5 Golden Rules of Driving

In Defense of Road Rage II
Well, it appears too many of you out there still aren’t paying attention. I tried this once, civilly, but clearly very few heard me. So, one more time not so nicely, though I’m hoping more direct and easier to follow.

Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t give a shit what the dictionary says. For most of us, DRIVING is about getting from one place to another as quickly and safely as possible. It is a verb, in motion. And it’s an acquired skill, adherent to terms of participation and cooperation. So, below are some simple rules of the road [definitely not on your driving test] that must be practiced to avoid pissing me (and every other driver around you) off.

(Order of importance applies to situation at hand.)

If you’re going 110 in the fast lane and I come up and follow close behind you it means you’re IN MY WAY, blocking me from moving. I choose, like we all do, to follow the speed limit or not. It’s my ticket. Don’t play cop. You’re not. (I wouldn’t be coming up at 111mph behind a cop.) All you’re doing by blocking me is pissing me off. And that makes our interplay dangerous. Avoid it. You’ve usually got at least one other lane to the right, so MOVE OVER when someone (like me) comes up behind you.

Stay the hell away from me, and every other car on the road. Unless you’re in stop and go, or dead stop traffic there is no excuse for driving along side another car. Pass me or don’t but GIVE ME ROOM TO MOVE. Trap me and I’ll get pissed, maybe even reckless if I want or need to move into your lane. And if you’re driving along side me I CAN’T SEE YOU in my blind spot, and every car has one. Yes. Every car! It’s just past your right rear window, so a car pacing a few feet behind you in the right lane can’t be seen in your rear view mirror, effectively making it invisible. Driving along side anyone makes it dangerous for everyone, so don’t pace me or other cars on the road.

Don’t block the road, street, or hwy. Nobody wants to sit behind you and crawl along while you text your boyfriend, or program your GPS display for where you are and need to go. We don’t want to wait to pass you while you double park or ask a pedestrian for directions. Surprisingly, there is a world beyond you and we’re all trying to get through, so have some !%#! courtesy and PULL OVER, out of the flow of traffic.

LOOK before you move your car into my lane. Check your rear view and your side view mirrors, then quickly glance over your shoulder before changing lanes. And don’t run red lights or jump the green. I’m counting on no cross-traffic in the intersection on my green light. And if I hit you, or you hit me it’s likely to do a hell of a lot more damage than just pissing me off.

Get off your !%#! cell phone. I could give you death stats but you’ve all heard them being higher than accidents by drunk drivers. With or without an ear piece, stop pretending you can negotiate your vehicle at 70mph on the 101 through Westwood, giving the attention deserved to the moderate traffic around you while you’re arguing with your teen over his online time allotment. Quick, important or urgent calls made with voice command only should be the extent of your cell phone use while engaged in driving.

Rifling through your purse or briefcase, putting on make-up, reading, writing, eating, drinking and smoking [anything] diverts our attention from driving. Instead of pacing me on the highway, or blocking me from moving, completely unaware of where I am, or even you are so engrossed in consuming your In & Out burger while blithely chatting away—do every driver around you a favor and exit the freeway, get off the road, pull into a parking lot or onto a side street to conduct your non-driving related activities. Forcing the drivers around you to compensate for your lack of focus on the task of actually driving is rude, selfish and dangerous and generally pisses most everyone off.


The five simple rules above are Golden, as in you should drive with the courtesy and consideration you’d like those around you to. If adopted by all drivers, these rules would surely alleviate much of the road rage out there. Not hitting me, impeding me, or causing me to unexpectedly brake will insure we get along a lot better on and off the road. Following the rules is guaranteed to promote anxiety-free driving, help reduce everyone’s stress levels, and contribute to social civility, ensuring greater tranquility in all our lives. At the very least, if these rules are practiced by the drivers I encounter daily, it would most assuredly diminish my frustration and frequent outrage when I’m behind the wheel. ;-)


John McCarthy said...

"DON’T PACE ME!" Absolutely my biggest pet peave! I hate when people coast along in my blind spot. One guy did it for MILES, and I assumed I was alone on the highway, and after a quick glance, I almost cut him off when I changed lanes. I'm sure HE wondered how people could be so rude.

J. Cafesin said...

Isn't that the weirdest, John, when people think we're being rude while they're not paying attention.