Driving in the Real World® Blog

Welcome to the Driving in the Real World blog, where I share my thoughts on street driving and related road safety issues, and occasionally the reflections of others. Come linger for a while, and then join in the fun by posting a comment.

Welcome to the New Driving in the Real World!

Something bright and shiny is on an Internet near you—and you're on it! Welcome to my new Driving in the Real World® website (www.drivingintherealworld.com). I originally started DITRW® on Christmas Day in 2010 as a blog, a way to organize my thoughts for a book I...

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What’s the Big Deal with Self-Driving Cars, Anyway?

These days, you can’t go a week without hearing something in the news media about self-driving cars and autonomous driving. So what is it all about, and what could it mean for you? You might be surprised to hear that this has been around longer than you might suspect....

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Part 2: Anatomy of a Drug Stop with the WSP

A few weeks later, I returned to the Washington State Patrol Training Academy for a very different kind of scenario—the drug stop. This script and setup were elaborate, intending to show cadets both how a drug-sniffing dog works and the legal complexities of such a...

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Part 1: How I Got Seven DUIs in Two Nights

It started out harmlessly enough. Flashing lights behind me, a pullover to the side of the road. They can’t prove me drunk, I thought. This will be easy. “Hello, ma’am, I’m Officer Bill C_______ with the Washington State Patrol. Just to let you know, everything here...

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Driving Miss Nelly

Most of you know that I’m the proud owner of a 2009 E90 335i. But you probably don’t know that I just published a major cookbook. And I’m going on book tour to promote it—for about 22 weeks, all around the country, covering around 50,000 miles—every year for the next...

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Roadside Survival: Do You Really Have What You Need?

In the course of a single year, I drive about 30,000 miles all over America. In Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas, where Ford F150s, Chevy Impalas, and Pontiac Grand Ams rule the roads, my 2009 BMW 335i and I are often hundreds of miles from the nearest BMW dealer—or...

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Texting and Driving Has Changed the Way We Travel

This month's blog post comes to us from David Azizi, a personal injury lawyer in California. Here he talks about the many consequences of using a wireless device while driving. ___________ It’s common knowledge that we live in a technology-centered world. We’re...

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Has Your Driving Mentality Changed?

This month's blog post comes to us from the talented and prolific Scott Marshall, who is director of training for Young Drivers of Canada and founder of The Safe Driver blog. We are honored to have him share his thoughts on the pitfalls of driver mentality changing...

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How Being a Better Driver Makes You Better at Life

If you’re a driving instructor or work in the traffic safety industry, no doubt you’ve run up against the specter of Grand Apathy. Just how on earth do you motivate people to be actually interested in driving safely? Keep improving at it? It’s one thing to teach...

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25 Ways to a Dream Drivers Education Program

For the past several years I’ve been fantasizing. Big-time. No, not about whatever lewd thing may have just popped into your head, but about driver’s ed. Driver’s ed, you say? Bear with me—what if you could design a dream driver’s education program if time and money...

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Why Are So Many People Running Red Lights?

With tax preparation time here in the States, it’s apparent that certain things in life are unavoidable. Taxes and death surely top the list. A polarized Congress is also a reality. But something else far more insidious is literally invading America’s streets—close...

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Anatomy of a Collision

When one drives nearly 40,000 miles a year, it is often only a matter of time before the inevitable happens—an incident involving an unlicensed driver, bent metal, second-guessing, and a tricky car insurance situation. In late January I was in my hometown of San...

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The Role of Driving in the Real World

Recently I’ve been getting asked a lot why I started Driving in the Real World and if there was any singular incident (like an accident or loss) that made me want to change the way people drive. Although I have known a couple of people who were killed in auto...

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New Year’s Resolution: Drive Smarter

For many people, the beginning of a year often means a chance to start anew, to improve a longstanding issue of some sort. Getting in shape and shedding extra pounds are the most common resolutions, but some people decide they need to save more money, quit smoking,...

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Rage Unleashed

The flowers placed by the Ramp Metered Ahead When Flashing sign near the onramp still haven’t wilted yet. Day after day, their silk petals flutter in the rain, wind, and sun, as out of place as a kitten on an ice skating rink. Every time I see them, I inhale deeply...

