Published January 3, 2009
There are certain behavioral norms that we are used to following in regular interactions with other people. All that seems to go out the window when you are on the road. Road rage is far more commonly discussed these days than driver etiquette, but it’s our manners while driving that are most important.
What exactly should we be doing and how should we be acting while on the road? Here are a few guidelines.
- Leave on time. If you’re rushed and racing to get to an appointment or meeting, you’ll be more stressed out and far more likely to ignore proper driver etiquette which could cause some serious problems.
- Let people pull in front of you. It really won’t delay your journey if you let one or two cars get into the line and you’ll save yourself and someone else a lot of frustration.
- Slow down. Going too fast means you could miss a sign or signal and end up in an accident. This isn’t just about etiquette, it’s also about safety.
- Give advance notice. If you’re going to turn, be sure to turn on your signal ahead of time, not just as you are about to make the turn. This lets the vehicles around you react appropriately.
- Dim your headlights. When coming up on another car, keep in mind that your brights can blind the other driver, whether reflecting in his rearview mirror or shining directly into the oncoming car.
- Move to one side when emergency vehicles come through. It might be tempting to race ahead, particularly if your turnoff is coming up, but keep in mind why they are in hurry and pull over.
- Let buses cut in. They are on a schedule and you’ll be able to overtake them at the next stop, which won’t take much time off your commute, but could make a big difference to those who travel public transport.
- Expect people to guess what you’re thinking. It’s important to always let them know with signals what you are about to do. Expecting someone to get out of your way because you’re in a hurry is only going to cause problems.
- Tailgate. There is nothing more annoying than someone who just won’t back off, so move back and keep an appropriate distance between cars.
- Talk on the phone while driving. Studies have shown that you simply don’t have the same reflexes when having a conversation on the phone and using just one hand to drive. Instead, invest in a headless phone system or wait until you can pull over.
- Lose your temper. Take deep breaths or even pull over if you need to. Getting angry and giving in to road rage will only cause more trouble than it’s worth.
- Block cyclists and motorbikes. They might be annoying, but it’s not worth causing problems if they are trying to pass you on the shoulder.
- Drive too slowly. If you are going lower than the speed limit, make sure you move to one side so people can pass you. It’s rude to cause a hold up by driving too slowly.
Being polite on the road is just as important as having good table manners. How you act will affect the people around you and driving etiquette will also affect how you go through your day. Being nice to people is proven to make you feel better and boost morale, so it`s a good way to start the day off right, by letting someone move into the line ahead of you during rush hour.
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