Tag Archives: Adrenaline

Driven From Distraction To Danger

Inexperience added to distraction equals a massively dangerous drive time.

I’m going through my third mind-bending, adrenaline-scarring, foot-stomping, squeal-stuffing, expletive-deleting, smile-faking, terror-strangling trip through driver education just now, which might possibly mean I’m a bit sensitive to this sort of thing.

The thing is, distraction is a huge problem for drivers of all ages, not just the road newbies.

In addition to my oldest young dude, Sarcasmo, I also know a friend my age who, only a few years ago, was looking down at the radio while driving through a parking lot and — with mind distracted — rammed into a parked car. And the strangest thing was that, in both cases, the parked car actually jumped out in front of both drivers.

At least according to their stories. Regardless, allowing yourself to be distracted can be as dangerous as getting behind the wheel after downing a few adult bevies.

Distraction can be even more dangerous than drinking for new drivers because they’ve been told again and again not to drink and drive and, for the most part, they listen to that. How often have you told your young dudette not to look at the radio while driving? Or answer the phone?

There are plenty of new advertising campaigns that warn drivers of the dangers of texting while driving. I know several adults who have listened to that and now will not even read a text while stopped at a red light. I know even more teens who say they don’t, but then respond suspiciously quickly when texted while out.

That, my friends, is plenty dangerous.

An inexperienced driver who reaches for a cellphone increases the risk for a crash by more than 700 percent, a new study found.

Using accelerometers, cameras, global positioning devices and other sensors, researchers studied the driving habits of 42 newly licensed 16- and 17-year-old drivers and 167 adults with more experience. The machines recorded incidents of cellphone use, reaching for objects, sending text messages, adjusting radios and controls, and eating and drinking.

Eating while driving almost tripled the risk of a crash, while texting or looking at something on the side of the road nearly quadrupled that risk.

Distraction is dangerous.

Think of it this way. You’re in a rolling hunk of metal traveling down the road at a high rate of speed. This hunk of metal and plastic now has massive inertia and it’s held to the road by only four small pieces of rotating rubber. That’s it.

If you want to understand inertia, try holding a small weight in your hand and then spinning around. You’ll feel the weight pulling away from your spinning body. Now try to quickly stop spinning, or pull the weight straight up.

That fight against what you’re trying to do? That’s inertia. That’s inertia from a small weight and powered only by your spinning body.

Imagine tons of metal and plastic and glass, moving many, many, many times faster than your spinning body. Changing direction or stopping isn’t so easy with that, is it?

Because of that difficulty, it’s of upmost importance that drivers stay focused on the road ahead, behind and to the side, so they can react as soon as possible and get their vehicle under control.

Getting distracted by a text or a good song on the radio is every driver’s worst enemy because it can happen at any moment and will do so without your knowledge.

According to the study, older drivers only significantly raised their risk of an accident while dialing a phone. Not only that, drivers from every age group already spend 10 percent of their driving time looking at something off the road.

“When young people engage in tasks that take their eyes away from the roadway, they’re increasing their risk dramatically,” said the lead author, Charlie Klauer, a research scientist at Virginia Tech University. “Kids need to have their eyes forward. To add any other distraction into this is really increasing the risk.”

Have a talk with your young dudes and dudettes about driving without distractions today.

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The Things We Do For Love

Full-body hangovers suck. Especially when you didn’t even drink the night before.

I have a full-body hangover of such immense proportions that I beg for the sweet, sweet release of death that will never come, that will always be denied me by an angry and vengeful god.*

And it’s all because I love my little dudes and want them to be happy.

Today, you see, is the last day of Hyper Lad’s spring break. Hyper Lad, unlike his two brothers, loves to get out and do things in the great outdoors. Not just motor sports, but actual activities like, say, for instance, snowboarding.

Yes, snowboarding. It’s like skiing, but for the younger folks. Well, The dead-cat bounce is most important because the cat is, in fact, dead.maybe not necessarily for the young, but at least for those with bones that do not break in a strong wind. Those who can hit the ground and bounce, rather than those who hit the ground with a dead-cat bounce.

Snowboarding can look like one of the most Oh, he flies through the air with the greatest of ease, that daring young dude on his flying snowboard-ine.amazing, elegant bouts of movement when performed by a professional or someone who has practiced or knows what she is doing. Spinning down a half pipe, blowing up the sides and flipping into the air in perfect control of every motion. . . That is the image of the person on a snowboard that springs to mind when dudes think about someone strapping on the single board and hitting the slopes.

