Aggressive Drivers You see them on the road every day. They drive quite fast, often swerving from one lane to another, and react to any minor provocation. Politeness is of course not in their vocabulary. If you encounter this type of person, avoid them without making any verbal or eye contact, if possible. Honking your horn won't help and may possibly put you and your passengers at risk. Shining your bright lights (from behind) may also escalate the situation, although we understand it is tempting!
Your best option is to attempt to leave the area as quickly and safely as possible. Call 911 (or #77) and provide any helpful information you remember, such as the license number, type of vehicle and make/model. If they continue to follow you, drive to a public area or the nearest policy headquarters. "Road rage" is a violent escalation, and can occur if you provoke (intentionally or unintentionally) the driver. If you witness or suspect this is occurring, simply get out of the way and allow the authorities to handle the situation.
Seat Belts Of course you know to fasten your seat belts. Yet thousands of people either forget or choose not to when they get into their car. If you have your seat belt fastened, you just increased your odds by 40% that you won't die in a car crash. If you're at least 18 years old, it's the law anyway! We also wrote an extensive article on Virginia car seat regulations that may be helpful. In that article, we reminded consumers that air bags are NOT a substitute for seat belts. NOTE: We will also keep you updated on any legislative changes.
Using them will also help you control your vehicle if you hit. Medical expenses will be much lower for persons that buckled up. And although air bags will always diminish the risk of serious injury, they should never act as a replacement for seat belts. The dashboard, steering wheel and front and side windows can cause extensive personal injury,and "buckling up" will drastically reduce the risk.
Children tend to follow the lead of their parents, so setting a good example is another factor to consider. Also, it's just as important to utilize seat belts in the back seat, regardless of the extra work needed to fasten them. Although the front windshield risk is eliminated, the back of the front seats can cause serious injuries.
Seniors Between the ages of 62 and 75, for the mast majority of persons, driving skills deteriorate. This includes reaction times, and sometimes the ability to make accurate decisions regarding oncoming traffic and developing situations. Medications and disease are certainly more prevalent at these ages and they do have a major impact.
To reduce dependency on using an automobile, seniors can utilize taxi services, rides with friends, family or relatives, and public transportation. The Medical Advisory Board helps verify that older drivers are able to safely operate their vehicle. The Board also has the authority to suspend or terminate licenses.
Motorcycles If you ride a cycle, additional training is needed and you are required to have a Class "M," "M2," or "M3" license. Obviously, additional safety equipment and clothing is highly recommended, including a helmet, leather jacket, safety glasses, gloves and protective shoes. Riding without a helmet is one of the most hazardous things you can do.
When you're about 40% more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury without a helmet, it's not even a choice any more. Goggles, or some form of eyewear is needed since not all cycles have windshields. And gloves (a sticky kind) are always helpful. There's a great motorcycle guide published by the DMV that you can get here. It's free and very informative.
Drinking While Driving can always be prevented. Simply don't get behind the wheel if you have any recent alcohol in your system. Virginia is certainly doing its part by enacting some of the harshest DUI legislation in the US. If your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is 0.08 or higher, you are considered legally drunk. You also can be arrested within three hours of an accident without a warrant (assuming probable cause).
The penalties? They are quite severe. A $250 fine and one-year license suspension for the first offense. The second offense results in a $500 fine, three-year suspension and possible jail time. The third conviction is considered a felony. If it occurs within five years of your first two offenses, you'll spend six months in jail. NOTE: Your car insurance rates will likely be impacted for years when you are convicted of a DUI or DWI. Refusing to take a breathalyzer test will also result in significantly higher rates.
Helpful Pedestrian Tips
Of course you don't drive everywhere. Certainly, you spend a fairly significant amount of time walking from one place to another. If you're near any streets or roads with traffic, the DMV offers some good ideas. Senior citizens are the most vulnerable and need to utilize extra caution. Some of these suggestions are rather obvious and others are ones we tend to forget.
Use crosswalks. They are there for a reason. And you could get a ticket for jaywalking.
Look both ways, start walking and look again. Approaching vehicles can arrive very quickly and don't assume they are going to stop at stop signs.
Don't wear dark clothes at night! If possible wear a reflector if walking on or near a road.
If you're drinking, don't drive. If you're crossing a street or navigating a busy highway, you also should not be drinking. About one in three pedestrian deaths are attributed to alcohol use.
Flashing red lights mean one thing. STOP! The "Stop Bar" will also warn you to watch for children and do not proceed. Since most injuries to children occur inside the bus instead of outside the bus, many are very preventible. Also remember that the driver may not be able to see you if you are standing or walking within 10 feet of the front or back of the bus. Always keep a safe distance.
As you probably know, you won't find any seat belts in a school bus. Because of compartmentalization, which is the configuration of the seats and padding, children are protected (in theory) from serious injury.
Teen Driver Safety
"Fasten your seat belts" may be the best advice you give to a new driver. The percentage of teens that don't "buckle up" is significantly higher than all other age brackets. This simple reminder might save a life...including your own. And yes...It is also the law.
Getting appropriate rest and concentrating on the road are two tips that may be obvious but still need to be discussed. Taking care of those two factors will significantly reduce the incidence of accidents. Understandably, it's rare when you can consistently get 8-10 hours of sleep. But if you feel tired before a long trip, think twice about leaving at that moment.
Usage of alcohol is not only prohibited at these ages, but it is illegal. Driving while impaired is a recipe for disaster, especially with an experienced operator. Of lesser importance is the massive increase you can expect on your car insurance rates in Virginia. A "single vehicle crash" would likely cause the suspension of driving privileges. Just don't do it!
The Virginia DMV offers additional tips, services and resources that are helpful to both young and old drivers. Our website also provides expert and unbiased advice regarding safety issues, Virginia car insurance comparisons and free online quotes.
August 2015 - The "Million Dollar Mile" is located in Hopewell on I-295. About a thousand speeding tickets each month have been issued the last few years. The Highway isn't necessarily unsafe. However, the area has become a great source of revenue for the town. Almost $2 million in tickets was collected last year. If you recently passed through Hopewell, there's a good chance you noticed the increased police surveillance.
The city will need to find additional sources of income since a new law went into effect in July. The just-passed legislation only allows 30% of ticket revenue to be kept, but the remaining revenue goes to the state. It's expected that the number of written speeding tickets will now reduce.
Edward Harris is the owner and founder of this website. Since 1980, he has been helping individuals and families with their car insurance needs. During that time, he has handled more than 10,000 applications and continues to provide service for thousands of clients.
Ed is married with two children and enjoys tennis, golf, and international politics. Reluctantly, he bowls once every 10 years.
Ed Harris' articles are listed on this page. Enjoy !