11 Steps to NOT being an annoying driver…

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If you are anything like me – it’s nearly every single day that you wonder how 90% of the drivers on the road got their license, and how they actually make it from point A to point B.

There are a few things I think we can all agree make an annoying driver, that people should stop this very instant. I’ve compiled a short list of things off the top of my head that if drivers would actually follow, each of our experiences behind the wheel would be much more pleasant.

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  • Use your turn signal.

I absolutely cannot stress this enough. There is a little lever on the left side of your steering wheel, that when flipped up or down, makes a little light on your car blink. This is not just because it’s pretty, it has an actual purpose to let people know when you are going to be nearly smashing into them by switching lanes or cutting abruptly through an intersection. Use it.

  • Merging.

Merging is a very simple concept. Think of a zipper and how easily and efficiently it works. Each little tooth on the zipper alternates to pull it together firmly. Left, right, left, right…not left, left, left, left, right. Am I the only person who actually will let someone go and merge behind them, instead of having to race forward one car length to get in front? We get it, you’re in a hurry. Stop that.

  • Riding bumpers in traffic.

For about 26 miles ahead of us, traffic is moving at approximately 14 miles per hour. Doing your best to smell my exhaust fumes with your front bumper will not make me, or anyone else, move any faster.

  • Cutting in line.

If you want to test the tolerance for rage that the driver behind you has, find a long line of slow moving traffic that people have been waiting for a distance, shoot up to the front of it from the side, and creep your way in. If you really want to see what kind of sign language they know, don’t use your blinker either. These people are the reason the traffic is backed up that far in the first place.

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  • Going slow in the passing lane.

If you’re on the highway, the lane farthest to the left is called the “fast lane” or “passing lane” for a specific reason – it’s the one that you go faster and/or pass people in. If you are going at or below the speed limit in this lane, and someone is on your tail to move over, it is not their fault. This is the time you kindly put your blinker on and move over. If you keep at this for miles and they abruptly pass you on the right, it is not you who should be making rude gestures at them. Knock it off.

  • Pulling over without a turn signal.

If you are on a road with traffic behind you and need to pick someone up, let someone off, get ready to parallel park, or are for some reason suddenly blinded by the sun in your face, please do not pull over or stop without using your hazards or turn signal. If you slow to a crawl without giving the common courtesy of letting me know, I will find the nearest SUV with a grill guard on it and smash into you.

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  • Say thank you.

To anyone with above caveman-level manners, this shouldn’t even have to be said. If I stop to let you take a turn or merge into my lane, I better see some sort of hand signal, nod, or smile from you letting me know that you appreciate it. If both of our windows are down I will probably audibly say you’re welcome under the assumption I simply missed your thanks…

  • Cutting in and out of lanes of traffic.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched some heathen weaving in and out of traffic, often with no blinker, while I am sitting patiently in a single lane. Guess who gets farther, faster? If you’re going to always try to find the faster moving lane, eventually people will catch onto your game and stop letting you merge. Then you’ll be left far behind and we will all be smiling and waving as we pass you…again.

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  • Riding a bicycle in the middle of the road…and not following the rules.

We get it, you want to be a car. If it’s not bad enough that you’re slowly gliding into lanes of traffic stressing drivers out trying to decide between crushing your leg or side swiping the guy on the other side of them, it’s even worse when you don’t follow the rules of the road. First of all, please do not ride directly in the middle of the lane if the average speed on that road is far higher than what you’re traveling at. Secondly, if you want to be on the road, follow the rules. If I stop at a red light in my car, you better stop at one on your bike. Nobody needs to have their reflexes tested as you coast through the intersection they’re heading for.

  • Laying on your horn…far back in a line of traffic.

If you are 3, 4, 5, or more cars back in a line of traffic, and are the only person laying on your horn…why? There is probably something going on that you can’t even see at the front of the line, and that person cannot hear, nor do they care about your temper tantrum. The person in front of you certainly has nowhere to go and if they just start beeping out of frustration as well, there will be an orchestra of annoyance vibrating through the atmosphere and it still won’t solve anything. Take a breath. Or a Xanax.

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  • Pulling out quickly…and then driving slowly.

Holy bananas I can’t stand when people do this. If you’re trying to come out of a side street onto a main road, when you finally find a hole in traffic barely big enough to cut into, I can understand your haste in claiming that gap for yourself. But you better keep up that pace! There are few things worse than having to slam on the brakes because you decided to slam the gas and immediately let off of it, grandma.

  • Strolling pedestrians.

To wrap up this short list I’d like to address pedestrians. I am behind the wheel of 3,000 pounds of steel and you’re in a pair of Nike’s. If I stop to let you cross the street, I better see some hustle out of you. Knees to chest. KNEES TO CHEST! I have no problem clipping your hip with my side view mirror to make a point. Get out of the road.

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We are all a team while driving, we all have places to be, and as easily as it is to see each other just as hunks of metal rolling along the road – there is a thinking person with feeling inside each people mover. Remember this when taking actions that clearly would piss you off. Drive with courtesy, and kindness. 🙂

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2 Comments

  1. Jennifer W on August 4, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Yes. On every point, yes. I’m not a driver, but am learning. Still, even as a passenger, I see the outrageous behavior. People forget basic manners, but worse, they forget the actual laws.

    It does drive me crazy to see able-bodied pedestrians saunter across the street, especially when it’s not their right-of-way or when they’re not crossing at an intersection. As a pedestrian, I have to say that the only times I walk slower than my usual peppy pace are when I’m not feeling well, when I’m injured, when it’s too dang hot (I am in Southern California, and it’s Summer eight months of the year), when I’m carrying heavier items, when I’m wearing really high heels (I can run in 3″ and walk really fast in 4″, so if my heels are so high it makes your feet hurt observing it, then I’m sorry, I’m walking slowly because I don’t want to injure myself), or when I’m completely worn out and my get-up-and-go has got up and went. Oh, I will slow down a bit to a normal human walking pace when someone has tried to zip around a corner and take my right-of-way away from me, and I manage to stop them by holding my hand up, giving them a stern look, and checking out their license plate number. Then, I’m really sorry, I will slow to teach them a lesson. We all have our rage spots. Cars taking away my limited right-of-way, especially when I only get a second to step off the curb before my light starts flashing, really annoy me, and for their rudeness, they deserve to pay with just a moment of their time.

  2. Daniel Rechel (@danielrechel) on August 13, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Very well written. I kept chuckling through the whole thing. Great personality, James!
    For slow pedestrians I just assume they have some type of handicap – or as Jennifer wrote, not “able-bodied.” That way I don’t get bothered by it.

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