Driving Tips

I generally try to make my 'rants' at least a bit humorous.  Takes a bit of the sting out of whatever I'm blowing off steam about, and keeps people interested enough to keep reading.  This is, however, one of my 'buttons' and I can't really figure out how to put it in a genial or amusing fashion.  So, I'm just 'gonna let 'er rip'!

Here are some "common sense" driving tips which will make your travel, whether across the country or across town, much easier, safer and more enjoyable - that is, if we could get everyone to read this [grin].  By the by, these were part of my driver education course when I learned how to drive.  I realize that most of the following is NOT taught in those classes anymore, and I just wonder why.

1.    When turning, turn into the lane closest to you (going the right way, OF COURSE!), and then move to the desired lane gradually, merging with existing traffic.  Now then, you might want to know WHY - right?  OK, here's why.  Or rather, here is an example of why:  you are turning left at a multi-lane intersection.  Across the intersection, there is a vehicle turning RIGHT at the same light.  If both of you turn into the lane closest to you, BOTH vehicles can safely turn without taking a lot of time, without impeding traffic or hitting each other.  Simple and courteous. 

2.    You are approaching an intersection and realize that you needed to turn here, and you are in the wrong lane!!  Relax.  Move safely and GRADUALLY over to the side of the road you need, and turn at the next intersection.  Do NOT swerve madly across all of those lanes of traffic, or worse yet, STOP in the middle of the road, expecting everyone else to stop and let you cross the traffic lanes.  2 wrongs don't make a right, but 3 lefts DO!    You can always go around the block, or make a U-turn (if allowed by law) at the next intersection and come back.  There is absolutely NO REASON to panic and possibly cause an accident - not to mention pissing off all of the other drivers around you.

3.    You are not sure where you are going, or supposed to turn.  PLEASE don't slow down and start looking around for the address/store/road, etc.  Find a place to pull out of the traffic and check your GPS, map, email directions or whatever.  There is no need to block traffic, cause an accident or impede other drivers simply because you don't have a clue.

4.    Cell phones and GPS units.  Pull out of traffic (NOT into a bus stop!!!) and answer the phone (if you don't have a hands-free device) or re-program your GPS or whatever it is that is distracting you from the business at hand - DRIVING!  Personally, I think if you cannot walk, chew gum, pat your head and rub your tummy ALL AT THE SAME TIME, you should not be allowed to have ANY electronic toys in your vehicle! 

5.    Merging traffic - you want out into a moving traffic lane, or you are trying to make a left turn at an unregulated intersection, or even just change lanes - but no one wants to let you out/cross.  Gee, ever think about that when YOU see someone trying to pull into traffic?  What goes around, comes back around.

6.     Courtesy - when someone does you a courtesy (lets you make that left turn, or allows you room to merge into moving traffic, or change lanes, or whatever!)  The least you can do is to wave 'thanks' to them.  I cannot tell you how many people I do a minor courtesy for who act as if it was their RIGHT all along and totally ignore the fact that someone helped them.  Pisses me off and I wonder WHY I keep bothering to be courteous.  As a matter of fact, after someone like that is rude, I have a tendency to ignore the next couple of people who would like it for me to let them into traffic, make a turn, cross the street - whatever.  Someone else pays because one person was rude.   If everyone would exercise a little courtesy, it might actually become a fad!!  When raising my sons, I always told them that courtesy is the grease that lubricates society - makes things move easier and reduces friction.  It costs absolutely nothing, but is priceless.

7.      Headlights and hi-beams.  The way I was taught (oh, a couple of centuries ago) was that if you could SEE another vehicle, you should dim your headlights down from the hi-beams.  Didn't matter if they were approaching you, ahead of you, or coming out of a side street - if you could see them, you dimmed your lights.  I don't know about you, but I find it hard enough at night (these new 'euro' headlights!!) to see through all of the blue, and green and purple headlights without some inconsiderate, motherless, misbegotten, sorry S.O.B. blinding me with hi-beams.  And oddly enough, a lot of people drive that way (hi-beams on) ALL THE TIME!  In town, out in the country, on the interstate - doesn't matter - hi-beams.  I'm sorry, if your eye sight is THAT bad, you should not be driving, and you should definitely see a doctor.

8.      Parking and parking lots.  Now this applies to both drivers and pedestrians.   Try not to block traffic (pull across a traffic lane) simply because you want THAT parking space.  Most people are not rude enough to rush up and take a spot you are waiting for, as long as they know you ARE waiting for the spot - turn signals indicate that quite well, most times.  If you don't know how to parallel park, PRACTICE until you do.  Having to wait while some inept driver does the 'back and fill' 8 or 10 times is infuriating.  Both my husband and I have walked up to people like that and offered to park the vehicle FOR THEM.  A surprising number took us up on the offer.  Backing vehicles - ummm, what is the best way to put this?  If you see a vehicle backing up (in progress BEFORE you get there), stop and let them finish backing out of the parking space.  How hard is it?  I see people (both in and out of a vehicle) who keep going and then yell, blow the horn or whatever because the vehicle backing up didn't stop and wait for them to be rude.  I have seen pedestrians actually walk behind a commercial vehicle (bus, truck, shuttle, etc) IN THE PROCESS OF BACKING UP, and get hit by that vehicle!  Excuse me, but didn't the "beep, beep, beep..." give you a hint??  The back up alarm is because they can't SEE directly behind the vehicle.  It's trying to warn you to not go there!

9.    Jaywalking.  OK, I really DO understand.  Pedestrians have the right of way.  At "unregulated" intersections, IN the cross walk.  Now.  Has anyone ever heard of mass, momentum, inertia, Newton's laws, any of that?  I am going to assume you haven't.  This is it in a nutshell - you have to give the vehicle the TIME and the DISTANCE needed to stop.  If you simply step out into the intersection and expect everything to stop dead - well, you might be the one stopped 'dead'.  Also, make sure the driver actually has seen you!  All the legal rights in the world aren't going to help you if the driver doesn't know you are there!  Drivers, PLEASE don't stop at a green light to let someone cross against the light!!  You just might get them killed.  Other drivers can't read your mind, and may swing around you, or if they are oncoming traffic, might have no idea you just told some idiot to go ahead and cross.  If you encourage someone to cross against the light, and they get hit by another vehicle - how would that make you feel - at night, when you are trying to sleep???  Pedestrians - you already KNOW you aren't supposed to cross in the middle of the block.  And when you step out from between a couple of vehicles - you are simply asking to be turned into a grease spot on the pavement!  Use common sense!  No one is responsible for you EXCEPT you!  As the Christian Bible puts it:  "As ye sow, so shall ye reap"  Don't blame anyone else for YOUR actions and the consequences that come from those actions.

10.    Last of all - general manners.  I know all about having a bad day.  I also know all about being in pain.  I understand about home 'issues'.  That does not mean that you have license to be a sour, surly, ill tempered, rude and/or inconsiderate person.  I'm not saying that anyone expects you to be a smiling, sweet-tempered soul all the time.  But when someone greets you with a smile, the very least you can do is respond civilly.  When someone tells you to smile, is there REALLY a need to flip them off or call them nasty names?  Simply say that you are having a bad day (headache, whatever!) and to please excuse you.  It takes only a moment, responds to the greeting, and doesn't leave the person with a horrid first impression that you are an asshole - because that is what they will think then, and every time after that when they see you.


OK, I'm through fussing - for today, at least.  Have a wonderful, blessed day, and SMILE!!