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What Makes a Good and Bad Driver

In preparing for a discussion group recently on the subject, I've been thinking about what makes a good or lousy driver. This is a topic ripe for spirited debate, and it turns out there is as much controversy about what constitutes good driving as there are factors...

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Car Care: Not Just for Guys Anymore

Do you ever wish you knew when you need new tires? Do you know how to check which fluids go in which reservoirs under the hood? Could you change your own tire in an emergency? We women annually drive more miles in passenger vehicles than men, not only because we're...

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Singing on the Ice

These winter days can be extremely treacherous ones on the road, what with sleet, black ice, freezing rain, drifting snow, whiteouts, or any combination thereof blanketing the pavement. Starting in late fall every year, reminders pop up on the radio and news for...

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Banning of Texting

Last week, US news headlines were all atwitter after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended a nationwide ban on the use of all portable electronic devices while driving—including handsfree cell phones. This announcement was sparked by the NTSB’s...

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Restarting the Engines

This past summer and fall turned out to be seasons of tremendous overextension for me, both personally and professionally. After May, intentions to write regularly on this blog sadly fell by the wayside like hundreds of soggy, windblown leaves on a stormy day. I...

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Save Gas and Prevent Traffic Jams: Don’t Brake

These days when gasoline is averaging four dollars a gallon, talk is turning once again to more fuel-efficient vehicles. It takes drastic spikes in oil prices to make us even consider hybrids and electric alternatives, and in our SUV-saturated road culture, our...

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Lane Hygiene, Part 2: In the City

Few types of motoring test one’s patience and nerves as driving in a city. If it just weren’t for those damn pedestrians and other cars, city driving would be a whole lot more fun. Cities can be downright petrifying, because there is just so much more of everything to...

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Lane Hygiene, Part 1: On the Highway

One problem I see constantly on the road are drivers not knowing how to smoothly and safely navigate their lanes. This is such a ubiquitous issue, one that involves safety, timing, traffic flow, road rage, constant near-misses, and accidents, that it warrants...

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Taking the Long Way: Cross-Country Driving

Several times a year I travel to the Midwest to visit family, and instead of booking a flight, I pack up the car and hit the road, all 3,800 miles from Seattle to Minnesota and back again. By myself. People always look at me like I’m crazy when they hear I am driving...

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Getting Involved: Audi UIA and SHRP2 Driving Studies

Big changes are on the horizon for car technology and drivers. So big, in fact, that a sea change is coming in how drivers and their vehicles will adapt to real-time traffic congestion and rapidly changing conditions in ways that are scarcely imaginable today. (More...

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10 Ways To Improve Your Driving Immediately

Don't try what's depicted in the photo above while on the move, like I've seen some people do. Scary. This week, I am in the middle of both packing for an impending move and getting ready for a long road trip to the frozen Midwest. So this post will be short and...

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12 Random Thoughts about Driving

In no particular order, here are some random thoughts about cars, driving, and life on the road in general. 1.   In 2010, 50 officers were killed in traffic collisions, including 16 killed by a vehicle while they were outside of their vehicle, and many more injured....

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For the Sheer Fun of It

Lest you think that this blog is all about what-you-should-and should-not-do finger-wagging, let’s remember that driving and cars can be FUN as hell. As I related in my first post here, I have always simply adored the sensation of being in motion, particularly from...

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New Reflections on Old World Roads

A typical street in Lille. No Navigators or Escalades allowed. I just returned from an 11-day business trip to France, where I was able to get a glimpse of what roads, cars, driving, and transportation are like in a couple of European capitals. There is nothing like...

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Being Aware

The cornerstone of all good driving is situational awareness, or SA. It is what can make the difference when an oncoming car suddenly swerves into your lane and you react safely to avoid it in a split second, or panic blindly and plow into someone else. If you don’t...

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Setting Out

Today marks a time that I have been imagining for nearly a decade now, when I first began thinking about writing a book about driving techniques that are truly practical in the real world. The idea began, innocently enough, with questions. Why are people turning left...

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Sign Up for My FREE Driving Ebook

In January 2018, I'm coming out with my eagerly anticipated ebook, The Sound of No Car Crashing: A Guide to Protective Driving. Sign up today to be notified when it's available!

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