Road Etiquette: Things that Drive You Crazy
“Where did you people learn to drive?” I’ve said that a million or more times on the road. I am an unofficial road etiquette reporter live from the scene of anywhere I am in a car.
I’ve lived in 9 states and visited 25 others. I love to road trip and control the wheel in a rental car.
When you first learn to drive, you are warning about “those” drivers. Every state has something different. In St. Louis it was, “Those damn Illinois drivers.” In Nevada, it was “Oh those California people don’t know how to drive!” In Florida – well okay, nobody in Florida drives well no matter where they are from. Must be the humidity.
A few things about each community have driven me nuts on the road. Here in Lincoln, there is an unwritten rule that when a light turns red, three more cars go through the red light. There is no accountability for this ongoing act, so people keep doing it. New people like me learn to fall in line the first time they have the audacity to stop a yellow light and get flipped off and cursed out while arms flail a full three cars back.
There is apparently a balancing of this crime by refusing to go anywhere near or above the speed limit. I’ve spent more time fuming going 40 mph in a 45 mph zone than I’ve spent walking my dogs.
It gives me flashbacks to the Las Vegas days where the speed limit on “The 15” was 65 or 70 (I honestly don’t know because you never drove that slows) and unless you were motoring along at a solid 85+mph, even in the slow lane, you were going to get lambasted.
“Those damn California drivers!”Every driver in Nevada
The only time I saw Nevada drivers go the speed limit or less was during a rouge snowstorm. 6 inches of snow and the city drivers went deaf, dumb, and blind to how to drive. Even the airport couldn’t get transportation off the ground.
Every city will bring a unique driving road rage triggers, but here are some of the most common anger-inducing moments.
LEFT LANE LOVER
A left lane lover is going to stay in the left lane, fast lane, passing lane – whatever YOU call it – as long as they with the knowledge eventually they will be turning left. It might be 50 miles down the road. But, since they will eventually need that lane, why not hog it up now?
PULL OUT AND SLOW DOWN
You see me coming in the lane and you know I’m (finally) making good time. Why you think it’s a great idea to rush out in front of me only to go 10 miles under the speed limit is beyond me. There was not a single car behind me. You could’ve walked beside your car for all I cared if you had just let me pass. Now we are at war.
Look, when I get to a traffic light, I’ve got things to do. I make the most of every second. I need to check what email came in since the last red light 45 seconds ago. I heard a Facebook ding so I need to see if Channing Tatum finally messaged me back. When you approach a stop light at 5 mph rolling up to the next car, you are cutting into my time. Just pull up to the car and stop. Don’t make a holiday of it.
YOU’RE WELCOME, A$$HOLE
If someone does something nice for you, some kind of gesture of thanks is required by unofficial world law (and the bible). So if I let you go in front of me while sitting in traffic, simply flap your hand in the air mimicking a wave. If I wave to you to go ahead and take that front row spot at Target because I see you’ve got 5 kids in the car, WAVE BACK.
BLINKER FLUID SHORTAGE
I’ve noticed this a lot in Tesla drivers, enough that I wonder if the almighty Tesla even comes with blinkers. If you intend to go right or left, turn the damn blinker on. It’s right there. RIGHT THERE. If not, I can’t wait to explain to the responding officer and my insurance company that you are a blinker baffoon.
On the flip side, using your blinker does not guarantee you immediate access to my lane. Imagine if you were dining at a restaurant and someone next to you had a great-looking meal. You might say “Can I have a bite of that?” and you’d wait for a response. You wouldn’t be grabbing the fried shrimp as you asked the question. Smart drivers know what a blinker means and we’ll accommodate your request.
Here are the rules of tailgating according to my own secret set of rules. Tailgate briefly to let the person know they are going too slow in a fast lane or to make them double check the speed limit. Once they’ve given you the appropriate dirty look in the rearview mirror, back off a minute. Let them make a smart decision to get their $hit together. Simply riding someone’s tail ad nauseum will only make them go slower.
As much as I complain about bad drivers on the road and own when I am one of them, I always say to myself “Just get home alive to your dogs.” No crappy driver is worth their weight in salt to risk my time in my happy place.
I will never be at the center of a road rage incident as I will drive away from the problem. If you area pissing me off, I’ll go around you or take an alternate route. If you are messing with me, I’ll pull over to a police station (jacka$$). I have no interest in fighting a battle with you outside of mean mugging and a flailed arm or two.
I have no idea what your issue is today. For all I know you hate going home so you are going extra slow. Maybe you are on the way to put your dog down and can’t fathom the thought of arrival. Maybe you just had an awful day and I’m just contributing to it by tailgating.
I think if we all follow these basic, unwritten, unofficial rules of the road, we can all arrive alive and not be so mad we’re still fuming 15 minutes later.