How often when you are driving your car (truck) do you have some words for that turkey in the car ahead of you? Don’t you wish they could just magically hear your thoughts, then just as miraculously smarten up immediately and drive right?

I’ll just bet you all have had those thoughts, I know I have.

Let’s carry this another step. Is there a possibility that someone behind you is having those same thoughts about that turkey in front of him?

Driving seems to bring out the frustations in a lot of people and that is one of the activities that we participate in where you shouldn’t develop frustrations.

Let’s just take an imaginary drive from home to the office on one cold Calgary morning. I’ll discuss a few things that maybe you neglect to do, or may notice that someone else could pay more attention to.

You don’t have a garage and it snowed last night. You didn’t leave yourself anymore time than usual and that darn snow (or frost) is sure putting a crimp in your tight “flight downtown” schedule.

Start your car and dig out the snow brush/scraper and do a good job. Brush all of the snow from your hood, roof, trunk and your tail lights. I’m assuming you clear all windows of course - but we all see many people who don’t.

Why remove snow from the hood? Because when you start to move with your defroster on, it brings in snow and it warms slightly, steams, then frosts up the inside of your windows. You shouldn’t drive if you can’t see well.

Why remove snow from the roof and hood? Because it will blow back down covering your rear window and tail lights. Why worry about tail lights? Because you just might give that turkey behind you time enough to stop before hitting you if he can see your brake lights. Changing lanes is done more easily if your signals are visible to the guy in the next lane. He may be kind and let you move over, but only if he can see your light signaling your intention.

By the way, the time to use your signal lights is when you think of turning, giving traffic adequate warning. There’s no use signaling after you make the move, you have already given the person in the next lane a heart flutter. It’s also a good way to have your rear bumper meet the other guy’s front bumper.

O.K. Your windows and lights are clear and you’re ready to back out of the driveway and into the street. Look behind you, drive slow and make sure there is no pedestrian or vehicle traffic. If you’re backing up and hit anything, you are responsible.

Now is when you first see just how slippery that new fallen snow has made those streets. Your first acceleration and braking should be a test in a light or no traffic area. Use that information to add caution to the rest of your trip. Give yourself lots of distance to that first stop sign or traffic light.

Don’t plan on rushing into a traffic flow from a slippery wheel spinning start. Both you and the person you are going to pull out in front of may meet unexpectedly.

Those extra few seconds you allow yourself could be the difference between an accident and increased insurance rates.

Leave more room between you and the fellow up front, but don’t stretch it out too far or someone will just fill it in.

Drive with a steady foot on the gas pedal. There are as many out-of-control conditions caused by rapid acceleration or deceleration actions as there are from rapid braking and over quick steering actions. You can all probably wonder why so many cars wind up in ditches, or more seriously across a median in a head on collision. Most of these are from combinations of excess speed for the road conditions, coupled with a harsh application of accelerator, brakes and/or steering.

You must have the ability to apply the skills you should have learned from an instructor, or you should have the common sense not to drive in poor weather or road conditions.

Public transportation and professional drivers have their responsible place in the movement of people. Use them, relax and live longer without an ulcer and a hair raising story for the coffee group at the office? if you make it there that morning.

’Til next time, at work or leisure, LIVE SAFELY.



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