Idiot, slow down
November 28, 2007 1:43 PM   Subscribe

What can I do to improve my driving record?

I was recently denied a job due to a less than ideal driving record. I've been given the opportunity to explain my side. I've already taken a Defensive Driving program, and by New Years Day, I should have 0 (zero) points on my license. I'm in New York State. What else can I do to improve, or at least show that I'm trying to improve, my driving record?
posted by brevator to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What's been getting you into accidents? Driving too fast? DUI (say it ain't so!)? Distractions? If you must talk on your cell, get a hands-free bluetooth set. Driving a stick shift while eating chips and salsa and tuning the radio and talking on your cellphone in a blizzard, for example, is not liable to turn out well.
posted by Autarky at 1:55 PM on November 28, 2007

No accidents. 1 speeding ticket and 2 disobeying a traffic device.
posted by brevator at 2:08 PM on November 28, 2007

Cut down on distractions while driving like cellphones, music, etc. Pay attention to all road signs regarding speed, passing zones, etc. The DOT spends lots of money on those signs so you should read them. Just because other drivers disregard them does not mean you have to be a sheep and follow the speeding herd. Plan your trips in advance with specific routes so you know exactly how long it takes to get there and add a little extra travel time so you do not need to speed. Relax when you drive by cutting out sugar and caffeines.

Defensive driving does not really help you with strategies to avoid driving fast.
posted by JJ86 at 2:31 PM on November 28, 2007

If you have trouble with speeding, then just make sure that when you're on the road you drive in a group of cars. If you're passing everybody, you stick out like a sore thumb. If you're going the same speed as everyone else, then you won't attract attention. Also, if you must go fast, then find a "jackrabbit", someone who's whizzing past everyone, and get on their tail (not tailgating, but stick maybe five carlengths back. That way at least there's someone else going just as fast as you, and they're the first one the police will see...
posted by Autarky at 2:48 PM on November 28, 2007

The tip that my driving instructor gave me that has always helped me is that whenever you pass a speed limit sign, you should immediately look down and see how fast you're going. This has always helped me because whenever I speed, it always seems to be when I stopped paying attention to how fast I was going and getting into this habit always helped me remember to look down.
posted by icebourg at 2:53 PM on November 28, 2007

Cruise Control.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:59 PM on November 28, 2007

Time will clear your driving abstract up, it usually the only thing without a court order, and pay attention while you drive, no cell phone, no eating, just drive.
posted by kanemano at 3:23 PM on November 28, 2007

You could get a license in a different state. I had a Texas license for a while, and at one point I pulled my own driving record -- completely clean.
posted by delmoi at 4:11 PM on November 28, 2007

Just to clear things up, I'm specifically interested in things I can do to clean up my driving record, or things I can do to show that I am trying to become a better driver. Delmoi has the right idea. I appreciate the advice on how to be a better driver, but it's not really what I need right now.
posted by brevator at 5:29 PM on November 28, 2007

Have you paid all of the outstanding fines? If not, or if you did so late, you might be categorized as a problem driver for that alone. Here's the citation:

Sorry for the mess, my browser is acting wonky and won't let me link like usual.

If they're all paid, it sounds like improving your record isn't possible right now- only time and careful driving will take care of that. In order to convince your potential employers that you're being proactive about changing your driving habits, what about taking an online traffic school course? None of them are approved by the state of New York, but that might not matter if what you're trying to do is impress an employer.

Or go all the way and take Driver's Ed again at a local high school. That might be extreme enough to convince them that you're serious about changing your habits.
posted by arnicae at 6:42 PM on November 28, 2007

Traffic school is what will reduce your points, not the defensive driving class.
posted by brujita at 9:54 PM on November 28, 2007

My understanding is that you can retake the course every X timeframe to renew the benefits! This really pays for itself, my insurance dropped $1,200 a year immediately the first time i took a Defensive Driver Course. It has to be a NYS certified in order to get the savings, as you know.

As someone else said, the bads on your license will expire eventually. Call the 1-800 DMV number to find out exactly how long, in your specific case. This will help you plan for a new interview once your license becomes clean. Besides waiting for the expiration of your records, you cannot erase anything, unfortunately.

If you dont know this already, you can get your entire driving record (an abstract) from NYS DMV for $10 a pop, you can do it online to avoid the lines.

If you have a fast car and have trouble speeding (like me), i would recommend literally duct taping a block of some sort to the underneath of your gas pedal. Just test it so you can still get out of danger with a good amount of acceleration. Also make sure it is NOT going to itself under your brake!!
posted by Ryaske at 7:12 AM on November 29, 2007

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