DO YOU CHECK YOUR DRIVING RECORDS ONLINE FOR TRAFFIC TICKETS?

Has it been a while since you last checked your traffic violations? Maybe you have forgotten the details of an offence.  Are you wondering how many points have accumulated on your driving record. Would you like to make sure the ticket from a few years back does not pose a problem for you in future?

Whatever be the case, your state DMV offers you an easy way to check your personal driving records. You can request to see your driving history in two ways:

How to Teach Your Teen the Art of Safe Driving

When it comes to teaching your teen the art of safe driving, you might ascribe to the school of thought where you should simply close your eyes, grit your teeth, and hope that your teen doesn’t smash into the nearest inanimate object.  While teaching your teen how to drive safely is undoubtedly a stressful event in the life of any parent, it’s important to approach it in a hopeful and (somewhat) patient manner.

While all teens are required to go through driver’s education before getting their licenses, you are the best example of safe driving for your teen.  From your own habits behind the wheel to what you teach them while you’re in the passenger seat, here’s how to teach your teen the art of safe driving:

1.    Make the right plan.  Before you can even think about teaching your teen how to drive, it’s important to scout out an ideal location for where you and your teen can practice behind the wheel.  Don’t immediately start out on a side street, because if your teen encounters traffic, he or she might panic.  Instead, look for empty parking lots where he or she can get the feel for driving a car.  Only when your teen feels confident should you move on to side streets where you might encounter other vehicles.

 2.    Don’t talk so much.  Nothing can be more stressful for a teen learning how to drive than a parent who talks non-stop about the rules of the road.  Recognize that this is the first time your child will be encountering a car; therefore, he or she is going to need extra attention.  Keep talking to a minimum, and keep praising your teen for doing something right.  You’ll boost up his or her confidence in no time.

 3.    Always discuss mistakes.  If your teen ends up making a mistake while practicing, have the teen pull over so you can discuss what happened.  Remember that making mistakes is part of the learning process, so don’t be too hard on your teen.

If you want your teen to absorb the lessons of safe driving, it’s important to stay patient and calm at all times.  If you feel yourself getting stressed out, take a moment and inhale a deep breath.  This will quickly pass – and pretty soon, you’ll miss these days.

Learn more safe driving tips and techniques at www.4safedrivers.com.

Safe Driving: What You Should Do With an Aggressive Driver

You’re behind the wheel of your car, minding your own business, when all of a sudden, you notice something out of the corner of your eye.  Another vehicle is shifting rapidly between lanes, ducking in and out of traffic in a manner so dangerous you’ve only seen it done in video games.  It doesn’t take long for the car to pull up almost to your back bumper.   After the car proceeds to honk and flash its lights at you, you realize that you’re dealing with an aggressive driver.

Aggressing driving can range from innocuous (driving too fast, accidentally cutting you off) to the downright dangerous (tailgating you on purpose, cutting you off and braking in front of you in anger, etc.).  Aggressive driving is a symptom of road rage, in which another driver is so irate at a perceived or real slight that he or she is willing to put lives at risk just to demonstrate his or her anger.

If you find that you’re dealing with an aggressive driver, consider using the following safe driving techniques:

  1. If possible, get out of the driver’s way as safely and as quickly as you can.  If a driver is tailgating you in the fast lane on a highway, pull over when you can and let the car pass.  Don’t try to teach an aggressive driver a lesson by slowing down, as this will only further enrage the driver.
  2. Don’t respond to the other driver.  If he or she pulls up alongside you and begins yelling or giving you the finger, don’t respond with your own anger or outrage.  Instead, keep your hands on the wheel, stare straight ahead, and resist escalating the conflict, no matter how in the right you might be.
  3. Whatever you do, never get out of your vehicle.  This is an escalation of conflict, even if you’re attempting to explain your side to an enraged driver.  If the other driver is approaching your car, stay inside and call the police.
  4. If a driver won’t leave you alone on the road, drive to a hospital or police station where you can get someone’s attention.  Stay in your car and honk your horn until someone comes to your assistance.  Again, call 911 if you’re in fear for your life.

