Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Parking Like A Parker - Pt.2

Parking on a hill?
After you park on a hill, be sure to set your (emergency) parking brake. Just in case the parking brake fails, turn the wheels so they will keep your vehicle from rolling into traffic.  If there is a curb, turn your steering wheel all the way away from it if you're facing uphill or all the way toward it if you're facing downhill.  If your vehicle starts to roll, the wheels should stop the vehicle at the curb and prevent it from rolling downhill.  This method works best where the curb is relatively high. If there is no curb or a very low one, whether you are facing uphill or down, turn your wheels all the way toward the nearest side of the road. If your vehicle does start to roll, it will probably roll away from the street and traffic.

Pulling Out From Parallel Parking?

To pull out of a parallel parking space, make sure your wheels are straight, back up to the vehicle behind you, and turn your wheels away from the curb.

Six steps to entering more safely into traffic:

1) Turn your head to look over your right shoulder and check through the backseat rear-window for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and other vehicles that may become a hazard.

2) Use your vehicle's interior rear view mirror to help keep an eye on hazards behind your vehicle.

3) Signal your intentions to move from your parking space into traffic.

4) Check your vehicle's side view mirrors, especially on the driver's side, for approaching vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, in-line skaters, motorcyclists, and other highway users.

5) Turn your head to look over your left shoulder out through the backseat rear-window, and begin to slowly drive forward, making sure you can enter traffic without hitting the vehicle parked ahead.

6) Again turn your head and look over your left shoulder to re-check through the backseat rear-window, pull out into the traffic lane only when it is safe to do so.

Parking Regulations

What people generally understand as "parking" is legally divided into three categories: parking, standing and stopping.

A NO PARKING sign means you may stop only temporarily to load or unload merchandise or passengers.
A NO STANDING sign means you may stop only temporarily to load or unload passengers.
A NO STOPPING sign means you may stop only in order to obey a traffic sign, signal or officer, or to avoid conflicts with other vehicles.

Besides posted parking, standing and stopping rules, there are statewide rules not always indicated by signs:

Parking, standing or stopping is not allowed:
  • Within 15 feet (5 m) of a fire hydrant, unless a licensed driver remains in the vehicle to move it in an emergency.
  • On the road side of a parked vehicle ("double parking").
  • On a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.
  • In an intersection, unless permitted by signs or parking meters.
  • On railroad tracks.
  • Alongside or opposite road excavations, construction or other obstructions if your vehicle would block traffic.
  • Within 30 feet (10 m) of a pedestrian safety zone, unless another distance is marked.
  • On a bridge or in a tunnel.
Parking or standing is not allowed:
  • In front of a driveway.
  • Within 20 feet (6 m) of a crosswalk at an intersection.
  • Within 30 feet (10 m) of a traffic light, STOP sign or YIELD sign.
  • Within 20 feet (6 m) of a fire station driveway, or within 75 feet (23 m) on the opposite side of the road.
  • Along a curb that has been cut down, lowered or constructed for access to the sidewalk.
In addition, you may not park your vehicle within 50 feet (15 m) of a railroad crossing.

Visit www.PaulinaAParker.com for more information.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Following Distances

Is one car length distance enough? – Yes, keep it simple.

FOLLOWING DISTANCE: Keep an adequate space "cushion" between your vehicle and those you are following. Use the "two second rule" described in the Driver's Manual. Be sure to increase your following distance in poor weather or visibility.  Simply put, make sure you can see from the tire on up, the car ahead of you.

As long as you can see the entire car ahead of you, keep that distance as you drive, but make sure you stay in your lane and if you must change lanes, signal first, check, and double check again to make sure it’s safe to do so.  All you need is enough space before you switch lanes.

Practice makes it permanent. Not so long ago, I applied this simple rule while headed North on I-95 during early morning rush hour. What spared me from an accident was when I looked over my shoulder and a second before I looked over my shoulder. I checked my left side mirror as usual, but the car was in my blind spot and not visible because the driver was following me too close.  The next logical thing I did was look back over my shoulder before I switched into the left lane.  No doubt it would have been a bad accident had I not looked over my shoulder, that’s how close my car and the other car were.

When it comes to safe driving, be alert at all times, stick to the two second rule and doing so will also help you pass the road test easily.  Don’t make the mistakes of others.  Following distance is as important as all the other skills necessary to master before you take the road test.  Do you want to pass the road test?  Keep this simple rule. Visit www.PaulinaAParker.com for more information.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Check Your Brake Pedal

Have you checked the brake pedal before the road test?
Find out what a good working brake pedal feels like.

