Have you been procrastinating again this year? With just four more shopping days until Christmas (counting today) and Hanukkah beginning at sunset this evening, you've probably noticed that the ticking of your inner clock is getting louder and louder.
If you're still stumped for gift ideas, don't panic just yet.
Check out the Doc's annual roundup of gift suggestions for the drivers in your life. Before you pooh-pooh the idea of shopping at the automotive store, consider these two points: Auto supply stores are nowhere near as packed as the malls this time of year and chances are pretty darn good that most people you know drive some sort of vehicle.
Here's the Doc's 2008 idea list:
Custom dashboard covers: The Florida sun can have an incinerating effect on dashboards and nothing ages the look of a car faster. Most custom dash covers block ultraviolet rays and come in a variety of colors and materials including fiber and velour. They run from about $35 to $65.
Blocking glare: SunGlides are antiglare shades mounted on the inside of the windshield that can be pulled down and adjusted to avoid the glare of the sun. Magnets keep the shade in place. SunGlides run about $35.
Window guards: These are really handy in our climate, allowing you to leave windows cracked for a cooler interior without the worry of rain coming into the car. Custom-molded window guards act as awnings for car windows and some also assist with blocking glare from the sun. They come in a wide range of colors and materials including chrome and run about $100.
Litterbag/tissue holders: Target carries a cool spring-frame trash bag for cars that is leak proof, allowing for the disposal of items such as drink cups without the mess. It also stores tissues and wipes, a must-have for parents and carpoolers. The bag is $20. Target also carries collapsible cargo bins that fit neatly into car trunks or SUV cargo spaces.
Emergency hammer: This is a great peace-of-mind gift that can tuck easily into a stocking and most are under $10. The emergency hammer can be kept in the glove box and used to break a window in the event that you need to escape a submerged vehicle, which is not all that uncommon in Florida.
Mobile iPod kit: Check out the 3-in-1 iPod kit, a portable charger and player for iPod users on the go. The kit plugs into your car's cigarette lighter and connects directly to the iPod to charge. The digital wireless radio transmitter connects an iPod to your car stereo, allowing users to listen to their iPod through the car's sound system. The kit runs about $25 and is available from AccessoryGeeks.com, and, even better, the online retailer is offering free shipping and ships in 24 to 48 hours to most states.
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Have a happy and safe holiday, folks, and please avoid drinking and driving.
Get your designated drivers lined up now.
If all else fails, remember that AAA offers anyone a safe, confidential free ride home via the Tow to Go program, which will hook your car up to a tow truck and give you a lift if you have imbibed too much and find yourself without a sober driver.
The program, which is a partnership between AAA Auto Club South and Budweiser, has provided more than 8,600 drunken drivers with rides home in the past 10 years. That's a lot of drunks off the roads — and who knows how many tragedies that have been averted. Call toll-free at 1-800-AAA-HELP (222-4357).
Please e-mail Dr. Delay at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your traffic concerns, comments and questions. Check out Dr. Delay's Bay News 9 blog at www.baynews9.com/DrDelay.html to read more about commuting issues.