I mentioned how much I like texting and driving and how you just have to be good at it. There are several other driving habits worth discussing. Some are getting a bad rap in today’s media–they’re simply not all that evil. We live in a such a risk-averse society. I grew up riding on bench seats with no seat belt. Ergo, you probably can too.
Then there are some driving behaviors that really pop my cork. These are just plain insane or rude. You should never do them. Let’s go deep.
Putting on makeup while driving
I don’t do this. I don’t plan to ever do this. It’s just not necessary. There was one time driving to work when I had to come to a fairly sudden stop at a red light, possibly because I hadn’t really been watching it with my full attention. But I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a woman screech up behind me and almost hit me. She was applying lip stick and she had just drawn a bright red line up the side of her face.
So the moral of this story is “put your makeup on before getting in the car.”
Using turn signals
This is one of those things that the media is all “wah wah” about but c’mon, let’s face it, turn signals are pretty much a thing of the past. Almost all intersections have left turn lanes so your intent to turn is pretty clear. And for smaller intersections, they’re just not that busy so who care? And furthermore, blinking a bulb puts a lot of stress on the filament and I don’t want to wear them out.
Leaving turn signals on
One of the hazards of over zealous turn signal use it that you might forget and leave ’em blinking. Take for instance when you’re doing a slow merge onto the highway and you never turn you steering wheel quite enough to click off the blinker.
Then you’re likely to just look like one of those elderly dudes who cruises down the expressway blinker a-flashing totally oblivious all hopped on Percocet and listening to some preacher on the radio. Yes, I can get all that from seeing someone with their blinker on.
Or in the immortal words of Mick Jagger:
I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield
Listening to gospel music on the coloured radio station
And the preacher said, ‘You know, you always have the Lord by your side’
And I was so pleased to be informed of this, that I ran 20 red lights in His honor
Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord.
I guess that didn’t have much to do with turn signals but I always liked that song. Anyhow, back at the topic at hand–skip the blinker for sure on a merge. Not needed.
Talking on your cell phone
Also getting a bad rap in the media is simple cell phone use, not even texting, just talking. There is no difference between talking on your phone and simply talking to someone else in the car. We are trying to outlaw passengers now, are we? You see my simple reasoning and now understand the truth. Talk away, don’t worry about the laws.
Chilling out in the left lane
Now this really burns my groove. I’m talking about when you’re trying to get somewhere and you’re pushing it in the left lane but then you come up behind some bozo who’s only doing a little over the limit in the left lane. C’mon buddy (or lady), move it over so I can get where I’m going already! This is a nice segue into “tail gating” which is the preferred solution for the left lane riders.
This is another driving skill that has gotten a bad rap. Sometimes you need to follow close. As long as you’re paying attention, it’s fine. They stop, you stop. But sometimes this is the only way to let the person in front of you know they’re holding up the show. Move it old timer!
The “late merge”
I’m split on this. This is where there’s a lane ending and signage for that way ahead. But a car waits until the last second to move from the lane that’s ending into another lane. This is usually because they wanted to pull ahead of a bunch of the cars stuck in the other lanes.
So my rule on this is: if I’m doing it, it’s OK. If someone else is doing it, they’re just flat out rude! So if you’re not me, don’t do this!
Turning right to turn left
This should be in Driving 101. If you’re turning left, you do not need to first veer to the right to make for a wider turning radius. Modern cars do not need that extra room. Only my ancient Aunt Hilda should do this, and that’s because she has a land yacht from 1973 and it probably simple can’t make a sharp corner happen.
Snugging up to the car in front of you
So we’ve got a lot more left turn lanes now, right? And frequently at busy times the left turn conga lines extends out past the turn lane forcing you to block up traffic in the normal lanes. Now what really torques me is when I see someone up ahead who’s keeping a full car length or more between their vehicle and the car in front. If they would just move up a bit my heinie would not be hanging out blocking up the regular. So snuggy up in the those lines and have some consideration for those behind you. I’m telling you, people are always thinking only about themselves.
Being a good driver is really just about showing me some courtesy. I don’t ask much. I just need to get where I’m going so that I can ignore the people I’m with and look at my phone.