Windows rolled down, the radio turned up, and a warm sunny day is exactly what makes a crappy day much better when I’m driving down the highway. But then… the idiot to my left decides to drift into my lane without even looking. Bam. I slam on my breaks, give them a honk, and they go on with their day, unaffected by the danger they put upon both of us.
Washington drivers frustrate me. They are constantly in a hurry. They prioritize the special place they need to be over the lives of themselves and others. Swerving, honking, yelling, and giving the bird to others are frequent behaviors of the considerate and gentle Seattleites.
I just love it when they neglect their blinker and swerve into lanes, crossing two at a time right in front of oncoming traffic. Who needs drivers ed when the skills become long forgotten, just like high school math class?
And the joys of parking! Oh how I adore those people who park crookedly, taking up two spots. I am even more enamored with their abilities to open their doors sloppily, denting my car.
I’m not going to coach you on your driving abilities, but I am going to remind you of some basic essentials that are often overlooked.
Tailgaiting and driving slowly. I’m categorizing these two because driving at a snail’s pace often leads to tailgating. If you are in a 35 mph zone, then driving 20 mph is simply unacceptable. You are creating a traffic hazard.
If the person in front of you is driving like your grandma, if possible, pass. If not, check to see if the driver in front of you is the victim of another slow driver. In the event that they are behind a turtle, then back off. You cannot do any good by tailgating if the car in front of you has no control over your speed.
Be polite. Flipping people off is not helpful. Use your horn sparingly. If the driver in front of you does not go after 0.5 seconds, wait just a tad longer. Just because they may be a slow reactor, a honk only creates steam. If necessary to wake them up, a light tap to the horn will do the job just fine. No fist to the horn.
Blinkers are great ways to let the people around you know if you are turning or not. Go figure! How about you make use of this feature so you don’t brake, confusing the drivers behind you, and then randomly turn. If you forget to turn on your blinker, don’t do it while you are already turning. It should be obvious that you are turning and is too late to signal ahead of time.
Just like you were told growing up, look both ways before crossing. This rule still applies behind the wheel. Sometimes people will still be in the middle of crossing the intersection, long after the light changes to red. Make sure there are no cars going through before crossing. It’s such a basic “duh” statement, but it could save your life. Always, always, always look both ways.
Apply your skills with changing lanes. Cars have extremely useful tools called mirrors. Using them besides just for checking yourself out would be an absolutely wonderful idea! And, don’t forget your blind spot. Some people love to just drive and stay right there, so make sure you’re clear before moving over.
Think about how your driving may affect others. Try to calm down and have patience. By changing just a few aggressive driving traits, you can help ease traffic and make it much less stressful for both yourself and others.