Sometimes, obtaining a lawyer for a traffic ticket means you don’t have to appear in court. Sometimes, even with a lawyer, you do have to appear. Courtroom impressions can go a long way to help or hinder your case. However, there are steps you can take to improve your chances in front of a judge.
Courtroom Impressions: What You Should (& Shouldn’t) Do
What You Should Do:
Being respectful is a simple way to give good first courtroom impressions. Before it is your turn, you should pay attention to other cases. It’s not a good sign if the judge is bothered by your behavior before it’s your turn. Remain quiet and patient while waiting for your case to be heard.
Turn Off Your Phone
Some courthouses do not even allow phones past security. For those that do, make sure your phone is off before entering the courtroom. You can ensure good courtroom impressions by not distracting the judge or others with a ringing cellphone during court proceedings.
Dress to Impress
For some it may be obvious to wear proper clothes to court. However, some might not think about it. In addition to the “look good, feel good” mantra that many abide by, dressing in a business casual manner shows you care about the courtroom impressions you make.
What You Shouldn’t Do:
Argue with an Officer
If you have an issue with the behavior of the officer who gave the ticket, do not go in looking for an argument. Arguing can be disrespectful to the officer, the judge, and the court in general. In addition to being respectful, leave the arguing to another day. Courtroom impressions make all the difference when hoping for a reduction.
Ask to Leave
When going to court, you should be prepared to be there for a while. Asking how long it will take or when you can leave will give the judge and other bad courtroom impressions of you. This will make it harder for a dismissal or lessened ticket.
Sounds simple, but chewing gum can be a giant distraction in the courtroom. For some it might be a nervous habit. Leave the gum out of it and earn the positive courtroom impressions you deserve.
If there’s one thing any driver hates, it’s car problems. Car issues can lead to potential breakdowns, and some seriously costly repairs. However, performing some good car maintenance can really help keep your car in good shape. Doing so will help save you headaches and cost in the future…
Car Maintenance: Keep Your Car Going
Check your tires
It’s very easy to take your tires for granted. However, it turns out that 738 accident-related deaths were caused by poor tires in 2017 alone. Therefore, it’s important not to neglect your tires. Instead, you want to regularly check them for issues as part of your car maintenance, both the obvious and the harder-to-spot kinds.
First, check for anything like screws, nails, or tears which weaken your tires and lead to leaks. It also helps to check your tire pressure once a month, and get it up to its proper level if needed. Tire rotations also help improve your tread life, and should be done every 6,000-8,000 miles.
Inspect the oil & other fluids
Drivers also tend to gloss over their car’s fluids, but they’re a key part of proper car maintenance. Your oil, for instance, is crucial for keeping your engine running right. Therefore, it helps to check it every month or so to see if it’s time for a change.
However, your car has other fluids besides oil. Remember, you have power-steering, automatic transmission, wiper, and break fluids as well. Try to give these fluids a look each time you check your oil.
There’s a lot of different components that go into your car that you’d want to look over as part of your car maintenance. For instance, your lights are very important for safely driving, so check them out to see if they still work and aren’t burnt-out or cracked. Don’t forget about checking your windshield wipers too.
Of course, you’ll want to check the internal core parts too. While you don’t have to do anything crazy, simply keeping your battery free of corrosion and cleaning your radiator can go a long way. For those harder-to-reach areas, it helps to bring your car to an auto shop and have them check things out for you.
There are plenty of ways to put yourself at risk when you’re driving. You could be drinking, under the influence of drugs, on your phone, or even eating. We know you’re hungry, but there are certain things that should be avoided when you’re driving. When it comes to eating drivers, they are ultimately just as distracted as someone on their cell phone. So, we encourage you to avoid this act all together, or at the very least— limit it to the occasional granola bar…
Eating Drivers: Preventing Accidents
Plan your morning accordingly
The majority of the reason for eating drivers is that you’re running late. Your alarm clock was off, or maybe your morning routines just took a bit longer than usual. No matter the reason, you’re running late and have to eat from behind the wheel. As I mentioned, the occasional granola bar is much less risky. However, you’re still taking your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel to unwrap and eat your meal. So, consider prepping your breakfast the night before, eating at the office, or even just being more strict when it comes to that alarm clock.
A commute is stressful. However, when you’re making perfect time it can be a bit less stressful. So, set yourself up for success the night before and in the morning. That missed alarm might still get you from time to time. But making an effort to reduce that might just make all the difference.
Eat while Parked
Eating drivers can be just as dangerous as texting drivers. Finding ways to avoid it, such as the ones we mentioned above, can be beneficial in making sure you aren’t putting yourself and other drivers at risk. You might not have time to sit down and eat at home before work. But, you might make it to work with a few minutes to spare. So, take that moment in your car or the break room and eat your meal. Eating behind the wheel is a no-go, but that doesn’t mean you should skip eating altogether.
Get what you need when you need it
Ultimately, it all comes down to a little planning and discipline. Those extra ten minutes in bed might feel great, but not better than being fed and full until lunch time. So, take an extra minute in the morning or night to decide how you can avoid becoming one of those eating drivers. While it might be an adjustment right now, it’ll be routine in no time at all.
