I constantly hear people complain about bad drivers but I never see anything written about good driving habits. What is a bad driver? More importantly, what is a good driver? I suspect if you were to start the conversation with a group of your friends, you’d quickly find that everyone has a different idea of how to drive. I wouldn’t consider myself a road warrior, but I’m as good an expert as anyone. The best general advise I can give is to be aware of and considerate of other drivers. However there are also some specific situations that need addressing. All of these tips are meant for normal driving conditions. (Gridlock traffic and congestion is a entirely different animal)
Use your signal lights: If you take anything away from this post, please let it be this: Please use your signals! That includes any lane changes. I’ll repeat that incase you missed it; use your signal when you change lanes, merge onto the highway, or make a turn. A lot of people forget that other drivers don’t know where you’re going or what you’re thinking. For example, lets say you are the first in line in the left lane at a very busy intersection. Your plan is to turn left, so when the light turns green you flick on your signal light as a courtesy to the cars behind you. Even though you used your signal, you’re still an asshole. It would have been much better to put on your signal as soon as you pulled up to the red light. That way as other cars approached they can choose accordingly. They can choose to wait behind you through several green lights while you try and cross over 3 lanes of traffic or they can choose to get in the right lane and bypass the congestion. Use your signal light!
Pay attention to the cars around you. Why is it that cars love to drive in your blind spot? Especially when you are trying to change lanes. You may have you’re signal on but they can’t see it because of their unique position. I know they don’t do it on purpose, it’s just a case of being blissfully unaware of their surroundings. It’s still annoying. It may sound like common sense but use extra caution in parking lots whether you’re backing out or traveling up and down parking lanes. I work in insurance and you’d be shocked at how many claims come in from minor parking lot fender benders.
Tailgating. We’ve all been tailgated and it sucks. Additionally, we’ve all screamed “Get outta the way!” while being stuck behind a slow mover. There are two different tailgating situations: on an open highway and in congested traffic. Like I said earlier, road etiquette in traffic is different beast. Being tailgated in congested traffic has no easy remedy. If you’re exceptionally nice you can try and move over to let them pass but that’s being a better person that I have the strength for. However, if you’re in the left lane cruising down the open road with no one in front of you for miles but a line a 10 cars behind you…take the hint. You’re driving too slow and it’s your fault you’re being tailgated. Conversely, don’t get mad when you cut over to the right lane and get stuck behind a slow moving Buick.
Get out of the way if you don’t know the way. I’m a bad driver when I don’t know where I’m going and I think that’s true for most people. By the way, having a GPS does not mean you know where you’re going. So the next time you’re driving in a new city be extra nice. Wait until the road is completely clear before you pull out and pull over when needed to let locals pass by. No one likes getting stuck behind out-of-towners.
My car, my rules. If you ride in my car be prepared that I don’t wear a seat belt. Save your breath lecturing me. I know I’ll get pulled over, get a ticket, get arrested and die someday in a crash. I know! If you don’t like it then get the fuck out of my car. When I’m a passenger in someone else’s car I’ll wear my seat belt if that’s their preference. Their car, their rules.