Tag Archive | driving

Watch out for that deer!

white_tailed_deer_buck2

Justa friendly PSA for all my fellow PA drivers: be on alert for deer crossing the roads!

I’ve been on high alert since about two weeks ago when I did an article about this being prime season for hitting deer. Apparently, their mating season is a perfect storm of time for them to be running around and hitting/smashing cars.

This week is the peak of that season.

Friday, on our way back from dinner, my fiance and I actually came upon an entire pack of deer – does and young deer, all crossing the road/eating. They were within like 5 feet of our car.

I was terrified, noting, like the park ranger told me a couple weeks ago, if you see one deer, there could be more.

So I was freaking out, telling Mike to drive away and let them be, but he was excited and was enjoying looking at them.

It was quite an experience.

Then we drove another 20 feet or so and saw another deer in another location. I was so happy to just park the car and not have to worry about it.

So, yes, please be careful out there – it’s high time for deer out there!

Mr. Ed on Route 220?!

If you’ve ever traveled Route 220 South between Bradford County and Route 180, you know the frustration of being stuck behind a truck.

There is literally no stretch of 2-lane road to be had. Sure there’s some “passing zones” but they are all situated so that you have to go into the other lane, and usually facing a curve, so you can’t pass anyway.

But yesterday, when I was traveling down the road behind a truck pulling a trailer – I didn’t mind.

Because in front of me was a sociable horse who greeted cars passing him and taking in the country air.

[NOTE: Don't worry, this picture was taken as traffic was at a standstill in our direction]

20130826-085146.jpg

I was disappointed when his person turned off the road. But I enjoyed my trip through the Endless Mountains with a horse I like to think was a newer Mr. Ed.

Have a great Monday, folks!

‘Hot mess on wheels’

imagesLast week, I got to try my hand at trucking on a simulator at Watsontown Trucking Company.

Let’s just say I won’t be applying for my CDL anytime soon.

This commentary appeared in the Daily Item Friday, and I thought it would be good for the blogosphere as well.

Enjoy:

MILTON — After briefly pausing, John Shires broke the bad news to me.

“If you were one of my drivers,” he said, “I would chew you out right now.”

Apparently, while driving a simulated big rig down an equally simulated highway, I drove way too fast in foggy conditions.

And, while I avoided smashing into the back of the simulated compact cars in front of me, it could have gotten a lot worse.

“If it had rained the day before, the shoulder could have been slick and you could’ve flipped the truck,” Shires said.

Ouch.

Luckily, my jaunt down the highway was all in fun — I was testing the new L3 Driver Training Simulator at Watsontown Trucking Co. The goal of the three-screen machine — complete with full driver’s seat, steering wheel and dashboard — is to teach driving skills and safe practices in a controlled environment.

The setup is pretty advanced and feels like you’re really driving a huge tractor-trailer. Shires, a safety instructor at Watsontown Trucking, set the machine on automatic so that I could try it out Thursday.

I started out on a simple highway course set to daytime conditions. But within seconds, Shires had me driving through all kinds of weather conditions — sun, rain, snow, etc.

Then I felt the wheel jerk to the side. The truck spun back and forth wildly.

“That’s what it feels like to drive under the influence,” he said.

Back to normal conditions, I drove down the simulated highway for a bit merging into traffic and enjoying life in a big rig, if only for a minute.

Then I felt a sensation I have unfortunately experienced in real life. The steering wheel seemed to vibrate in my hands and pulled to the right. My “tire” just blew out.

After returning to normal conditions, I prepared to end my simulation experience, having only hit one obstacle — something my family would be shocked to hear, given my reputation as a bit of a hot mess on wheels.

Then Shires activated the fog. I drove along, preparing to pull over gently.

That’s when I saw the stopped cars appear in front of me. I headed to the shoulder, hoping to avoid them.

I did, but didn’t necessarily avoid a potential disaster, as Shires pointed out.

Overall, I give the simulator two big thumbs up. It was incredibly realistic and actually kind of fun.

“I’ve had about 50 people use the machine so far,” Shires said. “Only maybe one or two left here and didn’t like it.”

How do we stop texting while driving?

Yesterday on Facebook, a story brought out a surprisingly large reaction from users.

We asked “How do we stop texting while driving?” while linking to a story about a woman who was charged with manslaughter for texting while driving before a fatal crash.

People had some good ideas.

untitledI guess what struck me though, were those that said maybe it can’t be stopped.

They have a point: we outlaw texting while driving, drinking and driving, speeding, but that doesn’t stop people from doing it.

So can anything be done? Should technology take care of it?

I don’t know.

What do you think – can texting while driving be stopped?

JST DRV service announcements

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the “JST DRV” initiative by the Central PA Chamber of Commerce, which aims to crack down on distracted driving by using cool thumb bands and a catchy slogan.

The kids in the Building Leaders for the Susquehanna Valley helped with the initiative and they made public service announcements to launch the program featuring themselves and some other local faces.

Here are the results.

This first one is an explanation of the JST DRV philosophy, featuring BLSV advisor Jess Shaffer and his Jeep:

The next is a “pull over” featuring a real PSP Trooper:

Pretty cool stuff, especially for high school kids just trying to make a difference.