Driving Safely With Your Pet

CNN Entertainment reported horror author, Stephen King, was badly injured in 1999 while walking along the shoulder of a road in Maine, when he was hit by a minivan whose driver was trying to control an unrestrained rottweiler.

About two-thirds of dog owners surveyed by the AAA organization said they routinely drive while petting or playing with their dogs, sometimes even giving them food or water while maneuvering through traffic.

Pet owners have an obligation to transport their pets safely, not only for the pet but for their own welfare and other drivers.

Here are some safety tips pet owner’s should consider before traveling by car with their pet:

  • Let a new pet become accustomed to riding in a car gradually
  • Have pet wear collar, current tags, and a leash
  • Place pet in a sturdy crate securely fastened in place
  • Wear a harness and a seat belt in the back seat of the car
  • Stop every couple hours for pet to stretch and walk
  • Never leave a pet in a parked car. In the summer, temperatures in confined spaces can heat up fast, causing heatstroke or death for a pet.
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Late to School

One morning, I was taking my son to school and on a back road we always travel began backing up with traffic. I was puzzled because normally there is hardly any traffic this time of morning. I was driving a white Ford mini van with tinted windows. My son, a second grader, was peering out the window to see what was going on.

As the traffic came to a complete stop and we had to wait, I thought this would be a great time to talk to him about lying. I recently received a note from his teacher and then the principal about my son lying about different things that happened at school. I explained to him I received the note from his teacher and I noticed him rolling his eyes. But he had no choice other than to listen to what I had to say. I asked him why do you tell lies? He responded quickly saying because when I tell the truth no one believes me and when I tell a lie or change the story just a little then people pay attention and believe me. I told him he needs to tell the truth and be honest regardless of what people think. He said okay mom.

The traffic began moving slowly and I soon realized we were going to be late for school. As we were moving we noticed police officers on both sides of the road and a large truck. The police motioned for us to go around the truck slowly. As I went around the truck, out ran an extremely large ostrich. My son and I were shocked. The police officer told me to speed up and the ostrich ran along side my van looking at himself in the passenger window right at my son. My son was very excited over the whole situation. The faster I went the faster the ostrich would run.

Finally, the officer driving along side of my van yelled slow down and turn slowly to the right. As I turned the wheel to the right the ostrich ran into an orange grove. The police and wildlife officers began chasing after the ostrich. I proceeded onto school and my son continued talking about the ostrich.

When I got to the school, I had to take my son to the office. I had to show my identification and sign him in for being late. The lady in the office told me to fill out all sections on the book. I wrote my son’s name, grade, date and I left one column blank. The lady said Mrs. Barron you forgot to put a reason why your child was late. My son and I looked at each other laughed and said they will never believe it.

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Legal Window Tint

I recently purchased a vehicle and was pulled over. The officer approached my vehicle with one hand on his gun and with his other hand motioned for me to slowly put the window down.

The officer asked for all the legal documents to the vehicle and realized the vehicle was purchased in the last few hours. He explained to me that my windows appeared to be beyond the legal limit of the tint laws in Florida.  I agreed to let him check my windows with his machine. Although my windows appeared to be extremely dark, we were both amazed to find the windows were in the legal range of the law.

If you have just purchased a vehicle or you have had the vehicle for a few years all drivers should be familiar with the legal tint laws in the state they reside and have their windows checked.

Six reasons why you should tint your windows:

  • Avoid overheating
  • Tinting reduces dangerous glare from the sun and other headlights
  • Privacy
  • Prevents cracking and fading of the interior
  • Accident protection tinting can help shattered glass hold together, protecting the occupants of the car

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Red light cameras are they helping or hurting?

One year after passing legislation to allow red light cameras in Florida, now state lawmakers are considering repealing that law.

Red light cameras have generated more than $11 million across Florida since taking effect last July.

Lawmakers believed they were making roads safer when they approved red light cameras last year.  Now there is confusion over whether the cameras are helping or hurting public safety.

Statistics show the technology reduces all kinds of accidents, especially fatal crashes but now research shows the cameras are actually making intersections less safe and the result of higher rear end crashes.

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Right Turn On Red

A right turn on red is permitted at most intersections as long as the driver comes to a complete stop and there are no signs posted restricting the turn.

Drivers need to be familiar with the laws in their state because not all states allow a legal right turn on red.  Therefore, visiting motorists are encouraged to refer to the driving code of the region they are visiting and to heed all traffic signs.

There are several steps drivers should take prior to turning right on red:

  1. Turn on the right blinker before your intended turn.
  2. Stop completely behind stop line or crosswalk.
  3. Verify that there are no cars coming through the light.
  4. Check for pedestrians crossing against the light.
  5. Carefully turn into the lane closest to you.
  6. Proceed down the road and accelerate.

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Tips for Driving at Night

A large percentage of driving decisions are based on what we see. At night, drivers need to be extra cautious because of reduced visibility. In addition, with age the ability to see well at night diminishes too.

At night, the distance a driver can see is also reduced. Drivers should drive slower, especially in unfamiliar areas. Headlights cover about 350 feet ahead. A driver should always maintain a speed that will enable them to react and stop within a safe distance.

The law requires drivers to use headlights from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, when visibility is less than 1,000 feet. Furthermore, drivers are required to turn their headlights on in the fog too. It makes it easier for other drivers and pedestrians to see the vehicle.

Drivers should be considerate in using high beams. Headlights must be on low beam when the driver is within 500 feet of an approaching vehicle, or within 200 feet of a vehicle ahead.

If an approaching driver does not dim their lights, flash to high beam for a second, then back to low beam. To help avoid the glare of approaching high beams, shift your eyes to the right. Use the road edge as a guide until the approaching vehicle passes. In order to reduce glare from the lights of a vehicle following, switch the interior rear view mirror to the night position. n.

Also, clean headlights and windows for better visibility at night.

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Aggressive Driving

What is aggressive driving?

Aggressive driving occurs when an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses that endangers other people or property. Aggressive driving behaviors include a variety of dangerous driving violations:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Running red light and stop signs
  • Improper passing
  • Weaving

Tips to avoiding aggressive drivers:

  • Get out of their way and steer clear of them on the road.
  • Stay relaxed.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Do not block the passing lane.
  • Do not make obscene gestures
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