Manners Matter 10

Manners on the Road

By Ron Ross

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Every road you drive on is filled with cheerful people who are courteous and careful on their commute, right? Wong. You and I, however, are always considerate and polite when we are behind the wheel, right? Wrong again. All drivers are guilty of angry responses to rude drivers from time to time.

If you would like to know how I need to improve my manners on the road – keep reading!

I need to stop tailgating. When I ride the bumper of the car in front of me I do not get to my destination any faster, especially when I’m stuck in gridlocked traffic. The guy in front of me is NOT my problem – I am the problem.

I must allow people to merge. “Let me in, you jerk!” I screamed as I tried to change lanes. A few miles later a guy wanted to merge in front of me and my attitude was the opposite. “I own this lane you idiot! You’re not getting in front of me,” I shrieked. Then it dawned on me who the idiot was and I let the guy merge.

I must always use my turn signals – always. For the life of me I don’t know why sometimes it is so hard to turn on that little blinky thing.

I must ALWAYS yield to emergency vehicles. The rule is to move to the right if possible or do whatever it takes to move out of the way and let the police car, fire truck, or ambulance have the right-of-way. It is not only polite to yield to emergency vehicles, it’s the law!

I must be patient with pedestrians and cyclists. Some pedestrians enjoy making me wait for them to amble across an intersection and some cyclists think they are semi truck drivers and hog the road. Most of them, however, are more concerned about their own safety than they are about making me wait 3.2 seconds while they cross the road and besides that, honking seldom increases their speed.

I must remember the left lane is the fast lane and the lane for passing. The mannerly thing is to use the left lane only for passing if you can. However, as crowded as some freeways are sometimes you are lucky to merge without dinging someone’s bumper.

I must drive neither too fast nor too slow. Theoretically slow speeds are safe speeds, but driving too slow can be dangerous. It is dangerous to suddenly go from 75 mph to 45 mph because of an inconsiderate slow driver. And who hasn’t had someone zoom up behind them, swerve around them then speed on down the road while endangering the life of anyone who might be in the way.

One last item that I am NOT guilty of: sharing my music with everyone around me. Contrary to what some drivers think, the people in the vehicles around them are NOT impressed by their trunk full of bass speakers that busts eardrums and disturbs the peace. Their blaring sound system makes them look desperate for attention much like a hungry screaming baby. Polite drivers keep their music inside their car.

How about you and I pledge to work on these roadway manners because when we get behind the wheel – manners matter!

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