Having a driver's license means sharing the road with other people. Inevitably, the time will come when you feel frustrated by another driver's actions. But what's harder to admit is that you will at some point frustrate other drivers by your actions – but you don't have to! None of us are perfect but we can all take concrete actions to make driving on the road easier for us and safer for others. If you want to be a good neighbor out on the road, and avoid experiencing or causing road rage, use these steps as your guide:
Sharing the road with other motorists is signing into a sort of social contract. When you drive on the road, you're agreeing to mind other people's rights, pay them respect, and give them space. One of the simplest rules of driver etiquette is not tailgating! This is poor form not only because it will frustrate the driver in front of you but also because it can be incredibly dangerous. Remember, the three-second rule should always be followed!
Sitting behind the wheel can disconnect you from reality a little bit. A car is a steel shell that makes you feel invincible – but it can also make you feel entitled. It's important to remember that pedestrians don't have this luxury; they are exposed to the world and are much more vulnerable. It is also important to remember that in most all cases, the pedestrian has the right of way. If you are at an intersection, yield to pedestrians. It's the law, it's the safe thing to do, and it's the right thing to do.
Contrary to popular belief, the fast lane is not actually the "fast" lane – it's the passing lane. You should only use the Number One lane if you are passing the car in front of you. You should never sit your car in the fast lane and hog it for miles on end. Use the fast lane for passing only, get in and out quickly, and obey the speed limit, and you'll be practicing good driver etiquette!
This one is a no-brainer. Double parking blocks the car that you're parked next to and blocks the roadway. Simply don't do it, ever! Good driver etiquette means never putting yourself before others, and that is exactly what double parking does. Be nice and find your own spot!
Shining your high beams into other motorist's mirrors is just as bad as shining them directly into their eyes. If the road is particularly dark and you need to use your high beams, be sure that you only use them when no other cars are on the road. Driving with your high beams on when you're following or approaching another car is potentially dangerous.
Driving is not a competition! One of the easiest ways to practice good driver etiquette is letting people merge in front of you. There's no reason to accelerate abruptly just so that you can get in front of other drivers. Let cars merge. Yield to oncoming motorists when taking left turns. Let cars with their turn signals on get over. These are simple steps that you can take to make driving safer, more comfortable, and less stress-inducing!
If you want to change lanes, get off at an upcoming exit, or turn right or left at an upcoming light, alert your intentions to other motorists by using your turn signal. It's much safer than merging blindly and it's the polite thing to do! Your car is equipped with turn signals for a reason – use them!
It's easy to forget that driving is a privilege, not a right. Don't become competitive out on the road or make things personal; take your time, breath and stay calm, and practice good driver etiquette. It's better for all involved parties – you, other motorists, and pedestrians.
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