The holiday season has begun and driving is a natural part of it. These days with lots of places to go, people to see and things to do, you want to be joyful, festive and pleasant – right? You use your smart tools like GPS and speakerphone and you hope for things like good weather, limited traffic and considerate drivers.
Last week an outlet mall opened in my neighborhood and just like that; I had to add ten minutes to my drive anywhere, especially during the rush hours; Morning and evening. Since “hope” is not a plan, I took time to consider the how and when of my travels. This is important because driving can add stress that interfere with you having a good time. Here’s my plan, maybe it will be helpful to you:
- All driving trips will occur during the day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. All other times I will be a passenger, co-pilot, or holiday DJ on board.
- I will fill up when the gas indicator hits ½ tank. This will work well for the short unplanned trips.
- I will hang the reindeer ornament on my rear view mirror to remind me deer live here too.
- I will put the wind shield washer fluid bottle in the truck along with the other winter gear.
- I will refuse to engage in road rage, or use profanity out loud when other drivers piss me off.
Now, I could continue to add to this plan but anything I plan that has more parts than the number of fingers on one hand have a way of being forgotten….So I think I’ll plan to hope those other things that may happen, don’t!
Do you agree that we need all the help we can get when we are driving these days? Are most drivers thinking safety first? You know, things like using the turn signal before changing lanes, maintaining the recommended distance between vehicles, stopping completely at stop signs and of course driving the speed limit. That’s not what I see when I’m on the road. I hear someday soon we’ll opt for the purchase of the smart car that drives itself and driving will be fun and safe. Well, until that day arrives, give yourself and other drivers a break. Reduce driving stress, take your phone out of circulation while you are behind the wheel. The phone makes it easy to get into trouble, (texting, calling, talking). It’s the one distraction that you really can take full control of. Think of it as one less thing you have to worry about.
Many of us use apps on our smartphones for multiple things, GPS is one of them, but I got to tell you, it’s really stressful using my phone for directions, if I’m driving. The screen size is too small to see the maps clearly and mounted, the phone is too far away to operate easily. You can guess what happens when you drive out of cell phone tower range.
On occasions when I used my phone or IPAD for directions they both worked. But they always add stress to the drive. They are great if I’m the co-pilot and that’s my only job. However, if I’m the driver, my confidence level is highest when I drive the car with the dedicated GPS device. My phone is in my purse, so I’m not distracted trying to pick it up or change my position to view the screen on the device. The GPS touchscreen is large enough for me to see and I can utilize the function icons when I need too. All of the information is focused on getting me to my destination and I can concentrate on the road. It’s the perfect driving companion.
It’s a fact that smartphones are the best when it comes to being connected to the cellular network and the internet. That’s why my phone is back up for my personal navigation device. I like the benefits of having my phone for directions if I’m not the driver, However my PND with hands free-calling while driving gives me the best advantage to getting to my destination with less stress.
Trying to decide if you really need to invest in a personal navigation device (PND)/dedicated GPS, read more…http://gps.about.com/od/gpsproductoverview/a/smartphone-vs-dedicated-gps.htm?
Could I pass a driving test today? Sure I would; driving for 40 years I generally kept up with the rules and regulations of the road, I consider myself a smart driver. I’m a good driver according to my insurance company and I drive safely according to my husband a retired Certified Driving Instructor (CDI). My lifestyle requires driving. I drive all the time, at least 5 days a week, sometimes several times a day. I drive to the store, jobs, events, to visit friends and family, even to the subway. I’m often the designated driver on group trips because I know the bus routes. It may take us a little longer to get there but I don’t get lost in my hometown. I also own a well maintained car (thanks to the CDI).
They say experience is the best teacher so failing a driving test is not an option. I may fail to go to the correct address. I doubt it is still located where it was when I took the road test many years ago. A huge new office building is now located on that corner. I could fail the eye exam if I wear the wrong pair of glasses, I seem to have several pair these days thanks to the Dollar Store. I passed before when I really couldn’t drive so now with 40 years driving experience, I’ll ace it.
Seriously thinking, it’s possible that parking may be a small issue for me if you are still required to parallel park. I admit I still have to do it twice to get it right sometimes. I parked perfect driving a 1967 convertible Cadillac Coupe Deville, during my first driver test, but I’m sure I would need to practice to get it correct in one attempt today. Hopefully, now the testers give you the option of pulling in or backing your car into a parking space. I am an expert at that.
An experienced driver like me should pass the written part of the test with no problem or so I thought. After all those years of driving including a 65 mile work commute and other driving duties, I should know the rules of the road, plus any updated driving techniques you need to be a smart driver today. Recently, just for fun I took the AARP Are You a Smart Driver quiz. My expectation was 10 questions and 10 correct answers. Surprise! I didn’t get 10 answers correct and the one question that stunned me: Where on the steering wheel should your hands be positioned while driving? 10 and 2 right? Wrong!!
Check for yourself, take the quiz at: http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/transportation/info-11-2011/quiz-are-you-a-smart-driver.html.
Rules change, cars change, and you change! Ok I get it, experience is only part of being smart.