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Throwback Thursday: Reckless Rudolph vs. Sensible Sam

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 2.56.03 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-08 at 2.56.31 PMStep into the time machine and buckle up (of course). It’s time to head back to 1935 for an informative film about safe driving.

“We Drivers” combines simple, kitschy animation with live action to show the “devil” (Reckless Ralph) and “angel” (Sensible Sam) who sit on our shoulders and encourage us/egg us on while we drive. Reckless Rudolph wants us to drive fast through the school zone, but Sensible Sam reminds us that there might be kids around. Reckless Ralph wants us to push through to the next town even though we’re sleepy. Sensible Sam tells us to get a motel room (even if that means Sensible Sam shares a bed with us… Really, that’s in there.)

Besides awesome vintage cars, a lack of seatbelts, and predictably bad acting, there’s also a rather terrifying giant-human personification of momentum. In other words: It’s a must-see!

A Rental Car Adventure

We sometimes rent a minivan while on vacation.  Most of the time, it’s uneventful.  Rent.  Drive.  Return.  No problems, no hassles.  A year ago, we flew to Sarasota for beach time at our favorite vacation destination on Anna Maria Island.  We got a good deal through Costco from a popular rental car enterprise.  But last year, it went differently.  Rent.  Drive. Return.  Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle. Hassle.  Hassle.  12 months of Hassle.

It’s a very, very long story, but I’ll try to make it just plain long.  When we returned the van, an agent with amazing eyesight spotted a small paint scrape under the coating of dirt.  It was literally less than the size of a dime on the front bumper, likely from someone getting too close in a parking lot.  He deemed it to be over $250 to repair, therefore they would need me to go to the counter for an hour to fill out forms in triplicate and pay the deposit.

The next few months spawned an epic in incompetence by the rental car agency’s “Damage Recovery Unit”.  I was eventually assigned a case manager, “Jeff”.  His job was apparently a pretty easy one: to ignore almost all correspondence completely.  I imagine the case manager at my credit card company had the same issue, as they’d often tell me I needed to make sure the rental car agency had received their information and payments because they could not get any response.

The best part was when the all powerful DRU sent photos to my credit card company.  It was obviously an entirely different vehicle, as the damage was extensive all the way down to the lower ground effects on the front end.   Since I had no proof, I opted not to make an issue of it and hope the credit card insurance would handle it.  They did.  Ultimately, they paid $800 to the rental car agency, presumably negotiated down from the requested amount.  I thought it was over.

Months later,  I received a check for $250 from the rental car agency.  I had no idea what it was for.  I emailed a few times, but no response from the case manager, as usual.  A couple months later, I cash the check.  A couple months after that, I finally hear from my case manager at the DRU.  He demanded $250 from me, claiming I owed a return of the deposit refund check I had been sent.  He says the credit card agency had contested the original deposit and never paid it.  I wondered why they even sent the check so many months later if they knew this.  So, I asked for any proof of the charge and reversal, along with an invoice that indicated the claim would be paid in full and closed upon my payment.  You guessed it.  No response.  I emailed again a couple weeks later, no response.  Then again, this time, with “Urgent Status” and “Return Receipt”.  I did get the receipt, but never a response.  And again a few weeks ago for the last time.

I didn’t want to get on the rental car black list (Google it), so the last email was copied to the “claimfeedback” email included in their auto-responses.  I was quite surprised that I quickly received an apologetic email and a phone call.  This agent was friendly and responsive and within an hour had confirmed I owed them no money and emailed me a letter indicating the claim was paid in full.  She apologized for the obvious lack of communication from the other agent.

caravanSo, yeah.  Told you it would be long.   But at least I did learn something.  Even if you have primary credit card insurance that pays before your own personal auto insurance, don’t dismiss the rental car agency’s damage waiver if it isn’t too expensive.  It’s widely regarded as a waste of money, and I’m sure that is usually true, but $10 a day for a few days could save you a huge amount of time and hassle.  Which, of course, is what they want.  Second, take good quality photos of your rental car, when you pick it up AND when you drop it off.  If the rental car company decides to lie and charge you for damage that wasn’t there, you’ll have what I didn’t have: proof!  And don’t worry that it might inconvenience the agent at pickup or dropoff for a few minutes if you want a video, too.  Because if you have any damage, I assure you the DRU will have no problem making it an inconvenience for you!

If it’s any consolation, apparently I’m not alone.

This year we rented from another company that my wife uses for work.  They barely even glanced at the van when we returned it.  I did take photo and video, though, but never needed them, thankfully.  I didn’t buy the damage waiver.  At $40 per day for 7 days, it was just too expensive.

Ride Safer Travel Vest 2 Giveaway

rstv2aIt’s week 7 of our Blogiversary Celebration! We’re thanking our loyal readers and followers for supporting us throughout the last six years. And we know the best way to say “thanks” is with yet another giveaway.  Our friends at SafeRide4Kids are giving away one updated Ride Safer Travel Vest 2 (RSTV2) in choice of size and available colors!  It’s an updated version of a lightweight restraint system that is handy for travel and may work well in difficult 3-across situations, too!

The RideSafer® Travel Vest is a revolutionary, wearable booster seat alternative!

  • Version 2 can be used with lap-shoulder belt or lap belt & tether (a single tether IS included)
  • Crash tested – meets or exceeds all Federal standards (FMVSS 213)
  • Lightweight, easy to carry and fits in your child’s backpack
  • Easy to use for traveling with children
  • Small for children at least 3 years & 30-60 lbs.
    Large for children 50-80 lbs. (size chart)

There are some changes with the new model currently available from Safe Ride 4 Kids only:

  1. 3 New Colors in cooler air mesh fabric, still have pink and blue in velour fabric
  2. Built-in FAA accessory compatibility (with loops through back straps to allow for FAA accessory once approved and available)
  3. Elastic built into waist of vest for better fit
  4. Extended lap flap for better fit
  5. More padding at the shoulder clip area
  6. “Velcro” on lap flap

 

rstv2b rstv2c

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Giveaway:

Winner must have a U.S. shipping address.

Now for the fine print (these may be in addition to the rules listed in the Rafflecopter terms)

Horn Use Etiquette

HonkingHornWith school starting back up, traffic will be increasing two fold in one day.  Of course that means lots of drivers, some brand new to driving, have hit the road.  Depending on what region you live in, some drivers never use that pesky device that makes noises when you press your steering wheel too hard.  Some, on the other hand, use it for all manner of communication.

Some research into the topic has yielded some interesting legality issues to using a horn.  Some of what we use our horn for on a daily/weekly basis may surprise you that it is indeed, illegal.  For instance, in the states it is illegal to honk at a driver AFTER they have cut you off in traffic, but you can honk at the driver before they cut you off.  In the UK, it is illegal to honk at a pedestrian, but not so in the US.  And yes, even honking at people’s silly bumper stickers that ask you to “honk if you…”, will garner you a nice $100+ fine.

Now, the enforcement of these laws is quite difficult and honestly ignored unless it becomes a nuisance, but it brings up some great questions.  Even more so when you take into account regional and rural vs. city/suburban dwelling driving tendencies.

  • Do you use your horn at all?
  • If so, do you use it only to alert someone out of danger (i.e. they are about to walk into the street, pull into your lane, etc)?
  • Do you use it to tell someone they did something wrong (i.e. they sat too long at the light, they pulled out in front of you without signalling OR having enough room to really get in, ran a red light, block an intersection after the light has turned in lots of traffic, etc)?

Are horns a useful tool in a car or would you even notice if car manufacturers removed them completely from the car?  I mean, at the end of the day you still have your high beams!

Looking forward to your responses!