Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Safety course recommendation

My insurer, GEICO, gives me a discount if I take an on-line safety course every 3 years. The price dropped from $20 in 2018 to $12.50 this year. I like National’s better than American’s: it’s higher-quality production and they let me take it at my own pace; American decrees that you have to spend all 8 hours; I need about half that.

I learned 2 new things (in the realm of the course, not necessarily the real world): though no one has the right-of-way, you can be cited for failing to yield it. As I discussed on this forum probably 9 years ago, back then they just said no one has it. There’s no practical distinction, but I noticed.

The advice on adjusting the side-view mirror is to lean your head against the window, adjust it until you can’t see the side of your car (they have an electric mirror) - probably not different from the result I get with my method but perhaps easier to follow, possibly because they assume electric mirrors.

At State Farm we need to go in for the class room training. We get chocolate chip cookies though fresh out of the oven. One thing though when we were talking about yielding to cars or pedestrians to not wave anyone through. Drives me nuts when people do that to me trying to be nice. The idea is that it transfers liability to the person waving the other person on if something happens. I’ve seen it where someone waves someone on not realizing there is another hidden car coming. I’ve seen the police do that too so I don’t know how that would work. I just would rather people not do it unless it is a difficult situation.

Even if a police officer of fireman waves you on, you are ultimately responsible for the safe operation of your car. I too hate when a civilian waves me on, delighted they are polite, but they miss what is going on behind them.

I also dislike the “wave through”. When I arrive at an intersection or other traffic situation I carefully calculate my safe and legal turn to execute my maneuver. This involves looking at all the vehicles involved, when they arrived at the intersection, and who has the right of way according to local traffic law. I process this in my head and formulate the correct and safe maneuver according to all the factors.

When someone tries to wave me through they completely mess up my carefully calculated plan. Now I have to quickly recalculate my maneuver AND worry about how that will impact other drivers in the intersection who may also be confused by the sudden change in what should be happening.

Lastly, I have had many people try to wave me through while traffic behind them executes dangerous and illegal maneuvers to go around them resulting in extremely dangerous situations for me as I try to turn.

My advice is to always be courteous but not at the expense of following the rules and laws of the road.

1 Like

I bicycle more often than I drive and never count on the courtesy of drivers. I was waiting to cross a busy street once when a state policeman stopped for me. When I wouldn’t go he sounded his klaxon.

Must be by state because that is not offered here in NH by State Farm.

As I learned the hard way, back in the '60s, one can’t automatically assume that someone is being polite or even helpful. At the time, I was an intern with my state’s child protective agency, and I had to bring a kid to the county’s shelter.

On the same property, the county ran an institution for mentally-ill adults. As I was trying to exit from the compound at a blind exit, a “civilian” beckoned me ahead, and shouted that the road was “clear”.
I very narrowly escaped being T-boned by a speeding dump truck as the “civilian” jumped for joy. Apparently he thought that the situation was really funny, based on how hard he was laughing.

One of the guards grabbed the guy to escort him inside the mental institution, and the guard said something along the lines of… I guess that we can’t let him roam the grounds anymore.

On that day, I learned–the hard way–to ignore “civilians” who are directing traffic.


And being ‘waved on’ can be part of a staged insurance fraud, where you are then hit by the fraudster and you’re at fault.


Yes, I have heard of that type of scam.

1 Like