BRAKING: Bring the vehicle to a stop gently. Start braking well before your stopping position to avoid "jerky" stops. Make sure you stop your vehicle in the proper position of the lane.
Caution:  To every new driver.  If you did not think being knowledgeable and aware of how important this issue is and how it may affect you on the road test, think again!

The massive recalls by Toyota Motor Corp., (the world's largest automaker) have gotten the attention of the White House officials. "Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said at an appearance in Washington Toyota President Akio Toyoda to emphasize how seriously the Obama administration is taking investigations into reports of uncontrolled acceleration in Toyota vehicles.”  Therefore, it should also concern the new driver who is preparing to take the road test anytime soon.

I remember my friend Monique’s urgent phone call.  She wanted to know if I can lend my car to her friend Babaluka (Ms. B who she helped prepare for the road test several weeks prior and felt she was ready to take the road test.  Before Monique accepted to assist Ms. B, she had attempted the road test several times over the years and was unsuccessful. However, this last time around, we found out something very strange had happened on the day Ms. B drove her family car to take the road test again.  Monique noticed how tense and nervous Ms. B was on that Monday morning.  At one point, it got so bad Monique decided to drive the rest of the way.  The moment Monique took over the steering wheel and pressed on the brake pedal, it went all the way down to the floor of the car, but the car did not stop, it just kept going!

We found out later that a certain family member loosened the brake pedal screws to prevent Ms. B from passing the road test that day.  Oh, no you said, and that’s exactly what I said when I heard the story. The family member who did that did not want Ms. B to get her driver’s license because it will make her independent.  Obviously, Ms. B did not have anyone in her life at the time to explain or teach her the importance of checking the condition of the brake pedal to make sure it was in good and working condition before the road test.

As result of every thing that had happened and I was no where near the road test site, Ms. B did not get a chance to take the road test. She rescheduled the road test again and hoped to find another car that she can practice her driving skills before the next road test.

How about you, perhaps, you too have a similar story.  Like Ms. B, do you need help with how to identify problems with the car brake pedal before the road test? Visit www.PaulinaAParker.com for more information.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Screamed For Life!

How can you prevent a panic?  Remember to double check your car gear!
The scariest incident happened to me on a parking lot, but I lived to share it.  I had just finished work one cold Tuesday evening and decided to get my prescription filled at a Target Pharmacy.  When I was leaving Target’s parking lot, I was almost ran over by a driver who was not so careful.  Imagine for a moment.  I’m standing between two cars.  My car on my right, and the other parked car on my left.  While I was getting ready to open my car door, all of a sudden, I hear a loud bang!  The parked car on my left rolled backwards because it was hit by a moving car that was in front of it.

Thank God I don’t walk in fear, but that loud bang incident scared the mess out of me!  The loud bang and my panic-scream afterwards got the attention of everybody who was in the area.  Everybody stopped dead in their tracks and turned around to see what had happened!  At that moment, I noticed the driver of the moving car had warmed-up his car and as he was ready to drive off, obviously, his car was in the wrong gear.

Shortly after I screamed and while everybody was looking in the direction where I was standing, a young man came out of the moving car.  Due to the loud bang, he had a panic look on his face as if he had damaged the parked car that he just hit.  We both looked at the parked car, and good thing there was no damage done.  I then heard him mumble these words, “Oh man! I had the car in Reverse instead of Drive!”  Right a way, I thought, it is so important to get this point across to new drivers.  Accidents happen, but learn to avoid this type, double check to see that you are in the right gear before you take off.  If the truth be told, it happens to most experienced drivers too.  Either they did not learn it or have forgotten to double check if they are in the right gear before they take off.

When I left Target’s parking lot that Tuesday evening, I thanked God for protecting me.  All kind of thoughts also went through my mind.  I thought to myself, it could have been my car that got hit.  Also, the hard hit could have had a ripple effect where the parked car could have rolled back and hit another car behind it and so forth, but thank God no other car was parked behind the one that got hit.

Hint:  To pass the road test, it is in your best interest to double check and make sure you are in the right gear.  Doing so may impress the examiner and assure him you are a careful and responsible new driver.  Was that young man careful?  What type of driver will you turn out to be?  Think about it!  Visit www.PaulinaAParker.com for more information.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What is the deal about Steering?

Consider it another Safe Driving Tip that will help you pass the road test.  

Steer smoothly whether you are driving straight ahead, turning or backing up.

