You’re Driving Insensitively and Don’t Realize It – Part 5

Best way to navigate a median.

You think you’re pretty good behind the wheel, right? Here’s part 5 of what you might be doing while on the road. See parts, 1-4 in our previous posts.

  • Doubling up in a median
    When turning left without a protected light, it’s already risky enough to pull out halfway and wait in the median for a hole in traffic. But when the guy across from you also pulls into the median to do the same thing, it blocks the first car’s vision (yours) entirely.

  • Yielding the right of way when it’s really yours
    I know you have only the best intentions when you let four people pull out in front of you. But letting people go out of turn creates a knock-on effect that will impact all the traffic behind you. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess. 

Thanks for being part of this mini-insensitivity training!

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You’re Driving Insensitively and Don’t Realize It – Part 4

Oops!

You think you’re pretty good behind the wheel, right? Here’s part 4 of what you might be doing while on the road. See part 1, 2 & 3 in our previous week’s posts.

  • Crowding the car in front on an uphill stop sign/light
    Your car might be an automatic, so when you’re on a hill you don’t go backwards in that moment between letting off the brake and hitting the accelerator. But for anyone in a manual, especially someone that’s not terribly experienced with a clutch, you’ve upped the stress factor by reducing the margin for error. You’re being insensitive if you then honk at that driver if they roll back a little when the light changes.
  • Dive-bomb braking 
    As you know, the best way to brake for a turn is not to wait until the last second and slam on the brakes. Still, most drivers — yes, this probably includes you — do this annoying thing where they lightly press the brake pedal as the turn approaches without really slowing down. Essentially, you’re still waiting until the last second before you brake for real, and because your brake lights have been on the whole time, the person behind you has no warning when you brake harder.
    Instead, practice what’s called limo braking: when you start braking, press the pedal harder than you normally do, then ease up as you get closer to the turn, so you’re still slowing down enough for the turn, but not screwing with the driver behind you.
  • Turning left too early
    If you’re in a left-most of a double left-turn lane, there’s nothing more frightening than trying to figure out if the person on your right is going to cut across the line. Often, they will.
     

Come back next week for part 5, to see what else you may be doing without realizing it.

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You’re Driving Insensitively and Don’t Realize It – Part 3

Check your blind spot.

You’re Driving Insensitively

You think you’re pretty good behind the wheel, right? Here’s part 3 of what you might be doing while on the road. See parts 1 & 2 in our last week’s posts.

  • Using your signal after you start changing lanes
    Check your blind spot, then hit your blinker, then change lanes.
  • Scaring cyclists
    One of the biggest gripes of cyclists is when vehicles cut them off when passing or pass them too close. Cutting off anyone is rude, but it’s downright dangerous when a cyclist is involved. Cyclists are people too, guys, with the same feelings and rights to the road as everyone else. Wait until you see them fully in your rearview mirror before you get back in front of them.
  • Moving the steering wheel when you check your blind spot
    It’s astonishing how many people do this. In the act of turning your head to check your blind spot, you move your shoulders. As a result, your arms move. And the steering wheel moves. And before you know it, you’re already turning. Keep your arms steady.

Come back this week for part 4, to see what else you may be doing without realizing it. See parts 1 & 2 in last weeks posts.

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You’re Driving Insensitively and Don’t Realize It – Part 2

Think you’re pretty good behind the wheel, right? Here’s part 2 of what you might be doing while on the road. See Part 1 in Monday’s post.

Don’t be that guy.

Driving in the left lane on the highway
Continuously driving in the left lane at all, even if you’re going at or above the speed limit, is illegal in most states. It’s for passing only, with obvious exceptions in times of heavy traffic.

It’s not a feature, it’s a necessity.

Screwing up the flow of traffic by either not using a turn signal…
Information on your turn would’ve been good to know 10 seconds ago so others aren’t waiting unnecessarily for you.

… or using it too early
By that same token, if I’m turning right, and you’re driving along with your blinker on, how are others supposed to know that you have no intention of turning?

Come back next week for part 3, to see what else you may be doing without realizing it.

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Proper Highway Driving

This is a touchy point with all drivers, and everyone has their own opinion on what is acceptable driving speed in the left lane.

There is proper driving etiquette everyone needs to follow

No Matter if you are an aggressive driver or a passive driver, want to drive 20 MPH over the speed limit or drive 5 MPH under the speed limit there is proper driving etiquette everyone needs to follow.  We have all seen the out of control driver that is tailgating then passing dangerously close can be just as hazardous as the vehicle driving far too slow for highway speeds.  If you are hauling a precarious load or aren’t comfortable driving at highway speed, then you need to avoid the highway all together.  Not only are you a danger to yourself but to all other drivers on the highway too.  Not following proper driving etiquette adds to traffic congestion and backups; if everyone stays aware of their surroundings, road conditions and follows the flow of traffic we all can arrive at our destinations quicker and safer.

Passing Lane Not the “Fast” Lane

This is a touchy point with all drivers, and everyone has their own opinion on what is acceptable driving speed in the left lane.  The term “fast” lane is very subjective and everyone’s definition of fast is different.  That is why the left lane is and should be referred to as the passing lane and not the “fast” lane.  This will put all confusion to rest as to what the appropriate speed to travel in the left lane is.  The left lane(s) are used for passing, so if you are not passing a vehicle then you should not be driving in the left lane.  After passing slower traffic you should return to the right lane as soon as you can safely.

Stay aware of other drivers and changing road conditions to stay safe with ever present summer road construction.  Let’s all work together to keep each other safe and moving fluidly on the highways this summer, with road construction and quickly changing Wisconsin weather already impeding us we don’t need any more obstacles.  Don’t be afraid to hit the highway this summer in your Toyota Camry and be sure to follow proper driving etiquette.

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