Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hey Southeast Texas, you forgot something.

You have hit the new year on fire with a list of resolutions ranging from losing weight to finding that dream job. However, there are a few that probably did not make your list. We may be well into 2014, but that does not mean there is not room on that list for some more resolutions; these could actually save your life. Not the type to make resolutions? Then consider this some good practical advice.

1.    Resolve to let people merge onto the highway whenever possible. Start off 2014 by opening a space for that driver trying to merge into traffic. Sure, you may have the right-of-way. But moving over to the next lane makes for a much safer road not to mention some happy drivers.

2.    Resolve to put down the phone and drive. Talking on the phone without a clue as to what is around you is bad enough. But texting and driving? Reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds. Traveling at 55 m.p.h. that is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded. Enough said.

3.    Resolve to pay attention in work zones. Southeast Texas kicks off 2014 with some major construction projects along I-10 and US 69. That means you will probably travel through a work zone at least once a day. The majority of people killed or injured in work zone wrecks are motorists. Slow down. Most work zone wrecks are rear end collisions. Keep your eyes on the vehicle in front and the workers around you. Protect your family and the workers.

4.    Resolve not to tailgate. Tailgating someone hoping they will speed up or move over is a dangerous temptation. If the car in front slows even a second, you could find yourself in a pile of twisted steel. Back off. Put some space between you and the other driver. Trying to push them out of the way rarely works: It often makes the other driver even more determined to stay put.

5.    Resolve to stay calm. Driving is not a competition and you are not racing the Indy 500. Aggressive and frustrated drivers fill the highways and roads. Do not add to the mix. If someone uses that special finger to show you that you are “number one,” kindly smile and let them go. They are the one with the problem. As my wife says, “A life well-lived is the best revenge.” 

I am sure there are many more you could add to the list. However, these are some to get you started. Tape them to the refrigerator or write them on the bathroom mirror. Better yet, memorize them.
Statistics show 36% of you will give up on your resolutions after the first month for a variety of reasons. However, the ones listed above take more than resolve; they require a completely new way of thinking. They are more than just part of a wish-list. These are resolutions that just make sense.

-Marc Shepherd

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Need a tip for holiday travel???

With inclement weather recently hampering travel conditions in north and west Texas, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers to stay off roadways as much as possible during severe winter weather and use extreme caution when travel is necessary this holiday season. According to the AAA, more than 3 million Texans will travel by car this Thanksgiving season.

“Historically, the busiest travel days are the day before and the Sunday following Thanksgiving,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “Thanksgiving is a time to be spent with family and friends, so we want to make sure Texans get to where they need to be safely.”

Motorists who must drive during bad weather are reminded to drive to conditions – that means lowering your speed when it’s raining or if there’s snow and ice. Also, allow extra travel time to reach your destination and leave plenty of room between your car and the one you’re following.

In 2012, there were 952 serious injuries and 48 deaths from traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday reporting period. In an effort to reduce the number of traffic fatalities this year, TxDOT is asking drivers to follow a few simple rules of the road:
  • Pay attention – put phone away and limit distractions
  • Buckle seatbelts – everyone in car has to be buckled
  • Drive to conditions – slow down when weather is bad
  • Left lane for passing only
  • Never drink and drive
  • Obey all traffic laws

Drivers also should:
  • Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained.
  • Stay tuned to local news, road closures, changing conditions and weather alerts.
  • Check online highway conditions information at

DriveTexas is mobile friendly and a great tool that offers real-time road conditions, traffic and weather feeds. Travelers also can call TxDOT’s highway conditions line at (800) 452-9292 for routing and trip-planning information.

More Tips for Safe Highway Travel
The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, particularly on the nation's highways. TxDOT and AAA-Texas want you and yours to be safe this holiday season, and that safety starts before you ever get into the car. This
podcast with Doug Shupe of AAA-Texas offers more information. For more travel safety tips, log onto the AAA-Texas website,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The prideful driver

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels”. – St. Augustine.

