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You are Here:  Traffic School »  Defensive Driving Adventures »  March 8 to 15, 2005

Defensive Driving Adventures

March 12, 2005 - Aggressive Unhappy Driving

There was a news report the other day that stated laughing can actually improve your blood flow, increase the size of arteries and therefore reduce your risk of a heart attack. It occurred to me yesterday as I saw a grown man giving the finger to a truck driver that driving has the opposite affect on many people. You know those people who get into they're car and instantly turn into a crazed psycho driver.

Do you find yourself not enjoying driving? I love to drive. I put the windows down, the music on and relax. But it seems that many drivers take out their frustrations behind the wheel. I believe this behavior comes from being generally unhappy. It has nothing to do with driving - but driving, traffic, and contact with lots of other drivers brings out the unhappiness. Here are a few signs that you are an unhappy driver.

Are you an Aggressive Driver?

When you merge into traffic do you allow other driver in or speed up to beat them? If you are in the left lane on the highway and someone wants to pass do you move over and let them? Are you typically driving very close behind other drivers almost trying to push them out of your way? Do you use your horn often? And the final test. Do find yourself using hand gestures (not waving) at other drivers?

If you answered yes to two or more of these tests then you are driving aggressively. Even if you're not worried about getting traffic tickets, or into an accident consider your health. Driving unhappy on a daily basis can adversely affect your health. And if you look around you may find the rest of your life could be happier. Take steps to change your outlook. Start by laughing a little more often.

March 10, 2005 - Hybrid Car could cost you Thousands and Thousands

Hybrid cars get up to 60 miles per gallon and reduce smog. With the current craze over oil prices you'd think that the prospect of millions of cars (sitting in traffic) getting 60 miles per gallon would thrill government types. And you'd think that states like Oregon known for their concern for the environment would top the list of supporters for hybrid cars. But there's trouble in hybrid car paradise.

This is a perfect example of why government powers should be severely limited. With the prospect of these new full efficient cars Oregon decided to offer tax credit incentives of up to $1,500 to Oregonians who purchase alternative full vehicles. I'd prefer the government not encourage me to buy or sell anything but at first glance what could be bad about a tax credit. The problem arises when these new efficient cars actually start appearing on Oregon highways.

Some genius in the Oregon government figured out that drivers with fuel efficient cars will buy less gas and thus the State of Oregon will collect less taxes. To fix this problem they have started experimenting with a device to track how many miles you drive and charging you a tax by the mile. If this isn't a perfect example of government out of control what is.

To track your miles, they have to install a GPS tracking device in your car. So now they know where you are driving and where you are at all times. Oregon is actually testing a system to track miles and collect the taxes and California isn't far behind. So before you run out and buy your hybrid car consider the idiotic mess it may create for you. I'd rather not have the government tracking when I'm sitting in traffic, when I drive, where I drive, and then send me a bill. But hey I'm funny that way.

March 8th, 2005 - Really Smart and Entertaining Cars

Imagine that your car knows your schedule and has a copy of your address book. This could really simplify your day. Combined with a navigation system your car could tell you where you should be and get you there. Throw in voice recognition and your car could call anyone in your address book and navigate to your destination in response to simple voice command. That way you can keep your hands on the wheel. This smart car is closer than you think.

Ford recently showed off a Lincoln Aviator with a built in wireless network. The demonstration is focused on entertainment and allows downloading of music from a notebook into the Aviator. Think of it as an easy way to take all your music with you. Even more entertaining is a future offering from Sirius Satellite that beams video (read: movies on demand) into the Aviator. This same core technology will enable business productivity and many other smart car features.

Heads up to Ford, I recently installed a Clarion Pro Audio Stereo (with Sirius Satellite) in my F150 SuperCrew. It's a model DXZ845MC - maybe they could come up with more descriptive names? During the install the tech suggested we add an auxiliary cable to the unit and let it sit under the dash. That way I could plug in an MP3 player. It's a perfect solution. With Sirius I get over a hundred channels of music, news, sports, comedy, and more. If I want to listen to my music collection I plug in my iPod.

I like Ford's thinking. This kind of functionality is exactly what I want. Forget flying cars with an automatic pilot. I want drive my car and be entertained. That way I can take my time and enjoy the ride.