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Today’s Driving Tips

July 18, 2007

That solid line in the middle of the road? It means you’re supposed to already be IN the lane, not just now getting over. In actuality, it means “DO NOT CROSS”. Try to remember that.

That big, extra lane down the middle of the road? That’s for turning. The good news is that you no longer have to slam on your brakes in the middle of the road and then get over into that lane at the last second. There’s actually enough room in that extra lane for you to slam on your brakes there. Awesome, huh? Don’t be afraid to use it. It’s there just for you.

When you turn right, you do not have to swing left as far as you can first. The turn lane really is big enough to accomodate your car. Yes, even if you drive an Escalade.

When you turn left, you do not have to swing right as far as you can first. The turn lane really is big enough to accomodate your car. Yes, even if you drive a Hummer.

You don’t actually have to stop before you turn. You can just slow down enough that you can make the turn without tipping your car (or Escalade or Hummer) up on two wheels. Really, I checked the law and nowhere does it say you have to stop.

Every left turn light should allow at least three cars through. If you sit through the whole turn light and go at the last second, the people behind you will probably honk to let you know. It’s a courtesy honk, really. They’re assuming that you’re doing something else and no one wants you to miss the opportunity to turn left. No one else wants to miss their opportunity either because you’re not paying attention. Honking back is rude.

If you come upon a long line of cars at a light, remember the good rules you learned in Kindergarten like “no cuts.” Everyone in the line is not a moron and you are not the smartest person alive. The likelihood that they are sitting there for a good reason is high. Going around that whole line and cutting in the front is not smart, it’s just rude.

Driving with your elbow is not an accepted practice. Hands should be at 10 and 2… Repeat after me… 10 and 2.

Having your kid drive on your lap is just not safe. If you’ve been in a cave and haven’t heard, it’s illegal for any child not to be in a carseat or seatbelt. Yes, I know you did it as a child. You also probably stuck your hand in the Easy Bake Oven and jumped off of the roof in your Superman costume. The fact that you did it does not make it legal now. Expect Social Services to pay a visit if you’re still allowing it.

Those people in vehicles with the flashing lights on top? They always have the right of way. In case you weren’t aware, you’re supposed to pull over to the side of the road and let them pass. If you don’t and they hit you, everyone else will not feel sorry for you. If you make a regular practice of staying right in front of them, on your phone, driving 10 miles an hour under the speed limit, they will write down your license plate and be at least 15 minutes late next time you have an emergency. Maybe not, but the rest of us hope they’re keeping track.

When everyone else pulls over to the side of the road to let an emergency vehicle pass? That’s not the time to go to the head of the line either.

If you want to turn right, you should be in the right lane. Getting into the right lane ahead of time (like more than 1 second before you actually turn), is the accepted practice. Turning right out of the left lane, particularly when there are other cars in the way, is not.

If you want to turn left, you should be in the left lane. Getting into the left lane ahead of time (like more than 1 second before you actually turn), is the accepted practice. Turning left out of the right lane, particularly when there are other cars in the way, is not.

Traffic merging onto the highway is not a chicken contest. The people doing the merging are not trying to get ahead of you. You can let them in… Really.

When the light turns green, you don’t have to acclimate your car to moving again. It already knows how and making it start right this second won’t hurt it at all. Feel free to mash that long, skinny pedal on the right to the floor. The folks behind you will appreciate it. They’ll appreciate it a lot if they drive a stick.

The most important thing about driving? If you are not the King or Queen of multi-tasking and you cannot simultaneously eat your cheeseburger, talk on the phone, and keep your car from crossing the center line? Save the cheeseburger for later… and HANG UP THE PHONE and DRIVE! No one wants to be behind you if you can’t keep your car at a steady speed, if you’re going to sit through the light because you’re too distracted, or if you’re going to hit someone head on because you can’t keep your eyes on the road.

In case you have other questions that I haven’t answered here, you can check out the laws in your state here.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. pinkadillies permalink
    July 18, 2007 1:23 pm

    Thanks for putting into words everything I’ve thought over the past 15 years.

  2. July 18, 2007 4:34 pm

    That is awesome… I love it!

    Also, can I add that as a matter of practice you CAN add 5 or even 10 miles to the mph signs? Man oh man, coming from California, I had a REALLY hard time with the Colorado drivers. I mean, really… is it too much to ask to go 75 mph on a freeway? 😉

  3. July 19, 2007 9:30 pm

    Rock on… every year everyone should make time to review the rules.

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