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Avoid Being A Maddening Motorist

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We’ve all either been the culprit or the recipient of road rage, and sadly most people don’t worry about much else beyond their own sanity. But the actions, and at times, even inaction’s we make directly result in upsetting, frustrating, or fully enraging other drivers. If we at all expect other drivers to be conscientious on the road, we shouldn’t be hypocritical, and surely practice what we preach. With that said, perhaps it’s time for a reminder of what it means to be civil and polite on the road. So without further ado, let’s go back over the basics, and perhaps everyone will have better commutes if only they followed these easy rules.

Using Your Horn

It’s understood that using the horn on an automobile should only be used for alerting other drivers. If they’re backing up and may hit you, if they’ve left their gas tank cap off or even if their trunk isn’t latched. There are obviously correct and purposeful moments to use the horn. But more often than not, people tend to use them when they’re throwing a tantrum. Using the horn when patience run low sitting in traffic, the second a light turns green and the car in front has yet to speed off, or as flipping the proverbial “bird” in passing because another car was driving too slow. That little honk may seem trivial to those doing it, but to those receiving it, it can be more than enraging. Before letting the horn honk next time, be sure you’re doing it as a need and not as an insult you’re car can throw out. That said, perhaps it’s even time for cars to install different horn sounds for different purposes. Because rage aside, lets say someone lets you into their lane politely, well in that case, a “thank you” honk would be nice to offer. But you cannot discern that from any other message that may be given with it.

Using Inappropriate Hand Gestures

Most people don’t know sign language, but there is one hand gesture that is pretty well known in America, and that is the old middle finger. But what is baffling, is that every driver is an adult, while flipping someone off seems more than childish. Next time you find yourself seeing red because of what some other driver did, just remember, you’re more likely to make the situation worse than make yourself feel better. Not to mention, if you flip the wrong person off, you may find yourself being followed and no one knows what will happen when you both come to a stop. If you’ve been cut off, or something else that upsets you, just recognize their mistake and leave it at that. No good comes from adding insult to, in these cases, lack of injury.

Driving Etiquette

When you’re driving and there are other cars attempting to merge into your lane, the proper thing to do would be to let a car or two get ahead of you and let them in the lane. Slowing down so as to give them room and time. One of the most selfish moves a driver can make is to speed ahead so as not to fall behind one or two car lengths. It’s truly frustrating when you know another driver could let you in, yet they don’t. Worst case scenario for rage is when the merge is slow, when cars are at a stand still and you may be sitting there with your blinker on waiting patiently, meanwhile other drivers refuse to let you in. You could let dozens of cars get in front of you, and it’s not really going to affect your overall drive time. If anything you should feel good that you were polite, which should more than make up for the few potential minutes you lost by allowing them in front of you.

Then there is the bit of driving in the left hand lane. If you notice cars switching lanes so that they can speed up and get in front of you because you are driving too slow, move to the right lane. If you really want to be in the left lane, in the least you can still move over to let them pass and then switch back. Conversely, don’t drive dangerously and become upset if you feel the person in the left lane is driving fast enough. If they are in the least traveling the speed limit you have no room to complain, and nor do they have a responsibility to let you pass. Patience is a virtue, and is one that is often disregarded once we get behind the wheel.

Then there are those who play Frogger. No matter the speed the traffic is moving, there are always those who want to jump from lane to lane, causing people to brake erratically and potentially putting others in danger all for the purpose to get a few cars ahead. You’re not getting anywhere quicker with any marginal results. It may feel better to actually be moving, but it’s a false perception. Again… patience is key. Just relax, listen to your favorite music or radio program, even a book on tape. Anything is better than being “that guy” on the road.

Drivers who ride too close are also a catalyst for road rage. Not only is this dangerous and unnecessary, but there’s nothing to be accomplished from it. It can be assumed drivers hope to force the car ahead of them to go faster, but would you also assume that if they could go faster, or in the least get out of the way they would? More likely than not, drivers who ride other vehicles tails may find themselves being “brake checked”, which in the end if a collision does occur, who ever was behind is at fault. For a reference, you are supposed to be a single car length behind other drivers for every 10 mph being traveled. That means if you’re on the highway going 60, there should be 6 cars lengths to separate the vehicles, which we all know is never the case.

These are only a limited number of annoyances, but are some of the primary ones. If in the least you can avoid these driving mistakes, you’ll certainly be doing your part in making the driving world much safer, pleasant, and rage free.