10 and 2? 9 and 3. No, 8 and 4!

used to be auto safety gospel

8 and 4 steering wheelMy wife recently took a defensive driving class. It cost $25 for the six-hour course over two weeknights. (Note to self: remind my wife, when she decides to take a class again, to avoid weeknights during the school year.)

The purpose of the class is to learn things. But the motivation for taking it was to save money on car insurance. Frankly, most of the information she found familiar and/or boring. She did, however, learn two things.

Once upon a time, you were supposed to hold the steering wheel at 10 and 2. By 2012, experts were suggesting 9 and 3.

“As cars have become safer over the years, ‘the steering wheel and associated mechanisms (have) changed dramatically,’ meaning the familiar driving maneuvers ‘needed to turn the wheel have all changed.’ Principal among them is the incorporation of airbag modules in the steering column, which are designed to deploy upward to protect your head and chest.

“That means the higher up the wheel your hands are, the more likely they are to be directly over the plastic cover when it opens — that is, when superhot nitrogen gas flashes and inflates the bag at 150 to 250 mph (241.4 to 402.3 kph)”

8 and 4?

But the instructor is suggesting using 8 and 4. “The jury is very much out. Many state’s driving handbooks recommend this position as an alternative to the 10 and 2 position when driving a vehicle fitted with airbags. Hand position 8 and 4 has a slight advantage over 9 and 3, in that it is a more comfortable position to maintain for longer periods.

“Though, the 8 and 4 position receives equally wide criticism from driving experts who are not convinced it gives drivers sufficient leverage on the steering wheel.” The instructor posits that at 9 and 3, the driver’s hands if the airbag is deployed, could hit the door and the passenger.

Also, new info for the wife is the notion that driving a car length apart for every 10 mph (16 kph) is outmoded. It used to be part of the automotive safety gospel. With all the congested highways, the instructor suggests two-car lengths when traveling at 60 mph (86.5 kph).

Lydster: Working Girl, per Melanie G.

stolen t-shirts

Coverville.CokeShirt-frontThe fun facts in our household this season:
1) I’m no longer working; I’m retired
2) My wife is not currently at work; she’s a teacher and it’s the summer
3) My daughter IS working

For some reason, the youngest among us seems to be irritated by this situation, the ONLY person employed. For instance, she’s been grilling me about MY first job, which was delivering the evening and Sunday newspapers in Binghamton, NY when I was 12 and 13.

“No, what was the first job when you had to Deal With Other People?” That’d be working as a page at the Binghamton Public Library when I was 16.

She’s involved in this Summer Youth Employment Program conducted by the city of Albany. While I know where she works, I haven’t quite sussed out what she DOES. Something about being a non-profit co-ordinator? Wha?

They’ve been teaching the teenagers some life skills. The teens have been wrangling smaller kids. My daughter noted that she kept running into one young girl and smiled at her. The girl brought my daughter a cup of water.

I did not expect that my daughter would start stealing my clothes. Specifically, my T-shirts. To be honest, my tees are more interesting than my wife’s. Mine tend to be about social causes (AIDS, peace), sports, and especially music.

I haven’t let her steal my green Beatles T-shirt yet, but I have allowed her to purloin my Coverville shirts, and I have about a half dozen of them. She doesn’t even listen to the podcast yet. I ought to just go out and buy my daughter her own set!

I understand that she likes earning money so that, one of these days, she can buy a car. I’m assuming she has no sense of the expense of owning a car beyond the purchase price and maybe the gasoline. You know, the maintenance, and the insurance.

Fortunately, a 20 hour/week job for five weeks won’t get her there THIS summer. Then again, she’s still too young to get a driver’s permit. Oh, and who’s going to teach her to drive? It can’t be me, and my wife and I agree that it oughtn’t to be her.

A problem for another year, thank goodness. Do they still teach driver’s ed in high school?

Don’t pass a car that’s waiting to turn left

I had some choice words for that driver.

At a level FAR greater than in previous years, my family has been involved in several near-collisions in 2017, specifically in March and April. None of them involved the weather, and most of them took place in the daytime.

A majority fit into the category of the title, which I stole from the Monday traffic column in our local daily, compiled by Tim O’Brien. He, like several folks with the Times Union, is leaving for greener pastures after dealing with the parsimonious Hearst Corporation daily rag for years.

ITEM: The Wife is turning left; we’ll call her car A. The car facing her is also turning left, car 1. A vehicle behind her, NOT the car immediately back, but the car behind THAT, car 3, gets impatient with the wait, passes car 2 and 1 on the right. Car A sees car 2, but barely breaks in time in the turn to avoid getting hit by car 3.

ITEM: The Wife is turning left. The car facing her is also turning left, car 1. She doesn’t see, but I do, the bicycle passing car 1 on the right. If I hadn’t called it to her attention, it was likely that she would have T-boned bike 2, the rider of which, BTW, was not wearing a helmet.

ITEM: I’m riding my bike, going straight ahead; I’m vehicle A. Car 1, signaling left, is patiently yielding the right of way to vehicle A. Car 2, however, is having nothing to do with THAT, and passes car 1 on the LEFT, across the crosswalk and practically into my path before slamming on its brakes. As it tuns out, it was a nice day, and car 2 had its windows down. I had some choice, albeit repeatable, words for that driver.

Not all the near-collisions involved left turns. The Wife was turning right from a one-way street onto a two-way. But the driver coming from our right apparently thought he too was on a one-way, because he wasn’t staying right. IF she hadn’t aborted the turn at the last moment, we would have hit him for sure. The Daughter, in the back seat, got pretty shook up about this, and understandably so.

There are a couple other traffic examples in recent months, but you get the gist. As Phil Esterhaus used to say, “Be careful out there!”

D is for Driving

The recent hybrid models had depreciated so little, there was no real advantage to buying a used vehicle.

googlecarI enjoy reading The Oatmeal Newsletter. A recent article, 6 Things I Learned from Riding in a Google Self-Driving Car, particularly tickled me.

“1. Human beings are terrible drivers.
We drink. We doze. We text. In the US, 30,000 people die from automobile accidents every year.”

As a regular pedestrian, I recognize this as irrefutably true. Continue reading “D is for Driving”

April Rambling: Ads about Rape, and Media

“To be able to catch genius when it’s just beginning, just starting out; when it’s in its embryonic form, or in its very nest. It’s an unforgettable experience.”

In response to her strong poem, Reflector Babe, Amy at Sharp Little Pencil received a link from Anna at HyperCRYPTIcal. It is to a UK ad considered the most shocking ad ever? Rape campaign aimed at teens to be shown. It’s sexually explicit (no ‘bits’ are shown), but it is powerful. This could not air in the US, I’m fairly certain, but the problem it addresses is very much an issue here.

What the New Sgt Pepper Cover Tells Us About Modern Britain.

And speaking of the UK, How news coverage evolves. Imagine how the Guardian “might cover the story of the three little pigs in print and online. Follow the story from the paper’s front page headline, through a social media discussion and finally to an unexpected conclusion.”
Continue reading “April Rambling: Ads about Rape, and Media”