Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cool Mom Tech--Curb Your Distracted Driving

Ideally, we should make a commitment to a zero-distraction zone in our automobiles. However, just like yesterday when my co-worker was calling and texting me over and over, there are times where we have to let people know we are driving and cannot communicate with them at that moment. I follow a Blog called Cool Mom Tech who sends me a tech savvy e-mail each morning. This morning, they shared the following fun and helpful fact about iPhones:

"Text and Email: Go to Settings > General > Keyboard and create shortcuts for yourself so you'll never have to type that same phrase over and over again. Just type the phrase and then enter the shortcut. The next time you type the shortcut, the previously-entered phrase will be typed out for you."

I tried it out attaching the following Text to the short cut "qw" (first two letters on the keyboard; easily accessed from a red light stop): "I'm driving. I'll call you when I'm stopped. This is a short cut that I set up in the settings so I wouldn't have to text and drive. DRIVE DISTRACTION FREE!"

Monday, June 25, 2012

Texas Speed Limit Increase...Dieing to Get There!

"Uh...Jaimee, why is everyone passing us like we are sitting still?" questioned my 15-year-old from the passenger side of my car. "I mean, I know you drive slow (stink eye given), I mean the speed limit, but this is ridiculous!"

I looked around and was flabbergasted...Holy! Moly! I was stunned to see the speed limit on Interstate 30 between Greenville and Texarkana had increased to 75 m.p.h. The shock continued that the night time speed limit sign of 65 m.p.h. was gone as well. I was scared stiff watching Tractor Trailers speeding by me at sometimes more than 75 m.p.h.

Hubby Dearest's response to my concern was laughter. It really had been a long time since I adventured out on my own. Since my sister's death in March 2011, the panic attacks and uneasiness behind the wheel have kept me to only making treks to and from work with an occasional visit with near-by friends. This would be the first time for me to be "on-my-own" in more than a year. I was forcing myself to start living again, which is ironic because it seemed the likelihood of being killed in a car accident had just increased. It made me want to dart back into my hole and hide some more.

According to a story from August 2011, which I found on the Huntsville Item, "In Texas, speed limits are set by a method known as the 85th percentile, which considers the speed the majority of drivers are traveling."

So for all of you, like me, whose mothers used to say, "If all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you join them?" I guess the answer is "YES" if you live in Texas because, apparently, out of 100 drivers, 85 or more of them always drive more than 70 m.p.h. on Texas highways.

TxDOT Traffic Operations Division Director Carol Rawson said, on NewsTalk 1290 back in January, "Posting new speed limits on 1,500 miles of interstate highway is a major milestone in implementing the new law. Texas’ economic strength depends on the efficient and safe movement of people and goods. These new speed limits increase highway efficiency while maintaining the safety of the transportation system.” Ummm...economic strength...safety??? You can't get money out of dead people, Texas!
With a little more research today (Thank You, Star-Telegram), I also found out "... Texas is famous (safety advocates might say infamous) for its 80-mph limit on 521 miles of I-10 and I-20 in far West Texas." Are you kidding!!!!!! No way, thank you very much!

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/01/26/3691627/many-texas-highways-will-soon.html#storylink=cpy

The conspiracy theorist that I keep hidden in my bonnet most of the time says this is the petroleum industry's way of selling more gas. I was averaging 30.3 m.p.g. in my Altima at the time I spotted the speed limit change. I tried out the new speed limit for about an hour of white knuckle anxiety and the mileage dropped to 28.6 m.p.g. Ha! I slowed back down to 70 and used financial excuses to put off my daughter's huffing complaints.

All joking aside, Texas is leading the country in distracted driving deaths and injuries. And, yes, Darling Daughter counted and pointed out which speeding bullets were zooming past us where the driver was distracted by a cellular device (not counting wrangling kiddos, dashboard dining or playing with your controls). Out of 100 cars...65. Twenty more percent and maybe we will pass a law okaying distracted driving! I think I will investigate telecommuting soon!