Archive | January, 2011

Aggressive Driving – Research & Dedication – Addressing Road Rage

Posted on 31 January 2011 by Monica Zech

Durham Sprague

*In my safe driving lectures, when addressing the subject of aggressive driving and road rage, I dedicate this topic in memory of someone special, “Mr. Durham Sprague.”

Mr. Sprague was killed by someone driving aggressively on September 1, 2000; he’s seated in the center in the above picture, and his wife is seated on the right.  He was a retired Carlsbad Firefighter who raised four children, three firefighter sons, a wonderful daughter, an excellent journalist, and one of my best friends – Jeannie!  (She’s seated on the far left in the picture above with her son Sean.)

Mr. Sprague was killed on northbound 805 near Murray Ridge in San Diego as he attempted to merge into lanes.  The aggressive-reckless driver was speeding and weaving through traffic when he struck Mr. Sprague’s vehicle, causing him to roll off the freeway.  The driver who struck and killed Mr. Sprague had a history of reckless driving.

Sadly, aggressive driving kills and injures motorists every day on our roadways. Unfortunately, this type of driving often adds to the “road rage” factor.   My safe driving lectures address “aggressive driving” with valuable tips on how to curb “road rage” – whether it’s your rage or that of another driver.

I talk about dealing with stress and road rage, either your anger or that of other drivers.  My lectures will open your eyes to the dangers and how you can reduce these dangers on our roadways.  The first thing to remember is – “We have NO control over other drives, but we do have control of our own actions.”  In the 1990’s I was honored to assist with research on road rage with San Diego State University, NETS-Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

I provide my audience with a “professional and personal” look at what it takes to increase your survival on our roadways! Also, how to avoid making the same mistakes others have made that caused their collision. My goal is to make you more aware of the problems surrounding us and reduce the “risk factors” of having a collision.

These talks have been in high demand for Military Safety Stand-downs, Company Safety Briefings and Conferences, driver education/training courses, Colleges, parenting classes, and more.  I do utilize some stats in my talks, but I put faces with those stats.  Most are local faces.   But, keep in mind – I don’t “sugar coat” the issues since my goal is to save lives!  (Of course, when speaking to young teens and children, I am cautious about content.)

Tips for Dealing With Road Rage from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV):

Aggressive driving can cause many serious problems on the roadway. All drivers must be aware of both aggressive driving and the behavior known as “road rage,” and what to do when they occur.

There are two important things to be aware of regarding aggressive drivers:

  1. Recognizing and avoiding the behaviors in yourself.
  2. Avoiding other drivers engaging in these behaviors.

Ways to avoid becoming an aggressive driver include:

  • Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Do not “cut off” other drivers.
  • Do not drive slowly in the left (fast) lane.
  • Do not tailgate.
  • Do not gesture to other drivers.
  • Use your horn for emergencies only.
  • Let aggressive drivers pass you.

The following are examples of common behaviors that can lead to aggressive driving and how to avoid them:

  • Lane Blocking–Don’t block the passing lane. Stay out of the far left lane if other traffic wants to drive faster, and yield to the right for any vehicle that wants to pass.
  • Tailgating–Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. If you are being tailgated, leave more space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Signal Lights–Always use your signals when changing lanes, and avoid changing lanes too close to the other vehicles. After you have changed lanes, turn your signal off.
  • Gestures–If you must gesture to another driver, do so in a way that will not be interpreted as hostile or obscene.
  • Horn–Avoid using your horn to say “hello” to a pedestrian. The driver in front of you might think you are honking at them.
  • Failure to Turn–Unless otherwise posted, right turns are allowed after a complete stop at a red light. Choosing to wait for the green light may frustrate the drivers behind you, but is not illegal.
  • Parking–Do not take more than one parking space. Do not park in the disabled parking space if you do not have a disabled parking placard or plates.
  • Headlights–If you use your high-beam headlights, dim your lights for oncoming traffic and when approaching a vehicle from behind; do not retaliate to oncoming high beams with your own.
  • Merging–When traffic permits, make room to allow vehicles to merge into your lane.

If you would like me to speak to your group on this topic and other safe driving tips, please email your request to [email protected] – or call me direct at (619) 219-9030.

Stay Alert – Stay Alive! 



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Report Animal Cruelty

Posted on 26 January 2011 by Monica Zech

County Joins Crime Stoppers to Reduce Animal Cruelty


January 26, 2010

The County of San Diego Department of Animal Services (DAS) is now working with San Diego County Crime Stoppers to help stop animal cruelty. DAS has established a reward fund to help pay tipsters who report acts of animal cruelty. A portion of the reward money is being provided by San Diego Animal Advocates.

Currently, DAS spends hundreds of hours each month investigating animal cruelty and neglect cases in San Diego County.

“We hope that this unique partnership will help reduce animal cruelty cases in our County,” said Lieutenant Daniel DeSousa of the Department of Animal Services. “We encourage everyone in our community to be our eyes and ears in the fight against animal cruelty.”

As part of the Crime Stoppers partnership, DAS will post decals on animal control vehicles to promote the program.

“Citizens will have the phone number readily available if they witness any acts of animal cruelty,” DeSousa said. “It also puts offenders on notice that people are watching.”

The program is simple. A tipster can call in anonymously to report an animal related crime. If an arrest is made and a reward has been authorized, the tipster is given directions on how to collect his or her reward.

Over the past 26 years, San Diego County Crime Stoppers has paid out more than a half million dollars to people whose tips closed more than 4,000 cases and led to the arrests of more than 2,800 people.

Anyone with information about animal cruelty can contact Crime Stoppers’ anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477. Anonymous web and text messages can be sent via

Crime Stoppers is offering rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in felony animal cruelty cases. 

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