Tag Archives: Slo

Teen Car Safety: Not An Oxymoron After All

Keeping your teen dude safe while behind the wheel is a matter of more than just the car’s specs. It’s also a matter of your teen’s mental outlook.

By which I mean that if you put your teen behind the wheel of a fire-engine-red muscle car that roars and spits even in neutral, well, you shouldn’t be surprised when your teen dude takes the car up on its implicit challenge to drive it like the beast it most truly is.

Put your teen dude behind the wheel of a car belonging to an old grandmother with a weakness for boxy, slow and drably painted automobiles, however?

“Big, slow and ugly.” That’s what parents should keep in mind when considering what car to give or buy a new teen driver, says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 

This came from a recent article put out by the Detroit Free-Press, although considering that Detroit the city recently filed for bankruptcy protection, not really sure we should be listening to anything that comes out of there these days. Still, this at least sounds like good advice, so let’s just keep listening.

Another thing to consider when looking at a car you consider safer for your teen driver to use, you might want to consider that most cars older than about five years might not have the safety features mostly considered essential in keeping alive the sort of driver most likely to crash. That is, a teen dude behind the wheel.

The safety features you most want to see in a car driven by a teenager are electronic stability control, side airbags and front-collision warning or mitigation.

However, you also should keep in mind Lund’s admonition about finding cars that are big, slow and ugly.

Most people look for cars that get good gas mileage, which usually means smaller cars. That might not be a good idea when looking for a teen driver.

Compact and smaller cars “just offer less protection to their occupants,” says Lund. “It gets worse pretty quickly as you go smaller.”

While most cars offer at least 200 horsepower, you mostly want to consider cars that don’t have excessively high levels of horses under the hood. You also don’t want to buy anything that looks even vaguely sports-car-like.

“Parents have to realize the kind of car you’re driving tends to elicit certain driving behavior,” says Lund. “If it can go faster, it tends to be driven faster.”

Of course, all this depends on whether or not you’re considering getting a car for your teen to drive. For a lot of folks, this just isn’t an option, but you might want to consider it when you’re looking at your car. If your teen dude is going to drive your car, why not try and make it as safe as possible. Which might mean that you’re the one driving a car that looks ugly and slow.

Not that I have to worry about that. I mean, I’m driving an outstanding 2007 Honda Odyssey mini van. And mini vans are cool.

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In The Land Of The Armless, The One-Armed Man Is King

by Richard

To quote Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the king.” Or at least it would be if I really were in the land of the armless. Unfortunately, I’m in the normal land here where most everybody has two arms, two hands and can actually get stuff done.

Yep, you guessed right. It’s time for a whine-fest.

It’s been almost two weeks since I had my shoulder operated on and I’m already getting very, very, very tired of walking around with one arm in a sling, strapped to my body. My right arm is basically useless. I’ve been told I can’t even hold things with my right hand because I don’t want to strain the newly repaired muscles and tendons in my shoulder.

I never realized how much I actually do during the day until I couldn’t do any of those things.

I have to get help from my young dudes to tie my shoes. Zipping up is a monumental task. Putting on deodorant requires a few acts of contortions that would strain the credulity of India rubber men at the freak show. I can’t even wash dishes.

See, the thing is I know I have ADD. I can’t sit and do just one thing. If I’m watching TV, I’ll also need to read a book at the same time because I can’t just watch. During most evenings, I will be doing stuff in the kitchen while also keeping an eye on the TV or something similar. Now I can’t.

TV, by itself, is just so boring.

Sitting at the keyboard to write is a chore now. I have to type so very slowly. By the time my fingers have hunted-and-pecked their way to being even with my brain, my brain has moved on and forgotten what I was writing about in the. . .

Still, I can’t get too annoyed. I know I will get the use of my right arm back. Eventually. I’m a lot luckier than a lot of people who are learning to adjust to life with only one arm.

Still. . .

Still. . .

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Hidden Talents: The Stinkening

by Richard

This is one of those hidden talents that probably should have stayed, well, hidden.

As I said yesterday, I recently found out that I can do household repairs slightly more complicated than changing out a light bulb, which will be of great comfort to those family members for whom I’ve already done what I laughingly call repairs. Oops. Oh, well. I can make the repairs to the repairs now.

What accounts for this new-found competence? No idea. Maybe I’ve just been touched Ouchdarnit!where’sthebandaids?, the god of household repairs. Whatever. It means I’ve been fixing things.

Even when I shouldn’t. Take, for instance, hidden talent #2: What’s that smell?

This problem hit all at once. I was busy shoveling the remains of a particularly bad dinner down the garbage disposal when the silly thing backed up on me. I tried the usual remedies. I shoved my hand down there and cleaned it out — just after I remembered to actually turn it off and wait for the blades to stop spinning. I tried to plunge it clear and managed to shoot disgusting water/food slush out the other sink and all over the kitchen floor. I even used Drano on the thing. (I know, I know. What can I say? I was desperate.) Nothing worked.

It was time to get nasty.

I cleaned everything out from the cabinets under the sink and brought out my 5-gallon bucket. I put the bucket under the u-bend in the pipes down there and started loosening pipe. Eventually I did manage to get the u-bend off and water flooded into the bucket. Remember when I said it was a 5-gallon bucket? Yeah, well, turned out there was 5.2 gallons of water and gunk in the pipes. Yeah.

After I cleaned up that mess, I got down to business. I started shoving things through the u-bend pipe, looking to dislodge whatever was in there blocking the water. Nothing. I cleaned a little more pipe that would had been attached to the u-bend. Still nothing. So I put all the pipe back together and tried the disposal.

Speaking of nothing. . . It still didn’t work. I sighed and got back to work loosening pipes. After cleaning up from the water that spilled out when I forgot to put the 5-gallon bucket down again, I decided to concentrate on the one pipe I hadn’t cleaned earlier. I pulled out the pipe that lead from under the sink out through the wall and away.

That was when I noticed the smell. Something like a cross between 10-day-dead squashed skunk, that waxy gunk you sometimes find between your toes and what happens when the toilet paper misses just a bit and you’re in a hurry. So, yeah. Bad. Not knowing when to leave well enough alone, pack up and sell the house, I continued.

When I finally got the pipe out, I saw that it was filled with this black, jelly-like substance that stank so bad I could see the stink particles coming off it in waves (Hey! A physics joke. Enjoy.). I dropped the pipe, ran upstairs and caught a giant breath over the cat litter box in Zippy the Monkey Boy’s bathroom and got to work. I carried the pipe outside and upended it over a lush patch of grass, which began to brown before the gunk even touched it. Sticks, leaves and other yard detritus served to clean out the pipe and leave it in a slightly more serviceable condition.

I got everything put back together and, wonder of wonders, it actually worked. Well, except for a small leak, but I managed to fix that with the plumbers friend: crack sealant (that was what we call a punne or play on words).

So, two hidden talents discovered and two repairs made. The next time something goes wrong, I think I’m going to discover a new hidden talent: Finding the name of a good handyman.

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