When it comes to following the rules, you probably like to think you’re a law abiding citizen. However, we all do things from time to time that fall outside those lines of what’s allowed, and what’s not. Take, for example, the basic road rules. Merging correctly, making full stops at a stop sign, legal turns… While these little things might seem harmless— breaking basic road rules from time to time can be quite dangerous for you, and the drivers around you…
Basic Road Rules & How We Break Them
Failing to Use Turn Signals
While you might be an exception to the statistics, it is a fact that most people don’t use their turn signals in the ways that they should. Turn signals are essential to following basic road rules, and making drivers aware of what you’re up to. Before switching lanes, before turning at a light, a stop sign… Any time you’re making a move on the roadway— use your turn signals. Without using them, you fail to give other drivers a heads up or warning. Therefore, they don’t have the opportunity to react in a safe manner.
Making Illegal Turns
When you’re running behind, you might begin to let some of those basic road rules fall to the wayside. Take, for example, making legal turns. Many of us think that doing so is harmless— especially if the street around you is clear. However, illegal turns are illegal for a reason. In most cases, these areas are marked for illegal turns because that area is too dangerous, or unpredictable. Due to the design of the road and environmental factors, you probably cannot see clearly enough to execute the turn safely. While it might seem like a calculated risk, accidents do happen every day.
Riding in the Left Lane
Of all basic road rules, this one falls to the wayside most often. It can be considered a courtesy to move out of the left lane when you aren’t matching the speed of surrounding cars. However, it is ultimately just the correct way to use the roadway. If you are planning to travel slower than the “normal” speed of traffic, stay to the right lane. By doing this, you allow others move by you easily and safely. In addition, you keep the left lane open for drivers to pass safely and return to other lanes.
While these are nothing more than basic road rules, they hold safe driving principles. They are in place to make the roads safer and keep traffic flowing better. Therefore, no matter how unnecessary or inconvenient it may seem, stick to following these basic road rules.
When it comes to sharing the road with other drivers, things can get ugly pretty fast. Many drivers get in our way, or make unsafe moves. In turn, those careless drivers put our lives in jeopardy. When that happens, it may spark an angry reaction in us. However, being angry behind the wheel doesn’t make for a safe combination. So, it’s important to find ways for avoiding road rage.
Avoiding Road Rage: Safe Driving Techniques
Move Over For Tailgaters
One of the best ways for avoiding road rage is to pull over for tailgaters. Nothing can be quite as frustrating as someone riding too closely for no reason. You may feel the need to speed up or give the car a quick break check. However, rather than becoming upset at a tailgater, it’s best to just move over. By driving so closely, they are not only being rude but unsafe. So, it’s best to avoid the frustration and let them pass.
Allow Time for Delays
Another way for avoiding road rage is to also avoid being in a rush. When you’re in a hurry, getting behind a slow driver can be really frustrating. So, make sure you plan ahead and give yourself enough time to get where you’re going. If you have extra time to spare, driving behind a slow poke won’t seem be quite as frustrating.
Give an I’m Sorry Gesture
If you make a bad move or cut someone off, just admit to your wrong. Give a wave or nod to try to diffuse the situation. By doing so, you can lower your temper and work on avoiding road rage. In addition, you can also smooth things over with the other driver to prevent them from experiencing road rage.
Listen to Music
When you’ve just experienced a frustrating situation on the road, it can help to turn on your favorite music. For instance, you may want to listen to something calming or something upbeat. Whatever your song choice, music can help put you in a better mood. By doing this, it can keep you calm and help in avoiding road rage.
In short, getting angry behind the wheel can affect your driving. Out of anger, you may speed or make other dangerous moves which could cost you a traffic ticket. So, it’s important to use these tips for avoiding road rage.
Young drivers, or inexperienced drivers, can be quite a liability to the roadway. This isn’t their fault. After all, we all have to start somewhere when it comes to managing highways, fast lanes, and bustling streets. However, when you’re a motorcyclist— inexperienced drivers present an added hazard to the roadway. Maybe it’s a student driver, new driver, or someone from outside of the area. No matter the reason, riders might find themselves surrounded by drivers who aren’t aware of bikers, and the etiquette you should use around them.
Inexperienced Drivers: Motorcyclist Dangers
If you are new to the roadway, you might not be used to driving around alternative vehicles, such as tractor trailers and motorcycles. Seasoned drivers tend to be more comfortable, and therefore respond in the proper manner when it comes to different vehicles. They might better understand how to share the roadway. A proper following distance makes all the difference in terms of biker safety, especially when an unexpected stop comes along. Moments such as this, is where proper training comes in…
Maybe you grew up in a low-traffic, rural area. But now, you’re moving to the city and the traffic is quite jarring. Every single one of us sat in a Driver’s Ed class. But, for many of us, that was quite a long time ago. Therefore, it’s important that we educate ourselves. If something in particular is difficult for you to understand— research it. We, even as adults, never stop learning. Look up proper etiquette for driving near a motorcycle, tractor trailer, or a vehicle that you’re unfamiliar with, such as a bicycle.
Ultimately, we are responsible for our own safety. But, staying safe yourself often means helping others to stay safe on the roadway. Increase your following distance, watch for coming obstructions, merging cars, and the like. The road is changing every day, and no two commutes will ever be the same. But, as drivers of all experience levels, we want to avoid accident, keep ourselves safe, and prevent issues from occurring. We encourage you to keep learning, take the long route if it makes you more comfortable, and do your part in keeping the roadway safe.