Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From Rain to Hydroplane

Though it rains in Western Washington a lot, there isn't usually a problem with hydroplaning...probably because it's usually just drizzle. We've had a few exceptions to the norm this year, though. It's just after 5pm and it's been raining all day today. It was raining when I went to bed last night and has been going non-stop all day. As a result, there is standing water on the roadways. I'd like to think that modern engineering would have solved this problem and the rain would naturally run off, and to a large degree it works, but it hasn't eliminated the problem and hydroplaning still occurs.

So what should you do when your vehicle turns into a pair of water skis and rides up on top of the water? Follow these three points:
  1. Have both hands on the wheel in a balanced hand position. That means the hands are in the 9 and 3 or 8 and 4 o'clock positions. Not so much 10 and 4. This will allow you maximum control of steering.
  2. Let off the gas. Slow down without braking. This will help your wheels sink to the pavement and gain traction without getting water in the brakes. It's just like slowing a ski boat will help a skier sink into the water.
  3. Increase your following distance and keep a large space cushion around your vehicle.
Be Safe and Happy Driving!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A New View

When I was seven I got glasses. It was a life changing experience for me as the world opened up right in front of me. My first impression was, "wow, I can see the leaves on the trees." They had been green blobs before. Now they were crystal clear and precise. My parents never had to remind me to wear my glasses. I wanted to.

Yesterday, I took my Pilot into the dealership for an oil change and to check on a couple of items. I thought they were simple turns out only one of them was. My rear wiper hasn't been working for a few months. Since I wasn't raised with vehicles that had rear wipers, I didn't think it was a big deal not to have one. But I did notice things were a bit hazy checking my rear view mirror. We've had a lot of rain, spray, snow, slush, etc. on the roads this winter and it gets so discouraging to wash the car only to drive it once and the dirt mounds up again. So, most often I just live with the dirt. For a month at a time. Or two. Sometimes three.

When a not-so-easy, pull out the seats and dash problem made it impossible to take my car home, the dealer gave me a rental car until they could isolate the problem and then fix it. My first impression driving a new car? I could see clearly out that back window. Like going from an impressionistic painting to a sharp photographic image clear. A whole new traffic scene emerged and I was vividly reminded of my childhood experience getting glasses.

I'm going back to the dealer this afternoon to get my car back. Tightening one bolt fixed the wiper. So simple. And I have a renewed sense of importance for keeping that back window clean.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Safe Driving Fine Arts Contest WINNERS!

I am happy to announce that we have winners for our fine arts contest that was announced last fall. Thank you so much to all those who entered. I loved seeing the creativity. WELL DONE! About the the winning entries ... I'm a little surprised that they all happen to be photographs. I was pulling for a great limerick but alas, none entered. Maybe next time we will have to specifically hold a limerick contest if that's what I really want. Ha ha.

The winning entries had on average double the number of peer votes on Facebook as the others. I think these guys waged a massive campaign with their buddies to get the vote out. Of course, it also helps that they are still in high school and have a large social network.

In THIRD place,
Anthony Bermudez with "Check One" 
and a $75 prize:

In SECOND place,
Daniel Lam with "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Unsafe" 
and a $125 prize: 

In FIRST place,
Barjinder Singh with "Safe Driving State of Mind" 
and a $250 prize:
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