Even though Saint Augustine never drove on today’s highway system, he must have had a keen sense of what the future would hold. Driving on America’s roadways can be quite a challenge. Travel the miles of concrete and asphalt and you will find everything from texting to eating gourmet meals. Driving skills have eroded to juggling cellphones, razors and burgers.

But what do you do if you are one of those drivers who do not do any of those things? A sort of “angelic driver”. Don’t think you are off the hook. You might be guilty of a greater transgression; the “prideful driver”.

I recently spoke to one of those prideful drivers. He is a 17-year old who refuses to talk or text while driving, always follows the speed limit and refuses to drink and drive. But when it comes to driving, he is a “road hawk”; always claiming his space no matter the outcome. A humble driver? Hardly.

Take the time when another driver tried to force his way from a merging lane. Our young no-texting and no-drinking driver was not about to let him merge. After all, “I have a right to be here and you don’t”. But that kind of thinking nearly got him tangled in some guardrail. It might not have necessarily been “his fault”. But that makes no difference when you are injured and your car is totaled. Or maybe even something worse. 

Refusing to drink and drive, text while driving or do any of the other well-known driving sins is good! But what can save your life is becoming a humble driver. This type of driver doesn’t take other’s bad driving habits personal. Instead, they move over and let others merge onto the highway. They move over when someone is tailgating. They slow down and leave an opening to that driver who waits until the last minute to merge.

The humble driver is alert, scanning the road ahead, to the side, and is most of all, mature. They allow others to merge at the last minute even if it raises their blood pressure through the roof.
In short, the humble driver knows that a little bit of humility can go a long way in preventing a wreck, no matter whose fault it would be.

Unfortunately, the world is full of drunk drivers, those who use a cellphone when driving, and those who just flat-out do not pay attention to what is ahead of them. We need to continue pushing to change those bad-driving habits. We also need to instill a sense of humility among all drivers.
Pride can literally be a dangerous think. It can quickly turn a relatively good driver into a road demon. What today’s highways need are more angelic drivers.

Saint Augustine would be happy and so would many drivers all across Southeast Texas.

Marc Shepherd

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Keep Halloween Safe: Driving Tips For Parents

In a few days, trick-or-treaters will be crawling throughout neighborhoods going door to door and reserving most of their attention to the treats in their bags and buckets. So if their attention is on the candy, they might not stop to look at who's driving down the street.

Take a look at this article and find ways to help everyone stay safe this Halloween.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Free, year-round safety seat inspections

In an effort to help Texas drivers keep their child passengers properly secured, the Texas Department of Transportation has announced it’s offering free, year-round child safety seat inspections conducted by certified technicians. The inspections are available at four locations in the Beaumont district; Beaumont District Office, Woodville Maintenance Office, Anahuac Maintenance Office, and the Liberty Area Office.
          Texas law states: children younger than 8 years of age, unless taller than 4 feet 9 inches, must ride in safety seats. Nationally, three out of four safety seats are used incorrectly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A new study by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) found nearly nine out of 10 Texas children were riding in safety seats, but many were not properly buckled. The new study also revealed 37 percent of infants and toddlers in Texas were secured incorrectly — or not at all — when riding in a vehicle.  
          The TTI study also reported the Texas cities with the highest rates of correct child safety seat use are Austin (83 percent), Tyler (78 percent), Fort Worth (77 percent), Bryan/College Station (75 percent) and Waco (73 percent).
          Cities with the lowest rates of correct child safety seat use are Brownsville (26 percent), Amarillo (37 percent), El Paso (37 percent), Lubbock (44 percent) and Houston (59 percent).
       TxDOT’s new interactive seat finder at can help drivers find the proper safety seats for their children. Visit the site and click on “Child Safety” to begin the search for an appropriate safety seat. To schedule a safety seat inspection, call a TxDOT district office or find your local contact at 
          To make an appointment to have your safety seat or seats inspected, call (409) 892-7311 for the Beaumont office, (409) 283-2451 for the Woodville office, (409) 267-3611 for the Anahuac office, or (936) 336-5669 for the Liberty office.