There are several different classifications of drivers in my mind.
- The Older Driver. Let's be honest. The older we get the slower our reflexes are and the worse our vision becomes. I can live with that and I am actually quite accommodating when I see older drivers because I know that it will happen to me one day. I will pull out into traffic where the mean velocity is 60 and I am only going 10 MPH. I will be honked at and swerved around and possibly even hit. So I try to be a little more patient than usual when I see the elderly behind the wheel. Having said that, I also hope that when the day comes that I'm dangerous because of my age that someone will gently but firmly take the keys away and offer me alternate transportation.
- The Hot Rodders. Yes, you know of whom I speak. These are typically teenagers who feel that the faster they go, the cooler they are. There are some people in this category who are well past their teen years, but still feel the need to act like they are 17 and bulletproof. They whip in and out of traffic with the windows or top down, laughing with their car full of friends and completely ignoring all traffic signs and other drivers. These drivers are often accompanied by loud, obnoxious music and lots of yelling and/or cursing.
- The Careful Drivers. As in, "I'm going to be so careful that I'm going to cause a wreck" drivers. You know the type. They get almost under a traffic light and if it turns yellow, they slam on the brakes. Can't be running those yellow lights like the Hot Rodders. They never look away from the road directly in front of them (which means they ignore 90% of what is happening around them), and they never, ever go over the speed limit. As a matter of fact, going 5 miles UNDER the speed limit is probably a better rule. They put their blinker on to make a lane change well before they need to move over, but are then so focused on the road IN FRONT of them, that they are oblivious to car after car slowing down to let them over and then giving up and zooming by them in a fit of irritation. The Careful Driver then has the thought that "those cars need to just slow down for goodness sake. They are going to get someone killed" not realizing that their pathological indecision is more likely to cause a wreck.
- The Competent Driver. This would of course, be me. And you would probably put yourself in this category as well. We all like to think that we are the best driver out there. We are aware of our surroundings, make lane change decisions 3 steps ahead of the traffic, we adjust our speed according to the flow of traffic, and would never, ever pull out on a busy highway without punching the gas to make sure we don't make anyone behind us have to slow down.
So, having laid down 4 of the basic driving styles I would like to publish a few suggestions that would make everyone have a better driving experience.
- If you are going to put your blinker on to change lanes, it would be nice if you actually intend to change lanes sometime that day. Don't leave the people who are trying to let you move over hanging.
- Conversely, if you need to change lanes please disconnect your blinker from your steering wheel. Turning the blinker on as you are moving over doesn't really work for the rest of us.
- It's perfectly alright to PICK A LANE to drive in. Please don't ride the line when you drive because you can't seem to decide where you want to go.
- If you are not going the speed limit, feel free to pull over on the shoulder to let the 28 cars behind you get by. We understand that it is your right to mosey along if you want to, but we would like to get to our destination on time.
- If you are turning right off of a road that has an improved shoulder, please use the shoulder as a turning lane. All the traffic going 65 mph behind you should not have to come to a screeching halt because you need to turn off the highway.
- If there is even a hint of fog or rain, turn on your stinking headlights!
OK...that's all the time I have for today. I may have to make an addendum to this list at some point in the near future. Feel free to post your own rules of etiquette for the open road!