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Driving along on a typically dry and clear southern California afternoon, I launched my little econo-box of a car onto the freeway, fully expecting the typical southland stop and crawl --- and determined to make the most of whatever open road I could capture. It was as if the fates had smiled on me. There it was, an open freeway. The few cars that went whizzing by were obviously doing what I was gearing up to do: hit the fast lane, crank the stereo and fly. I slid across the lanes, put some weight into the accelerator pedal, sat back and sang along to the radio. This was nice; it was, in fact, perfect---what driving was meant to be. I hit the apex of the interchange and somehow didn't notice the red lights in front of me. I may have been looking away from the road; or perhaps I was just day-dreaming. Point is, when I did see the brake lights, it was much too late to stop---but there was plenty of time to pray.
Then the fates really did smile on me. I hit the brakes, turned the wheel, and wound up facing the wrong way on the side of the road. No impact, no injuries, just one very pale and shaken teenager.
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If you're tired, don't drive. If you've had a rough day at the office, chill out before you get on the road. Your car drives as you feel, so be nice and stay alert. Keep a firm and friendly grip on the wheel. Avoid clenching and choking; conversely, don't drape a wrist over the top and think you've got control. Most of, make sure you're comfortable, and that all controls are within easy reach.
Use your senses
If you stare at the car in front, chances are good that you'll drive right into an accident. Look around; survey the road ahead so you know what's coming up, and keep an eye on the road behind. If you need to change lanes, try planning your move a few cars ahead so that you have plenty of time to merge. Listen for sirens, horns, or screeching tires. And most of all, use your sense: if you think a driver is going to cut you off, back off a little and let them in. If you see a car coming up fast in the rear view, avoid making sudden moves.
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People who change lanes get into more accidents. What's worse, they make accidents happen. So keep away from the lane fidgets, pick one and drive to your destination. Drive a car, not a cell phone
If the keys are in the ignition, the phone should be powered off. If you're driving with children, keep in mind that kids don't normally disappear into thin air --- so it's okay if you stop looking at them and concentrate on the road instead. No matter what it is, avoid distraction and focus on the task in hand --- driving.
Share the road
The Golden Rule applies to driving -- in fact, it should be a law. When you share the road, you put everyone in a good mood, avoid accidents and arrive at your destination in a friendly frame of mind. Try it: the next time someone is attempting a last minute lane change, be courteous and let them into the lane. Not only have you avoided a fender-bender, but you've also done a good deed. Bravo!
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