Your-Turn to U-Turn

No time to read a long-winded BLOnG? Welcome to the Three-Second-Stop mini-Blog.

Today’s Three Seconds: U-Turns

No U-turn?3 Second Stop
Unless you’re driving in a residential neighborhood (small side streets), you can only make a u-turn at an intersection. One exception: Never in front of a firehouse. Well, actually two more exceptions: Only when safe to do so and you can see clearly for 200 feet.

Now you know.

What Does Your Vehicle Say About You?

Did you know that the kind of car you drive can often be associated with your personality type?  When you purchase or pick out a vehicle to your liking, the end result is a choice you made, reflecting your personality.  Psychology expert, Dr. Leon James states that “in our car culture, drivers idealize their rides and even lend them human qualities.”  These human-like qualities are often linked to the kind of person you are or the type of person you aspire to be.  Many car owners even go as far as personalizing their vehicle by giving them names and talking to them, in addition to purchasing car products that give other drivers a clue into what the owner is like.  Car owners look for features that resemble themselves.  According to James, “People construct an ideal in their mind of the perfect car, and those attributes are transferred to its driver as well.”  The size, shape and power of your car are all indications of the type of person you are and the image you want to portray.

Some even believe that the color of your vehicle is another indicator of your personality.  For example, because red is often associated with speed and dangerous behavior, the myth is that police are more likely to pull you over and that you are a bit of a rebel.  Peacefulness and serenity is conveyed by drivers who drive white and neutral color cars.  Black vehicles project a more sinister persona.  While green and blue cars often signify fun-loving or friendly drivers.

So, which vehicle personality type are you?

Convertibles & Sports Cars?

Convertibles and Sports cars are for the daring and adventurous risk takers.  They are for the impulsive types who love living life to the fullest in the fast lane.  Case studies have shown that people who drive these types of vehicles are also avid fans of high adrenaline activities such as, bungee jumping, skydiving or parasailing. Most men who drive convertibles or sports cars drive to be seen.  They tend to want to impress others.  However, one of the biggest personality traits of someone driving a sports car is a longing to feel young, free and unattached.

SUV’s / Minivans?

People who drive SUV’s or Minivans are normally soccer moms or someone with a family, or in preparation for one.  It is said that people who drive big vehicles like to be in control.  SUV’s often suit the needs of a more brash, confident or powerful personality.


People who drive sedans tend to be very practical and have a more modest personality than owners of convertibles or SUV’s.  Sedans offer space, comfort and are better on gas than most other vehicles.  These vehicles also come in a variety of styles and appearances.

Eco-friendly Cars?

Driving an eco-friendly car, such as a hybrid or other cars which are good on gas, says that you truly care about the environment.  It also says that you like to save money and that you are good with budgeting.  People who drive eco-friendly cars have a very realistic view on life.

The New DUI: Driving While Intexticated

For as long as I can remember, there’s news almost daily about the tragic death(s) caused by an impaired driver. While the rate of fatal deaths due to DUI has actually been decreasing sharply over the last two decades, today’s drivers have seemingly chosen a new deadly form of DUI: Driving While Intexticated.
Texting while driving decreases reaction times.
Ironic in their nomenclature, smart phones are increasingly making drivers incredibly stupid. For the first time in history, drivers everywhere are making the conscious choice to drive several seconds at a time with their head down. This is no LOL matter.

Ponder this:

  • Compared to a 12% decrease of reaction time for buzzed drivers driving at the legal blood-alcohol limit, the reaction time of drivers texting while driving decreases by a whopping 35%. Intexticated drivers are almost 3 times slower to react that intoxicated drivers.
  • About 80% of drivers use their cell phones when on the road, and 60% of novice drivers between the ages of 18-24 own up to pounding away on an iPhone or Android keyboard while behind the wheel.

The Future of Crash Text Dummies

The Texting and Driving Dilema

So how will state governments wage war on drivers driving under the influence of text? No one is sure, but looking to the past may give us an idea. Decades ago, drunk driving was much more rampant per capita. In order to get the rate of drunk drivers under better control, concerned agencies used a two prong attack:

  1. Influence the public to perceive driving under the influence with harsher eyes (through PSA’s and in-school educational programs)
  2. Increase the punishment for those getting a DUI (steeper fines, revoking licenses, and longer jail time)

A similar strategy might have to be employed to thwart the increasing problems texting and driving is causing. The public perception campaign is already under way. Just search ‘Texting and Driving’ on Youtube and you’ll see what I mean. Though punishment has increased for those who choose to drive phone-in-hand, the common discipline is a slap on the wrist or an inexpensive citation. Will it take stiffer punishment to get drivers to leave the phone alone? Consider a common strategy used by high school teachers dealing with cell phones in the classroom – “Use it and Lose it”. Though an officer confiscating a phone because he saw you texting may seem overboard, I guarantee we’d see a lot more hands on 10 and 2 instead of on the QWERTY.