I, as should probably be exceedingly obvious by now, am not that person.

I am the person who comes around the corner and into full view of

Crashing on a snowboard hurts. It hurts a lot and, the thing about it, is that it happens all the time.
Not me, but it definitely could be.

the waiting folks in the line for the ski lift, looking good, smoothly shifts from goofy foot to the correct foot and then comes in for a nice cutting stop. . .

and catches the front edge of my snowboard on some slushy slush at the bottom of the slopes and flies in for a massive face plant onto some very hard-packed snow. I ended up with snow inside my goggles and a bruise that runs all up my entire right side of my upper body.

It wasn’t the crash that has me limping, though. That’s just the result of all the snowboarding. It uses very different muscles than does skiing. I’ve skied since injuring my knee and been absolutely fine. I am not fine after snowboarding. Not fine at all.

I groan like a zombie going up stairs, limping the entire way. Going down stairs is even worse. I’m limping and grimacing just walking and almost fell when I tried to get out of bed this morning, and would have landed on my sore, bruised right side if I hadn’t tangled myself in the sheets thrashing in a nightmare of falling.

Hyper Lad, of course, is bouncing around like he’s just been dosed with adrenaline and fitted with rubber in his joints. He’s a happy camper and, being the kind and polite little dude he is, keeps slapping me on the bad shoulder and offering to jump on my back if I want to give him a piggy back ride.

The thing of it is, I almost knew that I would end up like this, but I went ahead and did it anyway. Mostly because Hyper Lad wanted to learn to snowboard and I wanted him to have fun.

There are some who think those are the actions of a stupid dude. I do not know if I can refute that** and keep a straight face.

But that’s okay. I’m having to keep everything else on my body straight so the pain doesn’t incapacitate me.

Yep, it’s the things we do for love. . . that will kill us in the end.

Footnotes & Eratta

* There is a slight possibility that I am engaging in hyperbole for effect and humor. Slight possibility.
** I can, but mostly because I am a contrary son of an individual.

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Dudes And Dogs: A Wonderful Combination

In the United States alone, there are more than 70 million pet dogs and more than 76 million pet cats. That’s a lot of fur, dudes, a lot of fur.

So, considering we pet owners have to spend thousands of dollars on vet fees, food, chew toys, litter and all the rest of the stuff that it takes to keep a happy pet, why do we do it?

Well, at least according to the folks at mercola.com, which bills itself as the world’s No. 1 natural health website, there might be more than one reason.

Because they provide unconditional love in return, providing a sense of friendship and comfort in a way that is unmatched, sometimes even by humans. And as if you needed another reason to give your pet a hug today, research is also increasingly showing that these furry creatures offer proven benefits to your health.

It’s that last one about which I want to talk today. I’ve long known that rehabilitation facilities, some hospitals, hospices and retirement homes have house pets because there are documented benefits to owning a pet. The major benefit being simply that they make us feel better.

According to a new statement released by the American Heart Association (AHA), owning a pet, particularly a dog, may reduce your risk of heart disease.2The conclusion came following a review of dozens of studies that showed pet owners were in better health than non-pet owners. Highlights of the research included:3

  • People with dogs engaged in more walking and more physical activity, and were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity
  • Pet ownership is probably associated with a reduction in heart disease risk factors and increased survival among patients
  • Owning a pet is linked with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a lower incidence of obesity
  • Pets can have a positive effect on your body’s reaction to stress, including a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline-like hormone release when a pet is present.

The interesting thing about this is that it was brought to my attention by my dad. He’s an orthopedic surgeon, one of the best in the world (and that’s not bragging), and he’s always looking for better ways to stay healthy. In his early 70s, he has the mobility of a much younger man.

My sister suggested this was Dad’s way of slyly asking for a dog. However, when that idea was put forth, the glacial silence emanating from Dad’s wife was overwhelming, so the idea was shot down pretty quickly. Which means, in this instance at least, owning a dog might possibly be even less healthy than going to buy one.

While the study didn’t come right out and state that owning a dog will reduce a dude’s risk of cardiac disease, it does seem to be a health plus. Of course, it could be the longer walks that the dog owner takes that are helping with the aerobic activity meter there.

Either way, it looks like owning a dog is a good, healthy idea.

Plus they love to slobber all over our faces and jump up and down when we walk into the room and basically make us feel like we’re the greatest person on the entire planet.

And that can’t be bad.

 

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