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Six Rules Of The Road You Should Observe (But Probably Won't) Page 3

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Angry Driver with Road Rage

Angry Driver with Road Rage

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So making sure your headlights are aimed correctly (ask the mechanic to check next time you take your car in for service) is one rule of headlight etiquette.

Another is to be aware of which beam you have on.

Most drivers actually don't use their high beams enough, it turns out--but those that do often forget to dip the lights for oncoming traffic.

We drive on a lot of rural roads, and we spend more time than we should flashing oncoming cars to let them know that they're blinding us.

Look for the dashboard light that indicates high beams--and know which you're using. Always.

(6) Get off your damn phone.

We're deadly serious. By now, all of us can tell who's on the phone just by their erratic driving.

You're the person who unknowingly slowed down to 10 mph below the speed of prevailing traffic--regardless of what lane you're in--and then, once you realize it, sped up to 10 mph above and roared past us.

Until we passed you again, doing 10 mph under in the right lane, again.

Talking on the phone--regardless of whether it's hands-free or not--affects your concentration as badly as three drinks do.

Tracking cell phone signals to monitor traffic

Tracking cell phone signals to monitor traffic

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While some data seems to indicate that phones aren't the worst cause of distraction while driving, the drivers we see on the phone--a lot of them--have slower reaction times and are far, far more erratic in their driving.

It's even more serious for teenagers.

And if you're on the phone while you're driving, you probably have other bad habits that make you even more distracted behind the wheel.

It ought to be crushingly obvious, but--for the record--checking Google Maps and texting on your phone is equally distracting. Duh.

You know it's wrong. The U.S. Department of Transportation is very worried. And you also know you won't get fired if you let that work call go to voice-mail.

But in the end, none of us cares about your excuses.

We just want you to get off your damn device and Pay. Attention. To. Driving.

Seriously.


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Comments (17)
  1. There are regional bad-driving behaviors.

    On Long Island, people driving luxury cars will speed past you on your right, then cut in front of you in order to get into the left-hand turning lane. Of course they're decelerating as they cut you off.

    In and around Philly, other drivers will slam into any gap between any other two cars, no matter how short that gap is.

    In Portland OR, people intending to turn left AND who have a turning lane will decelerate in traffic so that they can get into the turning lane at the last possible second. I think it has something to do with politeness, but I can't quite figure it out.
     
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  2. This isn't 100% -- but nothing is: Stay away from drivers wearing hats. They are either 1) an old woman who drives so timidly she actually becomes a danger, 2) an old man with a beret, jaunty, but based on evidence probably can't even see the road anymore, 3) anyone wearing a cowboy hat; odds are he/she thinks all driving is just like NASCAR, 4) a kid with a baseball cap; he's inexperienced, 5) a middle-aged guy with a baseball cap, who probably wishes he was still a kid, and is so cock-sure of his driving capabilities that he doesn't realize that agitating other drivers is dangerous; 6) others. You'll recognize them as you start looking around.
     
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  3. Related to this additional rule: If you don't see the person's head above the head rest, get away from them. They can't see the road so they drive much too slowly. A minivan is also a tip off that the driver isn't going to pay attention to the road because there are so many other distractions in the car. And if it's an old, dirty, beat up car, it's a sure sign that the person driving doesn't pay attention to driving. Stay away!
     
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  4. The hands-on phone stuff needs to be a serious infraction everywhere! Speaking as a very defensive and observant driving owner of a motorcycle.
     
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  5. 1) Use your mirrors: I would go one further – TURN YOUR HEAD! If you’re changing lanes turn your head an LOOK. It’s the only way to insure there is no one in your blind spot. Relying exclusively on your mirrors is a recipe for disaster. (how many times do you think a cop has heard “I didn’t see him/her in my mirror!”) Also on this same topic, I have noticed an increasing reliance on technology in this area: specifically I have several friends who drive vehicles with blind spot assist. They don’t even look in their mirrors anymore. OK I guess….as long as the system is working perfectly…but the real danger is when they are driving a rental car with no such system. They are completely out of the habit of even looking.
     
