Friday, August 26, 2005

A Lesson in Driving

It seems that some of the public has forgotten those long ago, or not so long ago, lessons in driver's education. I am taking it upon myself to re-educate, ahem, the general public on lessons in driving.

I. The Benefits of Blinkers
II. How To Merge
III. Reading Speed Limit Signs
IV. Proper Turning Etiquette/Proper Blinker Usage

(Do you sense a pattern here?)

I. The Benefits of Blinkers
Using blinkers while driving is the only reasonable way to communicate your direction changes. I am not a mind reader although I play one on TV. I can sometimes guess what you are trying to do by your head movements, but it would really make life so much easier if you would just flip that little switch and give me some direction. Then I can stay the hell away from your backside and resist the urge to introduce my radiator to your bumper.

II. How To Merge
Merging is definitely at the high end of the difficulty spectrum when it comes to driving. The majority of the time the highway department has had the foresight to give you some visual clues that merging is up ahead. Occasionally the highway department will over estimate one's skills to merge and put signage a little too close to the actual merge location. In the instance when you have plenty of notice (this does require you to have your eyes open while driving and that you be paying attention to said directional signage), turn your blinker on in the appropriate direction, check all of your mirrors, not just the one closest to you, and adjust your speed accordingly so that those around you do not need to rearrange their speed to accommodate you. This does not mean speeding up and slowing down in a manner that does not allow for one you are merging with to predict your actions. Merging should be done in a smooth manner and should not make the cars around you have to swerve or slam on their brakes.

When merging onto a freeway, there is not instance in which you should come to a complete stop. Most likely the speed limit on the highway is at least 55, in which case getting up to said speed from a complete stop will definitely affect drivers around you. Again speed up or slow down when merging onto the freeway in a manner that does not rearrange the lives of those around you.

III. Reading Speed Limit Signs
Once again, the highway department, with many motives, has provided you with signs that will help you in your drive. Speed limit signs can vary, but tend to be white with black letters. While driving on any road, you should always be on the look out for speed limit signs. This will not only keep you from getting a ticket, but will keep you from annoying those around you. If there is just one sign, then please go at least that number and 5 over would be even better. If there is a sign that lists a minimum and maximum speed limit, the maximum is preferred and again, 5 over this number is ideal. If there is more than one lane and you are obviously going slower than those around you, the right lane is the appropriate lane to be in. YOU ARE NOT THE LAW. If the person behind you wants to go faster and you can get it another lane, DO. IT. Save us all some sanity. You were not placed on this earth to make me go the speed limit. Get out of my way.

IV. Proper Turning Etiquette/Proper Blinker Usage
Here we will revisit bullet number I. where we learned the benefits of blinkers. When and where to use your blinker can be confusing, but I will give you some pointers to make it more clear. When turning in either direction or changing lanes in either direction, turning your blinker on at least 30 seconds or 100 feet before your turning/changing lane location is ideal. Turning your blinker on as you turn does you and me no good. You might as well not waste the energy, yours or mine. You do NOT have to come to a complete stop in order to turn or change lanes. Slamming on your brakes at the last second to turn is not recommended and doing any of the above without using your blinker is at no time acceptable driving etiquette.

There are a lot of ways to turn on your blinker. My personal preference is to keep my left hand on the steering wheel and just drop a couple of fingers down to flick the blinker switch up or down. That's the lazy method. You can pull your entire hand off the steering wheel and push down or up the blinker switch as well. I do not recommend this method if you are the type of person that needs to have your hands on the wheel at all times to remember that in fact you are the one driving the vehicle. Then you have your forceful blinker changers. That means taking your hand off the wheel and actually swatting at the blinker.

Once you have used your blinker and made the appropriate lane change/turn, it is necessary sometimes to turn off your blinker. If you leave your blinker on indefinitely, it forces me to have to think and we all know how much I love to do that. Leaving your blinker on for over 15 minutes should be cause for ticketing because you have most likely adversely affected over 50 drivers by this action unless of course it is 3:00 AM and no one else is around. Again, I cannot read your mind, so seeing a blinker, makes me believe that you do in fact want to change lanes or turn. This is especially annoying/important when you happen to be driving, say a dump truck or 18 wheeler. I am no idiot and know that you are bigger and therefore that you win the merge race. I am therefore forced to yield to your huge monstrosity of a vehicle so when you drive with your blinker on indefinitely it forces me into a very uncomfortable holding pattern.

Other good driving tips.
-Watch the road. This should be obvious, but some of you seem to need a reminder.
-Pay attention to those around you. You are not the only one on the road, nor do you own it.
-Crawling up my ass with your big wheel is not going to get me to go faster, but it will piss me off.
-Proper acceleration is a must. That big wheel you got I know comes with a V8 engine so there is not reason to get off the starting block at the light going 5 miles an hour for the length of a mile. Floor that sucker.
-Get an ear piece for that cell phone and use it. If you can't drive on the road and talk on the phone, got off one of them.
-While sitting in traffic, please try and remember that you are not the only one who would like to get home today.
-The shoulders of the road are not roadways and are not meant to be driven on at mach speed.
-Just because you have a truck or 4x4 doesn't mean the median is a roadway either.

Thank you for your kind attention. This has been a message from your friendly neighborhood driving maven.

1 comment:

Star said...

Well said Jazzy. I just made the 25 minute drive hom in 40 minutes due to some of the people you singled out.