Monday, March 30, 2015

Me First! Me First!

It’s the self-centered cry of little children thinking only of themselves in the moment. They are small kids so it’s okay and sometimes even cute. It’s not quite as adorable when it’s a grown or almost grown person acting that way, especially driving their car. You may not have thought of it this way but this attitude is a major cause of automobile accidents. You have all seen it (and probably have done it) like pulling out onto a street in front of an oncoming car because you didn’t want to wait or wanted to be in front of the line….ME FIRST! These are the dangerous driving situations that all stem from the ME FIRST! Me First! attitude.

Pulling out onto a road with oncoming traffic:  When you pull out onto the road and the cars are too close to you, they have to hit their brakes, slow down, and sometimes swerve just so you can say ME FIRST! What is it that makes people pull out right in front of a car when there is a huge space and no cars at all behind them. You could easily wait literally TWO SECONDS and then pull out behind them with no rush or problem but you want to be first. For some reason you want to be in front of the line even though you are all going the same way at the same pace. There is no prize for getting there two seconds before the rest of the traffic but there is a prize for not getting in a car accident.

Merging: Whenever two lanes are merging into one lane, somethin’s gotta give, or should I say someone. How many times have you had to hit your brakes and or swerve because the car behind you is flooring it and exceeding the speed limit trying to beat you and merge in front of you. They want to end up in front of you even though they were way behind you? You were driving the speed limit and minding your own business in the straight lane but some (is TOOL too strong a name) had to be in front of you for no apparent reason. There wasn’t a checkered flag or a Gold cup ahead. It was just ME FIRST! Can you tell I’m getting a little steamed and road raging as I type in my office.

T-Bone: T-boning is slang for what happens when you turn left at an intersection in front of oncoming traffic going straight. By the way, you don’t have the right of way when you turn left. The major cause of injury and death on a motorcycle is T-boning. A car turns left in front of a motorcycle going straight through the intersection and the motorcycle hits the car in the side. A terribly tragic accident occurs just so the car can go first as in you guessed it……. ME FIRST!

There are many more examples of Me First driving but I think you get the picture. We forget that we are sharing the road with others. I think instead of sending these people to traffic school, I would make them re-watch the Barney episode on sharing they saw when they were three years old!


Me First! Me First!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Buckle Up Children

Here I am back again sounding like the supreme back seat driving nag. Buckle up, slow down, check your blind spots etc. etc. and on and on! Well……… last week two people in my area were killed in a car accident and guess what? Neither were wearing their seat belt! I’m not easily surprised much these days about the driving experience but I was shocked to discover that In 2012, 55% of teens killed in traffic wrecks in the United States were not wearing seat belts. That’s what I said, 55%! More than half. The outcome could be much different if they were taking advantage of the FREE life saving restraint device that is in all cars. Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half. This should be  a sobering reminder for everyone to buckle up with they get in a vehicle. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens and that number would be reduced if all teens would buckle up.

Think of it this way. When you are in a car traveling 70 mph, your body is also traveling at 70 mph. If the car suddenly stops from an external force such as another vehicle your body is still going 70 mph. If you do not have something restraining you like a seat belt, your body will hit the windshield or the dashboard at 70 mph. It could also fly out of the car at 70 mph and hit the road or tree or whatever is in your path. If you are buckled up you will be safely tethered to you seat and not fly anywhere. Humans were not designed to fly. There is usually somebody at this point that comes up with the tired old line.. “I know somebody who was saved because they were not wearing their seat belt and were thrown clear” of the burning, or rolling, or falling off of a cliff or other (insert here) vehicle they were in. Oh Brother, really?! You have a 55% better chance of not dying in a car accident if you have your seat belt on. You also have probably a 99% chance of not catapulting through the windshield. The other argument I hear for not wearing seat belts is since the advent of Airbags you don’t need them anymore. You actually need to use them more with airbags. The reason being is that the seat belts hold you in place so your body is where it is supposed to be when the airbag deploys. If your car is hit at an angle your body may flop to the side of your steering wheel and the airbag will do you no good at all.

Another thing to remember is that if you are the driver of the vehicle it is your responsibility to see that all of your passengers are buckled up. You as the driver have the liability and the responsibility that goes with driving a car. In many cases the driver of the motor vehicle can be held liable for what happens to their passengers. If you have a passenger that refuses to wear their seat belt, drop them off at the nearest bus stop.


Buckle Up Children