which damned people rush themselves."

Norm.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 02:45 AM
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Norm,

I shall not split hairs with you.

BUT, for many years I was a certified driving instructor. I know from whence I speak.

You of course do what you wish. You are however wrong, not mistaken, but wrong when you take issue with the side view mirror adjustment. You obviously have not attempted to adjust your side view mirror in that manner as had you and if you drive as many miles as I used to, you would instantly appreciate the method I related.

You are doing exactly what ninety-five percent of all drivers do. You are using your side view mirrors for something for which they were never originially intended. If you insist on adjusting your sideview mirrors in the traditional way, then I strongly encourage your to add a smaller wide angle mirror (similar to those used by truckers) on your driver's side view mirror (I don't like them because ones small enough to fit on an automobile side view mirror are not large enough to be effective). I shall repeat, that if you use your side view mirrors in backing (as a trucker would do but that is because he he's hauling a box behind him and as a general mototorist might elect to do if hauling a trailer), you will no longer be able to do so. But you are not supposed to use them when backing an automobile anyway. You are to turn around in your seat and look out your rear window.

Is it the law to adjust your side view mirrors in the manner I've just explained? No. Is it far safer for especially highway or multilane driving? Absolutely. All you have to do is try it and you sill instantly understand what I'm saying the next time you are on a heavily traveled four lane of interstate. I caution again, however, that you will no longer be able to use your side view mirrors to back unless and until you readjust them in the more traditional way.

The tips that I have related are not mine Norm but are those compiled by the finest professional driving instructors in this country.

I don't know about you Norm, but I make it my business to learn these tips from those professionals devoted to such things, especially when they would take the time and personally demonstrate to you their reasons for doing so and provide examples of what can happen to those who didn't heed whatever advice they had to offer.

Todd
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