Driving Etiquette We Should Do When Things Go Back to Normal
We all need a refresher course in driving etiquette. This is especially true after a crisis, when we lose our focus and often develop "tunnel vision"—even when it comes to driving.
Right now, the whole world is in a state of panic. But that doesn't mean it won't end. When it does, will you still remember the ABCs of courteous driving? If you said yes, then you deserve a pat on the back; if not, then allow us to give you a rundown once again:
Use Your Signals All the Time
No one can predict your move. If you plan to change lanes, turn into an intersection, or pick a parking spot, make sure to let others know of your intention before you do so. That will save everyone a lot of headaches.
Go Easy on the Headlights
Make sure to turn off your high beams when you are driving. Not only is this annoying to oncoming drivers, but you risk blinding them, which might lead to road crash.
Mind Your Lane
You don't own the road, so don't hog it. Driving from the outer left lane to the right cuts traffic, and forces vehicles to also shift lanes.
Also, merging lanes to bypass traffic is almost like forcing your way in line. It's rude, and can cause accidents on the road.
Stop Erratic Driving
You know the drill—you're driving peacefully when suddenly, that car in front of you hits the brakes. It then stops and goes; speeds up, and then speeds down.
This type of driving (more like brake check) is irritating for drivers. Make sure to maintain a proper speed at all times, and only brake if you really need to.
Parking spaces are limited, and they only have room to fit in one car when parked inside the designated line. When you park outside the line, you don't give others enough room to get out. They also might hit their door to a nearby car (like yours).
Another thing to remember: Don't park in a handicap spot, especially if you don't have a valid permit to back it up. Be considerate to those who really need that spot.
Maintain Proper Distance
You might think you've got lightning fast reaction when you're driving, but can you say that to the person right in front of you? To be safe, maintain a lot of space between you and the car in front.
Give Way to Emergency Vehicles
Hear an emergency siren? Before you actually see one driving near you, start moving over to your right. That way, the police, firefighters, and ambulance can pass through much faster and be on their way much sooner.
Avoid Distractions While Driving
Focus on your driving—don't multi-task. Your eyes should be on the road, and both of your hands should be on the steering wheel.
Make sure you're not texting (or holding a phone, it's a felony), eating, applying make-up, shaving or even reading. If you really need to, just pull over the side of the road and do what you need to do. Once you're done, then you can go back on your way.
Follow Intersection Rules
Intersections can be a bit tricky. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Two cars going straight or turning right at an intersection can do it at the same time.
- If two cars reach the intersection simultaneously, the one on the right has the right of way.
- Four cars stopping at the intersection should move counterclockwise, until all of them has gone.
Respect the Pedestrians
Allow pedestrians inside cross walks to cross the road. Don't just barge in and inch your way forward so they'll move faster.
Strict, proper etiquette maintains that if a pedestrian is still inside the white lines, then cars are not allowed to enter it. This is true whether or not there's a traffic light in front of you. As long as there's someone on the white line, your car should stop and give way.
Acknowledge a Kind Act
Acts of kindness or consideration on the road don't come easy; so if a driver slows down so you can merge on a lane; lets you pass by first in an intersection; or honks and shouts that you have a flat tire, then acknowledge the gesture and wave right back. Better yet, mouth the words "Thank You". You never know—that action might encourage them to do it again.
So there you have it. Always remember that proper driving etiquette is basically just consideration and selflessness in action. When you're not sure what to do, the safest thing to practice is to think of the other person's well-being or interest first instead of your own. Because at the end of the day, you really can never go wrong with an act of kindness.