Looking back many years later, this was a serious story and I will never forget it as long as I live.  For 18 years I worked in Manhattan, so I took the D train from Burnside Avenue, in the Bronx to 47th-50th Street, Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.  I befriended a lady during our morning commute.  During one of our Monday morning rides we admitted to each other that we needed to get our driver’s license.  We both agreed on the fact that the driver’s manual was too complicated and not so easy to follow.  She laughed when she said, “girl listen!"  When she went to take the road test, and the test started, the examiner told her to go straight.  That was all she remembered.  She took off and before she knew it, the test was over! I said what happened?  She said, she was so nervous, she forgot what happened, but the examiner told her afterwards that she was all over the place, steering the car left, right and in the middle of a two lane street.  Obviously, she was not ready for the test.  As you can imagine we laughed like two crazy ladies, but the fact of the matter was she was driving dangerously and needed more lessons.  The times have changed and I don’t want the same thing to happen to you.  You probably can steer going straight, but how about backing up straight? Do you need more tips?

Visit www.PaulinaAParker.com for more information.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How many Safe Driving Tips can you master?

Do know the First Driving Tip that can help pass your road test?

Obey the posted speed limit, of course, but also adjust your speed properly due to weather, road, visibility, and traffic conditions.  Most importantly, on a rainy day, start very, slow.  However, on a regular day, start at 15 mph and depending on traffic condition, you may even want to carefully start at 10 and gradually move to 15 mph. The secret is “Listen” carefully to the examiner’s comments and simply follow what he/she is saying to you.

Not so long ago, one of our students was anxious to take the road test because she has been taking lessons for a while and felt she was ready.  As soon as she and her driving instructor arrived at the testing location and it was almost her turn, it started to rain like you won’t believe.  If you were in her shoes, what would you do?  Remembering the above mentioned speed limit, what approach would you take?  Would you insist on driving at the speed your instructor told you to drive on a regular non-rainy day?  No, you will adjust your speed because of the rain. If you need more driving tips to help you pass the road test easily?  Visit www.PaulinaAParker.com for more information.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Follow the examiner's instructions

The license examiner will be looking for you to demonstrate basic driving skills and knowledge of traffic laws.  He or she is not there to trick you into making mistakes or committing traffic violations.  During your test, the examiner will point out mistakes you make and will give you information that will help you correct them.  Relax, and listen to what the examiner tells you.  He or she may have you repeat a maneuver to see if you can correct a mistake you made earlier.  I remember as if it was yesterday, when I was in high school, my last semester in 12th grade, it was a requirement to take driver’s education.  There was a classroom theory or instructional lessons and then a moving screen and stationery cars that we sat in and made believe we were there on the actual road driving through regular traffic, but at the time I crashed most of the times, but no one knew except me.  Because I was unable to connect the theory to the practical, I had a hard time whenever the driving instructor took a few of the students on the road for driving lessons.  I had a hard time following the driving instructor’s instructions.  I was so confused about a lot of things.  Obviously, I needed one-to-one instructions, with just me in the car and the instructor.

When the driving instructor is telling another student what they needed to do, I would get confused with what he told me to do.  For example, instead of looking at the traffic light that hanged high in the intercessions or crosswalks  (you know, the regular traffic lights that are designated for drivers to follow) I used to look on the side street traffic lights (the one pedestrians used to cross the street) to determine when I should go or stop.  As you can imagine, my high school driver’s instructor and I did not get along very well.  I was totally confused and he did not pick that up.

At the end of that last semester, the entire class was scheduled to take the road test.  When my turn came, the examiner asked me to stop the car for some reason unbeknown to me.  Instead of me following his instructions, I said to him, Why? The light says Go!  Then he said, you should stop because I say so!! Then I said, but who is driving the car anyway?  As you can see clearly, I was out of order and had set myself up to fail (all I had to do was shut my big mouth and follow the examiner’s instructions).  I should not have talked back to the examiner.  Furthermore, I had the nerve to challenge the examiner’s authority!  Well, less than 5 minutes into the road test, the examiner asked me to pull over and he said to me, all I needed to pass the road test was a 65 grade, but because I did not follow his instructions, he wrote 63 grade on my paper.

Ouch!   The pain I felt and the embarrassment.  This means I was on my own.  That experience impacted me so much.  Seventeen years later, when I had to redo it all over, and I passed , it occurred to me, regardless of the situation or the temperament of the examiner, please be advised, follow the examiner’s instructions!  You passing the road test might very well depend upon following instructions.  Are you saying to yourself, “been there, done that”?  We can help examine your personal case.  Visit www.PaulinaAParker.com for more information.