The Driving Force Behind Road Rage

I wrote in a blog last week that it should be illegal to drive slow in the left lane. Well, that got me thinking that there are a lot of rules of the road that I think people have either forgotten or neglected or simply ignore. It is really sad how badly some people are at driving. The root cause of most road rage is bad driving—that or maybe an in-law in the passenger seat.

I took defensive driving in high school (and two or three times since thanks to some picky traffic cops) and in those classes I learned some of the fundamentals that most people ignore when they get behind the wheel. Most people think (rightfully so) that defensive driving is all about caution and consideration of others on the road while driving. But along with the “surrender right-of-way” and “obey the 3-5 second rule” are some real good notions that would make the highways safer for everyone if—and here’s the rub—EVERYONE followed them all the time.

No one does though. In fact, very few people follow very few rules of the road at all. You’ve seen them, probably been behind them, been tailgated by them or cut off by them or hit them or had them hit you. You’ve probably called them names, used foul language because of them (and then apologized to the person in the car with you if you’re polite) gestured to them (we’re number one) and some people even copy down the license plate and call the police on them.

Let’s discuss for a moment the simple rules that will return peace to the highway and put an end to the road rage (in-laws aside). Number one: The left lane of the highway is not to be used for cruising unless your cruising speed is at least five miles over the posted speed limit. It doesn’t matter that you know you will have to exit from that lane in 50 miles, the rule is slower traffic keeps to the right lane.

Two: when you follow behind someone, you should be able to see the tires of their car. If all you see is the hairs on the back of their neck and a disturbingly large brown mole, you are way too close.

Three: when turning at an intersection, turn into the lane nearest to you; do not turn into the farthest lane and do not sit and wait for all three lanes to get clear so you can turn into the farthest lane. Turn into the near lane and then change lanes when able. Trust me when I say that there will always be someone coming down the road in the lane in which you want to be. Take the near one. It’s quicker.

Four: the poor slob changing a tire on the shoulder is not there for your amusement and he is not there for entertainment value. Move along. Didn’t your mother tell you it’s not polite to stare?

Five: If I am tooling along 5 miles over the speed limit, do not come up behind me as if I was driving a horse and buggy. Your flying up behind me and flashing your lights is not likely to entice me to move any faster, but I might be tempted to tap my brake lights several times.

There are many more rules of the road that people ignore, but I think I have covered enough to get my point across. If you didn’t know these rules, please, by all means, get a copy of the department of transportation defensive driving manual. It covers these and more. If you do know these rules but choose to ignore them, shame on you. You are contributing to some serious psychological problems among drivers.

Make the highways safer. Remember the rules of the road. That or take the bus.

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