If we were to keep track of all the driving mistakes we make every week and levy a penalty of just a nickel per lapse, we would still end up with enough money to take care of the current economic problems. This is not to say that we should be flawless in our driving and there is no room for minor errors. The point is that we need to be aware of our driving responsibilities and be alert as well as conscious about these errors so that we do not commit them the next time around.
Road behavior also demands that we do not commit some of the typical driving etiquette errors we observe being committed by others as well as by us. These are mentioned below and the next time you think you are about to commit one of those or have already done so, ensure you reprimand yourself and resolve not to repeat it hereafter.
So let us begin with them in descending order:
No. 10 – Hurrying and putting pedestrians under pressure
You may think that pedestrians really have the traffic laws supporting them and gives them a lot of advantage. This could even lead to you think that you are losing precious seconds waiting for them to cross while you want to zip around that intersection at top speed and make up lost time.
However, the reality is different. Pedestrians do not want to spend time on the road if they can help it as they know that it is a risky place and they have their hearts in their mouths as they weave and dodge fast moving cars. They do try to move as fast as they can and you must respect that without trying to put additional pressure on them by honking indiscriminately. Hence demonstrate to society that you genuinely care for pedestrians by giving them sufficient time to cross the road.
No 9 – Tailgating
Tailgating is not going to help you reach any sooner especially when the traffic ahead is packed with very little moving space. So while some of you may pride yourself on your driving skills and try to eke out every inch of available space on the road just to keep moving ahead, you really have no option but to wait till traffic clears and the car in front of you starts moving ahead faster.
It is common sense but unfortunately not many of us have that patience to wait and feel that crowding the car ahead by tailgating will get us to our destination quicker. Tailgating is also not advisable as you could land into trouble should the guy ahead lose control.
No 8 – Being too cautious and slow in driving
This is a situation that is the antithesis to the point made earlier. This makes you too anxious and you end up fearing speeding on the road even you are allowed to travel at a particular speed. You need to know that the speed limits have been arrived at by civil engineers after taking many things into consideration such as the surface of the road, weather and unless they feel assured that there is no probability of accidents happening at those recommended speeds, they would not advertise it so openly. It therefore means that you need to travel at the speed permitted and should not hold yourself back. That may in fact cause problems to others behind you unless you take the senior citizens lane which permits you to drive at 35mph.
No 7 – Double parking
You are nobody special that you should double park your car and the feelings normally evoked in people due to this action of yours is that you are not man enough and require sexual performance enhancement pills. While that is a bit farfetched and exaggerated and may even appear harsh, you can rest assured that ladies will certainly not approve of such action by any man.
You need to demonstrate that you do not need such help in the form of double parking and should park your vehicle to fit into the single parking slot. If you do want the luxury of additional space for your car then you must find a spot that is relatively free and park it there. This spot may be far from the venue or the door but at least nobody will carry a negative impression about you and you would also have the added benefit of a walk which is always good for health.
No 6 – High beam ON!
Unless you are driving all by yourself on a dark road, there is no real reason for you to keep the high beams active. Keeping them on when the road itself is well lit and busy is not only unfriendly but can also be dangerous.
The opposite driver could get blinded by this sudden rush of bright light and that could make him lose control of his vehicle. This can lead to a crash with your car. Similarly it is equally dangerous to have the high beams on when tailing behind another vehicle as this can again lead to the car in front of you crashing and you ending up rear-ending it. This is therefore a situation that does not benefit anybody and you must remember this each time you turn on the bright lights. Use them with discretion and only when absolutely necessary.
No 5 – This is my grandfather’s road
This is yet another common failing in some drivers who hog the rightmost lane of an expressway and do not let anybody pass them. The most frustrating aspect of this is that they would be travelling at the same speed and would be blocking others from passing them. Please understand that the rightmost lane is not a race track where such drivers can establish their ‘rights’ and hold on for fear of somebody passing them and winning the race. This kind of an attitude is extremely upsetting and can even lead to a serious accident due to somebody equally ambitious wanting to pass you given the slightest opportunity.
Hence allow people to pass you if they wish to by slightly changing lanes if you do want to slow down and giving them space to carry on.
No 4 – Constant honking when waiting at traffic stops
There are some drivers who want to get off the block in a manner of speaking the moment the traffic lights turn green and end up honking continuously to urge the cars ahead of them to rush ahead. This is again unnecessary as a couple of extra seconds delay in the other cars starting is not going to make any difference in terms of any time saved. In fact, it can only happen that you rush out of this one to end up at the next traffic stop. Therefore stop creating noise pollution and be kind to the environment by guzzling less gas as you rev up your vehicle and let the car in front of you take those extra seconds.
No 3 – “Sharing” music with all
Many over enthusiastic car owners fit their vehicles with speakers that are more at home in a huge auditorium and end up blasting them with their favorite music. This results in a lot of noise pollution and everybody travelling within hearing distance of them are subjected to this torture. So do not assume in the first place that everybody loves the music you love and secondly, it is absolute bad manners to create this noise pollution just to satisfy your ear buds, which by the way can fall off thanks to this hammering of sound that they are subjected to as well.
If you think you are going to impress the ladies with this show of acoustics and heavy bass, then you are in for a surprise. No lady wants to sit in a vehicle with such loud music blaring and makes you appear as if you are begging for attention. Matters can become worse if the installation of these speakers and the system itself is inappropriate in which case, the output will certainly not be music.
So while nobody is going to grudge you listening to music that is crisp and clear, please do everybody a favor by installing a good system so that even if you do play it loud, it is enjoyable to all.
No 2 – Not checking blind-spots
This is a lesson that many drivers tend to quickly forget once they pass their driving exams. However, this is such an important check that I cannot over-emphasize on how many accidents could have been avoided if this practice was strictly followed. Check your blind-spots BY TURNING YOUR HEAD when you change lanes! You will also remove much frustration and irritation caused to other drivers, which in turn will also reduce potential of accidents and road rages. Thus for your sake and everyone around, please do this fastidiously.
No 1 – Failure to use the turn signals
The car manufacturers have not provided the blinkers on the vehicle just for cosmetic purposes. They are actually meant to convey to the person following behind about your intention to suddenly turn left or right so that he can adjust accordingly. If you decide to change lane without any warning or signal, then you could be setting up a scene for an accident to occur especially if the person behind you is of the impatient type and decides to overtake you at that particular point in time.
From the above, it can be concluded that if only we take cognizance of our responsibilities towards appropriate driving etiquette, we can avoid so many accidents that happen daily on the roads and make driving a real pleasure.