Thursday, February 12, 2009

How To Drive in Four Easy Steps

Beyond the basics of stopping, going and being observant of the world around you there are, to my mind, really only four things you need to do when you are driving to make your life and those around you safer and better.

1. When you are turning use your turn signal. 2. When you need to get someone's attention, honk. These two go hand in hand and are the only two legal, available ways for you to communicate with other vehicles and pedestrians (the middle finger is for emergencies only). If you are driving in front of me and you slow down for no reason I have to infer what the hell you are doing. Are you turning, is there are pothole, did you drop your cell phone on which you shouldn't be talking? If you use your turn signal then that makes it clear, and if I honk, I am conveying that I do not know what you are doing. I wish there were multiple horn sounds on a car, but there aren't, so if you need to convey any urgent information that doesn't involve turning, you're most likely going to have to honk.

3. When in doubt, use your headlights. With very few exceptions there is no harm and only benefit in using your headlights. This seems common sense, but then you see a car in the pouring rain without any headlights and you start to wonder about people.

4. Drive so that you don't have to break as often. This is especially important in this land of congestion. Excessive breaking has been proven in studies to (a) waste gas and (b) make traffic jams worse. There is nothing worse you can do for yourself or those around you then tailgating someone in a traffic jam. So it follows, that when traffic is heavy the more space you give cars the less you have to break and the more traffic moves. Those of us with stick shifts have the advantage that we can down-shift, but even if you drive an automatic, you can TAKE YOUR FOOT OFF THE ACCELERATOR FIRST, then if things are really stopped in front of you, brake.

I don't claim to be the worlds best driver, but if everyone did these things, the world would quite literally be a better place.


Anne said...

solution : don't drive

Stephen said...

Turn signals are a great tool and more people should use them.

Ozkirbas said...

Also: Easing up on the brakes is a good way to maintain tire and brake pad system longevity

Damo said...

I love people who only use their turn signal when they're physically changing lanes. I'm sorry but ESP is not standard on anything older than the 2012 Minority Report Lexus. TIL THEN YOU'RE KINDA GONNA HAVE TO USE THE TURN "SIGNAL" TO "SIGNAL" YOUR INTENT TO TURN.

Damn Virginia drivers. :-p

Anonymous said...

Rule 5: Learn how to spell "braking," so people don't confuse your instructions with those of MC Master Flash and the Poppers.