Drivers Wanted. Common Sense Required. Or… not?
My husband and I work in the same building and have done so for the past year now, so we save on gas by driving to work together nearly every day. It’s been quite an adjustment for me, as I am the type of person who feels that getting somewhere early equals being on time, while my husband prefers to just get there when he gets there and not worry about running a few minutes behind. This morning, as with many, we were making fantastic time until we encountered some of the geniuses on the road that cost us precious minutes and made me 6 minutes late to work. To these drivers, I say the following:
1. The rearview and visor mirrors are not vanity mirrors. This mostly applies to the ladies who apply mascara and lipstick while teasing their hair and steering with one hand. This activity should either be left at home or performed once your car has parked in an appropriate spot. Honestly, I can barely apply mascara when I’m standing still with my face in the bathroom mirror. I can get my make-up on in less than 2 minutes most days. Either learn how to do that or get up earlier.
2. If pulling out onto the road will cause the person behind you to slam on their brakes, DON’T PULL OUT! It is insanely annoying to have to slow down from 45mph to 20mph because the jackass in front of me can’t judge distances properly. I’m glad my husband’s car has great brakes because they were put to the test; last month a bumper sticker covered Smart Car driven by a frizzy haired lunatic made a left turn into our lane directly in front of us, resulting in my husband almost slamming into the back of her mini-car. She of course acted irate, as if it was our fault we were traveling the speed limit along a road and didn’t get the hell out of her way when she decided to turn directly into our path.
3. Don’t be a chicken. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the person who never thinks there is enough room for them to pull out onto the road. I’ve been stuck behind one car for 10 minutes because she refused to make a right turn until there were no cars in sight whatsoever in either direction. It’s so frustrating to see chance after chance to pull out just get passed by because someone is too scared to hit the gas pedal.
4. Travel the speed limit or stay out of the way. If the sign says 45mph, then please maintain that speed. Going 10 miles under isn’t safer, especially when you have a line of cars containing angry drivers trailing after you. If you desire to drive too slow, pull over for cars that are observing the speed limit or stay to the right on multi-lane roads and highways. If school is not in sessions or is after hours, don’t drop to 25mph once entering the school zone. If you see a police car, don’t immediately start going 20 in a 35, it just makes you look guilty.
5. HANG UP AND DRIVE! Is your conversation really so important that you can’t tear your phone away from your ear for the few minutes it takes you to get from point A to point B? And if it is, invest in a bluetooth device, either one you wear or one you clip to your visor; at this point they are quite affordable. I shouldn’t have to be exposed to your careless driving just because you need to tell your BFF about your super fun date last night or you have to call your husband and make sure he remembers to be home at 6.
6. Get off my ass. I admit, I will tailgate someone for a minute if they are traveling too slowly to give them a little hint to speed up. While it’s still naughty driving, I’m doing it because they’re going too slowly, not because I’m a prick. The only reason I can see for someone to ride my bumper while I’m traveling 5 miles an hour OVER the limit is because they are a self-absorbed jerk who believes they own the road. I’m not going to speed even more just because you feel like breaking the sound barrier. Make Nascar a hobby if you feel like you need to go that fast all the time.
7. The turn signal IS functional. I am not a mind reader and I’m not a good enough guesser to know what you’re about to do and when you’re going to do it. It doesn’t take that much effort to move your arm 6 inches and flip the switch. It even turns itself off for you after you make your turn. I’m more frustrated by people signaling too late than not at all; flipping it on while you’re mid-turn doesn’t do any good.
8. The turn signal is NOT car bling. Use it to turn or change lanes, then turn it off. I used to try to signal drivers who left it on, but after getting the finger one too many times, I gave up. It gets confusing to be behind the person with the signal left on, wondering if they are ever going to make that turn. Don’t be that guy with the left blinker going for miles and miles and miles….
9. I have my own radio, please don’t share yours. I curse the day that The Fast And The Furious opened in theaters and the streets became flooded with souped-up Honda’s and Toyotas, ground FX kits and sound systems galore. Sadly, the sound system most people are able to afford is not exactly the greatest sounding thing out there. I don’t want to hear anyone’s car frame rattling along to a horrible beat, especially not when my windows are up and I have a CD going. Who are they trying to impress anyway?
10. Learn what the lines in a parking lot are for. Don’t drive across the parking slots and DON’T cut me off and look at me like I’m the bad guy while doing so! Park as evenly between the lines as possible. If you pull into a space and won’t be able to open your doors on both sides without hitting the car next to you, find another space; even if you don’t have to open your doors, chances are the poor soul next to you will have to. Don’t hold up traffic waiting for someone to pull out so you can get the perfect space; it won’t kill you to walk an extra 15 feet. As the driver, don’t exit your running vehicle and leave it blocking other cars, especially when your passengers are under the driving age and can’t move it for the poor person trying to leave. Don’t back out at breakneck speed and risk lives of pedestrians. Yield when needed, but not for patrons that have just exited the store and aren’t even near the lot yet; no one feels like waiting while you let granny hobble over to the road to cross.
Basically, what it all comes down to is driving smart. Use your vehicle for what it was intended; getting safely from point A to B and hopefully not murdering any innocent squirrels along the way. With the exception of parked cars, there isn’t much else you should be doing in there other than driving and enjoying the company of passengers or your radio. You’re rarely ever the only car on the road, so to be safe, just never act like you’re alone and be mindful of the world around you. Or if you’re one of those who loves to rage on the road and doesn’t get what I’m trying to say here, I’ll dumb it down: Quit being a douchebag or get off the road.