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Bad habits associated with driving

August 21, 2012
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

First, let me apologize for missing last week's column. Although I had my mind on the many car problems you all face, my body was busy chasing lobsters while diving in the Florida Keys. If I could have typed underwater I would have, but I haven't mastered that one yet. Multitasking is a myth propagated by scatterbrains. I'll stick with that story.

Let's talk about bad habits when operating or caring for a car. The ones you have, not mine. For instance, have you ever locked yourself out of your car? If you have, it's because you used the door button or the mechanical knob on the door to lock it as you exited. Don't do that. Use the key inserted in the outside lock, or the key fob (that black electrical thingamabob with the buttons on it attached to your keys) to lock the doors after you get out. That way you cannot lock yourself out, unless you lose your keys later, in which case you are a dingbat and I may not be able to help you. If you find yourself locked out, be wary of helpers with things called "slim-jims" or the like, because they can cause damage to the door lock linkage. Call a locksmith, or your automobile club hotline for competent help. If you or your spouse is in the habit of locking oneself out with regularity, I suggest hiding a door key in a magnetic key box, hidden somewhere under the car. Do not paste a map in the window showing where the key box is located. Just remember it.

How about using your left foot on the brake pedal? If you are one of those, I have probably called you some impolite names if I followed you. Having your brake light on every ten seconds will drive a following driver to distraction and cause premature wearing of the brake pads. On second thought, keep it up; we make money on brake jobs. On third thought, stop it, because unless you have two left feet you will never be able to drive a stick-shift vehicle in your life. The left foot is for the clutch.

Do you stick to the left lane on four lane roads, whether you are passing or not? Did you read In the Constitution or somewhere that you have that right? If you think you did, you have miss-read it. It actually says that the rest of us have the right to break the law and exceed the speed limit if we want to, and you have no right to try to stop us. I mean stop them. Of course I wouldn't do that. Much.

Do you turn on your headlights with your wipers? Do you know it is the law in Florida, where rain was invented? It is also a great idea to keep them on anytime on long straight roads like Alligator Alley and the Tamiami Trail. The mirages that appear on those roads on hot summer days look like water ahead, with Sahara Desert Arabs riding camels in it, blocking out oncoming cars unless they have headlights on. Harley riders are required to keep their lights on, usually on high beam, so that you can't identify the rider who blinded you as they went by, but at least you missed the Harley.

There is no need to even mention texting, sexting, tweeting, facebooking, emailing or any of the multiple gaming options available on your cell phones or ipads or whatever. Save those things for keeping the kids quiet in the back seat. It seems to be turning them into quiet little zombies. History will judge whether that is a good thing or not. They say history is written by the victors. That's scary.



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