Improving Driving With Age: Case Study

SleepingGetting older brings on many unwanted changes that can affect your life in a significant way. One being, a decline in your cognitive features. This waning limits your ability to perform certain tasks and functions that you were once able to do with ease. Restrictions such as these often lead to bad judgment and poor performance. And then that awaited moment occurs. The moment of the dreaded conversation. The one when your family members and loved ones urge you to stop driving, failing to realize that taking the keys away from an elderly person who has been driving all of their lives is not the easiest task, and for them can be quite a low point in life. There is almost always a protest and an unwillingness to do so. In fact, for the elderly, losing their driving privileges is ranked among the highest concerns with aging. Because of this, numerous cognitive training programs have been developed and instituted to help senior drivers improve not just cognition or driving ability, but both.

Through these programs, research has shown that:
1) older individuals can improve their visual attention as measured by neuropsychological test measures
2) older drivers’ cognitive deficits are a detriment to their ability to drive safely.

Stretch for Success

Stretch for Success

Researchers at MIT believe that exercise and health are both important factors that will help you drive longer and more safely, in addition to flexibility, coordination and strength. With funding help from The Hartford Insurance Group, MIT Age Lab was able to conduct a 10 week study monitoring 60-74 year olds, testing their strength, coordination, and agility through various methods, including video games and a variety of exercises. The video games method also tested for focus and range of motion. They were then tested in a lab measured by a high tech stimulator for pulse rate and eye movement reflexes. The benefits of this study taught participants how to stretch and move better, which in return will help when driving. For instance, the pretzel exercise helps with backing out easily, while a little bit of shadow boxing can help with getting in and out of the car easily. Lastly, the goalie skills exercise helped with lane changes and turns.

As a participant in MIT Age Lab’s study on senior drivers, 72 year-old Stanton Lyman hit the gym to see if more exercise could lead to sharper reflexes behind the wheel. Lyman went on the record stating, “’I definitely feel a looser quality to my ability to move.” Researchers also believe that drivers in their 30s and 40s shouldn’t wait until they hit ‘senior” status to start thinking about improving their flexibility and movement because it can help with tricky moves like parallel parking.

In a nutshell, if drivers take responsibility for improving driver safety at an early age, it will lead to safer driving as they get older. A little more time in the gym could be the key to a little more time on the road.

Drive as I Say, Not as I Do

Are You The Reason For Your Teen’s Bad Driving Habits?

Monkey See, Moneky Do

As a parent of a new teen driver, your hopes are that they learn proper defensive driving techniques, while you continue to drill in the “Do’s and Don’ts” of the road, as well as bringing about safety awareness. However, what we fail to realize is that our teenagers are soaking up these life-long lessons by mimicking that in which they see, most times, that which is you! Adult drivers holding on to bad driving habits are complacent, and might not keep up with recent changes in the law. But don’t knock yourself down just yet. In most cases, adults aren’t even aware of these bad driving habits which in turn impact their teens without even realizing the reason behind it.

The most common mistake among adult drivers is thinking you know it all. Because of the experience and the amount of years behind the wheel, most adults feel as if they are immune from any danger on the road. This could not be further from reality. Truth be told, accidents occur, and even if you have never been in or caused an accident before, it could still happen to you, perhaps caused by the at-fault novice driver.

Another mistake teens see their parents doing while behind the wheel is failing to use blinkers for signaling. We don’t need to get into the specifics on just how dangerous not signaling can be, despite its simplicity and readily accessible location, but let’s just say that it should be one of the most used features on your vehicle and without it not only causes much confusing, but a lot of collisions as well. I mean how exactly do you expect to teach your children the proper way to drive, when you yourself is not obeying a traffic law as simple as this?

According to CNN, a survey of over 1,700 teens admitted that they had performed risky activities, such as speeding, talking or texting on their cell phones, or not wearing their seat belts while operating a motor vehicle. The study also found that more than half of those teenage drivers had observed their parents engaging in similar behaviors while driving. Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual, stated that, “These findings highlight the need for parents to realize how their teens perceive their actions.” He also added, “Your kids are always observing the decisions you make behind the wheel, and in fact have likely been doing so since they were big enough to see over the dashboard…You may think you only occasionally read a text at a stop light or take the odd thirty-second phone call, but kids are seeing that in a different way. Answering your phone once while driving, even if only for a few seconds, legitimizes the action for your children and they will, in turn, see that as acceptable behavior.”

Out of the 94% of teenage drivers who admitted to speeding, 88% claimed that they had witnessed their parents breaking the speed limit before. According to a survey conducted by Writer Suzanne Kate, 91% of teenagers said they had witnessed their parents talking on a cell phone while driving, with 78% confessing that they had texted while driving, while 59% of parents reportedly had done so. Shockingly, adults were more likely than their children to not wear seatbelts.

Bottom line, teens who engage in dangerous driving most likely learned their bad driving skills from their parents. Parents, not only is it your ultimate duty, but it is imperative that as adults you demonstrate good driving behavior from the very beginning so that new drivers understand that safe driving rules apply to everyone equally. It’s time to make a change. It starts with you! Your teen’s life just might depend on it.