Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rules of the Road: 7 Reminders of How to Drive!

After driving for three hours on New Jersey highways this past weekend, I'd like to provide a public service and remind people how to drive! Call it "Plunge into Driving School 101".

I bore witness to numerous annoyances, instances of dangerous driving, and general ignorance for the road, from people of all backgrounds and a variety of states. (Teenagers and new drivers, feel free to print this out and paste on your dashboard for future reference!)...

1. If it's dark and pouring, or even just drizzling, put your lights on! I drove through a serious downpour and there were still drivers that didn't bother to flick their headlight switch on. It's the law in the New Jersey-- "Wipers on, Lights on" but in reality should just be a matter of common sense. Without your lights on you make it extremely difficult for others to see you. Ummmm....not good.

2. If you choose to drive the speed limit or slower, that's fine, I appreciate your respect for the law and for safety. But out of courtesy for other drivers, move on over to the right lane. People who want to drive faster than you are driving will find a way to pass you. You make it 10x more dangerous if they have to pass on the right or tailgate you into submission. It's just not worth it. Please move over.

3. Cell phones... just put 'em down while you're handling a two ton machine. Please. Bluetooth earpieces or speakers are a much better alternative.

4. Just because you made a mistake doesn't mean you should make everybody else around you suffer. If you get into a turning lane by accident, and other cars are near or rapidly approaching you... just turn, unless nobody's behind you and you can safely get over to the correct lane. Don't try to cut back into the other lanes real fast.

5. If you're stuck in a line of traffic on the right side and want to get over to the left, don't cut out the approaching cars; just wait until they pass. Once you cause those cars in the left lane to break for no reason other than to let you in, you're just asking for trouble.

6. Learn how to park. Be it parallel parking or parking between the lines, do it right so as not to foul things up for everybody else. Nothing worse than a busy parking lot or tight city street where some moron is taking up two precious spaces for no reason other than s/he's being lazy and inconsiderate.

7. My last pet peeve... keep your cigarette butts in the car! Despite what you may believe, the world is NOT your ashtray (or trashcan as the case may be for those people who like to toss out their gum wrappers, soda cans, and the like). Keep your refuse in the car and take it out later.

Follow these rules and we can all live in highway harmony! Class dismissed.

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