Left Lane Hogs And Other Annoying Driving Habits
Tomorrow marks the busiest travel day of the year. According to AAA, 42.5 million Americans will be hitting the road to get to their Thanksgiving Day destinations. Before you pack up the car, though, make sure you're not committing one of the Seven Sins of the Road!
"Oh look, a fender bender!" "Hey, that's a pretty tree..." "Hey there's a guy on the side of the road...is he...??"
There are any number of distractions on the side of the road that can grab your attention. The important thing to remember here is, DON'T LOOK. I don't care how fascinating or horrific or magical everyone else in your car says it is. You have one responsibility while driving: keep your eyes on the road. Your side of the road. The one in front of you with all the open space in it.
You slowing down, along with everyone else, to look at whatever it is that's happening is causing a traffic jam. I know it's hard, but you're gonna have to miss the action. (Unless you want to BE the action.)
For the most part, you are given plenty of warning before you need to merge. Look for the signs...you know the ones, they often say "merge" on them. Sometimes you need to look for context clues, like on and off-ramps.
In this instance, think zipper. A person from the left lane goes, a person from the right lane goes, so on and so forth.
And don't be the jerk that won't let anyone in. NOBODY likes that person.
I say this with nothing but love: If you do this, STOP IT.
It's not only annoying for the people who are driving behind you, it's dangerous for everyone.
I don't know if you got scared by the bug that hit your windshield, or you fell asleep for a hot second and scared yourself awake, or you thought you were going a half-mph over the limit...I don't care what it was.
Consistent speed is an important part of driving on a highway...it keeps people rolling along smoothly and without incident.
Nothing worse than when someone ruins your flow.
Look, I'll be honest, I don't use my blinker that often. I kind of do it on an 'as needed' basis. It's not to be annoying, it's mostly because I'm lazy. If I'm nowhere near another car, I'm not putting it on. Sorry, I know it's a huge pet peeve for a lot of people. So if you often times don't use a blinker either, I don't mind.
However, regardless of whether you are using a blinker or not, you really need to look before you change lanes. Just because your blinker is on doesn't mean you just get to move over.
It doesn't take much...check your mirrorS, (*Yes, plural. Meaning, not just the side you're moving to, but your rear-view as well, I'll explain why in a second.) After that, glance at your blind spot -- with your head, not your steering wheel -- if you have the all clear, go to town.
(*As a side note, if you are going the speed limit, more power to you. If the person in front of you is going slightly slower than you, I'm all for you passing them. However, before you do so, make sure there isn't someone coming up behind you going much faster than you are. See, when you move over, going significantly slower than the speeder --illegally as they may be driving -- they have to jam on the brakes to get to your speed, and then wait the 5 minutes it will take you to pass your right lane buddy. Again, it's all about the flow.)
Luckily there aren't many of these left in our area. Nevertheless, if you're going to be traveling along Rt 34, 35, 37, 66, etc...you might encounter one.
The best way to navigate a circle? Make sure you know where you are and where you need to be.
It takes a good amount of confidence, a decent amount of skill, and a smidge of luck.
Just don't fear the circle. There is no room for panic here. It's just a circle, it's not rocket science.
Everyone thinks they can do this well. You can't. If you text, I guarantee you are driving at an irregular speed, and your car is moving into at LEAST one other lane.
As much as I try to never do this in the car, I admit that I have. It SERIOUSLY impairs your ability to drive.
We've all been behind that car that's blocking traffic for miles, weaving a bit...you wonder if maybe this person is drunk and if maybe you should call the cops...then you finally have the chance to pass them, and there it is...cell phone.
Honestly, whatever it is can probably wait. It isn't worth any of our lives, or the headaches and fear you cause other drivers near you.
This is without a doubt my number one pet peeve of the road.
Full disclosure: I'm a criminal. Pretty much every single day, I break the law. I drive faster than I'm supposed to. Everyday. (I get it from my Daddy.) If the speed limit is 55, I'm probably doing 70. If it's 65, I'm probably at 80, if not above. 25? I'm probably closer to 30. ish. I don't drive like a maniac, and I keep control of my vehicle.
I know it's dangerous. I know it's illegal. (It's not an anti-authority thing, it's mostly because I'm always late, and it's just how I roll.) I also know that the law is that slower traffic is supposed to stay to the right.
If you are in the right lane doing 10 mph under the speed limit, I don't care at all. You are free to drive as slowly and cautiously as you'd like, just please, PLEASE don't expect everyone else to do the same. Same for you 65ers.
I know what the speed limit is. If I'm exceeding it, it's by choice. Unless you are in some kind of law enforcement capacity, it is not up to you to slow me down. Just let me go on my merry way.
Case in point: if you are in the left lane doing 65, and the person behind you is clearly trying to go faster, don't take it personally. Just move over. If I'm doing 70, and the person behind me is doing 80...I move over too. It's simple...and pretty clearly posted: Keep right, except to pass. Trust me, it makes everyone happier.