Driving Skills, Keens, Xlerator

After a fender-bending incident in the household, I decided it was time to review some basic driving safety principles. I purchased two videos that I’ve been pleased with. I definitely recommend them for families with young drivers, as well as for adults who want to review the basics.

The first video, The Art of Intelligent Driving (Kevin Brett Studios),featuring Jonathan Kinberg, has the production value of little better than a home video. But contains some great advice that has inspired me to rethink several ways I handle the road. First, I now drive with my side mirrors set considerably farther out than they had been. This eliminates blind spots. With the current settings, as a car passes me it appears in my rear-view mirror, then appears in my side-view mirror, then appears in my peripheral vision as it leaves the side-view mirror. I also learned about braking to allow the car to “set up” — roll the weight onto the front tires — rather than slamming on the brakes or pumping them. Finally, I learned how to downshift in a manual by revving the motor while breaking so as to match the engine RPMs to the gear. (I can’t do it very well, but I get the idea of how it’s done.) The video could have been more detailed regarding this last point.

The next video is Wheels in Motion, a Texas-approved defensive driving course. Just ignore all the material about online testing and such. While the narrators are awkward at times, the video contains some very good, basic information about safe driving.

While I’m discussing products, I have a couple other honorable mentions.

I just went on my first jaunt in my new black Keen shoes. I got them to serve as a comfortable walking shoe that would look okay with dressier clothes. I got a size 12, which is just big enough for me; the next size up is 13, which is definitely too big. Love my Keens.

Finally, while I usually hate air hand dryers, I finally found a model that actually works: the Xlerator. This thing pumps out air so fast it actually makes your skin ripple. So if you own a public facility with puny air dryers, do your customers a favor and throw away your existing dryers, then replace them with the Xlerator. This is the only air dryer I’ve ever tried that I actually prefer to paper towels.