For more safe driving tips and techniques, visit www.4safedrivers.com.

Safe Drivers: Defensive Driving in Winter and Cold Weather

When it comes to safe driving, it’s important to remember that defensive driving plays a key element in your safety on the road.  After all, you could be the best driver in the world – but if someone else decides to drift in your lane or cut you off, it could all come to naught.  Add ice and snowy weather to that mix, and it becomes apparent that defensive driving in the winter could make all the difference to being a safe driver.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at defensive driving techniques you should use when you encounter wintery weather:

Stay Alert.  Whether you’re driving in snow or on ice, defensive driving depends on your ability to stay alert and aware of others.  If you’re feeling tired or fatigued, don’t go out and drive, as this greatly reduces your defensive driving techniques.  If possible, wait out the storm at work, or consider staying at a nearby hotel if your evening commute will be too snowy or icy.  It’s better to deal with a hotel bill than a wrecked car.

Leave Plenty of Room.  Never tailgate in wintery weather.  Give adequate space between you and the car in front of you.  Icy roads make it more difficult to stop, which means it will take you longer to brake.  If you’re right behind someone who has to come to a sudden stop, you might not have time or the space to come to a complete stop.

Don’t Speed.  Notice those speed limits on the side of the road?  Disregard them – when you’re driving in snow or on ice, you’ll want to drive as slow as possible.  Don’t pay attention to any cars passing you; you should be driving at a speed that makes you feel comfortable.  If you’re on the highway, get in the slow lane so other cars can pass you by.

Stay Home.  If you don’t need to drive out in the snow, don’t.  Icy and snowy conditions are highly dangerous, which means you should avoid being out on the road if you can.

Defensive driving in the snow and ice requires a great deal of patience and common sense.  To learn more about defensive driving during all seasons, visit www.4safedrivers.com.

Things You Should Know Before Giving Your Keys to Your New Teen Driver

Think back to the time when you first were handed the keys to your first car as a teen.  Did you feel powerful?  Invincible?  Like the entire world was laid out at your feet?  That’s exactly what your teen is feeling as soon as you hand over those coveted car keys.  Your teen is excited to finally stretch his or her wings and enjoy that little taste of independence.

While this is certainly a proud – and more than terrifying – moment for you as a parent, it’s important to remember that your teen may not be taking his or her safe driving skills seriously.  As car crashes are the number #1 cause of death for teens, it’s critical for you to instill safe driving skills and habits into your teenager by using the following techniques:

  • Give your teen a driving curfew.  If you don’t want your teen to be out on the road late at nights, enforce this rule by insisting he or she has to be home at a certain time.  The first time your teen breaks this rule, take away the keys – no questions asked.

 

  • Share your driving experiences with your teen.  Don’t pretend that you didn’t make mistakes when you first learned how to drive; instead, share the lessons you’ve learned.  By approaching your teen from this perspective – rather than a strict lecture – you can ensure that he or she will be listening to you.

 

  • Make a financial arrangement with your teen driver.  He or she is likely to act more responsibly behind the wheel of a car if his or her money is going into its costs.  Have your teen pay for insurance, or just have him or her contribute a certain amount of money to you each month for driving the car.  This reduces the likelihood that he or she will take risks, as he or she will be more careful with a car that he or she “pays for.”

 

  • Consider setting up a safe driving contract with your teen.  If your teen ends up getting a ticket or misbehaves with the car, spell out what consequences will occur.  Be sure to stick to these consequences to help spell out the importance of safe driving.

To learn more about safe driving tips for your new teen driver, visit www.4safedrivers.com.

Encountering This Weather? Consider Staying Indoors

When it comes to keeping yourself safe and sound on the road, you know not to head out during inclement weather.  But what do you consider inclement weather to be?  Do you refuse to go out during a hurricane, but find yourself driving down the highway during a rainstorm?  Do you cuddle up inside during a snowstorm, but head out on the road as soon as the snow stops and the roads are plowed?

