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Thread: Are you a bad driver?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Are you a bad driver?

    Are you a bad driver?
    By Eric Peters
    for immediate release

    Everyone thinks they're a pretty good driver -- and it's the other guy who's the idiot reckless maniac.

    But could it be that we've met the enemy -- and he is us?

    Ask yourself whether you do (or don't do) any of the following things:

    * I pay attention to what's happening behind me -- and let cars that want to go faster get by me. If you don't, you're guilty of obstructing the flow of traffic -- even if you're "doing the speed limit." Good drivers understand that it's both courteous and safe to let faster-moving traffic get by -- either by moving over to the right lane or (if necessary) briefly pulling off onto the shoulder. Good drivers never use their vehicle as a rolling roadblock -- and leave enforcement of speed limits to the police.

    * If I'm at a red light waiting to continue straight through the intersection, but someone behind me wants to make a right, I pull up enough to let him do so (if possible). We've all been stuck behind a car whose driver knows we're there -- and sees we have our turn signal on -- but can't be troubled to inch his car up enough to let us go about our business.Why not be courteous and give the guy behind you enough room to get by?

    * I leave at least two to three full car lengths of space between my car and the car ahead of me. If you don't, you're a tailgater -- one of the most dangerous drivers out there. Following closely is both aggressive and unsafe; "aggressive," because you are crowding the other driver, which will make him nervous and distracted. Unsafe, because a nervous, distracted driver is more likely to do something like brake suddenly -- and when he does, you are likely to run right into his tail. Give other drivers their space -- and give yourself a "time cushion" to react to changing traffic conditions.

    * I turn on my headlights whenever it's raining -- or it's beginning to get dark outside. The "whenever it's raining" rule is one to live by. If you need your windshield wipers, you need to turn your headlights on. Anytime visibility is poor, giving your fellow motorists additional warning of your presence can be a lifesaver. Driving around in dark/low-light conditions without headlights on is about as smart as using a lighter to see how much gas is in the tank.

    * I use my turn signals. Few things are more aggravating than waiting to enter an intersection because of an oncoming car -- which then turns just ahead of you without ever signaling. Now you're stuck waiting for the next opening -- and hoping that the driver of the next oncoming car won't be so thoughtless. Be considerate of others and let them know if you're about to make a turn or change lanes -- so they can adjust their own actions accordingly.

    * If I see cars trying to merge, I move over to the left (when possible) to leave the merge lane open. Doing so makes driving safer for everyone -- and much more pleasant. Unfortunately, a great many drivers seem oblivious to this rule of basic traffic safety etiquette. It is a particular problem on two-lane secondary roads -- where some drivers will obdurately refuse to briefly move over to the far left lane in order to allow another car to safely pull onto the road ahead of them. Share the road. It's not your private highway.

    * I accelerate as necessary to match the speed of traffic I'm trying to merge with. If you don't, you could be one of those not-so-good-drivers who pulls onto a freeway doing 25 or 35 mph -- right into traffic doing 60-something (or faster). Putting on your turn signal is no substitute for putting your right foot down -- in order to accelerate your vehicle to a safe merging speed. Other drivers shouldn't have to jam on their brakes and swerve to avoid piling into your rear end as you enter the highway. And they'll be a lot more receptive to your turn signal if you're traveling at about the same speed as traffic -- and not 20 mph slower than the cars you're trying to merge with. Getting up to a safe speed for merging is the equivalent of a polite "pardon me; can I play through?" -- as opposed to just butting in and expecting others to accommodate you.

    * I notice emergency vehicles -- and get out of their way. Someone's life could be on the line -- and if it were you in the back of that ambulance, you'd want the cars between you and the hospital to move out of the way. Sirens and flashing lights are fairly obvious; when you first hear an ambulance (or fire/police vehicle) in the distance, that's when you should begin looking for a way to get out of the way. Don't wait until the emergency vehicle is right on top of you and now there's nowhere to go. There's no excuse for blocking the way of emergency vehicles -- but it happens all the time. Anticipate -- and react. Get off the road. Do it now.

    * If I feel uncomfortable or over my head driving in snow/bad weather, I stay home -- or get someone else to drive. If you're one of those people who knows you're not the best snow driver but you go out anyway, you're guilty of endangering yourself as well as your fellow motorists. Everyone has to come to terms with their own limits -- whether behind the wheel or anywhere else in life. We can't all be president, not all of us are going to be great novelists or famous singers -- and some of us know we can't drive in the snow. There's nothing to be ashamed of -- unless you get into your car anyhow, knowing full well you'll probably get stuck, slide off the road or right into someone else's car.

    * I know when it's time to turn in my keys. This is the hardest one -- and the one we'll all face eventually. Vision declines, reaction times increase. Limbs get stiff. We all get old. At some point -- and it varies for each of us -- we may get too old to drive. Yet some of us refuse to admit this to ourselves -- wondering why all those "speeders" are honking their horns at us -- and why all those "reckless people" always seem to be making us hit them at 4-way stops and fast-paced freeway on-ramps. Knowing when to cash in one's chips is, perhaps, the most important characteristic of a good driver.

    END


  2. #2

    Re: Are you a bad driver?

    It's nice to finally have a forum free of hot-headed, single-posting militant safety types for a change (compared to that other forum).

    Lane discipline doesn't exist in California, period. Just tonight some SUV motorist took it upon himself to drive 50 MPH in the left lane. Unfortunately, the other two lanes were taken up by equally slow drivers. No one was in front of this SUV for at least 1/2 mile yet he took it upon himself to play lane monitor. The driver ahead of me continuously flashed the SUV only to be brake checked almost every time. It was quite frustrating to be stuck in the congo line to say the least.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Are you a bad driver?

    Give it time... they'll find us out!

    But we can fire back in kind here...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: Are you a bad driver?

    and some of us know we can't drive in the snow

    Having lived and farmed in NZ's South Island, we had falls of snow up to a metre deep. Got used to fitting chains or using 4wd to get around. ...I thought I could drive in snow

    Visited a friend in north Sweden and discovered maybe I was not so skilled. this guyused to put his car into a sideways slide and at the right second apply power to bing the car into the driveway. I guess you have to have snow around for 6 months of the year to learn those skills. Not that I would want to learn them at my maturing age ;D
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Are you a bad driver?

    I actually dig the snow because it lets me practice the skills you just described! (Of course you can do the same on dry pavement, but you need more speed and room to do it in reasonable safety, etc.)

    Ever do snow dirt-biking?

    Now that'l wake you up!

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