Manners Maketh The Man: Remembering Driving Etiquette
So said Harry to Eggsy and so it would do us well to remember when we are on the road. That car that you are driving can be a deadly missile and some road etiquette would be highly helpful in getting everyone home safely. Not to mention that instead of just being a faceless car, every other car has a driver who is a human and deserving of respect (despite how little they may show others). So without further ado, let’s review some of the manners that we might have known but forgotten on the jaded and often unforgiving roads.
1. No tailgating, keep a safe distance
Tailgating is both a dangerous and disrespectful act. Other drivers have as much right to drive as you do and should not have to feel bullied because you want to get ahead. Try to use the 3-second rule to make sure you are a safe distance from the car in front of you. If you really must, beep them with the horn or use your high beams to let them know you’re there.
2. No cruising in the fast/passing lane
You know the right lane? The fast lane? If you’re planning to have a leisurely drive, that is NOT the lane you should be in. If you’re slowing down traffic, and cars are passing you on the left lane, you are not just being disrespectful, but you’re being a road hazard.
3. Using your high beams
If it’s a really dark night without streetlights, high beams can be helpful in seeing where you’re going and making sure you don’t hit anything. However, using your high beams with other cars around can be dangerous because it robs them of their night vision, making them effectively blind for a few seconds. Don’t be “that” guy. If you have a habit of using your high beams, or have very bright headlights installed, do something about it.
4. Using your turn signals
Ah, the turn signal. So simple, yet so neglected. Using your turn signal allows other drivers to know where you’re headed. How many times have you been driving, and the schmuck to your left or right suddenly merges into your lane with no warning? Well, don’t be that guy either. Use your turn signals, I promise it won’t kill you. The life you save could be your own.
5. Using your horn
You’re driving along peacefully when suddenly a car zooms up behind you blaring on his horn. This is disrespectful and irritating, so don’t do it yourself. Use your honk only to warn other drivers if they’re too close or if someone isn’t moving at a traffic light. Different honks can signify different things: A short beep means “I’m here”, a longer one could be “Watch out!”
6. Letting others merge
Merging lanes is a delicate business. You get the aggressive drivers who accelerate and cut into your lane at the last minute without even a signal or thank you. Yet, we can be guilty too of accelerating when we see somebody signaling to merge. If you have the space, let the person merge, it makes yours and their drive a little bit easier. Of course, if allowing them to merge is dangerous than your safety comes first.
7. Drive with purpose
If you need to change lane, don’t wait till the last minute to do it. Know where you’re going and what you’re doing on the road. Don’t drive aimlessly and distractedly. Besides, make it a point to heed the speed limit, both going too quickly and too slowly can be dangerous.
8. Don’t drive with distractions
Yes, we’ve heard it before, but it needs to be said again. No cellphones, texting, eating, makeup, operating music devices and so on. When you’re driving, your attention should be focused solely on driving, for both yours and other’s safety. It takes 3-5 seconds to read a text, and that 3-5 seconds might be time you don’t have when a car suddenly brakes in front of you.
9. Acknowledging other drivers
Other drivers can still see you even if you’re in the car so be respectful and be courteous. If someone wants to pass you, use your hand to indicate that they can. If someone is nice to you, wave and mouth a “Thank you”. A simple wave to say “thank you” when another driver has let you merge can make someone’s day.
10. Ignore aggressive drivers
Maybe they’ve had a bad day, maybe their dog is ill, maybe they’re just angry people. It can be very satisfying to respond in kind to another rude driver, but violence results in more violence. Better yet, show yourself the better person by taking a deep breath and not responding. You’ll get where you’re going safely, and the other driver will have to deal with their own problems.
Manners maketh the man (or woman). Be a respectful driver, even if others aren’t. Peace out!