Safe driving involves understand the dangers of driving in even not-so-obvious inclement weather.  If it’s possible for you to stay off the road when you’re encountering the following weather, be sure to do so – your safety may depend upon it:

 

  • If there’s heavy rain in the forecast, consider staying indoors, even if it hasn’t started to rain yet.  Many people find themselves out on the road in the midst of a flash flood, which can be extremely detrimental to your safety.  If you do find yourself in the middle of a heavy downpour, slow down, put on your emergency lights, and pull over to the side of the road.  If possible, seek shelter under a bridge with an emergency lane, as this can ensure that other drivers will see you.

 

  • If the weather is too cold – and there has been rain or snow in the recent past – consider staying indoors.  Even if it isn’t snowing out, black ice can pose a significant risk, as you may end up skidding over a patch of ice or snow.  If you have to go out on the road, drive slowly, and avoid coming to short stops, especially over patches of ice.

 

  • Forecasts for high winds can be dangerous for drivers, especially those who drive large trucks or smaller cars.  Gusts of wind can cause you to shift from lane to lane, especially when they catch you by surprise.  If your car doesn’t hold up well in windy weather, consider staying off the roads if possible.

 

The bottom line is this: if driving in any inclement weather makes you feel uncomfortable, just don’t do it.  If possible, call your boss and let him or her know you’ll be working from home, or consider using up a personal day.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

For more safe driving tips and techniques, visit www.4safedrivers.com.

The California Driving Laws Coming Into Effect

Safe driving involves ensuring that you’re always following the law – and in the state of California, there are plenty of new laws that are being introduced.   If you want to ensure that you’re following these laws, take a look at the biggest changes you need to be aware of:

  • There are plenty of accidents that occur between cyclists and vehicles.  That’s why the state of California is introducing a new law that impacts the mandatory passing distance you should keep between your car and a bicycle.  According to this new law, vehicles should only pass a cyclist who is traveling in the same direction when they can maintain a distance of three feet between the cyclist and the vehicle.  If you’re unable to achieve this minimum distance, the law requires you to slow down and wait until it is safe to go around the cyclist.  If you fail to follow this law, you can incur a fine, even if you don’t collide with the cyclist.  Please note that this law comes into effect September 16, 2014.

 

  • Another law that is coming into effect is that no vehicle’s title or registration can be transferred to a family member unless all parking fees and tolls have been paid first.  This also includes transference to a revocable living trust.  Violation fines and penalties must be paid by the person transferring the vehicle in order for the title and registration to be changed to another family member’s name.

 

  • In order to encourage safe driving with teens, the state of California will prohibit a person under the age of 18 from using an electronic wireless communications device to send, read or write a text.  This law is still valid even if the teen is using a hands-free device.  Failing to comply with this law can invoke heavy penalties and fines.

 

  • California is now extending the amount of time in which low-emission and zero-emission vehicles can use the HOV lane.  This law was enacted in order to help alleviate much of the traffic problems in metropolitan areas.

 

Please note that all of these laws for 2014 are currently in effect, unless otherwise noted.

For more information about safe driving and following the law, visit www.4safedrivers.com.

How to Keep Your Teen Driver Safe on the Road

When it comes to safe driving, you want to ensure that your teen will always be protected whenever he or she is in the car.  While you can teach your teen all the safe driving tips you want, there may come a time when your teen may encounter an emergency situation or scenario that requires advanced driving techniques.  If you want to keep your teen driver safe on the road, try imparting the following advice and tips when teaching him or her how to drive:

  1. Teach your teen driver how to change a flat.  Flat tires can happen at anytime, and they can be quite terrifying when they do occur.  If you want to prevent your teen from panicking, it’s important to supply him or her with the knowledge and confidence he or she needs to change the tire.  Walk your teen through the process a few times before having him or her change a tire.  If you don’t know how to change a tire yourself, consider learning how alongside your teen.  You can stay cool and calm on the road by empowering yourself with safe driving knowledge.
  2. Provide your teen with emergency supplies to keep in the car.  These supplies should include an emergency hammer, which can be used to break the windshield; flares that can be placed on the road in the event of a breakdown; water and blankets to stay warm if it’s cold; the number of AAA or another roadside assistance service; and tools that he or she might need for changing a flat tire.
  3. Walk your teen through some of the more common emergencies that might happen on the road.  Tell them to remain calm and to call AAA if the car breaks down, or encourage them to call 911 and drive to a local police station if they encounter an aggressive driver.  Be sure to tell your teen – especially female teens – to ask for badge numbers before getting out of the car for a policeman.  Many criminals dress up like police officers to pull over women and rob them, or worse.  Staying safe on the road involves having your wits about you – and you should drill that into your teen’s head as much as possible.

