At one point or another, every driver will face a dire situation which he or she is unfamiliar with. Uncertainty starts to settle in, and panic arises.
Snellville resident Lisa Creedon has authored a book on driving safety and what to do in certain situations. "The Ride Guide" was originally aimed to inform new drivers, but the 86-page help book can teach a thing or two to even experienced drivers with many years under their belts.
Patch spoke with the author about her latest book, which came out in October. Creedon, a mother of two girls and now a grandmother, also authored “The Women’s Survival Guide” in 2006 and “Lose Your Stress, Find Your Joy” in 2011. "
Patch: What inspired the "The Ride Guide"?
Lisa Creedon: After my daughters went through driver's ed and began driving, I was concerned about the many things they did not know - things we learn only through experience. After they each had a few fender benders, I decided this information needed to be available for them and for others.
The book began as a short “beginner’s guide” to taking care of a car. As life experiences happened, the book grew into a handbook that included safety information, how to buy a used car, [and] even how to talk to a police officer. My mission is to educate people on driving safety and also to give them confidence in handling issues with their vehicles.
Your daughter was involved in a "bump-and-grab." For those unfamiliar with it, what is it?
In a bump and grab, the victim's car is targeted and then lightly bumped from behind. The bump generally is not hard enough to cause damage; the idea is to get the victim out of the car. Once the victim is out of his (or her) car, he is vulnerable, and the driver of the other car can make his move.
In my daughter's case, the other car bumped hers; that was the setup. As we are programmed to do, she got out of her car and went to the driver's window of the other car. Inside were an old woman who mumbled incoherently and a screaming young teen. Confused and disgusted, my daughter turned around to find herself facing a gang that had gathered.
The entire story is in my book, but basically, someone interceded and made it possible for her to get back in her car. When the police arrived, they couldn't believe she didn't get hurt or that her car wasn’t stolen. It was scary, and she still has nightmares about it.
Earlier this year, there was a bump and grab on the north side of town. When the victim got out of his car, the other driver pulled out a gun and stole the victim's car. This type of crime happens often but doesn’t usually make the news.
In my daughter's case, being that it was late at night in an isolated area, the police said she should have never gotten out of her car or even rolled down the window. Proper procedure in that situation is to turn on your four-way flashers/hazard lights and motion the other driver to follow you. If the driver follows you, drive to the nearest well-lighted, populated area that appears safe - like a 24-hour gas station. If you have a cell phone, call the police and report what has happened and what you are doing. If the incident was a bump and grab, the other car probably will not follow you. If the car does follow you, go inside the store and wait for police to arrive. Make your safety your No. 1 concern.
What are the different topics covered in the book?
Safety is a primary emphasis because most of us need to be more aware of what is going on around us. Especially during the holiday season, we need to pay attention to what we are doing and to who might be watching us -- waiting for the right moment to launch an attack. Be careful at ATMs, at Redbox, when traveling and while shopping. Safety is covered through several chapters: Who's Watching You?, Crimes of Convenience and Avoiding a Bad Situation.
Information on accidents is also important, learning about things like the Good Samaritan Law (which Georgia has), what to do, what not to say and most important, how to avoid accidents!
There is a chapter on how to talk to a police officer and how to avoid getting tickets, including some newer ticketing offenses that were a surprise to me.
The 511 Service was information I did not previously know. It is most helpful for drivers who do more city expressway driving. I have seen the HERO trucks helping stranded vehicles but never knew they helped with minor mechanical problems, provided fuel, transportation, and more.
There are a number of driving tips - things like, don't start a cold car and immediately drive away without letting it warm up at least a few minutes. It won’t happen right away, but that can cause a blown head gasket. I learned this through personal experience!
I included information about repairs, a basic maintenance checklist, tips for buying a used car, how to take care of a battery, how to use jumper cables, and many other helpful things to know about a car!
Also included are forms for service records and for the maintenance checklist. Not only will all the information be in one place, but it is a great selling tool.
If there was only one driver's tip you could give from the book, what would it be?
Hmmm. I guess that would have to be the very first safety tip, mainly because the police officer I interviewed was so serious about it. That is the "fake blue lights" issue, and it is a nationwide problem. It is incredibly easy and inexpensive to buy fake blue lights (or red and blue lights) online. Generally, these are grill-mounted lights.
We are all conditioned to pull over when we see the lights flashing behind us, but that is a big safety problem now. Even if you are speeding, do not stop if you are in an isolated area. Turn on your four-way flashers/hazard lights, and your interior/dome light if at night, reduce your speed, and keep driving. If possible, call 911 and ask if an officer is trying to make a stop on that road. If it is an officer, tell them you feel more comfortable stopping at a populated area. If it is not an officer, get away as quickly as possible.
Unmarked police cars (with grill lights) are less likely to be involved in a traffic stop. A Direct TV repair guy was stopped in Centerville earlier this year and robbed at gunpoint by folks driving an unmarked Crown Victoria with the fake grill lights. He probably would have liked to know this information!
Who is this book designed for?
My original thought was teens/newer drivers. And because they generally drive older cars, "The Ride Guide" talks about how to care for those vehicles. However, everyone who has read the book has learned things they didn't know.
I think it is an important book for women, particularly the safety section, but also the information about repairs and basic maintenance. Knowledge is power, and that is also true with cars. It is a pretty powerless feeling to have no idea what is wrong with your car, whether it is a major or minor problem. Basically, because of all the research, anyone who reads this book will most certainly learn something they didn't know!