Take a coffee nap to prevent drowsy driving

Drowsy While Driving? Take A Coffee Nap

In past articles on drowsy driving, we’ve advised taking a coffee nap although, to be truthful, we didn’t know, at the time, that they were called coffee naps. Just exactly what is a coffee nap? It’s drinking a cup of coffee (or other caffeinated beverage) and then taking a short nap before the effects of the caffeine kick in. Now, scientists have done the research and found that a coffee nap is better than just drinking coffee or just taking a nap alone.

In comparison studies, the data shows that those who took a coffee nap performed better on memory tests and driving simulators than those who just took naps or just drank coffee alone. They were also able to remain alert for longer periods. Just to make sure it wasn’t just a mind thing, some subjects were given a decaf coffee “placebo” and those “control subjects” failed to perform as well on tests as those who drank the full strength coffee.

To understand the science behind this and to learn how to take the best kind of coffee nap, read more: Scientists agree: Coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone

Rude driver

Rude Drivers Worse Than Dangerous Drivers?

Rude drivers tend to bring up feelings of anger and frustration more than drivers who perform dangerous maneuvers according to an interesting study conducted by the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. The study followed 209 drivers in Queensland for a week and the drivers were asked to record negative events that they experienced while driving.

Most drivers reported rude behavior on the part of other drivers as being more upsetting than dangerous driving behaviors. Some drivers reported retaliating against the rude driver by use of the horn or hand gestures. Others decided that retaliation of any sort only brought them down to the same level as the rude driver.

Although the study was designed to study thought processes and not safe driving practices, there’s probably little doubt that those drivers who chose not to retaliate were among the safer drivers in the group. It’s not easy to fight the urge to retaliate in some way when someone is rude but those who forget it and drive on are taking the safest approach. Retaliating in some way could possibly trigger a road rage situation.

Driver courtesy is a practice that isn’t seen much anymore but, to survive on the roads, it’s a critical skill to develop. Perhaps the hardest skill to develop is to act courteously to other drivers even when that courtesy isn’t returned. Practicing that skill on today’s roads is becoming more critical to driver safety. Read more: Driver Etiquette More Important To Road Users Than Safe Driving

Using a parking lot to avoid the light

Ask The Traffic School Instructor: Using A Parking Lot To Avoid Traffic Signals

Question: If you’re at a red light and need to turn, is it illegal to avoid the light by cutting through a parking lot?

Answer: It’s very tempting – you need to turn right but you’re two or three cars behind the light and the drivers ahead are going straight. It would be so easy to just cut through the parking lot and exit onto your street but imagine if a whole line of cars were doing that every time the light was red.

It is against the law to cut through a parking lot to avoid a traffic signal. In Florida, this law is covered under Florida Statute 316.074 – Obedience to and required traffic control devices. If a law enforcement officer were to observe you doing this, you could receive a moving violation ticket. Almost all states have a similar law.

The only time it would be permissible was if you were directed to do so by a law enforcement officer. A situation where this could happen was if there were a traffic crash in the intersection and traffic was backed up. At that point, an officer might direct traffic through the parking lot to clear the traffic and keep it moving. However, before doing this, the officer would first have to decide whether or not the extra traffic might pose a danger to pedestrians or other traffic in the parking lot before allowing traffic to cut through. Situations like that would be very rare.

When you’re sitting at a red light, your sense of time can become distorted and every second spent waiting seems like five. If you were to actually time the length of a red light, you would probably find that the actual time spent was much shorter than it seemed. It’s better to just wait it out and avoid getting a ticket rather than avoiding the light.

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over

Labor Day Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over Campaign Begins

Labor Day is near and that means millions of people will be headed to the beach or lake to celebrate the end of summer. Unfortunately, for many, it also means they will be driving drunk or will become the victim of a drunk driver. To prevent that, law enforcement agencies across the nation have already begun cracking down on drunk drivers. This year’s “Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over” campaign began on August 15th and will run through the end of Labor Day weekend on September 1st.

How bad is the problem? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the 2012 Labor Day weekend (6 p.m. Friday to 5:59 a.m. Tuesday), 147 people died in drunk driving crashes. On an average day, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes but, during Labor Day weekend, that figure jumps to one every 34 minutes. Young drivers between the ages of 18-34 make up the largest segment of drunk drivers.

If you plan to include alcohol as part of your Labor Day weekend festivities, make sure you have a safe way to get home. Use a designated driver or some alternate means of transportation. Better yet, enjoy the final holiday of the summer without alcohol. Don’t become a statistic or ruin the lives of your family or some other innocent family by drinking and driving.

Safety messages

Safety Messages In A Language Drivers Can Understand

Safety messages often go ignored so the Massachusetts Department of Transportation decided to post messages in a language Bostonians can understand. “Use Yah Blinkah” was the first message posted and proved so popular that a contest was organized to get more ideas from  Massachusetts residents. More than 500 entries were received. To see the winners, read more: Humor, highway safety merge in contest

Photo credit: AP / Michael Dwyer