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  6. 2) The left Lane: I admit it. I’m the speeder in the left lane doing 75-80 and I’m on you’re a** flashing my brights. All I want is for you to get over and let me by – however the highway has become the place where typical Americans vent their pent-up frustrations in the relative safety of their armored environs. The behavior you describe could be the ultimate form of passive aggression. Go home and kick the dog instead and leave me out of it OK?
    3) Acceleration: particularly bad here in New Jersey with roads with very short on-ramps like the Garden State and Route 17. I encounter this madness daily.
     
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  7. 4) One reason people don’t use their signals on the highway goes back to my pent up aggression comment under number 2. Some of us have learned that if there is an opening to change lanes, and we signal, the a**hole at the “back” of the opening will accelerate and try to close the gap before we can move. God forbid you get in front of them. I love it when they try to close the gap and then honk and gesture when you come over anyway…which is what I do…after I’ve properly signaled….
     
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  8. 5) Not a biggie. These days a lot of people don't seem to even know they have brights.
    6) The best I ever saw: On Route 84 traveling south through Connecticut – guy with one foot out the window and one on the dash (must have had cruise control on) with his seat reclined…texting with both hands. Where is a cop when you need one? I’ve seen no enforcement efforts on this and I suspect the reason may be that the biggest offenders are the cops themselves….
     
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  9. My number 7: PLEASE learn who has the right-of-way and obey the rules:
    Observation 1: At a four way stop sign, no one seems to understand who should go next. Additionally, if they DO know it’s their turn, some people will still try to wave to you to “go first” apparently thinking they are being super-safe in doing so.
    Observation 2: Where I drive people have gotten in the habit of stopping in traffic and waving someone trying to make a left from a side street to pull out in front of them. This leads to weird dynamics when I refuse to do so, which I do for good reason because if we get our signals crossed and I come out and you or someone else hits me, I’m going to be the one with points and a ticket for “failure to yield’
     
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  10. We need better driver education and some enforcement from the cops. Speeders are easy – some of this other stuff actually takes some effort to enforce.

    I’m done venting – I feel a little better now.
     
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  11. On interstate and multi lane highways a person should be checking their mirrors every 10-15,seconds. My pet peeve is tailgaters they are a menace and cause pile ups. When I have a tailgater and usually they're driving vans I will put n the 4 way flashers. They usually back off,but not for long and as soon as they too close againI think nothing of turning them on again.
     
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  12. Staying out of left lane unless passing....

    If I am in the left lane, and doing the speed limit, why do I have to leave it?
    If someone wants to pass they would have to go over the speed limit?
     
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  13. Because unless you're overtaking someone you should be in the right hand lane.
     
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  14. Because you are disturbing the proper flow of traffic, and because you are not the police. If you see someone driving without a seatbelt, do you try to force him off the road? If you see someone drinking a beer on the street, do you feel compelled to knock it out of his hands?
     
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  15. "Probably won't"? That's pretty scary. Anyone now following these rules shouldn't be driving.

    This is actually the sort of stuff the police should be dealing with, not speeding - speed limits are a lazy way of controlling traffic which is antiquated and don't work. We should be driving to the road conditions, not some arbitrary limit.
     
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  16. Guess I am guilty, I follow the 6 suggestions. Get out of the fast lane, especially if the flow of traffic is moving faster than the speed limit. Let those in the fast lane smoke out smoky. Let me add number 7. when driving on rural two lane roads, drive with your headlights on, especially if the sun is to your back as oncoming traffic will have the sun in their eyes. If drivers can see you, they are less likely to hit you & many don't have as good a vision as you do, so lights on to be seen. I have been driving since the age of 15 & will turn 80 on 5/7/13 & have had only one speeding ticket in my life. I was east bound on I-80 in Nevada 3 years ago, put the hammer down to pass a triple bottom semi that was weaving, & smoky got me.
     
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  17. #2 drives me crazy. People need to learn the mantra: drive right, pass left. I see plenty of violations of both principles. Yes, there are annoying dawdlers (some of them self-righteous speed police) hanging out in the left lane. But I also see the pass-right problem all the time.

    I'll be passing on the left and the car behind me decides *I'm not passing quickly enough*, so cuts over two lanes, then cuts back to race ahead of me. Or in heavy traffic, when both lanes are full, a driver will cut right and rapidly cut back left to gain, oh, about 20' of road. Inevitably it happens without signaling (making it doubly dangerous). And typically the driver is sitting in a Porsche or BMW and undoubtedly fancies himself to be exceptionally skilled.
     
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