 

For more safe driving tips for your teen, visit www.4safedrivers.com.

The Biggest Do’s and Don’ts of Teaching Your Teen Safe Driving

You want your teen to be safe on the road; that’s why you’ve made a commitment to teach your teen the art of safe driving, no matter how stressed or frustrated you might become during the process.  While you’re trying to stay cool and calm throughout the process, you may make certain mistakes, many of which will be innocuous in nature.  To ensure that your teen focuses on learning about safe driving – rather than getting annoyed and frustrated with you – then try using these tips while teaching your teen how to drive:

 

  • Do stay as cool and as calm as possible.  While it can be frustrating to teach your teen something that seems second nature to you, it’s important to realize that your teen is currently going through an anxious and fearful time.  Think back to when you first started to drive; chances are you were terrified about merging on the highway, parallel parking, and doing other things that you now take for granted.  Have a little patience, or take a deep breath whenever you feel tempted to yell at your teen for making a mistake.

 

  • Don’t teach your teen to drive on a busy or residential road.  The first time your teen learns to drive should be in a relatively empty parking lot, where there’s little chance that your teen will be nervous about oncoming cars.  Only when your teen starts to feel confident should you move to the streets – and when it’s time for that, you should select a street that’s not very busy.

 

  • Do point out your teen’s successes as well as his or her mistakes.  When teaching your teen how to drive safely, it may be tempting to just point out the mistakes.  However, this can be intimidating for the teen who is just learning how to drive.  Compliment your teen for performing certain tasks well, as this can ensure that you’re building up his or her confidence levels.

 

  • Don’t pressure your teen into practice.  If your teen is starting to feel overwhelmed during driving practice, you should have your teen pull over the car on the side of the road.  This can give your teen the chance to take a deep breath and let go of his or her frustrations.

 

To learn more about safe driving techniques for teens, visit www.4safedrivers.com.

How to Dispute a Speeding Ticket

One minute, you’re driving along the road, whistling to your favorite song on the radio – the next minute, you’re staring down at a police officer who just handed you a ticket for speeding.  While you’ve always considered yourself a safe driver, you now have a speeding record – and if you want to maximize your chances of getting your dream job, you need to erase that ticket from your driving record pronto.

To protect your employment future and erase the ticket from your driving record, here are the steps you need to take to dispute a speeding ticket:

  • Always be polite and cooperative with your police officer as soon as you’re pulled over.  It’s harder to dispute a speeding ticket when you talk back to the police officer, because he or she is going to ensure that you get stuck with that speeding ticket.

 

  • Never admit that you were speeding.  If the officer asks why you got pulled over, admit you don’t know, and never admit to what you were doing.  If you make an admission, the police officer can use it against you in a court of law.

 

  • Check your ticket for inaccuracies.  If you spot one, ask the officer to correct it immediately, as this could hurt you in the court.  If there are inaccuracies that could help your case, however, keep quiet, as this will help the speeding ticket get dismissed.

 

  • Record details, take pictures, mark down where you got pulled over, and take notes about the police officer’s position.  All of these details will help you in court, and you don’t want to rely on memory to help you make your case.

 

  • Follow the directions on the fine print of the ticket. This is usually where you’ll find information about where to submit your dispute, and what steps you should take to dispute this speeding ticket.  Calculate the cost of fighting the ticket against paying it; if you’ll pay more to fight the ticket, you might want to see how this is going to impact your finances.

 

  • If you can afford it – and depending on the severity of the speeding ticket – consider hiring a lawyer to help your case.  This can ensure that your case is successful, and it can ease your mind as you won’t be responsible for gathering all of your evidence.

For more safe driving techniques, visit www.4safedrivers.com.

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